Sei sulla pagina 1di 41

G.R. No. 161921 July 17, 2013 notice to plaintiffs as testified to by Engr.

Bienvenido Batar, in-charge of the Commercial


JOYCE V. ARDIENTE, PETITIONER, Department of defendant COWD. There was one though, but only three (3) days after the actual
vs. disconnection on March 12, 1999. The due date for payment was yet on March 15. Clearly, they
SPOUSES JAVIER AND MA. THERESA PASTORFIDE, CAGAYAN DE ORO WATER did not act with justice. Neither did they observe honesty.
DISTRICT AND GASPAR GONZALEZ,* JR., RESPONDENTS. They should not have been swayed by the prodding of Joyce V. Ardiente. They should have
DECISION investigated first as to the present ownership of the house. For doing the act because Ardiente
PERALTA, J.: told them, they were negligent. Defendant Joyce Ardiente should have requested before the
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court cutting off of the water supply, plaintiffs to pay. While she attempted to tell plaintiffs but she
seeking to reverse and set aside the Decision1 and Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA), did not have the patience of seeing them. She knew that it was plaintiffs who had been using the
dated August 28, 2003 and December 17, 2003, respectively, in CA-G.R. CV No. 73000. The CA water four (4) years ago and not hers. She should have been very careful. x x x5
Decision affirmed with modification the August 15, 2001 Decision3of the Regional Trial Court The dispositive portion of the trial court's Decision reads, thus:
(RTC) of Cagayan de Oro City, Branch 24, while the CA Resolution denied petitioner's Motion for WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered ordering defendants [Ardiente,
Reconsideration. COWD and Gonzalez] to pay jointly and severally plaintiffs, the following sums:
The facts, as summarized by the CA, are as follows: (a) ₱200,000.00 for moral damages;
[Herein petitioner] Joyce V. Ardiente and her husband Dr. Roberto S. Ardiente are owners of a (b) 200,000.00 for exemplary damages; and
housing unit at Emily Homes, Balulang, Cagayan de Oro City with a lot area of one hundred fifty- (c) 50,000.00 for attorney's fee.
three (153) square meters and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 69905. The cross-claim of Cagayan de Oro Water District and Engr. Gaspar Gonzales is hereby
On June 2, 1994, Joyce Ardiente entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (Exh. "B", pp. 470- dismissed. The Court is not swayed that the cutting off of the water supply of plaintiffs was
473, Records) selling, transferring and conveying in favor of [respondent] Ma. Theresa because they were influenced by defendant Joyce Ardiente. They were negligent too for which
Pastorfide all their rights and interests in the housing unit at Emily Homes in consideration of they should be liable.
₱70,000.00. The Memorandum of Agreement carries a stipulation: SO ORDERED.6
"4. That the water and power bill of the subject property shall be for the account of the Second Petitioner, COWD and Gonzalez filed an appeal with the CA.
Party (Ma. Theresa Pastorfide) effective June 1, 1994." (Records, p. 47) On August 28, 2003, the CA promulgated its assailed Decision disposing as follows:
vis-a-vis Ma. Theresa Pastorfide's assumption of the payment of the mortgage loan secured by IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED, with the modification
Joyce Ardiente from the National Home Mortgage (Records, Exh. "A", pp. 468-469) that the awarded damages is reduced to ₱100,000.00 each for moral and exemplary damages,
For four (4) years, Ma. Theresa's use of the water connection in the name of Joyce Ardiente was while attorney's fees is lowered to ₱25,000.00. Costs against appellants.
never questioned nor perturbed (T.S.N., October 31, 2000, pp. 7-8) until on March 12, 1999, SO ORDERED.7
without notice, the water connection of Ma. Theresa was cut off. Proceeding to the office of the The CA ruled, with respect to petitioner, that she has a "legal duty to honor the possession and
Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) to complain, a certain Mrs. Madjos told Ma. Theresa use of water line by Ma. Theresa Pastorfide pursuant to their Memorandum of Agreement" and
that she was delinquent for three (3) months corresponding to the months of December 1998, "that when [petitioner] applied for its disconnection, she acted in bad faith causing prejudice and
January 1999, and February 1999. Ma. Theresa argued that the due date of her payment was [injury to] Ma. Theresa Pastorfide."8
March 18, 1999 yet (T.S.N., October 31, 2000, pp. 11-12). Mrs. Madjos later told her that it was As to COWD and Gonzalez, the CA held that they "failed to give a notice of disconnection and
at the instance of Joyce Ardiente that the water line was cut off (T.S.N., February 5, 2001, p. derelicted in reconnecting the water line despite payment of the unpaid bills by the [respondent
31). spouses Pastorfide]."9
On March 15, 1999, Ma. Theresa paid the delinquent bills (T.S.N., October 31, 2000, p. 12). On Petitioner, COWD and Gonzalez filed their respective Motions for Reconsideration, but these
the same date, through her lawyer, Ma. Theresa wrote a letter to the COWD to explain who were denied by the CA in its Resolution dated December 17, 2003.
authorized the cutting of the water line (Records, p. 160). COWD and Gonzalez filed a petition for review on certiorari with this Court, which was docketed
On March 18, 1999, COWD, through the general manager, [respondent] Gaspar Gonzalez, Jr., as G.R. No. 161802. However, based on technical grounds and on the finding that the CA did not
answered the letter dated March 15, 1999 and reiterated that it was at the instance of Joyce commit any reversible error in its assailed Decision, the petition was denied via a
Ardiente that the water line was cut off (Records, p. 161). Resolution10 issued by this Court on March 24, 2004. COWD and Gonzalez filed a motion for
Aggrieved, on April 14, 1999, Ma. Theresa Pastorfide [and her husband] filed [a] complaint for reconsideration, but the same was denied with finality through this Court's Resolution11 dated
damages [against petitioner, COWD and its manager Gaspar Gonzalez] (Records, pp. 2-6). June 28, 2004.
In the meantime, Ma. Theresa Pastorfide's water line was only restored and reconnected when Petitioner, on the other hand, timely filed the instant petition with the following Assignment of
the [trial] court issued a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction on December 14, 1999 Errors:
(Records, p. 237).4 7.1 HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (ALTHOUGH IT HAS REDUCED THE
After trial, the RTC rendered judgment holding as follows: LIABILITY INTO HALF) HAS STILL COMMITTED GRAVE AND SERIOUS ERROR
xxxx WHEN IT UPHELD THE JOINT AND SOLIDARY LIABILITY OF PETITIONER
In the exercise of their rights and performance of their duties, defendants did not act with JOYCE V. ARDIENTE WITH CAGAYAN DE ORO WATER DISTRICT (COWD) AND
justice, gave plaintiffs their due and observe honesty and good faith. Before disconnecting the ENGR. GASPAR D. GONZALES FOR THE LATTER'S FAILURE TO SERVE NOTICE
water supply, defendants COWD and Engr. Gaspar Gonzales did not even send a disconnection UPON RESPONDENTS SPOUSES PASTORFIDE PRIOR TO THE ACTUAL

1
DISCONNECTION DESPITE EVIDENCE ADDUCED DURING TRIAL THAT EVEN against petitioner. While it was COWD which actually discontinued respondent spouses' water
WITHOUT PETITIONER'S REQUEST, COWD WAS ALREADY SET TO EFFECT supply, it cannot be denied that it was through the instance of petitioner that the Spouses
DISCONNECTION OF RESPONDENTS' WATER SUPPLY DUE TO NON-PAYMENT OF Pastorfide's water supply was disconnected in the first place.
ACCOUNT FOR THREE (3) MONTHS. It is true that it is within petitioner's right to ask and even require the Spouses Pastorfide to
7.2 THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE AND SERIOUS cause the transfer of the former's account with COWD to the latter's name pursuant to their
ERROR WHEN IT RULED TOTALLY AGAINST PETITIONER AND FAILED TO FIND Memorandum of Agreement. However, the remedy to enforce such right is not to cause the
THAT RESPONDENTS ARE GUILTY OF CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE WHEN THEY disconnection of the respondent spouses' water supply. The exercise of a right must be in
FAILED TO PAY THEIR WATER BILLS FOR THREE MONTHS AND TO MOVE FOR accordance with the purpose for which it was established and must not be excessive or unduly
THE TRANSFER OF THE COWD ACCOUNT IN THEIR NAME, WHICH WAS A harsh; there must be no intention to harm another.15 Otherwise, liability for damages to the
VIOLATION OF THEIR MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT WITH PETITIONER injured party will attach.16 In the present case, intention to harm was evident on the part of
JOYCE V. ARDIENTE. RESPONDENTS LIKEWISE DELIBERATELY FAILED TO petitioner when she requested for the disconnection of respondent spouses’ water supply without
EXERCISE DILIGENCE OF A GOOD FATHER OF THE FAMILY TO MINIMIZE THE warning or informing the latter of such request. Petitioner claims that her request for
DAMAGE UNDER ART. 2203 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE. disconnection was based on the advise of COWD personnel and that her intention was just to
7.3 THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED WHEN IT compel the Spouses Pastorfide to comply with their agreement that petitioner's account with
DISREGARDED THE FACT THAT RESPONDENT SPOUSES PASTORFIDE ARE COWD be transferred in respondent spouses' name. If such was petitioner's only intention, then
LIKEWISE BOUND TO OBSERVE ARTICLE 19 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE, i.e., IN she should have advised respondent spouses before or immediately after submitting her request
THE EXERCISE OF THEIR RIGHTS AND IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR for disconnection, telling them that her request was simply to force them to comply with their
DUTIES TO ACT WITH JUSTICE, GIVE EVERYONE HIS DUE AND OBSERVE obligation under their Memorandum of Agreement. But she did not. What made matters worse is
HONESTY AND GOOD FAITH. the fact that COWD undertook the disconnection also without prior notice and even failed to
7.4 THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT GRANTED reconnect the Spouses Pastorfide’s water supply despite payment of their arrears. There was
AN AWARD OF MORAL AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY'S FEES AS clearly an abuse of right on the part of petitioner, COWD and Gonzalez. They are guilty of bad
AGAINST PETITIONER ARDIENTE.12 faith.
At the outset, the Court noticed that COWD and Gonzalez, who were petitioner's co-defendants The principle of abuse of rights as enshrined in Article 19 of the Civil Code provides that every
before the RTC and her co-appellants in the CA, were impleaded as respondents in the instant person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice,
petition. This cannot be done. Being her co-parties before the RTC and the CA, petitioner cannot, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.
in the instant petition for review on certiorari, make COWD and Gonzalez, adversary parties. It In this regard, the Court's ruling in Yuchengco v. The Manila Chronicle Publishing Corporation 17 is
is a grave mistake on the part of petitioner's counsel to treat COWD and Gonzalez as instructive, to wit:
respondents. There is no basis to do so, considering that, in the first place, there is no showing xxxx
that petitioner filed a cross-claim against COWD and Gonzalez. Under Section 2, Rule 9 of the This provision of law sets standards which must be observed in the exercise of one’s rights as
Rules of Court, a cross-claim which is not set up shall be barred. Thus, for failing to set up a well as in the performance of its duties, to wit: to act with justice; give everyone his due; and
cross-claim against COWD and Gonzalez before the RTC, petitioner is already barred from doing observe honesty and good faith.
so in the present petition. In Globe Mackay Cable and Radio Corporation v. Court of Appeals, it was elucidated that while
More importantly, as shown above, COWD and Gonzalez's petition for review on certiorari filed Article 19 "lays down a rule of conduct for the government of human relations and for the
with this Court was already denied with finality on June 28, 2004, making the presently assailed maintenance of social order, it does not provide a remedy for its violation. Generally, an action
CA Decision final and executory insofar as COWD and Gonzalez are concerned. Thus, COWD and for damages under either Article 20 or Article 21 would be proper." The Court said:
Gonzalez are already precluded from participating in the present petition. They cannot resurrect One of the more notable innovations of the New Civil Code is the codification of "some basic
their lost cause by filing pleadings this time as respondents but, nonetheless, reiterating the principles that are to be observed for the rightful relationship between human beings and for
same prayer in their previous pleadings filed with the RTC and the CA. the stability of the social order." [REPORT ON THE CODE COMMISSION ON THE PROPOSED
As to the merits of the instant petition, the Court likewise noticed that the main issues raised by CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES, p. 39]. The framers of the Code, seeking to remedy the
petitioner are factual and it is settled that the resolution of factual issues is the function of defect of the old Code which merely stated the effects of the law, but failed to draw out its
lower courts, whose findings on these matters are received with respect and considered binding spirit, incorporated certain fundamental precepts which were "designed to indicate certain norms
by the Supreme Court subject only to certain exceptions, none of which is present in this instant that spring from the fountain of good conscience" and which were also meant to serve as "guides
petition.13 This is especially true when the findings of the RTC have been affirmed by the CA as for human conduct [that] should run as golden threads through society, to the end that law may
in this case.14 approach its supreme ideal, which is the sway and dominance of justice." (Id.) Foremost among
In any case, a perusal of the records at hand would readily show that the instant petition lacks these principles is that pronounced in Article 19 x x x.
merit. xxxx
Petitioner insists that she should not be held liable for the disconnection of respondent spouses' This article, known to contain what is commonly referred to as the principle of abuse of rights,
water supply, because she had no participation in the actual disconnection. However, she sets certain standards which must be observed not only in the exercise of one's rights, but also
admitted in the present petition that it was she who requested COWD to disconnect the Spouses in the performance of one's duties. These standards are the following: to act with justice; to
Pastorfide's water supply. This was confirmed by COWD and Gonzalez in their cross-claim give everyone his due; and to observe honesty and good faith. The law, therefore, recognizes a

2
primordial limitation on all rights; that in their exercise, the norms of human conduct set forth in
Article 19 must be observed. A right, though by itself legal because recognized or granted by law
as such, may nevertheless become the source of some illegality. When a right is exercised in a
manner which does not conform with the norms enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to
another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for which the wrongdoer must be held responsible.
But while Article 19 lays down a rule of conduct for the government of human relations and for
the maintenance of social order, it does not provide a remedy for its violation. Generally, an
action for damages under either Article 20 or Article 21 would be proper.
Corollarilly, Article 20 provides that "every person who, contrary to law, willfully or negligently
causes damage to another shall indemnify the latter for the same." It speaks of the general
sanctions of all other provisions of law which do not especially provide for its own sanction. When
a right is exercised in a manner which does not conform to the standards set forth in the said
provision and results in damage to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for which the
wrongdoer must be responsible. Thus, if the provision does not provide a remedy for its violation,
an action for damages under either Article 20 or Article 21 of the Civil Code would be proper.
The question of whether or not the principle of abuse of rights has been violated resulting in
damages under Article 20 or other applicable provision of law, depends on the circumstances of
each case. x x x18
To recapitulate, petitioner's acts which violated the abovementioned provisions of law is her
unjustifiable act of having the respondent spouses' water supply disconnected, coupled with her
failure to warn or at least notify respondent spouses of such intention. On the part of COWD and
Gonzalez, it is their failure to give prior notice of the impending disconnection and their
subsequent neglect to reconnect respondent spouses' water supply despite the latter's
settlement of their delinquent account.
On the basis of the foregoing, the Court finds no cogent reason to depart from the ruling of
both the RTC and the CA that petitioner, COWD and Gonzalez are solidarily liable.
The Spouses Pastorfide are entitled to moral damages based on the provisions of Article
2219,19 in connection with Articles 2020 and 2121 of the Civil Code.
As for exemplary damages, Article 2229 provides that exemplary damages may be imposed by
way of example or correction for the public good. Nonetheless, exemplary damages are imposed
not to enrich one party or impoverish another, but to serve as a deterrent against or as a
negative incentive to curb socially deleterious actions.22 In the instant case, the Court agrees
with the CA in sustaining the award of exemplary damages, although it reduced the amount
granted, considering that respondent spouses were deprived of their water supply for more than
nine (9) months, and such deprivation would have continued were it not for the relief granted by
the RTC.
With respect to the award of attorney's fees, Article 2208 of the Civil Code provides, among
others, that such fees may be recovered when exemplary damages are awarded, when the
defendant's act or omission has compelled the plaintiff to litigate with third persons or to incur
expenses to protect his interest, and where the defendant acted in gross and evident bad faith
in refusing to satisfy the plaintiffs’ plainly valid, just and demandable claim.
WHEREFORE, instant petition for review on certiorari is DENIED. The Decision and Resolution
of the Court of Appeals, dated August 28, 2003 and December 17, 2003, respectively, in CA-G.R.
CV No. 73000 are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

3
G.R. No. 175822 October 23, 2013 Hawayon and Ybañez thus went to the agreed venue where they talked to respondent. 19 They
CALIFORNIA CLOTHING INC. and MICHELLE S. YBAÑEZ, Petitioners, pointed out that it appeared in their conversation that respondent could not recall whom she
vs. gave the payment.20 They emphasized that they were gentle and polite in talking to respondent
SHIRLEY G. QUIÑONES, Respondent. and it was the latter who was arrogant in answering their questions.21 As counterclaim,
DECISION petitioners and the other defendants sought the payment of moral and exemplary damages, plus
PERALTA, J.: attorney’s fees and litigation expenses.22
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the ; Rules of Court are the On June 20, 2003, the RTC rendered a Decision dismissing both the complaint and counterclaim
Court of Appeals Decision1 dated August 3, 2006 and Resolution2 dated November 14, 2006 in of the parties. From the evidence presented, the trial court concluded that the petitioners and
CA-G.R. CV No. 80309. The assailed decision reversed and set aside the June 20, 2003 the other defendants believed in good faith that respondent failed to make payment. Considering
Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City (RTC), Branch 58, in Civil Case No. CEB-26984; that no motive to fabricate a lie could be attributed to the Guess employees, the court held that
while the assailed resolution denied the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner Michelle when they demanded payment from respondent, they merely exercised a right under the honest
Ybañez (Ybañez). belief that no payment was made. The RTC likewise did not find it damaging for respondent when
The facts of the case, as culled from the records, are as follows: the confrontation took place in front of Cebu Pacific clients, because it was respondent herself
On July 25, 2001, respondent Shirley G. Quiñones, a Reservation Ticketing Agent of Cebu Pacific who put herself in that situation by choosing the venue for discussion. As to the letter sent to
Air in Lapu Lapu City, went inside the Guess USA Boutique at the second floor of Robinson’s Cebu Pacific Air, the trial court also did not take it against the Guess employees, because they
Department Store (Robinson’s) in Cebu City. She fitted four items: two jeans, a blouse and a merely asked for assistance and not to embarrass or humiliate respondent. In other words, the
shorts, then decided to purchase the black jeans worth ₱2,098.00.4 Respondent allegedly paid to RTC found no evidence to prove bad faith on the part of the Guess employees to warrant the
the cashier evidenced by a receipt5 issued by the store.6 award of damages.23
While she was walking through the skywalk connecting Robinson’s and Mercury Drug Store On appeal, the CA reversed and set aside the RTC decision, the dispositive portion of which
(Mercury) where she was heading next, a Guess employee approached and informed her that she reads:
failed to pay the item she got. She, however, insisted that she paid and showed the employee the WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is GRANTED. The decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu
receipt issued in her favor.7 She then suggested that they talk about it at the Cebu Pacific City, Branch 58, in Civil Case No. CEB-26984 (for: Damages) is hereby REVERSED and SET
Office located at the basement of the mall. She first went to Mercury then met the Guess ASIDE. Defendants Michelle Ybañez and California Clothing, Inc. are hereby ordered to pay
employees as agreed upon.8 plaintiff-appellant Shirley G. Quiñones jointly and solidarily moral damages in the amount of Fifty
When she arrived at the Cebu Pacific Office, the Guess employees allegedly subjected her to Thousand Pesos (₱50,000.00) and attorney’s fees in the amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos
humiliation in front of the clients of Cebu Pacific and repeatedly demanded payment for the (₱20,000.00).
black jeans.9 They supposedly even searched her wallet to check how much money she had, SO ORDERED.24
followed by another argument. Respondent, thereafter, went home.10 While agreeing with the trial court that the Guess employees were in good faith when they
On the same day, the Guess employees allegedly gave a letter to the Director of Cebu Pacific Air confronted respondent inside the Cebu Pacific Office about the alleged non-payment, the CA,
narrating the incident, but the latter refused to receive it as it did not concern the office and however, found preponderance of evidence showing that they acted in bad faith in sending the
the same took place while respondent was off duty.11 Another letter was allegedly prepared and demand letter to respondent’s employer. It found respondent’s possession of both the official
was supposed to be sent to the Cebu Pacific Office in Robinson’s, but the latter again refused to receipt and the subject black jeans as evidence of payment. 25 Contrary to the findings of the
receive it.12 Respondent also claimed that the Human Resource Department (HRD) of Robinson’s RTC, the CA opined that the letter addressed to Cebu Pacific’s director was sent to respondent’s
was furnished said letter and the latter in fact conducted an investigation for purposes of employer not merely to ask for assistance for the collection of the disputed payment but to
canceling respondent’s Robinson’s credit card. Respondent further claimed that she was not given subject her to ridicule, humiliation and similar injury such that she would be pressured to
a copy of said damaging letter.13 With the above experience, respondent claimed to have pay.26 Considering that Guess already started its investigation on the incident, there was a taint
suffered physical anxiety, sleepless nights, mental anguish, fright, serious apprehension, of bad faith and malice when it dragged respondent’s employer who was not privy to the
besmirched reputation, moral shock and social humiliation.14 She thus filed the Complaint for transaction. This is especially true in this case since the purported letter contained not only a
Damages15 before the RTC against petitioners California Clothing, Inc. (California Clothing), narrative of the incident but accusations as to the alleged acts of respondent in trying to evade
Excelsis Villagonzalo (Villagonzalo), Imelda Hawayon (Hawayon) and Ybañez. She demanded the payment.27 The appellate court thus held that petitioners are guilty of abuse of right entitling
payment of moral, nominal, and exemplary damages, plus attorney’s fees and litigation expenses.16 respondent to collect moral damages and attorney’s fees. Petitioner California Clothing Inc. was
In their Answer,17 petitioners and the other defendants admitted the issuance of the receipt of made liable for its failure to exercise extraordinary diligence in the hiring and selection of its
payment. They claimed, however, that instead of the cashier (Hawayon) issuing the official employees; while Ybañez’s liability stemmed from her act of signing the demand letter sent to
receipt, it was the invoicer (Villagonzalo) who did it manually. They explained that there was respondent’s employer. In view of Hawayon and Villagonzalo’s good faith, however, they were
miscommunication between the employees at that time because prior to the issuance of the exonerated from liability.28
receipt, Villagonzalo asked Hawayon " Ok na ?," and the latter replied " Ok na ," which the former Ybañez moved for the reconsideration29 of the aforesaid decision, but the same was denied in
believed to mean that the item has already been paid. 18 Realizing the mistake, Villagonzalo rushed the assailed November 14, 2006 CA Resolution.
outside to look for respondent and when he saw the latter, he invited her to go back to the shop Petitioners now come before the Court in this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of
to make clarifications as to whether or not payment was indeed made. Instead, however, of going the Rules of Court based on the following grounds:
back to the shop, respondent suggested that they meet at the Cebu Pacific Office. Villagonzalo, I.

4
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE LETTER SENT TO It is evident from the circumstances of the case that petitioners went overboard and tried to
THE CEBU PACIFIC OFFICE WAS MADE TO SUBJECT HEREIN RESPONDENT TO RIDICULE, force respondent to pay the amount they were demanding. In the guise of asking for assistance,
HUMILIATION AND SIMILAR INJURY. petitioners even sent a demand letter to respondent’s employer not only informing it of the
II. incident but obviously imputing bad acts on the part of respondent.1âwphi1 Petitioners claimed
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AWARDING MORAL DAMAGES AND that after receiving the receipt of payment and the item purchased, respondent "was noted to
ATTORNEY’S FEES.30 hurriedly left (sic) the store." They also accused respondent that she was not completely being
The petition is without merit. honest when she was asked about the circumstances of payment, thus:
Respondent’s complaint against petitioners stemmed from the principle of abuse of rights x x x After receiving the OR and the item, Ms. Gutierrez was noted to hurriedly left (sic) the
provided for in the Civil Code on the chapter of human relations. Respondent cried foul when store. x x x
petitioners allegedly embarrassed her when they insisted that she did not pay for the black When I asked her about to whom she gave the money, she gave out a blank expression and told
jeans she purchased from their shop despite the evidence of payment which is the official me, "I can’t remember." Then I asked her how much money she gave, she answered, "₱2,100; 2
receipt issued by the shop. The issuance of the receipt notwithstanding, petitioners had the pcs 1,000 and 1 pc 100 bill." Then I told her that that would (sic) impossible since we have no
right to verify from respondent whether she indeed made payment if they had reason to believe such denomination in our cash fund at that moment. Finally, I asked her if how much change and
that she did not. However, the exercise of such right is not without limitations. Any abuse in the if she received change from the cashier, she then answered, "I don’t remember." After asking
exercise of such right and in the performance of duty causing damage or injury to another is these simple questions, I am very certain that she is not completely being honest about this. In
actionable under the Civil Code. The Court’s pronouncement in Carpio v. Valmonte31 is noteworthy: fact, we invited her to come to our boutique to clear these matters but she vehemently refused
In the sphere of our law on human relations, the victim of a wrongful act or omission, whether saying that she’s in a hurry and very busy.37
done willfully or negligently, is not left without any remedy or recourse to obtain relief for the Clearly, these statements are outrightly accusatory. Petitioners accused respondent that not
damage or injury he sustained. Incorporated into our civil law are not only principles of equity but only did she fail to pay for the jeans she purchased but that she deliberately took the same
also universal moral precepts which are designed to indicate certain norms that spring from the without paying for it and later hurriedly left the shop to evade payment. These accusations were
fountain of good conscience and which are meant to serve as guides for human conduct. First of made despite the issuance of the receipt of payment and the release of the item purchased.
these fundamental precepts is the principle commonly known as "abuse of rights" under Article There was, likewise, no showing that respondent had the intention to evade payment. Contrary to
19 of the Civil Code. It provides that " Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the petitioners’ claim, respondent was not in a rush in leaving the shop or the mall. This is evidenced
performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and good by the fact that the Guess employees did not have a hard time looking for her when they realized
faith."x x x32 The elements of abuse of rights are as follows: (1) there is a legal right or duty; (2) the supposed non-payment.
which is exercised in bad faith; (3) for the sole intent of prejudicing or injuring another.33 It can be inferred from the foregoing that in sending the demand letter to respondent’s
In this case, petitioners claimed that there was a miscommunication between the cashier and the employer, petitioners intended not only to ask for assistance in collecting the disputed amount
invoicer leading to the erroneous issuance of the receipt to respondent. When they realized the but to tarnish respondent’s reputation in the eyes of her employer. To malign respondent without
mistake, they made a cash count and discovered that the amount which is equivalent to the price substantial evidence and despite the latter’s possession of enough evidence in her favor, is
of the black jeans was missing. They, thus, concluded that it was respondent who failed to make clearly impermissible. A person should not use his right unjustly or contrary to honesty and good
such payment. It was, therefore, within their right to verify from respondent whether she faith, otherwise, he opens himself to liability.38
indeed paid or not and collect from her if she did not. However, the question now is whether such The exercise of a right must be in accordance with the purpose for which it was established and
right was exercised in good faith or they went overboard giving respondent a cause of action must not be excessive or unduly harsh.39 In this case, petitioners obviously abused their rights.
against them. Complementing the principle of abuse of rights are the provisions of Articles 20 and 2 of the
Under the abuse of rights principle found in Article 19 of the Civil Code, a person must, in the Civil Code which read:40
exercise of legal right or duty, act in good faith. He would be liable if he instead acted in bad Article 20. Every person who, contrary to law, willfully or negligently causes damage to another,
faith, with intent to prejudice another.34 Good faith refers to the state of mind which is shall indemnify the latter for the same.
manifested by the acts of the individual concerned. It consists of the intention to abstain from Article 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary
taking an unconscionable and unscrupulous advantage of another. 35 Malice or bad faith, on the to morals or good customs, or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.
other hand, implies a conscious and intentional design to do a wrongful act for a dishonest In view of the foregoing, respondent is entitled to an award of moral damages and attorney s
purpose or moral obliquity.36 fees. Moral damages may be awarded whenever the defendant s wrongful act or omission is the
Initially, there was nothing wrong with petitioners asking respondent whether she paid or not. proximate cause of the plaintiffs physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety,
The Guess employees were able to talk to respondent at the Cebu Pacific Office. The besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation and similar injury in the
confrontation started well, but it eventually turned sour when voices were raised by both parties. cases specified or analogous to those provided in Article 2219 of the Civil Code.41 Moral damages
As aptly held by both the RTC and the CA, such was the natural consequence of two parties with are not a bonanza. They are given to ease the defendant s grief and suffering. They should, thus,
conflicting views insisting on their respective beliefs. Considering, however, that respondent was reasonably approximate the extent of hurt caused and the gravity of the wrong done. 42 They are
in possession of the item purchased from the shop, together with the official receipt of payment awarded not to enrich the complainant but to enable the latter to obtain means, diversions, or
issued by petitioners, the latter cannot insist that no such payment was made on the basis of a amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering he has undergone. 43 We find that the
mere speculation. Their claim should have been proven by substantial evidence in the proper amount of ₱50,000.00 as moral damages awarded by the CA is reasonable under the
forum.

