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G.R. No.

74431 November 6, 1989 The possessor of an animal or whoever may make use of the same is responsible for
PURITA MIRANDA VESTIL and AGUSTIN VESTIL, petitioners, vs. the damage which it may cause, although it may escape or be lost. 'This responsibility
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, DAVID UY and TERESITA shall cease only in case the damages should come from force majeure from the fault of
UY, respondents. the person who has suffered damage.
CRUZ, J.:
Thus, in Afialda v. Hisole, 6 a person hired as caretaker of a carabao gored him to death and
Little Theness Tan Uy was dead at the age of three. Her parents said she died because she his heirs thereupon sued the owner of the animal for damages. The complaint was
was bitten by a dog of the petitioners, but the latter denied this, claiming they had nothing dismissed on the ground that it was the caretaker's duty to prevent the carabao from
to do with the dog. The Uys sued the Vestils, who were sustained by the trial court. On causing injury to any one, including himself.
appeal, the decision of the court a quo was reversed in favor of the Uys. The Vestils are
now before us. They ask us to set aside the judgment of the respondent court and to Purita Vestil's testimony that she was not in possession of Miranda's house is hardly
reinstate that of the trial court. credible. She said that the occupants of the house left by her father were related to him
("one way or the other") and maintained themselves out of a common fund or by some
On July 29, 1915, Theness was bitten by a dog while she was playing with a child of the kind of arrangement (on which, however, she did not elaborate ). 7 She mentioned as
petitioners in the house of the late Vicente Miranda, the father of Purita Vestil, at F. Ramos many as ten of such relatives who had stayed in the house at one time or another although
Street in Cebu City. She was rushed to the Cebu General Hospital, where she was treated they did not appear to be close kin.8 She at least implied that they did not pay any rent,
for "multiple lacerated wounds on the forehead" 1 and administered an anti-rabies presumably because of their relation with Vicente Miranda notwithstanding that she
vaccine by Dr. Antonio Tautjo. She was discharged after nine days but was readmitted herself did not seem to know them very well.
one week later due to "vomiting of saliva." 2 The following day, on August 15, 1975, the
child died. The cause of death was certified as broncho-pneumonia. 3 There is contrary evidence that the occupants of the house, were boarders (or more of
boarders than relatives) who paid the petitioners for providing them with meals and
Seven months later, the Uys sued for damages, alleging that the Vestils were liable to accommodations. It also appears that Purita Vestil had hired a maid, Dolores Jumao-as,
them as the possessors of "Andoy," the dog that bit and eventually killed their daughter. who did the cooking and cleaning in the said house for its occupants. 9 Her mother, Pacita,
The Vestils rejected the charge, insisting that the dog belonged to the deceased Vicente who was a nursemaid of Purita herself, categorically declared that the petitioners were
Miranda, that it was a tame animal, and that in any case no one had witnessed it bite maintaining boarders in the house where Theness was bitten by a dog.10 Another witness,
Theness. After trial, Judge Jose R. Ramolete of the Court of First Instance of Cebu Marcial Lao, testified that he was indeed a boarder and that the Vestils were maintaining
sustained the defendants and dismissed the complaint. 4 the house for business purposes. 11 And although Purita denied paying the water bills for
the house, the private respondents submitted documentary evidence of her application
The respondent court arrived at a different conclusion when the case was appealed. 5 It for water connection with the Cebu Water District, which strongly suggested that she was
found that the Vestils were in possession of the house and the dog and so should be administering the house in question. 12
responsible under Article 2183 of the Civil Code for the injuries caused by the dog. It also
held that the child had died as a result of the dog bites and not for causes independent While it is true that she is not really the owner of the house, which was still part of Vicente
thereof as submitted by the appellees. Accordingly, the Vestils were ordered to pay the Miranda's estate, there is no doubt that she and her husband were its possessors at the
Uys damages in the amount of P30,000.00 for the death of Theness, P12,000.00 for medical time of the incident in question. She was the only heir residing in Cebu City and the most
and hospitalization expenses, and P2,000.00 as attorney's fees. logical person to take care of the property, which was only six kilometers from her own
house. 13 Moreover, there is evidence showing that she and her family regularly went to
In the proceedings now before us, Purita Vestil insists that she is not the owner of the the house, once or twice weekly, according to at least one witness, 14 and used it virtually
house or of the dog left by her father as his estate has not yet been partitioned and there as a second house. Interestingly, her own daughter was playing in the house with Theness
are other heirs to the property. Pursuing the logic of the Uys, she claims, even her sister when the little girl was bitten by the dog. 15 The dog itself remained in the house even
living in Canada would be held responsible for the acts of the dog simply because she is after the death of Vicente Miranda in 1973 and until 1975, when the incident in question
one of Miranda's heirs. However, that is hardly the point. What must be determined is occurred. It is also noteworthy that the petitioners offered to assist the Uys with their
the possession of the dog that admittedly was staying in the house in question, regardless hospitalization expenses although Purita said she knew them only casually. 16
of the ownership of the dog or of the house.
The petitioners also argue that even assuming that they were the possessors of the dog
Article 2183 reads as follows: that bit Theness there was no clear showing that she died as a result thereof. On the
contrary, the death certificate 17 declared that she died of broncho-pneumonia, which had

1
nothing to do with the dog bites for which she had been previously hospitalized. The was bitten by the dog even if the death certificate stated a different cause of death. The
Court need not involve itself in an extended scientific discussion of the causal connection petitioner's contention that they could not be expected to exercise remote control of the
between the dog bites and the certified cause of death except to note that, first, Theness dog is not acceptable. In fact, Article 2183 of the Civil Code holds the possessor liable even
developed hydrophobia, a symptom of rabies, as a result of the dog bites, and second, if the animal should "escape or be lost" and so be removed from his control. And it does
that asphyxia broncho-pneumonia, which ultimately caused her death, was a not matter either that, as the petitioners also contend, the dog was tame and was merely
complication of rabies. That Theness became afraid of water after she was bitten by the provoked by the child into biting her. The law does not speak only of vicious animals but
dog is established by the following testimony of Dr. Tautjo: covers even tame ones as long as they cause injury. As for the alleged provocation, the
petitioners forget that Theness was only three years old at the time she was attacked and
COURT: I think there was mention of rabies in the report in the second admission? can hardly be faulted for whatever she might have done to the animal.
A: Now, the child was continuously vomiting just before I referred to Dr. Co earlier
in the morning and then the father, because the child was asking for water, the It is worth observing that the above defenses of the petitioners are an implied rejection of
father tried to give the child water and this child went under the bed, she did not their original posture that there was no proof that it was the dog in their father's house
like to drink the water and there was fright in her eyeballs. For this reason, because I that bit Theness.
was in danger there was rabies, I called Dr. Co.
Q: In other words, the child had hydrophobia? According to Manresa the obligation imposed by Article 2183 of the Civil Code is not
A: Yes, sir. 18 based on the negligence or on the presumed lack of vigilance of the possessor or user of
the animal causing the damage. It is based on natural equity and on the principle of social
As for the link between rabies and broncho-pneumonia, the doctor had the following to interest that he who possesses animals for his utility, pleasure or service must answer for
say under oath: the damage which such animal may cause. 21

A: Now, as 1 said before, broncho-pneumonia can result from physical, chemical and We sustain the findings of the Court of Appeals and approve the monetary awards except
bacterial means. ... It can be the result of infection, now, so if you have any other only as to the medical and hospitalization expenses, which are reduced to P2,026.69, as
disease which can lower your resistance you can also get pneumonia. prayed for in the complaint. While there is no recompense that can bring back to the
xxx xxx xxx private respondents the child they have lost, their pain should at least be assuaged by the
Q: Would you say that a person who has rabies may die of complication which is civil damages to which they are entitled.
broncho-pneumonia?
A: Yes. WHEREFORE, the challenged decision is AFFIRMED as above modified. The petition is
Q: For the record, I am manifesting that this book shown the witness is know as DENIED, with costs against the petitioners. It is so ordered.
CURRENT DIANOSIS & TREATMENT, 1968 by Henry Brainerd, Sheldon Margen
and Milton Chaton. Now, I invite your attention, doctor, to page 751 of this book
under the title "Rabies." There is on this page, "Prognosis" as a result of rabies and it Jose Dingcong vs Halim Kanaan
says: Once the symptoms, have appeared death inevitably occurs after 2-3 days as a
72 Phil 14 – Civil Law – Torts and Damages – Liability of proprietors
result of cardiac or respiratory failure or generalized paralysis. After a positive
diagnosis of rabies or after a bite by a suspected animal if the animal cannot be Jose Dingcong was the owner of a hotel in Iloilo. In 1933, a certain Francisco Echevarria
observed or if the bite is on the head, give rabies vaccine (duck embryo). Do you rented a room in the upper floor of the hotel. The room he rented was immediately above
believe in this statement? the store occupied by the Kanaan brothers who are also tenants of the hotel. One night,
A: Yes. Echevarria carelessly left his faucet open thereby flooding his room and it caused water
Q: Would you say therefore that persons who have rabies may die of respiratory to drip from his room to the store below. Because of this, the articles being sold by Kanaan
failure which leave in the form of bronco-pneumonia? were damaged. Apparently also, the water pipes supposed to drain the water from
A: Broncho-pneumonia can be a complication of rabies. 19 Echevarria’s room was defective hence the flooding and the dripping.
ISSUE: Whether or not Dingcong is liable to pay for the damages caused by Echevarria.
On the strength of the foregoing testimony, the Court finds that the link between the dog
bites and the certified cause of death has beep satisfactorily established. We also reiterate HELD: Yes. Dingcong as proprietor is liable for the negligent act of the guest of his hotel
our ruling in Sison v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 20 that the death certificate is (Echevarria). It was not shown that Dingcong exercised the diligence of a good father in
not conclusive proof of the cause of death but only of the fact of death. Indeed, the preventing the damage caused. The pipe should have been repaired prior and Echevarria
evidence of the child's hydrophobia is sufficient to convince us that she died because she should have been provided with a container to catch the drip. Therefore, Dingcong is
liable to pay for damages by reason of his negligence.
2
TRANSLATED VERSION This is by Google Translate which is kind of messy still (as always). 1571 of the Civil Code, or one for quasi-delict, as held by the public respondent, which can
be filed within four years pursuant to Article 1146 of the same Code.
According to the Court’s ruling of the Court of Appeals, brothers and Jose Loreto
Dingcong Dingcong are coarrentadarios of senior’s home located in Emilia Saenz Jose Ma
Basa Street in the City of Iloilo, where they established the Central Hotel, being the the On 7 May 1990, Lydia L. Geronimo, the herein private respondent, filed a complaint for
owner first and the last his manager. Francisco Echevarria occupy the defendant, on damages against petitioner with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City. 1 The
payment of P30 per month, the fourth No. 10 of the hotel. The plaintiffs Acup turn the case was docketed as Civil Case No. D-9629. She alleges in her complaint that she was the
bass of the hotel where they had established their “American Bazaar” dedicated to the proprietress of Kindergarten Wonderland Canteen docketed as located in Dagupan City,
purchase and sale of articles and mencancias. About eleven o’clock the night of an enterprise engaged in the sale of soft drinks (including Coke and Sprite) and other
September 19, 1933, Echevarria, when retiring to bed, carelessly left open the faucet was goods to the students of Kindergarten Wonderland and to the public; on or about 12
on a basin without normal drainage. As the pipes of the hotel at that time was under August 1989, some parents of the students complained to her that the Coke and Sprite
repair when midnight drew water from the pipes, spread the floor, pierced and wetting soft drinks sold by her contained fiber-like matter and other foreign substances or
articles and mencancias on low setting “American Bazaar,” causing a lost, the Court of particles; he then went over her stock of softdrinks and discovered the presence of some
First Instance held at P1, 089.61. fiber-like substances in the contents of some unopened Coke bottles and a plastic matter
in the contents of an unopened Sprite bottle; she brought the said bottles to the Regional
This action was presented by Halim Kanaan, Kanaan and Michael Kanaan Nasri on behalf Health Office of the Department of Health at San Fernando, La Union, for examination;
of the name “American Bazaar” against Dingcong Loreto, and Francisco Jose Echevarria subsequently, she received a letter from the Department of Health informing her that the
Dingcong for damages caused to the plaintiffs.The Jusgado dismissed the case as to samples she submitted "are adulterated;" as a consequence of the discovery of the foreign
Loreto Dingcong to have died, and condemn Francisco Echevarria, Jose Dingcong substances in the beverages, her sales of soft drinks severely plummeted from the usual
acquitted. The plaintiffs appealed this decision in Dingcong Jose acquitted. The Court of 10 cases per day to as low as 2 to 3 cases per day resulting in losses of from P200.00 to
Appeals, reversing the decision of the Court of First Instance declared Jose Dingcong P300.00 per day, and not long after that she had to lose shop on 12 December 1989; she
charge and sentenced him to pay the applicants the amount of damages the same as became jobless and destitute; she demanded from the petitioner the payment of damages
assessed by the court. It will be presented to this Court by certiorari, appeal this decision but was rebuffed by it. She prayed for judgment ordering the petitioner to pay her
of the Court of Appeals. P5,000.00 as actual damages, P72,000.00 as compensatory damages, P500,000.00 as moral
As Jose Dingcong joint tenant and manager of the hotel, with full possession of the top of damages, P10,000.00 as exemplary damages, the amount equal to 30% of the damages
the house, you must answer for damages caused by things that were thrown or fell from awarded as attorney's fees, and the costs. 2
it (Article 1910 Civil Code). Francisco Echevarria was a guest of the hotel was the one who
directly by their neglect, leaving open the tap, let the water pipe pull back on the ground The petitioner moved to dismiss 3 the complaint on the grounds of failure to exhaust
and seep into the low, dipping the articles and goods of the plaintiffs. Dingcong Jose, on administrative remedies and prescription. Anent the latter ground, the petitioner argued
the other hand, do not practice the diligence of a good father to prevent this damage, that since the complaint is for breach of warranty under Article 1561 of the said Code. In
however they knew because they could cause then repair the pipes, then, must presume her Comment 4 thereto, private respondent alleged that the complaint is one for damages
that Echavarria could use the tap does not provided some container with adequate which does not involve an administrative action and that her cause of action is based on
drainage, and if you just put a pan under it that, when filled, the water was spread on the an injury to plaintiff's right which can be brought within four years pursuant to Article
ground. 1146 of the Civil Code; hence, the complaint was seasonably filed. Subsequent related
pleadings were thereafter filed by the parties. 5
Confirming the decision appealed, the costs to the appellant.
G.R. No. 110295 October 18, 1993 In its Order of 23 January 1991, 6 the trial court granted the motion to dismiss. It ruled that
COCA-COLA BOTTLERS PHILIPPINES, INC., vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies does not apply as the existing
APPEALS (Fifth Division) and MS. LYDIA GERONIMO, respondents. administrative remedy is not adequate. It also stated that the complaint is based on a
DAVIDE, JR., J.: contract, and not on quasi-delict, as there exists pre-existing contractual relation between
the parties; thus, on the basis of Article 1571, in relation to Article 1562, the complaint
This case concerns the proprietress of a school canteen which had to close down as a should have been filed within six months from the delivery of the thing sold.
consequence of the big drop in its sales of soft drinks triggered by the discovery of foreign
substances in certain beverages sold by it. The interesting issue posed is whether the Her motion for the reconsideration of the order having been denied by the trial court in
subsequent action for damages by the proprietress against the soft drinks manufacturer its Order of 17 April 1991, 7the private respondent came to this Court via a petition for
should be treated as one for breach of implied warranty against hidden defects or review on certiorari which we referred to the public respondent "for proper determination
merchantability, as claimed by the manufacturer, the petitioner herein which must and disposition. 8 The public respondent docketed the case as CA-G.R. SP No. 25391.
therefore be filed within six months from the delivery of the thing sold pursuant to Article
3
In a decision promulgated on 28 January 1992, 9 the public respondent annulled the II.CORROLARILY, THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A
questioned orders of the RTC and directed it to conduct further proceedings in Civil Case GRAVE AND REVERSIBLE ERROR IN OVERRULING PETITIONER'S
No. D-9629. In holding for the private respondent, it ruled that: ARGUMENT THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT'S CAUSE OF ACTION HAD
PRESCRIBED UNDER ARTICLE 1571 OF THE CIVIL CODE. 12
Petitioner's complaint being one for quasi-delict, and not for breach of warranty as
respondent contends, the applicable prescriptive period is four years. The petitioner insists that a cursory reading of the complaint will reveal that the primary
legal basis for private respondent's cause of action is not Article 2176 of the Civil Code
It should be stressed that the allegations in the complaint plainly show that it is an on quasi-delict — for the complaint does not ascribe any tortious or wrongful conduct on
action or damages arising from respondent's act of "recklessly and negligently its part — but Articles 1561 and 1562 thereof on breach of a seller's implied warranties
manufacturing adulterated food items intended to be sold or public consumption" (p. under the law on sales. It contends the existence of a contractual relation between the
25, rollo). It is truism in legal procedure that what determines the nature of an action parties (arising from the contract of sale) bars the application of the law on quasi-
are the facts alleged in the complaint and those averred as a defense in the defendant's delicts and that since private respondent's cause of action arose from the breach of implied
answer (I Moran 126; Calo v. Roldan, 76 Phil. 445; Alger Electric, Inc. v. CA, 135 SCRA warranties, the complaint should have been filed within six months room delivery of the
340). soft drinks pursuant to Article 171 of the Civil Code.

Secondly, despite the literal wording of Article 2176 of the Civil code, the existence of In her Comment the private respondent argues that in case of breach of the seller's
contractual relations between the parties does not absolutely preclude an action by implied warranties, the vendee may, under Article 1567 of the Civil Code, elect between
one against the other for quasi-delict arising from negligence in the performance of a withdrawing from the contract or demanding a proportionate reduction of the price, with
contract. damages in either case. She asserts that Civil Case No. D-9629 is neither an action for
rescission nor for proportionate reduction of the price, but for damages arising from
a quasi-delict and that the public respondent was correct in ruling that the existence of a
In Singson v. Court of Appeals (23 SCRA 1117), the Supreme Court ruled:
contract did not preclude the action for quasi-delict. As to the issue of prescription, the
private respondent insists that since her cause of action is based on quasi-delict, the
It has been repeatedly held: that the existence of a contract between the parties does prescriptive period therefore is four (4) years in accordance with Article 1144 of the Civil
not bar the commission of a tort by the one against the other and the consequent Code and thus the filing of the complaint was well within the said period.
recovery of damages therefor
. . . . Thus in Air France vs. Carrascoso, . . . (it was held that) although the relation
We find no merit in the petition. The public respondent's conclusion that the cause of
between a passenger and a carrier is "contractual both in origin and in nature the act
action in Civil Case No. D-9629 is found on quasi-delict and that, therefore, pursuant to
that breaks the contract may also be a tort.
Article 1146 of the Civil Code, it prescribes in four (4) years is supported by the allegations
in the complaint, more particularly paragraph 12 thereof, which makes reference to the
Significantly, in American jurisprudence, from which Our law on Sales was taken, reckless and negligent manufacture of "adulterated food items intended to be sold for
the authorities are one in saying that he availability of an action or breach of public consumption."
warranty does not bar an action for torts in a sale of defective goods. 10
The vendee's remedies against a vendor with respect to the warranties against hidden
Its motion for the reconsideration of the decision having been denied by the public defects of or encumbrances upon the thing sold are not limited to those prescribed in
respondent in its Resolution of 14 May 1993, 11 the petitioner took his recourse under Rule Article 1567 of the Civil Code which provides:
45 of the Revised Rules of Court. It alleges in its petition that:
Art. 1567. In the case of Articles 1561, 1562, 1564, 1565 and 1566, the vendee may
I.THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE AND elect between withdrawing from the contract and demanding a proportionate
REVERSIBLE ERROR IN RULING THAT ARTICLE 2176, THE GENERAL reduction of the price, with damages either case. 13
PROVISION ON QUASI-DELICTS, IS APPLICABLE IN THIS CASE WHEN THE
ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT CLEARLY SHOW THAT PRIVATE
The vendee may also ask for the annulment of the contract upon proof of error or fraud,
RESPONDENT'S CAUSE OF ACTION IS BASEDON BREACH OF A SELLER'S
in which case the ordinary rule on obligations shall be applicable. 14 Under the law on
IMPLIED WARRANTIES UNDER OUR LAW ON SALES.
obligations, responsibility arising from fraud is demandable in all obligations and any
waiver of an action for future fraud is void. Responsibility arising from negligence is also
demandable in any obligation, but such liability may be regulated by the courts,
4
according to the circumstances. 15 Those guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay in the Marketing. Later, Mr. Manuel Tiong asked So Ping Bun to vacate the premises but the
performance of their obligations and those who in any manner contravene the tenor batter refused and entered into formal contracts of lease with DCCSI. In a suit for
thereof are liable for damages. 16 injunction, private respondents pressed for the nullification of the lease contracts between
DCCSI and petitioner, and for damages. The trial court ruled in favor of private
The vendor could likewise be liable for quasi-delict under Article 2176 of the Civil Code, respondents and the same was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
and an action based thereon may be brought by the vendee. While it may be true that the There was tort interference in the case at bar as petitioner deprived respondent
pre-existing contract between the parties may, as a general rule, bar the applicability of corporation of the latters property right. However, nothing on record imputed malice on
the law on quasi-delict, the liability may itself be deemed to arise fromquasi-delict, i.e., the petitioner; thus, precluding damages. But although the extent of damages was not
acts which breaks the contract may also be a quasi-delict. Thus, in Singson vs. Bank of the quantifiable, it does not relieve petitioner of the legal liability for entering into contracts
Philippine Islands, 17 this Court stated:
and causing breach of existing ones. Hence, the Court confirmed the permanent
injunction and nullification of the lease contracts between DCCSI and Trendsetter
We have repeatedly held, however, that the existence of a contract between the Marketing.
parties does not bar the commission of a tort by the one against the other and the
consequent recovery of damages therefor. 18 Indeed, this view has been, in effect, SYLLABUS
reiterated in a comparatively recent case. Thus, in Air France 1. CIVIL LAW; DAMAGES; NONTRESPASSORY INVASION OF ANOTHERS
vs. Carrascoso, 19 involving an airplane passenger who, despite hi first-class ticket, INTEREST IN THE PRIVATE USE AND ENJOYMENT OF ASSET; WHEN
had been illegally ousted from his first-class accommodation and compelled to take PRESENT.- Damage is the loss, hurt, or harm which results from injury, and
a seat in the tourist compartment, was held entitled to recover damages from the damages are the recompense or compensation awarded for the damage suffered.
air-carrier, upon the ground of tort on the latter's part, for, although the relation One becomes liable in an action for damages for a nontrespassory invasion of
between the passenger and a carrier is "contractual both in origin and nature . . . the anothers interest in the private use and enjoyment of asset if (a) the other has
act that breaks the contract may also be a tort. property rights and privileges with respect to the use or enjoyment interfered with,
(b) the invasion is substantial, (c) the defendants conduct is a legal cause of the
Otherwise put, liability for quasi-delict may still exist despite the presence of contractual invasion, and (d) the invasion is either intentional and unreasonable or
relations. 20 unintentional and actionable under general negligence rules.

2. ID.; OBLIGATIONS AND CONTRACTS; TORT INTERFERENCE; ELEMENTS;


Under American law, the liabilities of a manufacturer or seller of injury-causing
PRESENT.- The elements of tort interference are: (1) existence of a valid contract;
products may be based on negligence, 21 breach of warranty, 22 tort, 23 or other grounds
(2) knowledge on the part of the third person of the existence of contract; and (3)
such as fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. 24Quasi-delict, as defined in Article 2176 of
interference of the third person is without legal justification or excuse. A duty which
the Civil Code, (which is known in Spanish legal treaties as culpa aquiliana, culpa extra-
the law of torts is concerned with its respect for the property of others, and a cause
contractual or cuasi-delitos) 25 is homologous but not identical to tort under the common
of action ex delicto may be predicated upon an unlawful interference by one person
law, 26 which includes not only negligence, but also intentional criminal acts, such as
of the enjoyment by the other of his private property. This may pertain to a situation
assault and battery, false imprisonment and deceit. 27
where a third person induces a party to renege on or violate his undertaking under
a contract. In the case before us, petitioners Trendsetter Marketing asked DCCSI to
It must be made clear that our affirmance of the decision of the public respondent should execute lease contracts in its favor, and as a result petitioner deprived respondent
by no means be understood as suggesting that the private respondent's claims for moral corporation of the latters property right. Clearly, and as correctly viewed by the
damages have sufficient factual and legal basis. appellate court, the three elements of tort interference above-mentioned are present
in the instant case.
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is hereby DENIED for lack of
merit, with costs against the petitioner. 3. ID.; ID.; JUSTIFICATION WHERE THE DEFENDANT ACTS FOR THE SOLE
PURPOSE OF FURTHERING HIS OWN FINANCIAL INTEREST;
DISCUSSED.- Authorities debate on whether interference may be justified where
SO ORDERED. the defendant acts for the sole purpose of furthering his own financial or economic
interest. One view is that, as a general rube, justification for interfering with the
SYNOPSIS business relations of another exists where the actors motive is to benefit himself.
Such justification does not exists where his sole motive is to cause harm to the other.
Tek Hua Enterprises is the lessee of Dee C. Chuan & Sons, Inc. in the latters premises
Added to this, some authorities believe that it is not necessary that the interferers
in Binondo but it was So Ping Bun who was occupying the same for his Trendsetter
5
interest outweigh that of the party whose rights are invaded, and that an individual cases we said, It is not sound policy to place a penalty on the right to litigate. To
acts under an economic interest that is substantial, not merely de minimis, such that compel the defeated party to pay the fees of counsel for his successful opponent
wrongful and malicious motives are negatived, for he acts in self-protection. would throw wide open the door of temptation to the opposing party and his
Moreover, justification for protecting ones financial position should not be made to counsel to swell the fees to undue proportions. Considering that the respondent
depend on a comparison of his economic interest in the subject matter with that of corporations lease contract, at the time when the cause of action accrued, ran only
others. It is sufficient if the impetus of his conduct lies in a proper business interest on a month-to-month basis whence before it was on a yearly basis, we find even the
rather than in wrongful motives. As early as Gilchrist vs. Cuddy, we held that where reduced amount of attorneys fees ordered by the Court of Appeals still exorbitant
there was no malice in the interference of a contract, and the impulse behind ones in the light of prevailing jurisprudence. Consequently, the amount of two hundred
conduct lies in a proper business interest rather than in wrongful motives, a party thousand (P200,000.00) Pesos awarded by respondent appellate court should be
cannot be a malicious interferer. Where the alleged interferer is financially reduced to one hundred thousand (P100,000.00) pesos as the reasonable award for
interested, and such interest motivates his conduct, it cannot be said that he is an attorneys fees in favor of private respondent corporation.
officious or malicious intermeddler. In the instant case, it is clear that petitioner So
Ping Bun prevailed upon DCCSI to lease the warehouse to his enterprise at the [G.R. No. 120554. September 21, 1999]
expense of respondent corporation. Though petitioner took interest in the property SO PING BUN, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, TEK HUA ENTERPRISING
CORP. and MANUEL C. TIONG, respondents.
of respondent corporation and benefited from it, nothing on record imputes
DECISION
deliberate wrongful motives or malice on him.
QUISUMBING, J.:
4. ID.; ID.; WHERE LIABILITY NOT QUANTIFIABLE.- Section 1314 of the Civil Code
categorically provides that, Any third person who induces another to violate his
This petition for certiorari challenges the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals dated
contract shall be liable for damages to the other contracting party. Here however,
October 10, 1994, and the Resolution[2] dated June 5, 1995, in CA-G.R. CV No. 38784. The
the lower courts did not award damages because the extent of damages was not
appellate court affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 35,
quantifiable. We had a similar situation in Gilchrist, where it was difficult or
except for the award of attorneys fees, as follows:
impossible to determine the extent of damage and there was nothing on record to
serve as basis thereof In that case we refrained from awarding damages. We believe
the same conclusion applies in this case. While we do not encourage tort interferers "WHEREFORE, foregoing considered, the appeal of respondent-appellant So Ping Bun
seeking their economic interest to intrude into existing contracts at the expense of for lack of merit is DISMISSED. The appealed decision dated April 20, 1992 of the court
others, however, we find that the conduct herein complained of did not transcend a quo is modified by reducing the attorney's fees awarded to plaintiff Tek Hua
the limits forbidding an obligatory award for damages in the absence of any malice. Enterprising Corporation from P500,000.00 to P200,000.00." [3]
The business desire is there to make some gain to the detriment of the contracting
parties. Lack of malice, however, precludes damages. But it does not relieve The facts are as follows:
petitioner of the legal liability for entering into contracts and causing breach of
existing ones. The respondent appellate court correctly confirmed the permanent In 1963, Tek Hua Trading Co, through its managing partner, So Pek Giok, entered
injunction and nullification of the lease contracts between DCCSI and Trendsetter into lease agreements with lessor Dee C. Chuan & Sons Inc. (DCCSI). Subjects of four (4)
Marketing, without awarding damages. The injunction saved the respondents from lease contracts were premises located at Nos. 930, 930-Int., 924-B and 924-C, Soler Street,
further damage or injury caused by petitioners interference. Binondo, Manila. Tek Hua used the areas to store its textiles. The contracts each had a
one-year term. They provided that should the lessee continue to occupy the premises after
5. ID.; ACTUAL DAMAGES; ATTORNEYS FEES; WHERE PLAINTIFF COMPELLED the term, the lease shall be on a month-to-month basis.
TO LITIGATE TO PROTECT HIS INTEREST; BASES OF AWARD
THEREOF.- The recovery of attorneys fees in the concept of actual or compensatory When the contracts expired, the parties did not renew the contracts, but Tek Hua
damages, is allowed under the circumstances provided for in Article 2208 of the continued to occupy the premises. In 1976, Tek Hua Trading Co. was dissolved. Later, the
Civil Code. One such occasion is when the defendants act or omission has compelled original members of Tek Hua Trading Co. including Manuel C. Tiong, formed Tek Hua
the plaintiff to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to protect his interest. Enterprising Corp., herein respondent corporation.
But we consistently held that the award of considerable damages should have clear So Pek Giok, managing partner of Tek Hua Trading, died in 1986. So Pek Gioks
factual and legal bases. In connection with attorneys fees, the award should be grandson, petitioner So Ping Bun, occupied the warehouse for his own textile business,
commensurate to the benefits that would have been derived from a favorable Trendsetter Marketing.
judgment. Settled is the rule that fairness of the award of damages by the trial court
calls for appellate review such that the award if far too excessive can be reduced. On August 1, 1989, lessor DCCSI sent letters addressed to Tek Hua Enterprises,
This ruling applies with equal force on the award of attorneys fees. In a long line of informing the latter of the 25% increase in rent effective September 1, 1989. The rent

6
increase was later on reduced to 20% effective January 1, 1990, upon other lessees In the suit for injunction, private respondents pressed for the nullification of the
demand. Again on December 1, 1990, the lessor implemented a 30% rent lease contracts between DCCSI and petitioner. They also claimed damages.
increase. Enclosed in these letters were new lease contracts for signing. DCCSI warned
that failure of the lessee to accomplish the contracts shall be deemed as lack of interest on After trial, the trial court ruled:
the lessees part, and agreement to the termination of the lease. Private respondents did
not answer any of these letters. Still, the lease contracts were not rescinded. WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered:

On March 1, 1991, private respondent Tiong sent a letter to petitioner, which reads
1. Annulling the four Contracts of Lease (Exhibits A, A-1 to A-3, inclusive) all
as follows:
dated March 11, 1991, between defendant So Ping Bun, doing business
under the name and style of Trendsetter Marketing, and defendant Dee C.
March 1, 1991 Chuan & Sons, Inc. over the premises located at Nos. 924-B, 924-C, 930 and
930, Int., respectively, Soler Street, Binondo Manila;
Mr. So Ping Bun
2. Making permanent the writ of preliminary injunction issued by this Court
on June 21, 1991;
930 Soler Street
3. Ordering defendant So Ping Bun to pay the aggrieved party, plaintiff Tek
Binondo, Manila Hua Enterprising Corporation, the sum of P500,000.00, for attorneys fees;

4. Dismissing the complaint, insofar as plaintiff Manuel C. Tiong is concerned,


Dear Mr. So, and the respective counterclaims of the defendant;

5. Ordering defendant So Ping Bun to pay the costs of this lawsuit;


Due to my closed (sic) business associate (sic) for three decades with your late
grandfather Mr. So Pek Giok and late father, Mr. So Chong Bon, I allowed you
temporarily to use the warehouse of Tek Hua Enterprising Corp. for several years to This judgment is without prejudice to the rights of plaintiff Tek Hua Enterprising
generate your personal business. Corporation and defendant Dee C. Chuan & Sons, Inc. to negotiate for the renewal of
their lease contracts over the premises located at Nos. 930, 930-Int., 924-B and 924-C
Soler Street, Binondo, Manila, under such terms and conditions as they agree upon,
Since I decided to go back into textile business, I need a warehouse immediately for my
provided they are not contrary to law, public policy, public order, and morals.
stocks. Therefore, please be advised to vacate all your stocks in Tek Hua Enterprising
Corp. Warehouse. You are hereby given 14 days to vacate the premises unless you have
good reasons that you have the right to stay. Otherwise, I will be constrained to take SO ORDERED.[5]
measure to protect my interest.
Petitioners motion for reconsideration of the above decision was denied.
Please give this urgent matter your preferential attention to avoid inconvenience on
On appeal by So Ping Bun, the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court. On motion
your part.
for reconsideration, the appellate court modified the decision by reducing the award of
attorneys fees from five hundred thousand (P500,000.00) pesos to two hundred thousand
Very truly yours, (P200,000.00) pesos.
(Sgd) Manuel C. Tiong
MANUEL C. TIONG Petitioner is now before the Court raising the following issues:
President[4]
I. WHETHER THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL
COURTS DECISION FINDING SO PING BUN GUILTY OF TORTUOUS
Petitioner refused to vacate. On March 4, 1992, petitioner requested formal contracts INTERFERENCE OF CONTRACT?
of lease with DCCSI in favor Trendsetter Marketing. So Ping Bun claimed that after the
II. WHETHER THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN AWARDING
death of his grandfather, So Pek Giok, he had been occupying the premises for his textile
ATTORNEYS FEES OF P200,000.00 IN FAVOR OF PRIVATE
business and religiously paid rent. DCCSI acceded to petitioners request. The lease
RESPONDENTS.
contracts in favor of Trendsetter were executed.

