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Preliminary Titles (Articles 1-18)

G.R. No. L-63915 April 24, 1985


LORENZO M. TAADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR
BROTHERHOOD,
INTEGRITY
AND
NATIONALISM,
INC.
[MABINI],
petitioners,
vs.
HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to the President, HON. JOAQUIN
VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant to the President , MELQUIADES P. DE LA
CRUZ, in his capacity as Director, Malacaang Records Office, and FLORENDO S. PABLO, in
his capacity as Director, Bureau of Printing, respondents.
ESCOLIN, J.:
Invoking the people's right to be informed on matters of public concern, a right recognized in Section 6,
Article IV of the 1973 Philippine Constitution, 1 as well as the principle that laws to be valid and
enforceable must be published in the Official Gazette or otherwise effectively promulgated, petitioners
seek a writ of mandamus to compel respondent public officials to publish, and/or cause the publication
in the Official Gazette of various presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general orders,
proclamations, executive orders, letter of implementation and administrative orders.
Specifically, the publication of the following presidential issuances is sought:
a] Presidential Decrees Nos. 12, 22, 37, 38, 59, 64, 103, 171, 179, 184, 197, 200, 234, 265, 286, 298,
303, 312, 324, 325, 326, 337, 355, 358, 359, 360, 361, 368, 404, 406, 415, 427, 429, 445, 447, 473,
486, 491, 503, 504, 521, 528, 551, 566, 573, 574, 594, 599, 644, 658, 661, 718, 731, 733, 793, 800,
802, 835, 836, 923, 935, 961, 1017-1030, 1050, 1060-1061, 1085, 1143, 1165, 1166, 1242, 1246,
1250, 1278, 1279, 1300, 1644, 1772, 1808, 1810, 1813-1817, 1819-1826, 1829-1840, 1842-1847.
b] Letter of Instructions Nos.: 10, 39, 49, 72, 107, 108, 116, 130, 136, 141, 150, 153, 155, 161, 173,
180, 187, 188, 192, 193, 199, 202, 204, 205, 209, 211-213, 215-224, 226-228, 231-239, 241-245, 248,
251, 253-261, 263-269, 271-273, 275-283, 285-289, 291, 293, 297-299, 301-303, 309, 312-315, 325,
327, 343, 346, 349, 357, 358, 362, 367, 370, 382, 385, 386, 396-397, 405, 438-440, 444- 445, 473,
486, 488, 498, 501, 399, 527, 561, 576, 587, 594, 599, 600, 602, 609, 610, 611, 612, 615, 641, 642,
665, 702, 712-713, 726, 837-839, 878-879, 881, 882, 939-940, 964,997,1149-1178,1180-1278.
c] General Orders Nos.: 14, 52, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64 & 65.
d] Proclamation Nos.: 1126, 1144, 1147, 1151, 1196, 1270, 1281, 1319-1526, 1529, 1532, 1535, 1538,
1540-1547, 1550-1558, 1561-1588, 1590-1595, 1594-1600, 1606-1609, 1612-1628, 1630-1649, 16941695, 1697-1701, 1705-1723, 1731-1734, 1737-1742, 1744, 1746-1751, 1752, 1754, 1762, 17641787, 1789-1795, 1797, 1800, 1802-1804, 1806-1807, 1812-1814, 1816, 1825-1826, 1829, 18311832, 1835-1836, 1839-1840, 1843-1844, 1846-1847, 1849, 1853-1858, 1860, 1866, 1868, 1870,
1876-1889, 1892, 1900, 1918, 1923, 1933, 1952, 1963, 1965-1966, 1968-1984, 1986-2028, 20302044, 2046-2145, 2147-2161, 2163-2244.
e] Executive Orders Nos.: 411, 413, 414, 427, 429-454, 457- 471, 474-492, 494-507, 509-510, 522,
524-528, 531-532, 536, 538, 543-544, 549, 551-553, 560, 563, 567-568, 570, 574, 593, 594, 598-604,
609, 611- 647, 649-677, 679-703, 705-707, 712-786, 788-852, 854-857.
f] Letters of Implementation Nos.: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-22, 25-27, 39, 50, 51, 59, 76, 80-81, 92, 94, 95, 107,
120, 122, 123.
g] Administrative Orders Nos.: 347, 348, 352-354, 360- 378, 380-433, 436-439.
The respondents, through the Solicitor General, would have this case dismissed outright on the ground
that petitioners have no legal personality or standing to bring the instant petition. The view is submitted
that in the absence of any showing that petitioners are personally and directly affected or prejudiced by
the alleged non-publication of the presidential issuances in question 2 said petitioners are without the
requisite legal personality to institute this mandamus proceeding, they are not being "aggrieved
parties" within the meaning of Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which we quote:
SEC. 3. Petition for Mandamus.When any tribunal, corporation, board or person unlawfully neglects
the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or
station, or unlawfully excludes another from the use a rd enjoyment of a right or office to which such
other is entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
law, the person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court alleging the facts with
certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the defendant, immediately or at some
other specified time, to do the act required to be done to Protect the rights of the petitioner, and to pay
the damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the defendant.

Upon the other hand, petitioners maintain that since the subject of the petition concerns a public right
and its object is to compel the performance of a public duty, they need not show any specific interest
for their petition to be given due course.
The issue posed is not one of first impression. As early as the 1910 case of Severino vs. Governor
General, 3 this Court held that while the general rule is that "a writ of mandamus would be granted to a
private individual only in those cases where he has some private or particular interest to be subserved,
or some particular right to be protected, independent of that which he holds with the public at large,"
and "it is for the public officers exclusively to apply for the writ when public rights are to be subserved
[Mithchell vs. Boardmen, 79 M.e., 469]," nevertheless, "when the question is one of public right and
the object of the mandamus is to procure the enforcement of a public duty, the people are regarded as
the real party in interest and the relator at whose instigation the proceedings are instituted need not
show that he has any legal or special interest in the result, it being sufficient to show that he is a citizen
and as such interested in the execution of the laws [High, Extraordinary Legal Remedies, 3rd ed., sec.
431].
Thus, in said case, this Court recognized the relator Lope Severino, a private individual, as a proper
party to the mandamus proceedings brought to compel the Governor General to call a special election
for the position of municipal president in the town of Silay, Negros Occidental. Speaking for this Court,
Mr. Justice Grant T. Trent said:
We are therefore of the opinion that the weight of authority supports the proposition that the relator is a
proper party to proceedings of this character when a public right is sought to be enforced. If the
general rule in America were otherwise, we think that it would not be applicable to the case at bar for
the reason 'that it is always dangerous to apply a general rule to a particular case without keeping in
mind the reason for the rule, because, if under the particular circumstances the reason for the rule
does not exist, the rule itself is not applicable and reliance upon the rule may well lead to error'
No reason exists in the case at bar for applying the general rule insisted upon by counsel for the
respondent. The circumstances which surround this case are different from those in the United States,
inasmuch as if the relator is not a proper party to these proceedings no other person could be, as we
have seen that it is not the duty of the law officer of the Government to appear and represent the
people in cases of this character.
The reasons given by the Court in recognizing a private citizen's legal personality in the
aforementioned case apply squarely to the present petition. Clearly, the right sought to be enforced by
petitioners herein is a public right recognized by no less than the fundamental law of the land. If
petitioners were not allowed to institute this proceeding, it would indeed be difficult to conceive of any
other person to initiate the same, considering that the Solicitor General, the government officer
generally empowered to represent the people, has entered his appearance for respondents in this
case.
Respondents further contend that publication in the Official Gazette is not a sine qua non requirement
for the effectivity of laws where the laws themselves provide for their own effectivity dates. It is thus
submitted that since the presidential issuances in question contain special provisions as to the date
they are to take effect, publication in the Official Gazette is not indispensable for their effectivity. The
point stressed is anchored on Article 2 of the Civil Code:
Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the
Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided, ...
The interpretation given by respondent is in accord with this Court's construction of said article. In a
long line of decisions, 4 this Court has ruled that publication in the Official Gazette is necessary in those
cases where the legislation itself does not provide for its effectivity date-for then the date of publication
is material for determining its date of effectivity, which is the fifteenth day following its publication-but
not when the law itself provides for the date when it goes into effect.
Respondents' argument, however, is logically correct only insofar as it equates the effectivity of laws
with the fact of publication. Considered in the light of other statutes applicable to the issue at hand, the
conclusion is easily reached that said Article 2 does not preclude the requirement of publication in the
Official Gazette, even if the law itself provides for the date of its effectivity. Thus, Section 1 of
Commonwealth Act 638 provides as follows:
Section 1. There shall be published in the Official Gazette [1] all important legisiative acts and
resolutions of a public nature of the, Congress of the Philippines; [2] all executive and administrative
orders and proclamations, except such as have no general applicability; [3] decisions or abstracts of
decisions of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals as may be deemed by said courts of
sufficient importance to be so published; [4] such documents or classes of documents as may be

required so to be published by law; and [5] such documents or classes of documents as the President
of the Philippines shall determine from time to time to have general applicability and legal effect, or
which he may authorize so to be published. ...
The clear object of the above-quoted provision is to give the general public adequate notice of the
various laws which are to regulate their actions and conduct as citizens. Without such notice and
publication, there would be no basis for the application of the maxim "ignorantia legis non excusat." It
would be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a law of
which he had no notice whatsoever, not even a constructive one.
Perhaps at no time since the establishment of the Philippine Republic has the publication of laws taken
so vital significance that at this time when the people have bestowed upon the President a power
heretofore enjoyed solely by the legislature. While the people are kept abreast by the mass media of
the debates and deliberations in the Batasan Pambansaand for the diligent ones, ready access to
the legislative recordsno such publicity accompanies the law-making process of the President. Thus,
without publication, the people have no means of knowing what presidential decrees have actually
been promulgated, much less a definite way of informing themselves of the specific contents and texts
of such decrees. As the Supreme Court of Spain ruled: "Bajo la denominacion generica de leyes, se
comprenden tambien los reglamentos, Reales decretos, Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales ordines
dictadas de conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en uso de su potestad. 5
The very first clause of Section I of Commonwealth Act 638 reads: "There shall be published in the
Official Gazette ... ." The word "shall" used therein imposes upon respondent officials an imperative
duty. That duty must be enforced if the Constitutional right of the people to be informed on matters of
public concern is to be given substance and reality. The law itself makes a list of what should be
published in the Official Gazette. Such listing, to our mind, leaves respondents with no discretion
whatsoever as to what must be included or excluded from such publication.
The publication of all presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general applicability" is
mandated by law. Obviously, presidential decrees that provide for fines, forfeitures or penalties for their
violation or otherwise impose a burden or. the people, such as tax and revenue measures, fall within
this category. Other presidential issuances which apply only to particular persons or class of persons
such as administrative and executive orders need not be published on the assumption that they have
been circularized to all concerned. 6
It is needless to add that the publication of presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general
applicability" is a requirement of due process. It is a rule of law that before a person may be bound by
law, he must first be officially and specifically informed of its contents. As Justice Claudio Teehankee
said in Peralta vs. COMELEC 7:
In a time of proliferating decrees, orders and letters of instructions which all form part of the law of the
land, the requirement of due process and the Rule of Law demand that the Official Gazette as the
official government repository promulgate and publish the texts of all such decrees, orders and
instructions so that the people may know where to obtain their official and specific contents.
The Court therefore declares that presidential issuances of general application, which have not been
published, shall have no force and effect. Some members of the Court, quite apprehensive about the
possible unsettling effect this decision might have on acts done in reliance of the validity of those
presidential decrees which were published only during the pendency of this petition, have put the
question as to whether the Court's declaration of invalidity apply to P.D.s which had been enforced or
implemented prior to their publication. The answer is all too familiar. In similar situations in the past this
Court had taken the pragmatic and realistic course set forth in Chicot County Drainage District vs.
Baxter Bank 8 to wit:
The courts below have proceeded on the theory that the Act of Congress, having been found to be
unconstitutional, was not a law; that it was inoperative, conferring no rights and imposing no duties,
and hence affording no basis for the challenged decree. Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442;
Chicago, 1. & L. Ry. Co. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559, 566. It is quite clear, however, that such broad
statements as to the effect of a determination of unconstitutionality must be taken with qualifications.
The actual existence of a statute, prior to such a determination, is an operative fact and may have
consequences which cannot justly be ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial
declaration. The effect of the subsequent ruling as to invalidity may have to be considered in various
aspects-with respect to particular conduct, private and official. Questions of rights claimed to have
become vested, of status, of prior determinations deemed to have finality and acted upon accordingly,
of public policy in the light of the nature both of the statute and of its previous application, demand
examination. These questions are among the most difficult of those which have engaged the attention

of courts, state and federal and it is manifest from numerous decisions that an all-inclusive statement
of a principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified.
Consistently with the above principle, this Court in Rutter vs. Esteban 9 sustained the right of a party
under the Moratorium Law, albeit said right had accrued in his favor before said law was declared
unconstitutional by this Court.
Similarly, the implementation/enforcement of presidential decrees prior to their publication in the
Official Gazette is "an operative fact which may have consequences which cannot be justly ignored.
The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial declaration ... that an all-inclusive statement of a
principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified."
From the report submitted to the Court by the Clerk of Court, it appears that of the presidential decrees
sought by petitioners to be published in the Official Gazette, only Presidential Decrees Nos. 1019 to
1030, inclusive, 1278, and 1937 to 1939, inclusive, have not been so published. 10 Neither the subject
matters nor the texts of these PDs can be ascertained since no copies thereof are available. But
whatever their subject matter may be, it is undisputed that none of these unpublished PDs has ever
been implemented or enforced by the government. In Pesigan vs. Angeles, 11 the Court, through
Justice Ramon Aquino, ruled that "publication is necessary to apprise the public of the contents of
[penal] regulations and make the said penalties binding on the persons affected thereby. " The
cogency of this holding is apparently recognized by respondent officials considering the manifestation
in their comment that "the government, as a matter of policy, refrains from prosecuting violations of
criminal laws until the same shall have been published in the Official Gazette or in some other
publication, even though some criminal laws provide that they shall take effect immediately.
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish in the Official Gazette all unpublished
presidential issuances which are of general application, and unless so published, they shall have no
binding force and effect.
SO ORDERED.
Relova, J., concurs.
Aquino, J., took no part.
Concepcion, Jr., J., is on leave.
Separate Opinions
FERNANDO, C.J., concurring (with qualification):
There is on the whole acceptance on my part of the views expressed in the ably written opinion of
Justice Escolin. I am unable, however, to concur insofar as it would unqualifiedly impose the
requirement of publication in the Official Gazette for unpublished "presidential issuances" to have
binding force and effect.
I shall explain why.
1. It is of course true that without the requisite publication, a due process question would arise if made
to apply adversely to a party who is not even aware of the existence of any legislative or executive act
having the force and effect of law. My point is that such publication required need not be confined to
the Official Gazette. From the pragmatic standpoint, there is an advantage to be gained. It conduces to
certainty. That is too be admitted. It does not follow, however, that failure to do so would in all cases
and under all circumstances result in a statute, presidential decree or any other executive act of the
same category being bereft of any binding force and effect. To so hold would, for me, raise a
constitutional question. Such a pronouncement would lend itself to the interpretation that such a
legislative or presidential act is bereft of the attribute of effectivity unless published in the Official
Gazette. There is no such requirement in the Constitution as Justice Plana so aptly pointed out. It is
true that what is decided now applies only to past "presidential issuances". Nonetheless, this
clarification is, to my mind, needed to avoid any possible misconception as to what is required for any
statute or presidential act to be impressed with binding force or effectivity.
2. It is quite understandable then why I concur in the separate opinion of Justice Plana. Its first
paragraph sets forth what to me is the constitutional doctrine applicable to this case. Thus: "The
Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their effectivity,
unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. It may be said though that the guarantee of due process
requires notice of laws to affected Parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice is not
necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise. 1 I am
likewise in agreement with its closing paragraph: "In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent

that it requires notice before laws become effective, for no person should be bound by a law without
notice. This is elementary fairness. However, I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall
be by publication in the Official Gazette. 2
3. It suffices, as was stated by Judge Learned Hand, that law as the command of the government
"must be ascertainable in some form if it is to be enforced at all. 3 It would indeed be to reduce it to the
level of mere futility, as pointed out by Justice Cardozo, "if it is unknown and unknowable. 4
Publication, to repeat, is thus essential. What I am not prepared to subscribe to is the doctrine that it
must be in the Official Gazette. To be sure once published therein there is the ascertainable mode of
determining the exact date of its effectivity. Still for me that does not dispose of the question of what is
the jural effect of past presidential decrees or executive acts not so published. For prior thereto, it
could be that parties aware of their existence could have conducted themselves in accordance with
their provisions. If no legal consequences could attach due to lack of publication in the Official Gazette,
then serious problems could arise. Previous transactions based on such "Presidential Issuances"
could be open to question. Matters deemed settled could still be inquired into. I am not prepared to
hold that such an effect is contemplated by our decision. Where such presidential decree or executive
act is made the basis of a criminal prosecution, then, of course, its ex post facto character becomes
evident. 5 In civil cases though, retroactivity as such is not conclusive on the due process aspect.
There must still be a showing of arbitrariness. Moreover, where the challenged presidential decree or
executive act was issued under the police power, the non-impairment clause of the Constitution may
not always be successfully invoked. There must still be that process of balancing to determine whether
or not it could in such a case be tainted by infirmity. 6 In traditional terminology, there could arise then a
question of unconstitutional application. That is as far as it goes.
4. Let me make therefore that my qualified concurrence goes no further than to affirm that publication
is essential to the effectivity of a legislative or executive act of a general application. I am not in
agreement with the view that such publication must be in the Official Gazette. The Civil Code itself in
its Article 2 expressly recognizes that the rule as to laws taking effect after fifteen days following the
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette is subject to this exception, "unless it is otherwise
provided." Moreover, the Civil Code is itself only a legislative enactment, Republic Act No. 386. It does
not and cannot have the juridical force of a constitutional command. A later legislative or executive act
which has the force and effect of law can legally provide for a different rule.
5. Nor can I agree with the rather sweeping conclusion in the opinion of Justice Escolin that
presidential decrees and executive acts not thus previously published in the Official Gazette would be
devoid of any legal character. That would be, in my opinion, to go too far. It may be fraught, as earlier
noted, with undesirable consequences. I find myself therefore unable to yield assent to such a
pronouncement.
I am authorized to state that Justices Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas, and Alampay concur in this
separate opinion.
Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
I concur with the main opinion of Mr. Justice Escolin and the concurring opinion of Mme. Justice
Herrera. The Rule of Law connotes a body of norms and laws published and ascertainable and of
equal application to all similarly circumstances and not subject to arbitrary change but only under
certain set procedures. The Court has consistently stressed that "it is an elementary rule of fair play
and justice that a reasonable opportunity to be informed must be afforded to the people who are
commanded to obey before they can be punished for its violation, 1 citing the settled principle based on
due process enunciated in earlier cases that "before the public is bound by its contents, especially its
penal provisions, a law, regulation or circular must first be published and the people officially and
specially informed of said contents and its penalties.
Without official publication in the Official Gazette as required by Article 2 of the Civil Code and the
Revised Administrative Code, there would be no basis nor justification for the corollary rule of Article 3
of the Civil Code (based on constructive notice that the provisions of the law are ascertainable from
the public and official repository where they are duly published) that "Ignorance of the law excuses no
one from compliance therewith.
Respondents' contention based on a misreading of Article 2 of the Civil Code that "only laws which are
silent as to their effectivity [date] need be published in the Official Gazette for their effectivity" is
manifestly untenable. The plain text and meaning of the Civil Code is that "laws shall take effect after
fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise

provided, " i.e. a different effectivity date is provided by the law itself. This proviso perforce refers to a
law that has been duly published pursuant to the basic constitutional requirements of due process. The
best example of this is the Civil Code itself: the same Article 2 provides otherwise that it "shall take
effect [only] one year [not 15 days] after such publication. 2 To sustain respondents' misreading that
"most laws or decrees specify the date of their effectivity and for this reason, publication in the Official
Gazette is not necessary for their effectivity 3 would be to nullify and render nugatory the Civil Code's
indispensable and essential requirement of prior publication in the Official Gazette by the simple
expedient of providing for immediate effectivity or an earlier effectivity date in the law itself before the
completion of 15 days following its publication which is the period generally fixed by the Civil Code for
its proper dissemination.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:
I agree. There cannot be any question but that even if a decree provides for a date of effectivity, it has
to be published. What I would like to state in connection with that proposition is that when a date of
effectivity is mentioned in the decree but the decree becomes effective only fifteen (15) days after its
publication in the Official Gazette, it will not mean that the decree can have retroactive effect to the
date of effectivity mentioned in the decree itself. There should be no retroactivity if the retroactivity will
run counter to constitutional rights or shall destroy vested rights.
PLANA, J., concurring (with qualification):
The Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their
effectivity, unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. * It may be said though that the guarantee of due
process requires notice of laws to affected parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice
is not necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise.
Neither is the publication of laws in the Official Gazette required by any statute as a prerequisite for
their effectivity, if said laws already provide for their effectivity date.
Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that "laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided " Two things may
be said of this provision: Firstly, it obviously does not apply to a law with a built-in provision as to when
it will take effect. Secondly, it clearly recognizes that each law may provide not only a different period
for reckoning its effectivity date but also a different mode of notice. Thus, a law may prescribe that it
shall be published elsewhere than in the Official Gazette.
Commonwealth Act No. 638, in my opinion, does not support the proposition that for their effectivity,
laws must be published in the Official Gazette. The said law is simply "An Act to Provide for the
Uniform Publication and Distribution of the Official Gazette." Conformably therewith, it authorizes the
publication of the Official Gazette, determines its frequency, provides for its sale and distribution, and
defines the authority of the Director of Printing in relation thereto. It also enumerates what shall be
published in the Official Gazette, among them, "important legislative acts and resolutions of a public
nature of the Congress of the Philippines" and "all executive and administrative orders and
proclamations, except such as have no general applicability." It is noteworthy that not all legislative
acts are required to be published in the Official Gazette but only "important" ones "of a public nature."
Moreover, the said law does not provide that publication in the Official Gazette is essential for the
effectivity of laws. This is as it should be, for all statutes are equal and stand on the same footing. A
law, especially an earlier one of general application such as Commonwealth Act No. 638, cannot nullify
or restrict the operation of a subsequent statute that has a provision of its own as to when and how it
will take effect. Only a higher law, which is the Constitution, can assume that role.
In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that it requires notice before laws become
effective, for no person should be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary fairness. However,
I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication in the Official Gazette.
Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.
GUTIERREZ, Jr., J., concurring:
I concur insofar as publication is necessary but reserve my vote as to the necessity of such publication
being in the Official Gazette.
DE LA FUENTE, J., concurring:
I concur insofar as the opinion declares the unpublished decrees and issuances of a public nature or
general applicability ineffective, until due publication thereof.

Separate Opinions
FERNANDO, C.J., concurring (with qualification):
There is on the whole acceptance on my part of the views expressed in the ably written opinion of
Justice Escolin. I am unable, however, to concur insofar as it would unqualifiedly impose the
requirement of publication in the Official Gazette for unpublished "presidential issuances" to have
binding force and effect.
I shall explain why.
1. It is of course true that without the requisite publication, a due process question would arise if made
to apply adversely to a party who is not even aware of the existence of any legislative or executive act
having the force and effect of law. My point is that such publication required need not be confined to
the Official Gazette. From the pragmatic standpoint, there is an advantage to be gained. It conduces to
certainty. That is too be admitted. It does not follow, however, that failure to do so would in all cases
and under all circumstances result in a statute, presidential decree or any other executive act of the
same category being bereft of any binding force and effect. To so hold would, for me, raise a
constitutional question. Such a pronouncement would lend itself to the interpretation that such a
legislative or presidential act is bereft of the attribute of effectivity unless published in the Official
Gazette. There is no such requirement in the Constitution as Justice Plana so aptly pointed out. It is
true that what is decided now applies only to past "presidential issuances". Nonetheless, this
clarification is, to my mind, needed to avoid any possible misconception as to what is required for any
statute or presidential act to be impressed with binding force or effectivity.
2. It is quite understandable then why I concur in the separate opinion of Justice Plana. Its first
paragraph sets forth what to me is the constitutional doctrine applicable to this case. Thus: "The
Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their effectivity,
unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. It may be said though that the guarantee of due process
requires notice of laws to affected Parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice is not
necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise. 1 I am
likewise in agreement with its closing paragraph: "In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent
that it requires notice before laws become effective, for no person should be bound by a law without
notice. This is elementary fairness. However, I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall
be by publication in the Official Gazette. 2
3. It suffices, as was stated by Judge Learned Hand, that law as the command of the government
"must be ascertainable in some form if it is to be enforced at all. 3 It would indeed be to reduce it to the
level of mere futility, as pointed out by Justice Cardozo, "if it is unknown and unknowable. 4
Publication, to repeat, is thus essential. What I am not prepared to subscribe to is the doctrine that it
must be in the Official Gazette. To be sure once published therein there is the ascertainable mode of
determining the exact date of its effectivity. Still for me that does not dispose of the question of what is
the jural effect of past presidential decrees or executive acts not so published. For prior thereto, it
could be that parties aware of their existence could have conducted themselves in accordance with
their provisions. If no legal consequences could attach due to lack of publication in the Official Gazette,
then serious problems could arise. Previous transactions based on such "Presidential Issuances"
could be open to question. Matters deemed settled could still be inquired into. I am not prepared to
hold that such an effect is contemplated by our decision. Where such presidential decree or executive
act is made the basis of a criminal prosecution, then, of course, its ex post facto character becomes
evident. 5 In civil cases though, retroactivity as such is not conclusive on the due process aspect.
There must still be a showing of arbitrariness. Moreover, where the challenged presidential decree or
executive act was issued under the police power, the non-impairment clause of the Constitution may
not always be successfully invoked. There must still be that process of balancing to determine whether
or not it could in such a case be tainted by infirmity. 6 In traditional terminology, there could arise then a
question of unconstitutional application. That is as far as it goes.
4. Let me make therefore that my qualified concurrence goes no further than to affirm that publication
is essential to the effectivity of a legislative or executive act of a general application. I am not in
agreement with the view that such publication must be in the Official Gazette. The Civil Code itself in
its Article 2 expressly recognizes that the rule as to laws taking effect after fifteen days following the
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette is subject to this exception, "unless it is otherwise
provided." Moreover, the Civil Code is itself only a legislative enactment, Republic Act No. 386. It does

not and cannot have the juridical force of a constitutional command. A later legislative or executive act
which has the force and effect of law can legally provide for a different rule.
5. Nor can I agree with the rather sweeping conclusion in the opinion of Justice Escolin that
presidential decrees and executive acts not thus previously published in the Official Gazette would be
devoid of any legal character. That would be, in my opinion, to go too far. It may be fraught, as earlier
noted, with undesirable consequences. I find myself therefore unable to yield assent to such a
pronouncement.
I am authorized to state that Justices Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas, and Alampay concur in this
separate opinion.
Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
I concur with the main opinion of Mr. Justice Escolin and the concurring opinion of Mme. Justice
Herrera. The Rule of Law connotes a body of norms and laws published and ascertainable and of
equal application to all similarly circumstances and not subject to arbitrary change but only under
certain set procedures. The Court has consistently stressed that "it is an elementary rule of fair play
and justice that a reasonable opportunity to be informed must be afforded to the people who are
commanded to obey before they can be punished for its violation, 1 citing the settled principle based on
due process enunciated in earlier cases that "before the public is bound by its contents, especially its
penal provisions, a law, regulation or circular must first be published and the people officially and
specially informed of said contents and its penalties.
Without official publication in the Official Gazette as required by Article 2 of the Civil Code and the
Revised Administrative Code, there would be no basis nor justification for the corollary rule of Article 3
of the Civil Code (based on constructive notice that the provisions of the law are ascertainable from
the public and official repository where they are duly published) that "Ignorance of the law excuses no
one from compliance therewith.
Respondents' contention based on a misreading of Article 2 of the Civil Code that "only laws which are
silent as to their effectivity [date] need be published in the Official Gazette for their effectivity" is
manifestly untenable. The plain text and meaning of the Civil Code is that "laws shall take effect after
fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise
provided, " i.e. a different effectivity date is provided by the law itself. This proviso perforce refers to a
law that has been duly published pursuant to the basic constitutional requirements of due process. The
best example of this is the Civil Code itself: the same Article 2 provides otherwise that it "shall take
effect [only] one year [not 15 days] after such publication. 2 To sustain respondents' misreading that
"most laws or decrees specify the date of their effectivity and for this reason, publication in the Official
Gazette is not necessary for their effectivity 3 would be to nullify and render nugatory the Civil Code's
indispensable and essential requirement of prior publication in the Official Gazette by the simple
expedient of providing for immediate effectivity or an earlier effectivity date in the law itself before the
completion of 15 days following its publication which is the period generally fixed by the Civil Code for
its proper dissemination.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:
I agree. There cannot be any question but that even if a decree provides for a date of effectivity, it has
to be published. What I would like to state in connection with that proposition is that when a date of
effectivity is mentioned in the decree but the decree becomes effective only fifteen (15) days after its
publication in the Official Gazette, it will not mean that the decree can have retroactive effect to the
date of effectivity mentioned in the decree itself. There should be no retroactivity if the retroactivity will
run counter to constitutional rights or shall destroy vested rights.
PLANA, J., concurring (with qualification):
The Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their
effectivity, unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. * It may be said though that the guarantee of due
process requires notice of laws to affected parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice
is not necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise.
Neither is the publication of laws in the Official Gazette required by any statute as a prerequisite for
their effectivity, if said laws already provide for their effectivity date.
Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that "laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided " Two things may

be said of this provision: Firstly, it obviously does not apply to a law with a built-in provision as to when
it will take effect. Secondly, it clearly recognizes that each law may provide not only a different period
for reckoning its effectivity date but also a different mode of notice. Thus, a law may prescribe that it
shall be published elsewhere than in the Official Gazette.
Commonwealth Act No. 638, in my opinion, does not support the proposition that for their effectivity,
laws must be published in the Official Gazette. The said law is simply "An Act to Provide for the
Uniform Publication and Distribution of the Official Gazette." Conformably therewith, it authorizes the
publication of the Official Gazette, determines its frequency, provides for its sale and distribution, and
defines the authority of the Director of Printing in relation thereto. It also enumerates what shall be
published in the Official Gazette, among them, "important legislative acts and resolutions of a public
nature of the Congress of the Philippines" and "all executive and administrative orders and
proclamations, except such as have no general applicability." It is noteworthy that not all legislative
acts are required to be published in the Official Gazette but only "important" ones "of a public nature."
Moreover, the said law does not provide that publication in the Official Gazette is essential for the
effectivity of laws. This is as it should be, for all statutes are equal and stand on the same footing. A
law, especially an earlier one of general application such as Commonwealth Act No. 638, cannot nullify
or restrict the operation of a subsequent statute that has a provision of its own as to when and how it
will take effect. Only a higher law, which is the Constitution, can assume that role.
In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that it requires notice before laws become
effective, for no person should be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary fairness. However,
I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication in the Official Gazette.
Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.
GUTIERREZ, Jr., J., concurring:
I concur insofar as publication is necessary but reserve my vote as to the necessity of such publication
being in the Official Gazette.
DE LA FUENTE, J., concurring:
I concur insofar as the opinion declares the unpublished decrees and issuances of a public nature or
general applicability ineffective, until due publication thereof.

G.R. No. L-63915 December 29, 1986


LORENZO M. TA;ADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR
BROTHERHOOD,
INTEGRITY
AND
NATIONALISM,
INC.
(MABINI),
petitioners,
vs.
HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to the President, HON. JOAQUIN
VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant to the President, MELQUIADES P. DE LA
CRUZ, ETC., ET AL., respondents.
RESOLUTION
CRUZ, J.:
Due process was invoked by the petitioners in demanding the disclosure of a number of presidential
decrees which they claimed had not been published as required by law. The government argued that
while publication was necessary as a rule, it was not so when it was "otherwise provided," as when the
decrees themselves declared that they were to become effective immediately upon their approval. In
the decision of this case on April 24, 1985, the Court affirmed the necessity for the publication of some
of these decrees, declaring in the dispositive portion as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish in the Official Gazette all unpublished
presidential issuances which are of general application, and unless so published, they shall have no
binding force and effect.
The petitioners are now before us again, this time to move for reconsideration/clarification of that
decision. 1 Specifically, they ask the following questions:
1. What is meant by "law of public nature" or "general applicability"?
2. Must a distinction be made between laws of general applicability and laws which are not?
3. What is meant by "publication"?
4. Where is the publication to be made?
5. When is the publication to be made?

Resolving their own doubts, the petitioners suggest that there should be no distinction between laws of
general applicability and those which are not; that publication means complete publication; and that
the publication must be made forthwith in the Official Gazette. 2
In the Comment 3 required of the then Solicitor General, he claimed first that the motion was a request
for an advisory opinion and should therefore be dismissed, and, on the merits, that the clause "unless
it is otherwise provided" in Article 2 of the Civil Code meant that the publication required therein was
not always imperative; that publication, when necessary, did not have to be made in the Official
Gazette; and that in any case the subject decision was concurred in only by three justices and
consequently not binding. This elicited a Reply 4 refuting these arguments. Came next the February
Revolution and the Court required the new Solicitor General to file a Rejoinder in view of the
supervening events, under Rule 3, Section 18, of the Rules of Court. Responding, he submitted that
issuances intended only for the internal administration of a government agency or for particular
persons did not have to be 'Published; that publication when necessary must be in full and in the
Official Gazette; and that, however, the decision under reconsideration was not binding because it was
not supported by eight members of this Court. 5
The subject of contention is Article 2 of the Civil Code providing as follows:
ART. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the
Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided. This Code shall take effect one year after such
publication.
After a careful study of this provision and of the arguments of the parties, both on the original petition
and on the instant motion, we have come to the conclusion and so hold, that the clause "unless it is
otherwise provided" refers to the date of effectivity and not to the requirement of publication itself,
which cannot in any event be omitted. This clause does not mean that the legislature may make the
law effective immediately upon approval, or on any other date, without its previous publication.
Publication is indispensable in every case, but the legislature may in its discretion provide that the
usual fifteen-day period shall be shortened or extended. An example, as pointed out by the present
Chief Justice in his separate concurrence in the original decision, 6 is the Civil Code which did not
become effective after fifteen days from its publication in the Official Gazette but "one year after such
publication." The general rule did not apply because it was "otherwise provided. "
It is not correct to say that under the disputed clause publication may be dispensed with altogether.
The reason. is that such omission would offend due process insofar as it would deny the public
knowledge of the laws that are supposed to govern the legislature could validly provide that a law e
effective immediately upon its approval notwithstanding the lack of publication (or after an
unreasonably short period after publication), it is not unlikely that persons not aware of it would be
prejudiced as a result and they would be so not because of a failure to comply with but simply because
they did not know of its existence, Significantly, this is not true only of penal laws as is commonly
supposed. One can think of many non-penal measures, like a law on prescription, which must also be
communicated to the persons they may affect before they can begin to operate.
We note at this point the conclusive presumption that every person knows the law, which of course
presupposes that the law has been published if the presumption is to have any legal justification at all.
It is no less important to remember that Section 6 of the Bill of Rights recognizes "the right of the
people to information on matters of public concern," and this certainly applies to, among others, and
indeed especially, the legislative enactments of the government.
The term "laws" should refer to all laws and not only to those of general application, for strictly
speaking all laws relate to the people in general albeit there are some that do not apply to them
directly. An example is a law granting citizenship to a particular individual, like a relative of President
Marcos who was decreed instant naturalization. It surely cannot be said that such a law does not affect
the public although it unquestionably does not apply directly to all the people. The subject of such law
is a matter of public interest which any member of the body politic may question in the political forums
or, if he is a proper party, even in the courts of justice. In fact, a law without any bearing on the public
would be invalid as an intrusion of privacy or as class legislation or as an ultra vires act of the
legislature. To be valid, the law must invariably affect the public interest even if it might be directly
applicable only to one individual, or some of the people only, and t to the public as a whole.
We hold therefore that all statutes, including those of local application and private laws, shall be
published as a condition for their effectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after publication unless a
different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature.
Covered by this rule are presidential decrees and executive orders promulgated by the President in
the exercise of legislative powers whenever the same are validly delegated by the legislature or, at

present, directly conferred by the Constitution. administrative rules and regulations must a also be
published if their purpose is to enforce or implement existing law pursuant also to a valid delegation.
Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that is, regulating only the personnel of
the administrative agency and not the public, need not be published. Neither is publication required of
the so-called letters of instructions issued by administrative superiors concerning the rules or
guidelines to be followed by their subordinates in the performance of their duties.
Accordingly, even the charter of a city must be published notwithstanding that it applies to only a
portion of the national territory and directly affects only the inhabitants of that place. All presidential
decrees must be published, including even, say, those naming a public place after a favored individual
or exempting him from certain prohibitions or requirements. The circulars issued by the Monetary
Board must be published if they are meant not merely to interpret but to "fill in the details" of the
Central Bank Act which that body is supposed to enforce.
However, no publication is required of the instructions issued by, say, the Minister of Social Welfare on
the case studies to be made in petitions for adoption or the rules laid down by the head of a
government agency on the assignments or workload of his personnel or the wearing of office uniforms.
Parenthetically, municipal ordinances are not covered by this rule but by the Local Government Code.
We agree that publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since its purpose is to inform the
public of the contents of the laws. As correctly pointed out by the petitioners, the mere mention of the
number of the presidential decree, the title of such decree, its whereabouts (e.g., "with Secretary
Tuvera"), the supposed date of effectivity, and in a mere supplement of the Official Gazette cannot
satisfy the publication requirement. This is not even substantial compliance. This was the manner,
incidentally, in which the General Appropriations Act for FY 1975, a presidential decree undeniably of
general applicability and interest, was "published" by the Marcos administration. 7 The evident purpose
was to withhold rather than disclose information on this vital law.
Coming now to the original decision, it is true that only four justices were categorically for publication in
the Official Gazette 8 and that six others felt that publication could be made elsewhere as long as the
people were sufficiently informed. 9 One reserved his vote 10 and another merely acknowledged the
need for due publication without indicating where it should be made. 11 It is therefore necessary for the
present membership of this Court to arrive at a clear consensus on this matter and to lay down a
binding decision supported by the necessary vote.
There is much to be said of the view that the publication need not be made in the Official Gazette,
considering its erratic releases and limited readership. Undoubtedly, newspapers of general circulation
could better perform the function of communicating, the laws to the people as such periodicals are
more easily available, have a wider readership, and come out regularly. The trouble, though, is that
this kind of publication is not the one required or authorized by existing law. As far as we know, no
amendment has been made of Article 2 of the Civil Code. The Solicitor General has not pointed to
such a law, and we have no information that it exists. If it does, it obviously has not yet been published.
At any rate, this Court is not called upon to rule upon the wisdom of a law or to repeal or modify it if we
find it impractical. That is not our function. That function belongs to the legislature. Our task is merely
to interpret and apply the law as conceived and approved by the political departments of the
government in accordance with the prescribed procedure. Consequently, we have no choice but to
pronounce that under Article 2 of the Civil Code, the publication of laws must be made in the Official
Gazett and not elsewhere, as a requirement for their effectivity after fifteen days from such publication
or after a different period provided by the legislature.
We also hold that the publication must be made forthwith or at least as soon as possible, to give effect
to the law pursuant to the said Article 2. There is that possibility, of course, although not suggested by
the parties that a law could be rendered unenforceable by a mere refusal of the executive, for
whatever reason, to cause its publication as required. This is a matter, however, that we do not need to
examine at this time.
Finally, the claim of the former Solicitor General that the instant motion is a request for an advisory
opinion is untenable, to say the least, and deserves no further comment.
The days of the secret laws and the unpublished decrees are over. This is once again an open society,
with all the acts of the government subject to public scrutiny and available always to public
cognizance. This has to be so if our country is to remain democratic, with sovereignty residing in the
people and all government authority emanating from them.
Although they have delegated the power of legislation, they retain the authority to review the work of
their delegates and to ratify or reject it according to their lights, through their freedom of expression
and their right of suffrage. This they cannot do if the acts of the legislature are concealed.

Laws must come out in the open in the clear light of the sun instead of skulking in the shadows with
their dark, deep secrets. Mysterious pronouncements and rumored rules cannot be recognized as
binding unless their existence and contents are confirmed by a valid publication intended to make full
disclosure and give proper notice to the people. The furtive law is like a scabbarded saber that cannot
feint parry or cut unless the naked blade is drawn.
WHEREFORE, it is hereby declared that all laws as above defined shall immediately upon their
approval, or as soon thereafter as possible, be published in full in the Official Gazette, to become
effective only after fifteen days from their publication, or on another date specified by the legislature, in
accordance with Article 2 of the Civil Code.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee, C.J., Feria, Yap, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Alampay, Gutierrez, Jr., and Paras, JJ.,
concur.
Separate Opinions
FERNAN, J., concurring:
While concurring in the Court's opinion penned by my distinguished colleague, Mr. Justice Isagani A.
Cruz, I would like to add a few observations. Even as a Member of the defunct Batasang Pambansa, I
took a strong stand against the insidious manner by which the previous dispensation had promulgated
and made effective thousands of decrees, executive orders, letters of instructions, etc. Never has the
law-making power which traditionally belongs to the legislature been used and abused to satisfy the
whims and caprices of a one-man legislative mill as it happened in the past regime. Thus, in those
days, it was not surprising to witness the sad spectacle of two presidential decrees bearing the same
number, although covering two different subject matters. In point is the case of two presidential
decrees bearing number 1686 issued on March 19, 1980, one granting Philippine citizenship to
Michael M. Keon the then President's nephew and the other imposing a tax on every motor vehicle
equipped with airconditioner. This was further exacerbated by the issuance of PD No. 1686-A also on
March 19, 1980 granting Philippine citizenship to basketball players Jeffrey Moore and Dennis George
Still
The categorical statement by this Court on the need for publication before any law may be made
effective seeks prevent abuses on the part of the lawmakers and, at the same time, ensures to the
people their constitutional right to due process and to information on matters of public concern.
FELICIANO, J., concurring:
I agree entirely with the opinion of the court so eloquently written by Mr. Justice Isagani A. Cruz. At the
same time, I wish to add a few statements to reflect my understanding of what the Court is saying.
A statute which by its terms provides for its coming into effect immediately upon approval thereof, is
properly interpreted as coming into effect immediately upon publication thereof in the Official Gazette
as provided in Article 2 of the Civil Code. Such statute, in other words, should not be regarded as
purporting literally to come into effect immediately upon its approval or enactment and without need of
publication. For so to interpret such statute would be to collide with the constitutional obstacle posed
by the due process clause. The enforcement of prescriptions which are both unknown to and
unknowable by those subjected to the statute, has been throughout history a common tool of
tyrannical governments. Such application and enforcement constitutes at bottom a negation of the
fundamental principle of legality in the relations between a government and its people.
At the same time, it is clear that the requirement of publication of a statute in the Official Gazette, as
distinguished from any other medium such as a newspaper of general circulation, is embodied in a
statutory norm and is not a constitutional command. The statutory norm is set out in Article 2 of the
Civil Code and is supported and reinforced by Section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 638 and Section 35
of the Revised Administrative Code. A specification of the Official Gazette as the prescribed medium of
publication may therefore be changed. Article 2 of the Civil Code could, without creating a
constitutional problem, be amended by a subsequent statute providing, for instance, for publication
either in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the country. Until such an
amendatory statute is in fact enacted, Article 2 of the Civil Code must be obeyed and publication
effected in the Official Gazette and not in any other medium.
Separate Opinions
FERNAN, J., concurring:
While concurring in the Court's opinion penned by my distinguished colleague, Mr. Justice Isagani A.
Cruz, I would like to add a few observations. Even as a Member of the defunct Batasang Pambansa, I

took a strong stand against the insidious manner by which the previous dispensation had promulgated
and made effective thousands of decrees, executive orders, letters of instructions, etc. Never has the
law-making power which traditionally belongs to the legislature been used and abused to satisfy the
whims and caprices of a one-man legislative mill as it happened in the past regime. Thus, in those
days, it was not surprising to witness the sad spectacle of two presidential decrees bearing the same
number, although covering two different subject matters. In point is the case of two presidential
decrees bearing number 1686 issued on March 19, 1980, one granting Philippine citizenship to
Michael M. Keon the then President's nephew and the other imposing a tax on every motor vehicle
equipped with airconditioner. This was further exacerbated by the issuance of PD No. 1686-A also on
March 19, 1980 granting Philippine citizenship to basketball players Jeffrey Moore and Dennis George
Still
The categorical statement by this Court on the need for publication before any law may be made
effective seeks prevent abuses on the part of the lawmakers and, at the same time, ensures to the
people their constitutional right to due process and to information on matters of public concern.
FELICIANO, J., concurring:
I agree entirely with the opinion of the court so eloquently written by Mr. Justice Isagani A. Cruz. At the
same time, I wish to add a few statements to reflect my understanding of what the Court is saying.
A statute which by its terms provides for its coming into effect immediately upon approval thereof, is
properly interpreted as coming into effect immediately upon publication thereof in the Official Gazette
as provided in Article 2 of the Civil Code. Such statute, in other words, should not be regarded as
purporting literally to come into effect immediately upon its approval or enactment and without need of
publication. For so to interpret such statute would be to collide with the constitutional obstacle posed
by the due process clause. The enforcement of prescriptions which are both unknown to and
unknowable by those subjected to the statute, has been throughout history a common tool of
tyrannical governments. Such application and enforcement constitutes at bottom a negation of the
fundamental principle of legality in the relations between a government and its people.
At the same time, it is clear that the requirement of publication of a statute in the Official Gazette, as
distinguished from any other medium such as a newspaper of general circulation, is embodied in a
statutory norm and is not a constitutional command. The statutory norm is set out in Article 2 of the
Civil Code and is supported and reinforced by Section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 638 and Section 35
of the Revised Administrative Code. A specification of the Official Gazette as the prescribed medium of
publication may therefore be changed. Article 2 of the Civil Code could, without creating a
constitutional problem, be amended by a subsequent statute providing, for instance, for publication
either in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the country. Until such an
amendatory statute is in fact enacted, Article 2 of the Civil Code must be obeyed and publication
effected in the Official Gazette and not in any other medium.

G.R. No. L-14858


December 29, 1960
MARIANO
S.
GONZAGA,
petitioner-appellee,
vs.
AUGUSTO CE DAVID, as Registrar of the Motor Vehicles Office of Cagayan, respondentappellant.
Office of the Asst. Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres and Solicitor E. D. Ignacio for appellant.
Ventura V. Perez for appellee.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
The essential antecedents of this case are not disputed. On February, 1957, Mariano Gonzaga, as
owner, registered with the Motor Vehicles Office a cargo truck and a passenger bus, paying the first
installment for registration fees due on said vehicles for 1957. To cover the second installment for
registration fees, Gonzaga remitted to the Provincial Treasurer of Cagayan, by registered mail,
P500.00, under postal money orders Nos. 18553, 18554 and 18555, purchased from and issued by
the Post Office of Camalaniugan, Cagayan. The postal cancellation mark on the envelope containing
the remittance of Gonzaga bears the date August 31, 1957; so does the postal cancellation mark on
the face of the money orders.
The Registrar of the Motor Vehicles Office of Cagayan ruled that pursuant to Section 8 (1), Act 3992,
otherwise known as the Revised Motor Vehicle Law, the second installment for registration fees was
payable on or before the last working day of August; that the last working day of August, 1957 was

Friday, August 30, 1957; that consequently, the remittance of Gonzaga bearing postal cancellation
mark dated August 31, 1957 was made beyond the time fixed by law. Accordingly, said official sought
to impose a 50% delinquency penalty, or otherwise, threatened to confiscate the certificate of
registration for the two trucks (Annexes "B" & "C").lawphil.net
Gonzaga brought this action in the Court of First Instance, which, upon a stipulation of facts, rendered
judgment, the dispositive part reading
POR TANTO, el Juzgado dicta decision declarando, como por la presente declara, que el pago hecho
con los giros postales Nos. 18553, 18554 y 18555, por el recurrente, se ha hecho dentro del plazo
fijado por ley; y, por tanto, el recurrente no ha incurrido con morosidad en cuanto a dicho pago.
Se ordena al recurrido, sus agentes y representantes, que se abstengan de confiscar el certificado de
registro de los dos trucks del recurrente, por la alegada morosidad del citado pago.
Sin costas.
ASI SE ORDENA.
The only issue in this appeal is whether the remittance of petitioner-appellee covering the second
installment of registration fees for 1957, made by registered mail with postal cancellation dated August
31, 1957, was within the time fixed by law.
The following are the pertinent provisions of Act 3992 as amended
Sec. 8 (I) ". . . The registration fees provided in this Act for trucks may be payable in two equal
installments, the first to be paid on or before the last working day of February, and the second to be
paid on or before the last working day of August. (Emphasis supplied)
Sec. 6 (b) "The date of cancellation of the postage stamps of envelopes containing money orders,
checks,
or
cash
shall
be
considered
as
the
date
of
application. . . .
In support of its contention that August 30, and not August 31, was the last working day of August,
1957, respondent-appellant invokes Republic Act No. 1880, otherwise known as the "40-Hour Week
Law", pursuant to which government offices are to hold office from Monday to Friday only, unless one
of those expressly exempted therefrom.
As correctly held by the court below, the fact that pursuant to Republic Act 1880, the Motor Vehicles
Office in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, had no office on Saturday, Aug. 31, 1957, is immaterial in the case.
The last working day contemplated in Sec. 8(I) of Act 3992 as amended should not necessarily mean
the last working day for Motor Vehicle Office. Under Sec. 6(b) of said Act, providing for payment of
registration fees by mail, the date of cancellation of the postage stamps of the envelope containing the
remittance is considered the date of application. Consequently, where the manner of payment falls
under said Section 6(b), the law, in recognizing the date of cancellation as the date of application,
impliedly permits of a remittance or payment within that last day of August that the Post Office may still
effect cancellation; and the remittance, in fact, bears a postal cancellation, dated August 31, 1957.
Moreover, it is not pretended by respondent-appellant that the Post Office ceased or has ceased to
transact business and discharge its functions on Saturdays by reason alone of Republic Act No. 1880.
Clearly, therefore,the remittance by petitioner-appellee was within the by law, as provided in Section 8
(I), in connection with Section 6 (b) of Act 3992, as amended.lawphil.net
The fact that August 31, 1957 was declared a special public holiday by Proclamation No. 437 (dated
August 21, 1957) of the President of the Philippines did not have the effect of making the preceding
day, August 30, the last day for paying registration fees without penalty. On the contrary, Section 31 of
the Revised Administrative Code provides
Sec. 31. Pretermission of holiday. Where the day, or the last day, for doing any act required or
permitted by law falls on a holiday, the act may be done the next succeeding business day.
In Calano vs. Cruz, 91 Phil., 247, we ruled as follows:
The complaint filed by the petitioner herein was presented in the court a quo on November 23, 1951,
exactly on the eight day after the proclamation of the respondent as duly elected councilor for the
Municipality of Orion, Bataan. It happens, however, that November 22, 1951, the last day of the sevenday period prescribed by Section 173 of the Revised Election Code, was declared a "Special Public
Holiday For National Thanksgiving" by Proclamation No. 290, series of 1951, of the President of the
Philippines. The trial court held that the provisions of Section 1 of Rule 28 of the Rules of Court could
not be applied to the case at bar because it is an election case (Rule 132, Rules of Court), and
declared that the complaint was filed outside of the period provided for by law. Assuming that Section 1
of Rule 28 of the Rules of Court is not applicable, the law applicable is Section 31 of the Revised
Administrative Code, which provides that "Where the day, or the last day, for doing any act required or

permitted by law falls on a holiday, the act may be done on the next succeeding business day." The
court a quo, therefore, committed an error in declaring that the complaint was filed out of time.
The ruling is on all fours on the issue before us, and against respondent-appellant.
The decision appealed from is affirmed. Without costs..

G.R. No. L-32116 April 2l, 1981


RURAL BANK OF CALOOCAN, INC. and JOSE O. DESIDERIO,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS and MAXIMA CASTRO, respondents.

JR.,

petitioners,

DE CASTRO, * J.:
This is a petition for review by way of certiorari of the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No.
39760-R entitled "Maxima Castro, plaintiff-appellee, versus Severino Valencia, et al., defendants;
Rural Bank of Caloocan, Inc., Jose Desiderio, Jr. and Arsenio Reyes, defendants-appellants," which
affirmed in toto the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila in favor of plaintiff- appellee, the
herein private respondent Maxima Castro.
On December 7, 1959, respondent Maxima Castro, accompanied by Severino Valencia, went to the
Rural Bank of Caloocan to apply for an industrial loan. It was Severino Valencia who arranged
everything about the loan with the bank and who supplied to the latter the personal data required for
Castro's loan application. On December 11, 1959, after the bank approved the loan for the amount of
P3,000.00, Castro, accompanied by the Valencia spouses, signed a promissory note corresponding to
her loan in favor of the bank.
On the same day, December 11, 1959, the Valencia spouses obtained from the bank an equal amount
of loan for P3,000.00. They signed a promissory note (Exhibit "2") corresponding to their loan in favor
of the bank and had Castro affixed thereon her signature as co-maker.
The two loans were secured by a real-estate mortgage (Exhibit "6") on Castro's house and lot of 150
square meters, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 7419 of the Office of the Register of Deeds
of Manila.
On February 13, 1961, the sheriff of Manila, thru Acting Chief Deputy Sheriff Basilio Magsambol, sent
a notice of sheriff's sale addressed to Castro, announcing that her property covered by T.C.T. No. 7419
would be sold at public auction on March 10, 1961 to satisfy the obligation covering the two promissory
notes plus interest and attorney's fees.
Upon request by Castro and the Valencias and with conformity of the bank, the auction sale that was
scheduled for March 10, 1961 was postponed for April 10, 1961. But when April 10, 1961 was
subsequently declared a special holiday, the sheriff of Manila sold the property covered by T.C.T. No.
7419 at a public auction sale that was held on April 11, 1961, which was the next succeeding business
day following the special holiday.
Castro alleged that it was only when she received the letter from the Acting Deputy Sheriff on February
13, 1961, when she learned for the first time that the mortgage contract (Exhibit "6") which was an
encumbrance on her property was for P6.000.00 and not for P3,000.00 and that she was made to sign
as co-maker of the promissory note (Exhibit "2") without her being informed of this.
On April 4, 1961, Castro filed a suit denominated "Re: Sum of Money," against petitioners Bank and
Desiderio, the Spouses Valencia, Basilio Magsambol and Arsenio Reyes as defendants in Civil Case
No. 46698 before the Court of First Instance of Manila upon the charge, amongst others, that thru
mistake on her part or fraud on the part of Valencias she was induced to sign as co-maker of a
promissory note (Exhibit "2") and to constitute a mortgage on her house and lot to secure the
questioned note. At the time of filing her complaint, respondent Castro deposited the amount of
P3,383.00 with the court a quo in full payment of her personal loan plus interest.
In her amended complaint, Castro prayed, amongst other, for the annulment as far as she is
concerned of the promissory note (Exhibit "2") and mortgage (Exhibit "6") insofar as it exceeds
P3,000.00; for the discharge of her personal obligation with the bank by reason of a deposit of
P3,383.00 with the court a quo upon the filing of her complaint; for the annulment of the foreclosure
sale of her property covered by T.C.T. No. 7419 in favor of Arsenio Reyes; and for the award in her
favor of attorney's fees, damages and cost.
In their answers, petitioners interposed counterclaims and prayed for the dismissal of said complaint,
with damages, attorney's fees and costs. 2

The pertinent facts arrived from the stipulation of facts entered into by the parties as stated by
respondent Court of Appeals are as follows:
Spawning the present litigation are the facts contained in the following stipulation of facts submitted by
the parties themselves:
1. That the capacity and addresses of all the parties in this case are admitted .
2. That the plaintiff was the registered owner of a residential house and lot located at Nos. 1268-1270
Carola Street, Sampaloc, Manila, containing an area of one hundred fifty (150) square meters, more or
less, covered by T.C.T. No. 7419 of the Office of the Register of Deeds of Manila;
3. That the signatures of the plaintiff appearing on the following documents are genuine:
a) Application for Industrial Loan with the Rural Bank of Caloocan, dated December 7, 1959 in the
amount of P3,000.00 attached as Annex A of this partial stipulation of facts;
b) Promissory Note dated December 11, 1959 signed by the plaintiff in favor of the Rural Bank of
Caloocan for the amount of P3,000.00 as per Annex B of this partial stipulation of facts;
c) Application for Industrial Loan with the Rural Bank of Caloocan, dated December 11, 1959, signed
only by the defendants, Severino Valencia and Catalina Valencia, attached as Annex C, of this partial
stipulation of facts;
d) Promissory note in favor of the Rural Bank of Caloocan, dated December 11, 1959 for the amount
of P3000.00, signed by the spouses Severino Valencia and Catalina Valencia as borrowers, and
plaintiff Maxima Castro, as a co-maker, attached as Annex D of this partial stipulation of facts;
e) Real estate mortgage dated December 11, 1959 executed by plaintiff Maxima Castro, in favor of the
Rural Bank of Caloocan, to secure the obligation of P6,000.00 attached herein as Annex E of this
partial stipulation of facts;
All the parties herein expressly reserved their right to present any evidence they may desire on the
circumstances regarding the execution of the above-mentioned documents.
4. That the sheriff of Manila, thru Acting Chief Deputy Sheriff, Basilio Magsambol, sent a notice of
sheriff's sale, address to the plaintiff, dated February 13, 1961, announcing that plaintiff's property
covered by TCT No. 7419 of the Register of Deeds of the City of Manila, would be sold at public
auction on March 10, 1961 to satisfy the total obligation of P5,728.50, plus interest, attorney's fees,
etc., as evidenced by the Notice of Sheriff's Sale and Notice of Extrajudicial Auction Sale of the
Mortgaged property, attached herewith as Annexes F and F-1, respectively, of this stipulation of facts;
5. That upon the request of the plaintiff and defendants-spouses Severino Valencia and Catalina
Valencia, and with the conformity of the Rural Bank of Caloocan, the Sheriff of Manila postponed the
auction sale scheduled for March 10, 1961 for thirty (30) days and the sheriff re-set the auction sale for
April 10, 1961;
6. That April 10, 1961 was declared a special public holiday; (Note: No. 7 is omitted upon agreement of
the parties.)
8. That on April 11, 1961, the Sheriff of Manila, sold at public auction plaintiff's property covered by
T.C.T. No. 7419 and defendant, Arsenio Reyes, was the highest bidder and the corresponding
certificate of sale was issued to him as per Annex G of this partial stipulation of facts;
9. That on April 16, 1962, the defendant Arsenio Reyes, executed an Affidavit of Consolidation of
Ownership, a copy of which is hereto attached as Annex H of this partial stipulation of facts;
10. That on May 9, 1962, the Rural Bank of Caloocan Incorporated executed the final deed of sale in
favor of the defendant, Arsenio Reyes, in the amount of P7,000.00, a copy of which is attached as
Annex I of this partial stipulation of facts;
11. That the Register of Deeds of the City of Manila issued the Transfer Certificate of Title No. 67297 in
favor of the defendant, Arsenio Reyes, in lieu of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 7419 which was in the
name of plaintiff, Maxima Castro, which was cancelled;
12. That after defendant, Arsenio Reyes, had consolidated his title to the property as per T.C.T. No.
67299, plaintiff filed a notice of lis pendens with the Register of Deeds of Manila and the same was
annotated in the back of T.C.T. No. 67299 as per Annex J of this partial stipulation of facts; and
13. That the parties hereby reserved their rights to present additional evidence on matters not covered
by this partial stipulation of facts.
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that the foregoing partial stipulation of facts be approved and
admitted by this Honorable Court.
As for the evidence presented during the trial, We quote from the decision of the Court of Appeals the
statement thereof, as follows:
In addition to the foregoing stipulation of facts, plaintiff claims she is a 70-year old widow who cannot
read and write the English language; that she can speak the Pampango dialect only; that she has only

finished second grade (t.s.n., p. 4, December 11, 1964); that in December 1959, she needed money in
the amount of P3,000.00 to invest in the business of the defendant spouses Valencia, who
accompanied her to the defendant bank for the purpose of securing a loan of P3,000.00; that while at
the defendant bank, an employee handed to her several forms already prepared which she was asked
to sign on the places indicated, with no one explaining to her the nature and contents of the
documents; that she did not even receive a copy thereof; that she was given a check in the amount of
P2,882.85 which she delivered to defendant spouses; that sometime in February 1961, she received a
letter from the Acting Deputy Sheriff of Manila, regarding the extrajudicial foreclosure sale of her
property; that it was then when she learned for the first time that the mortgage indebtedness secured
by the mortgage on her property was P6,000.00 and not P3,000.00; that upon investigation of her
lawyer, it was found that the papers she was made to sign were:
(a) Application for a loan of P3,000.00 dated December 7, 1959 (Exh. B-1 and Exh. 1);
(b) Promissory note dated December 11, 1959 for the said loan of P3,000.00 (Exh- B-2);
(c) Promissory note dated December 11, 1959 for P3,000.00 with the defendants Valencia spouses as
borrowers and appellee as co-maker (Exh. B-4 or Exh. 2).
The auction sale set for March 10, 1961 was postponed co April 10, 1961 upon the request of
defendant spouses Valencia who needed more time within which to pay their loan of P3,000.00 with
the defendant bank; plaintiff claims that when she filed the complaint she deposited with the Clerk of
Court the sum of P3,383.00 in full payment of her loan of P3,000.00 with the defendant bank, plus
interest at the rate of 12% per annum up to April 3, 1961 (Exh. D).
As additional evidence for the defendant bank, its manager declared that sometime in December,
1959, plaintiff was brought to the Office of the Bank by an employee- (t.s.n., p 4, January 27, 1966).
She wept, there to inquire if she could get a loan from the bank. The claims he asked the amount and
the purpose of the loan and the security to he given and plaintiff said she would need P3.000.00 to be
invested in a drugstore in which she was a partner (t.s.n., p. 811. She offered as security for the loan
her lot and house at Carola St., Sampaloc, Manila, which was promptly investigated by the defendant
bank's inspector. Then a few days later, plaintiff came back to the bank with the wife of defendant
Valencia A date was allegedly set for plaintiff and the defendant spouses for the processing of their
application, but on the day fixed, plaintiff came without the defendant spouses. She signed the
application and the other papers pertinent to the loan after she was interviewed by the manager of the
defendant. After the application of plaintiff was made, defendant spouses had their application for a
loan also prepared and signed (see Exh. 13). In his interview of plaintiff and defendant spouses, the
manager of the bank was able to gather that plaintiff was in joint venture with the defendant spouses
wherein she agreed to invest P3,000.00 as additional capital in the laboratory owned by said spouses
(t.s.n., pp. 16-17) 3
The Court of Appeals, upon evaluation of the evidence, affirmed in toto the decision of the Court of
First Instance of Manila, the dispositive portion of which reads:
FOR ALL THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the Court renders judgment and:
(1) Declares that the promissory note, Exhibit '2', is invalid as against plaintiff herein;
(2) Declares that the contract of mortgage, Exhibit '6', is null and void, in so far as the amount thereof
exceeds the sum of P3,000.00 representing the principal obligation of plaintiff, plus the interest thereon
at 12% per annum;
(3) Annuls the extrajudicial foreclosure sale at public auction of the mortgaged property held on April
11, 1961, as well as all the process and actuations made in pursuance of or in implementation thereto;
(4) Holds that the total unpaid obligation of plaintiff to defendant Rural Bank of Caloocan, Inc., is only
the amount of P3,000.00, plus the interest thereon at 12% per annum, as of April 3, 1961, and orders
that plaintiff's deposit of P3,383.00 in the Office of the Clerk of Court be applied to the payment
thereof;
(5) Orders defendant Rural Bank of Caloocan, Inc. to return to defendant Arsenio Reyes the purchase
price the latter paid for the mortgaged property at the public auction, as well as reimburse him of all the
expenses he has incurred relative to the sale thereof;
(6) Orders defendants spouses Severino D. Valencia and Catalina Valencia to pay defendant Rural
Bank of Caloocan, Inc. the amount of P3,000.00 plus the corresponding 12% interest thereon per
annum from December 11, 1960 until fully paid; and
Orders defendants Rural Bank of Caloocan, Inc., Jose Desiderio, Jr. and spouses Severino D.
Valencia and Catalina Valencia to pay plaintiff, jointly and severally, the sum of P600.00 by way of
attorney's fees, as well as costs.