5
circumstances. Considering that respondent was compelled to litigate to protect her interest,
attorney s fees in the amount of of₱20,000.00 is likewise just and proper.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Court of
Appeals Decision dated August 3, 2006 and Resolution dated November 14, 2006 in CA-G.R. CV
No. 80309, are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

6
G.R. No. L-20089 December 26, 1964 defense. (Sec. 3, Rule 38, Rules of Court.) Defendant's affidavit of merits attached to his
BEATRIZ P. WASSMER, plaintiff-appellee, petition of June 21, 1955 stated: "That he has a good and valid defense against plaintiff's cause
vs. of action, his failure to marry the plaintiff as scheduled having been due to fortuitous event
FRANCISCO X. VELEZ, defendant-appellant. and/or circumstances beyond his control." An affidavit of merits like this stating mere
Jalandoni & Jamir for defendant-appellant. conclusions or opinions instead of facts is not valid. (Cortes vs. Co Bun Kim, L-3926, Oct. 10, 1951;
Samson S. Alcantara for plaintiff-appellee. Vaswani vs. P. Tarrachand Bros., L-15800, December 29, 1960.)
BENGZON, J.P., J.: Defendant, however, would contend that the affidavit of merits was in fact unnecessary, or a
The facts that culminated in this case started with dreams and hopes, followed by appropriate mere surplusage, because the judgment sought to be set aside was null and void, it having been
planning and serious endeavors, but terminated in frustration and, what is worse, complete public based on evidence adduced before the clerk of court. In Province of Pangasinan vs. Palisoc, L-
humiliation. 16519, October 30, 1962, this Court pointed out that the procedure of designating the clerk of
Francisco X. Velez and Beatriz P. Wassmer, following their mutual promise of love, decided to get court as commissioner to receive evidence is sanctioned by Rule 34 (now Rule 33) of the Rules of
married and set September 4, 1954 as the big day. On September 2, 1954 Velez left this note Court. Now as to defendant's consent to said procedure, the same did not have to be obtained
for his bride-to-be: for he was declared in default and thus had no standing in court (Velez vs. Ramas, 40 Phil. 787;
Dear Bet — Alano vs. Court of First Instance, L-14557, October 30, 1959).
Will have to postpone wedding — My mother opposes it. Am leaving on the In support of his "motion for new trial and reconsideration," defendant asserts that the
Convair today. judgment is contrary to law. The reason given is that "there is no provision of the Civil Code
Please do not ask too many people about the reason why — That would only authorizing" an action for breach of promise to marry. Indeed, our ruling in Hermosisima vs.
create a scandal. Court of Appeals (L-14628, Sept. 30, 1960), as reiterated in Estopa vs. Biansay (L-14733, Sept.
Paquing 30, 1960), is that "mere breach of a promise to marry" is not an actionable wrong. We pointed
But the next day, September 3, he sent her the following telegram: out that Congress deliberately eliminated from the draft of the new Civil Code the provisions
NOTHING CHANGED REST ASSURED RETURNING VERY SOON that would have it so.
APOLOGIZE MAMA PAPA LOVE . It must not be overlooked, however, that the extent to which acts not contrary to law may be
PAKING perpetrated with impunity, is not limitless for Article 21 of said Code provides that "any person
Thereafter Velez did not appear nor was he heard from again. who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs
Sued by Beatriz for damages, Velez filed no answer and was declared in default. Plaintiff or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage."
adduced evidence before the clerk of court as commissioner, and on April 29, 1955, judgment The record reveals that on August 23, 1954 plaintiff and defendant applied for a license to
was rendered ordering defendant to pay plaintiff P2,000.00 as actual damages; P25,000.00 as contract marriage, which was subsequently issued (Exhs. A, A-1). Their wedding was set for
moral and exemplary damages; P2,500.00 as attorney's fees; and the costs. September 4, 1954. Invitations were printed and distributed to relatives, friends and
On June 21, 1955 defendant filed a "petition for relief from orders, judgment and proceedings acquaintances (Tsn., 5; Exh. C). The bride-to-be's trousseau, party drsrses and other apparel for
and motion for new trial and reconsideration." Plaintiff moved to strike it cut. But the court, on the important occasion were purchased (Tsn., 7-8). Dresses for the maid of honor and the flower
August 2, 1955, ordered the parties and their attorneys to appear before it on August 23, 1955 girl were prepared. A matrimonial bed, with accessories, was bought. Bridal showers were given
"to explore at this stage of the proceedings the possibility of arriving at an amicable and gifts received (Tsn., 6; Exh. E). And then, with but two days before the wedding, defendant,
settlement." It added that should any of them fail to appear "the petition for relief and the who was then 28 years old,: simply left a note for plaintiff stating: "Will have to postpone
opposition thereto will be deemed submitted for resolution." wedding — My mother opposes it ... " He enplaned to his home city in Mindanao, and the next day,
On August 23, 1955 defendant failed to appear before court. Instead, on the following day his the day before the wedding, he wired plaintiff: "Nothing changed rest assured returning soon."
counsel filed a motion to defer for two weeks the resolution on defendants petition for relief. But he never returned and was never heard from again.
The counsel stated that he would confer with defendant in Cagayan de Oro City — the latter's Surely this is not a case of mere breach of promise to marry. As stated, mere breach of promise
residence — on the possibility of an amicable element. The court granted two weeks counted to marry is not an actionable wrong. But to formally set a wedding and go through all the above-
from August 25, 1955. described preparation and publicity, only to walk out of it when the matrimony is about to be
Plaintiff manifested on June 15, 1956 that the two weeks given by the court had expired on solemnized, is quite different. This is palpably and unjustifiably contrary to good customs for
September 8, 1955 but that defendant and his counsel had failed to appear. which defendant must be held answerable in damages in accordance with Article 21 aforesaid.
Another chance for amicable settlement was given by the court in its order of July 6, 1956 Defendant urges in his afore-stated petition that the damages awarded were excessive. No
calling the parties and their attorneys to appear on July 13, 1956. This time. however, question is raised as to the award of actual damages. What defendant would really assert
defendant's counsel informed the court that chances of settling the case amicably were nil. hereunder is that the award of moral and exemplary damages, in the amount of P25,000.00,
On July 20, 1956 the court issued an order denying defendant's aforesaid petition. Defendant should be totally eliminated.
has appealed to this Court. In his petition of June 21, 1955 in the court a quo defendant alleged Per express provision of Article 2219 (10) of the New Civil Code, moral damages are recoverable
excusable negligence as ground to set aside the judgment by default. Specifically, it was stated in the cases mentioned in Article 21 of said Code. As to exemplary damages, defendant contends
that defendant filed no answer in the belief that an amicable settlement was being negotiated. that the same could not be adjudged against him because under Article 2232 of the New Civil
A petition for relief from judgment on grounds of fraud, accident, mistake or excusable Code the condition precedent is that "the defendant acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless,
negligence, must be duly supported by an affidavit of merits stating facts constituting a valid oppressive, or malevolent manner." The argument is devoid of merit as under the above-narrated

7
circumstances of this case defendant clearly acted in a "wanton ... , reckless [and] oppressive
manner." This Court's opinion, however, is that considering the particular circumstances of this
case, P15,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages is deemed to be a reasonable award.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, with the above-indicated modification, the lower court's judgment is
hereby affirmed, with costs.
Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, and
Zaldivar, JJ.,concur.

8
G.R. No. 97336 February 19, 1993 1. That the plaintiff is single and resident (sic) of Bañaga, Bugallon,
GASHEM SHOOKAT BAKSH, petitioner, Pangasinan, while the defendant is single, Iranian citizen and resident (sic)
vs. of Lozano Apartment, Guilig, Dagupan City since September 1, 1987 up to the
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and MARILOU T. GONZALES, respondents. present;
Public Attorney's Office for petitioner. 2. That the defendant is presently studying at Lyceum Northwestern,
Corleto R. Castro for private respondent. Dagupan City, College of Medicine, second year medicine proper;
3. That the plaintiff is (sic) an employee at Mabuhay Luncheonette ,
DAVIDE, JR., J.: Fernandez Avenue, Dagupan City since July, 1986 up to the present and a
This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to review and set (sic) high school graduate;
aside the Decision1 of the respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 24256 which 4. That the parties happened to know each other when the manager of the
affirmed in toto the 16 October 1939 Decision of Branch 38 (Lingayen) of the Regional Trial Mabuhay Luncheonette, Johhny Rabino introduced the defendant to the
Court (RTC) of Pangasinan in Civil Case No. 16503. Presented is the issue of whether or not plaintiff on August 3, 1986.
damages may be recovered for a breach of promise to marry on the basis of Article 21 of the After trial on the merits, the lower court, applying Article 21 of the Civil Code, rendered on 16
Civil Code of the Philippines. October 1989 a decision5 favoring the private respondent. The petitioner was thus ordered to
The antecedents of this case are not complicated: pay the latter damages and attorney's fees; the dispositive portion of the decision reads:
On 27 October 1987, private respondent, without the assistance of counsel, filed with the IN THE LIGHT of the foregoing consideration, judgment is hereby rendered
aforesaid trial court a complaint2 for damages against the petitioner for the alleged violation of in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant.
their agreement to get married. She alleges in said complaint that: she is twenty-two (22) years 1. Condemning (sic) the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of twenty
old, single, Filipino and a pretty lass of good moral character and reputation duly respected in her thousand (P20,000.00) pesos as moral damages.
community; petitioner, on the other hand, is an Iranian citizen residing at the Lozano 2. Condemning further the defendant to play the plaintiff the sum of three
Apartments, Guilig, Dagupan City, and is an exchange student taking a medical course at the thousand (P3,000.00) pesos as atty's fees and two thousand (P2,000.00)
Lyceum Northwestern Colleges in Dagupan City; before 20 August 1987, the latter courted and pesos at (sic) litigation expenses and to pay the costs.
proposed to marry her; she accepted his love on the condition that they would get married; they 3. All other claims are denied.6
therefore agreed to get married after the end of the school semester, which was in October of The decision is anchored on the trial court's findings and conclusions that (a) petitioner and
that year; petitioner then visited the private respondent's parents in Bañaga, Bugallon, private respondent were lovers, (b) private respondent is not a woman of loose morals or
Pangasinan to secure their approval to the marriage; sometime in 20 August 1987, the petitioner questionable virtue who readily submits to sexual advances, (c) petitioner, through machinations,
forced her to live with him in the Lozano Apartments; she was a virgin before she began living deceit and false pretenses, promised to marry private respondent, d) because of his persuasive
with him; a week before the filing of the complaint, petitioner's attitude towards her started to promise to marry her, she allowed herself to be deflowered by him, (e) by reason of that
change; he maltreated and threatened to kill her; as a result of such maltreatment, she sustained deceitful promise, private respondent and her parents — in accordance with Filipino customs and
injuries; during a confrontation with a representative of the barangay captain of Guilig a day traditions — made some preparations for the wedding that was to be held at the end of October
before the filing of the complaint, petitioner repudiated their marriage agreement and asked her 1987 by looking for pigs and chickens, inviting friends and relatives and contracting sponsors, (f)
not to live with him anymore and; the petitioner is already married to someone living in Bacolod petitioner did not fulfill his promise to marry her and (g) such acts of the petitioner, who is a
City. Private respondent then prayed for judgment ordering the petitioner to pay her damages in foreigner and who has abused Philippine hospitality, have offended our sense of morality, good
the amount of not less than P45,000.00, reimbursement for actual expenses amounting to customs, culture and traditions. The trial court gave full credit to the private respondent's
P600.00, attorney's fees and costs, and granting her such other relief and remedies as may be testimony because, inter alia, she would not have had the temerity and courage to come to court
just and equitable. The complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. 16503. and expose her honor and reputation to public scrutiny and ridicule if her claim was false.7
In his Answer with Counterclaim,3 petitioner admitted only the personal circumstances of the The above findings and conclusions were culled from the detailed summary of the evidence for
parties as averred in the complaint and denied the rest of the allegations either for lack of the private respondent in the foregoing decision, digested by the respondent Court as follows:
knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth thereof or because the true According to plaintiff, who claimed that she was a virgin at the time and
facts are those alleged as his Special and Affirmative Defenses. He thus claimed that he never that she never had a boyfriend before, defendant started courting her just
proposed marriage to or agreed to be married with the private respondent; he neither sought the a few days after they first met. He later proposed marriage to her several
consent and approval of her parents nor forced her to live in his apartment; he did not maltreat times and she accepted his love as well as his proposal of marriage on August
her, but only told her to stop coming to his place because he discovered that she had deceived 20, 1987, on which same day he went with her to her hometown of Bañaga,
him by stealing his money and passport; and finally, no confrontation took place with a Bugallon, Pangasinan, as he wanted to meet her parents and inform them of
representative of the barangay captain. Insisting, in his Counterclaim, that the complaint is their relationship and their intention to get married. The photographs Exhs.
baseless and unfounded and that as a result thereof, he was unnecessarily dragged into court and "A" to "E" (and their submarkings) of defendant with members of plaintiff's
compelled to incur expenses, and has suffered mental anxiety and a besmirched reputation, he family or with plaintiff, were taken that day. Also on that occasion,
prayed for an award of P5,000.00 for miscellaneous expenses and P25,000.00 as moral damages. defendant told plaintiffs parents and brothers and sisters that he intended
After conducting a pre-trial on 25 January 1988, the trial court issued a Pre-Trial to marry her during the semestral break in October, 1987, and because
Order4 embodying the stipulated facts which the parties had agreed upon, to wit: plaintiff's parents thought he was good and trusted him, they agreed to his

9
proposal for him to marry their daughter, and they likewise allowed him to allegedly talked to plaintiff's mother who told him to marry her daughter
stay in their house and sleep with plaintiff during the few days that they (pp. 55-56, tsn id.). Would defendant have left Dagupan City where he was
were in Bugallon. When plaintiff and defendant later returned to Dagupan involved in the serious study of medicine to go to plaintiff's hometown in
City, they continued to live together in defendant's apartment. However, in Bañaga, Bugallon, unless there was (sic) some kind of special relationship
the early days of October, 1987, defendant would tie plaintiff's hands and between them? And this special relationship must indeed have led to
feet while he went to school, and he even gave her medicine at 4 o'clock in defendant's insincere proposal of marriage to plaintiff, communicated not
the morning that made her sleep the whole day and night until the following only to her but also to her parents, and (sic) Marites Rabino, the owner of
day. As a result of this live-in relationship, plaintiff became pregnant, but the restaurant where plaintiff was working and where defendant first
defendant gave her some medicine to abort the fetus. Still plaintiff proposed marriage to her, also knew of this love affair and defendant's
continued to live with defendant and kept reminding him of his promise to proposal of marriage to plaintiff, which she declared was the reason why
marry her until he told her that he could not do so because he was already plaintiff resigned from her job at the restaurant after she had accepted
married to a girl in Bacolod City. That was the time plaintiff left defendant, defendant's proposal (pp. 6-7, tsn March 7, 1988).
went home to her parents, and thereafter consulted a lawyer who Upon the other hand, appellant does not appear to be a man of good moral
accompanied her to the barangay captain in Dagupan City. Plaintiff, her character and must think so low and have so little respect and regard for
lawyer, her godmother, and a barangay tanod sent by the barangay captain Filipino women that he openly admitted that when he studied in Bacolod City
went to talk to defendant to still convince him to marry plaintiff, but for several years where he finished his B.S. Biology before he came to
defendant insisted that he could not do so because he was already married Dagupan City to study medicine, he had a common-law wife in Bacolod City. In
to a girl in Bacolod City, although the truth, as stipulated by the parties at other words, he also lived with another woman in Bacolod City but did not
the pre-trial, is that defendant is still single. marry that woman, just like what he did to plaintiff. It is not surprising,
Plaintiff's father, a tricycle driver, also claimed that after defendant had then, that he felt so little compunction or remorse in pretending to love and
informed them of his desire to marry Marilou, he already looked for promising to marry plaintiff, a young, innocent, trustful country girl, in order
sponsors for the wedding, started preparing for the reception by looking for to satisfy his lust on her. 11
pigs and chickens, and even already invited many relatives and friends to the and then concluded:
forthcoming wedding. 8 In sum, we are strongly convinced and so hold that it was defendant-
Petitioner appealed the trial court's decision to the respondent Court of Appeals which docketed appellant's fraudulent and deceptive protestations of love for and promise
the case as CA-G.R. CV No. 24256. In his Brief,9 he contended that the trial court erred (a) in to marry plaintiff that made her surrender her virtue and womanhood to him
not dismissing the case for lack of factual and legal basis and (b) in ordering him to pay moral and to live with him on the honest and sincere belief that he would keep said
damages, attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs. promise, and it was likewise these (sic) fraud and deception on appellant's
On 18 February 1991, respondent Court promulgated the challenged decision 10 affirming in part that made plaintiff's parents agree to their daughter's living-in with
toto the trial court's ruling of 16 October 1989. In sustaining the trial court's findings of fact, him preparatory to their supposed marriage. And as these acts of appellant
respondent Court made the following analysis: are palpably and undoubtedly against morals, good customs, and public policy,
First of all, plaintiff, then only 21 years old when she met defendant who and are even gravely and deeply derogatory and insulting to our women,
was already 29 years old at the time, does not appear to be a girl of loose coming as they do from a foreigner who has been enjoying the hospitality of
morals. It is uncontradicted that she was a virgin prior to her unfortunate our people and taking advantage of the opportunity to study in one of our
experience with defendant and never had boyfriend. She is, as described by institutions of learning, defendant-appellant should indeed be made, under
the lower court, a barrio lass "not used and accustomed to trend of modern Art. 21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, to compensate for the moral
urban life", and certainly would (sic) not have allowed damages and injury that he had caused plaintiff, as the lower court ordered
"herself to be deflowered by the defendant if there was no persuasive him to do in its decision in this case. 12
promise made by the defendant to marry her." In fact, we agree with the Unfazed by his second defeat, petitioner filed the instant petition on 26 March 1991; he raises
lower court that plaintiff and defendant must have been sweethearts or so therein the single issue of whether or not Article 21 of the Civil Code applies to the case at
the plaintiff must have thought because of the deception of defendant, for bar. 13
otherwise, she would not have allowed herself to be photographed with It is petitioner's thesis that said Article 21 is not applicable because he had not committed any
defendant in public in so (sic) loving and tender poses as those depicted in moral wrong or injury or violated any good custom or public policy; he has not professed love or
the pictures Exhs. "D" and "E". We cannot believe, therefore, defendant's proposed marriage to the private respondent; and he has never maltreated her. He criticizes the
pretense that plaintiff was a nobody to him except a waitress at the trial court for liberally invoking Filipino customs, traditions and culture, and ignoring the fact
restaurant where he usually ate. Defendant in fact admitted that he went to that since he is a foreigner, he is not conversant with such Filipino customs, traditions and
plaintiff's hometown of Bañaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan, at least thrice; at (sic) culture. As an Iranian Moslem, he is not familiar with Catholic and Christian ways. He stresses
the town fiesta on February 27, 1987 (p. 54, tsn May 18, 1988), at (sic) a that even if he had made a promise to marry, the subsequent failure to fulfill the same is
beach party together with the manager and employees of the Mabuhay excusable or tolerable because of his Moslem upbringing; he then alludes to the Muslim Code
Luncheonette on March 3, 1987 (p. 50, tsn id.), and on April 1, 1987 when he which purportedly allows a Muslim to take four (4) wives and concludes that on the basis thereof,

10
the trial court erred in ruling that he does not posses good moral character. Moreover, his The existing rule is that a breach of promise to marry per se is not an actionable
controversial "common law life" is now his legal wife as their marriage had been solemnized in civil wrong. 17 Congress deliberately eliminated from the draft of the New Civil Code the provisions
ceremonies in the Iranian Embassy. As to his unlawful cohabitation with the private respondent, that would have made it so. The reason therefor is set forth in the report of the Senate
petitioner claims that even if responsibility could be pinned on him for the live-in relationship, Committees on the Proposed Civil Code, from which We quote:
the private respondent should also be faulted for consenting to an illicit arrangement. Finally, The elimination of this chapter is proposed. That breach of promise to
petitioner asseverates that even if it was to be assumed arguendo that he had professed his love marry is not actionable has been definitely decided in the case of De Jesus
to the private respondent and had also promised to marry her, such acts would not be actionable vs. Syquia. 18 The history of breach of promise suits in the United States
in view of the special circumstances of the case. The mere breach of promise is not actionable. 14 and in England has shown that no other action lends itself more readily to
On 26 August 1991, after the private respondent had filed her Comment to the petition and the abuse by designing women and unscrupulous men. It is this experience which
petitioner had filed his Reply thereto, this Court gave due course to the petition and required has led to the abolition of rights of action in the so-called Heart Balm suits
the parties to submit their respective Memoranda, which they subsequently complied with. in many of the American states. . . . 19
As may be gleaned from the foregoing summation of the petitioner's arguments in support of his This notwithstanding, the said Code contains a provision, Article 21, which is designed to expand
thesis, it is clear that questions of fact, which boil down to the issue of the credibility of the concept of torts or quasi-delict in this jurisdiction by granting adequate legal remedy for the
witnesses, are also raised. It is the rule in this jurisdiction that appellate courts will not disturb untold number of moral wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to specifically enumerate
the trial court's findings as to the credibility of witnesses, the latter court having heard the and punish in the statute books. 20
witnesses and having had the opportunity to observe closely their deportment and manner of As the Code Commission itself stated in its Report:
testifying, unless the trial court had plainly overlooked facts of substance or value which, if But the Code Commission had gone farther than the sphere of wrongs
considered, might affect the result of the case. 15 defined or determined by positive law. Fully sensible that there are
Petitioner has miserably failed to convince Us that both the appellate and trial courts had countless gaps in the statutes, which leave so many victims of moral wrongs
overlooked any fact of substance or values which could alter the result of the case. helpless, even though they have actually suffered material and moral injury,
Equally settled is the rule that only questions of law may be raised in a petition for review the Commission has deemed it necessary, in the interest of justice, to
on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. It is not the function of this Court to analyze incorporate in the proposed Civil Code the following rule:
or weigh all over again the evidence introduced by the parties before the lower court. There are, Art. 23. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to
however, recognized exceptions to this rule. Thus, in Medina vs.Asistio, Jr., 16 this Court took the another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good
time, again, to enumerate these exceptions: customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for
xxx xxx xxx the damage.
(1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, An example will illustrate the purview of the foregoing norm: "A" seduces
surmises or conjectures (Joaquin v. Navarro, 93 Phil. 257 [1953]); (2) When the nineteen-year old daughter of "X". A promise of marriage either has not
the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurb or impossible (Luna v. been made, or can not be proved. The girl becomes pregnant. Under the
Linatok, 74 Phil. 15 [1942]); (3) Where there is a grave abuse of discretion present laws, there is no crime, as the girl is above nineteen years of age.
(Buyco v. People, 95 Phil. 453 [1955]); (4) When the judgment is based on a Neither can any civil action for breach of promise of marriage be filed.
misapprehension of facts (Cruz v. Sosing, Therefore, though the grievous moral wrong has been committed, and though
L-4875, Nov. 27, 1953); (5) When the findings of fact are conflicting (Casica the girl and family have suffered incalculable moral damage, she and her
v. Villaseca, L-9590 Ap. 30, 1957; unrep.) (6) When the Court of Appeals, in parents cannot bring action for damages. But under the proposed article, she
making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is and her parents would have such a right of action.
contrary to the admissions of both appellate and appellee (Evangelista v. Thus at one stroke, the legislator, if the forgoing rule is approved, would
Alto Surety and Insurance Co., 103 Phil. 401 [1958]); vouchsafe adequate legal remedy for that untold number of moral wrongs
(7) The findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial which it is impossible for human foresight to provide for specifically in the
court (Garcia v. Court of Appeals, 33 SCRA 622 [1970]; Sacay v. statutes. 21
Sandiganbayan, 142 SCRA 593 [1986]); (8) When the findings of fact are Article 2176 of the Civil Code, which defines a quasi-delict thus:
conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or
(Ibid.,); (9) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence,
petitioners main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called
(Ibid.,); and (10) The finding of fact of the Court of Appeals is premised on a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
the supposed absence of evidence and is contradicted by the evidence on is limited to negligent acts or omissions and excludes the notion of willfulness or
record (Salazar v. Gutierrez, 33 SCRA 242 [1970]). intent. Quasi-delict, known in Spanish legal treatises as culpa aquiliana, is a civil law
Petitioner has not endeavored to joint out to Us the existence of any of the above quoted concept while torts is an Anglo-American or common law concept. Torts is much
exceptions in this case. Consequently, the factual findings of the trial and appellate courts must broader than culpa aquiliana because it includes not only negligence, but international
be respected. criminal acts as well such as assault and battery, false imprisonment and deceit. In the
And now to the legal issue. general scheme of the Philippine legal system envisioned by the Commission responsible