7
The foregoing issues involve, essentially, the correct interpretation of the applicable Section 1314 of the Civil Code categorically provides also that, Any third person
law on tortuous conduct, particularly unlawful interference with contract. We have to who induces another to violate his contract shall be liable for damages to the other
begin, obviously, with certain fundamental principles on torts and damages. contracting party. Petitioner argues that damage is an essential element of tort
interference, and since the trial court and the appellate court ruled that private
Damage is the loss, hurt, or harm which results from injury, and damages are the respondents were not entitled to actual, moral or exemplary damages, it follows that he
recompense or compensation awarded for the damage suffered. [6] One becomes liable in ought to be absolved of any liability, including attorneys fees.
an action for damages for a nontrespassory invasion of anothers interest in the private
use and enjoyment of asset if (a) the other has property rights and privileges with respect It is true that the lower courts did not award damages, but this was only because
to the use or enjoyment interfered with, (b) the invasion is substantial, (c) the defendants the extent of damages was not quantifiable. We had a similar situation in Gilchrist, where
conduct is a legal cause of the invasion, and (d) the invasion is either intentional and it was difficult or impossible to determine the extent of damage and there was nothing on
unreasonable or unintentional and actionable under general negligence rules. [7] record to serve as basis thereof. In that case we refrained from awarding damages. We
believe the same conclusion applies in this case.
The elements of tort interference are: (1) existence of a valid contract; (2) knowledge
on the part of the third person of the existence of contract; and (3) interference of the third While we do not encourage tort interferers seeking their economic interest to intrude
person is without legal justification or excuse.[8] into existing contracts at the expense of others, however, we find that the conduct herein
complained of did not transcend the limits forbidding an obligatory award for damages
A duty which the law of torts is concerned with is respect for the property of others, in the absence of any malice. The business desire is there to make some gain to the
and a cause of action ex delicto may be predicated upon an unlawful interference by one detriment of the contracting parties. Lack of malice, however, precludes damages. But it
person of the enjoyment by the other of his private property. [9] This may pertain to a does not relieve petitioner of the legal liability for entering into contracts and causing
situation where a third person induces a party to renege on or violate his undertaking breach of existing ones. The respondent appellate court correctly confirmed the
under a contract. In the case before us, petitioners Trendsetter Marketing asked DCCSI to permanent injunction and nullification of the lease contracts between DCCSI and
execute lease contracts in its favor, and as a result petitioner deprived respondent Trendsetter Marketing, without awarding damages.The injunction saved the respondents
corporation of the latters property right. Clearly, and as correctly viewed by the appellate from further damage or injury caused by petitioners interference.
court, the three elements of tort interference above-mentioned are present in the instant
case. Lastly, the recovery of attorneys fees in the concept of actual or compensatory
damages, is allowed under the circumstances provided for in Article 2208 of the Civil
Authorities debate on whether interference may be justified where the defendant Code.[16] One such occasion is when the defendants act or omission has compelled the
acts for the sole purpose of furthering his own financial or economic interest. [10] One view plaintiff to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to protect his interest. [17] But
is that, as a general rule, justification for interfering with the business relations of another we have consistently held that the award of considerable damages should have clear
exists where the actors motive is to benefit himself. Such justification does not exist where factual and legal bases.[18] In connection with attorneys fees, the award should be
his sole motive is to cause harm to the other. Added to this, some authorities believe that commensurate to the benefits that would have been derived from a favorable
it is not necessary that the interferers interest outweigh that of the party whose rights are judgment. Settled is the rule that fairness of the award of damages by the trial court calls
invaded, and that an individual acts under an economic interest that is substantial, not for appellate review such that the award if far too excessive can be reduced.[19] This ruling
merely de minimis, such that wrongful and malicious motives are negatived, for he acts in applies with equal force on the award of attorneys fees. In a long line of cases we said, It
self-protection.[11] Moreover, justification for protecting ones financial position should not is not sound policy to place a penalty on the right to litigate. To compel the defeated party
be made to depend on a comparison of his economic interest in the subject matter with to pay the fees of counsel for his successful opponent would throw wide open the door
that of others.[12] It is sufficient if the impetus of his conduct lies in a proper business of temptation to the opposing party and his counsel to swell the fees to undue
interest rather than in wrongful motives.[13] proportions.[20]
As early as Gilchrist vs. Cuddy,[14] we held that where there was no malice in the Considering that the respondent corporations lease contract, at the time when the
interference of a contract, and the impulse behind ones conduct lies in a proper business cause of action accrued, ran only on a month-to-month basis whence before it was on a
interest rather than in wrongful motives, a party cannot be a malicious interferer. Where yearly basis, we find even the reduced amount of attorneys fees ordered by the Court of
the alleged interferer is financially interested, and such interest motivates his conduct, it Appeals still exorbitant in the light of prevailing jurisprudence. [21]Consequently, the
cannot be said that he is an officious or malicious intermeddler. [15] amount of two hundred thousand (P200,000.00) awarded by respondent appellate court
In the instant case, it is clear that petitioner So Ping Bun prevailed upon DCCSI to should be reduced to one hundred thousand (P100,000.00) pesos as the reasonable award
lease the warehouse to his enterprise at the expense of respondent corporation. Though for attorneys fees in favor of private respondent corporation.
petitioner took interest in the property of respondent corporation and benefited from it, WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The assailed Decision and
nothing on record imputes deliberate wrongful motives or malice on him. Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 38784 are hereby AFFIRMED, with

8
MODIFICATION that the award of attorneys fees is reduced from two hundred thousand Between June and August 1997, Robinson signed documents appointing Cordero as the
(P200,000.00) to one hundred thousand (P100,000.00) pesos. No pronouncement as to exclusive distributor of AFFA catamaran and other fast ferry vessels in
costs. the Philippines. As such exclusive distributor, Cordero offered for sale to prospective
buyers the 25-meter Aluminium Passenger catamaran known as the SEACAT 25.[4]
SO ORDERED.

FIRST DIVISION After negotiations with Felipe Landicho and Vincent Tecson, lawyers of Allan C. Go who
is the owner/operator of ACG Express Liner of Cebu City, a single proprietorship,
ALLAN C. GO, doing business under G.R. No. 164703 Cordero was able to close a deal for the purchase of two (2) SEACAT 25 as evidenced by
the name and style ACG Express Liner, the Memorandum of Agreement dated August 7, 1997.[5] Accordingly, the parties
Petitioner, executed Shipbuilding Contract No. 7825 for one (1) high-speed catamaran (SEACAT 25)
for the price of US$1,465,512.00.[6] Per agreement between Robinson and Cordero, the
- versus - latter shall receive commissions totalling US$328,742.00, or 22.43% of the purchase price,
from the sale of each vessel.[7]
MORTIMER F. CORDERO,
Respondent. Cordero made two (2) trips to the AFFA Shipyard in Brisbane, Australia, and on one (1)
x-----------------------------------------x occasion even accompanied Go and his family and Landicho, to monitor the progress of
the building of the vessel. He shouldered all the expenses for airfare, food, hotel
MORTIMER F. CORDERO, G.R. No. 164747 accommodations, transportation and entertainment during these trips. He also spent for
Petitioner, long distance telephone calls to communicate regularly with Robinson, Go, Tecson and
Present: Landicho.

- versus - PUNO, C.J., Chairperson, However, Cordero later discovered that Go was dealing directly with Robinson when he
CARPIO MORALES, was informed by Dennis Padua of Wartsila Philippines that Go was canvassing for a
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, second catamaran engine from their company which provided the ship engine for the first
BERSAMIN, and SEACAT 25. Padua told Cordero that Go instructed him to fax the requested quotation of
ALLAN C. GO, doing business VILLARAMA, JR., JJ. the second engine to the Park Royal Hotel in Brisbane where Go was then
underthe name and style ACG Express Liner, staying. Cordero tried to contact Go and Landicho to confirm the matter but they were
FELIPE M. LANDICHO and VINCENT D. Promulgated: nowhere to be found, while Robinson refused to answer his calls. Cordero immediately
TECSON, flew to Brisbane to clarify matters with Robinson, only to find out that Go and Landicho
Respondents. May 4, 2010 were already there in Brisbanenegotiating for the sale of the second SEACAT 25. Despite
repeated follow-up calls, no explanation was given by Robinson, Go, Landicho and
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x Tecson who even made Cordero believe there would be no further sale between AFFA
and ACG Express Liner.
DECISION In a handwritten letter dated June 24, 1998, Cordero informed Go that such act of dealing
directly with Robinson violated his exclusive distributorship and demanded that they
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
respect the same, without prejudice to legal action against him and Robinson should they
For review is the Decision[1] dated March 16, 2004 as modified by the Resolution[2] dated
fail to heed the same.[8] Corderos lawyer, Atty. Ernesto A. Tabujara, Jr. of ACCRA law
July 22, 2004 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 69113, which affirmed with
firm, also wrote ACG Express Liner assailing the fraudulent actuations and
modifications the Decision[3] dated May 31, 2000 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
misrepresentations committed by Go in connivance with his lawyers (Landicho and
of Quezon City, Branch 85 in Civil Case No. 98-35332.
Tecson) in breach of Corderos exclusive distributorship appointment. [9]
The factual antecedents:
Having been apprised of Corderos demand letter, Thyne & Macartney, the lawyer of
Sometime in 1996, Mortimer F. Cordero, Vice-President of Pamana Marketing
AFFA and Robinson, faxed a letter to ACCRA law firm asserting that the appointment of
Corporation (Pamana), ventured into the business of marketing inter-island passenger
Cordero as AFFAs distributor was for the purpose of one (1) transaction only, that is, the
vessels. After contacting various overseas fast ferry manufacturers from all over the
purchase of a high-speed catamaran vessel by ACG Express Liner in August 1997. The
world, he came to meet Tony Robinson, an Australian national based
letter further stated that Cordero was offered the exclusive distributorship, the terms of
in Brisbane, Australia, who is the Managing Director of Aluminium Fast Ferries Australia
(AFFA).
9
which were contained in a draft agreement which Cordero allegedly failed to return to grievances to his principal, AFFA, such that Go engaged the services of Landicho to fly
AFFA within a reasonable time, and which offer is already being revoked by AFFA. [10] to Australia and attend to the documents needed for shipment of the vessel to the
Philippines. As to the inquiry for the Philippine price for a Wartsila ship engine for
As to the response of Go, Landicho and Tecson to his demand letter, Cordero testified AFFAs other on-going vessel construction, this was merely requested by Robinson but
before the trial court that on the same day, Landicho, acting on behalf of Go, talked to him which Cordero misinterpreted as indication that Go was buying a second
over the telephone and offered to amicably settle their dispute. Tecson and Landicho vessel.Moreover, Landicho and Tecson had no transaction whatsoever with Cordero who
offered to convince Go to honor his exclusive distributorship with AFFA and to purchase had no document to show any such shipbuilding contract. As to the supposed meeting to
all vessels for ACG Express Liner through him for the next three (3) years. In an effort to settle their dispute, this was due to the malicious demand of Cordero to be given
amicably settle the matter, Landicho, acting in behalf of Go, set up a meeting with Cordero US$3,000,000 as otherwise he will expose in the media the alleged undervaluation of the
on June 29, 1998 between 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at the Mactan Island Resort Hotel vessel with the BOC. In any case, Cordero no longer had cause of action for his
lobby. On said date, however, only Landicho and Tecson came and no reason was given commission for the sale of the second vessel under the memorandum of agreement
for Gos absence. Tecson and Landicho proposed that they will convince Go to pay him dated August 7, 1997 considering the termination of his authority by AFFAs lawyers
US$1,500,000.00 on the condition that they will get a cut of 20%. And so it was agreed on June 26, 1998.[15]
between him, Landicho and Tecson that the latter would give him a weekly status report
and that the matter will be settled in three (3) to four (4) weeks and neither party will file Pre-trial was reset twice to afford the parties opportunity to reach a settlement. However,
an action against each other until a final report on the proposed settlement. No such on motion filed by Cordero through counsel, the trial court reconsidered the resetting of
report was made by either Tecson or Landicho who, it turned out, had no intention to do the pre-trial to another date for the third time as requested by Go, Tecson and Landicho,
so and were just buying time as the catamaran vessel was due to arrive from in view of the latters failure to appear at the pre-trial conference on January 7, 2000 despite
Australia. Cordero then filed a complaint with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to prohibit due notice. The trial court further confirmed that said defendants misled the trial court in
the entry of SEACAT 25 from Australia based on misdeclaration and moving for continuance during the pre-trial conference held on December 10, 1999,
undervaluation. Consequently, an Alert Order was issued by Acting BOC Commissioner purportedly to go abroad for the holiday season when in truth a Hold-Departure Order
Nelson Tan for the vessel which in fact arrived on July 17, 1998. Cordero claimed that Go had been issued against them.[16] Accordingly, plaintiff Cordero was allowed to present
and Robinson had conspired to undervalue the vessel by around US$500,000.00. [11] his evidence ex parte.

On August 21, 1998, Cordero instituted Civil Case No. 98-35332 seeking to hold Robinson, Corderos testimony regarding his transaction with defendants Go, Landicho and Tecson,
Go, Tecson and Landicho liable jointly and solidarily for conniving and conspiring and the latters offer of settlement, was corroborated by his counsel who also took the
together in violating his exclusive distributorship in bad faith and wanton disregard of witness stand. Further, documentary evidence including photographs taken of the June
his rights, thus depriving him of his due commissions (balance of unpaid commission 29, 1998 meeting with Landicho, Tecson and Atty. Tabujara at Shangri-las Mactan Island
from the sale of the first vessel in the amount of US$31,522.01 and unpaid commission for Resort, photographs taken in Brisbane showing Cordero, Go with his family, Robinson
the sale of the second vessel in the amount of US$328,742.00) and causing him actual, and Landicho, and also various documents, communications, vouchers and bank
moral and exemplary damages, including P800,000.00 representing expenses for airplane transmittals were presented to prove that: (1) Cordero was properly authorized and
travel to Australia, telecommunications bills and entertainment, on account of AFFAs actually transacted in behalf of AFFA as exclusive distributor in the Philippines; (2)
untimely cancellation of the exclusive distributorship agreement. Cordero also prayed for Cordero spent considerable sums of money in pursuance of the contract with Go and
the award of moral and exemplary damages, as well as attorneys fees and litigation ACG Express Liner; and (3) AFFA through Robinson paid Cordero his commissions from
expenses.[12] each scheduled payment made by Go for the first SEACAT 25 purchased from AFFA
pursuant to Shipbuilding Contract No. 7825.[17]
Robinson filed a motion to dismiss grounded on lack of jurisdiction over his person and
failure to state a cause of action, asserting that there was no act committed in violation of On May 31, 2000, the trial court rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which
the distributorship agreement. Said motion was denied by the trial court on December 20, reads as follows:
1999. Robinson was likewise declared in default for failure to file his answer within the
period granted by the trial court.[13] As for Go and Tecson, their motion to dismiss based WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby
on failure to state a cause of action was likewise denied by the trial court on February 26, rendered in favor of Plaintiff and against defendants Allan C. Go, Tony
1999.[14]Subsequently, they filed their Answer denying that they have anything to do with Robinson, Felipe Landicho, and Vincent Tecson. As prayed for,
the termination by AFFA of Corderos authority as exclusive distributor in defendants are hereby ordered to pay Plaintiff jointly and solidarily,
the Philippines. On the contrary, they averred it was Cordero who stopped the following:
communicating with Go in connection with the purchase of the first vessel from AFFA
and was not doing his part in making progress status reports and airing the clients

10
1. On the First Cause of Action, the sum total of SIXTEEN On March 16, 2004, the CA in CA-G.R. CV No. 69113 affirmed the trial court
MILLION TWO HUNDRED NINETY ONE THOUSAND (1) in allowing Cordero to present his evidence ex-parte after the unjustified failure of
THREE HUNDRED FIFTY TWO AND FORTY THREE appellants (Go, Tecson and Landicho) to appear at the pre-trial conference despite due
CENTAVOS (P16,291,352.43) as actual damages with legal notice; (2) in finding that it was Cordero and not Pamana who was appointed by AFFA
interest from 25 June 1998 until fully paid; as the exclusive distributor in the Philippines of its SEACAT 25 and other fast ferry
vessels, which is not limited to the sale of one (1) such catamaran to Go on August 7, 1997;
2. On the Second Cause of Action, the sum of ONE MILLION and (3) in finding that Cordero is entitled to a commission per vessel sold for AFFA
PESOS (P1,000,000.00) as moral damages; through his efforts in the amount equivalent to 22.43% of the price of each vessel or
US$328,742.00, and with payments of US$297,219.91 having been made to Cordero, there
3. On the Third Cause of Action, the sum of ONE MILLION remained a balance of US$31,522.09 still due to him. The CA sustained the trial court in
PESOS (P1,000,000.00) as exemplary damages; and ruling that Cordero is entitled to damages for the breach of his exclusive distributorship
agreement with AFFA.However, it held that Cordero is entitled only to commission for
4. On the Fourth Cause of Action, the sum of ONE MILLION the sale of the first catamaran obtained through his efforts with the remaining unpaid
PESOS (P1,000,000.00) as attorneys fees; sum of US$31,522.09 or P1,355,449.90 (on the basis of US$1.00=P43.00 rate) with interest
at 6% per annum from the time of the filing of the complaint until the same is fully
Costs against the defendants. paid. As to the P800,000.00 representing expenses incurred by Cordero for transportation,
phone bills, entertainment, food and lodging, the CA declared there was no basis for such
SO ORDERED.[18] award, the same being the logical and necessary consequences of the exclusive
Go, Robinson, Landicho and Tecson filed a motion for new trial, claiming that they have distributorship agreement which are normal in the field of sales and distribution, and the
been unduly prejudiced by the negligence of their counsel who was allegedly unaware expenditures having redounded to the benefit of the distributor (Cordero).
that the pre-trial conference on January 28, 2000 did not push through for the reason that
Cordero was then allowed to present his evidence ex-parte, as he had assumed that the On the amounts awarded by the trial court as moral and exemplary damages, as
said ex-partehearing was being conducted only against Robinson who was earlier well as attorneys fees, the CA reduced the same to P500,000.00, P300,000.00
declared in default.[19]In its Order dated July 28, 2000, the trial court denied the motion and P50,000.00, respectively. Appellants were held solidarily liable pursuant to the
for new trial.[20] In the same order, Corderos motion for execution pending appeal was provisions of Article 1207 in relation to Articles 19, 20, 21 and 22 of the New Civil
granted. Defendants moved to reconsider the said order insofar as it granted the motion Code. The CA further ruled that no error was committed by the trial court in denying
for execution pending appeal.[21] On August 8, 2000, they filed a notice of appeal.[22] their motion for new trial, which said court found to be pro forma and did not raise any
On August 18, 2000, the trial court denied the motion for reconsideration and on August substantial matter as to warrant the conduct of another trial.
21, 2000, the writ of execution pending appeal was issued. [23] Meanwhile, the notice of
appeal was denied for failure to pay the appellate court docket fee within the prescribed By Resolution dated July 22, 2004, the CA denied the motions for reconsideration
period.[24]Defendants filed a motion for reconsideration and to transmit the case records respectively filed by the appellants and appellee, and affirmed the Decision dated March
to the CA.[25] 16, 2004 with the sole modification that the legal interest of 6% per annum shall start to
On September 29, 2000, the CA issued a temporary restraining order at the instance of run from June 24, 1998 until the finality of the decision, and the rate of 12% interest per
defendants in the certiorari case they filed with said court docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. annum shall apply once the decision becomes final and executory until the judgment has
60354 questioning the execution orders issued by the trial court. Consequently, as been satisfied.
requested by the defendants, the trial court recalled and set aside its November 6, 2000
Order granting the ex-parte motion for release of garnished funds, cancelled the The case before us is a consolidation of the petitions for review under Rule
scheduled public auction sale of levied real properties, and denied the ex-parte Motion for 45separately filed by Go (G.R. No. 164703) and Cordero (G.R. No. 164747) in which
Break-Open Order and Ex-Parte Motion for Encashment of Check filed by petitioners raised the following arguments:
Cordero.[26] On November 29, 2000, the trial court reconsidered its Order dated August
21, 2000 denying due course to the notice of appeal and forthwith directed the transmittal G.R. No. 164703
of the records to the CA.[27] (Petitioner Go)
On January 29, 2001, the CA rendered judgment granting the petition for certiorari in CA-
G.R. SP No. 60354 and setting aside the trial courts orders of execution pending I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS DISREGARDED THE RULES
appeal.Cordero appealed the said judgment in a petition for review filed with this Court OF COURT AND PERTINENT JURISPRUDENCE AND ACTED WITH
which was eventually denied under our Decision dated September 17, 2002.[28] GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN NOT RULING THAT THE
RESPONDENT IS NOT THE REAL PARTY-IN-INTEREST AND IN NOT

11
DISMISSING THE INSTANT CASE ON THE GROUND OF LACK OF C. RESPONDENTS ADMITTED IN THEIR PRE-TRIAL BRIEF
CAUSE OF ACTION; THAT THEY HAD PURCHASED A SECOND VESSEL.

II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS IGNORED THE LAW AND II. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT PETITIONER IS
JURISPRUDENCE AND ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION NOT ENTITLED TO HIS COMMISSIONS FOR THE PURCHASE OF A
IN HOLDING HEREIN PETITIONER RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BREACH SECOND VESSEL, SINCE IT WAS PETITIONERS EFFORTS WHICH
IN THE ALLEGED EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTORSHIP AGREEMENT ACTUALLY FACILITATED AND SET-UP THE TRANSACTION FOR
WITH ALUMINIUM FAST FERRIES AUSTRALIA; RESPONDENTS.

III. THE HONORABLE APPELLATE COURT MISAPPLIED THE LAW III. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT IMPOSING THE PROPER
AND ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN FINDING LEGAL INTEREST RATE ON RESPONDENTS UNPAID OBLIGATION
PETITIONER LIABLE IN SOLIDUM WITH THE CO-DEFENDANTS WHICH SHOULD BE TWELVE PERCENT (12%) FROM THE TIME OF THE
WITH RESPECT TO THE CLAIMS OF RESPONDENT; BREACH OF THE OBLIGATION.

IV. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MISAPPLIED LAW AND


JURISPRUDENCE AND GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT
FOUND PETITIONER LIABLE FOR UNPAID COMMISSIONS, IV.
DAMAGES, ATTORNEYS FEES, AND LITIGATION EXPENSES; and
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT SUSTAINING THE
V. THE HONORABLE APPELLATE COURT ACTED CONTRARY TO ORIGINAL AMOUNT OF CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES
LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE AND GRAVELY ABUSED ITS AWARDED TO PETITIONER BY THE TRIAL COURT
DISCRETION WHEN IT EFFECTIVELY DEPRIVED HEREIN CONSIDERING THE BAD FAITH AND FRAUDULENT CONDUCT
PETITIONER OF HIS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS BY AFFIRMING THE OF RESPONDENTS IN MISAPPROPRIATING THE MONEY OF
LOWER COURTS DENIAL OF PETITIONERS MOTION FOR NEW PETITIONER.[30]
TRIAL.[29]

The controversy boils down to two (2) main issues: (1) whether petitioner Cordero has
G.R. No. 164747 the legal personality to sue the respondents for breach of contract; and (2) whether the
(Petitioner Cordero) respondents may be held liable for damages to Cordero for his unpaid commissions and
termination of his exclusive distributorship appointment by the principal, AFFA.
I.THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT SUSTAINING THE
JUDGMENT OF THE TRIAL COURT AWARDING PETITIONER ACTUAL
DAMAGES FOR HIS COMMISSION FOR THE SALE OF THE SECOND I. Real Party-in-Interest
VESSEL, SINCE THERE IS SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE ON RECORD WHICH
PROVES THAT THERE WAS A SECOND SALE OF A VESSEL.
First, on the issue of whether the case had been filed by the real party-in-interest as
required by Section 2, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, which defines such party as the one
A. THE MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT DATED 7 AUGUST
(1) to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails
1997PROVIDES THAT RESPONDENT GO WAS
of the suit.The purposes of this provision are: 1) to prevent the prosecution of actions by
CONTRACTUALLY BOUND TO BUY TWO (2) VESSELS FROM
persons without any right, title or interest in the case; 2) to require that the actual party
AFFA.
entitled to legal relief be the one to prosecute the action; 3) to avoid a multiplicity of suits;
and 4) to discourage litigation and keep it within certain bounds, pursuant to sound
B. RESPONDENT GOS POSITION PAPER AND COUNTER-
public policy.[31] A case is dismissible for lack of personality to sue upon proof that the
AFFIDAVIT/POSITION PAPER THAT WERE FILED BEFORE
plaintiff is not the real party-in-interest, hence grounded on failure to state a cause of
THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, ADMITS UNDER OATH THAT
action.[32]
HE HAD INDEED PURCHASED A SECOND VESSEL FROM
AFFA.

12
On this issue, we agree with the CA in ruling that it was Cordero and not Pamana who is noted that he had earlier filed a Motion for Time to file an appropriate responsive
the exclusive distributor of AFFA in the Philippines as shown by the Certification pleading even beyond the time provided in the summons by publication.[44] Such motion
dated June 1, 1997 issued by Tony Robinson.[33] Petitioner Go mentions the following did not state that it was a conditional appearance entered to question the regularity of the
documents also signed by respondent Robinson which state that Pamana Marketing service of summons, but an appearance submitting to the jurisdiction of the court by
Corporation represented by Mr. Mortimer F. Cordero was actually the exclusive acknowledging the summons by publication issued by the court and praying for
distributor: (1) letter dated 1 June 1997[34]; (2) certification dated 5 August 1997[35]; and (3) additional time to file a responsive pleading.Consequently, Robinson having
letter dated 5 August 1997 addressed to petitioner Cordero concerning commissions to be acknowledged the summons by publication and also having invoked the jurisdiction of
paid to Pamana Marketing Corporation.[36] Such apparent inconsistency in naming the trial court to secure affirmative relief in his motion for additional time, he effectively
AFFAs exclusive distributor in the Philippines is of no moment. For all intents and submitted voluntarily to the trial courts jurisdiction. He is now estopped from asserting
purposes, Robinson and AFFA dealt only with Cordero who alone made decisions in the otherwise, even before this Court.[45]
performance of the exclusive distributorship, as with other clients to whom he had
similarly offered AFFAs fast ferry vessels. Moreover, the stipulated commissions from II. Breach of Exclusive Distributorship,
each progress payments made by Go were directly paid by Robinson to Contractual Interference and
Cordero.[37] Respondents Landicho and Tecson were only too aware of Corderos Respondents Liability for Damages
authority as the person who was appointed and acted as exclusive distributor of AFFA,
which can be gleaned from their act of immediately furnishing him with copies of bank
In Yu v. Court of Appeals,[46] this Court ruled that the right to perform an
transmittals everytime Go remits payment to Robinson, who in turn transfers a portion
exclusive distributorship agreement and to reap the profits resulting from such
of funds received to the bank account of Cordero in the Philippines as his commission.
performance are proprietary rights which a party may protect. Thus, injunction is the
Out of these partial payments of his commission, Cordero would still give Landicho and
appropriate remedy to prevent a wrongful interference with contracts by strangers to such
Tecson their respective commission, or cuts from his own commission. Respondents
contracts where the legal remedy is insufficient and the resulting injury is irreparable. In
Landicho and Tecson failed to refute the evidence submitted by Cordero consisting of
that case, the former dealer of the same goods purchased the merchandise from the
receipts signed by them. Said amounts were apart from the earlier expenses shouldered
manufacturer in England through a trading firm in West Germany and sold these in
by Cordero for Landichos airline tickets, transportation, food and hotel accommodations
the Philippines. We held that the rights granted to the petitioner under the exclusive
for the trip to Australia.[38]
distributorship agreement may not be diminished nor rendered illusory by the expedient
act of utilizing or interposing a person or firm to obtain goods for which the exclusive
Moreover, petitioner Go, Landicho and Tecson never raised petitioner Corderos lack of distributorship was conceptualized, at the expense of the sole authorized distributor. [47]
personality to sue on behalf of Pamana,[39] and did so only before the CA when they
contended that it is Pamana and not Cordero, who was appointed and acted as exclusive
In the case at bar, it was established that petitioner Cordero was not paid the
distributor for AFFA.[40] It was Robinson who argued in support of his motion to dismiss
balance of his commission by respondent Robinson. From the time petitioner Go and
that as far as said defendant is concerned, the real party plaintiff appears to be Pamana,
respondent Landicho directly dealt with respondent Robinson in Brisbane, and ceased
against the real party defendant which is AFFA.[41] As already mentioned, the trial court
communicating through petitioner Cordero as the exclusive distributor of AFFA in the
denied the motion to dismiss filed by Robinson.
Philippines, Cordero was no longer informed of payments remitted to AFFA in
Brisbane. In other words, Cordero had clearly been cut off from the transaction until the
We find no error committed by the trial court in overruling Robinsons objection arrival of the first SEACAT 25 which was sold through his efforts. When Cordero
over the improper resort to summons by publication upon a foreign national like him and complained to Go, Robinson, Landicho and Tecson about their acts prejudicial to his
in an action in personam, notwithstanding that he raised it in a special appearance rights and demanded that they respect his exclusive distributorship, Go simply let his
specifically raising the issue of lack of jurisdiction over his person. Courts acquire lawyers led by Landicho and Tecson handle the matter and tried to settle it by promising
jurisdiction over the plaintiffs upon the filing of the complaint, while jurisdiction over the to pay a certain amount and to purchase high-speed catamarans through
defendants in a civil case is acquired either through the service of summons upon them Cordero. However, Cordero was not paid anything and worse, AFFA through its lawyer
in the manner required by law or through their voluntary appearance in court and their in Australia even terminated his exclusive dealership insisting that his services were
submission to its authority.[42] Aparty who makes a special appearance in court engaged for only one (1) transaction, that is, the purchase of the first SEACAT 25 in
challenging the jurisdiction of said court based on the ground of invalid service of August 1997.
summons is not deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. [43]
Petitioner Go argues that unlike in Yu v. Court of Appeals[48] there is no conclusive
In this case, however, although the Motion to Dismiss filed by Robinson proof adduced by petitioner Cordero that they actually purchased a second SEACAT 25
specifically stated as one (1) of the grounds the lack of personal jurisdiction, it must be directly from AFFA and hence there was no violation of the exclusive distributorship
13
agreement. Further, he contends that the CA gravely abused its discretion in holding The presence of the first and second elements is not disputed. Through the letters issued
them solidarily liable to Cordero, relying on Articles 1207, 19 and 21 of the Civil by Robinson attesting that Cordero is the exclusive distributor of AFFA in the Philippines,
Code despite absence of evidence, documentary or testimonial, showing that they respondents were clearly aware of the contract between Cordero and AFFA represented
conspired to defeat the very purpose of the exclusive distributorship agreement.[49] by Robinson. In fact, evidence on record showed that respondents initially dealt with and
recognized Cordero as such exclusive dealer of AFFA high-speed catamaran vessels in
the Philippines. In that capacity as exclusive distributor, petitioner Go entered into the
We find that contrary to the claims of petitioner Cordero, there was indeed no Memorandum of Agreement and Shipbuilding Contract No. 7825 with Cordero in behalf
sufficient evidence that respondents actually purchased a second SEACAT 25 directly of AFFA.
from AFFA. But this circumstance will not absolve respondents from liability for
invading Corderos rights under the exclusive distributorship. Respondents clearly acted
in bad faith in bypassing Cordero as they completed the remaining payments to AFFA As to the third element, our ruling in the case of So Ping Bun v. Court of
without advising him and furnishing him with copies of the bank transmittals as they Appeals[53] is instructive, to wit:
previously did, and directly dealt with AFFA through Robinson regarding arrangements
for the arrival of the first SEACAT 25 in Manila and negotiations for the purchase of the A duty which the law of torts is concerned with is respect for the
second vessel pursuant to the Memorandum of Agreement which Cordero signed in property of others, and a cause of action ex delicto may be predicated upon an
behalf of AFFA. As a result of respondents actuations, Cordero incurred losses as he was unlawful interference by one person of the enjoyment by the other of his
not paid the balance of his commission from the sale of the first vessel and his exclusive private property. This may pertain to a situation where a third person induces
distributorship revoked by AFFA. a party to renege on or violate his undertaking under a contract. In the case
before us, petitioners Trendsetter Marketing asked DCCSI to execute lease
contracts in its favor, and as a result petitioner deprived respondent
Petitioner Go contends that the trial and appellate courts erred in holding them
corporation of the latters property right.Clearly, and as correctly viewed by
solidarily liable for Corderos unpaid commission, which is the sole obligation of the
the appellate court, the three elements of tort interference above-mentioned
principal AFFA. It was Robinson on behalf of AFFA who, in the letter dated August 5,
are present in the instant case.
1997 addressed to Cordero, undertook to pay commission payments to Pamana on a
staggered progress payment plan in the form of percentage of the commission per
Authorities debate on whether interference may be justified where the
payment. AFFA explicitly committed that it will, upon receipt of progress payments, pay
defendant acts for the sole purpose of furthering his own financial or economic
to Pamana their full commission by telegraphic transfer to an account nominated by
interest. One view is that, as a general rule, justification for interfering with the
Pamana within one to two days of [AFFA] receiving such payments. [50] Petitioner Go
business relations of another exists where the actors motive is to benefit
further maintains that he had not in any way violated or caused the termination of the
himself. Such justification does not exist where his sole motive is to cause harm
exclusive distributorship agreement between Cordero and AFFA; he had also paid in full
to the other. Added to this, some authorities believe that it is not necessary that
the first and only vessel he purchased from AFFA.[51]
the interferers interest outweigh that of the party whose rights are invaded,
and that an individual acts under an economic interest that is substantial, not
While it is true that a third person cannot possibly be sued for breach of contract merely de minimis, such that wrongful and malicious motives are negatived,
because only parties can breach contractual provisions, a contracting party may sue a for he acts in self-protection. Moreover, justification for protecting ones
third person not for breach but for inducing another to commit such breach. financial position should not be made to depend on a comparison of his
economic interest in the subject matter with that of others. It is sufficient if the
impetus of his conduct lies in a proper business interest rather than in
Article 1314 of the Civil Code provides: wrongful motives.

