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1. G.R. No.

L-3756 June 30, 1952 Republic of the Philippines, intervenor) to annul the sale of property of
Taiwan Tekkosho, and recover its possession. The Republic of the
SAGRADA ORDEN DE PREDICADORES DEL SANTISMO ROSARIO Philippines was allowed to intervene in the action. The case did not come
DE FILIPINAS, plaintiff-appellee, for trial because the parties presented a joint petition in which it is
vs. claimed by plaintiff that the sale in favor of the Taiwan Tekkosho was null
NATIONAL COCONUT CORPORATION, defendant-appellant. and void because it was executed under threats, duress, and
intimidation, and it was agreed that the title issued in the name of the
Taiwan Tekkosho be cancelled and the original title of plaintiff re-issued;
First Assistant Corporate Counsel Federico C. Alikpala and Assistant
that the claims, rights, title, and interest of the Alien Property Custodian
Attorney Augusto Kalaw for appellant.
be cancelled and held for naught; that the occupant National Coconut
Ramirez and Ortigas for appellee.
Corporation has until February 28, 1949, to recover its equipment from
the property and vacate the premises; that plaintiff, upon entry of
LABRADOR, J.: judgment, pay to the Philippine Alien Property Administration the sum of
P140,000; and that the Philippine Alien Property Administration be free
This is an action to recover the possession of a piece of real property from responsibility or liability for any act of the National Coconut
(land and warehouses) situated in Pandacan Manila, and the rentals for Corporation, etc. Pursuant to the agreement the court rendered judgment
its occupation and use. The land belongs to the plaintiff, in whose name releasing the defendant and the intervenor from liability, but reversing to
the title was registered before the war. On January 4, 1943, during the the plaintiff the right to recover from the National Coconut Corporation
Japanese military occupation, the land was acquired by a Japanese reasonable rentals for the use and occupation of the premises. (Exhibit
corporation by the name of Taiwan Tekkosho for the sum of P140,00, A-1.)
and thereupon title thereto issued in its name (transfer certificate of title
No. 64330, Register of Deeds, Manila). After liberation, more specifically The present action is to recover the reasonable rentals from August,
on April 4, 1946, the Alien Property Custodian of the United States of 1946, the date when the defendant began to occupy the premises, to the
America took possession, control, and custody thereof under section 12 date it vacated it. The defendant does not contest its liability for the
of the Trading with the Enemy Act, 40 Stat., 411, for the reason that it rentals at the rate of P3,000 per month from February 28, 1949 (the date
belonged to an enemy national. During the year 1946 the property was specified in the judgment in civil case No. 5007), but resists the claim
occupied by the Copra Export Management Company under a therefor prior to this date. It interposes the defense that it occupied the
custodianship agreement with United States Alien Property Custodian property in good faith, under no obligation whatsoever to pay rentals for
(Exhibit G), and when it vacated the property it was occupied by the the use and occupation of the warehouse. Judgment was rendered for
defendant herein. The Philippine Government made representations with the plaintiff to recover from the defendant the sum of P3,000 a month, as
the Office Alien Property Custodian for the use of property by the reasonable rentals, from August, 1946, to the date the defendant vacates
Government (see Exhibits 2, 2-A, 2-B, and 1). On March 31, 1947, the the premises. The judgment declares that plaintiff has always been the
defendant was authorized to repair the warehouse on the land, and owner, as the sale of Japanese purchaser was void ab initio; that the
actually spent thereon the repairs the sum of P26,898.27. In 1948, Alien Property Administration never acquired any right to the property,
defendant leased one-third of the warehouse to one Dioscoro Sarile at a but that it held the same in trust until the determination as to whether or
monthly rental of P500, which was later raised to P1,000 a month. Sarile not the owner is an enemy citizen. The trial court further declares that
did not pay the rents, so action was brought against him. It is not shown, defendant can not claim any better rights than its predecessor, the Alien
however, if the judgment was ever executed. Property Administration, and that as defendant has used the property and
had subleased portion thereof, it must pay reasonable rentals for its
Plaintiff made claim to the property before the Alien Property Custodian occupation.
of the United States, but as this was denied, it brought an action in court
(Court of First Instance of Manila, civil case No. 5007, entitled "La Against this judgment this appeal has been interposed, the following
Sagrada Orden Predicadores de la Provinicia del Santisimo Rosario de assignment of error having been made on defendant-appellant's behalf:
Filipinas," vs. Philippine Alien Property Administrator, defendant,
The trial court erred in holding the defendant liable for rentals or Alien Property Custodian and the Taiwan Tekkosho, which had secured
compensation for the use and occupation of the property from the the possession of the property from the plaintiff-appellee by the use of
middle of August, 1946, to December 14, 1948. duress, such that the Alien Property Custodian or its permittee
(defendant-appellant) may be held responsible for the supposed illegality
1. Want to "ownership rights" of the Philippine Alien Property of the occupation of the property by the said Taiwan Tekkosho. The
Administration did not render illegal or invalidate its grant to the Allien Property Administration had the control and administration of the
defendant of the free use of property. property not as successor to the interests of the enemy holder of the title,
the Taiwan Tekkosho, but by express provision of law (Trading with the
2. the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila declaring Enemy Act of the United States, 40 Stat., 411; 50 U.S.C.A., 189). Neither
the sale by the plaintiff to the Japanese purchaser null and void is it a trustee of the former owner, the plaintiff-appellee herein, but a
ab initio and that the plaintiff was and has remained as the legal trustee of then Government of the United States (32 Op. Atty. Gen. 249;
owner of the property, without legal interruption, is not conclusive. 50 U.S.C.A. 283), in its own right, to the exclusion of, and against the
claim or title of, the enemy owner. (Youghioheny & Ohio Coal Co. vs.
Lasevich [1920], 179 N.W., 355; 171 Wis., 347; U.S.C.A., 282-283.) From
3. Reservation to the plaintiff of the right to recover from the
August, 1946, when defendant-appellant took possession, to the late of
defendant corporation not binding on the later;
judgment on February 28, 1948, Allien Property Administration had the
absolute control of the property as trustee of the Government of the
4. Use of the property for commercial purposes in itself alone United States, with power to dispose of it by sale or otherwise, as though
does not justify payment of rentals. it were the absolute owner. (U.S vs. Chemical Foundation [C.C.A. Del.
1925], 5 F. [2d], 191; 50 U.S.C.A., 283.) Therefore, even if defendant-
5. Defendant's possession was in good faith. appellant were liable to the Allien Property Administration for rentals,
these would not accrue to the benefit of the plaintiff-appellee, the owner,
6. Defendant's possession in the nature of usufruct. but to the United States Government.

In reply, plaintiff-appellee's counsel contends that the Philippine Allien But there is another ground why the claim or rentals can not be made
Property Administration (PAPA) was a mere administrator of the owner against defendant-appellant. There was no agreement between the Alien
(who ultimately was decided to be plaintiff), and that as defendant has Property Custodian and the defendant-appellant for the latter to pay
used it for commercial purposes and has leased portion of it, it should be rentals on the property. The existence of an implied agreement to that
responsible therefore to the owner, who had been deprived of the effect is contrary to the circumstances. The copra Export Management
possession for so many years. (Appellee's brief, pp. 20, 23.) Company, which preceded the defendant-appellant, in the possession
and use of the property, does not appear to have paid rentals therefor, as
We can not understand how the trial court, from the mere fact that it occupied it by what the parties denominated a "custodianship
plaintiff-appellee was the owner of the property and the defendant- agreement," and there is no provision therein for the payment of rentals
appellant the occupant, which used for its own benefit but by the express or of any compensation for its custody and or occupation and the use.
permission of the Alien Property Custodian of the United States, so easily The Trading with the Enemy Act, as originally enacted, was purely a
jumped to the conclusion that the occupant is liable for the value of such measure of conversation, hence, it is very unlikely that rentals were
use and occupation. If defendant-appellant is liable at all, its obligations, demanded for the use of the property. When the National coconut
must arise from any of the four sources of obligations, namley, law, Corporation succeeded the Copra Export Management Company in the
contract or quasi-contract, crime, or negligence. (Article 1089, Spanish possession and use of the property, it must have been also free from
Civil Code.) Defendant-appellant is not guilty of any offense at all, payment of rentals, especially as it was Government corporation, and
because it entered the premises and occupied it with the permission of steps where then being taken by the Philippine Government to secure the
the entity which had the legal control and administration thereof, the property for the National Coconut Corporation. So that the circumstances
Allien Property Administration. Neither was there any negligence on its do not justify the finding that there was an implied agreement that the
part. There was also no privity (of contract or obligation) between the
defendant-appellant was to pay for the use and occupation of the 2. G.R. No. 116123 March 13, 1997
premises at all.
SERGIO F. NAGUIAT, doing business under the name and style
The above considerations show that plaintiff-appellee's claim for rentals SERGIO F. NAGUIAT ENT., INC., & CLARK FIELD TAXI,
before it obtained the judgment annulling the sale of the Taiwan INC., petitioners,
Tekkosho may not be predicated on any negligence or offense of the vs.
defendant-appellant, or any contract, express or implied, because the NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (THIRD DIVISION),
Allien Property Administration was neither a trustee of plaintiff-appellee, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF WORKINGMEN and its members,
nor a privy to the obligations of the Taiwan Tekkosho, its title being based LEONARDO T. GALANG, et al., respondents.
by legal provision of the seizure of enemy property. We have also tried in
vain to find a law or provision thereof, or any principle in quasi contracts
or equity, upon which the claim can be supported. On the contrary, as
defendant-appellant entered into possession without any expectation of
liability for such use and occupation, it is only fair and just that it may not
be held liable therefor. And as to the rents it collected from its lessee, the
same should accrue to it as a possessor in good faith, as this Court has PANGANIBAN, J.:
already expressly held. (Resolution, National Coconut Corporation vs.
Geronimo, 83 Phil. 467.) Are private respondent-employees of petitioner Clark Field Taxi, Inc., who
were separated from service due the closure of Clark Air Base, entitled to
Lastly, the reservation of this action may not be considered as vesting a separation pay and, if so, in what amount? Are officers of
new right; if no right to claim for rentals existed at the time of the corporations ipso facto liable jointly and severally with the companies
reservation, no rights can arise or accrue from such reservation alone. they represent for the payment of separation pay?

Wherefore, the part of the judgment appealed from, which sentences These questions are answered by the Court in resolving this petition
defendant-appellant to pay rentals from August, 1946, to February 28, for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court assailing the
1949, is hereby reversed. In all other respects the judgment is affirmed. Resolutions of the National Labor Relations Commission (Third
Costs of this appeal shall be against the plaintiff-appellee. Division) 1 promulgated on February 28, 1994,2 and May 31, 1994.3 The
February 28, 1994 Resolution affirmed with modifications the decision4of
Labor Arbiter Ariel C. Santos in NLRC Case No. RAB-III-12-2477-91. The
Paras, C.J., Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Tuason, Montemayor, and Bautista second Resolution denied the motion for reconsideration of herein
Angelo, JJ, concur. petitioners.

The NLRC modified the decision of the labor arbiter by granting


separation pay to herein individual respondents in the increased amount
of US$120.00 for every year of service or its peso equivalent, and holding
Sergio F. Naguiat Enterprises, Inc., Sergio F. Naguiat and Antolin T.
Naguiat, jointly and severally liable with Clark Field Taxi, Inc. ("CFTI").

The Facts

The following facts are derived from the records of the case:

Petitioner CFTI held a concessionaire's contract with the Army Air Force
Exchange Services ("AAFES") for the operation of taxi services within
Clark Air Base. Sergio F. Naguiat was CFTI's president, while Antolin T. were similarly situated as complainants, and CFTI with Antolin T. Naguiat
Naguiat was its vice-president. Like Sergio F. Naguiat Enterprises, as vice president and general manager, as party respondent.
Incorporated ("Naguiat Enterprises"), a trading firm, it was a family-owned
corporation. In their complaint, herein private respondents alleged that they were
regular employees of Naguiat Enterprises, although their individual
Individual respondents were previously employed by CFTI as taxicab applications for employment were approved by CFTI. They claimed to
drivers. During their employment, they were required to pay a daily have been assigned to Naguiat Enterprises after having been hired by
"boundary fee" in the amount of US$26.50 for those working from 1:00 CFTI, and that the former thence managed, controlled and supervised
a.m. to 12:00 noon, and US$27.00 for those working from 12:00 noon to their employment. They averred further that they were entitled to
12:00 midnight. All incidental expenses for the maintenance of the separation pay based on their latest daily earnings of US$15.00 for
vehicles they were driving were accounted against them, including working sixteen (16) days a month.
gasoline expenses.
In their position paper submitted to the labor arbiter, herein petitioners
The drivers worked at least three to four times a week, depending on the claimed that the cessation of business of CFTI on November 26, 1991,
availability of taxicabs. They earned not less than US$15.00 daily. was due to "great financial losses and lost business opportunity" resulting
from the phase-out of Clark Air Base brought about by the Mt. Pinatubo
In excess of that amount, however, they were required to make cash eruption and the expiration of the RP-US military bases agreement. They
deposits to the company, which they could later withdraw every fifteen admitted that CFTI had agreed with the drivers' union, through its
days. President Eduardo Castillo who claimed to have had blanket authority to
negotiate with CFTI in behalf of union members, to grant its taxi driver-
Due to the phase-out of the US military bases in the Philippines, from employees separation pay equivalent to P500.00 for every year of
which Clark Air Base was not spared, the AAFES was dissolved, and the service.
services of individual respondents were officially terminated on November
26, 1991. The labor arbiter, finding the individual complainants to be regular
workers of CFTI, ordered the latter to pay them P1,200.00 for every year
The AAFES Taxi Drivers Association ("drivers' union"), through its local of service "for humanitarian consideration," setting aside the earlier
president, Eduardo Castillo, and CFTI held negotiations as regards agreement between CFTI and the drivers' union of P500.00 for every
separation benefits that should be awarded in favor of the drivers. They year of service. The labor arbiter rejected the allegation of CFTI that it
arrived at an agreement that the separated drivers will be given P500.00 was forced to close business due to "great financial losses and lost
for every year of service as severance pay. Most of the drivers accepted business opportunity" since, at the time it ceased operations, CFTI was
said amount in December 1991 and January 1992. However, individual profitably earning and the cessation of its business was due to the
respondents herein refused to accept theirs. untimely closure of Clark Air Base. In not awarding separation pay in
accordance with the Labor Code, the labor arbiter explained:
Instead, after disaffiliating themselves from the drivers' union, individual
respondents, through the National Organization of Workingmen To allow respondents exemption from its (sic) obligation
("NOWM"), a labor organization which they subsequently joined, filed a to pay separation pay would be inhuman to complainants
complaint5against "Sergio F. Naguiat doing business under the name and but to impose a monetary obligation to an employer
style Sergio F. Naguiat Enterprises, Inc., Army-Air Force Exchange whose profitable business was abruptly shot (sic) down
Services (AAFES) with Mark Hooper as Area Service Manager, Pacific by force majeure would be unfair and unjust to say the
Region, and AAFES Taxi Drivers Association with Eduardo Castillo as least.7
President," for payment of separation pay due to termination/phase-out.
Said complaint was later amended6 to include additional taxi drivers who and thus, simply awarded an amount for "humanitarian
consideration."
Herein individual private respondents appealed to the NLRC. In its II. Whether or not Messrs. Teofilo Rafols and Romeo N.
Resolution, the NLRC modified the decision of the labor arbiter by Lopez could validly represent herein private respondents;
granting separation pay to the private respondents. The concluding and,
paragraphs of the NLRC Resolution read:
III. Whether or not the resolution issued by public
The contention of complainant is partly correct. One-half respondent is contrary to law. 10
month salary should be US$120.00 but this amount can
not be paid to the complainant in U.S. Dollar which is not Petitioners also submit two additional issues by way of a supplement 11 to
the legal tender in the Philippines. Paras, in commenting their petition, to wit: that Petitioners Sergio F. Naguiat and Antolin
on Art. 1249 of the New Civil Code, defines legal tender Naguiat were denied due process; and that petitioners were not furnished
as "that which a debtor may compel a creditor to accept in copies of private respondents' appeal to the NLRC. As to the procedural
payment of the debt. The complainants who are the lapse of insufficient copies of the appeal, the proper forum before which
creditors in this instance can be compelled to accept the petitioners should have raised it is the NLRC. They, however, failed to
Philippine peso which is the legal tender, in which case, question this in their motion for reconsideration. As a consequence, they
the table of conversion (exchange rate) at the time of are deemed to have waived the same and voluntarily submitted
payment or satisfaction of the judgment should be used. themselves to the jurisdiction of the appellate body.
However, since the choice is left to the debtor,
(respondents) they may choose to pay in US dollar." Anent the first issue raised in their original petition, petitioners contend
(Phoenix Assurance Co. vs. Macondray & Co. Inc., L- that NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
25048, May 13, 1975) excess of jurisdiction in unilaterally increasing the amount of severance
pay granted by the labor arbiter. They claim that this was not supported
In discharging the above obligations, Sergio F. Naguiat by substantial evidence since it was based simply on the self-serving
Enterprises, which is headed by Sergio F. Naguiat and allegation of respondents that their monthly take-home pay was not lower
Antolin Naguiat, father and son at the same time the than $240.00.
President and Vice-President and General Manager,
respectively, should be joined as indispensable party On the second issue, petitioners aver that NOWM cannot make legal
whose liability is joint and several. (Sec. 7, Rule 3, Rules representations in behalf of individual respondents who should, instead,
of Court)8 be bound by the decision of the union (AAFES Taxi Drivers Association)
of which they were members.
As mentioned earlier, the motion for reconsideration of herein petitioners
was denied by the NLRC. Hence, this petition with prayer for issuance of As to the third issue, petitioners incessantly insist that Sergio F. Naguiat
a temporary restraining order. Upon posting by the petitioners of a surety Enterprises, Inc. is a separate and distinct juridical entity which cannot be
bond, a temporary restraining order9 was issued by this Court enjoining held jointly and severally liable for the obligations of CFTI. And similarly,
execution of the assailed Resolutions. Sergio F. Naguiat and Antolin Naguiat were merely officers and
stockholders of CFTI and, thus, could not be held personally accountable
Issues for corporate debts.

The petitioners raise the following issues before this Court for resolution: Lastly, Sergio and Antolin Naguiat assail the Resolution of NLRC holding
them solidarily liable despite not having been impleaded as parties to the
I. Whether or not public respondent NLRC (3rd Div.) complaint.
committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction in issuing the appealed resolution; Individual respondents filed a comment separate from that of NOWM. In
sum, both aver that petitioners had the opportunity but failed to refute, the
taxi drivers' claim of having an average monthly earning of $240.00; that work schedule and financial arrangement they had with their employer.
individual respondents became members of NOWM after disaffiliating Therefrom they inferred that their monthly take-home pay amounted to
themselves from the AAFES Taxi Drivers Association which, through the not less than $240.00. Herein petitioners did not bother to refute nor offer
manipulations of its President Eduardo Castillo, unconscionably any evidence to controvert said allegations. Remaining undisputed, the
compromised their separation pay; and that Naguiat Enterprises, being labor arbiter adopted such facts in his decision. Petitioners did not even
their indirect employer, is solidarily liable under the law for violation of the appeal from the decision of the labor arbiter nor manifest any error in his
Labor Code, in this case, for nonpayment of their separation pay. findings and conclusions. Thus, petitioners are in estoppel for not having
questioned such facts when they had all opportunity to do so. Private
The Solicitor General unqualifiedly supports the allegations of private respondents, like petitioners, are bound by the factual findings of
respondents. In addition, he submits that the separate personalities of Respondent Commission.
respondent corporations and their officers should be disregarded and
considered one and the same as these were used to perpetrate injustice Petitioners also claim that the closure of their taxi business was due to
to their employees. great financial losses brought about by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo which
made the roads practically impassable to their taxicabs. Likewise well-
The Court's Ruling settled is the rule that business losses or financial reverses, in order to
sustain retrenchment of personnel or closure of business and warrant
As will be discussed below, the petition is partially meritorious. exemption from payment of separation pay, must be proved with clear
and satisfactory evidence. 14 The records, however, are devoid of such
evidence.
First Issue: Amount of Separation Pay
The labor arbiter, as affirmed by NLRC, correctly found that petitioners
Firmly, we reiterate the rule that in a petition for certiorari filed pursuant to
stopped their taxi business within Clark Air Base because of the phase-
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which is the only way a labor case may
out of U.S. military presence thereat. It was not due to any great financial
reach the Supreme Court, the petitioner/s must clearly show that the
loss because petitioners' taxi business was earning profitably at the time
NLRC acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
of its closure.
discretion. 12
With respect to the amount of separation pay that should be granted,
Long-standing and well-settled in Philippine jurisprudence is the judicial
Article 283 of the Labor Code provides:
dictum that findings of fact of administrative agencies and quasi-judicial
bodies, which have acquired expertise because their jurisdiction is
confined to specific matters, are generally accorded not only great . . . In case of retrenchment to prevent losses and in
respect but even finality; and are binding upon this Court unless there is cases of closures or cessation of operations of
a showing of grave abuse of discretion, or where it is clearly shown that establishment or undertaking not due to serious business
they were arrived at arbitrarily or in disregard of the evidence on record. 13 losses or financial reverses, the separation pay shall be
equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least one-half (1/2)
month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher.
Nevertheless, this Court carefully perused the records of the instant case
A fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered
if only to determine whether public respondent committed grave abuse of
one (1) whole year.
discretion, amounting to lack of jurisdiction, in granting the clamor of
private respondents that their separation pay should be based on the
amount of $240.00, allegedly their minimum monthly earnings as taxi Considering the above, we find that NLRC did not commit grave abuse of
drivers of petitioners. discretion in ruling that individual respondents were entitled to separation
pay 15 in the amount $120.00 (one-half of $240.00 monthly pay) or its
peso equivalent for every year of service.
In their amended complaint before the Regional Arbitration Branch in San
Fernando, Pampanga, herein private respondents set forth in detail the
Second Issue: NOWM's Personality to We find no reason to make a contrary finding. Labor-only contracting
Represent Individual Respondents-Employees exists where: (1) the person supplying workers to an employer does not
have substantial capital or investment in the form of tools, equipment,
On the question of NOWM's authority to represent private respondents, machinery, and work premises, among others; and (2) the workers
we hold petitioners in estoppel for not having seasonably raised this recruited and placed by such person are performing activities which are
issue before the labor arbiter or the NLRC. NOWM was already a party- directly related to the principal business of the employer. 21 Independent
litigant as the organization representing the taxi driver-complainants contractors, meanwhile, are those who exercise independent
before the labor arbiter. But petitioners who were party-respondents in employment, contracting to do a piece of work according to their own
said complaint did not assail the juridical personality of NOWM and the methods without being subject to control of their employer except as to
validity of its representations in behalf of the complaining taxi drivers the result of their Work. 22
before the quasi-judicial bodies. Therefore, they are now estopped from
raising such question before this Court. In any event, petitioners From the evidence proffered by both parties, there is no substantial basis
acknowledged before this Court that the taxi drivers allegedly to hold that Naguiat Enterprises is an indirect employer of individual
represented by NOWM, are themselves parties in this case. 16 respondents much less a labor only contractor. On the contrary,
petitioners submitted documents such as the drivers' applications for
Third Issue: Liability of Petitioner- employment with CFTI, 23 and social security remittances 24 and
Corporations and Their Respective Officers payroll 25 of Naguiat Enterprises showing that none of the individual
respondents were its employees. Moreover, in the contract 26 between
The resolution of this issue involves another factual finding that Naguiat CFTI and AAFES, the former, as concessionaire, agreed to purchase
Enterprises actually managed, supervised and controlled employment from AAFES for a certain amount within a specified period a fleet of
terms of the taxi drivers, making it their indirect employer. As adverted to vehicles to be "ke(pt) on the road" by CFTI, pursuant to their
earlier, factual findings of quasi-judicial bodies are binding upon the court concessionaire's contract. This indicates that CFTI became the owner of
in the absence of a showing of grave abuse of discretion. the taxicabs which became the principal investment and asset of the
company.
Unfortunately, the NLRC did not discuss or give any explanation for
holding Naguiat Enterprises and its officers jointly and severally liable in Private respondents failed to substantiate their claim that Naguiat
discharging CFTI's liability for payment of separation pay. We again Enterprises managed, supervised and controlled their employment. It
remind those concerned that decisions, however concisely written, must appears that they were confused on the personalities of Sergio F.
distinctly and clearly set forth the facts and law upon which they are Naguiat as an individual who was the president of CFTI, and Sergio F.
based. 17 This rule applies as well to dispositions by quasi-judicial and Naguiat Enterprises, Inc., as a separate corporate entity with a separate
administrative bodies. business. They presumed that Sergio F. Naguiat, who was at the same
time a stockholder and director 27 of Sergio F. Naguiat Enterprises, Inc.,
was managing and controlling the taxi business on behalf of the latter. A
Naguiat Enterprise Not Liable
closer scrutiny and analysis of the records, however, evince the truth of
the matter: that Sergio F. Naguiat, in supervising the taxi drivers and
In impleading Naguiat Enterprises as solidarily liable for the obligations of determining their employment terms, was rather carrying out his
CFTI, respondents rely on Articles 106, 18107 19 and 109 20 of the Labor responsibilities as president of CFTI. Hence, Naguiat Enterprises as a
Code. separate corporation does not appear to be involved at all in the taxi
business.
Based on factual submissions of the parties, the labor arbiter, however,
found that individual respondents were regular employees of CFTI who To illustrate further, we refer to the testimony of a driver-claimant on
received wages on a boundary or commission basis. cross examination.

Atty. Suarez
Is it not true that you applied not with Witness
Sergio F. Naguiat but with Clark Field
Taxi? What I know is that he is a
concessionaire.
Witness
xxx xxx xxx
I applied for (sic) Sergio F. Naguiat.
Atty. Suarez
Atty. Suarez
But do you also know that Sergio F.
Sergio F. Naguiat as an individual or the Naguiat is the President of Clark Field
corporation? Taxi, Incorporated?

Witness Witness

Sergio F. Naguiat na tao. Yes, sir.

Atty. Suarez Atty. Suarez

Who is Sergio F. Naguiat? How about Mr. Antolin Naguiat what is his
role in the taxi services, the operation of
Witness the Clark Field Taxi, Incorporated?

He is the one managing the Sergio F. Witness


Naguiat Enterprises and he is the one
whom we believe as our employer He is the vice president. 28

Atty. Suarez And, although the witness insisted that Naguiat Enterprises was his
employer, he could not deny that he received his salary from the office of
What is exactly the position of Sergio F. CFTI inside the base. 29
Naguiat with the Sergio F. Naguiat
Enterprises? Another driver-claimant admitted, upon the prodding of counsel for the
corporations, that Naguiat Enterprises was in the trading business while
Witness CFTI was in taxi services. 30

He is the owner, sir. In addition, the Constitution 31 of CFTI-AAFES Taxi Drivers Association
which, admittedly, was the union of individual respondents while still
Atty. Suarez working at Clark Air Base, states that members thereof are the
employees of CFTI and "(f)or collective bargaining purposes, the definite
employer is the Clark Field Taxi Inc."
How about with Clark Field Taxi
Incorporated what is the position of Mr.
Naguiat?
From the foregoing, the ineludible conclusion is that CFTI was the actual (b) How can the foregoing (Articles 265 and 273 of the
and direct employer of individual respondents, and that Naguiat Labor Code) provisions be implemented when the
Enterprises was neither their indirect employer nor labor-only contractor. employer is a corporation? The answer is found in Article
It was not involved at all in the taxi business. 212(c) of the Labor Code which provides:

CFTI president (c) "Employer" includes any person acting in the interest
solidarily liable of an employer, directly or indirectly. The term shall not
include any labor organization or any of its officers or
Petitioner-corporations would likewise want to avoid the solidary liability agents except when acting as employer.
of their officers. To bolster their position, Sergio F. Naguiat and Antolin T.
Naguiat specifically aver that they were denied due process since they The foregoing was culled from Section 2 of RA 602, the
were not parties to the complaint below. 32 In the broader interest of Minimum Wage Law. Since RANSOM is an artificial
justice, we, however, hold that Sergio F. Naguiat, in his capacity as person, it must have an officer who can be presumed to
president of CFTI, cannot be exonerated from joint and several liability in be the employer, being the "person acting in the interest
the payment of separation pay to individual respondents. of (the) employer" RANSOM. The corporation, only in the
technical sense, is the employer.
A.C. Ransom Labor Union-CCLU vs. NLRC 33 is the case in point. A.C.
Ransom Corporation was a family corporation, the stockholders of which The responsible officer of an employer corporation can be
were members of the Hernandez family. In 1973, it filed an application for held personally, not to say even criminally, liable for
clearance to close or cease operations, which was duly granted by the nonpayment of back wages. That is the policy of the law. .
Ministry of Labor and Employment, without prejudice to the right of ..
employees to seek redress of grievance, if any. Backwages of 22
employees, who engaged in a strike prior to the closure, were (c) If the policy of the law were otherwise, the corporation
subsequently computed at P164,984.00. Up to September 1976, the employer can have devious ways for evading payment of
union filed about ten (10) motions for execution against the corporation, back wages. . . .
but none could be implemented, presumably for failure to find leviable
assets of said corporation. In its last motion for execution, the union (d) The record does not clearly identify "the officer or
asked that officers and agents of the company be held personally liable officers" of RANSOM directly responsible for failure to pay
for payment of the backwages. This was granted by the labor arbiter. In the back wages of the 22 strikers. In the absence of
the corporation's appeal to the NLRC, one of the issues raised was: "Is definite Proof in that regard, we believe it should be
the judgment against a corporation to reinstate its dismissed employees presumed that the responsible officer is the President of
with backwages, enforceable against its officer and agents, in their the corporation who can be deemed the chief operation
individual, private and personal capacities, who were not parties in the officer thereof. Thus, in RA 602, criminal responsibility is
case where the judgment was rendered!" The NLRC answered in the with the "Manager or in his default, the person acting as
negative, on the ground that officers of a corporation are not liable such." In RANSOM. the President appears to be the
personally for official acts unless they exceeded the scope of their Manager. (Emphasis supplied.)
authority.
Sergio F. Naguiat, admittedly, was the president of CFTI who actively
On certiorari, this Court reversed the NLRC and upheld the labor arbiter. managed the business. Thus, applying the ruling in A.C. Ransom, he falls
In imposing joint and several liability upon the company president, the within the meaning of an "employer" as contemplated by the Labor Code,
Court, speaking through Mme. Justice Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera, who may be held jointly and severally liable for the obligations of the
ratiocinated this wise: corporation to its dismissed employees.
Moreover, petitioners also conceded that both CFTI and Naguiat 4. When a director, trustee or officer is made, by specific
Enterprises were "close family corporations" 34owned by the Naguiat provision of law, personally liable for his corporate action.
family. Section 100, paragraph 5, (under Title XII on Close Corporations) (footnotes omitted)
of the Corporation Code, states:
As pointed out earlier, the fifth paragraph of Section 100 of the
(5) To the extent that the stockholders are actively Corporation Code specifically imposes personal liability upon the
engage(d) in the management or operation of the stockholder actively managing or operating the business and affairs of
business and affairs of a close corporation, the the close corporation.
stockholders shall be held to strict fiduciary duties to each
other and among themselves. Said stockholders shall In fact, in posting the surety bond required by this Court for the issuance
be personally liable for corporate tortsunless the of a temporary restraining order enjoining the execution of the assailed
corporation has obtained reasonably adequate liability NLRC Resolutions, only Sergio F. Naguiat, in his individual and personal
insurance. (emphasis supplied) capacity, principally bound himself to comply with the obligation
thereunder, i.e., "to guarantee the payment to private respondents of any
Nothing in the records show whether CFTI obtained "reasonably damages which they may incur by reason of the issuance of a temporary
adequate liability insurance;" thus, what remains is to determine restraining order sought, if it should be finally adjudged that said
whether there was corporate tort. principals were not entitled thereto. 38

Our jurisprudence is wanting as to the definite scope of "corporate tort." The Court here finds no application to the rule that a corporate officer
Essentially, "tort" consists in the violation of a right given or the omission cannot be held solidarily liable with a corporation in the absence of
of a duty imposed by law. 35 Simply stated, tort is a breach of a legal evidence that he had acted in bad faith or with malice. 39 In the present
duty. 36 Article 283 of the Labor Code mandates the employer to grant case, Sergio Naguiat is held solidarily liable for corporate tort because he
separation pay to employees in case of closure or cessation of had actively engaged in the management and operation of CFTI, a close
operations of establishment or undertaking not due to serious business corporation.
losses or financial reverses, which is the condition obtaining at bar. CFTI
failed to comply with this law-imposed duty or obligation. Consequently, Antolin Naguiat not personally liable
its stockholder who was actively engaged in the management or
operation of the business should be held personally liable. Antolin T. Naguiat was the vice president of the CFTI. Although he
carried the title of "general manager" as well, it had not been shown that
Furthermore, in MAM Realty Development vs. NLRC, 37 the Court he had acted in such capacity. Furthermore, no evidence on the extent of
recognized that a director or officer may still be held solidarily liable with a his participation in the management or operation of the business was
corporation by specific provision of law. Thus: preferred. In this light, he cannot be held solidarily liable for the
obligations of CFTI and Sergio Naguiat to the private respondents.
. . . A corporation, being a juridical entity, may act only
through its directors, officers and employees. Obligations Fourth Issue: No Denial of Due Process
incurred by them, acting as such corporate agents, are
not theirs but the direct accountabilities of the corporation Lastly, in petitioners' Supplement to their original petition, they assail the
they represent. True, solidary liabilities may at times be NLRC Resolution holding Sergio F. Naguiat and Antolin T. Naguiat jointly
incurred but only when exceptional circumstances warrant and severally liable with petitioner-corporations in the payment of
such as, generally, in the following cases: separation pay, averring denial of due process since the individual
Naguiats were not impleaded as parties to the complaint.
xxx xxx xxx
We advert to the case of A.C. Ransom once more. The officers of the 3. G.R. No. 97336 February 19, 1993
corporation were not parties to the case when the judgment in favor of
the employees was rendered. The corporate officers raised this issue GASHEM SHOOKAT BAKSH, petitioner,
when the labor arbiter granted the motion of the employees to enforce vs.
the judgment against them. In spite of this, the Court held the corporation HON. COURT OF APPEALS and MARILOU T.
president solidarily liable with the corporation. GONZALES, respondents.

Furthermore, Sergio and Antolin Naguiat voluntarily submitted Public Attorney's Office for petitioner.
themselves to the jurisdiction of the labor arbiter when they, in their
individual capacities, filed a position paper 40 together with CFTI, before
Corleto R. Castro for private respondent.
the arbiter. They cannot now claim to have been denied due process
since they availed of the opportunity to present their positions.

WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the petition is


PARTLY GRANTED. The assailed February 28, 1994 Resolution of the DAVIDE, JR., J.:
NLRC is hereby MODIFIED as follows:
This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
(1) Petitioner Clark Field Taxi, Incorporated, and Sergio F. Naguiat, seeking to review and set aside the Decision1 of the respondent Court of
president and co-owner thereof, are ORDERED to pay, jointly and Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 24256 which affirmed in toto the 16 October
severally, the individual respondents their separation pay computed at 1939 Decision of Branch 38 (Lingayen) of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
US$120.00 for every year of service, or its peso equivalent at the time of of Pangasinan in Civil Case No. 16503. Presented is the issue of whether
payment or satisfaction of the judgment; or not damages may be recovered for a breach of promise to marry on
the basis of Article 21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.
(2) Petitioner Sergio F. Naguiat Enterprises, Incorporated, and Antolin T.
Naguiat are ABSOLVED from liability in the payment of separation pay to The antecedents of this case are not complicated:
individual respondents.
On 27 October 1987, private respondent, without the assistance of
SO ORDERED. counsel, filed with the aforesaid trial court a complaint2 for damages
against the petitioner for the alleged violation of their agreement to get
married. She alleges in said complaint that: she is twenty-two (22) years
Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo and Francisco, JJ., concur. old, single, Filipino and a pretty lass of good moral character and
reputation duly respected in her community; petitioner, on the other hand,
is an Iranian citizen residing at the Lozano Apartments, Guilig, Dagupan
City, and is an exchange student taking a medical course at the Lyceum
Northwestern Colleges in Dagupan City; before 20 August 1987, the
latter courted and proposed to marry her; she accepted his love on the
condition that they would get married; they therefore agreed to get
married after the end of the school semester, which was in October of
that year; petitioner then visited the private respondent's parents in
Bañaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan to secure their approval to the marriage;
sometime in 20 August 1987, the petitioner forced her to live with him in
the Lozano Apartments; she was a virgin before she began living with
him; a week before the filing of the complaint, petitioner's attitude towards
her started to change; he maltreated and threatened to kill her; as a
result of such maltreatment, she sustained injuries; during a confrontation 3. That the plaintiff is (sic) an employee at Mabuhay
with a representative of the barangay captain of Guilig a day before the Luncheonette , Fernandez Avenue, Dagupan City since
filing of the complaint, petitioner repudiated their marriage agreement and July, 1986 up to the present and a (sic) high school
asked her not to live with him anymore and; the petitioner is already graduate;
married to someone living in Bacolod City. Private respondent then
prayed for judgment ordering the petitioner to pay her damages in the 4. That the parties happened to know each other when
amount of not less than P45,000.00, reimbursement for actual expenses the manager of the Mabuhay Luncheonette, Johhny
amounting to P600.00, attorney's fees and costs, and granting her such Rabino introduced the defendant to the plaintiff on August
other relief and remedies as may be just and equitable. The complaint 3, 1986.
was docketed as Civil Case No. 16503.
After trial on the merits, the lower court, applying Article 21 of the Civil
In his Answer with Counterclaim,3 petitioner admitted only the personal Code, rendered on 16 October 1989 a decision5 favoring the private
circumstances of the parties as averred in the complaint and denied the respondent. The petitioner was thus ordered to pay the latter damages
rest of the allegations either for lack of knowledge or information and attorney's fees; the dispositive portion of the decision reads:
sufficient to form a belief as to the truth thereof or because the true facts
are those alleged as his Special and Affirmative Defenses. He thus IN THE LIGHT of the foregoing consideration, judgment is
claimed that he never proposed marriage to or agreed to be married with hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the
the private respondent; he neither sought the consent and approval of defendant.
her parents nor forced her to live in his apartment; he did not maltreat
her, but only told her to stop coming to his place because he discovered
1. Condemning (sic) the defendant to pay the plaintiff the
that she had deceived him by stealing his money and passport; and
sum of twenty thousand (P20,000.00) pesos as moral
finally, no confrontation took place with a representative of the barangay
damages.
captain. Insisting, in his Counterclaim, that the complaint is baseless and
unfounded and that as a result thereof, he was unnecessarily dragged
into court and compelled to incur expenses, and has suffered mental 2. Condemning further the defendant to play the plaintiff
anxiety and a besmirched reputation, he prayed for an award of the sum of three thousand (P3,000.00) pesos as atty's
P5,000.00 for miscellaneous expenses and P25,000.00 as moral fees and two thousand (P2,000.00) pesos at (sic)
damages. litigation expenses and to pay the costs.

After conducting a pre-trial on 25 January 1988, the trial court issued a 3. All other claims are denied.6
Pre-Trial Order4 embodying the stipulated facts which the parties had
agreed upon, to wit: The decision is anchored on the trial court's findings and conclusions that
(a) petitioner and private respondent were lovers, (b) private respondent
1. That the plaintiff is single and resident (sic) of Bañaga, is not a woman of loose morals or questionable virtue who readily
Bugallon, Pangasinan, while the defendant is single, submits to sexual advances, (c) petitioner, through machinations, deceit
Iranian citizen and resident (sic) of Lozano Apartment, and false pretenses, promised to marry private respondent, d) because of
Guilig, Dagupan City since September 1, 1987 up to the his persuasive promise to marry her, she allowed herself to be
present; deflowered by him, (e) by reason of that deceitful promise, private
respondent and her parents — in accordance with Filipino customs and
traditions — made some preparations for the wedding that was to be held
2. That the defendant is presently studying at Lyceum
at the end of October 1987 by looking for pigs and chickens, inviting
Northwestern, Dagupan City, College of Medicine, second
friends and relatives and contracting sponsors, (f) petitioner did not fulfill
year medicine proper;
his promise to marry her and (g) such acts of the petitioner, who is a
foreigner and who has abused Philippine hospitality, have offended our
sense of morality, good customs, culture and traditions. The trial court captain in Dagupan City. Plaintiff, her lawyer, her
gave full credit to the private respondent's testimony because, inter alia, godmother, and a barangay tanod sent by the barangay
she would not have had the temerity and courage to come to court and captain went to talk to defendant to still convince him to
expose her honor and reputation to public scrutiny and ridicule if her marry plaintiff, but defendant insisted that he could not do
claim was false.7 so because he was already married to a girl in Bacolod
City, although the truth, as stipulated by the parties at the
The above findings and conclusions were culled from the detailed pre-trial, is that defendant is still single.
summary of the evidence for the private respondent in the foregoing
decision, digested by the respondent Court as follows: Plaintiff's father, a tricycle driver, also claimed that after
defendant had informed them of his desire to marry
According to plaintiff, who claimed that she was a virgin at Marilou, he already looked for sponsors for the wedding,
the time and that she never had a boyfriend before, started preparing for the reception by looking for pigs and
defendant started courting her just a few days after they chickens, and even already invited many relatives and
first met. He later proposed marriage to her several times friends to the forthcoming wedding. 8
and she accepted his love as well as his proposal of
marriage on August 20, 1987, on which same day he Petitioner appealed the trial court's decision to the respondent Court of
went with her to her hometown of Bañaga, Bugallon, Appeals which docketed the case as CA-G.R. CV No. 24256. In his
Pangasinan, as he wanted to meet her parents and Brief,9 he contended that the trial court erred (a) in not dismissing the
inform them of their relationship and their intention to get case for lack of factual and legal basis and (b) in ordering him to pay
married. The photographs Exhs. "A" to "E" (and their moral damages, attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs.
submarkings) of defendant with members of plaintiff's
family or with plaintiff, were taken that day. Also on that On 18 February 1991, respondent Court promulgated the challenged
occasion, defendant told plaintiffs parents and brothers decision 10 affirming in toto the trial court's ruling of 16 October 1989. In
and sisters that he intended to marry her during the sustaining the trial court's findings of fact, respondent Court made the
semestral break in October, 1987, and because plaintiff's following analysis:
parents thought he was good and trusted him, they
agreed to his proposal for him to marry their daughter, First of all, plaintiff, then only 21 years old when she met
and they likewise allowed him to stay in their house and defendant who was already 29 years old at the time, does
sleep with plaintiff during the few days that they were in not appear to be a girl of loose morals. It is
Bugallon. When plaintiff and defendant later returned to uncontradicted that she was a virgin prior to her
Dagupan City, they continued to live together in unfortunate experience with defendant and never had
defendant's apartment. However, in the early days of boyfriend. She is, as described by the lower court, a
October, 1987, defendant would tie plaintiff's hands and barrio lass "not used and accustomed to trend of modern
feet while he went to school, and he even gave her urban life", and certainly would (sic) not have allowed
medicine at 4 o'clock in the morning that made her sleep "herself to be deflowered by the defendant if there was no
the whole day and night until the following day. As a result persuasive promise made by the defendant to marry her."
of this live-in relationship, plaintiff became pregnant, but In fact, we agree with the lower court that plaintiff and
defendant gave her some medicine to abort the fetus. Still defendant must have been sweethearts or so the plaintiff
plaintiff continued to live with defendant and kept must have thought because of the deception of
reminding him of his promise to marry her until he told her defendant, for otherwise, she would not have allowed
that he could not do so because he was already married herself to be photographed with defendant in public in so
to a girl in Bacolod City. That was the time plaintiff left (sic) loving and tender poses as those depicted in the
defendant, went home to her parents, and thereafter pictures Exhs. "D" and "E". We cannot believe, therefore,
consulted a lawyer who accompanied her to the barangay defendant's pretense that plaintiff was a nobody to him
except a waitress at the restaurant where he usually ate. and to live with him on the honest and sincere belief that
Defendant in fact admitted that he went to plaintiff's he would keep said promise, and it was likewise these
hometown of Bañaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan, at least (sic) fraud and deception on appellant's part that made
thrice; at (sic) the town fiesta on February 27, 1987 (p. 54, plaintiff's parents agree to their daughter's living-in with
tsn May 18, 1988), at (sic) a beach party together with the him preparatory to their supposed marriage. And as these
manager and employees of the Mabuhay Luncheonette acts of appellant are palpably and undoubtedly against
on March 3, 1987 (p. 50, tsn id.), and on April 1, 1987 morals, good customs, and public policy, and are even
when he allegedly talked to plaintiff's mother who told him gravely and deeply derogatory and insulting to our
to marry her daughter (pp. 55-56, tsn id.). Would women, coming as they do from a foreigner who has
defendant have left Dagupan City where he was involved been enjoying the hospitality of our people and taking
in the serious study of medicine to go to plaintiff's advantage of the opportunity to study in one of our
hometown in Bañaga, Bugallon, unless there was (sic) institutions of learning, defendant-appellant should indeed
some kind of special relationship between them? And this be made, under Art. 21 of the Civil Code of the
special relationship must indeed have led to defendant's Philippines, to compensate for the moral damages and
insincere proposal of marriage to plaintiff, communicated injury that he had caused plaintiff, as the lower court
not only to her but also to her parents, and (sic) Marites ordered him to do in its decision in this case. 12
Rabino, the owner of the restaurant where plaintiff was
working and where defendant first proposed marriage to Unfazed by his second defeat, petitioner filed the instant petition on 26
her, also knew of this love affair and defendant's proposal March 1991; he raises therein the single issue of whether or not Article
of marriage to plaintiff, which she declared was the 21 of the Civil Code applies to the case at bar. 13
reason why plaintiff resigned from her job at the
restaurant after she had accepted defendant's proposal It is petitioner's thesis that said Article 21 is not applicable because he
(pp. 6-7, tsn March 7, 1988). had not committed any moral wrong or injury or violated any good custom
or public policy; he has not professed love or proposed marriage to the
Upon the other hand, appellant does not appear to be a private respondent; and he has never maltreated her. He criticizes the
man of good moral character and must think so low and trial court for liberally invoking Filipino customs, traditions and culture,
have so little respect and regard for Filipino women that and ignoring the fact that since he is a foreigner, he is not conversant
he openly admitted that when he studied in Bacolod City with such Filipino customs, traditions and culture. As an Iranian Moslem,
for several years where he finished his B.S. Biology he is not familiar with Catholic and Christian ways. He stresses that even
before he came to Dagupan City to study medicine, he if he had made a promise to marry, the subsequent failure to fulfill the
had a common-law wife in Bacolod City. In other words, same is excusable or tolerable because of his Moslem upbringing; he
he also lived with another woman in Bacolod City but did then alludes to the Muslim Code which purportedly allows a Muslim to
not marry that woman, just like what he did to plaintiff. It is take four (4) wives and concludes that on the basis thereof, the trial court
not surprising, then, that he felt so little compunction or erred in ruling that he does not posses good moral character. Moreover,
remorse in pretending to love and promising to marry his controversial "common law life" is now his legal wife as their marriage
plaintiff, a young, innocent, trustful country girl, in order to had been solemnized in civil ceremonies in the Iranian Embassy. As to
satisfy his lust on her. 11 his unlawful cohabitation with the private respondent, petitioner claims
that even if responsibility could be pinned on him for the live-in
and then concluded: relationship, the private respondent should also be faulted for consenting
to an illicit arrangement. Finally, petitioner asseverates that even if it was
In sum, we are strongly convinced and so hold that it was to be assumed arguendo that he had professed his love to the private
defendant-appellant's fraudulent and deceptive respondent and had also promised to marry her, such acts would not be
protestations of love for and promise to marry plaintiff that actionable in view of the special circumstances of the case. The mere
made her surrender her virtue and womanhood to him breach of promise is not actionable. 14
On 26 August 1991, after the private respondent had filed her Comment 103 Phil. 401 [1958]);
to the petition and the petitioner had filed his Reply thereto, this Court (7) The findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to
gave due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their those of the trial court (Garcia v. Court of Appeals, 33
respective Memoranda, which they subsequently complied with. SCRA 622 [1970]; Sacay v. Sandiganbayan, 142 SCRA
593 [1986]); (8) When the findings of fact are conclusions
As may be gleaned from the foregoing summation of the petitioner's without citation of specific evidence on which they are
arguments in support of his thesis, it is clear that questions of fact, which based (Ibid.,); (9) When the facts set forth in the petition
boil down to the issue of the credibility of witnesses, are also raised. It is as well as in the petitioners main and reply briefs are not
the rule in this jurisdiction that appellate courts will not disturb the trial disputed by the respondents (Ibid.,); and (10) The finding
court's findings as to the credibility of witnesses, the latter court having of fact of the Court of Appeals is premised on the
heard the witnesses and having had the opportunity to observe closely supposed absence of evidence and is contradicted by the
their deportment and manner of testifying, unless the trial court had evidence on record (Salazar v. Gutierrez, 33 SCRA 242
plainly overlooked facts of substance or value which, if considered, might [1970]).
affect the result of the case. 15
Petitioner has not endeavored to joint out to Us the existence of any of
Petitioner has miserably failed to convince Us that both the appellate and the above quoted exceptions in this case. Consequently, the factual
trial courts had overlooked any fact of substance or values which could findings of the trial and appellate courts must be respected.
alter the result of the case.
And now to the legal issue.
Equally settled is the rule that only questions of law may be raised in a
petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. It is The existing rule is that a breach of promise to marry per se is not an
not the function of this Court to analyze or weigh all over again the actionable wrong. 17 Congress deliberately eliminated from the draft of the
evidence introduced by the parties before the lower court. There are, New Civil Code the provisions that would have made it so. The reason
however, recognized exceptions to this rule. Thus, in Medina therefor is set forth in the report of the Senate Committees on the
vs.Asistio, Jr., 16 this Court took the time, again, to enumerate these Proposed Civil Code, from which We quote:
exceptions:
The elimination of this chapter is proposed. That breach
xxx xxx xxx of promise to marry is not actionable has been definitely
decided in the case of De Jesus vs. Syquia. 18 The history
(1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on of breach of promise suits in the United States and in
speculation, surmises or conjectures (Joaquin v. Navarro, England has shown that no other action lends itself more
93 Phil. 257 [1953]); (2) When the inference made is readily to abuse by designing women and unscrupulous
manifestly mistaken, absurb or impossible (Luna v. men. It is this experience which has led to the abolition of
Linatok, 74 Phil. 15 [1942]); (3) Where there is a grave rights of action in the so-called Heart Balm suits in many
abuse of discretion (Buyco v. People, 95 Phil. 453 of the American states. . . . 19
[1955]); (4) When the judgment is based on a
misapprehension of facts (Cruz v. Sosing, This notwithstanding, the said Code contains a provision, Article 21,
L-4875, Nov. 27, 1953); (5) When the findings of fact are which is designed to expand the concept of torts or quasi-delict in this
conflicting (Casica v. Villaseca, L-9590 Ap. 30, 1957; jurisdiction by granting adequate legal remedy for the untold number of
unrep.) (6) When the Court of Appeals, in making its moral wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to specifically
findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the enumerate and punish in the statute books. 20
same is contrary to the admissions of both appellate and
appellee (Evangelista v. Alto Surety and Insurance Co., As the Code Commission itself stated in its Report:
But the Code Commission had gone farther than the is limited to negligent acts or omissions and excludes the notion
sphere of wrongs defined or determined by positive law. of willfulness or intent. Quasi-delict, known in Spanish legal
Fully sensible that there are countless gaps in the treatises as culpa aquiliana, is a civil law concept while torts is an
statutes, which leave so many victims of moral wrongs Anglo-American or common law concept. Torts is much broader
helpless, even though they have actually suffered than culpa aquiliana because it includes not only negligence, but
material and moral injury, the Commission has deemed it international criminal acts as well such as assault and battery,
necessary, in the interest of justice, to incorporate in the false imprisonment and deceit. In the general scheme of the
proposed Civil Code the following rule: Philippine legal system envisioned by the Commission
responsible for drafting the New Civil Code, intentional and
Art. 23. Any person who wilfully causes malicious acts, with certain exceptions, are to be governed by the
loss or injury to another in a manner that Revised Penal Code while negligent acts or omissions are to be
is contrary to morals, good customs or covered by Article 2176 of the Civil Code. 22 In between these
public policy shall compensate the latter opposite spectrums are injurious acts which, in the absence of
for the damage. Article 21, would have been beyond redress. Thus, Article 21 fills
that vacuum. It is even postulated that together with Articles 19
An example will illustrate the purview of the foregoing and 20 of the Civil Code, Article 21 has greatly broadened the
norm: "A" seduces the nineteen-year old daughter of "X". scope of the law on civil wrongs; it has become much more
A promise of marriage either has not been made, or can supple and adaptable than the Anglo-American law on torts. 23
not be proved. The girl becomes pregnant. Under the
present laws, there is no crime, as the girl is above In the light of the above laudable purpose of Article 21, We are of the
nineteen years of age. Neither can any civil action for opinion, and so hold, that where a man's promise to marry is in fact the
breach of promise of marriage be filed. Therefore, though proximate cause of the acceptance of his love by a woman and his
the grievous moral wrong has been committed, and representation to fulfill that promise thereafter becomes the proximate
though the girl and family have suffered incalculable cause of the giving of herself unto him in a sexual congress, proof that he
moral damage, she and her parents cannot bring action had, in reality, no intention of marrying her and that the promise was only
for damages. But under the proposed article, she and her a subtle scheme or deceptive device to entice or inveigle her to accept
parents would have such a right of action. him and to obtain her consent to the sexual act, could justify the award of
damages pursuant to Article 21 not because of such promise to marry but
Thus at one stroke, the legislator, if the forgoing rule is because of the fraud and deceit behind it and the willful injury to her
approved, would vouchsafe adequate legal remedy for honor and reputation which followed thereafter. It is essential, however,
that untold number of moral wrongs which it is impossible that such injury should have been committed in a manner contrary to
for human foresight to provide for specifically in the morals, good customs or public policy.
statutes. 21
In the instant case, respondent Court found that it was the petitioner's
Article 2176 of the Civil Code, which defines a quasi-delict thus: "fraudulent and deceptive protestations of love for and promise to marry
plaintiff that made her surrender her virtue and womanhood to him and to
live with him on the honest and sincere belief that he would keep said
Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another,
promise, and it was likewise these fraud and deception on appellant's
there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the
part that made plaintiff's parents agree to their daughter's living-in with
damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-
him preparatory to their supposed marriage." 24 In short, the private
existing contractual relation between the parties, is called
respondent surrendered her virginity, the cherished possession of every
a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this
single Filipina, not because of lust but because of moral seduction — the
Chapter.
kind illustrated by the Code Commission in its example earlier adverted
to. The petitioner could not be held liable for criminal seduction punished
under either Article 337 or Article 338 of the Revised Penal Code To constitute seduction there must in all
because the private respondent was above eighteen (18) years of age at cases be some sufficient promise or
the time of the seduction. inducement and the woman must yield
because of the promise or other
Prior decisions of this Court clearly suggest that Article 21 may be inducement. If she consents merely from
applied in a breach of promise to marry where the woman is a victim of carnal lust and the intercourse is from
moral seduction. Thus, in Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals,25 this Court mutual desire, there is no seduction (43
denied recovery of damages to the woman because: Cent. Dig. tit. Seduction, par. 56) She
must be induced to depart from the path of
. . . we find ourselves unable to say that petitioner virtue by the use of some species of arts,
is morally guilty of seduction, not only because he is persuasions and wiles, which are
approximately ten (10) years younger than the calculated to have and do have that effect,
complainant — who was around thirty-six (36) years of and which result in her person to
age, and as highly enlightened as a former high school ultimately submitting her person to the
teacher and a life insurance agent are supposed to be — sexual embraces of her seducer (27 Phil.
when she became intimate with petitioner, then a mere 123).
apprentice pilot, but, also, because the court of first
instance found that, complainant "surrendered herself" to And in American Jurisprudence we find:
petitioner because, "overwhelmed by her love" for him,
she "wanted to bind" him by having a fruit of their On the other hand, in an action by the
engagement even before they had the benefit of clergy. woman, the enticement, persuasion or
deception is the essence of the injury; and
In Tanjanco vs. Court of Appeals, 26 while this Court likewise hinted at a mere proof of intercourse is insufficient
possible recovery if there had been moral seduction, recovery was to warrant a recovery.
eventually denied because We were not convinced that such seduction
existed. The following enlightening disquisition and conclusion were Accordingly it is not seduction where the
made in the said case: willingness arises out of sexual desire of
curiosity of the female, and the defendant
The Court of Appeals seem to have overlooked that the merely affords her the needed opportunity
example set forth in the Code Commission's for the commission of the act. It has been
memorandum refers to a tort upon a minor who had emphasized that to allow a recovery in all
been seduced. The essential feature is seduction, that in such cases would tend to the
law is more than mere sexual intercourse, or a breach of demoralization of the female sex, and
a promise of marriage; it connotes essentially the idea of would be a reward for unchastity by which
deceit, enticement, superior power or abuse of confidence a class of adventuresses would be swift to
on the part of the seducer to which the woman has profit. (47 Am. Jur. 662)
yielded (U.S. vs. Buenaventura, 27 Phil. 121; U.S. vs.
Arlante, 9 Phil. 595). xxx xxx xxx

It has been ruled in the Buenaventura case (supra) that Over and above the partisan allegations, the fact stand
— out that for one whole year, from 1958 to 1959, the
plaintiff-appellee, a woman of adult age, maintain intimate
sexual relations with appellant, with repeated acts of
intercourse. Such conduct is incompatible with the idea of Commission is correct, if there was seduction, not
seduction. Plainly there is here voluntariness and mutual necessarily in the legal sense, but in the vulgar sense of
passion; for had the appellant been deceived, had she deception. But when the sexual act is accomplished
surrendered exclusively because of the deceit, artful without any deceit or qualifying circumstance of abuse of
persuasions and wiles of the defendant, she would not authority or influence, but the woman, already of age, has
have again yielded to his embraces, much less for one knowingly given herself to a man, it cannot be said that
year, without exacting early fulfillment of the alleged there is an injury which can be the basis for indemnity.
promises of marriage, and would have cut short all sexual
relations upon finding that defendant did not intend to But so long as there is fraud, which is characterized by
fulfill his defendant did not intend to fulfill his promise. willfulness (sic), the action lies. The court, however, must
Hence, we conclude that no case is made under article 21 weigh the degree of fraud, if it is sufficient to deceive the
of the Civil Code, and no other cause of action being woman under the circumstances, because an act which
alleged, no error was committed by the Court of First would deceive a girl sixteen years of age may not
Instance in dismissing the complaint. 27 constitute deceit as to an experienced woman thirty years
of age. But so long as there is a wrongful act and a
In his annotations on the Civil Code, 28 Associate Justice Edgardo L. resulting injury, there should be civil liability, even if the
Paras, who recently retired from this Court, opined that in a breach of act is not punishable under the criminal law and there
promise to marry where there had been carnal knowledge, moral should have been an acquittal or dismissal of the criminal
damages may be recovered: case for that reason.