11
for drafting the New Civil Code, intentional and malicious acts, with certain exceptions, confidence on the part of the seducer to which the woman has yielded (U.S.
are to be governed by the Revised Penal Code while negligent acts or omissions are to vs. Buenaventura, 27 Phil. 121; U.S. vs. Arlante, 9 Phil. 595).
be covered by Article 2176 of the Civil Code. 22 In between these opposite spectrums It has been ruled in the Buenaventura case (supra) that —
are injurious acts which, in the absence of Article 21, would have been beyond redress. To constitute seduction there must in all cases be some
Thus, Article 21 fills that vacuum. It is even postulated that together with Articles 19 sufficient promise or inducement and the woman must
and 20 of the Civil Code, Article 21 has greatly broadened the scope of the law on civil yield because of the promise or other inducement. If
wrongs; it has become much more supple and adaptable than the Anglo-American law on she consents merely from carnal lust and the
torts. 23 intercourse is from mutual desire, there is no seduction
In the light of the above laudable purpose of Article 21, We are of the opinion, and so hold, that (43 Cent. Dig. tit. Seduction, par. 56) She must be
where a man's promise to marry is in fact the proximate cause of the acceptance of his love by a induced to depart from the path of virtue by the use of
woman and his representation to fulfill that promise thereafter becomes the proximate cause of some species of arts, persuasions and wiles, which are
the giving of herself unto him in a sexual congress, proof that he had, in reality, no intention of calculated to have and do have that effect, and which
marrying her and that the promise was only a subtle scheme or deceptive device to entice or result in her person to ultimately submitting her person
inveigle her to accept him and to obtain her consent to the sexual act, could justify the award of to the sexual embraces of her seducer (27 Phil. 123).
damages pursuant to Article 21 not because of such promise to marry but because of the fraud And in American Jurisprudence we find:
and deceit behind it and the willful injury to her honor and reputation which followed thereafter. On the other hand, in an action by the woman, the
It is essential, however, that such injury should have been committed in a manner contrary to enticement, persuasion or deception is the essence of
morals, good customs or public policy. the injury; and a mere proof of intercourse is
In the instant case, respondent Court found that it was the petitioner's "fraudulent and insufficient to warrant a recovery.
deceptive protestations of love for and promise to marry plaintiff that made her surrender her Accordingly it is not seduction where the willingness
virtue and womanhood to him and to live with him on the honest and sincere belief that he would arises out of sexual desire of curiosity of the female,
keep said promise, and it was likewise these fraud and deception on appellant's part that made and the defendant merely affords her the needed
plaintiff's parents agree to their daughter's living-in with him preparatory to their supposed opportunity for the commission of the act. It has been
marriage." 24 In short, the private respondent surrendered her virginity, the cherished emphasized that to allow a recovery in all such cases
possession of every single Filipina, not because of lust but because of moral seduction — the kind would tend to the demoralization of the female sex, and
illustrated by the Code Commission in its example earlier adverted to. The petitioner could not be would be a reward for unchastity by which a class of
held liable for criminal seduction punished under either Article 337 or Article 338 of the adventuresses would be swift to profit. (47 Am. Jur.
Revised Penal Code because the private respondent was above eighteen (18) years of age at the 662)
time of the seduction. xxx xxx xxx
Prior decisions of this Court clearly suggest that Article 21 may be applied in a breach of promise Over and above the partisan allegations, the fact stand out that for one
to marry where the woman is a victim of moral seduction. Thus, in Hermosisima vs. Court of whole year, from 1958 to 1959, the plaintiff-appellee, a woman of adult age,
Appeals,25 this Court denied recovery of damages to the woman because: maintain intimate sexual relations with appellant, with repeated acts of
. . . we find ourselves unable to say that petitioner is morally guilty of intercourse. Such conduct is incompatible with the idea of seduction. Plainly
seduction, not only because he is approximately ten (10) years younger than there is here voluntariness and mutual passion; for had the appellant been
the complainant — who was around thirty-six (36) years of age, and as highly deceived, had she surrendered exclusively because of the deceit, artful
enlightened as a former high school teacher and a life insurance agent are persuasions and wiles of the defendant, she would not have again yielded to
supposed to be — when she became intimate with petitioner, then a mere his embraces, much less for one year, without exacting early fulfillment of
apprentice pilot, but, also, because the court of first instance found that, the alleged promises of marriage, and would have cut short all sexual
complainant "surrendered herself" to petitioner because, "overwhelmed by relations upon finding that defendant did not intend to fulfill his defendant
her love" for him, she "wanted to bind" him by having a fruit of their did not intend to fulfill his promise. Hence, we conclude that no case is made
engagement even before they had the benefit of clergy. under article 21 of the Civil Code, and no other cause of action being alleged,
In Tanjanco vs. Court of Appeals, 26 while this Court likewise hinted at possible recovery if there no error was committed by the Court of First Instance in dismissing the
had been moral seduction, recovery was eventually denied because We were not convinced that complaint. 27
such seduction existed. The following enlightening disquisition and conclusion were made in the In his annotations on the Civil Code, 28 Associate Justice Edgardo L. Paras, who recently retired
said case: from this Court, opined that in a breach of promise to marry where there had been carnal
The Court of Appeals seem to have overlooked that the example set forth in knowledge, moral damages may be recovered:
the Code Commission's memorandum refers to a tort upon a minor who had . . . if there be criminal or moral seduction, but not if the intercourse was
been seduced. The essential feature is seduction, that in law is more than due to mutual lust. (Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals,
mere sexual intercourse, or a breach of a promise of marriage; it connotes L-14628, Sept. 30, 1960; Estopa vs. Piansay, Jr., L-14733, Sept. 30, 1960;
essentially the idea of deceit, enticement, superior power or abuse of Batarra vs. Marcos, 7 Phil. 56 (sic); Beatriz Galang vs. Court of Appeals, et

12
al., L-17248, Jan. 29, 1962). (In other words, if the CAUSE be the promise acts in blatant disregard of Article 19 of the Civil Code which directs every person to act with
to marry, and the EFFECT be the carnal knowledge, there is a chance that justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith in the exercise of his rights
there was criminal or moral seduction, hence recovery of moral damages will and in the performance of his obligations.
prosper. If it be the other way around, there can be no recovery of moral No foreigner must be allowed to make a mockery of our laws, customs and traditions.
damages, because here mutual lust has intervened). . . . The pari delicto rule does not apply in this case for while indeed, the private respondent may not
together with "ACTUAL damages, should there be any, such as the expenses for the have been impelled by the purest of intentions, she eventually submitted to the petitioner in
wedding presentations (See Domalagon v. Bolifer, 33 Phil. 471). sexual congress not out of lust, but because of moral seduction. In fact, it is apparent that she
Senator Arturo M. Tolentino 29 is also of the same persuasion: had qualms of conscience about the entire episode for as soon as she found out that the
It is submitted that the rule in Batarra vs. Marcos, 30 still subsists, petitioner was not going to marry her after all, she left him. She is not, therefore, in pari
notwithstanding the incorporation of the present article31 in the Code. The delicto with the petitioner. Pari delicto means "in equal fault; in a similar offense or crime; equal
example given by the Code Commission is correct, if there was seduction, not in guilt or in legal fault." 35At most, it could be conceded that she is merely in delicto.
necessarily in the legal sense, but in the vulgar sense of deception. But when Equity often interferes for the relief of the less guilty of the parties,
the sexual act is accomplished without any deceit or qualifying circumstance where his transgression has been brought about by the imposition of undue
of abuse of authority or influence, but the woman, already of age, has influence of the party on whom the burden of the original wrong principally
knowingly given herself to a man, it cannot be said that there is an injury rests, or where his consent to the transaction was itself procured by
which can be the basis for indemnity. fraud. 36
But so long as there is fraud, which is characterized by willfulness (sic), the In Mangayao vs. Lasud, 37 We declared:
action lies. The court, however, must weigh the degree of fraud, if it is Appellants likewise stress that both parties being at fault, there should be
sufficient to deceive the woman under the circumstances, because an act no action by one against the other (Art. 1412, New Civil Code). This rule,
which would deceive a girl sixteen years of age may not constitute deceit as however, has been interpreted as applicable only where the fault on both
to an experienced woman thirty years of age. But so long as there is a sides is, more or less, equivalent. It does not apply where one party is
wrongful act and a resulting injury, there should be civil liability, even if the literate or intelligent and the other one is not. (c.f. Bough vs. Cantiveros, 40
act is not punishable under the criminal law and there should have been an Phil. 209).
acquittal or dismissal of the criminal case for that reason. We should stress, however, that while We find for the private respondent, let it not be said that
We are unable to agree with the petitioner's alternative proposition to the effect that granting, this Court condones the deplorable behavior of her parents in letting her and the petitioner stay
for argument's sake, that he did promise to marry the private respondent, the latter is together in the same room in their house after giving approval to their marriage. It is the solemn
nevertheless also at fault. According to him, both parties are in pari delicto; hence, pursuant to duty of parents to protect the honor of their daughters and infuse upon them the higher values
Article 1412(1) of the Civil Code and the doctrine laid down in Batarra vs. Marcos, 32 the private of morality and dignity.
respondent cannot recover damages from the petitioner. The latter even goes as far as stating WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the challenged decision, the instant petition is
that if the private respondent had "sustained any injury or damage in their relationship, it is hereby DENIED, with costs against the petitioner.
primarily because of her own doing, 33 for: SO ORDERED.
. . . She is also interested in the petitioner as the latter will become a doctor Feliciano, Bidin, Romero and Melo, JJ., concur.
sooner or later. Take notice that she is a plain high school graduate and a Gutierrez, Jr., J., is on leave.
mere employee . . . (Annex "C") or a waitress (TSN, p. 51, January 25, 1988)
in a luncheonette and without doubt, is in need of a man who can give her
economic security. Her family is in dire need of financial assistance. (TSN,
pp. 51-53, May 18, 1988). And this predicament prompted her to accept a
proposition that may have been offered by the petitioner. 34
These statements reveal the true character and motive of the petitioner. It 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 employment. Obviously then, from the very beginning, he was not at all moved by
good faith and an honest motive. Marrying with a woman so circumstances could not have even
remotely occurred to him. Thus, his profession of love and promise to marry were empty words
directly 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 partner. His was nothing but pure lust
which he wanted satisfied by a Filipina who honestly believed that by accepting his proffer of
love and proposal of marriage, she would be able to enjoy a life of ease and security. Petitioner
clearly violated the Filipino's concept of morality and brazenly defied the traditional respect
Filipinos have for their women. It can even be said that the petitioner committed such deplorable

13
G.R. No. 57227 May 14, 1992 ordering the latter to pay Amelita Constantino the sum of P8,000.00 by way
AMELITA CONSTANTINO and MICHAEL CONSTANTINO, the latter represented herein of actual and moral damages; and, the sum of P3,000.00, as and by way of
by the former, his mother and natural guardian, petitioners, attorney's fees. The defendant shall pay the costs of this suit.
vs. SO ORDERED.
IVAN MENDEZ and the HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. From the above decision, both parties filed their separate motion for reconsideration. Ivan
Roberto M. Sarenas for petitioners. Mendez anchored his motion on the ground that the award of damages was not supported by
Bienvinido D. Cariaga for private respondent. evidence. Amelita Constantino, on the other hand, sought the recognition and support of her son
Michael Constantino as the illegitimate son of Ivan Mendez.
BIDIN, J.: In its resolution dated October 21, 1976, the trial court granted Amelita Constantino's motion
This is a petition for review on certiorari questioning the decision1 dated April 30, 1981 of the for reconsideration, and amended the dispositive portion of its decision dated June 21, 1976 to
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 61552-R which dismissed petitioner's complaint and set aside the read as follows, viz:
resolution2 dated October 21, 1976 of the then Court of First Instance of Davao, 16th Judicial WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in
District, amending the dispositive portion of its decision dated June 21, 1976 and ordering favor of plaintiff Amelita Constantino and plaintiff-minor Michael
private respondent Ivan Mendez: (1) to acknowledge the minor Michael Constantino as his Constantino, and against defendant Ivan Mendez ordering the latter to pay
illegitimate child; (2) to give a monthly support of P300.00 to the minor child; (3) to pay Amelita Constantino the sum of P8,000.00 by way of actual and moral
complainant Amelita Constantino the sum of P8,200.00 as actual and moral damages; and (4) to damages and the sum of P200.00 as and by way of payment of the hospital
pay attorney's fees in the sum of P5,000 plus costs. and medical bills incurred during the delivery of plaintiff-minor Michael
It appears on record that on June 5, 1975, petitioner Amelita Constantino filed an action for Constantino; to recognize as his own illegitimate child the plaintiff-minor
acknowledgment, support and damages against private respondent Ivan Mendez. The case was Michael Constantino who shall be entitled to all the rights, privileges and
filed with the then CFI of Davao, 10th Judicial District and docketed as Civil Case No. 8881. In benefits appertaining to a child of such status; to give a permanent monthly
her complaint, Amelita Constantino alleges, among others, that sometime in the month of August, support in favor of plaintiff Michael Constantino the amount of P300.00; and
1974, she met Ivan Mendez at Tony's Restaurant located at Sta. Cruz, Manila, where she worked the sum of P5,000.00 as and by way of attorney's fees. The defendant shall
as a waitress; that the day following their first meeting, Ivan invited Amelita to dine with him at pay the costs of this suit.
Hotel Enrico where he was billeted; that while dining, Ivan professed his love and courted Let this Order form part of the decision dated June 21, 1976.
Amelita; that Amelita asked for time to think about Ivan's proposal; that at about 11:00 o'clock SO ORDERED.
in the evening, Amelita asked Ivan to bring her home to which the latter agreed, that on the On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the above amended decision was set aside and the complaint
pretext of getting something, Ivan brought Amelita inside his hotel room and through a promise was dismissed. Hence, this petition for review.
of marriage succeeded in having sexual intercourse with the latter; that after the sexual Basically, the issue to be resolved in the case at bar is whether or not the Court of Appeals
contact, Ivan confessed to Amelita that he is a married man; that they repeated their sexual committed a reversible error in setting aside the decision of the trial court and in dismissing the
contact in the months of September and November, 1974, whenever Ivan is in Manila, as a result complaint.
of which Amelita got pregnant; that her pleas for help and support fell on deaf ears; that Petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the factual findings of the trial
Amelita had no sexual relations with any other man except Ivan who is the father of the child and in not affirming the decision of the trial court. They also pointed out that the appellate
yet to be born at the time of the filing of the complaint; that because of her pregnancy, Amelita court committed a misapprehension of facts when it concluded that Ivan did not have sexual
was forced to leave her work as a waitress; that Ivan is a prosperous businessman of Davao City access with Amelita during the first or second week of November, 1976 (should be 1974), the
with a monthly income of P5,000 to P8,000. As relief, Amelita prayed for the recognition of the time of the conception of the child.
unborn child, the payment of actual, moral and exemplary damages, attorney's fees plus costs. It must be stressed at the outset that factual findings of the trial court have only a persuasive
In his answer dated August 5, 1975, Ivan admitted that he met Amelita at Tony's Cocktail and not a conclusive effect on the Court of Appeals. In the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction,
Lounge but denied having sexual knowledge or illicit relations with her. He prayed for the it is the duty of the Court of Appeals to review the factual findings of the trial court and rectify
dismissal of the complaint for lack of cause of action. By way of counterclaim, he further prayed the errors it committed as may have been properly assigned and as could be established by a re-
for the payment of exemplary damages and litigation expense including attorney's fees for the examination of the evidence on record. It is the factual findings of the Court of Appeals, not
filing of the malicious complaint. those of the trial court, that as a rule are considered final and conclusive even on this Court
On September 1, 1975, Amelita Constantino filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint (Hermo v. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al., 155 SCRA 24 [1987]). This being a petition
impleading as co-plaintiff her son Michael Constantino who was born on August 3, 1975. In its for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, this Court will review only errors of law
order dated September 4, 1975, the trial court admitted the amended complaint. committed by the Court of Appeals. It is not the function of this Court to re-examine all over
On September 11, 1975, Ivan Mendez filed his answer to the amended complaint reiterating his again the oral and documentary evidence submitted by the parties unless the findings of facts of
previous answer denying that Michael Constantino is his illegitimate son. the Court of Appeals is not supported by the evidence on record or the judgment is based on
After hearing, the trial court rendered a decision dated June 21, 1976, the dispositive portion of misapprehension of facts (Remalante v. Tibe, et al., 158 SCRA 138 [1988]; Hernandez v. Court of
which reads, viz: Appeals, et al., 149 SCRA 97 [1987]).
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in It is the conclusion of the Court of Appeals, based on the evidence on record, that Amelita
favor of plaintiff Amelita Constantino and against defendant Ivan Mendez, Constantino has not proved by clear and convincing evidence her claim that Ivan Mendez is the

14
father of her son Michael Constantino. Such conclusion based on the evaluation of the evidence
on record is controlling on this Court as the same is supported by the evidence on record. Even
the trial court initially entertained such posture. It ordered the recognition of Michael as the
illegitimate son of Ivan only when acting on the motions for reconsideration, it reconsidered, on
October 21, 1976, its earlier decision dated June 21, 1976. Amelita's testimony on cross-
examination that she had sexual contact with Ivan in Manila in the first or second week of
November, 1974 (TSN, December 8, 1975, p. 108) is inconsistent with her response that she
could not remember the date of their last sexual intercourse in November, 1974 (Ibid, p. 106).
Sexual contact of Ivan and Amelita in the first or second week of November, 1974 is the crucial
point that was not even established on direct examination as she merely testified that she had
sexual intercourse with Ivan in the months of September, October and November, 1974.
Michael Constantino is a full-term baby born on August 3, 1975 (Exhibit 6) so that as correctly
pointed out by private respondent's counsel, citing medical science (Williams Obstetrics, Tenth
Ed., p. 198) to the effect that "the mean duration of actual pregnancy, counting from the day of
conception must be close to 267 days", the conception of the child (Michael) must have taken
place about 267 days before August 3, 1975 or sometime in the second week of November, 1974.
While Amelita testified that she had sexual contact with Ivan in November, 1974, nevertheless
said testimony is contradicted by her own evidence (Exh. F), the letter dated February 11, 1975,
addressed to Ivan Mendez requesting for a conference, prepared by her own counsel Atty.
Roberto Sarenas to whom she must have confided the attendant circumstances of her pregnancy
while still fresh in her memory, informing Ivan that Amelita is four (4) months pregnant so that
applying the period of the duration of actual pregnancy, the child was conceived on or about
October 11, 1974.
Petitioner's assertion that Ivan is her first and only boyfriend (TSN, December 8, 1975, p. 65) is
belied by Exhibit 2, her own letter addressed to Mrs. Mendez where she revealed the reason for
her attachment to Ivan who possessed certain traits not possessed by her boyfriend. She also
confided that she had a quarrel with her boyfriend because of gossips so she left her work. An
order for recognition and support may create an unwholesome atmosphere or may be an irritant
in the family or lives of the parties so that it must be issued only if paternity or filiation is
established by clear and convincing evidence. The burden of proof is on Amelita to establish her
affirmative allegations that Ivan is the father of her son. Consequently, in the absence of clear
and convincing evidence establishing paternity or filiation, the complaint must be dismissed.
As regards Amelita's claim for damages which is based on Articles 193 & 214 of the Civil Code on
the theory that through Ivan's promise of marriage, she surrendered her virginity, we cannot
but agree with the Court of Appeals that more sexual intercourse is not by itself a basis for
recovery. Damages could only be awarded if sexual intercourse is not a product of voluntariness
and mutual desire. At the time she met Ivan at Tony's Restaurant, Amelita was already 28 years
old and she admitted that she was attracted to Ivan (TSN, December 3, 1975, p. 83). Her
attraction to Ivan is the reason why she surrendered her womanhood. Had she been induced or
deceived because of a promise of marriage, she could have immediately severed her relation with
Ivan when she was informed after their first sexual contact sometime in August, 1974, that he
was a married man. Her declaration that in the months of September, October and November,
1974, they repeated their sexual intercourse only indicates that passion and not the alleged
promise of marriage was the moving force that made her submit herself to Ivan.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is Dismissed for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano, Davide, Jr. and Romero, JJ., concur.

15
G.R. No. L-39019 January 22, 1988 2") after his attention was called to the latter account. Rosendo O. Chaves
MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY and PEDRO YAMBAO, petitioners-appellants, then sought the help of Atty. Lourdy Torres, one of the defendants'
vs. counsel, and, thereafter, the power line was reconnected and electric
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and ISAAC CHAVEZ, SR., ISAAC O. CHAVEZ, service restored to the Chaves residence at about 7:00 p.m. of that same
JR., ROSENDO O. CHAVES, and JUAN O. CHAVES, respondents-appellees. day. 1
Petitioners dispute the finding that there was no notice given to herein respondent. However,
YAP, J.: since only questions of law may be raised in a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised
In an action for recovery of damages for embarassment, humiliation, wounded feelings and hurt Rules of Court, petitioners, 'for the sake of argument and for the purpose of giving focus on the
pride, caused to herein private respondents, by reason of the disconnection of their electrical legal issues', do not take issue with such finding.
service by the petitioners, the then Court of First Instance of Manila, Sixth Judicial District, Petitioners contend that in the absence of bad faith, they could not be held liable for moral and
Branch XXIV, rendered a decision dated December 13,1967, ordering herein petitioners jointly exemplary damages as well as attorney's fees. The failure to give a notice of disconnection to
and severally to pay private respondents the sum of Ten Thousand (P10,000.00) Pesos as moral private respondents might have been a breach of duty or breach of contract, but by itself does
damages, Two Thousand (P2,000.00) Pesos as exemplary damages and, One Thousand (P1,000.00) not constitute bad faith or fraud; it must be shown that such a failure was motivated by in or
Pesos as attorney's fees, and dismissing petitioners' counterclaim. done with fraudulent intent.Petitioners also maintain that ' private respondents were in arrears
On appeal, the Court of Appeals and in toto the trial court's decision. Their Motion for in the payment of their electricity bills when their electric service was connected, no moral
Reconsideration having been denied, petitioners filed the instant petition for certiorari. damages may be recovered by them under the 'clean hands' doctrine enunciated in Mabutas vs.
Petitioner Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) is a public utility corporation providing electric Calapan Electric Company, CA-G.R. No. L-9683-R, May 26, 1964.
power for the consumption of the general public in Metro Manila. Petitioner Pedro Yambao is a In its decision, the respondent Court of Appeals held that MERALCO's right to disconnect the
bill collector of MERALCO. electric service of a delinquent customer "is an absolute one, subject only to the requirement
Private respondents Isaac Chaves and Juana O. Chaves, husband and wife, filed the complaint for that defendant MERALCO should give the customer a written notice of disconnection 48 hours in
damages, together with their children, Isaac O. Chaves, Jr. and Rosendo O. Chaves. Isaac Sr. and advance." This requirement is embodied in Section 97 of the Revised Order No. 1 of the Public
Isaac Jr. and Rosendo were members of the Philippine Bar; Isaac, Sr. and Isaac, Jr. were Service Commission which provides as follows:
practicing lawyers and Rosendo was a Legal Officer at the Agricultural Productivity Commission. Section 97. Payment of bills. — A public service, may require that bills for
Juana O. Chaves was a public school teacher. service be paid within a specified time after rendition. When the billing
The facts as found by the trial court and adopted by the Court of Appeals are as follows: period covers a month or more, the minimum time allowed will be ten days
Plaintiff Isaac Chaves became a customer of defendant MERALCO in the and upon expiration of the specified time, service may be discontinued for
year 1953 when he and his family were residing at No. 211-D Rubi, Manila. In the non-payment of bills, provided that a 48 hours' written notice of such
connection with the contract for electrical service, he deposited the sum of disconnection has been given the customer: Provided, however, that
P5.00 (Exh. "A") with defendant MERALCO on February 12, 1953. This disconnections of service shall not be made on Sundays and official holidays
deposit in the name of plaintiff Isaac Chaves was retained by MERALCO and and never after 2 p.m. of any working day: Provided, further, that if at the
made to apply to subsequent contracts for electrical service entered into moment the disconnection is to be made the customer tenders payment of
after subsequent transfers of the Chaves family to other residences and up the unpaid bill to the agent or employee of the operator who is to effect the
to the time this family went to reside at the place aforementioned, at No. disconnection, the said agent or employee shall be obliged to accept tender
2656 Mercedes Street, Singalong, Manila. ... of payment and issue a temporary receipt for the amount and shall desist
At or about the end of March, 1965, defendant Pedro Yambao went to the from disconnecting the service. 2
residence of plaintiffs and presented two overdue bills, one for January 11 The respondent court stressed the importance and necessity of the 48-hour advance written
to February 9,1965, for the sum of P7.90 (Exhibit "C"), and the other for notification before a disconnection of service may be effected. Said the court:
February 9 to March 10, 1965, for the amount of P7.20 (Exhibit "C"). Juana ... It sets in motion the disconnection of an electrical service of the
O. Chaves, however, informed Yambao that these bills would be paid at the customer by giving the notice, determining the expiration date thereof, and
MERALCO main office. executing the disconnection. It, therefore, behooves the defendant
Accordingly, on April 2, 1965, Isaac Chaves went to the defendant's main MERALCO that before it disconnects a customer's electrical service, there
office at San Marcelino, Manila, but paid only the bill marked as Exhibit 'C" should be sufficient evidence that the requirements for the disconnection
leaving the other bill Identified as Exhibit "C-l" unpaid. had been duly complied with, otherwise, the poor consumer can be subjected
Past 2:30 o'clock in the afternoon of April 21,1965, MERALCO caused the to the whims and caprices of the defendant, by the mere pretension that
electric service in plaintiff's residence to be discontinued and the power line the written notice had been duly served upon the customer. 3
cut off. We find no reversible error in the decision appealed from. One can not deny the vital role which
The next day, April 22, 1965, at about 9:00 a.m., plaintiff Rosendo O. Chaves a public utility such as MERALCO, having a monopoly of the supply of electrical power in Metro
went to the MERALCO main office and paid the amount of P7.20 for the bill Manila and some nearby municipalities, plays in the life of people living in such areas. Electricity
marked as Exhibit "C-l", and the sum of P7.00 for the subsequent bill has become a necessity to most people in these areas justifying the exercise by the State of its
corresponding to the period from March 10 up to April 8, 1965 (Exhibit "C- regulatory power over the business of supplying electrical service to the public, in which

16
petitioner MERALCO is engaged. Thus, the state may regulate, as it has done through Section 97
of the Revised Order No. 1 of the Public Service Commission, the conditions under which and the
manner by which a public utility such as MERALCO may effect a disconnection of service to a
delinquent customer. Among others, a prior written notice to the customer is required before
disconnection of the service. Failure to give such prior notice amounts to a tort, as held by us in a
similar case, 4 where we said:
... petitioner's act in 'disconnecting respondent Ongsip's gas service without
prior notice constitutes breach of contract amounting to an independent
tort. The prematurity of the action is indicative of an intent to cause
additional mental and moral suffering to private respondent. This is a clear
violation of Article 21 of the Civil Code which provides that any person who
wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to
morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for
damages. This is reiterated by paragraph 10 of Article 2219 of the Code.
Moreover, the award of moral damages is sanctioned by Article 2220 which
provides that wilfull injury to property may be a legal ground for awarding
moral damages if the court should find that, under the circumstances, such
damages are justly due. The same rule applies to breaches of contract where
the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad faith.
Likewise, we find no merit in petitioners' contention that being in arrears in the payment of their
bills, the private respondents are not entitled to moral damages under the doctrine that "he who
comes to court in demand of equity, must come with clean hands." We rejected this argument in
the Manila Gas Corporation case, supra, wherein we held that respondents' default in the
payment of his bills "cannot be utilized by petitioner to defeat or null the claim for damages. At
most, this circumstance can be considered as a mitigating factor in ascertaining the amount of
damages to which respondent ... is entitled."
Accordingly, we find no grave abuse of discretion committed by respondent court in affirming
the trial court's decision. The petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.

