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Republic of the Philippines

National Capital Judicial Region


REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
Branch 86, Manila

NATIONAL SUPPLIES AUTHORITY,


and NATIONAL TRUCKING AUTHORITY

Plaintiffs,

-versus- CIVIL CASE NO. 62709

ALLIED SHIPPING CORP.,


Defendant.

x---------------------------------x

DECISION

Plaintiffs National Supplies Authority (NSA) and National


Trucking Corporation (NTC), both government corporations,
filed this action for damages against defendant Allied Shipping
Corporation for failure to deliver to NSA’s consignee the 4,868
bags of Non-fat dried milk and freight prepaid equivalent to
P2,862,939.64, and for allegedly breaching the contract of
carriage agreed upon among the parties.

STIPULATED FACTS

At the pre-trail, the parties stipulated on the following facts:

1. On May 2003, NTC and NSC reported the non-delivery of


the 4,868 bags of Non-fat dried milk and freight prepaid
equivalent to P2,862,939.64 to ASC.

2. ASC insists that it has been delivered as evident by the


delivery receipts signed by their consignee, Hassan Salim.

3. Hassan Salim, after the investigation immediately resigned.

4. NTC and NSC filed an action for damages arising from the
alleged breach of the contract of carriage.

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5. ASC filed for moral and exemplary damages.

EVIDENCE OF THE PARTIES

At the trial the plaintiffs presented Vicente Tuason and Atty.


Gregorio Lantana as witness. The former is the manager of
Relief Operations who testified that Hassan Salim was the
consignee of the 4,868 bags of non-fat dried milk worth
P2,794,232 which was allegedly delivered in 2003 plus freight
prepapid in the amount of P8,707.65. Upon its delivery, a
corresponding bill of lading signed by Hassan was surrendered
to the Allied Shipping Corporation (ASC) common carrier for
the release of commodities. However, the said copy of the bill
of lading is still in the possession of the National Trucking
Corporation (NTC) for the reason that they have not yet
received the commodities.

The other witness, Atty. Gregorio Lantana, who conducted the


investigation himself, testified that Salim denied receiving the
commodities and presented the original copies of the bills of
lading. Consequently, he went to ASC to seek confirmation of
the delivery and the representative told him that it has been
received by Salim and was given xerox copies of the cargo
delivery receipts which did not bear the signature of Salim.

The NTC management referred the matter to the Office of the


Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and for its services
they will pay P100,000 as attorney’s fees.

On the other hand, the defendant presented three (3)


witnesses. Ricardo Samson, Ismael Zamora, and Atty. Ariel M.
Luna. All of them attested that it was Salim who signed the
delivery receipts. Accordingly, their practice was to release the
goods to the consignee or his authorized representatives. The
representation of a certified true copy of the bill of lading
stamped, “Please Release” by the person carrying it will
authorize the released of cargos to the representative. Further,
they testified that Salim was present all the time during the
deliveries, however there were times that he wasn’t able to sign
said receipts because of some important appointments and
will just let his authorized representatives sign for him.

Atty. Mariel M. Luna, the administrative head of ASC, filed this


case and as a consequence the company suffered moral and
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exemplary damages and incurred expenses for attorney’s fees.
Further, it affected the business credibility and brought
hardship in soliciting business.

THE ISSUES

1. WHETHER OR NOT DEFENDANT ALLIED SHIPPING WAS


ABLE TO DELIVER THE CARGO INVOLVED THEREIN,
WHICH IT CARRIED ON BOARD ITS VESSEL, TO THE
CONSIGNEE MR. HASSAN SALIM OF PLAINTIFF NTC IN
ZAMBOANGA.

2. WHETHER OR NOT DEFENDANT ALLIED SHIPPING


EXERCISED THE EXTRAORDINARY DILIGENCE REQUIRED
OF COMMON CARRIERS IN CONNECTION WITH THE CARGO
SUBJECT MATTER OF THIS CASE.

3. WHETHER OR NOT THE PALINTIFF IS ENTITLED TO ITS


CLAIM FOR ACTUAL, EXEMPLARY, AND MORAL DAMGES.

4. WHETHER OR NOT THE DEFENDANT IS ENTITLED TO


RECOVER DAMGES FROM THE PLAINTIFFS UNDER ITS
COUNTERCLAIM.

DISCUSSION

The plaintiffs failed to present


Salim during the investigation to
rebut the claims of ASC.

As a consignee, Hasan Salim is confined with authority and


responsibility for all the delivery transactions of the
corporation. Therefore, he must be the proper person to testify
on the alleged non-delivery of the said goods. Jurisprudence
has told us that the failure to present competent witnesses or
evidence weakens the claim of their defense.1 Hence, Salim’s
statement should have been one of the most competent and
reliable pieces of evidence to refute the allegations and further
strengthen their defense.