Art. 1314. Any third person who induces another to violate As early as Gilchrist vs. Cuddy, we held that where there was no
his contract shall be liable for damages to the other contracting party. malice in the interference of a contract, and the impulse behind ones
conduct lies in a proper business interest rather than in wrongful motives, a
The elements of tort interference are: (1) existence of a valid contract; (2) knowledge on party cannot be a malicious interferer. Where the alleged interferer is
the part of the third person of the existence of a contract; and (3) interference of the third financially interested, and such interest motivates his conduct, it cannot be said
person is without legal justification.[52] that he is an officious or malicious intermeddler.

In the instant case, it is clear that petitioner So Ping Bun prevailed upon
DCCSI to lease the warehouse to his enterprise at the expense of respondent
14
corporation. Though petitioner took interest in the property of respondent In their Answer, respondents denied having anything to do with the unpaid balance of
corporation and benefited from it, nothing on record imputes deliberate the commission due to Cordero and the eventual termination of his exclusive
wrongful motives or malice in him. distributorship by AFFA. They gave a different version of the events that transpired
following the signing of Shipbuilding Contract No. 7825. According to them, several
xxx builder-competitors still entered the picture after the said contract for the purchase of
one (1) SEACAT 25 was sent to Brisbane in July 1997 for authentication, adding that the
While we do not encourage tort interferers seeking their economic contract was to be effective on August 7, 1997, the time when their funds was to become
interest to intrude into existing contracts at the expense of others, however, we available. Go admitted he called the attention of AFFA if it can compete with the prices of
find that the conduct herein complained of did not transcend the limits other builders, and upon mutual agreement, AFFA agreed to give them a discounted price
forbidding an obligatory award for damages in the absence of any malice. The under the following terms and conditions: (1) that the contract price be lowered; (2) that
business desire is there to make some gain to the detriment of the contracting Go will obtain another vessel; (3) that to secure compliance of such conditions, Go must
parties. Lack of malice, however, precludes damages. But it does not relieve make an advance payment for the building of the second vessel; and (4) that the payment
petitioner of the legal liability for entering into contracts and causing breach scheme formerly agreed upon as stipulated in the first contract shall still be the basis and
of existing ones. The respondent appellate court correctly confirmed the used as the guiding factor in remitting money for the building of the first vessel. This led
permanent injunction and nullification of the lease contracts between DCCSI to the signing of another contract superseding the first one (1), still to be dated 07 August
and Trendsetter Marketing, without awarding damages. The injunction saved 1997. Attached to the answer were photocopies of the second contract stating a lower
the respondents from further damage or injury caused by petitioners purchase price (US$1,150,000.00) and facsimile transmission of AFFA to Go confirming
interference.[54] [EMPHASIS SUPPLIED.] the transaction.[58]

As to the cessation of communication with Cordero, Go averred it was Cordero who was
Malice connotes ill will or spite, and speaks not in response to duty. It implies nowhere to be contacted at the time the shipbuilding progress did not turn good as
an intention to do ulterior and unjustifiable harm. Malice is bad faith or bad motive.[55] In promised, and it was always Landicho and Tecson who, after several attempts, were able
the case of Lagon v. Court of Appeals,[56] we held that to sustain a case for tortuous to locate him only to obtain unsatisfactory reports such that it was Go who would still
interference, the defendant must have acted with malice or must have been driven by call up Robinson regarding any progress status report, lacking documents for MARINA,
purely impure reasons to injure the plaintiff; in other words, his act of interference cannot etc., and go to Australia for ocular inspection. Hence, in May 1998 on the scheduled
be justified. We further explained that the word induce refers to situations where a person launching of the ship in Australia, Go engaged the services of Landicho who went to
causes another to choose one course of conduct by persuasion or intimidation. As to the Australia to see to it that all documents needed for the shipment of the vessel to the
allegation of private respondent in said case that petitioner induced the heirs of the late Philippines would be in order. It was also during this time that Robinsons request for
Bai Tonina Sepi to sell the property to petitioner despite an alleged renewal of the original inquiry on the Philippine price of a Wartsila engine for AFFAs then on-going vessel
lease contract with the deceased landowner, we ruled as follows: construction, was misinterpreted by Cordero as indicating that Go was buying a second
vessel.[59]
Assuming ex gratia argumenti that petitioner knew of the contract,
such knowledge alone was not sufficient to make him liable for tortuous
interference. x x x We find these allegations unconvincing and a mere afterthought as these were the very
same averments contained in the Position Paper for the Importer dated October 9, 1998,
Furthermore, the records do not support the allegation of private which was submitted by Go on behalf of ACG Express Liner in connection with the
respondent that petitioner induced the heirs of Bai Tonina Sepi to sell the complaint-affidavit filed by Cordero before the BOC-SGS Appeals Committee relative
property to him. The word induce refers to situations where a person causes to the shipment valuation of the first SEACAT 25 purchased from AFFA. [60] It appears
another to choose one course of conduct by persuasion or intimidation. The that the purported second contract superseding the original Shipbuilding Contract No.
records show that the decision of the heirs of the late Bai Tonina Sepi to sell 7825 and stating a lower price of US$1,150,000.00 (not US$1,465,512.00) was only
the property was completely of their own volition and that petitioner did presented before the BOC to show that the vessel imported into the Philippines was not
absolutely nothing to influence their judgment. Private respondent himself undervalued by almost US$500,000.00. Cordero vehemently denied there was such
did not proffer any evidence to support his claim. In short, even assuming that modification of the contract and accused respondents of resorting to falsified documents,
private respondent was able to prove the renewal of his lease contract with Bai including the facsimile transmission of AFFA supposedly confirming the said sale for
Tonina Sepi, the fact was that he was unable to prove malice or bad faith on the part only US$1,150,000.00. Incidentally, another document filed in said BOC case, the
of petitioner in purchasing the property. Therefore, the claim of tortuous interference Counter-Affidavit/Position Paper for the Importer dated November 16, 1998, [61] states
was never established.[57] in paragraph 8 under the Antecedent facts thereof, that --

15
8. As elsewhere stated, the total remittances made by on this Court.[63]We see no compelling reason to reverse the findings of the RTC and the
herein Importer to AFFA does not alone CA that respondents acted in bad faith and in utter disregard of the rights of Cordero
represent the purchase price for Seacat 25. It under the exclusive distributorship agreement.
includes advance payment for the acquisition
of another vessel as part of the deal due to the
discounted price.[62] The failure of Robinson, Go, Tecson and Landico to act with fairness, honesty
and good faith in securing better terms for the purchase of high-speed catamarans from
AFFA, to the prejudice of Cordero as the duly appointed exclusive distributor, is further
which even gives credence to the claim of Cordero that respondents negotiated for the proscribed by Article 19 of the Civil Code:
sale of the second vessel and that the nonpayment of the remaining two (2) instalments
of his commission for the sale of the first SEACAT 25 was a result of Go and Landichos Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in
directly dealing with Robinson, obviously to obtain a lower price for the second vessel the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due,
at the expense of Cordero. and observe honesty and good faith.

The act of Go, Landicho and Tecson in inducing Robinson and AFFA to enter As we have expounded in another case:
into another contract directly with ACG Express Liner to obtain a lower price for the
second vessel resulted in AFFAs breach of its contractual obligation to pay in full the Elsewhere, we explained that when a right is exercised in a manner which
commission due to Cordero and unceremonious termination of Corderos appointment does not conform with the norms enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage
as exclusive distributor. Following our pronouncement in Gilchrist v. Cuddy (supra), such to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for which the wrongdoer must
act may not be deemed malicious if impelled by a proper business interest rather than be responsible. The object of this article, therefore, is to set certain standards
in wrongful motives. The attendant circumstances, however, demonstrated that which must be observed not only in the exercise of ones rights but also in the
respondents transgressed the bounds of permissible financial interest to benefit performance of ones duties. These standards are the following: act with justice,
themselves at the expense of Cordero.Respondents furtively went directly to give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith. Its antithesis,
Robinson after Cordero had worked hard to close the deal for them to purchase from necessarily, is any act evincing bad faith or intent to injure. Its elements are
AFFA two (2) SEACAT 25, closely monitored the progress of building the first vessel the following: (1) There is a legal right or duty; (2) which is exercised in bad
sold, attended to their concerns and spent no measly sum for the trip to Australia with faith; (3) for the sole intent of prejudicing or injuring another. When Article 19
Go, Landicho and Gos family members. But what is appalling is the fact that even as Go, is violated, an action for damages is proper under Articles 20 or 21 of the Civil
Landicho and Tecson secretly negotiated with Robinson for the purchase of a second Code. Article 20 pertains to damages arising from a violation of law x x x.
vessel, Landicho and Tecson continued to demand and receive from Cordero their Article 21, on the other hand, states:
commission or cut from Corderos earned commission from the sale of the first SEACAT
25. Art. 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a
manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall
Cordero was practically excluded from the transaction when Go, Robinson, compensate the latter for the damage.
Tecson and Landicho suddenly ceased communicating with him, without giving him
any explanation.While there was nothing objectionable in negotiating for a lower price Article 21 refers to acts contra bonus mores and has the following elements: (1)
in the second purchase of SEACAT 25, which is not prohibited by the Memorandum of There is an act which is legal; (2) but which is contrary to morals, good custom,
Agreement, Go, Robinson, Tecson and Landicho clearly connived not only in ensuring public order, or public policy; and (3) it is done with intent to injure.
that Cordero would have no participation in the contract for sale of the second SEACAT
25, but also that Cordero would not be paid the balance of his commission from the sale of A common theme runs through Articles 19 and 21, and that is, the act
the first SEACAT 25. This, despite their knowledge that it was commission already complained of must be intentional.[64]
earned by and due to Cordero. Thus, the trial and appellate courts correctly ruled that
the actuations of Go, Robinson, Tecson and Landicho were without legal justification Petitioner Gos argument that he, Landicho and Tecson cannot be held liable
and intended solely to prejudice Cordero. solidarily with Robinson for actual, moral and exemplary damages, as well as attorneys
fees awarded to Cordero since no law or contract provided for solidary obligation in
these cases, is equally bereft of merit. Conformably with Article 2194 of the Civil Code,
The existence of malice, ill will or bad faith is a factual matter. As a rule, the responsibility of two or more persons who are liable for the quasi-delict is
findings of fact of the trial court, when affirmed by the appellate court, are conclusive solidary.[65] In Lafarge Cement Philippines, Inc. v. Continental Cement Corporation,[66] we held:
16
[O]bligations arising from tort are, by their nature, always Tecson were therefore correctly held liable for the balance of petitioner Corderos
solidary. We have assiduously maintained this legal principle as early as commission from the sale of the first SEACAT 25, in the amount of US$31,522.09 or its
1912 in Worcester v. Ocampo, in which we held: peso equivalent, which AFFA/Robinson did not pay in violation of the exclusive
distributorship agreement, with interest at the rate of 6% per annum from June 24, 1998
x x x The difficulty in the contention of the appellants is that until the same is fully paid.
they fail to recognize that the basis of the present action is tort. They
fail to recognize the universal doctrine that each joint tort feasor is
not only individually liable for the tort in which he participates, but Respondents having acted in bad faith, moral damages may be recovered
is also jointly liable with his tort feasors. x x x under Article 2219 of the Civil Code.[69] On the other hand, the requirements of an award
of exemplary damages are: (1) they may be imposed by way of example in addition to
It may be stated as a general rule that joint tort feasors are all compensatory damages, and only after the claimants right to them has been established;
the persons who command, instigate, promote, encourage, advise, (2) that they cannot be recovered as a matter of right, their determination depending
countenance, cooperate in, aid or abet the commission of a tort, or upon the amount of compensatory damages that may be awarded to the claimant; and
who approve of it after it is done, if done for their benefit. They are (3) the act must be accompanied by bad faith or done in a wanton, fraudulent, oppressive
each liable as principals, to the same extent and in the same or malevolent manner.[70] The award of exemplary damages is thus in order. However,
manner as if they had performed the wrongful act themselves. x we find the sums awarded by the trial court as moral and exemplary damages as
xx reduced by the CA, still excessive under the circumstances.

Joint tort feasors are jointly and severally liable for the tort Moral damages are meant to compensate and alleviate the physical suffering,
which they commit. The persons injured may sue all of them or any mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral
number less than all.Each is liable for the whole damages caused by shock, social humiliation, and similar injuries unjustly caused. Although incapable of
all, and all together are jointly liable for the whole damage. It is no pecuniary estimation, the amount must somehow be proportional to and in
defense for one sued alone, that the others who participated in the approximation of the suffering inflicted.Moral damages are not punitive in nature and
wrongful act are not joined with him as defendants; nor is it any were never intended to enrich the claimant at the expense of the defendant. There is no
excuse for him that his participation in the tort was insignificant as hard-and-fast rule in determining what would be a fair and reasonable amount of moral
compared to that of the others. x x x damages, since each case must be governed by its own peculiar facts. Trial courts are
given discretion in determining the amount, with the limitation that it should not be
Joint tort feasors are not liable pro rata. The damages can not palpably and scandalously excessive. Indeed, it must be commensurate to the loss or
be apportioned among them, except among themselves. They injury suffered.[71]
cannot insist upon an apportionment, for the purpose of each
paying an aliquot part. They are jointly and severally liable for the
whole amount. x x x We believe that the amounts of P300,000.00 and P200,000.00 as moral and
exemplary damages, respectively, would be sufficient and reasonable. Because
A payment in full for the damage done, by one of the joint tort exemplary damages are awarded, attorneys fees may also be awarded in consonance
feasors, of course satisfies any claim which might exist against the with Article 2208 (1).[72] We affirm the appellate courts award of attorneys fees in the
others. There can be but satisfaction. The release of one of the joint amount of P50,000.00.
tort feasors by agreement generally operates to discharge all. x x x
WHEREFORE, the petitions are DENIED. The Decision dated March 16, 2004
Of course, the court during trial may find that some of the
as modified by the Resolution dated July 22, 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
alleged tort feasors are liable and that others are not liable. The
CV No. 69113 are hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that the awards of
courts may release some for lack of evidence while condemning
moral and exemplary damages are hereby reduced to P300,000.00 and P200,000.00,
others of the alleged tort feasors. And this is true even though they
respectively.
are charged jointly and severally.[67] [EMPHASIS SUPPLIED.]

With costs against the petitioner in G.R. No. 164703.


The rule is that the defendant found guilty of interference with contractual
relations cannot be held liable for more than the amount for which the party who was
inducted to break the contract can be held liable.[68] Respondents Go, Landicho and SO ORDERED.
17
G.R. No. L-5932 February 27, 1912 of the former. At times they have been fortunate, putting to flight the eaters and
DEAN C. WORCESTER, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MARTIN OCAMPO, TEODORO M. devourers, but in the majority of cases they did not obtain but a change of name
KALAW, LOPE K. SANTOS, FIDEL A. REYES, FAUSTINO AGUILAR, ET or plumage.
AL.,defendants-appellants.
JOHNSON, J.: "The situation is the same in all the spheres of creation: the relation between the
ones and the others is that dictated by the appetite and the power to satisfy it at
On the 23rd day of January, 1909, the plaintiff commenced an action against the the fellow-creatures' expense.
defendants in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila, for the purpose of
recovering damages resulting from an alleged libelous publication. The complaint was in "Among men it is very easy to observe the development of this daily phenomenon.
the following language: And for some psychological reason the nations who believe themselves powerful
have taken the fiercest and most harmful creatures as emblems; it is either the lion,
COMPLAINT. or the eagle, or the serpent. Some have done so by a secret impulse of affinity and
others in the nature of simulation, of infatuated vanity, making themselves appear
I. That the plaintiff as well as the defendants are residents of the city of Manila, Philippine that which they are not nor ever can be.
Islands.
"The eagle, symbolizing liberty and strength, is the bird that has found the most
II. That for a long time before the 30th of October, 1908, the defendants, Martin Ocampo, adepts. And men, collectively and individually, have desired to copy and imitate
Teodoro M. Kalaw, Lope K. Santos, Fidel A. Reyes, Faustino Aguilar, Leoncio G. Liquete the most rapacious bird in order to triumph in the plundering of their fellow-men.
, Manuel Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo Lichauco, Felipe Barretto, and
Gregorio M. Cansipit, were the owners, directors, writers (redactores), editors (editores) "There are men who, besides being eagles, have the characteristics of the vulture,
and administrators of a certain daily newspaper known as "El Renacimiento" and "Muling the owl and the vampire.
Pagsilang," which newspaper during all the time mentioned in this complaint was
published and circulated daily in the Spanish and Tagalog languages in the city of Manila, "Ascending the mountains of Benguet to classify and measure the skulls of the
having a large circulation throughout the Philippine Islands. Igorots and study and civilize them and to espy in his flight, with the eye of the
bird of prey, where are the large deposits of gold, the prey concealed amidst the
III.That for a long time the defendants have been maliciously persecuting and attacking lonely mountains, to appropriate them to himself afterwards, thanks to legal
the plaintiff in said newspaper, until at last on the 30th of October, 1908, with the facilities made and unmade at will, but always for his own benefit.
malicious intention of injuring the plaintiff, who on said date was, and still is a member
of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and Secretary of the Interior in the "Authorizing, despite laws and ordinances, an illegal slaughtering of diseased
Government of the Philippines, they attacked the honesty and reviled the fame of the cattle in order to derive benefit from the infected and putrid meat which he himself
plaintiff, not only as a private person but also as an official of the Government of the was obliged to condemn by virtue of his official position.
Philippine Islands, and with the object of exposing him to the odium, contempt, and
ridicule of the public, printed, wrote (redactaron), and published in said newspaper in its
"Presenting himself on all occasions with the wrinkled brow of the scientist who
ordinary number of the 30th of October, 1908, a malicious defamation and false libel
consumes his life in the mysteries of the laboratory of science, when his whole
which was injurious (injurioso) to the plaintiff, said libel reading as follows:
scientific labor is confined o dissecting insects and importing fish eggs, as if the
fish eggs of this country were less nourishing and less savory, so as to make it
"EDITORIAL. worth the while replacing them with species coming from other climes.

"BIRDS OF PREY. "Giving an admirable impulse to the discovery of wealthy lodes in Mindoro, in
Mindanao, and in other virgin regions of the Archipelago, with the money of the
"On the surface of the globe some were born to eat and devour, others to be eaten people, and under the pretext of the public good, when, as a strict matter of truth,
and devoured. the object is to possess all the data and the key to the national wealth for his
essentially personal benefit, as is shown by the acquisition of immense properties
"Now and then the latter have bestirred themselves, endeavoring to rebel against registered under he names of others.
an order of things which makes them the prey and food of the insatiable voracity

18
"Promoting, through secret agents and partners, the sale to the city of worthless slaughtering of cattle; by reason furthermore of the fact, publicly known that said
land at fabulous prices which the city fathers dare not refuse, from fear of plaintiff, as such Secretary of the Interior of the Philippine Islands, had under his direction
displeasing the one who is behind the motion, and which they do not refuse for and control the Bureau of Science of the Government of the Philippine Islands, and he is
their own good. generally known as a man devoted to the study of science; by reason furthermore of the
publicly known fact that the said plaintiff, as such Secretary of the Interior of the
"Patronizing concessions for hotels on filled-in-land, with the prospects of Philippine Islands, at a previous time, caused the importation into the Philippine Islands
enormous profits, at the expense of the blood of the people. of fish eggs for the purpose of supplying the mountain streams of the Philippine Islands
with fish-hatcheries; by reason furthermore of the publicly known fact that said plaintiff,
as such Secretary of the Interior of the Philippine Islands, has journeyed to and explored
"Such are the characteristics of the man who is at the same time an eagle who
the Islands of Mindoro, Mindanao, and other regions of the Philippine Archipelago; by
surprises and devours, a vulture who gorges himself on the dead and putrid
reason furthermore of the publicly known fact that said plaintiff, as such Secretary of the
meats, an owl who affects a petulent omniscience and a vampire who silently
Interior of the Philippine Islands, at one time investigated and prepared a report for the
sucks the blood of the victim until he leaves it bloodless.
Civil Commission of the Philippines in regard to a certain proposition for the purchase of
a parcel of land for the city of Manila; by reason furthermore of the publicly known fact
"It is these birds of prey who triumph. Their flight and their aim are never that said plaintiff, as member of said Civil Commission of the Philippines together with
thwarted. the other members of said legislative body, once opened negotiations with a certain firm
engaged in the hotel business in regard to the location of a prospective hotel on one of the
"Who will detain them? filled-in lands of the city of Manila.

"Some share in the booty and the plunder. Others are too weak to raise a voice of That said defendants charged said plaintiff with the prostitution of his office as
protest. And others die in the disconsolating destruction of their own energies and member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and as Secretary of the
interests. Interior of said Islands, for personal ends; with wasting public funds for the
purpose of promoting his personal welfare; with the violation of the laws of the
"And then there appears, terrifying, the immortal legend: Philippine Islands and the ordinances of the city of Manila; with taking part in
illegal combinations for the purpose of robbing the people; with the object of
gain for himself and for others; and lastly with being "a bird of prey;" and that
"MANE, TECEL, PHARES."
said defamation should be understood, as in effect it was understood, by the
public officials of the Government and the people of the Philippine Islands in
IV.That the plaintiff was, on the date of said publication, and still is, well known to the general, as charging the said plaintiff with the conduct, actions and things above
officials of the Government of the Philippine Islands, and to the inhabitants of the specified; all of which allegations relating to the character and conduct of the
Philippine Islands, and to public in general, personally as well as a member of the Civil said plaintiff, as above stated, were and are false and without any foundation
Commission of the Philippines and as Secretary of the Interior, and the defamation and whatsoever.
libel, and the words, terms and language used in said defamation and libel were
employed by the said defendants with the intention of indicating the said plaintiff, and
That said defamation and libel were published by the defendants under a
that should be understood, as in effect they were understood, by the public officials of the
heading in large and showy type, and every effort made by said defendants to
Government and the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands in general, as referring to the
see that said defamation and libel should attract the attention of the public and
plaintiff, by reason of the publicly known fact that said plaintiff in compliance with his
be read by all the subscribers to said newspaper and the readers of the same.
duties in his position as such member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and as
such Secretary of the Interior of the Philippine Islands, ascended on a previous occasion
the mountains of the Province of Benguet to study the native tribe known as Igorot, V.Besides assailing the integrity and reviling the reputation of the plaintiff, said
residing in said region; by reason of the publicly known fact that in the said mountains of defendants, in publishing the said libel, did so with the malicious intention of inciting the
Benguet there exist large deposits of gold, and for the reason that, as member of the Civil Filipino people to believe that the plaintiff was a vile despot and a corrupt person,
Commission of the Philippines, which is the legislative body of the Philippine Islands, the unworthy of the position which he held, and for this reason to oppose his administration
plaintiff takes part in the enactment and repealing of laws in said Islands; by reason of the office in his charge as Secretary of the Interior, and in this way they endeavored to
furthermore of the fact, publicly known, that the plaintiff, as such Secretary of the Interior create enormous difficulties for him in the performance of his official duties, and to make
of the Philippine Islands, has had under his direction and control the enforcement of the him so unpopular that he would have to resign his office as member of the Civil
laws of the Philippine Islands and the ordinances of the city of Manila relating to the Commission of the Philippines and Secretary of the Interior.

19
In fact said defendants, by means of said libel and other false statements in said On the 27th of February, 1909, the Honorable Charles S. Lobingier, judge, overruled said
mentioned newspaper, have been deliberately trying to destroy the confidence demurrer in the following decision, to which the defendants duly excepted:
of the public in the plaintiff and to incite the people to place obstacles in his
way in the performance of his official duties, in consequence of which the ORDER.
plaintiff has met with a great many difficulties which have increased to a great
extent his labors as a public official in every one of the Departments.
The defendant demur upon several grounds:

VI. And for all these reasons the plaintiff alleges: That he has been damaged and is entitled
(1) The first ground is that the complaint is vague and unintelligible and this is
to an indemnity for the additional work to which he has been put, by the said defendants,
directed principally to paragraph 2, in which it is alleged that the defendants
in the compliance of his duties, both in the past and the future, as well as for the injuries
were "dueños, directores, redactores", etc., but it is not alleged that they were such
to his reputation and feelings, in the sum of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000) Philippine
simultaneously. If this were the sole averment of the defendants' connection
currency, and besides this said amount he is entitled to collect from the defendants the
with the alleged libel, the objection might be well taken, but paragraph 3 of the
additional sum of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000) Philippine currency, in the way of
complaint alleges that the defendants "imprimieron, redactaron y publicaron", etc.,
punitive damages, as a warning to the defendants.
the article complained of. Under section 2 of Act 277 "every person" who
"publishes or procures to be published any belief is made responsible. (Cf.
Wherefore the plaintiff files this complaint, praying the court: U.S. vs. Ortiz, 8 Phil. Rep., 752.) We think, therefore, that the connection of the
defendants with the publication complained of is sufficiently charged.
(1) That the defendants be summoned according to law.
(2) It is also claimed that the facts alleged are not sufficient to state a cause of
(2) That judgment be rendered ordering the defendants to pay the damages as action and it is urged in support of this that the article complained of and which
above stated, and the costs of the action. is copied in the complaint, fails to mention the plaintiff or to show on its face
that it refers to him. It is, however, specifically alleged in paragraph 4 that the
On the 23d of February, 1909, the defendants presented the following demurrer to the article was intended to refer to the plaintiff and was so understood by the public,
said complaint: and this allegation is admitted by the demurrer. Under the rule announced
in Causin vs. Jakosalem (5 Phil. Rep., 155), where the words complained of do refer
to the plaintiff "an action for libel may be maintained even though the
DEMURRER.
defamatory publication does not refer to the plaintiff by name."

Now come the defendants, through their undersigned attorney, and demur to
(3) It is further argued that there is another action pending between the parties
the complaint filed herein, upon the following grounds:
for the same cause. This, it is true, is made a ground for demurrer by the Code
of Civil Procedure, sec. 91 (3), but like all grounds therein mentioned, it must
First, That the complaint is vague and unintelligible. "appear upon the face" of the pleading objected to, and where it does not so
appear "the objection can only be taken by answer." (Code C. P., sec. 92.) There
Second. That the facts alleged in the complaint do not constitute a cause or right is no averment in the complaint which indicates that there is no another action
of action. pending.

Third. That there is another action pending between the plaintiff and several of The fourth ground of the demurrer is not one recognized by law (Code C. P., sec.
the defendants for the same cause; and 91) nor do we find anything in Sanidad vs. Cabotaje (5 Phil. Rep., 204) which
would necessitate any change in the views already expressed.
Fourth. That some of the defendants have been erroneously included therein.
The demurrer is, therefore, overruled and defendants are given the usual five
Therefore, they respectfully ask the court to dismiss the complaint, with costs days to answer.
against the plaintiff.
On the 15th day of November, 1909, the defendants presented their amended answer,
which was as follows:

20
ANSWER. DECISION.

The defendants in the above-entitled cause, through their undersigned attorney, This is a civil action sounding in damages to the amount of P100,000 for an
by their answer to the complaint, state: alleged libel of the plaintiff by the defendants.

That the defendants deny generally the allegation of the complaint. The plaintiff is the Honorable Dean C. Worcester, a member of the Civil
Commission of the Philippine Islands, and Secretary of the Interior of Insular
As a special defense, the defendants allege: Government. The defendants are twelve persons designated by name in the
complaint and alleged therein to be the owners, directors, writers (redactores),
editors (editores), and administrators of a certain daily newspaper known as "El
First. That the plaintiff has no legal capacity to institute this action, as it clearly
Renacimiento" and "Muling Pagsilang," which defendants, as well as the
appears from the allegations of the complaint and which the defendants hereby
plaintiff, are residents of the city of Manila, Philippine Islands.
deny.

It is further alleged in the complaint that for a long time prior to the 30th of
Second. That the facts are set out as constituting cause of action in the
October, 1908, the defendants were the owners, directors, writers, editors, and
complaint, are insufficient to constitute such cause of action in favor of the
administrators of said daily newspaper, and that said newspaper, during all
plaintiff and against the defendants.
the time mentioned in the complaint, was published and circulated daily in the
Spanish and Tagalog languages in the city of Manila, having a large circulation
Third. That the said complaint is manifestly improper, for the reason that there throughout the Philippine Islands.
is now pending in the Court of First Instance of this city a criminal cause, No.
4295, for the crime of libel against the defendants herein, Martin Ocampo,
It is also alleged that for a long time the defendants had been maliciously
Teodoro M. Kalaw, and Fidel A. Reyes, both actions, criminal and civil, being
persecuting and attacking the plaintiff in said newspaper, until at last, on said
based upon the same facts which the plaintiffs herein, who is also a party to the
date, with the malicious intention of injuring the plaintiff who then was still is
said criminal action, now alleges as the basis of his action.
a member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and Secretary of the
Interior in the Government of the Philippines, they attacked the integrity and
Fourth. That the civil action in the above-entitled cause has been extinguished reviled the reputation of the plaintiff, not only as a private citizen, but also as
for the reason that plaintiff did not expressly reserve the right to enforce the an official of the Government of the Philippine Islands; and with the object of
same in the aforesaid cause 4295, for the crime of libel, after the said criminal exposing him to the odium, contempt, and ridicule of the public, they wrote,
cause had been finally disposed of. printed, and published in said newspaper in its ordinary number of the said
30th of October, 1908, a malicious defamation and false libel, which was
Fifth. That the defendants, Lope K. Santos, Faustino Aguilar, Leoncio G. injurious to the plaintiff, said libel, as translated from the Spanish, reading as
Liquete, Manuel Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo Lichauco, Felipe follows:
Barretto, and Gregorio M. Cansipit, were erroneously included in the
complaint for the simple reason that the first two were acquitted in said "EDITORIAL.
criminal cause No. 4295, for libel, the third was used as a witness for the
prosecution in the said criminal cause, and the others have no interest, either
"BIRDS OF PREY.
directly or indirectly, in the newspaper "El Renacimiento" in which it is alleged
by the plaintiff the editorial, which is the basis of the complaint, and which it is
claimed to be libelous, was published. "On the surface of the globe some were born to eat and devour, others to be eaten
and devoured.
Wherefore the defendants pray that they be acquitted of the complaint, with
the costs against the plaintiff. "Now and then the latter have bestirred themselves, endeavoring to rebel against
an order of things which makes them the prey and food of the insatiable voracity
of the former. At times they have been fortunate, putting to flight the eaters and
After hearing the evidence adduced during the trial of the cause, the arguments if the
devourers, but in a majority of cases they do not obtain anything but a change of
respective attorneys, the Honorable James C. Jenkins, judge, on the 14th of January,
name or plumage.
1910, rendered the following decision:
21
"The situation is the same in all spheres of creation; the relation between the ones "Patronizing concessions for hotels on filled-in lands, with the prospects of enormous
and the others is that dictated by the appetite and the power to satisfy it at the profits, at the expense of the blood of the people.
fellow-creature's expense.
"Such are the characteristics of the man who is at the same time an eagle who surprises
"Among men it is easy to observe the development of this daily phenomenon. and devours, a vulture who gorges himself on the dead and putrid meats, an owl who
And for some psychological reason the nations who believe themselves powerful affects a petulant omniscience and a vampire who silently sucks the blood of the
have taken the fiercest and most harmful creatures as emblems; it is either the victim until he leaves it bloodless.
lion, or the eagle, or the serpent. Some have done so by a secret impulse of
affinity and others in the nature of simulation, of infatuated vanity, making "It is these birds of prey who triumph. Their flight and aim are never thwarted.
themselves appear that which they are not nor ever will be.
"Who will detain them?
"The eagle, symbolizing liberty and strength, is the bird that has found the most
adepts. And men, collectively and individually, have desired to copy and imitate
"Some share in the body and plunder, Others are too weak to raise a voice to protest.
the most rapacious bird in order to triumph in the plundering if their fellow-
And others die in the disconsolating destruction of their own energies and interests.
men.

"And then there appears, terrifying, the immortal legend:


"There are men who, besides being eagles, have the characteristics of the vulture, the
owl and the vampire.
"MANE, TECEL, PHARES."
"Ascending the mountains of Benguet to classify and measure the skulls of the Igorots
and study and civilize them, and to espy in his flight with the eye of the bird of prey, It is alleged, among other things, in paragraph four of the complaint, that the plaintiff was
where are the large deposits of gold, the prey concealed amongst the lonely on the date of said publication, and still is, well known to the officials of the Government
mountains, to appropriate them to himself afterwards, thanks to legal facilities made of the Philippine Islands, and to the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands, and to the public
and unmade at will, but always for his own benefit. generally, personally as well as a member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and
as a Secretary of the Interior; and the defamation and libel, and the words, terms, and
language used in said defamation and libel were employed by the said defendants with
"Authorizing, despite laws and ordinances an illegal slaughtering of diseased cattle in
the intention of indicating the said plaintiff, and that they should be understood, as in fact
order to derive benefit from the infected and putrid meat which he himself was
they were understood, by the public officials of the Government and the inhabitants of
obliged to condemn by virtue of his official position.
the Philippine Islands in general, as referring to the plaintiff. (Here follow the reasons for
saying the editorial referred to plaintiff and why the public understood it as referring to
"Presenting himself on all occasions with the wrinkled brow of the scientist who him.)
consumes his life in the mysteries of the laboratory of science, when his whole
scientific labor is confined to dissecting insects and importing fish eggs, as if the fish
The said defendants charged plaintiff with the prostitution of his office as a member of
eggs of this country were less nourishing and savory, so as to make it worth the while
the Civil Commission of the Philippines and as Secretary of the Interior of said Islands,
replacing them with species coming from other climes.
for personal ends; with wasting public funds for the purpose of promoting his personal
welfare; and with the violation of the laws of the Philippine Islands and the ordinances
"Giving an admirable impulse to the discovery of wealthy lodes in Mindanao, in of the city of Manila; with taking part in illegal combination of the purpose of robbing the
Mindoro, and in other virgin regions of the archipelago, with the money of the people, people, with the object of gain for himself and for others; and lastly, with being a bird of
and under the pretext of the public good, when, as a strict matter of truth, the object prey, and that said defamation should be understood, as in effect it was understood by
is to possess all the data and the key to the national wealth for his essentially personal the public officials of the Government and the people of the Philippine Islands in general,
benefit, as is shown by the acquisition of immense properties registered under the as charging the said plaintiff with the conduct, actions and things above specified; all of
names of others. which allegations relating to the character and conduct of the said plaintiff, as above
stated, were and are false and without any foundation whatever. That said defamation
"Promoting through secret agents and partners, the sale of the city worthless land at and libel were published by the defendants under a heading in large and showy type,
fabulous prices which the city fathers dare not refuse from fear of displeasing the one and every effort was made by said defendant to see that said defamation and libel should
who is behind the motion, and which they do not refuse to their own good.