In view of the conclusion that the court has thus reached, the counterclaims of defendant Rural Bank
of Caloocan, Inc., Jose Desiderio, Jr. and Arsenio Reyes are hereby dismissed, as a corollary
The Court further denies the motion of defendant Arsenio Reyes for an Order requiring Maxima Castro
to deposit rentals filed on November 16, 1963, resolution of which was held in abeyance pending final
determination of the case on the merits, also as a consequence of the conclusion aforesaid. 4
Petitioners Bank and Jose Desiderio moved for the reconsideration 5 of respondent court's decision.
The motion having been denied, 6 they now come before this Court in the instant petition, with the
following Assignment of Errors, to wit:
I
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE PARTIAL ANNULMENT OF THE
PROMISSORY NOTE, EXHIBIT 2, AND THE MORTGAGE, EXHIBIT 6, INSOFAR AS THEY AFFECT
RESPONDENT MAXIMA CASTRO VIS-A-VIS PETITIONER BANK DESPITE THE TOTAL ABSENCE
OF EITHER ALLEGATION IN THE COMPLAINT OR COMPETENT PROOF IN THE EVIDENCE OF
ANY FRAUD OR OTHER UNLAWFUL CONDUCT COMMITTED OR PARTICIPATED IN BY
PETITIONERS IN PROCURING THE EXECUTION OF SAID CONTRACTS FROM RESPONDENT
CASTRO.
II
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN IMPUTING UPON AND CONSIDERING PREJUDICIALLY
AGAINST PETITIONERS, AS BASIS FOR THE PARTIAL ANNULMENT OF THE CONTRACTS
AFORESAID ITS FINDING OF FRAUD PERPETRATED BY THE VALENCIA SPOUSES UPON
RESPONDENT CASTRO IN UTTER VIOLATION OF THE RES INTER ALIOS ACTA RULE.
III
THE COURT OF APPEAL ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT, UNDER THE FACTS FOUND BY IT,
RESPONDENT CASTRO IS UNDER ESTOPPEL TO IMPUGN THE REGULARITY AND VALIDITY OF
HER QUESTIONED TRANSACTION WITH PETITIONER BANK.
IV
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT, BETWEEN PETITIONERS AND
RESPONDENT CASTRO, THE LATTER SHOULD SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE FRAUD
PERPETRATED BY THE VALENCIA SPOUSES, IN AS MUCH AS IT WAS THRU RESPONDENT
CASTRO'S NEGLIGENCE OR ACQUIESCENSE IF NOT ACTUAL CONNIVANCE THAT THE
PERPETRATION OF SAID FRAUD WAS MADE POSSIBLE.
V
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE VALIDITY OF THE DEPOSIT BY
RESPONDENT CASTRO OF P3,383.00 WITH THE COURT BELOW AS A TENDER AND
CONSIGNATION OF PAYMENT SUFFICIENT TO DISCHARGE SAID RESPONDENT FROM HER
OBLIGATION WITH PETITIONER BANK.
VI
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT DECLARING AS VALID AND BINDING UPON
RESPONDENT CASTRO THE HOLDING OF THE SALE ON FORECLOSURE ON THE BUSINESS
DAY NEXT FOLLOWING THE ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED DATE THEREFOR WHICH WAS
DECLARED A HOLIDAY WITHOUT NECESSITY OF FURTHER NOTICE THEREOF.
The issue raised in the first three (3) assignment of errors is whether or not respondent court correctly
affirmed the lower court in declaring the promissory note (Exhibit 2) invalid insofar as they affect
respondent Castro vis-a-vis petitioner bank, and the mortgage contract (Exhibit 6) valid up to the
amount of P3,000.00 only.
Respondent court declared that the consent of Castro to the promissory note (Exhibit 2) where she
signed as co-maker with the Valencias as principal borrowers and her acquiescence to the mortgage
contract (Exhibit 6) where she encumbered her property to secure the amount of P6,000.00 was
obtained by fraud perpetrated on her by the Valencias who had abused her confidence, taking
advantage of her old age and ignorance of her financial need. Respondent court added that "the
mandate of fair play decrees that she should be relieved of her obligation under the contract" pursuant
to Articles 24 7 and 1332 8 of the Civil Code.
The decision in effect relieved Castro of any liability to the promissory note (Exhibit 2) and the
mortgage contract (Exhibit 6) was deemed valid up to the amount of P3,000.00 only which was
equivalent to her personal loan to the bank.
Petitioners argued that since the Valencias were solely declared in the decision to be responsible for
the fraud against Castro, in the light of the res inter alios acta rule, a finding of fraud perpetrated by the
spouses against Castro cannot be taken to operate prejudicially against the bank. Petitioners

concluded that respondent court erred in not giving effect to the promissory note (Exhibit 2) insofar as
they affect Castro and the bank and in declaring that the mortgage contract (Exhibit 6) was valid only
to the extent of Castro's personal loan of P3,000.00.
The records of the case reveal that respondent court's findings of fraud against the Valencias is well
supported by evidence. Moreover, the findings of fact by respondent court in the matter is deemed
final. 9 The decision declared the Valencias solely responsible for the defraudation of Castro.
Petitioners' contention that the decision was silent regarding the participation of the bank in the fraud
is, therefore, correct.
We cannot agree with the contention of petitioners that the bank was defrauded by the Valencias. For
one, no claim was made on this in the lower court. For another, petitioners did not submit proof to
support its contention.
At any rate, We observe that while the Valencias defrauded Castro by making her sign the promissory
note (Exhibit 2) and the mortgage contract (Exhibit 6), they also misrepresented to the bank Castro's
personal qualifications in order to secure its consent to the loan. This must be the reason which
prompted the bank to contend that it was defrauded by the Valencias. But to reiterate, We cannot
agree with the contention for reasons above-mentioned. However, if the contention deserves any
consideration at all, it is in indicating the admission of petitioners that the bank committed mistake in
giving its consent to the contracts.
Thus, as a result of the fraud upon Castro and the misrepresentation to the bank inflicted by the
Valencias both Castro and the bank committed mistake in giving their consents to the contracts. In
other words, substantial mistake vitiated their consents given. For if Castro had been aware of what
she signed and the bank of the true qualifications of the loan applicants, it is evident that they would
not have given their consents to the contracts.
Pursuant to Article 1342 of the Civil Code which provides:
Art. 1342. Misrepresentation by a third person does not vitiate consent, unless such misrepresentation
has created substantial mistake and the same is mutual.
We cannot declare the promissory note (Exhibit 2) valid between the bank and Castro and the
mortgage contract (Exhibit 6) binding on Castro beyond the amount of P3,000.00, for while the
contracts may not be invalidated insofar as they affect the bank and Castro on the ground of fraud
because the bank was not a participant thereto, such may however be invalidated on the ground of
substantial mistake mutually committed by them as a consequence of the fraud and misrepresentation
inflicted by the Valencias. Thus, in the case of Hill vs. Veloso, 10 this Court declared that a contract may
be annulled on the ground of vitiated consent if deceit by a third person, even without connivance or
complicity with one of the contracting parties, resulted in mutual error on the part of the parties to the
contract.
Petitioners argued that the amended complaint fails to contain even a general averment of fraud or
mistake, and its mention in the prayer is definitely not a substantial compliance with the requirement of
Section 5, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court. The records of the case, however, will show that the amended
complaint contained a particular averment of fraud against the Valencias in full compliance with the
provision of the Rules of Court. Although, the amended complaint made no mention of mistake being
incurred in by the bank and Castro, such mention is not essential in order that the promissory note
(Exhibit 2) may be declared of no binding effect between them and the mortgage (Exhibit 6) valid up to
the amount of P3,000.00 only. The reason is that the mistake they mutually suffered was a mere
consequence of the fraud perpetrated by the Valencias against them. Thus, the fraud particularly
averred in the complaint, having been proven, is deemed sufficient basis for the declaration of the
promissory note (Exhibit 2) invalid insofar as it affects Castro vis-a-vis the bank, and the mortgage
contract (Exhibit 6) valid only up to the amount of P3,000.00.
The second issue raised in the fourth assignment of errors is who between Castro and the bank
should suffer the consequences of the fraud perpetrated by the Valencias.
In attributing to Castro an consequences of the loss, petitioners argue that it was her negligence or
acquiescence if not her actual connivance that made the fraud possible.
Petitioners' argument utterly disregards the findings of respondent Court of Appeals wherein
petitioners' negligence in the contracts has been aptly demonstrated, to wit:
A witness for the defendant bank, Rodolfo Desiderio claims he had subjected the plaintiff-appellee to
several interviews. If this were true why is it that her age was placed at 61 instead of 70; why was she
described in the application (Exh. B-1-9) as drug manufacturer when in fact she was not; why was it
placed in the application that she has income of P20,000.00 when according to plaintiff-appellee, she

his not even given such kind of information -the true fact being that she was being paid P1.20 per picul
of the sugarcane production in her hacienda and 500 cavans on the palay production. 11
From the foregoing, it is evident that the bank was as much , guilty as Castro was, of negligence in
giving its consent to the contracts. It apparently relied on representations made by the Valencia
spouses when it should have directly obtained the needed data from Castro who was the
acknowledged owner of the property offered as collateral. Moreover, considering Castro's personal
circumstances her lack of education, ignorance and old age she cannot be considered utterly
neglectful for having been defrauded. On the contrary, it is demanded of petitioners to exercise the
highest order of care and prudence in its business dealings with the Valencias considering that it is
engaged in a banking business a business affected with public interest. It should have ascertained
Castro's awareness of what she was signing or made her understand what obligations she was
assuming, considering that she was giving accommodation to, without any consideration from the
Valencia spouses.
Petitioners further argue that Castro's act of holding the Valencias as her agent led the bank to believe
that they were authorized to speak and bind her. She cannot now be permitted to deny the authority of
the Valencias to act as her agent for one who clothes another with apparent authority as her agent is
not permitted to deny such authority.
The authority of the Valencias was only to follow-up Castro's loan application with the bank. They were
not authorized to borrow for her. This is apparent from the fact that Castro went to the Bank to sign the
promissory note for her loan of P3,000.00. If her act had been understood by the Bank to be a grant of
an authority to the Valencia to borrow in her behalf, it should have required a special power of attorney
executed by Castro in their favor. Since the bank did not, We can rightly assume that it did not
entertain the notion, that the Valencia spouses were in any manner acting as an agent of Castro.
When the Valencias borrowed from the Bank a personal loan of P3,000.00 evidenced by a promissory
note (Exhibit 2) and mortgaged (Exhibit 6) Castro's property to secure said loan, the Valencias acted
for their own behalf. Considering however that for the loan in which the Valencias appeared as
principal borrowers, it was the property of Castro that was being mortgaged to secure said loan, the
Bank should have exercised due care and prudence by making proper inquiry if Castro's consent to
the mortgage was without any taint or defect. The possibility of her not knowing that she signed the
promissory note (Exhibit 2) as co-maker with the Valencias and that her property was mortgaged to
secure the two loans instead of her own personal loan only, in view of her personal circumstances
ignorance, lack of education and old age should have placed the Bank on prudent inquiry to protect
its interest and that of the public it serves. With the recent occurrence of events that have supposedly
affected adversely our banking system, attributable to laxity in the conduct of bank business by its
officials, the need of extreme caution and prudence by said officials and employees in the discharge of
their functions cannot be over-emphasized.
Question is, likewise, raised as to the propriety of respondent court's decision which declared that
Castro's consignation in court of the amount of P3,383.00 was validly made. It is contended that the
consignation was made without prior offer or tender of payment to the Bank, and it therefore, not valid.
In holding that there is a substantial compliance with the provision of Article 1256 of the Civil Code,
respondent court considered the fact that the Bank was holding Castro liable for the sum of P6,000.00
plus 12% interest per annum, while the amount consigned was only P3,000.00 plus 12% interest; that
at the time of consignation, the Bank had long foreclosed the mortgage extrajudicially and the sale of
the mortgage property had already been scheduled for April 10, 1961 for non-payment of the
obligation, and that despite the fact that the Bank already knew of the deposit made by Castro
because the receipt of the deposit was attached to the record of the case, said Bank had not made
any claim of such deposit, and that therefore, Castro was right in thinking that it was futile and useless
for her to make previous offer and tender of payment directly to the Bank only in the aforesaid amount
of P3,000.00 plus 12% interest. Under the foregoing circumstances, the consignation made by Castro
was valid. if not under the strict provision of the law, under the more liberal considerations of equity.
The final issue raised is the validity or invalidity of the extrajudicial foreclosure sale at public auction of
the mortgaged property that was held on April 11, 1961.
Petitioners contended that the public auction sale that was held on April 11, 1961 which was the next
business day after the scheduled date of the sale on April 10, 1961, a special public holiday, was
permissible and valid pursuant to the provisions of Section 31 of the Revised Administrative Code
which ordains:
Pretermission of holiday. Where the day, or the last day, for doing any act required or permitted by
law falls on a holiday, the act may be done on the next succeeding business day.

Respondent court ruled that the aforesaid sale is null and void, it not having been carried out in
accordance with Section 9 of Act No. 3135, which provides:
Section 9. Notice shall be given by posting notices of the sale for not less than twenty days in at
least three public places of the municipality or city where the property is situated, and if such property
is worth more than four hundred pesos, such notice shall also be published once a week for at least
three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality or city.
We agree with respondent court. The pretermission of a holiday applies only "where the day, or the last
day for doing any act required or permitted by law falls on a holiday," or when the last day of a given
period for doing an act falls on a holiday. It does not apply to a day fixed by an office or officer of the
government for an act to be done, as distinguished from a period of time within which an act should be
done, which may be on any day within that specified period. For example, if a party is required by law
to file his answer to a complaint within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the summons and the last day
falls on a holiday, the last day is deemed moved to the next succeeding business day. But, if the court
fixes the trial of a case on a certain day but the said date is subsequently declared a public holiday, the
trial thereof is not automatically transferred to the next succeeding business day. Since April 10, 1961
was not the day or the last day set by law for the extrajudicial foreclosure sale, nor the last day of a
given period but a date fixed by the deputy sheriff, the aforesaid sale cannot legally be made on the
next succeeding business day without the notices of the sale on that day being posted as prescribed in
Section 9, Act No. 3135.
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the judgment under review, We affirm the same in toto.
No pronouncement as to cost.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-6791


March 29, 1954
THE
PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES,
plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
QUE PO LAY, defendant-appellant.
Prudencio
de
Guzman
for
appellant.
First Assistant Solicitor General Ruperto Kapunan, Jr., and Solicitor Lauro G. Marquez for appellee.
MONTEMAYOR, J.:
Que Po Lay is appealing from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila, finding him guilty of
violating Central Bank Circular No. 20 in connection with section 34 of Republic Act No. 265, and
sentencing him to suffer six months imprisonment, to pay a fine of P1,000 with subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.
The charge was that the appellant who was in possession of foreign exchange consisting of U.S.
dollars, U.S. checks and U.S. money orders amounting to about $7,000 failed to sell the same to the
Central Bank through its agents within one day following the receipt of such foreign exchange as
required by Circular No. 20. the appeal is based on the claim that said circular No. 20 was not
published in the Official Gazette prior to the act or omission imputed to the appellant, and that
consequently, said circular had no force and effect. It is contended that Commonwealth Act. No., 638
and Act 2930 both require said circular to be published in the Official Gazette, it being an order or
notice of general applicability. The Solicitor General answering this contention says that
Commonwealth Act. No. 638 and 2930 do not require the publication in the Official Gazette of said
circular issued for the implementation of a law in order to have force and effect.
We agree with the Solicitor General that the laws in question do not require the publication of the
circulars, regulations and notices therein mentioned in order to become binding and effective. All that
said two laws provide is that laws, resolutions, decisions of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals,
notices and documents required by law to be of no force and effect. In other words, said two Acts
merely enumerate and make a list of what should be published in the Official Gazette, presumably, for
the guidance of the different branches of the Government issuing same, and of the Bureau of Printing.
However, section 11 of the Revised Administrative Code provides that statutes passed by Congress
shall, in the absence of special provision, take effect at the beginning of the fifteenth day after the
completion of the publication of the statute in the Official Gazette. Article 2 of the new Civil Code
(Republic Act No. 386) equally provides that laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided. It is true that
Circular No. 20 of the Central Bank is not a statute or law but being issued for the implementation of
the law authorizing its issuance, it has the force and effect of law according to settled jurisprudence.

(See U.S. vs. Tupasi Molina, 29 Phil., 119 and authorities cited therein.) Moreover, as a rule, circulars
and regulations especially like the Circular No. 20 of the Central Bank in question which prescribes a
penalty for its violation should be published before becoming effective, this, on the general principle
and theory that before the public is bound by its contents, especially its penal provisions, a law,
regulation or circular must first be published and the people officially and specifically informed of said
contents and its penalties.
Our Old Civil code, ( Spanish Civil Code of 1889) has a similar provision about the effectivity of laws,
(Article 1 thereof), namely, that laws shall be binding twenty days after their promulgation, and that
their promulgation shall be understood as made on the day of the termination of the publication of the
laws in the Gazette. Manresa, commenting on this article is of the opinion that the word "laws" include
regulations and circulars issued in accordance with the same. He says:
El Tribunal Supremo, ha interpretado el articulo 1. del codigo Civil en Sentencia de 22 de Junio de
1910, en el sentido de que bajo la denominacion generica de leyes, se comprenden tambien los
Reglamentos, Reales decretos, Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales ordenes dictadas de conformidad
con las mismas por el Gobierno en uso de su potestad. Tambien el poder ejecutivo lo ha venido
entendiendo asi, como lo prueba el hecho de que muchas de sus disposiciones contienen la
advertencia de que empiezan a regir el mismo dia de su publicacion en la Gaceta, advertencia que
seria perfectamente inutil si no fuera de aplicacion al caso el articulo 1.o del Codigo Civil. (Manresa,
Codigo Civil Espaol, Vol. I. p. 52).
In the present case, although circular No. 20 of the Central Bank was issued in the year 1949, it was
not published until November 1951, that is, about 3 months after appellant's conviction of its violation.
It is clear that said circular, particularly its penal provision, did not have any legal effect and bound no
one until its publication in the Official Gazzette or after November 1951. In other words, appellant
could not be held liable for its violation, for it was not binding at the time he was found to have failed to
sell the foreign exchange in his possession thereof.
But the Solicitor General also contends that this question of non-publication of the Circular is being
raised for the first time on appeal in this Court, which cannot be done by appellant. Ordinarily, one may
raise on appeal any question of law or fact that has been raised in the court below and which is within
the issues made by the parties in their pleadings. (Section 19, Rule 48 of the Rules of Court). But the
question of non-publication is fundamental and decisive. If as a matter of fact Circular No. 20 had not
been published as required by law before its violation, then in the eyes of the law there was no such
circular to be violated and consequently appellant committed no violation of the circular or committed
any offense, and the trial court may be said to have had no jurisdiction. This question may be raised at
any stage of the proceeding whether or not raised in the court below.
In view of the foregoing, we reverse the decision appealed from and acquit the appellant, with costs de
oficio.
G.R. No. 137873
April 20, 2001
D.
M.
CONSUNJI,
INC.,
petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and MARIA J. JUEGO, respondents.
KAPUNAN, J.:
At around 1:30 p.m., November 2, 1990, Jose Juego, a construction worker of D. M. Consunji, Inc., fell
14 floors from the Renaissance Tower, Pasig City to his death.
PO3 Rogelio Villanueva of the Eastern Police District investigated the tragedy and filed a report dated
November 25, 1990, stating that:
x x x. [The] [v]ictim was rushed to [the] Rizal Medical Center in Pasig, Metro Manila where he was
pronounced dead on arrival (DOA) by the attending physician, Dr. Errol de Yzo[,] at around 2:15 p.m.
of the same date.
Investigation disclosed that at the given time, date and place, while victim Jose A. Juego together with
Jessie Jaluag and Delso Destajo [were] performing their work as carpenter[s] at the elevator core of
the 14th floor of the Tower D, Renaissance Tower Building on board a [p]latform made of channel beam
(steel) measuring 4.8 meters by 2 meters wide with pinulid plywood flooring and cable wires attached
to its four corners and hooked at the 5 ton chain block, when suddenly, the bolt or pin which was
merely inserted to connect the chain block with the [p]latform, got loose xxx causing the whole
[p]latform assembly and the victim to fall down to the basement of the elevator core, Tower D of the
building under construction thereby crushing the victim of death, save his two (2) companions who
luckily jumped out for safety.

It is thus manifest that Jose A. Juego was crushed to death when the [p]latform he was then on board
and performing work, fell. And the falling of the [p]latform was due to the removal or getting loose of
the pin which was merely inserted to the connecting points of the chain block and [p]latform but without
a safety lock.1
On May 9, 1991, Jose Juegos widow, Maria, filed in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig a
complaint for damages against the deceaseds employer, D.M. Consunji, Inc. The employer raised,
among other defenses, the widows prior availment of the benefits from the State Insurance Fund.
After trial, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of the widow Maria Juego. The dispositive portion of
the RTC decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering defendant to pay plaintiff, as follows:
1. P50,000.00 for the death of Jose A. Juego.
2. P10,000.00 as actual and compensatory damages.
3. P464,000.00 for the loss of Jose A. Juegos earning capacity.
4. P100,000.00 as moral damages.
5. P20,000.00 as attorneys fees, plus the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.2
On appeal by D. M. Consunji, the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the decision of the RTC in toto.
D. M. Consunji now seeks the reversal of the CA decision on the following grounds:

THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE POLICE REPORT WAS
ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE OF THE ALLEGED NEGLIGENCE OF PETITIONER.

THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE DOCTRINE OF RES IPSA
LOQUITOR [sic] IS APPLICABLE TO PROVE NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF
PETITIONER.

THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER IS PRESUMED


NEGLIGENT UNDER ARTICLE 2180 OF THE CIVIL CODE, AND

THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT RESPONDENT IS NOT


PRECLUDED FROM RECOVERING DAMAGES UNDER THE CIVIL CODE. 3
Petitioner maintains that the police report reproduced above is hearsay and, therefore, inadmissible.
The CA ruled otherwise. It held that said report, being an entry in official records, is an exception to the
hearsay rule.
The Rules of Court provide that a witness can testify only to those facts which he knows of his
personal knowledge, that is, which are derived from his perception. 4 A witness, therefore, may not
testify as what he merely learned from others either because he was told or read or heard the same.
Such testimony is considered hearsay and may not be received as proof of the truth of what he has
learned.5 This is known as the hearsay rule.
Hearsay is not limited to oral testimony or statements; the general rule that excludes hearsay as
evidence applies to written, as well as oral statements.6
The theory of the hearsay rule is that the many possible deficiencies, suppressions, sources of error
and untrustworthiness, which lie underneath the bare untested assertion of a witness, may be best
brought to light and exposed by the test of cross-examiantion. 7 The hearsay rule, therefore, excludes
evidence that cannot be tested by cross-examination.8
The Rules of Court allow several exceptions to the rule,9 among which are entries in official records.
Section 44, Rule 130 provides:
Entries in official records made in the performance of his duty made in the performance of his duty by
a public officer of the Philippines, or by a person in the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law
are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated.
In Africa, et al. vs. Caltex (Phil.), Inc., et al.,10 this Court, citing the work of Chief Justice Moran,
enumerated the requisites for admissibility under the above rule:
(a) that the entry was made by a public officer or by another person specially enjoined by law to do so;
(b) that it was made by the public officer in the performance of his duties, or by such other person in
the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law; and
(c) that the public officer or other person had sufficient knowledge of the facts by him stated, which
must have been acquired by him personally or through official information.
The CA held that the police report meets all these requisites. Petitioner contends that the last requisite
is not present.
The Court notes that PO3 Villanueva, who signed the report in question, also testified before the trial
court. In Rodriguez vs. Court of Appeals,11 which involved a Fire Investigation Report, the officer who
signed the fire report also testified before the trial court. This Court held that the report was

inadmissible for the purpose of proving the truth of the statements contained in the report but
admissible insofar as it constitutes part of the testimony of the officer who executed the report.
x x x. Since Major Enriquez himself took the witness stand and was available for cross-examination,
the portions of the report which were of his personal knowledge or which consisted of his perceptions
and conclusions were not hearsay. The rest of the report, such as the summary of the statements of
the parties based on their sworn statements (which were annexed to the Report) as well as the latter,
having been included in the first purpose of the offer [as part of the testimony of Major Enriquez], may
then be considered as independently relevant statements which were gathered in the course of the
investigation and may thus be admitted as such, but not necessarily to prove the truth thereof. It has
been said that:
"Where regardless of the truth or falsity of a statement, the fact that it has been made is relevant, the
hearsay rule does not apply, but the statement may be shown. Evidence as to the making of such
statement is not secondary but primary, for the statement itself may constitute a fact in issue, or be
circumstantially relevant as to the existence of such a fact."
When Major Enriquez took the witness stand, testified for petitioners on his Report and made himself
available for cross-examination by the adverse party, the Report, insofar as it proved that certain
utterances were made (but not their truth), was effectively removed from the ambit of the
aforementioned Section 44 of Rule 130. Properly understood, this section does away with the
testimony in open court of the officer who made the official record, considers the matter as an
exception to the hearsay rule and makes the entries in said official record admissible in evidence as
prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. The underlying reasons for this exceptionary rule are
necessity and trustworthiness, as explained in Antillon v. Barcelon.
The litigation is unlimited in which testimony by officials is daily needed; the occasions in which the
officials would be summoned from his ordinary duties to declare as a witness are numberless. The
public officers are few in whose daily work something is not done in which testimony is not needed
from official sources. Were there no exception for official statements, hosts of officials would be found
devoting the greater part of their time to attending as witnesses in court or delivering deposition before
an officer. The work of administration of government and the interest of the public having business with
officials would alike suffer in consequence. For these reasons, and for many others, a certain verity is
accorded such documents, which is not extended to private documents. (3 Wigmore on Evidence,
Sec. 1631).
The law reposes a particular confidence in public officers that it presumes they will discharge their
several trusts with accuracy and fidelity; and, therefore, whatever acts they do in discharge of their
duty may be given in evidence and shall be taken to be true under such a degree of caution as to the
nature and circumstances of each case may appear to require.
It would have been an entirely different matter if Major Enriquez was not presented to testify on his
report. In that case the applicability of Section 44 of Rule 143 would have been ripe for determination,
and this Court would have agreed with the Court of Appeals that said report was inadmissible since the
aforementioned third requisite was not satisfied. The statements given by the sources of information of
Major Enriquez failed to qualify as "official information," there being no showing that, at the very least,
they were under a duty to give the statements for record.
Similarly, the police report in this case is inadmissible for the purpose of proving the truth of the
statements contained therein but is admissible insofar as it constitutes part of the testimony of PO3
Villanueva.
In any case, the Court holds that portions of PO3 Villanuevas testimony which were of his personal
knowledge suffice to prove that Jose Juego indeed died as a result of the elevator crash. PO3
Villanueva had seen Juegos remains at the morgue, 12 making the latters death beyond dispute. PO3
Villanueva also conducted an ocular inspection of the premises of the building the day after the
incident13 and saw the platform for himself.14 He observed that the platform was crushed 15 and that it
was totally damaged.16 PO3 Villanueva also required Garcia and Fabro to bring the chain block to the
police headquarters. Upon inspection, he noticed that the chain was detached from the lifting machine,
without any pin or bolt.17
What petitioner takes particular exception to is PO3 Villanuevas testimony that the cause of the fall of
the platform was the loosening of the bolt from the chain block. It is claimed that such portion of the
testimony is mere opinion. Subject to certain exceptions, 18 the opinion of a witness is generally not
admissible.19
Petitioners contention, however, loses relevance in the face of the application of res ipsa loquitur by
the CA. The effect of the doctrine is to warrant a presumption or inference that the mere fall of the

elevator was a result of the person having charge of the instrumentality was negligent. As a rule of
evidence, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is peculiar to the law of negligence which recognizes that
prima facie negligence may be established without direct proof and furnishes a substitute for specific
proof of negligence.20
The concept of res ipsa loquitur has been explained in this wise:
While negligence is not ordinarily inferred or presumed, and while the mere happening of an accident
or injury will not generally give rise to an inference or presumption that it was due to negligence on
defendants part, under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, which means, literally, the thing or transaction
speaks for itself, or in one jurisdiction, that the thing or instrumentality speaks for itself, the facts or
circumstances accompanying an injury may be such as to raise a presumption, or at least permit an
inference of negligence on the part of the defendant, or some other person who is charged with
negligence.
x x x where it is shown that the thing or instrumentality which caused the injury complained of was
under the control or management of the defendant, and that the occurrence resulting in the injury was
such as in the ordinary course of things would not happen if those who had its control or management
used proper care, there is sufficient evidence, or, as sometimes stated, reasonable evidence, in the
absence of explanation by the defendant, that the injury arose from or was caused by the defendants
want of care.21
One of the theoretical based for the doctrine is its necessity, i.e., that necessary evidence is absent or
not available.22
The res ipsa loquitur doctrine is based in part upon the theory that the defendant in charge of the
instrumentality which causes the injury either knows the cause of the accident or has the best
opportunity of ascertaining it and that the plaintiff has no such knowledge, and therefore is compelled
to allege negligence in general terms and to rely upon the proof of the happening of the accident in
order to establish negligence. The inference which the doctrine permits is grounded upon the fact that
the chief evidence of the true cause, whether culpable or innocent, is practically accessible to the
defendant but inaccessible to the injured person.
It has been said that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur furnishes a bridge by which a plaintiff, without
knowledge of the cause, reaches over to defendant who knows or should know the cause, for any
explanation of care exercised by the defendant in respect of the matter of which the plaintiff complains.
The res ipsa loquitur doctrine, another court has said, is a rule of necessity, in that it proceeds on the
theory that under the peculiar circumstances in which the doctrine is applicable, it is within the power
of the defendant to show that there was no negligence on his part, and direct proof of defendants
negligence is beyond plaintiffs power. Accordingly, some court add to the three prerequisites for the
application of the res ipsa loquitur doctrine the further requirement that for the res ipsa loquitur doctrine
to apply, it must appear that the injured party had no knowledge or means of knowledge as to the
cause of the accident, or that the party to be charged with negligence has superior knowledge or
opportunity for explanation of the accident.23
The CA held that all the requisites of res ipsa loquitur are present in the case at bar:
There is no dispute that appellees husband fell down from the 14 th floor of a building to the basement
while he was working with appellants construction project, resulting to his death. The construction site
is within the exclusive control and management of appellant. It has a safety engineer, a project
superintendent, a carpenter leadman and others who are in complete control of the situation therein.
The circumstances of any accident that would occur therein are peculiarly within the knowledge of the
appellant or its employees. On the other hand, the appellee is not in a position to know what caused
the accident. Res ipsa loquitur is a rule of necessity and it applies where evidence is absent or not
readily available, provided the following requisites are present: (1) the accident was of a kind which
does not ordinarily occur unless someone is negligent; (2) the instrumentality or agency which caused
the injury was under the exclusive control of the person charged with negligence; and (3) the injury
suffered must not have been due to any voluntary action or contribution on the part of the person
injured. x x x.
No worker is going to fall from the 14 th floor of a building to the basement while performing work in a
construction site unless someone is negligent[;] thus, the first requisite for the application of the rule of
res ipsa loquitur is present. As explained earlier, the construction site with all its paraphernalia and
human resources that likely caused the injury is under the exclusive control and management of
appellant[;] thus[,] the second requisite is also present. No contributory negligence was attributed to
the appellees deceased husband[;] thus[,] the last requisite is also present. All the requisites for the

application of the rule of res ipsa loquitur are present, thus a reasonable presumption or inference of
appellants negligence arises. x x x.24
Petitioner does not dispute the existence of the requisites for the application of res ipsa loquitur, but
argues that the presumption or inference that it was negligent did not arise since it "proved that it
exercised due care to avoid the accident which befell respondents husband."
Petitioner apparently misapprehends the procedural effect of the doctrine. As stated earlier, the
defendants negligence is presumed or inferred 25 when the plaintiff establishes the requisites for the
application of res ipsa loquitur. Once the plaintiff makes out a prima facie case of all the elements, the
burden then shifts to defendant to explain. 26 The presumption or inference may be rebutted or
overcome by other evidence and, under appropriate circumstances disputable presumption, such as
that of due care or innocence, may outweigh the inference. 27 It is not for the defendant to explain or
prove its defense to prevent the presumption or inference from arising. Evidence by the defendant of
say, due care, comes into play only after the circumstances for the application of the doctrine has been
established.1wphi1.nt
In any case, petitioner cites the sworn statement of its leadman Ferdinand Fabro executed before the
police investigator as evidence of its due care. According to Fabros sworn statement, the company
enacted rules and regulations for the safety and security of its workers. Moreover, the leadman and the
bodegero inspect the chain block before allowing its use.
It is ironic that petitioner relies on Fabros sworn statement as proof of its due care but, in arguing that
private respondent failed to prove negligence on the part of petitioners employees, also assails the
same statement for being hearsay.
Petitioner is correct. Fabros sworn statement is hearsay and inadmissible. Affidavits are inadmissible
as evidence under the hearsay rule, unless the affiant is placed on the witness stand to testify
thereon.28 The inadmissibility of this sort of evidence is based not only on the lack of opportunity on the
part of the adverse party to cross-examine the affiant, but also on the commonly known fact that,
generally, an affidavit is not prepared by the affiant himself but by another who uses his own language
in writing the affiants statements which may either be omitted or misunderstood by the one writing
them.29 Petitioner, therefore, cannot use said statement as proof of its due care any more than private
respondent can use it to prove the cause of her husbands death. Regrettably, petitioner does not cite
any other evidence to rebut the inference or presumption of negligence arising from the application of
res ipsa loquitur, or to establish any defense relating to the incident.
Next, petitioner argues that private respondent had previously availed of the death benefits provided
under the Labor Code and is, therefore, precluded from claiming from the deceaseds employer
damages under the Civil Code.
Article 173 of the Labor Code states:
Article 173. Extent of liability. Unless otherwise provided, the liability of the State Insurance Fund
under this Title shall be exclusive and in place of all other liabilities of the employer to the employee,
his dependents or anyone otherwise entitled to receive damages on behalf of the employee or his
dependents. The payment of compensation under this Title shall not bar the recovery of benefits as
provided for in Section 699 of the Revised Administrative Code, Republic Act Numbered Eleven
hundred sixty-one, as amended, Republic Act Numbered Six hundred ten, as amended, Republic Act
Numbered Forty-eight hundred sixty-four as amended, and other laws whose benefits are
administered by the System or by other agencies of the government.
The precursor of Article 173 of the Labor Code, Section 5 of the Workmens Compensation Act,
provided that:
Section 5. Exclusive right to compensation. The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an
employee by reason of a personal injury entitling him to compensation shall exclude all other rights
and remedies accruing to the employee, his personal representatives, dependents or nearest of kin
against the employer under the Civil Code and other laws because of said injury x x x.
Whether Section 5 of the Workmens Compensation Act allowed recovery under said Act as well as
under the Civil Code used to be the subject of conflicting decisions. The Court finally settled the matter
in Floresca vs.Philex Mining Corporation,30 which involved a cave-in resulting in the death of the
employees of the Philex Mining Corporation. Alleging that the mining corporation, in violation of
government rules and regulations, failed to take the required precautions for the protection of the
employees, the heirs of the deceased employees filed a complaint against Philex Mining in the Court
of First Instance (CFI). Upon motion of Philex Mining, the CFI dismissed the complaint for lack of
jurisdiction. The heirs sought relief from this Court.

Addressing the issue of whether the heirs had a choice of remedies, majority of the Court En Banc,31
following the rule in Pacaa vs. Cebu Autobus Company, held in the affirmative.
WE now come to the query as to whether or not the injured employee or his heirs in case of death
have a right of selection or choice of action between availing themselves of the workers right under
the Workmens Compensation Act and suing in the regular courts under the Civil Code for higher
damages (actual, moral and exemplary) from the employers by virtue of the negligence or fault of the
employers or whether they may avail themselves cumulatively of both actions, i.e., collect the limited
compensation under the Workmens Compensation Act and sue in addition for damages in the regular
courts.
In disposing of a similar issue, this Court in Pacaa vs. Cebu Autobus Company, 32 SCRA 442, ruled
that an injured worker has a choice of either to recover from the employer the fixed amounts set by the
Workmens Compensation Act or to prosecute an ordinary civil action against the tortfeasor for higher
damages but he cannot pursue both courses of action simultaneously. [Underscoring supplied.]
Nevertheless, the Court allowed some of the petitioners in said case to proceed with their suit under
the Civil Code despite having availed of the benefits provided under the Workmens Compensation
Act. The Court reasoned:
With regard to the other petitioners, it was alleged by Philex in its motion to dismiss dated May 14,
1968 before the court a quo, that the heirs of the deceased employees, namely Emerito Obra, Larry
Villar, Jr., Aurelio Lanuza, Lorenzo Isla and Saturnino submitted notices and claims for compensation
to the Regional Office No. 1 of the then Department of Labor and all of them have been paid in full as
of August 25, 1967, except Saturnino Martinez whose heirs decided that they be paid in installments x
x x. Such allegation was admitted by herein petitioners in their opposition to the motion to dismiss
dated may 27, 1968 x x x in the lower court, but they set up the defense that the claims were filed
under the Workmens Compensation Act before they learned of the official report of the committee
created to investigate the accident which established the criminal negligence and violation of law by
Philex, and which report was forwarded by the Director of Mines to then Executive Secretary Rafael
Salas in a letter dated October 19, 1967 only x x x.
WE hold that although the other petitioners had received the benefits under the Workmens
Compensation Act, such my not preclude them from bringing an action before the regular court
because they became cognizant of the fact that Philex has been remiss in its contractual obligations
with the deceased miners only after receiving compensation under the Act. Had petitioners been
aware of said violation of government rules and regulations by Philex, and of its negligence, they
would not have sought redress under the Workmens Compensation Commission which awarded a
lesser amount for compensation. The choice of the first remedy was based on ignorance or a mistake
of fact, which nullifies the choice as it was not an intelligent choice. The case should therefore be
remanded to the lower court for further proceedings. However, should the petitioners be successful in
their bid before the lower court, the payments made under the Workmens Compensation Act should
be deducted from the damages that may be decreed in their favor. [Underscoring supplied.]
The ruling in Floresca providing the claimant a choice of remedies was reiterated in Ysmael Maritime
Corporation vs. Avelino,32 Vda. De Severo vs. Feliciano-Go,33 and Marcopper Mining Corp. vs.
Abeleda.34 In the last case, the Court again recognized that a claimant who had been paid under the
Act could still sue under the Civil Code. The Court said:
In the Robles case, it was held that claims for damages sustained by workers in the course of their
employment could be filed only under the Workmens Compensation Law, to the exclusion of all further
claims under other laws. In Floresca, this doctrine was abrogated in favor of the new rule that the
claimants may invoke either the Workmens Compensation Act or the provisions of the Civil Code,
subject to the consequence that the choice of one remedy will exclude the other and that the
acceptance of compensation under the remedy chosen will preclude a claim for additional benefits
under the other remedy. The exception is where a claimant who has already been paid under the
Workmens Compensation Act may still sue for damages under the Civil Code on the basis of
supervening facts or developments occurring after he opted for the first remedy. (Underscoring
supplied.)
Here, the CA held that private respondents case came under the exception because private
respondent was unaware of petitioners negligence when she filed her claim for death benefits from
the State Insurance Fund. Private respondent filed the civil complaint for damages after she received a
copy of the police investigation report and the Prosecutors Memorandum dismissing the criminal
complaint against petitioners personnel. While stating that there was no negligence attributable to the

respondents in the complaint, the prosecutor nevertheless noted in the Memorandum that, "if at all,"
the "case is civil in nature." The CA thus applied the exception in Floresca:
x x x We do not agree that appellee has knowledge of the alleged negligence of appellant as early as
November 25, 1990, the date of the police investigators report. The appellee merely executed her
sworn statement before the police investigator concerning her personal circumstances, her relation to
the victim, and her knowledge of the accident. She did not file the complaint for "Simple Negligence
Resulting to Homicide" against appellants employees. It was the investigator who recommended the
filing of said case and his supervisor referred the same to the prosecutors office. This is a standard
operating procedure for police investigators which appellee may not have even known. This may
explain why no complainant is mentioned in the preliminary statement of the public prosecutor in her
memorandum dated February 6, 1991, to wit: "Respondent Ferdinand Fabro x x x are being charged
by complainant of "Simple Negligence Resulting to Homicide." It is also possible that the appellee did
not have a chance to appear before the public prosecutor as can be inferred from the following
statement in said memorandum: "Respondents who were notified pursuant to Law waived their rights
to present controverting evidence," thus there was no reason for the public prosecutor to summon the
appellee. Hence, notice of appellants negligence cannot be imputed on appellee before she applied
for death benefits under ECC or before she received the first payment therefrom. Her using the police
investigation report to support her complaint filed on May 9, 1991 may just be an afterthought after
receiving a copy of the February 6, 1991 Memorandum of the Prosecutors Office dismissing the
criminal complaint for insufficiency of evidence, stating therein that: "The death of the victim is not
attributable to any negligence on the part of the respondents. If at all and as shown by the records this
case is civil in nature." (Underscoring supplied.) Considering the foregoing, We are more inclined to
believe appellees allegation that she learned about appellants negligence only after she applied for
and received the benefits under ECC. This is a mistake of fact that will make this case fall under the
exception held in the Floresca ruling.35
The CA further held that not only was private respondent ignorant of the facts, but of her rights as well:
x x x. Appellee [Maria Juego] testified that she has reached only elementary school for her educational
attainment; that she did not know what damages could be recovered from the death of her husband;
and that she did not know that she may also recover more from the Civil Code than from the ECC. x x
x.36
Petitioner impugns the foregoing rulings. It contends that private respondent "failed to allege in her
complaint that her application and receipt of benefits from the ECC were attended by ignorance or
mistake of fact. Not being an issue submitted during the trial, the trial court had no authority to hear or
adjudicate that issue."
Petitioner also claims that private respondent could not have been ignorant of the facts because as
early as November 28, 1990, private respondent was the complainant in a criminal complaint for
"Simple Negligence Resulting to Homicide" against petitioners employees. On February 6, 1991, two
months before the filing of the action in the lower court, Prosecutor Lorna Lee issued a resolution
finding that, although there was insufficient evidence against petitioners employees, the case was
"civil in nature." These purportedly show that prior to her receipt of death benefits from the ECC on
January 2, 1991 and every month thereafter, private respondent also knew of the two choices of
remedies available to her and yet she chose to claim and receive the benefits from the ECC.
When a party having knowledge of the facts makes an election between inconsistent remedies, the
election is final and bars any action, suit, or proceeding inconsistent with the elected remedy, in the
absence of fraud by the other party. The first act of election acts as a bar. 37 Equitable in nature, the
doctrine of election of remedies is designed to mitigate possible unfairness to both parties. It rests on
the moral premise that it is fair to hold people responsible for their choices. The purpose of the
doctrine is not to prevent any recourse to any remedy, but to prevent a double redress for a single
wrong.38
The choice of a party between inconsistent remedies results in a waiver by election. Hence, the rule in
Floresca that a claimant cannot simultaneously pursue recovery under the Labor Code and prosecute
an ordinary course of action under the Civil Code. The claimant, by his choice of one remedy, is
deemed to have waived the other.
Waiver is the intentional relinquishment of a known right.39
[It] is an act of understanding that presupposes that a party has knowledge of its rights, but chooses
not to assert them. It must be generally shown by the party claiming a waiver that the person against
whom the waiver is asserted had at the time knowledge, actual or constructive, of the existence of the
partys rights or of all material facts upon which they depended. Where one lacks knowledge of a right,

there is no basis upon which waiver of it can rest. Ignorance of a material fact negates waiver, and
waiver cannot be established by a consent given under a mistake or misapprehension of fact.
A person makes a knowing and intelligent waiver when that person knows that a right exists and has
adequate knowledge upon which to make an intelligent decision.
Waiver requires a knowledge of the facts basic to the exercise of the right waived, with an awareness
of its consequences. That a waiver is made knowingly and intelligently must be illustrated on the
record or by the evidence.40
That lack of knowledge of a fact that nullifies the election of a remedy is the basis for the exception in
Floresca.
It is in light of the foregoing principles that we address petitioners contentions.
Waiver is a defense, and it was not incumbent upon private respondent, as plaintiff, to allege in her
complaint that she had availed of benefits from the ECC. It is, thus, erroneous for petitioner to burden
private respondent with raising waiver as an issue. On the contrary, it is the defendant who ought to
plead waiver, as petitioner did in pages 2-3 of its Answer; 41 otherwise, the defense is waived. It is,
therefore, perplexing for petitioner to now contend that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the issue
when petitioner itself pleaded waiver in the proceedings before the trial court.
Does the evidence show that private respondent knew of the facts that led to her husbands death and
the rights pertaining to a choice of remedies?
It bears stressing that what negates waiver is lack of knowledge or a mistake of fact. In this case, the
"fact" that served as a basis for nullifying the waiver is the negligence of petitioners employees, of
which private respondent purportedly learned only after the prosecutor issued a resolution stating that
there may be civil liability. In Floresca, it was the negligence of the mining corporation and its violation
of government rules and regulations. Negligence, or violation of government rules and regulations, for
that matter, however, is not a fact, but a conclusion of law, over which only the courts have the final
say. Such a conclusion binds no one until the courts have decreed so. It appears, therefore, that the
principle that ignorance or mistake of fact nullifies a waiver has been misapplied in Floresca and in the
case at bar.
In any event, there is no proof that private respondent knew that her husband died in the elevator
crash when on November 15, 1990 she accomplished her application for benefits from the ECC. The
police investigation report is dated November 25, 1990, 10 days after the accomplishment of the form.
Petitioner filed the application in her behalf on November 27, 1990.
There is also no showing that private respondent knew of the remedies available to her when the claim
before the ECC was filed. On the contrary, private respondent testified that she was not aware of her
rights.
Petitioner, though, argues that under Article 3 of the Civil Code, ignorance of the law excuses no one
from compliance therewith. As judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution
form part of the Philippine legal system (Article 8, Civil Code), private respondent cannot claim
ignorance of this Courts ruling in Floresca allowing a choice of remedies.
The argument has no merit. The application of Article 3 is limited to mandatory and prohibitory laws. 42
This may be deduced from the language of the provision, which, notwithstanding a persons ignorance,
does not excuse his or her compliance with the laws. The rule in Floresca allowing private respondent
a choice of remedies is neither mandatory nor prohibitory. Accordingly, her ignorance thereof cannot
be held against her.
Finally, the Court modifies the affirmance of the award of damages. The records do not indicate the
total amount private respondent ought to receive from the ECC, although it appears from Exhibit "K" 43
that she received P3,581.85 as initial payment representing the accrued pension from November 1990
to March 1991. Her initial monthly pension, according to the same Exhibit "K," was P596.97 and
present total monthly pension was P716.40. Whether the total amount she will eventually receive from
the ECC is less than the sum of P644,000.00 in total damages awarded by the trial court is subject to
speculation, and the case is remanded to the trial court for such determination. Should the trial court
find that its award is greater than that of the ECC, payments already received by private respondent
under the Labor Code shall be deducted from the trial court' award of damages. Consistent with our
ruling in Floresca, this adjudication aims to prevent double compensation.
WHEREFORE, the case is REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City to determine whether
the award decreed in its decision is more than that of the ECC. Should the award decreed by the trial
court be greater than that awarded by the ECC, payments already made to private respondent
pursuant to the Labor Code shall be deducted therefrom. In all other respects, the Decision of the
Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-15127


May 30, 1961
EMETERIO
CUI,
plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
ARELLANO UNIVERSITY, defendant-appellee.
G.A.S.
Sipin,
Jr.,
for
plaintiff-appellant.
E. Voltaire Garcia for defendant-appellee.
CONCEPCION, J.:
Appeal by plaintiff Emeterio Cui from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila, absolving
defendant Arellano University from plaintiff's complaint, with costs against the plaintiff, and dismissing
defendant's counter claim, for insufficiency of proof thereon.
In the language of the decision appealed from:
The essential facts of this case are short and undisputed. As established by the agreement of facts
Exhibits X and by the respective oral and documentary evidence introduced by the parties, it appears
conclusive that plaintiff, before the school year 1948-1949 took up preparatory law course in the
defendant University. After finishing his preparatory law course plaintiff enrolled in the College of Law
of the defendant from the school year 1948-1949. Plaintiff finished his law studies in the defendant
university up to and including the first semester of the fourth year. During all the school years in which
plaintiff was studying law in defendant law college, Francisco R. Capistrano, brother of the mother of
plaintiff, was the dean of the College of Law and legal counsel of the defendant university. Plaintiff
enrolled for the last semester of his law studies in the defendant university but failed to pay his tuition
fees because his uncle Dean Francisco R. Capistrano having severed his connection with defendant
and having accepted the deanship and chancellorship of the College of Law of Abad Santos
University, plaintiff left the defendant's law college and enrolled for the last semester of his fourth year
law in the college of law of the Abad Santos University graduating from the college of law of the latter
university. Plaintiff, during all the time he was studying law in defendant university was awarded
scholarship grants, for scholastic merit, so that his semestral tuition fees were returned to him after the
ends of semester and when his scholarship grants were awarded to him. The whole amount of tuition
fees paid by plaintiff to defendant and refunded to him by the latter from the first semester up to and
including the first semester of his last year in the college of law or the fourth year, is in total P1,033.87.
After graduating in law from Abad Santos University he applied to take the bar examination. To secure
permission to take the bar he needed the transcripts of his records in defendant Arellano University.
Plaintiff petitioned the latter to issue to him the needed transcripts. The defendant refused until after he
had paid back the P1,033 87 which defendant refunded to him as above stated. As he could not take
the bar examination without those transcripts, plaintiff paid to defendant the said sum under protest.
This is the sum which plaintiff seeks to recover from defendant in this case.
Before defendant awarded to plaintiff the scholarship grants as above stated, he was made to sign the
following contract covenant and agreement:
"In consideration of the scholarship granted to me by the University, I hereby waive my right to transfer
to another school without having refunded to the University (defendant) the equivalent of my
scholarship cash.
(Sgd.) Emeterio Cui".
It is admitted that, on August 16, 1949, the Director of Private Schools issued Memorandum No. 38,
series of 1949, on the subject of "Scholarship," addressed to "All heads of private schools, colleges
and universities," reading:
1. School catalogs and prospectuses submitted to this, Bureau show that some schools offer full or
partial scholarships to deserving students for excellence in scholarship or for leadership in extracurricular activities. Such inducements to poor but gifted students should be encouraged. But to
stipulate the condition that such scholarships are good only if the students concerned continue in the
same school nullifies the principle of merit in the award of these scholarships.
2. When students are given full or partial scholarships, it is understood that such scholarships are
merited and earned. The amount in tuition and other fees corresponding to these scholarships should
not be subsequently charged to the recipient students when they decide to quit school or to transfer to
another institution. Scholarships should not be offered merely to attract and keep students in a school.

3. Several complaints have actually been received from students who have enjoyed scholarships, full
or partial, to the effect that they could not transfer to other schools since their credentials would not be
released unless they would pay the fees corresponding to the period of the scholarships. Where the
Bureau believes that the right of the student to transfer is being denied on this ground, it reserves the
right to authorize such transfer.
that defendant herein received a copy of this memorandum; that plaintiff asked the Bureau of Private
Schools to pass upon the issue on his right to secure the transcript of his record in defendant
University, without being required to refund the sum of P1,033.87; that the Bureau of Private Schools
upheld the position taken by the plaintiff and so advised the defendant; and that, this notwithstanding,
the latter refused to issue said transcript of records, unless said refund were made, and even
recommended to said Bureau that it issue a written order directing the defendant to release said
transcript of record, "so that the case may be presented to the court for judicial action." As above
stated, plaintiff was, accordingly, constrained to pay, and did pay under protest, said sum of P1,033.87,
in order that he could take the bar examination in 1953. Subsequently, he brought this action for the
recovery of said amount, aside from P2,000 as moral damages, P500 as exemplary damages, P2,000
as attorney's fees, and P500 as expenses of litigation.
In its answer, defendant reiterated the stand it took, vis-a-vis the Bureau of Private Schools, namely,
that the provisions of its contract with plaintiff are valid and binding and that the memorandum abovereferred to is null and void. It, likewise, set up a counterclaim for P10,000.00 as damages, and P3,000
as attorney's fees.
The issue in this case is whether the above quoted provision of the contract between plaintiff and the
defendant, whereby the former waived his right to transfer to another school without refunding to the
latter the equivalent of his scholarships in cash, is valid or not. The lower court resolved this question
in the affirmative, upon the ground that the aforementioned memorandum of the Director of Private
Schools is not a law; that the provisions thereof are advisory, not mandatory in nature; and that,
although the contractual provision "may be unethical, yet it was more unethical for plaintiff to quit
studying with the defendant without good reasons and simply because he wanted to follow the
example of his uncle." Moreover, defendant maintains in its brief that the aforementioned
memorandum of the Director of Private Schools is null and void because said officer had no authority
to issue it, and because it had been neither approved by the corresponding department head nor
published in the official gazette.
We do not deem it necessary or advisable to consider as the lower court did, the question whether
plaintiff had sufficient reasons or not to transfer from defendant University to the Abad Santos
University. The nature of the issue before us, and its far reaching effects, transcend personal
equations and demand a determination of the case from a high impersonal plane. Neither do we deem
it essential to pass upon the validity of said Memorandum No. 38, for, regardless of the same, we are
of the opinion that the stipulation in question is contrary to public policy and, hence, null and void. The
aforesaid memorandum merely incorporates a sound principle of public policy. As the Director of
Private Schools correctly pointed, out in his letter, Exhibit B, to the defendant,
There is one more point that merits refutation and that is whether or not the contract entered into
between Cui and Arellano University on September 10, 1951 was void as against public policy. In the
case of Zeigel vs. Illinois Trust and Savings Bank, 245 Ill. 180, 19 Ann. Case 127, the court said: 'In
determining a public policy of the state, courts are limited to a consideration of the Constitution, the
judicial decisions, the statutes, and the practice of government officers.' It might take more than a
government bureau or office to lay down or establish a public policy, as alleged in your communication,
but courts consider the practices of government officials as one of the four factors in determining a
public policy of the state. It has been consistently held in America that under the principles relating to
the doctrine of public policy, as applied to the law of contracts, courts of justice will not recognize or
uphold a transaction which its object, operation, or tendency is calculated to be prejudicial to the public
welfare, to sound morality or to civic honesty (Ritter vs. Mutual Life Ins. Co., 169 U.S. 139; Heding vs.
Gallaghere 64 L.R.A. 811; Veazy vs. Allen, 173 N.Y. 359). If Arellano University understood clearly the
real essence of scholarships and the motives which prompted this office to issue Memorandum No.
38, s. 1949, it should have not entered into a contract of waiver with Cui on September 10, 1951,
which is a direct violation of our Memorandum and an open challenge to the authority of the Director of
Private Schools because the contract was repugnant to sound morality and civic honesty. And finally,
in Gabriel vs. Monte de Piedad, Off. Gazette Supp. Dec. 6, 1941, p. 67 we read: 'In order to declare a
contract void as against public policy, a court must find that the contract as to consideration or the
thing to be done, contravenes some established interest of society, or is inconsistent with sound policy

and good morals or tends clearly to undermine the security of individual rights. The policy enunciated
in Memorandum No. 38, s. 1949 is sound policy. Scholarship are awarded in recognition of merit not to
keep outstanding students in school to bolster its prestige. In the understanding of that university
scholarships award is a business scheme designed to increase the business potential of an education
institution. Thus conceived it is not only inconsistent with sound policy but also good morals. But what
is morals? Manresa has this definition. It is good customs; those generally accepted principles of
morality which have received some kind of social and practical confirmation. The practice of awarding
scholarships to attract students and keep them in school is not good customs nor has it received some
kind of social and practical confirmation except in some private institutions as in Arellano University.
The University of the Philippines which implements Section 5 of Article XIV of the Constitution with
reference to the giving of free scholarships to gifted children, does not require scholars to reimburse
the corresponding value of the scholarships if they transfer to other schools. So also with the leading
colleges and universities of the United States after which our educational practices or policies are
patterned. In these institutions scholarships are granted not to attract and to keep brilliant students in
school for their propaganda mine but to reward merit or help gifted students in whom society has an
established interest or a first lien. (Emphasis supplied.)
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and another one shall be entered
sentencing the defendant to pay to the plaintiff the sum of P1,033.87, with interest thereon at the legal
rate from September 1, 1954, date of the institution of this case, as well as the costs, and dismissing
defendant's counterclaim. It is so ordered.