. . . if there be criminal or moral seduction, but not if the We are unable to agree with the petitioner's alternative proposition to the
intercourse was due to mutual lust. (Hermosisima vs. effect that granting, for argument's sake, that he did promise to marry the
Court of Appeals, private respondent, the latter is nevertheless also at fault. According to
L-14628, Sept. 30, 1960; Estopa vs. Piansay, Jr., L- him, both parties are in pari delicto; hence, pursuant to Article 1412(1) of
14733, Sept. 30, 1960; Batarra vs. Marcos, 7 Phil. 56 the Civil Code and the doctrine laid down in Batarra vs. Marcos, 32 the
(sic); Beatriz Galang vs. Court of Appeals, et al., L-17248, private respondent cannot recover damages from the petitioner. The
Jan. 29, 1962). (In other words, if the CAUSE be the latter even goes as far as stating that if the private respondent had
promise to marry, and the EFFECT be the carnal "sustained any injury or damage in their relationship, it is primarily
knowledge, there is a chance that there was criminal or because of her own doing, 33 for:
moral seduction, hence recovery of moral damages will
prosper. If it be the other way around, there can be no . . . She is also interested in the petitioner as the latter will
recovery of moral damages, because here mutual lust become a doctor sooner or later. Take notice that she is a
has intervened). . . . plain high school graduate and a mere employee . . .
(Annex "C") or a waitress (TSN, p. 51, January 25, 1988)
together with "ACTUAL damages, should there be any, such as in a luncheonette and without doubt, is in need of a man
the expenses for the wedding presentations (See Domalagon v. who can give her economic security. Her family is in dire
Bolifer, 33 Phil. 471). need of financial assistance. (TSN, pp. 51-53, May 18,
1988). And this predicament prompted her to accept a
Senator Arturo M. Tolentino 29 is also of the same persuasion: proposition that may have been offered by the
petitioner. 34
It is submitted that the rule in Batarra vs. Marcos, 30 still
subsists, notwithstanding the incorporation of the present These statements reveal the true character and motive of the petitioner. It
article31 in the Code. The example given by the Code is clear that he harbors a condescending, if not sarcastic, regard for the
private respondent on account of the latter's ignoble birth, inferior
educational background, poverty and, as perceived by him, dishonorable 1412, New Civil Code). This rule, however, has been
employment. Obviously then, from the very beginning, he was not at all interpreted as applicable only where the fault on both
moved by good faith and an honest motive. Marrying with a woman so sides is, more or less, equivalent. It does not apply where
circumstances could not have even remotely occurred to him. Thus, his one party is literate or intelligent and the other one is not.
profession of love and promise to marry were empty words directly (c.f. Bough vs. Cantiveros, 40 Phil. 209).
intended to fool, dupe, entice, beguile and deceive the poor woman into
believing that indeed, he loved her and would want her to be his life's We should stress, however, that while We find for the private respondent,
partner. His was nothing but pure lust which he wanted satisfied by a let it not be said that this Court condones the deplorable behavior of her
Filipina who honestly believed that by accepting his proffer of love and parents in letting her and the petitioner stay together in the same room in
proposal of marriage, she would be able to enjoy a life of ease and their house after giving approval to their marriage. It is the solemn duty of
security. Petitioner clearly violated the Filipino's concept of morality and parents to protect the honor of their daughters and infuse upon them the
brazenly defied the traditional respect Filipinos have for their women. It higher values of morality and dignity.
can even be said that the petitioner committed such deplorable acts in
blatant disregard of Article 19 of the Civil Code which directs every WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the challenged decision, the
person to act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty instant petition is hereby DENIED, with costs against the petitioner.
and good faith in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his
obligations.
SO ORDERED.
No foreigner must be allowed to make a mockery of our laws, customs
Feliciano, Bidin, Romero and Melo, JJ., concur.
and traditions.
Gutierrez, Jr., J., is on leave.
The pari delicto rule does not apply in this case for while indeed, the
private respondent may not have been impelled by the purest of
intentions, she eventually submitted to the petitioner in sexual congress
not out of lust, but because of moral seduction. In fact, it is apparent that
she had qualms of conscience about the entire episode for as soon as
she found out that the petitioner was not going to marry her after all, she
left him. She is not, therefore, in pari delicto with the petitioner. Pari
delicto means "in equal fault; in a similar offense or crime; equal in guilt
or in legal fault." 35At most, it could be conceded that she is merely in
delicto.

Equity often interferes for the relief of the less guilty of the
parties, where his transgression has been brought about
by the imposition of undue influence of the party on whom
the burden of the original wrong principally rests, or where
his consent to the transaction was itself procured by
fraud. 36

In Mangayao vs. Lasud, 37 We declared:

Appellants likewise stress that both parties being at fault,


there should be no action by one against the other (Art.
4. G.R. No. L-29041 March 24, 1981 on May 2, 1967, a Motion to admit Amended and Supplemental
Complaint. As amended, PNB and NIDC were included as new
BACOLOD-MURCIA MILLING CO., INC., plaintiff-appellant, defendants in view of the FFMC allegation in its Answer that the non-
vs. inclusion of PNB and NIDC as party defendants, "who became creditors
FIRST FARMERS MILLING CO., INC., ETC.; RAMON NOLAN in his of defendant FFMC central prior to the institution of the instant case, and
capacity as Administrator of the Sugar Quota Administration, ET who therefore are necessary parties, is fatal to the complaint. " It was
AL., defendants; PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK and NATIONAL alleged this time,
INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, defendants-
appellees. 20. That defendants NIDC and PNB have extended loans
to defendant sugar mill in the amount of P12,210,000.00
on June 18, 1965, and P4,000,000.00 on Dec. 14, 1966,
respectively, to assist in the illegal creation and operation
of said mill, hence, a joint tortfeasor in the trespass of
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
plaintiff's rights, aggravated by the fact that defendant mill
has only a paid up capital stock of P500,000.00, hence,
This is an appeal taken by Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co., Inc. from the said loans are far beyond the limits fixed by law; 2
Order dated November 28, 1967 issued by the Court of First Instance of
Rizal, Branch VI (Pasig), in Civil Case No. 9185, as well as the Order
It was then prayed that defendants be ordered
dated March 5, 1968 denying the Motion for its reconsideration. The
Order had dismissed, after a preliminary hearing, on the ground of lack of
cause of action, the Amended and Supplemental Complaint against the ... jointly and severally to pay plaintiff actual and
defendants Philippine National Bank (PNB) and National Investment and exemplary damages of not less than Fl million pesos and
Development Corporation (NIDC). attorney's fees in the amount of 101-C of said damages,
plus legal interest from the filing of the original complaint,
plus costs.
Plaintiff-appellant had commenced, on March 18, 1966, an action for
Injunction and Prohibition with Damages against defendants First
Farmers Milling Co., Inc. (FFMC), various named planters including those The defendants. except the Sugar Quota Administrator, filed their
similarly situated, and Ramon Nolan in his capacity as Administrator of respective Answer to the Amended and Supplemental Complaint. For
the Sugar Quota Administration. It was alleged, their part, PNB and NIDC followed this with a Motion to Set for
Preliminary Bearing their special and affirmative defenses, which were
also grounds for dismissal. Opposition, reply memoranda, rejoinder, and
9. That in the year 1964 the defendant First Farmers
supplementary reply memoranda on the Motion were submitted by the
Milling Co., Inc., established and operated a sugar central
contending parties.
known as the First Farmers Sugar Central and for the
crop years 1964-65 and 1965-66, the defendants
transferred their quota "A" allotments to their co- In their Answer, the PNB and NIDC had contended:
defendant First Farmers Milling Co., Inc. and are actually
milling their sugar with the said First Farmers Milling Co., xxx xxx xxx
Inc., which illegal transfer has been made over the
vigorous protest and objections of the plaintiff, but with 5. That both the defendants PNB and NIDC have no
the unwarranted, unjustified and likewise illegal approval participation whatsoever either directly or indirectly on the
of their co-defendant the Sugar Quota Administration;" 1 alleged illegal (transaction) transfers of the defendant
planters from the plaintiff to the defendant mill, and
After the defendants FFMC, the adhering planters, and the Sugar Quota therefore, the defendants PNB and NIDC could not be
Administrator had filed their respective Answers, plaintiff-appellant filed,
held liable for any damage that the plaintiffs alleged to the illegal creation and operation of defendant sugar mill. Granting, for
have suffered from the said particular act complained of; the sake of argument, that, indeed, assistance in the "illegal" act was
rendered, the same, however, is not supported by well-pleaded
6. That the granting of loans by the defendants PNB and averments of facts. Nowhere is it alleged that defendants-appellees had
NIDC in favor of the defendant mill to finance the notice, information or knowledge of any flaw, much less any illegality, in
construction of a sugar central did not violate any rights of their co-defendants' actuations, assuming that there was such a flaw or
the plaintiff in view of the fact that the said loans were illegality. This absence is fatal and buoy-up instead the PNB-NIDC's
extended in the ordinary and usual course of business, as position of lack of cause of action.
specifically authorized-under the respective Charter of the
defendants PNB and NIDC, hence, the latter defendants Although it is averred that the defendants' acts were done in bad
did not commit any tortious action against the plaintiffs faith, 10 the Complaint does not contain any averment of facts showing
and, consequently, the plaintiffs have no cause of action that the acts were done in the manner alleged. Such a bare statement
against the defendants PNB and NIDC. 3 neither establishes any right or cause of action on the part of the plaintiff-
appellant. It is a mere conclusion of law not sustained by declarations of
As stated at the outset, the trial Court dismissed the Amended and facts, much less admitted by defendants-appellees. It does not, therefore,
Supplemental Complaint against the PNB and the NIDC after a aid in any wise the complaint in setting forth a cause of
preliminary hearing on the ground of lack of cause of action. action. 11 Defendants-appellees are not fairly apprised of the act or acts
complained of.
The only issue then is whether or not the allegations of the Amended and
Supplemental Complaint constituted a sufficient cause of action against Besides, bad faith is never presumed (Civil Code, Art. 527). And, it has
the PNB and NIDC. been held that "to support a judgment for damages, facts which justify the
inference of a lack or absence of good faith must be alleged and
A negative finding is called for. proven." 12

It is basic that the Complaint must contain a concise statement of the While it is a settled rule that a defective complaint may be cured by the
ultimate facts constituting the plaintiff's cause of action. "Ultimate facts" introduction of sufficient evidence so as to constitute the cause of action
are the important and substantial facts which either directly form and which the plaintiff intended to set forth in the complaint, the same merits
basis of the plaintiff's primary right and duty, or directly make up the the Court's blessings only and unless there is no objection or opposition
wrongful acts or omissions by the defendant. 4 from the side of the defendant. It is obvious that the defendants-
appellees, in the case at bar, were vigilant of their right and were on their
guard from the very initiation of the complaint against them.
When the ground for dismissal is that the Complaint states no cause of
action, the rule is that its sufficiency can only be determined by
considering the facts alleged in the Complaint and no other. 5 The court Plaintiff-appellant's allegation "that defendants NIDC and PNB have
may not consider other matters outside of the Complaint. 6 Defenses extended loans to defendant sugar mill ..., to assist in the illegal creation
averred by the defendant are not to be taken into consideration in ruling and operation of said mill, hence, a joint tortfeasor in the trespass of
on the motion. 7 The allegations in the Complaint must be accepted as plaintiff's rights. ..." is, therefore, a mere conclusion not warranted by
true and it is not permissible to go beyond and outside of them for date or sufficient facts. What appears from the record is that PNB and NIDC
facts. 8 And the test of sufficiency of the facts alleged is whether or not came into the picture in the ordinary and usual course of its business
the Court could render a valid judgment as prayed for accepting as true after the borrowing entity had established itself as capable of being
the exclusive facts set forth in the Complaint. 9 treated as a new milling district (FFMC is officially designated as Mill
District No. 49) because it could already operate and had its array of
adhering planters. "The doing of an act which is in itself perfectly lawful
The subject Amended and Supplemental Complaint fails to meet the test.
win not render one liable as for a tort, simply because the unintended
It should be noted that it charges PNB and NIDC with having assisted in
effect of such act is to enable or assist another person to do or
accomplish a wrong," 13 assuming, of course, that there was such a 5. G.R. No. L-33171 May 31, 1979
wrong.
PORFIRIO P. CINCO, petitioner-appellant,
WHEREFORE, without resolving the issue in the main case regarding the vs.
alleged illegal creation and operation of First Farmers Milling, Co., Inc., HON. MATEO CANONOY, Presiding Judge of the Third Branch of
there having been no presentation of evidence as yet in the lower Court, the Court of First Instance of Cebu, HON. LORENZO B. BARRIA City
the challenged Order dismissing the Amended and Supplemental Judge of Mandaue City, Second Branch ROMEO HILOT, VALERIANA
Complaint against defendants-appellees as well as the Order denying PEPITO and CARLOS PEPITO, respondents-appellees.
reconsideration thereof, is hereby affirmed, and the appeal dismissed.
Costs against plaintiff-appellant. Eriberto Seno for appellant.

SO ORDERED. Jose M. Mesina for appellees.

Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Fernandez and Guerrero, JJ., concur.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:

This is a Petition for Review on certiorari of the Decision of the Court of


First Instance of Cebu rendered on November 5, 1970.

The background facts to the controversy may be set forth as follows:

Petitioner herein filed, on February 25, 1970, a Complaint in the City


Court of Mandaue City, Cebu, Branch II, for the recovery of damages on
account of a vehicular accident involving his automobile and a jeepney
driven by Romeo Hilot and operated by Valeriana Pepito and Carlos
Pepito, the last three being the private respondents in this suit.
Subsequent thereto, a criminal case was filed against the driver, Romeo
Hilot, arising from the same accident. At the pre-trial in the civil case,
counsel for private respondents moved to suspend the civil action
pending the final determination of the criminal suit, invoking Rule 111,
Section 3 (b) of the Rules of Court, which provides:

(b) After a criminal action has been commenced. no civil


action arising from the same offense can be prosecuted,
and the same shall be suspended, in whatever stage it
may be found, until final judgment in the criminal
proceeding has been rendered;

The City Court of Mandaue City in an Order dated August 11, 1970,
ordered the suspension of the civil case. Petitioner's Motion for
Reconsideration thereof, having been denied on August 25,
1970, 1 petitioner elevated the matter on certiorari to the Court of First 4. THAT THE COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE
Instance of Cebu, respondent Judge presiding, on September 11, 1970, PETITION IS DEFECTIVE. 4
alleging that the City Judge had acted with grave abuse of discretion in
suspending the civil action for being contrary to law and jurisprudence. 2 all of which can be synthesized into one decisive issue: whether or not
there can be an independent civil action for damage to property during
On November 5, 1970, respondent Judge dismissed the Petition for the pendency of the criminal action.
certiorari on the ground that there was no grave abuse of discretion on
the part of the City Court in suspending the civil action inasmuch as From the Complaint filed by petitioner before the City Court of Mandaue
damage to property is not one of the instances when an independent civil City, Cebu, it is evident that the nature and character of his action
action is proper; that petitioner has another plain, speedy, and adequate was quasi-delictual predicated principally on Articles 2176 and 2180 of
remedy under the law, which is to submit his claim for damages in the the Civil Code, which provide:
criminal case; that the resolution of the City Court is interlocutory and,
therefore, certiorari is improper; and that the Petition is defective Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to
inasmuch as what petitioner actually desires is a Writ of mandamus another, there being fault or negligence is obliged to pay
(Annex "R"). Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration was denied by for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is
respondent Judge in an Order dated November 14,1970 (Annex "S" and no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is
Annex "U"). caned a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of
this Chapter. (1902a)
Hence, this Petition for Review before this Tribunal, to which we gave
due course on February 25, 1971. 3 Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by article 2176 is
demandable not only for one's own acts or omissions but
Petitioner makes these: also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.

ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR xxx xxx xxx

1. THE TRIAL COURT, RESPONDENT JUDGE MATEO Employers shall be liable for the damages cause by their
CANONOY, ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE TRIAL OF employees and household helpers acting within the scope
THE CIVIL CASE NO. 189 FILED IN THE CITY COURT of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not
OF MANDAUE SHOULD BE SUSPENDED UNTIL engaged in any business or industry.
AFTER A FINAL JUDGMENT IS RENDERED IN THE
CRIMINAL CASE. xxx xxx xxx

2. THAT THE COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT IN The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease
ORDER TO AVOID DELAY THE OFFENDED PARTY when the persons herein mentioned prove that they
MAY SUBMIT HIS CLAIM FOR DAMAGES IN THE observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to
CRIMINAL CASE. prevent damage. (1903a)

3. THAT THE COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE Thus, plaintiff made the essential averments that it was the fault or
PETITION FOR certiorari IS NOT PROPER, BECAUSE negligence of the driver, Romeo Hilot, in the operation of the jeepney
THE RESOLUTION IN QUESTION IS owned by the Pepitos which caused the collision between his automobile
INTERLOCUTORY. and said jeepney; that damages were sustained by petitioner because of
the collision; that there was a direct causal connection between the
damages he suffered and the fault and negligence of private quasi-delito, which is conserved and made enduring in
respondents. articles 1902 to 11910 of the Spanish Civil Code.

Similarly, in the Answer, private respondents contended, among others, Secondly, to find the accused guilty in a criminal case,
that defendant, Valeriana Pepito, observed due diligence in the selection proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt is required, while
and supervision of her employees, particularly of her co-defendant in a civil case, preponderance of evidence is sufficient to
Romeo Hilot, a defense peculiar to actions based on quasi-delict. 5 make the defendant pay in damages. There are
numerous cases of criminal negligence which cannot be
Liability being predicated on quasi-delict the civil case may proceed as a shown beyond reasonable doubt, but can be proved by a
separate and independent civil action, as specifically provided for in preponderance of evidence. In such cases, the defendant
Article 2177 of the Civil Code. can and should be made responsible in a civil action
under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code, otherwise,
Art. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the there would be many instances of unvindicated civil
preceding article is entirely separate and distinct from the wrongs. Ubi jus ibi remedium.
civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal
Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for Thirdly, to hold that there is only one way to make
the same act or omission of the defendant. (n) defendants liability effective, and that is, to sue the driver
and exhaust his (the latter's) property first, would be
The crucial distinction between criminal negligence tantamount to compelling the plaintiff to follow a devious
and quasi-delict, which is readily discernible from the and cumbersome method of obtaining a reliel True, there
foregoing codal provision, has been expounded is such a remedy under our laws, but there is also a more
in Barredo vs. Garcia, et al., 73 Phil. 607, 620-621, 6 thus: expeditious way, which is based on the primary and direct
responsibility of the defendant under article 1903 of the
Civil Code. Our view of the law is more likely to facilitate
Firstly, the Revised Penal Code in article 365 punishes
remedy for civil wrongs because the procedure indicated
not only reckless but also simple imprudence. if we were
by the defendant is wasteful and productive of delay, it
to hold that articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code refer
being a matter of common knowledge that professional
only to fault or negligence not punished by law, according
drivers of taxis and similar public conveyances usually do
to the literal import of article 1093 of the Civil Code, the
not have sufficient means with which to pay damages.
legal institution of culpa aquiliana would have very little
Why, then, should the plaintiff be required in all cases to
scope and application in actual life. Death or injury to
go through this round-about, unnecessary, and probably
persons and damage to property through any degree of
useless procedure? In construing the laws, courts have
negligence — even the slightest would have to be
endeavored to shorten and facilitate the pathways of right
indemnified only through the principle of civil hability
and justice.
arising from crime. In such a state of affairs, what sphere
would remain for quasidelito or culpa aquiliana We are
loath to impute to the lawmaker any intention to bring At this juncture, it should be said that the primary and
about a situation so absurd and anomalous. Nor are we, direct responsibility of employers and their presumed
in the interpretation of the laws, disposed to uphold the negligence are principles calculated to protect society.
letter that killeth rather than the spirit that giveth life. We Workmen and employees should be carefully chosen and
will not use the literal meaning of the law to smother and supervised in order to avoid injury to the public. It is the
render almost lifeless a principle of such ancient origin masters or employers who principally reap the profits
and such full-grown development as culpa aquiliana or resulting from the services of these servants and
employees. It is but right that they should guarantee the
latter's careful conduct for the personnel and patrimonial
safety of others. As Theilhard has said, "they should the bet ter safeguarding of private rights because it re-
reproach themselves, at least, some for their weakness, establishes an ancient and additional remedy, and for the
others for their poor selection and all for their negligence." further reason that an independent civil action, not
And according to Manresa, "It is much more equitable and depending on the issues, stations and results of a criminal
just that such responsibility should fail upon the principal prosecution, and entirely directed by the party wronged or
or director who could have chosen a careful and prudent his counsel is more likely to secure adequate and
employee, and not upon the such employee because of efficacious redress. (Garcia vs. Florida 52 SCRA 420,
his confidence in the principal or director." (Vol. 12, p. 424-425, Aug. 31, 1973). (Emphasis supplied)
622, 2nd Ed.) Many jurists also base this primary
responsibility of the employer on the principle of The separate and independent civil action for a quasi-delict is also clearly
representation of the principal by the agent. Thus, recognized in section 2, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court, reading:
Oyuelos says in the work already cited (Vol. 7, p. 747)
that before third persons the employer and employee Sec. 2. Independent civil action. — In the cases provided
vienen a ser como una sola personalidad, por refundicion for in Articles 31, 32, 33, 34 and 2177 of the Civil Code of
de la del dependiente en la de quien la emplea y utihza the Philippines, Are independent civil action entirely
(become as one personality by the merging of the person separate and distinct from the c action, may be brought
of the employee in that of him who employs and utilizes by the injured party during the pendency of the criminal
him.) All these observations acquire a peculiar force and case, provided the right is reserved as required in the
significance when it comes to motor accidents, and there preceding section. Such civil action shag proceed
is need of stressing and accentuating the responsibility of independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall
owners of motor vehicles. require only a preponderance of evidence.

Fourthly, because of the broad sweep of the provisions of Significant to note is the fact that the foregoing section categorically lists
both the Penal Code and the Civil Code on this subject, cases provided for in Article 2177 of the Civil Code, supra, as allowing of
which has given rise to overlapping or concurrence of an "independent civil action."
spheres already discussed, and for lack of understanding
of the character and efficacy of the action for
Tested by the hereinabove-quoted legal tenets, it has to be held that the
culpaaquiliana there has grown up a common practice to
City Court, in surrounding the civil action, erred in placing reliance on
seek damages only by virtue of the Civil responsibility
section 3 (b) of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court, supra which refers to
arising from crime, forgetting that there is another
"other civil actions arising from cases not included in the section just
remedy, which is by invoking articles 1902-1910 of the
cited" (i.e., Section 2, Rule 111 above quoted), in which case 6 once the
Civil Code. Although this habitual method is allowed by
criminal action has being commenced, no civil action arising from the
our laws, it has nevertheless rendered practically useless
same offense can be prosecuted and the same shall be suspended in
and nugatory the more expeditious and effective remedy
whatever stage it may be found, until final judgment in the criminal
based on culpa aquiliana or culpa extra-contractual. In the
proceeding has been rendered." Stated otherwise, the civil action
present case, we are asked to help perpetuate this usual
referred to in Secs. 3(a) and 3(b) of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court, which
course. But we believe it is high time we pointed out to
should be suspended after the criminal action has been instituted is that
the harm done by such practice and to restore the
arising from the criminal offense not the civil action based on quasi-delict
principle of responsibility for fault or negligence under
articles 1902 et seq. of the Civil Code to its full rigor. It is
high time we cause the stream of quasi-delict or culpa Article 31 of the Civil Code then clearly assumes relevance when it
aquiliana to flow on its own natural channel, so that its provides:
waters may no longer be diverted into that of a crime
under the Penal Code. This will, it is believed, make for
Art. 31. When the civil action is based on an obligation not terminated. Having arrived at this conclusion, a discussion of the other
arising from the act or omission complained of as a errors assigned becomes unnecessary.
felony, such civil action may proceed independently of the
criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the WHEREFORE, granting the Writ of certiorari prayed for, the Decision of
latter. the Court of First Instance of Cebu sought to be reviewed is hereby set
aside, and the City Court of Mandaue City, Cebu, Branch 11, is hereby
For obviously, the jural concept of a quasi-delict is that of an independent ordered to proceed with the hearing of Civil Case No. 189 of that Court.
source of obligation "not arising from the act or omission complained of
as a felony." Article 1157 of the Civil Code bolsters this conclusion when Without pronouncement as to costs.
it specifically recognizes that:
SO ORDERED.
Art. 1157. Obligations arise from:
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Fernandez, Guerrero and De Castro,
(1) Law; JJ., concur.

(2) Contracts;

(3) Quasi-contracts;

(4) Acts or omissions punished by law; and

(5) Quasi-delicts. (1089a)

(Emphasis supplied)

It bears emphasizing that petitioner's cause of action is based on quasi-


delict. The concept of quasidelica as enunciated in Article 2176 of the
Civil Code (supra), is so broad that it includes not only injuries to persons
but also damage to property. 7 It makes no distinction between "damage
to persons" on the one hand and "damage to property" on the other.
Indeed, the word "damage" is used in two concepts: the "harm" done and
"reparation" for the harm done. And with respect to harm it is plain that it
includes both injuries to person and property since "harm" is not limited to
personal but also to property injuries. In fact, examples of quasi-delict in
the law itself include damage to property. An instance is Article 2191(2)
of the Civil Code which holds proprietors responsible for damages
caused by excessive smoke which may be harmful to persons or
property."

In the light of the foregoing disquisition, we are constrained to hold that


respondent Judge gravely abused his discretion in upholding the
Decision of the City Court of Mandaue City, Cebu, suspending the civil
action based on a quasi-delict until after the criminal case is finally
6. G.R. No. L-24803 May 26, 1977 was first denied by the trial court. It was only upon motion for
reconsideration of the defendants of such denial, reiterating the above
PEDRO ELCANO and PATRICIA ELCANO, in their capacity as grounds that the following order was issued:
Ascendants of Agapito Elcano, deceased, plaintiffs-appellants,
vs. Considering the motion for reconsideration filed by the
REGINALD HILL, minor, and MARVIN HILL, as father and Natural defendants on January 14, 1965 and after thoroughly
Guardian of said minor, defendants-appellees. examining the arguments therein contained, the Court
finds the same to be meritorious and well-founded.
Cruz & Avecilla for appellants.
WHEREFORE, the Order of this Court on December 8,
Marvin R. Hill & Associates for appellees. 1964 is hereby reconsidered by ordering the dismissal of
the above entitled case.

SO ORDERED.
BARREDO, J.:
Quezon City, Philippines, January 29, 1965. (p. 40,
Record [p. 21, Record on Appeal.)
Appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of Quezon City dated
January 29, 1965 in Civil Case No. Q-8102, Pedro Elcano et al. vs.
Reginald Hill et al. dismissing, upon motion to dismiss of defendants, the Hence, this appeal where plaintiffs-appellants, the spouses Elcano, are
complaint of plaintiffs for recovery of damages from defendant Reginald presenting for Our resolution the following assignment of errors:
Hill, a minor, married at the time of the occurrence, and his father, the
defendant Marvin Hill, with whom he was living and getting subsistence, THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE
for the killing by Reginald of the son of the plaintiffs, named Agapito CASE BY UPHOLDING THE CLAIM OF DEFENDANTS
Elcano, of which, when criminally prosecuted, the said accused was THAT -
acquitted on the ground that his act was not criminal, because of "lack of
intent to kill, coupled with mistake." I

Actually, the motion to dismiss based on the following grounds: THE PRESENT ACTION IS NOT ONLY AGAINST BUT
ALSO A VIOLATION OF SECTION 1, RULE 107, NOW
1. The present action is not only against but a violation of RULE 111, OF THE REVISED RULES OF COURT, AND
section 1, Rule 107, which is now Rule III, of the Revised THAT SECTION 3(c) OF RULE 111, RULES OF COURT
Rules of Court; IS APPLICABLE;

2. The action is barred by a prior judgment which is now II


final and or in res-adjudicata;
THE ACTION IS BARRED BY A PRIOR JUDGMENT
3. The complaint had no cause of action against WHICH IS NOW FINAL OR RES-ADJUDICTA;
defendant Marvin Hill, because he was relieved as
guardian of the other defendant through emancipation by III
marriage.

(P. 23, Record [p. 4, Record on Appeal.])


THE PRINCIPLES OF QUASI-DELICTS, ARTICLES Court of Spain, the works of recognized civilians, and earlier
2176 TO 2194 OF THE CIVIL CODE, ARE jurisprudence of our own, that the same given act can result in civil
INAPPLICABLE IN THE INSTANT CASE; and liability not only under the Penal Code but also under the Civil Code.
Thus, the opinion holds:
IV
The, above case is pertinent because it shows that the
THAT THE COMPLAINT STATES NO CAUSE OF same act machinist. come under both the Penal Code
ACTION AGAINST DEFENDANT MARVIN HILL and the Civil Code. In that case, the action of the agent
BECAUSE HE WAS RELIEVED AS GUARDIAN OF THE killeth unjustified and fraudulent and therefore could have
OTHER DEFENDANT THROUGH EMANCIPATION BY been the subject of a criminal action. And yet, it was held
MARRIAGE. (page 4, Record.) to be also a proper subject of a civil action under article
1902 of the Civil Code. It is also to be noted that it was
It appears that for the killing of the son, Agapito, of plaintiffs-appellants, the employer and not the employee who was being sued.
defendant- appellee Reginald Hill was prosecuted criminally in Criminal (pp. 615-616, 73 Phil.). 1
Case No. 5102 of the Court of First Instance of Quezon City. After due
trial, he was acquitted on the ground that his act was not criminal It will be noticed that the defendant in the above case
because of "lack of intent to kill, coupled with mistake." Parenthetically, could have been prosecuted in a criminal case because
none of the parties has favored Us with a copy of the decision of his negligence causing the death of the child was
acquittal, presumably because appellants do not dispute that such indeed punishable by the Penal Code. Here is therefore a clear
was the basis stated in the court's decision. And so, when appellants filed instance of the same act of negligence being a proper
their complaint against appellees Reginald and his father, Atty. Marvin subject matter either of a criminal action with its
Hill, on account of the death of their son, the appellees filed the motion to consequent civil liability arising from a crime or of an
dismiss above-referred to. entirely separate and independent civil action for fault or
negligence under article 1902 of the Civil Code. Thus, in
As We view the foregoing background of this case, the two decisive this jurisdiction, the separate individuality of a cuasi-
issues presented for Our resolution are: delito or culpa aquiliana, under the Civil Code has been
fully and clearly recognized, even with regard to a
negligent act for which the wrongdoer could have been
1. Is the present civil action for damages barred by the acquittal of
prosecuted and convicted in a criminal case and for
Reginald in the criminal case wherein the action for civil liability, was not
which, after such a conviction, he could have been sued
reversed?
for this civil liability arising from his crime. (p. 617, 73
Phil.) 2
2. May Article 2180 (2nd and last paragraphs) of the Civil Code he
applied against Atty. Hill, notwithstanding the undisputed fact that at the
It is most significant that in the case just cited, this Court
time of the occurrence complained of. Reginald, though a minor, living specifically applied article 1902 of the Civil Code. It is thus
with and getting subsistenee from his father, was already legally married? that although J. V. House could have been criminally
prosecuted for reckless or simple negligence and not only
The first issue presents no more problem than the need for a reiteration punished but also made civilly liable because of his criminal
and further clarification of the dual character, criminal and civil, of fault or negligence, nevertheless this Court awarded damages in an
negligence as a source of obligation which was firmly established in this independent civil action for fault or negligence under article
jurisdiction in Barredo vs. Garcia, 73 Phil. 607. In that case, this Court 1902 of the Civil Code. (p. 618, 73 Phil.) 3
postulated, on the basis of a scholarly dissertation by Justice Bocobo on
the nature of culpa aquiliana in relation to culpa criminal or delito and The legal provisions, authors, and cases already invoked
mere culpa or fault, with pertinent citation of decisions of the Supreme should ordinarily be sufficient to dispose of this case. But
inasmuch as we are announcing doctrines that have been aquiliana, there has grown up a common practice to seek
little understood, in the past, it might not he inappropriate damages only by virtue of the civil responsibility arising
to indicate their foundations. from a crime, forgetting that there is another remedy,
which is by invoking articles 1902-1910 of the Civil Code.
Firstly, the Revised Penal Code in articles 365 punishes Although this habitual method is allowed by, our laws, it
not only reckless but also simple negligence. If we were has nevertheless rendered practically useless and
to hold that articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code refer nugatory the more expeditious and effective remedy
only to fault or negligence not punished by law, based on culpa aquiliana or culpa extra-contractual. In the
accordingly to the literal import of article 1093 of the Civil present case, we are asked to help perpetuate this usual
Code, the legal institution of culpa aquiliana would have course. But we believe it is high time we pointed out to
very little scope and application in actual life. Death or the harms done by such practice and to restore the
injury to persons and damage to property- through any principle of responsibility for fault or negligence under
degree of negligence - even the slightest - would have to articles 1902 et seq. of the Civil Code to its full rigor. It is
be Idemnified only through the principle of civil liability high time we caused the stream of quasi-delict or culpa
arising from a crime. In such a state of affairs, what aquiliana to flow on its own natural channel, so that its
sphere would remain for cuasi-delito or culpa aquiliana? waters may no longer be diverted into that of a crime
We are loath to impute to the lawmaker any intention to under the Penal Code. This will, it is believed, make for
bring about a situation so absurd and anomalous. Nor are the better safeguarding or private rights because it realtor,
we, in the interpretation of the laws, disposed to uphold an ancient and additional remedy, and for the further
the letter that killeth rather than the spirit that giveth life. reason that an independent civil action, not depending on
We will not use the literal meaning of the law to smother the issues, limitations and results of a criminal
and render almost lifeless a principle of such ancient prosecution, and entirely directed by the party wronged or
origin and such full-grown development as culpa his counsel, is more likely to secure adequate and
aquiliana or cuasi-delito, which is conserved and made efficacious redress. (p. 621, 73 Phil.)
enduring in articles 1902 to 1910 of the Spanish Civil
Code. Contrary to an immediate impression one might get upon a reading of the
foregoing excerpts from the opinion in Garcia that the concurrence of the
Secondary, to find the accused guilty in a criminal case, Penal Code and the Civil Code therein referred to contemplate only acts
proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt is required, while of negligence and not intentional voluntary acts - deeper reflection would
in a civil case, preponderance of evidence is sufficient to reveal that the thrust of the pronouncements therein is not so limited, but
make the defendant pay in damages. There are that in fact it actually extends to fault or culpa. This can be seen in the
numerous cases of criminal negligence which can not be reference made therein to the Sentence of the Supreme Court of Spain of
shown beyond reasonable doubt, but can be proved by a February 14, 1919, supra, which involved a case of fraud or estafa, not a
preponderance of evidence. In such cases, the defendant negligent act. Indeed, Article 1093 of the Civil Code of Spain, in force
can and should be made responsible in a civil action here at the time of Garcia, provided textually that obligations "which are
under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code. Otherwise. derived from acts or omissions in which fault or negligence, not
there would be many instances of unvindicated civil punishable by law, intervene shall be the subject of Chapter II, Title XV of
wrongs. "Ubi jus Idemnified remedium." (p. 620,73 Phil.) this book (which refers to quasi-delicts.)" And it is precisely the underline
qualification, "not punishable by law", that Justice Bocobo emphasized
Fourthly, because of the broad sweep of the provisions of could lead to an ultimo construction or interpretation of the letter of the
both the Penal Code and the Civil Code on this subject, law that "killeth, rather than the spirit that giveth lift- hence, the ruling that
which has given rise to the overlapping or concurrence of "(W)e will not use the literal meaning of the law to smother and render
spheres already discussed, and for lack of understanding almost lifeless a principle of such ancient origin and such full-grown
of the character and efficacy of the action for culpa development as culpa aquiliana or quasi-delito, which is conserved and
made enduring in articles 1902 to 1910 of the Spanish Civil Code." And Rules of Court, under Sections 2 and 3 (c), Rule 111, contemplate also
so, because Justice Bacobo was Chairman of the Code Commission that the same separability, it is "more congruent with the spirit of law, equity
drafted the original text of the new Civil Code, it is to be noted that the and justice, and more in harmony with modern progress"- to borrow the
said Code, which was enacted after the Garcia doctrine, no longer uses felicitous relevant language in Rakes vs. Atlantic. Gulf and Pacific Co., 7
the term, 11 not punishable by law," thereby making it clear that the Phil. 359, to hold, as We do hold, that Article 2176, where it refers to
concept of culpa aquiliana includes acts which are criminal in character "fault or negligencia covers not only acts "not punishable by law" but also
or in violation of the penal law, whether voluntary or matter. Thus, the acts criminal in character, whether intentional and voluntary or negligent.
corresponding provisions to said Article 1093 in the new code, which is Consequently, a separate civil action lies against the offender in a
Article 1162, simply says, "Obligations derived from quasi-delicto shall be criminal act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty or
governed by the provisions of Chapter 2, Title XVII of this Book, acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed, if he is actually
(on quasi-delicts) and by special laws." More precisely, a new provision, charged also criminally, to recover damages on both scores, and would
Article 2177 of the new code provides: be entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the two,
assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. In other words, the
ART. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under extinction of civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111,
the preceding article is entirely separate and distinct from refers exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised
the civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act considered as
Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for a quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not estinguished even by a
the same act or omission of the defendant. declaration in the criminal case that the criminal act charged has not
happened or has not been committed by the accused. Briefly stated, We
According to the Code Commission: "The foregoing provision (Article here hold, in reiteration of Garcia, that culpa aquiliana includes voluntary
2177) through at first sight startling, is not so novel or extraordinary when and negligent acts which may be punishable by law.4
we consider the exact nature of criminal and civil negligence. The former
is a violation of the criminal law, while the latter is a "culpa aquiliana" or It results, therefore, that the acquittal of Reginal Hill in the criminal case
quasi-delict, of ancient origin, having always had its own foundation and has not extinguished his liability for quasi-delict, hence that acquittal is
individuality, separate from criminal negligence. Such distinction between not a bar to the instant action against him.
criminal negligence and "culpa extracontractual" or "cuasi-delito" has
been sustained by decision of the Supreme Court of Spain and Coming now to the second issue about the effect of Reginald's
maintained as clear, sound and perfectly tenable by Maura, an emancipation by marriage on the possible civil liability of Atty. Hill, his
outstanding Spanish jurist. Therefore, under the proposed Article 2177, father, it is also Our considered opinion that the conclusion of appellees
acquittal from an accusation of criminal negligence, whether on that Atty. Hill is already free from responsibility cannot be upheld.
reasonable doubt or not, shall not be a bar to a subsequent civil action,
not for civil liability arising from criminal negligence, but for damages due While it is true that parental authority is terminated upon emancipation of
to a quasi-delict or 'culpa aquiliana'. But said article forestalls a double the child (Article 327, Civil Code), and under Article 397, emancipation
recovery.", (Report of the Code) Commission, p. 162.) takes place "by the marriage of the minor (child)", it is, however, also
clear that pursuant to Article 399, emancipation by marriage of the minor
Although, again, this Article 2177 does seem to literally refer to only acts is not really full or absolute. Thus "(E)mancipation by marriage or by
of negligence, the same argument of Justice Bacobo about construction voluntary concession shall terminate parental authority over the child's
that upholds "the spirit that giveth lift- rather than that which is literal that person. It shall enable the minor to administer his property as though he
killeth the intent of the lawmaker should be observed in applying the were of age, but he cannot borrow money or alienate or encumber real
same. And considering that the preliminary chapter on human relations of property without the consent of his father or mother, or guardian. He can
the new Civil Code definitely establishes the separability and sue and be sued in court only with the assistance of his father, mother or
independence of liability in a civil action for acts criminal in character guardian."
(under Articles 29 to 32) from the civil responsibility arising from crime
fixed by Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and, in a sense, the
Now under Article 2180, "(T)he 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. The father and, in case of his Separate Opinions
death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible. The father and, in case
of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible for the damages
caused by the minor children who live in their company." In the instant
case, it is not controverted that Reginald, although married, was living
with his father and getting subsistence from him at the time of the AQUINO, J, concurring:
occurrence in question. Factually, therefore, Reginald was still
subservient to and dependent on his father, a situation which is not Article 2176 of the Civil Code comprehends any culpable act, which is
unusual. blameworthy, when judged by accepted legal standards. "The Idea thus
expressed is undoubtedly board enough to include any rational
It must be borne in mind that, according to Manresa, the reason behind conception of liability for the tortious acts likely to be developed in any
the joint and solidary liability of presuncion with their offending child society." (Street, J. in Daywalt vs. Corporacion de PP. Agustinos
under Article 2180 is that is the obligation of the parent to supervise their Recoletos, 39 Phil. 587, 600). See article 38, Civil Code and the ruling
minor children in order to prevent them from causing damage to third that "the infant tortfeasor is liable in a civil action to the injured person in
persons. 5 On the other hand, the clear implication of Article 399, in providing the same manner and to the same extent as an adult" (27 Am. Jur. 812
that a minor emancipated by marriage may not, nevertheless, sue or be sued cited by Bocobo, J., in Magtibay vs. Tiangco, 74 Phil. 576, 579).
without the assistance of the parents, is that such emancipation does not
carry with it freedom to enter into transactions or do any act that can give rise
to judicial litigation. (See Manresa, Id., Vol. II, pp. 766-767, 776.) And surely,
killing someone else invites judicial action. Otherwise stated, the marriage of
a minor child does not relieve the parents of the duty to see to it that the
child, while still a minor, does not give answerable for the borrowings of
money and alienation or encumbering of real property which cannot be done Separate Opinions
by their minor married child without their consent. (Art. 399; Manresa, supra.)
AQUINO, J, concurring:
Accordingly, in Our considered view, Article 2180 applies to Atty. Hill
notwithstanding the emancipation by marriage of Reginald. However, Article 2176 of the Civil Code comprehends any culpable act, which is
inasmuch as it is evident that Reginald is now of age, as a matter of blameworthy, when judged by accepted legal standards. "The Idea thus
equity, the liability of Atty. Hill has become milling, subsidiary to that of his expressed is undoubtedly board enough to include any rational
son. conception of liability for the tortious acts likely to be developed in any
society." (Street, J. in Daywalt vs. Corporacion de PP. Agustinos
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is reversed and the trial court is Recoletos, 39 Phil. 587, 600). See article 38, Civil Code and the ruling
ordered to proceed in accordance with the foregoing opinion. Costs that "the infant tortfeasor is liable in a civil action to the injured person in
against appellees. the same manner and to the same extent as an adult" (27 Am. Jur. 812
cited by Bocobo, J., in Magtibay vs. Tiangco, 74 Phil. 576, 579).
Fernando (Chairman), Antonio, and Martin, JJ., concur.

Concepcion Jr., J, is on leave.

Martin, J, was designated to sit in the Second Division.


7. G.R. No. 165732 December 14, 2006 Meanwhile, on January 14, 1998, respondents filed with RTC, Branch
273, Marikina City, a complaint5 for damages against Pajarillo for
SAFEGUARD SECURITY AGENCY, INC., and ADMER negligently shooting Evangeline and against Safeguard for failing to
PAJARILLO, petitioners, observe the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage
vs. committed by its security guard. Respondents prayed for actual, moral
LAURO TANGCO, VAL TANGCO, VERN LARRY TANGCO, VAN and exemplary damages and attorney's fees.
LAURO TANGCO, VON LARRIE TANGCO, VIEN LARI TANGCO and
VIVIEN LAURIZ TANGCO, respondent. In their Answer,6 petitioners denied the material allegations in the
complaint and alleged that Safeguard exercised the diligence of a good
father of a family in the selection and supervision of Pajarillo; that
Evangeline's death was not due to Pajarillo's negligence as the latter
acted only in self-defense. Petitioners set up a compulsory counterclaim
for moral damages and attorney's fees.
DECISION
Trial thereafter ensued. On January 10, 2003, the RTC rendered its
Decision,7 the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the


AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: plaintiffs, the heirs of Evangeline Tangco, and against defendants
Admer Pajarillo and Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. ordering
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Safeguard Security said defendants to pay the plaintiffs, jointly and severally, the
Agency, Inc. (Safeguard) and Admer Pajarillo (Pajarillo) assailing the following:
Decision1 dated July 16, 2004 and the Resolution2 dated October 20,
2004 issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 77462. 1. ONE HUNDRED FIFTY SEVEN THOUSAND FOUR
HUNDRED THIRTY PESOS (P157,430.00), as actual
On November 3, 1997, at about 2:50 p.m., Evangeline Tangco damages
(Evangeline) went to Ecology Bank, Katipunan Branch, Quezon City, to
renew her time deposit per advise of the bank's cashier as she would 2. FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as death
sign a specimen card. Evangeline, a duly licensed firearm holder with indemnity;
corresponding permit to carry the same outside her residence,
approached security guard Pajarillo, who was stationed outside the bank, 3. ONE MILLION PESOS (P1,000,000.00), as moral
and pulled out her firearm from her bag to deposit the same for damages;
safekeeping. Suddenly, Pajarillo shot Evangeline with his service shotgun
hitting her in the abdomen instantly causing her death.
4. THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS
(P300,000.00), as exemplary damages;
Lauro Tangco, Evangeline's husband, together with his six minor children
(respondents) filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, a
criminal case of Homicide against Pajarillo, docketed as Criminal Case 5. THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS (P30,000.00), as
No. 0-97-73806 and assigned to Branch 78. Respondents reserved their attorney's fees; and
right to file a separate civil action in the said criminal case. The RTC of
Quezon City subsequently convicted Pajarillo of Homicide in its Decision 6. costs of suit.
dated January 19, 2000.3 On appeal to the CA, the RTC decision was
affirmed with modification as to the penalty in a Decision4 dated July 31, For lack of merit, defendants' counterclaim is hereby
2000. Entry of Judgment was made on August 25, 2001. DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED. 8 civil liability recoverable in the criminal action is one solely dependent
upon conviction, because said liability arises from the offense charged
The RTC found respondents to be entitled to damages. It rejected and no other; that this is also the civil liability that is deemed extinguished
Pajarillo's claim that he merely acted in self-defense. It gave no credence with the extinction of the penal liability with a pronouncement that the fact
to Pajarillo's bare claim that Evangeline was seen roaming around the from which the civil action might proceed does not exist; that unlike in civil
area prior to the shooting incident since Pajarillo had not made such liability arising from quasi-delict, the defense of diligence of a good father
report to the head office and the police authorities. The RTC further ruled of a family in the employment and supervision of employees is
that being the guard on duty, the situation demanded that he should have inapplicable and irrelevant in civil liabilities based on crimes or ex-delicto;
exercised proper prudence and necessary care by asking Evangeline for that Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code provides that the liability of an
him to ascertain the matter instead of shooting her instantly; that Pajarillo employer for the civil liability of their employees is only subsidiary, not
had already been convicted of Homicide in Criminal Case No. 0-97- joint or solidary.
73806; and that he also failed to proffer proof negating liability in the
instant case. Petitioners filed their Motion for Reconsideration which the CA denied in
a Resolution dated October 20, 2004.
The RTC also found Safeguard as employer of Pajarillo to be jointly and
severally liable with Pajarillo. It ruled that while it may be conceded that Hence, the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari with the following
Safeguard had perhaps exercised care in the selection of its employees, assignment of errors, to wit:
particularly of Pajarillo, there was no sufficient evidence to show that
Safeguard exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in finding petitioner
supervision of its employee; that Safeguard's evidence simply showed Pajarillo liable to respondents for the payment of damages and
that it required its guards to attend trainings and seminars which is not other money claims.
the supervision contemplated under the law; that supervision includes not
only the issuance of regulations and instructions designed for the The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred when it applied
protection of persons and property, for the guidance of their servants and Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code in holding petitioner
employees, but also the duty to see to it that such regulations and Safeguard solidarily [sic] liable with petitioner Pajarillo for the
instructions are faithfully complied with. payment of damages and other money claims.