22
attract the attention of the public and be read by all the subscribers to said newspaper and "(2) That the facts set forth as a cause of action in the complaint are insufficient to
the readers of the same. constitute a cause of action in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants;

In paragraph five of the complaint it is further alleged that, besides assailing the integrity "(3) That the said complaint is in every sense contrary to law, criminal case No. 4295, for
and reviling the reputation of the plaintiff, said defendants, in publishing said libel, did libel, against the defendants Martin Ocampo, Teodoro M. Kalaw, and Fidel A. Reyes, in
so with the malicious intention of inciting the Filipino to believe that the plaintiff was a the Court of First Instance of this city, being still pending, inasmuch as both causes,
vile despot and a corrupt person, unworthy of the position which he held, and for this criminal and civil, are based upon the same facts which the plaintiff, who is also interested
reason to oppose of his administration of the office in his charge as Secretary of the in said criminal cause, considers a cause of action;
Interior, and in this way they endeavored to create enormous difficulties for him in the
performance of his official duties, and to make him so unpopular that he would have to "(4) That the civil action in the above-entitled cause has been destroyed as a consequence
resign his office as a member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and Secretary of of the fact that the plaintiff did not expressly reserve his right to the same in the said
the Interior. In fact, said defendants, by means of said libel and other false statements in mentioned cause No. 4295 for libel, in order to exercise it after the termination of said
said mentioned newspaper, have been deliberately trying to destroy the confidence of the criminal cause:
public in the plaintiff, and to in incite the people to place obstacles in his way in the
performance of his official duties, in consequence of which said plaintiff has met with a
"(5) That the defendants Lope K. Santos, Faustino Aguilar, Leoncio G. Liquete, Manuel
great many difficulties which have increased to a great extent his labors as a public official
Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo Lichauco, Felipe Barretto, and Gregorio M.
in every one of the Departments.
Cansipit have been erroneously included in the complaint, for the simple reason that the
first two were acquitted in said cause No. 4295 for libel, the third was used as a witness
And the allegations end with paragraph six, in which the plaintiff states that for all these by the prosecution in the same cause, and the latter ones have no interest, directly or
reasons has been damaged and is entitled to an indemnity for the additional work to indirectly, in the newspaper "El Renacimiento," in which the plaintiff presumes, was
which he has been put by said defendants in compliance with his duties, both in the past published the editorial which forms the basis of the complaint, and which is said to be
and in the future, as well as for the injuries to his reputation and feelings, in the sum, of libelous; and concluding with a prayer to the court to dismiss the case, with cost against
P50,000, and that besides this said amount he is entitled to collect from the defendants the the plaintiff."
additional sum of fifty thousand pesos in the way of punitive damages, as a warning to
the defendants.
The second paragraph of this "special defense" is nothing other than a general demurrer
to the complaint, which has been overruled, as already stated.
The complaint concludes with a prayer, among other things, that judgment be rendered
ordering the defendants to pay the damages as above stated and the costs of the action;
The first paragraph is not clearly stated, but the court construes it as meaning a simple
and is dated and signed, Manila, P.I., January 23, 1909, Hartigan and Rohde, Kincaid and
denial that the plaintiff is the person referred to in the alleged libelous article "Birds of
Hurd, attorneys for plaintiff.
Prey," which issue is sufficiently raised by the general denial of the allegations in the
complaint.
A demurrer to this complaint was filed by the defendants, through their attorney, Sr.
Felipe Agoncillo, which demurrer was heretofore heard and overruled by the Court, and
The third paragraph is not a valid defense in law, for the simple reason that section 11 of
the defendants required to answer. Accordingly, the defendants within the prescribed
Act 277 of the Philippine Commission, under which this suit is brought, especially
time, filed their answer; and on November 16, 1909, through their attorney, filed and
provides for a separate civil action for damages, as well as for a criminal prosecution. (See
amended answer, which is as follows (after stating the case):
Mr. Justice Johnson's recent decision.) This third paragraph is therefore without merit;
and the same may be said of the fourth paragraph thereof. As to paragraph five, it
The defendants in the above-entitled action, through their undersigned contains no material averment which could not have been set up and insisted upon under
attorney, answering the complaint, state: That they make a general the general issue.
denial of the allegations in the complaint, and as a special defense
allege:
One part if this so-called special defense is therefore a demurrer already and adjudicated,
another part is covered by the general issue, and the residue is without merit as a legal
"(1) That the plaintiff lacks the necessary personality to institute the complaint in defense, and might have been stricken out. The defense is therefore tantamount to the
question, as evidently appears from the allegations in the same, and which the defendants general issue only, there being no special plea that these charges are true, nor any plea of
deny; justification.

23
The trial of this case on its merits began November 16, and ended December 10, 1909, and It seems to the court a reflection upon the intelligence of the subscribers and readers of
the proceedings and evidence introduced are to be found in the exhibits and stenographic "El Renacimiento" to contend that this editorial was not well understood by them as
notes taken by the court's official reporter. At the trial Judge Kincaid said Major Hartigan referring to the plaintiff, and as fully as if his name had been mentioned in every
appeared for the plaintiff and Señores Agoncillo, Cruz Herrera, and Ferrer for the paragraph thereof. And assuredly the omission of his name from the editorial has made
defendants. the libel less hurtful and disastrous in its results to the reputation and feelings of the
plaintiff.
After hearing the testimony and arguments of counsel and a due consideration of the
case, the court finds the following facts established by the admissions and a decided Much time was consumed also in adducing evidence to show that none of the twelve
preponderance of the evidence: defendants were the owners of "El Renacimiento" and "Muling Pagsilang," but that six of
them had originally contributed their money as a partriotic donation to the Filipino
That the defendants Martin Ocampo, Manuel Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo people, and that Martin Ocampo simply held the money and property of the paper as
Lichauco, Felipe Barretto, and Gregorio M. Cansipit, seven in number, are the proprietors trustees for this people, and that the paper was being devoted exclusively to philanthropic
and owners of the said daily newspaper known as "El Renacimiento" and "Muling and patriotic ends, and that Galo and Lichauco had agreed to contribute to the same ends,
Pagsilang," and that "El Renacimiento" and "Muling Pagsilang," are one and the same but had not done so.
newspaper, owned, managed, printed and published by the same persons; that Teodoro
M. Kalaw and Lope K. Santos were the editors in chief of directors of this paper on the This proposition in the light of evidence is so preposterous as to entitle it to little, if any,
30th of October, 1908, and that said nine defendants named were the owners, editors, serious consideration. To ask the court to believe it is tantamount to asking the court to
proprietors, managers and publishers of said newspaper on said 30th of October, 1908, stultify reason and common sense. That those seven defendants named contributed their
for a long time prior thereto, and during all the time mentioned in the complaint. respective sums of money, as shown by the evidence, to the foundation of said newspaper
in 1901 for their own personal benefit and profit is fully and unmistakably established. It
As to the defendants, Reyes, Aguilar, and Liquete, they appear from the evidence to have is equally well established that Martin Ocampo is and was, not only a part owner, but
been editors of said paper, but in subordinate position to the chief editors or directors, that he has been and is still the administrator or business manager of said newspaper,
Kalaw and Santos, and to have acted under the direction of their latter two defendants. and that the other six persons named are shareholders, part owners and proprietors
thereof, and were such on said 30th of October, 1908.
The court further finds that every essential or material allegation of the complaint is true
substantially as therein stated, with the exception noted to Fidel A. Reyes, Faustino Arcadio Arellano testified positively that Galo Lichauco was one of the seven founders,
Aguilar, and Leoncio G. Liquete, and as may be hereinafter indicated. The case is and that Lichauco contributed P1,000. Martin Ocampo testified that Galo Lichauco
therefore dismissed as to these three defendants. promised to contribute an amount which he (the witness) did not remember but that
Lichauco did not keep his promise. (See pp. 107, 108, and 231 of the evidence.)
The only serious contention of the defense is (1) that the editorial "Birds of Prey" does not
refer to a determinate person; and (2) that, conceding that it does refer to the plaintiff, The other evidence and circumstances strongly corroborate Arcadio Arellano, and the
none of the defendants, except Teodoro M. Kalaw, is responsible for the writing, printing, court is constrained to believe that Arellano told the truth and Ocampo did not. See
or publication of the alleged libelous article of the damages to the plaintiff resulting Exhibit B-J, a copy of "El Renacimiento" containing the article "Infamy Among Comrades,"
therefrom. page 87 of the evidence, in which there was published that these seven persons named
are the shareholders of the paper.
In the opinion of the court this article so indubitably refers to the plaintiff, and was so
easily and well understood by the readers of said paper as indicating the plaintiff, that it Furthermore, Galo Lichauco failed to appear and testify, so as to enlighten the court as to
would be an act of superrogation to elaborately discuss the evidence adduced in support which witness, Arellano or Ocampo, told the truth, or whether chief editor Kalaw had his
of or against the proposition. It is as clear to the court from the evidence adduced as the authority to publish in said paper, as he did in November 22, 1907, that he, Galo Lichauco,
noonday sun, that the plaintiff is the identical and only person meant and referred to in was one of the shareholders. The presumptions are therefore against Galo Lichauco. See
said article "Birds and Prey;" and it requires no argument to prove that it does mean and S.S. Co. vs. Brancroft-Whitney Co. (36 C. C. A., 136 and 153).
refer to him and was so intended by the writer, and therefore by said nine defendants,
and could not have been otherwise understood by any intelligent reader or subscriber of It also appears from the evidence that Teodoro M. Kalaw was the chief editor or director
said paper, in view of the reasons assigned in the complaint, which reasons are clearly of the Spanish section of said paper, and that Lope K. Santos was the chief editor or
disclosed and fully established by the evidence. And it may be added that much valuable director of the Tagalog section on said 30th of October, 1908, and that the Spanish and
time was needlessly consumed by the defense at trial in an effort to establish the contrary.
24
Tagalog sections are, and then were, one and the same newspaper, but printed and That although the plaintiff gave an admirable impulse to the discovery of wealthy lodes
published in different languages. in Mindanao and Mindoro, and in other virgin regions of the Archipelago, with the
money of the people, under the pretext of the public good, as a strict matter of truth his
It is alleged that said newspaper has a large circulation throughout the Philippine Islands, object was to possess all the data and the key to the national wealth for his essentially
and was published and circulated daily in the Spanish and Tagalog languages in the city personal benefit, and that this is shown by his acquisition of immense properties registered
of Manila. Not only are these allegations true, but it is also true that said newspaper has under the names of others.
a daily circulation and subscribers in other parts of the world, notably in the United States
and Spain; and it has subscribers numbering in toto not less than 5,200, and a daily issue That the plaintiff promoted, through secret agents and partners, the sale to the city of
of 6,000 copies. Manila of worthless land at fabulous prices, which the city fathers dared not refuse from
fear of displeasing the plaintiff, who was behind the project, and which they did not
It is also true as alleged, and the court so finds that since the year 1906 to said 30th of refuse for their own good; that the plaintiff favored concessions for hotels in Manila on
October, 1908, these nine defendants had been maliciously persecuting and attacking the filled-in land; with the prospect of enormous profits, at the expense of the blood of the
plaintiff in their said newspapers, until at last, on said 30th of October, 1908 with the people.
malicious intention of injuring the plaintiff, who on said date was and still is a member
of the Civil Commission and Secretary of the Interior in the Government of the Philippine That such are the characteristics of the plaintiff, who is at the same time an eagle that
Islands; and with the object of exposing him to the odium, contempt, and ridicule of the surprises and devours, a vulture that gorges his self on deed and rotten meats, an owl
public, they wrote, printed, and published in their said newspaper, in its ordinary number that affects a petulant omniscience, and a vampire that sucks the blood of the victim until
of said 30th of October, 1908, the malicious defamation and false libel of and concerning he leaves it bloodless. And this libelous article concludes with the asseveration in
the plaintiff, entitled and herein alluded to as the editorial "Birds of Prey," which libel was substance that the plaintiff has been "weighed in the balance and found wanting" —
and is highly injurious to the plaintiff and from which the plaintiff has sustained serious "Mane, Tecel, Phares."
damage.
That this editorial is malicious and injurious goes without saying. Almost every line
This editorial, when properly interpreted and read between the lines, means, besides thereof teems with malevolence, ill will, and wanton and reckless disregard of the rights
other things, and was intended by the writer to mean and be understood by the readers and feelings of the plaintiff; and from the very nature and the number of the charges
thereof as meaning substantially the following: therein contained the editorial is necessarily very damaging to the plaintiff.

That the plaintiff, Dean C. Worcester, was born on the surface of the globe to eat and That this editorial, published as it was by the nine defendants, tends to impeach the
devour, like a bird of prey, and that others, born to be eaten and devoured, are the prey honesty and reputation of the plaintiff and publishes his alleged defects, and thereby
and the food of the insatiable voracity of the plaintiff; that the plaintiff had a desire to exposes him to public hatred, contempt, and ridicule is clearly seen by a bare reading of
copy and imitate the most rapacious bird, the eagle, in order to triumph in plundering his the editorial.
fellowman; that the plaintiff besides being an eagle, has the characteristics of the vulture,
the owl, and the vampire. It suffices to say that not a line is to be found in all the evidence in support of these
malicious, defamatory and injurious charges against the plaintiff; and there was at the
That the plaintiff ascended the mountains of Benguet to classify and measure the skulls trial no pretense whatever by the defendants that any of them are true, nor the slightest
of the Igorots, and study and civilize them and to espy in his flight with the eye of the evidence introduced to show the truth of a solitary charge; nor is there any plea of
bird of prey the large deposits of gold-the prey concealed amidst the mountains-and to justification or that the charges are true, much less evidence to sustain a plea.
appropriate them to himself afterwards, and that to this end the plaintiff had the legal
facilities, made and unmade at his own will, and that this is always done for his own benefit. In the opinion of the court "Birds of Prey," when read and considered in its relation to and
connection with the other articles libelous and defamatory in nature, published of and
That the plaintiff authorized, inspite of laws and ordinances, the illegal slaughtering is concerning the plaintiff by these nine defendants anterior and subsequent to the
diseased cattle in order to derive benefit from the infected and putrid meant which he publication of this article, and having reference to the same subject matter as shown by
himself was obliged to condemn by virtue of his official position; that while the plaintiff the evidence, is one of the worst libels of record. It is safe to say that in all the court reports
presents himself on all occasions with the wrinkled brow of the scientist who consumes to the Philippine Islands, or of Spain, or the United States, there is not to be found a libel
his life in the mysteries of the laboratory of science, his whole scientific labor is confined case in which there is a more striking exemplification of the spirit of hatred, bad faith, evil
to dissecting insects and importing fish eggs. motive, mischievous intent, actual malice, nefarious purpose, base malignity, or gross
malevolence.
25
It is proper to observe also that since the beginning of this attack on the plaintiff in the (meaning the people) until he leaves it bloodless, that is to say, robs the people, until he
year 1906 down almost to the present time, so far from there being any apology, leaves them wretched and poverty-stricken, deprived of all worldly possessions; and
retraction, or effort to repair the injury already done as far as lay in the power of the lastly, that he, the plaintiff, like Belshazzar, has been weighed in the balance and found
defendants, the persecution, wrong, and tortious injury to the plaintiff had been steadily wanting as a high Government functionary; all of which charges are false and malicious
kept up and persisted in, without the slightest abatement of the malevolent spirit. and without and foundation whatever in fact, as the evidence fully demonstrates.

There has been neither retraction, apology, nor reparation; per contra, the libel has been It is also a matter of fact, and the court so finds, that said defamation was written and
repeated, reiterated, and accentuated, and widely and extensively propagated by these published that it might be understood, and it was understood, by the public officials of
nine defendants through the columns of their said paper and otherwise; and it appears the Government and the people of the Philippine Islands in general, and wherever else
from the evidence that especial effort has been made by these same defendants to give as said newspaper may have circulated and been read, as charging the plaintiff with the
much publicity as possible to the libelous and defamatory words used of and concerning tortious and criminal acts and conduct charged in said editorial as hereinbefore specified
the plaintiff in said editorial. and interpreted.

Through their instrumentality and persistency in asserting and reasserting its truth, this The court finds it also true that, besides assailing the integrity and reviling the reputation
diabolical libel has been spread broadcast over the Philippine Islands and to other parts of the plaintiff, said nine defendants, in publishing said libel, did so with the malicious
of the world. In said criminal case No. 4295 some of these nine defendants pleaded the intention of inciting the Filipino people to believe that the plaintiff was despotic and
truth of the charges; and in Exhibit A-Q is to be found this language: "The defense will corrupt and unworthy of the position which he held, and for this reason to oppose his
adduce its evidence demonstrating the truth of every one of the facts published." administration of the office in his charge as Secretary of the Interior, and in this way they
endeavored to create enormous difficulties for him in the performance of his official
In their said paper of the 11th of January, 1909, there is published statement: duties, and to make him so unpopular that he would have to resign his office as a member
of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and Secretary of the Interior.
"The brief period of time allowed us by the court, at the request of the counsel, to gather
evidence which we are to adduce in our effort to demonstrate the truth of the accusation It is also true that the said nine defendants, by means of said libel, and other like false
that we have formulated in the article which is the subject of the agitation against us, statements in their said newspaper, have been deliberately trying to destroy the
having expired, the trial of the case against our director had been resumed." (See pp. 63 confidence of the public in the plaintiff and to incite the people to place obstacles in his
and 67 of the evidence.) way in the performance of his official duties, in consequence of which the plaintiff has
met with many difficulties which have greatly increased his labors as a public official.
And about the same time they also declared in their said paper that "there is
more graft than fish in the rivers of Benguet." And this in the year of our Lord 1909! the It further appears from the evidence that not only has an effort been made by these nine
persecution having begun in 1905; thus indicating that there is to be no "let-up" or defendants to give as much publicity as possible to the charges, but in order that said
cessation of the hostile attitude toward the plaintiff or the vilification of his name and defamation should attract the attention of the public, they published the same under a
assaults upon his character, much less a retraction or an apology, unless drastic means heading in large, bold and showy type, so that it might be easily seen and read by all the
and measures are made use of to the end that there may be no further propagation of the subscribers and readers of said paper.
libel, or asseveration, or reiteration of its truth.
In full view of all the evidence, therefore, it is clearly seen that every essential allegation
This article "Birds of Prey" charges the plaintiff with malfeasance in office and criminal of the complaint is true substantially as therein claimed, and that the whole of the said
acts, and is therefore libelous per se. It in substance charges the plaintiff with the editorial relating to the misconduct and bad character of the plaintiff is false and without
prostitution of his office as a member of the Civil Commission of the Philippine Islands the slightest foundation in fact. Not a scintilla of evidence was introduced in support of
and Secretary of the Interior of said Islands for personal ends. It is charged also any injurious charge made therein against the plaintiff, to say nothing of the plaintiff's
substantially that plaintiff in his official capacity wasted the public funds for the purpose evidence that each and every charge of malfeasance therein contained is false, and
of promoting his own personal welfare, and that he violated the laws of the Philippine without reference to whether a failure to plead the truth admits the falsity of the charge.
Islands and the ordinances of the city of Manila.
The evidence shows no "special" or "actual pecuniary damage," and none is alleged in the
In its essence he is charged with taking part in illegal combinations for the purpose of complaint. Two other kinds of damages, however are claimed, to wit, general damages
robbing the people with the object of gain for himself and for others; with being a bird of for injuries to the feelings and reputation of the plaintiff and additional work to which he
prey, a vulture (buzzard), an owl, and a vampire that sucks the blood of the victim has been put by the conduct of the defendants, which are laid in the sum of P50,000, and
26
"punitive," exemplary, or vindictive damages, "as a warning to the defendants," or as Felipe Buencamino, an intelligent witness for the defense, in his testimony (p. 240) when
expressed in Act 277 of the Philippine Commission, as a just punishment to the libelers asked the question, Do you know Mr. Worcester?" he answers, "Yes, sir: I know him as
and an example to others," which are laid in the same sum of P50,000. an honorable man. I also know him as an honest, honorable public official." In answer to
another question he says, "As I have said, I know Mr. Worcester as a private citizen and
The nine defendants being liable to the plaintiff for damages, the next question to be as a public official, and my opinion of him is that of honorable man and an upright
decided is what amount of damages should be awarded the plaintiff for the injury to his official." And no other witness testified anything to the contrary.
reputation and feelings and his being a proper case for punitive damages, the further
question is, what sum shall be awarded as a just punishment to these nine libelers and as "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favor rather than silver
an example to others. In neither of these cases is there any precise measure of damages. of gold."

In determining the amount to be awarded in the first instance it is proper to consider the "Who steals my purse steals trash;
previous character, influence, reputation, standing, official position, hope of
advancement, prospect of promotion, and social status of the plaintiff and his family, and xxx xxx xxx
all the circumstances connected with the case.
But he that filches from me my good name,
The plaintiff is a man in the prime of life, holding, as he has held for the last ten years an Robs me of that which not enriches him
important, responsible, lucrative, high and exalted position of trust and honor in the And makes me poor indeed."
service of the Government of the United States, in the Philippine Islands, without a blotch
on his family escutcheon, so far as the evidence shows, and with an untarnished
The enjoyment of a private reputation is as much a constitutional right as the possession
reputation as a man, as a citizen, and as a Government official.
of life, liberty or property. It is one of those rights necessary to human society that
underlie the whole scheme of human civilization.
He is a man of honesty, integrity, and high social position; a man of learning, famous as
a scientist, and scientific achievements and scholarly attainments, a man of industrious
"The respect and esteem of his fellows are among the highest rewards of a well-spent life
habits, genuine worth, and intellectual force. He has read, studied, traveled and learned
vouchsafed to man in this existence. The hope of it is the inspiration of youth, and their
much, and is an author of merit and distinction. He was for a long while a professor in
possession the solace of later years. A man of affairs, a business man, who has been seen
one of the largest and most renowned institutions of learning in the world; he is a man of
and known of his fellowmen in the active pursuits of life for many years, and who has
vast experience, broad and liberal views, and an extensive acquaintanceship, not only in
developed a great character and an unblemished reputation, has secured a possession
the Philippine Islands, but in the United States and other countries of the world. He was
more useful, and more valuable than lands, or houses, or silver, or gold . . .
well and favorably received by the people wherever he journeyed previous to this
atrocious libel upon his integrity and reputation.
"The law recognizes the value of such a reputation, and constantly strives to give redress
for its injury. It imposes upon him who attacks it by slanderous words, or libelous
He has discharged the duties of his lofty official position in a manner that reflects credit
publication, a liability to make full compensation for the damage to the reputation, for the
upon himself as well as the Government which he represents, and apparently with entire
shame and obloquy, and for the injury to the feelings of the owner, which are caused by
satisfaction to all of his superiors in office and the people generally; and but for this
the publication of the slander or the libel.
pernicious, outrageous, and highly reprehensible assault upon his good name, fame and
reputation, there were prospects of promotion to higher honors. And so far as his personal
and private record is concerned it was without a blemish anterior to the time when these "It goes further. If the words are spoken, or the publication is made, with the intent to
unfounded and dastardly aspersions were cast upon it by these nine defendants. injure the victim, or with the criminal indifference to civil obligation, it imposes such
damages as a jury (in this case the judge), in view of all the circumstances of the particular
case adjudge that the wrongdoer ought to pay as an example to the public, to deter others
Indeed, it is only necessary to advert to the testimony of the defense itself to ascertain that
from committing like offenses, and as a punishment for the infliction of the injury.
the plaintiff is an honorable man, and without a stain upon his character, officially or
otherwise. It would be interesting to note here in parallel columns and compare the
charges made in "Birds of Prey" and the testimony of one of the witnesses for the "In the ordinary acceptance of the term, malice signifies ill will, evil intent, or hatred,
defendants. while it is legal signification is defined to be "a wrongful act done intentionally, without
legal justification." (36 C. C. A., 475.)

27
Surely in the case at bar there was a wrongful or tortious act done intentionally and Mr. Justice Carson (5 Phil. Rep. 1551), speaking for our Supreme Court, says:
without the semblance of justification or excuse, or proof that the libelous charges against
the plaintiff were "published and good motives and justifiable ends." "When there is an averment in the complaint that the defamatory words used refer to the
plaintiff, and it is proven that the words do in fact refer to him and are capable of bearing
But the Legislature and the highest judicial authority of these Islands have spoken in no such special application, an action for libel may be maintained even though the
uncertain words with regard to the rights of the plaintiff in this case; and we need not defamatory publication does not refer to the plaintiff by name."
necessarily turn to the law of libel elsewhere, or the decision of the courts in other
jurisdictions to ascertain or determine his rights. And Mr. Justice Willard (12 Phil. Rep., 4282), for the same high authority, says:

In sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 11 of the Libel Law (Act 277, Philippine Commission) is to be "In an action for libel damages for injury to feelings and reputation may be recovered
found the law of these Islands especially applicable to this case. Section 1 thereof defines though no actual pecuniary damages are proven.
libel. Section 2 provides that every person who willfully and with a malicious intent to
injure another publishes, or procures to be published, any libel shall be punished as
"Punitive damages cannot be recovered unless the tort is aggravated by evil motive,
therein provided. Section 3 provides that an injurious publication is presumed to have
actual malice, deliberate violence or oppression."
been malicious if no justifiable motive for making it is shown. Section 4 provides, among
other things, that in all criminal prosecutions the truth may be given in evidence; but to
establish this defense, not only must the truth of the matter charged as libelous be proven, That is to say, if there is evil motive, or actual malice or deliberate violence, or oppression
but also that it was published with good motives and for justifiable ends; and the then punitive damages, or "smart money," may be recovered.
presumptions, rules of evidence, and special defenses are equally applicable in civil and
criminal actions, according to section 11 of said Act. And Justice Carson (U.S. vs. Sedano, 14 Phil., Rep., 338), also says:

Section 6 is as follows: "Actual or express malice of an alleged libelous publication may be inferred from
the style and tone of the publication.
"Every author, editor, or proprietor of any book, newspaper, or serial publication is
chargeable with the publication of any words contained in any part of such book or "The publication of falsehood and calumny against public officers and candidates for
number of each newspaper or serial as fully as if he were the author of the same." public office is specially reprehensible and is an offense most dangerous to the people
and to the public welfare.
And section 11 provides as follows:
"The interest of society require that immunity should be granted to the discussion of
"In addition to such criminal action, any person libeled as hereinbefore set forth shall have public affairs, and that all acts and matters of a public nature may be freely published
a right to a civil action against the person libeling him for damages sustained by reason with fitting comments and strictures; but they do not require that the right to criticise
of such libel, and the person so libeled shall be entitled to recover in such civil action not public officers shall embrace the right to base such criticism under false statements of fact,
only the actual pecuniary damages sustained by him, but also damages for injury to his or attack the private character of the officer, or to falsely impute to
feelings and reputation, and in addition such punitive damages as the court may think him malfeasance or misconduct in office."
will be a just punishment to the libeler and an example to others. Suit may be brought in
any Court of First Instance having jurisdiction of the parties. The presumptions, rules or And there are almost numberless English and American authorities in perfect harmony
evidence and special defenses provided for in this chapter for criminal prosecutions shall with these decisions of our Supreme Court too numerous indeed to be cited here; and it
be equally applicable in civil actions under this section." is not necessary.

"The proprietor of a printing plant is responsible for publishing a libel. According to the Among the leading cases, however, in the United States, is that of Scott vs. Donald (165
legal doctrines and jurisprudence of the United States, the printer of a publication U.S., 58) and cases therein cited. In this case the court says: "Damages have been defined
containing libelous matter is liable for the same." (Mr. Justice Torres, in U.S. vs. Ortiz, 8 to be the compensation which law will allow for an injury done, and are said to be
Phil. Rep., 757.) But said section 6 plainly fixes the liability of editors and proprietors of exemplary and allowable in excess of the actual loss when the tort is aggravated by evil
newspapers, and is clear enough for all the purposes of this case. motive, actual malice, deliberate violence or oppression," which is in entire harmony with
Justice Willard's decision hereinbefore cited.

28
And quoting from the decision in Day vs. Woodworth (13 Howard, 371) the same high newspaper is as responsible for all the acts of omission and commission of those he
court says: employs to edit it and manage its affairs, as he would be if personally managing the same.'
(Malloy vs. Bennett, (C. C.) 15 Fed., 371.)
"In actions of trespass, where the injury has been wanton and malicious, or gross or
outrageous, courts permit juries (here the court) to add to the measured compensation of "The fact that a publication, libelous per se, was made without any attempt to ascertain its
the plaintiff which he would have been entitled to recover, had the injury been inflicted correctness is sufficient to justify a finding that defendant committed libel client with a
without design or intention, something further by way of punishment or example, which wanton indifference, and with actual malice sufficient to sustain exemplary damages."
has sometimes been called "smart money." " (Van Ingen vs. Star Co., 1 App. Div., 429, 37 N.Y., 114.)

It thus clearly appears that the facts established in the case at bar are more than sufficient "The court is not authorized to set aside a verdict for $45,000 in an action for libel, where
to bring it within the rule of law here laid down by the highest judicial authority. it appears that plaintiff was persistently persecuted in the columns of defendant's
newspaper, and that he and his family were held up to public contempt and ridicule, and
Section 11 of the Libel Law expressly allows general damages; and Mr. Justice Willard, defendants withdraw from the case after failing to establish a plea of justification."
in Macleod vs. Philippine Publishing Company,3 says: (Smith vs. Times Co., (Com. p. 1) 4 Pa. Dist. Rep., 399.)

"The general damages which are allowed in actions of libel are not for mental suffering "In considering the amount with the defendant shall pay, on this account (exemplary
alone, but they are allowed for injury to the standing and reputation of the person libeled, damages) the turpitude of his conduct and his financial ability are only considered; and
and the common law of England and America presumed that such damages such consideration is not in view of the injury or distress of the plaintiff, but in behalf of
existed without proof thereof from the mere fact of publication of the libel." the public; the wrongful act is regarded as an indication of the actor's vicious mind — an
overt deed of vindictive or wanton wrong, offensive and dangerous to the public good.
This is the view of those damages which generally prevails." (Sutherland on Damages,
In Day vs. Woodworth, the Supreme Court of the United States recognized the power of a
vol. 2, p. 1092. title Exemplary Damages.)
jury in certain actions in tort to assess against the tort feasor punitive damages. Where the
injury has been inflicted maliciously or wantonly, and with circumstances of contumely,
or indignity, the judge or jury, as the case may be, is not limited to the ascertainment of a "Punitive damages are recoverable not to compensate the plaintiff, but solely to punish
simple compensation for the wrong committed against the aggrieved person. the defendant. This legal motive would suffer defeat if punitive damages could not be
given for a malicious attack on a reputation too well established to receive substantial
injury at the hands of a libeler." (Judge Bond in Ferguson vs. Pub. Co., 72 Mo. App., 462.)
"The public position of the plaintiff, as an officer of the Government, and the evil example
of libels, are considerations with the jury (here the judge) for increasing damages."
(Tillotson vs. Cheetham, 3 Johns, 56.) It may be suggested that the reputation of the plaintiff in this case is too well established
to be seriously affected by the defamatory words used of and concerning him in "Birds of
Prey," but it would not be proper to gravely consider this suggestion.
"The character, condition and influence of the plaintiff are relevant on the matter of the
extent of damages." (Littlejohn vs. Greely, 22 How. Prac., 345; 13 Abb. Prac., 41, 311.)
The conditions in these Islands are peculiar. The minds, thoughts, and opinions of the
people are easily molded, and the public is credulous and perhaps frequently too ready
"Where the publication is libelous, the law presumes that it was made with malice —
to believe anything that may be said in derogation of an American official, especially
technical, legal malice, but not malice in fact — and the amount of damages depends in a
when it is published and vouched for by the editorial and business management and
large degree upon the motives which actuated the defendants in its publication; and in
proprietors if a newspaper of the prominence, pretensions, circulation and influence if "El
such cases the law leaves it to the jury (here the judge) to find a return such damages as
Renacimiento," which paper is everlastingly proclaiming in its columns that it is being
they think right and just, by a sound, temperate, deliberate, and reasonable exercise of
conducted and published solely in the interests of the Filipino people — pro bono publico.
their functions as jurymen." (Erber vs. Dun. (C. C.) 12 Fed., 526.)
There is stronger disposition to give credence to what is said in a newspaper here in the
Islands the elsewhere, and when abuse, vilification, and defamation are persistently
"Actions of libel, so far as they involve questions of exemplary damages, and the law of practiced for a period of several years, without modification or retraction, but with
principal and agent, are controlled by the same rules as are other actions of tort. The right renewed emphasis, the people naturally come to believe in its verity and authenticity.
of a plaintiff to recover exemplary damages exists wherever a tortious injury has been
inflicted recklessly or wantonly, and it is not limited to cases where the injury resulted
It is apparent from the evidence that as an effect of the persecution of the plaintiff by "El
from personal malice or recklessness of the defendant. It follows that the owner of a
Renacimiento" and the libel published in its columns, the minds of the major part of the
29
Filipino people have been poisoned and prejudiced against the plaintiff to such an extent preferring them for office and positions of official trust, he treated them with all sorts of
that he is regarded by these people as odious, dishonest, unscrupulous and tyrannical. contempt and indifference.