17
G.R. Nos. L-66870-72 June 29, 1985 In view of this circumstances, this Court holds the opinion that between the
AGAPITO MAGBANUA, INENIAS MARTIZANO, CARLITO HERRERA, SR., PAQUITO period of the inspection by the PC Team on February 24, 1982 and June 13,
LOPEZ, AND FRANCISCO HERRERA, petitioners, 1982 when plaintiffs' manifestation was filed, there has been complete
vs. closure of water supplying plaintiffs' landholdings which resulted to the
HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT (SECOND SPECIAL CASES DIVISION), drying up of the same that greatly hampered the healthy growth of the
EDUARDO, BUTCH, DIEGO AND NENA All Surnamed PEREZ, respondents. palay crop. This Court does not believe that the disruption of the water
Romulo A. Deles for petitioner. supply which led to the very poor harvest is due to the fault/negligence of
Jose Valmayor for respondents. the plaintiffs.
Under the law, the landowner has an obligation to keep the tenant in the
ABAD SANTOS, J.: peaceful and continuous cultivation of his landholding. A disturbance of
A joint decision was rendered in CAR Case Nos. 827, 828 and 829 of the defunct Court of possession, such as the act complained of, is violative of the law.
Agrarian Relations stationed in San Carlos City (Negros Occidental) because the six plaintiffs The Honorable Court of Appeals, thru Associate Justice Porfirio V. Sison, in
who are the petitioners at bar all alleged that they are share tenants of the defendants; that June 23, 1982, promulgated a decision in the case of Buenaventura Garcia,
the defendants diverted the free flow of water from their farm lots which caused portions of plaintiff-appellant, vs. Eduardo Jalandoni, Salud Garcia and Chester Garcia,
their landholdings to dry up to their great damage and prejudice: and that they were told by the defendant-appellees, which ruling is relevant to the above-entitled cases
defendants' overseer to vacate their respective areas for they could not plant palay any longer when the said Honorable Court state:
due to lack of water. They prayed that they be declared as leasehold tenants and that the The law forbids the use of tenants like balls on a pool
defendants be ordered to pay attorney's fees and different kinds of damages. table, whacked and volleyed and pocketed at the whim
The trial court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs as follows: and caprice of the player, or their positions placed on
WHEREFORE, coherent with the foregoing, this Court, in judgment, hereby: the auction block like slaves to be sold to the highest
1) Declares all the plaintiffs in the above-entitled cases to be maintained as bidder. Such a calamitous situation erode wholehearted
agricultural lessees in peaceful cultivation in their respective landholdings; dedication to the soil; it is destructive of the system
2) Prohibits defendants from closing and/or disrupting the free flow of itself, as such an attitude takes away the freedom the
water supplying plaintiffs' landholdings; emancipated tenants won under the aegis of the New
3) Declares the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued on February 23, 1982 Republic.
to be permanent; The plaintiff-appellant is entitled to moral damages in
4) Orders plaintiffs to seek the assistance of the Ministry of Agrarian the sum of P5,000.00 and exemplary damages in the
Reforms in the fixing of their lease rentals; further sum of P5,000.00 to be paid by defendant
5) Orders the defendants to pay all the six plaintiffs in the above-entitled Eduardo Jalandoni. Let this be a warning to those who
cases individually moral and exemplary damages in the sum of TEN flout the lofty purpose of the agrarian reform program.
THOUSAND (P10,000.00) PESOS, each; Plaintiffs have all their legal rights to protect their interests under the law
6) Orders the defendants to pay the attorney's fees in the amount of in filing these cases, for what the defendants have done to them, and as
P5,000.00; and such they are entitled attorney's fees. (Rollo, pp. 27-28.)
7) Dismiss all other claims and counterclaims of the parties for lack of merit Upon the other hand, in deleting the questioned award the Intermediate Appellate Court said:
(Rollo, pp. 28-29.) However, We are not inclined to sustain the award of moral and exemplary
The defendants appealed to the Intermediate Appellate Court which in turn rendered the damages, as well as attorney's fees. There is no evidence showing that, in
following judgment: dealing with plaintiffs, defendants acted fraudulently or in bad faith. There
WHEREFORE, with the modification above indicated, deleting the award of is no showing either that attorney's fees are recoverable under Art: 2208,
moral and exemplary damages and attorney's fees, the decision appealed Civil Code. (Rollo, P. 37.)
from is hereby AFFIRMED in all other respects, with costs against Under the facts of the case, the plaintiffs (now petitioners) are entitled to a measure of moral
appellants. (Rollo, pp. 37-38.) damages. Article 2219 of the Civil Code permits the award of moral damages for acts mentioned
In this petition, the prayer is for the reinstatement of the moral and exemplary damages and the in Article 21 of the same code and the latter stipulates that: "Any person who wilfully causes loss
attorney's fees which had been awarded by the trial court on the ground that the Intermediate or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall
Appellate Court committed a grave abuse of discretion in eliminating them. compensate the latter for the damage."
In awarding damages and attorney's fees, the trial court said: It appears that the petitioners were denied irrigation water for their farm lots in order to make
This Court has likewise noted the manifestation submitted by plaintiffs on them vacate their landholdings. The defendants violated the plaintiffs' rights and caused
June 3, 1982 wherein they have attached photographs of their dried-up prejudice to the latter by the unjustified diversion of the water.
landholdings and wilted palay crops. The allegations in this pleading and the The petitioners are also entitled to exemplary damages because the defendants acted in an
accompanying pictures were never rebutted by the defendants. oppressive manner. (See Art. 2232. Civil Code.)

18
It follows from the foregoing that the petitioners are also entitled to attorney's fees but the
size of the fees as well as the damages is subject to the sound discretion of the court.
WHEREFORE, the petition is granted; the decision under review is modified and each of the
plaintiffs is entitled to the following to be paid by the defendants jointly and severally:
Moral damages — P1,000.00
Exemplarly damages — 500.00
Attorney's fees — 1,000.00
P2,500.00
The costs shall be assessed against the private respondents.
SO ORDERED.

19
G.R. No. L-16439 July 20, 1961 should be subsequently born alive: "provided it be born later with the condition specified in the
ANTONIO GELUZ, petitioner, following article". In the present case, there is no dispute that the child was dead when
vs. separated from its mother's womb.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and OSCAR LAZO, respondents. The prevailing American jurisprudence is to the same effect; and it is generally held that
Mariano H. de Joya for petitioner. recovery can not had for the death of an unborn child (Stafford vs. Roadway Transit Co., 70 F.
A.P. Salvador for respondents. Supp. 555; Dietrich vs. Northampton, 52 Am. Rep. 242; and numerous cases collated in the
REYES, J.B.L., J.: editorial note, 10 ALR, (2d) 639).
This petition for certiorari brings up for review question whether the husband of a woman, who This is not to say that the parents are not entitled to collect any damages at all. But such
voluntarily procured her abortion, could recover damages from physician who caused the same. damages must be those inflicted directly upon them, as distinguished from the injury or violation
The litigation was commenced in the Court of First Instance of Manila by respondent Oscar Lazo, of the rights of the deceased, his right to life and physical integrity. Because the parents can
the of Nita Villanueva, against petitioner Antonio Geluz, a physician. Convinced of the merits of not expect either help, support or services from an unborn child, they would normally be limited
the complaint upon the evidence adduced, the trial court rendered judgment favor of plaintiff to moral damages for the illegal arrest of the normal development of the spes hominis that was
Lazo and against defendant Geluz, ordering the latter to pay P3,000.00 as damages, P700.00 the foetus, i.e., on account of distress and anguish attendant to its loss, and the disappointment
attorney's fees and the costs of the suit. On appeal, Court of Appeals, in a special division of of their parental expectations (Civ. Code Art. 2217), as well as to exemplary damages, if the
five, sustained the award by a majority vote of three justices as against two, who rendered a circumstances should warrant them (Art. 2230). But in the case before us, both the trial court
separate dissenting opinion. and the Court of Appeals have not found any basis for an award of moral damages, evidently
The facts are set forth in the majority opinion as follows: because the appellee's indifference to the previous abortions of his wife, also caused by the
Nita Villanueva came to know the defendant (Antonio Geluz) for the first time in 1948 appellant herein, clearly indicates that he was unconcerned with the frustration of his parental
— through her aunt Paula Yambot. In 1950 she became pregnant by her present hopes and affections. The lower court expressly found, and the majority opinion of the Court of
husband before they were legally married. Desiring to conceal her pregnancy from her Appeals did not contradict it, that the appellee was aware of the second abortion; and the
parent, and acting on the advice of her aunt, she had herself aborted by the probabilities are that he was likewise aware of the first. Yet despite the suspicious repetition of
defendant. After her marriage with the plaintiff, she again became pregnant. As she the event, he appeared to have taken no steps to investigate or pinpoint the causes thereof, and
was then employed in the Commission on Elections and her pregnancy proved to be secure the punishment of the responsible practitioner. Even after learning of the third abortion,
inconvenient, she had herself aborted again by the defendant in October 1953. Less the appellee does not seem to have taken interest in the administrative and criminal cases
than two years later, she again became pregnant. On February 21, 1955, accompanied against the appellant. His only concern appears to have been directed at obtaining from the
by her sister Purificacion and the latter's daughter Lucida, she again repaired to the doctor a large money payment, since he sued for P50,000.00 damages and P3,000.00 attorney's
defendant's clinic on Carriedo and P. Gomez streets in Manila, where the three met the fees, an "indemnity" claim that, under the circumstances of record, was clearly exaggerated.
defendant and his wife. Nita was again aborted, of a two-month old foetus, in The dissenting Justices of the Court of Appeals have aptly remarked that:
consideration of the sum of fifty pesos, Philippine currency. The plaintiff was at this It seems to us that the normal reaction of a husband who righteously feels outraged
time in the province of Cagayan, campaigning for his election to the provincial board; he by the abortion which his wife has deliberately sought at the hands of a physician
did not know of, nor gave his consent, to the abortion. would be highminded rather than mercenary; and that his primary concern would be to
It is the third and last abortion that constitutes plaintiff's basis in filing this action and award see to it that the medical profession was purged of an unworthy member rather than
of damages. Upon application of the defendant Geluz we granted certiorari. turn his wife's indiscretion to personal profit, and with that idea in mind to press
The Court of Appeals and the trial court predicated the award of damages in the sum of either the administrative or the criminal cases he had filed, or both, instead of
P3,000.06 upon the provisions of the initial paragraph of Article 2206 of the Civil Code of the abandoning them in favor of a civil action for damages of which not only he, but also his
Philippines. This we believe to be error, for the said article, in fixing a minimum award of wife, would be the beneficiaries.
P3,000.00 for the death of a person, does not cover the case of an unborn foetus that is not It is unquestionable that the appellant's act in provoking the abortion of appellee's wife, without
endowed with personality. Under the system of our Civil Code, "la criatura abortiva no alcanza la medical necessity to warrant it, was a criminal and morally reprehensible act, that can not be too
categoria de persona natural y en consscuencia es un ser no nacido a la vida del Derecho" (Casso- severely condemned; and the consent of the woman or that of her husband does not excuse it.
Cervera, "Diccionario de Derecho Privado", Vol. 1, p. 49), being incapable of having rights and But the immorality or illegality of the act does not justify an award of damage that, under the
obligations. circumstances on record, have no factual or legal basis.
Since an action for pecuniary damages on account of personal injury or death pertains primarily The decision appealed from is reversed, and the complaint ordered dismissed. Without costs.
to the one injured, it is easy to see that if no action for such damages could be instituted on Let a copy of this decision be furnished to the Department of Justice and the Board of Medical
behalf of the unborn child on account of the injuries it received, no such right of action could Examiners for their information and such investigation and action against the appellee Antonio
derivatively accrue to its parents or heirs. In fact, even if a cause of action did accrue on behalf Geluz as the facts may warrant.
of the unborn child, the same was extinguished by its pre-natal death, since no transmission to Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Labrador, Barrera, Paredes, Dizon and Natividad, JJ., concur.
anyone can take place from on that lacked juridical personality (or juridical capacity as Concepcion, J., took no part.
distinguished from capacity to act). It is no answer to invoke the provisional personality of a De Leon, J., took no part.
conceived child (conceptus pro nato habetur) under Article 40 of the Civil Code, because that
same article expressly limits such provisional personality by imposing the condition that the child

20
G.R. No. L-16439 July 20, 1961 should be subsequently born alive: "provided it be born later with the condition specified in the
ANTONIO GELUZ, petitioner, following article". In the present case, there is no dispute that the child was dead when
vs. separated from its mother's womb.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and OSCAR LAZO, respondents. The prevailing American jurisprudence is to the same effect; and it is generally held that
Mariano H. de Joya for petitioner. recovery can not had for the death of an unborn child (Stafford vs. Roadway Transit Co., 70 F.
A.P. Salvador for respondents. Supp. 555; Dietrich vs. Northampton, 52 Am. Rep. 242; and numerous cases collated in the
REYES, J.B.L., J.: editorial note, 10 ALR, (2d) 639).
This petition for certiorari brings up for review question whether the husband of a woman, who This is not to say that the parents are not entitled to collect any damages at all. But such
voluntarily procured her abortion, could recover damages from physician who caused the same. damages must be those inflicted directly upon them, as distinguished from the injury or violation
The litigation was commenced in the Court of First Instance of Manila by respondent Oscar Lazo, of the rights of the deceased, his right to life and physical integrity. Because the parents can
the of Nita Villanueva, against petitioner Antonio Geluz, a physician. Convinced of the merits of not expect either help, support or services from an unborn child, they would normally be limited
the complaint upon the evidence adduced, the trial court rendered judgment favor of plaintiff to moral damages for the illegal arrest of the normal development of the spes hominis that was
Lazo and against defendant Geluz, ordering the latter to pay P3,000.00 as damages, P700.00 the foetus, i.e., on account of distress and anguish attendant to its loss, and the disappointment
attorney's fees and the costs of the suit. On appeal, Court of Appeals, in a special division of of their parental expectations (Civ. Code Art. 2217), as well as to exemplary damages, if the
five, sustained the award by a majority vote of three justices as against two, who rendered a circumstances should warrant them (Art. 2230). But in the case before us, both the trial court
separate dissenting opinion. and the Court of Appeals have not found any basis for an award of moral damages, evidently
The facts are set forth in the majority opinion as follows: because the appellee's indifference to the previous abortions of his wife, also caused by the
Nita Villanueva came to know the defendant (Antonio Geluz) for the first time in 1948 appellant herein, clearly indicates that he was unconcerned with the frustration of his parental
— through her aunt Paula Yambot. In 1950 she became pregnant by her present hopes and affections. The lower court expressly found, and the majority opinion of the Court of
husband before they were legally married. Desiring to conceal her pregnancy from her Appeals did not contradict it, that the appellee was aware of the second abortion; and the
parent, and acting on the advice of her aunt, she had herself aborted by the probabilities are that he was likewise aware of the first. Yet despite the suspicious repetition of
defendant. After her marriage with the plaintiff, she again became pregnant. As she the event, he appeared to have taken no steps to investigate or pinpoint the causes thereof, and
was then employed in the Commission on Elections and her pregnancy proved to be secure the punishment of the responsible practitioner. Even after learning of the third abortion,
inconvenient, she had herself aborted again by the defendant in October 1953. Less the appellee does not seem to have taken interest in the administrative and criminal cases
than two years later, she again became pregnant. On February 21, 1955, accompanied against the appellant. His only concern appears to have been directed at obtaining from the
by her sister Purificacion and the latter's daughter Lucida, she again repaired to the doctor a large money payment, since he sued for P50,000.00 damages and P3,000.00 attorney's
defendant's clinic on Carriedo and P. Gomez streets in Manila, where the three met the fees, an "indemnity" claim that, under the circumstances of record, was clearly exaggerated.
defendant and his wife. Nita was again aborted, of a two-month old foetus, in The dissenting Justices of the Court of Appeals have aptly remarked that:
consideration of the sum of fifty pesos, Philippine currency. The plaintiff was at this It seems to us that the normal reaction of a husband who righteously feels outraged
time in the province of Cagayan, campaigning for his election to the provincial board; he by the abortion which his wife has deliberately sought at the hands of a physician
did not know of, nor gave his consent, to the abortion. would be highminded rather than mercenary; and that his primary concern would be to
It is the third and last abortion that constitutes plaintiff's basis in filing this action and award see to it that the medical profession was purged of an unworthy member rather than
of damages. Upon application of the defendant Geluz we granted certiorari. turn his wife's indiscretion to personal profit, and with that idea in mind to press
The Court of Appeals and the trial court predicated the award of damages in the sum of either the administrative or the criminal cases he had filed, or both, instead of
P3,000.06 upon the provisions of the initial paragraph of Article 2206 of the Civil Code of the abandoning them in favor of a civil action for damages of which not only he, but also his
Philippines. This we believe to be error, for the said article, in fixing a minimum award of wife, would be the beneficiaries.
P3,000.00 for the death of a person, does not cover the case of an unborn foetus that is not It is unquestionable that the appellant's act in provoking the abortion of appellee's wife, without
endowed with personality. Under the system of our Civil Code, "la criatura abortiva no alcanza la medical necessity to warrant it, was a criminal and morally reprehensible act, that can not be too
categoria de persona natural y en consscuencia es un ser no nacido a la vida del Derecho" (Casso- severely condemned; and the consent of the woman or that of her husband does not excuse it.
Cervera, "Diccionario de Derecho Privado", Vol. 1, p. 49), being incapable of having rights and But the immorality or illegality of the act does not justify an award of damage that, under the
obligations. circumstances on record, have no factual or legal basis.
Since an action for pecuniary damages on account of personal injury or death pertains primarily The decision appealed from is reversed, and the complaint ordered dismissed. Without costs.
to the one injured, it is easy to see that if no action for such damages could be instituted on Let a copy of this decision be furnished to the Department of Justice and the Board of Medical
behalf of the unborn child on account of the injuries it received, no such right of action could Examiners for their information and such investigation and action against the appellee Antonio
derivatively accrue to its parents or heirs. In fact, even if a cause of action did accrue on behalf Geluz as the facts may warrant.
of the unborn child, the same was extinguished by its pre-natal death, since no transmission to Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Labrador, Barrera, Paredes, Dizon and Natividad, JJ., concur.
anyone can take place from on that lacked juridical personality (or juridical capacity as Concepcion, J., took no part.
distinguished from capacity to act). It is no answer to invoke the provisional personality of a De Leon, J., took no part.
conceived child (conceptus pro nato habetur) under Article 40 of the Civil Code, because that
same article expressly limits such provisional personality by imposing the condition that the child

21
THIRD DIVISION authorities went at (sic) the scene of the robbery and thoroughly investigated the incident
[G.R. NO. 132659 : February 12, 2007] including dusting for fingerprints, tending to show that the investigation of the police authorities
CONRADO MAGBANUA and ROSEMARIE MAGBANUA-TABORADA, the latter assisted by was extensive, hence, it was quite improbable and difficult to believe that the police investigator
her husband ARTEMIO TABORADA,Petitioners, v. PILAR S. JUNSAY, asssisted by her would fail to search the bag nor the room of accused. This Court[,] therefore[,] find said
husband VICENTE JUNSAY, IBARRA LOPEZ, and JUANITO JACELA, Respondents. testimony of the complaining witness on this point discredited.5
D E C I S I O N The decretal portion of the 20 December 1985 RTC Decision pronounced:
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING THEREFORE, this Court finds the evidence for the prosecution
This is an Appeal by Certiorari from the Decision,1 dated 26 January 1998, of the Court of not only insufficient to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt but even
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 51750, which affirmed in toto the Decision,2 dated 25 July 1995, of insufficient to establish a prima facie case against her for having participated in the robbery
the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 51, Bacolod City, in Civil Case No. 4361, dismissing the subject of the above entitled case and therefore ACQUITS accused on the ground of
Complaint for Damages for malicious prosecution, filed by petitioners against respondents. The insufficiency of evidence. The bailbond of the accused for her provisional liberty is hereby
RTC rendered judgment declaring that the prosecution was not prompted by sinister design to ordered cancelled.6
vex and humiliate petitioner Rosemarie Magbanua. The Court of Appeals similarly found the On 9 March 1987, petitioner Rosemarie, assisted by Artemio Taborada, and together with co-
appeal without merit. petitioner Conrado Magbanua (Rosemarie's father) filed with the RTC, Branch 51, Bacolod City, a
The following are the antecedent facts: Complaint for Damages7 against respondent Pilar, assisted by her husband Vicente Junsay, Ibarra
Petitioner Rosemarie Magbanua, who worked as a housemaid in the residence of complainant and Lopez, and Juanito Jacela. Respondent Pilar was the employer of petitioner Rosemarie, while
herein respondent Pilar S. Junsay was charged as a co-accused with the crime of Robbery before respondents Ibarra and Juanito were members of the police force of Bacolod City, and assigned
the RTC, Branch XLI of Bacolod City in Criminal Case No. 28 entitled, People of the Philippines v. at the Police Station in Taculing, Bacolod City.
Rosemarie Magbanua, et al., by virtue of an Information, which recites, thus: The Complaint, alleged, inter alia, that by reason of respondents' false, malicious, and illegal
That on or about the 18th day of July, 1982, in the City of Bacolod, Philippines, and within the actuations in filing Criminal Case No. 28 for Robbery against petitioner Rosemarie, the latter
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the herein accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually suffered untold pain, shame, humiliation, worry, and mental anguish, which if assessed in
helping one another, with intent to gain and with the use of force upon things by then and there monetary terms will not be less than P200,000.00.8 It was further alleged therein that Conrado,
making a hole on the lower portion of the kitchen's door of the house of the herein offended Rosemarie's father, lost his job and his entire family suffered.9Petitioners maintained that
party, Dra. Pilar S. Junsay, situated at Bata Subdivision, Bacolod City, through which opening Rosemarie suffered physical pain and mental torture due to the filing of the false criminal
made (sic) them, said accused gained entrance thereto and once inside the said house, did, then charge against her.10 They sought moral and exemplary damages, including attorney's fees and
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, rob and carry away with them, assorted litigation expenses, as well as loss of earnings and expenses incurred in connection with
jewelries and cash, valued all in all in the amount of P29,624.00, Pesos, Philippine Currency, to the Rosemarie's defense in Criminal Case No. 28 for Robbery.11 They similarly prayed for payment of
damage and prejudice of the herein offended party in the aforementioned amount.3 the expenses incurred in the prosecution of the instant case.
The records show that only petitioner Rosemarie was tried in Criminal Case No. 28. Her co- Subsequently, petitioners filed a Petition to litigate as pauper which the RTC granted in its
accused, Ernesto Fernandez and a certain Gudo, remain at large. Order dated 9 March 1987, it appearing that they had no means to prosecute their action.12
The case for the prosecution relied on an alleged confession made by petitioner Rosemarie, Respondent Pilar filed a Motion to Dismiss,13 on the ground that the cause of action is barred by
admitting her participation in the crime of Robbery. The defense contested the admissibility of the Statute of Limitations, as crystallized in Article 114614 of the Civil Code. From the time the
the confession, and averred that the same was made under duress. cause of action arose to the filing of the Complaint, four years and eight months had already
On 20 December 1985, the RTC, Branch XLI of Bacolod City, rendered a Decision,4acquitting lapsed.
petitioner Rosemarie of the crime of Robbery. The RTC held: Petitioners filed an Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss,15 contending that their cause of action
The evidence for accused [herein petitioner Rosemarie] more particularly the Medical Certificate is not for damages based on the physical injuries suffered by Rosemarie during the investigation
and the testimony of the attending physician as well as the Decision of the NAPOLCOM finding of the criminal case nor the violation of her rights for the indignities foisted upon her by the
the investigating officers guilty has clearly establish (sic) the fact that accused was physically respondents from 18 July 1982, and several days thereafter.16 They posited that the damages
maltreated by the investigating officers in an attempt to force her to confess her participation sought are for the malicious prosecution of Rosemarie. They reasoned that the baseless filing of
in the robbery. Whatever declaration of accused therefore against her interest is inadmissible in the criminal case for Robbery against Rosemarie, despite her protestations of innocence and the
evidence against her, hence, the alleged admission of the accused that she participated in the lack of evidence against her, caused her family to incur expenses and subjected her to untold
commission of the Robbery made to the police investigator and complainant [complainant shame and humiliation.17 Petitioners clarified that the allegations about the violation of
respondent Pilar] even if it is true cannot be used against her. Notwithstanding however, accused Rosemarie's rights as a person were included only to demonstrate respondents' palpable malice in
could still be found guilty if the evidence for the prosecution is sufficient to establish her the filing of the said criminal case against her. Petitioners postulated that as the Complaint for
participation in the crime without said alleged admission by the accused. Record, however, shows Damages is for malicious prosecution, the prescriptive period should be counted from the date of
that other than the alleged admission of the accused made to the police investigator and the Rosemarie's acquittal in Criminal Case No. 28, or on 20 December 1985, and not from 18 July
complainant, the only evidence to establish the participation of the accused in the robbery is the 1982, the date when respondents injured the rights of Rosemarie. From the time judgment in
testimony of the complaining witness that after accused informed her that part of the jewelry Criminal Case No. 28 was rendered to the filing of the Complaint in the instant case, not more
stolen was inside her bag at her room, the complaining witness searched the room of accused and than one year and three months had passed.18
found one (1) piece of gold necklace. On this point, the evidence adduced shows that the police