Petitioners appealed the RTC decision to the CA. On July 16, 2004, the The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in failing to find
CA issued its assailed Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: that petitioner Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. exercised due
diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees,
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the appealed decision is hence, should be excused from any liability.10
hereby AFFIRMED, with the modification that Safeguard Security
Agency, Inc.'s civil liability in this case is only subsidiary under The issues for resolution are whether (1) Pajarillo is guilty of negligence
Art. 103 of the Revised Penal Code. No pronouncement as to in shooting Evangeline; and (2) Safeguard should be held solidarily liable
costs.9 for the damages awarded to respondents.

In finding that Safeguard is only subsidiarily liable, the CA held that the Safeguard insists that the claim for damages by respondents is based
applicable provisions are not Article 2180 in relation to Article 2176 of the on culpa aquiliana under Article 217611 of the Civil Code, in which case,
Civil Code, on quasi-delicts, but the provisions on civil liability arising from its liability is jointly and severally with Pajarillo. However, since it has
felonies under the Revised Penal Code; that since Pajarillo had been established that it had exercised due diligence in the selection and
found guilty of Homicide in a final and executory judgment and is said to supervision of Pajarillo, it should be exonerated from civil liability.
be serving sentence in Muntinlupa, he must be adjudged civilly liable
under the provisions of Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code since the
We will first resolve whether the CA correctly held that respondents, in Civil Code. Either of these liabilities may be enforced against the offender
filing a separate civil action against petitioners are limited to the recovery subject to the caveat under Article 2177 of the Civil Code that the
of damages arising from a crime or delict, in which case the liability of offended party cannot recover damages twice for the same act or
Safeguard as employer under Articles 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal omission or under both causes.13
Code12 is subsidiary and the defense of due diligence in the selection and
supervision of employee is not available to it. It is important to determine the nature of respondents' cause of action.
The nature of a cause of action is determined by the facts alleged in the
The CA erred in ruling that the liability of Safeguard is only subsidiary. complaint as constituting the cause of action.14 The purpose of an action
or suit and the law to govern it is to be determined not by the claim of the
The law at the time the complaint for damages was filed is Rule 111 of party filing the action, made in his argument or brief, but rather by the
the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended, to wit: complaint itself, its allegations and prayer for relief.15

SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. - When a The pertinent portions of the complaint read:
criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil
liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the 7. That Defendant Admer A. Pajarillo was the guard assigned and
offended party waives the civil action, reserves his right to posted in the Ecology Bank – Katipunan Branch, Quezon City,
institute it separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the who was employed and under employment of Safeguard Security
criminal action. Agency, Inc. hence there is employer-employee relationship
between co-defendants.
Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the
Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33, 34, and The Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. failed to observe the
2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage to herein
act or omission of the accused. plaintiffs.

Respondents reserved the right to file a separate civil action and in fact 8. That defendant Admer Pajarillo upon seeing Evangeline
filed the same on January 14, 1998. Tangco, who brought her firearm out of her bag, suddenly without
exercising necessary caution/care, and in idiotic manner, with the
The CA found that the source of damages in the instant case must be the use of his shotgun, fired and burst bullets upon Evangeline M.
crime of homicide, for which he had already been found guilty of and Tangco, killing her instantly. x x x
serving sentence thereof, thus must be governed by the Revised Penal
Code. xxxx

We do not agree. 16. That defendants, being employer and the employee are jointly
and severally liable for the death of Evangeline M. Tangco.16
An act or omission causing damage to another may give rise to two
separate civil liabilities on the part of the offender, i.e., (1) civil liability ex Thus, a reading of respondents' complaint shows that the latter are
delicto, under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code; and (2) invoking their right to recover damages against Safeguard for their
independent civil liabilities, such as those (a) not arising from an act or vicarious responsibility for the injury caused by Pajarillo's act of shooting
omission complained of as a felony, e.g., culpa contractual or obligations and killing Evangeline under Article 2176, Civil Code which provides:
arising from law under Article 31 of the Civil Code, intentional torts under
Articles 32 and 34, and culpa aquiliana under Article 2176 of the Civil ARTICLE 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to
Code; or (b) where the injured party is granted a right to file an action another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the
independent and distinct from the criminal action under Article 33 of the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing
contractual relation between the parties is called a quasi-delict x x x The trial court treated the case as an action based on a
and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. crime in view of the reservation made by the offended party in the
criminal case (Criminal Case No. 92944), also pending before the
The scope of Article 2176 is not limited to acts or omissions resulting court, to file a separate civil action. Said the trial court:
from negligence. In Dulay v. Court of Appeals,17 we held:
It would appear that plaintiffs instituted this action on the
x x x Well-entrenched is the doctrine that Article 2176 covers not assumption that defendant Pontino's negligence in the accident of
only acts committed with negligence, but also acts which are May 10, 1969 constituted a quasi-delict. The Court cannot accept
voluntary and intentional. As far back as the definitive case of the validity of that assumption. In Criminal Case No. 92944 of this
Elcano v. Hill (77 SCRA 98 [1977]), this Court already held that: Court, plaintiffs had already appeared as complainants. While
that case was pending, the offended parties reserved the right to
"x x x Article 2176, where it refers to "fault or negligence," institute a separate civil action. If, in a criminal case, the right to
covers not only acts "not punishable by law" but also acts file a separate civil action for damages is reserved, such civil
criminal in character, whether intentional and voluntary or action is to be based on crime and not on tort. That was the ruling
negligent. Consequently, a separate civil action lies against the in Joaquin vs. Aniceto, L-18719, Oct. 31, 1964.
offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally
prosecuted and found guilty or acquitted, provided that the We do not agree. The doctrine in the case cited by the trial court
offended party is not allowed, if he is actually charged also is inapplicable to the instant case x x x.
criminally, to recover damages on both scores, and would be
entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the two, xxxx
assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. In other words,
the extinction of civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, In cases of negligence, the injured party or his heirs has the
Rule 111, refers exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 choice between an action to enforce the civil liability arising from
of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for the same crime under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code and an action
act considered as quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not for quasi-delict under Article 2176-2194 of the Civil Code. If a
extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case that the party chooses the latter, he may hold the employer solidarily
criminal act charged has not happened or has not been liable for the negligent act of his employee, subject to the
committed by the accused. Briefly stated, We here hold, in employer's defense of exercise of the diligence of a good father
reiteration of Garcia, that culpa aquiliana includes voluntary and of the family.
negligent acts which may be punishable by law." (Emphasis
supplied) In the case at bar, the action filed by appellant was an action for
damages based on quasi-delict. The fact that appellants
The civil action filed by respondents was not derived from the criminal reserved their right in the criminal case to file an
liability of Pajarillo in the criminal case but one based on culpa independent civil action did not preclude them from
aquiliana or quasi-delict which is separate and distinct from the civil choosing to file a civil action for quasi-delict.20 (Emphasis
liability arising from crime.18 The source of the obligation sought to be supplied)
enforced in the civil case is a quasi-delict not an act or omission
punishable by law. Although the judgment in the criminal case finding Pajarillo guilty of
Homicide is already final and executory, such judgment has no relevance
In Bermudez v. Melencio-Herrera,19 where the issue involved was or importance to this case.21 It would have been entirely different if
whether the civil action filed by plaintiff-appellants is founded on crime or respondents' cause of action was for damages arising from a delict, in
on quasi-delict, we held: which case the CA is correct in finding Safeguard to be only subsidiary
liable pursuant to Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code.22
As clearly shown by the allegations in the complaint, respondents' cause Pajarillo testified that when Evangeline aimed the gun at him at a
of action is based on quasi-delict. Under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, distance of about one meter or one arm's length26he stepped backward,
when the injury is caused by the negligence of the employee, there loaded the chamber of his gun and shot her.27 It is however unimaginable
instantly arises a presumption of law that there was negligence on the that petitioner Pajarillo could still make such movements if indeed the gun
part of the master or the employer either in the selection of the servant or was already pointed at him. Any movement could have prompted
employee, or in the supervision over him after selection or both. The Evangeline to pull the trigger to shoot him.
liability of the employer under Article 2180 is direct and immediate.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon petitioners to prove that they exercised Petitioner Pajarillo would like to justify his action in shooting Evangeline
the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision on his mere apprehension that Evangeline will stage a bank robbery.
of their employee. However, such claim is befuddled by his own testimony. Pajarillo testified
that prior to the incident, he saw Evangeline roaming under the fly over
We must first resolve the issue of whether Pajarillo was negligent in which was about 10 meters away from the bank28 and saw her talking to
shooting Evangeline. a man thereat;29 that she left the man under the fly-over, crossed the
street and approached the bank. However, except for the bare testimony
The issue of negligence is factual in nature. Whether a person is of Pajarillo, the records do not show that indeed Evangeline was seen
negligent or not is a question of fact, which, as a general rule, we cannot roaming near the vicinity of the bank and acting suspiciously prior to the
pass upon in a petition for review on certiorari, as our jurisdiction is shooting incident. In fact, there is no evidence that Pajarillo called the
limited to reviewing errors of law.23 Generally, factual findings of the trial attention of his head guard or the bank's branch manager regarding his
court, affirmed by the CA, are final and conclusive and may not be concerns or that he reported the same to the police authorities whose
reviewed on appeal. The established exceptions are: (1) when the outpost is just about 15 meters from the bank.
inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (2) when
there is grave abuse of discretion; (3) when the findings are grounded Moreover, if Evangeline was already roaming the vicinity of the bank, she
entirely on speculations, surmises or conjectures; (4) when the judgment could have already apprised herself that Pajarillo, who was posted
of the CA is based on misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of outside the bank, was armed with a shotgun; that there were two guards
fact are conflicting; (6) when the CA, in making its findings, went beyond inside the bank30manning the entrance door. Thus, it is quite incredible
the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both that if she really had a companion, she would leave him under the fly-
appellant and appellee; (7) when the findings of fact are conclusions over which is 10 meters far from the bank and stage a bank robbery all
without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (8) when by herself without a back-up. In fact, she would have known, after
the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the surveying the area, that aiming her gun at Pajarillo would not ensure
parties and which, if properly considered, would justify a different entrance to the bank as there were guards manning the entrance door.
conclusion; and (9) when the findings of fact of the CA are premised on
the absence of evidence and are contradicted by the evidence on Evidence, to be believed, must not only proceed from the mouth of a
record. [24] credible witness, but it must be credible in itself — such as the common
experience and observation of mankind can approve as probable under
A thorough review of the records of the case fails to show any cogent the circumstances. We have no test of the truth of human testimony,
reason for us to deviate from the factual finding of the trial court and except its conformity to our knowledge, observation and experience.
affirmed by the CA that petitioner Pajarillo was guilty of negligence in Whatever is repugnant to these belongs to the miraculous and is outside
shooting Evangeline. judicial cognizance.31

Respondents' evidence established that Evangeline's purpose in going to That Evangeline just wanted to deposit her gun before entering the bank
the bank was to renew her time deposit.25On the other hand, Pajarillo and was actually in the act of pulling her gun from her bag when
claims that Evangeline drew a gun from her bag and aimed the same at petitioner Pajarillo recklessly shot her, finds support from the contentions
him, thus, acting instinctively, he shot her in self-defense. raised in petitioners' petition for review where they argued that when
Evangeline approached the bank, she was seen pulling a gun from inside
her bag and petitioner Pajarillo who was suddenly beset by fear and wherein supervisors are assigned to routinely check the activities of the
perceived the act as a dangerous threat, shot and killed the deceased out security guards which include among others, whether or not they are in
of pure instinct;32 that the act of drawing a gun is a threatening act, their proper post and with proper equipment, as well as regular
regardless of whether or not the gun was intended to be used against evaluations of the employees' performances; that the fact that Pajarillo
petitioner Pajarillo;33 that the fear that was created in the mind of loaded his firearm contrary to Safeguard's operating procedure is not
petitioner Pajarillo as he saw Evangeline Tangco drawing a gun from her sufficient basis to say that Safeguard had failed its duty of proper
purse was suddenly very real and the former merely reacted out of pure supervision; that it was likewise error to say that Safeguard was negligent
self-preservation.34 in seeing to it that the procedures and policies were not properly
implemented by reason of one unfortunate event.
Considering that unlawful aggression on the part of Evangeline is absent,
Pajarillo's claim of self-defense cannot be accepted specially when such We are not convinced.
claim was uncorroborated by any separate competent evidence other
than his testimony which was even doubtful. Pajarillo's apprehension that Article 2180 of the Civil Code provides:
Evangeline will shoot him to stage a bank robbery has no basis at all. It is
therefore clear that the alleged threat of bank robbery was just a figment Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable
of Pajarillo's imagination which caused such unfounded unlawful not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of
aggression on his part. persons for whom one is responsible.

Petitioners argue that Evangeline was guilty of contributory negligence. xxxx


Although she was a licensed firearm holder, she had no business
bringing the gun in such establishment where people would react
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their
instinctively upon seeing the gun; that had Evangeline been prudent, she
employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their
could have warned Pajarillo before drawing the gun and did not conduct
assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any
herself with suspicion by roaming outside the vicinity of the bank; that she
business or industry.
should not have held the gun with the nozzle pointed at Pajarillo who
mistook the act as hold up or robbery.
xxxx
We are not persuaded.
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the
persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the
As we have earlier held, Pajarillo failed to substantiate his claim that
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.
Evangeline was seen roaming outside the vicinity of the bank and acting
suspiciously prior to the shooting incident. Evangeline's death was merely
due to Pajarillo's negligence in shooting her on his imagined threat that As the employer of Pajarillo, Safeguard is primarily and solidarily liable for
Evangeline will rob the bank. the quasi-delict committed by the former. Safeguard is presumed to be
negligent in the selection and supervision of his employee by operation of
law. This presumption may be overcome only by satisfactorily showing
Safeguard contends that it cannot be jointly held liable since it had
that the employer exercised the care and the diligence of a good father of
adequately shown that it had exercised the diligence required in the
a family in the selection and the supervision of its employee.
selection and supervision of its employees. It claims that it had required
the guards to undergo the necessary training and to submit the requisite
qualifications and credentials which even the RTC found to have been In the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to
complied with; that the RTC erroneously found that it did not exercise the examine them as to their qualifications, experience, and service
diligence required in the supervision of its employee. Safeguard further records.35 On the other hand, due diligence in the supervision of
claims that it conducts monitoring of the activities of its personnel, employees includes the formulation of suitable rules and regulations for
the guidance of employees and the issuance of proper instructions
intended for the protection of the public and persons with whom the later assigned to guard a bank which has a different nature of business
employer has relations through his or its employees and the imposition of with that of Toyota. In fact, Pajarillo testified that being on duty in a bank
necessary disciplinary measures upon employees in case of breach or as is different from being on duty in a factory since a bank is a very sensitive
may be warranted to ensure the performance of acts indispensable to the area.44
business of and beneficial to their employer. To this, we add that actual
implementation and monitoring of consistent compliance with said rules Moreover, considering his reactions to Evangeline's act of just depositing
should be the constant concern of the employer, acting through her firearm for safekeeping, i.e., of immediately shooting her, confirms
dependable supervisors who should regularly report on their supervisory that there was no training or seminar given on how to handle bank clients
functions.36 To establish these factors in a trial involving the issue of and on human psychology.
vicarious liability, employers must submit concrete proof, including
documentary evidence. Furthermore, while Safeguard would like to show that there were
inspectors who go around the bank two times a day to see the daily
We agree with the RTC's finding that Safeguard had exercised the performance of the security guards assigned therein, there was no record
diligence in the selection of Pajarillo since the record shows that Pajarillo ever presented of such daily inspections. In fact, if there was really such
underwent a psychological and neuro-psychiatric evaluation conducted inspection made, the alleged suspicious act of Evangeline could have
by the St. Martin de Porres Center where no psychoses ideations were been taken noticed and reported.
noted, submitted a certification on the Pre-licensing training course for
security guards, as well as police and NBI clearances. Turning now to the award of damages, we find that the award of actual
damages in the amount P157,430.00 which were the expenses incurred
The RTC did not err in ruling that Safeguard fell short of the diligence by respondents in connection with the burial of Evangeline were
required in the supervision of its employee, particularly Pajarillo. In this supported by receipts. The award of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for the
case, while Safeguard presented Capt. James Camero, its Director for death of Evangeline is likewise in order.
Operations, who testified on the issuance of company rules and
regulations, such as the Guidelines of Guards Who Will Be Assigned To As to the award of moral damages, Article 2206 of the Civil Code
Banks,37 Weapons Training,38 Safeguard Training Center Marksmanship provides that the spouse, legitimate children and illegitimate descendants
Training Lesson Plan,39Disciplinary/Corrective Sanctions,40 it had also and ascendants of the deceased may demand moral damages for mental
been established during Camero's cross-examination that Pajarillo was anguish by reason of the death of the deceased. Moral damages are
not aware of such rules and regulations.41 Notwithstanding Camero's awarded to enable the injured party to obtain means, diversions or
clarification on his re-direct examination that these company rules and amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering he/she has
regulations are lesson plans as a basis of guidelines of the instructors undergone, by reason of the defendant's culpable action. Its award is
during classroom instructions and not necessary to give students copy of aimed at restoration, as much as possible, of the spiritual status quo
the same,42 the records do not show that Pajarillo had attended such ante; thus it must be proportionate to the suffering inflicted.45 The
classroom instructions. intensity of the pain experienced by the relatives of the victim is
proportionate to the intensity of affection for him and bears no relation
The records also failed to show that there was adequate training and whatsoever with the wealth or means of the offender.46
continuous evaluation of the security guard's performance. Pajarillo had
only attended an in-service training on March 1, 1997 conducted by In this case, respondents testified as to their moral suffering caused by
Toyota Sta. Rosa, his first assignment as security guard of Safeguard, Evangeline's death was so sudden causing respondent Lauro to lose a
which was in collaboration with Safeguard. It was established that the wife and a mother to six children who were all minors at the time of her
concept of such training was purely on security of equipments to be death. In People v. Teehankee, Jr.,47 we awarded one million pesos as
guarded and protection of the life of the employees.43 moral damages to the heirs of a seventeen-year-old girl who was
murdered. In Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of Appeals,48 we
It had not been established that after Pajarillo's training in Toyota, likewise awarded the amount of one million pesos as moral damages to
Safeguard had ever conducted further training of Pajarillo when he was
the parents of a third year high school student and who was also their 8. G. R. No. 166876 March 24, 2006
youngest child who died in a vehicular accident since the girl's death left
a void in their lives. Hence, we hold that the respondents are also entitled ARTEMIO INIEGO,1Petitioner,
to the amount of one million pesos as Evangeline's death left a void in the vs.
lives of her husband and minor children as they were deprived of her love The HONORABLE JUDGE GUILLERMO G. PURGANAN, in his official
and care by her untimely demise. capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 42,
City of Manila, and FOKKER C. SANTOS, Respondents.
We likewise uphold the award of exemplary damages in the amount
of P300,000.00. Under Article 2229 of the Civil Code, exemplary DECISION
damages are imposed by way of example or correction for the public
good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
damages.49 It is awarded as a deterrent to socially deleterious actions.
In quasi-delict, exemplary damages may be granted if the defendant
acted with gross negligence.50 For this Court to grant this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45
of the Rules of Court, petitioner has to persuade us on two engaging
questions of law. First, he has to convince us that actions for damages
Pursuant to Article 2208 of the Civil Code, attorney's fees may be
based on quasi-delict are actions that are capable of pecuniary
recovered when, as in the instant case, exemplary damages are
estimation, and therefore would fall under the jurisdiction of the municipal
awarded. Hence, we affirm the award of attorney's fees in the amount
courts if the claim does not exceed the jurisdictional amount
of P30,000.00.
of P400,000.00 in Metro Manila. Second, he has to convince us that the
moral and exemplary damages claimed by the private respondent should
WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED. The Decision dated be excluded from the computation of the above-mentioned jurisdictional
July 16, 2004 of the Court of Appeals amount because they arose from a cause of action other than the
is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the civil liability of petitioner negligent act of the defendant.
Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. is SOLIDARYand PRIMARY under
Article 2180 of the Civil Code.
Petitioner urges us to reverse the 28 October 2004 Decision and 26
January 2005 Resolution of the Court of Appeals, Eighth Division, in CA-
SO ORDERED. G.R. SP No. 76206 denying due course to the petition for certiorari filed
by petitioner under Rule 65, elevating the 21 October 2002 Omnibus
Ynares-Santiago, (Working Chairperson), Callejo Sr., and Chico-Nazario, Order and the 21 January 2003 Order of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
JJ., concur. Branch 42, City of Manila. The dispositive portion of the 28 October 2004
Panganiban, C.J., Retired as of December 7, 2006. Decision of the Court of Appeals reads:

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED DUE COURSE and DISMISSED


for lack of merit.2

The factual and procedural antecedents of this case are as follows:

On 1 March 2002, private respondent Fokker Santos filed a complaint for


quasi-delict and damages against Jimmy T. Pinion, the driver of a truck
involved in a traffic accident, and against petitioner Artemio Iniego, as
owner of the said truck and employer of Pinion. The complaint stemmed
from a vehicular accident that happened on 11 December 1999, when a
freight truck allegedly being driven by Pinion hit private respondent’s Proceeding on the assumption that the cause of action is the claim of
jitney which private respondent was driving at the time of the accident. (sic) for damages in the total amount of P490,000.00, this court has
jurisdiction. But is the main cause of action the claim for damages?
On 24 August 2002, private respondent filed a Motion to Declare
defendant in Default allegedly for failure of the latter to file his answer This court is of the view that the main cause of action is not the claim for
within the final extended period. On 28 August 2002, petitioner filed a damages but quasi-delict. Damages are being claimed only as a result of
Motion to Admit and a Motion to Dismiss the complaint on the ground, the alleged fault or negligence of both defendants under Article 2176 of
among other things, that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the cause of the Civil Code in the case of defendant Pinion and under Article 2180
action of the case. also of the Civil Code in the case of defendant Iniego. But since fault or
negligence (quasi-delicts) could not be the subject of pecuniary
On 21 October 2002, public respondent Judge Guillermo G. Purganan, estimation, this court has exclusive jurisdiction.
acting as presiding judge of the RTC, Branch 42, Manila, issued the
assailed Omnibus Order denying the Motion to Dismiss of the petitioner xxxx
and the Motion to Declare Defendant in Default of the private respondent.
Pertinent portions of the Omnibus Order and the dispositive portion WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the motion to declare
thereof read: defendant Iniego in default and the said defendant’s motion to dismiss
are denied.3
In his opposition to the motion to declare him in default and his Motion to
Admit defendant IÑEGO alleged that he never received the Order dated On 7 November 2002, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the
12 August 2002. But believing in good faith, without being presumptuous, Omnibus Order of 21 October 2002. On 21 January 2003, public
that his 3rd Motion for additional Time to file or any appropriate [pleading] respondent issued an Order denying petitioner’s motion for
would be granted, he filed the aforesaid Motion received by the Court on reconsideration. Pertinent portions of the 21 January 2003 Order are
23 August 2002. reproduced hereunder:

The explanation of defendant IÑEGO has merit. The order dated 12 What this court referred to in its Order sought to be reconsidered as not
August 2002 was sent to a wrong address, thus defendant IÑEGO did capable of pecuniary estimation is the CAUSE OF ACTION, which is
not receive it. Since it was not received, he was not aware that the court quasi-delict and NOT the amount of damage prayed for.
would grant no further extension. The Motion to Admit Motion to Dismiss
has to be granted and the Motion to declare Defendant IÑEGO [in xxxx
default] has to be DENIED.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the motion for reconsideration is
xxxx DENIED.4

The plaintiff opines that this court has exclusive jurisdiction because the Petitioner elevated the 21 October 2002 and 21 January 2003 Orders of
cause of action is the claim for damages, which exceeds P400,000.00. the RTC to the Court of Appeals on petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of
The complaint prays for actual damages in the amount of P40,000.00, the Rules of Court. On 28 October 2004, the Court of Appeals
moral damages in the amount of P300,000.00, and exemplary damages promulgated the assailed Decision, the dispositive portion thereof reads:
in the amount of P150,000.00. Excluding attorney’s fees in the amount
of P50,000.00, the total amount of damages being claimed
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED DUE COURSE and dismissed for
is P490,000.00.
lack of merit.5
On 22 November 2004, petitioner moved for reconsideration, which was determined to be capable or incapable of pecuniary estimation is not the
denied by the Court of Appeals on 26 January 2005. Hence, this present cause of action, but the subject matter of the action.9 A cause of action is
petition. "the delict or wrongful act or omission committed by the defendant in
violation of the primary rights of the plaintiff."10 On the other hand, the
Petitioner claims that actions for damages based on quasi-delict are "subject matter of the action" is "the physical facts, the thing real or
actions that are capable of pecuniary estimation; hence, the jurisdiction in personal, the money, lands, chattels, and the like, in relation to which the
such cases falls upon either the municipal courts (the Municipal Trial suit is prosecuted, and not the delict or wrong committed by the
Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts In Cities, And defendant."11
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts), or the Regional Trial Courts, depending on
the value of the damages claimed. The case of Lapitan v. Scandia, Inc., et al.,12 has guided this Court time
and again in determining whether the subject matter of the action is
Petitioner argues further that should this Court find actions for damages capable of pecuniary estimation. In Lapitan, the Court spoke through the
capable of pecuniary estimation, then the total amount of damages eminent Mr. Justice Jose B.L. Reyes:
claimed by the private respondent must exceed P400,000.00 in order that
it may fall under the jurisdiction of the RTC. Petitioner asserts, however, In determining whether an action is one the subject matter of which is not
that the moral and exemplary damages claimed by private respondent be capable of pecuniary estimation this Court has adopted the criterion of
excluded from the computation of the total amount of damages for first ascertaining the nature of the principal action or remedy sought. If it
jurisdictional purposes because the said moral and exemplary damages is primarily for the recovery of a sum of money, the claim is considered
arose, not from the quasi-delict, but from the petitioner’s refusal to pay capable of pecuniary estimation, and whether jurisdiction is in the
the actual damages. municipal courts or in the courts of first instance [now Regional Trial
Courts] would depend on the amount of the claim. However, where the
I basic issue is something other than the right to recover a sum of money,
where the money claim is purely incidental to, or a consequence of, the
Actions for damages based on quasi-delicts are primarily and effectively principal relief sought like suits to have the defendant perform his part of
actions for the recovery of a sum of money for the damages suffered the contract (specific performance) and in actions for support, or for
because of the defendant’s alleged tortious acts, and are therefore annulment of a judgment or to foreclose a mortgage, this court has
capable of pecuniary estimation. considered such actions as cases where the subject of the litigation may
not be estimated in terms of money, and are cognizable exclusively by
courts of first instance [now Regional Trial Courts]. x x x.13 (Emphasis
In a recent case,6 we did affirm the jurisdiction of a Municipal Circuit Trial
supplied.)
Court in actions for damages based on quasi-delict, although the ground
used to challenge said jurisdiction was an alleged forum shopping, and
not the applicability of Section 19(1) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. Actions for damages based on quasi-delicts are primarily and effectively
actions for the recovery of a sum of money for the damages suffered
because of the defendant’s alleged tortious acts. The damages claimed
According to respondent Judge, what he referred to in his assailed Order
in such actions represent the monetary equivalent of the injury caused to
as not capable of pecuniary estimation is the cause of action, which is a
the plaintiff by the defendant, which are thus sought to be recovered by
quasi-delict, and not the amount of damage prayed for.7 From this,
the plaintiff. This money claim is the principal relief sought, and is not
respondent Judge concluded that since fault or negligence in quasi-
merely incidental thereto or a consequence thereof. It bears to point out
delicts cannot be the subject of pecuniary estimation, the RTC has
that the complaint filed by private respondent before the RTC actually
jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals affirmed respondent Judge in this
bears the caption "for DAMAGES."
respect.8
Fault or negligence, which the Court of Appeals claims is not capable of
Respondent Judge’s observation is erroneous. It is crystal clear from B.P.
pecuniary estimation, is not actionable by itself. For such fault or
Blg. 129, as amended by Republic Act No. 7691, that what must be
negligence to be actionable, there must be a resulting damage to a third
person. The relief available to the offended party in such cases is for the employee and the juris tantum presumption of negligence of his employer
reparation, restitution, or payment of such damage, without which any in his selection and supervision are the seeds of the damages claimed,
alleged offended party has no cause of action or relief. The fault or without distinction.
negligence of the defendant, therefore, is inextricably intertwined with the
claim for damages, and there can be no action based on quasi-delict Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that the claims for moral and
without a claim for damages. exemplary damages arose from a cause of action other than the quasi-
delict, their inclusion in the computation of damages for jurisdictional
We therefore rule that the subject matter of actions for damages based purposes is still proper. All claims for damages should be considered in
on quasi-delict is capable of pecuniary estimation. determining the jurisdiction of the court regardless of whether they arose
from a single cause of action or several causes of action. Rule 2, Section
II 5, of the Rules of Court allows a party to assert as many causes of action
as he may have against the opposing party. Subsection (d) of said
The amount of damages claimed is within the jurisdiction of the RTC, section provides that where the claims in all such joined causes of action
since it is the claim for all kinds of damages that is the basis of are principally for recovery of money, the aggregate amount claimed shall
determining the jurisdiction of courts, whether the claims for damages be the test of jurisdiction.15
arise from the same or from different causes of action.
Hence, whether or not the different claims for damages are based on a
Despite our concurrence in petitioner’s claim that actions for damages single cause of action or different causes of action, it is the total amount
based on quasi-delict are actions that are capable of pecuniary thereof which shall govern. Jurisdiction in the case at bar remains with
estimation, we find that the total amount of damages claimed by the the RTC, considering that the total amount claimed, inclusive of the moral
private respondent nevertheless still exceeds the jurisdictional limit and exemplary damages claimed, is P490,000.00.
of P400,000.00 and remains under the jurisdiction of the RTC.
In sum, actions for damages based on quasi-delicts are actions that are
Petitioner argues that in actions for damages based on quasi-delict, capable of pecuniary estimation. As such, they fall within the jurisdiction
claims for damages arising from a different cause of action (i.e., other of either the RTC or the municipal courts, depending on the amount of
than the fault or negligence of the defendant) should not be included in damages claimed. In this case, the amount of damages claimed is within
the computation of the jurisdictional amount. According to petitioner, the the jurisdiction of the RTC, since it is the claim for all kinds of damages
moral and exemplary damages claimed by the respondents in the case at that is the basis of determining the jurisdiction of courts, whether the
bar are not direct and proximate consequences of the alleged negligent claims for damages arise from the same or from different causes of
act. Petitioner points out that the complaint itself stated that such moral action.
and exemplary damages arose from the alleged refusal of defendants to
honor the demand for damages, and therefore there is no reasonable WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED for
cause and effect between the fault or negligence of the defendant and lack of merit. The Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated
the claim for moral and exemplary damages.14 If the claims for moral and 28 October 2004 and 26 January 2005, respectively, are AFFIRMED
exemplary damages are not included in the computation for purposes of insofar as they held that the Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction. No
determining jurisdiction, only the claim for actual damages in the amount costs.
of P40,000.00 will be considered, and the MeTC will have jurisdiction.
SO ORDERED.
We cannot give credence to petitioner’s arguments. The distinction he
made between damages arising directly from injuries in a quasi-delict and MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
those arising from a refusal to admit liability for a quasi-delict is more Associate Justice
apparent than real, as the damages sought by respondent originate from
the same cause of action: the quasi-delict. The fault or negligence of the
9. G.R. No. 160283 October 14, 2005 GEN. ELY E. YORO, Jr., of legal age, married, and a resident of
Damortis, Sto. Tomas, La Union, hereinafter referred to as the SECOND
JOHN KAM BIAK Y. CHAN, JR., Petitioner, PARTY:
vs.
Iglesia Ni Cristo, Inc., Respondent. WITNESSETH that:

DECISION WHEREAS, the FIRST PARTY is the owner of a parcel of land located at
Sta. Rita, Aringay, La Union.
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
WHEREAS, the FIRST PARTY, desires to dig a septic tank for its perusal
Before Us is a petition for review on certiorari1 assailing the Decision2 of in the property bordering Iglesia ni Cristo.
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 65976, dated 25 September
2003. Said Decision denied the petitioner’s appeal from the decision of WHEREAS, the SECOND PARTY is willing to contract the intended
the Regional Trial Court (RTC), La Union, Branch 31, in Civil Case No. A- digging of septic tank for the first party.
1646.
WHEREAS, the FIRST PARTY and SECOND PARTY has (sic) agreed
THE FACTS verbally as to the compensation of the said digging of septic tank.

The antecedents of the instant case are quite simple. WHEREFORE, for and in consideration of the terms and covenants
hereinbelow set forth, the FIRST PARTY hereby AGREES and ALLOWS
The Aringay Shell Gasoline Station is owned by the petitioner. It is the SECOND PARTY to undertake the digging of the parcel of land for
located in Sta. Rita East, Aringay, La Union, and bounded on the south the exclusive purpose of having a septic tank.
by a chapel of the respondent.
TERMS AND COVENANTS
The gasoline station supposedly needed additional sewerage and septic
tanks for its washrooms. In view of this, the services of Dioscoro "Ely" 1. The SECOND PARTY shall contract the said digging;
Yoro (Yoro), a retired general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, was
procured by petitioner, as the former was allegedly a construction 2. The FIRST PARTY shall have complete control over the number of
contractor in the locality. personnel who will be entering the property for said contract;

Petitioner and Yoro executed a Memorandum of Agreement3 (MOA) on 3. The digging shall be allowed for a period of three (3) weeks only,
28 February 1995 which is reproduced hereunder: commencing on March 28, 1995, unless extended by agreement of the
parties;
MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT
4. Any damage within or outside the property of the FIRST PARTY
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: incurred during the digging shall be borne by the SECOND PARTY;

This MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT, executed this 28th day of 5. In the event that valuable objects are found on the property, the same
February, 1995, by and between: shall be divided among the parties as follows:

JOHN Y. CHAN, of legal age, single, and a resident of Aringay, La Union, FIRST PARTY - 60%
now and hereinafter called the FIRST PARTY;
SECOND PARTY - 40% WHEREFORE, this Court renders judgment in favor of plaintiff IGLESIA
NI CRISTO and against defendants JOHN KAMBIAK CHAN and
6. In the event that valuable objects are found outside the property line DIOSCORO "ELY" YORO, JR. who are respectively solidarily liable to
during the said digging, the same shall be divided among the parties as PLAINTIFF on a 35%-65% basis, with JOHN CHAN taking the 35% tab,
follows: Ordering the two (2) aforesaid DEFENDANTS to pay PLAINTIFF the
following amounts:
FIRST PARTY - 35%
1. SIX HUNDRED THIRTY-THREE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED
SECOND PARTY - 65% NINETY-FIVE PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS (P633,595.50);
representing ACTUAL DAMAGES;
7. In case government or military interference or outside intervention is
imminent, the FIRST PARTY hereby reserves the option to stop the 2. FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P500,000.00) representing
digging at any stage thereof. MORAL DAMAGES;

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, We have hereunto set our hands on the day 3. TEN MILLION PESOS (P10,000,000.00) as EXEMPLARY DAMAGES;
and year first above-written at Aringay, La Union.4
4. FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as plaintiff’s attorney’s fees;
Diggings thereafter commenced. After some time, petitioner was and
informed by the members of the respondent that the digging traversed
and penetrated a portion of the land belonging to the latter. The 5. TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00) as litigation expenses.
foundation of the chapel was affected as a tunnel was dug directly under
it to the damage and prejudice of the respondent. Defendant TEOFILO OLLER is absolved of any civil liability.

On 18 April 1995, a Complaint5 against petitioner and a certain Teofilo Any counterclaim filed against PLAINTIFF IGLESIA NI CRISTO
Oller, petitioner’s engineer, was filed by the respondent before the RTC, is dismissed.13
La Union, Branch 31, docketed therein as Civil Case No. A-1646.
Petitioner and Oller filed an Answer with Third-Party Petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal14 dated 18 August 1999. Yoro filed his
Complaint6 impleading Yoro as third-party defendant. own Notice of Appeal15 dated 20 August 1999.

Yoro filed an Answer to the Third-Party Complaint7 dated 13 July 1995. In a Resolution16 dated 19 November 1999, the trial court disallowed
An Amended and Supplemental Complaint8dated 30 August 1995 was Yoro’s appeal for failure to pay the appellate court docket and other
later filed by the respondent already naming Yoro as a party-defendant, lawful fees within the reglementary period for taking an appeal.17 In view
to which the petitioner and Oller filed an Answer.9 Yoro filed his own of Yoro’s failure to appropriately file an appeal, an order was issued for
Answer.10 the issuance of a Writ of Execution as against him only, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
After four years of hearing the case, the trial court promulgated its
Decision11 holding that the diggings were not intended for the WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court GRANTS the motion of
construction of sewerage and septic tanks but were made to construct plaintiff Iglesia ni Cristo for the issuance of a Writ of Execution as against
tunnels to find hidden treasure.12 The trial court adjudged the petitioner Dioscoro "Ely" Yoro, Jr. only.18
and Yoro solidarily liable to the respondent on a 35%-65% basis (the
petitioner liable for the 35%), and absolving Oller from any liability, viz: The petitioner’s appeal to the Court of Appeals, on the other hand, was
given due course.19 On 25 September 2003, the Court of Appeals
rendered its Decision denying the appeal. It affirmed the trial court but ISSUE
with modifications. The decretal portion of the decision states:
Drawn from the above assignment of errors, the solitary issue that needs
WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby DENIED. The assailed decision in to be resolved is:
Civil Case No. A-1646 is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS as
follows: WHETHER OR NOT THE MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT
ENTERED INTO BY THE PETITIONER AND YORO HAS THE EFFECT
(a) The award of moral damages in the amount of ₱500,000.00 is hereby OF MAKING THE LATTER SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGES
deleted. TO THE RESPONDENT.

(b) The award of exemplary damages is hereby reduced to ₱50,000.00. THE RULINGS OF THE COURT

(c) The award of attorney’s fees and litigation expenses is hereby Petitioner avers that no liability should attach to him by laying the blame
reduced to ₱30,000.00.20 solely on Yoro. He argues that the MOA executed between him and Yoro
is the law between them and must be given weight by the courts. Since
Undeterred, petitioner instituted the instant case before this Court. On 15 nothing in the MOA goes against the law, morals, good customs and
December 2004, the instant petition was given due course.21 public policy, it must govern to absolve him from any liability.23 Petitioner
relies heavily in Paragraph 4 of the MOA, which is again reproduced
ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS hereunder:

Petitioner assigns as errors the following: 4. Any damage within or outside the property of the FIRST PARTY
incurred during the digging shall be borne by the SECOND PARTY.
I
In answer to this, the respondent asserts that the MOA should not
absolve petitioner from any liability. This written contract, according to the
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF
respondent, clearly shows that the intention of the parties therein was to
THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT (BRANCH 31, AGOO, LA UNION)
search for hidden treasure. The alleged digging for a septic tank was just
PARTICULARLY IN SAYING THAT THE BASIS OF THE SOLIDARY
a cover-up of their real intention.24 The aim of the petitioner and Yoro to
OBLIGATION OF PETITIONER AND YORO VIS-À-VIS PLAINTIFF IS
intrude and surreptitiously hunt for hidden treasure in the respondent’s
BASED NOT ON THE MOA BUT ON TORT
premises should make both parties liable.25
II
At this juncture, it is vital to underscore the findings of the trial court and
the Court of Appeals as to what was the real intention of the petitioner
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT GIVING EFFECT TO THE and Yoro in undertaking the excavations. The findings of the trial court
MOA WHICH SHOULD EXONERATE THE PETITIONER FROM ALL and the Court of Appeals on this point are in complete unison. Petitioner
LIABILITIES TO THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT and Yoro were in quest for hidden treasure26 and, undoubtedly, they were
partners in this endeavor.
III
The Court of Appeals, in its Decision, held in part:
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT APPRECIATING THE
THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINT AS CROSS-CLAIM OF THE PETITIONER The basis of their solidarity is not the Memorandum of Agreement but the
AGAINST YORO.22 fact that they have become joint tortfeasors. There is solidary liability only
when the obligation expressly so states, or when the law or the nature of As a general rule, joint tortfeasors are all the persons who command,
the obligation requires solidarity.27 instigate, promote, encourage, advise, countenance, cooperate in, aid or
abet the commission of a tort, or who approve of it after it is done, if done
We find no compelling reason to disturb this particular conclusion for their benefit.29
reached by the Court of Appeals. The issue, therefore, must be ruled in
the negative. Indubitably, petitioner and Yoro cooperated in committing the tort. They
even had provisions in their MOA as to how they would divide the
Article 2176 of the New Civil Code provides: treasure if any is found within or outside petitioner’s property line. Thus,
the MOA, instead of exculpating petitioner from liability, is the very noose
ART. 2176. – Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, that insures that he be so declared as liable.
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 Besides, petitioner cannot claim that he did not know that the excavation
between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the traversed the respondent’s property. In fact, he had two (2) of his
provisions of this Chapter. employees actually observe the diggings, his security guard and his
engineer Teofilo Oller.30
Based on this provision of law, the requisites of quasi-delict are the
following: Coming now to the matter on damages, the respondent questions the
drastic reduction of the exemplary damages awarded to it. It may be
(a) there must be an act or omission; recalled that the trial court awarded exemplary damages in the amount of
₱10,000,000.00 but same was reduced by the Court of Appeals to
₱50,000.00.
(b) such act or omission causes damage to another;
Exemplary or corrective damages are imposed by way of example or
(c) such act or commission is caused by fault or negligence; and
correction for the public good.31 In quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may
be granted if the defendant acted with gross negligence.32 By gross
(d) there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties. negligence is meant such entire want of care as to raise a presumption
that the person in fault is conscious of the probable consequences of
All the requisites are attendant in the instant case. The tortious act was carelessness, and is indifferent, or worse, to the danger of injury to
the excavation which caused damage to the respondent because it was person or property of others.33
done surreptitiously within its premises and it may have affected the
foundation of the chapel. The excavation on respondent’s premises was Surreptitiously digging under the respondent’s chapel which may weaken
caused by fault. Finally, there was no pre-existing contractual relation the foundation thereof, thereby endangering the lives and limbs of the
between the petitioner and Yoro on the one hand, and the respondent on people in worship, unquestionably amounts to gross negligence. Not to
the other. mention the damage that may be caused to the structure itself. The
respondent may indeed be awarded exemplary damages.
For the damage caused to respondent, petitioner and Yoro are jointly
liable as they are joint tortfeasors. Verily, the responsibility of two or more For such tortious act done with gross negligence, the Court feels that the
persons who are liable for a quasi-delict is solidary.28 amount awarded by the Court of Appeals is inadequate. The exemplary
damages must correspondingly be increased to ₱100,000.00.
The heavy reliance of petitioner in paragraph 4 of the MOA cited earlier
cannot steer him clear of any liability. The modification made by this Court to the judgment of the Court of
Appeals must operate as against Yoro, for as fittingly held by the court a
quo:
While it is settled that a party who did not appeal from the decision 10. G.R. No. 118889 March 23, 1998
cannot seek any relief other than what is provided in the judgment
appealed from, nevertheless, when the rights and liability of the FGU INSURANCE CORPORATION, petitioner,
defendants are so interwoven and dependent as to be inseparable, in vs.
which case, the modification of the appealed judgment in favor of COURT OF APPEALS, FILCAR TRANSPORT, INC., and FORTUNE
appellant operates as a modification to Gen. Yoro who did not appeal. In INSURANCE CORPORATION, respondents.
this case, the liabilities of Gen. Yoro and appellant being solidary, the
above exception applies.34

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 25 September


BELLOSILLO, J.:
2003 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION as to the award of exemplary
damages, which is hereby increased to ₱100,000.00. Costs against
petitioner. For damages suffered by a third party, may an action based on quasi-
delict prosper against a rent-a-car company and, consequently, its
insurer for fault or negligence of the car lessee in driving the rented
SO ORDERED.
vehicle?

This was a two-car collision at dawn. At around 3 o'clock of 21 April 1987,


two (2) vehicles, both Mitsubishi Colt Lancers, cruising northward along
Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Mandaluyong City, figured in a traffic
accident. The car bearing Plate No. PDG 435 owned by Lydia F. Soriano
was being driven at the outer lane of the highway by Benjamin Jacildone,
while the other car, with Plate No. PCT 792, owned by respondent
FILCAR Transport, Inc. (FILCAR), and driven by Peter Dahl-Jensen as
lessee, was at the center lane, left of the other vehicle. Upon
approaching the corner of Pioneer Street, the car owned by FILCAR
swerved to the right hitting the left side of the car of Soriano. At that time
Dahl-Jensen, a Danish tourist, did not possess a Philippine driver's
license. 1

As a consequence, petitioner FGU Insurance Corporation, in view of its


insurance contract with Soriano, paid the latter P25,382.20. By way of
subrogation,2 it sued Dahl-Jensen and respondent FILCAR as well as
respondent Fortune Insurance Corporation (FORTUNE) as insurer of
FILCAR for quasi-delict before the Regional Trial Court of Makati City.

Unfortunately, summons was not served on Dahl-Jensen since he was


no longer staying at his given address; in fact, upon motion of petitioner,
he was dropped from the complaint.