It may be that his reputation has not suffered so severely with those of his own race, but It is difficult to appreciate the feelings of a refined soul in its contemplation of a result so
when it is considered that his vocation has tenfold more to do with the Filipinos than with disastrous, so unjust, and so unmerited.
his own people, that his official duties place him in constant contact with them, and that
his success in his chosen career is largely dependent upon their good will and support, it It is furthermore shown that when the plaintiff came to these Islands a young scientist he
is manifest that the damage to his reputation has been very great and that a large sum of had already won fame in his own country; that he is a fellow of the important scientific
money should be awarded to indemnify him, as far as money can indemnify, for the loss associations in the world. His election as a fellow or member of these scientific bodies
of his good name with the Filipino people. shows that his labors in the Philippines were the object of solicitude by the prominent
scientific and learned men not only of his own race, but in many other civilized countries
The plaintiff came to the Philippine Islands when a young man, full of hope and ambition. of the world. Important results were evidently expected of him by them, and it can not be
Since his arrival he has devoted himself incessantly and indefatigably to the uplifting of doubted that they expected of him of life honestly devoted to the conscientious discharge
the inhabitants of the Archipelago and to the faithful performance, as far as he was able, of his duties as a trusted public functionary of the American Government in the
of the pledges and promises of the Government to the Filipino people. The duties of his Philippine Islands.
particular office were such as brought him in more immediate and constant contract with
the people than any other official of the same category in these Islands. And yet he is falsely denounced in the columns of said newspaper to his fellows of these
societies as a man who is so absolutely corrupt, so inordinately selfish and avaricious that
It is clearly shown that the plaintiff faithfully endeavored to perform, and did efficiently he has not considered for a moment the duties incumbent upon him; that he has been
perform, all of these duties, doing everything that he could in an unselfish and oblivious to every obligation of trust and confidence, and that he is unworthy of the
disinterested manner of the welfare and development of the country and its people, respect of honest men.
knowing full well that his career, as well as his advancement, depended largely upon the
good will of these people, and that by incurring their censure or displeasure he would One witness testified that he read this libel in the public library of the city of Boston. It is
have little hope of success in his chosen work. furthermore shown that copies of this paper went to Spain, England, and to different parts
of the United States; and inasmuch as the plaintiff is a man of prominence in the scientific
Imagine, therefore, the chagrin, disappointment, mortification, mental suffering, and world, it is to be inferred that his fellows became more or less aware of these heinous
distress, and perturbation of spirit that would necessarily be occasioned him when he charges.
discovered that through the nefarious, studied, and practiced persecution of the paper in
question, these high hopes were blasted, and that, instead of having gained the respect Thus we find that the plaintiff is here confronted with disappointed ambition and
and gratitude of the people for the assiduous labors devoted to their uplifting, they had frustrated hopes, and placed in the humiliating attitude of having to explain to his fellows
been made to believe that, instead of being a benefactor, he was a vampire that was that the charges are untrue, of adducing evidence to clear himself, perhaps never with
sucking their life blood, a corrupt politician who was squandering the money wrung from complete success, of the stain that has been cast upon his reputation by the libelous and
the people by means of taxation, in schemes for his own personal aggrandizement and defamatory declarations contained in "Birds of Prey."
enrichment.
In view of the foregoing findings of fact and circumstances of the case and the law
That instead of developing the mineral wealth of the Islands he was taking up all the rich applicable thereto,
veins and appropriating them in the names of subservient tools, to his own personal use,
benefit and profit. That instead of protecting the people from disease, he was, by means
It is the opinion of the court, and the court so finds, that the plaintiff has sustained
of infected meat and for his own personal gain, spreading contagion among them.
damages on account of wounded feelings and mental suffering and injuries to his
standing and reputation in the sum of thirty-five thousand (P35,000) pesos, and that he is
That he united in his person all the bad qualities of the vulture, the eagle, and the vampire; entitled to recover this sum of the nine defendants named, as being responsible for having
that, in short, he was a "bird of prey," with all that is implied in that term in its worst written, printed, and published said libel; and that the plaintiff is entitled to recover of
acceptation; that he was a corrupt tyrant, who never lost an opportunity to do the people them the further sum of twenty-five thousand (P25,000) pesos, as punitive damages,
hurt; that instead of wishing them well and seeking their advancement, he was their which the court thinks will be a just punishment to these nine libelers and an example to
enemy, who never lost an opportunity to degrade and humiliate them; that instead of others.

30
Wherefore, it is so ordered and adjudged that the plaintiff, Dean C. Worcester, have and X.The court erred in granting damages to the plaintiff by virtue of the judgment rendered
recover of the defendants, Martin Ocampo, Teodoro M. Kalaw, Lope K. Santos, Manuel against the defendants.
Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo Lichauco, Felipe Barretto, and Gregorio M.
Cansipit, jointly and severally, the sum of sixty thousand (P60,000) pesos, and the costs XI.The court, finally, erred in granting to the plaintiff punitive damages against the
of suit, for which execution may issue. alleged owners of "El Renacimiento," admitting the hypothesis that said editorial is
libelous per se and refers to the Honorable Dean C. Worcester.
It is ordered. At Manila, P.I., this 14th day of January , 1910.
The theory of the defendants, under the first assignment of error, is that the civil action
From said decision the defendants appealed and made the following assignments of error could not proceed until the termination of the criminal action, relying upon the provisions
in this court: of the Penal Code in support of such theory. This court, however, has decided in the case
of Ocampo et al. vs. Jenkins (14 Phil. Rep., 681) that a judgment in a criminal prosecution
I.The court erred in overruling our motions for suspension of this case, in its present state, for libel, under the provisions of Act 277 of the Civil commission, constitutes no bar or
until final judgment should be rendered in criminal case No. 4295 of the Court of First estoppel in a civil action based upon the same acts or transactions. The reason most often
Instance of Manila, pending appeal in the Honorable Supreme Court, for libel based also given for this doctrine is that the two proceedings are not between the same parties.
on the editorial, "Birds of Prey." Different rule as to the competency of witnesses and the weight of evidence necessary to
the findings in the two proceedings always exist. As between civil and criminal actions
under said Act (No. 277) a judgment in one is no bar or estoppel to the prosecution of the
II.The court erred in admitting as evidence mere opinion adduced by counsel for the
other. A judgment in a criminal cause, under said Act, can not be pleaded as res
plaintiff with the intention of demonstrating to whom the editorial, alleged to the libelous,
adjudicata in a civil action. (Stone vs. U.S., 167 U.S., 178; Boyd vs. U.S., 616 U. S., 616, 634;
refers.
Lee vs. U.S., 150 U.S., 476, 480; U.S. vs. Jaedicke, 73 Fed. Rep., 100; U.S. vs.Schneider, 35
Fed. Rep., 107; Chamberlain vs. Pierson, 87 Fed. Rep., 420; Steel vs. Cazeaux, 8 Martin
III.The court erred in giving greater preponderance to the opinions of the witnesses for (La.), 318, 13 American Decisions, 288; Betts vs. New Hartford, 25 Conn., 185.)
the plaintiff than to the expert testimony of the defense.
In a criminal action for libel the State must prove its case by evidence which shows the
IV.The court erred in declaring the editorial on which the complaint is based to be libelous guilt of the defendant, beyond a reasonable doubt, while in a civil action it is sufficient
per se and to refer necessarily to the plaintiff, Dean C. Worcester. for the plaintiff to sustain his cause by a preponderance of evidence only.
(Ocampo vs. Jenkins (supra); Reilly vs. Norton, 65 Iowa, 306; Sloane vs. Gilbert, 27
V.The court erred in declaring the defendants Martin Ocampo, Manuel Palma, Arcadio American decisions, 708; Cooley on Torts, sec. 208; Greenleaf on Evidence, 426; Wigmore
Arellano, Angel Jose, Felipe Barretto, Gregorio M. Cansipit, and Galo Lichauco to be on Evidence, secs. 2497, 2498.)
owners of "El Renacimiento."
With reference to the second assignment of error above noted, we find that this court has
VI.The court erred in not admitting Exhibits 1 and 3 presented by counsel for the already decided the question raised thereby, in the case of U. S. vs. Ocampo et al. (18 Phil.
defendants. Rep., 1).

VII.The court erred in rendering judgment against the defendants. During the trial of the cause the plaintiff called several witnesses for the purpose of
showing that the statements made in said alleged libelous editorial were intended to
VIII.The court erred in sentencing the defendants jointly "and severally" to pay to the apply to the Honorable Dean C. Worcester, Secretary of the Interior. The defendants duly
plaintiff, Dean C. Worcester, the sum of P60,000. objected to these questions and excepted to the ruling of the court admitting them.

IX.The court erred in not ordering that execution of the judgment to be confined to the In the case of Russell vs. Kelley (44 Cal., 641, 642) the same question was raised and the
business known as "El Renacimiento" and to the defendant Teodoro M. Kalaw, without court, in its decision, said:
extending to property of the alleged owners of said newspaper which was not invested
therein by them at its establishment. The rule laid down in 2 Stockey on Slander (p. 51) is that the application of the
slanderous words to the plaintiff and the extrinsic matters alleged in the
declaration may be shown by the testimony of witnesses who knew the parties
and circumstances and who can state their judgment and opinion upon the
31
application and meaning of the terms used by the defendant. It is said that where which in any way reflects upon the character and high ideals of Mr. Dean C. Worcester, in the
the words are ambiguous on the face of the libel, to whom it was intended to be administration of his department of the Government.
applied, the judgment and opinion of witnesses, who from their knowledge of
the parties and circumstances are able to form a conclusion as to the defendant's With reference to the fifth assignment of error, to wit: That the court erred in holding that
intention and application of the libel is evidence for the information of the jury. the defendants, Martin Ocampo, Manuel Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Felipe
Barretto, Gregorio M. Cansipit, and Galo Lichauco, were the proprietors of "El
Mr. Odgers, in his work on Libel and Slander (p. 567), says: Renacimiento," the lower court said:

The plaintiff may also call at the trial his friends or others acquainted with the Much time was consumed also in adducing evidence to show that none of the
circumstances, to state that, in reading the libel, they at once concluded it was twelve defendants were the owners of "El Renacimiento" and "Muling
aimed at the plaintiff. It is not necessary that all the world should understand Pagsilang," but that six of them had originally contributed their money as a
the libel. It is sufficient if those who know the plaintiff can make out that he is patriotic donation to the Filipino people, and that Martin Ocampo simply held
the person meant. (See also Falkard's Stockey on Libel and Slander, 4th English the money and property of the paper as trustee for this people, and that the
edition, 589.) paper was being devoted exclusively to philanthropic and patriotic ends, and
that Galo Lichauco had agreed to contribute to the same ends but had not done
The correctness of this rule is not only established by the weight of authority but is so.
supported by every consideration of justice and sound policy. The lower court committed
no error in admitting the opinion of witnesses offered during the trial of the cause. One's "This proposition," said the lower court, "in the light of the evidence, is so preposterous
reputation is the sum or composite of the impressions spontaneously made by him from as to entitle it to little, if any, serious consideration. To ask the court to believe it is
time to time, and in one way or another, upon his neighbors and acquaintances. The effect tantamount to asking the court to stultify reason and common sense. That those seven
of a libelous publication upon the understanding of such persons, involving necessarily defendants named contributed their respective sums of money, as shown by the evidence,
the identity of the person libeled is of the very essence of the wrong. The issue in a libel to the foundation of said newspaper in 1901, for their own personal benefit and profit, is
case concerns not only the sense of the publication, but, in a measure its effect upon a fully and unmistakably established. It is equally well established that Martin Ocampo is
reader acquainted with the person referred to. The correctness of the opinion of the and was, not only a part owner, but that he has been and is still the administrator or
witnesses as to the identity of the person meant in the libelous publication may always business manager of said newspaper, and that the other six persons named are
be tested by cross-examination. (Enquirer Co. vs. Johnston, 72 Fed. Rep., 443; 2nd shareholders, part owners and proprietors thereof and were such on the said 30th of
Greenleaf on Evidence, 417; Nelson vs. Barchenius, 52 Ill., 236; Smith vs.Miles, 15 Vt., 245; October, 1908."
Miller vs. Butler, 6 Cushing (Mass.), 71.)
Examining the evidence adduced during the cause in the lower court, we find, sometime
It is true that some of the courts have established a different rule. We think, however, that before the commencement of the present action and before any question was raised with
a large preponderance of the decisions of the supreme courts of the different States is in reference to who were the owners of the said newspaper, that the defendant, Arcadio
favor of the doctrine which we have announced here. Arellano, in the case of United States vs. Jose Sedano (14 Phil. Rep., 338), testified upon
that question as follows:
We are of the opinion that assignments of error Nos. 3, 4, and 7 may fairly be considered
together, the question being whether or not the evidence adduced during the trial of the Q. Who are the proprietors of "El Renacimiento"?
cause in the lower court shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the said editorial
was libelous in its character. Here again we find that this question has been passed upon A. I, Martin Ocampo, Gregorio Mariano (Cansipit), Mr. Barretto, and Galo
by this court in the case of U. S. vs. Ocampo et al. (18 Phil. Rep., 1), and we deem it Lichauco.
unnecessary to discuss this question again, for the reason that the evidence adduced in
the present cause was practically the same, or at least to the same effect, as the evidence
Q. Who else?
adduced in the cause of U.S. vs. Ocampo et al. It is sufficient here to say that the evidence
adduced during the trial of the present cause shows, by a large preponderance of the evidence, that
said editorial was one of the most pernicious and malicious libels upon a just, upright and A. No one else.
honorable official, which the courts have ever been called upon to consider. There is not a scintilla
of evidence in the entire record, notwithstanding the fact that the defendants from time to time Q. And Rafael Palma — is not so?
attempted to make a show of proving the truthfulness of the statements made in said editorial,

32
A. No, sir; Manuel Palma, the brother of Rafael Palma. Company vs. Ellis, C. C. A. Reports, vol. 4, p. 454; Commonwealth vs. Webster, 5 Cush.
(Mass.), 295; People vs.McWhorter 4 Barb. (N. Y.), 438.)
During the trial of the present cause, Arcadio Arellano testified that his declarations in
other cause were true. Lord Mansfield, in the case of Blatch vs. Archer (Cowper, 63, 65) said:

It also appears from the record (Exhibit B-J) that in the month of November, 1907, long It is certainly a maxim that all the evidence is to be weighed according to the
before the commencement of the present action, "El Renacimiento," in reply to an article proof which it was in the power of one side to have produced, and in the power
which was published in "El Comercio," published the following statement: of the other side to have contradicted.

They (it) say (s) that this enterprise" (evidently meaning the publication of "El Mr. Starkey, in his valuable work on evidence (vol. 1, p. 64), lays down the rule that:
Renacimiento") "is sustained by Federal money; that we are inspired by Federal
personages. We declare that this, besides being false, is calumnious. The The conduct of a party in omitting to produce evidence in elucidation of the
shareholders of this company are persons well known by the public, and never at subject matter in dispute, which is within his power and which rests peculiarly
any moment of their lives have they acted with masks on--those masks for which within his own knowledge, frequently offers occasion for presumptions against
"El Comercio" seems to have so great an affection. They are, as the public knows: him, since it raises the strong suspicion that such evidence, if adduced, would
Señores Martin Ocampo, Manuel Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo Lichauco, operate to his prejudice. (Pacific Coast et al. Co. vs. Bancroft-Whitney Co., 36 C.
Felipe Barretto, and Gregorio Cansipit. C. A. Reports, 136, 153.)

Arcadio Arellano also testified during the trial of the present cause that he contributed At the time of the said declarations of Arcadio Arellano in the case of Sedano and at the
P750 to the establishment of "El Renacimiento;" that Martin Ocampo contributed the sum time of the said publication in reply to "El Comercio," there was no reason for stating
of P500; that Mariano Cansipit, Felipe Barretto and Angel Jose contributed the sum of anything except the truth: neither does there seem to have been any reason for publishing the
P250 or P500 each; that Galo Lichauco contributed the sum of P1,000 and that Manuel fact that the defendants were the owners of "El Renacimiento" unless it was true.
Palma contributed P3,000.
At the time there seemed to be no reason to have it appear that they were donors and
During the trial of the present cause Arcadio Arellano, Martin Ocampo, and Angel Jose public benefactors only. They seemed to be proud of the fact that they were the owners.
testified as witnesses, relating to the ownership of the newspaper called "El The editors, publishers, and managers of "El Renacimiento," at the time the reply to "El
Renacimiento." They testified that whatever money they gave for the purpose of Comercio" was published, seemed to be anxious to announce to the public who its owners
establishing said newspaper, was given as a donation, and that they were neither the were. It ("El Renacimiento") had not then realized that it belonged to no one; that it had
owners nor coowners of said periodical. The defendants, Manuel Palma, Galo Lichauco, been born into the community without percentage; that it had been created a terrible
Felipe Barretto, and Gregorio Cansipit, did not testify as witnesses during the trial of the machine for the purpose of destroying the good character and reputation of men without
cause in the lower court. No reason is given for their failure to appear and give testimony having any one to respond for its malicious damage occasioned to honorable men; that it
in their own behalf. The record does not disclose whether or not the declarations of was a cast-off, without a past or the hope of a future; that it was liable to be kicked and
Arcadio Arellano, in the case of U. S. vs. Sedano (14 Phil. Rep., 338) at the time they were buffetted about the persecuted and destroyed without any one to protect it; that its former
made, were called to the attention of Manuel Palma, Galo Lichauco, Felipe Barretto, and friends and creators had scattered hither and thither and had disappeared like feathers
Gregorio Cansipit, as well as the reply to "El Comercio," above noted. Proof of said before a cyclone, declaring, under oath, that they did not know their offspring and were
declarations and publication was adduced during the trial of the cause in the present case, not willing to recognize it in public. It seems to have been a Moses found in the bulrushes,
and the attorney of these particular defendants well knew the purpose and effect of such destined by its creators to be a great good among the Filipino people, in teaching them to
evidence, if not disputed; but, notwithstanding the fact that said declarations and respect the rights of persons and property; but, unlike its Biblical prototype, it became, by
publication were presented in evidence, and notwithstanding the fact that the attorney reason of its lack of parentage, an engine of destruction let loose in the State, to enter the
for the defendants knew of the purpose of such proof, the defendants, Palma, Lichauco, private abode of lawabiding citizens and to take from them their honor and reputation,
Barretto, and Cansipit, were not called as witnesses for the purpose of rebutting the which neither it nor the State could restore. To rob a man of his wealth is to rob him of
same. It is a well settled rule of evidence, that when the circumstances in proof tend to fix the trash, but to take from him his good name and reputation is to rob him of that which does
liability on a party who has it in his power to offer evidence of all the facts as they existed and rebut not make the robber richer and leaves the person robbed poor indeed.
the inferences which the circumstances in proof tend to establish, and he fails to offer such proof,
the natural conclusion is that the proof, if produced, instead of rebutting would support the
The appellants tried to make it appear that the money which they gave for the
inferences against him, and the court is justified in acting upon that conclusion. (Railway
establishment of "El Renacimiento" was a pure donation. They claim that it was a
33
donation to the Filipino people. They do not state, however, or attempt to show what In the case of Steel vs. Cazeaux (8 Martin, La., 318; 13 American Decisions, 288), the
particular persons were to manage, control, and direct the enterprise for which the supreme court of Louisiana said:
donation was made. A donation must be made to definite persons or associations. A
donation to an indefinite person or association is an anomaly in law, and we do not A judgment of conviction in a criminal prosecution can not be given in evidence
believe, in view of all of the facts, that it was in fact made. A donation must be made to in a civil action.
some definite person or association and the donee must be some ascertained or
ascertainable person or association.
In the case of Betts et al. vs. New Hartford (25 Conn., 180) Mr. Justice Ellsworth said (in a
case where a judgment in a criminal case was offered in evidence):
A donation may be made for the benefit of the public, but it must be made, in the very
nature of things, to some definite person or association. A donation made to no person or
A conviction in a criminal case is not evidence of facts upon which the judgment
association could not be regarded as a donation in law. It could not be more than an
was rendered, when those facts come up in a civil case, for this evidence would
abandonment of property. Of course where a donation is in fact made, without reservation
not be material; and so the law is perfectly well settled. (1 Greenleaf on Evidence,
to a particular person or association, the donor is no longer the owner of the thing donated
secs. 536, 524; 1 Phillips on Evidence, 231; Hutchinson vs. Bank of Wheeling, 41
nor responsible, in any way, for its use, provided that the object, for which the donation
Pa. St., 42; Beausoleil vs. Brown, 12 La. Ann., 543; McDonald vs. Stark, 176 Ill.,
was made, was legal. A person does not become an owner or part owner of a church, for
456, 468.)
example, to the construction of which he has made a donation; neither is he responsible
for the use to which said edifice may be applied. No one disputes the fact that donations
may be made for the public use, but they must be made to definite persons or associations, While we believe that the lower court committed no error in refusing to admit the
to be administered in accordance with the purpose of the gift. sentence acquitting Lope K. Santos in the criminal case, we are of the opinion, after a
careful examination of the record brought to this court, that it is insufficient to show that
Lope K. Santos was responsible, in any way, for the publication of the alleged libel, and
We can not believe, in the light of the whole record, that the defendants and appellants, at the
without discussing the question whether or not the so-called Tagalog edition of "El
time they presented the defense that they were donors simply and not owners, had a reasonable
Renacimiento" and "El Renacimiento" constituted one and the same newspaper, we find
hope that their declarations as to said donation, given in the manner alleged, would be believed
that the evidence is insufficient to show that Lope K. Santos is responsible in damages, in
by the court.
any way, for the publication of the said alleged libel.

After a careful examination of the evidence brought to this court and taking into
The appellants discussed the eight and ninth assignments of error together, and claim
consideration the failure of the other defendants to testify, we are of the opinion that a
that the lower court committed an error in rendering a judgment jointly and
preponderance of such evidence shows that the defendants, Martin Ocampo, Manuel
severally against the defendants and in allowing an execution against the individual
Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo Lichauco, Felipe Barretto, and Gregorio M.
property of said owners, and cite provisions of the Civil and Commercial Codes in
Cansipit, were the coowners of the newspaper known as "El Renacimiento," at the time
support of their contention. The difficulty in the contention of the appellants is that they
of the publication of the said alleged libel.
fail to recognize that the basis of the present action is a tort. They fail to recognize the
universal doctrine that each joint tort feasor is not only individually liable for the tort in
With reference to the sixth assignment of error above noted, to wit: That the lower court which he participates, but is also jointly liable with his tort feasors. The defendants might
committed an error in not admitting in evidence the judgment of acquittal of the have been sued separately for the commission of the tort. They might have been sued
defendant, Lope K. Santos, rendered in the criminal cause, we are of the opinion that the jointly and severally, as they were. (Nicoll vs. Glennie, 1 M. & S. (English Common Law
refusal to admit said evidence in the civil cause was not an error. The fact that the Reports), 558.) If several persons jointly commit a tort, the plaintiff or person injured, has
evidence in the criminal cause was insufficient to show that Lope K. Santos was guilty of his election to sue all or some of the parties jointly, or one of them separately, because the
the crime charged, in no way barred the right of the person injured by said alleged libel tort is in its nature a separate act of each individual. (1 Chiddey, Common Law Pleadings,
to maintain the present civil action against him. (Ocampo vs. Jenkins, 14 Phil. Rep., 681.) 86.) It is not necessary that the cooperation should be a direct, corporeal act, for, to give
The criminal action had to be sustained by evidence showing the culpability of the an example, in a case of assault and battery committed by various persons, under the
defendant beyond a reasonable doubt, while in the civil action it is sufficient to show that common law all are principals. So also is the person who counsels, aids or assists in any
the defendants injured the plaintiff by the alleged libelous publication, by a way he commission of a wrong. Under the common law, he who aided or assisted or
preponderance of the evidence only. (Greenleaf on Evidence, sec. 426; Cooley on Torts, counseled, in any way, the commission of a crime, was as much a principal as he who
208; Reilley vs. Norton, 65 Iowa, 306; Sloane vs. Gilbert, 23 Am. Dec., 708.) inflicted or committed the actual tort. (Page vs. Freeman, 19 Mo., 421.)

34
It may be stated as a general rule, that the joint tort feasors are all the persons who In our opinion the lower court committed no error in rendering a joint and several
command, instigate, promote, encourage, advise, countenance, cooperate in, aid or abet judgment against the defendants and allowing an execution against their individual
the commission of a tort, or who approve of it after it is done, if done for their benefit. property. The provisions of the Civil and Commercial Codes cited by the defendants and
They are each liable as principals, to the same extent and in the same manner as if they appellants have no application whatever to the question presented in the present case.
had performed the wrongful act themselves. (Cooley on Torts, 133; Moir vs. Hopkins, 16
Ill., 313 (63 Am. Dec., 312 and note); Berry vs. Fletch, 1st Dill., 67; Smithwick vs. Ward, 7 The tenth assignment of error above noted relates solely to the amount of damages
Jones L. 64; Smith vs. Felt, 50 Barb. (N. Y.), 612; Shepard vs. McQuilkin, 2 W. Va., 90; suffered on account of wounded feelings, mental suffering and injury to the good name
Lewis vs. Johns, 34 Cal., 269.) and reputation of Mr. Worcester, by reason of the alleged libelous publication. The lower
court found that the damages thus suffered by Mr. Worcester amounted to P35,000. This
Joint tort feasors are jointly and severally liable for the tort which they commit. The assignment of error presents a most difficult question. The amount of damages resulting
person injured may sue all of them, or any number less than all. Each is liable for the from a libelous publication to a man's good name and reputation is difficult of
whole damage caused by all, and all together are jointly liable for the whole damage. It is ascertainment. It is nor difficult to realize that the damage thus done is great and almost
no defense for one sued alone, that the others who participated in the wrongful act are immeasurable. The specific amount the damages to be awarded must depend upon the
not joined with him as defendants; nor is it any excuse for him that his participation in facts in each case and the sound discretion of the court. No fixed or precise rules can be
the tort was insignificant as compared with that of the others. (Forebrother vs. Ansley, 1 laid down governing the amount of damages in cases of libel. It is difficult to include all
Campbell (English Reports), 343; Pitcher vs. Bailey, 8 East, 171; Booth vs. Hodgson, 6 of the facts and conditions which enter into the measure of such damages. A man's good
Term Reports, 405; Vose vs. Grant, 15 Mass., 505; Acheson vs. Miller, 18 Ohio, 1; name and reputation are worth more to him than all the wealth which he can accumulate during a
Wallace vs. Miller, 15 La. Ann., 449; Murphy vs. Wilson, 44 Mo., 313; Bishop vs. Ealey, 9 lifetime of industrious labor. To have them destroyed may be eminently of more damage to him
Johnson (N. Y.), 294.) personally than the destruction of his physical wealth. The loss is immeasurable. No amount
of money can compensate him for his loss. Notwithstanding the great loss which he, from
Joint tort feasors are not liable pro rata. The damages can not be apportioned among them, his standpoint, sustains, the courts must have some tangible basis upon which to estimate
except among themselves. They can no insist upon an apportionment, for the purpose of such damages.
each paying an aliquot part. They are jointly and severally liable for the full amount.
(Pardrige vs. Brady, 7 Ill. App., 639; Carney vs. Read, 11 Ind., 417; Lee vs. Black, 27 Ark., In discussing the elements of damages in a case of libel, the Honorable James C. Jenkins,
337; Bevins vs. McElroy, 52 Am. Dec., 258.) who tried the present case in the court below, correctly said that, "The enjoyment of a private
reputation is as much a constitutional right as the possession of life, liberty or property. It is one
A payment in full of the damage done, by one of the joint tort feasors, of course satisfies of those rights necessary to human society, that underlie the whole scheme of human
any claim which might exist against the others. There can be but one satisfaction. The civilization. The respect and esteem of his fellows are among the highest rewards of a
release of one of the joint tort feasors by agreement, generally operates to discharge all. wellspent life vouchsafed to man in this existence. The hope of it is the inspiration of
(Wright vs. Lathrop, 2 Ohio, 33; Livingston vs. Bishop, 1 Johnson (N.Y.), 290; youth and its possession is a solace in later years. A man of affairs, a business man, who
Brown vs. Marsh, 7 Vt., 327; Ayer vs. Ashmead, 31 Conn., 447; Eastman vs. Grant, 34 Vt., has been seen known by his fellowmen in the active pursuits of life for many years, and
387; Turner vs.Hitchcock, 20 Iowa, 310; Ellis vs. Esson, 50 Wis., 149.) who has developed a great character and an unblemished reputation, has secured a
possession more useful and more valuable than lands or houses or silver or gold. The law
recognizes the value of such a reputation and constantly strives to give redress for its
Of course the courts during the trial may find that some of the alleged joint tort feasors
injury. It imposes upon him who attacks it by slanderous words or libelous publications,
are liable and that others are not liable. The courts may release some for lack of evidence
the liability to make full compensation for the damage to the reputation, for the shame,
while condemning others of the alleged tort feasors. And this is true even though they
obloquy and for the injury to the feelings of its owner, which are caused by the publication
are charged jointly and severally. (Lansing vs. Montgomery, 2 Johnson (N. Y.), 382;
of the slander or libel. The law goes further. If the words are spoken or the publication is
Drake vs. Barrymore, 14 Johnson, 166; Owens vs. Derby, 3 Ill., 126.)
made with the intent to injure the victim or with criminal indifference to civil obligation,
it imposes such damages as the jury, in view of all the circumstances of the particular
This same principle is recognized by Act 277 of the Philippine Commission. Section 6 case, adjudge that the wrongdoer ought to pay as an example to the public and to deter
provides that: others from doing likewise, and for punishment for the infliction of the injury."

Every author, editor or proprietor . . . is chargeable with the publication of any As was said above, the damages suffered by Mr. Worcester to his good name and
words in any part . . . or number of each newspaper, as fully as if he were the reputation are most difficult of ascertainment. The attorney for the appellants, in his brief,
author of the same. lends the court but little assistance in reaching a conclusion upon this question. The

35
appellants leaves the whole question to the discretion of the court, without any argument 23d of January, 1909, with costs, and that a judgment should be entered absolving Lope
whatever. K. Santos from any liability under said complaint. So ordered.

After a careful examination, we are of the opinion that part of the judgment of the lower G.R. No. L-9010 March 28, 1914
court relating to the damages suffered by the Honorable Dean C. Worcester, should be J. H. CHAPMAN, plaintiff-appellant, vs.bJAMES M. UNDERWOOD, defendant-
modified, and that a judgment should be rendered in favor of Mr. Dean C. Worcester and appellee.
against the defendants, jointly and severally, for the sum of P15,000, with interest at 6 per MORELAND, J.:
cent from the 23d of January, 1909.
At the time the accident occurred, which is the basis of this action, there was a single-
With reference to the eleventh assignment of error above noted, to wit: That the court track street-car line running along Calle Herran, with occasional switches to allow cars to
erred in imposing punitive damages upon the defendants, we are of the opinion, after a meet and pass each other. One of these switches was located at the scene of the accident.
careful examination of the evidence, and in view of all of the facts and circumstances and
the malice connected with the publication of said editorial and the subsequent The plaintiff had been visiting his friend, a man by the name of Creveling, in front of
publications with relation to said editorial, that the lower court, by virtue of the whose house the accident happened. He desired to board a certain "San Marcelino" car
provisions of Act No. 277 of the Philippine Commission, was justified in imposing coming from Santa Ana and bound for Manila. Being told by Creveling that the car was
punitive damages upon the defendants. approaching, he immediately, and somewhat hurriedly, passed from the gate into the
street for the purpose of signaling and boarding the car. The car was a closed one, the
Section 11 of Act No. 277 allows the court, in an action for libel, to render a judgment for entrance being from the front or the rear flatform. Plaintiff attempted to board the front
punitive damages, in an amount which the court may think will be a just punishment to platform but, seeing that he could not reached it without extra exertion, stopped beside
the libeler and an example to others. the car, facing toward the rear platform, and waited for it to come abreast of him in order
to board. While in this position he was struck from behind and run over by the
defendant's automobile.
Exemplary damages in civil actions for libel may always be recovered if the defendant or
defendants are actuated by malice. In the present case there was not the slightest effort
on the part of the defendants to show the existence of probable cause or foundation The defendant entered Calle Herran at Calle Peñafrancia in his automobile driven by his
whatever for the facts contained in said editorial. Malice, hatred, and ill will against the chauffeur, a competent driver. A street car bound from Manila to Santa Ana being
plaintiff are seen throughout the record. The said editorial not only attempted to paint immediately in front of him, he followed along behind it. Just before reaching the scene
the plaintiff as a villain, but upon every occasion, the defendants resorted to ridicule of of the accident the street car which was following took the switch — that is, went off the
the severest kind. main line to the left upon the switch lying alongside of the main track. Thereupon the
defendant no longer followed that the street car nor went to the left, but either kept
straight ahead on the main street-car track or a bit to the right. The car which the plaintiff
Here again we find difficulty in arriving at a conclusion relating to the damages which
intended to board was on the main line and bound in an opposite direction to that in
should be imposed upon the defendants for the purpose of punishment. Upon this
which the defendant was going. When the front of the "San Marcelino" car, the one the
question the courts must be governed in each case by the evidence, the circumstances and
plaintiff attempted to board, was almost in front of the defendant's automobile,
their sound discretion. Taking into consideration the fact that some of the defendants
defendant's driver suddenly went to the right and struck and ran over the plaintiff, as
have been prosecuted criminally and have been sentenced, and considering that fact as a
above described.
part of the punitive damages, we have arrived at the conclusion that the judgment of the
lower court should be modified, and that a judgment should be rendered against the
defendants, jointly and severally, and in favor of the plaintiff, the Honorable Dean C. The judgment of the trial court was for defendant.
Worcester, in the sum of P10,000, as punitive damages, with interest at 6 per cent from
the 23d day of January, 1909. A careful examination of the record leads us to the conclusion that the defendant's driver
was guilty of negligence in running upon and over the plaintiff. He was passing an
Therefore, after a full consideration of all the facts contained in the record and the errors oncoming car upon the wrong side. The plaintiff, in common out to board the car, was
assigned by the appellants in this court, we are of the opinion that the judgment of the not obliged, for his own protection, to observe whether a car was coming upon him from
lower court should be modified and that a judgment should be rendered in favor of Dean his left hand. He had only to guard against those coming from the right. He knew that,
C. Worcester and against the defendants Martin Ocampo, Teodoro M. Kalaw, Manuel according to the law of the road, no automobile or other vehicle coming from his left
Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo Lichauco, Felipe Barretto, and Gregorio M. should pass upon his side of the car. He needed only to watch for cars coming from his
Cansipit, jointly and severally, for the sum of P25,000 with interest at 6 per cent from the
36
right, as they were the only ones under the law permitted to pass upon that side of the MAKALINTAL, J.:
street car.
As a result of a vehicular accident in which plaintiff Marcial Caedo and several members
The defendant, however, is not responsible for the negligence of his driver, under the of his family were injured they filed this suit for recovery of damages from the
facts and circumstances of this case. As we have said in the case of Johnson vs. David (5 defendants. The judgment, rendered by the Court of First Instance of Rizal on February
Phil. Rep., 663), the driver does not fall within the list of persons in article 1903 of the Civil 26, 1960 (Q-2952), contains the following disposition:
Code for whose acts the defendant would be responsible.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the court renders a judgment, one in favor of
Although in the David case the owner of the vehicle was not present at the time the the plaintiffs and against the defendants, Yu Khe Thai and Rafael Bernardo,
alleged negligent acts were committed by the driver, the same rule applies where the jointly and severally, to pay to plaintiffs Marcial Caedo, et al., the sum of
owner is present, unless the negligent act of the driver are continued for such a length of P1,929.70 for actual damages; P48,000.00 for moral damages; P10,000.00 for
time as to give the owner a reasonable opportunity to observe them and to direct his exemplary damages; and P5,000.00 for attorney's fees, with costs against the
driver to desist therefrom. An owner who sits in his automobile, or other vehicle, and defendants. The counterclaim of the defendants against the plaintiffs is hereby
permits his driver to continue in a violation of the law by the performance of negligent ordered dismissed, for lack of merits.
acts, after he has had a reasonable opportunity to observe them and to direct that the
driver cease therefrom, becomes himself responsible for such acts. The owner of an On March 12, 1960 the judgment was amended so as to include an additional award of
automobile who permits his chauffeur to drive up to Escolta, for example, at a speed of P3,705.11 in favor of the plaintiffs for the damage sustained by their car in the accident.
60 miles an hour, without any effort to stop him, although he has had a reasonable
opportunity to do so, becomes himself responsible, both criminally and civilly, for the
Both parties appealed to the Court of Appeals, which certified the case to us in view of
results produced by the acts of his chauffeur. On the other hand, if the driver, by a sudden
the total amount of the plaintiffs' claim.
act of negligence, and without the owner having a reasonable opportunity to prevent the
acts or its continuance, injures a person or violates the criminal law, the owner of the
automobile, although present therein at the time the act was committed, is not There are two principal questions posed for resolution: (1) who was responsible for the
responsible, either civilly or criminally, therefor. The act complained of must be accident? and (2) if it was defendant Rafael Bernardo, was his employer, defendant Yu
continued in the presence of the owner for such a length a time that the owner, by his Khe Thai, solidarily liable with him? On the first question the trial court found Rafael
acquiescence, makes his driver's act his own. Bernardo negligent; and on the second, held his employer solidarily liable with him.