22
On 24 March 1988, the RTC issued an Order19 denying respondents' Motion to Dismiss for lack This exhibit is offered to show the result of the [respondents'] confederated efforts for
of merit. It found that the cause of action of petitioners' Complaint was based on malicious Rosemarie Magbanua to be prosecuted for the crime she did not commit, including untrue
prosecution; hence, the prescriptive period shall be counted from the date of petitioner affidavits, a biased and false investigation report mentioning Rosemarie Magbanua's alleged
Rosemarie's acquittal. According to the RTC, the allegations about the wanton violation of the confession of her participation in the robbery when she never did, despite the injuries and
rights of Rosemarie as a person were to show the pattern of respondents' malice. indignities to which she was subjected, all of which made the Asst. City Fiscal Ricardo F. Tornilla
Respondent Pilar filed before the RTC an Answer,20 dated 18 May 1988, disclaiming petitioners' file the information against said plaintiff Rosemarie Magbanua.
allegation that she maltreated petitioner Rosemarie while the latter was being investigated by Exhibit "D" - The Decision rendered by Hon. Quirino D. Abad Santos, Jr., Judge, Regional Trial
the police authorities. She posited, inter alia: that she was not present during the investigation, Court of Negros Occidental, Branch XLI Bacolod City, in Criminal Case No. 28 entitled, "People of
and was subsequently informed of petitioner Rosemarie's participation in the robbery by the the Philippines v. Rosemarie Magbanua, et al." dated December 20, 1985.
investigators, the same being reflected in the Joint Affidavit of the police investigators; that Exhibit "D-1" - The portion appearing on page 4 of said decision stating that, "IN VIEW OF THE
she never laid a hand on petitioner Rosemarie before, during, or after the investigation, as, in FOREGOING THEREFORE, this Court finds the evidence for the prosecution not only
fact, she had no inkling of her participation in the crime; that she had no hand in the filing of the insufficient to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt but even insufficient to
case except to execute an affidavit regarding her ownership of the lost jewelry; and that she establish a prima facie case against her for having participated in the robbery subject of the
has no liability whatsoever to petitioner Rosemarie, much less, to her father, petitioner Conrado, above entitled case and therefore ACQUITS accused on the ground of insufficiency of evidence.
who does not appear to have any involvement in the matter. 21 By way of counterclaim, she sought The bailbond of the accused for her provisional liberty is hereby ordered cancelled."
damages, including attorney's fees, and costs of suit from the petitioners. This exhibit with its sub-marking is offered to show that the [petitioner] Rosemarie Magbanua
Petitioners filed a Reply and Answer to Counterclaim,22 reiterating the allegation in the was acquitted of the crime charged because the evidence for the prosecution was not only
Complaint, that respondent Pilar actually participated in the maltreatment of petitioner insufficient to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt but even insufficient to
Rosemarie, and she cannot deny her participation as she was always present in the police station establish a prima facie evidence against her for having participated in the robbery, thus glaringly
during the investigation. Petitioners alleged that respondent Pilar cannot claim lack of knowledge exposing the utter lack of basis for charging and/or prosecuting Rosemarie Magbanua for the
of the maltreatment and indignities suffered by petitioner Rosemarie because she herself crime of robbery which was nevertheless filed at the behest of the [respondents] who knowing
participated in such maltreatment. Petitioners further contended, inter alia, that they have a fully the bereftness of their stand even tried to concoct additional evidence of having found still
proper and valid cause of action against the respondents, including petitioner Conrado who more jewelry in [petitioner] Rosemarie Magbanua's handbag, a maneuver which was debunked by
suffered and incurred expenses to defend his daughter, Rosemarie, who was then a minor against the honorable Court in its decision.
unjust accusation, maltreatment and torture. Exhibit "E" - The decision of the National Police Commission Adjudication Board No. 11 in Adm.
On 9 September 1988, at the pre-trial, the parties entered into a stipulation of facts. Counsel Case No. 83-0888 finding the respondent PFC Ibarra Lopez and respondent Patrolman Juanito
for the petitioners manifested that they were claiming damages not for physical injuries which Jacela, two of the defendants, guilty of grave misconduct and ordering their suspension for two
petitioner Rosemarie allegedly suffered in the hands of respondents during her investigation, but (2) months without pay.
for her malicious prosecution.23 In concurrence thereto, counsel for respondents declared that Exhibit "E-1" - The bracketed dispositive portion of the decision appearing on page 3 thereof
the main issue was whether Rosemarie was maliciously prosecuted with the filing of the criminal which is as follows:
case for Robbery.24 Following the stipulations and counter-stipulation of facts, pre-trial was "IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this Board finds respondents PFC IBARRA LOPEZ AND PAT
terminated. JUANITO JACELA guilty of Misconduct and they are hereby ordered SUSPENDED FOR TWO
Meanwhile, respondents Ibarra and Juanito, members of the police force of Bacolod City, filed (2) MONTHS WITHOUT PAY WITH WARNING THAT A REPETITION OF THE SAME
an Answer and Manifestation,25 adopting the Answer filed by their co-respondent Pilar, dated 18 OFFENSE SHALL BE PENALIZED MORE SEVERELY."
May 1988, insofar as the allegations therein were applicable to them, and further adopting the This exhibit with its submarking is offered to show that the two (2) [respondents], PFC Ibarra
counterclaim interposed in the aforesaid action. Lopez and Patrolman Juanito Jacela, employed unnecessary force on the person of the
Trial, thereafter, ensued. [petitioner] Rosemarie Magbanua just to make her admit and/or confess to a crime she did not
Seeking to fortify their case, petitioners offered the following exhibits, to wit: commit, thus contributing to and even making possible the unnecessary, baseless, and malicious
Exhibit "A" - The medical certificate issued by Dr. Teodoro S. Lavasa, Medico-legal officer and prosecution of the [petitioner].26
Chief, Crime Laboratory, Bacolod Metro Police District, dated July 27, 1982. On 25 January 1991, the RTC issued an Order,27 admitting Exhibits "A" to "E," including the sub-
This exhibit is offered to show the many injuries sustained by [herein petitioner] Rosemarie markings thereon for the purposes for which they had been offered and for such purpose as may
Magbanua at the hands of the [herein respondents] in their joint effort to make her admit the serve the court a quo in the resolution of the case.28
crime in the absence of proof that she participated therein and despite her protestations of On 25 July 1995, the RTC rendered a Decision dismissing the Complaint. The RTC applied the
innocence. established rule that for a malicious prosecution suit to succeed, two indispensable elements
Exhibit "B" - The note of Dr. Teodoro S. Lavada to the jail warden. must be shown to exist, to wit: (a) malice and (b) absence of probable cause. It found that the
This exhibit is offered to show the result of the maltreatment and/or physical injuries inflicted elements were not successfully shown by petitioners. It held that the mere filing of a suit does
by the [respondents] on the person of [petitioner] Rosemarie Magbanua - hemoptysis, fever, and not render a person liable for malicious prosecution should he be unsuccessful for the law could
body pains - which made the medico-legal officer recommend hospitalization for her. not have meant to impose a penalty on the right to litigate.29
Exhibit "C" - The information filed by Fiscal Ricardo F. Tornilla, 2nd Asst. City Fiscal, Bacolod In sustaining the respondents, the RTC said that the filing of the criminal complaint against
City, dated July 20, 1982. petitioner Rosemarie was not prompted with a sinister design to vex, or humiliate her. It

23
reasoned that respondent Pilar reported the robbery which occurred on 17 July 1982 to the nothing illegal, sinister or malicious in prosecuting her on the part of [herein respondent] Dra.
Bacolod Police Station; consequently, police investigators, including respondents Ibarra and Junsay who, as a victim of the crime of robbery, reported the incident to the police authorities.
Juanito, proceeded to the residence of respondent Pilar. It ratiocinated that there was no legal In fact, the [respondent] did not suspect that the [petitioner] was one of those who committed
malice on the part of the latter as victim of the crime of robbery for bringing the same to the the crime.
attention of the police authorities. The RTC similarly did not find legal malice on the part of her On the part of the police investigators, they were only performing their duties in accordance
co-respondents, Ibarra and Juanito, as they were merely performing their duties when they with the standard procedure of their office. They came to know the victim Dra. Junsay and
conducted the investigation; and subsequently filed the case against petitioner Rosemarie and [petitioner] Rosemarie Magbanua only during the investigation. The fact was that Rosemarie
her co-accused pursuant thereto. Magbanua admitted participation in the commission of the crime. Finding that there was a prima
In denying petitioners' prayer for damages arising from malicious prosecution, the RTC ruled facie case, the City Fiscal who investigated the case filed a case for robbery in the then Court of
that: First Instance of Bacolod (now RTC).31
In the course of the investigation, Rosemarie Magbanua admitted her participation in the The Court of Appeals was also convinced that there was probable cause to believe that the
robbery together with a certain Ernesto Fernandez and a person named "Gudo." The necklace robbery was committed by petitioner Rosemarie and her co-accused. The finding of probable
given to her as her share was recovered in her shoulder bag. cause, according to the appellate court, was confirmed by the filing of the Information for
After the police authorities had completed their investigation, they filed a case for robbery with Robbery by the City Fiscal's Office after the preliminary investigation.32
the office of the City Fiscal of Bacolod City (now City Prosecutor) against Rosemarie Magbanua, The Court of Appeals disposed:
Ernesto Fernandez and a certain "Gudo." The Office of the City Fiscal after conducting a WHEREFORE, the Decision of the trial court dated July 25, 1995 is hereby AFFIRMED IN
preliminary investigation filed a case for robbery against the three suspects. After trial, as TOTO. Costs against the [herein petitioners].33
against then accused now [herein petitioner] Rosemarie Magbanua, the Court acquitted her. Hence, petitioners come to the succor of this Court via the instant Appeal by Certiorari to assail
[Herein respondent] Dra. Pilar Junsay, cannot be faulted for reporting to the police. She was the Decision of the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the Decision of the RTC, that there was no
robbed of valuables worth P29,974.00. Besides, she did not tell the police that she was robbed malicious prosecution.
by herein [petitioner] Rosemarie Magbanua. And, there is no legal malice for a victim of a crime For our resolution is the issue of whether petitioners are entitled to damages for malicious
to report the matter to the police. Furthermore, the mere filing of a suit does not render a prosecution. However, before we could resolve said issue, we should first determine whether the
person liable for malicious prosecution should he be unsuccessful for the law could not have filing of a criminal case for Robbery against petitioner Rosemarie constituted malicious
meant to impose a penalty on the right to litigate (Albenson Enterprises Corp. v. Court of prosecution.
Appeals, 217 SCRA 16). It is petitioners' submission that the prosecution of petitioner Rosemarie was founded upon
Neither can [respondents] police investigator Ibarra Lopez and Juanito Jacela be faulted for baseless accusations.34 Petitioners posit that the charges were based on false affidavits and
filing a complaint of robbery with the Office of the City Fiscal, against herein plaintiff false police reports, without which the criminal case against petitioner Rosemarie would not have
Rosemarie Magbanua, Ernesto Fernandez and a certain "Gudo." It is part of their duties to been filed.35 Petitioners further decry the maltreatment which petitioner Rosemarie allegedly
conduct an investigation of a case reported to their office. And Rosemarie Magbanua admitted to suffered from the hands of respondents. According to petitioners, Rosemarie was maltreated to
them her participation to the commission of the crime together with her co-accused Ernesto extract a confession from her, and to make her admit to a crime she did not commit. They
Fernandez and Gudo. Thus, there was probable cause of the crime of robbery against said reasoned that petitioner Rosemarie, who was then a minor, an uneducated farm girl, and a
accused. Their finding of a probable cause against the accused was shared by the City Fiscal's stranger in Bacolod City, was subjected to torture and inhumane treatment.36 Petitioners contend
Office when an Information for robbery against said accused was filed after conducting a further that respondent Pilar employed her privileged status in the society as a medical doctor;
preliminary investigation. and her co-respondents Ibarra and Juanito utilized their positions as members of the Bacolod
[Respondents] police investigators Ibarra Lopez and Juanito Jacela do not know [respondent] City Police to secure an admission from petitioner Rosemarie.37
Dra.Pilar Junsay nor [petitioner] Rosemarie Magbanua, prior to July 18, 1982, when the crime was In this jurisdiction, the term "malicious prosecution" has been defined as "an action for damages
reported by the former to their office. And, the criminal complaint filed by them was not only brought by one against whom a criminal prosecution, civil suit, or other legal proceeding has been
against Rosemarie Magbanua, but also against Ernesto Fernandez and a certain "Gudo." Hence, it instituted maliciously and without probable cause, after the termination of such prosecution,
cannot be said that they were prompted by a sinister design to vex, and humiliate [petitioner] suit, or other proceeding in favor of the defendant therein."38 While generally associated with
Rosemarie Magbanua.30 unfounded criminal actions, the term has been expanded to include unfounded civil suits
Petitioners filed a Notice of Appeal on the 25 July 1995 Decision of the RTC. Thus, the records instituted just to vex and humiliate the defendant despite the absence of a cause of action or
of the case were subsequently forwarded to the Court of Appeals. probable cause.39
The Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC in toto. This Court, in Drilon v. Court of Appeals,40 elucidated, viz:
The appellate court declared that the design to vex and humiliate petitioner Rosemarie in the The term malicious prosecution has been defined in various ways. In American jurisdiction, it is
prosecution of Criminal Case No. 28 was wanting. It held that respondent Pilar as complaining defined as:
witness merely reported the matter to the police authorities; while respondents Ibarra and "One begun in malice without probable cause to believe the charges can be sustained (Eustace v.
Juanito were merely performing their duties as investigating police officers. Thus: Dechter, 28 Cal. App. 2d. 706, 83 P. 2d. 525). Instituted with intention of injuring defendant and
In the present case, there was no proof that the prosecution was prompted by a design to vex without probable cause, and which terminates in favor of the person prosecuted. For this injury
and humiliate the [herein petitioner] Rosemarie Magbanua. The crime of robbery was actually an action on the case lies, called the action of malicious prosecution (Hicks v. Brantley, 29 S.E.
committed and [petitioner] Rosemarie Magbanua admitted her participation therein. There was 459, 102 Ga. 264; Eggett v. Allen, 96 N.W. 803, 119 Wis. 625)."

24
In Philippine jurisdiction, it has been defined as: against petitioner Rosemarie and her co-accused Ernesto Fernandez and a certain Gudo. The
"An action for damages brought by one against whom a criminal prosecution, civil suit, or other inadmissibility of the aforesaid admission on the ground that the same was extracted under
legal proceeding has been instituted maliciously and without probable cause, after the duress was an evidentiary matter, which does not detract from the fact that based on petitioner
termination of such prosecution, suit, or other proceeding in favor of the defendant therein. The Rosemarie's admission, there was reason for the respondents to believe that the suit was not
gist of the action is the putting of legal process in force, regularly, for the mere purpose of unfounded, and that the crime was committed.
vexation or injury (Cabasaan v. Anota, 14169-R, November 19, 1956)." Finally, in an action to recover damages based on malicious prosecution, it must be established
The statutory basis for a civil action for damages for malicious prosecution are found in the that the prosecution was impelled by legal malice. There is necessity of proof that the suit was
provisions of the New Civil Code on Human Relations and on damages particularly Articles 19, 20, so patently malicious as to warrant the award of damages under Articles 19 to 21,48 of the Civil
21, 26, 29, 32, 33, 35, 2217 and 2219 (8). To constitute malicious prosecution, however, there Code, or that the suit was grounded on malice or bad faith. 49Moreover, it is a doctrine well-
must be proof that the prosecution was prompted by a sinister design to vex and humiliate a entrenched in jurisprudence that the mere act of submitting a case to the authorities for
person, and that it was initiated deliberately by the defendant knowing that his charges were prosecution does not make one liable for malicious prosecution, for the law would not have meant
false and groundless. Concededly, the mere act of submitting a case to the authorities for to impose a penalty on the right to litigate.50 ςηαñrοblεš νιr†υαl lαω lιbrαrÿ
prosecution does not make one liable for malicious prosecution. Applying the rule to the case at bar, we affirm the findings of the RTC and the Court of Appeals
This Court has drawn the four elements that must be shown to concur to recover damages for that there was no proof of a sinister design on the part of the respondents to vex or humiliate
malicious prosecution. Therefore, for a malicious prosecution suit to prosper, the plaintiff must petitioner Rosemarie by instituting the criminal case against her and her co-accused. Respondent
prove the following: (1) the prosecution did occur, and the defendant was himself the prosecutor Pilar who was robbed of her valuable belongings can only be expected to bring the matter to the
or that he instigated its commencement; (2) the criminal action finally ended with an acquittal; authorities. There can be no evil motive that should be attributed to one, who, as victim of a
(3) in bringing the action, the prosecutor acted without probable cause; and (4) the prosecution crime institutes the necessary legal proceedings. At the risk of redundancy, we stress that the
was impelled by legal malice - - an improper or a sinister motive.41 The gravamen of malicious proscription against the imposition of penalty on the right to litigate must not be violated. Mere
prosecution is not the filing of a complaint based on the wrong provision of law, but the filing of a suit does not render a person liable for malicious prosecution should he be
deliberate initiation of an action with the knowledge that the charges were false and unsuccessful, for the law could not have meant to impose a penalty on the right to
groundless.42 litigate.51 There was no other explanation or motive as to why respondents would institute
We shall proceed to determine whether in the prosecution of petitioner Rosemarie for the crime baseless prosecution of petitioner Rosemarie. No evidence was shown that there was bad blood
of Robbery, all four elements were in attendance. between respondent Pilar and petitioner Rosemarie prior to the supposed robbery.
It is not disputed that the first and second elements are present. We also do not find the actuations of respondents Ibarra and Juanito to be impelled by legal
The prosecution of petitioner Rosemarie for the crime of robbery did occur, and respondents malice. Their commencement of the action against petitioner Rosemarie and her co-accused was
Pilar, Ibarra and Juanito instigated its commencement. On 20 December 1985, the RTC, Branch pursuant to their duties as police officers. The same was made subsequent to the report of
XLI, Bacolod City, rendered a Decision acquitting Rosemarie Magbanua on the ground of respondent Pilar of the commission of the crime, and the investigation on the person of
insufficiency of evidence. petitioner Rosemarie. Even then, mistakes committed by a public officer are not actionable
On the question of probable cause, this Court has ruled that for purposes of malicious absent any clear showing that they were motivated by malice or gross negligence amounting to
prosecution, "probable cause" means "such facts and circumstances as would excite the belief, in bad faith,52 which was not established in the case at bar.
a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within the knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person Moreover, as was clear from the outset, the instant case is a suit seeking damages for malicious
charged was guilty of the crime for which he was prosecuted."43 It is merely based on opinion and prosecution, and not for the violations and maltreatment that respondents allegedly committed
reasonable belief.44 Thus, a finding of probable cause does not require an inquiry into whether against petitioner Rosemarie in extracting the admission from her. At any rate, the RTC had
there is sufficient evidence to procure a conviction.45 ruled that the instant case is not an action on the injuries allegedly suffered by petitioner
Anent the question of whether the prosecutor acted without probable cause in bringing the Rosemarie, but rather for malicious prosecution. Otherwise, an action seeking damages for her
action against petitioner Rosemarie, we find no reason to depart from the conclusions reached by injuries should have been deemed prescribed.53
the RTC and the Court of Appeals. The filing of Criminal Case No. 28 for Robbery was not WHEREFORE, the Appeal is DENIED. The Decision, dated 26 January 1998, of the Court of
without probable cause. Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 51750, which affirmed in toto the Decision, dated 25 July 1995, of the
Indeed, during the investigation petitioner Rosemarie admitted her participation in the RTC, Branch 51, Bacolod City, in Civil Case No. 4361, is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
commission of the incident complained of. The investigation report, which prompted the filing of SO ORDERED.
the Information for Robbery against petitioner Rosemarie showed that she admitted to receiving
instruction from her co-accused Ernesto Fernandez and a certain Gudo to leave the barrel belt
of the kitchen door unlocked,46 so her co-accused can gain entry to the house of respondent
Pilar.ςηαñrοblεš νιr†υαl lαω lιbrαrÿ
Moreover, she admitted that after her co-accused had taken the pieces of jewelry owned by
respondent Pilar, they gave her a necklace which she kept in a shoulder bag. During the
investigation, she was shown the said necklace, and she positively identified the same to be the
necklace her co-accused had given her.47 On the basis of the said admission, the Office of the
Prosecutor found basis and probable cause to file the appropriate Information with the RTC

25
G.R. No. L-51832 April 26, 1989 Private respondent filed a rejoinder (reply) and a manifestation stating that petitioner was duly
RAFAEL PATRICIO, petitioner, served with a copy of said motion for reconsideration by ordinary mail, attaching thereto the
vs. affidavit of Godofredo Almazol who stated that he mailed the envelope to counsel for herein
THE HONORABLE OSCAR LEVISTE, JUDGE, CFI CAPIZ, BRANCH II and BIENVENIDO petitioner. 11 The court a quo then scheduled the motion for oral argument and the parties were
BACALOCOS, respondents. allowed to extensively argue their respective causes.
Stephen C. Arceño for petitioner. On 3 August 1979, an order 12 of dismissal of the petitioner's complaint was issued by the trial
Isagani V. Roblete for private respondent. court, thus —
ORDER
PADILLA, J.: This is a motion for reconsideration of the decision of this Court dated April
Petition for review on certiorari of the Order 1 of the Court of First Instance of Capiz, Branch 18, 1978, filed by counsel for defendant on May 18, 1978.
II, on the motion for reconsideration flied by private respondent Bienvenido Bacalocos, In view of the recent trend in the Supreme Court to liberally construe the
dismissing the complaint for damages against the latter, docketed as Civil Case No. V-3937. Rules, and in view of Section 2, Rule 1, the Court resolves to give due course
Petitioner Rafael Patricio, an ordained Catholic priest, and actively engaged in social and civic to the motion.
affairs in Pilar, Capiz, where he is residing, was appointed Director General of the 1976 Religious Upon review of the facts of the case, it appears and the Court finds merit in
and Municipal Town Fiesta of Pilar, Capiz. the motion for reconsideration, particularly noting that there is indeed no
On 16 May 1976 at about 10:00 o'clock in the evening, while a benefit dance was on-going in showing of compensatory damages being proved.
connection with the celebration of the town fiesta, petitioner together with two (2) policemen WHEREFORE, tills Court reconsiders its decision to conform to the facts
were posted near the gate of the public auditorium to check on the assigned watchers of the and the law, namely, that moral and exemplary damages, in order to merit,
gate. Private respondent Bienvenido Bacalocos, President of the Association of Barangay Captains the plaintiff ought to have proven actual or compensatory damages.
of Pilar, Capiz and a member of the Sangguniang Bayan, who was in a state of drunkenness and WHEREFORE, this case is ordered dismissed.
standing near the same gate together with his companions, struck a bottle of beer on the table SO ORDERED.
causing an injury on his hand which started to bleed. Then, he approached petitioner in a hostile Not satisfied with said order, petitioner filed the petition at bar contending that no copy of the
manner and asked the latter if he had seen his wounded hand, and before petitioner could Motion for consideration was served upon petitioner and no proof of service as well as notice of
respond, private respondent, without provocation, hit petitioner's face with his bloodied hand. As hearing were attached to said motion when filed with the court a quo; thus, the motion for
a consequence, a commotion ensued and private respondent was brought by the policemen to the reconsideration did not interrupt the running of the period to appeal. The alleged mailing of a
municipal building. 2 copy of said motion by ordinary mail did not, according to petitioner, cure the defect. Petitioner
As a result of the incident, a criminal complaint for "Slander by Deed was flied by petitioner with further argues that respondent's admission that he slapped herein petitioner in public causing
the Municipal Trial Court of Pilar, Capiz, docketed as Criminal Case No. 2228, but the same was him physical suffering and social humiliation, entitles the latter to moral damages. Actual and
dismissed. 3 Subsequently, a complaint for damages was filed by petitioner with the court a quo. compensatory damages need not be proven before an award of moral damages can be granted, so
In a decision 4 dated 18 April 1978, the court ruled in favor of herein petitioner (as complainant), petitioner contends.
holding private respondent liable to the former for moral damages as a result of the physical On the other hand, private respondent claims that the order of the court a quo apprising
suffering, moral shock and social humiliation caused by private respondent's act of hitting petitioner of the motion for reconsideration filed by private respondent and requiring the
petitioner on the face in public. The dispositive part of the decision reads as follows: former to file a reply (opposition) thereto, had cured the defect of lack of proof of service and
WHEREFORE, the Court orders defendant to pay plaintiff the damages as notice of hearing of said motion for reconsideration; and that the award of moral damages to
follows: petitioner is without basis for lack of proof of bad faith on the part of private respondent.
a) Moral damages of P10,000.00 With respect to the alleged lack of service on petitioner of a copy of the motion and notice of
b) Exemplary damages, P1,000.00 and hearing and failure to attach to the motion proof of service thereof, the general rule is that
c) Attorney's fees, P2,000.00. notice of motion is required where a party has a right to resist the relief sought by the motion
SO ORDERED. 5 and principles of natural justice demand that his rights be not affected without an opportunity
On 9 June 1978, petitioner filed a motion for execution of judgment, alleging that the 18 April to be heard. 13
1978 decision had become final and executory after the lapse of thirty (30) days from receipt In the case at bar, a copy of the motion for reconsideration was served upon petitioner, although
thereof by private respondent, without any motion for reconsideration or appeal having been service was effected through ordinary mail and not by registered mail as reqired by the rules.
filed. 6 However, said motion was denied by the court a quo on the ground that there was a But, petitioner was duly given the full opportunity to be heard and to argue his case when the
pending motion for reconsideration filed by private respondent. 7 Subsequently, private court a quo required him to file a reply (opposition) to the motion for reconsideration and
respondent filed a supplemental motion for reconsideration 8 and the court ordered petitioner to subsequently set the motion for oral argument.
file a reply (opposition) thereto. 9 In compliance, petitioner flied a reply (opposition) to the What the law really eschews is not the lack of previous notice of hearing but the lack of
motion for reconsideration, alleging that the filing of said motion and supplement thereto was opportunity to be heard. It has been held that parties should not rely on mere technicalities
without notice to the adverse party and proof of service, hence, the decision sought to be which, in the interest of justice, may be relaxed. 14The rifles of procedure should be viewed as
reconsidered had already become final and unappealable. 10 mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. Their strict and rigid application,
which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial

26
justice, must be avoided. 15 Moreover, the case should, as much as possible, be decided on the xxx xxx xxx 18
merits and not merely on technicalities. In addition to the award of moral damages, exemplary or corrective damages may be imposed
As to the petitioner's claim for moral damages, we find the same to be meritorious. There is no upon herein private respondent by way of example or correction for the public
question that moral damages may be recovered in cases where a defendant's wrongful act or good. 19 Exemplary damages are required by public policy to suppress the wanton acts of the
omission has caused the complainant physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, offender. They are an antidote so that the poison of wickedness may not run through the body
besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation and similar injury. 16 An politic. 20 The amount of exemplary damages need not be proved where it is shown that plaintiff
award of moral damages is allowed in cases specified or analogous to those provided in Article is entitled to either moral, temperate or compensatory damages, as the case may be, 21 although
2219 of the Civil Code, to wit: such award cannot be recovered as a matter of right. 22
ART. 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous In cases where exemplary damages are awarded to the injured party, attorney's fees are also
cases recoverable. 23
(1) A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries; WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The order appealed from, dated 3 August 1979, is
(2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries; REVERSED and the decision of the court a quo dated 18 April 1978 is hereby REINSTATED.
(3) Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts. With costs against private respondent.
(4) Adultery or concubinage; SO ORDERED.
(5) Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest; Melencio-Herrera (Chairperson), Paras, Sarmiento and Regalado, JJ., concur.
(6) Illegal search;
(7) Libel, slander or any other form of defamation;
(8) Malicious prosecution;
(9) Acts mentioned in article 309;
(10) Acts and actions referred to in articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34,
and 35.
xxx xxx xxx
Private respondent's contention that there was no bad faith on his part in slapping petitioner on
the face and that the incident was merely accidental is not tenable. It was established before
the court a quo that there was an existing feud between the families of both petitioner and
private respondent and that private respondent slapped the petitioner without provocation in the
presence of several persons.
The act of private respondent in hitting petitioner on the face is contrary to morals and good
customs and caused the petitioner mental anguish, moral shock, wounded feelings and social
humiliation. Private respondent has to take full responsibility for his act and his claim that he
was unaware of what he had done to petitioner because of drunkenness is definitely no excuse
and does not relieve him of his liability to the latter.
Pursuant to Art. 21 of the Civil Code in relation to par. (10) of Art. 2219 of the same Code, "any
person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good
customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage."
The fact that no actual or compensatory damage was proven before the trial court, does not
adversely affect petitioner's right to recover moral damages. Moral damages may be awarded in
appropriate cases referred to in the chapter on human relations of the Civil Code (Articles 19 to
36), without need of proof that the wrongful act complained of had caused any physical injury
upon the complainant. 17 It is clear from the report of the Code Commission that the reason
underlying an award of damages under Art. 21 of the Civil Code is to compensate the injured
party for the moral injury caused upon his person, thus —
... . Fully sensible that there are countless gaps in the statutes, which leave
so many victims of moral wrongs helpless, even though they have actually
suffered material and moral injury, the Commission has deemed it necessary,
in the interest of justice, to incorporate in the proposed Civil Code the
following rule:
ART. 23. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner
that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate
the latter for the damage.