G.R. No. L-30642 April 30, 1985


PERFECTO S. FLORESCA, in his own behalf and on behalf of the minors ROMULO and
NESTOR S. FLORESCA; and ERLINDA FLORESCA-GABUYO, PEDRO S. FLORESCA, JR.,
CELSO S. FLORESCA, MELBA S. FLORESCA, JUDITH S. FLORESCA and CARMEN S.
FLORESCA;
LYDIA CARAMAT VDA. DE MARTINEZ in her own behalf and on behalf of her minor children
LINDA, ROMEO, ANTONIO JEAN and ELY, all surnamed Martinez; and DANIEL MARTINEZ and
TOMAS MARTINEZ;
SALUSTIANA ASPIRAS VDA. DE OBRA, in her own behalf and on behalf of her minor children
JOSE, ESTELA, JULITA SALUD and DANILO, all surnamed OBRA;
LYDIA CULBENGAN VDA. DE VILLAR, in her own behalf and on behalf of her minor children
EDNA, GEORGE and LARRY III, all surnamed VILLAR;
DOLORES LOLITA ADER VDA. DE LANUZA, in her own behalf and on behalf of her minor
children EDITHA, ELIZABETH, DIVINA, RAYMUNDO, NESTOR and AURELIO, JR. all surnamed
LANUZA;
EMERENCIANA JOSE VDA. DE ISLA, in her own behalf and on behalf of her minor children
JOSE, LORENZO, JR., MARIA, VENUS and FELIX, all surnamed ISLA, petitioners,
vs.
PHILEX MINING CORPORATION and HON. JESUS P. MORFE, Presiding Judge of Branch XIII,
Court of First Instance of Manila, respondents.
Rodolfo C. Pacampara for petitioners.
Tito M. Villaluna for respondents.
MAKASIAR, J.:
This is a petition to review the order of the former Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XIII, dated
December 16, 1968 dismissing petitioners' complaint for damages on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.
Petitioners are the heirs of the deceased employees of Philex Mining Corporation (hereinafter referred
to as Philex), who, while working at its copper mines underground operations at Tuba, Benguet on
June 28, 1967, died as a result of the cave-in that buried them in the tunnels of the mine. Specifically,
the complaint alleges that Philex, in violation of government rules and regulations, negligently and
deliberately failed to take the required precautions for the protection of the lives of its men working
underground. Portion of the complaint reads:
xxx xxx xxx
9. That for sometime prior and up to June 28,1967, the defendant PHILEX, with gross and reckless
negligence and imprudence and deliberate failure to take the required precautions for the due
protection of the lives of its men working underground at the time, and in utter violation of the laws and

the rules and regulations duly promulgated by the Government pursuant thereto, allowed great amount
of water and mud to accumulate in an open pit area at the mine above Block 43-S-1 which seeped
through and saturated the 600 ft. column of broken ore and rock below it, thereby exerting tremendous
pressure on the working spaces at its 4300 level, with the result that, on the said date, at about 4
o'clock in the afternoon, with the collapse of all underground supports due to such enormous pressure,
approximately 500,000 cubic feet of broken ores rocks, mud and water, accompanied by surface
boulders, blasted through the tunnels and flowed out and filled in, in a matter of approximately five (5)
minutes, the underground workings, ripped timber supports and carried off materials, machines and
equipment which blocked all avenues of exit, thereby trapping within its tunnels of all its men above
referred to, including those named in the next preceding paragraph, represented by the plaintiffs
herein;
10. That out of the 48 mine workers who were then working at defendant PHILEX's mine on the said
date, five (5) were able to escape from the terrifying holocaust; 22 were rescued within the next 7
days; and the rest, 21 in number, including those referred to in paragraph 7 hereinabove, were left
mercilessly to their fate, notwithstanding the fact that up to then, a great many of them were still alive,
entombed in the tunnels of the mine, but were not rescued due to defendant PHILEX's decision to
abandon rescue operations, in utter disregard of its bounden legal and moral duties in the premises;
xxx xxx xxx
13. That defendant PHILEX not only violated the law and the rules and regulations duly promulgated
by the duly constituted authorities as set out by the Special Committee above referred to, in their
Report of investigation, pages 7-13, Annex 'B' hereof, but also failed completely to provide its men
working underground the necessary security for the protection of their lives notwithstanding the fact
that it had vast financial resources, it having made, during the year 1966 alone, a total operating
income of P 38,220,254.00, or net earnings, after taxes of P19,117,394.00, as per its llth Annual
Report for the year ended December 31, 1966, and with aggregate assets totalling P 45,794,103.00 as
of December 31, 1966;
xxx xxx xxx
(pp. 42-44, rec.)
A motion to dismiss dated May 14, 1968 was filed by Philex alleging that the causes of action of
petitioners based on an industrial accident are covered by the provisions of the Workmen's
Compensation Act (Act 3428, as amended by RA 772) and that the former Court of First Instance has
no jurisdiction over the case. Petitioners filed an opposition dated May 27, 1968 to the said motion to
dismiss claiming that the causes of action are not based on the provisions of the Workmen's
Compensation Act but on the provisions of the Civil Code allowing the award of actual, moral and
exemplary damages, particularly:
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 is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
Art. 2178. The provisions of articles 1172 to 1174 are also applicable to a quasi-delict.
(b) Art. 1173The fault or negligence of the obligor consists in the omission of that diligence which is
required by the nature of the obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of the persons, of the
time and of the place. When negligence shows bad faith, the provisions of Articles 1171 and 2201,
paragraph 2 shall apply.
Art. 2201. x x x x x x x x x
In case of fraud, bad faith, malice or wanton attitude, the obligor shall be responsible for all damages
which may be reasonably attributed to the non-performance of the obligation.
Art. 2231. In quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be granted if the defendant acted with gross
negligence.
After a reply and a rejoinder thereto were filed, respondent Judge issued an order dated June 27, 1968
dismissing the case on the ground that it falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Workmen's
Compensation Commission. On petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the said order, respondent
Judge, on September 23, 1968, reconsidered and set aside his order of June 27, 1968 and allowed
Philex to file an answer to the complaint. Philex moved to reconsider the aforesaid order which was
opposed by petitioners.
On December 16, 1968, respondent Judge dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction and ruled that in
accordance with the established jurisprudence, the Workmen's Compensation Commission has
exclusive original jurisdiction over damage or compensation claims for work-connected deaths or
injuries of workmen or employees, irrespective of whether or not the employer was negligent, adding

that if the employer's negligence results in work-connected deaths or injuries, the employer shall,
pursuant to Section 4-A of the Workmen's Compensation Act, pay additional compensation equal to
50% of the compensation fixed in the Act.
Petitioners thus filed the present petition.
In their brief, petitioners raised the following assignment of errors:
I
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PLAINTIFFS- PETITIONERS' COMPLAINT FOR
LACK OF JURISDICTION.
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO CONSIDER THE CLEAR DISTINCTION BETWEEN
CLAIMS FOR DAMAGES UNDER THE CIVIL CODE AND CLAIMS FOR COMPENSATION UNDER
THE WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION ACT.
A
In the first assignment of error, petitioners argue that the lower court has jurisdiction over the cause of
action since the complaint is based on the provisions of the Civil Code on damages, particularly
Articles 2176, 2178, 1173, 2201 and 2231, and not on the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation
Act. They point out that the complaint alleges gross and brazen negligence on the part of Philex in
failing to take the necessary security for the protection of the lives of its employees working
underground. They also assert that since Philex opted to file a motion to dismiss in the court a quo, the
allegations in their complaint including those contained in the annexes are deemed admitted.
In the second assignment of error, petitioners asseverate that respondent Judge failed to see the
distinction between the claims for compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act and the
claims for damages based on gross negligence of Philex under the Civil Code. They point out that
workmen's compensation refers to liability for compensation for loss resulting from injury, disability or
death of the working man through industrial accident or disease, without regard to the fault or
negligence of the employer, while the claim for damages under the Civil Code which petitioners
pursued in the regular court, refers to the employer's liability for reckless and wanton negligence
resulting in the death of the employees and for which the regular court has jurisdiction to adjudicate
the same.
On the other hand, Philex asserts that work-connected injuries are compensable exclusively under the
provisions of Sections 5 and 46 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, which read:
SEC. 5. Exclusive right to compensation.The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an
employee by reason of a personal injury entitling him to compensation shall exclude all other rights
and remedies accruing to the employee, his personal representatives, dependents or nearest of kin
against the employer under the Civil Code and other laws because of said injury ...
SEC. 46. Jurisdiction. The Workmen's Compensation Commissioner shall have exclusive jurisdiction
to hear and decide claims for compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act, subject to
appeal to the Supreme Court, ...
Philex cites the case of Manalo vs. Foster Wheeler (98 Phil. 855 [1956]) where it was held that "all
claims of workmen against their employer for damages due to accident suffered in the course of
employment shall be investigated and adjudicated by the Workmen's Compensation Commission,"
subject to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Philex maintains that the fact that an employer was negligent, does not remove the case from the
exclusive character of recoveries under the Workmen's Compensation Act; because Section 4-A of the
Act provides an additional compensation in case the employer fails to comply with the requirements of
safety as imposed by law to prevent accidents. In fact, it points out that Philex voluntarily paid the
compensation due the petitioners and all the payments have been accepted in behalf of the deceased
miners, except the heirs of Nazarito Floresca who insisted that they are entitled to a greater amount of
damages under the Civil Code.
In the hearing of this case, then Undersecretary of Labor Israel Bocobo, then Atty. Edgardo Angara,
now President of the University of the Philippines, Justice Manuel Lazaro, as corporate counsel and
Assistant General Manager of the GSIS Legal Affairs Department, and Commissioner on Elections,
formerly UP Law Center Director Froilan Bacungan, appeared as amici curiae and thereafter,
submitted their respective memoranda.
The issue to be resolved as WE stated in the resolution of November 26, 1976, is:
Whether the action of an injured employee or worker or that of his heirs in case of his death under the
Workmen's Compensation Act is exclusive, selective or cumulative, that is to say, whether his or his
heirs' action is exclusively restricted to seeking the limited compensation provided under the

Workmen's Compensation Act or whether they have a right of selection or choice of action between
availing of the worker's right under the Workmen's Compensation Act and suing in the regular courts
under the Civil Code for higher damages (actual, moral and/or exemplary) from the employer by virtue
of negligence (or fault) of the employer or of his other employees or whether they may avail
cumulatively of both actions, i.e., collect the limited compensation under the Workmen's Compensation
Act and sue in addition for damages in the regular courts.
There are divergent opinions in this case. Justice Lazaro is of the opinion that an injured employee or
worker, or the heirs in case of his death, may initiate a complaint to recover damages (not
compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act) with the regular court on the basis of
negligence of an employer pursuant to the Civil Code provisions. Atty. Angara believes otherwise. He
submits that the remedy of an injured employee for work-connected injury or accident is exclusive in
accordance with Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, while Atty. Bacungan's position is that
the action is selective. He opines that the heirs of the employee in case of his death have a right of
choice to avail themselves of the benefits provided under the Workmen's Compensation Act or to sue
in the regular court under the Civil Code for higher damages from the employer by virtue of negligence
of the latter. Atty. Bocobo's stand is the same as that of Atty. Bacungan and adds that once the heirs
elect the remedy provided for under the Act, they are no longer entitled to avail themselves of the
remedy provided for under the Civil Code by filing an action for higher damages in the regular court,
and vice versa.
On August 3, 1978, petitioners-heirs of deceased employee Nazarito Floresca filed a motion to dismiss
on the ground that they have amicably settled their claim with respondent Philex. In the resolution of
September 7, 1978, WE dismissed the petition only insofar as the aforesaid petitioners are connected,
it appearing that there are other petitioners in this case.
WE hold that the former Court of First Instance has jurisdiction to try the case,
It should be underscored that petitioners' complaint is not for compensation based on the Workmen's
Compensation Act but a complaint for damages (actual, exemplary and moral) in the total amount of
eight hundred twenty-five thousand (P825,000.00) pesos. Petitioners did not invoke the provisions of
the Workmen's Compensation Act to entitle them to compensation thereunder. In fact, no allegation
appeared in the complaint that the employees died from accident arising out of and in the course of
their employments. The complaint instead alleges gross and reckless negligence and deliberate failure
on the part of Philex to protect the lives of its workers as a consequence of which a cave-in occurred
resulting in the death of the employees working underground. Settled is the rule that in ascertaining
whether or not the cause of action is in the nature of workmen's compensation claim or a claim for
damages pursuant to the provisions of the Civil Code, the test is the averments or allegations in the
complaint (Belandres vs. Lopez Sugar Mill, Co., Inc., 97 Phil. 100).
In the present case, there exists between Philex and the deceased employees a contractual
relationship. The alleged gross and reckless negligence and deliberate failure that amount to bad faith
on the part of Philex, constitute a breach of contract for which it may be held liable for damages. The
provisions of the Civil Code on cases of breach of contract when there is fraud or bad faith, read:
Art. 2232. In contracts and quasi-contracts, the court may award exemplary damages if the defendant
acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent manner.
Art. 2201. In contracts and quasi-contracts, the damages for which the obligor who acted in good faith
is able shall be those that are the natural and probable consequences of the breach of the obligation,
and which the parties have foreseen or could have reasonably foreseen at the time the obligation was
constituted.
In cases of fraud, bad faith, malice or wanton attitude, the obligor shall be responsible for all damages
which may be reasonably attributed to the non-performance of the obligation.
Furthermore, Articles 2216 et seq., Civil Code, allow the payment of all kinds of damages, as assessed
by the court.
The rationale in awarding compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act differs from that in
giving damages under the Civil Code. The compensation acts are based on a theory of compensation
distinct from the existing theories of damages, payments under the acts being made as compensation
and not as damages (99 C.J.S. 53). Compensation is given to mitigate the harshness and insecurity of
industrial life for the workman and his family. Hence, an employer is liable whether negligence exists or
not since liability is created by law. Recovery under the Act is not based on any theory of actionable
wrong on the part of the employer (99 C.J.S. 36).
In other words, under the compensation acts, the employer is liable to pay compensation benefits for
loss of income, as long as the death, sickness or injury is work-connected or work-aggravated, even if

the death or injury is not due to the fault of the employer (Murillo vs. Mendoza, 66 Phil. 689). On the
other hand, damages are awarded to one as a vindication of the wrongful invasion of his rights. It is
the indemnity recoverable by a person who has sustained injury either in his person, property or
relative rights, through the act or default of another (25 C.J.S. 452).
The claimant for damages under the Civil Code has the burden of proving the causal relation between
the defendant's negligence and the resulting injury as well as the damages suffered. While under the
Workmen's Compensation Act, there is a presumption in favor of the deceased or injured employee
that the death or injury is work-connected or work-aggravated; and the employer has the burden to
prove otherwise (De los Angeles vs. GSIS, 94 SCRA 308; Carino vs. WCC, 93 SCRA 551; Maria
Cristina Fertilizer Corp. vs. WCC, 60 SCRA 228).
The claim of petitioners that the case is not cognizable by the Workmen's Compensation Commission
then, now Employees Compensation Commission, is strengthened by the fact that unlike in the Civil
Code, the Workmen's Compensation Act did not contain any provision for an award of actual, moral
and exemplary damages. What the Act provided was merely the right of the heirs to claim limited
compensation for the death in the amount of six thousand (P6,000.00) pesos plus burial expenses of
two hundred (P200.00) pesos, and medical expenses when incurred (Sections 8, 12 and 13,
Workmen's Compensation Act), and an additional compensation of only 50% if the complaint alleges
failure on the part of the employer to "install and maintain safety appliances or to take other
precautions for the prevention of accident or occupational disease" (Section 4-A, Ibid.). In the case at
bar, the amount sought to be recovered is over and above that which was provided under the
Workmen's Compensation Act and which cannot be granted by the Commission.
Moreover, under the Workmen's Compensation Act, compensation benefits should be paid to an
employee who suffered an accident not due to the facilities or lack of facilities in the industry of his
employer but caused by factors outside the industrial plant of his employer. Under the Civil Code, the
liability of the employer, depends on breach of contract or tort. The Workmen's Compensation Act was
specifically enacted to afford protection to the employees or workmen. It is a social legislation
designed to give relief to the workman who has been the victim of an accident causing his death or
ailment or injury in the pursuit of his employment (Abong vs. WCC, 54 SCRA 379).
WE now come to the query as to whether or not the injured employee or his heirs in case of death
have a right of selection or choice of action between availing themselves of the worker's right under
the Workmen's Compensation Act and suing in the regular courts under the Civil Code for higher
damages (actual, moral and exemplary) from the employers by virtue of that negligence or fault of the
employers or whether they may avail themselves cumulatively of both actions, i.e., collect the limited
compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act and sue in addition for damages in the regular
courts.
In disposing of a similar issue, this Court in Pacana vs. Cebu Autobus Company, 32 SCRA 442, ruled
that an injured worker has a choice of either to recover from the employer the fixed amounts set by the
Workmen's Compensation Act or to prosecute an ordinary civil action against the tortfeasor for higher
damages but he cannot pursue both courses of action simultaneously.
In Pacaa WE said:
In the analogous case of Esguerra vs. Munoz Palma, involving the application of Section 6 of the
Workmen's Compensation Act on the injured workers' right to sue third- party tortfeasors in the regular
courts, Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, again speaking for the Court, pointed out that the injured worker has
the choice of remedies but cannot pursue both courses of action simultaneously and thus balanced the
relative advantage of recourse under the Workmen's Compensation Act as against an ordinary action.
As applied to this case, petitioner Esguerra cannot maintain his action for damages against the
respondents (defendants below), because he has elected to seek compensation under the Workmen's
Compensation Law, and his claim (case No. 44549 of the Compensation Commission) was being
processed at the time he filed this action in the Court of First Instance. It is argued for petitioner that as
the damages recoverable under the Civil Code are much more extensive than the amounts that may
be awarded under the Workmen's Compensation Act, they should not be deemed incompatible. As
already indicated, the injured laborer was initially free to choose either to recover from the employer
the fixed amounts set by the Compensation Law or else, to prosecute an ordinary civil action against
the tortfeasor for higher damages. While perhaps not as profitable, the smaller indemnity obtainable by
the first course is balanced by the claimant's being relieved of the burden of proving the causal
connection between the defendant's negligence and the resulting injury, and of having to establish the
extent of the damage suffered; issues that are apt to be troublesome to establish satisfactorily. Having
staked his fortunes on a particular remedy, petitioner is precluded from pursuing the alternate course,

at least until the prior claim is rejected by the Compensation Commission. Anyway, under the proviso
of Section 6 aforequoted, if the employer Franklin Baker Company recovers, by derivative action
against the alleged tortfeasors, a sum greater than the compensation he may have paid the herein
petitioner, the excess accrues to the latter.
Although the doctrine in the case of Esguerra vs. Munoz Palma (104 Phil. 582), applies to third-party
tortfeasor, said rule should likewise apply to the employer-tortfeasor.
Insofar as the heirs of Nazarito Floresca are concerned, as already stated, the petition has been
dismissed in the resolution of September 7, 1978 in view of the amicable settlement reached by Philex
and the said heirs.
With regard to the other petitioners, it was alleged by Philex in its motion to dismiss dated May 14,
1968 before the court a quo, that the heirs of the deceased employees, namely Emerito Obra, Larry
Villar, Jr., Aurelio Lanuza, Lorenzo Isla and Saturnino Martinez submitted notices and claims for
compensation to the Regional Office No. 1 of the then Department of Labor and all of them have been
paid in full as of August 25, 1967, except Saturnino Martinez whose heirs decided that they be paid in
installments (pp. 106-107, rec.). Such allegation was admitted by herein petitioners in their opposition
to the motion to dismiss dated May 27, 1968 (pp. 121-122, rec.) in the lower court, but they set up the
defense that the claims were filed under the Workmen's Compensation Act before they learned of the
official report of the committee created to investigate the accident which established the criminal
negligence and violation of law by Philex, and which report was forwarded by the Director of Mines to
the then Executive Secretary Rafael Salas in a letter dated October 19, 1967 only (p. 76, rec.).
WE hold that although the other petitioners had received the benefits under the Workmen's
Compensation Act, such may not preclude them from bringing an action before the regular court
because they became cognizant of the fact that Philex has been remiss in its contractual obligations
with the deceased miners only after receiving compensation under the Act. Had petitioners been
aware of said violation of government rules and regulations by Philex, and of its negligence, they
would not have sought redress under the Workmen's Compensation Commission which awarded a
lesser amount for compensation. The choice of the first remedy was based on ignorance or a mistake
of fact, which nullifies the choice as it was not an intelligent choice. The case should therefore be
remanded to the lower court for further proceedings. However, should the petitioners be successful in
their bid before the lower court, the payments made under the Workmen's Compensation Act should
be deducted from the damages that may be decreed in their favor.
B
Contrary to the perception of the dissenting opinion, the Court does not legislate in the instant case.
The Court merely applies and gives effect to the constitutional guarantees of social justice then
secured by Section 5 of Article 11 and Section 6 of Article XIV of the 1935 Constitution, and now by
Sections 6, 7, and 9 of Article 11 of the DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES AND STATE POLICIES of
the 1973 Constitution, as amended, and as implemented by Articles 2176, 2177, 2178, 1173, 2201,
2216, 2231 and 2232 of the New Civil Code of 1950.
To emphasize, the 1935 Constitution declares that:
Sec. 5. The promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of all the people
should be the concern of the State (Art. II).
Sec. 6. The State shall afford protection to labor, especially to working women, and minors, and shall
regulate the relations between landowner and tenant, and between labor and capital in industry and in
agriculture. The State may provide for compulsory arbitration (Art. XIV).
The 1973 Constitution likewise commands the State to "promote social justice to insure the dignity,
welfare, and security of all the people "... regulate the use ... and disposition of private property and
equitably diffuse property ownership and profits "establish, maintain and ensure adequate social
services in, the field of education, health, housing, employment, welfare and social security to
guarantee the enjoyment by the people of a decent standard of living" (Sections 6 and 7, Art. II, 1973
Constitution); "... afford protection to labor, ... and regulate the relations between workers and
employers ..., and assure the rights of workers to ... just and humane conditions of work" (Sec. 9, Art.
II, 1973 Constitution, emphasis supplied).
The foregoing constitutional guarantees in favor of labor institutionalized in Section 9 of Article 11 of
the 1973 Constitution and re-stated as a declaration of basic policy in Article 3 of the New Labor Code,
thus:
Art. 3. Declaration of basic policy.The State shall afford protection to labor, promote full
employment, ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed, and regulate the
relations between workers and employers. The State shall assure the rights of workers to self-

organization, collective bargaining, security of tenure, and just and humane conditions of work.
(emphasis supplied).
The aforestated constitutional principles as implemented by the aforementioned articles of the New
Civil Code cannot be impliedly repealed by the restrictive provisions of Article 173 of the New Labor
Code. Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act (before it was amended by R.A. No. 772 on
June 20, 1952), predecessor of Article 173 of the New Labor Code, has been superseded by the
aforestated provisions of the New Civil Code, a subsequent law, which took effect on August 30, 1950,
which obey the constitutional mandates of social justice enhancing as they do the rights of the workers
as against their employers. Article 173 of the New Labor Code seems to diminish the rights of the
workers and therefore collides with the social justice guarantee of the Constitution and the liberal
provisions of the New Civil Code.
The guarantees of social justice embodied in Sections 6, 7 and 9 of Article II of the 1973 Constitution
are statements of legal principles to be applied and enforced by the courts. Mr. Justice Robert Jackson
in the case of West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette, with characteristic eloquence,
enunciated:
The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political
controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal
principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free
press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote;
they depend on the outcome of no elections (319 U.S. 625, 638, 87 L.ed. 1638, emphasis supplied).
In case of any doubt which may be engendered by Article 173 of the New Labor Code, both the New
Labor Code and the Civil Code direct that the doubts should be resolved in favor of the workers and
employees.
Thus, Article 4 of the New Labor Code, otherwise known as Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended,
promulgated on May 1, 1974, but which took effect six months thereafter, provides that "all doubts in
the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of this Code, including its implementing rules
and regulations, shall be resolved in favor of labor" (Art. 2, Labor Code).
Article 10 of the New Civil Code states: "In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it
is presumed that the law-making body intended right and justice to prevail. "
More specifically, Article 1702 of the New Civil Code likewise directs that. "In case of doubt, all labor
legislation and all labor contracts shall be construed in favor of the safety and decent living of the
laborer."
Before it was amended by Commonwealth Act No. 772 on June 20, 1952, Section 5 of the Workmen's
Compensation Act provided:
Sec. 5. Exclusive right to compensation.- The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee
by reason of a personal injury entitling him to compensation shall exclude all other rights and remedies
accruing to the employee, his personal representatives, dependents or nearest of kin against the
employer under the Civil Code and other laws, because of said injury (emphasis supplied).
Employers contracting laborecsrs in the Philippine Islands for work outside the same may stipulate
with such laborers that the remedies prescribed by this Act shall apply exclusively to injuries received
outside the Islands through accidents happening in and during the performance of the duties of the
employment; and all service contracts made in the manner prescribed in this section shall be
presumed to include such agreement.
Only the second paragraph of Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act No. 3428, was amended
by Commonwealth Act No. 772 on June 20, 1952, thus:
Sec. 5. Exclusive right to compensation.- The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee
by reason of a personal injury entitling him to compensation shall exclude all other rights and remedies
accruing to the employee, his personal representatives, dependents or nearest of kin against the
employer under the Civil Code and other laws, because of said injury.
Employers contracting laborers in the Philippine Islands for work outside the same shall stipulate with
such laborers that the remedies prescribed by this Act shall apply to injuries received outside the
Island through accidents happening in and during the performance of the duties of the employment.
Such stipulation shall not prejudice the right of the laborers to the benefits of the Workmen's
Compensation Law of the place where the accident occurs, should such law be more favorable to
them (As amended by section 5 of Republic Act No. 772).
Article 173 of the New Labor Code does not repeal expressly nor impliedly the applicable provisions of
the New Civil Code, because said Article 173 provides:

Art. 173. Exclusiveness of liability.- Unless otherwise provided, the liability of the State Insurance Fund
under this Title shall be exclusive and in place of all other liabilities of the employer to the employee,
his dependents or anyone otherwise entitled to receive damages on behalf of the employee or his
dependents. The payment of compensation under this Title shall bar the recovery of benefits as
provided for in Section 699 of the Revised Administrative Code, Republic Act Numbered Eleven
hundred sixty-one, as amended, Commonwealth Act Numbered One hundred eighty- six, as amended,
Commonwealth Act Numbered Six hundred ten, as amended, Republic Act Numbered Forty-eight
hundred Sixty-four, as amended, and other laws whose benefits are administered by the System
during the period of such payment for the same disability or death, and conversely (emphasis
supplied).
As above-quoted, Article 173 of the New Labor Code expressly repealed only Section 699 of the
Revised Administrative Code, R.A. No. 1161, as amended, C.A. No. 186, as amended, R.A. No. 610,
as amended, R.A. No. 4864, as amended, and all other laws whose benefits are administered by the
System (referring to the GSIS or SSS).
Unlike Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act as aforequoted, Article 173 of the New Labor
Code does not even remotely, much less expressly, repeal the New Civil Code provisions heretofore
quoted.
It is patent, therefore, that recovery under the New Civil Code for damages arising from negligence, is
not barred by Article 173 of the New Labor Code. And the damages recoverable under the New Civil
Code are not administered by the System provided for by the New Labor Code, which defines the
"System" as referring to the Government Service Insurance System or the Social Security System (Art.
167 [c], [d] and [e] of the New Labor Code).
Furthermore, under Article 8 of the New Civil Code, decisions of the Supreme Court form part of the
law of the land.
Article 8 of the New Civil Code provides:
Art. 8. Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the
legal system of the Philippines.
The Court, through the late Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro, in People vs. Licera ruled:
Article 8 of the Civil Code of the Philippines decrees that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the
laws or the Constitution form part of this jurisdiction's legal system. These decisions, although in
themselves not laws, constitute evidence of what the laws mean. The application or interpretation
placed by the Court upon a law is part of the law as of the date of the enactment of the said law since
the Court's application or interpretation merely establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent that
the construed law purports to carry into effect" (65 SCRA 270, 272-273 [1975]).
WE ruled that judicial decisions of the Supreme Court assume the same authority as the statute itself
(Caltex vs. Palomer, 18 SCRA 247; 124 Phil. 763).
The aforequoted provisions of Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, before and after it was
amended by Commonwealth Act No. 772 on June 20, 1952, limited the right of recovery in favor of the
deceased, ailing or injured employee to the compensation provided for therein. Said Section 5 was not
accorded controlling application by the Supreme Court in the 1970 case of Pacana vs. Cebu Autobus
Company (32 SCRA 442) when WE ruled that an injured worker has a choice of either to recover from
the employer the fixed amount set by the Workmen's Compensation Act or to prosecute an ordinary
civil action against the tortfeasor for greater damages; but he cannot pursue both courses of action
simultaneously. Said Pacana case penned by Mr. Justice Teehankee, applied Article 1711 of the Civil
Code as against the Workmen's Compensation Act, reiterating the 1969 ruling in the case of Valencia
vs. Manila Yacht Club (28 SCRA 724, June 30,1969) and the 1958 case of Esguerra vs. Munoz Palma
(104 Phil. 582), both penned by Justice J.B.L. Reyes. Said Pacana case was concurred in by Justices
J.B.L. Reyes, Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando and Villamor.
Since the first sentence of Article 173 of the New Labor Code is merely a re-statement of the first
paragraph of Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, as amended, and does not even refer,
neither expressly nor impliedly, to the Civil Code as Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act did,
with greater reason said Article 173 must be subject to the same interpretation adopted in the cases of
Pacana, Valencia and Esguerra aforementioned as the doctrine in the aforesaid three (3) cases is
faithful to and advances the social justice guarantees enshrined in both the 1935 and 1973
Constitutions.
It should be stressed likewise that there is no similar provision on social justice in the American
Federal Constitution, nor in the various state constitutions of the American Union. Consequently, the
restrictive nature of the American decisions on the Workmen's Compensation Act cannot limit the

range and compass of OUR interpretation of our own laws, especially Article 1711 of the New Civil
Code, vis-a-vis Article 173 of the New Labor Code, in relation to Section 5 of Article II and Section 6 of
Article XIV of the 1935 Constitution then, and now Sections 6, 7 and 9 of the Declaration of Principles
and State Policies of Article II of the 1973 Constitution.
The dissent seems to subordinate the life of the laborer to the property rights of the employer. The
right to life is guaranteed specifically by the due process clause of the Constitution. To relieve the
employer from liability for the death of his workers arising from his gross or wanton fault or failure to
provide safety devices for the protection of his employees or workers against the dangers which are
inherent in underground mining, is to deprive the deceased worker and his heirs of the right to recover
indemnity for the loss of the life of the worker and the consequent loss to his family without due
process of law. The dissent in effect condones and therefore encourages such gross or wanton neglect
on the part of the employer to comply with his legal obligation to provide safety measures for the
protection of the life, limb and health of his worker. Even from the moral viewpoint alone, such attitude
is un-Christian.
It is therefore patent that giving effect to the social justice guarantees of the Constitution, as
implemented by the provisions of the New Civil Code, is not an exercise of the power of law-making,
but is rendering obedience to the mandates of the fundamental law and the implementing legislation
aforementioned.
The Court, to repeat, is not legislating in the instant case.
It is axiomatic that no ordinary statute can override a constitutional provision.
The words of Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act and of Article 173 of the New Labor Code
subvert the rights of the petitioners as surviving heirs of the deceased mining employees. Section 5 of
the Workmen's Compensation Act and Article 173 of the New Labor Code are retrogressive; because
they are a throwback to the obsolete laissez-faire doctrine of Adam Smith enunciated in 1776 in his
treatise Wealth of Nations (Collier's Encyclopedia, Vol. 21, p. 93, 1964), which has been discarded
soon after the close of the 18th century due to the Industrial Revolution that generated the machines
and other mechanical devices (beginning with Eli Whitney's cotton gin of 1793 and Robert Fulton's
steamboat of 1807) for production and transportation which are dangerous to life, limb and health. The
old socio-political-economic philosophy of live-and-let-live is now superdesed by the benign Christian
shibboleth of live-and-help others to live. Those who profess to be Christians should not adhere to
Cain's selfish affirmation that he is not his brother's keeper. In this our civilization, each one of us is our
brother's keeper. No man is an island. To assert otherwise is to be as atavistic and ante-deluvian as
the 1837 case of Prisley vs. Fowler (3 MN 1,150 reprint 1030) invoked by the dissent, The Prisley case
was decided in 1837 during the era of economic royalists and robber barons of America. Only ruthless,
unfeeling capitalistics and egoistic reactionaries continue to pay obeisance to such un-Christian
doctrine. The Prisley rule humiliates man and debases him; because the decision derisively refers to
the lowly worker as "servant" and utilizes with aristocratic arrogance "master" for "employer." It robs
man of his inherent dignity and dehumanizes him. To stress this affront to human dignity, WE only
have to restate the quotation from Prisley, thus: "The mere relation of the master and the servant never
can imply an obligation on the part of the master to take more care of the servant than he may
reasonably be expected to do himself." This is the very selfish doctrine that provoked the American
Civil War which generated so much hatred and drew so much precious blood on American plains and
valleys from 1861 to 1864.
"Idolatrous reverence" for the letter of the law sacrifices the human being. The spirit of the law insures
man's survival and ennobles him. In the words of Shakespeare, "the letter of the law killeth; its spirit
giveth life."
C
It is curious that the dissenting opinion clings to the myth that the courts cannot legislate.
That myth had been exploded by Article 9 of the New Civil Code, which provides that "No judge or
court shall decline to render judgment by reason of the silence, obscurity or insufficiency of the laws. "
Hence, even the legislator himself, through Article 9 of the New Civil Code, recognizes that in certain
instances, the court, in the language of Justice Holmes, "do and must legislate" to fill in the gaps in the
law; because the mind of the legislator, like all human beings, is finite and therefore cannot envisage
all possible cases to which the law may apply Nor has the human mind the infinite capacity to
anticipate all situations.
But about two centuries before Article 9 of the New Civil Code, the founding fathers of the American
Constitution foresaw and recognized the eventuality that the courts may have to legislate to supply the
omissions or to clarify the ambiguities in the American Constitution and the statutes.

'Thus, Alexander Hamilton pragmatically admits that judicial legislation may be justified but denies that
the power of the Judiciary to nullify statutes may give rise to Judicial tyranny (The Federalist, Modern
Library, pp. 503-511, 1937 ed.). Thomas Jefferson went farther to concede that the court is even
independent of the Nation itself (A.F.L. vs. American Sash Company, 1949 335 US 538).
Many of the great expounders of the American Constitution likewise share the same view. Chief
Justice Marshall pronounced: "It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial department to
say what the law is (Marbury vs. Madison I Cranch 127 1803), which was re-stated by Chief Justice
Hughes when he said that "the Constitution is what the judge says it is (Address on May 3, 1907,
quoted by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on March 9, 1937). This was reiterated by Justice
Cardozo who pronounced that "No doubt the limits for the judge are narrower. He legislates only
between gaps. He fills the open spaces in the law. " (The Nature of the Judicial Process, p. 113). In the
language of Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone, "The only limit to the judicial legislation is the restraint of the
judge" (U.S. vs. Butler 297 U.S. 1 Dissenting Opinion, p. 79), which view is also entertained by Justice
Frankfurter and Justice Robert Jackson. In the rhetoric of Justice Frankfurter, "the courts breathe life,
feeble or strong, into the inert pages of the Constitution and all statute books."
It should be stressed that the liability of the employer under Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation
Act or Article 173 of the New Labor Code is limited to death, ailment or injury caused by the nature of
the work, without any fault on the part of the employers. It is correctly termed no fault liability. Section 5
of the Workmen's Compensation Act, as amended, or Article 173 of the New Labor Code, does not
cover the tortious liability of the employer occasioned by his fault or culpable negligence in failing to
provide the safety devices required by the law for the protection of the life, limb and health of the
workers. Under either Section 5 or Article 173, the employer remains liable to pay compensation
benefits to the employee whose death, ailment or injury is work-connected, even if the employer has
faithfully and diligently furnished all the safety measures and contrivances decreed by the law to
protect the employee.
The written word is no longer the "sovereign talisman." In the epigrammatic language of Mr. Justice
Cardozo, "the law has outgrown its primitive stage of formalism when the precise word was the
sovereign talisman, and every slip was fatal" (Wood vs. Duff Gordon 222 NW 88; Cardozo, The Nature
of the Judicial Process 100). Justice Cardozo warned that: "Sometimes the conservatism of judges
has threatened for an interval to rob the legislation of its efficacy. ... Precedents established in those
items exert an unhappy influence even now" (citing Pound, Common Law and Legislation 21 Harvard
Law Review 383, 387).
Finally, Justice Holmes delivered the coup de grace when he pragmatically admitted, although with a
cautionary undertone: "that judges do and must legislate, but they can do so only interstitially they are
confined from molar to molecular motions" (Southern Pacific Company vs. Jensen, 244 US 204 1917).
And in the subsequent case of Springer vs. Government (277 US 188, 210-212, 72 L.ed. 845, 852853), Justice Holmes pronounced:
The great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and divide fields of black and white. Even the
more specific of them are found to terminate in a penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to the
other. x x x. When we come to the fundamental distinctions it is still more obvious that they must be
received with a certain latitude or our government could not go on.
To make a rule of conduct applicable to an individual who but for such action would be free from it is to
legislate yet it is what the judges do whenever they determine which of two competing principles of
policy shall prevail.
xxx xxx xxx
It does not seem to need argument to show that however we may disguise it by veiling words we do
not and cannot carry out the distinction between legislative and executive action with mathematical
precision and divide the branches into waterlight compartments, were it ever so desirable to do so,
which I am far from believing that it is, or that the Constitution requires.
True, there are jurists and legal writers who affirm that judges should not legislate, but grudgingly
concede that in certain cases judges do legislate. They criticize the assumption by the courts of such
law-making power as dangerous for it may degenerate into Judicial tyranny. They include Blackstone,
Jeremy Bentham, Justice Black, Justice Harlan, Justice Roberts, Justice David Brewer, Ronald
Dworkin, Rolf Sartorious, Macklin Fleming and Beryl Harold Levy. But said Justices, jurists or legal
commentators, who either deny the power of the courts to legislate in-between gaps of the law, or
decry the exercise of such power, have not pointed to examples of the exercise by the courts of such
law-making authority in the interpretation and application of the laws in specific cases that gave rise to

judicial tyranny or oppression or that such judicial legislation has not protected public interest or
individual welfare, particularly the lowly workers or the underprivileged.
On the other hand, there are numerous decisions interpreting the Bill of Rights and statutory
enactments expanding the scope of such provisions to protect human rights. Foremost among them is
the doctrine in the cases of Miranda vs. Arizona (384 US 436 1964), Gideon vs. Wainright (372 US
335), Escubedo vs. Illinois (378 US 478), which guaranteed the accused under custodial investigation
his rights to remain silent and to counsel and to be informed of such rights as even as it protects him
against the use of force or intimidation to extort confession from him. These rights are not found in the
American Bill of Rights. These rights are now institutionalized in Section 20, Article IV of the 1973
Constitution. Only the peace-and-order adherents were critical of the activism of the American
Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren.
Even the definition of Identical offenses for purposes of the double jeopardy provision was developed
by American judicial decisions, not by amendment to the Bill of Rights on double jeopardy (see Justice
Laurel in People vs. Tarok, 73 Phil. 260, 261-268). And these judicial decisions have been re-stated in
Section 7 of Rule 117 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as well as in Section 9 of Rule 117 of
the 1964 Revised Rules of Court. In both provisions, the second offense is the same as the first
offense if the second offense is an attempt to commit the first or frustration thereof or necessarily
includes or is necessarily included in the first offense.
The requisites of double jeopardy are not spelled out in the Bill of Rights. They were also developed by
judicial decisions in the United States and in the Philippines even before people vs. Ylagan (58 Phil.
851-853).
Again, the equal protection clause was interpreted in the case of Plessy vs. Ferguson (163 US 537) as
securing to the Negroes equal but separate facilities, which doctrine was revoked in the case of Brown
vs. Maryland Board of Education (349 US 294), holding that the equal protection clause means that
the Negroes are entitled to attend the same schools attended by the whites-equal facilities in the same
school-which was extended to public parks and public buses.
De-segregation, not segregation, is now the governing principle.
Among other examples, the due process clause was interpreted in the case of People vs. Pomar (46
Phil. 440) by a conservative, capitalistic court to invalidate a law granting maternity leave to working
women-according primacy to property rights over human rights. The case of People vs. Pomar is no
longer the rule.
As early as 1904, in the case of Lochner vs. New York (198 US 45, 76, 49 L. ed. 937, 949), Justice
Holmes had been railing against the conservatism of Judges perverting the guarantee of due process
to protect property rights as against human rights or social justice for the working man. The law fixing
maximum hours of labor was invalidated. Justice Holmes was vindicated finally in 1936 in the case of
West Coast Hotel vs. Parish (300 US 377-79; 81 L. ed. 703) where the American Supreme Court
upheld the rights of workers to social justice in the form of guaranteed minimum wage for women and
minors, working hours not exceeding eight (8) daily, and maternity leave for women employees.
The power of judicial review and the principle of separation of powers as well as the rule on political
questions have been evolved and grafted into the American Constitution by judicial decisions (Marbury
vs. Madison, supra Coleman vs. Miller, 307 US 433, 83 L. ed. 1385; Springer vs. Government, 277 US
210-212, 72 L. ed. 852, 853).
It is noteworthy that Justice Black, who seems to be against judicial legislation, penned a separate
concurring opinion in the case of Coleman vs. Miller, supra, affirming the doctrine of political question
as beyond the ambit of judicial review. There is nothing in both the American and Philippine
Constitutions expressly providing that the power of the courts is limited by the principle of separation of
powers and the doctrine on political questions. There are numerous cases in Philippine jurisprudence
applying the doctrines of separation of powers and political questions and invoking American
precedents.
Unlike the American Constitution, both the 1935 and 1973 Philippine Constitutions expressly vest in
the Supreme Court the power to review the validity or constitutionality of any legislative enactment or
executive act.
WHEREFORE, THE TRIAL COURT'S ORDER OF DISMISSAL IS HEREBY REVERSED AND SET
ASIDE AND THE CASE IS REMANDED TO IT FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS. SHOULD A
GREATER AMOUNT OF DAMAGES BE DECREED IN FAVOR OF HEREIN PETITIONERS, THE
PAYMENTS ALREADY MADE TO THEM PURSUANT TO THE WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION ACT
SHALL BE DEDUCTED. NO COSTS.
SO ORDERED.

Fernando, C.J., Teehankee, Plana, Escolin, De la Fuente, Cuevas and Alampay JJ., concur.
Concepcion, Jr., J., is on leave.
Abad Santos and Relova, JJ., took no part.
Separate Opinions
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
A
This case involves a complaint for damages for the death of five employees of PHILEX Mining
Corporation under the general provisions of the Civil Code. The Civil Code itself, however, provides for
its non-applicability to the complaint. It is specifically provided in Article 2196 of the Code, found in Title
XVIII-Damages that:
COMPENSATION FOR WORKMEN AND OTHER EMPLOYEES IN CASE OF DEATH, INJURY OR
ILLNESS IS REGULATED BY SPECIAL LAWS.
Compensation and damages are synonymous. In Esguerra vs. Muoz Palma, etc., et al., 104 Phil.
582, 586, Justice J.B.L. Reyes had said:
Petitioner also avers that compensation is not damages. This argument is but a play on words. The
term compensation' is used in the law (Act 3812 and Republic Act 772) in the sense of indemnity for
damages suffered, being awarded for a personal injury caused or aggravated by or in the course of
employment. ...
By the very provisions of the Civil Code, it is a "special law", not the Code itself, which has to apply to
the complaint involved in the instant case. That "special law", in reference to the complaint, can be no
other than the Workmen's Compensation
Even assuming, without conceding, that an employee is entitled to an election of remedies, as the
majority rules, both options cannot be exercised simultaneously, and the exercise of one will preclude
the exercise of the other. The petitioners had already exercised their option to come under the
Workmen's Compensation Act, and they have already received compensation payable to them under
that Act. Stated differently, the remedy under the Workmen's Compensation Act had already become a
"finished transaction".
There are two considerations why it is believed petitioners should no longer be allowed to exercise the
option to sue under the Civil Code. In the first place, the proceedings under the Workmen's
Compensation Act have already become the law in regards to" the "election of remedies", because
those proceedings had become a "finished transaction".
In the second place, it should be plainly equitable that, if a person entitled to an "election of remedies"
makes a first election and accepts the benefits thereof, he should no longer be allowed to avail himself
of the second option. At the very least, if he wants to make a second election, in disregard of the first
election he has made, when he makes the second election he should surrender the benefits he had
obtained under the first election, This was not done in the case before the Court.
B.
'There is full concurrence on my part with the dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Gutierrez upholding "the
exclusory provision of the Workmen's Compensation Act." I may further add:
1. The Workmen's Compensation Act (Act No. 3428) was approved on December 10, 1927 and took
effect on June 10, 1928. It was patterned from Minnesota and Hawaii statutes.
Act No. 3428 was adopted by the Philippine legislature, in Spanish and some sections of the law were
taken from the statutes of Minnesota and Hawaii, (Chapter 209 of the Revised Laws of Hawaii, 1925).
[Morabe & Inton, Workmen's Compensation Act, p. 2]
Under the Workmen's Compensation Act of Hawaii, when the Act is applicable, the remedy under the
Act is exclusive The following is stated in 1 Schneider Workmen's Compensation Text, pp. 266, 267.
Sec. 112. Hawaii
Statutory Synopsis. The act is compulsory as to employees in 'all industrial employment' and
employees of the territory and its political subdivisions. (Sections 7480-7481, S.S., Vol. 1, p. 713.)
Compensation is not payable when injury is due to employee's willful intention to injure himself or
another or to his intoxication. (Sec. 7482, S.S., p. 713.)
When the act is applicable the remedy thereunder is exclusive (Sec. 7483, S.S., p. 714.)
2. In providing for exclusiveness of the remedy under our Workmen's Compensation Act, the Philippine
Legislature worded the first paragraph of Section 5 of the Act as follows:
SEC. 5. Exclusive right to compensation.-The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee

by reason of a personal injury entitling him to compensation


shall exclude all other rights and remedies accruing to the employee, his personal representatives,
dependents or nearest of kin against the employer
under the Civil Code and other laws, because of said injury (Paragraphing and emphasis supplied)
In regards to the intent of the Legislature under the foregoing provision:
A cardinal rule in the interpretation of statutes is that the meaning and intention of the law-making body
must be sought, first of all in the words of the statute itself, read and considered in their natural,
ordinary, commonly-accepted and most obvious significations, according to good and approved usage
and without resorting to forced or subtle construction Courts, therefore, as a rule, cannot presume that
the law-making body does not know the meaning of words and the rules of grammar. Consequently,
the grammatical reading of a statute must be presumed to yield its correct sense. (Espino vs. Cleofe
52 SCRA 92, 98) [Italics supplied]
3. The original second paragraph of Section 5 provided:
Employers contracting laborers in the Philippine Islands for work outside the same shall stipulate with
such laborers that the remedies prescribed by this Act shall apply exclusively to injuries received
outside the Islands through accidents happening in and during the performance of the duties of the
employment. (Italics supplied)
The use of the word "exclusively is a further confirmation of the exclusory provision of the Act, subject
only to exceptions which may be provided in the Act itself.
4. It might be mentioned that, within the Act itself, provision is made for remedies other than within the
Act itself. Thus, Section 6, in part, provides:
SEC. 6. Liability of third parties.-In case an employee suffers an injury for which compensation is due
under this Act by any other person besides his employer, it shall be optional with such injured
employee either to claim compensation from his employer, under this Act, or sue such other person for
damages, in accordance with law; ... (Emphasis supplied)
If the legislative intent under the first paragraph of Section 5 were to allow the injured employee to sue
his employer under the Civil Code, the legislator could very easily have formulated the said first
paragraph of Section 5 according to the pattern of Section 6. That that was not done shows the
legislative intent not to allow any option to an employee to sue the employer under the Civil Code for
injuries compensable under the Act.
5. There should be no question but that the original first paragraph of Section 5 of the Workmen's
Compensation Act, formulated in 1927, provided that an injured worker or employee, or his heirs, if
entitled to compensation under the Act, cannot have independent recourse neither to the Civil Code
nor to any other law relative to the liability of the employer. After 1927, there were occasions when the
legislator had the opportunity to amend the first paragraph of Section 5 such that the remedies under
the Act would not be exclusive; yet, the legislator refrained from doing so. That shows the legislatives
continuing intent to maintain the exclusory provision of the first paragraph of Section 5 unless
otherwise provided in the Act itself.
(a) The original second paragraph of Section 5 provided:
Employers contracting laborers in the Philippine Islands for work outside the same shall stipulate with
such laborers that the remedies prescribed by this Act shall apply (exclusively) to injuries received
outside the Islands through accidents happening in and during the performance of the duties of the
employment (and all service contracts made in the manner prescribed in this section be presumed to
include such agreement).
On June 20, 1952, through RA 772, the foregoing second paragraph was amended with the
elimination of the underlined words in parentheses, and the addition of this sentence at the end of the
paragraph:
Such stipulation shall not prejudice the right of the laborers to the benefits of the Workmen's
Compensation Law of the place where the accident occurs, should such law be more favorable to
them. (Emphasis supplied)
It will be seen that, within the Act itself, the exclusory character of the Act was amended. At that time, if
he had so desired, the legislator could have amended the first paragraph of Section 5 so that the
employee would have the option to sue the employer under the Act, or under the Civil Code, should
the latter be more favorable to him.
(b) The Workmen's Compensation Act, which took effect in 1927, grants compensation to an injured
employee without regard to the presence or absence of negligence on the part of the employer. The
compensation is deemed an expense chargeable to the industry (Murillo vs. Mendoza, 66 Phil. 689
[1938]).

In time, it must have been thought that it was inequitable to have the amount of compensation, caused
by negligence on the part of the employer, to be the same amount payable when the employer was not
negligent. Based on that thinking, Section 4-A 1 was included into the Act, on June 20, 1952, through
RA 772. Said Section 4-A increased the compensation payable by 50% in case there was negligence
on the part of the employer. That additional section evidenced the intent of the legislator not to give an
option to an employee, injured with negligence on the part of the employer, to sue the latter under the
provisions of the Civil Code.
On June 20, 1964, Section 4-A was amended (insubstantially) by RA 4119. The legislator was again
given the opportunity to provide, but he did not, the option to an employee to sue under the Act or
under the Civil Code.
When a Court gives effect to a statute not in accordance with the intent of the law-maker, the Court is
unjustifiably legislating.
It is in view of the foregoing that I vote for affirmation of the trial Court's dismissal of the Complaint.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J., dissenting:
To grant the petition and allow the victims of industrial accidents to file damages suits based on torts
would be a radical innovation not only contrary to the express provisions of the Workmen's
Compensation Act but a departure from the principles evolved in the long history of workmen's
compensation. At the very least, it should be the legislature and not this Court which should remove
the exclusory provision of the Workmen's Compensation Act, a provision reiterated in the present
Labor Code on employees' compensation.
Workmen's compensation evolved to remedy the evils associated with the situation in the early years
of the industrial revolution when injured workingmen had to rely on damage suits to get recompense.
Before workmen's compensation, an injured worker seeking damages would have to prove in a tort
suit that his employer was either negligent or in bad faith, that his injury was caused by the employer
and not a fellow worker, and that he was not guilty of contributory negligence. The employer could
employ not only his wealth in defeating the claim for damages but a host of common law defenses
available to him as well. The worker was supposed to know what he entered into when he accepted
employment. As stated in the leading case of Priestley u. Fowler (3 M. & W. 1, 150 Reprint 1030)
decided in 1837 "the mere relation of the master and the servant never can imply an obligation on the
part of the master to take more care of the servant than he may reasonably be expected to do of
himself." By entering into a contract of employment, the worker was deemed to accept the risks of
employment that he should discover and guard against himself.
The problems associated with the application of the fellow servant rule, the assumption of risk
doctrine, the principle of contributory negligence, and the many other defenses so easily raised in
protracted damage suits illustrated the need for a system whereby workers had only to prove the fact
of covered employment and the fact of injury arising from employment in order to be compensated.
The need for a compensation scheme where liability is created solely by statute and made compulsory
and where the element of fault-either the fault of the employer or the fault of the employee-disregarded
became obvious. Another objective was to have simplified, expeditious, inexpensive, and non-litigious
procedures so that victims of industrial accidents could more readily, if not automatically, receive
compensation for work-related injuries.
Inspite of common law defenses to defeat a claim being recognized, employers' liability acts were a
major step in the desired direction. However, employers liability legislation proved inadequate.
Legislative reform led to the workmen's compensation.
I cite the above familiar background because workmen's compensation represents a compromise. In
return for the near certainty of receiving a sum of money fixed by law, the injured worker gives up the
right to subject the employer to a tort suit for huge amounts of damages. Thus, liability not only
disregards the element of fault but it is also a pre- determined amount based on the wages of the
injured worker and in certain cases, the actual cost of rehabilitation. The worker does not receive the
total damages for his pain and suffering which he could otherwise claim in a civil suit. The employer is
required to act swiftly on compensation claims. An administrative agency supervises the program. And
because the overwhelming mass of workingmen are benefited by the compensation system, individual
workers who may want to sue for big amounts of damages must yield to the interests of their entire
working class.
The nature of the compensation principle is explained as follows:
An appreciation of the nature of the compensation principle is essential to an understanding of the acts
and the cases interpreting them.

By the turn of the century it was apparent that the toll of industrial accidents of both the avoidable and
unavoidable variety had become enormous, and government was faced with the problem of who was
to pay for the human wreckage wrought by the dangers of modern industry. If the accident was
avoidable and could be attributed to the carelessness of the employer, existing tort principles offered
some measure of redress. Even here, however, the woeful inadequacy of the fault principle was
manifest. The uncertainty of the outcome of torts litigation in court placed the employee at a
substantial disadvantage. So long as liability depended on fault there could be no recovery until the
finger of blame had been pointed officially at the employer or his agents. In most cases both the facts
and the law were uncertain. The witnesses, who were usually fellow workers of the victim, were torn
between friendship or loyalty to their class, on the one hand, and fear of reprisal by the employer, on
the other. The expense and delay of litigation often prompted the injured employee to accept a
compromise settlement for a fraction of the full value of his claim. Even if suit were successfully
prosecuted, a large share of the proceeds of the judgment were exacted as contingent fees by
counsel. Thus the employer against whom judgment was cast often paid a substantial damage bill,
while only a part of this enured to the benefit of the injured employee or his dependents. The
employee's judgment was nearly always too little and too late.
xxx xxx xxx
Workmen's Compensation rests upon the economic principle that those persons who enjoy the product
of a business- whether it be in the form of goods or services- should ultimately bear the cost of the
injuries or deaths that are incident to the manufacture, preparation and distribution of the product. ...
xxx xxx xxx
Under this approach the element of personal fault either disappears entirely or is subordinated to
broader economic considerations. The employer absorbs the cost of accident loss only initially; it is
expected that this cost will eventually pass down the stream of commerce in the form of increase price
until it is spread in dilution among the ultimate consumers. So long as each competing unit in a given
industry is uniformly affected, no producer can gain any substantial competitive advantage or suffer
any appreciable loss by reason of the general adoption of the compensation principle.
In order that the compensation principle may operate properly and with fairness to all parties it is
essential that the anticipated accident cost be predictable and that it be fixed at a figure that will not
disrupt too violently the traffic in the product of the industry affected. Thus predictability and
moderateness of cost are necessary from the broad economic viewpoint. ....
Compensation, then, differs from the conventional damage suit in two important respects: Fault on the
part of either employer or employee is eliminated; and compensation payable according to a definitely
limited schedule is substituted for damages. All compensation acts alike work these two major
changes, irrespective of how they may differ in other particulars.
Compensation, when regarded from the viewpoint of employer and employee represents a
compromise in which each party surrenders certain advantages in order to gain others which are of
more importance both to him and to society. The employer gives up the immunity he otherwise would
enjoy in cases where he is not at fault, and the employee surrenders his former right to full damages
and accepts instead a more modest claim for bare essentials, represented by compensation.
The importance of the compromise character of compensation cannot be overemphasized. The
statutes vary a great deal with reference to the proper point of balance. The amount of weekly
compensation payments and the length of the period during which compensation is to be paid are
matters concerning which the acts differ considerably. The interpretation of any compensation statute
will be influenced greatly by the court's reaction to the basic point of compromise established in the
Act. If the court feels that the basic compromise unduly favors the employer, it will be tempted to
restore what it regards as a proper balance by adopting an interpretation that favors the worker. In this
way, a compensation act drawn in a spirit of extreme conservatism may be transformed by a
sympathetic court into a fairly liberal instrument; and conversely, an act that greatly favors the laborer
may be so interpreted by the courts that employers can have little reason to complain. Much of the
unevenness and apparent conflict in compensation decisions throughout the various jurisdictions must
be attributed to this." (Malone & Plant, Workmen's Compensation American Casebook Series, pp. 6365).
The schedule of compensation, the rates of payments, the compensable injuries and diseases, the
premiums paid by employers to the present system, the actuarial stability of the trust fund and many
other interrelated parts have all been carefully studied before the integrated scheme was enacted in to
law. We have a system whose parts must mesh harmonious with one another if it is to succeed. The
basic theory has to be followed.