On 30 July 1991 the trial court dismissed the case for failure of petitioner
to substantiate its claim of subrogation.3
On 31 January 1995 respondent Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the
the trial court although based on another ground, i.e., only the fault or mother, are responsible for the damages caused by the
negligence of Dahl-Jensen was sufficiently proved but not that of minor children who live in their company.
respondent FILCAR.4 In other words, petitioner failed to establish its
cause of action for sum of money based on quasi-delict. Guardians are liable for damages caused by the minors
or incapacitated persons who are under their authority
In this appeal, petitioner insists that respondents are liable on the and live in their company.
strength of the ruling in MYC-Agro-Industrial Corporation v. Vda. de
Caldo5 that the registered owner of a vehicle is liable for damages The owners and managers of an establishment or
suffered by third persons although the vehicle is leased to another. enterprise are likewise responsible for damages caused
by their employees in the service of the branches in which
We find no reversible error committed by respondent court in upholding the latter are employed or on the occasion of their
the dismissal of petitioner's complaint. The pertinent provision is Art. functions.
2176 of the Civil Code which states: "Whoever by act or omission causes
damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their
the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing employees and household helpers acting within the scope
contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict . . . . " of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not
engaged in any business or industry.
To sustain a claim based thereon, the following requisites must concur:
(a) damage suffered by the plaintiff; (b) fault or negligence of the The State is responsible in like manner when it acts
defendant; and, (c) connection of cause and effect between the fault or through a special agent; but not when the damage has
negligence of the defendant and the damage incurred by the plaintiff.6 been caused by the official to whom the task done
properly pertains, in which case what is provided in article
We agree with respondent court that petitioner failed to prove the 2176 shall be applicable.
existence of the second requisite, i.e., fault or negligence of defendant
FILCAR, because only the fault or negligence of Dahl-Jensen was Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and
sufficiently established, not that of FILCAR. It should be noted that the trades shall be liable for damages caused by their pupils
damage caused on the vehicle of Soriano was brought about by the and students or apprentices, so long as they remain in
circumstance that Dahl-Jensen swerved to the right while the vehicle that their custody.
he was driving was at the center lane. It is plain that the negligence was
solely attributable to Dahl-Jensen thus making the damage suffered by The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease
the other vehicle his personal liability. Respondent FILCAR did not have when the persons herein mentioned prove that they
any participation therein. observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to
prevent damage.
Article 2180 of the same Code which deals also with quasi-
delict provides: The liability imposed by Art. 2180 arises by virtue of a presumption juris
tantum of negligence on the part of the persons made responsible
The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not thereunder, derived from their failure to exercise due care and vigilance
only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of over the acts of subordinates to prevent them from causing damage.7 Yet,
persons for whom one is responsible. as correctly observed by respondent court, Art. 2180 is hardly applicable
because none of the circumstances mentioned therein obtains in the
case under consideration. Respondent FILCAR being engaged in a rent-
a-car business was only the owner of the car leased to Dahl-Jensen. As
such, there was no vinculum juris between them as employer and 11. G.R. No. 179799 September 11, 2009
employee. Respondent FILCAR cannot in any way be responsible for the
negligent act of Dahl-Jensen, the former not being an employer of the ZENAIDA R. GREGORIO, Petitioner,
latter. vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, SANSIO PHILIPPINES, INC., and EMMA J.
We now correlate par. 5 of Art. 2180 with Art. 2184 of the same Code DATUIN, Respondents.
which provides: "In motor vehicle mishap, the owner is solidarily liable
with his driver, if the former, who was in the vehicle, could have by the DECISION
use of due diligence, prevented the misfortune . . . . If the owner was not
in the motor vehicle, the provisions of article 2180 are applicable." NACHURA, J.:
Obviously, this provision of Art. 2184 is neither applicable because of the
absence of master-driver relationship between respondent FILCAR and
This is a petition1 for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
Dahl-Jensen. Clearly, petitioner has no cause of action against
assailing the Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated January 31,
respondent FILCAR on the basis of quasi-delict; logically, its claim
2007 and its Resolution3 dated September 12, 2007 in CA-G.R. SP No.
against respondent FORTUNE can neither prosper.
63602, entitled "Sansio Philippines, Inc., et al. v. Hon. Romulo SG.
Villanueva, et al."
Petitioner's insistence on MYC-Agro-Industrial Corporation is rooted in a
misapprehension of our ruling therein. In that case, the negligent and
The case arose from the filing of an Affidavit of Complaint4 for violation of
reckless operation of the truck owned by petitioner corporation caused
Batas Pambansa Bilang (B.P. Blg.) 22 (Bouncing Checks Law) by
injuries to several persons and damage to property. Intending to
respondent Emma J. Datuin (Datuin), as Officer-in-Charge of the
exculpate itself from liability, the corporation raised the defense that at
Accounts Receivables Department, and upon authority of petitioner
the time of the collision it had no more control over the vehicle as it was
Sansio Philippines, Inc. (Sansio), against petitioner Zenaida R. Gregorio
leased to another; and, that the driver was not its employee but of the
(Gregorio) and one Vito Belarmino, as proprietors of Alvi Marketing,
lessee. The trial court was not persuaded as it found that the true nature
allegedly for delivering insufficiently funded bank checks as payment for
of the alleged lease contract was nothing more than a disguise effected
the numerous appliances bought by Alvi Marketing from Sansio.
by the corporation to relieve itself of the burdens and responsibilities of
an employer. We upheld this finding and affirmed the declaration of joint
and several liability of the corporation with its driver. As the address stated in the complaint was incorrect, Gregorio was
unable to controvert the charges against her. Consequently, she was
indicted for three (3) counts of violation of B.P. Blg. 22, docketed as
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The decision of respondent
Criminal Case Nos. 236544, 236545, and 236546, before the
Court of Appeals dated 31 January 1995 sustaining the dismissal of
Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Branch 3, Manila.
petitioner's complaint by the trial court is AFFIRMED. Costs against
petitioner.
The MeTC issued a warrant5 for her arrest, and it was served upon her by
the armed operatives of the Public Assistance and Reaction Against
SO ORDERED.
Crime (PARAC) of the Department of Interior and Local Government
(DILG) on October 17, 1997, Friday, at around 9:30 a.m. in Quezon City
while she was visiting her husband and their two (2) daughters at their
city residence. Gregorio was brought to the PARAC-DILG Office where
she was subjected to fingerprinting and mug shots, and was detained.
She was released in the afternoon of the same day when her husband
posted a bond for her temporary liberty.
On December 5, 1997, Gregorio filed before the MeTC a Motion6 for b. PNB Check No. C-347109 dated November 30, 1992 in
Deferment of Arraignment and Reinvestigation, alleging that she could the amount of ₱19,194.48; and
not have issued the bounced checks, since she did not even have a
checking account with the bank on which the checks were drawn, as c. PNB Check No. C-347104 dated December 2, 1992 in
certified by the branch manager of the Philippine National Bank, the amount of ₱10,000.00
Sorsogon Branch. She also alleged that her signature was patently and
radically different from the signatures appearing on the bounced checks. and that the above-mentioned PNB Checks bounced when
deposited upon maturity;
The MeTC granted the Motion and a reinvestigation was conducted. In
the course of the reinvestigation, Datuin submitted an Affidavit of 6. That as a result of the filing of the "Affidavit of Complaint"
Desistance7 dated August 18, 1998, stating, among others, that Gregorio (Annex "A") wherein defendant Emma J. Datuin falsely charged
was not one of the signatories of the bounced checks subject of the plaintiff with offenses of Estafa and/or violation of B.P. Blg. 22
prosecution. on three (3) counts, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila
issued a Resolution dated April 1, 1996 finding the existence of a
Subsequently, the assistant city prosecutor filed a Motion to probable cause against the plaintiff for violation of Batas
Dismiss8 dated November 12, 1998 with respect to Criminal Case Nos. Pambansa Blg. 22 on three counts;
236544-46. The MeTC granted the motion and ordered the B.P. Blg. 22
cases dismissed.9 xxxx

On August 18, 2000, Gregorio filed a complaint10 for damages against 7. That in the "MEMO OF PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION"
Sansio and Datuin before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 12, attached hereto as Annex "C," signed by defendant Emma J.
Ligao, Albay. The complaint, in part, reads — Datuin she falsely indicated the address of plaintiff to be at No. 76
Peñaranda Street, Legaspi City when the truth of the matter is
4. That on or about December 15, 1995, defendant Emma J. that the latter’s correct address is at Barangay Rizal, Oas, Albay;
Datuin filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila an
"Affidavit of Complaint" wherein, among others, she alleged under 8. That as a consequence of the aforegoing false and misleading
oath that as an Officer In-charge of the Accounts Receivables indication of address, plaintiff was therefore not duly notified of
Department of SANSIO PHILIPPINES, INC., she was duly the charges filed against her by defendant Emma J. Datuin; and
authorized and empowered by said company to file cases against more, she was not able to controvert them before the
debtors, customers and dealers of the company; investigating prosecutor, finally resulting in the filing in court of
three (3) informations accusing her of violating B.P. 22;
xxxx
xxxx
5. That while acting under authority of her employer namely the
defendant SANSIO PHILIPPINES, INC., defendant EMMA J. 9. That as pernicious result of the unwarranted and baseless
DATUIN falsely stated in the "Affidavit of Complaint" (Annex "A"), accusation by the defendants which culminated in the filing of
among others, that plaintiff Zenaida R. Gregorio issued and three (3) informations in the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila,
delivered to their office the following checks, to wit: Branch 3 indicting the plaintiff on three counts of the offense of
violating B.P. 22, the said court issued a Warrant of Arrest on July
a. PNB Check No. C-347108 dated November 30, 1992 in 22, 1996 ordering the arrest of the plaintiff;
the amount of ₱9,564.00;
xxxx
10. That taking extra effort to expedite the apprehension of irrefutable, defendants had no recourse but to concede and
plaintiff, defendants’ retained private prosecutor managed to recognize the verity that they had wrongly accused an innocent
obtain the Warrant for the Arrest of said plaintiff from the Court as person, in itself a brazen travesty of justice, so much so that
evidenced by the copy of the letter of lawyer Alquin B. Manguerra defendant Emma J. Datuin had to execute an Affidavit of
of Chua and Associates Law Office (Annex "H") so much so that Desistance (Annex "O") admitting that plaintiff is not a signatory
in the morning of October 17, 1997, while plaintiff was visiting her to the three bouncing checks in question, rationalizing, albeit
husband Jose Gregorio and their two daughters at their city lamely, that the filing of the cases against the plaintiff was by
residence at 78 K-2 Street, Kamuning, Quezon City, and without virtue of an honest mistake or inadvertence on her (Datuin’s) part;
the slightest premonition that she was wanted by the law, armed
operatives of the Public Assistance and Reaction Against Crime 14. Be that as it may, incalculable damage has been inflicted on
(PARAC) of DILG suddenly swooped down on their residence, the plaintiff on account of the defendants’ wanton, callous and
arrested the plaintiff and brought her to the PARAC DILG Office reckless disregard of the fundamental legal precept that "every
in Quezon City where she was fingerprinted and detained like an person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of
ordinary criminal; mind of his neighbors and other persons" (Art. 26, Civil Code of
the Philippines);
xxxx
15. That the plaintiff, being completely innocent of the charges
11. That feeling distraught, helpless and hungry (not having eaten against her as adverted to in the preceding paragraphs, was
for a whole day) the plaintiff languished in her place of socially humiliated, embarrassed, suffered physical discomfort,
confinement until the late afternoon of October 17, 1997 when her mental anguish, fright, and serious anxiety as a proximate result
husband was able to post a bond for her temporary liberty and of her unjustified indictment, arrest and detention at the PARAC
secure an order of release (Annex "J") from the court. It was headquarters – all of these ordeals having been exacerbated by
providential that a city judge was available in the late afternoon of the fact that plaintiff is a woman who comes from a respected
October 17, 1997 which was a Friday, otherwise plaintiff would family in Oas, Albay, being the wife of an executive of the
have remained in confinement for the entire weekend; Philippine National Construction Corporation, the mother of two
college students studying in Manila, a pharmacist by profession, a
12. That because of her desire to prove and establish her businesswoman by occupation, and an incumbent Municipal
innocence of the unjustified charges lodged against her by the Councilor (Kagawad) of Oas, Albay, at the time of her arrest and
defendants, the plaintiff was thus compelled to retain the services detention; and that she previously held the following positions:
of counsel resulting in the filing of a Motion for Deferment of
Arraignment and Reinvestigation (Annex "K") which was granted (a). President, Philippine Pharmaceutical Association
by the court; the filing of a Request for Reinvestigation with the (Albay Chapter);
prosecutor’s office (Annex "L"); and the submission of a Counter-
Affidavit to the investigating prosecutor. All of these culminated in (b). Chairman of the Board, Albay Pharmaceutical
the filing by the investigating prosecutor of a Motion to Dismiss Marketing Cooperative (ALPHAMAC);
(Annex "M") the three criminal cases as a consequence of which
the Court issued an Order dated June 1, 1999 (Annex "N") (c). Charter Secretary, Kiwanis Club of Oas;
dismissing Criminal Cases No. 236544, No. 236545 and No.
236546, copy of which was received by plaintiff only on July 7,
(d). Chairman, Polangui Ladies Multi-Purpose
2000;
Cooperative, Polangui, Albay;
13. That previous to the filing of the above-mentioned Motion to
(e). Vicarial Regent, Daughters of Mary Immaculate
Dismiss by the prosecutor and having been faced with the truth
International, District IX;
and righteousness of plaintiff’s avowal of innocence which was
(f). Chapter President and Municipal Coordinator, Albay a. ₱3,000,000.00 as moral damages
Women Volunteers Association, Inc., Legaspi City;
b. ₱50,000.00 as actual damages
(g). Regent, Daughters of Mary Immaculate International
Virgo Clemens Circle, Oas, Albay; c. ₱50,000.00 as nominal damages

(h). Secretary, Girl Scout of the Philippines District d. ₱70,000.00 as attorney’s fees
Association; and
e. ₱35,000.00 as litigation expenses
(i). Director, Albay Electric Cooperative (ALECO),
19. That defendants herein are jointly and solidarily liable for the
not to mention the undue aspersion cast upon her social, payment of the above items of damages being co-tortfeasors.
professional and business reputation because of defendants’ Moreover, defendant SANSIO PHILIPPINES, INC. is vicariously
tortious act of accusing her of Estafa and/or issuing bouncing liable as the employer of defendant Emma J. Datuin who patently
checks – even without a scintilla of evidence; acted within the scope of her assigned tasks (Vide: Art. 2180,
Civil Code of the Philippines).11
16. That to compound the aforegoing travails and sufferings of
the plaintiff she had to devote and spend much of her time, Sansio and Datuin filed a Motion to Dismiss12 on the ground that the
money and efforts trying to clear her tarnished name and complaint, being one for damages arising from malicious prosecution,
reputation, including traveling to and from Manila to confer with failed to state a cause of action, as the ultimate facts constituting the
her lawyer, attend the hearings at the prosecutor’s office and at elements thereof were not alleged in the complaint. Gregorio
the Metropolitan Trial Court; opposed13 the Motion. Sansio and Datuin filed their Reply14 to the
Opposition. Gregorio, in turn, filed her Rejoinder.15
17. By and large, defendants’ fault or, at the very least, their
reckless imprudence or negligence, in filing the three (3) criminal On October 10, 2000, the RTC issued an Order16 denying the Motion to
cases against the plaintiff unequivocally caused damage to the Dismiss. Sansio and Datuin filed a Motion for Reconsideration17 of the
latter and because of defendants’ baseless and unjustified October 10, 2000 Order, but the RTC denied the same in its
accusations, plaintiff was constrained to retain the services of a Order18 dated January 5, 2001.
lawyer to represent her at the Metropolitan Trial Court and at the
Office of the City Prosecutor at Manila in order to establish her Sansio and Datuin went to the CA via a petition19 for certiorari under Rule
innocence and cause the dismissal of the three (3) criminal cases 65 of the Rules of Court alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of
filed against her, reason for which she spent ₱20,000.00; and in the presiding judge of the RTC in denying their motions to dismiss and for
order to institute this instant action for the redress of her reconsideration.
grievances, plaintiff have to pay the sum of ₱50,000.00 as
attorney’s fees and incur litigation expenses in the amount of
Meanwhile, on March 20, 2003, the RTC rendered its Decision in the civil
₱35,000.00;
case for damages instituted by Gregorio, directing Sansio and Datuin,
jointly and solidarily, to pay Gregorio ₱200,000.00 as moral damages;
18. That by reason of all the aforegoing and pursuant to the ₱10,000.00 as nominal damages; ₱35,000.00 as litigation expenses;
provision of law that "whoever by act or omission causes damage ₱30,000.00 as attorney’s fees; and costs of the suit. The RTC expressly
to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for stated in its Decision that the complaint was one for damages based on
the damage done," (Article 2176, Civil Code of the Philippines), quasi-delict and not on malicious prosecution.
the plaintiff is entitled to and hereby claims the following items of
damages:
Aggrieved by the March 20, 2003 Decision, Sansio and Datuin appealed respected Kagawad in Oas, Albay. Gregorio anchored her civil complaint
to the CA, and the same is now pending resolution. on Articles 26,21 2176,22 and 218023 of the Civil Code. Noticeably, despite
alleging either fault or negligence on the part of Sansio and Datuin,
On January 31, 2007, the CA rendered a Decision on the certiorari case Gregorio never imputed to them any bad faith in her complaint.
granting the petition and ordering the dismissal of the damage suit of
Gregorio. The latter moved to reconsider the said Decision but the same Basic is the legal principle that the nature of an action is determined by
was denied in the appellate court’s Resolution dated September 12, the material averments in the complaint and the character of the relief
2007. sought.24 Undeniably, Gregorio’s civil complaint, read in its entirety, is a
complaint based on quasi-delict under Article 2176, in relation to Article
Hence, this petition. 26 of the Civil Code, rather than on malicious prosecution.

The core issue to be resolved, as culled from the factual circumstances of In every tort case filed under Article 2176 of the Civil Code, the plaintiff
this case, is whether the complaint, a civil suit filed by Gregorio, is based has to prove by a preponderance of evidence: (1) the damages suffered
on quasi-delict or malicious prosecution. by him; (2) the fault or negligence of the defendant or some other person
to whose act he must respond; (3) the connection of cause and effect
It is the position of Sansio and Datuin that the complaint for damages between the fault or negligence and the damages incurred; and (4) that
filed by Gregorio before the RTC was for malicious prosecution, but it there must be no preexisting contractual relation between the parties.25
failed to allege the elements thereof, such that it was aptly dismissed on
appeal by the CA on the ground of lack of cause of action. In their On the other hand, Article 26 of the Civil Code grants a cause of action
comment, citing Albenson Enterprise Corporation v. Court of for damages, prevention, and other relief in cases of breach, though not
Appeals,20 they posit that Article 26 of the Civil Code, cited by Gregorio necessarily constituting a criminal offense, of the following rights: (1) right
as one of the bases for her complaint, and Articles 19, 20, and 21 of the to personal dignity; (2) right to personal security; (3) right to family
same Code, mentioned by the RTC as bases for sustaining the relations; (4) right to social intercourse; (5) right to privacy; and (6) right to
complaint, are the very same provisions upon which malicious peace of mind.26
prosecution is grounded. And in order to further buttress their position
that Gregorio’s complaint was indeed one for malicious prosecution, they A scrutiny of Gregorio’s civil complaint reveals that the averments
even pointed out the fact that Gregorio prayed for moral damages, which thereof, taken together, fulfill the elements of Article 2176, in relation to
may be awarded only in case of malicious prosecution or, if the case is Article 26 of the Civil Code. It appears that Gregorio’s rights to personal
for quasi-delict, only if physical injury results therefrom. dignity, personal security, privacy, and peace of mind were infringed by
Sansio and Datuin when they failed to exercise the requisite diligence in
We disagree. determining the identity of the person they should rightfully accuse of
tendering insufficiently funded checks. This fault was compounded when
A perusal of the allegations of Gregorio’s complaint for damages readily they failed to ascertain the correct address of petitioner, thus depriving
shows that she filed a civil suit against Sansio and Datuin for filing her of the opportunity to controvert the charges, because she was not
against her criminal charges for violation of B.P. Blg. 22; that given proper notice. Because she was not able to refute the charges
respondents did not exercise diligent efforts to ascertain the true identity against her, petitioner was falsely indicted for three (3) counts of violation
of the person who delivered to them insufficiently funded checks as of B.P. Blg. 22. Although she was never found at No. 76 Peñaranda St.,
payment for the various appliances purchased; and that respondents Legaspi City, the office address of Alvi Marketing as stated in the criminal
never gave her the opportunity to controvert the charges against her, complaint, Gregorio was conveniently arrested by armed operatives of
because they stated an incorrect address in the criminal complaint. the PARAC-DILG at her city residence at 78 K-2 St., Kamuning, Quezon
Gregorio claimed damages for the embarrassment and humiliation she City, while visiting her family. She suffered embarrassment and
suffered when she was suddenly arrested at her city residence in Quezon humiliation over her sudden arrest and detention and she had to spend
City while visiting her family. She was, at the time of her arrest, a time, effort, and money to clear her tarnished name and reputation,
considering that she had held several honorable positions in different
organizations and offices in the public service, particularly her being a 12. G.R. No. 77679 September 30, 1987
Kagawad in Oas, Albay at the time of her arrest. There exists no
contractual relation between Gregorio and Sansio. On the other hand, VICENTE VERGARA, petitioner,
Gregorio is prosecuting Sansio, under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, for vs.
its vicarious liability, as employer, arising from the act or omission of its THE COURT OF APPEALS and AMADEO AZARCON, respondents.
employee Datuin.
RESOLUTION
These allegations, assuming them to be true, sufficiently constituted a
cause of action against Sansio and Datuin. Thus, the RTC was correct
when it denied respondents’ motion to dismiss.
PADILLA, J.:
Sansio and Datuin are in error when they insist that Gregorio’s complaint
is based on malicious prosecution. In an action to recover damages for
An action for damages based on quasi-delict (Art. 2176 of the Civil Code)
malicious prosecution, it must be alleged and established that Sansio and
was filed by private respondent against petitioner. The action arose from
Datuin were impelled by legal malice or bad faith in deliberately initiating
a vehicular accident that occurred on 5 August 1979 in Gapan, Nueva
an action against Gregorio, knowing that the charges were false and
Ecija, when Martin Belmonte, while driving a cargo truck belonging to
groundless, intending to vex and humiliate her.27 As previously
petitioner, rammed "head-on" the store-residence of the private
mentioned, Gregorio did not allege this in her complaint. Moreover, the
respondent, causing damages thereto which were inventoried and
fact that she prayed for moral damages did not change the nature of her
assessed at P53,024.22.
action based on quasi-delict. She might have acted on the mistaken
notion that she was entitled to moral damages, considering that she
suffered physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, In his answer to the complaint, the petitioner alleged principally: "that his
besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, and social driver Martin Belmonte operated said cargo truck in a very diligent (and)
humiliation on account of her indictment and her sudden arrest. careful manner; that the steering wheel refused to respond to his effort
and as a result of a blown-out tire and despite application of his brakes,
the said cargo truck hit the store-residence of plaintiff (private
Verily, Gregorio was only acting within her right when she instituted
respondent) and that the said accident was an act of God for which he
against Sansio and Datuin an action she perceived to be proper, given
cannot be held liable." 1
the factual antecedents of the case.
Petitioner also filed a third party complaint against Travellers Insurance and Surety Corporation,
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated January alleging that said cargo truck involved in the vehicular accident, belonging to the petitioner, was
insured by the third party defendant insurance company. Petitioner asked that the latter be ordered to
31, 2007 and the Resolution dated September 12, 2007 are REVERSED pay him whatever amount he may be ordered by the court to pay to the private respondent.
and SET ASIDE. Costs against respondents.
The trial court rendered judgment in favor of private respondent. Upon
SO ORDERED. appeal to the Court of Appeals, the latter court affirmed in toto the
decision of the trial court, which ordered Petitioner to pay, jointly and
severally with Travellers Insurance and Surety Corporation, to the private,
respondent the following: (a) P53,024.22 as actual damages; (b)
P10,000.00 as moral damages; (c) P10,000.00 as exemplary damages;
and (d) the sum of P5,000.00 for attorney's fees and the costs. On the
third party complaint, the insurance company was sentenced to pay to
the petitioner the following: (a) P50,000.00 for third party liability under its
comprehensive accident insurance policy; and (b) P3,000.00 for and as
attorney's fees.
Hence, this petition for review on certiorari. Yap (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Paras and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.

Petitioner's contention that the respondent court erred in finding him


guilty of fault or negligence is not tenable. It was established by
competent evidence that the requisites of a quasi-delict are present in the
case at bar. These requisites are: (1) damages to the plaintiff; (2)
negligence, by act or omission, of which defendant, or some person for
whose acts he must respond, was guilty; and (3) the connection of cause
and effect between such negligence and the damages.

It is undisputed that private respondent suffered damages as a result of


an act or omission of petitioner. The issue of whether or not this act or
omission can be considered as a "negligent" act or omission was passed
upon by the trial court. The findings of said court, affirmed by the
respondent court, which we are not prepared to now disturb, show that
the fact of occurrence of the "vehicular accident" was sufficiently
established by the policy report and the testimony of Patrolman Masiclat.
And the fact of negligence may be deduced from the surrounding
circumstances thereof. According to the police report, "the cargo truck
was travelling on the right side of the road going to Manila and then it
crossed to the center line and went to the left side of the highway; it then
bumped a tricycle; and then another bicycle; and then said cargo truck
rammed the store warehouse of the plaintiff."2

According to the driver of the cargo truck, he applied the brakes but the
latter did not work due to mechanical defect. Contrary to the claim of the
petitioner, a mishap caused by defective brakes can not be consideration
as fortuitous in character. Certainly, the defects were curable and the
accident preventable.

Furthermore, the petitioner failed to adduce any evidence to overcome


the disputable presumption of negligence on his part in the selection and
supervision of his driver.

Based on the foregoing finding by the respondent Court that there was
negligence on the part of the petitioner, the petitioner's contention that
the respondent court erred in awarding private respondent actual, moral
and exemplary damages as well as attorney's fees and costs, is
untenable.

ACCORDINGLY, the petition is DENIED.

SO ORDERED.
13. G.R. No. 138550 October 14, 2005 When they returned to the Excelsior Hotel, Nilda called up petitioner’s
Office in Hong Kong. She was able to talk to Senior Authorizer Johnny
AMERICAN EXPRESS INTERNATIONAL, INC., Petitioner, Chen, who informed her that on November 1, 1991, a person in Hong
vs. Kong attempted to use a charge card with the same number as
NOEL CORDERO, Defendant. respondent’s card. The Hong Kong American Express Office called up
respondent and after determining that he was in Manila and not in Hong
DECISION Kong, placed his card in the "Inspect Airwarn Support System." This is
the system utilized by petitioner as a protection both for the company and
the cardholders against the fraudulent use of their charge cards. Once a
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
card suspected of unauthorized use is placed in the system, the person
to whom the card is tendered must verify the identity of the holder. If the
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision1 of the Court of true identity of the card owner is established, the card is honored and the
Appeals dated April 30, 1999 in CA-G.R. CV No. 51671, entitled, "Noel charges are approved. Otherwise, the card is revoked or confiscated.4
Cordero, Plaintiff-Appellee versus American Express International, Inc.,
Defendant-Appellant."
When the Watson’s sales clerk called up petitioner’s Hong Kong Office,
its representative said he wants to talk to respondent in order to verify the
Petitioner is a foreign corporation that issues charge cards to its latter’s identity, pursuant to the procedure observed under the "Inspect
customers, which the latter then use to purchase goods and services at Airwarn Support System." However, respondent refused. Consequently,
accredited merchants worldwide. Sometime in 1988, Nilda Cordero, wife petitioner’s representative was unable to establish the identity of the
of respondent Noel Cordero, applied for and was issued an American cardholder.5 This led to the confiscation of respondent’s card.
Express charge card with No. 3769-895901-010020. The issuance of the
charge card was covered by an Amex Cardmember Agreement. As
On March 31, 1992, respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court,
cardholder, Nilda, upon signing the back portion of the card, manifested
Branch V, Manila, a complaint for damages against petitioner, docketed
her acceptance of the terms of the Agreement.
as Civil Case No. 92-60807. He prayed for the award of moral damages
and exemplary damages, as well as attorney’s fees as a result of the
An extension charge card, with No. 3769-895901-01010, was likewise humiliation he suffered.
issued to respondent Noel Cordero which he also signed.2
The trial court found that "the inexcusable failure of defendant (petitioner
On November 29, 1991, respondent, together with his wife, Nilda, herein) to inform plaintiff (respondent herein) of the November 1, 1991
daughter, sisters-in-law and uncle-in-law, went on a three-day holiday trip incident despite sufficient time was the proximate cause of the
to Hong Kong. In the early evening of November 30, 1991, at about 7:00 confiscation and cutting of plaintiff’s extension card which exposed the
o’clock, the group went to the Watson’s Chemist Shop located at 277C latter to public humiliation for which defendant should be held liable."6 On
Ocean Gallery, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Noel picked up some chocolate February 20, 1995, the trial court promulgated its Decision, the
candies and handed to the sales clerk his American Express extension dispositive portion of which reads:
charge card to pay for his purchases. The sales clerk verified the card by
making a telephone call to the American Express Office in Hong Kong.
"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and
Moments later, Susan Chong, the store manager, emerged from behind
against the defendant, ordering the latter to pay the former the following
the counter and informed respondent that she had to confiscate the card.
amounts, namely:
Thereupon, she cut respondent’s American Express card in half with a
pair of scissors. This, according to respondent, caused him
embarrassment and humiliation considering that it was done in front of a) The sum of ₱300,000.00 as and by way of moral damages;
his family and the other customers lined up at the check-out counter.
Hence, Nilda had to pay for the purchases using her own American b) The sum of ₱200,000.00 as exemplary damages;
Express charge card.3
c) The sum of ₱100,000.00 as and for reasonable attorney’s fees; and misapprehension of facts; (5) the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) the
Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case and its findings are
d) The costs of the suit. contrary to the admissions of both parties; (7) the findings of fact of the
Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court; (8) said findings
SO ORDERED."7 of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they
are based; (9) the facts set forth in the petition are not disputed by the
respondents; and (10) the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are
Upon appeal, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Decision
premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the
affirming the trial court’s Decision with modification in the sense that the
evidence on record."9
amounts of damages awarded were reduced, thus:
In this case, the inference made by the courts below is manifestly
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the appealed decision dated
mistaken. Therefore, we are justified in reviewing the records of this case
February 20, 1995 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch V, in
and rendering judgment based on our own findings.
Civil Case No. 92-60807 is hereby AFFIRMED, subject to modifications
with respect to the amount of damages awarded, which are reduced as
follows: In his complaint, respondent claimed that he suffered embarrassment
and humiliation because his card was unceremoniously confiscated and
cut in half by Susan Chong of Watson’s Chemist Shop.
(a) Moral damages from ₱300,000.00 to ₱150,000.00; and
Respondent anchors his cause of action on the following provision of the
(b) Exemplary damages from ₱200,000.00 to ₱100,000.00.
Civil Code:
No pronouncement as to costs.
"Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there
being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such
SO ORDERED." 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
Hence, the instant petition raising the following issues: this Chapter."10

"A. Whether the lower courts gravely erred in attributing the ‘public In order that an obligation based on quasi-delict may arise, there must be
humiliation’ allegedly suffered by Cordero to Amex. no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties. But there are
exceptions. There may be an action for quasi-delict notwithstanding that
B. Whether the lower courts gravely erred in holding Amex liable to there is a subsisting contract between the parties. A liability for tort may
Cordero for moral damages, exemplary damages and attorney’s fees."8 arise even under a contract, where tort is that which breaches the
contract. Stated differently, when an act which constitutes a breach of
Respondent filed his comment contending in the main that the petition contract would have itself constituted the source of a quasi-delictual
raises questions of fact beyond this Court’s domain. liability, the contract can be said to have been breached by tort, thereby
allowing the rules on tort to apply.11
While it is true that under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure,
as amended, this Court may review only errors of law, however, this rule Furthermore, to constitute quasi-delict, the fault or negligence must be
admits of well-known recognized exceptions, thus: the proximate cause of the damage or injury suffered by the plaintiff.
Proximate cause is that cause which, in natural and continuous
". . . (1) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the
surmise and conjecture; (2) the inference made is manifestly mistaken; injury and without which the result would not have occurred. Proximate
(3) there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) the judgment is based on a
cause is determined by the facts of each case upon mixed considerations telephoning the company or by presenting us his passport or travel
of logic, common sense, policy and precedent.12 document. When Watson Company called AEII for authorization, AEII
representative requested that he talk to Mr. Cordero but he refused
According to the trial court, petitioner should have informed respondent to talk to any representative of AEII. AEII could not prove then that
that on November 1, 1991, a person in Hong Kong attempted to use a he is really the real card holder."
charge card bearing similar number to that of respondent’s card; and that
petitioner’s inexcusable failure to do so is the proximate cause of the Mr. Chen Heng Kun was briefly cross-examined by respondent’s counsel,
"confiscation and cutting of [respondent’s] extension card which exposed thus:
the latter to public humiliation for which [petitioner] should be held
liable."13 "Question No 10 : Question 9 is objected to since the best evidence
would be the membership agreement between plaintiffs and AEII."
We cannot sustain the trial court’s conclusion.
Significantly, paragraph 16 of the Cardmember Agreement signed by
As explained by respondent himself, he could have used his card upon respondent provides:
verification by the sales clerk of Watson that indeed he is the authorized
cardholder. This could have been accomplished had respondent talked to "16. THE CARD REMAINS OUR PROPERTY
petitioner’s representative, enabling the latter to determine that
respondent is indeed the true holder of the card. Clearly, no negligence "The Card remains our property and we can revoke your right and the
which breaches the contract can be attributed to petitioner. If at all, the right of ay Additional Cardmember to use it at any time, we can do this
cause of respondent’s humiliation and embarrassment was his refusal to with or without giving you notice. If we have revoked the Card without
talk to petitioner’s representative. cause, we will refund a proportion of your annual Card Account fee. We
may list revoked Cards in our "Cancellation Bulletin", or otherwise inform
That respondent refused to talk to petitioner’s representative can be Establishments that the Card issued to you and, if you are the basic
gleaned from the testimony of Mr. Chen Heng Kun a.k.a. Johnny Chen Cardmember, any Additional Cards have been revoked or cancelled.
during the deposition in Hong Kong,14 thus:
"If we revoke the card or it expires, you must return it to us if we request.
"Question No 9 : Was AEII required under its existing policies and/or Also, if any Establishment asks you to surrender an expired or revoked
membership agreement with its cardholders to advise said cardholders of Card, you must do so. You may not use the Card after it has expired or
their card have been put under the support INSPECT – Strictly Question after it has been revoked.
(for identification) cardmembers before approving any charge?
"The revocation, repossession or request for the return of the Card is not,
Mr. Johnny Chen : Under the existing policies of AEII, we don’t have to and shall not constitute any reflection of your character or credit-
inform the cardholders if they have to pass the INSPECT –Strictly worthiness and we shall not be liable in any way for any statement made
Questions (for identification). by any person requesting the return or surrender of the Card."15

Question No 10 : If the answer to Q9 is in the negative, please explain To be sure, pursuant to the above stipulation, petitioner can revoke
why not? respondent’s card without notice, as was done here. It bears reiterating
that the subject card would not have been confiscated and cut had
Mr. Johnny Chen : The reason why we don’t have to are because, first, respondent talked to petitioner’s representative and identified himself as
we are not terminating the service to the cardholder. Second, it doesn’t the genuine cardholder. It is thus safe to conclude that there was no
mean that we are going to limit the service to the cardholder. Third, as negligence on the part of petitioner and that, therefore, it cannot be held
long as the cardholder can present an identification card of his liable to respondent for damages.
membership, we allow him to use the card. He can show this by
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision of the 14. G.R. No. 158995 September 26, 2006
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 51671 is REVERSED.
L.G. FOODS CORPORATION and VICTORINO GABOR, Vice-
SO ORDERED. President and General Manager, petitioners,
vs.
HON. PHILADELFA B. PAGAPONG-AGRAVIADOR, in her capacity
as Presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court, Branch 43, Bacolod City,
and SPS. FLORENTINO and THERESA VALLEJERA, respondents.

DECISION

GARCIA, J.:

Assailed and sought to be set aside in this petition for review


on certiorari is the Decision1 dated April 25, 2003 of the Court of Appeals
(CA), as reiterated in its Resolution of July 10, 2003,2 in CA-G.R. SP No.
67600, affirming an earlier Order of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Bacolod City, Branch 43, which denied the petitioners' motion to dismiss
in Civil Case No. 99-10845, an action for damages arising from a
vehicular accident thereat instituted by the herein private respondents -
the spouses Florentino Vallejera and Theresa Vallejera - against the
petitioners.

The antecedent facts may be briefly stated as follows:

On February 26, 1996, Charles Vallereja, a 7-year old son of the spouses
Florentino Vallejera and Theresa Vallejera, was hit by a Ford Fiera van
owned by the petitioners and driven at the time by their employee,
Vincent Norman Yeneza y Ferrer. Charles died as a result of the
accident.

In time, an Information for Reckless Imprudence Resulting to


Homicide was filed against the driver before the Municipal Trial Court in
Cities (MTCC), Bacolod City, docketed as Criminal Case No. 67787,
entitled People of the Philippines v. Vincent Norman Yeneza.

Unfortunately, before the trial could be concluded, the accused driver


committed suicide, evidently bothered by conscience and remorse. On
account thereof, the MTCC, in its order of September 30, 1998,
dismissed the criminal case.

On June 23, 1999, in the RTC of Bacolod City, the spouses Vallejera filed
a complaint3 for damages against the petitioners as employers of the
deceased driver, basically alleging that as such employers, they failed to It is clear that the complaint neither represents nor implies that
exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of their the responsibility charged was the petitioner's subsidiary liability
employees. Thereat docketed as Civil Case No. 99-10845, the complaint under Art. 103, Revised Penal Code. As pointed out [by the trial
was raffled to Branch 43 of the court. court] in the Order of September 4, 2001, the complaint does not
even allege the basic elements for such a liability, like the
In their Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim,4 the petitioners as conviction of the accused employee and his insolvency. Truly
defendants denied liability for the death of the Vallejeras' 7-year old son, enough, a civil action to enforce subsidiary liability separate and
claiming that they had exercised the required due diligence in the distinct from the criminal action is even unnecessary.
selection and supervision of their employees, including the deceased
driver. They thus prayed in their Answer for the dismissal of the complaint xxx xxx xxx
for lack of cause of action on the part of the Vallejera couple.
Specifically, Civil Case No. 99-10845 exacts responsibility for
During pre-trial, the defendant petitioners insisted that their dismissal fault or negligence under Art. 2176, Civil Code, which is
prayer be resolved. Hence, the trial court required them to file within ten entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from
days a memorandum of authorities supportive of their position. negligence under the Revised Penal Code. Verily, therefore, the
liability under Art. 2180, Civil Code, is direct and immediate, and
Instead, however, of the required memorandum of authorities, the not conditioned upon prior recourse against the negligent
defendant petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss, principally arguing that employee or prior showing of the latter's insolvency.
the complaint is basically a "claim for subsidiary liability against an (Underscoring in the original.)
employer" under the provision of Article 1035 of the Revised Penal Code.
Prescinding therefrom, they contend that there must first be a judgment In time, the petitioners moved for a reconsideration but their motion was
of conviction against their driver as a condition sine qua non to hold them denied by the CA in its resolution9 of July 10, 2003. Hence, the
liable. Ergo, since the driver died during the pendency of the criminal petitioners' present recourse on their submission that the appellate court
action, the sine qua non condition for their subsidiary liability was not committed reversible error in upholding the trial court's denial of their
fulfilled, hence the of lack of cause of action on the part of the plaintiffs. motion to dismiss.
They further argue that since the plaintiffs did not make a reservation to
institute a separate action for damages when the criminal case was filed, We DENY.
the damage suit in question is thereby deemed instituted with the criminal
action. which was already dismissed. As the Court sees it, the sole issue for resolution is whether the spouses
Vallejeras' cause of action in Civil Case No. 99-10845 is founded on
In an Order dated September 4, 2001,6 the trial court denied the motion Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, as maintained by the petitioners,
to dismiss for lack of merit and set the case for pre-trial. With their motion or derived from Article 218010 of the Civil Code, as ruled by the two courts
for reconsideration having been denied by the same court in its below.
subsequent order7 of September 26, 2001, the petitioners then went
on certiorari to the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 67600, imputing grave abuse It thus behooves us to examine the allegations of the complaint for
of discretion on the part of the trial judge in refusing to dismiss the basic damages in Civil Case No. 99-10845. That complaint alleged, inter alia,
complaint for damages in Civil Case No. 99-10845. as follows:

In the herein assailed decision8 dated April 25, 2003, the CA denied the xxx xxx xxx
petition and upheld the trial court. Partly says the CA in its challenged
issuance:
3. That defendant [LG Food Corporation] is the registered owner
of a Ford Fiera Van with Plate No. NMS 881 and employer
xxx xxx xxx
sometime February of 1996 of one Vincent Norman Yeneza y Nothing in the foregoing allegations suggests, even remotely, that the
Ferrer, a salesman of said corporation; herein petitioners are being made to account for their subsidiary liability
under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code. As correctly pointed out by
4. That sometime February 26, 1996 at around 2:00 P.M. at the trial court in its order of September 4, 2001 denying the
Rosario St., Bacolod City, the minor son of said plaintiffs [now petitioners' Motion to Dismiss, the complaint did not even aver the basic
respondents], Charles Vallejera, 7 years old, was hit and bumped elements for the subsidiary liability of an employer under Article 103 of
by above-described vehicle then driven by said employee, the Revised Penal Code, such as the prior conviction of the driver in the
Vincent Norman Yeneza y Ferrer; criminal case filed against him nor his insolvency.

5. That the mishap was due to the gross fault and negligence of Admittedly, the complaint did not explicitly state that plaintiff Vallejeras
defendant's employee, who drove said vehicle, recklessly, were suing the defendant petitioners for damages based on quasi-delict.
negligently and at a high speed without regard to traffic condition Clear it is, however, from the allegations of the complaint that quasi-
and safety of other road users and likewise to the fault and delict was their choice of remedy against the petitioners. To stress, the
negligence of the owner employer, herein defendants LG Food plaintiff spouses alleged in their complaint gross fault and negligence on
Corporation who failed to exercise due diligence in the selection the part of the driver and the failure of the petitioners, as employers, to
and supervision of his employee, Vincent Norman Yeneza y exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of their
Ferrer; employees. The spouses further alleged that the petitioners are civilly
liable for the negligence/imprudence of their driver since they failed to
6. That as a result of said incident, plaintiffs' son suffered multiple exercise the necessary diligence required of a good father of the family in
body injuries which led to his untimely demise on that very day; the selection and supervision of their employees, which diligence, if
exercised, could have prevented the vehicular accident that resulted to
the death of their 7-year old son.
7. That a criminal case was filed against the defendant's
employee, docketed as Criminal Case No. 67787, (earlier filed as
Crim. Case No. 96-17570 before RTC) before MTC-Branch III, Section 2, Rule 2, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure defines cause of
entitled "People v. Yeneza" for "Reckless Imprudence resulting to action as the "act or omission by which a party violates the right of
Homicide," but the same was dismissed because pending another." Such act or omission gives rise to an obligation which may
litigation, then remorse-stricken [accused] committed suicide; come from law, contracts, quasi contracts, delicts or quasi-delicts.11

xxx xxx xxx Corollarily, an act or omission causing damage to another may give rise
to two separate civil liabilities on the part of the offender, i.e., 1) civil
liability ex delicto;12 and 2) independent civil liabilities, such as those (a)
8. That the injuries and complications as well as the resultant
not arising from an act or omission complained of as felony (e.g., culpa
death suffered by the late minor Charles Vallejera were due to the
contractual or obligations arising from law;13 the intentional
negligence and imprudence of defendant's employee;
torts;14 and culpa aquiliana15); or (b) where the injured party is granted a
right to file an action independent and distinct from the criminal
9. That defendant LG Foods Corporation is civilly liable for action.16 Either of these two possible liabilities may be enforced against
the negligence/imprudence of its employee since it failed to the offender.17
exercise the necessary diligence required of a good father of
the family in the selection and supervision of his employee,
Stated otherwise, victims of negligence or their heirs have a choice
Vincent Norman Yeneza y Ferrer which diligence if
between an action to enforce the civil liability arising from culpa
exercised, would have prevented said incident. (Bracketed
criminal under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and an action
words and emphasis ours.)
for quasi-delict (culpa aquiliana) under Articles 2176 to 2194 of the Civil
Code. If, as here, the action chosen is for quasi-delict, the plaintiff may
hold the employer liable for the negligent act of its employee, subject to
the employer's defense of exercise of the diligence of a good father of the Besides, it is worthy to note that the petitioners, in their Answer with
family. On the other hand, if the action chosen is for culpa criminal, the Compulsory Counter-Claim,24 repeatedly made mention of Article 2180 of
plaintiff can hold the employer subsidiarily liable only upon proof of prior the Civil Code and anchored their defense on their allegation that "they
conviction of its employee.18 had exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of [their]
employees." The Court views this defense as an admission that indeed
Article 116119 of the Civil Code provides that civil obligation arising from the petitioners acknowledged the private respondents' cause of action as
criminal offenses shall be governed by penal laws subject to the provision one for quasi-delict under Article 2180 of the Civil Code.
of Article 217720 and of the pertinent provision of Chapter 2, Preliminary
Title on Human Relation, and of Title XVIII of this Book, regulating All told, Civil Case No. 99-10845 is a negligence suit brought under
damages. Plainly, Article 2177 provides for the alternative remedies the Article 2176 - Civil Code to recover damages primarily from the
plaintiff may choose from in case the obligation has the possibility of petitioners as employers responsible for their negligent driver pursuant to
arising indirectly from the delict/crime or directly from quasi-delict/tort. Article 2180 of the Civil Code. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is
The choice is with the plaintiff who makes known his cause of action in demandable not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those
his initiatory pleading or complaint,21 and not with the defendant who can of persons for whom one is responsible. Thus, the employer is liable for
not ask for the dismissal of the plaintiff's cause of action or lack of it damages caused by his employees and household helpers acting within
based on the defendant's perception that the plaintiff should have opted the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former is not engaged
to file a claim under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code. in any business or industry.

Under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, the liability of the employer is direct Citing Maniago v. CA,25 petitioner would argue that Civil Case No. 99-
or immediate. It is not conditioned upon prior recourse against the 10845 should have been dismissed for failure of the respondent spouses
negligent employee and a prior showing of insolvency of such to make a reservation to institute a separate civil action for damages
employee.22 when the criminal case against the driver was filed.

Here, the complaint sufficiently alleged that the death of the couple's The argument is specious.
minor son was caused by the negligent act of the petitioners' driver; and
that the petitioners themselves were civilly liable for the negligence of To start with, the petitioners' reliance on Maniago is obviously misplaced.
their driver for failing "to exercise the necessary diligence required of a There, the civil case was filed while the criminal case against the
good father of the family in the selection and supervision of [their] employee was still pending. Here, the criminal case against the employee
employee, the driver, which diligence, if exercised, would have prevented driver was prematurely terminated due to his death. Precisely, Civil Case
said accident." No. 99-10845 was filed by the respondent spouses because no remedy
can be obtained by them against the petitioners with the dismissal of the
Had the respondent spouses elected to sue the petitioners based on criminal case against their driver during the pendency thereof.
Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, they would have alleged that the
guilt of the driver had been proven beyond reasonable doubt; that such The circumstance that no reservation to institute a separate civil action
accused driver is insolvent; that it is the subsidiary liability of the for damages was made when the criminal case was filed is of no moment
defendant petitioners as employers to pay for the damage done by their for the simple reason that the criminal case was dismissed without any
employee (driver) based on the principle that every person criminally pronouncement having been made therein. In reality, therefor, it is as if
liable is also civilly liable.23 Since there was no conviction in the criminal there was no criminal case to speak of in the first place. And for the
case against the driver, precisely because death intervened prior to the petitioners to insist for the conviction of their driver as a condition sine
termination of the criminal proceedings, the spouses' recourse was, qua non to hold them liable for damages is to ask for the impossible.
therefore, to sue the petitioners for their direct and primary liability based
on quasi-delict. IN VIEW WHEREOF, the instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit.
Costs against the petitioners. 15. G.R. No. L-32599 June 29, 1979

SO ORDERED. EDGARDO E. MENDOZA, petitioner


vs.
Puno, Chairperson, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona, Azcuna, J.J., concur. HON. ABUNDIO Z. ARRIETA, Presiding Judge of Branch VIII, Court
of First Instance of Manila, FELINO TIMBOL, and RODOLFO
SALAZAR, respondents.

David G. Nitafan for petitioner.

Arsenio R. Reyes for respondent Timbol.

Armando M. Pulgado for respondent Salazar.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J:

Petitioner, Edgardo Mendoza, seeks a review on certiorari of the Orders


of respondent Judge in Civil Case No. 80803 dismissing his Complaint
for Damages based on quasi-delict against respondents Felino Timbol
and Rodolfo Salazar.

The facts which spawned the present controversy may be summarized as


follows:

On October 22, 1969, at about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon, a three- way
vehicular accident occurred along Mac-Arthur Highway, Marilao, Bulacan,
involving a Mercedes Benz owned and driven by petitioner; a private jeep
owned and driven by respondent Rodolfo Salazar; and a gravel and sand
truck owned by respondent Felipino Timbol and driven by Freddie
Montoya. As a consequence of said mishap, two separate Informations
for Reckless Imprudence Causing Damage to Property were filed against
Rodolfo Salazar and Freddie Montoya with the Court of First Instance of
Bulacan. The race against truck-driver Montoya, docketed as Criminal
Case No. SM-227, was for causing damage to the jeep owned by
Salazar, in the amount of Pl,604.00, by hitting it at the right rear portion
thereby causing said jeep to hit and bump an oncoming car, which
happened to be petitioner's Mercedes Benz. The case against jeep-
owner-driver Salazar, docketed as Criminal Case No. SM 228, was for
causing damage to the Mercedes Benz of petitioner in the amount of
P8,890.00
At the joint trial of the above cases, petitioner testified that jeep-owner- the latter being the owner of the gravel and sand truck driven by
driver Salazar overtook the truck driven by Montoya, swerved to the left Montoya, for indentification for the damages sustained by his car as a
going towards the poblacion of Marilao, and hit his car which was bound result of the collision involving their vehicles. Jeep-owner-driver Salazar
for Manila. Petitioner further testified that before the impact, Salazar had and truck-owner Timbol were joined as defendants, either in the
jumped from the jeep and that he was not aware that Salazar's jeep was alternative or in solidum allegedly for the reason that petitioner was
bumped from behind by the truck driven by Montoya. Petitioner's version uncertain as to whether he was entitled to relief against both on only one
of the accident was adopted by truck driver Montoya. Jeep-owner-driver of them.
Salazar, on the other hand, tried to show that, after overtaking the truck
driven by Montoya, he flashed a signal indicating his intention to turn left On September 9, 1970, truck-owner Timbol filed a Motion to Dismiss Civil
towards the poblacion of Marilao but was stopped at the intersection by a Case No. 80803 on the grounds that the Complaint is barred by a prior
policeman who was directing traffic; that while he was at a stop position, judgment in the criminal cases and that it fails to state a cause of action.
his jeep was bumped at the rear by the truck driven by Montova causing An Opposition thereto was filed by petitioner.
him to be thrown out of the jeep, which then swerved to the left and hit
petitioner's car, which was coming from the opposite direction. In an Order dated September 12, 1970, respondent Judge dismissed the
Complaint against truck-owner Timbol for reasons stated in the afore-
On July 31, 1970, the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Branch V, Sta. mentioned Motion to Dismiss On September 30, 1970, petitioner sought
Maria, rendered judgment, stating in its decretal portion: before this Court the review of that dismissal, to which petition we gave
due course.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this Court finds the
accused Freddie Montoya GUILTY beyond reasonable On January 30, 1971, upon motion of jeep-owner-driver Salazar,
doubt of the crime of damage to property thru reckless respondent Judge also dismissed the case as against the former.
imprudence in Crime. Case No. SM-227, and hereby Respondent Judge reasoned out that "while it is true that an independent
sentences him to pay a fine of P972.50 and to indemnify civil action for liability under Article 2177 of the Civil Code could be
Rodolfo Salazar in the same amount of P972.50 as actual prosecuted independently of the criminal action for the offense from
damages, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of which it arose, the New Rules of Court, which took effect on January 1,
insolvency, both as to fine and indemnity, with costs. 1964, requires an express reservation of the civil action to be made in the
criminal action; otherwise, the same would be barred pursuant to Section
Accused Rodolfo Salazar is hereby ACQUITTED from the 2, Rule 111 ... 2 Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration thereof was
offense charged in Crime. Case No. SM-228, with costs denied in the order dated February 23, 1971, with respondent Judge
de oficio, and his bond is ordered canceled suggesting that the issue be raised to a higher Court "for a more decisive
interpretation of the rule. 3
SO ORDERED. 1
On March 25, 1971, petitioner then filed a Supplemental Petition before
Thus, the trial Court absolved jeep-owner-driver Salazar of any liability, us, also to review the last two mentioned Orders, to which we required
civil and criminal, in view of its findings that the collision between jeep-owner-driver Salazar to file an Answer.
Salazar's jeep and petitioner's car was the result of the former having
been bumped from behind by the truck driven by Montoya. Neither was The Complaint against
petitioner awarded damages as he was not a complainant against truck-
driver Montoya but only against jeep-owner-driver Salazar. truck-owner Timbol

On August 22, 1970, or after the termination of the criminal cases, We shall first discuss the validity of the Order, dated September 12,
petitioner filed Civil Case No. 80803 with the Court of First Instance of 1970, dismissing petitioner's Complaint against truck-owner Timbol.
Manila against respondents jeep-owner-driver Salazar and Felino Timbol,
In dismissing the Complaint against the truck-owner, respondent Judge render it inescapable to conclude that the employer in this
sustained Timbol's allegations that the civil suit is barred by the prior joint case the defendant- petitioner is primarily and directly
judgment in Criminal Cases Nos. SM-227 and SM-228, wherein no liable under article 1903 of the Civil Code.
reservation to file a separate civil case was made by petitioner and where
the latter actively participated in the trial and tried to prove damages That petitioner's cause of action against Timbol in the civil case is based
against jeep-driver-Salazar only; and that the Complaint does not state a on quasi-delict is evident from the recitals in the complaint to wit: that
cause of action against truck-owner Timbol inasmuch as petitioner while petitioner was driving his car along MacArthur Highway at Marilao,
prosecuted jeep-owner-driver Salazar as the one solely responsible for Bulacan, a jeep owned and driven by Salazar suddenly swerved to his
the damage suffered by his car. (petitioner's) lane and collided with his car That the sudden swerving of
Salazar's jeep was caused either by the negligence and lack of skill of
Well-settled is the rule that for a prior judgment to constitute a bar to a Freddie Montoya, Timbol's employee, who was then driving a gravel and
subsequent case, the following requisites must concur: (1) it must be a sand truck iii the same direction as Salazar's jeep; and that as a
final judgment; (2) it must have been rendered by a Court having consequence of the collision, petitioner's car suffered extensive damage
jurisdiction over the subject matter and over the parties; (3) it must be a amounting to P12,248.20 and that he likewise incurred actual and moral
judgment on the merits; and (4) there must be, between the first and damages, litigation expenses and attorney's fees. Clearly, therefore, the
second actions, Identity of parties, Identity of subject matter and Identity two factors that a cause of action must consist of, namely: (1) plaintiff's
of cause of action. primary right, i.e., that he is the owner of a Mercedes Benz, and (2)
defendant's delict or wrongful act or omission which violated plaintiff's
It is conceded that the first three requisites of res judicata are present. primary right, i.e., the negligence or lack of skill either of jeep-owner
However, we agree with petitioner that there is no Identity of cause of Salazar or of Timbol's employee, Montoya, in driving the truck, causing
action between Criminal Case No. SM-227 and Civil Case No. 80803. Salazar's jeep to swerve and collide with petitioner's car, were alleged in
Obvious is the fact that in said criminal case truck-driver Montoya was not the Complaint. 6
prosecuted for damage to petitioner's car but for damage to the jeep.
Neither was truck-owner Timbol a party in said case. In fact as the trial Consequently, petitioner's cause of action being based on quasi-
Court had put it "the owner of the Mercedes Benz cannot recover any delict, respondent Judge committed reversible error when he dismissed
damages from the accused Freddie Montoya, he (Mendoza) being a the civil suit against the truck-owner, as said case may proceed
complainant only against Rodolfo Salazar in Criminal Case No. SM- independently of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of
228. 4 And more importantly, in the criminal cases, the cause of action the latter.
was the enforcement of the civil liability arising from criminal negligence
under Article l of the Revised Penal Code, whereas Civil Case No. 80803 Art. 31. When the civil action is based on an obligation not
is based on quasi-delict under Article 2180, in relation to Article 2176 of arising from the act or omission complained of as a
the Civil Code As held in Barredo vs. Garcia, et al. 5 felony, such civil action may proceed independently of the
criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the
The foregoing authorities clearly demonstrate the latter.
separate in. individuality of cuasi-delitos or culpa
aquiliana under the Civil Code. Specifically they show that But it is truck-owner Timbol's submission (as well as that of jeep-owner-
there is a distinction between civil liability arising from driver Salazar) that petitioner's failure to make a reservation in the
criminal negligence (governed by the Penal Code) and criminal action of his right to file an independent civil action bars the
responsibility for fault or negligence under articles 1902 to institution of such separate civil action, invoking section 2, Rule 111,
1910 of the Civil Code, and that the same negligent act Rules of Court, which says:
may produce either a civil liability arising from a crime
under the Penal Code, or a separate responsibility for Section 2. — Independent civil action. — In the cases
fault or negligence under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil provided for in Articles 31, 32, 33, 34 and 2177 of the Civil
Code. Still more concretely, the authorities above cited
Code of the Philippines, an independent civil action reserve, in the criminal action, his right to file an independent civil action
entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action may based on quasi-delict.
be brought by the injured party during the pendency of the
criminal case, provided the right is reserved as required in The suit against
the preceding section. Such civil action shau proceed
independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall jeep-owner-driver Salazar
require only a preponderance of evidence.
The case as against jeep-owner-driver Salazar, who was acquitted in
Interpreting the above provision, this Court, in Garcia vs. Florida 7 said: Criminal Case No. SM-228, presents a different picture altogether.