In the case before us it does not appear from the record that, from the time the automobile The mishap occurred at about 5:30 in the morning of March 24, 1958 on Highway 54 (now
took the wrong side of the road to the commission of the injury, sufficient time intervened E. de los Santos Avenue) in the vicinity of San Lorenzo Village. Marcial was driving his
to give the defendant an opportunity to correct the act of his driver. Instead, it appears Mercury car on his way from his home in Quezon City to the airport, where his son
with fair clearness that the interval between the turning out to meet and pass the street Ephraim was scheduled to take a plane for Mindoro. With them in the car were Mrs.
car and the happening of the accident was so small as not to be sufficient to charge Caedo and three daughters. Coming from the opposite direction was the Cadillac of Yu
defendant with the negligence of the driver. Khe Thai, with his driver Rafael Bernardo at the wheel, taking the owner from his
Parañaque home to Wack Wack for his regular round of golf. The two cars were traveling
at fairly moderate speeds, considering the condition of the road and the absence of traffic
Whether or not the owner of an automobile driven by a competent driver, would be
— the Mercury at 40 to 50 kilometers per hour, and the Cadillac at approximately 30 to
responsible, whether present or not, for the negligent acts of his driver when the
35 miles (48 to 56 kilometers). Their headlights were mutually noticeable from a distance.
automobile was a part of a business enterprise, and was being driven at the time of the
Ahead of the Cadillac, going in the same direction, was a caretella owned by a certain
accident in furtherance of the owner's business, we do not now decide.
Pedro Bautista. The carretela was towing another horse by means of a short rope coiled
around the rig's vertical post on the right side and held at the other end by Pedro's son,
The judgment appealed from is affirmed, with costs against the appellant. Julian Bautista.

G.R. No. L-20392 December 18, 1968 Rafael Bernardo testified that he was almost upon the rig when he saw it in front of him,
MARCIAL T. CAEDO, JUANA SANGALANG CAEDO, and the Minors, EPHRAIM only eight meters away. This is the first clear indication of his negligence.
CAEDO, EILEEN CAEDO, ROSE ELAINE CAEDO, suing through their father, The carretela was provided with two lights, one on each side, and they should have given
MARCIAL T. CAEDO, as guardian ad litem, plaintiffs-appellants, vs.YU KHE THAI him sufficient warning to take the necessary precautions. And even if he did not notice
and RAFAEL BERNARDO, defendants-appellants. the lights, as he claimed later on at the trial, the carretela should anyway have been visible
37
to him from afar if he had been careful, as it must have been in the beam of his headlights the driver cease therefrom, becomes himself responsible for such acts. The
for a considerable while. owner of an automobile who permits his chauffeur to drive up the Escolta, for
example, at a speed of 60 miles an hour, without any effort to stop him, although
In the meantime the Mercury was coming on its own lane from the opposite direction. he has had a reasonable opportunity to do so, becomes himself responsible, both
Bernardo, instead of slowing down or stopping altogether behind the carretela until that criminally and civilly, for the results produced by the acts of the chauffeur. On
lane was clear, veered to the left in order to pass. As he did so the curved end of his car's the other hand, if the driver, by a sudden act of negligence, and without the
right rear bumper caught the forward rim of the rig's left wheel, wrenching it off and owner having a reasonable opportunity to prevent the act or its continuance,
carrying it along as the car skidded obliquely to the other lane, where it collided with the injures a person or violates the criminal law, the owner of the automobile,
oncoming vehicle. On his part Caedo had seen the Cadillac on its own lane; he slackened although present therein at the time the act was committed, is not responsible,
his speed, judged the distances in relation to the carretela and concluded that the Cadillac either civilly or criminally, therefor. The act complained of must be continued in
would wait behind. Bernardo, however, decided to take a gamble — beat the Mercury to the presence of the owner for such a length of time that the owner, by his
the point where it would be in line with the carretela, or else squeeze in between them in acquiescence, makes his driver act his own.
any case. It was a risky maneuver either way, and the risk should have been quite
obvious. Or, since the car was moving at from 30 to 35 miles per hour (or 25 miles The basis of the master's liability in civil law is not respondent superior but rather the
according to Yu Khe Thai) it was already too late to apply the brakes when Bernardo saw relationship of paterfamilias. The theory is that ultimately the negligence of the servant, if
the carretela only eight meters in front of him, and so he had to swerve to the left in spite known to the master and susceptible of timely correction by him, reflects his own
of the presence of the oncoming car on the opposite lane. As it was, the clearance Bernardo negligence if he fails to correct it in order to prevent injury or damage.
gave for his car's right side was insufficient. Its rear bumper, as already stated, caught the
wheel of the carretela and wrenched it loose. Caedo, confronted with the unexpected In the present case the defendants' evidence is that Rafael Bernardo had been Yu Khe
situation, tried to avoid the collision at the last moment by going farther to the right, but Thai's driver since 1937, and before that had been employed by Yutivo Sons Hardware
was unsuccessful. The photographs taken at the scene show that the right wheels of his Co. in the same capacity for over ten years. During that time he had no record of violation
car were on the unpaved shoulder of the road at the moment of impact. of traffic laws and regulations. No negligence for having employed him at all may be
imputed to his master. Negligence on the part of the latter, if any, must be sought in the
There is no doubt at all that the collision was directly traceable to Rafael Bernardo's immediate setting and circumstances of the accident, that is, in his failure to detain the
negligence and that he must be held liable for the damages suffered by the plaintiffs. The driver from pursuing a course which not only gave him clear notice of the danger but also
next question is whether or not Yu Khe Thai, as owner of the Cadillac, is solidarily liable sufficient time to act upon it. We do not see that such negligence may be imputed. The
with the driver. The applicable law is Article 2184 of the Civil Code, which reads: car, as has been stated, was not running at an unreasonable speed. The road was wide
and open, and devoid of traffic that early morning. There was no reason for the car owner
ART. 2184. In motor vehicle mishaps, the owner is solidarily liable with his to be in any special state of alert. He had reason to rely on the skill and experience of his
driver, if the former, who was in the vehicle, could have, by the use of due driver. He became aware of the presence of the carretela when his car was only twelve
diligence, prevented the misfortune. It is disputably presumed that a driver was meters behind it, but then his failure to see it earlier did not constitute negligence, for he
negligent, if he had been found guilty of reckless driving or violating traffic was not himself at the wheel. And even when he did see it at that distance, he could not
regulations at least twice within the next preceding two months. have anticipated his driver's sudden decision to pass the carretela on its left side in spite
of the fact that another car was approaching from the opposite direction. The time element
was such that there was no reasonable opportunity for Yu Khe Thai to assess the risks
Under the foregoing provision, if the causative factor was the driver's negligence, the
involved and warn the driver accordingly. The thought that entered his mind, he said,
owner of the vehicle who was present is likewise held liable if he could have prevented
was that if he sounded a sudden warning it might only make the other man nervous and
the mishap by the exercise of due diligence. The rule is not new, although formulated as
make the situation worse. It was a thought that, wise or not, connotes no absence of that
law for the first time in the new Civil Code. It was expressed in Chapman vs. Underwood
due diligence required by law to prevent the misfortune.
(1914), 27 Phil. 374, where this Court held:

The test of imputed negligence under Article 2184 of the Civil Code is, to a great degree,
... The same rule applies where the owner is present, unless the negligent acts of
necessarily subjective. Car owners are not held to a uniform and inflexible standard of
the driver are continued for such a length of time as to give the owner a
diligence as are professional drivers. In many cases they refrain from driving their own
reasonable opportunity to observe them and to direct his driver to desist
cars and instead hire other persons to drive for them precisely because they are not
therefrom. An owner who sits in his automobile, or other vehicle, and permits
trained or endowed with sufficient discernment to know the rules of traffic or to
his driver to continue in a violation of the law by the performance of negligent
appreciate the relative dangers posed by the different situations that are continually
acts, after he has had a reasonable opportunity to observe them and to direct that
encountered on the road. What would be a negligent omission under aforesaid Article on
38
the part of a car owner who is in the prime of age and knows how to handle a motor A. Contusion, with hematoma, scalp, frontal left; abrasions, chest wall,
vehicle is not necessarily so on the part, say, of an old and infirm person who is not anterior;
similarly equipped. B. Multiple fractures, ribs, right, lst to 5th inclusive. Third rib has a
double fracture; Subparieto-plaural hematoma; Basal disc atelectasis,
The law does not require that a person must possess a certain measure of skill or lung, right lower lobe, secondary;
proficiency either in the mechanics of driving or in the observance of traffic rules before C. Pseudotosis, left, secondary to probable basal fracture, skull.
he may own a motor vehicle. The test of his intelligence, within the meaning of Article
2184, is his omission to do that which the evidence of his own senses tells him he should JUANA SANGALANG CAEDO:
do in order to avoid the accident. And as far as perception is concerned, absent a
minimum level imposed by law, a maneuver that appears to be fraught with danger to A. Abrasions, multiple:
one passenger may appear to be entirely safe and commonplace to another. Were the law (1)frontal region, left; (2) apex of nose; (3) upper eyelid, left; (4) knees.
to require a uniform standard of perceptiveness, employment of professional drivers by B. Wound, lacerated, irregular, deep, frontal;
car owners who, by their very inadequacies, have real need of drivers' services, would be C. Fracture, simple, 2nd rib posterior, left with displacement.
effectively proscribed. D. Fracture, simple, base, proximal phalanx right, big toe.
E. Fracture, simple, base, metatarsals III and V right.
We hold that the imputation of liability to Yu Khe Thai, solidarily with Rafael Bernardo, F. Concussion, cerebral.
is an error. The next question refers to the sums adjudged by the trial court as damages.
The award of P48,000 by way of moral damages is itemized as follows: EPHRAIM CAEDO:

1. Marcial Caedo P 20,000.00 A. Abrasions, multiple:


(1) left temporal area; (2) left frontal; (3) left supraorbital
2. Juana S. Caedo 15,000.00
EILEEN CAEDO:
3. Ephraim Caedo 3,000.00
A. Lacerated wound (V-shaped), base, 5th finger, right, lateral aspect.
4. Eileen Caedo 4,000.00
B. Abrasions, multiple:
(1) dorsum, proximal phalanx middle finger; (2) Knee, anterior,
5. Rose Elaine Caedo 3,000.00
bilateral; (3) shin, lower 1/3.
6. Merilyn Caedo 3,000.00
ROSE ELAINE CAEDO:

Plaintiffs appealed from the award, claiming that the Court should have granted them A. Abrasions, multiple: (1) upper and lower lids; (2) left temporal; (3)
also actual or compensatory damages, aggregating P225,000, for the injuries they nasolabial region; (4) leg, lower third, anterior.
sustained. Defendants, on the other hand maintain that the amounts awarded as moral
damages are excessive and should be reduced. We find no justification for either side. The
amount of actual damages suffered by the individual plaintiffs by reason of their injuries, MARILYN CAEDO:
other than expenses for medical treatment, has not been shown by the evidence. Actual
damages, to be compensable, must be proven. Pain and suffering are not capable of A. Abrasions, multiple: (1)shin, lower 1/3 right; (2) arm, lower third
pecuniary estimation, and constitute a proper ground for granting moral, not actual,
damages, as provided in Article 2217 of the Civil Code. C. Contusion with hematoma, shin, lower 1/3, anterior aspect, right.
(See Exhibits D, D-1, D-2, D-3, D-4, and D- 5)
The injuries sustained by plaintiffs are the following:
It is our opinion that, considering the nature and extent of the above-mentioned injuries,
MARCIAL T. CAEDO: the amounts of moral damages granted by the trial court are not excessive.

39
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is modified in the sense of declaring severally, the sum of P 1,650,000.00 to plaintiffs with legal interest from
defendant-appellant Yu Khe Thai free from liability, and is otherwise affirmed with July 5, 1973, is concerned. In lieu thereof, defendants are hereby
respect to defendant Rafael Bernardo, with costs against the latter. ordered to pay plaintiffs, jointly and severally, the sum of Four
Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (P450,000.00) as unearned net earnings
G.R. No. L-62988 February 28, 1985 of Roberto R. Luna, with legal interest thereon from the date of the
filing of the complaint until the whole amount shall have been totally
paid.
FELINA RODRIGUEZ-LUNA, JOSE R. LUNA and ROBERTO R. LUNA,
JR., petitioners,
vs. The rest of the other dispositions in the judgment a quo stand. (Rollo,
THE HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, JOSE E. DELA ROSA and LUIS pp. 33-34.)
DELA ROSA, respondents.
Both parties filed separate petitions for review of the appellate court's decision.
Ezequiel S. Consulta for petitioners.
In G.R. No. 57362, the petition for review of Jose and Luis dela Rosa was denied for lack
David M. Castro for respondents. of merit on October 5, 1981. Subsequently, they informed that the decision sought to be
reviewed was not yet final because the Lunas had a pending motion for reconsideration.
For prematurity, this Court set aside all previous resolutions. On February 16, 1983, acting
upon the motion and manifestation of the petitioners, they were required to file an
amended petition within thirty days from notice. On June 20, 1983, this Court resolved:
ABAD SANTOS, J.:
"For failure of the petitioners to file an amended petition as required, this case is hereby
DISMISSED and the dismissal is final."
This is a petition to review a decision of the defunct Court of Appeals. The petitioners are
the heirs of Roberto R. Luna who was killed in a vehicular collision. The collision took
The instant case — G.R. No. 62988 — is the separate appeal of the Lunas. Their petition
place on January 18, 1970, at the go-kart practice area in Greenhills, San Juan, Metro
contains the following prayer:
Manila. Those involved were the go-kart driven by the deceased, a business executive,
and a Toyota car driven by Luis dela Rosa, a minor of 13 years who had no driver's license.
1. That the petition be given due course;
In a suit for damages brought by the heirs of Roberto R. Luna against Luis dela Rosa and
his father Jose dela Rosa, the Court of First Instance of Manila in Civil Case No. 81078, 2. That after notice and hearing, judgment be rendered, setting aside or
rendered the following judgment: modifying the RESOLUTION of respondent Court of Appeals dated
June 19, 1981, attached as Annex "A" to the petition, only insofar as it
reduced the unearned net earnings to P450,000.00, s• as to affirm the
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered sentencing the defendants
trial court's finding as to the unearned net earnings of the deceased in
Luis dela Rosa and Jose dela Rosa to pay, jointly and severally, to the
the amount of P1,650,000.00;
plaintiffs the sum of P1,650,000.00 as unearned net earnings of Roberto
Luna, P12,000.00 as compensatory damages, and P50,000.00 for the loss
of his companionship, with legal interest from the date of this decision; 3. Ordering that the award of attorney's fees shall also be with interest,
plus attorney's fees in the sum of P50,000.00, and the costs of suit. at the legal rate. (Rollo, p. 27.)
(Record on Appeal, p. 35.)
On June 27, 1983, the petition was given due course. (Rollo, pp. 122-123.)
The defendants appealed to the defunct Court of Appeals which in a decision dated May
22, 1979, affirmed in totothat of the trial court. (Rollo, p. 48.) However, upon a motion for In the light of the foregoing, the resolution stated:
reconsideration filed by the defendants-appellants, the Court of Appeals, in a resolution
dated June 19, 1981, modified its judgment thus: It thus appears that the questions in esse are with respect to the award
for unearned net earnings — should the award be P450,000.00 only or
WHEREFORE, the decision rendered in this case is hereby modified should it be P1,650,000.00 as originally adjudged; and whether the
insofar as the judgment ordering the defendants to pay, jointly and award for attorney's fees shall also be with interest at the legal rate.
40
The Court takes notice that the wrongful death occurred as early as The Court of Appeals in sustaining the trial court's conclusion said:
January 18, 1970, and that until now the process of litigation is not yet
over. In the meantime the value of the Philippine peso has been We have not been persuaded to disturb the conclusion that the
seriously eroded so that the heirs of the deceased may ultimately have deceased had a life expectancy of thirty years. At the time of Luna's
a greatly depreciated judgment. In the interest of justice, the private death, he was only thirty-three years old and in the best of health. With
respondents are hereby ordered to PAY to the petitioners within thirty his almost perfect physical condition and his sound mind, the
(30) days from notice the following amounts adjudged against them: expectation that he could have lived for another thirty years is
P450,000.00 for unearned net earnings of the deceased; (P12,000.00 as reasonable, considering that with his educational attainment, his social
compensatory damages; P50,000.00 for the loss of his companionship and financial standing, he had the means of staying fit and preserving
with legal interest from July 3, 1973; and P50,000.00 as attorney's fees. his health and well-being. That he could have lived at least until the
age of sixty-three years is an assessment which is more on the
Still to be resolved shall be the following: whether the award for conservative side in view of the testimony of Dr. Vicente Campa that
unearned net earnings shall be increased to P1,650,000.00; and whether the general life expectancy nowadays had gone up to seventy years.
the award for attorney's fees shall also be with interest at the legal rate. (Rollo, p. 45.)
The costs will be adjudged as a matter of course. (Rollo, p. 123.)
The Court of Appeals likewise sustained the trial court in respect of Luna's annual income
The private respondents failed to pay the amounts and when required to explain they and expense. This is what the trial court said:
said that they had no cash money. Accordingly, this Court directed the trial court to issue
a writ of execution but the attempt of the special sheriff to enter the private respondent's Roberto Luna was 33 years old when he died, and was survived by his
premises so that he could make an inventory of personal properties was thwarted by wife Felina Rodriguez-Luna, and two children, Roberto Jr., 13 years,
guards and this Court had to direct the Chief of the Philippine Constabulary to assist in and Jose, 12 years. His wife was 35 years old at the time. He declared a
enforcing the writ of execution. The execution yielded only a nominal amount. In the gross income of P16,900.00 for 1967 (Exhibit I), P29,700,000 for 1968
meantime, Luis dela Rosa is now of age, married with two children, and living in Madrid, (Exhibit H) and P45,117.69 for 1969 (Exhibit G). He had investments in
Spain with an uncle but only casually employed. It is said: "His compensation is hardly various corporations amounting to P136,116.00 (Exhibits K, M, M-1, N,
enough to support his family. He has no assets of his own as yet." (Rollo, p. 208.) N-1 to N-3, O, O-1, P, Q and R) and was the president and general
manager of Rodlum Inc.; general manager of Esso Greenhills Service
1. On the amount of the award. Center; Assistant manager of Jose Rodriguez Lanuza Sons; director of
Steadfast Investment Corporation; chairman and treasurer of
The award of P1,650,000.00 was based on two factors, namely: (a) that the deceased Greenhills Industrial Corporation; vice-president of Oasis, Inc.;
Roberto R. Luna could have lived for 30 more years; and (b) that his annual net income director of Nation Savings Association; director of Arlun Taxi; and
was P55,000.00, computed at P75,000.00 annual gross income less P20,000.00 annual treasurer of National Association of Retired Civil Employees.
personal expenses.
... . His income tax returns show an increase in his income in the short
This is what the trial court said on Luna's life expectancy: period of three years. It is reasonable to expect that it would still go
higher for the next fifteen years and reach a minimum of P75,000.00 a
year. The potential increase in the earning capacity of a deceased
According to the American Experience Table of Mortality, at age 33 the
person is recognized by the Supreme Court. ... the court believes that
life expectancy of Roberto Luna was 33.4 years, and under the
the expected gross earnings of Roberto Luna should be fixed in the sum
Commissioner Standard Ordinary, used by our domestic insurance
of P75,000.00 a year for the period of his life expectancy of 30 years, but
companies since 1968 for policies above P5,000.00 his life expectancy
deducting his personal expenses which, because of his business and
was 38.51 years. Dr. Vicente Campa, medical director of San Miguel
social standing the court in the amount of P20,000.00 a year, in
Corporation, testified that he was the regular physician of Roberto
accordance with the rulings of the Supreme Court. (Record on Appeal,
Luna since his marriage to Felina Rodriguez in 1957. He said that
pp. 32-34.)
except for a slight anemia which he had ten years earlier, Roberto Luna
was of good health. Allowing for this condition, he could reasonably
expect to have a life expectancy of 30 years. (Record on Appeal, p. 33.) Acting on a motion for reconsideration filed by the dela Rosas, the Court of Appeals took
into account the fact "that the deceased Roberto R. Luna had been engaged in car racing

41
as a sport, having participated in tournaments both here and abroad;" it said that Luna's The trial court awarded attorney's fees to the petitioners in the sum of P50,000.00. This
habit and manner of life should be "one of the factors affecting the value of mortality table award was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in its decision of May 22, 1979. The
in actions for damages;" and, consequently, concluded that Luna could not have lived resolution of June 19, 1981, reaffirmed the award. The two decisions as well as the
beyond 43 years. The result was that the 30-year life expectancy of Luna was reduced to resolution do not provide for interest at the legal rate to be tacked to the award.
10 years only.
The petitioners now pray that the award of attorney's fees be with interest at the legal rate
Further on the motion for reconsideration, the Court of Appeals ruled in respect of Luna's from the date of the filing of the complaint. There is merit in this prayer. The attorney's
annual personal expenses: fees were awarded in the concept of damages in a quasi-delict case and under the
circumstances interest as part thereof may be adjudicated at the discretion of the court.
... . Considering the escalating price of automobile gas which is a key (See Art. 2211, Civil Code.) As with the other damages awarded, the interest should
expenditure in Roberto R. Luna's social standing, We should increase accrue only from the date of the trial court's decision.
that amount to P30,000.00 as the would be personal expenses of the
deceased per annum. (Rollo, p. 33.) The private respondents invoke Elcano vs. Hill, L-24803, May 26,1977; 77 SCRA 98, where
it was held that Article 2180 of the Civil Code applied to Atty. Marvin Hill
The Court of Appeals then determined the amount of the award thus: P75,000.00 annual notwithstanding the emancipation by marriage of Reginald Hill, his son but since
gross income less P30,000.00 annual personal expenses leaves P45,000.00 multiplied by 10 Reginald had attained age, as a matter of equity, the liability of Atty. Hill had become
years of life expectancy and the product is P450,000.00. merely subsidiary to that of his son. It is now said that Luis dela Rosa, is now married
and of legal age and that as a matter of equity the liability of his father should be
subsidiary only.
The petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred when by its resolution of June 19,
1981, it reduced Luna's life expectancy from 30 to 10 Years and increased his annual
personal expenses from P20,000.00 to P30,000.00. We sustain the petitioners. We are unwilling to apply equity instead of strict law in this case because to do so will
not serve the ends of justice. Luis dela Rosa is abroad and beyond the reach of Philippine
courts. Moreover, he does not have any property either in the Philippines or elsewhere.
The Court of Appeals, in reducing Luna's life expectancy from 30 to 10 years said that his
In fact his earnings are insufficient to support his family.
habit and manner of life should be taken into account, i.e. that he had been engaged in
car racing as a sport both here and abroad - a dangerous and risky activity tending to
shorten his life expectancy. That Luna had engaged in car racing is not based on any WHEREFORE, the resolution of the Court of Appeals dated June 19, 1981, is hereby set
evidence on record. That Luna was engaged in go-kart racing is the correct statement but aside; its decision dated May 22, 1979, is reinstated with the sole modification that the
then go-kart racing cannot be categorized as a dangerous sport for go-karts are extremely award for attorney's fees shall earn interest at the legal rate from July 5, 1973, the date of
low slung, low powered vehicles, only slightly larger than foot-pedalled four wheeled the trial court's decision. Costs against the private respondents.
conveyances. It was error on the part of the Court of Appeals to have disturbed the
determination of the trial court which it had previously affirmed. SO ORDERED.

Similarly, it was error for the Court of Appeals to reduce the net annual income of the G.R. No. 85044 June 3, 1992
deceased by increasing his annual personal expenses but without at the same time MACARIO TAMARGO, CELSO TAMARGO and AURELIA
increasing his annual gross income. It stands to reason that if his annual personal TAMARGO, petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, THE HON. ARISTON L.
expenses should increase because of the "escalating price of gas which is a key RUBIO, RTC Judge, Branch 20, Vigan, Ilocos Sur; VICTOR BUNDOC; and CLARA
expenditure in Roberto R. Luna's social standing" [a statement which lacks complete BUNDOC, respondents.
basis], it would not be unreasonable to suppose that his income would also increase FELICIANO, J.:
considering the manifold sources thereof.
On 20 October 1982, Adelberto Bundoc, then a minor of 10 years of age, shot Jennifer
In short, the Court of Appeals erred in modifying its original decision. Tamargo with an air rifle causing injuries which resulted in her death. Accordingly, a civil
complaint for damages was filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 20, Vigan, Ilocos
2. Attorney's fees — with or without interest at the legal rate. Sur, docketed as Civil Case No. 3457-V, by petitioner Macario Tamargo, Jennifer's
adopting parent, and petitioner spouses Celso and Aurelia Tamargo, Jennifer's natural
parents against respondent spouses Victor and Clara Bundoc, Adelberto's natural parents
with whom he was living at the time of the tragic incident. In addition to this case for
42
damages, a criminal information or Homicide through Reckless Imprudence was filed the case even through petitioners' appeal had been filed out of time; and (2) whether or
[Criminal Case No. 1722-V] against Adelberto Bundoc. Adelberto, however, was not the effects of adoption, insofar as parental authority is concerned may be given
acquitted and exempted from criminal liability on the ground that he bad acted without retroactive effect so as to make the adopting parents the indispensable parties in a damage
discernment. case filed against their adopted child, for acts committed by the latter, when actual
custody was yet lodged with the biological parents.
Prior to the incident, or on 10 December 1981, the spouses Sabas and Felisa Rapisura had
filed a petition to adopt the minor Adelberto Bundoc in Special Proceedings No. 0373-T 1. It will be recalled that, petitioners' motion (and supplemental motion) for
before the then Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur. This petition for adoption was reconsideration filed before the trial court, not having complied with the requirements of
grunted on, 18 November 1982, that is, after Adelberto had shot and killed Jennifer. Section 13, Rule 41, and Section 4, Rule 15, of the Revised Rules of Court, were
considered pro forma and hence did not interrupt and suspend the reglementary period
In their Answer, respondent spouses Bundoc, Adelberto's natural parents, reciting the to appeal: the trial court held that the motions, not having contained a notice of time and
result of the foregoing petition for adoption, claimed that not they, but rather the adopting place of hearing, had become useless pieces of paper which did not interrupt the
parents, namely the spouses Sabas and Felisa Rapisura, were indispensable parties to the reglementary period. 1 As in fact repeatedly held by this Court, what is mandatory is the
action since parental authority had shifted to the adopting parents from the moment the service of the motion on the opposing counsel indicating the time and place of hearing. 2
successful petition for adoption was filed.
In view, however, of the nature of the issue raised in the instant. Petition, and in order
Petitioners in their Reply contended that since Adelberto Bundoc was then actually living that substantial justice may be served, the Court, invoking its right to suspend the
with his natural parents, parental authority had not ceased nor been relinquished by the application of technical rules to prevent manifest injustice, elects to treat the notice of
mere filing and granting of a petition for adoption. appeal as having been seasonably filed before the trial court, and the motion (and
supplemental motion) for reconsideration filed by petitioner in the trial court as having
interrupted the reglementary period for appeal. As the Court held in Gregorio v. Court of
The trial court on 3 December 1987 dismissed petitioners' complaint, ruling that
Appeals: 3
respondent natural parents of Adelberto indeed were not indispensable parties to the
action.
Dismissal of appeal; purely on technical grounds is frowned upon
where the policy of the courts is to encourage hearings of appeal on
Petitioners received a copy of the trial court's Decision on 7 December 1987. Within the
their merits. The rules of procedure ought not be applied in a very rigid
15-day reglementary period, or on 14 December 1987, petitioners filed a motion for
technical sense, rules of procedure are used only to help secure not
reconsideration followed by a supplemental motion for reconsideration on 15 January
override, substantial justice. if d technical and rigid enforcement of the
1988. It appearing, however, that the motions failed to comply with Sections 4 and 5 of
rules is made their aim would be defeated. 4
Rule 15 of the Revised Rules of Court — that notice of the motion shall be given to all
parties concerned at least three (3) days before the hearing of said motion; and that said
notice shall state the time and place of hearing — both motions were denied by the trial 2. It is not disputed that Adelberto Bundoc's voluntary act of shooting Jennifer Tamargo
court in an Order dated 18 April 1988. On 28 April 1988, petitioners filed a notice of with an air rifle gave rise to a cause of action on quasi-delict against him. As Article 2176
appeal. In its Order dated 6 June 1988, the trial court dismissed the notice at appeal, this of the Civil Code provides:
time ruling that the notice had been filed beyond the 15-day reglementary period ending
22 December 1987. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being
fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault
Petitioners went to the Court of Appeals on a petition or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between
for mandamus and certiorari questioning the trial court's Decision dated 3 December 1987 the parties, is called a quasi-delict . . .
and the Orders dated 18 April 1988 and 6 June 1988, The Court of Appeals dismissed the
petition, ruling that petitioners had lost their right to appeal. Upon the other hand, the law imposes civil liability upon the father and, in case of his
death or incapacity, the mother, for any damages that may be caused by a minor child who
In the present Petition for Review, petitioners once again contend that respondent lives with them. Article 2180 of the Civil Code reads:
spouses Bundoc are the indispensable parties to the action for damages caused by the acts
of their minor child, Adelberto Bundoc. Resolution of this Petition hinges on the following The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's
issues: (1) whether or not petitioners, notwithstanding loss of their right to appeal, may own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is
still file the instant Petition; conversely, whether the Court may still take cognizance of responsible.
43
The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are that the parents had exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent
responsible for the damages caused by the minor children who live in the damage.
their company.
In the instant case, the shooting of Jennifer by Adelberto with an air rifle occured when
xxx xxx xxx parental authority was still lodged in respondent Bundoc spouses, the natural parents of
the minor Adelberto. It would thus follow that the natural parents who had then actual
The responsibility treated of in this Article shall cease when the person custody of the minor Adelberto, are the indispensable parties to the suit for damages.
herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good
father of a family to prevent damage. (Emphasis supplied) The natural parents of Adelberto, however, stoutly maintain that because a decree of
adoption was issued by the adoption court in favor of the Rapisura spouses, parental
This principle of parental liability is a species of what is frequently designated as vicarious authority was vested in the latter as adopting parents as of the time of the filing of the petition
liability, or the doctrine of "imputed negligence" under Anglo-American tort law, where for adoption that is, before Adelberto had shot Jennifer which an air rifle. The Bundoc
a person is not only liable for torts committed by himself, but also for torts committed by spouses contend that they were therefore free of any parental responsibility for
others with whom he has a certain relationship and for whom he is responsible. Thus, Adelberto's allegedly tortious conduct.
parental liability is made a natural or logical consequence of the duties and
responsibilities of parents — their parental authority — which includes the instructing, Respondent Bundoc spouses rely on Article 36 of the Child and Youth Welfare
controlling and disciplining of the child. 5 The basis for the doctrine of vicarious liability Code 8 which reads as follows:
was explained by the Court in Cangco v. Manila Railroad Co. 6 in the following terms:
Art. 36. Decree of Adoption. — If, after considering the report of the
With respect to extra-contractual obligation arising from negligence, whether Department of Social Welfare or duly licensed child placement agency
of act or omission, it is competent for the legislature to elect — and our and the evidence submitted before it, the court is satisfied that the
Legislature has so elected — to limit such liability to cases in which the person petitioner is qualified to maintain, care for, and educate the child, that
upon whom such an obligation is imposed is morally culpable or, on the the trial custody period has been completed, and that the best interests
contrary, for reasons of public policy. to extend that liability, without regard of the child will be promoted by the adoption, a decree of adoption shall
to the lack of moral culpability, so as to include responsibility for the negligence be entered, which shall be effective he date the original petition was filed. The
of those persons whose acts or omissions are imputable, by a legal fiction, to others decree shall state the name by which the child is thenceforth to be
who are in a position to exercise an absolute or limited control over them. The known. (Emphasis supplied)
legislature which adopted our Civil Code has elected to limit extra-contractual
liability — with certain well-defined exceptions — to cases in which moral The Bundoc spouses further argue that the above Article 36 should be read in
culpability can be directly imputed to the persons to be charged. This moral relation to Article 39 of the same Code:
responsibility may consist in having failed to exercise due care in one's own
acts, or in having failed to exercise due care in the selection and control of one's
Art. 39. Effect of Adoption. — The adoption shall:
agent or servants, or in the control of persons who, by reasons of their status, occupy
a position of dependency with respect to the person made liable for their
conduct. 7 (Emphasis Supplied) xxx xxx xxx

The civil liability imposed upon parents for the torts of their minor children living (2) Dissolve the authority vested in the natural parents, except where the
with them, may be seen to be based upon the parental authority vested by the Civil adopter is the spouse of the surviving natural parent;
Code upon such parents. The civil law assumes that when an unemancipated child
living with its parents commits a tortious acts, the parents were negligent in the xxx xxx xxx
performance of their legal and natural duty closely to supervise the child who is in
their custody and control. Parental liability is, in other words, anchored upon parental (Emphasis supplied)
authority coupled with presumed parental dereliction in the discharge of the duties
accompanying such authority. The parental dereliction is, of course, only presumed
and urge that their Parental authority must be deemed to have been dissolved as of the
and the presumption can be overtuned under Article 2180 of the Civil Code by proof
time the Petition for adoption was filed.