If this Court disregards this totality of the scheme and in a spirit of generosity recasts some parts of the
system without touching the related others, the entire structure is endangered. For instance, I am
personally against stretching the law and allowing payment of compensation for contingencies never
envisioned to be compensable when the law was formulated. Certainly, only harmful results to the
principle of workmen's compensation can arise if workmen, whom the law allows to receive
employment compensation, can still elect to file damage suits for industrial accidents. It was precisely
for this reason that Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, which reads:
SEC. 5. Exclusive right to compensation.-The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee
by reason of a personal injury entitling him to compensation shall exclude all other rights and remedies
accruing to the employee, his personal representatives, dependents or nearest of kin against the
employer under the Civil Code and other laws because of said injury. ...
Article 173 of the labor Code also provides:
ART. 173. Exclusivenesss of liability.Unless otherwise provided, the liability of the State Insurance
Fund under this Title shall be exclusive and in place of all other liabilities of the employer to the
employee his dependents or anyone otherwise entitled to receive damages on behalf of the employee
or his dependents.
I am against the Court assuming the role of legislator in a matter calling for actuarial studies and public
hearings. If employers already required to contribute to the State Insurance Fund will still have to bear
the cost of damage suits or get insurance for that purpose, a major study will be necessary. The issue
before us is more far reaching than the interests of the poor victims and their families. All workers
covered by workmen's compensation and all employers who employ covered employees are affected.
Even as I have deepest sympathies for the victims, I regret that I am constrained to dissent from the
majority opinion.
Separate Opinions
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
A
This case involves a complaint for damages for the death of five employees of PHILEX Mining
Corporation under the general provisions of the Civil Code. The Civil Code itself, however, provides for
its non-applicability to the complaint. It is specifically provided in Article 2196 of the Code, found in Title
XVIII-Damages that:
COMPENSATION FOR WORKMEN AND OTHER EMPLOYEES IN CASE OF DEATH, INJURY OR
ILLNESS IS REGULATED BY SPECIAL LAWS.
Compensation and damages are synonymous. In Esguerra vs. Muoz Palma, etc., et al., 104 Phil.
582, 586, Justice J.B.L. Reyes had said:
Petitioner also avers that compensation is not damages. This argument is but a play on words. The
term compensation' is used in the law (Act 3812 and Republic Act 772) in the sense of indemnity for
damages suffered, being awarded for a personal injury caused or aggravated by or in the course of
employment. ...
By the very provisions of the Civil Code, it is a "special law", not the Code itself, which has to apply to
the complaint involved in the instant case. That "special law", in reference to the complaint, can be no
other than the Workmen's Compensation
Even assuming, without conceding, that an employee is entitled to an election of remedies, as the
majority rules, both options cannot be exercised simultaneously, and the exercise of one will preclude
the exercise of the other. The petitioners had already exercised their option to come under the
Workmen's Compensation Act, and they have already received compensation payable to them under
that Act. Stated differently, the remedy under the Workmen's Compensation Act had already become a
"finished transaction".
There are two considerations why it is believed petitioners should no longer be allowed to exercise the
option to sue under the Civil Code. In the first place, the proceedings under the Workmen's
Compensation Act have already become the law in regards to" the "election of remedies", because
those proceedings had become a "finished transaction".
In the second place, it should be plainly equitable that, if a person entitled to an "election of remedies"
makes a first election and accepts the benefits thereof, he should no longer be allowed to avail himself
of the second option. At the very least, if he wants to make a second election, in disregard of the first

election he has made, when he makes the second election he should surrender the benefits he had
obtained under the first election, This was not done in the case before the Court.
B.
'There is full concurrence on my part with the dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Gutierrez upholding "the
exclusory provision of the Workmen's Compensation Act." I may further add:
1. The Workmen's Compensation Act (Act No. 3428) was approved on December 10, 1927 and took
effect on June 10, 1928. It was patterned from Minnesota and Hawaii statutes.
Act No. 3428 was adopted by the Philippine legislature, in Spanish and some sections of the law were
taken from the statutes of Minnesota and Hawaii, (Chapter 209 of the Revised Laws of Hawaii, 1925).
[Morabe & Inton, Workmen's Compensation Act, p. 2]
Under the Workmen's Compensation Act of Hawaii, when the Act is applicable, the remedy under the
Act is exclusive The following is stated in 1 Schneider Workmen's Compensation Text, pp. 266, 267.
Sec. 112. Hawaii
Statutory Synopsis. The act is compulsory as to employees in 'all industrial employment' and
employees of the territory and its political subdivisions. (Sections 7480-7481, S.S., Vol. 1, p. 713.)
Compensation is not payable when injury is due to employee's willful intention to injure himself or
another or to his intoxication. (Sec. 7482, S.S., p. 713.)
When the act is applicable the remedy thereunder is exclusive (Sec. 7483, S.S., p. 714.)
2. In providing for exclusiveness of the remedy under our Workmen's Compensation Act, the Philippine
Legislature worded the first paragraph of Section 5 of the Act as follows:
SEC. 5. Exclusive right to compensation.-The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee
by reason of a personal injury entitling him to compensation
shall exclude all other rights and remedies accruing to the employee, his personal representatives,
dependents or nearest of kin against the employer
under the Civil Code and other laws, because of said injury (Paragraphing and emphasis supplied)
In regards to the intent of the Legislature under the foregoing provision:
A cardinal rule in the interpretation of statutes is that the meaning and intention of the law-making body
must be sought, first of all in the words of the statute itself, read and considered in their natural,
ordinary, commonly-accepted and most obvious significations, according to good and approved usage
and without resorting to forced or subtle construction Courts, therefore, as a rule, cannot presume that
the law-making body does not know the meaning of words and the rules of grammar. Consequently,
the grammatical reading of a statute must be presumed to yield its correct sense. (Espino vs. Cleofe
52 SCRA 92, 98) [Italics supplied]
3. The original second paragraph of Section 5 provided:
Employers contracting laborers in the Philippine Islands for work outside the same shall stipulate with
such laborers that the remedies prescribed by this Act shall apply exclusively to injuries received
outside the Islands through accidents happening in and during the performance of the duties of the
employment. (Italics supplied)
The use of the word "exclusively is a further confirmation of the exclusory provision of the Act, subject
only to exceptions which may be provided in the Act itself.
4. It might be mentioned that, within the Act itself, provision is made for remedies other than within the
Act itself. Thus, Section 6, in part, provides:
SEC. 6. Liability of third parties.-In case an employee suffers an injury for which compensation is due
under this Act by any other person besides his employer, it shall be optional with such injured
employee either to claim compensation from his employer, under this Act, or sue such other person for
damages, in accordance with law; ... (Emphasis supplied)
If the legislative intent under the first paragraph of Section 5 were to allow the injured employee to sue
his employer under the Civil Code, the legislator could very easily have formulated the said first
paragraph of Section 5 according to the pattern of Section 6. That that was not done shows the
legislative intent not to allow any option to an employee to sue the employer under the Civil Code for
injuries compensable under the Act.
5. There should be no question but that the original first paragraph of Section 5 of the Workmen's
Compensation Act, formulated in 1927, provided that an injured worker or employee, or his heirs, if
entitled to compensation under the Act, cannot have independent recourse neither to the Civil Code
nor to any other law relative to the liability of the employer. After 1927, there were occasions when the
legislator had the opportunity to amend the first paragraph of Section 5 such that the remedies under
the Act would not be exclusive; yet, the legislator refrained from doing so. That shows the legislatives

continuing intent to maintain the exclusory provision of the first paragraph of Section 5 unless
otherwise provided in the Act itself.
(a) The original second paragraph of Section 5 provided:
Employers contracting laborers in the Philippine Islands for work outside the same shall stipulate with
such laborers that the remedies prescribed by this Act shall apply (exclusively) to injuries received
outside the Islands through accidents happening in and during the performance of the duties of the
employment (and all service contracts made in the manner prescribed in this section be presumed to
include such agreement).
On June 20, 1952, through RA 772, the foregoing second paragraph was amended with the
elimination of the underlined words in parentheses, and the addition of this sentence at the end of the
paragraph:
Such stipulation shall not prejudice the right of the laborers to the benefits of the Workmen's
Compensation Law of the place where the accident occurs, should such law be more favorable to
them. (Emphasis supplied)
It will be seen that, within the Act itself, the exclusory character of the Act was amended. At that time, if
he had so desired, the legislator could have amended the first paragraph of Section 5 so that the
employee would have the option to sue the employer under the Act, or under the Civil Code, should
the latter be more favorable to him.
(b) The Workmen's Compensation Act, which took effect in 1927, grants compensation to an injured
employee without regard to the presence or absence of negligence on the part of the employer. The
compensation is deemed an expense chargeable to the industry (Murillo vs. Mendoza, 66 Phil. 689
[1938]).
In time, it must have been thought that it was inequitable to have the amount of compensation, caused
by negligence on the part of the employer, to be the same amount payable when the employer was not
negligent. Based on that thinking, Section 4-A 1 was included into the Act, on June 20, 1952, through
RA 772. Said Section 4-A increased the compensation payable by 50% in case there was negligence
on the part of the employer. That additional section evidenced the intent of the legislator not to give an
option to an employee, injured with negligence on the part of the employer, to sue the latter under the
provisions of the Civil Code.
On June 20, 1964, Section 4-A was amended (insubstantially) by RA 4119. The legislator was again
given the opportunity to provide, but he did not, the option to an employee to sue under the Act or
under the Civil Code.
When a Court gives effect to a statute not in accordance with the intent of the law-maker, the Court is
unjustifiably legislating.
It is in view of the foregoing that I vote for affirmation of the trial Court's dismissal of the Complaint.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J., dissenting:
To grant the petition and allow the victims of industrial accidents to file damages suits based on torts
would be a radical innovation not only contrary to the express provisions of the Workmen's
Compensation Act but a departure from the principles evolved in the long history of workmen's
compensation. At the very least, it should be the legislature and not this Court which should remove
the exclusory provision of the Workmen's Compensation Act, a provision reiterated in the present
Labor Code on employees' compensation.
Workmen's compensation evolved to remedy the evils associated with the situation in the early years
of the industrial revolution when injured workingmen had to rely on damage suits to get recompense.
Before workmen's compensation, an injured worker seeking damages would have to prove in a tort
suit that his employer was either negligent or in bad faith, that his injury was caused by the employer
and not a fellow worker, and that he was not guilty of contributory negligence. The employer could
employ not only his wealth in defeating the claim for damages but a host of common law defenses
available to him as well. The worker was supposed to know what he entered into when he accepted
employment. As stated in the leading case of Priestley u. Fowler (3 M. & W. 1, 150 Reprint 1030)
decided in 1837 "the mere relation of the master and the servant never can imply an obligation on the
part of the master to take more care of the servant than he may reasonably be expected to do of
himself." By entering into a contract of employment, the worker was deemed to accept the risks of
employment that he should discover and guard against himself.
The problems associated with the application of the fellow servant rule, the assumption of risk
doctrine, the principle of contributory negligence, and the many other defenses so easily raised in
protracted damage suits illustrated the need for a system whereby workers had only to prove the fact
of covered employment and the fact of injury arising from employment in order to be compensated.

The need for a compensation scheme where liability is created solely by statute and made compulsory
and where the element of fault-either the fault of the employer or the fault of the employee-disregarded
became obvious. Another objective was to have simplified, expeditious, inexpensive, and non-litigious
procedures so that victims of industrial accidents could more readily, if not automatically, receive
compensation for work-related injuries.
Inspite of common law defenses to defeat a claim being recognized, employers' liability acts were a
major step in the desired direction. However, employers liability legislation proved inadequate.
Legislative reform led to the workmen's compensation.
I cite the above familiar background because workmen's compensation represents a compromise. In
return for the near certainty of receiving a sum of money fixed by law, the injured worker gives up the
right to subject the employer to a tort suit for huge amounts of damages. Thus, liability not only
disregards the element of fault but it is also a pre- determined amount based on the wages of the
injured worker and in certain cases, the actual cost of rehabilitation. The worker does not receive the
total damages for his pain and suffering which he could otherwise claim in a civil suit. The employer is
required to act swiftly on compensation claims. An administrative agency supervises the program. And
because the overwhelming mass of workingmen are benefited by the compensation system, individual
workers who may want to sue for big amounts of damages must yield to the interests of their entire
working class.
The nature of the compensation principle is explained as follows:
An appreciation of the nature of the compensation principle is essential to an understanding of the acts
and the cases interpreting them.
By the turn of the century it was apparent that the toll of industrial accidents of both the avoidable and
unavoidable variety had become enormous, and government was faced with the problem of who was
to pay for the human wreckage wrought by the dangers of modern industry. If the accident was
avoidable and could be attributed to the carelessness of the employer, existing tort principles offered
some measure of redress. Even here, however, the woeful inadequacy of the fault principle was
manifest. The uncertainty of the outcome of torts litigation in court placed the employee at a
substantial disadvantage. So long as liability depended on fault there could be no recovery until the
finger of blame had been pointed officially at the employer or his agents. In most cases both the facts
and the law were uncertain. The witnesses, who were usually fellow workers of the victim, were torn
between friendship or loyalty to their class, on the one hand, and fear of reprisal by the employer, on
the other. The expense and delay of litigation often prompted the injured employee to accept a
compromise settlement for a fraction of the full value of his claim. Even if suit were successfully
prosecuted, a large share of the proceeds of the judgment were exacted as contingent fees by
counsel. Thus the employer against whom judgment was cast often paid a substantial damage bill,
while only a part of this enured to the benefit of the injured employee or his dependents. The
employee's judgment was nearly always too little and too late.
xxx xxx xxx
Workmen's Compensation rests upon the economic principle that those persons who enjoy the product
of a business- whether it be in the form of goods or services- should ultimately bear the cost of the
injuries or deaths that are incident to the manufacture, preparation and distribution of the product. ...
xxx xxx xxx
Under this approach the element of personal fault either disappears entirely or is subordinated to
broader economic considerations. The employer absorbs the cost of accident loss only initially; it is
expected that this cost will eventually pass down the stream of commerce in the form of increase price
until it is spread in dilution among the ultimate consumers. So long as each competing unit in a given
industry is uniformly affected, no producer can gain any substantial competitive advantage or suffer
any appreciable loss by reason of the general adoption of the compensation principle.
In order that the compensation principle may operate properly and with fairness to all parties it is
essential that the anticipated accident cost be predictable and that it be fixed at a figure that will not
disrupt too violently the traffic in the product of the industry affected. Thus predictability and
moderateness of cost are necessary from the broad economic viewpoint. ....
Compensation, then, differs from the conventional damage suit in two important respects: Fault on the
part of either employer or employee is eliminated; and compensation payable according to a definitely
limited schedule is substituted for damages. All compensation acts alike work these two major
changes, irrespective of how they may differ in other particulars.
Compensation, when regarded from the viewpoint of employer and employee represents a
compromise in which each party surrenders certain advantages in order to gain others which are of

more importance both to him and to society. The employer gives up the immunity he otherwise would
enjoy in cases where he is not at fault, and the employee surrenders his former right to full damages
and accepts instead a more modest claim for bare essentials, represented by compensation.
The importance of the compromise character of compensation cannot be overemphasized. The
statutes vary a great deal with reference to the proper point of balance. The amount of weekly
compensation payments and the length of the period during which compensation is to be paid are
matters concerning which the acts differ considerably. The interpretation of any compensation statute
will be influenced greatly by the court's reaction to the basic point of compromise established in the
Act. If the court feels that the basic compromise unduly favors the employer, it will be tempted to
restore what it regards as a proper balance by adopting an interpretation that favors the worker. In this
way, a compensation act drawn in a spirit of extreme conservatism may be transformed by a
sympathetic court into a fairly liberal instrument; and conversely, an act that greatly favors the laborer
may be so interpreted by the courts that employers can have little reason to complain. Much of the
unevenness and apparent conflict in compensation decisions throughout the various jurisdictions must
be attributed to this." (Malone & Plant, Workmen's Compensation American Casebook Series, pp. 6365).
The schedule of compensation, the rates of payments, the compensable injuries and diseases, the
premiums paid by employers to the present system, the actuarial stability of the trust fund and many
other interrelated parts have all been carefully studied before the integrated scheme was enacted in to
law. We have a system whose parts must mesh harmonious with one another if it is to succeed. The
basic theory has to be followed.
If this Court disregards this totality of the scheme and in a spirit of generosity recasts some parts of the
system without touching the related others, the entire structure is endangered. For instance, I am
personally against stretching the law and allowing payment of compensation for contingencies never
envisioned to be compensable when the law was formulated. Certainly, only harmful results to the
principle of workmen's compensation can arise if workmen, whom the law allows to receive
employment compensation, can still elect to file damage suits for industrial accidents. It was precisely
for this reason that Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, which reads:
SEC. 5. Exclusive right to compensation.-The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee
by reason of a personal injury entitling him to compensation shall exclude all other rights and remedies
accruing to the employee, his personal representatives, dependents or nearest of kin against the
employer under the Civil Code and other laws because of said injury. ...
Article 173 of the labor Code also provides:
ART. 173. Exclusivenesss of liability.Unless otherwise provided, the liability of the State Insurance
Fund under this Title shall be exclusive and in place of all other liabilities of the employer to the
employee his dependents or anyone otherwise entitled to receive damages on behalf of the employee
or his dependents.
I am against the Court assuming the role of legislator in a matter calling for actuarial studies and public
hearings. If employers already required to contribute to the State Insurance Fund will still have to bear
the cost of damage suits or get insurance for that purpose, a major study will be necessary. The issue
before us is more far reaching than the interests of the poor victims and their families. All workers
covered by workmen's compensation and all employers who employ covered employees are affected.
Even as I have deepest sympathies for the victims, I regret that I am constrained to dissent from the
majority opinion.

G.R. No. L-22595


November 1, 1927
Testate Estate of Joseph G. Brimo, JUAN MICIANO, administrator, petitioner-appellee,
vs.
ANDRE BRIMO, opponent-appellant.
Ross,
Lawrence
and
Selph
for
appellant.
Camus and Delgado for appellee.
ROMUALDEZ, J.:
The partition of the estate left by the deceased Joseph G. Brimo is in question in this case.
The judicial administrator of this estate filed a scheme of partition. Andre Brimo, one of the brothers of
the deceased, opposed it. The court, however, approved it.
The errors which the oppositor-appellant assigns are:

(1) The approval of said scheme of partition; (2) denial of his participation in the inheritance; (3) the
denial of the motion for reconsideration of the order approving the partition; (4) the approval of the
purchase made by the Pietro Lana of the deceased's business and the deed of transfer of said
business; and (5) the declaration that the Turkish laws are impertinent to this cause, and the failure not
to postpone the approval of the scheme of partition and the delivery of the deceased's business to
Pietro Lanza until the receipt of the depositions requested in reference to the Turkish laws.
The appellant's opposition is based on the fact that the partition in question puts into effect the
provisions of Joseph G. Brimo's will which are not in accordance with the laws of his Turkish
nationality, for which reason they are void as being in violation or article 10 of the Civil Code which,
among other things, provides the following:
Nevertheless, legal and testamentary successions, in respect to the order of succession as well as to
the amount of the successional rights and the intrinsic validity of their provisions, shall be regulated by
the national law of the person whose succession is in question, whatever may be the nature of the
property or the country in which it may be situated.
But the fact is that the oppositor did not prove that said testimentary dispositions are not in accordance
with the Turkish laws, inasmuch as he did not present any evidence showing what the Turkish laws are
on the matter, and in the absence of evidence on such laws, they are presumed to be the same as
those of the Philippines. (Lim and Lim vs. Collector of Customs, 36 Phil., 472.)
It has not been proved in these proceedings what the Turkish laws are. He, himself, acknowledges it
when he desires to be given an opportunity to present evidence on this point; so much so that he
assigns as an error of the court in not having deferred the approval of the scheme of partition until the
receipt of certain testimony requested regarding the Turkish laws on the matter.
The refusal to give the oppositor another opportunity to prove such laws does not constitute an error. It
is discretionary with the trial court, and, taking into consideration that the oppositor was granted ample
opportunity to introduce competent evidence, we find no abuse of discretion on the part of the court in
this particular. There is, therefore, no evidence in the record that the national law of the testator
Joseph G. Brimo was violated in the testamentary dispositions in question which, not being contrary to
our laws in force, must be complied with and executed. lawphil.net
Therefore, the approval of the scheme of partition in this respect was not erroneous.
In regard to the first assignment of error which deals with the exclusion of the herein appellant as a
legatee, inasmuch as he is one of the persons designated as such in will, it must be taken into
consideration that such exclusion is based on the last part of the second clause of the will, which says:
Second. I like desire to state that although by law, I am a Turkish citizen, this citizenship having been
conferred upon me by conquest and not by free choice, nor by nationality and, on the other hand,
having resided for a considerable length of time in the Philippine Islands where I succeeded in
acquiring all of the property that I now possess, it is my wish that the distribution of my property and
everything in connection with this, my will, be made and disposed of in accordance with the laws in
force in the Philippine islands, requesting all of my relatives to respect this wish, otherwise, I annul and
cancel beforehand whatever disposition found in this will favorable to the person or persons who fail to
comply with this request.
The institution of legatees in this will is conditional, and the condition is that the instituted legatees
must respect the testator's will to distribute his property, not in accordance with the laws of his
nationality, but in accordance with the laws of the Philippines.
If this condition as it is expressed were legal and valid, any legatee who fails to comply with it, as the
herein oppositor who, by his attitude in these proceedings has not respected the will of the testator, as
expressed, is prevented from receiving his legacy.
The fact is, however, that the said condition is void, being contrary to law, for article 792 of the civil
Code provides the following:
Impossible conditions and those contrary to law or good morals shall be considered as not imposed
and shall not prejudice the heir or legatee in any manner whatsoever, even should the testator
otherwise provide.
And said condition is contrary to law because it expressly ignores the testator's national law when,
according to article 10 of the civil Code above quoted, such national law of the testator is the one to
govern his testamentary dispositions.
Said condition then, in the light of the legal provisions above cited, is considered unwritten, and the
institution of legatees in said will is unconditional and consequently valid and effective even as to the
herein oppositor.

It results from all this that the second clause of the will regarding the law which shall govern it, and to
the condition imposed upon the legatees, is null and void, being contrary to law.
All of the remaining clauses of said will with all their dispositions and requests are perfectly valid and
effective it not appearing that said clauses are contrary to the testator's national law.
Therefore, the orders appealed from are modified and it is directed that the distribution of this estate
be made in such a manner as to include the herein appellant Andre Brimo as one of the legatees, and
the scheme of partition submitted by the judicial administrator is approved in all other respects, without
any pronouncement as to costs.
So ordered.

G.R. No. L-55960 November 24, 1988


YAO KEE, SZE SOOK WAH, SZE LAI CHO, and SY CHUN YEN, petitioners,
vs.
AIDA SY-GONZALES, MANUEL SY, TERESITA SY-BERNABE, RODOLFO SY, and HONORABLE
COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
Montesa, Albon, & Associates for petitioners.
De Lapa, Salonga, Fulgencio & De Lunas for respondents.
CORTES, J.:
Sy Kiat, a Chinese national. died on January 17, 1977 in Caloocan City where he was then residing,
leaving behind real and personal properties here in the Philippines worth P300,000.00 more or less.
Thereafter, Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy filed a petition for the
grant of letters of administration docketed as Special Proceedings Case No. C-699 of the then Court of
First Instance of Rizal Branch XXXIII, Caloocan City. In said petition they alleged among others that (a)
they are the children of the deceased with Asuncion Gillego; (b) to their knowledge Sy Mat died
intestate; (c) they do not recognize Sy Kiat's marriage to Yao Kee nor the filiation of her children to
him; and, (d) they nominate Aida Sy-Gonzales for appointment as administratrix of the intestate estate
of the deceased [Record on Appeal, pp. 4-9; Rollo, p. 107.]
The petition was opposed by Yao Kee, Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Cho and Sy Yun Chen who alleged
that: (a) Yao Kee is the lawful wife of Sy Kiat whom he married on January 19, 1931 in China; (b) the
other oppositors are the legitimate children of the deceased with Yao Kee; and, (c) Sze Sook Wah is
the eldest among them and is competent, willing and desirous to become the administratrix of the
estate of Sy Kiat [Record on Appeal, pp. 12-13; Rollo, p. 107.] After hearing, the probate court, finding
among others that:
(1) Sy Kiat was legally married to Yao Kee [CFI decision, pp. 12-27; Rollo, pp. 49-64;]
(2) Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Cho and Sze Chun Yen are the legitimate children of Yao Kee with Sy Mat
[CFI decision, pp. 28-31; Rollo. pp. 65-68;] and,
(3) Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy are the acknowledged
illegitimate offsprings of Sy Kiat with Asuncion Gillego [CFI decision, pp. 27-28; Rollo, pp. 64- 65.]
held if favor of the oppositors (petitioners herein) and appointed Sze Sook Wah as the administratrix of
the intestate estate of the deceased [CFI decision, pp. 68-69; Rollo, pp. 105-106.]
On appeal the Court of Appeals rendered a decision modifying that of the probate court, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of the lower Court is hereby MODIFIED and SET ASIDE
and a new judgment rendered as follows:
(1) Declaring petitioners Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy- Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy
acknowledged natural children of the deceased Sy Kiat with Asuncion Gillego, an unmarried woman
with whom he lived as husband and wife without benefit of marriage for many years:
(2) Declaring oppositors Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Chu and Sze Chun Yen, the acknowledged natural
children of the deceased Sy Kiat with his Chinese wife Yao Kee, also known as Yui Yip, since the
legality of the alleged marriage of Sy Mat to Yao Kee in China had not been proven to be valid to the
laws of the Chinese People's Republic of China (sic);
(3) Declaring the deed of sale executed by Sy Kiat on December 7, 1976 in favor of Tomas Sy (Exhibit
"G-1", English translation of Exhibit "G") of the Avenue Tractor and Diesel Parts Supply to be valid and
accordingly, said property should be excluded from the estate of the deceased Sy Kiat; and
(4) Affirming the appointment by the lower court of Sze Sook Wah as judicial administratrix of the
estate of the deceased. [CA decision, pp. 11-12; Rollo, pp. 36- 37.]

From said decision both parties moved for partial reconsideration, which was however denied by
respondent court. They thus interposed their respective appeals to this Court.
Private respondents filed a petition with this Court docketed as G.R. No. 56045 entitled "Aida SyGonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy v. Court of Appeals, Yao Kee, Sze Sook
Wah, Sze Lai Cho and Sy Chun Yen" questioning paragraphs (3) and (4) of the dispositive portion of
the Court of Appeals' decision. The Supreme Court however resolved to deny the petition and the
motion for reconsideration. Thus on March 8, 1982 entry of judgment was made in G.R. No. 56045. **
The instant petition, on the other hand, questions paragraphs (1) and (2) of the dispositive portion of
the decision of the Court of Appeals. This petition was initially denied by the Supreme Court on June
22, 1981. Upon motion of the petitioners the Court in a resolution dated September 16, 1981
reconsidered the denial and decided to give due course to this petition. Herein petitioners assign the
following as errors:
I. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN DECLARING THE MARRIAGE OF
SY KIAT TO YAO YEE AS NOT HAVE (sic) BEEN PROVEN VALID IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAWS
OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA.
II. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN DECLARING AIDA SY-GONZALES,
MANUEL SY, TERESITA SY-BERNABE AND RODOLFO SY AS NATURAL CHILDREN OF SY KIAT
WITH ASUNCION GILLEGO. [Petition, p. 2; Rollo, p. 6.]
I. Petitioners argue that the marriage of Sy Kiat to Yao Kee in accordance with Chinese law and
custom was conclusively proven. To buttress this argument they rely on the following testimonial and
documentary evidence.
First, the testimony of Yao Kee summarized by the trial court as follows:
Yao Kee testified that she was married to Sy Kiat on January 19, 1931 in Fookien, China; that she
does not have a marriage certificate because the practice during that time was for elders to agree
upon the betrothal of their children, and in her case, her elder brother was the one who contracted or
entered into [an] agreement with the parents of her husband; that the agreement was that she and Sy
Mat would be married, the wedding date was set, and invitations were sent out; that the said
agreement was complied with; that she has five children with Sy Kiat, but two of them died; that those
who are alive are Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Cho, and Sze Chun Yen, the eldest being Sze Sook Wah
who is already 38 years old; that Sze Sook Wah was born on November 7, 1939; that she and her
husband, Sy Mat, have been living in FooKien, China before he went to the Philippines on several
occasions; that the practice during the time of her marriage was a written document [is exchanged] just
between the parents of the bride and the parents of the groom, or any elder for that matter; that in
China, the custom is that there is a go- between, a sort of marriage broker who is known to both
parties who would talk to the parents of the bride-to-be; that if the parents of the bride-to-be agree to
have the groom-to-be their son in-law, then they agree on a date as an engagement day; that on
engagement day, the parents of the groom would bring some pieces of jewelry to the parents of the
bride-to-be, and then one month after that, a date would be set for the wedding, which in her case, the
wedding date to Sy Kiat was set on January 19, 1931; that during the wedding the bridegroom brings
with him a couch (sic) where the bride would ride and on that same day, the parents of the bride would
give the dowry for her daughter and then the document would be signed by the parties but there is no
solemnizing officer as is known in the Philippines; that during the wedding day, the document is signed
only by the parents of the bridegroom as well as by the parents of the bride; that the parties
themselves do not sign the document; that the bride would then be placed in a carriage where she
would be brought to the town of the bridegroom and before departure the bride would be covered with
a sort of a veil; that upon reaching the town of the bridegroom, the bridegroom takes away the veil;
that during her wedding to Sy Kiat (according to said Chinese custom), there were many persons
present; that after Sy Kiat opened the door of the carriage, two old ladies helped her go down the
carriage and brought her inside the house of Sy Mat; that during her wedding, Sy Chick, the eldest
brother of Sy Kiat, signed the document with her mother; that as to the whereabouts of that document,
she and Sy Mat were married for 46 years already and the document was left in China and she doubt
if that document can still be found now; that it was left in the possession of Sy Kiat's family; that right
now, she does not know the whereabouts of that document because of the lapse of many years and
because they left it in a certain place and it was already eaten by the termites; that after her wedding
with Sy Kiat, they lived immediately together as husband and wife, and from then on, they lived
together; that Sy Kiat went to the Philippines sometime in March or April in the same year they were
married; that she went to the Philippines in 1970, and then came back to China; that again she went

back to the Philippines and lived with Sy Mat as husband and wife; that she begot her children with Sy
Kiat during the several trips by Sy Kiat made back to China. [CFI decision, pp. 13-15; Rollo, pp. 50-52.]
Second, the testimony of Gan Ching, a younger brother of Yao Kee who stated that he was among the
many people who attended the wedding of his sister with Sy Kiat and that no marriage certificate is
issued by the Chinese government, a document signed by the parents or elders of the parties being
sufficient
[CFI
decision,
pp.
15-16;
Rollo,
pp.
52-53.]
Third, the statements made by Asuncion Gillego when she testified before the trial court to the effect
that (a) Sy Mat was married to Yao Kee according to Chinese custom; and, (b) Sy Kiat's admission to
her that he has a Chinese wife whom he married according to Chinese custom [CFI decision, p. 17;
Rollo, p. 54.]
Fourth, Sy Kiat's Master Card of Registered Alien issued in Caloocan City on October 3, 1972 where
the following entries are found: "Marital statusMarried"; "If married give name of spousesYao
Kee"; "Address-China; "Date of marriage1931"; and "Place of marriageChina" [Exhibit "SS-1".]
Fifth, Sy Kiat's Alien Certificate of Registration issued in Manila on January 12, 1968 where the
following entries are likewise found: "Civil statusMarried"; and, 'If married, state name and address
of spouseYao Kee Chingkang, China" [Exhibit "4".]
And lastly, the certification issued in Manila on October 28, 1977 by the Embassy of the People's
Republic of China to the effect that "according to the information available at the Embassy Mr. Sy Kiat
a Chinese national and Mrs. Yao Kee alias Yui Yip also Chinese were married on January 19, 1931 in
Fukien, the People's Republic of China" [Exhibit "5".]
These evidence may very well prove the fact of marriage between Yao Kee and Sy Kiat. However, the
same do not suffice to establish the validity of said marriage in accordance with Chinese law or
custom.
Custom is defined as "a rule of conduct formed by repetition of acts, uniformly observed (practiced) as
a social rule, legally binding and obligatory" [In the Matter of the Petition for Authority to Continue Use
of the Firm Name "Ozaeta, Romulo, de Leon, Mabanta and Reyes", July 30, 1979, SCRA 3, 12 citing
JBL Reyes & RC Puno, Outline of Phil. Civil Law, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1, p. 7.] The law requires that "a
custom must be proved as a fact, according to the rules of evidence" [Article 12, Civil Code.] On this
score the Court had occasion to state that "a local custom as a source of right can not be considered
by a court of justice unless such custom is properly established by competent evidence like any other
fact" [Patriarca v. Orate, 7 Phil. 390, 395 (1907).] The same evidence, if not one of a higher degree,
should be required of a foreign custom.
The law on foreign marriages is provided by Article 71 of the Civil Code which states that:
Art. 71. All marriages performed outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the
country where they were performed and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this country, except
bigamous, Polygamous, or incestuous marriages, as determined by Philippine law. (Emphasis
supplied.) ***
Construing this provision of law the Court has held that to establish a valid foreign marriage two things
must be proven, namely: (1) the existence of the foreign law as a question of fact; and (2) the alleged
foreign marriage by convincing evidence [Adong v. Cheong Seng Gee, 43 Phil. 43, 49 (1922).]
In proving a foreign law the procedure is provided in the Rules of Court. With respect to an unwritten
foreign law, Rule 130 section 45 states that:
SEC. 45. Unwritten law.The oral testimony of witnesses, skilled therein, is admissible as evidence of
the unwritten law of a foreign country, as are also printed and published books of reports of decisions
of the courts of the foreign country, if proved to be commonly admitted in such courts.
Proof of a written foreign law, on the other hand, is provided for under Rule 132 section 25, thus:
SEC. 25. Proof of public or official record.An official record or an entry therein, when admissible for
any purpose, may be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer
having the legal custody of the record, or by his deputy, and accompanied, if the record is not kept in
the Philippines, with a certificate that such officer has the custody. If the office in which the record is
kept is in a foreign country, the certificate may be made by a secretary of embassy or legation, consul
general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines
stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept and authenticated by the seal of his office.
The Court has interpreted section 25 to include competent evidence like the testimony of a witness to
prove the existence of a written foreign law [Collector of Internal Revenue v. Fisher 110 Phil. 686, 700701 (1961) citing Willamette Iron and Steel Works v. Muzzal, 61 Phil. 471 (1935).]

In the case at bar petitioners did not present any competent evidence relative to the law and custom of
China on marriage. The testimonies of Yao and Gan Ching cannot be considered as proof of China's
law
or
custom
on
marriage
not
only
because
they
are
self-serving evidence, but more importantly, there is no showing that they are competent to testify on
the subject matter. For failure to prove the foreign law or custom, and consequently, the validity of the
marriage in accordance with said law or custom, the marriage between Yao Kee and Sy Kiat cannot be
recognized in this jurisdiction.
Petitioners contend that contrary to the Court of Appeals' ruling they are not duty bound to prove the
Chinese law on marriage as judicial notice thereof had been taken by this Court in the case of Sy Joc
Lieng v. Sy Quia [16 Phil. 137 (1910).]
This contention is erroneous. Well-established in this jurisdiction is the principle that Philippine courts
cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. They must be alleged and proved as any other fact [Yam Ka
Lim v. Collector of Customs, 30 Phil. 46, 48 (1915); Fluemer v. Hix, 54 Phil. 610 (1930).]
Moreover a reading of said case would show that the party alleging the foreign marriage presented a
witness, one Li Ung Bieng, to prove that matrimonial letters mutually exchanged by the contracting
parties constitute the essential requisite for a marriage to be considered duly solemnized in China.
Based on his testimony, which as found by the Court is uniformly corroborated by authors on the
subject of Chinese marriage, what was left to be decided was the issue of whether or not the fact of
marriage in accordance with Chinese law was duly proven [Sy Joc Lieng v. Sy Quia, supra., at p. 160.]
Further, even assuming for the sake of argument that the Court has indeed taken judicial notice of the
law of China on marriage in the aforecited case, petitioners however have not shown any proof that
the Chinese law or custom obtaining at the time the Sy Joc Lieng marriage was celebrated in 1847
was still the law when the alleged marriage of Sy Kiat to Yao Kee took place in 1931 or eighty-four (84)
years later.
Petitioners moreover cite the case of U.S. v. Memoracion [34 Phil. 633 (1916)] as being applicable to
the instant case. They aver that the judicial pronouncement in the Memoracion case, that the
testimony of one of the contracting parties is competent evidence to show the fact of marriage, holds
true in this case.
The Memoracion case however is not applicable to the case at bar as said case did not concern a
foreign marriage and the issue posed was whether or not the oral testimony of a spouse is competent
evidence to prove the fact of marriage in a complaint for adultery.
Accordingly, in the absence of proof of the Chinese law on marriage, it should be presumed that it is
the same as ours *** [Wong Woo Yiu v. Vivo, G.R. No. L-21076, March 31, 1965, 13 SCRA 552, 555.]
Since Yao Kee admitted in her testimony that there was no solemnizing officer as is known here in the
Philippines [See Article 56, Civil Code] when her alleged marriage to Sy Mat was celebrated [CFI
decision, p. 14; Rollo, p. 51], it therefore follows that her marriage to Sy Kiat, even if true, cannot be
recognized in this jurisdiction [Wong Woo Yiu v. Vivo, supra., pp. 555-556.]
II. The second issue raised by petitioners concerns the status of private respondents.
Respondent court found the following evidence of petitioners' filiation:
(1) Sy Kiat's Master Card of Registered Alien where the following are entered: "Children if any: give
number of childrenFour"; and, "NameAll living in China" [Exhibit "SS-1";]
(2) the testimony of their mother Yao Kee who stated that she had five children with Sy Kiat, only three
of whom are alive namely, Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Chu and Sze Chin Yan [TSN, December 12, 1977,
pp. 9-11;] and,
(3) an affidavit executed on March 22,1961 by Sy Kiat for presentation to the Local Civil Registrar of
Manila to support Sze Sook Wah's application for a marriage license, wherein Sy Kiat expressly stated
that she is his daughter [Exhibit "3".]
Likewise on the record is the testimony of Asuncion Gillego that Sy Kiat told her he has three
daughters with his Chinese wife, two of whomSook Wah and Sze Kai Choshe knows, and one
adopted son [TSN, December 6,1977, pp. 87-88.]
However, as petitioners failed to establish the marriage of Yao Kee with Sy Mat according to the laws
of China, they cannot be accorded the status of legitimate children but only that of acknowledged
natural children. Petitioners are natural children, it appearing that at the time of their conception Yao
Kee and Sy Kiat were not disqualified by any impediment to marry one another [See Art. 269, Civil
Code.] And they are acknowledged children of the deceased because of Sy Kiat's recognition of Sze
Sook Wah [Exhibit "3"] and its extension to Sze Lai Cho and Sy Chun Yen who are her sisters of the
full blood [See Art. 271, Civil Code.]

Private respondents on the other hand are also the deceased's acknowledged natural children with
Asuncion Gillego, a Filipina with whom he lived for twenty-five (25) years without the benefit of
marriage. They have in their favor their father's acknowledgment, evidenced by a compromise
agreement entered into by and between their parents and approved by the Court of First Instance on
February 12, 1974 wherein Sy Kiat not only acknowleged them as his children by Asuncion Gillego but
likewise made provisions for their support and future inheritance, thus:
xxx xxx xxx
2. The parties also acknowledge that they are common-law husband and wife and that out of such
relationship, which they have likewise decided to definitely and finally terminate effective immediately,
they begot five children, namely: Aida Sy, born on May 30, 1950; Manuel Sy, born on July 1, 1953;
Teresita Sy, born on January 28, 1955; Ricardo Sy now deceased, born on December 14, 1956; and
Rodolfo Sy, born on May 7, 1958.
3. With respect to the AVENUE TRACTOR AND DIESEL PARTS SUPPLY ... , the parties mutually
agree and covenant that
(a) The stocks and merchandize and the furniture and equipments ..., shall be divided into two equal
shares
between,
and
distributed
to,
Sy
Kiat
who
shall
own
one-half of the total and the other half to Asuncion Gillego who shall transfer the same to their
children, namely, Aida Sy, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy, and Rodolfo Sy.
(b) the business name and premises ... shall be retained by Sy Kiat. However, it shall be his obligation
to give to the aforenamed children an amount of One Thousand Pesos ( Pl,000.00 ) monthly out of the
rental of the two doors of the same building now occupied by Everett Construction.
xxx xxx xxx
(5)
With
respect
to
the
acquisition,
during
the
existence
of
the
common-law husband-and-wife relationship between the parties, of the real estates and properties
registered and/or appearing in the name of Asuncion Gillego ... , the parties mutually agree and
covenant that the said real estates and properties shall be transferred in equal shares to their children,
namely, Aida Sy, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy, and Rodolfo Sy, but to be administered by Asuncion Gillego
during her lifetime ... [Exhibit "D".] (Emphasis supplied.)
xxx xxx xxx
This compromise agreement constitutes a statement before a court of record by which a child may be
voluntarily acknowledged [See Art. 278, Civil Code.]
Petitioners further argue that the questions on the validity of Sy Mat's marriage to Yao Kee and the
paternity and filiation of the parties should have been ventilated in the Juvenile and Domestic
Relations Court.
Specifically, petitioners rely on the following provision of Republic Act No. 5502, entitled "An Act
Revising Rep. Act No. 3278, otherwise known as the Charter of the City of Caloocan', with regard to
the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court:
SEC. 91-A. Creation and Jurisdiction of the Court.
xxx xxx xxx
The provisions of the Judiciary Act to the contrary notwithstanding, the court shall have exclusive
original jurisdiction to hear and decide the following cases:
xxx xxx xxx
(2) Cases involving custody, guardianship, adoption, revocation of adoption, paternity and
acknowledgment;
(3) Annulment of marriages, relief from marital obligations, legal separation of spouses, and actions for
support;
(4) Proceedings brought under the provisions of title six and title seven, chapters one to three of the
civil code;
xxx xxx xxx
and the ruling in the case of Bartolome v. Bartolome [G.R. No. L-23661, 21 SCRA 1324] reiterated in
Divinagracia v. Rovira [G.R. No. L-42615, 72 SCRA 307.]
With the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as the Judiciary Reorganization
Act of 1980, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts were abolished. Their functions and
jurisdiction are now vested with the Regional Trial Courts [See Section 19 (7), B.P. Blg. 129 and
Divinagracia v. Belosillo, G.R. No. L-47407, August 12, 1986, 143 SCRA 356, 360] hence it is no
longer necessary to pass upon the issue of jurisdiction raised by petitioners.
Moreover, even without the exactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 we find in Rep. Act No. 5502 sec.
91-A last paragraph that:

xxx xxx xxx


If any question involving any of the above matters should arise as an incident in any case pending in
the ordinary court, said incident shall be determined in the main case.
xxx xxx xxx
As held in the case of Divinagracia v. Rovira [G.R. No. L42615. August 10, 1976, 72 SCRA 307]:
xxx xxx xxx
It is true that under the aforequoted section 1 of Republic Act No. 4834 **** a case involving paternity
and acknowledgment may be ventilated as an incident in the intestate or testate proceeding (See
Baluyot vs. Ines Luciano, L-42215, July 13, 1976). But that legal provision presupposes that such an
administration proceeding is pending or existing and has not been terminated. [at pp. 313-314.]
(Emphasis supplied.)
xxx xxx xxx
The reason for ths rule is not only "to obviate the rendition of conflicting rulings on the same issue by
the Court of First Instance and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court" [Vda. de Baluyut v.
Luciano, G.R. No. L-42215, July 13, 1976, 72 SCRA 52, 63] but more importantly to prevent multiplicity
of suits. Accordingly, this Court finds no reversible error committed by respondent court.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-29131


August 27, 1969
NATIONAL
MARKETING
CORPORATION,
plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
MIGUEL
D.
TECSON,
ET
AL.,
defendants,
MIGUEL
D.
TECSON,
defendant-appellee,
THE INSURANCE COMMISSIONER, petitioner.
Government Corporate Counsel Leopoldo M. Abellera and Trial Atty. Antonio M. Brillantes for plaintiffappellant.
Antonio
T.
Lacdan
for
defendant-appellee.
Office of the Solicitor General for petitioner.
CONCEPCION, C.J.:
This appeal has been certified to us by the Court of Appeals only one question of law being involved
therein.
On November 14, 1955, the Court of First Instance of Manila rendered judgment, in Civil Case No.
20520 thereof, entitled "Price Stabilization Corporation vs. Miguel D. Tecson and Alto Surety and
Insurance Co., Inc.," the dispositive part of which reads as follows:
For the foregoing consideration, the Court decides this case:
(a) Ordering the defendants Miguel D. Tecson and Alto Surety Insurance Co., Inc. to pay jointly and
severally plaintiff PRATRA the sum of P7,200.00 plus 7% interest from May 25, 1960 until the amount
is fully paid, plus P500.00 for attorney's fees, and plus costs;
(b) ordering defendant Miguel D. Tecson to indemnify his co-defendant Alto Surety & Insurance Co.,
Inc. on the cross-claim for all the amounts it would be made to pay in this decision, in case defendant
Alto Surety & Insurance Co., Inc. pay the amount adjudged to plaintiff in this decision. From the date of
such payment defendant Miguel D. Tecson would pay the Alto Surety & Insurance Co., Inc., interest at
12% per annum until Miguel D. Tecson has fully reimbursed plaintiff of the said amount.
Copy of this decision was, on November 21, 1955, served upon the defendants in said case. On
December 21, 1965, the National Marketing Corporation, as successor to all the properties, assets,
rights, and choses in action of the Price Stabilization Corporation, as plaintiff in that case and judgment
creditor therein, filed, with the same court, a complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 63701 thereof,
against the same defendants, for the revival of the judgment rendered in said Case No. 20520.
Defendant Miguel D. Tecson moved to dismiss said complaint, upon the ground of lack of jurisdiction
over the subject matter thereof and prescription of action. Acting upon the motion and plaintiff's
opposition thereto, said Court issued, on February 14, 1966, an order reading:
Defendant Miguel Tecson seeks the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction and
prescription. As for lack of jurisdiction, as the amount involved is less than P10,000 as actually these
proceedings are a revival of a decision issued by this same court, the matter of jurisdiction must be
admitted. But as for prescription. Plaintiffs admit the decision of this Court became final on December
21, 1955. This case was filed exactly on December 21, 1965 but more than ten years have passed

a year is a period of 365 days (Art. 13, CCP). Plaintiff forgot that 1960, 1964 were both leap years so
that when this present case was filed it was filed two days too late.
The complaint insofar as Miguel Tecson is concerned is, therefore, dismissed as having
prescribed.1wph1.t
The National Marketing Corporation appealed from such order to the Court of Appeals, which, on
March 20, 1969t certified the case to this Court, upon the ground that the only question therein raised
is one of law, namely, whether or not the present action for the revival of a judgment is barred by the
statute of limitations.
Pursuant to Art. 1144(3) of our Civil Code, an action upon a judgment "must be brought within ten
years from the time the right of action accrues," which, in the language of Art. 1152 of the same Code,
"commences from the time the judgment sought to be revived has become final." This, in turn, took
place on December 21, 1955, or thirty (30) days from notice of the judgment which was received by
the defendants herein on November 21, 1955 no appeal having been taken therefrom. 1 The issue
is thus confined to the date on which ten (10) years from December 21, 1955 expired.
Plaintiff-appellant alleges that it was December 21, 1965, but appellee Tecson maintains otherwise,
because "when the laws speak of years ... it shall be understood that years are of three hundred sixtyfive days each" according to Art. 13 of our Civil Code and, 1960 and 1964 being leap years, the
month of February in both had 29 days, so that ten (10) years of 365 days each, or an aggregate of
3,650 days, from December 21, 1955, expired on December 19, 1965. The lower court accepted this
view in its appealed order of dismissal.
Plaintiff-appellant insists that the same "is erroneous, because a year means a calendar year
(Statutory Construction, Interpretation of Laws, by Crawford, p. 383) and since what is being computed
here is the number of years, a calendar year should be used as the basis of computation. There is no
question that when it is not a leap year, December 21 to December 21 of the following year is one
year. If the extra day in a leap year is not a day of the year, because it is the 366th day, then to what
year does it belong? Certainly, it must belong to the year where it falls and, therefore, that the 366
days constitute one year." 2
The very conclusion thus reached by appellant shows that its theory contravenes the explicit provision
of Art. 13 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, limiting the connotation of each "year" as the term is
used in our laws to 365 days. Indeed, prior to the approval of the Civil Code of Spain, the Supreme
Court thereof had held, on March 30, 1887, that, when the law spoke of months, it meant a "natural"
month or "solar" month, in the absence of express provision to the contrary. Such provision was
incorporated into the Civil Code of Spain, subsequently promulgated. Hence, the same Supreme Court
declared 3 that, pursuant to Art. 7 of said Code, "whenever months ... are referred to in the law, it shall
be understood that the months are of 30 days," not the "natural," or "solar" or "calendar" months,
unless they are "designated by name," in which case "they shall be computed by the actual number of
days they have. This concept was later, modified in the Philippines, by Section 13 of the Revised
Administrative Code, Pursuant to which, "month shall be understood to refer to a calendar month." 4 In
the language of this Court, in People vs. Del Rosario, 5 with the approval of the Civil Code of the
Philippines (Republic Act 386) ... we have reverted to the provisions of the Spanish Civil Code in
accordance with which a month is to be considered as the regular 30-day month ... and not the solar or
civil month," with the particularity that, whereas the Spanish Code merely mentioned "months, days or
nights," ours has added thereto the term "years" and explicitly ordains that "it shall be understood that
years are of three hundred sixty-five days."
Although some members of the Court are inclined to think that this legislation is not realistic, for failure
to conform with ordinary experience or practice, the theory of plaintiff-appellant herein cannot be
upheld without ignoring, if not nullifying, Art. 13 of our Civil Code, and reviving Section 13 of the
Revised Administrative Code, thereby engaging in judicial legislation, and, in effect, repealing an act of
Congress. If public interest demands a reversion to the policy embodied in the Revised Administrative
Code, this may be done through legislative process, not by judicial decree.
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from should be as it is hereby affirmed, without costs. It is so
ordered.

G.R. No. L-23678


June 6, 1967
TESTATE
ESTATE
OF
PEOPLE'S
BANK
and
MARIA CRISTINA BELLIS and

AMOS
G.
BELLIS,
deceased.
TRUST
COMPANY,
executor.
MIRIAM PALMA BELLIS, oppositors-appellants,

vs.
EDWARD A. BELLIS, ET AL., heirs-appellees.
Vicente
R.
Macasaet
and
Jose
D.
Villena
for
oppositors
appellants.
Paredes, Poblador, Cruz and Nazareno for heirs-appellees E. A. Bellis, et al.
Quijano
and
Arroyo
for
heirs-appellees
W.
S.
Bellis,
et
al.
J.
R.
Balonkita
for
appellee
People's
Bank
&
Trust
Company.
Ozaeta, Gibbs and Ozaeta for appellee A. B. Allsman.
BENGZON, J.P., J.:
This is a direct appeal to Us, upon a question purely of law, from an order of the Court of First Instance
of Manila dated April 30, 1964, approving the project of partition filed by the executor in Civil Case No.
37089 therein.1wph1.t
The facts of the case are as follows:
Amos G. Bellis, born in Texas, was "a citizen of the State of Texas and of the United States." By his
first wife, Mary E. Mallen, whom he divorced, he had five legitimate children: Edward A. Bellis, George
Bellis (who pre-deceased him in infancy), Henry A. Bellis, Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman; by
his second wife, Violet Kennedy, who survived him, he had three legitimate children: Edwin G. Bellis,
Walter S. Bellis and Dorothy Bellis; and finally, he had three illegitimate children: Amos Bellis, Jr.,
Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis.
On August 5, 1952, Amos G. Bellis executed a will in the Philippines, in which he directed that after all
taxes, obligations, and expenses of administration are paid for, his distributable estate should be
divided, in trust, in the following order and manner: (a) $240,000.00 to his first wife, Mary E. Mallen; (b)
P120,000.00 to his three illegitimate children, Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis, Miriam Palma
Bellis, or P40,000.00 each and (c) after the foregoing two items have been satisfied, the remainder
shall go to his seven surviving children by his first and second wives, namely: Edward A. Bellis, Henry
A. Bellis, Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman, Edwin G. Bellis, Walter S. Bellis, and Dorothy E.
Bellis, in equal shares.1wph1.t
Subsequently, or on July 8, 1958, Amos G. Bellis died a resident of San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. His will
was admitted to probate in the Court of First Instance of Manila on September 15, 1958.
The People's Bank and Trust Company, as executor of the will, paid all the bequests therein including
the amount of $240,000.00 in the form of shares of stock to Mary E. Mallen and to the three (3)
illegitimate children, Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis, various amounts
totalling P40,000.00 each in satisfaction of their respective legacies, or a total of P120,000.00, which it
released from time to time according as the lower court approved and allowed the various motions or
petitions filed by the latter three requesting partial advances on account of their respective legacies.
On January 8, 1964, preparatory to closing its administration, the executor submitted and filed its
"Executor's Final Account, Report of Administration and Project of Partition" wherein it reported, inter
alia, the satisfaction of the legacy of Mary E. Mallen by the delivery to her of shares of stock amounting
to $240,000.00, and the legacies of Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis in
the amount of P40,000.00 each or a total of P120,000.00. In the project of partition, the executor
pursuant to the "Twelfth" clause of the testator's Last Will and Testament divided the residuary
estate into seven equal portions for the benefit of the testator's seven legitimate children by his first
and second marriages.
On January 17, 1964, Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis filed their respective oppositions to
the project of partition on the ground that they were deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate children
and, therefore, compulsory heirs of the deceased.
Amos Bellis, Jr. interposed no opposition despite notice to him, proof of service of which is evidenced
by the registry receipt submitted on April 27, 1964 by the executor.1
After the parties filed their respective memoranda and other pertinent pleadings, the lower court, on
April 30, 1964, issued an order overruling the oppositions and approving the executor's final account,
report and administration and project of partition. Relying upon Art. 16 of the Civil Code, it applied the
national law of the decedent, which in this case is Texas law, which did not provide for legitimes.
Their respective motions for reconsideration having been denied by the lower court on June 11, 1964,
oppositors-appellants appealed to this Court to raise the issue of which law must apply Texas law or
Philippine law.
In this regard, the parties do not submit the case on, nor even discuss, the doctrine of renvoi, applied
by this Court in Aznar v. Christensen Garcia, L-16749, January 31, 1963. Said doctrine is usually
pertinent where the decedent is a national of one country, and a domicile of another. In the present
case, it is not disputed that the decedent was both a national of Texas and a domicile thereof at the

time of his death.2 So that even assuming Texas has a conflict of law rule providing that the domiciliary
system (law of the domicile) should govern, the same would not result in a reference back (renvoi) to
Philippine law, but would still refer to Texas law. Nonetheless, if Texas has a conflicts rule adopting the
situs theory (lex rei sitae) calling for the application of the law of the place where the properties are
situated, renvoi would arise, since the properties here involved are found in the Philippines. In the
absence, however, of proof as to the conflict of law rule of Texas, it should not be presumed different
from ours.3 Appellants' position is therefore not rested on the doctrine of renvoi. As stated, they never
invoked nor even mentioned it in their arguments. Rather, they argue that their case falls under the
circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Article 17 in relation to Article 16 of the Civil Code.
Article 16, par. 2, and Art. 1039 of the Civil Code, render applicable the national law of the decedent, in
intestate or testamentary successions, with regard to four items: (a) the order of succession; (b) the
amount of successional rights; (e) the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will; and (d) the capacity
to succeed. They provide that
ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is
situated.
However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the order of succession and to
the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be
regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may
he the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found.
ART. 1039. Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation of the decedent.
Appellants would however counter that Art. 17, paragraph three, of the Civil Code, stating that
Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those which have for their object public
order, public policy and good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or judgments
promulgated, or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country.
prevails as the exception to Art. 16, par. 2 of the Civil Code afore-quoted. This is not correct. Precisely,
Congress deleted the phrase, "notwithstanding the provisions of this and the next preceding article"
when they incorporated Art. 11 of the old Civil Code as Art. 17 of the new Civil Code, while reproducing
without substantial change the second paragraph of Art. 10 of the old Civil Code as Art. 16 in the new.
It must have been their purpose to make the second paragraph of Art. 16 a specific provision in itself
which must be applied in testate and intestate succession. As further indication of this legislative intent,
Congress added a new provision, under Art. 1039, which decrees that capacity to succeed is to be
governed by the national law of the decedent.
It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in our System of
legitimes, Congress has not intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. For it
has specifically chosen to leave, inter alia, the amount of successional rights, to the decedent's
national law. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones.
Appellants would also point out that the decedent executed two wills one to govern his Texas estate
and the other his Philippine estate arguing from this that he intended Philippine law to govern his
Philippine estate. Assuming that such was the decedent's intention in executing a separate Philippine
will, it would not alter the law, for as this Court ruled in Miciano v. Brimo, 50 Phil. 867, 870, a provision
in a foreigner's will to the effect that his properties shall be distributed in accordance with Philippine
law and not with his national law, is illegal and void, for his national law cannot be ignored in regard to
those matters that Article 10 now Article 16 of the Civil Code states said national law should
govern.
The parties admit that the decedent, Amos G. Bellis, was a citizen of the State of Texas, U.S.A., and
that under the laws of Texas, there are no forced heirs or legitimes. Accordingly, since the intrinsic
validity of the provision of the will and the amount of successional rights are to be determined under
Texas law, the Philippine law on legitimes cannot be applied to the testacy of Amos G. Bellis.
Wherefore, the order of the probate court is hereby affirmed in toto, with costs against appellants. So
ordered.

G.R. No. L-16749


January 31, 1963
IN THE MATTER OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN, DECEASED.
ADOLFO C. AZNAR, Executor and LUCY CHRISTENSEN, Heir of the deceased, Executor and
Heir-appellees,
vs.
HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA, oppositor-appellant.

