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G.R. No.

L-52482 February 23, 1990


SENTINEL INSURANCE C., INC., petitioner,
vs.
T!E !NRA"LE CURT F A##EALS, !N. FLRELIANA CASTR-"ARTL$E, #re%&'&()
*u')e, Cour+ o, F&r%+ I(%+a(-e o, R&.a/, Se0e(+1 *u'&-&a/ 2&%+r&-+, "ra(-1 34, T!E #R4INCIAL
S!ERIFF F RI5AL, a(' RSE IN2USTRIES, INC., respondents.
Jesus I. Santos Law Ofce for petitioner.
Quasha, Asperilla, Ancheta, Valmonte, Pea & arcos for pri!ate respon"ent.

REGALA2, J.:
Before us is a petition seeking the amendment and modifcation of the dispositive portion of respondent
court's decision in CA-G.R. No. S-!"##$,
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a%%eged%& to make it conform 'ith the fndings, arguments and
o(servations em(odied in said decision 'hich re%ief 'as denied (& respondent court in its reso%ution, dated
)anuar& $*, $"+!,
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re,ecting petitioner's e- parte motion f%ed for that purpose.
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.hi%e not invo%ving the main issues in the case threshed out in the court a #uo, the ,udgment in 'hich had
a%read& (ecome fna% and e-ecutor&, the factua% (ackdrop of the present petition is summari/ed (&
respondent court as fo%%o's0
etitioner Sentine% 1nsurance Co., 1nc., 'as the suret& in a contract of suret&ship entered into
on Novem(er $*, $"23 'ith Nemesio A/cueta, Sr., 'ho is doing (usiness under the name
and st&%e of '4a%a&an 5rading as re6ected in S1C7 Bond No. G8$9:!!;2+ 'here (oth of them
(ound themse%ves, ',oint%& and severa%%&, to fu%%& and re%igious%& guarantee the comp%iance
'ith the terms and stipu%ations of the credit %ine granted (& private respondent Rose
1ndustries, 1nc., in favor of Nemesio A/cueta, Sr., in the amount of $+!,!!.!!.' Bet'een
Novem(er ;# to <ecem(er ;#, $"23, A/cueta made various purchases of tires, (atteries and
tire tu(es from the private respondent (ut fai%ed to pa& therefor, prompting the %atter to
demand pa&ment (ut (ecause A/cueta fai%ed to sett%e his accounts, the case 'as referred to
the 1nsurance Commissioner 'ho invited the attention of the petitioner on the matter and
the %atter cance%%ed the Suret&ship Agreement on 4a& $#, $"2* 'ith due notice to the
private respondent. 4ean'hi%e, private respondent f%ed 'ith the respondent court of 4akati
a comp%aint for co%%ection of sum of mone& against herein petitioner and A/cueta, docketed
as Civi% Case No. ;$;3+ a%%eging the foregoing antecedents and pra&ing that said defendants
(e ordered to pa& ,oint%& and severa%%& unto the p%ainti=.
a: 5he amount of $"+,9!;.3$ as its principa% o(%igation, inc%uding interest
and damage dues as of Apri% ;", $"2*>
(: $o pa% interest at &'( per annum an" "ama)e "ues at the rate of *(
e!er% '+ "a%s commencin) from April ,-, &./+ up to the time the full amount
is full% pai"0
--- --- ---
After petitioner f%ed its ans'er 'ith counterc%aim, the case, upon agreement of the parties,
'as su(mitted for summar& ,udgment and on <ecem(er ;", $"2*, respondent court
rendered its decision 'ith the fo%%o'ing dispositive portion0
--- --- ---
a: 5o pa& interest on the principa% o(%igation at the rate of &'( per annum at
the rate of *( e!er% '+ "a%s commencing from Apri% #!, $"2* unti% the
amount is fu%%& paid.
5he decision having (ecome fna% and e-ecutor&, the prevai%ing part& moved for its
e-ecution 'hich respondent ,udge granted and pursuant thereto, a notice of attachment and
%ev& 'as served (& respondent rovincia% Sheri= upon the petitioner. 7n the same da&,
ho'ever, the %atter f%ed a motion for 'c%arifcation of the ,udgment as to its rea% and true
import (ecause on its face, it 'ou%d appear that aside from the $3? interest imposed on the
principa% o(%igation, an additiona% ;? ever& 3* da&s corresponding to the additiona% pena%t&
has (een imposed against the petitioner 'hich imposition 'ou%d (e usurious and cou%d not
have (een the intention of respondent )udge.' But the move did nor prosper (ecause oi% 4a&
;;, $"2$, the ,udge denied the motion on the theor& that the ,udgment, having (ecome fna%
and e-ecutor&, it can no %onger (e amended or corrected.