44
The Court is not persuaded. As earlier noted, under the Civil Code, the basis of parental Under the above Article 35, parental authority is provisionally vested in the adopting
liability for the torts of a minor child is the relationship existing between the parents and parents during the period of trial custody, i.e., before the issuance of a decree of
the minor child living with them and over whom, the law presumes, the parents exercise adoption, precisely because the adopting parents are given actual custody of the child during such
supervision and control. Article 58 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code, re-enacted this trial period. In the instant case, the trial custody period either had not yet begun or bad
rule: already been completed at the time of the air rifle shooting; in any case, actual custody of
Adelberto was then with his natural parents, not the adopting parents.
Article 58 Torts — Parents and guardians are responsible for the
damage caused by the child under their parental authority in accordance Accordingly, we conclude that respondent Bundoc spouses, Adelberto's natural parents,
with the civil Code. (Emphasis supplied) were indispensable parties to the suit for damages brought by petitioners, and that the
dismissal by the trial court of petitioners' complaint, the indispensable parties being
Article 221 of the Family Code of the Philippines 9 has similarly insisted upon the already before the court, constituted grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
requisite that the child, doer of the tortious act, shall have beer in the actual custody of of jurisdiction.
the parents sought to be held liable for the ensuing damage:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition for Review is hereby GRANTED DUE
Art. 221. Parents and other persons exercising parental authority shall COURSE and the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 6 September 1988, in C.A.-G.R.
be civilly liable for the injuries and damages caused by the acts or No. SP-15016 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioners' complaint filed before
omissions of their unemancipated children living in their companyand the trial court is hereby REINSTATED and this case is REMANDED to that court for
under their parental authority subject to the appropriate defenses further proceedings consistent with this Decision. Costs against respondent Bundoc
provided by law. (Emphasis supplied) spouses. This Decision is immediately executory.

We do not believe that parental authority is properly regarded as having been SO ORDERED.
retroactively transferred to and vested in the adopting parents, the Rapisura spouses, at
the time the air rifle shooting happened. We do not consider that retroactive effect may G.R. No. L-24101 September 30, 1970
be giver to the decree of adoption so as to impose a liability upon the adopting parents MARIA TERESA Y. CUADRA, minor represented by her father ULISES P. CUADRA,
accruing at a time when adopting parents had no actual or physically custody over the adopted ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees,vs. ALFONSO MONFORT, defendant-appellant.
child. Retroactive affect may perhaps be given to the granting of the petition for adoption MAKALINTAL, J.:
where such is essential to permit the accrual of some benefit or advantage in favor of the This is an action for damages based on quasi-delict, decided by the Court of First Instance
adopted child. In the instant case, however, to hold that parental authority had been of Negros Occidental favorably to the plaintiffs and appealed by the defendant to the
retroactively lodged in the Rapisura spouses so as to burden them with liability for a Court of Appeals, which certified the same to us since the facts are not in issue.
tortious act that they could not have foreseen and which they could not have prevented
(since they were at the time in the United States and had no physical custody over the Maria Teresa Cuadra, 12, and Maria Teresa Monfort, 13, were classmates in Grade Six at
child Adelberto) would be unfair and unconscionable. Such a result, moreover, would be the Mabini Elementary School in Bacolod City. On July 9, 1962 their teacher assigned
inconsistent with the philosophical and policy basis underlying the doctrine of vicarious them, together with three other classmates, to weed the grass in the school premises.
liability. Put a little differently, no presumption of parental dereliction on the part of the While thus engaged Maria Teresa Monfort found a plastic headband, an ornamental
adopting parents, the Rapisura spouses, could have arisen since Adelberto was not in fact object commonly worn by young girls over their hair. Jokingly she said aloud that she
subject to their control at the time the tort was committed. had found an earthworm and, evidently to frighten the Cuadra girl, tossed the object at
her. At that precise moment the latter turned around to face her friend, and the object hit
Article 35 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code fortifies the conclusion reached above. her right eye. Smarting from the pain, she rubbed the injured part and treated it with
Article 35 provides as follows: some powder. The next day, July 10, the eye became swollen and it was then that the girl
related the incident to her parents, who thereupon took her to a doctor for treatment. She
Art. 35. Trial Custody. — No petition for adoption shall be finally underwent surgical operation twice, first on July 20 and again on August 4, 1962, and
granted unless and until the adopting parents are given by the courts a stayed in the hospital for a total of twenty-three days, for all of which the parents spent
supervised trial custody period of at least six months to assess their the sum of P1,703.75. Despite the medical efforts, however, Maria Teresa Cuadra
adjustment and emotional readiness for the legal union. During the completely lost the sight of her right eye.
period of trial custody, parental authority shall be vested in the adopting
parents. (Emphasis supplied)
45
In the civil suit subsequently instituted by the parents in behalf of their minor daughter Obviously there can be no meticulously calibrated measure applicable; and when the law
against Alfonso Monfort, Maria Teresa Monfort's father, the defendant was ordered to simply refers to "all the diligence of a good father of the family to prevent damage," it
pay P1,703.00 as actual damages; P20,000.00 as moral damages; and P2,000.00 as implies a consideration of the attendant circumstances in every individual case, to
attorney's fees, plus the costs of the suit. determine whether or not by the exercise of such diligence the damage could have been
prevented.
The legal issue posed in this appeal is the liability of a parent for an act of his minor child
which causes damage to another under the specific facts related above and the applicable In the present case there is nothing from which it may be inferred that the defendant could
provisions of the Civil Code, particularly Articles 2176 and 2180 thereof, which read: have prevented the damage by the observance of due care, or that he was in any way
remiss in the exercise of his parental authority in failing to foresee such damage, or the
ART. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, act which caused it. On the contrary, his child was at school, where it was his duty to send
there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. her and where she was, as he had the right to expect her to be, under the care and
Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation supervision of the teacher. And as far as the act which caused the injury was concerned,
between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by it was an innocent prank not unusual among children at play and which no parent,
provisions of this Chapter. however careful, would have any special reason to anticipate much less guard against.
Nor did it reveal any mischievous propensity, or indeed any trait in the child's character
which would reflect unfavorably on her upbringing and for which the blame could be
ART 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not
attributed to her parents.
only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for
whom one is responsible.
The victim, no doubt, deserves no little commiseration and sympathy for the tragedy that
befell her. But if the defendant is at all obligated to compensate her suffering, the
The father and, in case of his death or incapacity are responsible for the
obligation has no legal sanction enforceable in court, but only the moral compulsion of
damages caused by the minor children who live in their company.
good conscience.

xxx xxx xxx


The decision appealed from is reversed, and the complaint is dismissed, without
pronouncement as to costs.
The responsibility treated of in this Article shall cease when the persons
herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good
AQUINAS SCHOOL, G.R. No. 184202
father of a family to prevent damage.
Petitioner,
Present:
The underlying basis of the liability imposed by Article 2176 is the fault or negligence CARPIO, J., Chairperson,
accompanying the act or the omission, there being no willfulness or intent to cause - versus - NACHURA,
damage thereby. When the act or omission is that of one person for whom another is PERALTA,
responsible, the latter then becomes himself liable under Article 2180, in the different ABAD, and
cases enumerated therein, such as that of the father or the mother under the circumstances MENDOZA, JJ.
above quoted. The basis of this vicarious, although primary, liability is, as in Article 2176, SPS. JOSE INTON and MA. VICTORIA
fault or negligence, which is presumed from that which accompanied the causative act or S. INTON, on their behalf and on
omission. The presumption is merely prima facie and may therefore be rebutted. This is behalf of their minor child, JOSE LUIS
the clear and logical inference that may be drawn from the last paragraph of Article 2180, S. INTON, and SR. MARGARITA Promulgated:
which states "that the responsibility treated of in this Article shall cease when the persons YAMYAMIN, OP,
herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family Respondents. January 26, 2011
to prevent damage." x --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x

Since the fact thus required to be proven is a matter of defense, the burden of proof DECISION
necessarily rests on the defendant. But what is the exact degree of diligence contemplated,
and how does a parent prove it in connection with a particular act or omission of a minor ABAD, J.:
child, especially when it takes place in his absence or outside his immediate company?

46
This case is about the private schools liability for the outside catechists act of The CA found Aquinas liable to Jose Luis based on Article 2180 of the Civil Code
shoving a student and kicking him on the legs when he disobeyed her instruction to upon the CAs belief that the school was Yamyamins employer. Aquinas contests this.
remain in his seat and not move around the classroom.
The Court has consistently applied the four-fold test to determine the existence
The Facts and the Case of an employer-employee relationship: the employer (a) selects and engages the
employee; (b) pays his wages; (c) has power to dismiss him; and (d) has control over his
In 1998 respondent Jose Luis Inton (Jose Luis) was a grade three student at work. Of these, the most crucial is the element of control. Control refers to the right of the
Aquinas School (Aquinas). Respondent Sister Margarita Yamyamin (Yamyamin), a employer, whether actually exercised or reserved, to control the work of the employee as
religion teacher who began teaching at that school only in June of that year, taught Jose well as the means and methods by which he accomplishes the same. [4]
Luis grade three religion class.
In this case, the school directress testified that Aquinas had an agreement with
On July 14, 1998, while Yamyamin was writing on the blackboard, Jose Luis left a congregation of sisters under which, in order to fulfill its ministry, the congregation
his assigned seat and went over to a classmate to play a joke of surprising him. Yamyamin would send religion teachers to Aquinas to provide catechesis to its students. Aquinas
noticed this and sent Jose Luis back to his seat. After a while, Jose Luis got up again and insists that it was not the school but Yamyamins religious congregation that chose her for
went over to the same classmate. This time, unable to tolerate the childs behavior, the task of catechizing the schools grade three students, much like the way bishops
Yamyamin approached Jose Luis and kicked him on the legs several times. She also designate the catechists who would teach religion in public schools. Under the
pulled and shoved his head on the classmates seat. Finally, she told the child to stay circumstances, it was quite evident that Aquinas did not have control over Yamyamins
where he was on that spot of the room and finish copying the notes on the blackboard teaching methods. The Intons had not refuted the school directress testimony in this
while seated on the floor. regard. Consequently, it was error for the CA to hold Aquinas solidarily liable with
Yamyamin.
As a result of the incident, respondents Jose and Victoria Inton (the Intons) filed
an action for damages on behalf of their son Jose Luis against Yamyamin and Aquinas Of course, Aquinas still had the responsibility of taking steps to ensure that only
before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City in Civil Case 67427. The Intons also qualified outside catechists are allowed to teach its young students. In this regard, it
filed a criminal action against Yamyamin for violation of Republic Act 7610 to which she cannot be said that Aquinas took no steps to avoid the occurrence of improper conduct
pleaded guilty and was sentenced accordingly. towards the students by their religion teacher.

With regard to the action for damages, the Intons sought to recover actual, First, Yamyamins transcript of records, certificates, and diplomas showed that
moral, and exemplary damages, as well as attorneys fees, for the hurt that Jose Luis and she was qualified to teach religion.
his mother Victoria suffered. The RTC dismissed Victorias personal claims but ruled in
Jose Luis favor, holding Yamyamin liable to him for moral damages of P25,000.00, Second, there is no question that Aquinas ascertained that Yamyamin came from
exemplary damages of P25,000.00, and attorneys fees of P10,000.00 plus the costs of suit.[1] a legitimate religious congregation of sisters and that, given her Christian training, the
school had reason to assume that she would behave properly towards the students.
Not satisfied, the Intons elevated the case to the Court of Appeals (CA). [2] They
asked the CA to increase the award of damages and hold Aquinas solidarily liable with Third, the school gave Yamyamin a copy of the schools Administrative Faculty
Yamyamin.Finding that an employer-employee relation existed between Aquinas and Staff Manual that set the standards for handling students. It also required her to attend a
Yamyamin, the CA found them solidarily liable to Jose Luis. The CA, however, declined teaching orientation before she was allowed to teach beginning that June of 1998. [5]
to increase the award of damages.[3] Jose Luis moved for partial reconsideration but this
was denied. Aquinas, for its part, appealed directly to this Court from the CA decision Fourth, the school pre-approved the content of the course she was to teach[6] to
through a petition for review on certiorari. ensure that she was really catechizing the students.
And fifth, the school had a program for subjecting Yamyamin to classroom
The Issue Presented evaluation.[7] Unfortunately, since she was new and it was just the start of the school year,
Aquinas did not have sufficient opportunity to observe her methods. At any rate, it acted
The sole issue presented in this case is whether or not the CA was correct in promptly to relieve her of her assignment as soon as the school learned of the
holding Aquinas solidarily liable with Yamyamin for the damages awarded to Jose Luis. incident. [8] It cannot be said that Aquinas was guilty of outright neglect.

The Courts Ruling Regarding the Intons plea for an award of greater amounts of damages, the
Court finds no justification for this since they did not appeal from the decision of the

47
CA. The Intons prayed for the increase only in their comment to the petition. They thus identification of the fatal gun and that in any event the defendant, had exercised the
cannot obtain from this Court any affirmative relief other than those that the CA already necessary diligence in preventing the injury. 5
granted them in its decision.[9]
The basic undisputed facts are that Alfredo Amadora went to the San Jose-Recoletos on
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition, SETS ASIDE the decision of April 13, 1972, and while in its auditorium was shot to death by Pablito Daffon, a
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV 88106 dated August 4, 2008, and HOLDS petitioner classmate. On the implications and consequences of these facts, the parties sharply
Aquinas School not liable in damages to respondent Jose Luis Inton. disagree.

SO ORDERED.
The petitioners contend that their son was in the school to show his physics experiment
G.R. No. L-47745 April 15, 1988
as a prerequisite to his graduation; hence, he was then under the custody of the private
JOSE S. AMADORA, LORETA A. AMADORA, JOSE A. AMADORA JR., NORMA
A. YLAYA PANTALEON A. AMADORA, JOSE A. AMADORA III, LUCY A. respondents. The private respondents submit that Alfredo Amadora had gone to the
AMADORA, ROSALINDA A. AMADORA, PERFECTO A. AMADORA, SERREC A. school only for the purpose of submitting his physics report and that he was no longer in
AMADORA, VICENTE A. AMADORA and MARIA TISCALINA A. their custody because the semester had already ended.
AMADORA, petitioners vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, COLEGIO DE
SAN JOSE-RECOLETOS, VICTOR LLUCH SERGIO P. DLMASO JR., CELESTINO There is also the question of the identity of the gun used which the petitioners consider
DICON, ANIANO ABELLANA, PABLITO DAFFON thru his parents and natural important because of an earlier incident which they claim underscores the negligence of
guardians, MR. and MRS. NICANOR GUMBAN, and ROLANDO VALENCIA, thru the school and at least one of the private respondents. It is not denied by the respondents
his guardian, A. FRANCISCO ALONSO, respondents. that on April 7, 1972, Sergio Damaso, Jr., the dean of boys, confiscated from Jose Gumban
CRUZ, J.: an unlicensed pistol but later returned it to him without making a report to the principal
or taking any further action .6 As Gumban was one of the companions of Daffon when
Like any prospective graduate, Alfredo Amadora was looking forward to the the latter fired the gun that killed Alfredo, the petitioners contend that this was the same
commencement exercises where he would ascend the stage and in the presence of his pistol that had been confiscated from Gumban and that their son would not have been
relatives and friends receive his high school diploma. These ceremonies were scheduled killed if it had not been returned by Damaso. The respondents say, however, that there is
on April 16, 1972. As it turned out, though, fate would intervene and deny him that no proof that the gun was the same firearm that killed Alfredo.
awaited experience. On April 13, 1972, while they were in the auditorium of their school,
the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos, a classmate, Pablito Damon, fired a gun that mortally Resolution of all these disagreements will depend on the interpretation of Article 2180
hit Alfredo, ending all his expectations and his life as well. The victim was only seventeen which, as it happens, is invoked by both parties in support of their conflicting positions.
years old. 1 The pertinent part of this article reads as follows:

Daffon was convicted of homicide thru reckless imprudence . 2 Additionally, the herein Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be
petitioners, as the victim's parents, filed a civil action for damages under Article 2180 of liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices
the Civil Code against the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos, its rector the high school so long as they remain in their custody.
principal, the dean of boys, and the physics teacher, together with Daffon and two other
students, through their respective parents. The complaint against the students was later Three cases have so far been decided by the Court in connection with the above-quoted
dropped. After trial, the Court of First Instance of Cebu held the remaining defendants provision, to wit: Exconde v. Capuno 7 Mercado v. Court of Appeals, 8 and Palisoc v.
liable to the plaintiffs in the sum of P294,984.00, representing death compensation, loss of Brillantes. 9 These will be briefly reviewed in this opinion for a better resolution of the
earning capacity, costs of litigation, funeral expenses, moral damages, exemplary case at bar.
damages, and attorney's fees .3 On appeal to the respondent court, however, the decision
was reversed and all the defendants were completely absolved . 4
In the Exconde Case, Dante Capuno, a student of the Balintawak Elementary School and
a Boy Scout, attended a Rizal Day parade on instructions of the city school supervisor.
In its decision, which is now the subject of this petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the After the parade, the boy boarded a jeep, took over its wheel and drove it so recklessly
Rules of Court, the respondent court found that Article 2180 was not applicable as the that it turned turtle, resulting in the death of two of its passengers. Dante was found guilty
Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos was not a school of arts and trades but an academic of double homicide with reckless imprudence. In the separate civil action flied against
institution of learning. It also held that the students were not in the custody of the school them, his father was held solidarily liable with him in damages under Article 1903 (now
at the time of the incident as the semester had already ended, that there was no clear Article 2180) of the Civil Code for the tort committed by the 15-year old boy.

48
This decision, which was penned by Justice Bautista Angelo on June 29,1957, exculpated This is the case.
the school in an obiter dictum (as it was not a party to the case) on the ground that it was
riot a school of arts and trades. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, with whom Justices Sabino Padilla Unlike in Exconde and Mercado, the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos has been directly
and Alex Reyes concurred, dissented, arguing that it was the school authorities who impleaded and is sought to be held liable under Article 2180; and unlike in Palisoc, it is
should be held liable Liability under this rule, he said, was imposed on (1) teachers in not a school of arts and trades but an academic institution of learning. The parties herein
general; and (2) heads of schools of arts and trades in particular. The modifying clause "of have also directly raised the question of whether or not Article 2180 covers even
establishments of arts and trades" should apply only to "heads" and not "teachers." establishments which are technically not schools of arts and trades, and, if so, when the
offending student is supposed to be "in its custody."
Exconde was reiterated in the Mercado Case, and with an elaboration. A student cut a
classmate with a razor blade during recess time at the Lourdes Catholic School in Quezon After an exhaustive examination of the problem, the Court has come to the conclusion
City, and the parents of the victim sued the culprits parents for damages. Through Justice that the provision in question should apply to all schools, academic as well as non-
Labrador, the Court declared in another obiter (as the school itself had also not been sued academic. Where the school is academic rather than technical or vocational in nature,
that the school was not liable because it was not an establishment of arts and trades. responsibility for the tort committed by the student will attach to the teacher in charge of
Moreover, the custody requirement had not been proved as this "contemplates a situation such student, following the first part of the provision. This is the general rule. In the case
where the student lives and boards with the teacher, such that the control, direction and of establishments of arts and trades, it is the head thereof, and only he, who shall be held
influences on the pupil supersede those of the parents." Justice J.B.L. Reyes did not take liable as an exception to the general rule. In other words, teachers in general shall be liable
part but the other members of the court concurred in this decision promulgated on May for the acts of their students except where the school is technical in nature, in which case
30, 1960. it is the head thereof who shall be answerable. Following the canon of reddendo singula
singulis"teachers" should apply to the words "pupils and students" and "heads of
In Palisoc vs. Brillantes, decided on October 4, 1971, a 16-year old student was killed by a establishments of arts and trades" to the word "apprentices."
classmate with fist blows in the laboratory of the Manila Technical Institute. Although the
wrongdoer — who was already of age — was not boarding in the school, the head thereof The Court thus conforms to the dissenting opinion expressed by Justice J.B.L. Reyes in
and the teacher in charge were held solidarily liable with him. The Court declared Exconde where he said in part:
through Justice Teehankee:
I can see no sound reason for limiting Art. 1903 of the Old Civil Code to teachers
The phrase used in the cited article — "so long as (the students) remain in their of arts and trades and not to academic ones. What substantial difference is there
custody" — means the protective and supervisory custody that the school and its between them insofar as concerns the proper supervision and vice over their
heads and teachers exercise over the pupils and students for as long as they are at pupils? It cannot be seriously contended that an academic teacher is exempt from
attendance in the school, including recess time. There is nothing in the law that the duty of watching that his pupils do not commit a tort to the detriment of third
requires that for such liability to attach, the pupil or student who commits the Persons, so long as they are in a position to exercise authority and Supervision
tortious act must live and board in the school, as erroneously held by the lower over the pupil. In my opinion, in the phrase "teachers or heads of establishments
court, and the dicta in Mercado (as well as in Exconde) on which it relied, must of arts and trades" used in Art. 1903 of the old Civil Code, the words "arts and
now be deemed to have been set aside by the present decision. trades" does not qualify "teachers" but only "heads of establishments." The phrase
is only an updated version of the equivalent terms "preceptores y artesanos" used
This decision was concurred in by five other members, 10 including Justice J.B.L. Reyes, in the Italian and French Civil Codes.
who stressed, in answer to the dissenting opinion, that even students already of age were
covered by the provision since they were equally in the custody of the school and subject If, as conceded by all commentators, the basis of the presumption of negligence of
to its discipline. Dissenting with three others,11 Justice Makalintal was for retaining the Art. 1903 in some culpa in vigilando that the parents, teachers, etc. are supposed to
custody interpretation in Mercado and submitted that the rule should apply only to torts have incurred in the exercise of their authority, it would seem clear that where the
committed by students not yet of age as the school would be acting only in loco parentis. parent places the child under the effective authority of the teacher, the latter, and
not the parent, should be the one answerable for the torts committed while under
In a footnote, Justice Teehankee said he agreed with Justice Reyes' dissent in the Exconde his custody, for the very reason/that the parent is not supposed to interfere with
Case but added that "since the school involved at bar is a non-academic school, the the discipline of the school nor with the authority and supervision of the teacher
question as to the applicability of the cited codal provision to academic institutions will while the child is under instruction. And if there is no authority, there can be no
have to await another case wherein it may properly be raised." responsibility.

49
There is really no substantial distinction between the academic and the non-academic students. Article 2180, however, remains unchanged. In its present state, the provision
schools insofar as torts committed by their students are concerned. The same vigilance is must be interpreted by the Court according to its clear and original mandate until the
expected from the teacher over the students under his control and supervision, whatever legislature, taking into account the charges in the situation subject to be regulated, sees fit
the nature of the school where he is teaching. The suggestion in the Exconde and Mercado to enact the necessary amendment.
Cases is that the provision would make the teacher or even the head of the school of arts
and trades liable for an injury caused by any student in its custody but if that same tort The other matter to be resolved is the duration of the responsibility of the teacher or the
were committed in an academic school, no liability would attach to the teacher or the head of the school of arts and trades over the students. Is such responsibility co-extensive
school head. All other circumstances being the same, the teacher or the head of the with the period when the student is actually undergoing studies during the school term,
academic school would be absolved whereas the teacher and the head of the non- as contended by the respondents and impliedly admitted by the petitioners themselves?
academic school would be held liable, and simply because the latter is a school of arts and
trades.
From a reading of the provision under examination, it is clear that while the custody
requirement, to repeat Palisoc v. Brillantes, does not mean that the student must be
The Court cannot see why different degrees of vigilance should be exercised by the school boarding with the school authorities, it does signify that the student should be within the
authorities on the basis only of the nature of their respective schools. There does not seem control and under the influence of the school authorities at the time of the occurrence of
to be any plausible reason for relaxing that vigilance simply because the school is the injury. This does not necessarily mean that such, custody be co-terminous with the
academic in nature and for increasing such vigilance where the school is non-academic. semester, beginning with the start of classes and ending upon the close thereof, and
Notably, the injury subject of liability is caused by the student and not by the school itself excluding the time before or after such period, such as the period of registration, and in
nor is it a result of the operations of the school or its equipment. The injury contemplated the case of graduating students, the period before the commencement exercises. In the
may be caused by any student regardless of the school where he is registered. The teacher view of the Court, the student is in the custody of the school authorities as long as he is
certainly should not be able to excuse himself by simply showing that he is teaching in an under the control and influence of the school and within its premises, whether the
academic school where, on the other hand, the head would be held liable if the school semester has not yet begun or has already ended.
were non-academic.
It is too tenuous to argue that the student comes under the discipline of the school only
These questions, though, may be asked: If the teacher of the academic school is to be held upon the start of classes notwithstanding that before that day he has already registered
answerable for the torts committed by his students, why is it the head of the school only and thus placed himself under its rules. Neither should such discipline be deemed ended
who is held liable where the injury is caused in a school of arts and trades? And in the upon the last day of classes notwithstanding that there may still be certain requisites to
case of the academic or non- technical school, why not apply the rule also to the head be satisfied for completion of the course, such as submission of reports, term papers,
thereof instead of imposing the liability only on the teacher? clearances and the like. During such periods, the student is still subject to the disciplinary
authority of the school and cannot consider himself released altogether from observance
The reason for the disparity can be traced to the fact that historically the head of the school of its rules.
of arts and trades exercised a closer tutelage over his pupils than the head of the academic
school. The old schools of arts and trades were engaged in the training of As long as it can be shown that the student is in the school premises in pursuance of a
artisans apprenticed to their master who personally and directly instructed them on the legitimate student objective, in the exercise of a legitimate student right, and even in the
technique and secrets of their craft. The head of the school of arts and trades was such a enjoyment of a legitimate student right, and even in the enjoyment of a legitimate student
master and so was personally involved in the task of teaching his students, who usually privilege, the responsibility of the school authorities over the student continues. Indeed,
even boarded with him and so came under his constant control, supervision and even if the student should be doing nothing more than relaxing in the campus in the
influence. By contrast, the head of the academic school was not as involved with his company of his classmates and friends and enjoying the ambience and atmosphere of the
students and exercised only administrative duties over the teachers who were the persons school, he is still within the custody and subject to the discipline of the school authorities
directly dealing with the students. The head of the academic school had then (as now) under the provisions of Article 2180.
only a vicarious relationship with the students. Consequently, while he could not be
directly faulted for the acts of the students, the head of the school of arts and trades,
During all these occasions, it is obviously the teacher-in-charge who must answer for his
because of his closer ties with them, could be so blamed.
students' torts, in practically the same way that the parents are responsible for the child
when he is in their custody. The teacher-in-charge is the one designated by the dean,
It is conceded that the distinction no longer obtains at present in view of the expansion of principal, or other administrative superior to exercise supervision over the pupils in the
the schools of arts and trades, the consequent increase in their enrollment, and the specific classes or sections to which they are assigned. It is not necessary that at the time
corresponding diminution of the direct and personal contract of their heads with the of the injury, the teacher be physically present and in a position to prevent it. Custody

50
does not connote immediate and actual physical control but refers more to the influence students. Ms should bolster the claim of the school that it has taken adequate steps to
exerted on the child and the discipline instilled in him as a result of such influence. Thus, prevent any injury that may be committed by its students.
for the injuries caused by the student, the teacher and not the parent shag be held
responsible if the tort was committed within the premises of the school at any time when A fortiori, the teacher himself may invoke this defense as it would otherwise be unfair to
its authority could be validly exercised over him. hold him directly answerable for the damage caused by his students as long as they are
in the school premises and presumably under his influence. In this respect, the Court is
In any event, it should be noted that the liability imposed by this article is supposed to disposed not to expect from the teacher the same measure of responsibility imposed on
fall directly on the teacher or the head of the school of arts and trades and not on the the parent for their influence over the child is not equal in degree. Obviously, the parent
school itself. If at all, the school, whatever its nature, may be held to answer for the acts can expect more obedience from the child because the latter's dependence on him is
of its teachers or even of the head thereof under the general principle of respondeat greater than on the teacher. It need not be stressed that such dependence includes the
superior, but then it may exculpate itself from liability by proof that it had exercised the child's support and sustenance whereas submission to the teacher's influence, besides
diligence of a bonus paterfamilias. being coterminous with the period of custody is usually enforced only because of the
students' desire to pass the course. The parent can instill more las discipline on the child
Such defense is, of course, also available to the teacher or the head of the school of arts than the teacher and so should be held to a greater accountability than the teacher for the
and trades directly held to answer for the tort committed by the student. As long as the tort committed by the child.
defendant can show that he had taken the necessary precautions to prevent the injury
complained of, he can exonerate himself from the liability imposed by Article 2180, which And if it is also considered that under the article in question, the teacher or the head of
also states that: the school of arts and trades is responsible for the damage caused by the student or
apprentice even if he is already of age — and therefore less tractable than the minor —
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the Persons then there should all the more be justification to require from the school authorities less
herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good accountability as long as they can prove reasonable diligence in preventing the injury.
father of a family to prevent damages. After all, if the parent himself is no longer liable for the student's acts because he has
reached majority age and so is no longer under the former's control, there is then all the
more reason for leniency in assessing the teacher's responsibility for the acts of the
In this connection, it should be observed that the teacher will be held liable not only when
student.
he is acting in loco parentis for the law does not require that the offending student be of
minority age. Unlike the parent, who wig be liable only if his child is still a minor, the
teacher is held answerable by the law for the act of the student under him regardless of Applying the foregoing considerations, the Court has arrived at the following
the student's age. Thus, in the Palisoc Case, liability attached to the teacher and the head conclusions:
of the technical school although the wrongdoer was already of age. In this sense, Article
2180 treats the parent more favorably than the teacher. 1. At the time Alfredo Amadora was fatally shot, he was still in the custody of the
authorities of Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos notwithstanding that the fourth year classes
The Court is not unmindful of the apprehensions expressed by Justice Makalintal in his had formally ended. It was immaterial if he was in the school auditorium to finish his
dissenting opinion in Palisoc that the school may be unduly exposed to liability under physics experiment or merely to submit his physics report for what is important is that
this article in view of the increasing activism among the students that is likely to cause he was there for a legitimate purpose. As previously observed, even the mere savoring of
violence and resulting injuries in the school premises. That is a valid fear, to be sure. the company of his friends in the premises of the school is a legitimate purpose that would
Nevertheless, it should be repeated that, under the present ruling, it is not the school that have also brought him in the custody of the school authorities.
will be held directly liable. Moreover, the defense of due diligence is available to it in case
it is sought to be held answerable as principal for the acts or omission of its head or the 2. The rector, the high school principal and the dean of boys cannot be held liable because
teacher in its employ. none of them was the teacher-in-charge as previously defined. Each of them was
exercising only a general authority over the student body and not the direct control and
The school can show that it exercised proper measures in selecting the head or its teachers influence exerted by the teacher placed in charge of particular classes or sections and thus
and the appropriate supervision over them in the custody and instruction of the pupils immediately involved in its discipline. The evidence of the parties does not disclose who
pursuant to its rules and regulations for the maintenance of discipline among them. In the teacher-in-charge of the offending student was. The mere fact that Alfredo Amadora
almost all cases now, in fact, these measures are effected through the assistance of an had gone to school that day in connection with his physics report did not necessarily
adequate security force to help the teacher physically enforce those rules upon the make the physics teacher, respondent Celestino Dicon, the teacher-in-charge of Alfredo's
killer.