As we have stated at the outset, the same negligent act At the outset it should be clarified that inasmuch as civil liability co-exists
causing damages may produce a civil liability arising from with criminal responsibility in negligence cases, the offended party has
crime or create an action for quasi-delict or culpa extra- the option between an action for enforcement of civil liability based
contractual. The former is a violation of the criminal law, on culpa criminalunder Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and an
while the latter is a distinct and independent negligence, action for recovery of damages based on culpa aquiliana under Article
having always had its own foundation and individuality. 2177 of the Civil Code. The action for enforcement of civil liability based
Some legal writers are of the view that in accordance with on culpa criminal under section 1 of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court is
Article 31, the civil action based upon quasi-delict may deemed simultaneously instituted with the criminal action, unless
proceed independently of the criminal proceeding for expressly waived or reserved for separate application by the offended
criminal negligence and regardless of the result of the party. 8
latter. Hence, 'the proviso in Section 2 of Rule 111 with
reference to ... Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Civil Code is
The circumstances attendant to the criminal case yields the conclusion
contrary to the letter and spirit of the said articles, for
that petitioner had opted to base his cause of action against jeep-owner-
these articles were drafted ... and are intended to
driver Salazar on culpa criminal and not on culpa aquiliana as evidenced
constitute as exceptions to the general rule stated in what
by his active participation and intervention in the prosecution of the
is now Section 1 of Rule 111. The proviso, which is
criminal suit against said Salazar. The latter's civil liability continued to be
procedural, may also be regarded as an unauthorized
involved in the criminal action until its termination. Such being the case,
amendment of substantive law, Articles 32, 33 and 34 of
there was no need for petitioner to have reserved his right to file a
the Civil Code, which do not provide for the reservation
separate civil action as his action for civil liability was deemed impliedly
required in the proviso ... .
instituted in Criminal Case No. SM-228.
In his concurring opinion in the above case, Mr. Justice Antonio Barredo
Neither would an independent civil action he. Noteworthy is the basis of
further observed that inasmuch as Articles 2176 and 2177 of the Civil
the acquittal of jeep-owner-driver Salazar in the criminal case,
Code create a civil liability distinct and different from the civil action
expounded by the trial Court in this wise:
arising from the offense of negligence under the Revised Penal Code, no
reservation, therefore, need be made in the criminal case; that Section 2
of Rule 111 is inoperative, "it being substantive in character and is not In view of what has been proven and established during
within the power of the Supreme Court to promulgate; and even if it were the trial, accused Freddie Montoya would be held able for
not substantive but adjective, it cannot stand because of its inconsistency having bumped and hit the rear portion of the jeep driven
with Article 2177, an enactment of the legislature superseding the Rules by the accused Rodolfo Salazar,
of 1940."
Considering that the collision between the jeep driven by
We declare, therefore, that in so far as truck-owner Timbol is concerned, Rodolfo Salazar and the car owned and driven by
Civil Case No. 80803 is not barred by the fact that petitioner failed to Edgardo Mendoza was the result of the hitting on the rear
of the jeep by the truck driven by Freddie Montoya, this In so far as the suit against jeep-owner-driver Salazar is concerned,
Court behaves that accused Rodolfo Salazar cannot be therefore, we sustain respondent Judge's Order dated January 30, 1971
held able for the damages sustained by Edgardo dismissing the complaint, albeit on different grounds.
Mendoza's car. 9
WHEREFORE, 1) the Order dated September 12, 1970 dismissing Civil
Crystal clear is the trial Court's pronouncement that under the facts of the Case No. 80803 against private respondent Felino Timbol is set aside,
case, jeep-owner-driver Salazar cannot be held liable for the damages and respondent Judge, or his successor, hereby ordered to proceed with
sustained by petitioner's car. In other words, "the fact from which the civil the hearing on the merits; 2) but the Orders dated January 30, 1971 and
might arise did not exist. " Accordingly, inasmuch as petitioner's cause of February 23, 1971 dismissing the Complaint in Civil Case No. 80803
action as against jeep-owner-driver Salazar is ex- delictu, founded on against respondent Rodolfo Salazar are hereby upheld.
Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, the civil action must be held to
have been extinguished in consonance with Section 3(c), Rule 111 of the No costs.
Rules of Court 10 which provides:
SO ORDERED.
Sec. 3. Other civil actions arising from offenses. — In all
cases not included in the preceding section the following Teehankee, (Chairman), Makasiar, Fernandez, Guerrero and De Castro,
rules shall be observed: JJ., concur.

xxx xxx xxx

c) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it


extinction of the civil, unless the extinction proceeds from
a declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which
the civil night arise did not exist. ...

And even if petitioner's cause of action as against jeep-owner-driver


Salazar were not ex-delictu, the end result would be the same, it being
clear from the judgment in the criminal case that Salazar's acquittal was
not based upon reasonable doubt, consequently, a civil action for
damages can no longer be instituted. This is explicitly provided for in
Article 29 of the Civil Code quoted here under:

Art. 29. When the accused in a criminal prosecution is


acquitted on the ground that his guilt has not been proved
beyond reasonable doubt, a civil action for damages for
the same act or omission may be instituted. Such action
requires only a preponderance of evidence ...

If in a criminal case the judgment of acquittal is based


upon reasonable doubt, the court shall so declare. In the
absence of any declaration to that effect, it may be
inferred from the text of the decision whether or not the
acquittal is due to that ground.
16. G.R. No. 147703 April 14, 2004 ‘a. to pay the heirs of JUSTINO TORRES the sum of
₱50,000.00 as indemnity for his death, plus the sum of
PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC., petitioner, ₱25,383.00, for funeral expenses, his unearned income
vs. for one year at ₱2,500.00 a month, ₱50,000.00 as
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent. indemnity for the support of Renato Torres, and the
further sum of ₱300,000.00 as moral damages;
DECISION
‘b. to the heirs of ESTRELLA VELERO, the sum of
PANGANIBAN, J.: ₱50,000.00 as indemnity for her death, the sum of
₱237,323.75 for funeral expenses, her unearned income
for three years at ₱45,000.00 per annum, and the further
When the accused-employee absconds or jumps bail, the judgment
sum of ₱1,000,000.00 as moral damages and
meted out becomes final and executory. The employer cannot defeat the
₱200,000.00 as attorney’s fees[;]
finality of the judgment by filing a notice of appeal on its own behalf in the
guise of asking for a review of its subsidiary civil liability. Both the primary
civil liability of the accused-employee and the subsidiary civil liability of ‘c. to the heirs of LORNA ANCHETA, the sum of
the employer are carried in one single decision that has become final and ₱50,000.00 as indemnity for her death, the sum of
executory. ₱22,838.00 as funeral expenses, the sum of ₱20,544.94
as medical expenses and her loss of income for 30 years
at ₱1,000.00 per month, and the further sum of
The Case
₱100,000.00 for moral damages;
Before this Court is a Petition for Review1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of
‘d. to MAUREEN BRENNAN, the sum of ₱229,654.00 as
Court, assailing the March 29, 20002 and the March 27,
hospital expenses, doctor’s fees of ₱170,000.00 for the
20013 Resolutions of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 59390.
orthopedic surgeon, ₱22,500.00 for the [n]eurologist, an
Petitioner’s appeal from the judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
additional indemnity [of] at least ₱150,000.00 to cover
of San Fernando, La Union in Criminal Case No. 2535 was dismissed in
future correction of deformity of her limbs, and moral
the first Resolution as follows:
damages in the amount of ₱1,000,000.00;
"WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the motion to dismiss
‘e. to ROSIE BALAJO, the sum of ₱3,561.46 as medical
is GRANTED and the appeal is ordered DISMISSED."4
expenses, ₱2,000.00 as loss of income, and ₱25,000.00
as moral damages;
The second Resolution denied petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration.5
‘f. to TERESITA TAMONDONG, the sum of ₱19,800.47
The Facts as medical expenses, ₱800.00 for loss of income, and
₱25,000.00 as moral damages;
The facts of the case are summarized by the CA in this wise:
‘g. to JULIANA TABTAB, the amount of ₱580.81 as
"On July 27, 1994, accused [Napoleon Roman y Macadangdang] medical expenses, ₱4,600.00 as actual damages and her
was found guilty and convicted of the crime of reckless loss earnings of ₱1,400.00 as well as moral damages in
imprudence resulting to triple homicide, multiple physical injuries the amount of ₱10,000.00;
and damage to property and was sentenced to suffer the penalty
of four (4) years, nine (9) months and eleven (11) days to six (6) ‘h. to MIGUEL ARQUITOLA, the sum of ₱12,473.82 as
years, and to pay damages as follows: hospital expenses, ₱14,530.00 as doctor’s fees,
₱1,000.00 for medicines and ₱50,000.00 as moral Ruling of the Court of Appeals
damages;
The CA ruled that the institution of a criminal case implied the institution
‘i. to CLARITA CABANBAN, the sum of ₱155.00 for also of the civil action arising from the offense. Thus, once determined in
medical expenses, ₱87.00 for medicines, ₱1,710.00 as the criminal case against the accused-employee, the employer’s
actual damages and ₱5,000.00 as moral damages; subsidiary civil liability as set forth in Article 103 of the Revised Penal
Code becomes conclusive and enforceable.
‘j. to MARIANO CABANBAN, the sum of ₱1,395.00 for
hospital bills, ₱500.00 for medicine, ₱2,100.00 as actual The appellate court further held that to allow an employer to dispute
damages, ₱1,200.00 for loss of income and ₱5,000.00 as independently the civil liability fixed in the criminal case against the
moral damages; accused-employee would be to amend, nullify or defeat a final judgment.
Since the notice of appeal filed by the accused had already been
‘k. to La Union Electric Company as the registered owner dismissed by the CA, then the judgment of conviction and the award of
of the Toyota Hi-Ace Van, the amount of ₱250,000.00 as civil liability became final and executory. Included in the civil liability of the
actual damages for the cost of the totally wrecked vehicle; accused was the employer’s subsidiary liability.
to the owner of the jeepney, the amount of ₱22,698.38 as
actual damages;’ Hence, this Petition.7

"The court further ruled that [petitioner], in the event of the The Issues
insolvency of accused, shall be liable for the civil liabilities of the
accused. Evidently, the judgment against accused had become Petitioner states the issues of this case as follows:
final and executory.
"A. Whether or not an employer, who dutifully participated in the
"Admittedly, accused had jumped bail and remained at-large. It is defense of its accused-employee, may appeal the judgment of
worth mention[ing] that Section 8, Rule 124 of the Rules of Court conviction independently of the accused.
authorizes the dismissal of appeal when appellant jumps bail.
Counsel for accused, also admittedly hired and provided by "B. Whether or not the doctrines of Alvarez v. Court of
[petitioner], filed a notice of appeal which was denied by the trial Appeals (158 SCRA 57) and Yusay v. Adil (164 SCRA 494) apply
court. We affirmed the denial of the notice of appeal filed in behalf to the instant case."8
of accused.
There is really only one issue. Item B above is merely an adjunct to Item
"Simultaneously, on August 6, 1994, [petitioner] filed its notice of A.
appeal from the judgment of the trial court. On April 29, 1997, the
trial court gave due course to [petitioner’s] notice of appeal. On
The Court's Ruling
December 8, 1998, [petitioner] filed its brief. On December 9,
1998, the Office of the Solicitor General received [a] copy of
[petitioner’s] brief. On January 8, 1999, the OSG moved to be The Petition has no merit.
excused from filing [respondents’] brief on the ground that the
OSG’s authority to represent People is confined to criminal cases Main Issue:
on appeal. The motion was however denied per Our resolution of
May 31, 1999. On March 2, 1999, [respondent]/private prosecutor Propriety of Appeal by the Employer
filed the instant motion to dismiss."6 (Citations omitted)
Pointing out that it had seasonably filed a notice of appeal from the RTC Moreover, this doctrine applies not only to the accused who jumps bail
Decision, petitioner contends that the judgment of conviction against the during the appeal, but also to one who does so during the trial. Justice
accused-employee has not attained finality. The former insists that its Florenz D. Regalado succinctly explains the principle in this wise:
appeal stayed the finality, notwithstanding the fact that the latter had
jumped bail. In effect, petitioner argues that its appeal takes the place of "x x x. When, as in this case, the accused escaped after his
that of the accused-employee. arraignment and during the trial, but the trial in
absentia proceeded resulting in the promulgation of a judgment
We are not persuaded. against him and his counsel appealed, since he nonetheless
remained at large his appeal must be dismissed by analogy with
Appeals in Criminal Cases the aforesaid provision of this Rule [Rule 124, §8 of the Rules on
Criminal Procedure]. x x x"14
Section 1 of Rule 122 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
states thus: The accused cannot be accorded the right to appeal unless they
voluntarily submit to the jurisdiction of the court or are otherwise arrested
"Any party may appeal from a judgment or final order, unless the within 15 days from notice of the judgment against them.15 While at large,
accused will be placed in double jeopardy." they cannot seek relief from the court, as they are deemed to have
waived the appeal.16
Clearly, both the accused and the prosecution may appeal a criminal
case, but the government may do so only if the accused would not Finality of a Decision in a Criminal Case
thereby be placed in double jeopardy.9 Furthermore, the prosecution
cannot appeal on the ground that the accused should have been given a As to when a judgment of conviction attains finality is explained in
more severe penalty.10 On the other hand, the offended parties may also Section 7 of Rule 120 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure, which we
appeal the judgment with respect to their right to civil liability. If the quote:
accused has the right to appeal the judgment of conviction, the offended
parties should have the same right to appeal as much of the judgment as "A judgment of conviction may, upon motion of the accused, be
is prejudicial to them.11 modified or set aside before it becomes final or before appeal is
perfected. Except where the death penalty is imposed, a
Appeal by the Accused Who Jumps Bail judgment becomes final after the lapse of the period for perfecting
an appeal, or when the sentence has been partially or totally
Well-established in our jurisdiction is the principle that the appellate court satisfied or served, or when the accused has waived in writing his
may, upon motion or motu proprio, dismiss an appeal during its pendency right to appeal, or has applied for probation."
if the accused jumps bail. The second paragraph of Section 8 of Rule 124
of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides: In the case before us, the accused-employee has escaped and refused
to surrender to the proper authorities; thus, he is deemed to have
"The Court of Appeals may also, upon motion of the appellee abandoned his appeal. Consequently, the judgment against him has
or motu proprio, dismiss the appeal if the appellant escapes from become final and executory.17
prison or confinement, jumps bail or flees to a foreign country
during the pendency of the appeal."12 Liability of an Employer in a Finding of Guilt

This rule is based on the rationale that appellants lose their standing in Article 102 of the Revised Penal Code states the subsidiary civil liabilities
court when they abscond. Unless they surrender or submit to the court’s of innkeepers, as follows:
jurisdiction, they are deemed to have waived their right to seek judicial
relief.13
"In default of the persons criminally liable, innkeepers, party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it
tavernkeepers, and any other persons or corporations shall be separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.
civilly liable for crimes committed in their establishments, in all
cases where a violation of municipal ordinances or some general "x x x xxx x x x"
or special police regulation shall have been committed by them or
their employees. Only the civil liability of the accused arising from the crime charged is
deemed impliedly instituted in a criminal action; that is, unless the
"Innkeepers are also subsidiary liable for restitution of goods offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it
taken by robbery or theft within their houses from guests lodging separately, or institutes it prior to the criminal action.18 Hence, the
therein, or for payment of the value thereof, provided that such subsidiary civil liability of the employer under Article 103 of the Revised
guests shall have notified in advance the innkeeper himself, or Penal Code may be enforced by execution on the basis of the judgment
the person representing him, of the deposit of such goods within of conviction meted out to the employee.19
the inn; and shall furthermore have followed the directions which
such innkeeper or his representative may have given them with It is clear that the 2000 Rules deleted the requirement of reserving
respect to the care and vigilance over such goods. No liability independent civil actions and allowed these to proceed separately from
shall attach in case of robbery with violence against or criminal actions. Thus, the civil actions referred to in Articles
intimidation of persons unless committed by the innkeeper’s 32,20 33,21 3422 and 217623of the Civil Code shall remain "separate,
employees." distinct and independent" of any criminal prosecution based on the same
act. Here are some direct consequences of such revision and omission:
Moreover, the foregoing subsidiary liability applies to employers,
according to Article 103 which reads: 1. The right to bring the foregoing actions based on the Civil Code
need not be reserved in the criminal prosecution, since they are
"The subsidiary liability established in the next preceding article not deemed included therein.
shall also apply to employers, teachers, persons, and
corporations engaged in any kind of industry for felonies 2. The institution or the waiver of the right to file a separate civil
committed by their servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or action arising from the crime charged does not extinguish the
employees in the discharge of their duties." right to bring such action.

Having laid all these basic rules and principles, we now address the main 3. The only limitation is that the offended party cannot recover
issue raised by petitioner. more than once for the same act or omission.24

Civil Liability Deemed Instituted in the Criminal Prosecution What is deemed instituted in every criminal prosecution is the civil liability
arising from the crime or delict per se (civil liability ex delicto), but not
At the outset, we must explain that the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure those liabilities arising from quasi-delicts, contracts or quasi-contracts. In
has clarified what civil actions are deemed instituted in a criminal fact, even if a civil action is filed separately, the ex delicto civil liability in
prosecution. the criminal prosecution remains, and the offended party may -- subject
to the control of the prosecutor -- still intervene in the criminal action, in
Section 1 of Rule 111 of the current Rules of Criminal Procedure order to protect the remaining civil interest therein.25
provides:
This discussion is completely in accord with the Revised Penal Code,
"When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the which states that "[e]very person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly
recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be liable."26
deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended
Petitioner argues that, as an employer, it is considered a party to the If the present appeal is given course, the whole case against the
criminal case and is conclusively bound by the outcome thereof. accused-employee becomes open to review. It thus follows that a penalty
Consequently, petitioner must be accorded the right to pursue the case to higher than that which has already been imposed by the trial court may
its logical conclusion -- including the appeal. be meted out to him. Petitioner’s appeal would thus violate his right
against double jeopardy, since the judgment against him could become
The argument has no merit. Undisputedly, petitioner is not a direct party subject to modification without his consent.
to the criminal case, which was filed solely against Napoleon M. Roman,
its employee. We are not in a position to second-guess the reason why the accused
effectively waived his right to appeal by jumping bail. It is clear, though,
In its Memorandum, petitioner cited a comprehensive list of cases dealing that petitioner may not appeal without violating his right against double
with the subsidiary liability of employers. Thereafter, it noted that none jeopardy.
can be applied to it, because "in all th[o]se cases, the accused’s
employer did not interpose an appeal."27 Indeed, petitioner cannot cite Effect of Absconding on the Appeal Process
any single case in which the employer appealed, precisely because an
appeal in such circumstances is not possible. Moreover, within the meaning of the principles governing the prevailing
criminal procedure, the accused impliedly withdrew his appeal by jumping
The cases dealing with the subsidiary liability of employers uniformly bail and thereby made the judgment of the court below final.35 Having
declare that, strictly speaking, they are not parties to the criminal cases been a fugitive from justice for a long period of time, he is deemed to
instituted against their employees.28 Although in substance and in effect, have waived his right to appeal. Thus, his conviction is now final and
they have an interest therein, this fact should be viewed in the light of executory. The Court in People v. Ang Gioc36 ruled:
their subsidiary liability. While they may assist their employees to the
extent of supplying the latter’s lawyers, as in the present case, the former "There are certain fundamental rights which cannot be waived
cannot act independently on their own behalf, but can only defend the even by the accused himself, but the right of appeal is not one of
accused. them. This right is granted solely for the benefit of the accused.
He may avail of it or not, as he pleases. He may waive it either
Waiver of Constitutional Safeguard Against Double Jeopardy expressly or by implication. When the accused flees after the
case has been submitted to the court for decision, he will be
Petitioner’s appeal obviously aims to have the accused-employee deemed to have waived his right to appeal from the judgment
absolved of his criminal responsibility and the judgment reviewed as a rendered against him. x x x."37
whole. These intentions are apparent from its Appellant’s Brief29 filed with
the CA and from its Petition30 before us, both of which claim that the trial By fleeing, the herein accused exhibited contempt of the authority of the
court’s finding of guilt "is not supported by competent evidence."31 court and placed himself in a position to speculate on his chances for a
reversal. In the process, he kept himself out of the reach of justice, but
An appeal from the sentence of the trial court implies a waiver of the hoped to render the judgment nugatory at his option.38 Such conduct is
constitutional safeguard against double jeopardy and throws the whole intolerable and does not invite leniency on the part of the appellate
case open to a review by the appellate court. The latter is then called court.39
upon to render judgment as law and justice dictate, whether favorable or
unfavorable to the appellant.32 This is the risk involved when the accused Consequently, the judgment against an appellant who escapes and who
decides to appeal a sentence of conviction.33 Indeed, appellate courts refuses to surrender to the proper authorities becomes final and
have the power to reverse, affirm or modify the judgment of the lower executory.40
court and to increase or reduce the penalty it imposed.34
Thus far, we have clarified that petitioner has no right to appeal the
criminal case against the accused-employee; that by jumping bail, he has
waived his right to appeal; and that the judgment in the criminal case Before the employers’ subsidiary liability is exacted, however, there must
against him is now final. be adequate evidence establishing that (1) they are indeed the
employers of the convicted employees; (2) that the former are engaged in
Subsidiary Liability Upon Finality of Judgment some kind of industry; (3) that the crime was committed by the
employees in the discharge of their duties; and (4) that the execution
As a matter of law, the subsidiary liability of petitioner now accrues. against the latter has not been satisfied due to insolvency.50
Petitioner argues that the rulings of this Court in Miranda v. Malate
Garage & Taxicab, Inc.,41 Alvarez v. CA42 and Yusay v. Adil43 do not apply The resolution of these issues need not be done in a separate civil
to the present case, because it has followed the Court’s directive to the action. But the determination must be based on the evidence that the
employers in these cases to take part in the criminal cases against their offended party and the employer may fully and freely present. Such
employees. By participating in the defense of its employee, herein determination may be done in the same criminal action in which the
petitioner tries to shield itself from the undisputed rulings laid down in employee’s liability, criminal and civil, has been pronounced;51 and in a
these leading cases. hearing set for that precise purpose, with due notice to the employer, as
part of the proceedings for the execution of the judgment.
Such posturing is untenable. In dissecting these cases on subsidiary
liability, petitioner lost track of the most basic tenet they have laid down -- Just because the present petitioner participated in the defense of its
that an employer’s liability in a finding of guilt against its accused- accused-employee does not mean that its liability has transformed its
employee is subsidiary. nature; its liability remains subsidiary. Neither will its participation erase
its subsidiary liability. The fact remains that since the accused-
Under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, employers are subsidiarily employee’s conviction has attained finality, then the subsidiary liability of
liable for the adjudicated civil liabilities of their employees in the event of the employer ipso facto attaches.
the latter’s insolvency.44 The provisions of the Revised Penal Code on
subsidiary liability -- Articles 102 and 103 -- are deemed written into the According to the argument of petitioner, fairness dictates that while the
judgments in the cases to which they are applicable.45Thus, in the finality of conviction could be the proper sanction to be imposed upon the
dispositive portion of its decision, the trial court need not expressly accused for jumping bail, the same sanction should not affect it. In effect,
pronounce the subsidiary liability of the employer. petitioner-employer splits this case into two: first, for itself;
and second, for its accused-employee.
In the absence of any collusion between the accused-employee and the
offended party, the judgment of conviction should bind the person who is The untenability of this argument is clearly evident. There is only one
subsidiarily liable.46 In effect and implication, the stigma of a criminal criminal case against the accused-employee. A finding of guilt has both
conviction surpasses mere civil liability.47 criminal and civil aspects. It is the height of absurdity for this single case
to be final as to the accused who jumped bail, but not as to an entity
To allow employers to dispute the civil liability fixed in a criminal case whose liability is dependent upon the conviction of the former.
would enable them to amend, nullify or defeat a final judgment rendered
by a competent court.48 By the same token, to allow them to appeal the The subsidiary liability of petitioner is incidental to and dependent on the
final criminal conviction of their employees without the latter’s consent pecuniary civil liability of the accused-employee. Since the civil liability of
would also result in improperly amending, nullifying or defeating the the latter has become final and enforceable by reason of his flight, then
judgment. the former’s subsidiary civil liability has also become immediately
enforceable. Respondent is correct in arguing that the concept of
The decision convicting an employee in a criminal case is binding and subsidiary liability is highly contingent on the imposition of the primary
conclusive upon the employer not only with regard to the former’s civil civil liability.
liability, but also with regard to its amount. The liability of an employer
cannot be separated from that of the employee.49 No Deprivation of Due Process
As to the argument that petitioner was deprived of due process, we accident in San Juan, La Union x x x."61 Neither does petitioner dispute
reiterate that what is sought to be enforced is the subsidiary civil liability that there was already a finding of guilt against the accused while he was
incident to and dependent upon the employee’s criminal negligence. In in the discharge of his duties.
other words, the employer becomes ipso facto subsidiarily liable upon the
conviction of the employee and upon proof of the latter’s insolvency, in WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED, and the assailed
the same way that acquittal wipes out not only his primary civil liability, Resolutions AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
but also his employer’s subsidiary liability for his criminal negligence.52
SO ORDERED.
It should be stressed that the right to appeal is neither a natural right nor
a part of due process.53 It is merely a procedural remedy of statutory Davide, Jr., Ynares-Santiago, Carpio, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
origin, a remedy that may be exercised only in the manner prescribed by
the provisions of law authorizing such exercise.54 Hence, the legal
requirements must be strictly complied with.55

It would be incorrect to consider the requirements of the rules on appeal


as merely harmless and trivial technicalities that can be
discarded.56 Indeed, deviations from the rules cannot be tolerated.57 In
these times when court dockets are clogged with numerous litigations,
such rules have to be followed by parties with greater fidelity, so as to
facilitate the orderly disposition of those cases.58

After a judgment has become final, vested rights are acquired by the
winning party. If the proper losing party has the right to file an appeal
within the prescribed period, then the former has the correlative right to
enjoy the finality of the resolution of the case.59

In fact, petitioner admits that by helping the accused-employee, it


participated in the proceedings before the RTC; thus, it cannot be said
that the employer was deprived of due process. It might have lost its right
to appeal, but it was not denied its day in court.60 In fact, it can be said
that by jumping bail, the accused-employee, not the court, deprived
petitioner of the right to appeal.

All told, what is left to be done is to execute the RTC Decision against the
accused. It should be clear that only after proof of his insolvency may the
subsidiary liability of petitioner be enforced. It has been sufficiently
proven that there exists an employer-employee relationship; that the
employer is engaged in some kind of industry; and that the employee has
been adjudged guilty of the wrongful act and found to have committed the
offense in the discharge of his duties. The proof is clear from the
admissions of petitioner that "[o]n 26 August 1990, while on its regular
trip from Laoag to Manila, a passenger bus owned by petitioner, being
then operated by petitioner’s driver, Napoleon Roman, figured in an
17. G.R. No. 150157 January 25, 2007 By reason of such collision, a criminal case was filed before the RTC of
Malolos, Bulacan, charging petitioner Manliclic with Reckless Imprudence
MAURICIO MANLICLIC and PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, Resulting in Damage to Property with Physical Injuries, docketed as
INC., Petitioners, Crim. Case No. 684-M-89. Subsequently on 2 December 1991,
vs. respondent filed a complaint for damages against petitioners Manliclic
MODESTO CALAUNAN, Respondent. and PRBLI before the RTC of Dagupan City, docketed as Civil Case No.
D-10086. The criminal case was tried ahead of the civil case. Among
DECISION those who testified in the criminal case were respondent Calaunan,
Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando Ramos.
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
In the civil case (now before this Court), the parties admitted the
following:
Assailed before Us is the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
1

CV No. 55909 which affirmed in toto the decision2 of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Dagupan City, Branch 42, in Civil Case No. D-10086, 1. The parties agreed on the capacity of the parties to sue and be
finding petitioners Mauricio Manliclic and Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, sued as well as the venue and the identities of the vehicles
Inc. (PRBLI) solidarily liable to pay damages and attorney’s fees to involved;
respondent Modesto Calaunan.
2. The identity of the drivers and the fact that they are duly
The factual antecedents are as follows: licensed;

The vehicles involved in this case are: (1) Philippine Rabbit Bus No. 353 3. The date and place of the vehicular collision;
with plate number CVD-478, owned by petitioner PRBLI and driven by
petitioner Mauricio Manliclic; and (2) owner-type jeep with plate number 4. The extent of the injuries suffered by plaintiff Modesto
PER-290, owned by respondent Modesto Calaunan and driven by Calaunan and the existence of the medical certificate;
Marcelo Mendoza.
5. That both vehicles were going towards the south; the private
At around 6:00 to 7:00 o’clock in the morning of 12 July 1988, respondent jeep being ahead of the bus;
Calaunan, together with Marcelo Mendoza, was on his way to Manila
from Pangasinan on board his owner-type jeep. The Philippine Rabbit 6. That the weather was fair and the road was well paved and
Bus was likewise bound for Manila from Concepcion, Tarlac. At straight, although there was a ditch on the right side where the
approximately Kilometer 40 of the North Luzon Expressway in Barangay jeep fell into.3
Lalangan, Plaridel, Bulacan, the two vehicles collided. The front right side
of the Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the rear left side of the jeep causing the When the civil case was heard, counsel for respondent prayed that the
latter to move to the shoulder on the right and then fall on a ditch with transcripts of stenographic notes (TSNs)4 of the testimonies of
water resulting to further extensive damage. The bus veered to the left respondent Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in the
and stopped 7 to 8 meters from point of collision. criminal case be received in evidence in the civil case in as much as
these witnesses are not available to testify in the civil case.
Respondent suffered minor injuries while his driver was unhurt. He was
first brought for treatment to the Manila Central University Hospital in Francisco Tuliao testified that his brother-in-law, respondent Calaunan,
Kalookan City by Oscar Buan, the conductor of the Philippine Rabbit Bus, left for abroad sometime in November, 1989 and has not returned since
and was later transferred to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center. then. Rogelio Ramos took the stand and said that his brother, Fernando
Ramos, left for Amman, Jordan, to work. Rosalia Mendoza testified that
her husband, Marcelo Mendoza, left their residence to look for a job. She
narrated that she thought her husband went to his hometown in Panique, jeep, it was about to overtake the jeep. In other words, the Philippine
Tarlac, when he did not return after one month. She went to her Rabbit Bus was still at the back of the jeep when the jeep was hit.
husband’s hometown to look for him but she was informed that he did not Fernando Ramos corroborated the testimony of the plaintiff and Marcelo
go there.1awphil.net Mendoza. He said that he was on another jeep following the Philippine
Rabbit Bus and the jeep of plaintiff when the incident took place. He said,
The trial court subpoenaed the Clerk of Court of Branch 8, RTC, Malolos, the jeep of the plaintiff overtook them and the said jeep of the plaintiff
Bulacan, the court where Criminal Case No. 684-M-89 was tried, to bring was followed by the Philippine Rabbit Bus which was running very fast.
the TSNs of the testimonies of respondent Calaunan,5 Marcelo The bus also overtook the jeep in which he was riding. After that, he
Mendoza6 and Fernando Ramos7 in said case, together with other heard a loud sound. He saw the jeep of the plaintiff swerved to the right
documentary evidence marked therein. Instead of the Branch Clerk of on a grassy portion of the road. The Philippine Rabbit Bus stopped and
Court, it was Enrique Santos Guevara, Court Interpreter, who appeared they overtook the Philippine Rabbit Bus so that it could not moved (sic),
before the court and identified the TSNs of the three afore-named meaning they stopped in front of the Philippine Rabbit Bus. He testified
witnesses and other pertinent documents he had brought.8 Counsel for that the jeep of plaintiff swerved to the right because it was bumped by
respondent wanted to mark other TSNs and documents from the said the Philippine Rabbit bus from behind.
criminal case to be adopted in the instant case, but since the same were
not brought to the trial court, counsel for petitioners compromised that Both Mauricio Manliclic and his driver, Oscar Buan admitted that the
said TSNs and documents could be offered by counsel for respondent as Philippine Rabbit Bus bumped the jeep in question. However, they
rebuttal evidence. explained that when the Philippine Rabbit bus was about to go to the left
lane to overtake the jeep, the latter jeep swerved to the left because it
For the defendants, petitioner Manliclic and bus conductor Oscar Buan was to overtake another jeep in front of it. Such was their testimony
testified. The TSN9 of the testimony of Donato Ganiban, investigator of before the RTC in Malolos in the criminal case and before this Court in
the PRBLI, in Criminal Case No. 684-M-89 was marked and allowed to the instant case. [Thus, which of the two versions of the manner how the
be adopted in the civil case on the ground that he was already dead. collision took place was correct, would be determinative of who between
the two drivers was negligent in the operation of their respective
Respondent further marked, among other documents, as rebuttal vehicles.]11
evidence, the TSNs10 of the testimonies of Donato Ganiban, Oscar Buan
and petitioner Manliclic in Criminal Case No. 684-M-89. Petitioner PRBLI maintained that it observed and exercised the diligence
of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its
The disagreement arises from the question: Who is to be held liable for employee, specifically petitioner Manliclic.
the collision?
On 22 July 1996, the trial court rendered its decision in favor of
Respondent insists it was petitioner Manliclic who should be liable while respondent Calaunan and against petitioners Manliclic and PRBLI. The
the latter is resolute in saying it was the former who caused the smash dispositive portion of its decision reads:
up.
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against
The versions of the parties are summarized by the trial court as follows: the defendants ordering the said defendants to pay plaintiff jointly and
solidarily the amount of P40,838.00 as actual damages for the towing as
well as the repair and the materials used for the repair of the jeep in
The parties differed only on the manner the collision between the two (2)
question; P100,000.00 as moral damages and another P100,000.00 as
vehicles took place. According to the plaintiff and his driver, the jeep was
exemplary damages and P15,000.00 as attorney’s fees, including
cruising at the speed of 60 to 70 kilometers per hour on the slow lane of
appearance fees of the lawyer. In addition, the defendants are also to
the expressway when the Philippine Rabbit Bus overtook the jeep and in
pay costs.12
the process of overtaking the jeep, the Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the rear
of the jeep on the left side. At the time the Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the
Petitioners appealed the decision via Notice of Appeal to the Court of In their Reply to respondent’s Comment, petitioners informed this Court
Appeals.13 of a Decision16 of the Court of Appeals acquitting petitioner Manliclic of
the charge17 of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property
In a decision dated 28 September 2001, the Court of Appeals, finding no with Physical Injuries attaching thereto a photocopy thereof.
reversible error in the decision of the trial court, affirmed it in all
respects.14 On the first assigned error, petitioners argue that the TSNs containing the
testimonies of respondent Calaunan,18Marcelo Mendoza19 and Fernando
Petitioners are now before us by way of petition for review assailing the Ramos20 should not be admitted in evidence for failure of respondent to
decision of the Court of Appeals. They assign as errors the following: comply with the requisites of Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.

I For Section 47, Rule 13021 to apply, the following requisites must be
satisfied: (a) the witness is dead or unable to testify; (b) his testimony or
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN deposition was given in a former case or proceeding, judicial or
AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURT’S QUESTIONABLE ADMISSION IN administrative, between the same parties or those representing the same
EVIDENCE OF THE TSN’s AND OTHER DOCUMENTS PRESENTED interests; (c) the former case involved the same subject as that in the
IN THE CRIMINAL CASE. present case, although on different causes of action; (d) the issue
testified to by the witness in the former trial is the same issue involved in
the present case; and (e) the adverse party had an opportunity to cross-
II
examine the witness in the former case.22
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN
Admittedly, respondent failed to show the concurrence of all the
AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURT’S RELIANCE ON THE VERSION OF
requisites set forth by the Rules for a testimony given in a former case or
THE RESPONDENT ON HOW THE ACCIDENT SUPPOSEDLY
proceeding to be admissible as an exception to the hearsay rule.
OCCURRED.
Petitioner PRBLI, not being a party in Criminal Case No. 684-M-89, had
no opportunity to cross-examine the three witnesses in said case. The
III criminal case was filed exclusively against petitioner Manliclic, petitioner
PRBLI’s employee. The cases dealing with the subsidiary liability of
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN employers uniformly declare that, strictly speaking, they are not parties to
AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURT’S UNFAIR DISREGARD OF HEREIN the criminal cases instituted against their employees.23
PETITIONER PRBL’s DEFENSE OF EXERCISE OF DUE DILIGENCE
IN THE SELECTION AND SUPERVISION OF ITS EMPLOYEES. Notwithstanding the fact that petitioner PRBLI was not a party in said
criminal case, the testimonies of the three witnesses are still admissible
IV on the ground that petitioner PRBLI failed to object on their admissibility.

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN It is elementary that an objection shall be made at the time when an
AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURT’S QUESTIONABLE AWARD OF alleged inadmissible document is offered in evidence; otherwise, the
DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY’S FEE. objection shall be treated as waived, since the right to object is merely a
privilege which the party may waive. Thus, a failure to except to the
With the passing away of respondent Calaunan during the pendency of evidence because it does not conform to the statute is a waiver of the
this appeal with this Court, we granted the Motion for the Substitution of provisions of the law. Even assuming ex gratia argumenti that these
Respondent filed by his wife, Mrs. Precila Zarate Vda. De Calaunan, and documents are inadmissible for being hearsay, but on account of failure
children, Virgilio Calaunan, Carmelita Honeycomb, Evelyn Calaunan, to object thereto, the same may be admitted and considered as sufficient
Marko Calaunan and Liwayway Calaunan.15 to prove the facts therein asserted.24 Hearsay evidence alone may be
insufficient to establish a fact in a suit but, when no objection is made be untenable. Though said section speaks only of testimony and
thereto, it is, like any other evidence, to be considered and given the deposition, it does not mean that documents from a former case or
importance it deserves.25 proceeding cannot be admitted. Said documents can be admitted they
being part of the testimonies of witnesses that have been admitted.
In the case at bar, petitioner PRBLI did not object to the TSNs containing Accordingly, they shall be given the same weight as that to which the
the testimonies of respondent Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and testimony may be entitled.29
Fernando Ramos in the criminal case when the same were offered in
evidence in the trial court. In fact, the TSNs of the testimonies of On the second assigned error, petitioners contend that the version of
Calaunan and Mendoza were admitted by both petitioners.26 Moreover, petitioner Manliclic as to how the accident occurred is more credible than
petitioner PRBLI even offered in evidence the TSN containing the respondent’s version. They anchor their contention on the fact that
testimony of Donato Ganiban in the criminal case. If petitioner PRBLI petitioner Manliclic was acquitted by the Court of Appeals of the charge
argues that the TSNs of the testimonies of plaintiff’s witnesses in the of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property with Physical
criminal case should not be admitted in the instant case, why then did it Injuries.
offer the TSN of the testimony of Ganiban which was given in the criminal
case? It appears that petitioner PRBLI wants to have its cake and eat it To be resolved by the Court is the effect of petitioner Manliclic’s acquittal
too. It cannot argue that the TSNs of the testimonies of the witnesses of in the civil case.
the adverse party in the criminal case should not be admitted and at the
same time insist that the TSN of the testimony of the witness for the From the complaint, it can be gathered that the civil case for damages
accused be admitted in its favor. To disallow admission in evidence of the was one arising from, or based on, quasi-delict.30 Petitioner Manliclic was
TSNs of the testimonies of Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando sued for his negligence or reckless imprudence in causing the collision,
Ramos in the criminal case and to admit the TSN of the testimony of while petitioner PRBLI was sued for its failure to exercise the diligence of
Ganiban would be unfair. a good father in the selection and supervision of its employees,
particularly petitioner Manliclic. The allegations read:
We do not subscribe to petitioner PRBLI’s argument that it will be denied
due process when the TSNs of the testimonies of Calaunan, Marcelo "4. That sometime on July 12, 1988 at around 6:20 A.M. plaintiff
Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in the criminal case are to be admitted in was on board the above-described motor vehicle travelling at a
the civil case. It is too late for petitioner PRBLI to raise denial of due moderate speed along the North Luzon Expressway heading
process in relation to Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, as a South towards Manila together with MARCELO MENDOZA, who
ground for objecting to the admissibility of the TSNs. For failure to object was then driving the same;
at the proper time, it waived its right to object that the TSNs did not
comply with Section 47.
"5. That approximately at kilometer 40 of the North Luzon
Express Way, the above-described motor vehicle was suddenly
In Mangio v. Court of Appeals,27 this Court, through Associate Justice bumped from behind by a Philippine Rabbit Bus with Body No.
Reynato S. Puno,28 admitted in evidence a TSN of the testimony of a 353 and with plate No. CVD 478 then being driven by one
witness in another case despite therein petitioner’s assertion that he Mauricio Manliclic of San Jose, Concepcion, Tarlac, who was
would be denied due process. In admitting the TSN, the Court ruled that then travelling recklessly at a very fast speed and had apparently
the raising of denial of due process in relation to Section 47, Rule 130 of lost control of his vehicle;
the Rules of Court, as a ground for objecting to the admissibility of the
TSN was belatedly done. In so doing, therein petitioner waived his right
"6. That as a result of the impact of the collision the above-
to object based on said ground.
described motor vehicle was forced off the North Luzon Express
Way towards the rightside where it fell on its driver’s side on a
Petitioners contend that the documents in the criminal case should not ditch, and that as a consequence, the above-described motor
have been admitted in the instant civil case because Section 47 of Rule vehicle which maybe valued at EIGHTY THOUSAND PESOS
130 refers only to "testimony or deposition." We find such contention to
(P80,000) was rendered a total wreck as shown by pictures to be From the foregoing declaration of the Court of Appeals, it appears that
presented during the pre-trial and trial of this case; petitioner Manliclic was acquitted not on reasonable doubt, but on the
ground that he is not the author of the act complained of which is based
"7. That also as a result of said incident, plaintiff sustained bodily on Section 2(b) of Rule 111 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure which
injuries which compounded plaintiff’s frail physical condition and reads:
required his hospitalization from July 12, 1988 up to and until July
22, 1988, copy of the medical certificate is hereto attached as (b) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the
Annex "A" and made an integral part hereof; civil, unless the extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment
that the fact from which the civil might arise did not exist.
"8. That the vehicular collision resulting in the total wreckage of
the above-described motor vehicle as well as bodily (sic) In spite of said ruling, petitioner Manliclic can still be held liable for the
sustained by plaintiff, was solely due to the reckless imprudence mishap. The afore-quoted section applies only to a civil action arising
of the defendant driver Mauricio Manliclic who drove his from crime or ex delicto and not to a civil action arising from quasi-delict
Philippine Rabbit Bus No. 353 at a fast speed without due regard or culpa aquiliana. The extinction of civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of
or observance of existing traffic rules and regulations; Section 3, Rule 111 [now Section 2 (b) of Rule 111], refers exclusively to
civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, whereas
"9. That defendant Philippine Rabbit Bus Line Corporation failed the civil liability for the same act considered as a quasi-delict only and not
to exercise the diligence of a good father of (sic) family in the as a crime is not extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case
selection and supervision of its drivers; x x x"31 that the criminal act charged has not happened or has not been
committed by the accused.33
Can Manliclic still be held liable for the collision and be found negligent
notwithstanding the declaration of the Court of Appeals that there was an A quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana is a separate legal institution under the
absence of negligence on his part? Civil Code with a substantivity all its own, and individuality that is entirely
apart and independent from a delict or crime – a distinction exists
In exonerating petitioner Manliclic in the criminal case, the Court of between the civil liability arising from a crime and the responsibility for
Appeals said: quasi-delicts or culpa extra-contractual. The same negligence causing
damages may produce civil liability arising from a crime under the Penal
Code, or create an action for quasi-delicts or culpa extra-contractual
To the following findings of the court a quo, to wit: that accused-appellant
under the Civil Code.34 It is now settled that acquittal of the accused,
was negligent "when the bus he was driving bumped the jeep from
even if based on a finding that he is not guilty, does not carry with it the
behind"; that "the proximate cause of the accident was his having driven
extinction of the civil liability based on quasi delict.35
the bus at a great speed while closely following the jeep"; x x x
In other words, if an accused is acquitted based on reasonable doubt on
We do not agree.
his guilt, his civil liability arising from the crime may be proved by
preponderance of evidence only. However, if an accused is acquitted on
The swerving of Calaunan’s jeep when it tried to overtake the vehicle in the basis that he was not the author of the act or omission complained of
front of it was beyond the control of accused-appellant. (or that there is declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which
the civil might arise did not exist), said acquittal closes the door to civil
xxxx liability based on the crime or ex delicto. In this second instance, there
being no crime or delict to speak of, civil liability based thereon or ex
Absent evidence of negligence, therefore, accused-appellant cannot be delicto is not possible. In this case, a civil action, if any, may be instituted
held liable for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property on grounds other than the delict complained of.
with Physical Injuries as defined in Article 365 of the Revised Penal
Code.32
As regards civil liability arising from quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana, same x x x Thus, which of the two versions of the manner how the collision took
will not be extinguished by an acquittal, whether it be on ground of place was correct, would be determinative of who between the two
reasonable doubt or that accused was not the author of the act or drivers was negligent in the operation of their respective vehicle.
omission complained of (or that there is declaration in a final judgment
that the fact from which the civil liability might arise did not exist). The In this regard, it should be noted that in the statement of Mauricio
responsibility arising from fault or negligence in a quasi-delict is entirely Manliclic (Exh. 15) given to the Philippine Rabbit Investigator CV
separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under Cabading no mention was made by him about the fact that the driver of
the Penal Code.36 An acquittal or conviction in the criminal case is entirely the jeep was overtaking another jeep when the collision took place. The
irrelevant in the civil case37 based on quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana. allegation that another jeep was being overtaken by the jeep of Calaunan
was testified to by him only in Crim. Case No. 684-M-89 before the
Petitioners ask us to give credence to their version of how the collision Regional Trial Court in Malolos, Bulacan and before this Court. Evidently,
occurred and to disregard that of respondent’s. Petitioners insist that it was a product of an afterthought on the part of Mauricio Manliclic so
while the PRBLI bus was in the process of overtaking respondent’s jeep, that he could explain why he should not be held responsible for the
the latter, without warning, suddenly swerved to the left (fast) lane in incident. His attempt to veer away from the truth was also apparent when
order to overtake another jeep ahead of it, thus causing the collision. it would be considered that in his statement given to the Philippine Rabbit
Investigator CV Cabading (Exh. 15), he alleged that the Philippine Rabbit
As a general rule, questions of fact may not be raised in a petition for Bus bumped the jeep of Calaunan while the Philippine Rabbit Bus was
review. The factual findings of the trial court, especially when affirmed by behind the said jeep. In his testimony before the Regional Trial Court in
the appellate court, are binding and conclusive on the Supreme Malolos, Bulacan as well as in this Court, he alleged that the Philippine
Court.38 Not being a trier of facts, this Court will not allow a review thereof Rabbit Bus was already on the left side of the jeep when the collision
unless: took place. For this inconsistency between his statement and testimony,
his explanation regarding the manner of how the collision between the
(1) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmise jeep and the bus took place should be taken with caution. It might be true
and conjecture; (2) the inference made is manifestly mistaken; (3) there is that in the statement of Oscar Buan given to the Philippine Rabbit
grave abuse of discretion; (4) the judgment is based on a Investigator CV Cabading, it was mentioned by the former that the jeep of
misapprehension of facts; (5) the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) the plaintiff was in the act of overtaking another jeep when the collision
Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case and its findings are between the latter jeep and the Philippine Rabbit Bus took place. But the
contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellees; (7) the fact, however, that his statement was given on July 15, 1988, one day
findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial after Mauricio Manliclic gave his statement should not escape attention.
court; (8) said findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific The one-day difference between the giving of the two statements would
evidence on which they are based; (9) the facts set forth in the petition as be significant enough to entertain the possibility of Oscar Buan having
well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the received legal advise before giving his statement. Apart from that, as
respondents; and (10) the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are between his statement and the statement of Manliclic himself, the
premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the statement of the latter should prevail. Besides, in his Affidavit of March
evidence on record.39 10, 1989, (Exh. 14), the unreliability of the statement of Oscar Buan (Exh.
13) given to CV Cabading rear its "ugly head" when he did not mention in
said affidavit that the jeep of Calaunan was trying to overtake another
After going over the evidence on record, we do not find any of the
jeep when the collision between the jeep in question and the Philippine
exceptions that would warrant our departure from the general rule. We
Rabbit bus took place.
fully agree in the finding of the trial court, as affirmed by the Court of
Appeals, that it was petitioner Manliclic who was negligent in driving the
PRBLI bus which was the cause of the collision. In giving credence to the xxxx
version of the respondent, the trial court has this say:
If one would believe the testimony of the defendant, Mauricio Manliclic,
and his conductor, Oscar Buan, that the Philippine Rabbit Bus was
already somewhat parallel to the jeep when the collision took place, the Due diligence in the supervision of employees on the other hand,
point of collision on the jeep should have been somewhat on the left side includes the formulation of suitable rules and regulations for the guidance
thereof rather than on its rear. Furthermore, the jeep should have fallen of employees and the issuance of proper instructions intended for the
on the road itself rather than having been forced off the road. Useless, protection of the public and persons with whom the employer has
likewise to emphasize that the Philippine Rabbit was running very fast as relations through his or its employees and the imposition of necessary
testified to by Ramos which was not controverted by the defendants.40 disciplinary measures upon employees in case of breach or as may be
warranted to ensure the performance of acts indispensable to the
Having ruled that it was petitioner Manliclic’s negligence that caused the business of and beneficial to their employer. To this, we add that actual
smash up, there arises the juris tantum presumption that the employer is implementation and monitoring of consistent compliance with said rules
negligent, rebuttable only by proof of observance of the diligence of a should be the constant concern of the employer, acting through
good father of a family.41 Under Article 218042 of the New Civil Code, dependable supervisors who should regularly report on their supervisory
when an injury is caused by the negligence of the employee, there functions.
instantly arises a presumption of law that there was negligence on the
part of the master or employer either in the selection of the servant or In order that the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision
employee, or in supervision over him after selection or both. The liability of employees may be deemed sufficient and plausible, it is not enough to
of the employer under Article 2180 is direct and immediate; it is not emptily invoke the existence of said company guidelines and policies on
conditioned upon prior recourse against the negligent employee and a hiring and supervision. As the negligence of the employee gives rise to
prior showing of the insolvency of such employee. Therefore, it is the presumption of negligence on the part of the employer, the latter has
incumbent upon the private respondents to prove that they exercised the the burden of proving that it has been diligent not only in the selection of
diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of employees but also in the actual supervision of their work. The mere
their employee.43 allegation of the existence of hiring procedures and supervisory policies,
without anything more, is decidedly not sufficient to overcome such
In the case at bar, petitioner PRBLI maintains that it had shown that it presumption.
exercised the required diligence in the selection and supervision of its
employees, particularly petitioner Manliclic. In the matter of selection, it We emphatically reiterate our holding, as a warning to all employers, that
showed the screening process that petitioner Manliclic underwent before "the formulation of various company policies on safety without showing
he became a regular driver. As to the exercise of due diligence in the that they were being complied with is not sufficient to exempt petitioner
supervision of its employees, it argues that presence of ready from liability arising from negligence of its employees. It is incumbent
investigators (Ganiban and Cabading) is sufficient proof that it exercised upon petitioner to show that in recruiting and employing the erring driver
the required due diligence in the supervision of its employees. the recruitment procedures and company policies on efficiency and
safety were followed." x x x.
In the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to
examine them as to their qualifications, experience and service records. The trial court found that petitioner PRBLI exercised the diligence of a
In the supervision of employees, the employer must formulate standard good father of a family in the selection but not in the supervision of its
operating procedures, monitor their implementation and impose employees. It expounded as follows:
disciplinary measures for the breach thereof. To fend off vicarious liability,
employers must submit concrete proof, including documentary evidence, From the evidence of the defendants, it seems that the Philippine Rabbit
that they complied with everything that was incumbent on them.44 Bus Lines has a very good procedure of recruiting its driver as well as in
the maintenance of its vehicles. There is no evidence though that it is as
In Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of Appeals,45 it was good in the supervision of its personnel. There has been no iota of
explained that: evidence introduced by it that there are rules promulgated by the bus
company regarding the safe operation of its vehicle and in the way its
driver should manage and operate the vehicles assigned to them. There
is no showing that somebody in the bus company has been employed to
oversee how its driver should behave while operating their vehicles SO ORDERED.
without courting incidents similar to the herein case. In regard to
supervision, it is not difficult to observe that the Philippine Rabbit Bus
Lines, Inc. has been negligent as an employer and it should be made
responsible for the acts of its employees, particularly the driver involved
in this case.