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Contending that the order 'as issued 'ith grave a(use of discretion, petitioner 'ent to respondent court
on a petition for certiorari and mandamus to compe% the court (e%o' to c%arif& its decision, particu%ar%&
aragraph %8a: of the dispositive portion thereof.
Respondent court granted ti%e petition in its decision dated <ecem(er #, $"2", the dis@uisition and
dispositive portion 'hereof read0
.hi%e it is an e%ementar& ru%e of procedure that after a decision, order or ru%ing has (ecome
fna%, the court %oses its ,urisdiction orderover the same and can no %onger (e su(,ected to
an& modifcation or a%teration, it is %ike'ise 'e%%-sett%ed that courts are empo'ered even
after such fna%it&, to correct c%erica% errors or mistakes in the decisions 8otenciano vs. CA,
A-$$*9", ** 7.G. ;+"*:. A c%erica% error is one that is visi(%e to the e&es or o(vious to the
understanding 8B%ack vs. Repu(%ic, $!3 hi%. +3":.
5hat there 'as a mistake in the dispositive portion of the decision cannot (e denied
considering that in the comp%aint f%ed against the petitioner, the pra&er as specifca%%&
stated in paragraph 8(: 'as to 'order the %atter, to pa& interest at $3? per annum an"
"ama)e "ues at the rate of ;? ever& 3* da&s commencing from Apri% #!, $"2* up to the
time the amount is fu%%& paid.' But this not'ithstanding the respondent court in its
@uestioned decision decreed the petitioner to pa& the interest on the principa% o(%igation at
the rate of $3? per annum and ;? ever& 3* da&s commencing from Apri% #!, $"2* unti% the
amount is fu%%& paid,' so that, as petitioner correct%& o(serves, it 'ou%d appear that on top of
the $3? per annum on the principa% o(%igation, another *( interest e!er% 3* da&s
commencing from Apri% #!, $"2* unti% the amount is fu%%& paid has (een imposed against
him 8petitioner:. 1n other 'ords, #9* da&s in one &ear divided (& 3* da&s e@ua%s +-$B" 'hich,
mu%tip%ied (& ;? as ordered (& respondent-,udge 'ou%d amount to a %itt%e more than $9?.
Adding $9? per annum to the $3? interest imposed on the principa% o(%igation 'ou%d (e
#!? 'hich is verita(%& usurious and this cannot (e countenanced, much %ess sanctioned (&
an& court of ,ustice.
.e agree 'ith this o(servation and 'hat is more, it is %ike'ise a sett%ed ru%e that a%though a
court ma& grant an& re%ief a%%o'ed (& %a', such prerogative is de%imited (& the cardina%
princip%e that it cannot grant an&thing more than 'hat is pra&ed for, for certain%&, the re%ief
to (e dispensed cannot rise a(ove its source. 8otenciano vs. CA, supra.:
.CDRDE7RD, the 'rit of certiorari is here(& granted and the respondent ,udge is ordered to
c%arif& its ,udgment comp%ained of in the fo%%o'ing manner0
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a: to pa& interest at $3? per annum on the principa% o(%igation and "ama)e
"ues at the rate of ;? ever& 3* da&s commencing from Apri% #!, $"2* up to
the time the fu%% amount is fu%%& paid>
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As ear%ier stated, petitioner f%ed an e1 parte motion seeking to amend the a(ove-@uoted decreta% portion
'hich respondent court denied, hence the petition at (ar.
5he amendment sought, ostensi(%& in order that the dispositive portion of said decision 'ou%d conform
'ith the (od& thereof, is the so%e issue for reso%ution (& the Court. etitioner itse%f cites authorities in
support of its contention that it is entit%ed to a correct and c%ear e-pression of a ,udgment to avoid
su(stantia% in,ustice.
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1n amp%ifcation of its p%aint, petitioner further asseverates that respondent court
shou%d not have made an a'ard for Fdamage duesF at such %ate stage of the proceeding since said dues
'ere not the su(,ect of the a'ard made (& the tria% court.
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.e disagree 'ith petitioner.
5o c%arif& an am(iguit& or correct a c%erica% error in the ,udgment, the court ma& resort to the p%eadings
f%ed (& the parties, the fndings of fact and the conc%usions of %a' e-pressed in the te-t or (od& of the
decision.
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1ndeed, this 'as 'hat respondent court did in reso%ving the origina% petition. 1t e-amined the comp%aint
f%ed against the petitioner and noted that the pra&er as stated in aragraph 8(: thereof 'as to Forder
defendant to pa& interest at $3 per centum an" "ama)e "ues at the rate of ;? ever& 3* da&s
commencing from Apri% #!, $"2* up to the time the fu%% amount is fu%%& paid.F
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1nsofar as the fndings and the dispositive portion set forth in respondent court's decision are concerned,
there is rea%%& no inconsistenc& as 'itting%& or un'itting%& asserted (& petitioner.