27
G.R. No. L-27155 May 18, 1978 the rate of P2.80 per picul, or for a total of P2,800.00, which was already in
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, petitioner, excess of her obligation guaranteed by plaintiff's bond, Exh. A. This lease
vs. agreement, according to her, was with the knowledge of the bank. But the
THE COURT OF APPEALS, RITA GUECO TAPNIO, CECILIO GUECO and THE PHILIPPINE Bank has placed obstacles to the consummation of the lease, and the delay
AMERICAN GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., respondents. caused by said obstacles forced 'Nazon to rescind the lease contract. Thus,
Medina, Locsin, Coruña, & Sumbillo for petitioner. Rita Gueco Tapnio filed her third-party complaint against the Bank to
Manuel Lim & Associates for private respondents. recover from the latter any and all sums of money which may be adjudged
against her and in favor of the plaitiff plus moral damages, attorney's fees
ANTONIO, J.: and costs.
Certiorari to review the decision of the Court of Appeals which affirmed the judgment of the Insofar as the contentions of the parties herein are concerned, we quote
Court of First Instance of Manila in Civil Case No. 34185, ordering petitioner, as third-party with approval the following findings of the lower court based on the evidence
defendant, to pay respondent Rita Gueco Tapnio, as third-party plaintiff, the sum of P2,379.71, presented at the trial of the case:
plus 12% interest per annum from September 19, 1957 until the same is fully paid, P200.00 It has been established during the trial that Mrs.
attorney's fees and costs, the same amounts which Rita Gueco Tapnio was ordered to pay the Tapnio had an export sugar quota of 1,000 piculs for the
Philippine American General Insurance Co., Inc., to be paid directly to the Philippine American agricultural year 1956-1957 which she did not need. She
General Insurance Co., Inc. in full satisfaction of the judgment rendered against Rita Gueco agreed to allow Mr. Jacobo C. Tuazon to use said quota
Tapnio in favor of the former; plus P500.00 attorney's fees for Rita Gueco Tapnio and costs. The for the consideration of P2,500.00 (Exh. "4"-Gueco).
basic action is the complaint filed by Philamgen (Philippine American General Insurance Co., Inc.) This agreement was called a contract of lease of sugar
as surety against Rita Gueco Tapnio and Cecilio Gueco, for the recovery of the sum of P2,379.71 allotment.
paid by Philamgen to the Philippine National Bank on behalf of respondents Tapnio and Gueco, At the time of the agreement, Mrs. Tapnio was indebted
pursuant to an indemnity agreement. Petitioner Bank was made third-party defendant by Tapnio to the Philippine National Bank at San Fernando,
and Gueco on the theory that their failure to pay the debt was due to the fault or negligence of Pampanga. Her indebtedness was known as a crop loan
petitioner. and was secured by a mortgage on her standing crop
The facts as found by the respondent Court of Appeals, in affirming the decision of the Court of including her sugar quota allocation for the agricultural
First Instance of Manila, are quoted hereunder: year corresponding to said standing crop. This
Plaintiff executed its Bond, Exh. A, with defendant Rita Gueco Tapnio as arrangement was necessary in order that when Mrs.
principal, in favor of the Philippine National Bank Branch at San Fernando, Tapnio harvests, the P.N.B., having a lien on the crop,
Pampanga, to guarantee the payment of defendant Rita Gueco Tapnio's may effectively enforce collection against her. Her
account with said Bank. In turn, to guarantee the payment of whatever sugar cannot be exported without sugar quota allotment
amount the bonding company would pay to the Philippine National Bank, both Sometimes, however, a planter harvest less sugar than
defendants executed the indemnity agreement, Exh. B. Under the terms and her quota, so her excess quota is utilized by another
conditions of this indemnity agreement, whatever amount the plaintiff would who pays her for its use. This is the arrangement
pay would earn interest at the rate of 12% per annum, plus attorney's fees entered into between Mrs. Tapnio and Mr. Tuazon
in the amount of 15 % of the whole amount due in case of court litigation. regarding the former's excess quota for 1956-1957
The original amount of the bond was for P4,000.00; but the amount was later (Exh. "4"-Gueco).
reduced to P2,000.00. Since the quota was mortgaged to the P.N.B., the
It is not disputed that defendant Rita Gueco Tapnio was indebted to the contract of lease had to be approved by said Bank, The
bank in the sum of P2,000.00, plus accumulated interests unpaid, which she same was submitted to the branch manager at San
failed to pay despite demands. The Bank wrote a letter of demand to Fernando, Pampanga. The latter required the parties to
plaintiff, as per Exh. C; whereupon, plaintiff paid the bank on September 18, raise the consideration of P2.80 per picul or a total of
1957, the full amount due and owing in the sum of P2,379.91, for and on P2,800.00 (Exh. "2-Gueco") informing them that "the
account of defendant Rita Gueco's obligation (Exhs. D and D-1). minimum lease rental acceptable to the Bank, is P2.80
Plaintiff, in turn, made several demands, both verbal and written, upon per picul." In a letter addressed to the branch manager
defendants (Exhs. E and F), but to no avail. on August 10, 1956, Mr. Tuazon informed the manager
Defendant Rita Gueco Tapnio admitted all the foregoing facts. She claims, that he was agreeable to raising the consideration to
however, when demand was made upon her by plaintiff for her to pay her P2.80 per picul. He further informed the manager that
debt to the Bank, that she told the Plaintiff that she did not consider he was ready to pay said amount as the funds were in
herself to be indebted to the Bank at all because she had an agreement with his folder which was kept in the bank.
one Jacobo-Nazon whereby she had leased to the latter her unused export Explaining the meaning of Tuazon's statement as to the
sugar quota for the 1956-1957 agricultural year, consisting of 1,000 piculs at funds, it was stated by him that he had an approved loan

28
from the bank but he had not yet utilized it as he was means to pay her obligation fact that she has been granted several value of
intending to use it to pay for the quota. Hence, when he almost P80,000.00 for the agricultural years from 1952 to 56. 1
said the amount needed to pay Mrs. Tapnio was in his Its motion for the reconsideration of the decision of the Court of Appeals having been denied,
folder which was in the bank, he meant and the manager petitioner filed the present petition.
understood and knew he had an approved loan available The petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred:
to be used in payment of the quota. In said Exh. "6- (1) In finding that the rescission of the lease contract of the 1,000 piculs of sugar quota
Gueco", Tuazon also informed the manager that he allocation of respondent Rita Gueco Tapnio by Jacobo C. Tuazon was due to the unjustified
would want for a notice from the manager as to the time refusal of petitioner to approve said lease contract, and its unreasonable insistence on the rental
when the bank needed the money so that Tuazon could price of P3.00 instead of P2.80 per picul; and
sign the corresponding promissory note. (2) In not holding that based on the statistics of sugar price and prices of sugar quota in the
Further Consideration of the evidence discloses that when the branch possession of the petitioner, the latter's Board of Directors correctly fixed the rental of price
manager of the Philippine National Bank at San Fernando recommended the per picul of 1,000 piculs of sugar quota leased by respondent Rita Gueco Tapnio to Jacobo C.
approval of the contract of lease at the price of P2.80 per picul (Exh. 1 1- Tuazon at P3.00 per picul.
Bank), whose recommendation was concurred in by the Vice-president of said Petitioner argued that as an assignee of the sugar quota of Tapnio, it has the right, both under
Bank, J. V. Buenaventura, the board of directors required that the amount its own Charter and under the Corporation Law, to safeguard and protect its rights and interests
be raised to 13.00 per picul. This act of the board of directors was under the deed of assignment, which include the right to approve or disapprove the said lease of
communicated to Tuazon, who in turn asked for a reconsideration thereof. sugar quota and in the exercise of that authority, its
On November 19, 1956, the branch manager submitted Tuazon's request for Board of Directors necessarily had authority to determine and fix the rental price per picul of
reconsideration to the board of directors with another recommendation for the sugar quota subject of the lease between private respondents and Jacobo C. Tuazon. It
the approval of the lease at P2.80 per picul, but the board returned the argued further that both under its Charter and the Corporation Law, petitioner, acting thru its
recommendation unacted upon, considering that the current price prevailing Board of Directors, has the perfect right to adopt a policy with respect to fixing of rental prices
at the time was P3.00 per picul (Exh. 9-Bank). of export sugar quota allocations, and in fixing the rentals at P3.00 per picul, it did not act
The parties were notified of the refusal on the part of the board of arbitrarily since the said Board was guided by statistics of sugar price and prices of sugar quotas
directors of the Bank to grant the motion for reconsideration. The matter prevailing at the time. Since the fixing of the rental of the sugar quota is a function lodged with
stood as it was until February 22, 1957, when Tuazon wrote a letter (Exh. petitioner's Board of Directors and is a matter of policy, the respondent Court of Appeals could
10-Bank informing the Bank that he was no longer interested to continue the not substitute its own judgment for that of said Board of Directors, which acted in good faith,
deal, referring to the lease of sugar quota allotment in favor of defendant making as its basis therefore the prevailing market price as shown by statistics which were then
Rita Gueco Tapnio. The result is that the latter lost the sum of P2,800.00 in their possession.
which she should have received from Tuazon and which she could have paid Finally, petitioner emphasized that under the appealed judgment, it shall suffer a great injustice
the Bank to cancel off her indebtedness, because as a creditor, it shall be deprived of a just claim against its debtor (respondent Rita
The court below held, and in this holding we concur that failure of the Gueco Tapnio) as it would be required to return to respondent Philamgen the sum of P2,379.71,
negotiation for the lease of the sugar quota allocation of Rita Gueco Tapnio plus interest, which amount had been previously paid to petitioner by said insurance company in
to Tuazon was due to the fault of the directors of the Philippine National behalf of the principal debtor, herein respondent Rita Gueco Tapnio, and without recourse
Bank, The refusal on the part of the bank to approve the lease at the rate against respondent Rita Gueco Tapnio.
of P2.80 per picul which, as stated above, would have enabled Rita Gueco We must advert to the rule that this Court's appellate jurisdiction in proceedings of this nature
Tapnio to realize the amount of P2,800.00 which was more than sufficient to is limited to reviewing only errors of law, accepting as conclusive the factual fin dings of the
pay off her indebtedness to the Bank, and its insistence on the rental price Court of Appeals upon its own assessment of the evidence. 2
of P3.00 per picul thus unnecessarily increasing the value by only a The contract of lease of sugar quota allotment at P2.50 per picul between Rita Gueco Tapnio and
difference of P200.00. inevitably brought about the rescission of the lease Jacobo C. Tuazon was executed on April 17, 1956. This contract was submitted to the Branch
contract to the damage and prejudice of Rita Gueco Tapnio in the aforesaid Manager of the Philippine National Bank at San Fernando, Pampanga. This arrangement was
sum of P2,800.00. The unreasonableness of the position adopted by the necessary because Tapnio's indebtedness to petitioner was secured by a mortgage on her
board of directors of the Philippine National Bank in refusing to approve the standing crop including her sugar quota allocation for the agricultural year corresponding to said
lease at the rate of P2.80 per picul and insisting on the rate of P3.00 per standing crop. The latter required the parties to raise the consideration to P2.80 per picul, the
picul, if only to increase the retail value by only P200.00 is shown by the fact minimum lease rental acceptable to the Bank, or a total of P2,800.00. Tuazon informed the
that all the accounts of Rita Gueco Tapnio with the Bank were secured by Branch Manager, thru a letter dated August 10, 1956, that he was agreeable to raising the
chattel mortgage on standing crops, assignment of leasehold rights and consideration to P2.80 per picul. He further informed the manager that he was ready to pay the
interests on her properties, and surety bonds, aside from the fact that from said sum of P2,800.00 as the funds were in his folder which was kept in the said Bank. This
Exh. 8-Bank, it appears that she was offering to execute a real estate referred to the approved loan of Tuazon from the Bank which he intended to use in paying for
mortgage in favor of the Bank to replace the surety bond This statement is the use of the sugar quota. The Branch Manager submitted the contract of lease of sugar quota
further bolstered by the fact that Rita Gueco Tapnio apparently had the allocation to the Head Office on September 7, 1956, with a recommendation for approval, which

29
recommendation was concurred in by the Vice-President of the Bank, Mr. J. V. Buenaventura. would be unable to utilize the sugar quota in question. In failing to observe the reasonable degree
This notwithstanding, the Board of Directors of petitioner required that the consideration be of care and vigilance which the surrounding circumstances reasonably impose, petitioner is
raised to P3.00 per picul. consequently liable for the damages caused on private respondents. Under Article 21 of the New
Tuazon, after being informed of the action of the Board of Directors, asked for a Civil Code, "any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary
reconsideration thereof. On November 19, 1956, the Branch Manager submitted the request for to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage." The afore-
reconsideration and again recommended the approval of the lease at P2.80 per picul, but the cited provisions on human relations were intended to expand the concept of torts in this
Board returned the recommendation unacted, stating that the current price prevailing at that jurisdiction by granting adequate legal remedy for the untold number of moral wrongs which is
time was P3.00 per picul. impossible for human foresight to specifically provide in the statutes. 5
On February 22, 1957, Tuazon wrote a letter, informing the Bank that he was no longer A corporation is civilly liable in the same manner as natural persons for torts, because "generally
interested in continuing the lease of sugar quota allotment. The crop year 1956-1957 ended and speaking, the rules governing the liability of a principal or master for a tort committed by an
Mrs. Tapnio failed to utilize her sugar quota, resulting in her loss in the sum of P2,800.00 which agent or servant are the same whether the principal or master be a natural person or a
she should have received had the lease in favor of Tuazon been implemented. corporation, and whether the servant or agent be a natural or artificial person. All of the
It has been clearly shown that when the Branch Manager of petitioner required the parties to authorities agree that a principal or master is liable for every tort which he expressly directs or
raise the consideration of the lease from P2.50 to P2.80 per picul, or a total of P2,800-00, they authorizes, and this is just as true of a corporation as of a natural person, A corporation is liable,
readily agreed. Hence, in his letter to the Branch Manager of the Bank on August 10, 1956, therefore, whenever a tortious act is committed by an officer or agent under express direction
Tuazon informed him that the minimum lease rental of P2.80 per picul was acceptable to him and or authority from the stockholders or members acting as a body, or, generally, from the
that he even offered to use the loan secured by him from petitioner to pay in full the sum of directors as the governing body." 6
P2,800.00 which was the total consideration of the lease. This arrangement was not only WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby
satisfactory to the Branch Manager but it was also approves by Vice-President J. V. AFFIRMED.
Buenaventura of the PNB. Under that arrangement, Rita Gueco Tapnio could have realized the Fernando, Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., and Santos, JJ., concur.
amount of P2,800.00, which was more than enough to pay the balance of her indebtedness to the
Bank which was secured by the bond of Philamgen.
There is no question that Tapnio's failure to utilize her sugar quota for the crop year 1956-1957
was due to the disapproval of the lease by the Board of Directors of petitioner. The issue,
therefore, is whether or not petitioner is liable for the damage caused.
As observed by the trial court, time is of the essence in the approval of the lease of sugar quota
allotments, since the same must be utilized during the milling season, because any allotment which
is not filled during such milling season may be reallocated by the Sugar Quota Administration to
other holders of allotments. 3 There was no proof that there was any other person at that time
willing to lease the sugar quota allotment of private respondents for a price higher than P2.80
per picul. "The fact that there were isolated transactions wherein the consideration for the
lease was P3.00 a picul", according to the trial court, "does not necessarily mean that there are
always ready takers of said price. " The unreasonableness of the position adopted by the
petitioner's Board of Directors is shown by the fact that the difference between the amount of
P2.80 per picul offered by Tuazon and the P3.00 per picul demanded by the Board amounted only
to a total sum of P200.00. Considering that all the accounts of Rita Gueco Tapnio with the Bank
were secured by chattel mortgage on standing crops, assignment of leasehold rights and
interests on her properties, and surety bonds and that she had apparently "the means to pay her
obligation to the Bank, as shown by the fact that she has been granted several sugar crop loans
of the total value of almost P80,000.00 for the agricultural years from 1952 to 1956", there was
no reasonable basis for the Board of Directors of petitioner to have rejected the lease
agreement because of a measly sum of P200.00.
While petitioner had the ultimate authority of approving or disapproving the proposed lease since
the quota was mortgaged to the Bank, the latter certainly cannot escape its responsibility of
observing, for the protection of the interest of private respondents, that degree of care,
precaution and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand in approving or disapproving the
lease of said sugar quota. The law makes it imperative that every person "must in the exercise of
his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and
observe honesty and good faith, 4 This petitioner failed to do. Certainly, it knew that the
agricultural year was about to expire, that by its disapproval of the lease private respondents

30
G.R. No. 82380 April 29, 1988 The fourth fictitious character is Ben Balano, a middle-aged editor of a
AYER PRODUCTIONS PTY. LTD. and McELROY & McELROY FILM Manila newspaper who despises the Marcos regime and is a supporter an
PRODUCTIONS, petitioners, promoter of Cory Aquino. Ben has two daughters, Cehea left wing lawyer who
vs. is a secret member of the New People's Army, and Eva--a -P.R. girl,
HON.IGNACIO M. CAPULONG and JUAN PONCE ENRILE, respondents. politically moderate and very much in love with Tony. Ultimately, she must
G.R. No. 82398 April 29, 1988 choose between her love and the revolution.
HAL MCELROY petitioner, Through the interviews and experiences of these central characters, we
vs. show the complex nature of Filipino society, and thintertwining series of
HON. IGNACIO M. CAPULONG, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial events and characters that triggered these remarkable changes. Through
Court of Makati, Branch 134 and JUAN PONCE ENRILE, respondents. them also, we meet all of the principal characters and experience directly
dramatic recreation of the revolution. The story incorporates actual
FELICIANO, J.: documentary footage filmed during the period which we hope will capture
Petitioner Hal McElroy an Australian film maker, and his movie production company, Petitioner the unique atmosphere and forces that combined to overthrow President
Ayer Productions pty Ltd. (Ayer Productions), 1 envisioned, sometime in 1987, the for commercial Marcos.
viewing and for Philippine and international release, the histolic peaceful struggle of the Filipinos David Williamson is Australia's leading playwright with some 14 hugely
at EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue). Petitioners discussed this Project with local movie successful plays to his credit(Don's Party,' 'The Club,' Travelling North) and
producer Lope V. Juban who suggested th they consult with the appropriate government agencies 11 feature films (The Year of Living Dangerously,' Gallipoli,' 'Phar Lap').
and also with General Fidel V. Ramos and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who had played major roles Professor McCoy (University of New South Wales) is an American historian
in the events proposed to be filmed. with a deep understanding of the Philippines, who has worked on the
The proposed motion picture entitled "The Four Day Revolution" was endorsed by the Movie research for this project for some 18 months. Together with Davi
Television Review and Classification Board as wel as the other government agencies consulted. Wilhamgon they have developed a script we believe accurately depicts the
General Fidel Ramos also signified his approval of the intended film production. complex issues and events that occurred during th period .
In a letter dated 16 December 1987, petitioner Hal McElroy informed private respondent Juan The six hour series is a McElroy and McElroy co-production with Home Box
Ponce Enrile about the projected motion picture enclosing a synopsis of it, the full text of which Office in American, the Australian Broadcast Corporation in Australia and
is set out below: Zenith Productions in the United Kingdom
The Four Day Revolution is a six hour mini-series about People Power—a The proposed motion picture would be essentially a re-enact. ment of the events that made
unique event in modern history that-made possible the Peaceful revolution in possible the EDSA revolution; it is designed to be viewed in a six-hour mini-series television play,
the Philippines in 1986. presented in a "docu-drama" style, creating four (4) fictional characters interwoven with real
Faced with the task of dramatising these rerkble events, screenwriter David events, and utilizing actual documentary footage as background.
Williamson and history Prof Al McCoy have chosen a "docu-drama" style and On 21 December 1987, private respondent Enrile replied that "[he] would not and will not approve
created [four] fictitious characters to trace the revolution from the death of the use, appropriation, reproduction and/or exhibition of his name, or picture, or that of any
of Senator Aquino, to the Feb revolution and the fleeing of Marcos from the member of his family in any cinema or television production, film or other medium for advertising
country. or commercial exploitation" and further advised petitioners that 'in the production, airing,
These character stories have been woven through the real events to help showing, distribution or exhibition of said or similar film, no reference whatsoever (whether
our huge international audience understand this ordinary period inFilipino written, verbal or visual) should not be made to [him] or any member of his family, much less to
history. any matter purely personal to them.
First, there's Tony O'Neil, an American television journalist working for It appears that petitioners acceded to this demand and the name of private respondent Enrile
major network. Tony reflects the average American attitude to the was deleted from the movie script, and petitioners proceeded to film the projected motion
Phihppinence —once a colony, now the home of crucially important military picture.
bases. Although Tony is aware of the corruption and of Marcos' On 23 February 1988, private respondent filed a Complaint with application for Temporary
megalomania, for him, there appears to be no alternative to Marcos except Restraining Order and Wilt of Pretion with the Regional Trial Court of Makati, docketed as Civil
the Communists. Case No. 88-151 in Branch 134 thereof, seeking to enjoin petitioners from producing the movie
Next, Angie Fox a fiery Australian photo-journalist. A 'new girl in town,' she "The Four Day Revolution". The complaint alleged that petitioners' production of the mini-series
is quickly caught up in the events as it becomes dear that the time has come without private respondent's consent and over his objection, constitutes an obvious violation of
for a change. Through Angle and her relationship with one of the Reform his right of privacy. On 24 February 1988, the trial court issued ex-parte a Temporary
Army Movement Colonels (a fictitious character), we follow the developing Restraining Order and set for hearing the application for preliminary injunction.
discontent in the armed forces. Their dislike for General Ver, their strong On 9 March 1988, Hal McElroy flied a Motion to Dismiss with Opposition to the Petition for
loyalty to Defense Minister Enrile, and ultimately their defection from Preliminary Injunction contending that the mini-series fim would not involve the private life of
Marcos. Juan Ponce Enrile nor that of his family and that a preliminary injunction would amount to a prior