51
3. At any rate, assuming that he was the teacher-in-charge, there is no showing that Dicon This is a petition for review of the decision * of the Court of Appeals, the dispositive
was negligent in enforcing discipline upon Daffon or that he had waived observance of portion of which reads:
the rules and regulations of the school or condoned their non-observance. His absence
when the tragedy happened cannot be considered against him because he was not WHEREFORE, the decision under appeal is hereby affirmed, with the following
supposed or required to report to school on that day. And while it is true that the modifications: (1) Exemplary damages in the amount of P20,000.00 are hereby
offending student was still in the custody of the teacher-in-charge even if the latter was awarded to plaintiffs, in addition to the actual damages of P30,000.00, moral
physically absent when the tort was committed, it has not been established that it was damages of P20,000.00 and attorney's fees in the amount of P15,000.00 awarded to
caused by his laxness in enforcing discipline upon the student. On the contrary, the plaintiffs in the decision under appeal; (2) St. Francis High School, represented by
private respondents have proved that they had exercised due diligence, through the the Spouses Fernando Nantes and Rosario Lacandula, and Benjamin Illumin, are
enforcement of the school regulations, in maintaining that discipline. hereby held jointly and severally liable with defendants Connie Arquio, Tirso de
Chaves, Luisito Vinas and Patria Cadis for the payment to plaintiffs of the
4. In the absence of a teacher-in-charge, it is probably the dean of boys who should be abovementioned actual damages, moral damages, exemplary damages and
held liable especially in view of the unrefuted evidence that he had earlier confiscated an attorney's fees, and for costs; and (3) Defendants Yoly Jaro and Nida Aragones are
unlicensed gun from one of the students and returned the same later to him without hereby absolved from liability, and the case against them, together with their
taking disciplinary action or reporting the matter to higher authorities. While this was respective counterclaims, is hereby ordered dismissed.
clearly negligence on his part, for which he deserves sanctions from the school, it does
not necessarily link him to the shooting of Amador as it has not been shown that he SO ORDERED. (p. 60, Rollo)
confiscated and returned pistol was the gun that killed the petitioners' son.
The complaint alleged that Ferdinand Castillo, then a freshman student of Section 1-C at
5. Finally, as previously observed, the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos cannot be held the St. Francis High School, wanted to join a school picnic undertaken by Class I-B and
directly liable under the article because only the teacher or the head of the school of arts Class I-C at Talaan Beach, Sariaya, Quezon. Ferdinand's parents, respondents spouses Dr.
and trades is made responsible for the damage caused by the student or apprentice. Romulo Castillo and Lilia Cadiz Castillo, because of short notice, did not allow their son
Neither can it be held to answer for the tort committed by any of the other private to join but merely allowed him to bring food to the teachers for the picnic, with the
respondents for none of them has been found to have been charged with the custody of directive that he should go back home after doing so. However, because of persuasion of
the offending student or has been remiss in the discharge of his duties in connection with the teachers, Ferdinand went on with them to the beach.
such custody.
During the picnic and while the students, including Ferdinand, were in the water, one of
In sum, the Court finds under the facts as disclosed by the record and in the light of the the female teachers was apparently drowning. Some of the students, including
principles herein announced that none of the respondents is liable for the injury inflicted Ferdinand, came to her rescue, but in the process, it was Ferdinand himself who drowned.
by Pablito Damon on Alfredo Amadora that resulted in the latter's death at the His body was recovered but efforts to resuscitate him ashore failed. He was brought to a
auditorium of the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos on April 13, 1972. While we deeply certain Dr. Luna in Sariaya, Quezon and later to the Mt. Cannel General Hospital where
sympathize with the petitioners over the loss of their son under the tragic circumstances he was pronounced dead on arrival.
here related, we nevertheless are unable to extend them the material relief they seek, as a
balm to their grief, under the law they have invoked.
Thereupon, respondent spouses filed a complaint docketed as Civil Case No. 8834, in the
Regional Trial Court, Branch LVIII of Lucena City, against the St. Francis High School,
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, without any pronouncement as to costs. It is so represented by the spouses Fernando Nantes and Rosario Lacandula, Benjamin Illumin
ordered. (its principal), and the teachers: Tirso de Chaves, Luisito Vinas, Connie Arquio, Nida
Aragones, Yoly Jaro, and Patria Cadiz, for Damages which respondents allegedly
G.R. No. 82465 February 25, 1991 incurred from the death of their 13-year old son, Ferdinand Castillo. Contending that the
ST. FRANCIS HIGH SCHOOL, as represented by SPS. FERNANDO NANTES AND death of their son was due to the failure of the petitioners to exercise the proper diligence
ROSARIO LACANDULA, BENJAMIN ILUMIN, TIRSO DE CHAVEZ, LUISITO of a good father of the family in preventing their son's drowning, respondents prayed of
VINAS, CONNIE ARQUIO AND PATRIA CADIZ, petitioners, vs. THE actual, moral and exemplary damages, attorney's fees and expenses for litigation.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ELEVENTH DIVISION and DR. ROMULO
CASTILLO and LILIA CADIZ, respondents.
PARAS, J.: The trial court found in favor of the respondents and against petitioners-teachers Arquio,
de Chaves, Vinas, Aragones, Jaro and Cadiz, ordering all of them jointly and severally to

52
pay respondents the sum of P30,000.00 as actual damages, P20,000.00 as moral damages, Both petitioners and respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals. Respondents-spouses
P15,000.00 as attorney's fees, and to pay the costs. The court a quo reasoned: assigned the following errors committed by the trial court:

Taking into consideration the evidence presented, this Court believes that the 1. The lower court erred in not declaring the defendant St. Francis High School
defendant teachers namely: Connie Arquio, Luisito Vinas, Tirso de Chaves, Yoly Jaro, and its administrator/principal Benjamin Illumin as equally liable not only for
Nida Aragones and Patria Cadiz had failed to exercise the diligence required of them its approved co-curricular activities but also for those which they unreasonably
by law under the circumstances to guard against the harm they had foreseen. (pp. failed to exercise control and supervision like the holding of picnic in the
2930, Rollo) dangerous water of Talaan Beach, Sariaya, Quezon.

xxx xxx xxx 2. The lower court erred in not declaring the St. Francis High School and
principal Benjamin Illumin as jointly and solidarily liable with their co-
While it is alleged that when defendants Yoly Jaro and Nida Aragones arrived at the defendants-teachers Rosario Lacandula, et als., for the tragic death of Ferdinand
picnic site, the drowning incident had already occurred, such fact does not and cannot Castillo in a picnic at Talaan Beach, Sariaya, Quezon, last March 20, 1982.
excuse them from their liability. In fact, it could be said that by coming late, they were
remiss in their duty to safeguard the students. (p. 30, Rollo) 3. The lower court erred in not declaring higher amount for actual and moral
damages for the untimely and tragic death of Ferdinand Castillo in favor of
The students, young as they were then (12 to 13 years old), were easily attracted to the plaintiffs-appellants against all the defendants. (pp. 56-57, Rollo)
sea without aforethought of the dangers it offers. Yet, the precautions and reminders
allegedly performed by the defendants-teachers definitely fell short of the standard The Court of Appeals ruled:
required by law under the circumstances. While the defendants-teachers admitted
that some parts of the sea where the picnic was held are deep, the supposed lifeguards We find plaintiffs-appellants' submission well-taken.
of the children did not even actually go to the water to test the depth of the particular
area where the children would swim. And indeed the fears of the plaintiffs that the
Even were We to find that the picnic in question was not a school-sponsored
picnic area was dangerous was confirmed by the fact that three persons during the
activity, nonetheless it cannot be gainsaid that the same was held under the
picnic got drowned at the same time. Had the defendant teachers made an actual and
supervision of the teachers employed by the said school, particularly the teacher
physical observation of the water before they allowed the students to swim, they
in charge of Class I-C to whom the victim belonged, and those whom she invited
could have found out that the area where the children were swimming was indeed
to help her in supervising the class during the picnic. Considering that the
dangerous. And not only that, the male teachers who according to the female teachers
court a quo found negligence on the part of the six defendants-teachers who, as
were there to supervise the children to ensure their safety were not even at the area
such, were charged with the supervision of the children during the picnic, the
where the children were swimming. They were somewhere and as testified to by
St. Francis High School and the school principal, Benjamin Illumin, are liable
plaintiffs' witness they were having a drinking spree. (pp. 55-56, Rollo)
under Article 2176 taken together with the 1st, 4th and 5th paragraphs of Article
2180 of the Civil Code. They cannot escape liability on the mere excuse that the
On the other hand, the trial court dismissed the case against the St. Francis High School, picnic was not an "extra-curricular activity of the St. Francis High School." We
Benjamin Illumin and Aurora Cadorna. Said the court a quo: find from the evidence that, as claimed by plaintiffs-appellants, the school
principal had knowledge of the picnic even from its planning stage and had even
As shown and adverted to above, this Court cannot find sufficient evidence been invited to attend the affair; and yet he did not express any prohibition
showing that the picnic was a school sanctioned one. Similarly no evidence has against undertaking the picnic, nor did he prescribe any precautionary measures
been shown to hold defendants Benjamin Illumin and Aurora Cadorna to be adopted during the picnic. At the least, We must find that the school and
responsible for the death of Ferdinand Castillo together with the other defendant the responsible school officials, particularly the principal, Benjamin Illumin, had
teachers. It has been sufficiently shown that Benjamin Illumin had himself not acquiesced to the holding of the picnic.
consented to the picnic and in fact he did not join it. On the other hand,
defendant Aurora Cadorna had then her own class to supervise and in fact she Under Article 2180, supra, the defendant school and defendant school principal
was not amongst those allegedly invited by defendant Connie Arquio to must be found jointly and severally liable with the defendants-teachers for the
supervise class I-C to which Ferdinand Castillo belongs. (p. 30, Rollo) damages incurred by the plaintiffs as a result of the death of their son. It is the
rule that in cases where the above-cited provisions find application, the
negligence of the employees in causing the injury or damage gives rise to a
53
presumption of negligence on the part of the owner and/or manager of the as correctly found by the trial court, an affirmative reply to this question has
establishment (in the present case, St. Francis High School and its principal); and been satisfactorily established by the evidence, as already pointed out.
while this presumption is not conclusive, it may be overthrown only by clear
and convincing proof that the owner and/or manager exercised the care and However, We sustain defendants-appellants insofar as two of the defendants-
diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and/or supervision of the teachers, Yoly Jaro and Nida Aragones, are concerned. As to them, the trial court
employee or employees causing the injury or damage (in this case, the found:
defendants-teachers). The record does not disclose such evidence as would serve
to overcome the aforesaid presumption and absolve the St. Francis High School
While it is alleged that when defendants Yoly Jaro and Nida Aragones
and its principal from liability under the above-cited provisions.
arrived at the picnic site, the drowning incident had already occurred,
such fact does not and cannot excuse them from their liability. In fact,
As to the third assigned error interposed by plaintiffs-appellants, while We it could be said that by coming late, they were remiss in their duty to
cannot but commiserate with the plaintiffs for the tragedy that befell them in the safeguard the students.
untimely death of their son Ferdinand Castillo and understand their suffering
as parents, especially the victim's mother who, according to appellants, suffered
The evidence shows that these two defendants had satisfactorily explained why
a nervous breakdown as a result of the tragedy, We find that the amounts fixed
they were late in going to the picnic site, namely, that they had to attend to the
by the court a quo as actual damages and moral damages (P30,000.00 and
entrance examination being conducted by the school which is part of their duty
P20,000.00, respectively) are reasonable and are those which are sustained by the
as teachers thereof. Since they were not at the picnic site during the occurrence
evidence and the law.
in question, it cannot be said that they had any participation in the negligence
attributable to the other defendants-teachers who failed to exercise diligence in
However, We believe that exemplary or corrective damages in the amount of the supervision of the children during the picnic and which failure resulted in
P20,000.00 may and should be, as it is hereby, imposed in the present case by the drowning of plaintiffs' son. Thus, We may not attribute any act or omission
way of example of correction for the public good, pursuant to Article 2229 of the to the two teachers, Yoly Jaro and Nida Aragones, as to make them liable for the
Civil Code. (pp. 57-59, Rollo) injury caused to the plaintiffs because of the death of their son resulting from his
drowning at the picnic. Accordingly, they must be absolved from any liability.
On the other hand, petitioners-teachers assigned the following errors committed by the
trial court: As to the second assigned error raised by defendants-appellants, We agree with
the court a quo that the counterclaim must be dismissed for lack of merit. (pp. 59-
1. ". . . in finding the defendants Connie Arquio, Tirso de Chavez, Luisito Vinas, 60, Rollo)
Nida Aragones, Yoly Jaro and Patria Cadiz guilty of negligence and jointly and
severally liable for damages such finding not being supported by facts and Hence, this petition.
evidence.
The issues presented by petitioners are:
2. ". . . in dismissing the counterclaim interposed by the defendants. (p. 59, Rollo)
A) Whether or not there was negligence attributable to the defendants which
On this score, respondent Court ruled: will warrant the award of damages to the plaintiffs;

The main thrust of defendants-appellants appeal is that plaintiffs, the parents of B) Whether or not Art. 2180, in relation to Art. 2176 of the New Civil Code is
the victim Ferdinand Castillo, were not able to prove by their evidence that they applicable to the case at bar;
did not give their son consent to join the picnic in question. However, We agree
with the trial court in its finding that whether or not the victim's parents had
C) Whether or not the award of exemplary and moral damages is proper under
given such permission to their son was immaterial to the determination of the
the circumstances surrounding the case at bar. (pp. 81-82, Rollo)
existence of liability on the part of the defendants for the damage incurred by
the plaintiffs-appellants as a result of the death of their son. What is material to
such a determination is whether or not there was negligence on the part of In the resolution of January 16, 1989, We gave due course to the petition and required the
defendants vis-a-visthe supervision of the victim's group during the picnic; and, parties to submit their respective memoranda.

54
The petition is impressed with merit. Q How did you conduct this mental and physical examination?
A I have interviewed several persons and the patient herself She even felt guilty
If at all petitioners are liable for negligence, this is because of their own negligence or the about the death of her son because she cooked adobo for him so he could join the
negligence of people under them. In the instant case however, as will be shown excursion where her son died of drowning.
hereunder, petitioners are neither guilty of their own negligence or guilty of the Q Why were you able to say she was feeling guilty because she was the
negligence of those under them. one who personally cooked the adobo for her son?
A It was during the interview that I had gathered it from the patient
herself. She was very sorry had she not allowed her son to join the
Hence, it cannot be said that they are guilty at all of any negligence. Consequently they
excursion her son would have not drowned. I don't know if she actually
cannot be held liable for damages of any kind.
permitted her son although she said she cooked adobo so he could join.
(Emphasis Supplied) (TSN, p. 19, hearing of April 30, 1984, Dr. Lazaro
At the outset, it should be noted that respondent spouses, parents of the victim — witness).
Ferdinand, allowed their son to join the excursion.
Respondent Court of Appeals committed an error in applying Article 2180 of the Civil
Testimony of Dr. Castillo on cross exam. by Atty. Flores Code in rendering petitioner school liable for the death of respondent's son.

Q Now, when your son asked you for money to buy food, did you not Article 2180, par. 4 states that:
ask him where he will bring this?
A I asked him where he was going, he answered, I am going to the
The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own
picnic, and when I asked him where, he did not answer, sir.
acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.
Q And after giving the money, you did not tell him anything more?
A No more, sir.
Q And after that you just learned that your son join the picnic? xxx xxx xxx
A Yes, sir.
Q And you came to know of it after the news that your son was Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and
drowned in the picnic came to you, is that correct? household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though
A Yes, sir. the former are not engaged in any business or industry.
Q From 8:00 o'clock in the morning up to 12:00 o'clock noon of March
20, 1982, you did not know that your son join the picnic? Under this paragraph, it is clear that before an employer may be held liable for the
A No, sir, I did not know. negligence of his employee, the act or omission which caused damage or prejudice must
Q Did you not look for your son during that time? have occurred while an employee was in the performance of his assigned tasks.
A I am too busy with my profession, that is why I was not able, sir.
Q You did not ask your wife?
In the case at bar, the teachers/petitioners were not in the actual performance of their
A I did not, sir.
assigned tasks. The incident happened not within the school premises, not on a school
Q And neither did your wife tell you that your son join the picnic?
day and most importantly while the teachers and students were holding a purely private
A Later on after 12:00, sir.
affair, a picnic. It is clear from the beginning that the incident happened while some
Q And during that time you were too busy that you did not inquire
members of the I-C class of St. Francis High School were having a picnic at Talaan Beach.
whether your son have joined that picnic?
This picnic had no permit from the school head or its principal, Benjamin Illumin because
A Yes, sir.
this picnic is not a school sanctioned activity neither is it considered as an extra-curricular
(TSN, pp. 16-17, hearing of April 2, 1984 witness Romulo Castillo)
activity.

The fact that he gave money to his son to buy food for the picnic even without knowing
As earlier pointed out by the trial court, mere knowledge by petitioner/principal Illumin
where it will be held, is a sign of consent for his son to join the same. Furthermore.
of the planning of the picnic by the students and their teachers does not in any way or in
any manner show acquiescence or consent to the holding of the same. The application
Testimony of Dr. Lazaro on cross examination: therefore of Article 2180 has no basis in law and neither is it supported by any
jurisprudence. If we were to affirm the findings of respondent Court on this score,

55
employers wig forever be exposed to the risk and danger of being hailed to Court to Q Will you please describe how you applied a single act of back to
answer for the misdeeds or omissions of the employees even if such act or omission he back pressure?
committed while they are not in the performance of their duties. A This has been done by placing the boy lay first downwards, then
the face was a little bit facing right and doing it by massaging the back
Finally, no negligence could be attributable to the petitioners-teachers to warrant the of the child, sir." (TSN, pp. 32-35, hearing of July 30, 1984)
award of damages to the respondents-spouses.
Testimony of Tirso de Chavez on direct examination
Petitioners Connie Arquio the class adviser of I-C, the section where Ferdinand belonged,
did her best and exercised diligence of a good father of a family to prevent any untoward ATTY. FLORES:
incident or damages to all the students who joined the picnic.
Q Who actually applied the first aid or artificial respiration to the
In fact, Connie invited co-petitioners Tirso de Chavez and Luisito Vinas who are both P.E. child?
instructors and scout masters who have knowledge in First Aid application and A Myself, sir.
swimming. Moreover, even respondents' witness, Segundo Vinas, testified that "the Q How did you apply the first aid to the guy?
defendants (petitioners herein) had life savers especially brought by the defendants in A The first step that I took, with the help of Mr. Luisito Vinas, was I
case of emergency." (p. 85, Rollo) The records also show that both petitioners Chavez and applied back to back pressure and took notice of the condition of the
Vinas did all what is humanly possible to save the child. child. We placed the feet in a higher position, that of the head of the
child, sir.
Testimony of Luisito Vinas on cross examination, Q After you have placed the boy in that particular position, where the
feet were on a higher level than that of the head, what did you do
next?
Q And when you saw the boy, Ferdinand Castillo, you approached
A The first thing that we did, particularly myself, was that after
the boy and claim also having applied first aid on him?
putting the child in that position, I applied the back to back pressure
A Yes, sir.
and started to massage from the waistline up, but I noticed that the
Q And while you were applying the so called first aid, the children
boy was not responding, sir.
were covering you up or were surrounding you?
Q For how long did you apply this back to back pressure on the boy?
A Yes, sir.
A About 10 seconds, sir.
Q You were rattled at that time, is it not?
Q What about Mr. Vinas?
A No, sir.
A Almost the same a little longer, for 15 seconds, sir.
Q You mean you were in calm and peaceful condition?
Q After you noticed that the boy was not responding, what did you
A Yes, sir.
do?
Q Despite the fact that the boy was no longer responding to your
A When we noticed that the boy was not responding, we changed the
application of first aid?
position of the boy by placing the child facing upwards laying on the
A Yes, sir.
sand then we applied the mouth to mouth resuscitation, sir. (pp. 92-
Q You have never been disturbed, "nababahala" in the process of your
93, Rollo)
application of the first aid on the body of Ferdinand Castillo?
A No, sir, because we were attending to the application of first aid
that we were doing, sir. With these facts in mind, no moral nor exemplary damages may be awarded in favor of
Q After you have applied back to back pressure and which you respondents-spouses. The case at bar does not fall under any of the grounds to grant
claimed the boy did not respond, were you not disturb anyway? moral damages.
A I was disturbed during that time, sir.
Q For how many minutes have you applied the back to back Art. 2217. Moral Damages include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright,
pressure? serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social
A From 9 to 11 times, sir. humiliation, and similar injury. Though incapable of pecuniary
Q You mean 9 to 11 times of having applied the pressure of your body computation, moral damages may be recovered if they are the proximate result of the
on the body of Ferdinand Castillo? defendant's wrongful act or omission.
A Yes, sir.

56
Moreover, as already pointed out hereinabove, petitioners are not guilty of any fault or 1. Defendant St. Marys Academy of Dipolog City, is hereby ordered to pay plaintiffs
negligence, hence, no moral damages can be assessed against them. William Carpitanos and Luisa Carpitanos, the following sums of money:

While it is true that respondents-spouses did give their consent to their son to join the a. FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) indemnity for the loss
picnic, this does not mean that the petitioners were already relieved of their duty to of life of Sherwin S. Carpitanos;
observe the required diligence of a good father of a family in ensuring the safety of the
children. But in the case at bar, petitioners were able to prove that they had exercised the b. FORTY THOUSAND PESOS (P40,000.00) actual damages
required diligence. Hence, the claim for moral or exemplary damages becomes baseless. incurred by plaintiffs for burial and related expenses;

c. TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10,000.00) for attorneys fees;


PREMISES CONSIDERED, the questioned decision dated November 19, 1987, finding
petitioners herein guilty of negligence and liable for the death of Ferdinand Castillo and d. FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P500,000.00) for moral
awarding the respondents damages, is hereby SET ASIDE insofar as the petitioners herein damages; and to pay costs.
are concerned, but the portion of the said decision dismissing their counterclaim, there
being no merit, is hereby AFFIRMED. 2. Their liability being only subsidiary, defendants James Daniel, Sr. and Guada Daniel
are hereby ordered to pay herein plaintiffs the amount of damages above-stated in the
SO ORDERED. event of insolvency of principal obligor St. Marys Academy of Dipolog City;

[G.R. No. 143363. February 6, 2002] 3. Defendant James Daniel II, being a minor at the time of the commission of the tort and
ST. MARYS ACADEMY, petitioner, vs. WILLIAM CARPITANOS and LUCIA S. who was under special parental authority of defendant St. Marys Academy, is
CARPITANOS, GUADA DANIEL, JAMES DANIEL II, JAMES DANIEL, ABSOLVED from paying the above-stated damages, same being adjudged against
SR., and VIVENCIO VILLANUEVA, respondents. defendants St. Marys Academy, and subsidiarily, against his parents;
DECISION
PARDO, J.: 4. Defendant Vivencio Villanueva is hereby ABSOLVED of any liability. His
The Case counterclaim not being in order as earlier discussed in this decision, is hereby
DISMISSED.
The case is an appeal via certiorari from the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals as well
as the resolution denying reconsideration, holding petitioner liable for damages arising
from an accident that resulted in the death of a student who had joined a campaign to IT IS SO ORDERED. (Decision, pp. 32-33; Records, pp. 205-206).
visit the public schools inDipolog City to solicit enrollment.
From the records it appears that from 13 to 20 February 1995, defendant-appellant St.
Marys Academy of Dipolog City conducted an enrollment drive for the school year
1995-1996. A facet of the enrollment campaign was the visitation of schools from where
The Facts
prospective enrollees were studying. As a student of St. Marys Academy, Sherwin
Carpitanos was part of the campaigning group. Accordingly, on the fateful day,
Sherwin, along with other high school students were riding in a Mitsubishi jeep owned
The facts, as found by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:
by defendant Vivencio Villanueva on their way to Larayan Elementary School,
Larayan, Dapitan City. The jeep was driven by James Daniel II then 15 years old and a
Claiming damages for the death of their only son, Sherwin Carpitanos, spouses William student of the same school. Allegedly, the latter drove the jeep in a reckless manner and
Carpitanos and Lucia Carpitanos filed on June 9, 1995 a case against James Daniel II and as a result the jeep turned turtle.
his parents, James Daniel Sr. and Guada Daniel, the vehicle owner, Vivencio Villanueva
and St. Marys Academy before the Regional Trial Court ofDipolog City.
Sherwin Carpitanos died as a result of the injuries he sustained from the accident. [2]

On 20 February 1997, Branch 6 of the Regional Trial Court of Dipolog City rendered its
In due time, petitioner St. Marys academy appealed the decision to the Court of
decision the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
Appeals.[3]

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered in the On February 29, 2000, the Court of Appeals promulgated a decision reducing the
following manner: actual damages to P25,000.00 but otherwise affirming the decision a quo, in toto.[4]
57
On February 29, 2000, petitioner St. Marys Academy filed a motion for sequence of events, unbroken by intervening efficient causes. In other words, the
reconsideration of the decision. However, on May 22, 2000, the Court of Appeals denied negligence must be the proximate cause of the injury. For, negligence, no matter in what
the motion.[5] it consists, cannot create a right of action unless it is the proximate cause of the injury
complained of. And the proximate cause of an injury is that cause, which, in natural and
Hence, this appeal.[6] continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury,
and without which the result would not have occurred.[12]

The Issues In this case, the respondents failed to show that the negligence of petitioner was the
proximate cause of the death of the victim.

1) Whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding the petitioner liable for Respondents Daniel spouses and Villanueva admitted that the immediate cause of
damages for the death of Sherwin Carpitanos. the accident was not the negligence of petitioner or the reckless driving of James Daniel
II, but the detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep.
2) Whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the award of moral
damages against the petitioner. In their comment to the petition, respondents Daniel spouses and Villanueva
admitted the documentary exhibits establishing that the cause of the accident was the
detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep. Hence, the cause of the accident was
not the recklessness of James Daniel II but the mechanical defect in the jeep of Vivencio
The Courts Ruling Villanueva. Respondents, including the spouses Carpitanos, parents of the deceased
Sherwin Carpitanos, did not dispute the report and testimony of the traffic investigator
who stated that the cause of the accident was the detachment of the steering wheel guide
We reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals. that caused the jeep to turn turtle.
The Court of Appeals held petitioner St. Marys Academy liable for the death of Significantly, respondents did not present any evidence to show that the proximate
Sherwin Carpitanos under Articles 218[7] and 219[8] of the Family Code, pointing out that cause of the accident was the negligence of the school authorities, or the reckless driving
petitioner was negligent in allowing a minor to drive and in not having a teacher of James Daniel II.Hence, the respondents reliance on Article 219 of the Family Code that
accompany the minor students in the jeep. those given the authority and responsibility under the preceding Article shall be
Under Article 218 of the Family Code, the following shall have special parental principally and solidarily liable for damages caused by acts or omissions of the
authority over a minor child while under their supervision, instruction or custody: (1) the unemancipated minor was unfounded.
school, its administrators and teachers; or (2) the individual, entity or institution engaged Further, there was no evidence that petitioner school allowed the minor James
in child care. This special parental authority and responsibility applies to all authorized Daniel II to drive the jeep of respondent Vivencio Villanueva. It was Ched Villanueva,
activities, whether inside or outside the premises of the school, entity or institution. Thus, grandson of respondent Vivencio Villanueva, who had possession and control of the
such authority and responsibility applies to field trips, excursions and other affairs of the jeep. He was driving the vehicle and he allowed James Daniel II, a minor, to drive the jeep
pupils and students outside the school premises whenever authorized by the school or its at the time of the accident.
teachers.[9]
Hence, liability for the accident, whether caused by the negligence of the minor
Under Article 219 of the Family Code, if the person under custody is a minor, those driver or mechanical detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep, must be pinned
exercising special parental authority are principally and solidarily liable for damages on the minors parents primarily. The negligence of petitioner St. Marys Academy was
caused by the acts or omissions of the unemancipated minor while under their only a remote cause of the accident. Between the remote cause and the injury, there
supervision, instruction, or custody.[10] intervened the negligence of the minors parents or the detachment of the steering wheel
However, for petitioner to be liable, there must be a finding that the act or omission guide of the jeep.
considered as negligent was the proximate cause of the injury caused because the
negligence must have a causal connection to the accident. [11] The proximate cause of an injury is that cause, which, in natural and continuous
sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without
In order that there may be a recovery for an injury, however, it must be shown that the which the result would not have occurred.[13]
injury for which recovery is sought must be the legitimate consequence of the wrong
done; the connection between the negligence and the injury must be a direct and natural

58
Considering that the negligence of the minor driver or the detachment of the AQUINO, J.:ñé+.£ªwph!1
steering wheel guide of the jeep owned by respondent Villanueva was an event over
which petitioner St. Marys Academy had no control, and which was the proximate cause Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. and Felix Pangalangan appealed on pure questions of
of the accident, petitioner may not be held liable for the death resulting from such law from the order of the Court of First Instance of Tarlac, dismissing their complaint
accident. against Archimedes J. Balingit.
Consequently, we find that petitioner likewise cannot be held liable for moral
damages in the amount of P500,000.00 awarded by the trial court and affirmed by the The dismissal was based on the ground that Balingit as the manager of Phil-American
Court of Appeals. Forwarders, Inc., which together with Fernando Pineda and Balingit, was sued for
damages in an action based on quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana, is not the manager of an
Though incapable of pecuniary computation, moral damages may be recovered if establishment contemplated in article 2180 of the Civil Code (Civil Case No. 3865).
they are the proximate result of the defendants wrongful act or omission. [14] In this case,
the proximate cause of the accident was not attributable to petitioner.
In the complaint for damages filed by the bus company and Pangalangan against Phil-
For the reason that petitioner was not directly liable for the accident, the decision of American Forwarders, Inc., Balingit and Pineda, it was alleged that on November 24,
the Court of Appeals ordering petitioner to pay death indemnity to respondent 1962, Pineda drove recklessly a freight truck, owned by Phil-American Forwarders, Inc.,
Carpitanos must be deleted.Moreover, the grant of attorneys fees as part of damages is along the national highway at Sto. Tomas, Pampanga. The truck bumped the bus driven
the exception rather than the rule.[15]The power of the court to award attorneys fees under by Pangalangan, which was owned by Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. As a result of the
Article 2208 of the Civil Code demands factual, legal and equitable justification.[16] Thus, bumping, Pangalangan suffered injuries and the bus was damaged and could not be used
the grant of attorneys fees against the petitioner is likewise deleted. for seventy-nine days, thus depriving the company of earnings amounting to P8,665.51.
Balingit was the manager of Phil-American Forwarders, Inc.
Incidentally, there was no question that the registered owner of the vehicle was
respondent Villanueva. He never denied and in fact admitted this fact. We have held that
Among the defenses interposed by the defendants in their answer was that Balingit was
the registered owner of any vehicle, even if not used for public service, would primarily not Pineda's employer.
be responsible to the public or to third persons for injuries caused the latter while the
vehicle was being driven on the highways or streets.[17] Hence, with the overwhelming
evidence presented by petitioner and the respondent Daniel spouses that the accident Balingit moved that the complaint against him be dismissed on the ground that the bus
occurred because of the detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep, it is not the company and the bus driver had no cause of action against him. As already stated, the
school, but the registered owner of the vehicle who shall be held responsible for damages lower court dismissed the action as to Balingit. The bus company and its driver appealed.
for the death of Sherwin Carpitanos.
The Civil Code provides:têñ.£îhqwâ£

The Fallo ART. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault
or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there
is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and
WHEREFORE, the Court REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the decision of the Court of is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
Appeals[18]and that of the trial court.[19] The Court remands the case to the trial court for
determination of the liability of defendants, excluding petitioner St. Marys ART. 2180. The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's
Academy, Dipolog City. own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.

No costs.
xxx xxx xxx
SO ORDERED.
The owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible
G.R. No. L-25142 March 25, 1975
for damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the
PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC. and FELIX PANGALANGAN, plaintiffs-
latter are employed or on the occasion of their functions.
appellants, vs.
PHIL-AMERICAN FORWARDERS, INC., ARCHIMEDES J. BALINGIT and
FERNANDO PINEDA, defendants-appellees.

59
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household We cannot countenance that argument in this appeal. It was not raised in the lower court.
helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not The case has to be decided on the basis of the pleadings filed in the trial court where it
engaged in any business or industry. was assumed that Phil-American Forwarders, Inc. has a personality separate and distinct
from that of the Balingit spouses.
xxx xxx xxx
The legal issue, which the plaintiffs-appellants can ventilate in this appeal, is one which
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein was raised in the lower court and which is within the issues framed by the parties (Sec.
mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to 18, Rule 46, Rules of Court).
prevent damage. (1903a)
When a party deliberately adopts a certain theory and the case is decided upon that
The novel and unprecedented legal issue in this appeal is whether the terms "employers" theory in the court below, he will not be permitted to change his theory on appeal because,
and "owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise" (dueños o directores de un to permit him to do so, could be unfair to the adverse party (2 Moran's Comments on the
establicimiento o empresa) used in article 2180 of the Civil Code, formerly article 1903 of the Rules of Court, 1970 Ed. p. 505).
old Code, embrace the manager of a corporation owning a truck, the reckless operation
of which allegedly resulted in the vehicular accident from which the damage arose. WHEREFORE, the lower court's order of dismissal is affirmed. Costs against the
plaintiffs-appellants.
We are of the opinion that those terms do not include the manager of a corporation. It
may be gathered from the context of article 2180 that the term "manager" ("director" in the SO ORDERED.
Spanish version) is used in the sense of "employer".

Hence, under the allegations of the complaint, no tortious or quasi-delictual liability can
be fastened on Balingit as manager of Phil-American Forwarders, Inc., in connection with
the vehicular accident already mentioned because he himself may be regarded as
an employee or dependiente of his employer, Phil-American Forwarders, Inc.

Thus, it was held "que es dependiente, a los efectos de la responsabilidad subsidiaria


establecida en el num 3.0 del (art.) 1903, el director de un periodico explotado por una
sociedad, porque cualquiera que sea su jerarquia y aunque Ileve la direccion de
determinadas convicciones politicas no por eso deja de estar subordinado a la superior
autoridad de la Empresa" (Decision of Spanish Supreme Court dated December 6, 1912
cited in 12 Manresa, Codigo Civil Español 5th Ed. 662; 1913 Enciclopedia Juridica
Española 992).

The bus company and its driver, in their appellants' brief, injected a new factual issue
which was not alleged in their complaint. They argue that Phil- American Forwarders,
Inc. is merely a business conduit of Balingit because out of its capital stock with a par
value of P41,200, Balingit and his wife had subscribed P40,000 and they paid P10,000 on
their subscription, while the other incorporators, namely, Rodolfo Limjuco, Ponciano
Caparas and Rafael Suntay paid P250.25 and P25, respectively.

That argument implies that the veil of corporate fiction should be pierced and that Phil-
American Forwarders, Inc. and Balingit and his wife should be treated as one and the
same civil personality.

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