M.
R.
Sotelo
for
executor
and
heir-appellees.
Leopoldo M. Abellera and Jovito Salonga for oppositor-appellant.
LABRADOR, J.:
This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Davao, Hon. Vicente N. Cusi, Jr.,
presiding, in Special Proceeding No. 622 of said court, dated September 14, 1949, approving among
things the final accounts of the executor, directing the executor to reimburse Maria Lucy Christensen
the amount of P3,600 paid by her to Helen Christensen Garcia as her legacy, and declaring Maria
Lucy Christensen entitled to the residue of the property to be enjoyed during her lifetime, and in case
of death without issue, one-half of said residue to be payable to Mrs. Carrie Louise C. Borton, etc., in
accordance with the provisions of the will of the testator Edward E. Christensen. The will was executed
in Manila on March 5, 1951 and contains the following provisions:
3. I declare ... that I have but ONE (1) child, named MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN (now Mrs. Bernard
Daney), who was born in the Philippines about twenty-eight years ago, and who is now residing at No.
665 Rodger Young Village, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
4. I further declare that I now have no living ascendants, and no descendants except my above named
daughter, MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN DANEY.
xxx
xxx
xxx
7. I give, devise and bequeath unto MARIA HELEN CHRISTENSEN, now married to Eduardo Garcia,
about eighteen years of age and who, notwithstanding the fact that she was baptized Christensen, is
not in any way related to me, nor has she been at any time adopted by me, and who, from all
information I have now resides in Egpit, Digos, Davao, Philippines, the sum of THREE THOUSAND
SIX HUNDRED PESOS (P3,600.00), Philippine Currency the same to be deposited in trust for the said
Maria Helen Christensen with the Davao Branch of the Philippine National Bank, and paid to her at the
rate of One Hundred Pesos (P100.00), Philippine Currency per month until the principal thereof as well
as any interest which may have accrued thereon, is exhausted..
xxx
xxx
xxx
12. I hereby give, devise and bequeath, unto my well-beloved daughter, the said MARIA LUCY
CHRISTENSEN DANEY (Mrs. Bernard Daney), now residing as aforesaid at No. 665 Rodger Young
Village, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., all the income from the rest, remainder, and residue of my
property and estate, real, personal and/or mixed, of whatsoever kind or character, and wheresoever
situated, of which I may be possessed at my death and which may have come to me from any source
whatsoever, during her lifetime: ....
It is in accordance with the above-quoted provisions that the executor in his final account and project
of partition ratified the payment of only P3,600 to Helen Christensen Garcia and proposed that the
residue of the estate be transferred to his daughter, Maria Lucy Christensen.
Opposition to the approval of the project of partition was filed by Helen Christensen Garcia, insofar as
it deprives her (Helen) of her legitime as an acknowledged natural child, she having been declared by
Us in G.R. Nos. L-11483-84 an acknowledged natural child of the deceased Edward E. Christensen.
The legal grounds of opposition are (a) that the distribution should be governed by the laws of the
Philippines, and (b) that said order of distribution is contrary thereto insofar as it denies to Helen
Christensen, one of two acknowledged natural children, one-half of the estate in full ownership. In
amplification of the above grounds it was alleged that the law that should govern the estate of the
deceased Christensen should not be the internal law of California alone, but the entire law thereof
because several foreign elements are involved, that the forum is the Philippines and even if the case
were decided in California, Section 946 of the California Civil Code, which requires that the domicile of
the decedent should apply, should be applicable. It was also alleged that Maria Helen Christensen
having been declared an acknowledged natural child of the decedent, she is deemed for all purposes
legitimate from the time of her birth.
The court below ruled that as Edward E. Christensen was a citizen of the United States and of the
State of California at the time of his death, the successional rights and intrinsic validity of the
provisions in his will are to be governed by the law of California, in accordance with which a testator
has the right to dispose of his property in the way he desires, because the right of absolute dominion
over his property is sacred and inviolable (In re McDaniel's Estate, 77 Cal. Appl. 2d 877, 176 P. 2d
952, and In re Kaufman, 117 Cal. 286, 49 Pac. 192, cited in page 179, Record on Appeal). Oppositor
Maria Helen Christensen, through counsel, filed various motions for reconsideration, but these were
denied. Hence, this appeal.
The most important assignments of error are as follows:
I

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN IGNORING THE DECISION OF THE HONORABLE SUPREME
COURT THAT HELEN IS THE ACKNOWLEDGED NATURAL CHILD OF EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN
AND, CONSEQUENTLY, IN DEPRIVING HER OF HER JUST SHARE IN THE INHERITANCE.
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ENTIRELY IGNORING AND/OR FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THE
EXISTENCE OF SEVERAL FACTORS, ELEMENTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES CALLING FOR THE
APPLICATION OF INTERNAL LAW.
III
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THAT UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW,
PARTICULARLY UNDER THE RENVOI DOCTRINE, THE INTRINSIC VALIDITY OF THE
TESTAMENTARY DISPOSITION OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED
EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN SHOULD BE GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE PHILIPPINES.
IV
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT THE SCHEDULE OF DISTRIBUTION
SUBMITTED BY THE EXECUTOR IS CONTRARY TO THE PHILIPPINE LAWS.
V
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT UNDER THE PHILIPPINE LAWS HELEN
CHRISTENSEN GARCIA IS ENTITLED TO ONE-HALF (1/2) OF THE ESTATE IN FULL OWNERSHIP.
There is no question that Edward E. Christensen was a citizen of the United States and of the State of
California at the time of his death. But there is also no question that at the time of his death he was
domiciled in the Philippines, as witness the following facts admitted by the executor himself in
appellee's brief:
In the proceedings for admission of the will to probate, the facts of record show that the deceased
Edward E. Christensen was born on November 29, 1875 in New York City, N.Y., U.S.A.; his first arrival
in the Philippines, as an appointed school teacher, was on July 1, 1901, on board the U.S. Army
Transport "Sheridan" with Port of Embarkation as the City of San Francisco, in the State of California,
U.S.A. He stayed in the Philippines until 1904.
In December, 1904, Mr. Christensen returned to the United States and stayed there for the following
nine years until 1913, during which time he resided in, and was teaching school in Sacramento,
California.
Mr. Christensen's next arrival in the Philippines was in July of the year 1913. However, in 1928, he
again departed the Philippines for the United States and came back here the following year, 1929.
Some nine years later, in 1938, he again returned to his own country, and came back to the Philippines
the following year, 1939.
Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted and
approved by this Honorable Court, without prejudice to the parties adducing other evidence to prove
their case not covered by this stipulation of facts. 1wph1.t
Being an American citizen, Mr. Christensen was interned by the Japanese Military Forces in the
Philippines during World War II. Upon liberation, in April 1945, he left for the United States but returned
to the Philippines in December, 1945. Appellees Collective Exhibits "6", CFI Davao, Sp. Proc. 622, as
Exhibits "AA", "BB" and "CC-Daney"; Exhs. "MM", "MM-l", "MM-2-Daney" and p. 473, t.s.n., July 21,
1953.)
In April, 1951, Edward E. Christensen returned once more to California shortly after the making of his
last will and testament (now in question herein) which he executed at his lawyers' offices in Manila on
March 5, 1951. He died at the St. Luke's Hospital in the City of Manila on April 30, 1953. (pp. 2-3)
In arriving at the conclusion that the domicile of the deceased is the Philippines, we are persuaded by
the fact that he was born in New York, migrated to California and resided there for nine years, and
since he came to the Philippines in 1913 he returned to California very rarely and only for short visits
(perhaps to relatives), and considering that he appears never to have owned or acquired a home or
properties in that state, which would indicate that he would ultimately abandon the Philippines and
make home in the State of California.
Sec. 16. Residence is a term used with many shades of meaning from mere temporary presence to
the most permanent abode. Generally, however, it is used to denote something more than mere
physical presence. (Goodrich on Conflict of Laws, p. 29)
As to his citizenship, however, We find that the citizenship that he acquired in California when he
resided in Sacramento, California from 1904 to 1913, was never lost by his stay in the Philippines, for
the latter was a territory of the United States (not a state) until 1946 and the deceased appears to have
considered himself as a citizen of California by the fact that when he executed his will in 1951 he

declared that he was a citizen of that State; so that he appears never to have intended to abandon his
California citizenship by acquiring another. This conclusion is in accordance with the following principle
expounded by Goodrich in his Conflict of Laws.
The terms "'residence" and "domicile" might well be taken to mean the same thing, a place of
permanent abode. But domicile, as has been shown, has acquired a technical meaning. Thus one may
be domiciled in a place where he has never been. And he may reside in a place where he has no
domicile. The man with two homes, between which he divides his time, certainly resides in each one,
while living in it. But if he went on business which would require his presence for several weeks or
months, he might properly be said to have sufficient connection with the place to be called a resident.
It is clear, however, that, if he treated his settlement as continuing only for the particular business in
hand, not giving up his former "home," he could not be a domiciled New Yorker. Acquisition of a
domicile of choice requires the exercise of intention as well as physical presence. "Residence simply
requires bodily presence of an inhabitant in a given place, while domicile requires bodily presence in
that place and also an intention to make it one's domicile." Residence, however, is a term used with
many shades of meaning, from the merest temporary presence to the most permanent abode, and it is
not safe to insist that any one use et the only proper one. (Goodrich, p. 29)
The law that governs the validity of his testamentary dispositions is defined in Article 16 of the Civil
Code of the Philippines, which is as follows:
ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is
situated.
However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the order of succession and to
the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be
regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may
be the nature of the property and regardless of the country where said property may be found.
The application of this article in the case at bar requires the determination of the meaning of the term
"national law" is used therein.
There is no single American law governing the validity of testamentary provisions in the United States,
each state of the Union having its own private law applicable to its citizens only and in force only within
the state. The "national law" indicated in Article 16 of the Civil Code above quoted can not, therefore,
possibly mean or apply to any general American law. So it can refer to no other than the private law of
the State of California.
The next question is: What is the law in California governing the disposition of personal property? The
decision of the court below, sustains the contention of the executor-appellee that under the California
Probate Code, a testator may dispose of his property by will in the form and manner he desires, citing
the case of Estate of McDaniel, 77 Cal. Appl. 2d 877, 176 P. 2d 952. But appellant invokes the
provisions of Article 946 of the Civil Code of California, which is as follows:
If there is no law to the contrary, in the place where personal property is situated, it is deemed to follow
the person of its owner, and is governed by the law of his domicile.
The existence of this provision is alleged in appellant's opposition and is not denied. We have checked
it in the California Civil Code and it is there. Appellee, on the other hand, relies on the case cited in the
decision and testified to by a witness. (Only the case of Kaufman is correctly cited.) It is argued on
executor's behalf that as the deceased Christensen was a citizen of the State of California, the internal
law thereof, which is that given in the abovecited case, should govern the determination of the validity
of the testamentary provisions of Christensen's will, such law being in force in the State of California of
which Christensen was a citizen. Appellant, on the other hand, insists that Article 946 should be
applicable, and in accordance therewith and following the doctrine of the renvoi, the question of the
validity of the testamentary provision in question should be referred back to the law of the decedent's
domicile, which is the Philippines.
The theory of doctrine of renvoi has been defined by various authors, thus:
The problem has been stated in this way: "When the Conflict of Laws rule of the forum refers a jural
matter to a foreign law for decision, is the reference to the purely internal rules of law of the foreign
system; i.e., to the totality of the foreign law minus its Conflict of Laws rules?"
On logic, the solution is not an easy one. The Michigan court chose to accept the renvoi, that is,
applied the Conflict of Laws rule of Illinois which referred the matter back to Michigan law. But once
having determined the the Conflict of Laws principle is the rule looked to, it is difficult to see why the
reference back should not have been to Michigan Conflict of Laws. This would have resulted in the
"endless chain of references" which has so often been criticized be legal writers. The opponents of the
renvoi would have looked merely to the internal law of Illinois, thus rejecting the renvoi or the reference

back. Yet there seems no compelling logical reason why the original reference should be the internal
law rather than to the Conflict of Laws rule. It is true that such a solution avoids going on a merry-goround, but those who have accepted the renvoi theory avoid this inextricabilis circulas by getting off at
the second reference and at that point applying internal law. Perhaps the opponents of the renvoi are a
bit more consistent for they look always to internal law as the rule of reference.
Strangely enough, both the advocates for and the objectors to the renvoi plead that greater uniformity
will result from adoption of their respective views. And still more strange is the fact that the only way to
achieve uniformity in this choice-of-law problem is if in the dispute the two states whose laws form the
legal basis of the litigation disagree as to whether the renvoi should be accepted. If both reject, or both
accept the doctrine, the result of the litigation will vary with the choice of the forum. In the case stated
above, had the Michigan court rejected the renvoi, judgment would have been against the woman; if
the suit had been brought in the Illinois courts, and they too rejected the renvoi, judgment would be for
the woman. The same result would happen, though the courts would switch with respect to which
would hold liability, if both courts accepted the renvoi.
The Restatement accepts the renvoi theory in two instances: where the title to land is in question, and
where the validity of a decree of divorce is challenged. In these cases the Conflict of Laws rule of the
situs of the land, or the domicile of the parties in the divorce case, is applied by the forum, but any
further reference goes only to the internal law. Thus, a person's title to land, recognized by the situs,
will be recognized by every court; and every divorce, valid by the domicile of the parties, will be valid
everywhere. (Goodrich, Conflict of Laws, Sec. 7, pp. 13-14.)
X, a citizen of Massachusetts, dies intestate, domiciled in France, leaving movable property in
Massachusetts, England, and France. The question arises as to how this property is to be distributed
among X's next of kin.
Assume (1) that this question arises in a Massachusetts court. There the rule of the conflict of laws as
to intestate succession to movables calls for an application of the law of the deceased's last domicile.
Since by hypothesis X's last domicile was France, the natural thing for the Massachusetts court to do
would be to turn to French statute of distributions, or whatever corresponds thereto in French law, and
decree a distribution accordingly. An examination of French law, however, would show that if a French
court were called upon to determine how this property should be distributed, it would refer the
distribution to the national law of the deceased, thus applying the Massachusetts statute of
distributions. So on the surface of things the Massachusetts court has open to it alternative course of
action: (a) either to apply the French law is to intestate succession, or (b) to resolve itself into a French
court and apply the Massachusetts statute of distributions, on the assumption that this is what a
French court would do. If it accepts the so-called renvoi doctrine, it will follow the latter course, thus
applying its own law.
This is one type of renvoi. A jural matter is presented which the conflict-of-laws rule of the forum refers
to a foreign law, the conflict-of-laws rule of which, in turn, refers the matter back again to the law of the
forum. This is renvoi in the narrower sense. The German term for this judicial process is
'Ruckverweisung.'" (Harvard Law Review, Vol. 31, pp. 523-571.)
After a decision has been arrived at that a foreign law is to be resorted to as governing a particular
case, the further question may arise: Are the rules as to the conflict of laws contained in such foreign
law also to be resorted to? This is a question which, while it has been considered by the courts in but a
few instances, has been the subject of frequent discussion by textwriters and essayists; and the
doctrine involved has been descriptively designated by them as the "Renvoyer" to send back, or the
"Ruchversweisung", or the "Weiterverweisung", since an affirmative answer to the question postulated
and the operation of the adoption of the foreign law in toto would in many cases result in returning the
main controversy to be decided according to the law of the forum. ... (16 C.J.S. 872.)
Another theory, known as the "doctrine of renvoi", has been advanced. The theory of the doctrine of
renvoi is that the court of the forum, in determining the question before it, must take into account the
whole law of the other jurisdiction, but also its rules as to conflict of laws, and then apply the law to the
actual question which the rules of the other jurisdiction prescribe. This may be the law of the forum.
The doctrine of the renvoi has generally been repudiated by the American authorities. (2 Am. Jur. 296)
The scope of the theory of renvoi has also been defined and the reasons for its application in a country
explained by Prof. Lorenzen in an article in the Yale Law Journal, Vol. 27, 1917-1918, pp. 529-531.
The pertinent parts of the article are quoted herein below:
The recognition of the renvoi theory implies that the rules of the conflict of laws are to be understood
as incorporating not only the ordinary or internal law of the foreign state or country, but its rules of the
conflict of laws as well. According to this theory 'the law of a country' means the whole of its law.

xxx
xxx
xxx
Von Bar presented his views at the meeting of the Institute of International Law, at Neuchatel, in 1900,
in the form of the following theses:
(1) Every court shall observe the law of its country as regards the application of foreign laws.
(2) Provided that no express provision to the contrary exists, the court shall respect:
(a) The provisions of a foreign law which disclaims the right to bind its nationals abroad as regards
their personal statute, and desires that said personal statute shall be determined by the law of the
domicile, or even by the law of the place where the act in question occurred.
(b) The decision of two or more foreign systems of law, provided it be certain that one of them is
necessarily competent, which agree in attributing the determination of a question to the same system
of law.
xxx
xxx
xxx
If, for example, the English law directs its judge to distribute the personal estate of an Englishman who
has died domiciled in Belgium in accordance with the law of his domicile, he must first inquire whether
the law of Belgium would distribute personal property upon death in accordance with the law of
domicile, and if he finds that the Belgian law would make the distribution in accordance with the law of
nationality that is the English law he must accept this reference back to his own law.
We note that Article 946 of the California Civil Code is its conflict of laws rule, while the rule applied in
In re Kaufman, Supra, its internal law. If the law on succession and the conflict of laws rules of
California are to be enforced jointly, each in its own intended and appropriate sphere, the principle
cited In re Kaufman should apply to citizens living in the State, but Article 946 should apply to such of
its citizens as are not domiciled in California but in other jurisdictions. The rule laid down of resorting to
the law of the domicile in the determination of matters with foreign element involved is in accord with
the general principle of American law that the domiciliary law should govern in most matters or rights
which follow the person of the owner.
When a man dies leaving personal property in one or more states, and leaves a will directing the
manner of distribution of the property, the law of the state where he was domiciled at the time of his
death will be looked to in deciding legal questions about the will, almost as completely as the law of
situs is consulted in questions about the devise of land. It is logical that, since the domiciliary rules
control devolution of the personal estate in case of intestate succession, the same rules should
determine the validity of an attempted testamentary dispostion of the property. Here, also, it is not that
the domiciliary has effect beyond the borders of the domiciliary state. The rules of the domicile are
recognized as controlling by the Conflict of Laws rules at the situs property, and the reason for the
recognition as in the case of intestate succession, is the general convenience of the doctrine. The New
York court has said on the point: 'The general principle that a dispostiton of a personal property, valid
at the domicile of the owner, is valid anywhere, is one of the universal application. It had its origin in
that international comity which was one of the first fruits of civilization, and it this age, when business
intercourse and the process of accumulating property take but little notice of boundary lines, the
practical wisdom and justice of the rule is more apparent than ever. (Goodrich, Conflict of Laws, Sec.
164, pp. 442-443.)
Appellees argue that what Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines pointed out as the national law
is the internal law of California. But as above explained the laws of California have prescribed two sets
of laws for its citizens, one for residents therein and another for those domiciled in other jurisdictions.
Reason demands that We should enforce the California internal law prescribed for its citizens residing
therein, and enforce the conflict of laws rules for the citizens domiciled abroad. If we must enforce the
law of California as in comity we are bound to go, as so declared in Article 16 of our Civil Code, then
we must enforce the law of California in accordance with the express mandate thereof and as above
explained, i.e., apply the internal law for residents therein, and its conflict-of-laws rule for those
domiciled abroad.
It is argued on appellees' behalf that the clause "if there is no law to the contrary in the place where
the property is situated" in Sec. 946 of the California Civil Code refers to Article 16 of the Civil Code of
the Philippines and that the law to the contrary in the Philippines is the provision in said Article 16 that
the national law of the deceased should govern. This contention can not be sustained. As explained in
the various authorities cited above the national law mentioned in Article 16 of our Civil Code is the law
on conflict of laws in the California Civil Code, i.e., Article 946, which authorizes the reference or return
of the question to the law of the testator's domicile. The conflict of laws rule in California, Article 946,
Civil Code, precisely refers back the case, when a decedent is not domiciled in California, to the law of
his domicile, the Philippines in the case at bar. The court of the domicile can not and should not refer

the case back to California; such action would leave the issue incapable of determination because the
case will then be like a football, tossed back and forth between the two states, between the country of
which the decedent was a citizen and the country of his domicile. The Philippine court must apply its
own law as directed in the conflict of laws rule of the state of the decedent, if the question has to be
decided, especially as the application of the internal law of California provides no legitime for children
while the Philippine law, Arts. 887(4) and 894, Civil Code of the Philippines, makes natural children
legally acknowledged forced heirs of the parent recognizing them.
The Philippine cases (In re Estate of Johnson, 39 Phil. 156; Riera vs. Palmaroli, 40 Phil. 105; Miciano
vs. Brimo, 50 Phil. 867; Babcock Templeton vs. Rider Babcock, 52 Phil. 130; and Gibbs vs.
Government, 59 Phil. 293.) cited by appellees to support the decision can not possibly apply in the
case at bar, for two important reasons, i.e., the subject in each case does not appear to be a citizen of
a state in the United States but with domicile in the Philippines, and it does not appear in each case
that there exists in the state of which the subject is a citizen, a law similar to or identical with Art. 946 of
the California Civil Code.
We therefore find that as the domicile of the deceased Christensen, a citizen of California, is the
Philippines, the validity of the provisions of his will depriving his acknowledged natural child, the
appellant, should be governed by the Philippine Law, the domicile, pursuant to Art. 946 of the Civil
Code of California, not by the internal law of California..
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and the case returned to the lower
court with instructions that the partition be made as the Philippine law on succession provides.
Judgment reversed, with costs against appellees.

Human Relations
Articles 19-26
G.R. No. 88694 January 11, 1993
ALBENSON ENTERPRISES CORP., JESSE YAP, AND BENJAMIN MENDIONA, petitioners,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS AND EUGENIO S. BALTAO, respondents.
Puruganan, Chato, Chato & Tan for petitioners.
Lino M. Patajo, Francisco Ma. Chanco, Ananiano Desierto and Segundo Mangohig for private
respondent.
BIDIN, J.:
This
petition
assails
the
decision
of
respondent
Court
of
Appeals
in
CA-GR CV No. 14948 entitled "Eugenio S. Baltao, plaintiff-appellee vs. Albenson Enterprises
Corporation, et al, defendants-appellants", which modified the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City, Branch XCVIII in Civil Case No. Q-40920 and ordered petitioner to pay private
respondent, among others, the sum of P500,000.00 as moral damages and attorney's fees in the
amount of P50,000.00.
The facts are not disputed.
In September, October, and November 1980, petitioner Albenson Enterprises Corporation (Albenson
for short) delivered to Guaranteed Industries, Inc. (Guaranteed for short) located at 3267 V. Mapa
Street, Sta. Mesa, Manila, the mild steel plates which the latter ordered. As part payment thereof,
Albenson was given Pacific Banking Corporation Check No. 136361 in the amount of P2,575.00 and
drawn against the account of E.L. Woodworks (Rollo, p. 148).
When presented for payment, the check was dishonored for the reason "Account Closed." Thereafter,
petitioner Albenson, through counsel, traced the origin of the dishonored check. From the records of
the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Albenson discovered that the president of
Guaranteed, the recipient of the unpaid mild steel plates, was one "Eugenio S. Baltao." Upon further
inquiry, Albenson was informed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry that E.L. Woodworks, a single
proprietorship business, was registered in the name of one "Eugenio Baltao". In addition, upon
verification with the drawee bank, Pacific Banking Corporation, Albenson was advised that the
signature appearing on the subject check belonged to one "Eugenio Baltao."

After obtaining the foregoing information, Albenson, through counsel, made an extrajudicial demand
upon private respondent Eugenio S. Baltao, president of Guaranteed, to replace and/or make good the
dishonored check.
Respondent Baltao, through counsel, denied that he issued the check, or that the signature appearing
thereon is his. He further alleged that Guaranteed was a defunct entity and hence, could not have
transacted business with Albenson.
On February 14, 1983, Albenson filed with the Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Rizal a complaint
against Eugenio S. Baltao for violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22. Submitted to support said
charges was an affidavit of petitioner Benjamin Mendiona, an employee of Albenson. In said affidavit,
the above-mentioned circumstances were stated.
It appears, however, that private respondent has a namesake, his son Eugenio Baltao III, who
manages a business establishment, E.L. Woodworks, on the ground floor of the Baltao Building, 3267
V. Mapa Street, Sta. Mesa, Manila, the very same business address of Guaranteed.
On September 5, 1983, Assistant Fiscal Ricardo Sumaway filed an information against Eugenio S.
Baltao for Violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22. In filing said information, Fiscal Sumaway claimed
that he had given Eugenio S. Baltao opportunity to submit controverting evidence, but the latter failed
to do so and therefore, was deemed to have waived his right.
Respondent Baltao, claiming ignorance of the complaint against him, immediately filed with the
Provincial Fiscal of Rizal a motion for reinvestigation, alleging that it was not true that he had been
given an opportunity to be heard in the preliminary investigation conducted by Fiscal Sumaway, and
that he never had any dealings with Albenson or Benjamin Mendiona, consequently, the check for
which he has been accused of having issued without funds was not issued by him and the signature in
said check was not his.
On January 30, 1984, Provincial Fiscal Mauro M. Castro of Rizal reversed the finding of Fiscal
Sumaway and exonerated respondent Baltao. He also instructed the Trial Fiscal to move for dismissal
of the information filed against Eugenio S. Baltao. Fiscal Castro found that the signature in PBC Check
No. 136361 is not the signature of Eugenio S. Baltao. He also found that there is no showing in the
records of the preliminary investigation that Eugenio S. Baltao actually received notice of the said
investigation. Fiscal Castro then castigated Fiscal Sumaway for failing to exercise care and prudence
in the performance of his duties, thereby causing injustice to respondent who was not properly notified
of the complaint against him and of the requirement to submit his counter evidence.
Because of the alleged unjust filing of a criminal case against him for allegedly issuing a check which
bounced in violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 for a measly amount of P2,575.00, respondent
Baltao filed before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City a complaint for damages against herein
petitioners Albenson Enterprises, Jesse Yap, its owner, and Benjamin Mendiona, its employee.
In its decision, the lower court observed that "the check is drawn against the account of "E.L.
Woodworks," not of Guaranteed Industries of which plaintiff used to be President. Guaranteed
Industries had been inactive and had ceased to exist as a corporation since 1975. . . . . The possibility
is that it was with Gene Baltao or Eugenio Baltao III, a son of plaintiff who had a business on the
ground floor of Baltao Building located on V. Mapa Street, that the defendants may have been dealing
with . . . ." (Rollo, pp. 41-42).
The dispositive portion of the trial court 's decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff and against defendants ordering the
latter to pay plaintiff jointly and severally:
1. actual or compensatory damages of P133,350.00;
2. moral damages of P1,000,000.00 (1 million pesos);
3. exemplary damages of P200,000.00;
4. attorney's fees of P100,000.00;
5 costs.
Defendants' counterclaim against plaintiff and claim for damages against Mercantile Insurance Co. on
the bond for the issuance of the writ of attachment at the instance of plaintiff are hereby dismissed for
lack of merit. (Rollo, pp. 38-39).
On appeal, respondent court modified the trial court's decision as follows:
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is MODIFIED by reducing the moral damages awarded
therein from P1,000,000.00 to P500,000.00 and the attorney's fees from P100,000.00 to P50,000.00,
said decision being hereby affirmed in all its other aspects. With costs against appellants. ( Rollo, pp.
50-51)

Dissatisfied with the above ruling, petitioners Albenson Enterprises Corp., Jesse Yap, and Benjamin
Mendiona filed the instant Petition, alleging that the appellate court erred in:
1. Concluding that private respondent's cause of action is not one based on malicious prosecution but
one for abuse of rights under Article 21 of the Civil Code notwithstanding the fact that the basis of a
civil action for malicious prosecution is Article 2219 in relation to Article 21 or Article 2176 of the Civil
Code . . . .
2. Concluding that "hitting at and in effect maligning (private respondent) with an unjust criminal case
was, without more, a plain case of abuse of rights by misdirection" and "was therefore, actionable by
itself," and which "became inordinately blatant and grossly aggravated when . . . (private respondent)
was deprived of his basic right to notice and a fair hearing in the so-called preliminary investigation . . .
."
3. Concluding that petitioner's "actuations in this case were coldly deliberate and calculated", no
evidence having been adduced to support such a sweeping statement.
4. Holding the petitioner corporation, petitioner Yap and petitioner Mendiona jointly and severally liable
without sufficient basis in law and in fact.
5. Awarding respondents
5.1. P133,350.00 as actual or compensatory damages, even in the absence of sufficient evidence to
show that such was actually suffered.
5.2. P500,000.00 as moral damages considering that the evidence in this connection merely involved
private respondent's alleged celebrated status as a businessman, there being no showing that the act
complained of adversely affected private respondent's reputation or that it resulted to material loss.
5.3. P200,000.00 as exemplary damages despite the fact that petitioners were duly advised by
counsel of their legal recourse.
5.4. P50,000.00 as attorney's fees, no evidence having been adduced to justify such an award (Rollo,
pp. 4-6).
Petitioners contend that the civil case filed in the lower court was one for malicious prosecution. Citing
the case of Madera vs. Lopez (102 SCRA 700 [1981]), they assert that the absence of malice on their
part absolves them from any liability for malicious prosecution. Private respondent, on the other hand,
anchored his complaint for Damages on Articles 19, 20, and 21 ** of the Civil Code.
Article 19, known to contain what is commonly referred to as the principle of abuse of rights, sets
certain standards which may be observed not only in the exercise of one's rights but also in the
performance of one's duties. These standards are the following: to act with justice; to give everyone
his due; and to observe honesty and good faith. The law, therefore, recognizes the primordial limitation
on all rights: that in their exercise, the norms of human conduct set forth in Article 19 must be
observed. A right, though by itself legal because recognized or granted by law as such, may
nevertheless become the source of some illegality. When a right is exercised in a manner which does
not conform with the norms enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to another, a legal wrong is
thereby committed for which the wrongdoer must be held responsible. Although the requirements of
each provision is different, these three (3) articles are all related to each other. As the eminent Civilist
Senator Arturo Tolentino puts it: "With this article (Article 21), combined with articles 19 and 20, the
scope of our law on civil wrongs has been very greatly broadened; it has become much more supple
and adaptable than the Anglo-American law on torts. It is now difficult to conceive of any malevolent
exercise of a right which could not be checked by the application of these articles" (Tolentino, 1 Civil
Code of the Philippines 72).
There is however, no hard and fast rule which can be applied to determine whether or not the principle
of abuse of rights may be invoked. The question of whether or not the principle of abuse of rights has
been violated, resulting in damages under Articles 20 and 21 or other applicable provision of law,
depends on the circumstances of each case. (Globe Mackay Cable and Radio Corporation vs. Court of
Appeals, 176 SCRA 778 [1989]).
The elements of an abuse of right under Article 19 are the following: (1) There is a legal right or duty;
(2) which is exercised in bad faith; (3) for the sole intent of prejudicing or injuring another. Article 20
speaks of the general sanction for all other provisions of law which do not especially provide for their
own sanction (Tolentino, supra, p. 71). Thus, anyone who, whether willfully or negligently, in the
exercise of his legal right or duty, causes damage to another, shall indemnify his victim for injuries
suffered thereby. Article 21 deals with acts contra bonus mores, and has the following elements: 1)
There is an act which is legal; 2) but which is contrary to morals, good custom, public order, or public
policy; 3) and it is done with intent to injure.

Thus, under any of these three (3) provisions of law, an act which causes injury to another may be
made the basis for an award of damages.
There is a common element under Articles 19 and 21, and that is, the act must be intentional.
However, Article 20 does not distinguish: the act may be done either "willfully", or "negligently". The
trial court as well as the respondent appellate court mistakenly lumped these three (3) articles
together, and cited the same as the bases for the award of damages in the civil complaint filed against
petitioners, thus:
With the foregoing legal provisions (Articles 19, 20, and 21) in focus, there is not much difficulty in
ascertaining the means by which appellants' first assigned error should be resolved, given the
admitted fact that when there was an attempt to collect the amount of P2,575.00, the defendants were
explicitly warned that plaintiff Eugenio S. Baltao is not the Eugenio Baltao defendants had been
dealing with (supra, p. 5). When the defendants nevertheless insisted and persisted in filing a case
a criminal case no less against plaintiff, said defendants ran afoul of the legal provisions (Articles
19, 20, and 21 of the Civil Code) cited by the lower court and heretofore quoted (supra).
Defendants, not having been paid the amount of P2,575.00, certainly had the right to complain. But
that right is limited by certain constraints. Beyond that limit is the area of excess, of abuse of rights.
(Rollo,
pp.
44-45).
Assuming, arguendo, that all the three (3) articles, together and not independently of each one, could
be validly made the bases for an award of damages based on the principle of "abuse of right", under
the circumstances, We see no cogent reason for such an award of damages to be made in favor of
private respondent.
Certainly, petitioners could not be said to have violated the aforestated principle of abuse of right.
What prompted petitioners to file the case for violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 against private
respondent was their failure to collect the amount of P2,575.00 due on a bounced check which they
honestly believed was issued to them by private respondent. Petitioners had conducted inquiries
regarding the origin of the check, and yielded the following results: from the records of the Securities
and Exchange Commission, it was discovered that the President of Guaranteed (the recipient of the
unpaid mild steel plates), was one "Eugenio S. Baltao"; an inquiry with the Ministry of Trade and
Industry revealed that E.L. Woodworks, against whose account the check was drawn, was registered
in the name of one "Eugenio Baltao"; verification with the drawee bank, the Pacific Banking
Corporation, revealed that the signature appearing on the check belonged to one "Eugenio Baltao".
In a letter dated December 16, 1983, counsel for petitioners wrote private respondent demanding that
he make good the amount of the check. Counsel for private respondent wrote back and denied,
among others, that private respondent ever transacted business with Albenson Enterprises
Corporation; that he ever issued the check in question. Private respondent's counsel even went
further: he made a warning to defendants to check the veracity of their claim. It is pivotal to note at this
juncture that in this same letter, if indeed private respondent wanted to clear himself from the baseless
accusation made against his person, he should have made mention of the fact that there are three (3)
persons with the same name, i.e.: Eugenio Baltao, Sr., Eugenio S. Baltao, Jr. (private respondent), and
Eugenio Baltao III (private respondent's son, who as it turned out later, was the issuer of the check).
He, however, failed to do this. The last two Baltaos were doing business in the same building Baltao
Building located at 3267 V. Mapa Street, Sta. Mesa, Manila. The mild steel plates were ordered in
the name of Guaranteed of which respondent Eugenio S. Baltao is the president and delivered to
Guaranteed at Baltao building. Thus, petitioners had every reason to believe that the Eugenio Baltao
who issued the bouncing check is respondent Eugenio S. Baltao when their counsel wrote respondent
to make good the amount of the check and upon refusal, filed the complaint for violation of BP Blg. 22.
Private respondent, however, did nothing to clarify the case of mistaken identity at first hand. Instead,
private respondent waited in ambush and thereafter pounced on the hapless petitioners at a time he
thought was propitious by filing an action for damages. The Court will not countenance this devious
scheme.
The criminal complaint filed against private respondent after the latter refused to make good the
amount of the bouncing check despite demand was a sincere attempt on the part of petitioners to find
the best possible means by which they could collect the sum of money due them. A person who has
not been paid an obligation owed to him will naturally seek ways to compel the debtor to pay him. It
was normal for petitioners to find means to make the issuer of the check pay the amount thereof. In
the absence of a wrongful act or omission or of fraud or bad faith, moral damages cannot be awarded
and that the adverse result of an action does not per se make the action wrongful and subject the actor

to the payment of damages, for the law could not have meant to impose a penalty on the right to
litigate (Rubio vs. Court of Appeals, 141 SCRA 488 [1986]).
In the case at bar, private respondent does not deny that the mild steel plates were ordered by and
delivered to Guaranteed at Baltao building and as part payment thereof, the bouncing check was
issued by one Eugenio Baltao. Neither had private respondent conveyed to petitioner that there are
two Eugenio Baltaos conducting business in the same building he and his son Eugenio Baltao III.
Considering that Guaranteed, which received the goods in payment of which the bouncing check was
issued is owned by respondent, petitioner acted in good faith and probable cause in filing the
complaint before the provincial fiscal.
To constitute malicious prosecution, there must be proof that the prosecution was prompted by a
sinister design to vex and humiliate a person, and that it was initiated deliberately by the defendant
knowing that his charges were false and groundless. Concededly, the mere act of submitting a case to
the authorities for prosecution does not make one liable for malicious prosecution. (Manila Gas
Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 100 SCRA 602 [1980]). Still, private respondent argues that liability
under Articles 19, 20, and 21 of the Civil Code is so encompassing that it likewise includes liability for
damages for malicious prosecution under Article 2219 (8). True, a civil action for damages for
malicious prosecution is allowed under the New Civil Code, more specifically Articles 19, 20, 26, 29,
32, 33, 35, and 2219 (8) thereof. In order that such a case can prosper, however, the following three
(3) elements must be present, to wit: (1) The fact of the prosecution and the further fact that the
defendant was himself the prosecutor, and that the action was finally terminated with an acquittal; (2)
That in bringing the action, the prosecutor acted without probable cause; (3) The prosecutor was
actuated or impelled by legal malice (Lao vs. Court of Appeals, 199 SCRA 58, [1991]).
Thus, a party injured by the filing of a court case against him, even if he is later on absolved, may file a
case for damages grounded either on the principle of abuse of rights, or on malicious prosecution. As
earlier stated, a complaint for damages based on malicious prosecution will prosper only if the three
(3) elements aforecited are shown to exist. In the case at bar, the second and third elements were not
shown to exist. It is well-settled that one cannot be held liable for maliciously instituting a prosecution
where one has acted with probable cause. "Probable cause is the existence of such facts and
circumstances as would excite the belief, in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within the
knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person charged was guilty of the crime for which he was
prosecuted. In other words, a suit will lie only in cases where a legal prosecution has been carried on
without probable cause. The reason for this rule is that it would be a very great discouragement to
public justice, if prosecutors, who had tolerable ground of suspicion, were liable to be sued at law
when their indictment miscarried" (Que vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 169 SCRA 137 [1989]).
The presence of probable cause signifies, as a legal consequence, the absence of malice. In the
instant case, it is evident that petitioners were not motivated by malicious intent or by sinister design to
unduly harass private respondent, but only by a well-founded anxiety to protect their rights when they
filed the criminal complaint against private respondent.
To constitute malicious prosecution, there must be proof that the prosecution was prompted by a
sinister design to vex and humiliate a person, that it was initiated deliberately by the defendant
knowing that his charges were false and groundless. Concededly, the mere act of submitting a case to
the authorities for prosecution does not make one liable for malicious prosecution. Proof and motive
that the institution of the action was prompted by a sinister design to vex and humiliate a person must
be clearly and preponderantly established to entitle the victims to damages (Ibid.).
In the case at bar, there is no proof of a sinister design on the part of petitioners to vex or humiliate
private respondent by instituting the criminal case against him. While petitioners may have been
negligent to some extent in determining the liability of private respondent for the dishonored check, the
same is not so gross or reckless as to amount to bad faith warranting an award of damages.
The root of the controversy in this case is founded on a case of mistaken identity. It is possible that
with a more assiduous investigation, petitioners would have eventually discovered that private
respondent Eugenio S. Baltao is not the "Eugenio Baltao" responsible for the dishonored check.
However, the record shows that petitioners did exert considerable effort in order to determine the
liability of private respondent. Their investigation pointed to private respondent as the "Eugenio Baltao"
who issued and signed the dishonored check as the president of the debtor-corporation Guaranteed
Enterprises. Their error in proceeding against the wrong individual was obviously in the nature of an
innocent mistake, and cannot be characterized as having been committed in bad faith. This error could
have been discovered if respondent had submitted his counter-affidavit before investigating fiscal

Sumaway and was immediately rectified by Provincial Fiscal Mauro Castro upon discovery thereof,
i.e., during the reinvestigation resulting in the dismissal of the complaint.
Furthermore, the adverse result of an action does not per se make the act wrongful and subject the
actor to the payment of moral damages. The law could not have meant to impose a penalty on the
right to litigate, such right is so precious that moral damages may not be charged on those who may
even exercise it erroneously. And an adverse decision does not ipso facto justify the award of
attorney's fees to the winning party (Garcia vs. Gonzales, 183 SCRA 72 [1990]).
Thus, an award of damages and attorney's fees is unwarranted where the action was filed in good
faith. If damage results from a person's exercising his legal rights, it is damnum absque injuria (Ilocos
Norte Electric Company vs. Court of Appeals, 179 SCRA 5 [1989]).
Coming now to the claim of private respondent for actual or compensatory damages, the records show
that the same was based solely on his allegations without proof to substantiate the same. He did not
present proof of the cost of the medical treatment which he claimed to have undergone as a result of
the nervous breakdown he suffered, nor did he present proof of the actual loss to his business caused
by the unjust litigation against him. In determining actual damages, the court cannot rely on
speculation, conjectures or guesswork as to the amount. Without the actual proof of loss, the award of
actual damages becomes erroneous (Guilatco vs. City of Dagupan, 171 SCRA 382 [1989]).
Actual and compensatory damages are those recoverable because of pecuniary loss in business,
trade, property, profession, job or occupation and the same must be proved, otherwise, if the proof
is flimsy and unsubstantiated, no damages will be given (Rubio vs. Court of Appeals, 141 SCRA 488
[1986]). For these reasons, it was gravely erroneous for respondent court to have affirmed the award
of actual damages in favor of private respondent in the absence of proof thereof.
Where there is no evidence of the other party having acted in wanton, fraudulent or reckless, or
oppressive manner, neither may exemplary damages be awarded (Dee Hua Liong Electrical
Equipment Corporation vs. Reyes, 145 SCRA 488 [1986]).
As to the award of attorney's fees, it is well-settled that the same is the exception rather than the
general rule. Needless to say, the award of attorney's fees must be disallowed where the award of
exemplary damages is eliminated (Article 2208, Civil Code; Agustin vs. Court of Appeals, 186 SCRA
375 [1990]). Moreover, in view of the fact that there was no malicious prosecution against private
respondent, attorney's fees cannot be awarded him on that ground.
In the final analysis, there is no proof or showing that petitioners acted maliciously or in bad faith in the
filing of the case against private respondent. Consequently, in the absence of proof of fraud and bad
faith committed by petitioners, they cannot be held liable for damages (Escritor, Jr. vs. Intermediate
Appellate Court, 155 SCRA 577 [1987]). No damages can be awarded in the instant case, whether
based on the principle of abuse of rights, or for malicious prosecution. The questioned judgment in the
instant case attests to the propensity of trial judges to award damages without basis. Lower courts are
hereby cautioned anew against awarding unconscionable sums as damages without bases therefor.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. C.V.
No. 14948 dated May 13, 1989, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Costs against respondent
Baltao.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 154259. February 28, 2005]


NIKKO HOTEL MANILA GARDEN and RUBY LIM, petitioners, vs. ROBERTO REYES, a.k.a. AMAY
BISAYA, respondent.
DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
In this petition for review on certiorari, petitioners Nikko Hotel Manila Garden (Hotel Nikko)[1] and
Ruby Lim assail the Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals dated 26 November 2001 reversing the
Decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 104, as well as the Resolution[4]
of the Court of Appeals dated 09 July 2002 which denied petitioners motion for reconsideration.
The cause of action before the trial court was one for damages brought under the human relations
provisions of the New Civil Code. Plaintiff thereat (respondent herein) Roberto Reyes, more popularly
known by the screen name Amay Bisaya, alleged that at around 6:00 oclock in the evening of 13
October 1994, while he was having coffee at the lobby of Hotel Nikko,[5] he was spotted by his friend
of several years, Dr. Violeta Filart, who then approached him.[6] Mrs. Filart invited him to join her in a
party at the hotels penthouse in celebration of the natal day of the hotels manager, Mr. Masakazu

Tsuruoka.[7] Mr. Reyes asked if she could vouch for him for which she replied: of course.[8] Mr. Reyes
then went up with the party of Dr. Filart carrying the basket of fruits which was the latters present for
the celebrant.[9] At the penthouse, they first had their picture taken with the celebrant after which Mr.
Reyes sat with the party of Dr. Filart.[10] After a couple of hours, when the buffet dinner was ready, Mr.
Reyes lined-up at the buffet table but, to his great shock, shame and embarrassment, he was stopped
by petitioner herein, Ruby Lim, who claimed to speak for Hotel Nikko as Executive Secretary thereof.
[11] In a loud voice and within the presence and hearing of the other guests who were making a queue
at the buffet table, Ruby Lim told him to leave the party (huwag ka nang kumain, hindi ka imbitado,
bumaba ka na lang).[12] Mr. Reyes tried to explain that he was invited by Dr. Filart.[13] Dr. Filart, who
was within hearing distance, however, completely ignored him thus adding to his shame and
humiliation.[14] Not long after, while he was still recovering from the traumatic experience, a Makati
policeman approached and asked him to step out of the hotel.[15] Like a common criminal, he was
escorted out of the party by the policeman.[16] Claiming damages, Mr. Reyes asked for One Million
Pesos actual damages, One Million Pesos moral and/or exemplary damages and Two Hundred
Thousand Pesos attorneys fees.[17]
Ruby Lim, for her part, admitted having asked Mr. Reyes to leave the party but not under the
ignominious circumstance painted by the latter. Ms. Lim narrated that she was the Hotels Executive
Secretary for the past twenty (20) years.[18] One of her functions included organizing the birthday
party of the hotels former General Manager, Mr. Tsuruoka.[19] The year 1994 was no different. For Mr.
Tsuruokas party, Ms. Lim generated an exclusive guest list and extended invitations accordingly.[20]
The guest list was limited to approximately sixty (60) of Mr. Tsuruokas closest friends and some hotel
employees and that Mr. Reyes was not one of those invited.[21] At the party, Ms. Lim first noticed Mr.
Reyes at the bar counter ordering a drink.[22] Mindful of Mr. Tsuruokas wishes to keep the party
intimate, Ms. Lim approached Mr. Boy Miller, the captain waiter, to inquire as to the presence of Mr.
Reyes who was not invited.[23] Mr. Miller replied that he saw Mr. Reyes with the group of Dr. Filart.[24]
As Dr. Filart was engaged in conversation with another guest and as Ms. Lim did not want to interrupt,
she inquired instead from the sister of Dr. Filart, Ms. Zenaida Fruto, who told her that Dr. Filart did not
invite Mr. Reyes.[25] Ms. Lim then requested Ms. Fruto to tell Mr. Reyes to leave the party as he was
not invited.[26] Mr. Reyes, however, lingered prompting Ms. Lim to inquire from Ms. Fruto who said
that Mr. Reyes did not want to leave.[27] When Ms. Lim turned around, she saw Mr. Reyes conversing
with a Captain Batung whom she later approached.[28] Believing that Captain Batung and Mr. Reyes
knew each other, Ms. Lim requested from him the same favor from Ms. Fruto, i.e., for Captain Batung
to tell Mr. Reyes to leave the party as he was not invited.[29] Still, Mr. Reyes lingered. When Ms. Lim
spotted Mr. Reyes by the buffet table, she decided to speak to him herself as there were no other
guests in the immediate vicinity.[30] However, as Mr. Reyes was already helping himself to the food,
she decided to wait.[31] When Mr. Reyes went to a corner and started to eat, Ms. Lim approached him
and said: alam ninyo, hindo ho kayo dapat nandito. Pero total nakakuha na ho kayo ng pagkain,
ubusin na lang ninyo at pagkatapos kung pwede lang po umalis na kayo.[32] She then turned around
trusting that Mr. Reyes would show enough decency to leave, but to her surprise, he began screaming
and making a big scene, and even threatened to dump food on her.[33]
Dr. Violeta Filart, the third defendant in the complaint before the lower court, also gave her version of
the story to the effect that she never invited Mr. Reyes to the party.[34] According to her, it was Mr.
Reyes who volunteered to carry the basket of fruits intended for the celebrant as he was likewise going
to take the elevator, not to the penthouse but to Altitude 49.[35] When they reached the penthouse,
she reminded Mr. Reyes to go down as he was not properly dressed and was not invited.[36] All the
while, she thought that Mr. Reyes already left the place, but she later saw him at the bar talking to Col.
Batung.[37] Then there was a commotion and she saw Mr. Reyes shouting.[38] She ignored Mr.
Reyes.[39] She was embarrassed and did not want the celebrant to think that she invited him.[40]
After trial on the merits, the court a quo dismissed the complaint,[41] giving more credence to the
testimony of Ms. Lim that she was discreet in asking Mr. Reyes to leave the party. The trial court
likewise ratiocinated that Mr. Reyes assumed the risk of being thrown out of the party as he was
uninvited:
Plaintiff had no business being at the party because he was not a guest of Mr. Tsuruoka, the birthday
celebrant. He assumed the risk of being asked to leave for attending a party to which he was not
invited by the host. Damages are pecuniary consequences which the law imposes for the breach of
some duty or the violation of some right. Thus, no recovery can be had against defendants Nikko Hotel
and Ruby Lim because he himself was at fault (Garciano v. Court of Appeals, 212 SCRA 436). He
knew that it was not the party of defendant Violeta Filart even if she allowed him to join her and took

responsibility for his attendance at the party. His action against defendants Nikko Hotel and Ruby Lim
must therefore fail.[42]
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the ruling of the trial court as it found more commanding of
belief the testimony of Mr. Reyes that Ms. Lim ordered him to leave in a loud voice within hearing
distance of several guests:
In putting appellant in a very embarrassing situation, telling him that he should not finish his food and
to leave the place within the hearing distance of other guests is an act which is contrary to morals,
good customs . . ., for which appellees should compensate the appellant for the damage suffered by
the latter as a consequence therefore (Art. 21, New Civil Code). The liability arises from the acts which
are in themselves legal or not prohibited, but contrary to morals or good customs. Conversely, even in
the exercise of a formal right, [one] cannot with impunity intentionally cause damage to another in a
manner contrary to morals or good customs.[43]
The Court of Appeals likewise ruled that the actuation of Ms. Lim in approaching several people to
inquire into the presence of Mr. Reyes exposed the latter to ridicule and was uncalled for as she
should have approached Dr. Filart first and both of them should have talked to Mr. Reyes in private:
Said acts of appellee Lim are uncalled for. What should have been done by appellee Lim was to
approach appellee Mrs. Filart and together they should have told appellant Reyes in private that the
latter should leave the party as the celebrant only wanted close friends around. It is necessary that
Mrs. Filart be the one to approach appellant because it was she who invited appellant in that occasion.
Were it not for Mrs. Filarts invitation, appellant could not have suffered such humiliation. For that,
appellee Filart is equally liable.
...
The acts of [appellee] Lim are causes of action which are predicated upon mere rudeness or lack of
consideration of one person, which calls not only protection of human dignity but respect of such
dignity. Under Article 20 of the Civil Code, every person who violates this duty becomes liable for
damages, especially if said acts were attended by malice or bad faith. Bad faith does not simply
connote bad judgment or simple negligence. It imports a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity
and conscious doing of a wrong, a breach of a known duty to some motive or interest or ill-will that
partakes of the nature of fraud (Cojuangco, Jr. v. CA, et al., 309 SCRA 603).[44]
Consequently, the Court of Appeals imposed upon Hotel Nikko, Ruby Lim and Dr. Violeta Filart the
solidary obligation to pay Mr. Reyes (1) exemplary damages in the amount of Two Hundred Thousand
Pesos (P200,000); (2) moral damages in the amount of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000);
and (3) attorneys fees in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000).[45] On motion for
reconsideration, the Court of Appeals affirmed its earlier decision as the argument raised in the motion
had been amply discussed and passed upon in the decision sought to be reconsidered.[46]
Thus, the instant petition for review. Hotel Nikko and Ruby Lim contend that the Court of Appeals
seriously erred in
I.
NOT APPLYING THE DOCTRINE OF VOLENTI NON FIT INJURIA CONSIDERING THAT BY ITS
OWN FINDINGS, AMAY BISAYA WAS A GATE-CRASHER
II.
HOLDING HOTEL NIKKO AND RUBY LIM JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE WITH DR. FILART
FOR DAMAGES SINCE BY ITS OWN RULING, AMAY BISAYA COULD NOT HAVE SUFFERED
SUCH HUMILIATION, WERE IT NOT FOR DR. FILARTS INVITATION
III.
DEPARTING FROM THE FINDINGS OF FACT OF THE TRIAL COURT AS REGARDS THE
CIRCUMSTANCES THAT ALLEGEDLY CAUSED THE HUMILIATION OF AMAY BISAYA
IV.
IN CONCLUDING THAT AMAY BISAYA WAS TREATED UNJUSTLY BECAUSE OF HIS POVERTY,
CONSIDERING THAT THIS WAS NEVER AN ISSUE AND NO EVIDENCE WAS PRESENTED IN
THIS REGARD
V.
IN FAILING TO PASS UPON THE ISSUE ON THE DEFECTS OF THE APPELLANTS BRIEF,
THEREBY DEPARTING FROM THE ACCEPTED AND USUAL COURSE OF JUDICIAL
PROCEEDINGS
Petitioners Lim and Hotel Nikko contend that pursuant to the doctrine of volenti non fit injuria, they
cannot be made liable for damages as respondent Reyes assumed the risk of being asked to leave
(and being embarrassed and humiliated in the process) as he was a gate-crasher.

The doctrine of volenti non fit injuria (to which a person assents is not esteemed in law as injury[47])
refers to self-inflicted injury[48] or to the consent to injury[49] which precludes the recovery of
damages by one who has knowingly and voluntarily exposed himself to danger, even if he is not
negligent in doing so.[50] As formulated by petitioners, however, this doctrine does not find application
to the case at bar because even if respondent Reyes assumed the risk of being asked to leave the
party, petitioners, under Articles 19 and 21 of the New Civil Code, were still under obligation to treat
him fairly in order not to expose him to unnecessary ridicule and shame.
Thus, the threshold issue is whether or not Ruby Lim acted abusively in asking Roberto Reyes, a.k.a.
Amay Bisaya, to leave the party where he was not invited by the celebrant thereof thereby becoming
liable under Articles 19 and 21 of the Civil Code. Parenthetically, and if Ruby Lim were so liable,
whether or not Hotel Nikko, as her employer, is solidarily liable with her.
As the trial court and the appellate court reached divergent and irreconcilable conclusions concerning
the same facts and evidence of the case, this Court is left without choice but to use its latent power to
review such findings of facts. Indeed, the general rule is that we are not a trier of facts as our
jurisdiction is limited to reviewing and revising errors of law.[51] One of the exceptions to this general
rule, however, obtains herein as the findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial
court.[52] The lower court ruled that Ms. Lim did not abuse her right to ask Mr. Reyes to leave the
party as she talked to him politely and discreetly. The appellate court, on the other hand, held that Ms.
Lim is liable for damages as she needlessly embarrassed Mr. Reyes by telling him not to finish his
food and to leave the place within hearing distance of the other guests. Both courts, however, were in
agreement that it was Dr. Filarts invitation that brought Mr. Reyes to the party.
The consequential question then is: Which version is credible?
From an in depth review of the evidence, we find more credible the lower courts findings of fact.
First, let us put things in the proper perspective.
We are dealing with a formal party in a posh, five-star hotel,[53] for-invitation-only, thrown for the hotels
former Manager, a Japanese national. Then came a person who was clearly uninvited (by the
celebrant)[54] and who could not just disappear into the crowd as his face is known by many, being an
actor. While he was already spotted by the organizer of the party, Ms. Lim, the very person who
generated the guest list, it did not yet appear that the celebrant was aware of his presence. Ms. Lim,
mindful of the celebrants instruction to keep the party intimate, would naturally want to get rid of the
gate-crasher in the most hush-hush manner in order not to call attention to a glitch in an otherwise
seamless affair and, in the process, risk the displeasure of the celebrant, her former boss. To
unnecessarily call attention to the presence of Mr. Reyes would certainly reflect badly on Ms. Lims
ability to follow the instructions of the celebrant to invite only his close friends and some of the hotels
personnel. Mr. Reyes, upon whom the burden rests to prove that indeed Ms. Lim loudly and rudely
ordered him to leave, could not offer any satisfactory explanation why Ms. Lim would do that and risk
ruining a formal and intimate affair. On the contrary, Mr. Reyes, on cross-examination, had unwittingly
sealed his fate by admitting that when Ms. Lim talked to him, she was very close. Close enough for
him to kiss:
Q: And, Mr. Reyes, you testified that Miss Lim approached you while you were at the buffet table? How
close was she when she approached you?
A: Very close because we nearly kissed each other.
Q: And yet, she shouted for you to go down? She was that close and she shouted?
A: Yes. She said, wag kang kumain, hindi ka imbitado dito, bumaba ka na lang.
Q: So, you are testifying that she did this in a loud voice?
...
A: Yes. If it is not loud, it will not be heard by many.[55]
In the absence of any proof of motive on the part of Ms. Lim to humiliate Mr. Reyes and expose him to
ridicule and shame, it is highly unlikely that she would shout at him from a very close distance. Ms. Lim
having been in the hotel business for twenty years wherein being polite and discreet are virtues to be
emulated, the testimony of Mr. Reyes that she acted to the contrary does not inspire belief and is
indeed incredible. Thus, the lower court was correct in observing that
Considering the closeness of defendant Lim to plaintiff when the request for the latter to leave the
party was made such that they nearly kissed each other, the request was meant to be heard by him
only and there could have been no intention on her part to cause embarrassment to him. It was
plaintiffs reaction to the request that must have made the other guests aware of what transpired
between them. . .
Had plaintiff simply left the party as requested, there was no need for the police to take him out.[56]

Moreover, another problem with Mr. Reyess version of the story is that it is unsupported. It is a basic
rule in civil cases that he who alleges proves. Mr. Reyes, however, had not presented any witness to
back his story up. All his witnesses Danny Rodinas, Pepito Guerrero and Alexander Silva - proved only
that it was Dr. Filart who invited him to the party.[57]
Ms. Lim, not having abused her right to ask Mr. Reyes to leave the party to which he was not invited,
cannot be made liable to pay for damages under Articles 19 and 21 of the Civil Code. Necessarily,
neither can her employer, Hotel Nikko, be held liable as its liability springs from that of its employee.
[58]
Article 19, known to contain what is commonly referred to as the principle of abuse of rights, [59] is not
a panacea for all human hurts and social grievances. Article 19 states:
Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with
justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.
Elsewhere, we explained that when a right is exercised in a manner which does not conform with the
norms enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for
which the wrongdoer must be responsible.[60] The object of this article, therefore, is to set certain
standards which must be observed not only in the exercise of ones rights but also in the performance
of ones duties.[61] These standards are the following: act with justice, give everyone his due and
observe honesty and good faith.[62] Its antithesis, necessarily, is any act evincing bad faith or intent to
injure. Its elements are the following: (1) There is a legal right or duty; (2) which is exercised in bad
faith; (3) for the sole intent of prejudicing or injuring another.[63] When Article 19 is violated, an action
for damages is proper under Articles 20 or 21 of the Civil Code. Article 20 pertains to damages arising
from a violation of law[64] which does not obtain herein as Ms. Lim was perfectly within her right to ask
Mr. Reyes to leave. Article 21, on the other hand, states:
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 compensate the latter for the damage.
Article 21[65] refers to acts contra bonus mores and has the following elements: (1) There is an act
which is legal; (2) but which is contrary to morals, good custom, public order, or public policy; and (3) it
is done with intent to injure.[66]
A common theme runs through Articles 19 and 21,[67] and that is, the act complained of must be
intentional.[68]
As applied to herein case and as earlier discussed, Mr. Reyes has not shown that Ms. Lim was driven
by animosity against him. These two people did not know each other personally before the evening of
13 October 1994, thus, Mr. Reyes had nothing to offer for an explanation for Ms. Lims alleged abusive
conduct except the statement that Ms. Lim, being single at 44 years old, had a very strong bias and
prejudice against (Mr. Reyes) possibly influenced by her associates in her work at the hotel with
foreign businessmen.[69] The lameness of this argument need not be belabored. Suffice it to say that
a complaint based on Articles 19 and 21 of the Civil Code must necessarily fail if it has nothing to
recommend it but innuendos and conjectures.
Parenthetically, the manner by which Ms. Lim asked Mr. Reyes to leave was likewise acceptable and
humane under the circumstances. In this regard, we cannot put our imprimatur on the appellate courts
declaration that Ms. Lims act of personally approaching Mr. Reyes (without first verifying from Mrs.
Filart if indeed she invited Mr. Reyes) gave rise to a cause of action predicated upon mere rudeness or
lack of consideration of one person, which calls not only protection of human dignity but respect of
such dignity.[70] Without proof of any ill-motive on her part, Ms. Lims act of by-passing Mrs. Filart
cannot amount to abusive conduct especially because she did inquire from Mrs. Filarts companion
who told her that Mrs. Filart did not invite Mr. Reyes.[71] If at all, Ms. Lim is guilty only of bad judgment
which, if done with good intentions, cannot amount to bad faith.
Not being liable for both actual and moral damages, neither can petitioners Lim and Hotel Nikko be
made answerable for exemplary damages[72] especially for the reason stated by the Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals held
Not a few of the rich people treat the poor with contempt because of the latters lowly station in life.
This has to be limited somewhere. In a democracy, such a limit must be established. Social equality is
not sought by the legal provisions under consideration, but due regard for decency and propriety
(Code Commission, pp. 33-34). And by way of example or correction for public good and to avert
further commission of such acts, exemplary damages should be imposed upon appellees.[73]
The fundamental fallacy in the above-quoted findings is that it runs counter with the very facts of the
case and the evidence on hand. It is not disputed that at the time of the incident in question, Mr. Reyes
was an actor of long standing; a co-host of a radio program over DZRH; a Board Member of the Music

Singer Composer (MUSICO) chaired by popular singer Imelda Papin; a showbiz Coordinator of Citizen
Crime Watch; and 1992 official candidate of the KBL Party for Governor of Bohol; and an awardee of a
number of humanitarian organizations of the Philippines.[74] During his direct examination on rebuttal,
Mr. Reyes stressed that he had income[75] and nowhere did he say otherwise. On the other hand, the
records are bereft of any information as to the social and economic standing of petitioner Ruby Lim.
Consequently, the conclusion reached by the appellate court cannot withstand scrutiny as it is without
basis.
All told, and as far as Ms. Lim and Hotel Nikko are concerned, any damage which Mr. Reyes might
have suffered through Ms. Lims exercise of a legitimate right done within the bounds of propriety and
good faith, must be his to bear alone.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition filed by Ruby Lim and Nikko Hotel Manila Garden is
GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 26 November 2001 and its Resolution dated
09 July 2002 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City, Branch 104, dated 26 April 1999 is hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 142943


April 3, 2002
Spouses
ANTONIO
and
LORNA
QUISUMBING,
petitioners,
vs.
MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY (MERALCO), respondent.
PANGANIBAN, J.:
Under the law, the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) may immediately disconnect electric service on
the ground of alleged meter tampering, but only if the discovery of the cause is personally witnessed
and attested to by an officer of the law or by a duly authorized representative of the Energy Regulatory
Board.
The Case
Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the February 1, 2000
Decision1 and the April 10, 2000 Resolution 2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR SP No. 49022.
The decretal portion of the said Decision reads as follows:
"WHEREFORE, the challenged decision in Civil Case No. Q-95-23219 is hereby SET ASIDE and the
complaint against defendant-appellant MERALCO is hereby DISMISSED. Plaintiffs-appellees are
hereby ORDERED to pay defendant-appellant MERALCO the differential billing of P193,332.00
representing the value of used but unregistered electrical consumption."3
The assailed Resolution denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration.
The Facts
The facts of the case are summarized by the Court of Appeals in this wise:
"Defendant-appellant Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) is a private corporation, authorized by law
to charge all persons, including the government, for the consumption of electric power at rates duly
authorized and approved by the Board of Energy (now the Energy Regulatory Board).
"Plaintiffs-appellees Spouses Antonio and Lorna Quisumbing are owners of a house and lot located at
No. 94 Greenmeadows Avenue, Quezon City, which they bought on April 7, 1994 from Ms. Carmina
Serapio Santos. They alleged to be business entrepreneurs engaged in the export of furnitures under
the business name 'Loran Industries' and recipient of the 1993 Agora Award and 1994 Golden Shell
Award. Mrs. Quisumbing is a member of the Innerwheel Club while Mr. Quisumbing is a member of the
Rotary Club, Chairman of Cebu Chamber of Commerce, and Director of Chamber of Furniture.
"On March 3, 1995 at around 9:00 a.m., defendant-appellant's inspectors headed by Emmanuel C.
Orlino were assigned to conduct a routine-on-the-spot inspection of all single phase meters at
Greenmeadows Avenue. House no. 94 of Block 8, Lot 19 Greenmeadows Avenue owned by plaintiffsappellees was inspected after observing a standard operating procedure of asking permission from
plaintiffs-appellees, through their secretary which was granted. The secretary witnessed the
inspection. After the inspection, defendant-appellant's inspectors discovered that the terminal seal of
the meter was missing; the meter cover seal was deformed; the meter dials of the meter was misaligned and there were scratches on the meter base plate. Defendant-appellant's inspectors relayed
the matter to plaintiffs-appellees' secretary, who in turn relayed the same to plaintiff-appellee, Lorna
Quisumbing, who was outraged of the result of the inspection and denied liability as to the tampering
of the meter. Plaintiffs-appellees were advised by defendant-appellant's inspectors that they had to
detach the meter and bring it to their laboratory for verification/confirmation of their findings. In the

event the meter turned out to be tampered, defendant-appellant had to temporarily disconnect the
electric services of plaintiffs-appellees. The laboratory testing conducted on the meter has the
following findings to wit:
'1. Terminal seal was missing.
'2. Lead cover seals ('90 ERB 1-Meralco 21) were tampered by forcibly pulling out from the sealing
wire.
'3. The 1000th, 100th and 10th dial pointers of the register were found out of alignment and with
circular scratches at the face of the register which indicates that the meter had been opened to
manipulate the said dial pointers and set manually to the desired reading. In addition to this, the meter
terminal blades were found full of scratches.'
"After an hour, defendant-appellant's head inspector, E. Orlina returned to the residence of plaintiffsappellees and informed them that the meter had been tampered and unless they pay the amount of
P178,875.01 representing the differential billing, their electric supply would be disconnected. Orlina
informed plaintiffs-appellees that they were just following their standard operating procedure. Plaintiffsappellees were further advised that questions relative to the results of the inspection as well as the
disconnection of her electrical services for Violation of Contract (VOC) may be settled with Mr. M.
Manuson of the Special Accounts, Legal Service Department. However, on the same day at around
2:00 o'clock in the afternoon defendant-appellant's officer through a two-way radio instructed its
service inspector headed by Mr. Orlino to reconnect plaintiffs-appellees' electric service which the
latter faithfully complied.
"On March 6, 1995, plaintiffs-appellees filed a complaint for damages with prayer for the issuance of a
writ of preliminary mandatory injunction, despite the immediate reconnection, to order defendantappellant to furnish electricity to the plaintiffs-appellees alleging that defendant-appellant acted with
wanton, capricious, malicious and malevolent manner in disconnecting their power supply which was
done without due process, and without due regard for their rights, feelings, peace of mind, social and
business reputation.
"In its Answer, defendant-appellant admitted disconnecting the electric service at the plaintiffsappellees' house but denied liability citing the 'Terms and Conditions of Service,' and Republic Act No.
7832 otherwise known a 'Anti-Electricity and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage Act of
1994.'
"After trial on the merits, the lower court rendered judgment, ruling in favor of plaintiffs-appellees." 4
(Citations omitted)
Ruling of the Trial Court
The trial court held that Meralco (herein respondent) should have given the Quisumbing spouses
(herein petitioners) ample opportunity to dispute the alleged meter tampering.
It held that respondent had acted summarily and without procedural due process in immediately
disconnecting the electric service of petitioners. Respondent's action, ruled the RTC, constituted a
quasi delict.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
The Court of Appeals overturned the trial court's ruling and dismissed the Complaint. It held that
respondent's representatives had acted in good faith when they disconnected petitioners' electric
service. Citing testimonial and documentary evidence, it ruled that the disconnection was made only
after observing due process. Further, it noted that petitioners had not been able to prove their claim for
damages. The appellate court likewise upheld respondent's counterclaim for the billing differential in
the amount of P193,3325 representing the value of petitioners' used but unregistered electrical
consumption, which had been established without being controverted.
Hence, this Petition.6
The Issues
In their Memorandum,7 petitioners submit the following issues for our consideration:
"4.1 Whether a prima facie presumption of tampering of electrical meter enumerated under Sec. 4 (a)
iv of RA 7832 (Anti-Electricity and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage Act of 1994) may be
had despite the absence of an ERB representative or an officer of the law?
"4.2 Whether the enumeration of instances to establish a prima facie presumption of tampering of
electrical meter enumerated under Sec. 4 (a) iv of RA 7832 (Anti-Electricity and Electric Transmission
Lines/Materials Pilferage Act of 1994) is exclusive?
"4.3 What constitutes notice prior to disconnection of electricity service? Corollarily, whether the
definition of notice under Meralco v. Court of Appeals (157 SCRA 243) applies to the case at bar?
"4.4 Whether a prima facie presumption may contradict logic?