1 People Of The Philippines v. Gilberto Villarico, Sr., G.R. No. 158362, [2011]

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Salim’s act of immediate resignation
after having investigated
creates an iota of doubt
as to the offense charged.

Clearly, the palintiffs should not have accepted his resignation


considering that there is an on-going investigation. After
receiving his resignation they must exhaust all efforts to look
for him to answer the allegations. However, the plaintiffs failed
to do so. According to Atty. Lantana, their second witness,
Salim’s failure to appear on the scheduled conference
strengthens his doubt on Salim’s credibility. Therefore, this
act creates a suspicion of guilt against Salim.

It is well to emphasize the four basic guidelines that must be


observed in assaying the probative value of circumstantial
evidence:

x x x (a) It should be acted upon with caution; (b) All


the essential facts must be consistent with the
hypothesis of guilt; (c) The facts must exclude every
other theory but that of guilt of the accused; and,
(d) The facts must establish with certainty the guilt
of the accused as to convince beyond reasonable
doubt that he was the perpetrator of the
offense. The guilt of the accused cannot be deduced
from scrutinizing just one (1) particular piece of
evidence. It is more like a puzzle which when put
together reveals a convincing picture pointing to the
conclusion that the accused is the author of the
crime.2

Parenthetically, Salim’s act of resigning and his whereabouts


were unknown after the investigation reveals a conclusive
depiction pointing to the conclusion that he is responsible for
the said loss. Moreover, failure to prove his innocence and to
substantiate the allegations against him is self-serving and
self-defeating on his part. Likewise, Salim’s avoidance of
further investigation and his resignation are tell-tale evidence
of his guilt.

“The wicked flee, even when no man


pursueth, but the righteous are as bold as lion.”

2
People v. Monje, 438 Phil. 716, 732-733 [2002]

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The NTC failed to rebut the
defendant’s attestation of
Salim’s presence when
ASC made its deliveries to the NTC.

Ricardo Samson and Ismael Zamora, witnesses of the


plaintiffs, who were there, affirmed the presence of Salim when
ASC delivered the said goods to NTC. To support this claim,
the plaintiffs presented the delivery receipts bearing the
signature of Salim.3 Samson further testified that the cargoes
were delivered to the persons who presented the true copies of
the deliveries and paid the handling of charges. 4 Furthermore,
upon its delivery, Salim talked to him personally and Armand
Lara, the head checker, and signed the delivery receipt in his
presence.

These allegations were never rebutted by the plaintiffs. The


Supreme Court has elucidated in a long line of cases that the
failure to rebut the allegations made by the other party will
remain to be plain unsubstantiated accusations as a result of
their failure to refute the other party’s evidence and present
their own. 5

Atty. Lantana, plaintiffs witness,


also doubted Salim’s credibility
which is inconsequential as an evidence.

The showing of discomfort and reluctance to answer the


questions being asked arises a suspicion of guilt against the
person.

According to Atty. Lantana, he observed that Salim was


reluctant to answer his questions. And so, the investigation
was postponed the following day. However, Salim failed to
appear on the agreed date and instead he sent someone to give
his resignation letter.

An aggrieved person who know nothing about the


accusations against him must face the court and establish
his innocence.

3
Exhibit 4-O (Rollo p. 508)
4
Exhibit 4-P, 4-Q, 4-R
5
Fernando v. Alcazar, G.R. No. 183034 [2014]

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Here, instead of doing what is right, Salim immediately
resigned showing a presumption of guilt on his part. The
plaintiffs witness alone is already doubting his credibility.
Therefore, it is insignificant to present this as evidence
because it is self-defeating on the plaintiffs part. In fact, the
self-serving and unsubstantiated allegations of the plaintiffs is
defeated by the concrete evidence presented by the defendant.6

Under the circumstances, and considering the evidence


presented by the palintiffs as against the unrebutted evidence
for the defendant on the delivery of the commodities in
question to Salim, the plaintiffs have failed to prove their
causes of action by clear preponderence of evidence. Hence,
their complaint must be dismissed.

On the other hand, the defendant must be awarded damages


on its counterclaims which the court finds justified under the
circumstances, by way of reimbursement for their expenses
arising out of this litigation in the amount of P50,000 and
attorney’s fees in the amount of P70,000.

WHEREFORE, judgement is hereby rendered in favor of the


defendant and against the palintiffs, dismissing the latter’s
complaint, and ordering the plaintiffs, pursuant to the
defendant’s counterclaims, to pay jointly and solidarily, to the
defendant, actual damages in the amount of P50,000 and
attorney’s fees in the amount of P70,000 plus the cost of suit.

SO ORDERED.

Tuguegarao City, February 11, 2017.

CRIS BALIGOD
Judge

6
LNS International Manpower Services v. Armando C. Padua, Jr. G.R. No. 179792 [2010]