5he fndings made (& respondent court did not actua%%& nu%%if& the ,udgment of the tria% court. 4ore
specifca%%&, the statement that the imposition of ;? interest ever& 3* da&s commencing from Apri% #!,
$"2* on top of the $3? per annum 8as 'ou%d (e the impression from a superfcia% reading of the
dispositive portion of the tria% court's decision: 'ou%d (e usurious is a sound o(servation. 1t shou%d,
ho'ever, (e stressed that such o(servation 'as on the theoretica% assumption that the rate of ;? is (eing
imposed as interest, not as "ama)e "ues 'hich 'as the intendment of the tria% court.
Certain%&, the damage dues in this case do not inc%ude and are not inc%uded in the computation of interest
as the t'o are of di=erent categories and are distinct c%aims 'hich ma& (e demanded separate%&, in the
same manner that commissions, fnes and pena%ties are e-c%uded in the computation of interest 'here the
%oan or for(earance is not secured in 'ho%e or in part (& rea% estate or an interest therein.
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.hi%e interest forms part of the consideration of the contract itse%f, damage dues 8pena%ties, and so forth:
are usua%%& made pa&a(%e on%& in case of defau%t or non-performance of the contract.
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A%so, a%though
interest is su(,ect to the provisions of the Gsur& Aa',
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there is no po%ic& or provision in such %a'
preventing the enforcement of damage dues a%though the e=ect ma& (e to increase the sum pa&a(%e
(e&ond the prescri(ed cei%ing rates.
etitioner's assertion that respondent court acted 'ithout authorit& in appending the a'ard of damage
dues to the ,udgment of the tria% court shou%d (e re,ected. As correct%& pointed out (& private respondent,
the opening sentence of aragraph %8a: of the dispositive portion of the %o'er court's decision e-p%icit%&
ordered petitioner to pa& private respondent the amount of $"+,9!;.3$ as principa% o(%igation inc%uding
interest and damage dues, 'hich is a c%ear and une@uivoca% indication of the %o'er court's intent to a'ard
(oth interest and damage dues.
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Signifcant%&, it (ears mention that on severa% occasions (efore petitioner moved for a c%arifcator&
,udgment, it o=ered to sett%e its account 'ith private respondent 'ithout assai%ing the imposition of the
aforementioned damage dues.
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As ramifed (& private respondent0
;. ... the then counse% of record for the petitioner, Att&. orfrio Bautista, and Att&. 5eodu%fo A.
Re&es, petitioner's Assistant Hice- resident for 7perations, had a conference 'ith the
undersigned attorne&s as to ho' petitioner 'i%% sett%e its account to avoid e-ecution. <uring
the conference, (oth parties arrived at a%most the same computation and the amount due
from petitioner, 'hich inc%udes ;? damage dues ever& 3* da&s from #! Apri% $"2* unti% the
amount is fu%%& paid, under the ,udgment. No @uestion 'as ever raised as regards same.
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*. 5he ver& face of Anne- '<' sho's that the ';?' damage dues (eing @uestioned (& the
present counse% of petitioner had (een mentioned no %ess than 5DN 8$!: 514DS and 'as
c%ear%& and distinct%& defned (& petitioner and inc%uded in the computation of its o(%igation
to herein petitioner as ';? pena%t& for ever& 3* da&s.'
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etitioner's pretense that it 'as not the intent of the court to a'ard the damage dues of ;?
ever& 3* da&s commencing #! Apri% $"2* is (e%ied (& the fact 8and this is admitted (&
petitioner: that upon agreement of the parties, the case (efore the %o'er court 'as
su(mitted for summar& ,udgment> in other 'ords, the case 'as su(mitted upon the facts as
appear in the p%eadings 'ith no other evidence presented and a fact that appears c%ear%& in
the p%eadings is that the defendants in the case (efore the %o'er court 'ere under contract
to pa& private respondent, among others, the damage dues of ;? ever& 3* da&s
commencing on #! Apri% $"2* unti% the o(%igation is fu%%& paid> ....
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Respondent court demonstra(%& did not err in ordering the c%arifcation of the decision of the tria% court (&
amending the @uestioned part of its dispositive portion to inc%ude therein the phrase damage dues to
modif& the stated rate of ;?, and there(& o(viate an& misconception that it is (eing imposed as interest.
ACC7R<1NGAI, certiorari is here(& <DN1D< and the decision of respondent Court of Appea%s is here(&
AEE1R4D<.
S7 7R<DRD<.