"4.5 Whether documentary proof is pre-requisite for award of damages?"8


In sum, this Petition raises three (3) main issues which this Court will address: (1) whether respondent
observed the requisites of law when it disconnected the electrical supply of petitioners, (2) whether
such disconnection entitled petitioners to damages, and (3) whether petitioners are liable for the billing
differential computed by respondent.
The Court's Ruling
The Petition is partly meritorious.
First Issue:
Compliance with Requisites of Law
Petitioners contend that the immediate disconnection of electrical service was not validly effected
because of respondent's noncompliance with the relevant provisions of RA 7832, the "Anti-Electricity
and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage Act of 1994." They insist that the immediate
disconnection of electrical supply may only be validly effected only when there is prima facie evidence
of its illegal use. To constitute prima facie evidence, the discovery of the illegal use must be "personally
witnessed and attested to by an officer of the law or a duly authorized representative of the Energy
Regulatory Board (ERB)."
Respondent, on the other hand, points out that the issue raised by petitioners is a question of fact
which this Court cannot pass upon. It argues further that this issue, which was not raised in the court
below, can no longer be taken up for the first time on appeal. Assuming arguendo that the issue was
raised below, it also contends that petitioners were not able to specifically prove the absence of an
officer of the law or a duly authorized representative of the ERB when the discovery was
made.1wphi1.nt
Prima facie Evidence of Illegal Use of Electricity
We agree with petitioners. Section 4 of RA 7832 states:
(a) The presence of any of the following circumstances shall constitute prima facie evidence of illegal
use of electricity, as defined in this Act, by the person benefitted thereby, and shall be the basis for: (1)
the immediate disconnection by the electric utility to such person after due notice, x x x
xxx
xxx
xxx
(viii) x x x Provided, however, That the discovery of any of the foregoing circumstances, in order to
constitute prima facie evidence, must be personally witnessed and attested to by an officer of the law
or a duly authorized representative of the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB)."9 (Italics supplied)
Under the above provision, the prima facie presumption that will authorize immediate disconnection
will arise only upon the satisfaction of certain requisites. One of these requisites is the personal
witnessing and attestation by an officer of the law or by an authorized ERB representative when the
discovery was made.
As a rule, this Court reviews only questions of law, not of facts. However, it may pass upon the
evidence when the factual findings of the trial court are different from those of the Court of Appeals, as
in this case.10
A careful review of the evidence on record negates the appellate court's holding that "the actions of
defendant-appellant's service inspectors were all in accord with the requirement of the law." 11
Respondent's own witnesses provided the evidence on who were actually present when the inspection
was made. Emmanuel C. Orlino, the head of the Meralco team, testified:
"Q
When you were conducting this inspection, and you discovered these findings you testified
earlier, who was present?
A
The secretary, sir."12
"ATTY. REYES - Who else were the members of your team that conducted this inspection at
Greenmeadows Avenue on that day, March 3, 1995?
A
The composition of the team, sir?
Q
Yes.
A
Including me, we are about four (4) inspectors, sir.
Q
You were four (4)?
A
Yes, sir.
Q
Who is the head of this team?
A
I was the head of the team, sir."13
Further, Catalino A. Macaraig, the area head of the Orlino team, stated that only Meralco personnel
had been present during the inspection:
"Q
By the way you were not there at Green Meadows on that day, right?
A
Yes, sir.

Q
Only Mr. Orlino and who else were there?
A
Two or three of his men.
Q
All members of the inspection team?
A
Yes, sir."14
These testimonies clearly show that at the time the alleged meter tampering was discovered, only the
Meralco inspection team and petitioners' secretary were present. Plainly, there was no officer of the
law or ERB representative at that time. Because of the absence of government representatives, the
prima facie authority to disconnect, granted to Meralco by RA 7832, cannot apply.
Neither can respondent find solace in the fact that petitioners' secretary was present at the time the
inspection was made. The law clearly states that for the prima facie evidence to apply, the discovery
"must be personally witnessed and attested to by an officer of the law or a duly authorized
representative of the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB)." 15 Had the law intended the presence of the
owner or his/her representative to suffice, then it should have said so. Embedded in our jurisprudence
is the rule that courts may not construe a statute that is free from doubt. 16 Where the law is clear and
unambiguous, it must be taken to mean exactly what it says, and courts have no choice but to see to it
that the mandate is obeyed.17
In fact, during the Senate deliberations on RA 7832, Senator John H. Osmea, its author, stressed the
need for the presence of government officers during inspections of electric meters. He said:
"Mr. President, if a utility like MERALCO finds certain circumstances or situations which are listed in
Section 2 of this bill to be prima facie evidence, I think they should be prudent enough to bring in
competent authority, either the police or the NBI, to verify or substantiate their finding. If they were to
summarily proceed to disconnect on the basis of their findings and later on there would be a court
case and the customer or the user would deny the existence of what is listed in Section 2, then they
could be in a lot of trouble."18 (Italics supplied)
Neither can we accept respondent's argument that when the alleged tampered meter was brought to
Meralco's laboratory for testing, there was already an ERB representative present.
The law says that before immediate disconnection may be allowed, the discovery of the illegal use of
electricity must have been personally witnessed and attested to by an officer of the law or by an
authorized ERB representative. In this case, the disconnection was effected immediately after the
discovery of the alleged meter tampering, which was witnessed only by Meralco's employees. That the
ERB representative was allegedly present when the meter was examined in the Meralco laboratory will
not cure the defect.
It is undisputed that after members of the Meralco team conducted their inspection and found alleged
meter tampering, they immediately disconnected petitioners' electrical supply. Again, this verity is
culled from the testimony of Meralco's Orlina:
"A
When she went inside then she came out together with Mrs. Lourdes Quis[u]mbing at that time.
We did tell our findings regarding the meter and the consequence with it. And she was very angry with
me.
Q
When you say consequence of your findings, what exactly did you tell Mrs. Quisumbing?
A
We told her that the service will be temporarily disconnected and that we are referring to our
Legal Department so could know the violation, sir."19
"A
Yes, sir. At that time, I referred her to Mr. Macaraig, sir.
Q
What is the fist name of this supervisor?
A
Mr. Catalino Macara[i]g, sir.
Q
Then after talking to Mr. Catalino Macara[i]g, this is over the telephone, what happened?
A
The supervisor advised her that the service will be temporarily disconnected and she has to go
to our Legal Department where she could settle the VOC, sir.
Q
You are talking of 'VOC,' what is this all about Mr. Orlino?
A
'VOC' is violation of contract, sir."20
As to respondent's argument that the presence of an authorized ERB representative had not been
raised below, it is clear, however, that the issue of due process was brought up by petitioners as a
valid issue in the CA. The presence of government agents who may authorize immediate
disconnections go into the essence of due process. Indeed, we cannot allow respondent to act virtually
as prosecutor and judge in imposing the penalty of disconnection due to alleged meter tampering. That
would not sit well in a democratic country. After all, Meralco is a monopoly that derives its power from
the government. Clothing it with unilateral authority to disconnect would be equivalent to giving it a
license to tyrannize its hapless customers.

Besides, even if not specifically raised, this Court has already ruled that "[w]here the issues already
raised also rest on other issues not specifically presented, as long as the latter issues bear relevance
and close relation to the former and as long as they arise from matters on record, the Court has the
authority to include them in its discussion of the controversy as well as to pass upon them." 21
Contractual
Right
to
Disconnect
Electrical Service
Neither may respondent rely on its alleged contractual right to disconnect electrical service based on
Exhibits "10"22 and "11,"23 or on Decisions of the Board of Energy (now the Energy Regulatory Board).
The relevant portion of these documents concerns discontinuance of service. It provides:
"The Company reserves the right to discontinue service in case the Customer is in arrears in the
payment of bills or for failure to pay the adjusted bills in those cases where the meter stopped or failed
to register the correct amount of energy consumed, or for failure to comply with any of these terms and
conditions, or in case of or to prevent fraud upon the Company. Before disconnection is made in case
of or to prevent fraud, the Company may adjust the bill of said Customer accordingly and if the
adjusted bill is not paid, the Company may disconnect the same. In case of disconnection, the
provisions of Revised Order No. 1 of the former Public Service Commission (now the Board of Energy)
shall be observed. Any such suspension of service shall not terminate the contract between the
Company and the Customer."24
Petitioners' situation can fall under disconnection only "in case of or to prevent fraud upon the
Company." However, this too has requisites before a disconnection may be made. An adjusted bill
shall be prepared, and only upon failure to pay it may the company discontinue service. This is also
true in regard to the provisions of Revised Order No. 1 of the former Public Service Commission,
which requires a 48-hour written notice before a disconnection may be justified. In the instant case,
these requisites were obviously not complied with.
Second Issue
Damages
Having ruled that the immediate disconnection effected by Meralco lacks legal, factual or contractual
basis, we will now pass upon on the right of petitioners to recover damages for the improper
disconnection.
Petitioners are asking for the reinstatement of the RTC Decision, which awarded them actual, moral
and exemplary damages as well as attorney's fees. All these were overturned by the CA.
As to actual damages, we agree with the CA that competent proof is necessary before our award may
be made. The appellate court ruled as follows:
"Considering further, it is a settled rule that in order for damages to be recovered, the best evidence
obtainable by the injured party must be presented. Actual and compensatory damages cannot be
presumed but must be duly proved and proved with reasonable degree and certainty. A court cannot
rely on speculation, conjecture or guess work as to the fact and amount of damages, but must depend
upon competent proof that they have been suffered and on evidence of actual amount thereof. If the
proof is flimsy and unsubstantial, no damages will be awarded."25
Actual damages are compensation for an injury that will put the injured party in the position where it
was before it was injured.26 They pertain to such injuries or losses that are actually sustained and
susceptible of measurement.27 Except as provided by law or by stipulation, a party is entitled to an
adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss as it has duly proven.28
Basic is the rule that to recover actual damages, not only must the amount of loss be capable of proof;
it must also be actually proven with a reasonable degree of certainty, premised upon competent proof
or the best evidence obtainable.29
Petitioners' claim for actual damages was premised only upon Lorna Quisumbing's bare testimony as
follows:
"A
Actually that da[y] I was really scheduled to go to that furniture exhibit. That furniture exhibit is
only once a year.
Q
What is this furniture exhibit?
A
The SITEM, that is a government agency that takes care of exporters and exclusive marketing of
our products around the world. We always have that once a year and that's the time when all our
buyers are here for us to show what we had that was exhibited to go around. So, my husband had to
[fly] from Cebu to Manila just for this occasion. So we have an appointment with our people and our
buyers with SITEM and also that evening we will have to treat them [to] dinner.
Q
Whereat?
A
At our residence, we were supposed to have a dinner at our residence.

Q
What happened to this occasion?
A
So when they disconnected our electric power we had to get in touch with them and change the
venue.
Q
Which venue did you transfer your dinner for your buyers?
A
We brought them in a restaurant in Makati at Season's Restaurant. But it was very
embar[r]assing for us because we faxed them ahead of time before they came to Manila.
Q
Now as a result of this change of your schedule because of the disconnection of the electric
power on that day, Friday, what damage did you suffer?
A
I cancelled the catering service and that is so much of a h[a]ssle it was so embarras[s]ing for us.
Q
Can you tell us how much amount?
A
Approximately P50,000.00."30
No other evidence has been proffered to substantiate her bare statements. She has not shown how
she arrived at the amount of P50,000; it is, at best, speculative. Her self-serving testimonial evidence,
if it may be called such, is insufficient to support alleged actual damages.
While respondent does not rebut this testimony on the expenses incurred by the spouses in moving
the dinner out of their residence due to the disconnection, no receipts covering such expenditures
have been adduced in evidence. Neither is the testimony corroborated. To reiterate, actual or
compensatory damages cannot be presumed, but must be duly proved with a reasonable degree of
certainty. It is dependent upon competent proof of damages that petitioners have suffered and of the
actual amount thereof.31 The award must be based on the evidence presented, not on the personal
knowledge of the court; and certainly not on flimsy, remote, speculative and unsubstantial proof. 32
Consequently, we uphold the CA ruling denying the grant of actual damages.
Having said that, we agree with the trial court, however, that petitioners are entitled to moral damages,
albeit in a reduced amount.
The RTC opined as follows:
"This Court agrees with the defendant regarding [its] right by law and equity to protect itself from any
fraud. However, such right should not be exercised arbitrarily but with great caution and with due
regard to the rights of the consumers. Meralco having a virtual monopoly of the supply of electric
power should refrain from taking drastic actions against the consumers without observing due process.
Even assuming that the subject meter has had history of meter tampering, defendant cannot simply
assume that the present occupants are the ones responsible for such tampering. Neither does it serve
as a license to deprive the plaintiffs of their right to due process. Defendant should have given the
plaintiffs simple opportunity to dispute the electric charges brought about by the alleged metertampering, which were not included in the bill rendered them. Procedural due process requires
reasonable notice to pay the bill and reasonable notice to discontinue supply. Absent due process the
defendant may be held liable for damages. While this Court is aware of the practice of unscrupulous
individuals of stealing electric curre[n]t which causes thousands if not millions of pesos in lost revenue
to electric companies, this does not give the defendant the right to trample upon the rights of the
consumers by denying them due process."33
Article 2219 of the Civil Code lists the instances when moral damages may be recovered. One such
case34 is when the rights of individuals, including the right against deprivation of property without due
process of law, are violated.35
Moral damages include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched
reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury.36 Although incapable
of pecuniary computation, such damages may be recovered if they are the proximate results of the
defendant's wrongful act or omission.37
Case law establishes the following requisites for the award of moral damages: (1) there is an injury -whether physical, mental or psychological -- clearly sustained by the claimant; (2) there is a culpable
act or omission factually established; (3) the wrongful act or omission of the defendant is the proximate
cause of the injury sustained by the claimant; and (4) the award of damages is predicated on any of
the cases stated in Article 2219 of the Civil Code.38
To reiterate, respondent had no legal right to immediately disconnect petitioners' electrical supply
without observing the requisites of law which, in turn, are akin to due process. Had respondent been
more circumspect and prudent, petitioners could have been given the opportunity to controvert the
initial finding of alleged meter tampering. Said the RTC:
"More seriously, the action of the defendant in maliciously disconnecting the electric service constitutes
a breach of public policy. For public utilities, broad as their powers are, have a clear duty to see to it
that they do not violate nor transgress the rights of the consumers. Any act on their part that militates

against the ordinary norms of justice and fair play is considered an infraction that gives rise to an
action for damages. Such is the case at bar."39
Indeed, the Supreme Court has ruled in Meralco v. CA40 that respondent is required to give notice of
disconnection to an alleged delinquent customer. The Court said:
"x x x One can not deny the vital role which a public utility such as MERALCO, having a monopoly of
the supply of electrical power in Metro Manila and some nearby municipalities, plays in the life of
people living in such areas. Electricity has become a necessity to most people in these areas,
justifying the exercise by the State of its regulatory power over the business of supplying electrical
service to the public, in which petitioner MERALCO is engaged. Thus, the state may regulate, as it has
done through Section 97 of the Revised Order No. 1 of the Public Service Commission, the conditions
under which and the manner by which a public utility such as MERALCO may effect a disconnection of
service to a delinquent customer. Among others, a prior written notice to the customer is required
before disconnection of the service. Failure to give such prior notice amounts to a tort." 41
Observance of the rights of our people is sacred in our society. We cannot allow such rights to be
trifled with or trivialized. Although the Court sympathizes with respondent's efforts to stamp out the
illegal use of electricity, such action must be done only with strict observance of the rights of our
people. As has been we succinctly said: "there is a right way to do the right thing at the right time for
the right reason."42
However, the amount of moral damages, which is left largely to the sound discretion of the courts,
should be granted in reasonable amounts, considering the attendant facts and circumstances. 43 Moral
damages, though incapable of pecuniary estimation, are designed to compensate the claimant for
actual injury suffered and not to impose a penalty.44 Moral damages are not intended to enrich a
plaintiff at the expense of the defendant. 45 They are awarded only to obtain a means, a diversion or an
amusement that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering the injured party has undergone by reason of
the defendant's culpable action.46 They must be proportionate to the suffering inflicted.47
It is clear from the records that respondent was able to restore the electrical supply of petitioners on
the same day. Verily, the inconvenience and anxiety they suffered as a result of the disconnection was
thereafter corrected. Thus, we reduce the RTC's grant of moral damages to the more equitable
amount of P100,000.
Exemplary damages, on the other hand, are imposed by way of example or correction for the public
good in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages. 48 It is not given to enrich
one party and impoverish another, but to serve as a deterrent against or as a negative incentive to
socially deleterious actions.49 In this case, to serve an example -- that before a disconnection of
electrical supply can be effected by a public utility like Meralco, the requisites of law must be faithfully
complied with -- we award the amount of P50,000 to petitioners.
Finally, with the award of exemplary damages, the award of attorney's fees is likewise granted. 50 It is
readily apparent that petitioners needed the services of a lawyer to argue their cause, even to the
extent of elevating the matter to this Court;51 thus, an award of P50,000 is considered sufficient.
Final Issue:
Billing Differential
Finally, this Court holds that despite the basis for the award of damages -- the lack of due process in
immediately disconnecting petitioners' electrical supply -- respondent's counterclaim for the billing
differential is still proper. We agree with the CA that respondent should be given what it rightfully
deserves. The evidence it presented, both documentary and testimonial, sufficiently proved the
amount of the differential.
Not only did respondent show how the meter examination had been conducted by its experts, but it
also established the amount of P193,332.96 that petitioners owed respondent. The procedure through
which this amount was arrived at was testified to by Meralco's Senior Billing Computer Enrique
Katipunan. His testimony was corroborated by documentary evidence showing the account's billing
history and the corresponding computations. Neither do we doubt the documents of inspections and
examinations presented by respondent to prove that, indeed there had been meter tampering that
resulted in unrecorded and unpaid electrical consumption.
The mere presentation by petitioners of a Contract to Sell with Assumption of Mortgage 52 does not
necessarily mean that they are no longer liable for the billing differential. There was no sufficient
evidence to show that they had not been actually residing in the house before the date of the said
document. Lorna Quisumbing herself admitted 53 that they did not have any contract for electrical
service in their own name. Hence, petitioners effectively assumed the bills of the former occupants of
the premises.

Finally, the CA was correct in ruling that the convincing documentary and testimonial evidence
presented by respondent, was not controverted by petitioners.1wphi1.nt
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby PARTLY GRANTED. The assailed CA Decision is MODIFIED as
follows: petitioners are ORDERED to pay respondent the billing differential of P193,332.96; while
respondent is ordered to pay petitioners P100,000 as moral damages, P50,000 as exemplary
damages, and P50,000 as attorney's fees. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 132344


February 17, 2000
UNIVERSITY
OF
THE
EAST,
petitioner,
vs.
ROMEO A. JADER, respondent.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
May an educational institution be held liable for damages for misleading a student into believing that
the latter had satisfied all the requirements for graduation when such is not the case? This is the issue
in the instant petition for review premised on the following undisputed facts as summarized by the trial
court and adopted by the Court of Appeals (CA),1 to wit:
Plaintiff was enrolled in the defendants' College of Law from 1984 up to 1988. In the first semester of
his last year (School year 1987-1988), he failed to take the regular final examination in Practice Court I
for which he was given an incomplete grade (Exhibits "2", also Exhibit "H"). He enrolled for the second
semester as fourth year law student (Exhibit "A") and on February 1, 1988 he filed an application for
the removal of the incomplete grade given him by Professor Carlos Ortega (Exhibits "H-2", also Exhibit
"2") which was approved by Dean Celedonio Tiongson after payment of the required fee. He took the
examination on March 28, 1988. On May 30, 1988, Professor Carlos Ortega submitted his grade. It
was a grade of five (5). (Exhibits "H-4", also Exhibits "2-L", "2-N").1wphi1.nt
In the meantime, the Dean and the Faculty Members of the College of Law met to deliberate on who
among the fourth year students should be allowed to graduate. The plaintiff's name appeared in the
Tentative List of Candidates for graduation for the Degree of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) as of Second
Semester (1987-1988) with the following annotation:
JADER ROMEO A.
Def. Conflict of Laws x-1-87-88, Practice Court I Inc., 1-87-88 C-1 to submit transcript with S.O.
(Exhibits "3", "3-C-1", "3-C-2").
The 35th Investitures & Commencement Ceremonies for the candidates of Bachelor of Laws was
scheduled on the 16th of April 1988 at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon, and in the invitation for that
occasion the name of the plaintiff appeared as one of the candidates. (Exhibits "B", "B-6", "B-6-A"). At
the foot of the list of the names of the candidates there appeared however the following annotation:
This is a tentative list Degrees will be conferred upon these candidates who satisfactorily complete
requirements as stated in the University Bulletin and as approved of the Department of Education,
Culture and Sports (Exhibit "B-7-A").
The plaintiff attended the investiture ceremonies at F. dela Cruz Quadrangle, U.E., Recto Campus,
during the program of which he went up the stage when his name was called, escorted by her (sic)
mother and his eldest brother who assisted in placing the Hood, and his Tassel was turned from left to
right, and he was thereafter handed by Dean Celedonio a rolled white sheet of paper symbolical of the
Law Diploma. His relatives took pictures of the occasion (Exhibits "C" to "C-6", "D-3" to "D-11").
He tendered a blow-out that evening which was attended by neighbors, friends and relatives who
wished him good luck in the forthcoming bar examination. There were pictures taken too during the
blow-out (Exhibits "D" to "D-1").
He thereafter prepared himself for the bar examination. He took a leave of absence without pay from
his job from April 20, 1988 to September 30, 1988 (Exhibit "G") and enrolled at the pre-bar review
class in Far Eastern University. (Exhibits "F" to "F-2"). Having learned of the deficiency he dropped his
review class and was not able to take the bar examination.2
Consequently, respondent sued petitioner for damages alleging that he suffered moral shock, mental
anguish, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings and sleepless nights when he was
not able to take the 1988 bar examinations arising from the latter's negligence. He prayed for an award
of moral and exemplary damages, unrealized income, attorney's fees, and costs of suit.
In its answer with counterclaim, petitioner denied liability arguing mainly that it never led respondent to
believe that he completed the requirements for a Bachelor of Laws degree when his name was

included in the tentative list of graduating students. After trial, the lower court rendered judgment as
follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and
against the defendant ordering the latter to pay plaintiff the sum of THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND FOUR
HUNDRED SEVENTY PESOS (P35,470.00) with legal rate of interest from the filing of the complaint
until fully paid, the amount of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) as attorney's fees and the cost of
suit.
Defendant's counterclaim is, for lack of merit, hereby dismissed.
SO ORDERED.3
which on appeal by both parties was affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA) with modification. The
dispositive portion of the CA decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the lower Court's Decision is hereby AFFIRMED with the
MODIFICATION that defendant-appellee, in addition to the sum adjudged by the lower court in favor of
plaintiff-appellant, is also ORDERED to pay plaintiff-appellant the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND
(P50,000.00) PESOS for moral damages. Costs against defendant-appellee.
SO ORDERED.4
Upon the denial of its motion for reconsideration, petitioner UE elevated the case to this Court on a
petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, arguing that it has no liability to respondent
Romeo A. Jader, considering that the proximate and immediate cause of the alleged damages incurred
by the latter arose out of his own negligence in not verifying from the professor concerned the result of
his removal exam.
The petition lacks merit.
When a student is enrolled in any educational or learning institution, a contract of education is entered
into between said institution and the student. The professors, teachers or instructors hired by the
school are considered merely as agents and administrators tasked to perform the school's
commitment under the contract. Since the contracting parties are the school and the student, the latter
is not duty-bound to deal with the former's agents, such as the professors with respect to the status or
result of his grades, although nothing prevents either professors or students from sharing with each
other such information. The Court takes judicial notice of the traditional practice in educational
institutions wherein the professor directly furnishes his/her students their grades. It is the contractual
obligation of the school to timely inform and furnish sufficient notice and information to each and every
student as to whether he or she had already complied with all the requirements for the conferment of a
degree or whether they would be included among those who will graduate. Although commencement
exercises are but a formal ceremony, it nonetheless is not an ordinary occasion, since such ceremony
is the educational institution's way of announcing to the whole world that the students included in the
list of those who will be conferred a degree during the baccalaureate ceremony have satisfied all the
requirements for such degree. Prior or subsequent to the ceremony, the school has the obligation to
promptly inform the student of any problem involving the latter's grades and performance and also
most importantly, of the procedures for remedying the same.
Petitioner, in belatedly informing respondent of the result of the removal examination, particularly at a
time when he had already commenced preparing for the bar exams, cannot be said to have acted in
good faith. Absence of good faith must be sufficiently established for a successful prosecution by the
aggrieved party in a suit for abuse of right under Article 19 of the Civil Code. Good faith connotes an
honest intention to abstain from taking undue advantage of another, even though the forms and
technicalities of the law, together with the absence of all information or belief of facts, would render the
transaction unconscientious.5 It is the school that has access to those information and it is only the
school that can compel its professors to act and comply with its rules, regulations and policies with
respect to the computation and the prompt submission of grades. Students do not exercise control,
much less influence, over the way an educational institution should run its affairs, particularly in
disciplining its professors and teachers and ensuring their compliance with the school's rules and
orders. Being the party that hired them, it is the school that exercises general supervision and
exclusive control over the professors with respect to the submission of reports involving the students'
standing. Exclusive control means that no other person or entity had any control over the
instrumentality which caused the damage or injury.6
The college dean is the senior officer responsible for the operation of an academic program,
enforcement of rules and regulations, and the supervision of faculty and student services. 7 He must
see to it that his own professors and teachers, regardless of their status or position outside of the
university, must comply with the rules set by the latter. The negligent act of a professor who fails to

observe the rules of the school, for instance by not promptly submitting a student's grade, is not only
imputable to the professor but is an act of the school, being his employer.
Considering further, that the institution of learning involved herein is a university which is engaged in
legal education, it should have practiced what it inculcates in its students, more specifically the
principle of good dealings enshrined in Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code which states:
Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with
justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.
Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, wilfully or negligently causes damage to another, shall
indemnify the latter for the same.
Art. 19 was intended to expand the concept of torts by granting adequate legal remedy for the untold
number of moral wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to provide specifically in statutory
law.8 In civilized society, men must be able to assume that others will do them no intended injury
that others will commit no internal aggressions upon them; that their fellowmen, when they act
affirmatively will do so with due care which the ordinary understanding and moral sense of the
community exacts and that those with whom they deal in the general course of society will act in good
faith. The ultimate thing in the theory of liability is justifiable reliance under conditions of civilized
society.9 Schools and professors cannot just take students for granted and be indifferent to them, for
without the latter, the former are useless.
Educational institutions are duty-bound to inform the students of their academic status and not wait for
the latter to inquire from the former. The conscious indifference of a person to the rights or welfare of
the person/persons who may be affected by his act or omission can support a claim for damages. 10
Want of care to the conscious disregard of civil obligations coupled with a conscious knowledge of the
cause naturally calculated to produce them would make the erring party liable. 11 Petitioner ought to
have known that time was of the essence in the performance of its obligation to inform respondent of
his grade. It cannot feign ignorance that respondent will not prepare himself for the bar exams since
that is precisely the immediate concern after graduation of an LL.B. graduate. It failed to act
seasonably. Petitioner cannot just give out its student's grades at any time because a student has to
comply with certain deadlines set by the Supreme Court on the submission of requirements for taking
the bar. Petitioner's liability arose from its failure to promptly inform respondent of the result of an
examination and in misleading the latter into believing that he had satisfied all requirements for the
course. Worth quoting is the following disquisition of the respondent court:
It is apparent from the testimony of Dean Tiongson that defendant-appellee University had been
informed during the deliberation that the professor in Practice Court I gave plaintiff-appellant a failing
grade. Yet, defendant-appellee still did not inform plaintiff-appellant of his failure to complete the
requirements for the degree nor did they remove his name from the tentative list of candidates for
graduation. Worse, defendant-appellee university, despite the knowledge that plaintiff-appellant failed
in Practice Court I, again included plaintiff-appellant's name in the "tentative list of candidates for
graduation which was prepared after the deliberation and which became the basis for the
commencement rites program. Dean Tiongson reasons out that plaintiff-appellant's name was allowed
to remain in the tentative list of candidates for graduation in the hope that the latter would still be able
to remedy the situation in the remaining few days before graduation day. Dean Tiongson, however, did
not explain how plaintiff appellant Jader could have done something to complete his deficiency if
defendant-appellee university did not exert any effort to inform plaintiff-appellant of his failing grade in
Practice Court I.12
Petitioner cannot pass on its blame to the professors to justify its own negligence that led to the
delayed relay of information to respondent. When one of two innocent parties must suffer, he through
whose agency the loss occurred must bear it. 13 The modern tendency is to grant indemnity for
damages in cases where there is abuse of right, even when the act is not illicit. 14 If mere fault or
negligence in one's acts can make him liable for damages for injury caused thereby, with more reason
should abuse or bad faith make him liable. A person should be protected only when he acts in the
legitimate exercise of his right, that is, when he acts with prudence and in good faith, but not when he
acts with negligence or abuse.15
However, while petitioner was guilty of negligence and thus liable to respondent for the latter's actual
damages, we hold that respondent should not have been awarded moral damages. We do not agree
with the Court of Appeals' findings that respondent suffered shock, trauma and pain when he was
informed that he could not graduate and will not be allowed to take the bar examinations. At the very
least, it behooved on respondent to verify for himself whether he has completed all necessary
requirements to be eligible for the bar examinations. As a senior law student, respondent should have

been responsible enough to ensure that all his affairs, specifically those pertaining to his academic
achievement, are in order. Given these considerations, we fail to see how respondent could have
suffered untold embarrassment in attending the graduation rites, enrolling in the bar review classes
and not being able to take the bar exams. If respondent was indeed humiliated by his failure to take
the bar, he brought this upon himself by not verifying if he has satisfied all the requirements including
his school records, before preparing himself for the bar examination. Certainly, taking the bar
examinations does not only entail a mental preparation on the subjects thereof; there are also
prerequisites of documentation and submission of requirements which the prospective examinee must
meet.
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION.
Petitioner is ORDERED to PAY respondent the sum of Thirty-five Thousand Four Hundred Seventy
Pesos (P35,470.00), with legal interest of 6% per annum computed from the date of filing of the
complaint until fully paid; the amount of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) as attorney's fees; and the
costs of the suit. The award of moral damages is DELEIED.1wphi1.nt
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 81262 August 25, 1989


GLOBE MACKAY CABLE AND RADIO CORP., and HERBERT C. HENDRY, petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and RESTITUTO M. TOBIAS, respondents.
Atencia & Arias Law Offices for petitioners.
Romulo C. Felizmena for private respondent.
CORTES, J.:
Private respondent Restituto M. Tobias was employed by petitioner Globe Mackay Cable and Radio
Corporation (GLOBE MACKAY) in a dual capacity as a purchasing agent and administrative assistant
to the engineering operations manager. In 1972, GLOBE MACKAY discovered fictitious purchases and
other fraudulent transactions for which it lost several thousands of pesos.
According to private respondent it was he who actually discovered the anomalies and reported them
on November 10, 1972 to his immediate superior Eduardo T. Ferraren and to petitioner Herbert C.
Hendry who was then the Executive Vice-President and General Manager of GLOBE MACKAY.
On November 11, 1972, one day after private respondent Tobias made the report, petitioner Hendry
confronted him by stating that he was the number one suspect, and ordered him to take a one week
forced leave, not to communicate with the office, to leave his table drawers open, and to leave the
office keys.
On November 20, 1972, when private respondent Tobias returned to work after the forced leave,
petitioner Hendry went up to him and called him a "crook" and a "swindler." Tobias was then ordered to
take a lie detector test. He was also instructed to submit specimen of his handwriting, signature, and
initials for examination by the police investigators to determine his complicity in the anomalies.
On December 6,1972, the Manila police investigators submitted a laboratory crime report (Exh. "A")
clearing private respondent of participation in the anomalies.
Not satisfied with the police report, petitioners hired a private investigator, retired Col. Jose G.
Fernandez, who on December 10, 1972, submitted a report (Exh. "2") finding Tobias guilty. This report
however expressly stated that further investigation was still to be conducted.
Nevertheless, on December 12, 1972, petitioner Hendry issued a memorandum suspending Tobias
from work preparatory to the filing of criminal charges against him.
On December 19,1972, Lt. Dioscoro V. Tagle, Metro Manila Police Chief Document Examiner, after
investigating other documents pertaining to the alleged anomalous transactions, submitted a second
laboratory crime report (Exh. "B") reiterating his previous finding that the handwritings, signatures, and
initials appearing in the checks and other documents involved in the fraudulent transactions were not
those of Tobias. The lie detector tests conducted on Tobias also yielded negative results.
Notwithstanding the two police reports exculpating Tobias from the anomalies and the fact that the
report of the private investigator, was, by its own terms, not yet complete, petitioners filed with the City
Fiscal of Manila a complaint for estafa through falsification of commercial documents, later amended to
just estafa. Subsequently five other criminal complaints were filed against Tobias, four of which were
for estafa through Falsification of commercial document while the fifth was for of Article 290 of' the
Revised Penal Code (Discovering Secrets Through Seizure of Correspondence).lwph1.t Two of

these complaints were refiled with the Judge Advocate General's Office, which however, remanded
them to the fiscal's office. All of the six criminal complaints were dismissed by the fiscal. Petitioners
appealed four of the fiscal's resolutions dismissing the criminal complaints with the Secretary of
Justice, who, however, affirmed their dismissal.
In the meantime, on January 17, 1973, Tobias received a notice (Exh. "F") from petitioners that his
employment has been terminated effective December 13, 1972. Whereupon, Tobias filed a complaint
for illegal dismissal. The labor arbiter dismissed the complaint. On appeal, the National Labor
Relations Commission (NLRC) reversed the labor arbiter's decision. However, the Secretary of Labor,
acting on petitioners' appeal from the NLRC ruling, reinstated the labor arbiter's decision. Tobias
appealed the Secretary of Labor's order with the Office of the President. During the pendency of the
appeal with said office, petitioners and private respondent Tobias entered into a compromise
agreement regarding the latter's complaint for illegal dismissal.
Unemployed, Tobias sought employment with the Republic Telephone Company (RETELCO).
However, petitioner Hendry, without being asked by RETELCO, wrote a letter to the latter stating that
Tobias was dismissed by GLOBE MACKAY due to dishonesty.
Private respondent Tobias filed a civil case for damages anchored on alleged unlawful, malicious,
oppressive, and abusive acts of petitioners. Petitioner Hendry, claiming illness, did not testify during
the hearings. The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch IX, through Judge Manuel T. Reyes
rendered judgment in favor of private respondent by ordering petitioners to pay him eighty thousand
pesos (P80,000.00) as actual damages, two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) as moral
damages, twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) as exemplary damages, thirty thousand pesos
(P30,000.00) as attorney's fees, and costs. Petitioners appealed the RTC decision to the Court of
Appeals. On the other hand, Tobias appealed as to the amount of damages. However, the Court of
Appeals, an a decision dated August 31, 1987 affirmed the RTC decision in toto. Petitioners' motion for
reconsideration having been denied, the instant petition for review on certiorari was filed.
The main issue in this case is whether or not petitioners are liable for damages to private respondent.
Petitioners contend that they could not be made liable for damages in the lawful exercise of their right
to dismiss private respondent.
On the other hand, private respondent contends that because of petitioners' abusive manner in
dismissing him as well as for the inhuman treatment he got from them, the Petitioners must indemnify
him for the damage that he had suffered.
One of the more notable innovations of the New Civil Code is the codification of "some basic principles
that are to be observed for the rightful relationship between human beings and for the stability of the
social order." [REPORT ON THE CODE COMMISSION ON THE PROPOSED CIVIL CODE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, p. 39]. The framers of the Code, seeking to remedy the defect of the old Code which
merely stated the effects of the law, but failed to draw out its spirit, incorporated certain fundamental
precepts which were "designed to indicate certain norms that spring from the fountain of good
conscience" and which were also meant to serve as "guides for human conduct [that] should run as
golden threads through society, to the end that law may approach its supreme ideal, which is the sway
and dominance of justice" (Id.) Foremost among these principles is that pronounced in Article 19 which
provides:
Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with
justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.
This article, known to contain what is commonly referred to as the principle of abuse of rights, sets
certain standards which must be observed not only in the exercise of one's rights but also in the
performance of one's duties. These standards are the following: to act with justice; to give everyone
his due; and to observe honesty and good faith. The law, therefore, recognizes a primordial limitation
on all rights; that in their exercise, the norms of human conduct set forth in Article 19 must be
observed. A right, though by itself legal because recognized or granted by law as such, may
nevertheless become the source of some illegality. When a right is exercised in a manner which does
not conform with the norms enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to another, a legal wrong is
thereby committed for which the wrongdoer must be held responsible. But while Article 19 lays down a
rule of conduct for the government of human relations and for the maintenance of social order, it does
not provide a remedy for its violation. Generally, an action for damages under either Article 20 or
Article 21 would be proper.
Article 20, which pertains to damage arising from a violation of law, provides that:
Art. 20. Every person who contrary to law, wilfully or negligently causes damage to another, shall
indemnify the latter for the same.

However, in the case at bar, petitioners claim that they did not violate any provision of law since they
were merely exercising their legal right to dismiss private respondent. This does not, however, leave
private respondent with no relief because Article 21 of the Civil Code provides that:
Art. 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals,
good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.
This article, adopted to remedy the "countless gaps in the statutes, which leave so many victims of
moral wrongs helpless, even though they have actually suffered material and moral injury" [Id.] should
"vouchsafe adequate legal remedy for that untold number of moral wrongs which it is impossible for
human foresight to provide for specifically in the statutes" [Id. it p. 40; See also PNB v. CA, G.R. No. L27155, May 18,1978, 83 SCRA 237, 247].
In determining whether or not the principle of abuse of rights may be invoked, there is no rigid test
which can be applied. While the Court has not hesitated to apply Article 19 whether the legal and
factual circumstances called for its application [See for e.g., Velayo v. Shell Co. of the Phil., Ltd., 100
Phil. 186 (1956); PNB v. CA, supra; Grand Union Supermarket, Inc. v. Espino, Jr., G.R. No. L-48250,
December 28, 1979, 94 SCRA 953; PAL v. CA, G.R. No. L-46558, July 31,1981,106 SCRA 391; United
General Industries, Inc, v. Paler G.R. No. L-30205, March 15,1982,112 SCRA 404; Rubio v. CA, G.R.
No. 50911, August 21, 1987, 153 SCRA 183] the question of whether or not the principle of abuse of
rights has been violated resulting in damages under Article 20 or Article 21 or other applicable
provision of law, depends on the circumstances of each case. And in the instant case, the Court, after
examining the record and considering certain significant circumstances, finds that all petitioners have
indeed abused the right that they invoke, causing damage to private respondent and for which the
latter must now be indemnified.
The trial court made a finding that notwithstanding the fact that it was private respondent Tobias who
reported the possible existence of anomalous transactions, petitioner Hendry "showed belligerence
and told plaintiff (private respondent herein) that he was the number one suspect and to take a one
week vacation leave, not to communicate with the office, to leave his table drawers open, and to leave
his keys to said defendant (petitioner Hendry)" [RTC Decision, p. 2; Rollo, p. 232]. This, petitioners do
not dispute. But regardless of whether or not it was private respondent Tobias who reported the
anomalies to petitioners, the latter's reaction towards the former upon uncovering the anomalies was
less than civil. An employer who harbors suspicions that an employee has committed dishonesty might
be justified in taking the appropriate action such as ordering an investigation and directing the
employee to go on a leave. Firmness and the resolve to uncover the truth would also be expected from
such employer. But the high-handed treatment accorded Tobias by petitioners was certainly uncalled
for. And this reprehensible attitude of petitioners was to continue when private respondent returned to
work on November 20, 1972 after his one week forced leave. Upon reporting for work, Tobias was
confronted by Hendry who said. "Tobby, you are the crook and swindler in this company." Considering
that the first report made by the police investigators was submitted only on December 10, 1972 [See
Exh. A] the statement made by petitioner Hendry was baseless. The imputation of guilt without basis
and the pattern of harassment during the investigations of Tobias transgress the standards of human
conduct set forth in Article 19 of the Civil Code. The Court has already ruled that the right of the
employer to dismiss an employee should not be confused with the manner in which the right is
exercised and the effects flowing therefrom. If the dismissal is done abusively, then the employer is
liable for damages to the employee [Quisaba v. Sta. Ines-Melale Veneer and Plywood Inc., G.R. No. L38088, August 30, 1974, 58 SCRA 771; See also Philippine Refining Co., Inc. v. Garcia, G.R. No. L21871, September 27,1966, 18 SCRA 107] Under the circumstances of the instant case, the
petitioners clearly failed to exercise in a legitimate manner their right to dismiss Tobias, giving the latter
the right to recover damages under Article 19 in relation to Article 21 of the Civil Code.
But petitioners were not content with just dismissing Tobias. Several other tortious acts were
committed by petitioners against Tobias after the latter's termination from work. Towards the latter part
of January, 1973, after the filing of the first of six criminal complaints against Tobias, the latter talked to
Hendry to protest the actions taken against him. In response, Hendry cut short Tobias' protestations by
telling him to just confess or else the company would file a hundred more cases against him until he
landed in jail. Hendry added that, "You Filipinos cannot be trusted." The threat unmasked petitioner's
bad faith in the various actions taken against Tobias. On the other hand, the scornful remark about
Filipinos as well as Hendry's earlier statements about Tobias being a "crook" and "swindler" are clear
violations of 'Tobias' personal dignity [See Article 26, Civil Code].
The next tortious act committed by petitioners was the writing of a letter to RETELCO sometime in
October 1974, stating that Tobias had been dismissed by GLOBE MACKAY due to dishonesty.

Because of the letter, Tobias failed to gain employment with RETELCO and as a result of which,
Tobias remained unemployed for a longer period of time. For this further damage suffered by Tobias,
petitioners must likewise be held liable for damages consistent with Article 2176 of the Civil Code.
Petitioners, however, contend that they have a "moral, if not legal, duty to forewarn other employers of
the kind of employee the plaintiff (private respondent herein) was." [Petition, p. 14; Rollo, p. 15].
Petitioners further claim that "it is the accepted moral and societal obligation of every man to advise or
warn his fellowmen of any threat or danger to the latter's life, honor or property. And this includes
warning one's brethren of the possible dangers involved in dealing with, or accepting into confidence, a
man whose honesty and integrity is suspect" [Id.]. These arguments, rather than justify petitioners' act,
reveal a seeming obsession to prevent Tobias from getting a job, even after almost two years from the
time Tobias was dismissed.
Finally, there is the matter of the filing by petitioners of six criminal complaints against Tobias.
Petitioners contend that there is no case against them for malicious prosecution and that they cannot
be "penalized for exercising their right and prerogative of seeking justice by filing criminal complaints
against an employee who was their principal suspect in the commission of forgeries and in the
perpetration of anomalous transactions which defrauded them of substantial sums of money" [Petition,
p. 10, Rollo, p. 11].
While sound principles of justice and public policy dictate that persons shall have free resort to the
courts for redress of wrongs and vindication of their rights [Buenaventura v. Sto. Domingo, 103 Phil.
239 (1958)], the right to institute criminal prosecutions can not be exercised maliciously and in bad
faith [Ventura v. Bernabe, G.R. No. L-26760, April 30, 1971, 38 SCRA 5871.] Hence, in Yutuk V.
Manila Electric Co., G.R. No. L-13016, May 31, 1961, 2 SCRA 337, the Court held that the right to file
criminal complaints should not be used as a weapon to force an alleged debtor to pay an
indebtedness. To do so would be a clear perversion of the function of the criminal processes and of the
courts of justice. And in Hawpia CA, G.R. No. L-20047, June 30, 1967. 20 SCRA 536 the Court upheld
the judgment against the petitioner for actual and moral damages and attorney's fees after making a
finding that petitioner, with persistence, filed at least six criminal complaints against respondent, all of
which were dismissed.
To constitute malicious prosecution, there must be proof that the prosecution was prompted by a
design to vex and humiliate a person and that it was initiated deliberately by the defendant knowing
that the charges were false and groundless [Manila Gas Corporation v. CA, G.R. No. L-44190, October
30,1980, 100 SCRA 602]. Concededly, the filing of a suit by itself, does not render a person liable for
malicious prosecution [Inhelder Corporation v. CA, G.R. No. 52358, May 301983122 SCRA 576]. The
mere dismissal by the fiscal of the criminal complaint is not a ground for an award of damages for
malicious prosecution if there is no competent evidence to show that the complainant had acted in bad
faith [Sison v. David, G.R. No. L-11268, January 28,1961, 1 SCRA 60].
In the instant case, however, the trial court made a finding that petitioners acted in bad faith in filing the
criminal complaints against Tobias, observing that:
xxx
Defendants (petitioners herein) filed with the Fiscal's Office of Manila a total of six (6) criminal cases,
five (5) of which were for estafa thru falsification of commercial document and one for violation of Art.
290 of the Revised Penal Code "discovering secrets thru seizure of correspondence," and all were
dismissed for insufficiency or lack of evidence." The dismissal of four (4) of the cases was appealed to
the Ministry of Justice, but said Ministry invariably sustained the dismissal of the cases. As above
adverted to, two of these cases were refiled with the Judge Advocate General's Office of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines to railroad plaintiffs arrest and detention in the military stockade, but this was
frustrated by a presidential decree transferring criminal cases involving civilians to the civil courts.
xxx
To be sure, when despite the two (2) police reports embodying the findings of Lt. Dioscoro Tagle, Chief
Document Examiner of the Manila Police Department, clearing plaintiff of participation or involvement
in the fraudulent transactions complained of, despite the negative results of the lie detector tests which
defendants compelled plaintiff to undergo, and although the police investigation was "still under followup and a supplementary report will be submitted after all the evidence has been gathered," defendants
hastily filed six (6) criminal cases with the city Fiscal's Office of Manila, five (5) for estafa thru
falsification of commercial document and one (1) for violation of Art. 290 of the Revised Penal Code,
so much so that as was to be expected, all six (6) cases were dismissed, with one of the investigating
fiscals, Asst. Fiscal de Guia, commenting in one case that, "Indeed, the haphazard way this case was
investigated is evident. Evident likewise is the flurry and haste in the filing of this case against

respondent Tobias," there can be no mistaking that defendants would not but be motivated by
malicious and unlawful intent to harass, oppress, and cause damage to plaintiff.
xxx
[RTC Decision, pp. 5-6; Rollo, pp. 235-236].
In addition to the observations made by the trial court, the Court finds it significant that the criminal
complaints were filed during the pendency of the illegal dismissal case filed by Tobias against
petitioners. This explains the haste in which the complaints were filed, which the trial court earlier
noted. But petitioners, to prove their good faith, point to the fact that only six complaints were filed
against Tobias when they could have allegedly filed one hundred cases, considering the number of
anomalous transactions committed against GLOBE MACKAY. However, petitioners' good faith is belied
by the threat made by Hendry after the filing of the first complaint that one hundred more cases would
be filed against Tobias. In effect, the possible filing of one hundred more cases was made to hang like
the sword of Damocles over the head of Tobias. In fine, considering the haste in which the criminal
complaints were filed, the fact that they were filed during the pendency of the illegal dismissal case
against petitioners, the threat made by Hendry, the fact that the cases were filed notwithstanding the
two police reports exculpating Tobias from involvement in the anomalies committed against GLOBE
MACKAY, coupled by the eventual dismissal of all the cases, the Court is led into no other conclusion
than that petitioners were motivated by malicious intent in filing the six criminal complaints against
Tobias.
Petitioners next contend that the award of damages was excessive. In the complaint filed against
petitioners, Tobias prayed for the following: one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) as actual
damages; fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as exemplary damages; eight hundred thousand pesos
(P800,000.00) as moral damages; fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as attorney's fees; and costs.
The trial court, after making a computation of the damages incurred by Tobias [See RTC Decision, pp.
7-8; Rollo, pp. 154-1551, awarded him the following: eighty thousand pesos (P80,000.00) as actual
damages; two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) as moral damages; twenty thousand pesos
(P20,000.00) as exemplary damages; thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00) as attorney's fees; and,
costs. It must be underscored that petitioners have been guilty of committing several actionable
tortious acts, i.e., the abusive manner in which they dismissed Tobias from work including the baseless
imputation of guilt and the harassment during the investigations; the defamatory language heaped on
Tobias as well as the scornful remark on Filipinos; the poison letter sent to RETELCO which resulted in
Tobias' loss of possible employment; and, the malicious filing of the criminal complaints. Considering
the extent of the damage wrought on Tobias, the Court finds that, contrary to petitioners' contention,
the amount of damages awarded to Tobias was reasonable under the circumstances.
Yet, petitioners still insist that the award of damages was improper, invoking the principle of damnum
absque injuria. It is argued that "[t]he only probable actual damage that plaintiff (private respondent
herein) could have suffered was a direct result of his having been dismissed from his employment,
which was a valid and legal act of the defendants-appellants (petitioners herein).lwph1.t " [Petition,
p. 17; Rollo, p. 18].
According to the principle of damnum absque injuria, damage or loss which does not constitute a
violation of a legal right or amount to a legal wrong is not actionable [Escano v. CA, G.R. No. L-47207,
September 25, 1980, 100 SCRA 197; See also Gilchrist v. Cuddy 29 Phil, 542 (1915); The Board of
Liquidators v. Kalaw, G.R. No. L-18805, August 14, 1967, 20 SCRA 987]. This principle finds no
application in this case. It bears repeating that even granting that petitioners might have had the right
to dismiss Tobias from work, the abusive manner in which that right was exercised amounted to a legal
wrong for which petitioners must now be held liable. Moreover, the damage incurred by Tobias was not
only in connection with the abusive manner in which he was dismissed but was also the result of
several other quasi-delictual acts committed by petitioners.
Petitioners next question the award of moral damages. However, the Court has already ruled in
Wassmer v. Velez, G.R. No. L-20089, December 26, 1964, 12 SCRA 648, 653, that [p]er express
provision of Article 2219 (10) of the New Civil Code, moral damages are recoverable in the cases
mentioned in Article 21 of said Code." Hence, the Court of Appeals committed no error in awarding
moral damages to Tobias.
Lastly, the award of exemplary damages is impugned by petitioners. Although Article 2231 of the Civil
Code provides that "[i]n quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be granted if the defendant acted with
gross negligence," the Court, in Zulueta v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., G.R. No. L- 28589,
January 8, 1973, 49 SCRA 1, ruled that if gross negligence warrants the award of exemplary
damages, with more reason is its imposition justified when the act performed is deliberate, malicious

and tainted with bad faith. As in the Zulueta case, the nature of the wrongful acts shown to have been
committed by petitioners against Tobias is sufficient basis for the award of exemplary damages to the
latter.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
No. 09055 is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-46061 November 14, 1984


ST.
LOUIS
REALTY
CORPORATION,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and CONRADO J. ARAMIL, respondents.
Romeo Z. Comia for petitioner.
Roman R. Bersamin for private respondent.

petitioner,

AQUINO, J.:
This case is about the recovery of damages for a wrongful advertisement in the Sunday Times where
Saint Louis Realty Corporation misrepresented that the house of Doctor Conrado J. Aramil belonged to
Arcadio S. Arcadio.
St. Louis Realty caused to be published with the permission of Arcadio S. Arcadio (but without
permission of Doctor Aramil) in the issue of the Sunday Times of December 15, 1968 an
advertisement with the heading "WHERE THE HEART IS". Below that heading was the photograph of
the residence of Doctor Aramil and the Arcadio family and then below the photograph was the
following write-up:
Home is where the heart is. And the hearts of MR. AND MRS. ARCADIO S. ARCADIO and their family
have been captured by BROOKSIDE HILLS. They used to rent a small 2-bedroom house in a cramped
neighborhood, sadly inadequate and unwholesome for the needs of a large family. They dream(ed) of
a more pleasant place free from the din and dust of city life yet near all facilities. Plans took shape
when they heard of BROOKSIDE HILLS. With thrift and determination, they bought a lot and built their
dream house ... for P31,000. The Arcadios are now part of the friendly, thriving community of
BROOKSIDE HILLS... a beautiful first-class subdivision planned for wholesome family living.
The same advertisement appeared in the Sunday Times dated January 5, 1969. Doctor Aramil a
neuropsychiatrist and a member of the faculty of the U. E. Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Hospital,
noticed the mistake. On that same date, he wrote St. Louis Realty the following letter of protest:
Dear Sirs:
This is anent to your advertisements appearing in the December 15, 1968 and January 5, 1969 issues
of the Sunday Times which boldly depicted my house at the above-mentioned address and implying
that it belonged to another person. I am not aware of any permission or authority on my part for the
use of my house for such publicity.
This unauthorized use of my house for your promotional gain and much more the apparent distortions
therein are I believe not only transgression to my private property but also damaging to my prestige in
the medical profession I have had invited in several occasions numerous medical colleagues, medical
students and friends to my house and after reading your December 15 advertisement some of them
have uttered some remarks purporting doubts as to my professional and personal integrity. Such sly
remarks although in light vein as "it looks like your house," "how much are you renting from the
Arcadios?", " like your wife portrayed in the papers as belonging to another husband," etc., have
resulted in no little mental anguish on my part.
I have referred this matter to the Legal Panel of the Philippine Medical Association and their final
advice is pending upon my submission of supporting ownership papers.
I will therefore be constrained to pursue court action against your corporation unless you could
satisfactorily explain this matter within a week upon receipt of this letter.
The letter was received by Ernesto Magtoto, an officer of St. Louis Realty in charge of advertising. He
stopped publication of the advertisement. He contacted Doctor Aramil and offered his apologies.
However, no rectification or apology was published.
On February 20, 1969, Aramil's counsel demanded from St. Louis Realty actual, moral and exemplary
damages of P110,000 (Exh. D). In its answer dated March 10, St. Louis Realty claimed that there was
an honest mistake and that if Aramil so desired, rectification would be published in the Manila Times
(Exh. 3).