31
restraint on their right of free expression. Petitioner Ayer Productions also filed its own Motion perception by our people of issues and public officials or public figures as
to Dismiss alleging lack of cause of action as the mini-series had not yet been completed. well as the pre cultural traits is considerable. Nor as pointed out in Burstyn
In an Order 2 dated 16 March 1988, respondent court issued a writ of Preliminary Injunction v. Wilson(343 US 495 [19421) is the Importance of motion pictures as an
against the petitioners, the dispositive portion of which reads thus: organ of public opinion lessened by the fact that they are designed to
WHEREFORE, let a writ of preliminary injunction be issued, ordering entertain as well as to inform' (Ibid, 501). There is no clear dividing line
defendants, and all persons and entities employed or under contract with between what involves knowledge and what affords pleasure. If such a
them, including actors, actresses and members of the production staff and distinction were sustained, there is a diminution of the basic right to free
crew as well as all persons and entities acting on defendants' behalf, to expression. ...4
cease and desist from producing and filming the mini-series entitled 'The This freedom is available in our country both to locally-owned and to foreign-owned motion
Four Day Revolution" and from making any reference whatsoever to plaintiff picture companies. Furthermore the circumstance that the production of motion picture films is
or his family and from creating any fictitious character in lieu of plaintiff a commercial activity expected to yield monetary profit, is not a disqualification for availing of
which nevertheless is based on, or bears rent substantial or marked freedom of speech and of expression. In our community as in many other countries, media
resemblance or similarity to, or is otherwise Identifiable with, plaintiff in facilities are owned either by the government or the private sector but the private sector-owned
the production and any similar film or photoplay, until further orders from media facilities commonly require to be sustained by being devoted in whole or in pailt to revenue
this Court, upon plaintiff's filing of a bond in the amount of P 2,000,000.00, producing activities. Indeed, commercial media constitute the bulk of such facilities available in
to answer for whatever damages defendants may suffer by reason of the our country and hence to exclude commercially owned and operated media from the exerciseof
injunction if the Court should finally decide that plaintiff was not entitled constitutionally protected om of speech and of expression can only result in the drastic
thereto. contraction of such constitutional liberties in our country.
xxx xxx xxx The counter-balancing of private respondent is to a right of privacy. It was demonstrated
(Emphasis supplied) sometime ago by the then Dean Irene R. Cortes that our law, constitutional and statutory, does
On 22 March 1988, petitioner Ayer Productions came to this Court by a Petition for certiorari include a right of privacy. 5 It is left to case law, however, to mark out the precise scope and
dated 21 March 1988 with an urgent prayer for Preliminary Injunction or Restraining Order, content of this right in differing types of particular situations. The right of privacy or "the right
which petition was docketed as G.R. No. L-82380. to be let alone," 6 like the right of free expression, is not an absolute right. A limited intrusion
A day later, or on 23 March 1988, petitiioner Hal McElroy also filed separate Petition for into a person's privacy has long been regarded as permissible where that person is a public figure
certiorari with Urgent Prayer for a Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction, dated 22 March and the information sought to be elicited from him or to be published about him constitute of
1988, docketed as G.R. No. L-82398. apublic character. 7 Succinctly put, the right of privacy cannot be invoked resist publication and
By a Resolution dated 24 March 1988, the petitions were consolidated and private respondent dissemination of matters of public interest. 8 The interest sought to be protected by the right
was required to file a consolidated Answer. Further, in the same Resolution, the Court granted a of privacy is the right to be free from unwarranted publicity, from the wrongful publicizing of
Temporary Restraining Order partially enjoining the implementation of the respondent Judge's the private affairs and activities of an individual which are outside the realm of legitimate public
Order of 16 March 1988 and the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued therein, and allowing the concern. 9
petitioners to resume producing and filming those portions of the projected mini-series which do Lagunzad v. Vda. de Gonzales, 10 on which private respondent relies heavily, recognized a right to
not make any reference to private respondent or his family or to any fictitious character based privacy in a context which included a claim to freedom of speech and of
on or respondent. expression. Lagunzad involved a suit fortion picture producer as licensee and the widow and
Private respondent seasonably filed his Consolidated Answer on 6 April 1988 invoking in the main family of the late Moises Padilla as licensors. This agreement gave the licensee the right to
a right of privacy. produce a motion Picture Portraying the life of Moises Padilla, a mayoralty candidate of the
I Nacionalista Party for the Municipality of Magallon, Negros Occidental during the November
The constitutional and legal issues raised by the present Petitions are sharply drawn. Petitioners' 1951 elections and for whose murder, Governor Rafael Lacson, a member of the Liberal Party
claim that in producing and "The Four Day Revolution," they are exercising their freedom of then in power and his men were tried and convicted. 11 In the judgment of the lower court
speech and of expression protected under our Constitution. Private respondent, upon the other enforcing the licensing agreement against the licensee who had produced the motion picture and
hand, asserts a right of privacy and claims that the production and filming of the projected mini- exhibited it but refused to pay the stipulated royalties, the Court, through Justice Melencio-
series would constitute an unlawful intrusion into his privacy which he is entitled to enjoy. Herrera, said:
Considering first petitioners' claim to freedom of speech and of expression the Court would once Neither do we agree with petitioner's subon that the Licensing Agreement is
more stress that this freedom includes the freedom to film and produce motion pictures and to null and void for lack of, or for having an illegal cause or consideration, while
exhibit such motion pictures in theaters or to diffuse them through television. In our day and it is true that petitioner bad pled the rights to the book entitled "The
age, motion pictures are a univesally utilized vehicle of communication and medium Of expression. Moises Padilla Story," that did not dispense with the need for prior consent
Along with the press, radio and television, motion pictures constitute a principal medium of mass and authority from the deceased heirs to portray publicly episodes in said
communication for information, education and entertainment. In Gonzales v. Katigbak, 3former deceased's life and in that of his mother and the member of his family. As
Chief Justice Fernando, speaking for the Court, explained: held in Schuyler v. Curtis, ([1895],147 NY 434,42 NE 31 LRA 286.49 Am St
1. Motion pictures are important both as a medium for the communication of Rep 671), 'a privilege may be given the surviving relatives of a deperson to
Ideas and the expression of the artistic impulse. Their effect on the protect his memory, but the privilege wts for the benefit of the living, to

32
protect their feelings and to preventa violation of their own rights in the Day Revolution" does not, in the circumstances of this case, constitute an unlawful intrusion upon
character and memory of the deceased.' private respondent's "right of privacy."
Petitioners averment that private respondent did not have any property 1. It may be observed at the outset that what is involved in the instant case is a prior and direct
right over the life of Moises Padilla since the latter was a public figure, is restraint on the part of the respondent Judge upon the exercise of speech and of expression by
neither well taken. Being a public figure ipso facto does not automatically petitioners. The respondent Judge has restrained petitioners from filming and producing the
destroy in toto a person's right to privacy. The right to invade a person's entire proposed motion picture. It is important to note that in Lagunzad, there was no prior
privacy to disseminate public information does not extend to a fictional or restrain of any kind imposed upon the movie producer who in fact completed and exhibited the
novelized representation of a person, no matter how public a he or she may film biography of Moises Padilla. Because of the speech and of expression, a weighty presumption
be (Garner v. Triangle Publications, DCNY 97 F. Supp., SU 549 [1951]). In of invalidity vitiates. 14 The invalidity of a measure of prior restraint doesnot, of course, mean
the case at bar, while it is true that petitioner exerted efforts to present a that no subsequent liability may lawfully be imposed upon a person claiming to exercise such
true-to-life Story Of Moises Padilla, petitioner admits that he included a constitutional freedoms. The respondent Judge should have stayed his hand, instead of issuing an
little romance in the film because without it, it would be a drab story of ex-parte Temporary Restraining Order one day after filing of a complaint by the private
torture and brutality. 12 respondent and issuing a Preliminary Injunction twenty (20) days later; for the projected motion
In Lagunzad, the Court had need, as we have in the instant case, to deal with contraposed claims picture was as yet uncompleted and hence not exhibited to any audience. Neither private
to freedom of speech and of expression and to privacy. Lagunzad the licensee in effect claimed, respondent nor the respondent trial Judge knew what the completed film would precisely look
in the name of freedom of speech and expression, a right to produce a motion picture biography like. There was, in other words, no "clear and present danger" of any violation of any right to
at least partly "fictionalized" of Moises Padilla without the consent of and without paying pre- privacy that private respondent could lawfully assert.
agreed royalties to the widow and family of Padilla. In rejecting the licensee's claim, the Court 2. The subject matter of "The Four Day Revolution" relates to the non-bloody change of
said: government that took place at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in February 1986, and the trian of
Lastly, neither do we find merit in petitioners contention that the Licensing events which led up to that denouement. Clearly, such subject matter is one of public interest
Agreement infringes on the constitutional right of freedom of speech and of and concern. Indeed, it is, petitioners' argue, of international interest. The subject thus relates
the press, in that, as a citizen and as a newspaperman, he had the right to to a highly critical stage in the history of this countryand as such, must be regarded as having
express his thoughts in film on the public life of Moises Padilla without prior passed into the public domain and as an appropriate subject for speech and expression and
restraint.The right freedom of expression, indeed, occupies a preferred coverage by any form of mass media. The subject mater, as set out in the synopsis provided by
position in the "hierarchy of civil liberties" (Philippine Blooming Mills the petitioners and quoted above, does not relate to the individual life and certainly not to the
Employees Organization v. Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., 51 SCRA 191 private life of private respondent Ponce Enrile. Unlike in Lagunzad, which concerned the life
[1963]). It is not, however, without limitations. As held in Gonzales v. story of Moises Padilla necessarily including at least his immediate family, what we have here is
Commission on Elections, 27 SCRA 835, 858 [1960]: not a film biography, more or less fictionalized, of private respondent Ponce Enrile. "The Four
xxx xxx xxx Day Revolution" is not principally about, nor is it focused upon, the man Juan Ponce Enrile' but it
The prevailing doctine is that the clear and present danger rule is such a is compelled, if it is to be historical, to refer to the role played by Juan Ponce Enrile in the
limitation. Another criterion for permissible limitation on freedom of speech precipitating and the constituent events of the change of government in February 1986.
and the press, which includes such vehicles of the mass media as radio, 3. The extent of the instrusion upon the life of private respondent Juan Ponce Enrile that would
television and the movies, is the "balancing of interest test" (Chief Justice be entailed by the production and exhibition of "The Four Day Revolution" would, therefore, be
Enrique M. Fernando on the Bill of Rights, 1970 ed. p. 79). The principle limited in character. The extent of that intrusion, as this Court understands the synopsis of the
"requires a court to take conscious and detailed consideration of the proposed film, may be generally described as such intrusion as is reasonably necessary to keep
interplay of interests observable in given situation or type of situation" that film a truthful historical account. Private respondent does not claim that petitioners
(Separation Opinion of the late Chief Justice Castro in Gonzales v. threatened to depict in "The Four Day Revolution" any part of the private life of private
Commission on Elections, supra, p. 899). respondent or that of any member of his family.
In the case at bar, the interests observable are the right to privacy 4. At all relevant times, during which the momentous events, clearly of public concern, that
asserted by respondent and the right of freedom of expression invoked by petitioners propose to film were taking place, private respondent was what Profs. Prosser and
petitioner. taking into account the interplay of those interests, we hold Keeton have referred to as a "public figure:"
that under the particular circumstances presented, and considering the A public figure has been defined as a person who, by his accomplishments,
obligations assumed in the Licensing Agreement entered into by petitioner, fame, or mode of living, or by adopting a profession or calling which gives the
the validity of such agreement will have to be upheld particularly because public a legitimate interest in his doings, his affairs, and his character, has
the limits of freedom of expression are reached when expression touches become a 'public personage.' He is, in other words, a celebrity. Obviously to
upon matters of essentially private concern." 13 be included in this category are those who have achieved some degree of
Whether the "balancing of interests test" or the clear and present danger test" be applied in reputation by appearing before the public, as in the case of an actor, a
respect of the instant Petitions, the Court believes that a different conclusion must here be professional baseball player, a pugilist, or any other entertainment. The list
reached: The production and filming by petitioners of the projected motion picture "The Four is, however, broader than this. It includes public officers, famous inventors
and explorers, war heroes and even ordinary soldiers, an infant prodigy, and

33
no less a personage than the Grand Exalted Ruler of a lodge. It includes, in in depicting the participation of private respondent in the EDSA Revolution. 16 There must,
short, anyone who has arrived at a position where public attention is focused further, be no presentation of the private life of the unwilling private respondent and certainly
upon him as a person. no revelation of intimate or embarrassing personal facts. 17 The proposed motion picture should
Such public figures were held to have lost, to some extent at least, their not enter into what Mme. Justice Melencio-Herrera in Lagunzad referred to as "matters of
tight to privacy. Three reasons were given, more or less indiscrimately, in essentially private concern." 18 To the extent that "The Four Day Revolution" limits itself in
the decisions" that they had sought publicity and consented to it, and so portraying the participation of private respondent in the EDSA Revolution to those events which
could not complaint when they received it; that their personalities and their are directly and reasonably related to the public facts of the EDSA Revolution, the intrusion into
affairs has already public, and could no longer be regarded as their own private respondent's privacy cannot be regarded as unreasonable and actionable. Such portrayal
private business; and that the press had a privilege, under the Constitution, may be carried out even without a license from private respondent.
to inform the public about those who have become legitimate matters of II
public interest. On one or another of these grounds, and sometimes all, it In a Manifestation dated 30 March 1988, petitioner Hal McElroy informed this Court that a
was held that there was no liability when they were given additional Temporary Restraining Order dated 25 March 1988, was issued by Judge Teofilo Guadiz of the
publicity, as to matters legitimately within the scope of the public interest Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 147, in Civil Case No. 88-413, entitled "Gregorio B.
they had aroused. Honasan vs. Ayer Productions Pty. Ltd., McElroy Film Productions, Hal McElroy, Lope Juban and
The privilege of giving publicity to news, and other matters of public PMP Motion for Pictures Production" enjoining him and his production company from further
interest, was held to arise out of the desire and the right of the public to filimg any scene of the projected mini-series film. Petitioner alleged that Honasan's complaint
know what is going on in the world, and the freedom of the press and other was a "scissors and paste" pleading, cut out straight grom the complaint of private respondent
agencies of information to tell it. "News" includes all events and items of Ponce Enrile in Civil Case No. 88-151. Petitioner Ayer Productions, in a separate Manifestation
information which are out of the ordinary hum-drum routine, and which have dated 4 April 1988, brought to the attention of the Court the same information given by
'that indefinable quality of information which arouses public attention.' To a petitoner Hal McElroy, reiterating that the complaint of Gregorio B. Honasan was substantially
very great extent the press, with its experience or instinct as to what its identical to that filed by private respondent herein and stating that in refusing to join Honasan
readers will want, has succeeded in making its own definination of news, as a in Civil Case No. 88-151, counsel for private respondent, with whom counsel for Gregorio Honasan
glance at any morning newspaper will sufficiently indicate. It includes are apparently associated, deliberately engaged in "forum shopping."
homicide and othe crimes, arrests and police raides, suicides, marriages and Private respondent filed a Counter-Manifestation on 13 April 1988 stating that the "slight
divorces, accidents, a death from the use of narcotics, a woman with a rare similarity" between private respondent's complaint and that on Honasan in the construction of
disease, the birth of a child to a twelve year old girl, the reappearance of their legal basis of the right to privacy as a component of the cause of action is understandable
one supposed to have been murdered years ago, and undoubtedly many other considering that court pleadings are public records; that private respondent's cause of action for
similar matters of genuine, if more or less deplorable, popular appeal. invasion of privacy is separate and distinct from that of Honasan's although they arose from the
The privilege of enlightening the public was not, however, limited, to the same tortious act of petitioners' that the rule on permissive joinder of parties is not mandatory
dissemination of news in the scene of current events. It extended also to and that, the cited cases on "forum shopping" were not in point because the parties here and
information or education, or even entertainment and amusement, by books, those in Civil Case No. 88-413 are not identical.
articles, pictures, films and broadcasts concerning interesting phases of For reasons that by now have become clear, it is not necessary for the Court to deal with the
human activity in general, as well as the reproduction of the public scene in question of whether or not the lawyers of private respondent Ponce Enrile have engaged in
newsreels and travelogues. In determining where to draw the line, the courts "forum shopping." It is, however, important to dispose to the complaint filed by former Colonel
were invited to exercise a species of censorship over what the public may be Honasan who, having refused to subject himself to the legal processes of the Republic and having
permitted to read; and they were understandably liberal in allowing the become once again in fugitive from justice, must be deemed to have forfeited any right the
benefit of the doubt. 15 might have had to protect his privacy through court processes.
Private respondent is a "public figure" precisely because, inter alia, of his participation as a WHEREFORE,
principal actor in the culminating events of the change of government in February 1986. Because a) the Petitions for Certiorari are GRANTED DUE COURSE, and the Order dated 16 March 1988
his participation therein was major in character, a film reenactment of the peaceful revolution of respondent trial court granting a Writ of Preliminary Injunction is hereby SET ASIDE. The
that fails to make reference to the role played by private respondent would be grossly limited Temporary Restraining Order granted by this Court on 24 March 1988 is hereby
unhistorical. The right of privacy of a "public figure" is necessarily narrower than that of an MODIFIED by enjoining unqualifiedly the implementation of respondent Judge's Order of 16
ordinary citizen. Private respondent has not retired into the seclusion of simple private March 1988 and made PERMANENT, and
citizenship. he continues to be a "public figure." After a successful political campaign during b) Treating the Manifestations of petitioners dated 30 March 1988 and 4 April 1988 as separate
which his participation in the EDSA Revolution was directly or indirectly referred to in the press, Petitions for Certiorari with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction or Restraining Order, the Court, in
radio and television, he sits in a very public place, the Senate of the Philippines. the exercise of its plenary and supervisory jurisdiction, hereby REQUIRES Judge Teofilo Guadiz
5. The line of equilibrium in the specific context of the instant case between the constitutional of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 147, forthwith to DISMISS Civil Case No. 88-413
freedom of speech and of expression and the right of privacy, may be marked out in terms of a and accordingly to SET ASIDE and DISSOLVE his Temporary Restraining Order dated 25 March
requirement that the proposed motion picture must be fairly truthful and historical in its 1988 and any Preliminary Injunction that may have been issued by him.
presentation of events. There must, in other words, be no knowing or reckless disregard of truth No pronouncement as to costs.

34
G.R. No. L-23733 October 31, 1969 explosion occurred, he was thrown out. PC investigation report states that thirty seven
HERMINIO L. NOCUM, plaintiff-appellee, (37) passengers were injured (Exhibits "O" and "2").
vs. The bus conductor, Sancho Mendoza, testified that the box belonged to a passenger
LAGUNA TAYABAS BUS COMPANY, defendant-appellant. whose name he does not know and who told him that it contained miscellaneous items
Fernando M. Mangubat and Felimon H. Mendoza for plaintiff-appellee. and clothes. He helped the owner in loading the baggage which weighed about twelve
Domingo E. de Lara and Associates for defendant-appellant. (12) kilos and because of company regulation, he charged him for it twenty-five
BARREDO, J.: centavos (P0.25). From its appearance there was no indication at all that the contents
Appeal of the Laguna Tayabas Bus Co., defendant in the Court below, from a judgment of the said were explosives or firecrackers. Neither did he open the box because he just relied on
court (Court of First Instance of Batangas) in its Civil Case No. 834, wherein appellee Herminio L. the word of the owner.
Nocum was plaintiff, sentencing appellant to pay appellee the sum of P1,351.00 for actual Dispatcher Nicolas Cornista of defendant company corroborrated the testimony of
damages and P500.00 as attorney's fees with legal interest from the filing of the complaint plus Mendoza and he said, among other things, that he was present when the box was
costs. Appellee, who was a passenger in appellant's Bus No. 120 then making a trip within the loaded in the truck and the owner agreed to pay its fare. He added that they were not
barrio of Dita, Municipality of Bay, Laguna, was injured as a consequence of the explosion of authorized to open the baggages of passengers because instruction from the
firecrackers, contained in a box, loaded in said bus and declared to its conductor as containing management was to call the police if there were packages containing articles which
clothes and miscellaneous items by a co-passenger. The findings of fact of the trial court are not were against regulations.
assailed. The appeal is purely on legal questions. xxx xxx xxx
Appellee has not filed any brief. All that We have before Us is appellant's brief with the There is no question that Bus No. 120 was road worthy when it left its Manila Terminal
following assignment of errors: for Lucena that morning of December 5, 1960. The injuries suffered by the plaintiff
I were not due to mechanical defects but to the explosion of firecrackers inside the bus
BASED ON THE FACTS THE LOWER COURT FOUND AS ESTABLISHED, IT ERRED which was loaded by a co-passenger.
AS A MATTER OF LAW IN NOT ABSOLVING APPELLANT FROM LIABILITY ... Turning to the present case, it is quite clear that extraordinary or utmost diligence
RESULTING FROM THE EXPLOSION OF FIRECRACKERS CONTAINED IN A of a very cautious person was not observed by the defendant company. The service
PACKAGE, THE CONTENTS OF WHICH WERE MISREPRESENTED BY A PASSENGER. manual, exhibits "3" and "3-A," prohibits the employees to allow explosives, such as
II dynamite and firecrackers to be transported on its buses. To implement this particular
THE LOWER COURT ERRED, AS A MATTER OF LAW, IN AWARDING DAMAGES rule for 'the safety of passengers, it was therefore incumbent upon the employees of
WITH LEGAL INTEREST IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEE. the company to make the proper inspection of all the baggages which are carried by
III the passengers.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT, WITH COSTS But then, can it not be said that the breach of the contract was due to fortuitous
AGAINST THE APPELLEE. event? The Supreme Court in the case of Lasam vs. Smith, 45 Phil. 657, quoted
Upon consideration of the points raised and discussed by appellant, We find the appeal to be well Escriche's definition of caso fortuito as "an unexpected event or act of God which
taken. could neither be foreseen nor resisted, such as floods, torrents, shipwrecks,
The main basis of the trial court's decision is that appellant did not observe the extraordinary or conflagrations, lightning, compulsions, insurrections, destructions of buildings by
utmost diligence of a very cautious person required by the following articles of the Civil Code: unforeseen accidents and other occurrences of a similar nature." In other words, the
ART. 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for reasons of cause of the unexpected event must be independent of the will of man or something
public policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the which cannot be avoided. This cannot be said of the instant case. If proper and rigid
goods and for the safety of the passengers transported by them, according to all the inspection were observed by the defendant, the contents of the box could have been
circumstances of each case. discovered and the accident avoided. Refusal by the passenger to have the package
Such extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods is further expressed in opened was no excuse because, as stated by Dispatcher Cornista, employees should call
articles 1734, 1735, and 1745, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, while the extraordinary diligence for the police if there were packages containing articles against company regulations.
the safety of the passengers is further set forth in articles 1755 and 1756. Neither was failure by employees of defendant company to detect the contents of the
ART. 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human packages of passengers because like the rationale in the Necesito vs. Paras case
care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, (supra), a passenger has neither choice nor control in the exercise of their discretion
with a due regard for all the circumstances. in determining what are inside the package of co-passengers which may eventually
ART 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers are prove fatal.
presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that We cannot agree. No doubt, the views of His Honor do seem to be in line with the reasons that
they observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed in articles 1733 and 1755. the Code Commission had for incorporating the above-quoted provisions in its draft of the Civil
Analyzing the evidence presented by the parties, His Honor found: Code. Indeed, in approving the said draft, Congress must have concurred with the Commission
According to Severino Andaya, a witness for the plaintiff, a man with a box went up that by requiring the highest degree of diligence from common carriers in the safe transport of
the baggage compartment of the bus where he already was and said box was placed their passengers and by creating a presumption of negligence against them, the recklessness of
under the seat. They left Azcarraga at about 11:30 in the morning and when the their drivers which is a common sight even in crowded areas and, particularly, on the highways

35
throughout the country may, somehow, if not in a large measure, be curbed. We are not The principle that must control the servants of the carrier in a case like the one
convinced, however, that the exacting criterion of said provisions has not been met by appellant before us is correctly stated in the opinion in the case of Clarke v. Louisville & N.R. Co.
in the circumstances of this particular case. 20 Ky L. Rep. 839, 49 S.W. 1120. In that case Clarke was a passenger on the
It is undisputed that before the box containing the firecrackers were allowed to be loaded in the defendant's train. Another passenger took a quantity of gasoline into the same coach
bus by the conductor, inquiry was made with the passenger carrying the same as to what was in in which Clarke was riding. It ignited and exploded, by reason of which he was severely
it, since its "opening ... was folded and tied with abaca." (Decision p. 16, Record on Appeal.) injured. The trial court peremptorily instructed the jury to find for the defendant. In
According to His Honor, "if proper and rigid inspection were observed by the defendant, the the opinion, affirming the judgment, it is said: "It may be stated briefly, in assuming
contents of the box could have been discovered and the accident avoided. Refusal by the the liability of a railroad to its passengers for injury done by another passenger, only
passenger to have the package opened was no excuse because, as stated by Dispatcher Cornista, where the conduct of this passenger had been such before the injury as to induce a
employees should call the police if there were packages containing articles against company reasonably prudent and vigilant conductor to believe that there was reasonable ground
regulations." That may be true, but it is Our considered opinion that the law does not require as to apprehend violence and danger to the other passengers, and in that case asserting it
much. Article 1733 is not as unbending as His Honor has held, for it reasonably qualifies the to be the duty of the conductor of the railroad train to use all reasonable means to
extraordinary diligence required of common carriers for the safety of the passengers prevent such injury, and if he neglects this reasonable duty, and injury is done, that
transported by them to be "according to all the circumstances of each case." In fact, Article then the company is responsible; that otherwise the railroad is not responsible."
1755 repeats this same qualification: "A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely The opinion quotes with approval from the case of Gulf, C. & S. F. R. Co. vs. Shields, 9
as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious Tex. Civ. App. 652, 29 S. W. 652, in which case the plaintiff was injured
persons, with due regard for all the circumstances." by alcohol which had been carried upon the train by another passenger. In the opinion
In this particular case before Us, it must be considered that while it is true the passengers of in that case it is said: "It was but a short period of time after the alcohol was spilt
appellant's bus should not be made to suffer for something over which they had no control, as when it was set on fire and the accident occurred, and it was not shown that
enunciated in the decision of this Court cited by His Honor,1 fairness demands that in measuring appellant's employees knew that the jug contained alcohol. In fact, it is not shown that
a common carrier's duty towards its passengers, allowance must be given to the reliance that the conductor or any other employee knew that Harris had a jug with him until it fell
should be reposed on the sense of responsibility of all the passengers in regard to their common out of the sack, though the conductor had collected ... (his) fare, and doubtless knew
safety. It is to be presumed that a passenger will not take with him anything dangerous to the that he had the sack on the seat with him. ... It cannot be successfully denied that
lives and limbs of his co-passengers, not to speak of his own. Not to be lightly considered must be Harris had the right as a passenger to carry baggage on the train, and that he had a
the right to privacy to which each passenger is entitled. He cannot be subjected to any unusual right to carry it in a sack if he chose to do so. We think it is equally clear that, in the
search, when he protests the innocuousness of his baggage and nothing appears to indicate the absence of some intimation or circumstance indicating that the sack contained
contrary, as in the case at bar. In other words, inquiry may be verbally made as to the nature of something dangerous to other passengers, it was not the duty of appellant's conductor
a passenger's baggage when such is not outwardly perceptible, but beyond this, constitutional or any other employee to open the sack and examine its contents." Quinn v. Louisville &
boundaries are already in danger of being transgressed. Calling a policeman to his aid, as N. R. Co. 98 Ky. 231, 32 S. W. 742; Wood v. Louisville & N. R. Co. 101 Ky. 703, 42 S. W.
suggested by the service manual invoked by the trial judge, in compelling the passenger to submit 349; Louisville & N. R. Co. v. Vincent, 29 Ky. L. Rep. 1049, 96 S. W. 898; Louisville & N.
to more rigid inspection, after the passenger had already declared that the box contained mere R. Co. v. Renfro, 142 Ky. 590, 33 L. R. A. (N. S.) 133, 135 S. W. 266. 2 (Emphasis
clothes and other miscellaneous, could not have justified invasion of a constitutionally protected supplied)
domain. Police officers acting without judicial authority secured in the manner provided by law Explosive or Dangerous Contents. — A carrier is ordinarily not liable for injuries to
are not beyond the pale of constitutional inhibitions designed to protect individual human rights passengers from fires or explosions caused by articles brought into its conveyances by
and liberties. Withal, what must be importantly considered here is not so much the infringement other passengers, in the absence of any evidence that the carrier, through its
of the fundamental sacred rights of the particular passenger herein involved, but the constant employees, was aware of the nature of the article or had any reason to anticipate
threat any contrary ruling would pose on the right of privacy of all passengers of all common danger therefrom. (Bogard v. Illinois C. R Co. 144 Ky. 649, 139 S. W. 855, 36 L. R. A.[N.
carriers, considering how easily the duty to inspect can be made an excuse for mischief and S.] 337; Clarke v. Louisville & N. R. Co. 101 Ky. 34, 39 S. W. 840, 36 L. R. A. 123
abuse. Of course, when there are sufficient indications that the representations of the [explosion of can of gasoline]; East Indian R. Co. v. Mukerjee [1901] A. C. [Eng.] 396, 3
passenger regarding the nature of his baggage may not be true, in the interest of the common B. R. C. 420 — P. C. [explosion of fireworks]; Annotation: 37 L. R. A. [N. S.] 725.)3
safety of all, the assistance of the police authorities may be solicited, not necessarily to force Appellant further invokes Article 1174 of the Civil Code which relieves all obligors, including, of
the passenger to open his baggage, but to conduct the needed investigation consistent with the course, common carriers like appellant, from the consequence of fortuitous events. The court a
rules of propriety and, above all, the constitutional rights of the passenger. It is in this sense quo held that "the breach of contract (in this case) was not due to fortuitous event and that,
that the mentioned service manual issued by appellant to its conductors must be understood. therefore, the defendant is liable in damages." Since We hold that appellant has succeeded in
Decisions in other jurisdictions cited by appellant in its brief, evidently because of the paucity of rebutting the presumption of negligence by showing that it has exercised extraordinary diligence
local precedents squarely in point, emphasize that there is need, as We hold here, for evidence for the safety of its passengers, "according to the circumstances of the (each) case", We deem
of circumstances indicating cause or causes for apprehension that the passenger's baggage is it unnecessary to rule whether or not there was any fortuitous event in this case.
dangerous and that it is failure of the common carrier's employee to act in the face of such ACCORDINGLY, the appealed judgment of the trial court is reversed and the case is dismissed,
evidence that constitutes the cornerstone of the common carrier's liability in cases similar to without costs.
the present one.

