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Abuse of right cases

In Uypitching, et al. v. Quiamco, G.R. No. 146322, December 6, 2006, there was a sale
of a motorcycle with mortgage as security for the payment of the balance of the
purchase price. When the vendee failed to pay, the seller went to the buyers
establishment with the police and ordered the seizure of the motorcycle which he even
mouthed slanderous statement. Sued for damages, he contended that there is no
liability for the exercise of the right as seller-mortgagee to recover the mortgaged
vehicle preliminary to the enforcement of its right to foreclose on the mortgage in case
of default. Is the contention correct? Why?
Answer: No. True, a mortgagee may take steps to recover the mortgaged property to
enable it to enforce or protect its foreclosure right thereon. There is, however, a welldefined procedure for the recovery of possession of mortgaged property: if a mortgagee
is unable to obtain possession of a mortgaged property for its sale on foreclosure, he
must bring a civil action either to recover such possession as a preliminary step to the
sale, or to obtain judicial foreclosure. (Filinvest Credit Corp. v. CA, G.R. No. 115902,
September 27, 1995, 248 SCRA 549).
The seller failed to bring the proper civil action necessary to acquire legal
possession of the motorcycle. Instead, he descended to the buyers establishment with
his policemen and ordered the seizure of the motorcycle without a search warrant or
court order. Worse, in the course of the illegal seizure of the motorcycle, petitioner
Uypitching even mouthed a slanderous statement.
No doubt, the seller, acting through its co-petitioner Uypitching, blatantly
disregarded the lawful procedure for the enforcement of its right, to the prejudice of
respondent. Its acts violated the law as well as public morals, and transgressed the
proper norms of human relations.
The basic principle of human relations, embodied in Article 19 of the Civil Code,
provides:
Art. 19. Every person must in the exercise of his rights and in the
performance of his duties, act with justice, give every one his due, and
observe honesty and good faith.
Article 19, also known as the principle of abuse of right, prescribes that a
person should not use his right unjustly or contrary to honesty and good faith, otherwise
he opens himself to liability. (HSBC v. Catalan, G.R. No. 159590-91, October 18, 2004;

440 SCRA 498). It seeks to preclude the use of, or the tendency to use, a legal right (or
duty) as a means to unjust ends.
There is an abuse of right when it is exercised solely to prejudice or injure
another. (HSBC v. Catalan). The exercise of a right must be in accordance with the
purpose for which it was established and must not be excessive or unduly harsh; there
must be no intention to harm another. (HSBC v. Catalan). Otherwise, liability for
damages to the injured party will attach.
In this case, the manner by which the motorcycle was taken at the sellers
instance was not only attended by bad faith but also contrary to the procedure laid down
by law. Considered in conjunction with the defamatory statement, the sellers exercise of
the right to recover the mortgaged vehicle was utterly prejudicial and injurious to the
buyer. On the other hand, the precipitate act of filing an unfounded complaint could not
in any way be considered to be in accordance with the purpose for which the right to
prosecute a crime was established. Thus, the totality of the buyers actions showed a
calculated design to embarrass, humiliate and publicly ridicule the buyer. The seller
acted in an excessively harsh fashion to the prejudice of the buyer. Contrary to law, the
seller willfully caused damage to the buyer. Hence, they should indemnify him.

Article 22; its application.


In Republic, et al. v. Lacap, G.R. No. 158253, March 2, 2007 the SC had the
occasion to once again say that Article 22, NCC was formulated as basic principles to
be observed for the rightful relationship between human beings and for the stability of
the social order, x x x designed to indicate certain norms that spring from the fountain of
good conscience, x x x guides human conduct that should run as golden threads
through society to the end that law may approach its supreme ideal which is the sway
and dominance of justice. (Advance Foundation Construction Systems Corp. v. New
World Properties and Ventures, Inc., G.R. Nos. 143154 & 143177, June 21, 2006, 491
SCRA 557, 578; Security Bank & Trust Co. v. Court of Appeals, 319 Phil. 312, 317
(1995)). The rules thereon apply equally well to the Government. (Palma Development
Corp. v. Municipality of Malangas, Zamboanga Del Sur, 459 Phil. 1042, 1050 (2003);
Republic v. Court of Appeals, No. L-31303-04, May 31, 1978, 83 SCRA 453, 480). Since
respondent had rendered services to the full satisfaction and acceptance by petitioner,
then the former should be compensated for them. To allow petitioner to acquire the
finished project at no cost would undoubtedly constitute unjust enrichment for the
petitioner to the prejudice of respondent. Such unjust enrichment is not allowed by law.
In this case, the respondent undertook works for the government, made
advances for the purchase of materials and payment for labor costs. The State however

refused to pay on the ground that it had an expired license at the time of the execution
of the contract. Despite the same, it is entitled to be paid for completed projects.