It published in the issue of the Manila Times of March 18, 1969 a new advertisement with the Arcadio
family and their real house. But it did not publish any apology to Doctor Aramil and an explanation of
the error.
On March 29, Aramil filed his complaint for damages. St. Louis Realty published in the issue of the
Manila Times of April 15, 1969 the following "NOTICE OF RECTIFICATION" in a space 4 by 3 inches:
This will serve as a notice that our print ad 'Where the Heart is' which appeared in the Manila Times
issue of March 18, 1969 is a rectification of the same ad that appeared in the Manila Times issues
rectification of the same ad that appeal of December 15, 1968 and January 5, 1969 wherein a photo of
the house of another Brookside Homeowner (Dr. Aramil-private respondent) was mistakenly used as a
background for the featured homeowner's the Arcadio family.
The ad of March 18, 1969 shows the Arcadio family with their real house in the background, as was
intended all along.
Judge Jose M. Leuterio observed that St. Louis Realty should have immediately published a
rectification and apology. He found that as a result of St. Louis Realty's mistake, magnified by its utter
lack of sincerity, Doctor Aramil suffered mental anguish and his income was reduced by about P1,000
to P1,500 a month. Moreover, there was violation of Aramil's right to privacy (Art. 26, Civil Code).
The trial court awarded Aramil P8,000 as actual damages, P20,000 as moral damages and P2,000 as
attorney's fees. St. Louis Realty appealed to the Court of Appeals.
The Appellate Court affirmed that judgment, with Acting Presiding Justice Magno S. Gatmaitan as
ponente, and Justices Sixto A. Domondon and Samuel F. Reyes concurring.
The Appellate Court reasoned out that St. Louis Realty committed an actionable quasi-delict under
articles 21 and 26 of the Civil Code because the questioned advertisements pictured a beautiful house
which did not belong to Arcadio but to Doctor Aramil who, naturally, was annoyed by that contretemps.
In this appeal, St. Louis Realty contends that the Appellate Court ignored certain facts and resorted to
surmises and conjectures. This contention is unwarranted. The Appellate Court adopted the facts
found by the trial court. Those factual findings are binding on this Court.
St. Louis Realty also contends that the decision is contrary to law and that the case was decided in a
way not in conformity with the rulings of this Court. It argues that the case is not covered by article 26
which provides that "every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of
his neighbors and other persons". "Prying into the privacy of another's residence" and "meddling with
or disturbing the private life or family relations of another" and "similar acts", "though they may not
constitute a criminal offense, shall produce a cause of action for damages, prevention and other relief".
The damages fixed by Judge Leuterio are sanctioned by Articles 2200, 2208 and 2219 of the Civil
Code. Article 2219 allows moral damages for acts and actions mentioned in Article 26. As lengthily
explained by Justice Gatmaitan, the acts and omissions of the firm fan under Article 26.
St. Louis Realty's employee was grossly negligent in mixing up the Aramil and Arcadio residences in a
widely circulated publication like the Sunday Times. To suit its purpose, it never made any written
apology and explanation of the mix-up. It just contented itself with a cavalier "rectification ".
Persons, who know the residence of Doctor Aramil, were confused by the distorted, lingering
impression that he was renting his residence from Arcadio or that Arcadio had leased it from him.
Either way, his private life was mistakenly and unnecessarily exposed. He suffered diminution of
income and mental anguish.
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Appellate Court is affirmed. Costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

Cases on Breach of Promise to Marry


G.R. No. 97336 February 19, 1993
GASHEM
SHOOKAT
BAKSH,
petitioner,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and MARILOU T. GONZALES, respondents.
Public Attorney's Office for petitioner.
Corleto R. Castro for private respondent.
DAVIDE, JR., J.:
This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to review and set aside the
Decision 1 of the respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 24256 which affirmed in toto the 16

October 1939 Decision of Branch 38 (Lingayen) of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pangasinan in
Civil Case No. 16503. Presented is the issue of whether or not damages may be recovered for a
breach of promise to marry on the basis of Article 21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.
The antecedents of this case are not complicated:
On 27 October 1987, private respondent, without the assistance of counsel, filed with the aforesaid
trial court a complaint 2 for damages against the petitioner for the alleged violation of their agreement
to get married. She alleges in said complaint that: she is twenty-two (22) years old, single, Filipino and
a pretty lass of good moral character and reputation duly respected in her community; petitioner, on
the other hand, is an Iranian citizen residing at the Lozano Apartments, Guilig, Dagupan City, and is an
exchange student taking a medical course at the Lyceum Northwestern Colleges in Dagupan City;
before 20 August 1987, the latter courted and proposed to marry her; she accepted his love on the
condition that they would get married; they therefore agreed to get married after the end of the school
semester, which was in October of that year; petitioner then visited the private respondent's parents in
Baaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan to secure their approval to the marriage; sometime in 20 August 1987,
the petitioner forced her to live with him in the Lozano Apartments; she was a virgin before she began
living with him; a week before the filing of the complaint, petitioner's attitude towards her started to
change; he maltreated and threatened to kill her; as a result of such maltreatment, she sustained
injuries; during a confrontation with a representative of the barangay captain of Guilig a day before the
filing of the complaint, petitioner repudiated their marriage agreement and asked her not to live with
him anymore and; the petitioner is already married to someone living in Bacolod City. Private
respondent then prayed for judgment ordering the petitioner to pay her damages in the amount of not
less than P45,000.00, reimbursement for actual expenses amounting to P600.00, attorney's fees and
costs, and granting her such other relief and remedies as may be just and equitable. The complaint
was docketed as Civil Case No. 16503.
In his Answer with Counterclaim, 3 petitioner admitted only the personal circumstances of the parties as
averred in the complaint and denied the rest of the allegations either for lack of knowledge or
information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth thereof or because the true facts are those alleged
as his Special and Affirmative Defenses. He thus claimed that he never proposed marriage to or
agreed to be married with the private respondent; he neither sought the consent and approval of her
parents nor forced her to live in his apartment; he did not maltreat her, but only told her to stop coming
to his place because he discovered that she had deceived him by stealing his money and passport;
and finally, no confrontation took place with a representative of the barangay captain. Insisting, in his
Counterclaim, that the complaint is baseless and unfounded and that as a result thereof, he was
unnecessarily dragged into court and compelled to incur expenses, and has suffered mental anxiety
and a besmirched reputation, he prayed for an award of P5,000.00 for miscellaneous expenses and
P25,000.00 as moral damages.
After conducting a pre-trial on 25 January 1988, the trial court issued a Pre-Trial Order 4 embodying the
stipulated facts which the parties had agreed upon, to wit:
1. That the plaintiff is single and resident (sic) of Baaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan, while the defendant is
single, Iranian citizen and resident (sic) of Lozano Apartment, Guilig, Dagupan City since September 1,
1987 up to the present;
2. That the defendant is presently studying at Lyceum Northwestern, Dagupan City, College of
Medicine, second year medicine proper;
3. That the plaintiff is (sic) an employee at Mabuhay Luncheonette , Fernandez Avenue, Dagupan City
since July, 1986 up to the present and a (sic) high school graduate;
4. That the parties happened to know each other when the manager of the Mabuhay Luncheonette,
Johhny Rabino introduced the defendant to the plaintiff on August 3, 1986.
After trial on the merits, the lower court, applying Article 21 of the Civil Code, rendered on 16 October
1989 a decision 5 favoring the private respondent. The petitioner was thus ordered to pay the latter
damages and attorney's fees; the dispositive portion of the decision reads:
IN THE LIGHT of the foregoing consideration, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and
against the defendant.
1. Condemning (sic) the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of twenty thousand (P20,000.00) pesos
as moral damages.
2. Condemning further the defendant to play the plaintiff the sum of three thousand (P3,000.00) pesos
as atty's fees and two thousand (P2,000.00) pesos at (sic) litigation expenses and to pay the costs.
3. All other claims are denied. 6

The decision is anchored on the trial court's findings and conclusions that (a) petitioner and private
respondent were lovers, (b) private respondent is not a woman of loose morals or questionable virtue
who readily submits to sexual advances, (c) petitioner, through machinations, deceit and false
pretenses, promised to marry private respondent, d) because of his persuasive promise to marry her,
she allowed herself to be deflowered by him, (e) by reason of that deceitful promise, private
respondent and her parents in accordance with Filipino customs and traditions made some
preparations for the wedding that was to be held at the end of October 1987 by looking for pigs and
chickens, inviting friends and relatives and contracting sponsors, (f) petitioner did not fulfill his promise
to marry her and (g) such acts of the petitioner, who is a foreigner and who has abused Philippine
hospitality, have offended our sense of morality, good customs, culture and traditions. The trial court
gave full credit to the private respondent's testimony because, inter alia, she would not have had the
temerity and courage to come to court and expose her honor and reputation to public scrutiny and
ridicule if her claim was false. 7
The above findings and conclusions were culled from the detailed summary of the evidence for the
private respondent in the foregoing decision, digested by the respondent Court as follows:
According to plaintiff, who claimed that she was a virgin at the time and that she never had a boyfriend
before, defendant started courting her just a few days after they first met. He later proposed marriage
to her several times and she accepted his love as well as his proposal of marriage on August 20, 1987,
on which same day he went with her to her hometown of Baaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan, as he
wanted to meet her parents and inform them of their relationship and their intention to get married. The
photographs Exhs. "A" to "E" (and their submarkings) of defendant with members of plaintiff's family or
with plaintiff, were taken that day. Also on that occasion, defendant told plaintiffs parents and brothers
and sisters that he intended to marry her during the semestral break in October, 1987, and because
plaintiff's parents thought he was good and trusted him, they agreed to his proposal for him to marry
their daughter, and they likewise allowed him to stay in their house and sleep with plaintiff during the
few days that they were in Bugallon. When plaintiff and defendant later returned to Dagupan City, they
continued to live together in defendant's apartment. However, in the early days of October, 1987,
defendant would tie plaintiff's hands and feet while he went to school, and he even gave her medicine
at 4 o'clock in the morning that made her sleep the whole day and night until the following day. As a
result of this live-in relationship, plaintiff became pregnant, but defendant gave her some medicine to
abort the fetus. Still plaintiff continued to live with defendant and kept reminding him of his promise to
marry her until he told her that he could not do so because he was already married to a girl in Bacolod
City. That was the time plaintiff left defendant, went home to her parents, and thereafter consulted a
lawyer who accompanied her to the barangay captain in Dagupan City. Plaintiff, her lawyer, her
godmother, and a barangay tanod sent by the barangay captain went to talk to defendant to still
convince him to marry plaintiff, but defendant insisted that he could not do so because he was already
married to a girl in Bacolod City, although the truth, as stipulated by the parties at the pre-trial, is that
defendant is still single.
Plaintiff's father, a tricycle driver, also claimed that after defendant had informed them of his desire to
marry Marilou, he already looked for sponsors for the wedding, started preparing for the reception by
looking for pigs and chickens, and even already invited many relatives and friends to the forthcoming
wedding. 8
Petitioner appealed the trial court's decision to the respondent Court of Appeals which docketed the
case as CA-G.R. CV No. 24256. In his Brief, 9 he contended that the trial court erred (a) in not
dismissing the case for lack of factual and legal basis and (b) in ordering him to pay moral damages,
attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs.
On 18 February 1991, respondent Court promulgated the challenged decision 10 affirming in toto the
trial court's ruling of 16 October 1989. In sustaining the trial court's findings of fact, respondent Court
made the following analysis:
First of all, plaintiff, then only 21 years old when she met defendant who was already 29 years old at
the time, does not appear to be a girl of loose morals. It is uncontradicted that she was a virgin prior to
her unfortunate experience with defendant and never had boyfriend. She is, as described by the lower
court, a barrio lass "not used and accustomed to trend of modern urban life", and certainly would (sic)
not
have
allowed
"herself to be deflowered by the defendant if there was no persuasive promise made by the defendant
to marry her." In fact, we agree with the lower court that plaintiff and defendant must have been
sweethearts or so the plaintiff must have thought because of the deception of defendant, for otherwise,
she would not have allowed herself to be photographed with defendant in public in so (sic) loving and

tender poses as those depicted in the pictures Exhs. "D" and "E". We cannot believe, therefore,
defendant's pretense that plaintiff was a nobody to him except a waitress at the restaurant where he
usually ate. Defendant in fact admitted that he went to plaintiff's hometown of Baaga, Bugallon,
Pangasinan, at least thrice; at (sic) the town fiesta on February 27, 1987 (p. 54, tsn May 18, 1988), at
(sic) a beach party together with the manager and employees of the Mabuhay Luncheonette on March
3, 1987 (p. 50, tsn id.), and on April 1, 1987 when he allegedly talked to plaintiff's mother who told him
to marry her daughter (pp. 55-56, tsn id.). Would defendant have left Dagupan City where he was
involved in the serious study of medicine to go to plaintiff's hometown in Baaga, Bugallon, unless
there was (sic) some kind of special relationship between them? And this special relationship must
indeed have led to defendant's insincere proposal of marriage to plaintiff, communicated not only to
her but also to her parents, and (sic) Marites Rabino, the owner of the restaurant where plaintiff was
working and where defendant first proposed marriage to her, also knew of this love affair and
defendant's proposal of marriage to plaintiff, which she declared was the reason why plaintiff resigned
from her job at the restaurant after she had accepted defendant's proposal (pp. 6-7, tsn March 7,
1988).
Upon the other hand, appellant does not appear to be a man of good moral character and must think
so low and have so little respect and regard for Filipino women that he openly admitted that when he
studied in Bacolod City for several years where he finished his B.S. Biology before he came to
Dagupan City to study medicine, he had a common-law wife in Bacolod City. In other words, he also
lived with another woman in Bacolod City but did not marry that woman, just like what he did to
plaintiff. It is not surprising, then, that he felt so little compunction or remorse in pretending to love and
promising to marry plaintiff, a young, innocent, trustful country girl, in order to satisfy his lust on her. 11
and then concluded:
In sum, we are strongly convinced and so hold that it was defendant-appellant's fraudulent and
deceptive protestations of love for and promise to marry plaintiff that made her surrender her virtue
and womanhood to him and to live with him on the honest and sincere belief that he would keep said
promise, and it was likewise these (sic) fraud and deception on appellant's part that made plaintiff's
parents agree to their daughter's living-in with him preparatory to their supposed marriage. And as
these acts of appellant are palpably and undoubtedly against morals, good customs, and public policy,
and are even gravely and deeply derogatory and insulting to our women, coming as they do from a
foreigner who has been enjoying the hospitality of our people and taking advantage of the opportunity
to study in one of our institutions of learning, defendant-appellant should indeed be made, under Art.
21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, to compensate for the moral damages and injury that he had
caused plaintiff, as the lower court ordered him to do in its decision in this case. 12
Unfazed by his second defeat, petitioner filed the instant petition on 26 March 1991; he raises therein
the single issue of whether or not Article 21 of the Civil Code applies to the case at bar. 13
It is petitioner's thesis that said Article 21 is not applicable because he had not committed any moral
wrong or injury or violated any good custom or public policy; he has not professed love or proposed
marriage to the private respondent; and he has never maltreated her. He criticizes the trial court for
liberally invoking Filipino customs, traditions and culture, and ignoring the fact that since he is a
foreigner, he is not conversant with such Filipino customs, traditions and culture. As an Iranian
Moslem, he is not familiar with Catholic and Christian ways. He stresses that even if he had made a
promise to marry, the subsequent failure to fulfill the same is excusable or tolerable because of his
Moslem upbringing; he then alludes to the Muslim Code which purportedly allows a Muslim to take four
(4) wives and concludes that on the basis thereof, the trial court erred in ruling that he does not posses
good moral character. Moreover, his controversial "common law life" is now his legal wife as their
marriage had been solemnized in civil ceremonies in the Iranian Embassy. As to his unlawful
cohabitation with the private respondent, petitioner claims that even if responsibility could be pinned on
him for the live-in relationship, the private respondent should also be faulted for consenting to an illicit
arrangement. Finally, petitioner asseverates that even if it was to be assumed arguendo that he had
professed his love to the private respondent and had also promised to marry her, such acts would not
be actionable in view of the special circumstances of the case. The mere breach of promise is not
actionable. 14
On 26 August 1991, after the private respondent had filed her Comment to the petition and the
petitioner had filed his Reply thereto, this Court gave due course to the petition and required the
parties to submit their respective Memoranda, which they subsequently complied with.
As may be gleaned from the foregoing summation of the petitioner's arguments in support of his
thesis, it is clear that questions of fact, which boil down to the issue of the credibility of witnesses, are

also raised. It is the rule in this jurisdiction that appellate courts will not disturb the trial court's findings
as to the credibility of witnesses, the latter court having heard the witnesses and having had the
opportunity to observe closely their deportment and manner of testifying, unless the trial court had
plainly overlooked facts of substance or value which, if considered, might affect the result of the case.
15

Petitioner has miserably failed to convince Us that both the appellate and trial courts had overlooked
any fact of substance or values which could alter the result of the case.
Equally settled is the rule that only questions of law may be raised in a petition for review on certiorari
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. It is not the function of this Court to analyze or weigh all over
again the evidence introduced by the parties before the lower court. There are, however, recognized
exceptions to this rule. Thus, in Medina vs. Asistio, Jr., 16 this Court took the time, again, to enumerate
these exceptions:
xxx xxx xxx
(1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures
(Joaquin v. Navarro, 93 Phil. 257 [1953]); (2) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurb
or impossible (Luna v. Linatok, 74 Phil. 15 [1942]); (3) Where there is a grave abuse of discretion
(Buyco v. People, 95 Phil. 453 [1955]); (4) When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts
(Cruz
v.
Sosing,
L-4875, Nov. 27, 1953); (5) When the findings of fact are conflicting (Casica v. Villaseca, L-9590 Ap.
30, 1957; unrep.) (6) When the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the
case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both appellate and appellee (Evangelista v. Alto
Surety
and
Insurance
Co.,
103
Phil.
401
[1958]);
(7) The findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court (Garcia v. Court of
Appeals, 33 SCRA 622 [1970]; Sacay v. Sandiganbayan, 142 SCRA 593 [1986]); (8) When the
findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based ( Ibid.,);
(9) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners main and reply briefs are not
disputed by the respondents (Ibid.,); and (10) The finding of fact of the Court of Appeals is premised on
the supposed absence of evidence and is contradicted by the evidence on record (Salazar v.
Gutierrez, 33 SCRA 242 [1970]).
Petitioner has not endeavored to joint out to Us the existence of any of the above quoted exceptions in
this case. Consequently, the factual findings of the trial and appellate courts must be respected.
And now to the legal issue.
The existing rule is that a breach of promise to marry per se is not an actionable wrong. 17 Congress
deliberately eliminated from the draft of the New Civil Code the provisions that would have made it so.
The reason therefor is set forth in the report of the Senate Committees on the Proposed Civil Code,
from which We quote:
The elimination of this chapter is proposed. That breach of promise to marry is not actionable has
been definitely decided in the case of De Jesus vs. Syquia. 18 The history of breach of promise suits in
the United States and in England has shown that no other action lends itself more readily to abuse by
designing women and unscrupulous men. It is this experience which has led to the abolition of rights of
action in the so-called Heart Balm suits in many of the American states. . . . 19
This notwithstanding, the said Code contains a provision, Article 21, which is designed to expand the
concept of torts or quasi-delict in this jurisdiction by granting adequate legal remedy for the untold
number of moral wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to specifically enumerate and punish
in the statute books. 20
As the Code Commission itself stated in its Report:
But the Code Commission had gone farther than the sphere of wrongs defined or determined by
positive law. Fully sensible that there are countless gaps in the statutes, which leave so many victims
of moral wrongs helpless, even though they have actually suffered material and moral injury, the
Commission has deemed it necessary, in the interest of justice, to incorporate in the proposed Civil
Code the following rule:
Art. 23. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals,
good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.
An example will illustrate the purview of the foregoing norm: "A" seduces the nineteen-year old
daughter of "X". A promise of marriage either has not been made, or can not be proved. The girl
becomes pregnant. Under the present laws, there is no crime, as the girl is above nineteen years of
age. Neither can any civil action for breach of promise of marriage be filed. Therefore, though the
grievous moral wrong has been committed, and though the girl and family have suffered incalculable

moral damage, she and her parents cannot bring action for damages. But under the proposed article,
she and her parents would have such a right of action.
Thus at one stroke, the legislator, if the forgoing rule is approved, would vouchsafe adequate legal
remedy for that untold number of moral wrongs which it is impossible for human foresight to provide for
specifically in the statutes. 21
Article 2176 of the Civil Code, which defines a quasi-delict thus:
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 is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
is limited to negligent acts or omissions and excludes the notion of willfulness or intent. Quasi-delict,
known in Spanish legal treatises as culpa aquiliana, is a civil law concept while torts is an AngloAmerican or common law concept. Torts is much broader than culpa aquiliana because it includes not
only negligence, but international criminal acts as well such as assault and battery, false imprisonment
and deceit. In the general scheme of the Philippine legal system envisioned by the Commission
responsible for drafting the New Civil Code, intentional and malicious acts, with certain exceptions, are
to be governed by the Revised Penal Code while negligent acts or omissions are to be covered by
Article 2176 of the Civil Code. 22 In between these opposite spectrums are injurious acts which, in the
absence of Article 21, would have been beyond redress. Thus, Article 21 fills that vacuum. It is even
postulated that together with Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code, Article 21 has greatly broadened the
scope of the law on civil wrongs; it has become much more supple and adaptable than the AngloAmerican law on torts. 23
In the light of the above laudable purpose of Article 21, We are of the opinion, and so hold, that where
a man's promise to marry is in fact the proximate cause of the acceptance of his love by a woman and
his representation to fulfill that promise thereafter becomes the proximate cause of the giving of herself
unto him in a sexual congress, proof that he had, in reality, no intention of marrying her and that the
promise was only a subtle scheme or deceptive device to entice or inveigle her to accept him and to
obtain her consent to the sexual act, could justify the award of damages pursuant to Article 21 not
because of such promise to marry but because of the fraud and deceit behind it and the willful injury to
her honor and reputation which followed thereafter. It is essential, however, that such injury should
have been committed in a manner contrary to morals, good customs or public policy.
In the instant case, respondent Court found that it was the petitioner's "fraudulent and deceptive
protestations of love for and promise to marry plaintiff that made her surrender her virtue and
womanhood to him and to live with him on the honest and sincere belief that he would keep said
promise, and it was likewise these fraud and deception on appellant's part that made plaintiff's parents
agree to their daughter's living-in with him preparatory to their supposed marriage." 24 In short, the
private respondent surrendered her virginity, the cherished possession of every single Filipina, not
because of lust but because of moral seduction the kind illustrated by the Code Commission in its
example earlier adverted to. The petitioner could not be held liable for criminal seduction punished
under either Article 337 or Article 338 of the Revised Penal Code because the private respondent was
above eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the seduction.
Prior decisions of this Court clearly suggest that Article 21 may be applied in a breach of promise to
marry where the woman is a victim of moral seduction. Thus, in Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals, 25
this Court denied recovery of damages to the woman because:
. . . we find ourselves unable to say that petitioner is morally guilty of seduction, not only because he is
approximately ten (10) years younger than the complainant who was around thirty-six (36) years of
age, and as highly enlightened as a former high school teacher and a life insurance agent are
supposed to be when she became intimate with petitioner, then a mere apprentice pilot, but, also,
because the court of first instance found that, complainant "surrendered herself" to petitioner because,
"overwhelmed by her love" for him, she "wanted to bind" him by having a fruit of their engagement
even before they had the benefit of clergy.
In Tanjanco vs. Court of Appeals, 26 while this Court likewise hinted at possible recovery if there had
been moral seduction, recovery was eventually denied because We were not convinced that such
seduction existed. The following enlightening disquisition and conclusion were made in the said case:
The Court of Appeals seem to have overlooked that the example set forth in the Code Commission's
memorandum refers to a tort upon a minor who had been seduced. The essential feature is seduction,
that in law is more than mere sexual intercourse, or a breach of a promise of marriage; it connotes
essentially the idea of deceit, enticement, superior power or abuse of confidence on the part of the

seducer to which the woman has yielded (U.S. vs. Buenaventura, 27 Phil. 121; U.S. vs. Arlante, 9 Phil.
595).
It has been ruled in the Buenaventura case (supra) that
To constitute seduction there must in all cases be some sufficient promise or inducement and the
woman must yield because of the promise or other inducement. If she consents merely from carnal
lust and the intercourse is from mutual desire, there is no seduction (43 Cent. Dig. tit. Seduction, par.
56) She must be induced to depart from the path of virtue by the use of some species of arts,
persuasions and wiles, which are calculated to have and do have that effect, and which result in her
person to ultimately submitting her person to the sexual embraces of her seducer (27 Phil. 123).
And in American Jurisprudence we find:
On the other hand, in an action by the woman, the enticement, persuasion or deception is the essence
of the injury; and a mere proof of intercourse is insufficient to warrant a recovery.
Accordingly it is not seduction where the willingness arises out of sexual desire of curiosity of the
female, and the defendant merely affords her the needed opportunity for the commission of the act. It
has been emphasized that to allow a recovery in all such cases would tend to the demoralization of the
female sex, and would be a reward for unchastity by which a class of adventuresses would be swift to
profit. (47 Am. Jur. 662)
xxx xxx xxx
Over and above the partisan allegations, the fact stand out that for one whole year, from 1958 to 1959,
the plaintiff-appellee, a woman of adult age, maintain intimate sexual relations with appellant, with
repeated acts of intercourse. Such conduct is incompatible with the idea of seduction. Plainly there is
here voluntariness and mutual passion; for had the appellant been deceived, had she surrendered
exclusively because of the deceit, artful persuasions and wiles of the defendant, she would not have
again yielded to his embraces, much less for one year, without exacting early fulfillment of the alleged
promises of marriage, and would have cut short all sexual relations upon finding that defendant did not
intend to fulfill his defendant did not intend to fulfill his promise. Hence, we conclude that no case is
made under article 21 of the Civil Code, and no other cause of action being alleged, no error was
committed by the Court of First Instance in dismissing the complaint. 27
In his annotations on the Civil Code, 28 Associate Justice Edgardo L. Paras, who recently retired from
this Court, opined that in a breach of promise to marry where there had been carnal knowledge, moral
damages may be recovered:
. . . if there be criminal or moral seduction, but not if the intercourse was due to mutual lust.
(Hermosisima
vs.
Court
of
Appeals,
L-14628, Sept. 30, 1960; Estopa vs. Piansay, Jr., L-14733, Sept. 30, 1960; Batarra vs. Marcos, 7 Phil.
56 (sic); Beatriz Galang vs. Court of Appeals, et al., L-17248, Jan. 29, 1962). (In other words, if the
CAUSE be the promise to marry, and the EFFECT be the carnal knowledge, there is a chance that
there was criminal or moral seduction, hence recovery of moral damages will prosper. If it be the other
way around, there can be no recovery of moral damages, because here mutual lust has intervened). . .
.
together with "ACTUAL damages, should there be any, such as the expenses for the wedding
presentations (See Domalagon v. Bolifer, 33 Phil. 471).
Senator Arturo M. Tolentino 29 is also of the same persuasion:
It is submitted that the rule in Batarra vs. Marcos, 30 still subsists, notwithstanding the incorporation of
the present article 31 in the Code. The example given by the Code Commission is correct, if there was
seduction, not necessarily in the legal sense, but in the vulgar sense of deception. But when the
sexual act is accomplished without any deceit or qualifying circumstance of abuse of authority or
influence, but the woman, already of age, has knowingly given herself to a man, it cannot be said that
there is an injury which can be the basis for indemnity.
But so long as there is fraud, which is characterized by willfulness (sic), the action lies. The court,
however, must weigh the degree of fraud, if it is sufficient to deceive the woman under the
circumstances, because an act which would deceive a girl sixteen years of age may not constitute
deceit as to an experienced woman thirty years of age. But so long as there is a wrongful act and a
resulting injury, there should be civil liability, even if the act is not punishable under the criminal law
and there should have been an acquittal or dismissal of the criminal case for that reason.
We are unable to agree with the petitioner's alternative proposition to the effect that granting, for
argument's sake, that he did promise to marry the private respondent, the latter is nevertheless also at
fault. According to him, both parties are in pari delicto; hence, pursuant to Article 1412(1) of the Civil
Code and the doctrine laid down in Batarra vs. Marcos, 32 the private respondent cannot recover

damages from the petitioner. The latter even goes as far as stating that if the private respondent had
"sustained any injury or damage in their relationship, it is primarily because of her own doing, 33 for:
. . . She is also interested in the petitioner as the latter will become a doctor sooner or later. Take
notice that she is a plain high school graduate and a mere employee . . . (Annex "C") or a waitress
(TSN, p. 51, January 25, 1988) in a luncheonette and without doubt, is in need of a man who can give
her economic security. Her family is in dire need of financial assistance. (TSN, pp. 51-53, May 18,
1988). And this predicament prompted her to accept a proposition that may have been offered by the
petitioner. 34
These statements reveal the true character and motive of the petitioner. It is clear that he harbors a
condescending, if not sarcastic, regard for the private respondent on account of the latter's ignoble
birth, inferior educational background, poverty and, as perceived by him, dishonorable employment.
Obviously then, from the very beginning, he was not at all moved by good faith and an honest motive.
Marrying with a woman so circumstances could not have even remotely occurred to him. Thus, his
profession of love and promise to marry were empty words directly intended to fool, dupe, entice,
beguile and deceive the poor woman into believing that indeed, he loved her and would want her to be
his life's partner. His was nothing but pure lust which he wanted satisfied by a Filipina who honestly
believed that by accepting his proffer of love and proposal of marriage, she would be able to enjoy a
life of ease and security. Petitioner clearly violated the Filipino's concept of morality and brazenly
defied the traditional respect Filipinos have for their women. It can even be said that the petitioner
committed such deplorable acts in blatant disregard of Article 19 of the Civil Code which directs every
person to act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith in the exercise of
his rights and in the performance of his obligations.
No foreigner must be allowed to make a mockery of our laws, customs and traditions.
The pari delicto rule does not apply in this case for while indeed, the private respondent may not have
been impelled by the purest of intentions, she eventually submitted to the petitioner in sexual congress
not out of lust, but because of moral seduction. In fact, it is apparent that she had qualms of
conscience about the entire episode for as soon as she found out that the petitioner was not going to
marry her after all, she left him. She is not, therefore, in pari delicto with the petitioner. Pari delicto
means "in equal fault; in a similar offense or crime; equal in guilt or in legal fault." 35 At most, it could be
conceded that she is merely in delicto.
Equity often interferes for the relief of the less guilty of the parties, where his transgression has been
brought about by the imposition of undue influence of the party on whom the burden of the original
wrong principally rests, or where his consent to the transaction was itself procured by
fraud. 36
In Mangayao vs. Lasud, 37 We declared:
Appellants likewise stress that both parties being at fault, there should be no action by one against the
other (Art. 1412, New Civil Code). This rule, however, has been interpreted as applicable only where
the fault on both sides is, more or less, equivalent. It does not apply where one party is literate or
intelligent and the other one is not. (c.f. Bough vs. Cantiveros, 40 Phil. 209).
We should stress, however, that while We find for the private respondent, let it not be said that this
Court condones the deplorable behavior of her parents in letting her and the petitioner stay together in
the same room in their house after giving approval to their marriage. It is the solemn duty of parents to
protect the honor of their daughters and infuse upon them the higher values of morality and dignity.
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the challenged decision, the instant petition is hereby
DENIED, with costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-17396


May 30, 1962
CECILIO
PE,
ET
AL.,
plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
ALFONSO PE, defendant-appellee.
Cecilio
L.
Pe
for
and
in
his
own
behalf
as
plaintiff-appellant.
Leodegario L. Mogol for defendant-appellee.
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:
Plaintiffs brought this action before the Court of First Instance of Manila to recover moral,
compensatory, exemplary and corrective damages in the amount of P94,000.00 exclusive of attorney's
fees and expenses of litigation.

Defendant, after denying some allegations contained in the complaint, set up as a defense that the
facts alleged therein, even if true, do not constitute a valid cause of action.
After trial, the lower court, after finding that defendant had carried on a love affair with one Lolita Pe,
an unmarried woman, being a married man himself, declared that defendant cannot be held liable for
moral damages it appearing that plaintiffs failed to prove that defendant, being aware of his marital
status, deliberately and in bad faith tried to win Lolita's affection. So it rendered decision dismissing the
complaint.1wph1.t
Plaintiffs brought this case on appeal before this Court on the ground that the issues involved are
purely of law.
The facts as found by the trial court are: Plaintiffs are the parents, brothers and sisters of one Lolita
Pe. At the time of her disappearance on April 14, 1957, Lolita was 24 years old and unmarried.
Defendant is a married man and works as agent of the La Perla Cigar and Cigarette Factory. He used
to stay in the town of Gasan, Marinduque, in connection with his aforesaid occupation. Lolita was
staying with her parents in the same town. Defendant was an adopted son of a Chinaman named Pe
Beco, a collateral relative of Lolita's father. Because of such fact and the similarity in their family name,
defendant became close to the plaintiffs who regarded him as a member of their family. Sometime in
1952, defendant frequented the house of Lolita on the pretext that he wanted her to teach him how to
pray the rosary. The two eventually fell in love with each other and conducted clandestine trysts not
only in the town of Gasan but also in Boac where Lolita used to teach in a barrio school. They
exchanged love notes with each other the contents of which reveal not only their infatuation for each
other but also the extent to which they had carried their relationship. The rumors about their love
affairs reached the ears of Lolita's parents sometime, in 1955, and since then defendant was forbidden
from going to their house and from further seeing Lolita. The plaintiffs even filed deportation
proceedings against defendant who is a Chinese national. The affair between defendant and Lolita
continued nonetheless.
Sometime in April, 1957, Lolita was staying with her brothers and sisters at their residence at 54-B
Espaa Extension, Quezon City. On April 14, 1957, Lolita disappeared from said house. After she left,
her brothers and sisters checked up her thing and found that Lolita's clothes were gone. However,
plaintiffs found a note on a crumpled piece of paper inside Lolita's aparador. Said note, written on a
small slip of paper approximately 4" by 3" in size, was in a handwriting recognized to be that of
defendant's. In English it reads:
Honey, suppose I leave here on Sunday night, and that's 13th of this month and we will have a date on
the 14th, that's Monday morning at 10 a.m.
Reply
Love
The disappearance of Lolita was reported to the police authorities and the NBI but up to the present
there is no news or trace of her whereabouts.
The present action is based on Article 21 of the New Civil Code which provides:
Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner which is contrary to morals, good
customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.
There is no doubt that the claim of plaintiffs for damages is based on the fact that defendant, being a
married man, carried on a love affair with Lolita Pe thereby causing plaintiffs injury in a manner
contrary to morals, good customs and public policy. But in spite of the fact that plaintiffs have clearly
established that in illicit affair was carried on between defendant and Lolita which caused great
damage to the name and reputation of plaintiffs who are her parents, brothers and sisters, the trial
court considered their complaint not actionable for the reason that they failed to prove that defendant
deliberately and in bad faith tried to win Lolita's affection Thus, the trial court said: "In the absence of
proof on this point, the court may not presume that it was the defendant who deliberately induced such
relationship. We cannot be unmindful of the uncertainties and sometimes inexplicable mysteries of the
human emotions. It is a possibility that the defendant and Lolita simply fell in love with each other, not
only without any desire on their part, but also against their better judgment and in full consciousness of
what it will bring to both of them. This is specially so with respect to Lolita, being an unmarried woman,
falling in love with defendant who is a married man."
We disagree with this view. The circumstances under which defendant tried to win Lolita's affection
cannot lead, to any other conclusion than that it was he who, thru an ingenious scheme or trickery,
seduced the latter to the extent of making her fall in love with him. This is shown by the fact that
defendant frequented the house of Lolita on the pretext that he wanted her to teach him how to pray
the rosary. Because of the frequency of his visits to the latter's family who was allowed free access

because he was a collateral relative and was considered as a member of her family, the two eventually
fell in love with each other and conducted clandestine love affairs not only in Gasan but also in Boac
where Lolita used to teach in a barrio school. When the rumors about their illicit affairs reached the
knowledge of her parents, defendant was forbidden from going to their house and even from seeing
Lolita. Plaintiffs even filed deportation proceedings against defendant who is a Chinese national.
Nevertheless, defendant continued his love affairs with Lolita until she disappeared from the parental
home. Indeed, no other conclusion can be drawn from this chain of events than that defendant not only
deliberately, but through a clever strategy, succeeded in winning the affection and love of Lolita to the
extent of having illicit relations with her. The wrong he has caused her and her family is indeed
immeasurable considering the fact that he is a married man. Verily, he has committed an injury to
Lolita's family in a manner contrary to morals, good customs and public policy as contemplated in
Article 21 of the new Civil Code.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is reversed. Defendant is hereby sentenced to pay the
plaintiffs the sum of P5,000.00 as damages and P2,000.00 as attorney's fees and expenses of
litigations. Costs against appellee.

G.R. No. L-20089


December 26, 1964
BEATRIZ
P.
WASSMER,
plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
FRANCISCO X. VELEZ, defendant-appellant.
Jalandoni
&
Jamir
for
defendant-appellant.
Samson S. Alcantara for plaintiff-appellee.
BENGZON, J.P., J.:
The facts that culminated in this case started with dreams and hopes, followed by appropriate planning
and serious endeavors, but terminated in frustration and, what is worse, complete public humiliation.
Francisco X. Velez and Beatriz P. Wassmer, following their mutual promise of love, decided to get
married and set September 4, 1954 as the big day. On September 2, 1954 Velez left this note for his
bride-to-be:
Dear Bet
Will have to postpone wedding My mother opposes it. Am leaving on the Convair today.
Please do not ask too many people about the reason why That would only create a scandal.
Paquing
But the next day, September 3, he sent her the following telegram:
NOTHING CHANGED REST ASSURED RETURNING VERY SOON APOLOGIZE MAMA PAPA LOVE
.
PAKING
Thereafter Velez did not appear nor was he heard from again.
Sued by Beatriz for damages, Velez filed no answer and was declared in default. Plaintiff adduced
evidence before the clerk of court as commissioner, and on April 29, 1955, judgment was rendered
ordering defendant to pay plaintiff P2,000.00 as actual damages; P25,000.00 as moral and exemplary
damages; P2,500.00 as attorney's fees; and the costs.
On June 21, 1955 defendant filed a "petition for relief from orders, judgment and proceedings and
motion for new trial and reconsideration." Plaintiff moved to strike it cut. But the court, on August 2,
1955, ordered the parties and their attorneys to appear before it on August 23, 1955 "to explore at this
stage of the proceedings the possibility of arriving at an amicable settlement." It added that should any
of them fail to appear "the petition for relief and the opposition thereto will be deemed submitted for
resolution."
On August 23, 1955 defendant failed to appear before court. Instead, on the following day his counsel
filed a motion to defer for two weeks the resolution on defendants petition for relief. The counsel stated
that he would confer with defendant in Cagayan de Oro City the latter's residence on the
possibility of an amicable element. The court granted two weeks counted from August 25, 1955.
Plaintiff manifested on June 15, 1956 that the two weeks given by the court had expired on September
8, 1955 but that defendant and his counsel had failed to appear.
Another chance for amicable settlement was given by the court in its order of July 6, 1956 calling the
parties and their attorneys to appear on July 13, 1956. This time. however, defendant's counsel
informed the court that chances of settling the case amicably were nil.

On July 20, 1956 the court issued an order denying defendant's aforesaid petition. Defendant has
appealed to this Court. In his petition of June 21, 1955 in the court a quo defendant alleged excusable
negligence as ground to set aside the judgment by default. Specifically, it was stated that defendant
filed no answer in the belief that an amicable settlement was being negotiated.
A petition for relief from judgment on grounds of fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence,
must be duly supported by an affidavit of merits stating facts constituting a valid defense. (Sec. 3, Rule
38, Rules of Court.) Defendant's affidavit of merits attached to his petition of June 21, 1955 stated:
"That he has a good and valid defense against plaintiff's cause of action, his failure to marry the
plaintiff as scheduled having been due to fortuitous event and/or circumstances beyond his control."
An affidavit of merits like this stating mere conclusions or opinions instead of facts is not valid. (Cortes
vs. Co Bun Kim, L-3926, Oct. 10, 1951; Vaswani vs. P. Tarrachand Bros., L-15800, December 29,
1960.)
Defendant, however, would contend that the affidavit of merits was in fact unnecessary, or a mere
surplusage, because the judgment sought to be set aside was null and void, it having been based on
evidence adduced before the clerk of court. In Province of Pangasinan vs. Palisoc, L-16519, October
30, 1962, this Court pointed out that the procedure of designating the clerk of court as commissioner to
receive evidence is sanctioned by Rule 34 (now Rule 33) of the Rules of Court. Now as to defendant's
consent to said procedure, the same did not have to be obtained for he was declared in default and
thus had no standing in court (Velez vs. Ramas, 40 Phil. 787; Alano vs. Court of First Instance, L14557, October 30, 1959).
In support of his "motion for new trial and reconsideration," defendant asserts that the judgment is
contrary to law. The reason given is that "there is no provision of the Civil Code authorizing" an action
for breach of promise to marry. Indeed, our ruling in Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals (L-14628, Sept.
30, 1960), as reiterated in Estopa vs. Biansay (L-14733, Sept. 30, 1960), is that "mere breach of a
promise to marry" is not an actionable wrong. We pointed out that Congress deliberately eliminated
from the draft of the new Civil Code the provisions that would have it so.
It must not be overlooked, however, that the extent to which acts not contrary to law may be
perpetrated with impunity, is not limitless for Article 21 of said Code provides that "any person who
wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public
policy shall compensate the latter for the damage."
The record reveals that on August 23, 1954 plaintiff and defendant applied for a license to contract
marriage, which was subsequently issued (Exhs. A, A-1). Their wedding was set for September 4,
1954. Invitations were printed and distributed to relatives, friends and acquaintances (Tsn., 5; Exh. C).
The bride-to-be's trousseau, party drsrses and other apparel for the important occasion were
purchased (Tsn., 7-8). Dresses for the maid of honor and the flower girl were prepared. A matrimonial
bed, with accessories, was bought. Bridal showers were given and gifts received (Tsn., 6; Exh. E). And
then, with but two days before the wedding, defendant, who was then 28 years old,: simply left a note
for plaintiff stating: "Will have to postpone wedding My mother opposes it ... " He enplaned to his
home city in Mindanao, and the next day, the day before the wedding, he wired plaintiff: "Nothing
changed rest assured returning soon." But he never returned and was never heard from again.
Surely this is not a case of mere breach of promise to marry. As stated, mere breach of promise to
marry is not an actionable wrong. But to formally set a wedding and go through all the abovedescribed preparation and publicity, only to walk out of it when the matrimony is about to be
solemnized, is quite different. This is palpably and unjustifiably contrary to good customs for which
defendant must be held answerable in damages in accordance with Article 21 aforesaid.
Defendant urges in his afore-stated petition that the damages awarded were excessive. No question is
raised as to the award of actual damages. What defendant would really assert hereunder is that the
award of moral and exemplary damages, in the amount of P25,000.00, should be totally eliminated.
Per express provision of Article 2219 (10) of the New Civil Code, moral damages are recoverable in
the cases mentioned in Article 21 of said Code. As to exemplary damages, defendant contends that
the same could not be adjudged against him because under Article 2232 of the New Civil Code the
condition precedent is that "the defendant acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or
malevolent manner." The argument is devoid of merit as under the above-narrated circumstances of
this case defendant clearly acted in a "wanton ... , reckless [and] oppressive manner." This Court's
opinion, however, is that considering the particular circumstances of this case, P15,000.00 as moral
and exemplary damages is deemed to be a reasonable award.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, with the above-indicated modification, the lower court's judgment is
hereby affirmed, with costs.

G.R. No. L-14628


September 30, 1960
FRANCISCO
HERMOSISIMA,
petitioner,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL., respondents.
Regino
Hermosisima
for
petitioner.
F.P. Gabriel, Jr. for respondents.
CONCEPCION, J.:
An appeal by certiorari, taken by petitioner Francisco Hermosisima, from a decision of Court of
Appeals modifying that of the Court of First Instance of Cebu.
On October 4, 1954, Soledad Cagigas, hereinafter referred to as complaint, filed with said of her child,
Chris Hermosisima, as natural child and moral damages for alleged breach of promise. Petitioner
admitted the paternity of child and expressed willingness to support the latter, but denied having ever
promised to marry the complainant. Upon her motion, said court ordered petitioner, on October 27,
1954, to pay, by way of alimony pendente lite, P50.00 a month, which was, on February 16, 1955,
reduced to P30.00 a month. In due course, later on, said court rendered a decision the dispositive part
of which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, declaring the child, Chris Hermosisima, as the natural
daughter of defendant, and confirming the order pendente lite, ordering defendant to pay to the said
child, through plaintiff, the sum of thirty pesos (P30.00), payable on or before the fifth day of every
month sentencing defendant to pay to plaintiff the sum of FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED
PESOS (P4,500.00) for actual and compensatory damages; the sum of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS
(P5,000.00) as moral damages; and the further sum of FIVE HUNDRED PESOS (P500.00) as
attorney's fees for plaintiff, with costs against defendant.
On appeal taken by petitioner, the Court of Appeals affirmed this decision, except as to the actual and
compensatory damages and the moral damages, which were increased to P5,614.25 and P7,000.00,
respectively.
The main issue before us is whether moral damages are recoverable, under our laws, for breach of
promise to marry. The pertinent facts are:
Complainant Soledad Cagigas, was born in July 1917. Since 1950, Soledad then a teacher in the
Sibonga Provincial High School in Cebu, and petitioner, who was almost ten (10) years younger than
she, used to go around together and were regarded as engaged, although he had made no promise of
marriage prior thereto. In 1951, she gave up teaching and became a life insurance underwriter in the
City of Cebu, where intimacy developed among her and the petitioner, since one evening in 1953,
when after coming from the movies, they had sexual intercourse in his cabin on board M/V "Escao,"
to which he was then attached as apprentice pilot. In February 1954, Soledad advised petitioner that
she was in the family way, whereupon he promised to marry her. Their child, Chris Hermosisima, was
born on June 17, 1954, in a private maternity and clinic. However, subsequently, or on July 24, 1954,
defendant married one Romanita Perez. Hence, the present action, which was commenced on or
about October 4, 1954.
Referring now to the issue above referred to, it will be noted that the Civil Code of Spain permitted the
recovery of damages for breach to marry. Article 43 and 44 of said Code provides:
ART. 43. A mutual promise of marriage shall not give rise to an obligation to contract marriage. No
court shall entertain any complaint by which the enforcement of such promise is sought.
ART. 44. If the promise has been in a public or private instrument by an adult, or by a minor with the
concurrence of the person whose consent is necessary for the celebration of the marriage, or if the
banns have been published, the one who without just cause refuses to marry shall be obliged to
reimburse the other for the expenses which he or she may have incurred by reason of the promised
marriage.
The action for reimbursement of expenses to which the foregoing article refers must be brought within
one year, computed from the day of the refusal to celebrate the marriage.
Inasmuch as these articles were never in force in the Philippines, this Court ruled in De Jesus vs.
Syquia (58 Phil., 866), that "the action for breach of promises to marry has no standing in the civil law,
apart from the right to recover money or property advanced . . . upon the faith of such promise". The
Code Commission charged with the drafting of the Proposed Civil Code of the Philippines deem it
best, however, to change the law thereon. We quote from the report of the Code Commission on said
Proposed Civil Code:

Articles 43 and 44 the Civil Code of 1889 refer to the promise of marriage. But these articles are not
enforced in the Philippines. The subject is regulated in the Proposed Civil Code not only as to the
aspect treated of in said articles but also in other particulars. It is advisable to furnish legislative
solutions to some questions that might arise relative to betrothal. Among the provisions proposed are:
That authorizing the adjudication of moral damages, in case of breach of promise of marriage, and that
creating liability for causing a marriage engagement to be broken.1awphl.nt
Accordingly, the following provisions were inserted in said Proposed Civil Code, under Chapter I, Title
III, Book I thereof:
Art. 56. A mutual promise to marry may be made expressly or impliedly.
Art. 57. An engagement to be married must be agreed directly by the future spouses.
Art. 58. A contract for a future marriage cannot, without the consent of the parent or guardian, be
entered into by a male between the ages of sixteen and twenty years or by a female between the ages
of sixteen and eighteen years. Without such consent of the parents or guardian, the engagement to
marry cannot be the basis of a civil action for damages in case of breach of the promise.
Art. 59. A promise to marry when made by a female under the age of fourteen years is not civilly
actionable, even though approved by the parent or guardian.
Art. 60. In cases referred to in the proceeding articles, the criminal and civil responsibility of a male for
seduction shall not be affected.
Art. 61. No action for specific performance of a mutual promise to marry may be brought.
Art. 62. An action for breach of promise to marry may be brought by the aggrieved party even though a
minor without the assistance of his parent or guardian. Should the minor refuse to bring suit, the parent
or guardian may institute the action.
Art. 63. Damages for breach of promise to marry shall include not only material and pecuniary losses
but also compensation for mental and moral suffering.
Art. 64. Any person, other than a rival, the parents, guardians and grandparents, of the affianced
parties, who cause a marriage engagement to be broken shall be liable for damages, both material
and moral, to the engaged person who is rejected.
Art. 65. In case of breach of promise to marry, the party breaking the engagement shall be obliged to
return what he or she has received from the other as gift on account of the promise of the marriage.
These article were, however, eliminated in Congress. The reason therefor are set forth in the report of
the corresponding Senate Committee, from which we quote:
The elimination of this Chapter is proposed. That breach of promise to marry is not actionable has
been definitely decide in the case of De Jesus vs. Syquia, 58 Phil., 866. The history of breach of
promise suit in the United States and in England has shown that no other action lends itself more
readily to abuse by designing women and unscrupulous men. It is this experience which has led to the
abolition of the rights of action in the so-called Balm suit in many of the American States.
See statutes of:
Florida
1945

pp.
1342

1344
Maryland
1945

pp.
1759

1762
Nevada
1943

p.
75
Maine
1941

pp.
140

141
New
Hampshire
1941

p.
223
California
1939

p.
1245
Massachusetts
1938

p.
326
Indiana
1936

p.
1009
Michigan
1935

p.
201
New
York
1935
Pennsylvania p. 450
The Commission perhaps though that it has followed the more progression trend in legislation when it
provided for breach of promise to marry suits. But it is clear that the creation of such causes of action
at a time when so many States, in consequence of years of experience are doing away with them, may
well prove to be a step in the wrong direction. (Congressional Record, Vol. IV, No. 79, Thursday, May
19, 1949, p. 2352.)
The views thus expressed were accepted by both houses of Congress. In the light of the clear and
manifest intent of our law making body not to sanction actions for breach of promise to marry, the
award of moral damages made by the lower courts is, accordingly, untenable. The Court of Appeals
said award:

Moreover, it appearing that because of defendant-appellant's seduction power, plaintiff-appellee,


overwhelmed by her love for him finally yielded to his sexual desires in spite of her age and selfcontrol, she being a woman after all, we hold that said defendant-appellant is liable for seduction and,
therefore, moral damages may be recovered from him under the provision of Article 2219, paragraph
3, of the new Civil Code.
Apart from the fact that the general tenor of said Article 2219, particularly the paragraphs preceding
and those following the one cited by the Court of Appeals, and the language used in said paragraph
strongly indicates that the "seduction" therein contemplated is the crime punished as such in Article as
such in Article 337 and 338 of the Revised Penal Code, which admittedly does not exist in the present
case, we find ourselves unable to say that petitioner is morally guilty of seduction, not only because he
is approximately ten (10) years younger than the complainant who around thirty-six (36) years of
age, and as highly enlightened as a former high school teacher and a life insurance agent are
supposed to be when she became intimate with petitioner, then a mere apprentice pilot, but, also,
because, the court of first instance found that, complainant "surrendered herself" to petitioner because,
"overwhelmed by her love" for him, she "wanted to bind" "by having a fruit of their engagement even
before they had the benefit of clergy."
The court of first instance sentenced petitioner to pay the following: (1) a monthly pension of P30.00
for the support of the child: (2) P4,500, representing the income that complainant had allegedly failed
to earn during her pregnancy and shortly after the birth of the child, as actual and compensation
damages; (3) P5,000, as moral damages; and (4) P500.00, as attorney's fees. The Court of Appeals
added to the second item the sum of P1,114.25 consisting of P144.20, for hospitalization and
medical attendance, in connection with the parturiation, and the balance representing expenses
incurred to support the child and increased the moral damages to P7,000.00.
With the elimination of this award for damages, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby affirmed,
therefore, in all other respects, without special pronouncement as to cost in this instance. It is so
ordered.

G.R. No. 57227 May 14, 1992


AMELITA CONSTANTINO and MICHAEL CONSTANTINO, the latter represented herein by the
former,
his
mother
and
natural
guardian,
petitioners,
vs.
IVAN MENDEZ and the HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
Roberto M. Sarenas for petitioners.
Bienvinido D. Cariaga for private respondent.
BIDIN, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari questioning the decision 1 dated April 30, 1981 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 61552-R which dismissed petitioner's complaint and set aside the resolution 2
dated October 21, 1976 of the then Court of First Instance of Davao, 16th Judicial District, amending
the dispositive portion of its decision dated June 21, 1976 and ordering private respondent Ivan
Mendez: (1) to acknowledge the minor Michael Constantino as his illegitimate child; (2) to give a
monthly support of P300.00 to the minor child; (3) to pay complainant Amelita Constantino the sum of
P8,200.00 as actual and moral damages; and (4) to pay attorney's fees in the sum of P5,000 plus
costs.
It appears on record that on June 5, 1975, petitioner Amelita Constantino filed an action for
acknowledgment, support and damages against private respondent Ivan Mendez. The case was filed
with the then CFI of Davao, 10th Judicial District and docketed as Civil Case No. 8881. In her
complaint, Amelita Constantino alleges, among others, that sometime in the month of August, 1974,
she met Ivan Mendez at Tony's Restaurant located at Sta. Cruz, Manila, where she worked as a
waitress; that the day following their first meeting, Ivan invited Amelita to dine with him at Hotel Enrico
where he was billeted; that while dining, Ivan professed his love and courted Amelita; that Amelita
asked for time to think about Ivan's proposal; that at about 11:00 o'clock in the evening, Amelita asked
Ivan to bring her home to which the latter agreed, that on the pretext of getting something, Ivan
brought Amelita inside his hotel room and through a promise of marriage succeeded in having sexual
intercourse with the latter; that after the sexual contact, Ivan confessed to Amelita that he is a married
man; that they repeated their sexual contact in the months of September and November, 1974,
whenever Ivan is in Manila, as a result of which Amelita got pregnant; that her pleas for help and

support fell on deaf ears; that Amelita had no sexual relations with any other man except Ivan who is
the father of the child yet to be born at the time of the filing of the complaint; that because of her
pregnancy, Amelita was forced to leave her work as a waitress; that Ivan is a prosperous businessman
of Davao City with a monthly income of P5,000 to P8,000. As relief, Amelita prayed for the recognition
of the unborn child, the payment of actual, moral and exemplary damages, attorney's fees plus costs.
In his answer dated August 5, 1975, Ivan admitted that he met Amelita at Tony's Cocktail Lounge but
denied having sexual knowledge or illicit relations with her. He prayed for the dismissal of the
complaint for lack of cause of action. By way of counterclaim, he further prayed for the payment of
exemplary damages and litigation expense including attorney's fees for the filing of the malicious
complaint.
On September 1, 1975, Amelita Constantino filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint
impleading as co-plaintiff her son Michael Constantino who was born on August 3, 1975. In its order
dated September 4, 1975, the trial court admitted the amended complaint.
On September 11, 1975, Ivan Mendez filed his answer to the amended complaint reiterating his
previous answer denying that Michael Constantino is his illegitimate son.
After hearing, the trial court rendered a decision dated June 21, 1976, the dispositive portion of which
reads, viz:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff Amelita
Constantino and against defendant Ivan Mendez, ordering the latter to pay Amelita Constantino the
sum of P8,000.00 by way of actual and moral damages; and, the sum of P3,000.00, as and by way of
attorney's fees. The defendant shall pay the costs of this suit.
SO ORDERED.
From the above decision, both parties filed their separate motion for reconsideration. Ivan Mendez
anchored his motion on the ground that the award of damages was not supported by evidence.
Amelita Constantino, on the other hand, sought the recognition and support of her son Michael
Constantino as the illegitimate son of Ivan Mendez.
In its resolution dated October 21, 1976, the trial court granted Amelita Constantino's motion for
reconsideration, and amended the dispositive portion of its decision dated June 21, 1976 to read as
follows, viz:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff Amelita
Constantino and plaintiff-minor Michael Constantino, and against defendant Ivan Mendez ordering the
latter to pay Amelita Constantino the sum of P8,000.00 by way of actual and moral damages and the
sum of P200.00 as and by way of payment of the hospital and medical bills incurred during the delivery
of plaintiff-minor Michael Constantino; to recognize as his own illegitimate child the plaintiff-minor
Michael Constantino who shall be entitled to all the rights, privileges and benefits appertaining to a
child of such status; to give a permanent monthly support in favor of plaintiff Michael Constantino the
amount of P300.00; and the sum of P5,000.00 as and by way of attorney's fees. The defendant shall
pay the costs of this suit.
Let this Order form part of the decision dated June 21, 1976.
SO ORDERED.
On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the above amended decision was set aside and the complaint was
dismissed. Hence, this petition for review.
Basically, the issue to be resolved in the case at bar is whether or not the Court of Appeals committed
a reversible error in setting aside the decision of the trial court and in dismissing the complaint.
Petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the factual findings of the trial and in
not affirming the decision of the trial court. They also pointed out that the appellate court committed a
misapprehension of facts when it concluded that Ivan did not have sexual access with Amelita during
the first or second week of November, 1976 (should be 1974), the time of the conception of the child.
It must be stressed at the outset that factual findings of the trial court have only a persuasive and not a
conclusive effect on the Court of Appeals. In the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, it is the duty of
the Court of Appeals to review the factual findings of the trial court and rectify the errors it committed
as may have been properly assigned and as could be established by a re-examination of the evidence
on record. It is the factual findings of the Court of Appeals, not those of the trial court, that as a rule are
considered final and conclusive even on this Court (Hermo v. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al., 155 SCRA
24 [1987]). This being a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, this Court will review
only errors of law committed by the Court of Appeals. It is not the function of this Court to re-examine
all over again the oral and documentary evidence submitted by the parties unless the findings of facts
of the Court of Appeals is not supported by the evidence on record or the judgment is based on

misapprehension of facts (Remalante v. Tibe, et al., 158 SCRA 138 [1988]; Hernandez v. Court of
Appeals, et al., 149 SCRA 97 [1987]).
It is the conclusion of the Court of Appeals, based on the evidence on record, that Amelita Constantino
has not proved by clear and convincing evidence her claim that Ivan Mendez is the father of her son
Michael Constantino. Such conclusion based on the evaluation of the evidence on record is controlling
on this Court as the same is supported by the evidence on record. Even the trial court initially
entertained such posture. It ordered the recognition of Michael as the illegitimate son of Ivan only
when acting on the motions for reconsideration, it reconsidered, on October 21, 1976, its earlier
decision dated June 21, 1976. Amelita's testimony on cross-examination that she had sexual contact
with Ivan in Manila in the first or second week of November, 1974 (TSN, December 8, 1975, p. 108) is
inconsistent with her response that she could not remember the date of their last sexual intercourse in
November, 1974 (Ibid, p. 106). Sexual contact of Ivan and Amelita in the first or second week of
November, 1974 is the crucial point that was not even established on direct examination as she merely
testified that she had sexual intercourse with Ivan in the months of September, October and
November, 1974.
Michael Constantino is a full-term baby born on August 3, 1975 (Exhibit 6) so that as correctly pointed
out by private respondent's counsel, citing medical science (Williams Obstetrics, Tenth Ed., p. 198) to
the effect that "the mean duration of actual pregnancy, counting from the day of conception must be
close to 267 days", the conception of the child (Michael) must have taken place about 267 days before
August 3, 1975 or sometime in the second week of November, 1974. While Amelita testified that she
had sexual contact with Ivan in November, 1974, nevertheless said testimony is contradicted by her
own evidence (Exh. F), the letter dated February 11, 1975, addressed to Ivan Mendez requesting for a
conference, prepared by her own counsel Atty. Roberto Sarenas to whom she must have confided the
attendant circumstances of her pregnancy while still fresh in her memory, informing Ivan that Amelita is
four (4) months pregnant so that applying the period of the duration of actual pregnancy, the child was
conceived on or about October 11, 1974.
Petitioner's assertion that Ivan is her first and only boyfriend (TSN, December 8, 1975, p. 65) is belied
by Exhibit 2, her own letter addressed to Mrs. Mendez where she revealed the reason for her
attachment to Ivan who possessed certain traits not possessed by her boyfriend. She also confided
that she had a quarrel with her boyfriend because of gossips so she left her work. An order for
recognition and support may create an unwholesome atmosphere or may be an irritant in the family or
lives of the parties so that it must be issued only if paternity or filiation is established by clear and
convincing evidence. The burden of proof is on Amelita to establish her affirmative allegations that Ivan
is the father of her son. Consequently, in the absence of clear and convincing evidence establishing
paternity or filiation, the complaint must be dismissed.
As regards Amelita's claim for damages which is based on Articles 19 3 & 21 4 of the Civil Code on the
theory that through Ivan's promise of marriage, she surrendered her virginity, we cannot but agree with
the Court of Appeals that more sexual intercourse is not by itself a basis for recovery. Damages could
only be awarded if sexual intercourse is not a product of voluntariness and mutual desire. At the time
she met Ivan at Tony's Restaurant, Amelita was already 28 years old and she admitted that she was
attracted to Ivan (TSN, December 3, 1975, p. 83). Her attraction to Ivan is the reason why she
surrendered her womanhood. Had she been induced or deceived because of a promise of marriage,
she could have immediately severed her relation with Ivan when she was informed after their first
sexual contact sometime in August, 1974, that he was a married man. Her declaration that in the
months of September, October and November, 1974, they repeated their sexual intercourse only
indicates that passion and not the alleged promise of marriage was the moving force that made her
submit herself to Ivan.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is Dismissed for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-19671


November 29, 1965
PASTOR
B.
TENCHAVEZ,
vs.
VICENTA F. ESCAO, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
I.
V.
Binamira
&
F.
B.
Jalandoni & Jarnir for defendants-appellees.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:

plaintiff-appellant,
Barria

for

plaintiff-appellant.

Direct appeal, on factual and legal questions, from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Cebu,
in its Civil Case No. R-4177, denying the claim of the plaintiff-appellant, Pastor B. Tenchavez, for legal
separation and one million pesos in damages against his wife and parents-in-law, the defendantsappellees, Vicente, Mamerto and Mena,1 all surnamed "Escao," respectively.2
The facts, supported by the evidence of record, are the following:
Missing her late afternoon classes on 24 February 1948 in the University of San Carlos, Cebu City,
where she was then enrolled as a second year student of commerce, Vicenta Escao, 27 years of age
(scion of a well-to-do and socially prominent Filipino family of Spanish ancestry and a "sheltered
colegiala"), exchanged marriage vows with Pastor Tenchavez, 32 years of age, an engineer, ex-army
officer and of undistinguished stock, without the knowledge of her parents, before a Catholic chaplain,
Lt. Moises Lavares, in the house of one Juan Alburo in the said city. The marriage was the culmination
of a previous love affair and was duly registered with the local civil register.
Vicenta's letters to Pastor, and his to her, before the marriage, indicate that the couple were deeply in
love. Together with a friend, Pacita Noel, their matchmaker and go-between, they had planned out
their marital future whereby Pacita would be the governess of their first-born; they started saving
money in a piggy bank. A few weeks before their secret marriage, their engagement was broken;
Vicenta returned the engagement ring and accepted another suitor, Joseling Lao. Her love for Pastor
beckoned; she pleaded for his return, and they reconciled. This time they planned to get married and
then elope. To facilitate the elopement, Vicenta had brought some of her clothes to the room of Pacita
Noel in St. Mary's Hall, which was their usual trysting place.
Although planned for the midnight following their marriage, the elopement did not, however, materialize
because when Vicente went back to her classes after the marriage, her mother, who got wind of the
intended nuptials, was already waiting for her at the college. Vicenta was taken home where she
admitted that she had already married Pastor. Mamerto and Mena Escao were surprised, because
Pastor never asked for the hand of Vicente, and were disgusted because of the great scandal that the
clandestine marriage would provoke (t.s.n., vol. III, pp. 1105-06). The following morning, the Escao
spouses sought priestly advice. Father Reynes suggested a recelebration to validate what he believed
to be an invalid marriage, from the standpoint of the Church, due to the lack of authority from the
Archbishop or the parish priest for the officiating chaplain to celebrate the marriage. The recelebration
did not take place, because on 26 February 1948 Mamerto Escao was handed by a maid, whose
name he claims he does not remember, a letter purportedly coming from San Carlos college students
and disclosing an amorous relationship between Pastor Tenchavez and Pacita Noel; Vicenta translated
the letter to her father, and thereafter would not agree to a new marriage. Vicenta and Pastor met that
day in the house of Mrs. Pilar Mendezona. Thereafter, Vicenta continued living with her parents while
Pastor returned to his job in Manila. Her letter of 22 March 1948 (Exh. "M"), while still solicitous of her
husband's welfare, was not as endearing as her previous letters when their love was aflame.
Vicenta was bred in Catholic ways but is of a changeable disposition, and Pastor knew it. She fondly
accepted her being called a "jellyfish." She was not prevented by her parents from communicating with
Pastor (Exh. "1-Escao"), but her letters became less frequent as the days passed. As of June, 1948
the newlyweds were already estranged (Exh. "2-Escao"). Vicenta had gone to Jimenez, Misamis
Occidental, to escape from the scandal that her marriage stirred in Cebu society. There, a lawyer filed
for her a petition, drafted by then Senator Emmanuel Pelaez, to annul her marriage. She did not sign
the petition (Exh. "B-5"). The case was dismissed without prejudice because of her non-appearance at
the hearing (Exh. "B-4").
On 24 June 1950, without informing her husband, she applied for a passport, indicating in her
application that she was single, that her purpose was to study, and she was domiciled in Cebu City,
and that she intended to return after two years. The application was approved, and she left for the
United States. On 22 August 1950, she filed a verified complaint for divorce against the herein plaintiff
in the Second Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada in and for the County of Washoe, on the
ground of "extreme cruelty, entirely mental in character." On 21 October 1950, a decree of divorce,
"final and absolute", was issued in open court by the said tribunal.
In 1951 Mamerto and Mena Escao filed a petition with the Archbishop of Cebu to annul their
daughter's marriage to Pastor (Exh. "D"). On 10 September 1954, Vicenta sought papal dispensation
of her marriage (Exh. "D"-2).
On 13 September 1954, Vicenta married an American, Russell Leo Moran, in Nevada. She now lives
with him in California, and, by him, has begotten children. She acquired American citizenship on 8
August 1958.