36
G.R. No. L-18630 December 17, 1966 actually suffered material and moral injury, the Commission has deemed it necessary,
APOLONIO TANJANCO, petitioner, in the interest of justice, to incorporate in the proposed Civil Code the following rule:
vs. "ART. 23. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ARACELI SANTOS, respondents. manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall
P. Carreon and G. O. Veneracion, Jr. for petitioner. compensate the latter for the damage."
Antonio V. Bonoan for respondents. An example will illustrate the purview of the foregoing norm: "A" seduces the
REYES, J.B.L., J.: nineteen-year old daughter of "X". A promise of marriage either has not been made, or
Appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeals (in its Case No. 27210-R) revoking an order of the can not be proved. The girl becomes pregnant. Under the present laws, there is no
Court of First Instance of Rizal (in Civil Case No. Q-4797) dismissing appellant's action for crime, as the girl is above eighteen years of age. Neither can any civil action for
support and damages. breach of promise of marriage be filed. Therefore, though the grievous moral wrong
The essential allegations of the complaint are to the effect that, from December, 1957, the has been committed, and though the girl and her family have suffered incalculable
defendant (appellee herein), Apolonio Tanjanco, courted the plaintiff, Araceli Santos, both being moral damage, she and her parents cannot bring any action for damages. But under the
of adult age; that "defendant expressed and professed his undying love and affection for proposed article, she and her parents would have such a right of action.
plaintiff who also in due time reciprocated the tender feelings"; that in consideration of The Court of Appeals seems to have overlooked that the example set forth in the Code
defendant's promise of marriage plaintiff consented and acceded to defendant's pleas for carnal Commission's memorandum refers to a tort upon a minor who has been seduced. The essential
knowledge; that regularly until December 1959, through his protestations of love and promises of feature is seduction, that in law is more than mere sexual intercourse, or a breach of a promise
marriage, defendant succeeded in having carnal access to plaintiff, as a result of which the of marriage; it connotes essentially the idea of deceit, enticement, superior power or abuse of
latter conceived a child; that due to her pregnant condition, to avoid embarrassment and social confidence on the part of the seducer to which the woman has yielded (U.S. vs. Buenaventura, 27
humiliation, plaintiff had to resign her job as secretary in IBM Philippines, Inc., where she was Phil. 121; U.S. vs. Arlante, 9 Phil. 595).
receiving P230.00 a month; that thereby plaintiff became unable to support herself and her It has been ruled in the Buenaventura case (supra) that —
baby; that due to defendant's refusal to marry plaintiff, as promised, the latter suffered mental To constitute seduction there must in all cases be some sufficient promise or
anguish, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, and social humiliation. The prayer inducement and the woman must yield because of the promise or other inducement. If
was for a decree compelling the defendant to recognize the unborn child that plaintiff was she consents merely from carnal lust and the intercourse is from mutual desire, there
bearing; to pay her not less than P430.00 a month for her support and that of her baby, plus is no seduction (43 Cent. Dig. tit. Seduction, par. 56). She must be induced to depart
P100,000.00 in moral and exemplary damages, plus P10,000.00 attorney's fees. from the path of virtue by the use of some species of arts, persuasions and wiles,
Upon defendant's motion to dismiss, the court of first instance dismissed the complaint for which are calculated to have and do have that effect, and which result in her
failure to state a cause of action. ultimately submitting her person to the sexual embraces of her seducer (27 Phil. 123).
Plaintiff Santos duly appealed to the Court of Appeals, and the latter ultimately decided the And in American Jurisprudence we find:
case, holding with the lower court that no cause of action was shown to compel recognition of a On the other hand, in an action by the woman, the enticement, persuasion or deception
child as yet unborn, nor for its support, but decreed that the complaint did state a cause of is the essence of the injury; and a mere proof of intercourse is insufficient to warrant
action for damages, premised on Article 21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, prescribing as a recover.
follows: Accordingly it is not seduction where the willingness arises out of sexual desire or
ART. 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is curiosity of the female, and the defendant merely affords her the needed opportunity
contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the for the commission of the act. It has been emphasized that to allow a recovery in all
damage. such cases would tend to the demoralization of the female sex, and would be a reward
The Court of Appeals, therefore, entered judgment setting aside the dismissal and directing the for unchastity by which a class of adventuresses would be swift to profit." (47 Am.
court of origin to proceed with the case. Jur. 662)
Defendant, in turn, appealed to this Court, pleading that actions for breach of a promise to Bearing these principles in mind, let us examine the complaint. The material allegations there are
marry are not permissible in this jurisdiction, and invoking the rulings of this Court in Estopa vs. as follows:
Piansay, L-14733, September 30, 1960; Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals, L-14628, January 29, I. That the plaintiff is of legal age, single, and residing at 56 South E. Diliman, Quezon
1962; and De Jesus vs. SyQuia, 58 Phil. 886. City, while defendant is also of legal age, single and residing at 525 Padre Faura,
We find this appeal meritorious. Manila, where he may be served with summons;
In holding that the complaint stated a cause of action for damages, under Article 21 above II. That the plaintiff and the defendant became acquainted with each other sometime
mentioned, the Court of Appeals relied upon and quoted from the memorandum submitted by the in December, 1957 and soon thereafter, the defendant started visiting and courting
Code Commission to the Legislature in 1949 to support the original draft of the Civil Code. the plaintiff;
Referring to Article 23 of the draft (now Article 21 of the Code), the Commission stated: III. That the defendant's visits were regular and frequent and in due time the
But the Code Commission has gone farther than the sphere of wrongs defined or defendant expressed and professed his undying love and affection for the plaintiff
determined by positive law. Fully sensible that there are countless gaps in the who also in due time reciprocated the tender feelings;
statutes, which leave so many victims of moral wrongs helpless, even though they have IV. That in the course of their engagement, the plaintiff and the defendant as are
wont of young people in love had frequent outings and dates, became very close and

37
intimate to each other and sometime in July, 1958, in consideration of the defendant's
promises of marriage, the plaintiff consented and acceded to the former's earnest and
repeated pleas to have carnal knowledge with him;
V. That subsequent thereto and regularly until about July, 1959 except for a short
period in December, 1958 when the defendant was out of the country, the defendant
through his protestations of love and promises of marriage succeeded in having carnal
knowledge with the plaintiff;
VI. That as a result of their intimate relationship, the plaintiff started conceiving
which was confirmed by a doctor sometime in July, 1959;
VII. That upon being certain of her pregnant condition, the plaintiff informed the
defendant and pleaded with him to make good his promises of marriage, but instead of
honoring his promises and righting his wrong, the defendant stopped and refrained
from seeing the plaintiff since about July, 1959 has not visited the plaintiff and to all
intents and purposes has broken their engagement and his promises.
Over and above the partisan allegations, the facts stand out that for one whole year, from 1958
to 1959, the plaintiff-appellee, a woman of adult age, maintained intimate sexual relations with
appellant, with repeated acts of intercourse. Such conduct is incompatible with the idea of
seduction. Plainly there is here voluntariness and mutual passion; for had the appellant been
deceived, had she surrendered exclusively because of the deceit, artful persuasions and wiles of
the defendant, she would not have again yielded to his embraces, much less for one year, without
exacting early fulfillment of the alleged promises of marriage, and would have cut chart all sexual
relations upon finding that defendant did not intend to fulfill his promises. Hence, we conclude
that no case is made under Article 21 of the Civil Code, and no other cause of action being
alleged, no error was committed by the Court of First Instance in dismissing the complaint.
Of course, the dismissal must be understood as without prejudice to whatever actions may
correspond to the child of the plaintiff against the defendant-appellant, if any. On that point,
this Court makes no pronouncement, since the child's own rights are not here involved.
FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and that of
the Court of First Instance is affirmed. No costs.
Concepcion, C.J., Barrera, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez and Castro,
JJ., concur.

38
G.R. No. 164349 January 31, 2006 After its motion to dismiss the complaint for improper venue 11 was denied12 by Branch 5 of the
RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (RCPI),Petitioner, RTC of Sorsogon, RCPI filed its answer, alleging that except with respect to Grace, 13 the other
vs. plaintiffs had no privity of contract with it; any delay in the sending of the telegram was due
ALFONSO VERCHEZ, GRACE VERCHEZ-INFANTE, MARDONIO INFANTE, ZENAIDA to force majeure, "specifically, but not limited to, radio noise and interferences which adversely
VERCHEZ-CATIBOG, AND FORTUNATO CATIBOG, Respondents. affected the transmission and/or reception of the telegraphic message";14 the clause in the
D E C I S I O N Telegram Transmission Form signed by Grace absolved it from liability for any damage arising
CARPIO MORALES, J.: from the transmission other than the refund of telegram tolls; 15 it observed due diligence in the
On January 21, 1991, Editha Hebron Verchez (Editha) was confined at the Sorsogon Provincial selection and supervision of its employees; and at all events, any cause of action had been barred
Hospital due to an ailment. On even date, her daughter Grace Verchez-Infante (Grace) by laches.16
immediately hied to the Sorsogon Branch of the Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc. The trial court, observing that "although the delayed delivery of the questioned telegram was not
(RCPI) whose services she engaged to send a telegram to her sister Zenaida Verchez-Catibog apparently the proximate cause of the death of Editha," ruled out the presence of force
(Zenaida) who was residing at 18 Legal St., GSIS Village, Quezon City 1 reading: "Send check majeure. Respecting the clause in the telegram relied upon by RCPI, the trial court held that it
money Mommy hospital." For RCPI’s services, Grace paid P10.502 for which she was issued a partakes of the nature of a contract of adhesion.
receipt.3 Finding that the nature of RCPI’s business obligated it to dispatch the telegram to the addressee
As three days after RCPI was engaged to send the telegram to Zenaida no response was received at the earliest possible time but that it did not in view of the negligence of its employees to
from her, Grace sent a letter to Zenaida, this time thru JRS Delivery Service, reprimanding her repair its radio transmitter and the concomitant delay in delivering the telegram on time, the
for not sending any financial aid. trial court, upon the following provisions of the Civil Code, to wit:
Immediately after she received Grace’s letter, Zenaida, along with her husband Fortunato Article 2176 – Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being at fault or
Catibog, left on January 26, 1991 for Sorsogon. On her arrival at Sorsogon, she disclaimed having negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence if there is no pre-
received any telegram. existing contractual relation between the parties, is called quasi-delict and is governed by the
In the meantime, Zenaida and her husband, together with her mother Editha left for Quezon provisions of this Chapter.
City on January 28, 1991 and brought Editha to the Veterans Memorial Hospital in Quezon City Article 1173 defines the fault of (sic) negligence of the obligor as the "omission of the diligence
where she was confined from January 30, 1991 to March 21, 1991. which is required by the nature of the obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of the
The telegram was finally delivered to Zenaida 25 days later or on February 15, 1991. 4 On inquiry person, of the time, or the place."
from RCPI why it took that long to deliver it, a messenger of RCPI replied that he had nothing to In the instant case, the obligation of the defendant to deliver the telegram to the addressee is
do with the delivery thereof as it was another messenger who previously was assigned to deliver of an urgent nature. Its essence is the early delivery of the telegram to the concerned person.
the same but the address could not be located, hence, the telegram was resent on February 2, Yet, due to the negligence of its employees, the defendant failed to discharge of its obligation on
1991, and the second messenger finally found the address on February 15, 1991. time making it liable for damages under Article 2176.
Editha’s husband Alfonso Verchez (Verchez), by letter of March 5, 1991,5 demanded an The negligence on the part of the employees gives rise to the presumption of negligence on the
explanation from the manager of the Service Quality Control Department of the RCPI, Mrs. part of the employer.17 (Underscoring supplied),
Lorna D. Fabian, who replied, by letter of March 13, 1991,6 as follows: rendered judgment against RCPI. Accordingly, it disposed:
Our investigation on this matter disclosed that subject telegram was duly processed in WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing premises, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of
accordance with our standard operating procedure. However, delivery was not immediately the plaintiffs and against the defendant, to wit:
effected due to the occurrence of circumstances which were beyond the control and foresight Ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiffs the following amount:
of RCPI. Among others, during the transmission process, the radio link connecting the points of 1. The amount of One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos as moral damages;
communication involved encountered radio noise and interferences such that subject telegram 2. The amount of Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) Pesos as attorney’s fees; and
did not initially registered (sic) in the receiving teleprinter machine. 3. To pay the costs.
Our internal message monitoring led to the discovery of the above. Thus, a repeat transmission SO ORDERED.18
was made and subsequent delivery was effected. (Underscoring supplied) On appeal, the Court of Appeals, by Decision of February 27, 2004,19 affirmed the trial court’s
Verchez’s lawyer thereupon wrote RCPI’s manager Fabian, by letter of July 23, 1991,7 requesting decision.
for a conference on a specified date and time, but no representative of RCPI showed up at said Hence, RCPI’s present petition for review on certiorari, it raising the following questions: (1) "Is
date and time. the award of moral damages proper even if the trial court found that there was no direct
On April 17, 1992, Editha died. connection between the injury and the alleged negligent acts?"20 and (2) "Are the stipulations in
On September 8, 1993, Verchez, along with his daughters Grace and Zenaida and their the ‘Telegram Transmission Form,’ in the nature "contracts of adhesion" (sic)?21
respective spouses, filed a complaint against RCPI before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of RCPI insists that respondents failed to prove any causal connection between its delay in
Sorsogon for damages. In their complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that, inter alia, the delay in transmitting the telegram and Editha’s death.22
delivering the telegram contributed to the early demise of the late Editha to their damage and RCPI’s stand fails. It bears noting that its liability is anchored on culpa contractual or breach of
prejudice,8 for which they prayed for the award of moral and exemplary damages9 and attorney’s contract with regard to Grace, and on tort with regard to her co-plaintiffs-herein-co-
fees.10 respondents.

39
Article 1170 of the Civil Code provides: persons at the given address and should provide a system whereby in cases of undelivered
Those who in the performance of their obligations are guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay, and messages the sender is given notice of non-delivery. Messages sent by cable or wireless
those who in any manner contravene the tenor thereof, are liable for damages. (Underscoring means are usually more important and urgent than those which can wait for the mail.25
supplied) xxxx
Passing on this codal provision, this Court explained: People depend on telecommunications companies in times of deep emotional stress or pressing
In culpa contractual x x x the mere proof of the existence of the contract and the failure of its financial needs. Knowing that messages about the illnesses or deaths of loved ones, births or
compliance justify, prima facie, a corresponding right of relief. The law, recognizing the marriages in a family, important business transactions, and notices of conferences or meetings as
obligatory force of contracts, will not permit a party to be set free from liability for any kind of in this case, are coursed through the petitioner and similar corporations, it is incumbent upon
misperformance of the contractual undertaking or a contravention of the tenor thereof. A them to exercise a greater amount of care and concern than that shown in this case. Every
breach upon the contract confers upon the injured party a valid cause for recovering that which reasonable effort to inform senders of the non-delivery of messages should be undertaken.26
may have been lost or suffered. The remedy serves to preserve the interests of the promissee (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
that may include his "expectation interest," which is his interest in having the benefit of his RCPI argues, however, against the presence of urgency in the delivery of the telegram, as well as
bargain by being put in as good a position as he would have been in had the contract been the basis for the award of moral damages, thus:27
performed, or his "reliance interest," which is his interest in being reimbursed for loss caused The request to send check as written in the telegraphic text negates the existence of
by reliance on the contract by being put in as good a position as he would have been in had the urgency that private respondents’ allegations that ‘time was of the essence’ imports. A check
contract not been made; or his "restitution interest," which is his interest in having restored to drawn against a Manila Bank and transmitted to Sorsogon, Sorsogon will have to be deposited in a
him any benefit that he has conferred on the other party. Indeed, agreements can accomplish bank in Sorsogon and pass thru a minimum clearing period of 5 days before it may be encashed or
little, either for their makers or for society, unless they are made the basis for action. The withdrawn. If the transmittal of the requested check to Sorsogon took 1 day – private
effect of every infraction is to create a new duty, that is, to make recompense to the one who respondents could therefore still wait for 6 days before the same may be withdrawn. Requesting
has been injured by the failure of another to observe his contractual obligation unless he can a check that would take 6 days before it could be withdrawn therefore contradicts plaintiff’s
show extenuating circumstances, like proof of his exercise of due diligence x x x or of claim of urgency or need.28
the attendance of fortuitous event, to excuse him from his ensuing liability.23 (Emphasis and At any rate, any sense of urgency of the situation was met when Grace Verchez was able to
underscoring supplied) communicate to Manila via a letter that she sent to the same addressee in Manila thru JRS.29
In the case at bar, RCPI bound itself to deliver the telegram within the shortest possible time. xxxx
It took 25 days, however, for RCPI to deliver it. As far as the respondent court’s award for moral damages is concerned, the same has no
RCPI invokes force majeure, specifically, the alleged radio noise and interferences which basis whatsoever since private respondent Alfonso Verchez did not accompany his late wife when
adversely affected the transmission and/or reception of the telegraphic message. Additionally, the latter went to Manila by bus. He stayed behind in Sorsogon for almost 1 week before he
its messenger claimed he could not locate the address of Zenaida and it was only on the third proceeded to Manila. 30
attempt that he was able to deliver the telegram. When pressed on cross-examination, private respondent Alfonso Verchez could not give any
For the defense of force majeure to prosper, plausible reason as to the reason why he did not accompany his ailing wife to Manila.31
x x x it is necessary that one has committed no negligence or misconduct that may have xxxx
occasioned the loss. An act of God cannot be invoked to protect a person who has failed to take It is also important to consider in resolving private respondents’ claim for moral damages that
steps to forestall the possible adverse consequences of such a loss. One’s negligence may have private respondent Grace Verchez did not accompany her ailing mother to Manila.32
concurred with an act of God in producing damage and injury to another; nonetheless, showing xxxx
that the immediate or proximate cause of the damage or injury was a fortuitous event would not It is the common reaction of a husband to be at his ailing wife’s side as much as possible. The
exempt one from liability. When the effect is found to be partly the result of a person’s fact that private respondent Alfonso Verchez stayed behind in Sorsogon for almost 1 week
participation – whether by active intervention, neglect or failure to act – the whole convincingly demonstrates that he himself knew that his wife was not in critical condition.33
occurrence is humanized and removed from the rules applicable to acts of God. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
xxxx RCPI’s arguments fail. For it is its breach of contract upon which its liability is, it bears
Article 1174 of the Civil Code states that no person shall be responsible for a fortuitous event repeating, anchored. Since RCPI breached its contract, the presumption is that it was at fault or
that could not be foreseen or, though foreseen, was inevitable. In other words, there must be negligent. It, however, failed to rebut this presumption.
an exclusion of human intervention from the cause of injury or loss.24 (Emphasis and For breach of contract then, RCPI is liable to Grace for damages.
underscoring supplied) And for quasi-delict, RCPI is liable to Grace’s co-respondents following Article 2176 of the Civil
Assuming arguendo that fortuitous circumstances prevented RCPI from delivering the telegram Code which provides:
at the soonest possible time, it should have at least informed Grace of the non-transmission and Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged
the non-delivery so that she could have taken steps to remedy the situation. But it did not. There to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual
lies the fault or negligence. relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this
In an earlier case also involving RCPI, this Court held: Chapter. (Underscoring supplied)
Considering the public utility of RCPI’s business and its contractual obligation to transmit
messages, it should exercise due diligence to ascertain that messages are delivered to the

40
RCPI’s liability as an employer could of course be avoided if it could prove that it observed the (10) Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35. (Emphasis
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage. Article 2180 of the Civil Code so supplied)
provides: Article 26 of the Civil Code, in turn, provides:
The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for one’s own acts or omissions, Every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors
but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. and other persons. The following and similar acts, though they may not constitute a criminal
xxxx offense, shall produce a cause of action for damages, prevention, and other relief:
The owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible for damages xxxx
caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter are employed or on (2) Meddling with or disturbing the private life or family relations of another. (Emphasis
the occasion of their functions. supplied)
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers RCPI’s negligence in not promptly performing its obligation undoubtedly disturbed the peace of
acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any mind not only of Grace but also her co-respondents. As observed by the appellate court, it
business or industry. disrupted the "filial tranquillity" among them as they blamed each other "for failing to respond
xxxx swiftly to an emergency." The tortious acts and/or omissions complained of in this case are,
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned prove therefore, analogous to acts mentioned under Article 26 of the Civil Code, which are among the
that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage. instances of quasi-delict when courts may award moral damages under Article 2219 of the Civil
(Underscoring supplied) Code.
RCPI failed, however, to prove that it observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to In fine, the award to the plaintiffs-herein respondents of moral damages is in order, as is the
prevent damage. award of attorney’s fees, respondents having been compelled to litigate to protect their rights.
Respecting the assailed award of moral damages, a determination of the presence of the Clutching at straws, RCPI insists that the limited liability clause in the "Telegram Transmission
following requisites to justify the award is in order: Form" is not a contract of adhesion. Thus it argues:
x x x firstly, evidence of besmirched reputation or physical, mental or psychological suffering Neither can the Telegram Transmission Form be considered a contract of adhesion as held by
sustained by the claimant; secondly, a culpable act or omission factually established; thirdly, the respondent court. The said stipulations were all written in bold letters right in front of the
proof that the wrongful act or omission of the defendant is the proximate cause of damages Telegram Transmission Form. As a matter of fact they were beside the space where the
sustained by the claimant; and fourthly, that the case is predicated on any of the instances telegram senders write their telegraphic messages. It would have been different if the
expressed or envisioned by Article 2219 and Article 2220 of the Civil Code.34 stipulations were written at the back for surely there is no way the sender will easily notice
Respecting the first requisite, evidence of suffering by the plaintiffs-herein respondents was them. The fact that the stipulations were located in a particular space where they can easily be
correctly appreciated by the CA in this wise: seen, is sufficient notice to any sender (like Grace Verchez-Infante) where she could manifest
The failure of RCPI to deliver the telegram containing the message of appellees on time, her disapproval, leave the RCPI station and avail of the services of the other telegram
disturbed their filial tranquillity. Family members blamed each other for failing to respond operators.37 (Underscoring supplied)
swiftly to an emergency that involved the life of the late Mrs. Verchez, who suffered from RCPI misunderstands the nature of a contract of adhesion. Neither the readability of the
diabetes.35 stipulations nor their physical location in the contract determines whether it is one of adhesion.
As reflected in the foregoing discussions, the second and third requisites are present. A contract of adhesion is defined as one in which one of the parties imposes a ready-made form
On the fourth requisite, Article 2220 of the Civil Code provides: of contract, which the other party may accept or reject, but which the latter cannot modify. One
Willful injury to property may be a legal ground for awarding moral damages if the court should party prepares the stipulation in the contract, while the other party merely affixes his signature
find that, under the circumstances, such damages are justly due. The same rule applies or his "adhesion" thereto, giving no room for negotiation and depriving the latter of the
to breaches of contract where the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad faith. (Emphasis opportunity to bargain on equal footing.38 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
and underscoring supplied) While a contract of adhesion is not necessarily void and unenforceable, since it is construed
After RCPI’s first attempt to deliver the telegram failed, it did not inform Grace of the non- strictly against the party who drafted it or gave rise to any ambiguity therein, it is stricken down
delivery thereof and waited for 12 days before trying to deliver it again, knowing – as it should as void and unenforceable or subversive of public policy when the weaker party is imposed upon in
know – that time is of the essence in the delivery of telegrams. When its second long-delayed dealing with the dominant bargaining party and is reduced to the alternative of taking it or
attempt to deliver the telegram again failed, it, again, waited for another 12 days before making leaving it, completely deprived of the opportunity to bargain on equal footing.39
a third attempt. Such nonchalance in performing its urgent obligation indicates gross negligence This Court holds that the Court of Appeals’ finding that the parties’ contract is one of adhesion
amounting to bad faith. The fourth requisite is thus also present. which is void is, given the facts and circumstances of the case, thus well-taken.
In applying the above-quoted Article 2220, this Court has awarded moral damages in cases of WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, and the challenged decision of the Court of Appeals
breach of contract where the defendant was guilty of gross negligence amounting to bad faith, is AFFIRMED.
or in wanton disregard of his contractual obligation.36 Costs against petitioner.
As for RCPI’s tort-based liability, Article 2219 of the Civil Code provides: SO ORDERED.
Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:
xxxx

41