We agree. The presence of ready investigators after the occurrence of


the accident is not enough to exempt petitioner PRBLI from liability
arising from the negligence of petitioner Manliclic. Same does not comply
with the guidelines set forth in the cases above-mentioned. The presence
of the investigators after the accident is not enough supervision. Regular
supervision of employees, that is, prior to any accident, should have been
shown and established. This, petitioner failed to do. The lack of
supervision can further be seen by the fact that there is only one set of
manual containing the rules and regulations for all the drivers of
PRBLI. 46 How then can all the drivers of petitioner PRBLI know and be
continually informed of the rules and regulations when only one manual is
being lent to all the drivers?

For failure to adduce proof that it exercised the diligence of a good father
of a family in the selection and supervision of its employees, petitioner
PRBLI is held solidarily responsible for the damages caused by petitioner
Manliclic’s negligence.

We now go to the award of damages. The trial court correctly awarded


the amount of P40,838.00 as actual damages representing the amount
paid by respondent for the towing and repair of his jeep.47 As regards the
awards for moral and exemplary damages, same, under the
circumstances, must be modified. The P100,000.00 awarded by the trial
court as moral damages must be reduced to P50,000.00.48 Exemplary
damages are imposed by way of example or correction for the public
good.49 The amount awarded by the trial court must, likewise, be lowered
to P50,000.00.50 The award of P15,000.00 for attorney’s fees and
expenses of litigation is in order and authorized by law.51

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition for review is


DENIED. The decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 55909
is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that (1) the award of moral
damages shall be reduced to P50,000.00; and (2) the award of
exemplary damages shall be lowered to P50,000.00. Costs against
petitioners.
18. G.R. No. 141910 August 6, 2002 "Under Section 1 of Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, it is provided
that ‘Each party must prove his own affirmative allegation, xxx.’
FGU INSURANCE CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs. "In the instant case, plaintiff did not present any single evidence
G.P. SARMIENTO TRUCKING CORPORATION and LAMBERT M. that would prove that defendant is a common carrier.
EROLES, respondents.
"x x x xxx xxx
VITUG, J.:
"Accordingly, the application of the law on common carriers is not
G.P. Sarmiento Trucking Corporation (GPS) undertook to deliver on 18 warranted and the presumption of fault or negligence on the part
June 1994 thirty (30) units of Condura S.D. white refrigerators aboard of a common carrier in case of loss, damage or deterioration of
one of its Isuzu truck, driven by Lambert Eroles, from the plant site of goods during transport under 1735 of the Civil Code is not
Concepcion Industries, Inc., along South Superhighway in Alabang, availing.
Metro Manila, to the Central Luzon Appliances in Dagupan City. While
the truck was traversing the north diversion road along McArthur highway "Thus, the laws governing the contract between the owner of the
in Barangay Anupol, Bamban, Tarlac, it collided with an unidentified cargo to whom the plaintiff was subrogated and the owner of the
truck, causing it to fall into a deep canal, resulting in damage to the vehicle which transports the cargo are the laws on obligation and
cargoes. contract of the Civil Code as well as the law on quasi delicts.

FGU Insurance Corporation (FGU), an insurer of the shipment, paid to "Under the law on obligation and contract, negligence or fault is
Concepcion Industries, Inc., the value of the covered cargoes in the sum not presumed. The law on quasi delict provides for some
of P204,450.00. FGU, in turn, being the subrogee of the rights and presumption of negligence but only upon the attendance of some
interests of Concepcion Industries, Inc., sought reimbursement of the circumstances. Thus, Article 2185 provides:
amount it had paid to the latter from GPS. Since the trucking company
failed to heed the claim, FGU filed a complaint for damages and breach ‘Art. 2185. Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is
of contract of carriage against GPS and its driver Lambert Eroles with the presumed that a person driving a motor vehicle has been
Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, of Makati City. In its answer, negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was violating any
respondents asserted that GPS was the exclusive hauler only of traffic regulation.’
Concepcion Industries, Inc., since 1988, and it was not so engaged in
business as a common carrier. Respondents further claimed that the
"Evidence for the plaintiff shows no proof that defendant was
cause of damage was purely accidental.
violating any traffic regulation. Hence, the presumption of
1âwphi 1.nêt

negligence is not obtaining.


The issues having thus been joined, FGU presented its evidence,
establishing the extent of damage to the cargoes and the amount it had
"Considering that plaintiff failed to adduce evidence that
paid to the assured. GPS, instead of submitting its evidence, filed with
defendant is a common carrier and defendant’s driver was the
leave of court a motion to dismiss the complaint by way of demurrer to
one negligent, defendant cannot be made liable for the damages
evidence on the ground that petitioner had failed to prove that it was a
of the subject cargoes."2
common carrier.
The subsequent motion for reconsideration having been denied,3 plaintiff
The trial court, in its order of 30 April 1996,1 granted the motion to
interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals, contending that the trial
dismiss, explaining thusly:
court had erred (a) in holding that the appellee corporation was not a
common carrier defined under the law and existing jurisprudence; and (b)
in dismissing the complaint on a demurrer to evidence.
The Court of Appeals rejected the appeal of petitioner and ruled in favor appeal and should not be disturbed unless for strong and valid
of GPS. The appellate court, in its decision of 10 June 1999,4 discoursed, reasons."5
among other things, that -
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was likewise denied;6 hence, the
"x x x in order for the presumption of negligence provided for instant petition,7 raising the following issues:
under the law governing common carrier (Article 1735, Civil
Code) to arise, the appellant must first prove that the appellee is I
a common carrier. Should the appellant fail to prove that the
appellee is a common carrier, the presumption would not arise; WHETHER RESPONDENT GPS MAY BE CONSIDERED AS A
consequently, the appellant would have to prove that the carrier COMMON CARRIER AS DEFINED UNDER THE LAW AND
was negligent. EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE.

"x x x xxx xxx II

"Because it is the appellant who insists that the appellees can still WHETHER RESPONDENT GPS, EITHER AS A COMMON
be considered as a common carrier, despite its `limited clientele,’ CARRIER OR A PRIVATE CARRIER, MAY BE PRESUMED TO
(assuming it was really a common carrier), it follows that it HAVE BEEN NEGLIGENT WHEN THE GOODS IT
(appellant) has the burden of proving the same. It (plaintiff- UNDERTOOK TO TRANSPORT SAFELY WERE
appellant) `must establish his case by a preponderance of SUBSEQUENTLY DAMAGED WHILE IN ITS PROTECTIVE
evidence, which means that the evidence as a whole adduced by CUSTODY AND POSSESSION.
one side is superior to that of the other.’ (Summa Insurance
Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 243 SCRA 175). This,
III
unfortunately, the appellant failed to do -- hence, the dismissal of
the plaintiff’s complaint by the trial court is justified.
WHETHER THE DOCTRINE OF RES IPSA LOQUITUR IS
APPLICABLE IN THE INSTANT CASE.
"x x x xxx xxx
On the first issue, the Court finds the conclusion of the trial court and the
"Based on the foregoing disquisitions and considering the
Court of Appeals to be amply justified. GPS, being an exclusive
circumstances that the appellee trucking corporation has been `its
contractor and hauler of Concepcion Industries, Inc., rendering or offering
exclusive contractor, hauler since 1970, defendant has no choice
its services to no other individual or entity, cannot be considered a
but to comply with the directive of its principal,’ the inevitable
common carrier. Common carriers are persons, corporations, firms or
conclusion is that the appellee is a private carrier.
associations engaged in the business of carrying or transporting
passengers or goods or both, by land, water, or air, for hire or
"x x x xxx xxx compensation, offering their services to the public,8 whether to the public
in general or to a limited clientele in particular, but never on an exclusive
"x x x the lower court correctly ruled that 'the application of the basis.9 The true test of a common carrier is the carriage of passengers or
law on common carriers is not warranted and the presumption of goods, providing space for those who opt to avail themselves of its
fault or negligence on the part of a common carrier in case of transportation service for a fee.10Given accepted standards, GPS
loss, damage or deterioration of good[s] during transport under scarcely falls within the term "common carrier."
[article] 1735 of the Civil Code is not availing.' x x x.
The above conclusion nothwithstanding, GPS cannot escape from
"Finally, We advert to the long established rule that conclusions liability.
and findings of fact of a trial court are entitled to great weight on
In culpa contractual, upon which the action of petitioner rests as being person. Petitioner’s civil action against the driver can only be based
the subrogee of Concepcion Industries, Inc., the mere proof of the on culpa aquiliana, which, unlike culpa contractual, would require the
existence of the contract and the failure of its compliance justify, prima claimant for damages to prove negligence or fault on the part of the
facie, a corresponding right of relief.11 The law, recognizing the obligatory defendant.18
force of contracts,12 will not permit a party to be set free from liability for
any kind of misperformance of the contractual undertaking or a A word in passing. Res ipsa loquitur, a doctrine being invoked by
contravention of the tenor thereof.13 A breach upon the contract confers petitioner, holds a defendant liable where the thing which caused the
upon the injured party a valid cause for recovering that which may have injury complained of is shown to be under the latter’s management and
been lost or suffered. The remedy serves to preserve the interests of the the accident is such that, in the ordinary course of things, cannot be
promisee that may include his "expectation interest," which is his interest expected to happen if those who have its management or control use
in having the benefit of his bargain by being put in as good a position as proper care. It affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of
he would have been in had the contract been performed, or his "reliance explanation by the defendant, that the accident arose from want of
interest," which is his interest in being reimbursed for loss caused by care.19 It is not a rule of substantive law and, as such, it does not create
reliance on the contract by being put in as good a position as he would an independent ground of liability. Instead, it is regarded as a mode of
have been in had the contract not been made; or his "restitution interest," proof, or a mere procedural convenience since it furnishes a substitute
which is his interest in having restored to him any benefit that he has for, and relieves the plaintiff of, the burden of producing specific proof of
conferred on the other party.14 Indeed, agreements can accomplish little, negligence. The maxim simply places on the defendant the burden of
either for their makers or for society, unless they are made the basis for going forward with the proof.20 Resort to the doctrine, however, may be
action.15 The effect of every infraction is to create a new duty, that is, to allowed only when (a) the event is of a kind which does not ordinarily
make recompense to the one who has been injured by the failure of occur in the absence of negligence; (b) other responsible causes,
another to observe his contractual obligation16 unless he can show including the conduct of the plaintiff and third persons, are sufficiently
extenuating circumstances, like proof of his exercise of due diligence eliminated by the evidence; and (c) the indicated negligence is within the
(normally that of the diligence of a good father of a family or, scope of the defendant's duty to the plaintiff.21 Thus, it is not applicable
exceptionally by stipulation or by law such as in the case of common when an unexplained accident may be attributable to one of several
carriers, that of extraordinary diligence) or of the attendance of fortuitous causes, for some of which the defendant could not be responsible.22
event, to excuse him from his ensuing liability.
Res ipsa loquitur generally finds relevance whether or not a contractual
Respondent trucking corporation recognizes the existence of a contract relationship exists between the plaintiff and the defendant, for the
of carriage between it and petitioner’s assured, and admits that the inference of negligence arises from the circumstances and nature of the
cargoes it has assumed to deliver have been lost or damaged while in its occurrence and not from the nature of the relation of the
custody. In such a situation, a default on, or failure of compliance with, parties.23 Nevertheless, the requirement that responsible causes other
the obligation – in this case, the delivery of the goods in its custody to the than those due to defendant’s conduct must first be eliminated, for the
place of destination - gives rise to a presumption of lack of care and doctrine to apply, should be understood as being confined only to cases
corresponding liability on the part of the contractual obligor the burden of pure (non-contractual) tort since obviously the presumption of
being on him to establish otherwise. GPS has failed to do so. negligence in culpa contractual, as previously so pointed out,
immediately attaches by a failure of the covenant or its tenor. In the case
Respondent driver, on the other hand, without concrete proof of his of the truck driver, whose liability in a civil action is predicated on culpa
negligence or fault, may not himself be ordered to pay petitioner. The acquiliana, while he admittedly can be said to have been in control and
driver, not being a party to the contract of carriage between petitioner’s management of the vehicle which figured in the accident, it is not equally
principal and defendant, may not be held liable under the agreement. A shown, however, that the accident could have been exclusively due to his
contract can only bind the parties who have entered into it or their negligence, a matter that can allow, forthwith, res ipsa loquitur to work
successors who have assumed their personality or their juridical against him.
position.17 Consonantly with the axiom res inter alios acta aliis neque
nocet prodest, such contract can neither favor nor prejudice a third
If a demurrer to evidence is granted but on appeal the order of dismissal 19. G.R. No. 122039 May 31, 2000
is reversed, the movant shall be deemed to have waived the right to
present evidence.24 Thus, respondent corporation may no longer offer VICENTE CALALAS, petitioner,
proof to establish that it has exercised due care in transporting the vs.
cargoes of the assured so as to still warrant a remand of the case to the COURT OF APPEALS, ELIZA JUJEURCHE SUNGA and FRANCISCO
trial court.
1âw phi1.nêt
SALVA, respondents.

WHEREFORE, the order, dated 30 April 1996, of the Regional Trial


Court, Branch 66, of Makati City, and the decision, dated 10 June 1999,
of the Court of Appeals, are AFFIRMED only insofar as respondent
Lambert M. Eroles is concerned, but said assailed order of the trial court
MENDOZA, J.:
and decision of the appellate court are REVERSED as regards G.P.
Sarmiento Trucking Corporation which, instead, is hereby ordered to pay
FGU Insurance Corporation the value of the damaged and lost cargoes in This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision1 of the Court of
the amount of P204,450.00. No costs. Appeals, dated March 31, 1991, reversing the contrary decision of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 36, Dumaguete City, and awarding
damages instead to private respondent Eliza Jujeurche Sunga as plaintiff
SO ORDERED.
in an action for breach of contract of carriage.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Kapunan, Ynares-Santiago, and Austria-Martinez,
The facts, as found by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:
JJ., concur.
At 10 o'clock in the morning of August 23, 1989, private respondent Eliza
Jujeurche G. Sunga, then a college freshman majoring in Physical
Education at the Siliman University, took a passenger jeepney owned
and operated by petitioner Vicente Calalas. As the jeepney was filled to
capacity of about 24 passengers, Sunga was given by the conductor an
"extension seat," a wooden stool at the back of the door at the rear end of
the vehicle.

On the way to Poblacion Sibulan, Negros Occidental, the jeepney


stopped to let a passenger off. As she was seated at the rear of the
vehicle, Sunga gave way to the outgoing passenger. Just as she was
doing so, an Isuzu truck driven by Iglecerio Verena and owned by
Francisco Salva bumped the left rear portion of the jeepney. As a result,
Sunga was injured. She sustained a fracture of the "distal third of the left
tibia-fibula with severe necrosis of the underlying skin." Closed reduction
of the fracture, long leg circular casting, and case wedging were done
under sedation. Her confinement in the hospital lasted from August 23 to
September 7, 1989. Her attending physician, Dr. Danilo V. Oligario, an
orthopedic surgeon, certified she would remain on a cast for a period of
three months and would have to ambulate in crutches during said period.

On October 9, 1989, Sunga filed a complaint for damages against


Calalas, alleging violation of the contract of carriage by the former in
failing to exercise the diligence required of him as a common carrier. was a caso fortuito. Petitioner further assails the award of moral damages
Calalas, on the other hand, filed a third-party complaint against Francisco to Sunga on the ground that it is not supported by evidence.
Salva, the owner of the Isuzu truck.
The petition has no merit.
The lower court rendered judgment against Salva as third-party
defendant and absolved Calalas of liability, holding that it was the driver The argument that Sunga is bound by the ruling in Civil Case No. 3490
of the Isuzu truck who was responsible for the accident. It took finding the driver and the owner of the truck liable for quasi-delict ignores
cognizance of another case (Civil Case No. 3490), filed by Calalas the fact that she was never a party to that case and, therefore, the
against Salva and Verena, for quasi-delict, in which Branch 37 of the principle of res judicata does not apply.
same court held Salva and his driver Verena jointly liable to Calalas for
the damage to his jeepney. Nor are the issues in Civil Case No. 3490 and in the present case the
same. The issue in Civil Case No. 3490 was whether Salva and his driver
On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the ruling of the lower court was Verena were liable for quasi-delict for the damage caused to petitioner's
reversed on the ground that Sunga's cause of action was based on a jeepney. On the other hand, the issue in this case is whether petitioner is
contract of carriage, not quasi-delict, and that the common carrier failed liable on his contract of carriage. The first, quasi-delict, also known
to exercise the diligence required under the Civil Code. The appellate as culpa aquiliana or culpa extra contractual, has as its source the
court dismissed the third-party complaint against Salva and adjudged negligence of the tortfeasor. The second, breach of contract or culpa
Calalas liable for damages to Sunga. The dispositive portion of its contractual, is premised upon the negligence in the performance of a
decision reads: contractual obligation.

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby Consequently, in quasi-delict, the negligence or fault should be clearly
REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and another one is entered established because it is the basis of the action, whereas in breach of
ordering defendant-appellee Vicente Calalas to pay contract, the action can be prosecuted merely by proving the existence of
plaintiff-appellant: the contract and the fact that the obligor, in this case the common carrier,
failed to transport his passenger safely to his destination.2 In case of
(1) P50,000.00 as actual and compensatory damages; death or injuries to passengers, Art. 1756 of the Civil Code provides that
common carriers are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted
(2) P50,000.00 as moral damages; negligently unless they prove that they observed extraordinary diligence
as defined in Arts. 1733 and 1755 of the Code. This provision necessarily
(3) P10,000.00 as attorney's fees; and shifts to the common carrier the burden of proof.

(4) P1,000.00 as expenses of litigation; and There is, thus, no basis for the contention that the ruling in Civil Case No.
3490, finding Salva and his driver Verena liable for the damage to
petitioner's jeepney, should be binding on Sunga. It is immaterial that the
(5) to pay the costs.
proximate cause of the collision between the jeepney and the truck was
the negligence of the truck driver. The doctrine of proximate cause is
SO ORDERED. applicable only in actions for quasi-delict, not in actions involving breach
of contract. The doctrine is a device for imputing liability to a person
Hence, this petition. Petitioner contends that the ruling in Civil Case No. where there is no relation between him and another party. In such a
3490 that the negligence of Verena was the proximate cause of the case, the obligation is created by law itself. But, where there is a pre-
accident negates his liability and that to rule otherwise would be to make existing contractual relation between the parties, it is the parties
the common carrier an insurer of the safety of its passengers. He themselves who create the obligation, and the function of the law is
contends that the bumping of the jeepney by the truck owned by Salva merely to regulate the relation thus created. Insofar as contracts of
carriage are concerned, some aspects regulated by the Civil Code are diagonal angle. This is a violation of the R.A. No. 4136, as amended, or
those respecting the diligence required of common carriers with regard to the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, which provides:
the safety of passengers as well as the presumption of negligence in
cases of death or injury to passengers. It provides: Sec. 54. Obstruction of Traffic. — No person shall drive
his motor vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct or
Art. 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their impede the passage of any vehicle, nor, while discharging
business and for reasons of public policy, are bound to or taking on passengers or loading or unloading freight,
observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the obstruct the free passage of other vehicles on the
goods and for the safety of the passengers transported by highway.
them, according to all the circumstances of each case.
Second, it is undisputed that petitioner's driver took in more passengers
Such extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the than the allowed seating capacity of the jeepney, a violation of §32(a) of
goods is further expressed in articles 1734, 1735, and the same law. It provides:
1746, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, while the extraordinary diligence
for the safety of the passengers is further set forth in Exceeding registered capacity. — No person operating
articles 1755 and 1756. any motor vehicle shall allow more passengers or more
freight or cargo in his vehicle than its registered capacity.
Art. 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the
passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can The fact that Sunga was seated in an "extension seat" placed her in a
provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious peril greater than that to which the other passengers were exposed.
persons, with due regard for all the circumstances. Therefore, not only was petitioner unable to overcome the presumption of
negligence imposed on him for the injury sustained by Sunga, but also,
Art. 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, the evidence shows he was actually negligent in transporting
common carriers are presumed to have been at fault or to passengers.
have acted negligently, unless they prove that they
observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed by articles We find it hard to give serious thought to petitioner's contention that
1733 and 1755. Sunga's taking an "extension seat" amounted to an implied assumption of
risk. It is akin to arguing that the injuries to the many victims of the
In the case at bar, upon the happening of the accident, the presumption tragedies in our seas should not be compensated merely because those
of negligence at once arose, and it became the duty of petitioner to prove passengers assumed a greater risk of drowning by boarding an
that he had to observe extraordinary diligence in the care of his overloaded ferry. This is also true of petitioner's contention that the
passengers. jeepney being bumped while it was improperly parked constitutes caso
fortuito. A caso fortuito is an event which could not be foreseen, or which,
Now, did the driver of jeepney carry Sunga "safely as far as human care though foreseen, was inevitable.3 This requires that the following
and foresight could provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious requirements be present: (a) the cause of the breach is independent of
persons, with due regard for all the circumstances" as required by Art. the debtor's will; (b) the event is unforeseeable or unavoidable; (c) the
1755? We do not think so. Several factors militate against petitioner's event is such as to render it impossible for the debtor to fulfill his
contention. obligation in a normal manner, and (d) the debtor did not take part in
causing the injury to the
First, as found by the Court of Appeals, the jeepney was not properly creditor.4 Petitioner should have foreseen the danger of parking his
parked, its rear portion being exposed about two meters from the broad jeepney with its body protruding two meters into the highway.
shoulders of the highway, and facing the middle of the highway in a
Finally, petitioner challenges the award of moral damages alleging that it the Isuzu truck who took her to the hospital does not imply that petitioner
is excessive and without basis in law. We find this contention well taken. was utterly indifferent to the plight of his injured passenger. If at all, it is
merely implied recognition by Verena that he was the one at fault for the
In awarding moral damages, the Court of Appeals stated: accident.

Plaintiff-appellant at the time of the accident was a first- WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals, dated March 31,
year college student in that school year 1989-1990 at the 1995, and its resolution, dated September 11, 1995, are AFFIRMED, with
Silliman University, majoring in Physical Education. the MODIFICATION that the award of moral damages is DELETED.
Because of the injury, she was not able to enroll in the
second semester of that school year. She testified that SO ORDERED.
she had no more intention of continuing with her
schooling, because she could not walk and decided not to Bellosillo and Buena, JJ., concur.
pursue her degree, major in Physical Education "because
of my leg which has a defect already." Quisumbing and De Leon, Jr., JJ., are on leave.

Plaintiff-appellant likewise testified that even while she


was under confinement, she cried in pain because of her
injured left foot. As a result of her injury, the Orthopedic
Surgeon also certified that she has "residual bowing of
the fracture side." She likewise decided not to further
pursue Physical Education as her major subject, because
"my left leg . . . has a defect already."

Those are her physical pains and moral sufferings, the


inevitable bedfellows of the injuries that she suffered.
Under Article 2219 of the Civil Code, she is entitled to
recover moral damages in the sum of P50,000.00, which
is fair, just and reasonable.

As a general rule, moral damages are not recoverable in actions for


damages predicated on a breach of contract for it is not one of the items
enumerated under Art. 2219 of the Civil Code.5 As an exception, such
damages are recoverable: (1) in cases in which the mishap results in the
death of a passenger, as provided in Art. 1764, in relation to Art. 2206(3)
of the Civil Code; and (2) in the cases in which the carrier is guilty of
fraud or bad faith, as provided in Art. 2220.6

In this case, there is no legal basis for awarding moral damages since
there was no factual finding by the appellate court that petitioner acted in
bad faith in the performance of the contract of carriage. Sunga's
contention that petitioner's admission in open court that the driver of the
jeepney failed to assist her in going to a nearby hospital cannot be
construed as an admission of bad faith. The fact that it was the driver of
20. G.R. No. 98695 January 27, 1993 remains to a newly purchased family plot also at the
Manila Memorial Park Cemetery, the concrete vault
JUAN J. SYQUIA, CORAZON C. SYQUIA, CARLOTA C. SYQUIA, encasing the coffin of the deceased was removed from its
CARLOS C. SYQUIA and ANTHONY C. SYQUIA, petitioners, niche underground with the assistance of certain
vs. employees of defendant-appellant (sic); that as the
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and THE MANILA concrete vault was being raised to the surface, plaintiffs-
MEMORIAL PARK CEMETERY, INC., respondents. appellants discovered that the concrete vault had a hole
approximately three (3) inches in diameter near the
Pacis & Reyes Law Offices for petitioners. bottom of one of the walls closing out the width of the
vault on one end and that for a certain length of time (one
hour, more or less), water drained out of the hole; that
Augusto S. San Pedro & Ari-Ben C. Sebastian for private respondents.
because of the aforesaid discovery, plaintiffs-appellants
became agitated and upset with concern that the water
which had collected inside the vault might have risen as it
in fact did rise, to the level of the coffin and flooded the
CAMPOS, JR., J.: same as well as the remains of the deceased with ill
effects thereto; that pursuant to an authority granted by
Herein petitioners, Juan J. Syquia and Corazon C. Syquia, Carlota C. the Municipal Court of Parañaque, Metro Manila on
Syquia, Carlos C. Syquia, and Anthony Syquia, were the parents and September 14, 1978, plaintiffs-appellants with the
siblings, respectively, of the deceased Vicente Juan Syquia. On March 5, assistance of licensed morticians and certain personnel of
1979, they filed a complaint1 in the then Court of First Instance against defendant-appellant (sic) caused the opening of the
herein private respondent, Manila Memorial Park Cemetery, Inc. for concrete vault on September 15, 1978; that upon opening
recovery of damages arising from breach of contract and/or quasi-delict. the vault, the following became apparent to the plaintiffs-
The trial court dismissed the complaint. appellants: (a) the interior walls of the concrete vault
showed evidence of total flooding; (b) the coffin was
The antecedent facts, as gathered by the respondent Court, are as entirely damaged by water, filth and silt causing the
follows: wooden parts to warp and separate and to crack the
viewing glass panel located directly above the head and
On March 5, 1979, Juan, Corazon, Carlota and Anthony torso of the deceased; (c) the entire lining of the coffin,
all surnamed Syquia, plaintiff-appellants herein, filed a the clothing of the deceased, and the exposed parts of
complaint for damages against defendant-appellee, the deceased's remains were damaged and soiled by the
Manila Memorial Park Cemetery, Inc. action of the water and silt and were also coated with filth.

The complaint alleged among others, that pursuant to a Due to the alleged unlawful and malicious breach by the
Deed of Sale (Contract No. 6885) dated August 27, 1969 defendant-appellee of its obligation to deliver a defect-
and Interment Order No. 7106 dated July 21, 1978 free concrete vault designed to protect the remains of the
executed between plaintiff-appellant Juan J. Syquia and deceased and the coffin against the elements which
defendant-appellee, the former, father of deceased resulted in the desecration of deceased's grave and in the
Vicente Juan J. Syquia authorized and instructed alternative, because of defendant-appellee's gross
defendant-appellee to inter the remains of deceased in negligence conformably to Article 2176 of the New Civil
the Manila Memorial Park Cemetery in the morning of Code in failing to seal the concrete vault, the complaint
July 25, 1978 conformably and in accordance with prayed that judgment be rendered ordering defendant-
defendant-appellant's (sic) interment procedures; that on appellee to pay plaintiffs-appellants P30,000.00 for actual
September 4, 1978, preparatory to transferring the said damages, P500,000.00 for moral damages, exemplary
damages in the amount determined by the court, 20% of respondent's witnesses, and admitted in the answer,
defendant-appellee's total liability as attorney's fees, and which could have justified a different conclusion;
expenses of litigation and costs of suit.2
4. held that there was no tort because of a pre-existing
In dismissing the complaint, the trial court held that the contract between contract and the absence of fault/negligence; and
the parties did not guarantee that the cement vault would be waterproof;
that there could be no quasi-delict because the defendant was not guilty 5. did not award the P25,000.00 actual damages which
of any fault or negligence, and because there was a pre-existing was agreed upon by the parties, moral and exemplary
contractual relation between the Syquias and defendant Manila Memorial damages, and attorney's fees.
Park Cemetery, Inc.. The trial court also noted that the father himself,
Juan Syquia, chose the gravesite despite knowing that said area had to At the bottom of the entire proceedings is the act of boring a hole by
be constantly sprinkled with water to keep the grass green and that water private respondent on the vault of the deceased kin of the bereaved
would eventually seep through the vault. The trial court also accepted the petitioners. The latter allege that such act was either a breach of private
explanation given by defendant for boring a hole at the bottom side of the respondent's contractual obligation to provide a sealed vault, or, in the
vault: "The hole had to be bored through the concrete vault because if it alternative, a negligent act which constituted a quasi-delict. Nonetheless,
has no hole the vault will (sic) float and the grave would be filled with petitioners claim that whatever kind of negligence private respondent has
water and the digging would caved (sic) in the earth, the earth would committed, the latter is liable for desecrating the grave of petitioners'
caved (sic) in the (sic) fill up the grave."3 dead.

From this judgment, the Syquias appealed. They alleged that the trial In the instant case, We are called upon to determine whether the Manila
court erred in holding that the contract allowed the flooding of the vault; Memorial Park Cemetery, Inc., breached its contract with petitioners; or,
that there was no desecration; that the boring of the hole was justifiable; alternatively, whether private respondent was guilty of a tort.
and in not awarding damages.
We understand the feelings of petitioners and empathize with them.
The Court of Appeals in the Decision4 dated December 7, 1990 however, Unfortunately, however, We are more inclined to answer the foregoing
affirmed the judgment of dismissal. Petitioner's motion for reconsideration questions in the negative. There is not enough ground, both in fact and in
was denied in a Resolution dated April 25, 1991.5 law, to justify a reversal of the decision of the respondent Court and to
uphold the pleas of the petitioners.
Unsatisfied with the respondent Court's decision, the Syquias filed the
instant petition. They allege herein that the Court of Appeals committed With respect to herein petitioners' averment that private respondent has
the following errors when it: committed culpa aquiliana, the Court of Appeals found no negligent act
on the part of private respondent to justify an award of damages against
1. held that the contract and the Rules and Resolutions of it. Although a pre-existing contractual relation between the parties does
private respondent allowed the flooding of the vault and not preclude the existence of a culpa aquiliana, We find no reason to
the entrance thereto of filth and silt; disregard the respondent's Court finding that there was no negligence.

2. held that the act of boring a hole was justifiable and Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to
corollarily, when it held that no act of desecration was another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay
committed; for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is
no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is
3. overlooked and refused to consider relevant, called a quasi-delict . . . . (Emphasis supplied).
undisputed facts, such as those which have been
stipulated upon by the parties, testified to by private
In this case, it has been established that the Syquias and the opened without rupture and that serve as a check against tampering or
Manila Memorial Park Cemetery, Inc., entered into a contract unauthorized opening." 10 The meaning that has been given by private
entitled "Deed of Sale and Certificate of Perpetual Care"6 on respondent to the word conforms with the cited dictionary definition.
August 27, 1969. That agreement governed the relations of the Moreover, it is also quite clear that "sealed" cannot be equated with
parties and defined their respective rights and obligations. Hence, "waterproof". Well settled is the rule that when the terms of the contract
had there been actual negligence on the part of the Manila are clear and leave no doubt as to the intention of the contracting parties,
Memorial Park Cemetery, Inc., it would be held liable not for then the literal meaning of the stipulation shall control. 11 Contracts should
a quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana, but for culpa contractual as be interpreted according to their literal meaning and should not be
provided by Article 1170 of the Civil Code, to wit: interpreted beyond their obvious intendment. 12 As ruled by the
respondent Court:
Those who in the performance of their obligations are
guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay, and those who in any When plaintiff-appellant Juan J. Syquia affixed his
manner contravene the tenor thereof, are liable for signature to the Deed of Sale (Exhibit "A") and the
damages. attached Rules and Regulations (Exhibit "1"), it can be
assumed that he has accepted defendant-appellee's
The Manila Memorial Park Cemetery, Inc. bound itself to provide the undertaking to merely provide a concrete vault. He can
concrete box to be send in the interment. Rule 17 of the Rules and not now claim that said concrete vault must in addition,
Regulations of private respondent provides that: also be waterproofed (sic). It is basic that the parties are
bound by the terms of their contract, which is the law
Rule 17. Every earth interment shall be made enclosed in between them (Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation vs.
a concrete box, or in an outer wall of stone, brick or Court of Appeals, et al. 178 SCRA 739). Where there is
concrete, the actual installment of which shall be made by nothing in the contract which is contrary to law, morals,
the employees of the Association.7 good customs, public order, or public policy, the validity of
the contract must be sustained (Phil. American Insurance
Co. vs. Judge Pineda, 175 SCRA 416). Consonant with
Pursuant to this above-mentioned Rule, a concrete vault was provided on
this ruling, a contracting party cannot incur a liability more
July 27, 1978, the day before the interment, and was, on the same day,
than what is expressly specified in his undertaking. It
installed by private respondent's employees in the grave which was dug
cannot be extended by implication, beyond the terms of
earlier. After the burial, the vault was covered by a cement lid.
the contract (Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation vs.
Court of Appeals, supra). And as a rule of evidence,
Petitioners however claim that private respondent breached its contract where the terms of an agreement are reduced to writing,
with them as the latter held out in the brochure it distributed that the . . . the document itself, being constituted by the parties as
lot may hold single or double internment (sic) underground the expositor of their intentions, is the only instrument of
in sealed concrete vault."8 Petitioners claim that the vault provided by evidence in respect of that agreement which the law will
private respondent was not sealed, that is, not waterproof. Consequently, recognize, so long as its (sic) exists for the purpose of
water seeped through the cement enclosure and damaged everything evidence (Starkie, Ev., pp. 648, 655, Kasheenath vs.
inside it. Chundy, 5 W.R. 68 cited in Francisco, Revised Rules of
Court in the Phil. p. 153, 1973 Ed.). And if the terms of the
We do not agree. There was no stipulation in the Deed of Sale and contract are clear and leave no doubt upon the intention
Certificate of Perpetual Care and in the Rules and Regulations of the of the contracting parties, the literal meaning of its
Manila Memorial Park Cemetery, Inc. that the vault would be waterproof. stipulations shall control (Santos vs. CA, et al., G. R. No.
Private respondent's witness, Mr. Dexter Heuschkel, explained that the 83664, Nov. 13, 1989; Prudential Bank & Trust Co. vs.
term "sealed" meant "closed."9 On the other hand, the word "seal" is Community Builders Co., Inc., 165 SCRA 285; Balatero
defined as . . . any of various closures or fastenings . . . that cannot be vs. IAC, 154 SCRA 530). 13
We hold, therefore, that private respondent did not breach the tenor of its respondent has exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in
obligation to the Syquias. While this may be so, can private respondent preventing the accumulation of water inside the vault which would have
be liable for culpa aquiliana for boring the hole on the vault? It cannot be resulted in the caving in of earth around the grave filling the same with
denied that the hole made possible the entry of more water and soil than earth.
was natural had there been no hole.
Thus, finding no evidence of negligence on the part of private
The law defines negligence as the "omission of that diligence which is respondent, We find no reason to award damages in favor of petitioners.
required by the nature of the obligation and corresponds with the
circumstances of the persons, of the time and of the place." 14 In the In the light of the foregoing facts, and construed in the language of the
absence of stipulation or legal provision providing the contrary, the applicable laws and jurisprudence, We are constrained to AFFIRM in
diligence to be observed in the performance of the obligation is that toto the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals dated December 7,
which is expected of a good father of a family. 1990. No costs.

The circumstances surrounding the commission of the assailed act — SO ORDERED.


boring of the hole — negate the allegation of negligence. The reason for
the act was explained by Henry Flores, Interment Foreman, who said Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Regalado and Nocon, JJ., concur.
that:

Q It has been established in this particular


case that a certain Vicente Juan Syquia
was interred on July 25, 1978 at the
Parañaque Cemetery of the Manila
Memorial Park Cemetery, Inc., will you
please tell the Hon. Court what or whether
you have participation in connection with
said internment (sic)?

A A day before Juan (sic) Syquia was


buried our personnel dug a grave. After
digging the next morning a vault was
taken and placed in the grave and when
the vault was placed on the grave a hole
was placed on the vault so that water
could come into the vault because it was
raining heavily then because the vault has
no hole the vault will float and the grave
would be filled with water and the digging
would caved (sic) in and the earth, the
earth would (sic) caved in and fill up the
grave. 15 (Emphasis ours)

Except for the foreman's opinion that the concrete vault may float should
there be a heavy rainfall, from the above-mentioned explanation, private
21. G.R. No. 179337 April 30, 2008 WHEREFORE, from the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered
ordering:
JOSEPH SALUDAGA, petitioner,
vs. 1. FEU and Edilberto de Jesus, in his capacity as
FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY and EDILBERTO C. DE JESUS in his president of FEU to pay jointly and severally Joseph
capacity as President of FEU, respondents. Saludaga the amount of P35,298.25 for actual damages
with 12% interest per annum from the filing of the
DECISION complaint until fully paid; moral damages of P300,000.00,
exemplary damages of P500,000.00, attorney's fees of
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: P100,000.00 and cost of the suit;

This Petition for Review on Certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of 2. Galaxy Management and Development Corp. and its
Court assails the June 29, 2007 Decision2 of the Court of Appeals in CA- president, Col. Mariano Imperial to indemnify jointly and
G.R. CV No. 87050, nullifying and setting aside the November 10, 2004 severally 3rd party plaintiffs (FEU and Edilberto de Jesus
Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 2, in Civil Case in his capacity as President of FEU) for the above-
No. 98-89483 and dismissing the complaint filed by petitioner; as well as mentioned amounts;
its August 23, 2007 Resolution4 denying the Motion for Reconsideration.5
3. And the 4th party complaint is dismissed for lack of
The antecedent facts are as follows: cause of action. No pronouncement as to costs.

Petitioner Joseph Saludaga was a sophomore law student of respondent SO ORDERED.9


Far Eastern University (FEU) when he was shot by Alejandro Rosete
(Rosete), one of the security guards on duty at the school premises on Respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals which rendered the
August 18, 1996. Petitioner was rushed to FEU-Dr. Nicanor Reyes assailed Decision, the decretal portion of which provides, viz:
Medical Foundation (FEU-NRMF) due to the wound he
sustained.6Meanwhile, Rosete was brought to the police station where he WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby GRANTED. The Decision
explained that the shooting was accidental. He was eventually released dated November 10, 2004 is hereby REVERSED and SET
considering that no formal complaint was filed against him. ASIDE. The complaint filed by Joseph Saludaga against appellant
Far Eastern University and its President in Civil Case No. 98-
Petitioner thereafter filed a complaint for damages against respondents 89483 is DISMISSED.
on the ground that they breached their obligation to provide students with
a safe and secure environment and an atmosphere conducive to SO ORDERED.10
learning. Respondents, in turn, filed a Third-Party Complaint7 against
Galaxy Development and Management Corporation (Galaxy), the agency Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied; hence,
contracted by respondent FEU to provide security services within its the instant petition based on the following grounds:
premises and Mariano D. Imperial (Imperial), Galaxy's President, to
indemnify them for whatever would be adjudged in favor of petitioner, if THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN MANNER
any; and to pay attorney's fees and cost of the suit. On the other hand, CONTRARY TO LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE IN RULING
Galaxy and Imperial filed a Fourth-Party Complaint against AFP General THAT:
Insurance.8
5.1. THE SHOOTING INCIDENT IS A FORTUITOUS EVENT;
On November 10, 2004, the trial court rendered a decision in favor of
petitioner, the dispositive portion of which reads:
5.2. RESPONDENTS ARE NOT LIABLE FOR DAMAGES FOR responsibility of the defendants. In this case, defendants, despite
THE INJURY RESULTING FROM A GUNSHOT WOUND being legally and morally bound, miserably failed to protect
SUFFERED BY THE PETITIONER FROM THE HANDS OF NO plaintiff from injury and thereafter, to mitigate and compensate
LESS THAN THEIR OWN SECURITY GUARD IN VIOLATION plaintiff for said injury;
OF THEIR BUILT-IN CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION TO
PETITIONER, BEING THEIR LAW STUDENT AT THAT TIME, 12.0. When plaintiff enrolled with defendant FEU, a contract was
TO PROVIDE HIM WITH A SAFE AND SECURE entered into between them. Under this contract, defendants are
EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT; supposed to ensure that adequate steps are taken to provide an
atmosphere conducive to study and ensure the safety of the
5.3. SECURITY GAURD, ALEJANDRO ROSETE, WHO SHOT plaintiff while inside defendant FEU's premises. In the instant
PETITIONER WHILE HE WAS WALKING ON HIS WAY TO THE case, the latter breached this contract when defendant allowed
LAW LIBRARY OF RESPONDENT FEU IS NOT THEIR harm to befall upon the plaintiff when he was shot at by, of all
EMPLOYEE BY VIRTUE OF THE CONTRACT FOR SECURITY people, their security guard who was tasked to maintain peace
SERVICES BETWEEN GALAXY AND FEU inside the campus.12
NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT PETITIONER, NOT
BEING A PARTY TO IT, IS NOT BOUND BY THE SAME UNDER In Philippine School of Business Administration v. Court of Appeals,13 we
THE PRINCIPLE OF RELATIVITY OF CONTRACTS; and held that:

5.4. RESPONDENT EXERCISED DUE DILIGENCE IN When an academic institution accepts students for enrollment,
SELECTING GALAXY AS THE AGENCY WHICH WOULD there is established a contract between them, resulting in bilateral
PROVIDE SECURITY SERVICES WITHIN THE PREMISES OF obligations which both parties are bound to comply with. For its
RESPONDENT FEU.11 part, the school undertakes to provide the student with an
education that would presumably suffice to equip him with the
Petitioner is suing respondents for damages based on the alleged breach necessary tools and skills to pursue higher education or a
of student-school contract for a safe learning environment. The pertinent profession. On the other hand, the student covenants to abide by
portions of petitioner's Complaint read: the school's academic requirements and observe its rules and
regulations.
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 Institutions of learning must also meet the implicit or "built-in"
condition. This abject indifference on the part of the defendants obligation of providing their students with an atmosphere that
continued even after plaintiff was discharged from the hospital promotes or assists in attaining its primary undertaking of
when not even a word of consolation was heard from them. imparting knowledge. Certainly, no student can absorb the
Plaintiff waited for more than one (1) year for the defendants to intricacies of physics or higher mathematics or explore the realm
perform their moral obligation but the wait was fruitless. This of the arts and other sciences when bullets are flying or grenades
indifference and total lack of concern of defendants served to exploding in the air or where there looms around the school
exacerbate plaintiff's miserable condition. premises a constant threat to life and limb. Necessarily, the
school must ensure that adequate steps are taken to maintain
xxxx peace and order within the campus premises and to prevent the
breakdown thereof.14
11.0. Defendants are responsible for ensuring the safety of its
students while the latter are within the University premises. And It is undisputed that petitioner was enrolled as a sophomore law student
that should anything untoward happens to any of its students in respondent FEU. As such, there was created a contractual obligation
while they are within the University's premises shall be the 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, Consequently, respondents' defense of force majeure must fail. In order
respondent FEU, as a learning institution is mandated to impart for force majeure to be considered, respondents must show that no
knowledge and equip its students with the necessary skills to pursue negligence or misconduct was committed that may have occasioned the
higher education or a profession. At the same time, it is obliged to ensure loss. An act of God cannot be invoked to protect a person who has failed
and take adequate steps to maintain peace and order within the campus. 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
It is settled that in culpa contractual, the mere proof of the existence of producing damage and injury to another; nonetheless, showing that the
the contract and the failure of its compliance justify, prima facie, a immediate or proximate cause of the damage or injury was a fortuitous
corresponding right of relief.15 In the instant case, we find that, when event would not exempt one from liability. When the effect is found to be
petitioner was shot inside the campus by no less the security guard who partly the result of a person's participation - whether by active
was hired to maintain peace and secure the premises, there is a prima intervention, neglect or failure to act - the whole occurrence is humanized
facie showing that respondents failed to comply with its obligation to and removed from the rules applicable to acts of God.17
provide a safe and secure environment to its students.
Article 1170 of the Civil Code provides that those who are negligent in the
In order to avoid liability, however, respondents aver that the shooting performance of their obligations are liable for damages. Accordingly, for
incident was a fortuitous event because they could not have reasonably breach of contract due to negligence in providing a safe learning
foreseen nor avoided the accident caused by Rosete as he was not their environment, respondent FEU is liable to petitioner for damages. It is
employee;16and that they complied with their obligation to ensure a safe essential in the award of damages that the claimant must have
learning environment for their students by having exercised due diligence satisfactorily proven during the trial the existence of the factual basis of
in selecting the security services of Galaxy. the damages and its causal connection to defendant's acts.18

After a thorough review of the records, we find that respondents failed to In the instant case, it was established that petitioner spent P35,298.25 for
discharge the burden of proving that they exercised due diligence in his hospitalization and other medical expenses.19 While the trial court
providing a safe learning environment for their students. They failed to correctly imposed interest on said amount, however, the case at bar
prove that they ensured that the guards assigned in the campus met the involves an obligation arising from a contract and not a loan or
requirements stipulated in the Security Service Agreement. Indeed, forbearance of money. As such, the proper rate of legal interest is six
certain documents about Galaxy were presented during trial; however, no percent (6%) per annum of the amount demanded. Such interest shall
evidence as to the qualifications of Rosete as a security guard for the continue to run from the filing of the complaint until the finality of this
university was offered. Decision.20 After this Decision becomes final and executory, the
applicable rate shall be twelve percent (12%) per annum until its
Respondents also failed to show that they undertook steps to ascertain satisfaction.
and confirm that the security guards assigned to them actually possess
the qualifications required in the Security Service Agreement. It was not The other expenses being claimed by petitioner, such as transportation
proven that they examined the clearances, psychiatric test results, 201 expenses and those incurred in hiring a personal assistant while
files, and other vital documents enumerated in its contract with Galaxy. recuperating were however not duly supported by receipts.21 In the
Total reliance on the security agency about these matters or failure to absence thereof, no actual damages may be awarded. Nonetheless,
check the papers stating the qualifications of the guards is negligence on temperate damages under Art. 2224 of the Civil Code may be recovered
the part of respondents. A learning institution should not be allowed to where it has been shown that the claimant suffered some pecuniary loss
completely relinquish or abdicate security matters in its premises to the but the amount thereof cannot be proved with certainty. Hence, the
security agency it hired. To do so would result to contracting away its amount of P20,000.00 as temperate damages is awarded to petitioner.
inherent obligation to ensure a safe learning environment for its students.
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, None of the foregoing exceptions was established in the instant case;
serious anxiety, and moral shock resulting from the shooting hence, respondent De Jesus should not be held solidarily liable with
incident23 justify the award of moral damages. However, moral damages respondent FEU.
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 Incidentally, although the main cause of action in the instant case is the
award is not meant to enrich the complainant at the expense of the breach of the school-student contract, petitioner, in the alternative, also
defendant, but to enable the injured party to obtain means, diversion, or holds respondents vicariously liable under Article 2180 of the Civil Code,
amusements that will serve to obviate the moral suffering he has which provides:
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 Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable
suffering inflicted. Trial courts must then guard against the award of not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of
exorbitant damages; they should exercise balanced restrained and persons for whom one is responsible.
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
xxxx
reasonable under the circumstances to award petitioner moral damages
in the amount of P100,000.00.
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their
employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their
Likewise, attorney's fees and litigation expenses in the amount of
assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any
P50,000.00 as part of damages is reasonable in view of Article 2208 of
business or industry.
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. xxxx

We note that the trial court held respondent De Jesus solidarily liable with The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the
respondent FEU. In Powton Conglomerate, Inc. v. Agcolicol,26 we held persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the
that: diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.

[A] corporation is invested by law with a personality separate and We agree with the findings of the Court of Appeals that respondents
distinct from those of the persons composing it, such that, save cannot be held liable for damages under Art. 2180 of the Civil Code
for certain exceptions, corporate officers who entered into because respondents are not the employers of Rosete. The latter was
contracts in behalf of the corporation cannot be held personally employed by Galaxy. The instructions issued by respondents' Security
liable for the liabilities of the latter. Personal liability of a corporate Consultant to Galaxy and its security guards are ordinarily no more than
director, trustee or officer along (although not necessarily) with requests commonly envisaged in the contract for services entered into by
the corporation may so validly attach, as a rule, only when - (1) a principal and a security agency. They cannot be construed as the
he assents to a patently unlawful act of the corporation, or when element of control as to treat respondents as the employers of Rosete.28
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 As held in Mercury Drug Corporation v. Libunao:29
corporation, its stockholders or other persons; (2) he consents to
the issuance of watered down stocks or who, having knowledge In Soliman, Jr. v. Tuazon,30 we held that where the security
thereof, does not forthwith file with the corporate secretary his agency recruits, hires and assigns the works of its watchmen or
written objection thereto; (3) he agrees to hold himself personally security guards to a client, the employer of such guards or
and solidarily liable with the corporation; or (4) he is made by a watchmen is such agency, and not the client, since the latter has
specific provision of law personally answerable for his corporate no hand in selecting the security guards. Thus, the duty to
action.27
observe the diligence of a good father of a family cannot be case with the object of avoiding circuitry of action and
demanded from the said client: unnecessary proliferation of law suits and of disposing
expeditiously in one litigation the entire subject matter arising
… [I]t is settled in our jurisdiction that where the security from one particular set of facts.33
agency, as here, recruits, hires and assigns the work of
its watchmen or security guards, the agency is the Respondents and Galaxy were able to litigate their respective claims and
employer of such guards or watchmen. Liability for illegal defenses in the course of the trial of petitioner's complaint. Evidence duly
or harmful acts committed by the security guards attaches supports the findings of the trial court that Galaxy is negligent not only in
to the employer agency, and not to the clients or the selection of its employees but also in their supervision. Indeed, no
customers of such agency. As a general rule, a client or administrative sanction was imposed against Rosete despite the shooting
customer of a security agency has no hand in selecting incident; moreover, he was even allowed to go on leave of absence
who among the pool of security guards or watchmen which led eventually to his disappearance.34 Galaxy also failed to monitor
employed by the agency shall be assigned to it; the duty petitioner's condition or extend the necessary assistance, other than the
to observe the diligence of a good father of a family in the P5,000.00 initially given to petitioner. Galaxy and Imperial failed to make
selection of the guards cannot, in the ordinary course of good their pledge to reimburse petitioner's medical expenses.
events, be demanded from the client whose premises or
property are protected by the security guards. For these acts of negligence and for having supplied respondent FEU
with an unqualified security guard, which resulted to the latter's breach of
xxxx obligation to petitioner, it is proper to hold Galaxy liable to respondent
FEU for such damages equivalent to the above-mentioned amounts
The fact that a client company may give instructions or directions awarded to petitioner.
to the security guards assigned to it, does not, by itself, render
the client responsible as an employer of the security guards Unlike respondent De Jesus, we deem Imperial to be solidarily liable with
concerned and liable for their wrongful acts or omissions.31 Galaxy for being grossly negligent in directing the affairs of the security
agency. It was Imperial who assured petitioner that his medical expenses
We now come to respondents' Third Party Claim against Galaxy. will be shouldered by Galaxy but said representations were not fulfilled
In Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of the Philippines v. because they presumed that petitioner and his family were no longer
Tempengko,32 we held that: interested in filing a formal complaint against them.35

The third-party complaint is, therefore, a procedural device WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The June 29, 2007 Decision of
whereby a 'third party' who is neither a party nor privy to the act the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 87050 nullifying the Decision of
or deed complained of by the plaintiff, may be brought into the the trial court and dismissing the complaint as well as the August 23,
case with leave of court, by the defendant, who acts as third-party 2007 Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration are REVERSED
plaintiff to enforce against such third-party defendant a right for and SET ASIDE. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief, in respect Branch 2, in Civil Case No. 98-89483 finding respondent FEU liable for
of the plaintiff's claim. The third-party complaint is actually damages for breach of its obligation to provide students with a safe and
independent of and separate and distinct from the plaintiff's secure learning atmosphere, is AFFIRMED with the
complaint. Were it not for this provision of the Rules of Court, it following MODIFICATIONS:
would have to be filed independently and separately from the
original complaint by the defendant against the third-party. But a. respondent Far Eastern University (FEU) is ORDERED to pay
the Rules permit defendant to bring in a third-party defendant or petitioner actual damages in the amount of P35,298.25, plus 6% interest
so to speak, to litigate his separate cause of action in respect of per annum from the filing of the complaint until the finality of this
plaintiff's claim against a third-party in the original and principal
Decision. After this decision becomes final and executory, the applicable 22. G.R. No. 164601 September 27, 2006
rate shall be twelve percent (12%) per annum until its satisfaction;
SPOUSES ERLINDA BATAL AND FRANK BATAL, petitioners,
b. respondent FEU is also ORDERED to pay petitioner temperate vs.
damages in the amount of P20,000.00; moral damages in the amount of SPOUSES LUZ SAN PEDRO AND KENICHIRO
P100,000.00; and attorney's fees and litigation expenses in the amount of TOMINAGA, respondents.
P50,000.00;
DECISION
c. the award of exemplary damages is DELETED.
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
The Complaint against respondent Edilberto C. De Jesus is DISMISSED.
The counterclaims of respondents are likewise DISMISSED. Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of
the Rules of Court questioning the Decision1dated September 29, 2003
Galaxy Development and Management Corporation (Galaxy) and its promulgated by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 71758,
president, Mariano D. Imperial are ORDEREDto jointly and severally pay which affirmed the Decision dated May 31, 2004 of the Regional Trial
respondent FEU damages equivalent to the above-mentioned amounts Court, Branch 7, Malolos, Bulacan (RTC); and the CA Resolution2 dated
awarded to petitioner. July 19, 2004.

SO ORDERED. This case originated from an action for damages filed with the RTC by
Spouses Luz San Pedro and Kenichiro Tominaga (respondents) against
Spouses Erlinda Batal and Frank Batal (petitioners) for failure to exercise
due care and diligence by the latter in the preparation of a survey which
formed the basis for the construction of a perimeter fence that was later
discovered to have encroached on a right of way.

The facts of the case, as found by the RTC and summarized by the CA,
are as follows:

The spouses Luz San Pedro (Luz) and Kenichiro Tominaga


(Kenichiro) are the owners of a parcel of land, on which their
house was erected, described as Lot 1509-C-3 with an area of
700 square meters situated in Barangay Malis, Guiguinto,
Bulacan. Said property was acquired by them from one Guillermo
Narciso as evidenced by a "Bilihan ng Bahagi ng Lupa" dated
March 18, 1992.

The spouses Luz and Kenichiro then contracted the services of


Frank Batal (Frank) who represented himself as a surveyor to
conduct a survey of their lot for the sum of P6,500.00. As Luz and
Kenichiro wanted to enclose their property, they again procured
the services of Frank for an additional fee of P1,500.00 in order to
determine the exact boundaries of the same by which they will
base the construction of their perimeter fence.
Consequently, Frank placed concrete monuments marked P.S. 3. Ordering the defendants to pay to plaintiffs the sum
on all corners of the lot which were used as guides by Luz and of P50,000.00 as attorney's fees; and
Kenichiro in erecting a concrete fence measuring about eight (8)
feet in height and cost them P250,000.00 to build. 4. Ordering the defendants to pay to plaintiffs the costs of this
suit.
Sometime in 1996, a complaint was lodged against Luz and
Kenichiro before the barangay on the ground that the northern SO ORDERED.4
portion of their fence allegedly encroached upon a designated
right-of-way known as Lot 1509-D. Upon verification with another Regarding the issue whether the petitioners failed to exercise due care
surveyor, Luz and Kenichiro found that their wall indeed and diligence in the conduct of the resurvey which eventually caused
overlapped the adjoining lot. They also discovered that it was not damage to the respondents, the RTC held:
Frank but his wife Erlinda Batal (Erlinda), who is a licensed
geodetic engineer.
As against the bare and self-serving denials of the [petitioners],
the testimony of [respondent] Luz San Pedro that she constructed
During their confrontations before the barangay, Frank admitted the encroaching perimeter fence in question using as guide the
that he made a mistake and offered to share in the expenses for cyclone concrete monuments marked P.S. that were installed by
the demolition and reconstruction of the questioned portion of Luz [petitioner] Frank Batal and his survey team, is more credible. As
and Kenichiro's fence. He however failed to deliver on his word, testified to by [respondent] Luz San Pedro, she proceeded with
thus the filing of the instant suit. the construction of the perimeter fence in question upon
assurance given by [petitioner] Frank Batal that she could already
In their defense, the defendants-spouses Frank and Erlinda Batal do so as there were already concrete monuments placed on the
submitted that Frank never represented himself to be a licensed boundaries of her property x x x.
geodetic engineer. It was Erlinda who supervised her husband's
work [and t]hat the house and lot of plaintiffs, Luz and Kenichiro, xxxx
were already fenced even before they were contracted to do a
resurvey of the same and the laying out of the concrete
It does not matter that the location plan dated May 3, 1992
monuments. The spouses Frank and Erlinda also refuted the
(Exhibit "B") was later approved by the DENR, as it is quite
spouses Luz's and Kenichiro's allegation of negligence and
apparent that the mistake committed by [petitioner] Frank Batal
averred that the subject complaint was instituted to harass them.3
pertains to the wrong locations of the concrete monuments that
he placed on the subject property and which were used or relied
On May 31, 2001, the RTC rendered its Decision, the dispositive portion upon by the [respondents] in putting up the fence in question.
of which reads: Such mistake or negligence happened because quite obviously
the installation of said concrete monuments was without the
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiffs needed supervision of [respondent] Erlinda Batal, the one truly
and against defendants, as follows: qualified to supervise the same. x x x x

1. Ordering the defendants [petitioners] to pay to plaintiffs x x x x5


[respondents] the sum of P6,500.00 as refund for their
professional fees by reason of the erroneous relocation survey of The RTC found that indeed the perimeter fence constructed by the
the property in question; respondents encroached on the right-of-way in question; that the
preponderance of evidence supports the finding that the encroachment
2. Ordering the defendants to pay to plaintiffs the sum of Three was caused by the negligence of the petitioners; that, in particular,
Hundred Thousand Pesos (P300,000.00) as actual damages; respondents constructed the fence based on the concrete cyclone
monuments that were installed by petitioner Frank Batal and after he The petitioners insist that there had been no error in their resurvey, but
gave his assurance that they can proceed accordingly; that the rather, the error occurred in respondents' fencing; that the proximate
negligence in the installation of the monuments was due to the fact that cause of the damage had been respondents' own negligence such that
petitioner Erlinda Batal, the one truly qualified, did not provide the needed the fencing was done unilaterally and solely by them without the prior
supervision over the work; and, lastly, that the testimonies of the approval and supervision of the petitioners. And to justify their case, the
petitioners on the whole were not credible. petitioners argue that the courts a quo misapprehended the facts.
Accordingly, they ask this Court to review findings of fact.
The petitioners appealed to the CA. On September 29, 2003, the CA
rendered its Decision affirming the RTC decision in its entirety.6 A review of the factual findings of the CA and the RTC are matters not
ordinarily reviewable in a petition for review on certiorari.8 Well-
In concurring with the findings of the RTC, the CA in addition held that established is the rule that factual findings of the trial court and the CA
the petitioners cannot claim that the error of the construction of the fence are entitled to great weight and respect9 and will not be disturbed on
was due to the unilateral act of respondents in building the same without appeal save in exceptional circumstances,10 none of which obtains in the
their consent, since the former gave their word that the arrangement of present case. This Court must stress that the findings of fact of the CA
the monuments of title accurately reflected the boundaries of the lot; and are conclusive on the parties and carry even more weight when these
that, as a result, the northern portion of the fence had to be demolished coincide with the factual findings of the trial court,11 as in this case.
and rebuilt in order to correct the error.
The Court will not weigh the evidence all over again unless there is a
Hence, the instant Petition assigning the following errors: showing that the findings of the lower court are totally devoid of support
or are clearly erroneous so as to constitute serious abuse of
I. discretion.12 The petitioners failed to demonstrate this point. On the
contrary, the finding of the courts a quo that the damage caused to the
respondents was due to petitioners' negligence is sufficiently supported
The Court of Appeals erred in ruling for the Respondents and
by the evidence on record. For these reasons, the petitioner's contentions
basing its decision [o]n the following jurisprudence:
bear no import.
(a) "[A] party, having performed affirmative acts upon which
Culpa, or negligence, may be understood in two different senses: either
another person based his subsequent actions, cannot thereafter
as culpa aquiliana, which is the wrongful or negligent act or omission
refute his acts or renege on the effects of the same, to the
which creates a vinculum juris and gives rise to an obligation between
prejudice of the latter. (Pureza vs. Court of Appeals, 290 SCRA
two persons not formally bound by any other obligation, or as culpa
110)"; and
contractual, which is the fault or negligence incident in the performance
of an obligation which already existed, and which increases the liability
(b) "Findings of fact made by the trial court [are] entitled to great from such already existing obligation.13 Culpa aquiliana is governed by
weight and respect. (Lopez vs. Court of Appeals, 322 SCRA 686). Article 2176 of the Civil Code and the immediately following Articles;
while culpa contractual is governed by Articles 1170 to 1174 of the same
II. Code.14

The Court of Appeals erred in ruling in favor of Respondents by Articles 1170 and 1173 provide:
premising its Decision on [a] misapprehension of facts amounting
to grave abuse of discretion . . . which is also a ground for a ART. 1170. Those who in the performance of their obligations are
Petition for Review.7 guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay, and those who in any
manner contravene the tenor thereof, are liable for damages.
The petition must fail.
ART. 1173. The fault or negligence of the obligor consists in the [Petitioners] Frank and Erlinda cannot thus validly claim that the
omission of that diligence which is required by the nature of the error in the construction of the northern portion of the fence was
obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of the due to the spouses Luz and Kenichiro's act of building the same
persons, of the time and of the place. When negligence shows without their consent. This is considering that the former led the
bad faith, the provisions of articles 1171 and 2202, paragraph 2, latter to believe the purported accuracy of the resurvey and
shall apply. exactness of the lot's boundaries based on the monuments of title
which they installed.
If the law or contract does not state the diligence which is to be
observed in the performance, that which is expected of a good It has been ruled that "[A] party, having performed affirmative acts
father of a family shall be required. upon which another person based his subsequent actions, cannot
thereafter refute his acts or renege on the effects of the same, to
In the present case, it is clear that the petitioners, in carrying out their the prejudice of the latter." (Pureza v. Court of Appeals, 290
contractual obligations, failed to exercise the requisite diligence in the SCRA 110)
placement of the markings for the concrete perimeter fence that was later
constructed. The placement of the markings had been done solely by The foregoing clearly supports the findings of the RTC that the
petitioner Frank Batal who is not a geodetic engineer. It was later spouses Batal committed a mistake in the conduct of their
discovered that it was not he but his wife, petitioner Erlinda Batal, who is business that led to the encroachment of plaintiffs-appellees'
the licensed geodetic engineer and who is, therefore, the one qualified to fence on the adjoining alley-lot. As a result, the northern portion
do the work. Petitioner Frank Batal's installation of the concrete cyclone ha[d] to be torn down and rebuilt in order to correct the error in its
monuments had been done without the adequate supervision of his wife, original construction. The defendants-appellants cannot be
Erlinda. As a result, the placement of the monuments did not accurately excused from the effects of their actions in the survey of plaintiffs-
reflect the dimensions of the lot. The respondents, upon assurance given appellees' lot.
by petitioner Frank Batal that they could proceed with the construction of
the perimeter fence by relying on the purported accuracy of the We therefore concur with the findings of the RTC holding
placement of the monuments, erected their fence which turned out to defendants-appellants liable for damages in the case at bar.
encroach on an adjacent easement. Because of the encroachment, the "Findings of fact made by the trial court is entitled to great weight
respondents had to demolish and reconstruct the fence and, thus, and respect." (Lopez v. Court of Appeals, 322 SCRA 686)15
suffered damages.
Being guilty of a breach of their contract, petitioners are liable for
The Court affirms and adopts the findings of the CA, to wit: damages suffered by the respondents in accordance with Articles 1170
and 2201 of the Civil Code,16 which state:
Records show that the services of the [petitioners] Frank and
Erlinda were initially contracted to segregate Luz and Kenichiro's Art. 1170. Those who in the performance of their obligations are
property from its adjoining lots. When the [respondent] spouses guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay and those who in any manner
Luz and Kenichiro planned to fence the segregated lot, they again contravene the tenor thereof are liable for damages
commissioned [petitioners] Frank and Erlinda to conduct a
resurvey in order to determine the precise boundaries of their Art. 2201. In contracts and quasi-contracts, the damages for
property upon which they will base the construction of their fence. which the obligor who acted in good faith is liable shall be those
It was also shown that in the course of the resurvey, Frank that are the natural and probable consequences of the breach of
caused the installation of monuments of title on the four (4) the obligation, and which the parties have foreseen or could have
corners of Luz and Kenichiro's property and that he instructed reasonably foreseen at the time the obligation was constituted.
them to just follow the same in building their fence.
In case of fraud, bad faith, malice or wanton attitude, the obligor On the other hand, there is no legal or factual bases for the claim
shall be responsible for all damages which may be reasonably of the plaintiffs for moral or exemplary damages as there was no
attributed to the non-performance of the obligation. showing at all that defendants acted with malice or in bad faith.

Thus, the Court agrees with the CA's affirmance of the findings of the In a long line of cases, we have consistently ruled that in
RTC on the matter of damages, to wit: the absence of a wrongful act or omission or of fraud or
bad faith, moral damages cannot be awarded. (R & B
Going now to the claims for damages, Engr. Arnold Martin Surety Insurance Co. v. Intermediate Court of
testified on his computation and estimate (Exhibits "G" and "G-1) Appeals, 129 SCRA 736; Guita v. Court of Appeals, 139
that the total cost for the demolition and reconstruction of the SCRA 576).17
perimeter fence in question would be in the total amount
of P428,163.90, and this was not at all disputed by the WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision
defendants, whose counsel waived cross-examination. This and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED.
estimate is practically double the amount of the cost of
constructing said fence as testified to by plaintiff Luz San Pedro Costs against petitioners.
as she was told that it is much costlier to demolish and
reconstruct a fence than to simply erect one because of the SO ORDERED.
added expense involved in tearing it down and hauling its debris.
On the other hand, said plaintiff stated that the iron decorative
Panganiban, C.J., Chairperson, Ynares-Santiago, Callejo, Sr., Chico-
grills of the fence, which is re-usable, cost her P50,000.00, and it
Nazario, J.J., concur.
is only proper to deduct said amount from the total cost of
reconstructing the fence in question. At the same time, some
figures in the said estimate appear to be quite excessive, such as
the estimated cost for demolition which was quoted at P25,000.00
in addition to the amount of excavation priced at P30,000.00 and
the cost of hauling of scrap materials at P10,000.00. The court
believes that the sum of P300,000.00 for the demolition and
reconstruction of the fence in question would be reasonable
considering that the original cost for its construction was only
about P200,000.00, and considering further that its iron grills are
re-usable.

The plaintiffs are likewise entitled to recover attorney's fees


considering that they were compelled by the defendants to resort
to court action in order to protect their rights and interest, as
defendants, particularly defendant Frank Batal, failed and refused
repeatedly to even attend the confrontation of conciliation
meetings arranged between him and the plaintiffs by
the barangay authorities concerned, and to honor his promise to
help in shouldering the cost of reconstructing the fence in
question.
23. G.R. No. 180440 December 5, 2012 pool to take a shower and dress up. However, when they came out of the
bathroom, the entire swimming pool area was already pitch black and
DR. GENEVIEVE L. HUANG, Petitioner, there was no longer any person around but the two of them. They
vs. carefully walked towards the main door leading to the hotel but, to their
PHILIPPINE HOTELIERS, INC., DUSIT THANI PUBLIC CO., LTD. And surprise, the door was locked.9
FIRST LEPANTO TAISHO INSURANCE
CORPORATION, Respondents. Petitioner and Delia waited for 10 more minutes near the door hoping
someone would come to their rescue but they waited in vain. Delia
DECISION became anxious about their situation so petitioner began to walk around
to look for a house phone. Delia followed petitioner. After some time,
PEREZ, J.: petitioner saw a phone behind the lifeguard’s counter. While slowly
walking towards the phone, a hard and heavy object, which later turned
out to be the folding wooden counter top, fell on petitioner’s head that
For this Court’s resolution is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under
knocked her down almost unconscious.10
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the Decision1 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 87065 dated 9 August 2007, affirming the
Decision2 of Branch 56 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City in Delia immediately got hold of the house phone and notified the hotel
Civil Case No. 96-1367 dated 21 February 2006, dismissing for lack of telephone operator of the incident. Not long after, the hotel staff arrived at
merit herein petitioner Dr. Genevieve L. Huang’s Complaint for Damages. the main entrance door of the swimming pool area but it took them at
Assailed as well is the Court of Appeals’ Resolution3 dated 5 November least 20 to 30 minutes to get inside. When the door was finally opened,
2007 denying for lack of merit petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration. three hotel chambermaids assisted petitioner by placing an ice pack and
applying some ointment on her head. After petitioner had slightly
recovered, she requested to be assisted to the hotel’s coffee shop to
This case stemmed from a Complaint for Damages filed on 28 August
have some rest. Petitioner demanded the services of the hotel
1996 by petitioner Dr. Genevieve L. Huang4against herein respondents
physician.11
Philippine Hoteliers, Inc. (PHI)5 and Dusit Thani Public Co., Ltd.
(DTPCI),6 as owners of Dusit Thani Hotel Manila (Dusit Hotel);7 and co-
respondent First Lepanto Taisho Insurance Corporation (First Dr. Violeta Dalumpines (Dr. Dalumpines) arrived. She approached
Lepanto),8 as insurer of the aforesaid hotel. The said Complaint was petitioner and introduced herself as the hotel physician. However, instead
premised on the alleged negligence of respondents PHI and DTPCI’s of immediately providing the needed medical assistance, Dr. Dalumpines
staff, in the untimely putting off all the lights within the hotel’s swimming presented a "Waiver" and demanded that it be signed by petitioner,
pool area, as well as the locking of the main entrance door of the area, otherwise, the hotel management will not render her any assistance.
prompting petitioner to grope for a way out. While doing so, a folding Petitioner refused to do so.12
wooden counter top fell on her head causing her serious brain injury. The
negligence was allegedly compounded by respondents PHI and DTPCI’s After eating her dinner and having rested for a while, petitioner left the
failure to render prompt and adequate medical assistance. hotel’s coffee shop and went home. Thereupon, petitioner started to feel
extraordinary dizziness accompanied by an uncomfortable feeling in her
Petitioner’s version of the antecedents of this case is as follows: stomach, which lasted until the following day. Petitioner was constrained
to stay at home, thus, missing all her important appointments with her
patients. She also began experiencing "on" and "off" severe headaches
On 11 June 1995, Delia Goldberg (Delia), a registered guest of Dusit
that caused her three (3) sleepless nights.13
Hotel, invited her friend, petitioner Dr. Genevieve L. Huang, for a swim at
the hotel’s swimming pool facility. They started bathing at around 5:00
p.m. At around 7:00 p.m., the hotel’s swimming pool attendant informed Petitioner, thus, decided to consult a certain Dr. Perry Noble (Dr. Noble),
them that the swimming pool area was about to be closed. The two a neurologist from Makati Medical Center, who required her to have an X-
subsequently proceeded to the shower room adjacent to the swimming
ray and a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests.14 The MRI test.21 According to petitioner, Dr. Sibayan’s finding was the same as
Report15 dated 23 August 1995 revealed the following findings: those of the previous doctors that she had consulted—she has a serious
brain injury.22
CONSULTATION REPORT:
By reason of the unfortunate 11 June 1995 incident inside the hotel’s
MRI examination of the brain shows scattered areas of intraparenchymal swimming pool area, petitioner also started to feel losing her memory,
contusions and involving mainly the left middle and posterior temporal which greatly affected and disrupted the practice of her chosen
and slightly the right anterior temporal lobe. profession.23 Thus, on 25 October 1995, petitioner, through counsel, sent
a demand letter24 to respondents PHI and DTPCI seeking payment of an
Other small areas of contusions with suggestive pertechiae are seen in amount not less than P100,000,000.00 representing loss of earnings on
the left fronto-parietal, left parieto-occipital and with deep frontal her remaining life span. But, petitioner’s demand was unheeded.
periventricular subcortical and cortical regions. There is no mass effect
nor signs of localized hemorrhagic extravasation. In November 1995, petitioner went to the United States of America (USA)
for further medical treatment. She consulted a certain Dr. Gerald
The ventricles are not enlarged, quite symmetrical without shifts or Steinberg and a certain Dr. Joel Dokson25 from Mount Sinai Hospital who
deformities; the peripheral sulci are within normal limits. both found that she has "post traumatic-post concussion/contusion
cephalgias-vascular and neuralgia."26 She was then prescribed to take
some medications for severe pain and to undergo physical therapy. Her
The C-P angles, petromastoids, sella, extrasellar and retro orbital areas
condition did not improve so she returned to the Philippines.27
appear normal.
Petitioner, once again, consulted Dr. Sibayan, who simply told her to just
The brainstem is unremarkable.
relax and to continue taking her medicines. Petitioner also consulted
other neurologists, who all advised her to just continue her medications
IMPRESSION: Scattered small intraparenchymal contusions mainly and to undergo physical therapy for her neck pain.28
involving the left middle-posterior temporal lobe and also right medial
anterior temporal, both deep frontal subcortical, left parieto-occipital
Sometime in 1996, petitioner consulted as well a certain Dr. Victor Lopez
subcortical and cortical regions. Ischemic etiology not ruled out. No
(Dr. Lopez), an ophthalmologist from the Makati Medical Center, because
localized intra - or extracerebral hemorrhage.16
of her poor vision, which she has experienced for several
months.29 Petitioner’s Eye Report dated 5 March 199630 issued by Dr.
Petitioner claimed that the aforesaid MRI result clearly showed that her Lopez stated: "IMPRESSION: Posterior vitreous detachment, right eye of
head was bruised. Based also on the same MRI result, Dr. Noble told her floaters." Dr. Lopez told petitioner that her detached eye is permanent
that she has a very serious brain injury. In view thereof, Dr. Noble and very serious. Dr. Lopez then prescribed an eye drop to petitioner.31
prescribed the necessary medicine for her condition.17
For petitioner’s frustration to dissipate and to regain her former strength
Petitioner likewise consulted a certain Dr. Ofelia Adapon, also a and physical well-being, she consulted another neuro-surgeon from
neurologist from Makati Medical Center, who required her to undergo an Makati Medical Center by the name of Dr. Leopoldo P. Pardo, Jr. (Dr.
Electroencephalogram examination (EEG) to measure the electrostatic in Pardo, Jr.).32 She disclosed to Dr. Pardo, Jr. that at the age of 18 she
her brain.18Based on its result,19 Dr. Ofelia Adapon informed her that she suffered a stroke due to mitral valve disease and that she was given
has a serious condition—a permanent one. Dr. Ofelia Adapon similarly treatments, which also resulted in thrombocytopenia. In Dr. Pardo, Jr.’s
prescribed medicines for her brain injury.20 medical evaluation of petitioner dated 15 May 1996,33 he made the
following diagnosis and opinion:
Petitioner’s condition did not get better. Hence, sometime in September
1995, she consulted another neuro-surgeon by the name of Dr. Renato DIAGNOSIS AND OPINION:
Sibayan (Dr. Sibayan), who required her to have an X-ray
This patient sustained a severe head injury in (sic) 11 June 1995 and as Dr. Perez’s neurologic evaluation40 of petitioner reflected, among others:
a result of which she developed the following injuries: (1) petitioner’s past medical history, which includes, among others, mitral
valve stenosis; (2) an interpretation of petitioner’s EEG results in October
1. Cerebral Concussion and Contusion 1995 and in January 1999, i.e., the first EEG showed sharp waves seen
bilaterally more on the left while the second one was normal; and (3)
2. Post-traumatic Epilepsy interpretation of petitioner’s second MRI result, i.e., petitioner has a
permanent damage in the brain, which can happen either after a head
injury or after a stroke. Dr. Perez concluded that petitioner has post-
3. Post-concussional Syndrome
traumatic or post concussion syndrome.41
4. Minimal Brain Dysfunction
Respondents, on the other hand, denied all the material allegations of
petitioner and, in turn, countered the latter’s statement of facts, thus:
5. Cervical Sprain, chronic recurrent
According to respondents PHI and DTPCI, a sufficient notice had been
It is my opinion that the symptoms she complained of in the foregoing posted on the glass door of the hotel leading to the swimming pool area
history are all related to and a result of the injury sustained on 11 June to apprise the people, especially the hotel guests, that the swimming pool
1995. area is open only from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.42 Though the hotel’s
swimming pool area is open only between the aforestated time, the lights
It is further my opinion that the above diagnosis and complaints do thereon are kept on until 10:00 p.m. for, (1) security reasons; (2)
materially affect her duties and functions as a practicing physician and housekeeping personnel to do the cleaning of the swimming pool
dermatologist, and that she will require treatment for an undetermined surroundings; and (3) people doing their exercise routine at the Slimmer’s
period of time. World Gym adjacent to the swimming pool area, which was then open
until 10:00 p.m., to have a good view of the hotel’s swimming pool. Even
The percentage of disability is not calculated at this time and will require granting that the lights in the hotel’s swimming pool area were turned off,
further evaluation and observation.34 it would not render the area completely dark as the Slimmer’s World Gym
near it was well-illuminated.43
Dr. Pardo, Jr. then advised petitioner to continue her medications.35
Further, on 11 June 1995, at round 7:00 p.m., the hotel’s swimming pool
Petitioner likewise consulted a certain Dr. Tenchavez36 for her follow-up attendant advised petitioner and Delia to take their showers as it was
EEG.37 He similarly prescribed medicine for petitioner’s deep brain injury. already closing time. Afterwards, at around 7:40 p.m., Pearlie Benedicto-
He also gave her pain killer for her headache and advised her to undergo Lipana (Ms. Pearlie), the hotel staff nurse, who was at the hotel clinic
physical therapy. Her symptoms, however, persisted all the more.38 located at the mezzanine floor, received a call from the hotel telephone
operator informing her that there was a guest requiring medical
In 1999, petitioner consulted another neurologist at the Makati Medical assistance at the hotel’s swimming pool area located one floor above the
Center by the name of Dr. Martesio Perez (Dr. Perez) because of severe clinic.44
fleeting pains in her head, arms and legs; difficulty in concentration; and
warm sensation of the legs, which symptoms also occurred after the 11 Immediately, Ms. Pearlie got hold of her medical kit and hurriedly went to
June 1995 incident. Upon examination, Dr. Perez observed that petitioner the hotel’s swimming pool area. There she saw Delia and petitioner, who
has been experiencing severe pains and she has a slight difficulty in told her that she was hit on the head by a folding wooden counter top.
concentration. He likewise noted that there was a slight spasm of Although petitioner looked normal as there was no indication of any blood
petitioner’s neck muscle but, otherwise, there was no objective or bruise on her head, Ms. Pearlie still asked her if she needed any
neurologic finding. The rest of petitioner’s neurologic examination was medical attention to which petitioner replied that she is a doctor, she was
essentially normal.39 fine and she did not need any medical attention. Petitioner, instead,
requested for a hirudoid cream to which Ms. Pearlie acceded.45
At about 8:00 p.m., after attending to petitioner, Ms. Pearlie went back to Same records show that there, she saw petitioner who claimed the
the hotel clinic to inform Dr. Dalumpines of the incident at the hotel’s folding countertop fell on her head when she lifted it to enter the
swimming pool area. But before she could do that, Dr. Dalumpines had lifeguard’s counter to use the phone. She asked for Hirudoid.
already chanced upon Delia and petitioner at the hotel’s coffee shop and
the latter reported to Dr. Dalumpines that her head was hit by a folding The same evening petitioner met Dr. Dalumpines at the Coffee Shop.
wooden counter top while she was inside the hotel’s swimming pool area. After narrating the poolside incident and declining Dr. Dalumpines’ offer
When asked by Dr. Dalumpines how she was, petitioner responded she of assistance, she reiterated that the Hirudoid cream was enough and
is a doctor, she was fine and she was already attended to by the hotel that petitioner being a doctor herself, knew her condition and she was all
nurse, who went at the hotel’s swimming pool area right after the right.
accident. Dr. Dalumpines then called Ms. Pearlie to verify the same,
which the latter confirmed.46 This certification is given upon the request of petitioner for whatever
purpose it may serve, 7 September 1995 at Makati City.51 (Emphasis
Afterwards, Dr. Dalumpines went back to petitioner and checked the supplied).
latter’s condition. Petitioner insisted that she was fine and that the
hirudoid cream was enough. Having been assured that everything was Petitioner personally picked up the afore-quoted Certification at the hotel
fine, Dr. Dalumpines requested petitioner to execute a handwritten clinic without any objection as to its contents.52
certification47 regarding the incident that occurred that night. Dr.
Dalumpines then suggested to petitioner to have an X-ray test. Petitioner
From 11 June 1995 until 7 September 1995, the hotel clinic never
replied that it was not necessary. Petitioner also refused further medical
received any complaint from petitioner regarding the latter’s condition.
attention.48
The hotel itself neither received any written complaint from petitioner.53
On 13 June 1995, petitioner called up Dr. Dalumpines. The call, however,
After trial, the court a quo in its Decision dated 21 February 2006
had nothing to do with the 11 June 1995 incident. Instead, petitioner
dismissed petitioner’s Complaint for lack of merit.
merely engaged in small talk with Dr. Dalumpines while having her daily
massage. The two talked about petitioner’s personal matters, i.e., past
medical history, differences with siblings and family over inheritance and The trial court found petitioner’s testimony self-serving, thus, devoid of
difficulty in practice. Petitioner even disclosed to Dr. Dalumpines that she credibility. Petitioner failed to present any evidence to substantiate her
once fell from a horse; that she had a stroke; had hysterectomy and is allegation that the lights in the hotel’s swimming pool area were shut off
incapable of having children for her uterus had already been removed; at the time of the incident. She did not even present her friend, Delia, to
that she had blood disorder, particularly lack of platelets, that can cause corroborate her testimony. More so, petitioner’s testimony was
bleeding; and she had an "on" and "off" headaches. Petitioner oftentimes contradicted by one of the witnesses presented by the respondents who
called Dr. Dalumpines at the hotel clinic to discuss topics similar to those positively declared that it has been a normal practice of the hotel
discussed during their 13 June 1995 conversation.49 management not to put off the lights until 10:00 p.m. to allow the
housekeepers to do the cleaning of the swimming pool surroundings,
including the toilets and counters. Also, the lights were kept on for
Also, during one of their telephone conversations, petitioner requested for
security reasons and for the people in the nearby gym to have a good
a certification regarding the 11 June 1995 incident inside the hotel’s
view of the swimming pool while doing their exercise routine. Besides,
swimming pool area. Dr. Dalumpines accordingly issued Certification
there was a remote possibility that the hotel’s swimming pool area was in
dated 7 September 1995, which states that:50
complete darkness as the aforesaid gym was then open until 10:00 p.m.,
and the lights radiate to the hotel’s swimming pool area. As such,
CERTIFICATION petitioner would not have met the accident had she only acted with care
and caution.54
This is to certify that as per Clinic records, duty nurse Pearlie was called
to attend to an accident at the poolside at 7:45PM on 11 June 1995.
The trial court further struck down petitioner’s contention that the hotel With regard to respondent First Lepanto’s liability, the trial court ruled that
management did not extend medical assistance to her in the aftermath of under the contract of insurance, suffice it to state that absent any cause
the accident. Records showed that the hotel management immediately for any liability against respondents PHI and DTPCI, respondent First
responded after being notified of the accident. The hotel nurse and the Lepanto cannot be made liable thereon.
two chambermaids placed an ice pack on petitioner’s head. They were
willing to extend further emergency assistance but petitioner refused and Dissatisfied, petitioner elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals with
merely asked for a hirudoid cream. Petitioner even told them she is a the following assignment of errors: (1) the trial court erred in finding that
doctor and she was fine. Even the medical services offered by the hotel the testimony of petitioner is self-serving and thus void of credibility; (2)
physician were turned down by petitioner. Emphatically, petitioner cannot the trial court erred in applying the doctrine of proximate cause in cases
fault the hotel for the injury she sustained as she herself did not heed the of breach of contract and even assuming arguendo that the doctrine is
warning that the swimming pool area is open only from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 applicable, petitioner was able to prove by sufficient evidence the causal
p.m. As such, since petitioner’s own negligence was the immediate and connection between her injuries and respondents PHI and DTPCI’s
proximate cause of her injury, she cannot recover damages.55 negligent act; and (3) the trial court erred in holding that petitioner is not
entitled to damages.58
The trial court similarly observed that the records revealed no indication
that the head injury complained of by petitioner was the result of the On 9 August 2007, the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision affirming
alleged 11 June 1995 accident. Firstly, petitioner had a past medical the findings and conclusions of the trial court.
history which might have been the cause of her recurring brain injury.
Secondly, the findings of Dr. Perez did not prove a causal relation The Court of Appeals ratiocinated in this wise:
between the 11 June 1995 accident and the brain damage suffered by
petitioner. Even Dr. Perez himself testified that the symptoms being
At the outset, it is necessary for our purpose to determine whether to
experienced by petitioner might have been due to factors other than the
decide this case on the theory that herein respondents PHI and DTPCI
head trauma she allegedly suffered. It bears stressing that petitioner had
are liable for breach of contract or on the theory of quasi-delict.
been suffering from different kinds of brain problems since she was 18
years old, which may have been the cause of the recurring symptoms of
head injury she is experiencing at present. Absent, therefore, of any proof xxxx
establishing the causal relation between the injury she allegedly suffered
on 11 June 1995 and the head pains she now suffers, her claim must fail. It cannot be gainsaid that herein petitioner’s use of the hotel’s pool was
Thirdly, Dr. Teresita Sanchez’s (Dr. Sanchez) testimony cannot be relied only upon the invitation of Delia, the hotel’s registered guest. As such,
upon since she testified on the findings and conclusions of persons who she cannot claim contractual relationship between her and the hotel.
were never presented in court. Ergo, her testimony thereon was hearsay. Since the circumstances of the present case do not evince a contractual
Fourthly, the medical reports/evaluations/certifications issued by myriads relation between petitioner and respondents, the rules on quasi-delict ,
of doctors whom petitioner sought for examination or treatment were thus, govern.
neither identified nor testified to by those who issued them. Being
deemed as hearsay, they cannot be given probative value. Even The pertinent provision of Art. 2176 of the Civil Code which states:
assuming that petitioner suffered head injury as a consequence of the 11 "Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault
June 1995 accident, she cannot blame anyone but herself for staying at or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or
the hotel’s swimming pool area beyond its closing hours and for lifting the negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the
folding wooden counter top that eventually hit her head.56 parties, is called quasi-delict."

For petitioner’s failure to prove that her serious and permanent injury was A perusal of Article 2176 shows that obligations arising from quasi-delict
the result of the 11 June 1995 accident, thus, her claim for actual or or tort, also known as extra-contractual obligations, arise only between
compensatory damages, loss of income, moral damages, exemplary parties not otherwise bound by contract, whether express or implied.
damages and attorney’s fees, must all fail.57 Thus, to sustain a claim liability under quasi-delict, the following
requisites must concur: (a) damages suffered by the plaintiff; (b) fault or The aforementioned circumstances lead us to no other conclusion than
negligence of the defendant, or some other person for whose acts he that the proximate and immediate cause of the injury of petitioner was
must respond; and (c) the connection of cause and effect between the due to her own negligence.
fault or negligence of the defendant and the damages incurred by the
plaintiff. Moreover, petitioner failed to sufficiently substantiate that the medical
symptoms she is currently experiencing are the direct result of the head
Viewed from the foregoing, the question now is whether respondents PHI injury she sustained on 11 June 1995 as was aptly discussed in the lower
and DTPCI and its employees were negligent? We do not think so. court’s findings.
Several factors militate against petitioner’s contention.
xxxx
One. Petitioner recognized the fact that the pool area’s closing
time is 7:00 p.m.. She, herself, admitted during her testimony that It bears stressing that in civil cases, the law requires that the party who
she was well aware of the sign when she and Delia entered the alleges a fact and substantially asserts the affirmative of the issue has
pool area. Hence, upon knowing, at the outset, of the pool’s the burden of proving it. Hence, for petitioner to be entitled to damages,
closing time, she took the risk of overstaying when she decided to she must show that she had suffered an actionable injury. Regrettably,
take shower and leave the area beyond the closing hour. In fact, petitioner failed in this regard.59 (Emphasis supplied).
it was only upon the advise of the pool attendants that she
thereafter took her shower. Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration was denied for lack of merit in a
Resolution dated 5 November 2007.
Two. She admitted, through her certification that she lifted the
wooden bar countertop, which then fell onto her head. The Hence, this Petition raising the following issues:
admission in her certificate proves the circumstances surrounding
the occurrence that transpired on the night of 11 June 1995. This
(1) Whether or not the findings of fact of the trial court and of the
is contrary to her assertion in the complaint and testimony that,
Court of Appeals are conclusive in this case.
while she was passing through the counter door, she was
suddenly knocked out by a hard and heavy object. In view of the
fact that she admitted having lifted the counter top, it was her own (2) Whether or not herein respondents PHI and DTPCI are
doing, therefore, that made the counter top fell on to her head. responsible by implied contract to exercise due care for the safety
and welfare of the petitioner.
Three. We cannot likewise subscribe to petitioner’s assertion that
the pool area was totally dark in that she herself admitted that she (3) Whether or not the cause of action of the petitioner can be
saw a telephone at the counter after searching for one. It must be based on both breach of contract and tort.
noted that petitioner and Delia had walked around the pool area
with ease since they were able to proceed to the glass entrance (4) Whether or not it is respondents PHI and DTPCI and its
door from shower room, and back to the counter area where the employees who are liable to the petitioner for negligence,
telephone was located without encountering any untoward applying the well-established doctrines of res ipsa loquitur and
incident. Otherwise, she could have easily stumbled over, or slid, respondeat superior.
or bumped into something while searching for the telephone. This
negates her assertion that the pool area was completely dark, (5) Whether the petitioner’s debilitating and permanent injuries
thereby, totally impairing her vision. were a result of the accident she suffered at the hotel on 11 June
1995.
xxxx
(6) Whether or not the petitioner is entitled to the payment of they negligently locked the main entrance door of the hotel’s swimming
damages, attorney’s fees, interest, and the costs of suit. pool area. Following the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, respondents PHI
and DTPCI’s negligence is presumed and it is incumbent upon them to
(7) Whether or not the respondent insurance company is liable, prove otherwise but they failed to do so. Further, respondents PHI and
even directly, to the petitioner. DTPCI failed to observe all the diligence of a good father of a family in
the selection and supervision of their employees, hence, following the
(8) Whether or not petitioner’s motion for reconsideration of the doctrine of respondeat superior, they were liable for the negligent acts of
decision of the Court of Appeals is pro forma.60 their staff in not verifying if there were still people inside the swimming
pool area before turning off the lights and locking the door. Had
respondents PHI and DTPCI’s employees done so, petitioner would not
Petitioner argues that the rule that "findings of fact of the lower courts are
have been injured. Since respondents PHI and DTPCI’s negligence need
conclusive and must be respected on appeal" finds no application herein
not be proved, the lower courts erred in shifting the burden to petitioner
because this case falls under the jurisprudentially established exceptions.
and, thereafter, holding the hotel and its employees not negligent for
Moreover, since the rationale behind the afore-mentioned rule is that "the
petitioner’s failure to prove their negligence. Moreover, petitioner alleges
trial judge is in a vantage point to appreciate the conduct and behavior of
that there was no contributory negligence on her part for she did not do
the witnesses and has the unexcelled opportunity to evaluate their
anything that could have contributed to her injury. And, even if there was,
testimony," one logical exception to the rule that can be deduced
the same does not bar recovery.
therefrom is when the judge who decided the case is not the same judge
who heard and tried the case.
Petitioner equally declares that the evidence on record, including the
objective medical findings, had firmly established that her permanent
Petitioner further faults the Court of Appeals in ruling that no contractual
debilitating injuries were the direct result of the 11 June 1995 accident
relationship existed between her and respondents PHI and DTPCI since
inside the hotel’s swimming pool area. This fact has not been totally
her use of the hotel’s swimming pool facility was only upon the invitation
disputed by the respondents. Further, the medical experts who had been
of the hotel’s registered guest. On the contrary, petitioner maintains that
consulted by petitioner were in unison in their diagnoses of her condition.
an implied contract existed between them in view of the fact that the hotel
Petitioner was also able to prove that the falling of the folding wooden
guest status extends to all those who avail of its services—its patrons
counter top on her head while she was at the hotel’s swimming pool area
and invitees. It follows then that all those who patronize the hotel and its
was the cause of her head, eye and neck injuries.
facilities, including those who are invited to partake of those facilities, like
petitioner, are generally regarded as guests of the hotel. As such,
respondents PHI and DTPCI are responsible by implied contract for the Petitioner reiterates her claim for an award of damages, to wit: actual,
safety and welfare of petitioner while the latter was inside their premises including loss of income; moral, exemplary; as well as attorney’s fees,
by exercising due care, which they failed to do. interest and costs of suit. She states that respondents PHI and DTPCI
are liable for quasi-delict under Articles 19, 2176 and 2180 of the New
Civil Code. At the same time, they are liable under an implied contract for
Petitioner even asserts that the existence of a contract between the
they have a public duty to give due courtesy, to exercise reasonable care
parties does not bar any liability for tort since the act that breaks a
and to provide safety to hotel guests, patrons and invitees. Respondent
contract may also be a tort. Hence, the concept of change of theory of
First Lepanto, on the other hand, is directly liable under the express
cause of action pointed to by respondents is irrelevant.
contract of insurance.
Petitioner similarly avows that the doctrines of res ipsa loquitur and
Lastly, petitioner contends that her Motion for Reconsideration before the
respondeat superior are applicable in this case. She argues that a person
Court of Appeals was not pro forma for it specifically pointed out the
who goes in a hotel without a "bukol" or hematoma and comes out of it
alleged errors in the Court of Appeals Decision.
with a "bukol" or hematoma is a clear case of res ipsa loquitur. It was an
accident caused by the fact that the hotel staff was not present to lift the
heavy counter top for petitioner as is normally expected of them because The instant Petition is devoid of merit.
Primarily, only errors of law and not of facts are reviewable by this Court (k) When the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain
in a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which, if properly
Court.61 This Court is not a trier of facts and it is beyond its function to re- considered, would justify a different conclusion.64
examine and weigh anew the respective evidence of the
parties.62 Besides, this Court adheres to the long standing doctrine that Upon meticulous perusal of the records, however, this Court finds that
the factual findings of the trial court, especially when affirmed by the none of these exceptions is obtaining in this case. No such justifiable or
Court of Appeals, are conclusive on the parties and this compelling reasons exist for this Court to depart from the general rule.
Court.63 Nonetheless, this Court has, at times, allowed exceptions thereto, This Court will not disturb the factual findings of the trial court as affirmed
to wit: by the Court of Appeals and adequately supported by the evidence on
record.
(a) When the findings are grounded entirely on speculation,
surmises, or conjectures; Also, this Court will not review the factual findings of the trial court simply
because the judge who heard and tried the case was not the same judge
(b) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd, or who penned the decision. This fact alone does not diminish the veracity
impossible; and correctness of the factual findings of the trial court.65 Indeed, "the
efficacy of a decision is not necessarily impaired by the fact that its writer
(c) When there is grave abuse of discretion; only took over from a colleague who had earlier presided at the trial,
unless there is showing of grave abuse of discretion in the factual
(d) When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; findings reached by him."66 In this case, there was none.

(e) When the findings of facts are conflicting; It bears stressing that in this jurisdiction there is a disputable presumption
that the trial court’s decision is rendered by the judge in the regular
performance of his official duties. While the said presumption is only
(f) When in making its findings the Court of Appeals went beyond
disputable, it is satisfactory unless contradicted or overcame by other
the issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the
evidence. Encompassed in this presumption of regularity is the
admissions of both the appellant and the appellee;
presumption that the trial court judge, in resolving the case and drafting
the decision, reviewed, evaluated, and weighed all the evidence on
(g) When the Court of Appeals’ findings are contrary to those by record. That the said trial court judge is not the same judge who heard
the trial court; the case and received the evidence is of little consequence when the
records and transcripts of stenographic notes (TSNs) are complete and
(h) When the findings are conclusions without citation of specific available for consideration by the former,67 just like in the present case.
evidence on which they are based;
Irrefragably, the fact that the judge who penned the trial court’s decision
(i) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the was not the same judge who heard the case and received the evidence
petitioner’s main and reply briefs are not disputed by the therein does not render the findings in the said decision erroneous and
respondent; unreliable. While the conduct and demeanor of witnesses may sway a
trial court judge in deciding a case, it is not, and should not be, his only
(j) When the findings of fact are premised on the supposed consideration. Even more vital for the trial court judge’s decision are the
absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record; contents and substance of the witnesses’ testimonies, as borne out by
or the TSNs, as well as the object and documentary evidence submitted
and made part of the records of the case.68
This Court examined the records, including the TSNs, and found no head of the petitioner that knocked her down almost unconscious
reason to disturb the factual findings of both lower courts. This Court, which hard and heavy object turned out to be the Folding Counter
thus, upholds their conclusiveness. Top;

In resolving the second and third issues, a determination of the cause of 8. THAT, Delia immediately got hold of the house phone and
action on which petitioner’s Complaint for Damages was anchored upon notified the Hotel Telephone Operator about the incident,
is called for. immediately the hotel staffs (sic) arrived but they were stranded
behind the main door of the pool entrance and it too (sic) them
Initially, petitioner was suing respondents PHI and DTPCI mainly on more than twenty (20) minutes to locate the hotel maintenance
account of their negligence but not on any breach of contract. employee who holds the key of the said main entrance door;
Surprisingly, when the case was elevated on appeal to the Court of
Appeals, petitioner had a change of heart and later claimed that an 9. THAT, when the door was opened, two Hotel Chamber Maids
implied contract existed between her and respondents PHI and DTPCI assisted the petitioner to get out of the counter door. Petitioner
and that the latter were liable for breach of their obligation to keep her being a Physician tried to control her feelings although groggy
safe and out of harm. This allegation was never an issue before the trial and requested for a HURIDOID, a medicine for HEMATOMA, as
court. It was not the cause of action relied upon by the petitioner not until a huge lump developed on her head while the two Chamber
the case was before the Court of Appeals. Presently, petitioner claims Maids assisted petitioner by holding the bag of ice on her head
that her cause of action can be based both on quasi-delict and breach of and applying the medicine on the huge lump;
contract.
10. THAT, petitioner after having recovered slightly from her
A perusal of petitioner’s Complaint evidently shows that her cause of nightmare, though still feeling weak, asked to be assisted to the
action was based solely on quasi-delict. Telling are the following Hotel Coffee Shop to take a rest but requested for the hotel’s
allegations in petitioner’s Complaint: Physician. Despite her insistent requests, the Dusit Hotel refused
to lift a finger to assists petitioner who was then in distress until a
6. THAT, in the evening of 11 June 1995, between the hours from lady approached and introduced herself as the Hotel’s house
7:00 to 8:00 o’clock, after herein petitioner and her friend from Doctor. Instead however of assisting petitioner by asking her what
New York, Delia, the latter being then a Hotel guest, were taking kind of assistance the Hotel could render, in a DISCOURTEOUS
their shower after having a dip in the hotel’s swimming pool, MANNER presented instead a paper and demanding petitioner to
without any notice or warning, the Hotel’s staff put off all the lights affix her signature telling her that the Hotel Management would
within the pool area including the lights on the hallway and also only assists and answer for all expenses incurred if petitioner
locked the main entrance door of the pool area, x x x; signs the paper presented, but she refused and petitioner instead
wrote a marginal note on the said paper stating her reason
7. THAT, Hotel guest Delia started to panic while petitioner therefore, said paper later on turned out to be a WAIVER OF
pacified her by telling her not to worry as they would both find RIGHT or QUIT CLAIM;
their way out. Petitioner knowing that within the area there is a
house phone, started to look around while Delia was following xxxx
her, eventually petitioner saw a phone behind the counter x x x,
that while slowly moving on towards the phone on a stooping 14. THAT, due to the unfortunate incident caused by respondents
manner due to the darkness CAUSED BY UNTIMELY AND PHI and DTPCI’s gross negligence despite medical assistance,
NEGLIGENTLY PUTTING OFF WITH THE LIGHTS BY THE petitioner started to feel losing her memory that greatly affected
HEREIN RESPONDENTS PHI AND DTPCI’S EMPLOYEE while and disrupted the practice of her chosen profession x x x.
passing through the open counter door with its Folding Counter
Top also opened, x x x, a hard and heavy object fell onto the xxxx
19. THAT, due to respondents PHI and DTPCI’s gross negligence stands on and cannot be permitted after having lost thereon to repudiate
as being narrated which caused petitioner to suffer sleepless his theory and cause of action and adopt another and seek to re-litigate
nights, depression, mental anguish, serious anxiety, wounded the matter anew either in the same forum or on appeal.74
feelings, and embarrassment with her Diplomate friends in the
profession and industry, her social standing in the community was In that regard, this Court finds it significant to take note of the following
greatly affected and hence, respondents PHI and DTPCI must be differences between quasi-delict (culpa aquilina) and breach of contract
imposed the hereunder damages, prayed for x x x and Artile (sic) (culpa contractual). In quasi-delict, negligence is direct, substantive and
2176 and 2199 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines x x x. independent, while in breach of contract, negligence is merely incidental
to the performance of the contractual obligation; there is a pre-existing
xxxx contract or obligation.75 In quasi-delict, the defense of "good father of a
family" is a complete and proper defense insofar as parents, guardians
22. THAT, as to Moral, Exemplary and Actual Damages, as well and employers are concerned, while in breach of contract, such is not a
as petitioner’s Loss of Income, the amounts are stated in its complete and proper defense in the selection and supervision of
prayer hereunder.69 employees.76 In quasi- delict , there is no presumption of negligence and it
is incumbent upon the injured party to prove the negligence of the
It is clear from petitioner’s allegations that her Complaint for Damages defendant, otherwise, the former’s complaint will be dismissed, while in
was predicated on the alleged negligence of respondents PHI and breach of contract, negligence is presumed so long as it can be proved
DTPCI’s staff in the untimely putting off of all the lights within the hotel’s that there was breach of the contract and the burden is on the defendant
swimming pool area, as well as the locking of its main door, prompting to prove that there was no negligence in the carrying out of the terms of
her to look for a way out leading to the fall of the folding wooden counter the contract; the rule of respondeat superior is followed.77
top on her head causing her serious brain injury. The said negligence
was allegedly compounded by respondents PHI and DTPCI’s failure to Viewed from the foregoing, petitioner’s change of theory or cause of
render prompt and adequate medical assistance. These allegations in action from quasi-delict to breach of contract only on appeal would
petitioner’s Complaint constitute a cause of action for quasi-delict, which necessarily cause injustice to respondents PHI and DTPCI. First, the
under the New Civil Code is defined as an act, or omission which causes latter will have no more opportunity to present evidence to contradict
damage to another, there being fault or negligence.70 petitioner’s new argument. Second, the burden of proof will be shifted
from petitioner to respondents PHI and DTPCI. Petitioner’s change of
It is evident from petitioner’s Complaint and from her open court theory from quasi-delict to breach ofcontract must be repudiated.
testimony that the reliance was on the alleged tortious acts committed
against her by respondents PHI and DTPCI, through their management As petitioner’s cause of action is based on quasi-delict, it is incumbent
and staff. It is now too late in the day to raise the said argument for the upon her to prove the presence of the following requisites before
first time before this Court.71 respondents PHI and DTPCI can be held liable, to wit: (a) damages
suffered by the plaintiff; (b) fault or negligence of the defendant, or some
Petitioner’s belated reliance on breach of contract as her cause of action other person for whose acts he must respond; and (c) the connection of
cannot be sanctioned by this Court. Well-settled is the rule that a party is cause and effect between the fault or negligence of the defendant and
not allowed to change the theory of the case or the cause of action on the damages incurred by the plaintiff.78 Further, since petitioner’s case is
appeal. Matters, theories or arguments not submitted before the trial for quasi-delict , the negligence or fault should be clearly established as it
court cannot be considered for the first time on appeal or is the basis of her action.79 The burden of proof is upon petitioner. Section
certiorari.72 When a party adopts a certain theory in the court below, he 1, Rule 131 of the Rules of Court provides that "burden of proof is the
will not be permitted to change his theory on appeal for to permit him to duty of a party to present evidence on the facts in issue necessary to
do so would not only be unfair to the other party but it would also be establish his claim or defense by the amount of evidence required by
offensive to the basic rules of fair play, justice and due process.73 Hence, law." It is then up for the plaintiff to establish his cause of action or the
a party is bound by the theory he adopts and by the cause of action he defendant to establish his defense. Therefore, if the plaintiff alleged in his
complaint that he was damaged because of the negligent acts of the
defendant, he has the burden of proving such negligence. It is even aware of the sign when she and Delia entered the pool area. Hence,
presumed that a person takes ordinary care of his concerns. The upon knowing, at the outset, of the pool’s closing time, she took the risk
quantum of proof required is preponderance of evidence.80 of overstaying when she decided to take shower and leave the area
beyond the closing hour. In fact, it was only upon the advise of the pool
In this case, as found by the trial court and affirmed by the Court of attendants that she thereafter took her shower.
Appeals, petitioner utterly failed to prove the alleged negligence of
respondents PHI and DTPCI. Other than petitioner’s self-serving Two. She admitted, through her certification, that she lifted the wooden
testimony that all the lights in the hotel’s swimming pool area were shut bar countertop, which then fell on to her head. The admission in her
off and the door was locked, which allegedly prompted her to find a way certificate proves the circumstances surrounding the occurrence that
out and in doing so a folding wooden counter top fell on her head causing transpired on the night of 11 June 1995. This is contrary to her assertion
her injury, no other evidence was presented to substantiate the same. in the complaint and testimony that, while she was passing through the
Even her own companion during the night of the accident inside the counter door, she was suddenly knocked out by a hard and heavy object.
hotel’s swimming pool area was never presented to corroborate her In view of the fact that she admitted having lifted the countertop, it was
allegations. Moreover, petitioner’s aforesaid allegations were successfully her own doing, therefore, that made the counter top fell on to her head.
rebutted by respondents PHI and DTPCI. Here, we quote with conformity
the observation of the trial court, thus: Three. We cannot likewise subscribe to petitioner’s assertion that the
pool area was totally dark in that she herself admitted that she saw a
x x x Besides not being backed up by other supporting evidence, said telephone at the counter after searching for one. It must be noted that
statement is being contradicted by the testimony of Engineer Dante L. petitioner and Delia had walked around the pool area with ease since
Costas,81 who positively declared that it has been a normal practice of the they were able to proceed to the glass entrance door from the shower
Hotel management not to put off the lights until 10:00P.M. in order to room, and back to the counter area where the telephone was located
allow the housekeepers to do the cleaning of the pool’s surrounding, the without encountering any untoward incident. Otherwise, she could have
toilets and the counters. It was also confirmed that the lights were kept on easily stumbled over, or slid, or bumped into something while searching
for security reasons and so that the people exercising in the nearby gym for the telephone. This negates her assertion that the pool area was
may be able to have a good view of the swimming pool. This Court also completely dark, thereby, totally impairing her vision.
takes note that the nearby gymnasium was normally open until 10:00
P.M. so that there was a remote possibility the pool area was in complete xxxx
darkness as was alleged by herein petitioner, considering that the
illumination which reflected from the gym. Ergo, considering that the area The aforementioned circumstances lead us to no other conclusion than
were sufficient (sic) illuminated when the alleged incident occurred, there that the proximate and immediate cause of the injury of petitioner was
could have been no reason for the petitioner to have met said accident, due to her own negligence.83 (Emphasis supplied).
much less to have been injured as a consequence thereof, if she only
acted with care and caution, which every ordinary person is expected to
Even petitioner’s assertion of negligence on the part of respondents PHI
do.82
and DTPCI in not rendering medical assistance to her is preposterous.
Her own Complaint affirmed that respondents PHI and DTPCI afforded
More telling is the ratiocination of the Court of Appeals, to wit: medical assistance to her after she met the unfortunate accident inside
the hotel’s swimming pool facility. Below is the portion of petitioner’s
Viewed from the foregoing, the question now is whether respondents PHI Complaint that would contradict her very own statement, thus:
and DTPCI and its employees were negligent? We do not think so.
Several factors militate against petitioner’s contention. 14. THAT, due to the unfortunate incident caused by respondents PHI
and DTPCI’s gross negligence despite medical assistance, petitioner
One. Petitioner recognized the fact that the pool area’s closing time is started to feel losing her memory that greatly affected and disrupted the
7:00 p.m.. She, herself, admitted during her testimony that she was well practice of her chosen profession. x x x.84 (Emphasis supplied).
Also, as observed by the trial court, respondents PHI and DTPCI, indeed, Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase which literally means "the thing or the
extended medical assistance to petitioner but it was petitioner who transaction speaks for itself." It relates to the fact of an injury that sets out
refused the same. The trial court stated, thus: an inference to the cause thereof or establishes the plaintiff’s prima facie
case. The doctrine rests on inference and not on presumption. The facts
Further, herein petitioner’s asseverations that the Hotel Management did of the occurrence warrant the supposition of negligence and they furnish
not extend medical assistance to her in the aftermath of the alleged circumstantial evidence of negligence when direct evidence is
accident is not true. Again, this statement was not supported by any lacking.87 Simply stated, this doctrine finds no application if there is direct
evidence other that the sole and self-serving testimony of petitioner. proof of absence or presence of negligence. If there is sufficient proof
Thus, this Court cannot take petitioner’s statement as a gospel truth. It showing the conditions and circumstances under which the injury
bears stressing that the Hotel Management immediately responded after occurred, then the creative reason for the said doctrine disappears.88
it received notice of the incident. As a matter of fact, Ms. Pearlie, the
Hotel nurse, with two chambermaids holding an ice bag placed on Further, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applies where, (1) the accident
petitioner’s head came to the petitioner to extend emergency assistance was of such character as to warrant an inference that it would not have
when she was notified of the incident, but petitioner merely asked for happened except for the defendant’s negligence; (2) the accident must
Hirudoid, saying she was fine, and that she was a doctor and know how have been caused by an agency or instrumentality within the exclusive
to take care of herself. Also, the Hotel, through its in-house physician, Dr. management or control of the person charged with the negligence
Dalumpines offered its medical services to petitioner when they met at complained of; and (3) the accident must not have been due to any
the Hotel’s coffee shop, but again petitioner declined the offer. Moreover, voluntary action or contribution on the part of the person injured.89
the Hotel as a show of concern for the petitioner’s welfare, shouldered
the expenses for the MRI services performed on petitioner at the Makati In the case at bench, even granting that respondents PHI and DTPCI’s
Medical Center. Emphatically, petitioner herself cannot fault the Hotel for staff negligently turned off the lights and locked the door, the folding
the injury she allegedly suffered because she herself did not heed the wooden counter top would still not fall on petitioner’s head had she not
warning at the pool to the effect that it was only open from 7:00 to 7:00 lifted the same. Although the folding wooden counter top is within the
P.M. Thus, when the petitioner’s own negligence was the immediate and exclusive management or control of respondents PHI and DTPCI, the
proximate cause of his injury, shecannot recover damages x x x.85 falling of the same and hitting the head of petitioner was not due to the
negligence of the former. As found by both lower courts, the folding
With the foregoing, the following were clearly established, to wit: (1) wooden counter top did not fall on petitioner’s head without any human
petitioner stayed in the hotel’s swimming pool facility beyond its closing intervention. Records showed that petitioner lifted the said folding
hours; (2) she lifted the folding wooden counter top that eventually hit her wooden counter top that eventually fell and hit her head. The same was
head; and (3) respondents PHI and DTPCI extended medical assistance evidenced by the, (1) 11 June 1995 handwritten certification of petitioner
to her. As such, no negligence can be attributed either to respondents herself; (2) her Letter dated 30 August 1995 addressed to Mr. Yoshikazu
PHI and DTPCI or to their staff and/or management. Since the question Masuda (Mr. Masuda), General Manager of Dusit Hotel; and, (3)
of negligence is one of fact, this Court is bound by the said factual Certification dated 7 September 1995 issued to her by Dr. Dalumpines
findings made by the lower courts. It has been repeatedly held that the upon her request, which contents she never questioned.
trial court's factual findings, when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are
conclusive and binding upon this Court, if they are not tainted with Here, we, respectively, quote the 11 June 1995 handwritten certification
arbitrariness or oversight of some fact or circumstance of significance of petitioner; her letter to Mr. Masuda dated 30 August 1995; and Dr.
and influence. Petitioner has not presented sufficient ground to warrant a Dalumpines’ Certification dated 7 September 1995, to wit:
deviation from this rule.86
Petitioner’s 11 June 1995 Handwritten Certification:
With regard to petitioner’s contention that the principles of res ipsa
loquitur and respondeat superior are applicable in this case, this Court I was requested by Dr. Dalumpines to write that I was assured of
holds otherwise. assistance should it be necessary with regard an accident at the pool. x x
x The phone was in an enclosed area on a chair – I lifted the wooden bar massive wooden section of the counter near the swimming pool."93 In view
counter top which then fell on my head producing a large hematoma x x thereof, this Court cannot acquiesce petitioner’s theory that her case is
x.90 one of res ipsa loquitur as it was sufficiently established how petitioner
obtained that "bukol" or "hematoma."
Petitioner’s Letter addressed to Mr. Masuda dated 30 August 1995:
The doctrine of respondeat superior finds no application in the absence
Dear Mr. Masuda, of any showing that the employees of respondents PHI and DTPCI were
negligent. Since in this case, the trial court and the appellate court found
xxxx no negligence on the part of the employees of respondents PHI and
DTPCI, thus, the latter cannot also be held liable for negligence and be
made to pay the millions of pesos damages prayed for by petitioner.
x x x We searched and saw a phone on a chair behind a towel counter.
However, in order to get behind the counter I had to lift a hinged massive
wooden section of the counter which subsequently fell and knocked me The issue on whether petitioner’s debilitating and permanent injuries
on my head x x x.91 were the result of the accident she suffered at the hotel’s swimming pool
area on 11 June 1995 is another question of fact, which is beyond the
function of this Court to resolve. More so, this issue has already been
Dr. Dalumpines’ Certification dated 7 September 1995:
properly passed upon by the trial court and the Court of Appeals. To
repeat, this Court is bound by the factual findings of the lower courts and
CERTIFICATION there is no cogent reason to depart from the said rule.

This is to certify that as per Clinic records, duty nurse Pearlie was called The following observations of the trial court are controlling on this matter:
to attend to an accident at the poolside at 7:45PM on 11 June 1995.
Firstly, petitioner had a past medical history which might have been the
Same records show that there, she saw petitioner who claimed the cause of her recurring brain injury.
folding countertop fell on her head when she lifted it to enter the
lifeguard’s counter to use the phone. She asked for Hirudoid.
Secondly, the findings of Dr. Perez did not prove a causal relation
between the 11 June 1995 accident and the brain damage suffered by
The same evening petitioner met Dr. Dalumpnes at the Coffee Shop. petitioner. Dr. Perez himself testified that the symptoms being
After narrating the poolside incident and declining Dr. Dalumpines’ offer experienced by petitioner might have been due to factors other than the
of assistance, she reiterated that the Hirudoid cream was enough and head trauma she allegedly suffered. Emphasis must be given to the fact
that petitioner]being a doctor herself, knew her condition and she was all that petitioner had been suffering from different kinds of brain problems
right. since she was 18 years old, which may have been the cause of the
recurring symptoms of head injury she is experiencing at present.
This certification is given upon the request of petitioner for whatever
purpose it may serve, 7 September 1995 at Makati City.92 (Emphasis Thirdly, Dr. Sanchez’s testimony cannot be relied upon since she testified
supplied). on the findings and conclusions of persons who were never presented in
court. Ergo, her testimony thereon was hearsay. A witness can testify
This Court is not unaware that in petitioner’s Complaint and in her open only with regard to facts of which they have personal knowledge.
court testimony, her assertion was, "while she was passing through the Testimonial or documentary evidence is hearsay if it is based, not on the
counter door, she was suddenly knocked out by a hard and heavy object, personal knowledge of the witness, but on the knowledge of some other
which turned out to be the folding wooden counter top." However, in her person not on the witness stand. Consequently, hearsay evidence --
open court testimony, particularly during cross-examination, petitioner whether objected to or not -- has no probative value.94
confirmed that she made such statement that "she lifted the hinge
Fourthly, the medical reports/evaluations/certifications issued by myriads JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
of doctors whom petitioner sought for examination or treatment were Associate Justice
neither identified nor testified to by those who issued them. Being
deemed as hearsay, they cannot be given probative value. 1âw phi 1

The aforesaid medical reports/evaluations/certifications of different


doctors in favor of petitioner cannot be given probative value and their
contents cannot be deemed to constitute proof of the facts stated therein.
It must be stressed that a document or writing which is admitted not as
independent evidence but merely as part of the testimony of a witness
does not constitute proof of the facts related therein.95 In the same vein,
the medical certificate which was identified and interpreted in court by
another doctor was not accorded probative value because the doctor who
prepared it was not presented for its identification. Similarly, in this case,
since the doctors who examined petitioner were not presented to testify
on their findings, the medical certificates issued on their behalf and
identified by another doctor cannot be admitted as evidence. Since a
medical certificate involves an opinion of one who must first be
established as an expert witness, it cannot be given weight or credit
unless the doctor who issued it is presented in court to show his
qualifications.96 Thus, an unverified and unidentified private document
cannot be accorded probative value. It is precluded because the party
against whom it is presented is deprived of the right and opportunity to
cross-examine the person to whom the statements or writings are
attributed. Its executor or author should be presented as a witness to
provide the other party to the litigation the opportunity to question its
contents. Being mere hearsay evidence, failure to present the author of
the letter renders its contents suspect and of no probative value.97

All told, in the absence of negligence on the part of respondents PHI and
DTPCI, as well as their management and staff, they cannot be made
Iiable to pay for the millions of damages prayed for by the petitioner.
Since respondents PHI and DTPCI arc not liable, it necessarily follows
that respondent First Lepanto cannot also be made liable under the
contract or Insurance.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision and Resolution or the


Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 87065 dated 9 August 2007 and 5
November 2007, respectively, are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against
petitioner.

SO ORDERED.
24. G.R. No. 164349 January 31, 2006 hence, the telegram was resent on February 2, 1991, and the second
messenger finally found the address on February 15, 1991.
RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC.
(RCPI),Petitioner, Editha’s husband Alfonso Verchez (Verchez), by letter of March 5,
vs. 1991,5 demanded an explanation from the manager of the Service Quality
ALFONSO VERCHEZ, GRACE VERCHEZ-INFANTE, MARDONIO Control Department of the RCPI, Mrs. Lorna D. Fabian, who replied, by
INFANTE, ZENAIDA VERCHEZ-CATIBOG, AND FORTUNATO letter of March 13, 1991,6 as follows:
CATIBOG, Respondents.
Our investigation on this matter disclosed that subject telegram was duly
DECISION processed in accordance with our standard operating procedure.
However, delivery was not immediately effected due to the occurrence of
CARPIO MORALES, J.: circumstances which were beyond the control and foresight of RCPI.
Among others, during the transmission process, the radio link connecting
On January 21, 1991, Editha Hebron Verchez (Editha) was confined at the points of communication involved encountered radio noise and
the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital due to an ailment. On even date, her interferences such that subject telegram did not initially registered (sic) in
daughter Grace Verchez-Infante (Grace) immediately hied to the the receiving teleprinter machine.
Sorsogon Branch of the Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc.
(RCPI) whose services she engaged to send a telegram to her sister Our internal message monitoring led to the discovery of the above. Thus,
Zenaida Verchez-Catibog (Zenaida) who was residing at 18 Legal St., a repeat transmission was made and subsequent delivery was effected.
GSIS Village, Quezon City1 reading: "Send check money Mommy (Underscoring supplied)
hospital." For RCPI’s services, Grace paid P10.502 for which she was
issued a receipt.3 Verchez’s lawyer thereupon wrote RCPI’s manager Fabian, by letter of
July 23, 1991,7 requesting for a conference on a specified date and time,
As three days after RCPI was engaged to send the telegram to Zenaida but no representative of RCPI showed up at said date and time.
no response was received from her, Grace sent a letter to Zenaida, this
time thru JRS Delivery Service, reprimanding her for not sending any On April 17, 1992, Editha died.
financial aid.
On September 8, 1993, Verchez, along with his daughters Grace and
Immediately after she received Grace’s letter, Zenaida, along with her Zenaida and their respective spouses, filed a complaint against RCPI
husband Fortunato Catibog, left on January 26, 1991 for Sorsogon. On before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Sorsogon for damages. In their
her arrival at Sorsogon, she disclaimed having received any telegram. complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that, inter alia, the delay in delivering the
telegram contributed to the early demise of the late Editha to their
In the meantime, Zenaida and her husband, together with her mother damage and prejudice,8 for which they prayed for the award of moral and
Editha left for Quezon City on January 28, 1991 and brought Editha to exemplary damages9 and attorney’s fees.10
the Veterans Memorial Hospital in Quezon City where she was confined
from January 30, 1991 to March 21, 1991. After its motion to dismiss the complaint for improper venue11 was
denied12 by Branch 5 of the RTC of Sorsogon, RCPI filed its answer,
The telegram was finally delivered to Zenaida 25 days later or on alleging that except with respect to Grace,13 the other plaintiffs had no
February 15, 1991.4 On inquiry from RCPI why it took that long to deliver privity of contract with it; any delay in the sending of the telegram was
it, a messenger of RCPI replied that he had nothing to do with the due to force majeure, "specifically, but not limited to, radio noise and
delivery thereof as it was another messenger who previously was interferences which adversely affected the transmission and/or reception
assigned to deliver the same but the address could not be located, of the telegraphic message";14 the clause in the Telegram Transmission
Form signed by Grace absolved it from liability for any damage arising
from the transmission other than the refund of telegram tolls;15 it observed 1. The amount of One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos
due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees; and at all as moral damages;
events, any cause of action had been barred by laches.16
2. The amount of Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) Pesos as
The trial court, observing that "although the delayed delivery of the attorney’s fees; and
questioned telegram was not apparently the proximate cause of the
death of Editha," ruled out the presence of force majeure. Respecting the 3. To pay the costs.
clause in the telegram relied upon by RCPI, the trial court held that it
partakes of the nature of a contract of adhesion. SO ORDERED.18

Finding that the nature of RCPI’s business obligated it to dispatch the On appeal, the Court of Appeals, by Decision of February 27,
telegram to the addressee at the earliest possible time but that it did not 2004,19 affirmed the trial court’s decision.
in view of the negligence of its employees to repair its radio transmitter
and the concomitant delay in delivering the telegram on time, the trial
Hence, RCPI’s present petition for review on certiorari, it raising the
court, upon the following provisions of the Civil Code, to wit:
following questions: (1) "Is the award of moral damages proper even if
the trial court found that there was no direct connection between the
Article 2176 – Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, injury and the alleged negligent acts?"20 and (2) "Are the stipulations in
there being at fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. the ‘Telegram Transmission Form,’ in the nature "contracts of adhesion"
Such fault or negligence if there is no pre-existing contractual relation (sic)?21
between the parties, is called quasi-delict and is governed by the
provisions of this Chapter.
RCPI insists that respondents failed to prove any causal connection
between its delay in transmitting the telegram and Editha’s death.22
Article 1173 defines the fault of (sic) negligence of the obligor as the
"omission of the diligence which is required by the nature of the obligation
RCPI’s stand fails. It bears noting that its liability is anchored on culpa
and corresponds with the circumstances of the person, of the time, or the
contractual or breach of contract with regard to Grace, and on tort with
place."
regard to her co-plaintiffs-herein-co-respondents.
In the instant case, the obligation of the defendant to deliver the telegram
Article 1170 of the Civil Code provides:
to the addressee is of an urgent nature. Its essence is the early delivery
of the telegram to the concerned person. Yet, due to the negligence of its
employees, the defendant failed to discharge of its obligation on time Those who in the performance of their obligations are guilty of fraud,
making it liable for damages under Article 2176. negligence, or delay, and those who in any manner contravene the tenor
thereof, are liable for damages. (Underscoring supplied)
The negligence on the part of the employees gives rise to
the presumption of negligence on the part of the Passing on this codal provision, this Court explained:
employer.17 (Underscoring supplied),
In culpa contractual x x x the mere proof of the existence of the contract
rendered judgment against RCPI. Accordingly, it disposed: and the failure of its compliance justify, prima facie, a corresponding right
of relief. The law, recognizing the obligatory force of contracts, will not
permit a party to be set free from liability for any kind of misperformance
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing premises, judgment is hereby
of the contractual undertaking or a contravention of the tenor thereof. A
rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendant, to wit:
breach upon the contract confers upon the injured party a valid cause for
recovering that which may have been lost or suffered. The remedy serves
Ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiffs the following amount:
to preserve the interests of the promissee that may include Article 1174 of the Civil Code states that no person shall be responsible
his "expectation interest," which is his interest in having the benefit of for a fortuitous event that could not be foreseen or, though foreseen, was
his bargain by being put in as good a position as he would have been in inevitable. In other words, there must be an exclusion of human
had the contract been performed, or his "reliance interest," which is his intervention from the cause of injury or loss.24 (Emphasis and
interest in being reimbursed for loss caused by reliance on the contract underscoring supplied)
by being put in as good a position as he would have been in had the
contract not been made; or his "restitution interest," which is his Assuming arguendo that fortuitous circumstances prevented RCPI from
interest in having restored to him any benefit that he has conferred on the delivering the telegram at the soonest possible time, it should have at
other party. Indeed, agreements can accomplish little, either for their least informed Grace of the non-transmission and the non-delivery so
makers or for society, unless they are made the basis for action. The that she could have taken steps to remedy the situation. But it did not.
effect of every infraction is to create a new duty, that is, to make There lies the fault or negligence.
recompense to the one who has been injured by the failure of another to
observe his contractual obligation unless he can show extenuating In an earlier case also involving RCPI, this Court held:
circumstances, like proof of his exercise of due diligence x x x or of
the attendance of fortuitous event, to excuse him from his ensuing
Considering the public utility of RCPI’s business and its contractual
liability.23 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
obligation to transmit messages, it should exercise due diligence to
ascertain that messages are delivered to the persons at the given
In the case at bar, RCPI bound itself to deliver the telegram within the address and should provide a system whereby in cases of undelivered
shortest possible time. It took 25 days, however, for RCPI to deliver it. messages the sender is given notice of non-delivery. Messages sent
by cable or wireless means are usually more
RCPI invokes force majeure, specifically, the alleged radio noise and important and urgent than those which can wait for the mail.25
interferences which adversely affected the transmission and/or reception
of the telegraphic message. Additionally, its messenger claimed he could xxxx
not locate the address of Zenaida and it was only on the third attempt
that he was able to deliver the telegram.
People depend on telecommunications companies in times of deep
emotional stress or pressing financial needs. Knowing that messages
For the defense of force majeure to prosper, about the illnesses or deaths of loved ones, births or marriages in a
family, important business transactions, and notices of conferences or
x x x it is necessary that one has committed no negligence or misconduct meetings as in this case, are coursed through the petitioner and similar
that may have occasioned the loss. An act of God cannot be invoked to corporations, it is incumbent upon them to exercise a greater amount of
protect a person who has failed to take steps to forestall the possible care and concern than that shown in this case. Every reasonable effort to
adverse consequences of such a loss. One’s negligence may have inform senders of the non-delivery of messages should be undertaken.26
concurred with an act of God in producing damage and injury to another;
nonetheless, showing that the immediate or proximate cause of the (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
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
RCPI argues, however, against the presence of urgency in the delivery of
participation – whether by active intervention, neglect or failure to
the telegram, as well as the basis for the award of moral damages, thus:27
act – the whole occurrence is humanized and removed from the
rules applicable to acts of God.
The request to send check as written in the telegraphic text negates the
existence of urgency that private respondents’ allegations that ‘time was
xxxx
of the essence’ imports. A check drawn against a Manila Bank and
transmitted to Sorsogon, Sorsogon will have to be deposited in a bank in
Sorsogon and pass thru a minimum clearing period of 5 days before it
may be encashed or withdrawn. If the transmittal of the requested check For breach of contract then, RCPI is liable to Grace for damages.
to Sorsogon took 1 day – private respondents could therefore still wait for
6 days before the same may be withdrawn. Requesting a check that And for quasi-delict, RCPI is liable to Grace’s co-respondents following
would take 6 days before it could be withdrawn therefore contradicts Article 2176 of the Civil Code which provides:
plaintiff’s claim of urgency or need.28
Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault
At any rate, any sense of urgency of the situation was met when Grace or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or
Verchez was able to communicate to Manila via a letter that she sent to negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the
the same addressee in Manila thru JRS.29 parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this
Chapter. (Underscoring supplied)
xxxx
RCPI’s liability as an employer could of course be avoided if it could
As far as the respondent court’s award for moral damages is concerned, prove that it observed the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent
the same has no basis whatsoever since private respondent Alfonso damage. Article 2180 of the Civil Code so provides:
Verchez did not accompany his late wife when the latter went to Manila
by bus. He stayed behind in Sorsogon for almost 1 week before he The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for one’s
proceeded to Manila. 30 own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is
responsible.
When pressed on cross-examination, private respondent Alfonso
Verchez could not give any plausible reason as to the reason why he did xxxx
not accompany his ailing wife to Manila.31
The owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise
xxxx responsible for damages caused by their employees in the service of the
branches in which the latter are employed or on the occasion of their
It is also important to consider in resolving private respondents’ claim for functions.
moral damages that private respondent Grace Verchez did not
accompany her ailing mother to Manila.32 Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees
and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks,
xxxx even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry.

It is the common reaction of a husband to be at his ailing wife’s side as xxxx


much as possible. The fact that private respondent Alfonso Verchez
stayed behind in Sorsogon for almost 1 week convincingly demonstrates The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons
that he himself knew that his wife was not in critical condition.33 herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good
father of a family to prevent damage. (Underscoring supplied)
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
RCPI failed, however, to prove that it observed all the diligence of a good
RCPI’s arguments fail. For it is its breach of contract upon which its father of a family to prevent damage.
liability is, it bears repeating, anchored. Since RCPI breached its
contract, the presumption is that it was at fault or negligent. It, however, Respecting the assailed award of moral damages, a determination of the
failed to rebut this presumption. presence of the following requisites to justify the award is in order:
x x x firstly, evidence of besmirched reputation or physical, mental or Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous
psychological suffering sustained by the claimant; secondly, a culpable cases:
act or omission factually established; thirdly, proof that the wrongful act or
omission of the defendant is the proximate cause of damages sustained xxxx
by the claimant; and fourthly, that the case is predicated on any of the
instances expressed or envisioned by Article 2219 and Article 2220 of the (10) Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34,
Civil Code.34 and 35. (Emphasis supplied)

Respecting the first requisite, evidence of suffering by the plaintiffs-herein Article 26 of the Civil Code, in turn, provides:
respondents was correctly appreciated by the CA in this wise:
Every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of
The failure of RCPI to deliver the telegram containing the message of mind of his neighbors and other persons. The following and similar acts,
appellees on time, disturbed their filial tranquillity. Family members though they may not constitute a criminal offense, shall produce a cause
blamed each other for failing to respond swiftly to an emergency that of action for damages, prevention, and other relief:
involved the life of the late Mrs. Verchez, who suffered from diabetes.35
xxxx
As reflected in the foregoing discussions, the second and third requisites
are present.
(2) Meddling with or disturbing the private life or family relations of
another. (Emphasis supplied)
On the fourth requisite, Article 2220 of the Civil Code provides:
RCPI’s negligence in not promptly performing its obligation undoubtedly
Willful injury to property may be a legal ground for awarding moral disturbed the peace of mind not only of Grace but also her co-
damages if the court should find that, under the circumstances, such respondents. As observed by the appellate court, it disrupted the "filial
damages are justly due. The same rule applies to breaches of tranquillity" among them as they blamed each other "for failing to respond
contract where the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad swiftly to an emergency." The tortious acts and/or omissions complained
faith. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) of in this case are, therefore, analogous to acts mentioned under Article
26 of the Civil Code, which are among the instances of quasi-delict when
After RCPI’s first attempt to deliver the telegram failed, it did not inform courts may award moral damages under Article 2219 of the Civil Code.
Grace of the non-delivery thereof and waited for 12 days before trying to
deliver it again, knowing – as it should know – that time is of the essence In fine, the award to the plaintiffs-herein respondents of moral damages
in the delivery of telegrams. When its second long-delayed attempt to is in order, as is the award of attorney’s fees, respondents having been
deliver the telegram again failed, it, again, waited for another 12 days compelled to litigate to protect their rights.
before making a third attempt. Such nonchalance in performing its urgent
obligation indicates gross negligence amounting to bad faith. The fourth
Clutching at straws, RCPI insists that the limited liability clause in the
requisite is thus also present.
"Telegram Transmission Form" is not a contract of adhesion. Thus it
argues:
In applying the above-quoted Article 2220, this Court has awarded moral
damages in cases of breach of contract where the defendant was guilty
Neither can the Telegram Transmission Form be considered a contract of
of gross negligence amounting to bad faith, or in wanton disregard of his
adhesion as held by the respondent court. The said stipulations were
contractual obligation.36
all written in bold letters right in front of the Telegram Transmission Form.
As a matter of fact they were beside the space where the telegram
As for RCPI’s tort-based liability, Article 2219 of the Civil Code provides: senders write their telegraphic messages. It would have been different if
the stipulations were written at the back for surely there is no way the
sender will easily notice them. The fact that the stipulations were located 25. G.R. No. L-21438 September 28, 1966
in a particular space where they can easily be seen, is sufficient notice to
any sender (like Grace Verchez-Infante) where she could manifest her AIR FRANCE, petitioner,
disapproval, leave the RCPI station and avail of the services of the other vs.
telegram operators.37 (Underscoring supplied) RAFAEL CARRASCOSO and the HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS, respondents.
RCPI misunderstands the nature of a contract of adhesion. Neither the
readability of the stipulations nor their physical location in the contract Lichauco, Picazo and Agcaoili for petitioner.
determines whether it is one of adhesion. Bengzon Villegas and Zarraga for respondent R. Carrascoso.

A contract of adhesion is defined as one in which one of the parties


imposes a ready-made form of contract, which the other party may
accept or reject, but which the latter cannot modify. One party prepares
the stipulation in the contract, while the other party merely affixes his
SANCHEZ, J.:
signature or his "adhesion" thereto, giving no room for negotiation and
depriving the latter of the opportunity to bargain on equal
footing.38 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) The Court of First Instance of Manila 1 sentenced petitioner to pay
respondent Rafael Carrascoso P25,000.00 by way of moral damages;
P10,000.00 as exemplary damages; P393.20 representing the difference
While a contract of adhesion is not necessarily void and unenforceable,
in fare between first class and tourist class for the portion of the trip
since it is construed strictly against the party who drafted it or gave rise to
Bangkok-Rome, these various amounts with interest at the legal rate,
any ambiguity therein, it is stricken down as void and unenforceable or
from the date of the filing of the complaint until paid; plus P3,000.00 for
subversive of public policy when the weaker party is imposed upon in
attorneys' fees; and the costs of suit.
dealing with the dominant bargaining party and is reduced to the
alternative of taking it or leaving it, completely deprived of the opportunity
to bargain on equal footing.39 On appeal,2 the Court of Appeals slightly reduced the amount of refund
on Carrascoso's plane ticket from P393.20 to P383.10, and voted to
affirm the appealed decision "in all other respects", with costs against
This Court holds that the Court of Appeals’ finding that the parties’
petitioner.
contract is one of adhesion which is void is, given the facts and
circumstances of the case, thus well-taken.
The case is now before us for review on certiorari.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, and the challenged decision of
the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. The facts declared by the Court of Appeals as " fully supported by the
evidence of record", are:
Costs against petitioner.
Plaintiff, a civil engineer, was a member of a group of 48 Filipino
pilgrims that left Manila for Lourdes on March 30, 1958.
SO ORDERED.
On March 28, 1958, the defendant, Air France, through its
authorized agent, Philippine Air Lines, Inc., issued to plaintiff a
"first class" round trip airplane ticket from Manila to Rome. From
Manila to Bangkok, plaintiff travelled in "first class", but at
Bangkok, the Manager of the defendant airline forced plaintiff to
vacate the "first class" seat that he was occupying because, in
the words of the witness Ernesto G. Cuento, there was a "white Constitution". It is in this setting that in Manigque, it was held that the
man", who, the Manager alleged, had a "better right" to the seat. mere fact that the findings "were based entirely on the evidence for the
When asked to vacate his "first class" seat, the plaintiff, as was to prosecution without taking into consideration or even mentioning the
be expected, refused, and told defendant's Manager that his seat appellant's side in the controversy as shown by his own testimony",
would be taken over his dead body; a commotion ensued, and, would not vitiate the judgment. 13 If the court did not recite in the decision
according to said Ernesto G. Cuento, "many of the Filipino the testimony of each witness for, or each item of evidence presented by,
passengers got nervous in the tourist class; when they found out the defeated party, it does not mean that the court has overlooked such
that Mr. Carrascoso was having a hot discussion with the white testimony or such item of evidence. 14 At any rate, the legal presumptions
man [manager], they came all across to Mr. Carrascoso and are that official duty has been regularly performed, and that all the
pacified Mr. Carrascoso to give his seat to the white man" matters within an issue in a case were laid before the court and passed
(Transcript, p. 12, Hearing of May 26, 1959); and plaintiff upon by it. 15
reluctantly gave his "first class" seat in the plane.3
Findings of fact, which the Court of Appeals is required to make, maybe
1. The trust of the relief petitioner now seeks is that we review "all the defined as "the written statement of the ultimate facts as found by the
findings" 4 of respondent Court of Appeals. Petitioner charges that court ... and essential to support the decision and judgment rendered
respondent court failed to make complete findings of fact on all the issues thereon". 16They consist of the court's "conclusions" with respect to the
properly laid before it. We are asked to consider facts favorable to determinative facts in issue". 17 A question of law, upon the other hand,
petitioner, and then, to overturn the appellate court's decision. has been declared as "one which does not call for an examination of the
probative value of the evidence presented by the parties." 18
Coming into focus is the constitutional mandate that "No decision shall be
rendered by any court of record without expressing therein clearly and 2. By statute, "only questions of law may be raised" in an appeal by
distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based". 5 This is echoed in certiorari from a judgment of the Court of Appeals. 19 That judgment is
the statutory demand that a judgment determining the merits of the case conclusive as to the facts. It is not appropriately the business of this
shall state "clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is Court to alter the facts or to review the questions of fact. 20
based"; 6 and that "Every decision of the Court of Appeals shall contain
complete findings of fact on all issues properly raised before it". 7 With these guideposts, we now face the problem of whether the findings
of fact of the Court of Appeals support its judgment.
A decision with absolutely nothing to support it is a nullity. It is open to
direct attack. 8 The law, however, solely insists that a decision state the 3. Was Carrascoso entitled to the first class seat he claims?
"essential ultimate facts" upon which the court's conclusion is drawn. 9 A
court of justice is not hidebound to write in its decision every bit and piece It is conceded in all quarters that on March 28, 1958 he paid to and
of evidence 10 presented by one party and the other upon the issues received from petitioner a first class ticket. But petitioner asserts that said
raised. Neither is it to be burdened with the obligation "to specify in the ticket did not represent the true and complete intent and agreement of
sentence the facts" which a party "considered as proved". 11 This is but a the parties; that said respondent knew that he did not have confirmed
part of the mental process from which the Court draws the essential reservations for first class on any specific flight, although he had tourist
ultimate facts. A decision is not to be so clogged with details such that class protection; that, accordingly, the issuance of a first class ticket was
prolixity, if not confusion, may result. So long as the decision of the Court no guarantee that he would have a first class ride, but that such would
of Appeals contains the necessary facts to warrant its conclusions, it is depend upon the availability of first class seats.
no error for said court to withhold therefrom "any specific finding of facts
with respect to the evidence for the defense". Because as this Court well
These are matters which petitioner has thoroughly presented and
observed, "There is no law that so requires". 12 Indeed, "the mere failure
discussed in its brief before the Court of Appeals under its third
to specify (in the decision) the contentions of the appellant and the
assignment of error, which reads: "The trial court erred in finding that
reasons for refusing to believe them is not sufficient to hold the same
plaintiff had confirmed reservations for, and a right to, first class seats on
contrary to the requirements of the provisions of law and the
the "definite" segments of his journey, particularly that from Saigon to witnesses. Oral evidence cannot prevail over written evidence, and
Beirut". 21 plaintiff's Exhibits "A", "A-l", "B", "B-l", "C" and "C-1" belie the testimony of
said witnesses, and clearly show that the plaintiff was issued, and paid
And, the Court of Appeals disposed of this contention thus: for, a first class ticket without any reservation whatever.

Defendant seems to capitalize on the argument that the issuance Furthermore, as hereinabove shown, defendant's own witness Rafael
of a first-class ticket was no guarantee that the passenger to Altonaga testified that the reservation for a "first class" accommodation
whom the same had been issued, would be accommodated in the for the plaintiff was confirmed. The court cannot believe that after such
first-class compartment, for as in the case of plaintiff he had yet to confirmation defendant had a verbal understanding with plaintiff that the
make arrangements upon arrival at every station for the "first class" ticket issued to him by defendant would be subject to
necessary first-class reservation. We are not impressed by such confirmation in Hongkong. 23
a reasoning. We cannot understand how a reputable firm like
defendant airplane company could have the indiscretion to give We have heretofore adverted to the fact that except for a slight difference
out tickets it never meant to honor at all. It received the of a few pesos in the amount refunded on Carrascoso's ticket, the
corresponding amount in payment of first-class tickets and yet it decision of the Court of First Instance was affirmed by the Court of
allowed the passenger to be at the mercy of its employees. It is Appeals in all other respects. We hold the view that such a judgment of
more in keeping with the ordinary course of business that the affirmance has merged the judgment of the lower court. 24Implicit in that
company should know whether or riot the tickets it issues are to affirmance is a determination by the Court of Appeals that the proceeding
be honored or not.22 in the Court of First Instance was free from prejudicial error and "all
questions raised by the assignments of error and all questions that might
Not that the Court of Appeals is alone. The trial court similarly disposed of have been raised are to be regarded as finally adjudicated against the
petitioner's contention, thus: appellant". So also, the judgment affirmed "must be regarded as free
from all error". 25 We reached this policy construction because nothing in
On the fact that plaintiff paid for, and was issued a "First class" ticket, the decision of the Court of Appeals on this point would suggest that its
there can be no question. Apart from his testimony, see plaintiff's Exhibits findings of fact are in any way at war with those of the trial court. Nor was
"A", "A-1", "B", "B-1," "B-2", "C" and "C-1", and defendant's own witness, said affirmance by the Court of Appeals upon a ground or grounds
Rafael Altonaga, confirmed plaintiff's testimony and testified as follows: different from those which were made the basis of the conclusions of the
trial court. 26
Q. In these tickets there are marks "O.K." From what you know,
what does this OK mean? If, as petitioner underscores, a first-class-ticket holder is not entitled to a
first class seat, notwithstanding the fact that seat availability in specific
flights is therein confirmed, then an air passenger is placed in the hollow
A. That the space is confirmed.
of the hands of an airline. What security then can a passenger have? It
will always be an easy matter for an airline aided by its employees, to
Q. Confirmed for first class? strike out the very stipulations in the ticket, and say that there was a
verbal agreement to the contrary. What if the passenger had a schedule
A. Yes, "first class". (Transcript, p. 169) to fulfill? We have long learned that, as a rule, a written document speaks
a uniform language; that spoken word could be notoriously unreliable. If
xxx xxx xxx only to achieve stability in the relations between passenger and air
carrier, adherence to the ticket so issued is desirable. Such is the case
Defendant tried to prove by the testimony of its witnesses Luis Zaldariaga here. The lower courts refused to believe the oral evidence intended to
and Rafael Altonaga that although plaintiff paid for, and was issued a defeat the covenants in the ticket.
"first class" airplane ticket, the ticket was subject to confirmation in
Hongkong. The court cannot give credit to the testimony of said
The foregoing are the considerations which point to the conclusion that 6. That consequently, the plaintiff, desiring no repetition of the
there are facts upon which the Court of Appeals predicated the finding inconvenience and embarrassments brought by defendant's
that respondent Carrascoso had a first class ticket and was entitled to a breach of contract was forced to take a Pan American World
first class seat at Bangkok, which is a stopover in the Saigon to Beirut leg Airways plane on his return trip from Madrid to Manila.32
of the flight. 27 We perceive no "welter of distortions by the Court of
Appeals of petitioner's statement of its position", as charged by xxx xxx xxx
petitioner. 28 Nor do we subscribe to petitioner's accusation that
respondent Carrascoso "surreptitiously took a first class seat to provoke 2. That likewise, as a result of defendant's failure to furnish First Class
an issue". 29And this because, as petitioner states, Carrascoso went to accommodations aforesaid, plaintiff suffered inconveniences,
see the Manager at his office in Bangkok "to confirm my seat and embarrassments, and humiliations, thereby causing plaintiff mental
because from Saigon I was told again to see the Manager". 30 Why, then, anguish, serious anxiety, wounded feelings, social humiliation, and the
was he allowed to take a first class seat in the plane at Bangkok, if he like injury, resulting in moral damages in the amount of P30,000.00. 33
had no seat? Or, if another had a better right to the seat?
xxx xxx xxx
4. Petitioner assails respondent court's award of moral damages.
Petitioner's trenchant claim is that Carrascoso's action is planted upon
The foregoing, in our opinion, substantially aver: First, That there was a
breach of contract; that to authorize an award for moral damages there
contract to furnish plaintiff a first class passage covering, amongst others,
must be an averment of fraud or bad faith;31 and that the decision of the
the Bangkok-Teheran leg; Second, That said contract was breached
Court of Appeals fails to make a finding of bad faith. The pivotal
when petitioner failed to furnish first class transportation at Bangkok;
allegations in the complaint bearing on this issue are:
and Third, that there was bad faith when petitioner's employee compelled
Carrascoso to leave his first class accommodation berth "after he was
3. That ... plaintiff entered into a contract of air carriage with the already, seated" and to take a seat in the tourist class, by reason of
Philippine Air Lines for a valuable consideration, the latter acting which he suffered inconvenience, embarrassments and humiliations,
as general agents for and in behalf of the defendant, under which thereby causing him mental anguish, serious anxiety, wounded feelings
said contract, plaintiff was entitled to, as defendant agreed to and social humiliation, resulting in moral damages. It is true that there is
furnish plaintiff, First Class passage on defendant's plane during no specific mention of the term bad faith in the complaint. But, the
the entire duration of plaintiff's tour of Europe with Hongkong as inference of bad faith is there, it may be drawn from the facts and
starting point up to and until plaintiff's return trip to Manila, ... . circumstances set forth therein. 34 The contract was averred to establish
the relation between the parties. But the stress of the action is put on
4. That, during the first two legs of the trip from Hongkong to wrongful expulsion.
Saigon and from Saigon to Bangkok, defendant furnished to the
plaintiff First Class accommodation but only after protestations, Quite apart from the foregoing is that (a) right the start of the trial,
arguments and/or insistence were made by the plaintiff with respondent's counsel placed petitioner on guard on what Carrascoso
defendant's employees. intended to prove: That while sitting in the plane in Bangkok, Carrascoso
was ousted by petitioner's manager who gave his seat to a white
5. That finally, defendant failed to provide First Class passage, man; 35 and (b) evidence of bad faith in the fulfillment of the contract was
but instead furnished plaintiff only Tourist Class accommodations presented without objection on the part of the petitioner. It is, therefore,
from Bangkok to Teheran and/or Casablanca, ... the plaintiff has unnecessary to inquire as to whether or not there is sufficient averment in
been compelled by defendant's employees to leave the First the complaint to justify an award for moral damages. Deficiency in the
Class accommodation berths at Bangkok after he was already complaint, if any, was cured by the evidence. An amendment thereof to
seated. conform to the evidence is not even required. 36 On the question of bad
faith, the Court of Appeals declared:
That the plaintiff was forced out of his seat in the first class A They call us up by phone and ask for the confirmation."
compartment of the plane belonging to the defendant Air France (t.s.n., p. 247, June 19, 1959)
while at Bangkok, and was transferred to the tourist class not only
without his consent but against his will, has been sufficiently In this connection, we quote with approval what the trial Judge
established by plaintiff in his testimony before the court, has said on this point:
corroborated by the corresponding entry made by the purser of
the plane in his notebook which notation reads as follows: Why did the, using the words of witness Ernesto G.
Cuento, "white man" have a "better right" to the seat
"First-class passenger was forced to go to the tourist occupied by Mr. Carrascoso? The record is silent. The
class against his will, and that the captain refused to defendant airline did not prove "any better", nay, any right
intervene", on the part of the "white man" to the "First class" seat that
the plaintiff was occupying and for which he paid and was
and by the testimony of an eye-witness, Ernesto G. Cuento, who issued a corresponding "first class" ticket.
was a co-passenger. The captain of the plane who was asked by
the manager of defendant company at Bangkok to intervene even If there was a justified reason for the action of the
refused to do so. It is noteworthy that no one on behalf of defendant's Manager in Bangkok, the defendant could
defendant ever contradicted or denied this evidence for the have easily proven it by having taken the testimony of the
plaintiff. It could have been easy for defendant to present its said Manager by deposition, but defendant did not do so;
manager at Bangkok to testify at the trial of the case, or yet to the presumption is that evidence willfully suppressed
secure his disposition; but defendant did neither. 37 would be adverse if produced [Sec. 69, par (e), Rules of
Court]; and, under the circumstances, the Court is
The Court of appeals further stated — constrained to find, as it does find, that the Manager of
the defendant airline in Bangkok not merely asked but
Neither is there evidence as to whether or not a prior reservation threatened the plaintiff to throw him out of the plane if he
was made by the white man. Hence, if the employees of the did not give up his "first class" seat because the said
defendant at Bangkok sold a first-class ticket to him when all the Manager wanted to accommodate, using the words of the
seats had already been taken, surely the plaintiff should not have witness Ernesto G. Cuento, the "white man".38
been picked out as the one to suffer the consequences and to be
subjected to the humiliation and indignity of being ejected from It is really correct to say that the Court of Appeals in the quoted
his seat in the presence of others. Instead of explaining to the portion first transcribed did not use the term "bad faith". But can it
white man the improvidence committed by defendant's be doubted that the recital of facts therein points to bad faith? The
employees, the manager adopted the more drastic step of ousting manager not only prevented Carrascoso from enjoying his right to
the plaintiff who was then safely ensconsced in his rightful seat. a first class seat; worse, he imposed his arbitrary will; he forcibly
We are strengthened in our belief that this probably was what ejected him from his seat, made him suffer the humiliation of
happened there, by the testimony of defendant's witness Rafael having to go to the tourist class compartment - just to give way to
Altonaga who, when asked to explain the meaning of the letters another passenger whose right thereto has not been established.
"O.K." appearing on the tickets of plaintiff, said "that the space is Certainly, this is bad faith. Unless, of course, bad faith has
confirmed for first class. Likewise, Zenaida Faustino, another assumed a meaning different from what is understood in law. For,
witness for defendant, who was the chief of the Reservation "bad faith" contemplates a "state of mind affirmatively operating
Office of defendant, testified as follows: with furtive design or with some motive of self-interest or will or
for ulterior purpose." 39
"Q How does the person in the ticket-issuing office know
what reservation the passenger has arranged with you?
And if the foregoing were not yet sufficient, there is the express misconduct, injurious language, indignities and abuses from such
finding of bad faith in the judgment of the Court of First Instance, employees. So it is, that any rule or discourteous conduct on the part of
thus: employees towards a passenger gives the latter an action for damages
against the carrier. 44
The evidence shows that the defendant violated its
contract of transportation with plaintiff in bad faith, with Thus, "Where a steamship company 45 had accepted a passenger's
the aggravating circumstances that defendant's Manager check, it was a breach of contract and a tort, giving a right of action for its
in Bangkok went to the extent of threatening the plaintiff in agent in the presence of third persons to falsely notify her that the check
the presence of many passengers to have him thrown out was worthless and demand payment under threat of ejection, though the
of the airplane to give the "first class" seat that he was language used was not insulting and she was not ejected." 46 And this,
occupying to, again using the words of the witness because, although the relation of passenger and carrier is "contractual
Ernesto G. Cuento, a "white man" whom he (defendant's both in origin and nature" nevertheless "the act that breaks the contract
Manager) wished to accommodate, and the defendant may be also a tort". 47 And in another case, "Where a passenger on a
has not proven that this "white man" had any "better right" railroad train, when the conductor came to collect his fare tendered him
to occupy the "first class" seat that the plaintiff was the cash fare to a point where the train was scheduled not to stop, and
occupying, duly paid for, and for which the corresponding told him that as soon as the train reached such point he would pay the
"first class" ticket was issued by the defendant to him.40 cash fare from that point to destination, there was nothing in the conduct
of the passenger which justified the conductor in using insulting language
5. The responsibility of an employer for the tortious act of its employees to him, as by calling him a lunatic," 48 and the Supreme Court of South
need not be essayed. It is well settled in law. 41 For the willful malevolent Carolina there held the carrier liable for the mental suffering of said
act of petitioner's manager, petitioner, his employer, must answer. Article passenger. 1awphîl.nèt

21 of the Civil Code says:


Petitioner's contract with Carrascoso is one attended with public duty.
ART. 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another The stress of Carrascoso's action as we have said, is placed upon his
in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public wrongful expulsion. This is a violation of public duty by the petitioner air
policy shall compensate the latter for the damage. carrier — a case of quasi-delict. Damages are proper.

In parallel circumstances, we applied the foregoing legal precept; and, we 7. Petitioner draws our attention to respondent Carrascoso's testimony,
held that upon the provisions of Article 2219 (10), Civil Code, moral thus —
damages are recoverable. 42
Q You mentioned about an attendant. Who is that attendant and
6. A contract to transport passengers is quite different in kind and degree purser?
from any other contractual relation. 43 And this, because of the relation
which an air-carrier sustains with the public. Its business is mainly with A When we left already — that was already in the trip — I could
the travelling public. It invites people to avail of the comforts and not help it. So one of the flight attendants approached me and
advantages it offers. The contract of air carriage, therefore, generates a requested from me my ticket and I said, What for? and she said,
relation attended with a public duty. Neglect or malfeasance of the "We will note that you transferred to the tourist class". I said,
carrier's employees, naturally, could give ground for an action for "Nothing of that kind. That is tantamount to accepting my
damages. transfer." And I also said, "You are not going to note anything
there because I am protesting to this transfer".
Passengers do not contract merely for transportation. They have a right
to be treated by the carrier's employees with kindness, respect, courtesy Q Was she able to note it?
and due consideration. They are entitled to be protected against personal
A No, because I did not give my ticket. to have contradicted Carrascoso's testimony. If it were really true that no
such entry was made, the deposition of the purser could have cleared up
Q About that purser? the matter.

A Well, the seats there are so close that you feel uncomfortable We, therefore, hold that the transcribed testimony of Carrascoso is
and you don't have enough leg room, I stood up and I went to the admissible in evidence.
pantry that was next to me and the purser was there. He told me,
"I have recorded the incident in my notebook." He read it and 8. Exemplary damages are well awarded. The Civil Code gives the court
translated it to me — because it was recorded in French — "First ample power to grant exemplary damages — in contracts and quasi-
class passenger was forced to go to the tourist class against his contracts. The only condition is that defendant should have "acted in a
will, and that the captain refused to intervene." wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent manner." 53 The
manner of ejectment of respondent Carrascoso from his first class seat
Mr. VALTE — fits into this legal precept. And this, in addition to moral damages.54

I move to strike out the last part of the testimony of the witness 9. The right to attorney's fees is fully established. The grant of exemplary
because the best evidence would be the notes. Your Honor. damages justifies a similar judgment for attorneys' fees. The least that
can be said is that the courts below felt that it is but just and equitable
COURT — that attorneys' fees be given. 55 We do not intend to break faith with the
tradition that discretion well exercised — as it was here — should not be
disturbed.
I will allow that as part of his testimony. 49
10. Questioned as excessive are the amounts decreed by both the trial
Petitioner charges that the finding of the Court of Appeals that the purser
court and the Court of Appeals, thus: P25,000.00 as moral damages;
made an entry in his notebook reading "First class passenger was forced
P10,000.00, by way of exemplary damages, and P3,000.00 as attorneys'
to go to the tourist class against his will, and that the captain refused to
fees. The task of fixing these amounts is primarily with the trial
intervene" is predicated upon evidence [Carrascoso's testimony above]
court. 56 The Court of Appeals did not interfere with the same. The
which is incompetent. We do not think so. The subject of inquiry is not the
dictates of good sense suggest that we give our imprimatur thereto.
entry, but the ouster incident. Testimony on the entry does not come
Because, the facts and circumstances point to the reasonableness
within the proscription of the best evidence rule. Such testimony is
thereof.57
admissible. 49a
On balance, we say that the judgment of the Court of Appeals does not
Besides, from a reading of the transcript just quoted, when the dialogue
suffer from reversible error. We accordingly vote to affirm the same.
happened, the impact of the startling occurrence was still fresh and
Costs against petitioner. So ordered.
continued to be felt. The excitement had not as yet died down.
Statements then, in this environment, are admissible as part of the res
gestae. 50 For, they grow "out of the nervous excitement and mental and Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal,
physical condition of the declarant". 51 The utterance of the purser Zaldivar and Castro, JJ., concur.
regarding his entry in the notebook was spontaneous, and related to the Bengzon, J.P., J., took no part.
circumstances of the ouster incident. Its trustworthiness has been
guaranteed. 52 It thus escapes the operation of the hearsay rule. It forms
part of the res gestae.

At all events, the entry was made outside the Philippines. And, by an
employee of petitioner. It would have been an easy matter for petitioner