But on 30 July 1955, Tenchavez had initiated the proceedings at bar by a complaint in the Court of
First Instance of Cebu, and amended on 31 May 1956, against Vicenta F. Escao, her parents,
Mamerto and Mena Escao, whom he charged with having dissuaded and discouraged Vicenta from
joining her husband, and alienating her affections, and against the Roman Catholic Church, for having,
through its Diocesan Tribunal, decreed the annulment of the marriage, and asked for legal separation
and one million pesos in damages. Vicenta claimed a valid divorce from plaintiff and an equally valid
marriage to her present husband, Russell Leo Moran; while her parents denied that they had in any
way influenced their daughter's acts, and counterclaimed for moral damages.
The appealed judgment did not decree a legal separation, but freed the plaintiff from supporting his
wife and to acquire property to the exclusion of his wife. It allowed the counterclaim of Mamerto
Escao and Mena Escao for moral and exemplary damages and attorney's fees against the plaintiffappellant, to the extent of P45,000.00, and plaintiff resorted directly to this Court.
The appellant ascribes, as errors of the trial court, the following:
1. In not declaring legal separation; in not holding defendant Vicenta F. Escao liable for damages and
in dismissing the complaint;.
2. In not holding the defendant parents Mamerto Escano and the heirs of Doa Mena Escao liable for
damages;.
3 In holding the plaintiff liable for and requiring him to pay the damages to the defendant parents on
their counterclaims; and.
4. In dismissing the complaint and in denying the relief sought by the plaintiff.
That on 24 February 1948 the plaintiff-appellant, Pastor Tenchavez, and the defendant-appellee,
Vicenta Escao, were validly married to each other, from the standpoint of our civil law, is clearly
established by the record before us. Both parties were then above the age of majority, and otherwise
qualified; and both consented to the marriage, which was performed by a Catholic priest (army
chaplain Lavares) in the presence of competent witnesses. It is nowhere shown that said priest was
not duly authorized under civil law to solemnize marriages.
The chaplain's alleged lack of ecclesiastical authorization from the parish priest and the Ordinary, as
required by Canon law, is irrelevant in our civil law, not only because of the separation of Church and
State but also because Act 3613 of the Philippine Legislature (which was the marriage law in force at
the time) expressly provided that
SEC. 1. Essential requisites. Essential requisites for marriage are the legal capacity of the contracting
parties and consent. (Emphasis supplied)
The actual authority of the solemnizing officer was thus only a formal requirement, and, therefore, not
essential to give the marriage civil effects, 3 and this is emphasized by section 27 of said marriage act,
which provided the following:
SEC. 27. Failure to comply with formal requirements. No marriage shall be declared invalid because of
the absence of one or several of the formal requirements of this Act if, when it was performed, the
spouses or one of them believed in good faith that the person who solemnized the marriage was
actually empowered to do so, and that the marriage was perfectly legal.
The good faith of all the parties to the marriage (and hence the validity of their marriage) will be
presumed until the contrary is positively proved (Lao vs. Dee Tim, 45 Phil. 739, 745; Francisco vs.
Jason, 60 Phil. 442, 448). It is well to note here that in the case at bar, doubts as to the authority of the
solemnizing priest arose only after the marriage, when Vicenta's parents consulted Father Reynes and
the archbishop of Cebu. Moreover, the very act of Vicenta in abandoning her original action for
annulment and subsequently suing for divorce implies an admission that her marriage to plaintiff was
valid and binding.
Defendant Vicenta Escao argues that when she contracted the marriage she was under the undue
influence of Pacita Noel, whom she charges to have been in conspiracy with appellant Tenchavez.
Even granting, for argument's sake, the truth of that contention, and assuming that Vicenta's consent
was vitiated by fraud and undue influence, such vices did not render her marriage ab initio void, but
merely voidable, and the marriage remained valid until annulled by a competent civil court. This was
never done, and admittedly, Vicenta's suit for annulment in the Court of First Instance of Misamis was
dismissed for non-prosecution.
It is equally clear from the record that the valid marriage between Pastor Tenchavez and Vicenta
Escao remained subsisting and undissolved under Philippine law, notwithstanding the decree of
absolute divorce that the wife sought and obtained on 21 October 1950 from the Second Judicial
District Court of Washoe County, State of Nevada, on grounds of "extreme cruelty, entirely mental in
character." At the time the divorce decree was issued, Vicenta Escao, like her husband, was still a

Filipino citizen.4 She was then subject to Philippine law, and Article 15 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines (Rep. Act No. 386), already in force at the time, expressly provided:
Laws relating to family rights and duties or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are
binding upon the citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.
The Civil Code of the Philippines, now in force, does not admit absolute divorce, quo ad vinculo
matrimonii; and in fact does not even use that term, to further emphasize its restrictive policy on the
matter, in contrast to the preceding legislation that admitted absolute divorce on grounds of adultery of
the wife or concubinage of the husband (Act 2710). Instead of divorce, the present Civil Code only
provides for legal separation (Title IV, Book 1, Arts. 97 to 108), and, even in that case, it expressly
prescribes that "the marriage bonds shall not be severed" (Art. 106, subpar. 1).
For the Philippine courts to recognize and give recognition or effect to a foreign decree of absolute
divorce betiveen Filipino citizens could be a patent violation of the declared public policy of the state,
specially in view of the third paragraph of Article 17 of the Civil Code that prescribes the following:
Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those which have for their object public
order, policy and good customs, shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated,
or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country.
Even more, the grant of effectivity in this jurisdiction to such foreign divorce decrees would, in effect,
give rise to an irritating and scandalous discrimination in favor of wealthy citizens, to the detriment of
those members of our polity whose means do not permit them to sojourn abroad and obtain absolute
divorces outside the Philippines.
From this point of view, it is irrelevant that appellant Pastor Tenchavez should have appeared in the
Nevada divorce court. Primarily because the policy of our law cannot be nullified by acts of private
parties (Civil Code,Art. 17, jam quot.); and additionally, because the mere appearance of a nonresident consort cannot confer jurisdiction where the court originally had none (Area vs. Javier, 95 Phil.
579).
From the preceding facts and considerations, there flows as a necessary consequence that in this
jurisdiction Vicenta Escao's divorce and second marriage are not entitled to recognition as valid; for
her previous union to plaintiff Tenchavez must be declared to be existent and undissolved. It follows,
likewise, that her refusal to perform her wifely duties, and her denial of consortium and her desertion of
her husband constitute in law a wrong caused through her fault, for which the husband is entitled to
the corresponding indemnity (Civil Code, Art. 2176). Neither an unsubstantiated charge of deceit nor
an anonymous letter charging immorality against the husband constitute, contrary to her claim,
adequate excuse. Wherefore, her marriage and cohabitation with Russell Leo Moran is technically
"intercourse with a person not her husband" from the standpoint of Philippine Law, and entitles
plaintiff-appellant Tenchavez to a decree of "legal separation under our law, on the basis of adultery"
(Revised Penal Code, Art. 333).
The foregoing conclusions as to the untoward effect of a marriage after an invalid divorce are in accord
with the previous doctrines and rulings of this court on the subject, particularly those that were
rendered under our laws prior to the approval of the absolute divorce act (Act 2710 of the Philippine
Legislature). As a matter of legal history, our statutes did not recognize divorces a vinculo before 1917,
when Act 2710 became effective; and the present Civil Code of the Philippines, in disregarding
absolute divorces, in effect merely reverted to the policies on the subject prevailing before Act 2710.
The rulings, therefore, under the Civil Code of 1889, prior to the Act above-mentioned, are now, fully
applicable. Of these, the decision in Ramirez vs. Gmur, 42 Phil. 855, is of particular interest. Said this
Court in that case:
As the divorce granted by the French Court must be ignored, it results that the marriage of Dr. Mory
and Leona Castro, celebrated in London in 1905, could not legalize their relations; and the
circumstance that they afterwards passed for husband and wife in Switzerland until her death is wholly
without legal significance. The claims of the very children to participate in the estate of Samuel Bishop
must therefore be rejected. The right to inherit is limited to legitimate, legitimated and acknowledged
natural children. The children of adulterous relations are wholly excluded. The word "descendants" as
used in Article 941 of the Civil Code cannot be interpreted to include illegitimates born of adulterous
relations. (Emphasis supplied)
Except for the fact that the successional rights of the children, begotten from Vicenta's marriage to Leo
Moran after the invalid divorce, are not involved in the case at bar, the Gmur case is authority for the
proposition that such union is adulterous in this jurisdiction, and, therefore, justifies an action for legal
separation on the part of the innocent consort of the first marriage, that stands undissolved in
Philippine law. In not so declaring, the trial court committed error.

True it is that our ruling gives rise to anomalous situations where the status of a person (whether
divorced or not) would depend on the territory where the question arises. Anomalies of this kind are
not new in the Philippines, and the answer to them was given in Barretto vs. Gonzales, 58 Phil. 667:
The hardship of the existing divorce laws in the Philippine Islands are well known to the members of
the Legislature. It is the duty of the Courts to enforce the laws of divorce as written by Legislature if
they are constitutional. Courts have no right to say that such laws are too strict or too liberal. (p. 72)
The appellant's first assignment of error is, therefore, sustained.
However, the plaintiff-appellant's charge that his wife's parents, Dr. Mamerto Escao and his wife, the
late Doa Mena Escao, alienated the affections of their daughter and influenced her conduct toward
her husband are not supported by credible evidence. The testimony of Pastor Tenchavez about the
Escao's animosity toward him strikes us to be merely conjecture and exaggeration, and are belied by
Pastor's own letters written before this suit was begun (Exh. "2-Escao" and "Vicenta," Rec. on App.,
pp. 270-274). In these letters he expressly apologized to the defendants for "misjudging them" and for
the "great unhappiness" caused by his "impulsive blunders" and "sinful pride," "effrontery and
audacity" [sic]. Plaintiff was admitted to the Escao house to visit and court Vicenta, and the record
shows nothing to prove that he would not have been accepted to marry Vicente had he openly asked
for her hand, as good manners and breeding demanded. Even after learning of the clandestine
marriage, and despite their shock at such unexpected event, the parents of Vicenta proposed and
arranged that the marriage be recelebrated in strict conformity with the canons of their religion upon
advice that the previous one was canonically defective. If no recelebration of the marriage ceremony
was had it was not due to defendants Mamerto Escao and his wife, but to the refusal of Vicenta to
proceed with it. That the spouses Escao did not seek to compel or induce their daughter to assent to
the recelebration but respected her decision, or that they abided by her resolve, does not constitute in
law an alienation of affections. Neither does the fact that Vicenta's parents sent her money while she
was in the United States; for it was natural that they should not wish their daughter to live in penury
even if they did not concur in her decision to divorce Tenchavez (27 Am. Jur. 130-132).
There is no evidence that the parents of Vicenta, out of improper motives, aided and abetted her
original suit for annulment, or her subsequent divorce; she appears to have acted independently, and
being of age, she was entitled to judge what was best for her and ask that her decisions be respected.
Her parents, in so doing, certainly cannot be charged with alienation of affections in the absence of
malice or unworthy motives, which have not been shown, good faith being always presumed until the
contrary is proved.
SEC. 529. Liability of Parents, Guardians or Kin. The law distinguishes between the right of a
parent to interest himself in the marital affairs of his child and the absence of rights in a stranger to
intermeddle in such affairs. However, such distinction between the liability of parents and that of
strangers is only in regard to what will justify interference. A parent isliable for alienation of affections
resulting from his own malicious conduct, as where he wrongfully entices his son or daughter to leave
his or her spouse, but he is not liable unless he acts maliciously, without justification and from
unworthy motives. He is not liable where he acts and advises his child in good faith with respect to his
child's marital relations in the interest of his child as he sees it, the marriage of his child not terminating
his right and liberty to interest himself in, and be extremely solicitous for, his child's welfare and
happiness, even where his conduct and advice suggest or result in the separation of the spouses or
the obtaining of a divorce or annulment, or where he acts under mistake or misinformation, or where
his advice or interference are indiscreet or unfortunate, although it has been held that the parent is
liable for consequences resulting from recklessness. He may in good faith take his child into his home
and afford him or her protection and support, so long as he has not maliciously enticed his child away,
or does not maliciously entice or cause him or her to stay away, from his or her spouse. This rule has
more frequently been applied in the case of advice given to a married daughter, but it is equally
applicable in the case of advice given to a son.
Plaintiff Tenchavez, in falsely charging Vicenta's aged parents with racial or social discrimination and
with having exerted efforts and pressured her to seek annulment and divorce, unquestionably caused
them unrest and anxiety, entitling them to recover damages. While this suit may not have been
impelled by actual malice, the charges were certainly reckless in the face of the proven facts and
circumstances. Court actions are not established for parties to give vent to their prejudices or spleen.
In the assessment of the moral damages recoverable by appellant Pastor Tenchavez from defendant
Vicente Escao, it is proper to take into account, against his patently unreasonable claim for a million
pesos in damages, that (a) the marriage was celebrated in secret, and its failure was not characterized
by publicity or undue humiliation on appellant's part; (b) that the parties never lived together; and (c)

that there is evidence that appellant had originally agreed to the annulment of the marriage, although
such a promise was legally invalid, being against public policy (cf. Art. 88, Civ. Code). While appellant
is unable to remarry under our law, this fact is a consequence of the indissoluble character of the union
that appellant entered into voluntarily and with open eyes rather than of her divorce and her second
marriage. All told, we are of the opinion that appellant should recover P25,000 only by way of moral
damages and attorney's fees.
With regard to the P45,000 damages awarded to the defendants, Dr. Mamerto Escao and Mena
Escao, by the court below, we opine that the same are excessive. While the filing of this unfounded
suit must have wounded said defendants' feelings and caused them anxiety, the same could in no way
have seriously injured their reputation, or otherwise prejudiced them, lawsuits having become a
common occurrence in present society. What is important, and has been correctly established in the
decision of the court below, is that said defendants were not guilty of any improper conduct in the
whole deplorable affair. This Court, therefore, reduces the damages awarded to P5,000 only.
Summing up, the Court rules:
(1) That a foreign divorce between Filipino citizens, sought and decreed after the effectivity of the
present Civil Code (Rep. Act 386), is not entitled to recognition as valid in this jurisdiction; and neither
is the marriage contracted with another party by the divorced consort, subsequently to the foreign
decree of divorce, entitled to validity in the country;
(2) That the remarriage of divorced wife and her co-habitation with a person other than the lawful
husband entitle the latter to a decree of legal separation conformably to Philippine law;
(3) That the desertion and securing of an invalid divorce decree by one consort entitles the other to
recover damages;
(4) That an action for alienation of affections against the parents of one consort does not lie in the
absence of proof of malice or unworthy motives on their part.
WHEREFORE, the decision under appeal is hereby modified as follows;
(1) Adjudging plaintiff-appellant Pastor Tenchavez entitled to a decree of legal separation from
defendant Vicenta F. Escao;
(2) Sentencing defendant-appellee Vicenta Escao to pay plaintiff-appellant Tenchavez the amount of
P25,000 for damages and attorneys' fees;
(3) Sentencing appellant Pastor Tenchavez to pay the appellee, Mamerto Escao and the estate of his
wife, the deceased Mena Escao, P5,000 by way of damages and attorneys' fees.
Neither party to recover costs.

G.R. No. 184861


June 30, 2009
DREAMWORK
CONSTRUCTION,
INC.,
Petitioner,
vs.
CLEOFE S. JANIOLA and HON. ARTHUR A. FAMINI, Respondents.
DECISION
VELASCO, JR., J.:
The Case
Petitioner Dreamwork Construction, Inc. seeks the reversal of the August 26, 2008 Decision 1 in SCA
No. 08-0005 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 253 in Las Pias City. The Decision affirmed
the Orders dated October 16, 2007 2 and March 12, 20083 in Criminal Case Nos. 55554-61 issued by
the Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC), Branch 79 in Las Pias City.
The Facts
On October 18, 2004, petitioner, through its President, Roberto S. Concepcion, and Vice-President for
Finance and Marketing, Normandy P. Amora, filed a Complaint Affidavit dated October 5, 2004 4 for
violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 (BP 22) against private respondent Cleofe S. Janiola with the
Office of the City Prosecutor of Las Pias City. The case was docketed as I.S. No. 04-2526-33.
Correspondingly, petitioner filed a criminal information for violation of BP 22 against private respondent
with the MTC on February 2, 2005 docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 55554-61, entitled People of the
Philippines v. Cleofe S. Janiola.
On September 20, 2006, private respondent, joined by her husband, instituted a civil complaint against
petitioner by filing a Complaint dated August 20065 for the rescission of an alleged construction
agreement between the parties, as well as for damages. The case was filed with the RTC, Branch 197
in Las Pias City and docketed as Civil Case No. LP-06-0197. Notably, the checks, subject of the
criminal cases before the MTC, were issued in consideration of the construction agreement.

Thereafter, on July 25, 2007, private respondent filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings dated July 24,
20076 in Criminal Case Nos. 55554-61, alleging that the civil and criminal cases involved facts and
issues similar or intimately related such that in the resolution of the issues in the civil case, the guilt or
innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined. In other words, private respondent
claimed that the civil case posed a prejudicial question as against the criminal cases.
Petitioner opposed the suspension of the proceedings in the criminal cases in an undated
Comment/Opposition to Accuseds Motion to Suspend Proceedings based on Prejudicial Question 7 on
the grounds that: (1) there is no prejudicial question in this case as the rescission of the contract upon
which the bouncing checks were issued is a separate and distinct issue from the issue of whether
private respondent violated BP 22; and (2) Section 7, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court states that one of
the elements of a prejudicial question is that "the previously instituted civil action involves an issue
similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the subsequent criminal action"; thus, this element is
missing in this case, the criminal case having preceded the civil case.
Later, the MTC issued its Order dated October 16, 2007, granting the Motion to Suspend Proceedings,
and reasoned that:
Should the trial court declare the rescission of contract and the nullification of the checks issued as the
same are without consideration, then the instant criminal cases for alleged violation of BP 22 must be
dismissed. The belated filing of the civil case by the herein accused did not detract from the
correctness of her cause, since a motion for suspension of a criminal action may be filed at any time
before the prosecution rests (Section 6, Rule 111, Revised Rules of Court). 8
In an Order dated March 12, 2008, 9 the MTC denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration dated
November 29, 2007.
Petitioner appealed the Orders to the RTC with a Petition dated May 13, 2008. Thereafter, the RTC
issued the assailed decision dated August 26, 2008, denying the petition. On the issue of the existence
of a prejudicial question, the RTC ruled:
Additionally, it must be stressed that the requirement of a "previously" filed civil case is intended
merely to obviate delays in the conduct of the criminal proceedings. Incidentally, no clear evidence of
any intent to delay by private respondent was shown. The criminal proceedings are still in their initial
stages when the civil action was instituted. And, the fact that the civil action was filed after the criminal
action was instituted does not render the issues in the civil action any less prejudicial in character.10
Hence, we have this petition under Rule 45.
The Issue
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT A QUO SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT PERCEIVING GRAVE
ABUSE OF DISCRETION ON THE PART OF THE INFERIOR COURT, WHEN THE LATTER RULED
TO SUSPEND PROCEEDINGS IN CRIM. CASE NOS. 55554-61 ON THE BASIS OF "PREJUDICIAL
QUESTION" IN CIVIL CASE NO. LP-06-0197.11
The Courts Ruling
This petition must be granted.
The Civil Action Must Precede the Filing of the
Criminal Action for a Prejudicial Question to Exist
Under the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended by Supreme Court Resolutions dated June
17, 1988 and July 7, 1988, the elements of a prejudicial question are contained in Rule 111, Sec. 5,
which states:
SEC. 5. Elements of prejudicial question. The two (2) essential elements of a prejudicial question
are: (a) the civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the criminal
action; and (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed.
Thus, the Court has held in numerous cases 12 that the elements of a prejudicial question, as stated in
the above-quoted provision and in Beltran v. People,13 are:
The rationale behind the principle of prejudicial question is to avoid two conflicting decisions. It has two
essential elements: (a) the civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised
in the criminal action; and (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal
action may proceed.
On December 1, 2000, the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure, however, became effective and the
above provision was amended by Sec. 7 of Rule 111, which applies here and now provides:
SEC. 7. Elements of prejudicial question.The elements of a prejudicial question are: (a) the
previously instituted civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the
subsequent criminal action, and (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal
action may proceed. (Emphasis supplied.)

Petitioner interprets Sec. 7(a) to mean that in order for a civil case to create a prejudicial question and,
thus, suspend a criminal case, it must first be established that the civil case was filed previous to the
filing of the criminal case. This, petitioner argues, is specifically to guard against the situation wherein
a party would belatedly file a civil action that is related to a pending criminal action in order to delay the
proceedings in the latter.
On the other hand, private respondent cites Article 36 of the Civil Code which provides:
Art. 36. Pre-judicial questions which must be decided before any criminal prosecution may be
instituted or may proceed, shall be governed by rules of court which the Supreme Court shall
promulgate and which shall not be in conflict with the provisions of this Code. (Emphasis supplied.)
Private respondent argues that the phrase "before any criminal prosecution may be instituted or may
proceed" must be interpreted to mean that a prejudicial question exists when the civil action is filed
either before the institution of the criminal action or during the pendency of the criminal action. Private
respondent concludes that there is an apparent conflict in the provisions of the Rules of Court and the
Civil Code in that the latter considers a civil case to have presented a prejudicial question even if the
criminal case preceded the filing of the civil case.
We cannot agree with private respondent.
First off, it is a basic precept in statutory construction that a "change in phraseology by amendment of
a provision of law indicates a legislative intent to change the meaning of the provision from that it
originally had."14 In the instant case, the phrase, "previously instituted," was inserted to qualify the
nature of the civil action involved in a prejudicial question in relation to the criminal action. This
interpretation is further buttressed by the insertion of "subsequent" directly before the term criminal
action. There is no other logical explanation for the amendments except to qualify the relationship of
the civil and criminal actions, that the civil action must precede the criminal action.
Thus, this Court ruled in Torres v. Garchitorena15 that:
Even if we ignored petitioners procedural lapse and resolved their petition on the merits, we hold that
Sandiganbayan did not abuse its discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in denying their
omnibus motion for the suspension of the proceedings pending final judgment in Civil Case No. 7160.
Section 6, Rule lll of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, reads:
Sec. 6. Suspension by reason of prejudicial question. - A petition for suspension of the criminal action
based upon the pendency of a prejudicial question in a civil action may be filed in the office of the
prosecutor or the court conducting the preliminary investigation. When the criminal action has been
filed in court for trial, the petition to suspend shall be filed in the same criminal action at any time
before the prosecution rests.
Sec. 7. Elements of prejudicial question. - The elements of a prejudicial question are: (a) the
previously instituted civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the
subsequent criminal action, and (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal
action may proceed.
Under the amendment, a prejudicial question is understood in law as that which must precede the
criminal action and which requires a decision before a final judgment can be rendered in the criminal
action with which said question is closely connected. The civil action must be instituted prior to the
institution of the criminal action. In this case, the Information was filed with the Sandiganbayan ahead
of the complaint in Civil Case No. 7160 filed by the State with the RTC in Civil Case No. 7160. Thus,
no prejudicial question exists. (Emphasis supplied.)
Additionally, it is a principle in statutory construction that "a statute should be construed not only to be
consistent with itself but also to harmonize with other laws on the same subject matter, as to form a
complete, coherent and intelligible system."16 This principle is consistent with the maxim, interpretare
et concordare leges legibus est optimus interpretandi modus or every statute must be so construed
and harmonized with other statutes as to form a uniform system of jurisprudence. 171 a vv p h i l
In other words, every effort must be made to harmonize seemingly conflicting laws. It is only when
harmonization is impossible that resort must be made to choosing which law to apply.
In the instant case, Art. 36 of the Civil Code and Sec. 7 of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court are
susceptible of an interpretation that would harmonize both provisions of law. The phrase "previously
instituted civil action" in Sec. 7 of Rule 111 is plainly worded and is not susceptible of alternative
interpretations. The clause "before any criminal prosecution may be instituted or may proceed" in Art.
36 of the Civil Code may, however, be interpreted to mean that the motion to suspend the criminal
action may be filed during the preliminary investigation with the public prosecutor or court conducting
the investigation, or during the trial with the court hearing the case.

This interpretation would harmonize Art. 36 of the Civil Code with Sec. 7 of Rule 111 of the Rules of
Court but also with Sec. 6 of Rule 111 of the Civil Code, which provides for the situations when the
motion to suspend the criminal action during the preliminary investigation or during the trial may be
filed. Sec. 6 provides:
SEC. 6. Suspension by reason of prejudicial question.A petition for suspension of the criminal action
based upon the pendency of a prejudicial question in a civil action may be filed in the office of the
prosecutor or the court conducting the preliminary investigation. When the criminal action has been
filed in court for trial, the petition to suspend shall be filed in the same criminal action at any time
before the prosecution rests.
Thus, under the principles of statutory construction, it is this interpretation of Art. 36 of the Civil Code
that should govern in order to give effect to all the relevant provisions of law.
It bears pointing out that the circumstances present in the instant case indicate that the filing of the civil
action and the subsequent move to suspend the criminal proceedings by reason of the presence of a
prejudicial question were a mere afterthought and instituted to delay the criminal proceedings.
In Sabandal v. Tongco,18 we found no prejudicial question existed involving a civil action for specific
performance, overpayment, and damages, and a criminal complaint for BP 22, as the resolution of the
civil action would not determine the guilt or innocence of the accused in the criminal case. In resolving
the case, we said:
Furthermore, the peculiar circumstances of the case clearly indicate that the filing of the civil case was
a ploy to delay the resolution of the criminal cases. Petitioner filed the civil case three years after the
institution of the criminal charges against him. Apparently, the civil action was instituted as an
afterthought to delay the proceedings in the criminal cases.19
Here, the civil case was filed two (2) years after the institution of the criminal complaint and from the
time that private respondent allegedly withdrew its equipment from the job site. Also, it is worth noting
that the civil case was instituted more than two and a half (2 ) years from the time that private
respondent allegedly stopped construction of the proposed building for no valid reason. More
importantly, the civil case praying for the rescission of the construction agreement for lack of
consideration was filed more than three (3) years from the execution of the construction agreement.
Evidently, as in Sabandal, the circumstances surrounding the filing of the cases involved here show
that the filing of the civil action was a mere afterthought on the part of private respondent and
interposed for delay. And as correctly argued by petitioner, it is this scenario that Sec. 7 of Rule 111 of
the Rules of Court seeks to prevent. Thus, private respondents positions cannot be left to stand.
The
Resolution
of
the
Civil
Case
Is
Not
Determinative of the Prosecution of the Criminal Action
In any event, even if the civil case here was instituted prior to the criminal action, there is, still, no
prejudicial question to speak of that would justify the suspension of the proceedings in the criminal
case.
To reiterate, the elements of a prejudicial question under Sec. 7 of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court are:
(1) the previously instituted civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised
in the subsequent criminal action; and (2) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the
criminal action may proceed.
Petitioner argues that the second element of a prejudicial question, as provided in Sec. 7 of Rule 111
of the Rules, is absent in this case. Thus, such rule cannot apply to the present controversy.
Private respondent, on the other hand, claims that if the construction agreement between the parties is
declared null and void for want of consideration, the checks issued in consideration of such contract
would become mere scraps of paper and cannot be the basis of a criminal prosecution.
We find for petitioner.
It must be remembered that the elements of the crime punishable under BP 22 are as follows:
(1) the making, drawing, and issuance of any check to apply for account or for value;
(2) the knowledge of the maker, drawer, or issuer that at the time of issue there are no sufficient funds
in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment; and
(3) the subsequent dishonor of the check by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit, or
dishonor for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid cause, ordered the bank to stop
payment.20
Undeniably, the fact that there exists a valid contract or agreement to support the issuance of the
check/s or that the checks were issued for valuable consideration does not make up the elements of
the crime. Thus, this Court has held in a long line of cases 21 that the agreement surrounding the

issuance of dishonored checks is irrelevant to the prosecution for violation of BP 22. In Mejia v.
People,22 we ruled:
It must be emphasized that the gravamen of the offense charge is the issuance of a bad check. The
purpose for which the check was issued, the terms and conditions relating to its issuance, or any
agreement surrounding such issuance are irrelevant to the prosecution and conviction of petitioner. To
determine the reason for which checks are issued, or the terms and conditions for their issuance, will
greatly erode the faith the public reposes in the stability and commercial value of checks as currency
substitutes, and bring havoc in trade and in banking communities. The clear intention of the framers of
B.P. 22 is to make the mere act of issuing a worthless check malum prohibitum.
Lee v. Court of Appeals23 is even more poignant. In that case, we ruled that the issue of lack of
valuable consideration for the issuance of checks which were later on dishonored for insufficient funds
is immaterial to the success of a prosecution for violation of BP 22, to wit:
Third issue. Whether or not the check was issued on account or for value.
Petitioners claim is not feasible. We have held that upon issuance of a check, in the absence of
evidence to the contrary, it is presumed that the same was issued for valuable consideration. Valuable
consideration, in turn, may consist either in some right, interest, profit or benefit accruing to the party
who makes the contract, or some forbearance, detriment, loss or some responsibility, to act, or labor,
or service given, suffered or undertaken by the other side. It is an obligation to do, or not to do in favor
of the party who makes the contract, such as the maker or indorser.
In this case, petitioner himself testified that he signed several checks in blank, the subject check
included, in exchange for 2.5% interest from the proceeds of loans that will be made from said
account. This is a valuable consideration for which the check was issued. That there was neither a preexisting obligation nor an obligation incurred on the part of petitioner when the subject check was
given by Bautista to private complainant on July 24, 1993 because petitioner was no longer connected
with Unlad or Bautista starting July 1989, cannot be given merit since, as earlier discussed, petitioner
failed to adequately prove that he has severed his relationship with Bautista or Unlad.
At any rate, we have held that what the law punishes is the mere act of issuing a bouncing check, not
the purpose for which it was issued nor the terms and conditions relating to its issuance. This is
because the thrust of the law is to prohibit the making of worthless checks and putting them into
circulation.24 (Emphasis supplied.)
Verily, even if the trial court in the civil case declares that the construction agreement between the
parties is void for lack of consideration, this would not affect the prosecution of private respondent in
the criminal case. The fact of the matter is that private respondent indeed issued checks which were
subsequently dishonored for insufficient funds. It is this fact that is subject of prosecution under BP
22.lawphil.net
Therefore, it is clear that the second element required for the existence of a prejudicial question, that
the resolution of the issue in the civil action would determine whether the criminal action may proceed,
is absent in the instant case. Thus, no prejudicial question exists and the rules on it are inapplicable to
the case before us.
WHEREFORE, we GRANT this petition. We hereby REVERSE and SET ASIDE the August 26, 2008
Decision in SCA No. 08-0005 of the RTC, Branch 253 in Las Pias City and the Orders dated October
16, 2007 and March 12, 2008 in Criminal Case Nos. 55554-61 of the MTC, Branch 79 in Las Pias
City. We order the MTC to continue with the proceedings in Criminal Case Nos. 55554-61 with
dispatch.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 172060


September 13, 2010
JOSELITO
R.
PIMENTEL,
Petitioner,
vs.
MARIA CHRYSANTINE L. PIMENTEL and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO, J.:
The Case
Before the Court is a petition for review1 assailing the Decision2 of the Court of Appeals, promulgated
on 20 March 2006, in CA-G.R. SP No. 91867.
The Antecedent Facts

The facts are stated in the Court of Appeals decision:


On 25 October 2004, Maria Chrysantine Pimentel y Lacap (private respondent) filed an action for
frustrated parricide against Joselito R. Pimentel (petitioner), docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-04130415, before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, which was raffled to Branch 223 (RTC
Quezon City).
On 7 February 2005, petitioner received summons to appear before the Regional Trial Court of
Antipolo City, Branch 72 (RTC Antipolo) for the pre-trial and trial of Civil Case No. 04-7392 ( Maria
Chrysantine Lorenza L. Pimentel v. Joselito Pimentel) for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage under
Section 36 of the Family Code on the ground of psychological incapacity.
On 11 February 2005, petitioner filed an urgent motion to suspend the proceedings before the RTC
Quezon City on the ground of the existence of a prejudicial question. Petitioner asserted that since the
relationship between the offender and the victim is a key element in parricide, the outcome of Civil
Case No. 04-7392 would have a bearing in the criminal case filed against him before the RTC Quezon
City.
The Decision of the Trial Court
The RTC Quezon City issued an Order dated 13 May 2005 3 holding that the pendency of the case
before the RTC Antipolo is not a prejudicial question that warrants the suspension of the criminal case
before it. The RTC Quezon City held that the issues in Criminal Case No. Q-04-130415 are the injuries
sustained by respondent and whether the case could be tried even if the validity of petitioners
marriage with respondent is in question. The RTC Quezon City ruled:
WHEREFORE, on the basis of the foregoing, the Motion to Suspend Proceedings On the [Ground] of
the Existence of a Prejudicial Question is, for lack of merit, DENIED.
SO ORDERED.4
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. In its 22 August 2005 Order,5 the RTC Quezon City denied
the motion.
Petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with application for a writ of preliminary injunction and/or
temporary restraining order before the Court of Appeals, assailing the 13 May 2005 and 22 August
2005 Orders of the RTC Quezon City.
The Decision of the Court of Appeals
In its 20 March 2006 Decision, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition. The Court of Appeals ruled
that in the criminal case for frustrated parricide, the issue is whether the offender commenced the
commission of the crime of parricide directly by overt acts and did not perform all the acts of execution
by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance. On the other hand,
the issue in the civil action for annulment of marriage is whether petitioner is psychologically
incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. The Court of Appeals ruled that even if
the marriage between petitioner and respondent would be declared void, it would be immaterial to the
criminal case because prior to the declaration of nullity, the alleged acts constituting the crime of
frustrated parricide had already been committed. The Court of Appeals ruled that all that is required for
the charge of frustrated parricide is that at the time of the commission of the crime, the marriage is still
subsisting.
Petitioner filed a petition for review before this Court assailing the Court of Appeals decision.
The Issue
The only issue in this case is whether the resolution of the action for annulment of marriage is a
prejudicial question that warrants the suspension of the criminal case for frustrated parricide against
petitioner.
The Ruling of this Court
The petition has no merit.
Civil
Case
Must
be
Instituted
Before the Criminal Case
Section 7, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure6 provides:
Section 7. Elements of Prejudicial Question. - The elements of a prejudicial question are: (a) the
previously instituted civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the
subsequent criminal action and (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal
action may proceed.
The rule is clear that the civil action must be instituted first before the filing of the criminal action. In this
case, the Information7 for Frustrated Parricide was dated 30 August 2004. It was raffled to RTC
Quezon City on 25 October 2004 as per the stamped date of receipt on the Information. The RTC
Quezon City set Criminal Case No. Q-04-130415 for pre-trial and trial on 14 February 2005. Petitioner

was served summons in Civil Case No. 04-7392 on 7 February 2005. 8 Respondents petition9 in Civil
Case No. 04-7392 was dated 4 November 2004 and was filed on 5 November 2004. Clearly, the civil
case for annulment was filed after the filing of the criminal case for frustrated parricide. As such, the
requirement of Section 7, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure was not met since the
civil action was filed subsequent to the filing of the criminal action.
Annulment
of
Marriage
is
not
a
Prejudicial
Question
in Criminal Case for Parricide
Further, the resolution of the civil action is not a prejudicial question that would warrant the suspension
of the criminal action.
There is a prejudicial question when a civil action and a criminal action are both pending, and there
exists in the civil action an issue which must be preemptively resolved before the criminal action may
proceed because howsoever the issue raised in the civil action is resolved would be determinative of
the guilt or innocence of the accused in the criminal case.10 A prejudicial question is defined as:
x x x one that arises in a case the resolution of which is a logical antecedent of the issue involved
therein, and the cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal. It is a question based on a fact
distinct and separate from the crime but so intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or
innocence of the accused, and for it to suspend the criminal action, it must appear not only that said
case involves facts intimately related to those upon which the criminal prosecution would be based but
also that in the resolution of the issue or issues raised in the civil case, the guilt or innocence of the
accused would necessarily be determined.11
The relationship between the offender and the victim is a key element in the crime of parricide, 12 which
punishes any person "who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or any
of his ascendants or descendants, or his spouse." 13 The relationship between the offender and the
victim distinguishes the crime of parricide from murder 14 or homicide.15 However, the issue in the
annulment of marriage is not similar or intimately related to the issue in the criminal case for parricide.
Further, the relationship between the offender and the victim is not determinative of the guilt or
innocence of the accused.
The issue in the civil case for annulment of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code is whether
petitioner is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. The issue in
parricide is whether the accused killed the victim. In this case, since petitioner was charged with
frustrated parricide, the issue is whether he performed all the acts of execution which would have killed
respondent as a consequence but which, nevertheless, did not produce it by reason of causes
independent of petitioners will.16 At the time of the commission of the alleged crime, petitioner and
respondent were married. The subsequent dissolution of their marriage, in case the petition in Civil
Case No. 04-7392 is granted, will have no effect on the alleged crime that was committed at the time
of the subsistence of the marriage. In short, even if the marriage between petitioner and respondent is
annulled, petitioner could still be held criminally liable since at the time of the commission of the
alleged crime, he was still married to respondent.1avvphi1
We cannot accept petitioners reliance on Tenebro v. Court of Appeals 17 that "the judicial declaration of
the nullity of a marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity retroacts to the date of the
celebration of the marriage insofar as the vinculum between the spouses is concerned x x x." First, the
issue in Tenebro is the effect of the judicial declaration of nullity of a second or subsequent marriage
on the ground of psychological incapacity on a criminal liability for bigamy. There was no issue of
prejudicial question in that case. Second, the Court ruled in Tenebro that "[t]here is x x x a recognition
written into the law itself that such a marriage, although void ab initio, may still produce legal
consequences."18 In fact, the Court declared in that case that "a declaration of the nullity of the second
marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity is of absolutely no moment insofar as the States
penal laws are concerned."19
In view of the foregoing, the Court upholds the decision of the Court of Appeals. The trial in Criminal
Case No. Q-04-130415 may proceed as the resolution of the issue in Civil Case No. 04-7392 is not
determinative of the guilt or innocence of petitioner in the criminal case.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the 20 March 2006 Decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 91867.
SO ORDERED.

GR. No. 101236 January 30, 1992

JULIANA
P.
YAP,
petitioner,
vs.
MARTIN PARAS and ALFREDO D. BARCELONA, SR., Judge of the 3rd MTC of Glan Malapatan,
South Cotabato, respondents.
Mariano C. Alegarbes for petitioner.
Public Attorney's Office for private respondent.
CRUZ, J.:
This is still another dispute between brother and sister over a piece of property they inherited from
their parents. The case is complicated by the circumstance that the private respondent's counsel in
this petition is the son of the judge, the other respondent, whose action is being questioned.
Petitioner Juliana P. Yap was the sister of private respondent Martin Paras.*
On October 31, 1971, according to Yap, Paras sold to her his share in the intestate estate for P300.00.
The sale was evidenced by a private document. Nineteen years later, on May 2, 1990, Paras sold the
same property to Santiago Saya-ang for P5,000.00. This was evidenced by a notarized Deed of
Absolute Sale.
When Yap learned of the second sale, she filed a complaint for estafa against Paras and Saya-ang
with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of General Santos City. 1 On the same date, she filed a
complaint for the nullification of the said sale with the Regional Trial Court of General Santos City. 2
After investigation, the Provincial Prosecutor instituted a criminal complaint for estafa against Paras
with the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Glan-Malapatan, South Cotabato, presided by Judge Alfredo D.
Barcelona, Sr.
On April 17, 1991, before arraignment of the accused, the trial judge motu proprio issued an order
dismissing the criminal case on the ground that:
. . . after a careful scrutiny of the statements of complainant, Juliana P. Yap and of the respondent
Martin Paras and his witnesses, the Court holds and maintained (sic) that there is a prejudicial
question to a civil action, which must be ventilated in the proper civil court. In the case of Ras vs.
Rasul, 100 SCRA 125, the Supreme Court had already made a pronouncement that "a criminal action
for Estafa for alleged double sale of property is a prejudicial question to a civil action for nullity of the
alleged Deed of Sale and defense of the alleged vendors of forgeries of their signatures to the Deed." 3
The Petitioner moved for reconsideration, which was denied on April 30, 1990. She then came to this
Court for relief in this special civil action for certiorari.
The Court could have referred this petition to the Court of Appeals, which has concurrent jurisdiction
under BP 129, but decided to resolve the case directly in view of the peculiar circumstances involved.
The petitioner's contention is that where there is a prejudicial question in a civil case, the criminal
action may not be dismissed but only suspended. Moreover, this suspension may not be done motu
proprio by the judge trying the criminal case but only upon petition of the defendant in accordance with
the Rules of Court. It is also stressed that a reversal of the order of dismissal would not bar the
prosecution of the accused under the double jeopardy rule because he has not yet been arraigned.
The Court notes that the counsel for private respondent Paras who filed the comment in his behalf is
the son and namesake of Judge Barcelona. Atty. Alfredo L. Barcelona, Jr. is employed in the Public
Attorney's Office. He has made it of record that he was not the counsel of Paras at the time the
questioned order of dismissal was issued by his father. He thus impliedly rejects the charge of bias
against his father.
Perhaps out of filial loyalty, Atty. Barcelona suggests there may have been a basis for the order in view
of the alleged double sale of the property which was being litigated in the regional trial court. He
concedes, however, that the order may have been premature and that it could not have been issued
motu proprio. Agreeing that double jeopardy would not attach because of the lack of arraignment, he
asks that his Comment be considered a motion for the suspension of the criminal action on the ground
of prejudicial question.
The Court has deliberated on the issues and finds that the respondent judge did indeed commit grave
abuse of discretion in motu proprio issuing the order of dismissal.
Section 6, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as amended by this Court on July 7,
1988, provides as follows:
Sec. 6. Suspension by reason of prejudicial question. A petition for suspension of the criminal action
based upon the pendency of a prejudicial question in a civil action may be filed in the office of the
fiscal or the court conducting the preliminary investigation. When the criminal action has been filed in

court for trial, the petition to suspend shall be filed in the same criminal action at any time before the
prosecution rests.
Judge Barcelona's precipitate action is intriguing, to say the least, in light of the clear provision of the
above-quoted rule. The rule is not even new, being only a rewording of the original provision in the
Rules of Court before they were amended. It plainly says that the suspension may be made only upon
petition and not at the instance of the judge alone, and it also says suspension, and not dismissal. One
also wonders if the person who notarized the disputed second sale, Notary Public Alexander C.
Barcelona, might be related to the respondent judge.
But more important than the preceding considerations is the trial judge's misapprehension of the
concept of a prejudicial question.
Section 5, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as amended provides:
Sec. 5. Elements of prejudicial question. The two (2) essential elements of a prejudicial question
are: (a) the civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the criminal
action; and (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed.
A prejudicial question is defined as that which arises in a case the resolution of which is a logical
antecedent of the issue involved therein, and the congnizance of which pertains to another tribunal.
The prejudicial question must be determinative of the case before the court but the jurisdiction to try
and resolve the question must be lodged in another court or tribunal. 4 It is a question based on a fact
distinct and separate from the crime but so intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or
innocence of the accused. 5
We have held that "for a civil case to be considered prejudicial to a criminal action as to cause the
suspension of the criminal action pending the determination of the civil action, it must appear not only
that the civil case involves the same facts upon which the criminal prosecution is based, but also that
the resolution of the issues raised in said civil action would be necessarily determinative of the guilt or
innocence of the accused". 6
It is the issue in the civil action that is prejudicial to the continuation of the criminal action, not the
criminal action that is prejudicial to the civil action.
The excerpt quoted by the respondent judge in his Order does not appear anywhere in the decision of
Ras v. Rasul. 7 Worse, he has not only misquoted the decision but also wrongly applied it. The facts of
that case are not analogous to those in the case at bar.
In that case, Ras allegedly sold to Pichel a parcel of land which he later also sold to Martin. Pichel
brought a civil action for nullification of the second sale and asked that the sale made by Ras in his
favor be declared valid. Ras's defense was that he never sold the property to Pichel and his purported
signatures appearing in the first deed of sale were forgeries. Later, an information for estafa was filed
against Ras based on the same double sale that was the subject of the civil action. Ras filed a "Motion
for Suspension of Action" (that is, the criminal case), claiming that the resolution of the issues in the
civil case would necessarily be determinative of his guilt or innocence.
Through then Associate Justice Claudio Teehankee, this Court ruled that a suspension of the criminal
action was in order because:
On the basis of the issues raised in both the criminal and civil cases against petitioner and in the light
of the foregoing concepts of a prejudicial question, there indeed appears to be a prejudicial question in
the case at bar, considering that petitioner Alejandro Ras' defense (as defendant) in Civil Case No. 73
of the nullity and forgery of the alleged prior deed of sale in favor of Luis Pichel (plaintiff in the civil
case and complaining witnesses in the criminal case) is based on the very same facts which would be
necessarily determinative of petitioner Ras' guilt or innocence as accused in the criminal case. If the
first alleged sale in favor of Pichel is void or fictitious, then there would be no double sale and
petitioner would be innocent of the offense charged. A conviction in the criminal case (if it were allowed
to proceed ahead) would be a gross injustice and would have to be set aside if it were finally decided
in the civil action that indeed the alleged prior deed of sale was a forgery and spurious.
xxx xxx xxx
The petitioner Alejandro Ras claims in his answer to the complaint in Civil Case No. 73 that he had
never sold the property in litigation to the plaintiff (Luis Pichel) and that his signatures in the alleged
deed of sale and that of his wife were forged by the plaintiff. It is, therefore, necessary that the truth or
falsity of such claim be first determined because if his claim is true, then he did not sell his property
twice and no estafa was committed. The question of nullity of the sale is distinct and separate from the
crime of estafa (alleged double sale) but so intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or
innocence of herein petitioner in the criminal action.

In the Ras case, there was a motion to suspend the criminal action on the ground that the defense in
the civil case forgery of his signature in the first deed of sale had to be threshed out first.
Resolution of that question would necessarily resolve the guilt or innocence of the accused in the
criminal case. By contrast, there was no motion for suspension in the case at bar; and no less
importantly, the respondent judge had not been informed of the defense Paras was raising in the civil
action. Judge Barcelona could not have ascertained then if the issue raised in the civil action would
determine the guilt or innocence of the accused in the criminal case.
It is worth remarking that not every defense raised in the civil action will raise a prejudicial question to
justify suspension of the criminal action. The defense must involve an issue similar or intimately
related to the same issue raised in the criminal action and its resolution should determine whether or
not the latter action may proceed.
The order dismissing the criminal action without a motion for suspension in accordance with Rule 111,
Section 6, of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as amended, and even without the accused
indicating his defense in the civil case for the annulment of the second sale, suggests not only
ignorance of the law but also bias on the part of the respondent judge.
Judge Alfredo D. Barcelona, Sr. is sternly reminded that under the Code of Judicial Conduct, "a judge
shall be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence" and "should administer justice
impartially." He is hereby reprimanded for his questionable conduct in the case at bar, with the warning
that commission of similar acts in the future will be dealt with more severely.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Order issued by Judge Alfredo D. Barcelona, Sr. dated
April 17, 1991, dismissing Criminal Case No. 1902-G, and the Order dated April 30, 1991, denying the
motion for reconsideration, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Criminal Case No. 1902-G is ordered
REINSTATED for further proceedings, but to be assigned to a different judge.
SO ORDERED.
Civil Personality
Articles 37-41
G.R. No. 26795 July 31, 1970
CARMEN QUIMIGUING, Suing through her parents, ANTONIO QUIMIGUING and JACOBA
CABILIN,
plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
FELIX ICAO, defendant-appellee.
Torcuato L. Galon for plaintiffs-appellants.
Godardo Jacinto for defendant-appellee.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
Appeal on points of law from an order of the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga del Norte (Judge
Onofre Sison Abalos, presiding), in its Civil Case No. 1590, dismissing a complaint for support and
damages, and another order denying amendment of the same pleading.
The events in the court of origin can be summarized as follows:
Appellant, Carmen Quimiguing, assisted by her parents, sued Felix Icao in the court below. In her
complaint it was averred that the parties were neighbors in Dapitan City, and had close and
confidential relations; that defendant Icao, although married, succeeded in having carnal intercourse
with plaintiff several times by force and intimidation, and without her consent; that as a result she
became pregnant, despite efforts and drugs supplied by defendant, and plaintiff had to stop studying.
Hence, she claimed support at P120.00 per month, damages and attorney's fees.
Duly summoned, defendant Icao moved to dismiss for lack of cause of action since the complaint did
not allege that the child had been born; and after hearing arguments, the trial judge sustained
defendant's motion and dismissed the complaint.
Thereafter, plaintiff moved to amend the complaint to allege that as a result of the intercourse, plaintiff
had later given birth to a baby girl; but the court, sustaining defendant's objection, ruled that no
amendment was allowable, since the original complaint averred no cause of action. Wherefore, the
plaintiff appealed directly to this Court.
We find the appealed orders of the court below to be untenable. A conceived child, although as yet
unborn, is given by law a provisional personality of its own for all purposes favorable to it, as explicitly

provided in Article 40 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. The unborn child, therefore, has a right to
support from its progenitors, particularly of the defendant-appellee (whose paternity is deemed
admitted for the purpose of the motion to dismiss), even if the said child is only "en ventre de sa mere;"
just as a conceived child, even if as yet unborn, may receive donations as prescribed by Article 742 of
the same Code, and its being ignored by the parent in his testament may result in preterition of a
forced heir that annuls the institution of the testamentary heir, even if such child should be born after
the death of the testator Article 854, Civil Code).
ART. 742. Donations made to conceived and unborn children may be accepted by those persons who
would legally represent them if they were already born.
ART. 854. The preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsory heirs in the direct line,
whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born after the death of the testator, shall annul
the institution of heir; but the devises and legacies shall be valid insofar as they are not inofficious.
If the omitted compulsory heirs should die before the testator, the institution shall be effectual, without
prejudice to the right of 'representation.
It is thus clear that the lower court's theory that Article 291 of the Civil Code declaring that support is
an obligation of parents and illegitimate children "does not contemplate support to children as yet
unborn," violates Article 40 aforesaid, besides imposing a condition that nowhere appears in the text of
Article 291. It is true that Article 40 prescribing that "the conceived child shall be considered born for all
purposes that are favorable to it" adds further "provided it be born later with the conditions specified in
the following article" (i.e., that the foetus be alive at the time it is completely delivered from the
mother's womb). This proviso, however, is not a condition precedent to the right of the conceived child;
for if it were, the first part of Article 40 would become entirely useless and ineffective. Manresa, in his
Commentaries (5th Ed.) to the corresponding Article 29 of the Spanish Civil Code, clearly points this
out:
Los derechos atribuidos al nasciturus no son simples expectativas, ni aun en el sentido tecnico que la
moderna doctrina da a esta figura juridica sino que constituyen un caso de los propiamente Ilamados
'derechos en estado de pendenci'; el nacimiento del sujeto en las condiciones previstas por el art. 30,
no determina el nacimiento de aquellos derechos (que ya existian de antemano), sino que se trata de
un hecho que tiene efectos declarativos. (1 Manresa, Op. cit., page 271)
A second reason for reversing the orders appealed from is that for a married man to force a woman
not his wife to yield to his lust (as averred in the original complaint in this case) constitutes a clear
violation of the rights of his victim that entitles her to claim compensation for the damage caused. Says
Article 21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines:
ART. 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to
morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.
The rule of Article 21 is supported by Article 2219 of the same Code:
ART 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:
(3) Seduction, abduction, rape or other lascivious acts:
xxx xxx xxx
(10) Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28 ....
Thus, independently of the right to Support of the child she was carrying, plaintiff herself had a cause
of action for damages under the terms of the complaint; and the order dismissing it for failure to state a
cause of action was doubly in error.
WHEREFORE, the orders under appeal are reversed and set aside. Let the case be remanded to the
court of origin for further proceedings conformable to this decision. Costs against appellee Felix Icao.
So ordered.

G.R. No. L-16439


July 20, 1961
ANTONIO
GELUZ,
petitioner,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and OSCAR LAZO, respondents.
Mariano
H.
de
Joya
for
petitioner.
A.P. Salvador for respondents.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
This petition for certiorari brings up for review question whether the husband of a woman, who
voluntarily procured her abortion, could recover damages from physician who caused the same.

The litigation was commenced in the Court of First Instance of Manila by respondent Oscar Lazo, the
of Nita Villanueva, against petitioner Antonio Geluz, a physician. Convinced of the merits of the
complaint upon the evidence adduced, the trial court rendered judgment favor of plaintiff Lazo and
against defendant Geluz, ordering the latter to pay P3,000.00 as damages, P700.00 attorney's fees
and the costs of the suit. On appeal, Court of Appeals, in a special division of five, sustained the award
by a majority vote of three justices as against two, who rendered a separate dissenting opinion.
The facts are set forth in the majority opinion as follows:
Nita Villanueva came to know the defendant (Antonio Geluz) for the first time in 1948 through her
aunt Paula Yambot. In 1950 she became pregnant by her present husband before they were legally
married. Desiring to conceal her pregnancy from her parent, and acting on the advice of her aunt, she
had herself aborted by the defendant. After her marriage with the plaintiff, she again became pregnant.
As she was then employed in the Commission on Elections and her pregnancy proved to be
inconvenient, she had herself aborted again by the defendant in October 1953. Less than two years
later, she again became pregnant. On February 21, 1955, accompanied by her sister Purificacion and
the latter's daughter Lucida, she again repaired to the defendant's clinic on Carriedo and P. Gomez
streets in Manila, where the three met the defendant and his wife. Nita was again aborted, of a twomonth old foetus, in consideration of the sum of fifty pesos, Philippine currency. The plaintiff was at this
time in the province of Cagayan, campaigning for his election to the provincial board; he did not know
of, nor gave his consent, to the abortion.
It is the third and last abortion that constitutes plaintiff's basis in filing this action and award of
damages. Upon application of the defendant Geluz we granted certiorari.
The Court of Appeals and the trial court predicated the award of damages in the sum of P3,000.06
upon the provisions of the initial paragraph of Article 2206 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. This we
believe to be error, for the said article, in fixing a minimum award of P3,000.00 for the death of a
person, does not cover the case of an unborn foetus that is not endowed with personality. Under the
system of our Civil Code, "la criatura abortiva no alcanza la categoria de persona natural y en
consscuencia es un ser no nacido a la vida del Derecho" (Casso-Cervera, "Diccionario de Derecho
Privado", Vol. 1, p. 49), being incapable of having rights and obligations.
Since an action for pecuniary damages on account of personal injury or death pertains primarily to the
one injured, it is easy to see that if no action for such damages could be instituted on behalf of the
unborn child on account of the injuries it received, no such right of action could derivatively accrue to
its parents or heirs. In fact, even if a cause of action did accrue on behalf of the unborn child, the same
was extinguished by its pre-natal death, since no transmission to anyone can take place from on that
lacked juridical personality (or juridical capacity as distinguished from capacity to act). It is no answer
to invoke the provisional personality of a conceived child (conceptus pro nato habetur) under Article 40
of the Civil Code, because that same article expressly limits such provisional personality by imposing
the condition that the child should be subsequently born alive: "provided it be born later with the
condition specified in the following article". In the present case, there is no dispute that the child was
dead when separated from its mother's womb.
The prevailing American jurisprudence is to the same effect; and it is generally held that recovery can
not had for the death of an unborn child (Stafford vs. Roadway Transit Co., 70 F. Supp. 555; Dietrich
vs. Northampton, 52 Am. Rep. 242; and numerous cases collated in the editorial note, 10 ALR, (2d)
639).
This is not to say that the parents are not entitled to collect any damages at all. But such damages
must be those inflicted directly upon them, as distinguished from the injury or violation of the rights of
the deceased, his right to life and physical integrity. Because the parents can not expect either help,
support or services from an unborn child, they would normally be limited to moral damages for the
illegal arrest of the normal development of the spes hominis that was the foetus, i.e., on account of
distress and anguish attendant to its loss, and the disappointment of their parental expectations (Civ.
Code Art. 2217), as well as to exemplary damages, if the circumstances should warrant them (Art.
2230). But in the case before us, both the trial court and the Court of Appeals have not found any basis
for an award of moral damages, evidently because the appellee's indifference to the previous
abortions of his wife, also caused by the appellant herein, clearly indicates that he was unconcerned
with the frustration of his parental hopes and affections. The lower court expressly found, and the
majority opinion of the Court of Appeals did not contradict it, that the appellee was aware of the second
abortion; and the probabilities are that he was likewise aware of the first. Yet despite the suspicious
repetition of the event, he appeared to have taken no steps to investigate or pinpoint the causes
thereof, and secure the punishment of the responsible practitioner. Even after learning of the third

abortion, the appellee does not seem to have taken interest in the administrative and criminal cases
against the appellant. His only concern appears to have been directed at obtaining from the doctor a
large money payment, since he sued for P50,000.00 damages and P3,000.00 attorney's fees, an
"indemnity" claim that, under the circumstances of record, was clearly exaggerated.
The dissenting Justices of the Court of Appeals have aptly remarked that:
It seems to us that the normal reaction of a husband who righteously feels outraged by the abortion
which his wife has deliberately sought at the hands of a physician would be highminded rather than
mercenary; and that his primary concern would be to see to it that the medical profession was purged
of an unworthy member rather than turn his wife's indiscretion to personal profit, and with that idea in
mind to press either the administrative or the criminal cases he had filed, or both, instead of
abandoning them in favor of a civil action for damages of which not only he, but also his wife, would be
the beneficiaries.
It is unquestionable that the appellant's act in provoking the abortion of appellee's wife, without
medical necessity to warrant it, was a criminal and morally reprehensible act, that can not be too
severely condemned; and the consent of the woman or that of her husband does not excuse it. But the
immorality or illegality of the act does not justify an award of damage that, under the circumstances on
record, have no factual or legal basis.
The decision appealed from is reversed, and the complaint ordered dismissed. Without costs.
Let a copy of this decision be furnished to the Department of Justice and the Board of Medical
Examiners for their information and such investigation and action against the appellee Antonio Geluz
as the facts may warrant.

G.R. No. L-39110


November 28, 1933
ANTONIA
L.
DE
JESUS,
vs.
CESAR SYQUIA, defendant-appellant.
Jose
Sotelo
Vicente J. Francisco for defendant-appellant.

ET
for

AL.,

plaintiff-appellant,
plaintiffs-appellants.

STREET, J.:
This action was instituted in the Court of First Instance of Manila by Antonia Loanco de Jesus in her
own right and by her mother, Pilar Marquez, as next friend and representative of Ismael and Pacita
Loanco, infants, children of the first-named plaintiff, for the purpose of recovering from the defendant,
Cesar Syquia, the sum of thirty thousand pesos as damages resulting to the first-named plaintiff from
breach of a marriage promise, to compel the defendant to recognize Ismael and Pacita as natural
children begotten by him with Antonia, and to pay for the maintenance of the three the amount of five
hundred pesos per month, together with costs. Upon hearing the cause, after answer of the defendant,
the trial court erred a decree requiring the defendant to recognize Ismael Loanco as his natural child
and to pay maintenance for him at the rate of fifty pesos per month, with costs, dismissing the action in
other respects. From this judgment both parties appealed, the plaintiffs from so much of the decision
as denied part of the relief sought by them, and the defendant from that feature of the decision which
required him to recognize Ismael Loanco and to pay for his maintenance.
At the time with which we are here concerned, the defendant, Cesar Syquia was of the age of twentythree years, and an unmarried scion of the prominent family in Manila, being possessed of a
considerable property in his own right. His brother-in-law, Vicente Mendoza is the owner of a barber
shop in Tondo, where the defendant was accustomed to go for tonsorial attention. In the month of June
Antonia Loanco, a likely unmarried girl of the age of twenty years, was taken on as cashier in this
barber shop. Syquia was not long in making her acquaintance and amorous relations resulted, as a
consequence of which Antonia was gotten with child and a baby boy was born on June 17, 1931. The
defendant was a constant visitor at the home of Antonia in the early months of her pregnancy, and in
February, 1931, he wrote and placed in her hands a note directed to the padre who has expected to
christen the baby. This note was as follows:
Saturday,
1:30
p.
m.
February 14, 1931
Rev. FATHER,
The baby due in June is mine and I should like for my name to be given to it.
CESAR SYQUIA

The occasion for writing this note was that the defendant was on the eve of his departure on a trip to
China and Japan; and while he was abroad on this visit he wrote several letters to Antonia showing a
paternal interest in the situation that had developed with her, and cautioning her to keep in good
condition in order that "junior" (meaning the baby to be, "Syquia, Jr.") might be strong, and promising
to return to them soon. The baby arrived at the time expected, and all necessary anticipatory
preparations were made by the defendant. To this he employed his friend Dr. Crescenciano Talavera to
attend at the birth, and made arrangements for the hospitalization of the mother in Saint Joseph's
Hospital of the City of Manila, where she was cared for during confinement.
When Antonio was able to leave the hospital, Syquia took her, with her mother and the baby, to a
house at No. 551 Camarines Street, Manila, where they lived together for about a year in regular
family style, all household expenses, including gas and electric light, being defrayed by Syquia. In
course of time, however, the defendant's ardor abated and, when Antonia began to show signs of a
second pregnancy the defendant decamped, and he is now married to another woman. A point that
should here be noted is that when the time came for christening the child, the defendant, who had
charge of the arrangement for this ceremony, caused the name Ismael Loanco to be given to him,
instead of Cesar Syquia, Jr., as was at first planned.
The first question that is presented in the case is whether the note to the padre, quoted above, in
connection with the letters written by the defendant to the mother during pregnancy, proves an
acknowledgment of paternity, within the meaning of subsection 1 of article 135 of the Civil Code. Upon
this point we have no hesitancy in holding that the acknowledgment thus shown is sufficient. It is a
universal rule of jurisprudence that a child, upon being conceived, becomes a bearer of legal rights
and capable of being dealt with as a living person. The fact that it is yet unborn is no impediment to the
acquisition of rights. The problem here presented of the recognition of unborn child is really not
different from that presented in the ordinary case of the recognition of a child already born and bearing
a specific name. Only the means and resources of identification are different. Even a bequest to a
living child requires oral evidence to connect the particular individual intended with the name used.
It is contended however, in the present case that the words of description used in the writings before
us are not legally sufficient to indemnify the child now suing as Ismael Loanco. This contention is not,
in our opinion, well founded. The words of recognition contained in the note to the padre are not
capable of two constructions. They refer to a baby then conceived which was expected to be born in
June and which would thereafter be presented for christening. The baby came, and though it was in
the end given the name of Ismael Loanco instead of Cesar Syquia, Jr., its identity as the child which
the defendant intended to acknowledge is clear. Any doubt that might arise on this point is removed by
the letters Exhibit F, G, H, and J. In these letters the defendant makes repeated reference to junior as
the baby which Antonia, to whom the letters were addressed, was then carrying in her womb, and the
writer urged Antonia to eat with good appetite in order that junior might be vigorous. In the last letter
(Exhibit J) written only a few days before the birth of the child, the defendant urged her to take good
care of herself and of junior also.
It seems to us that the only legal question that can here arise as to the sufficiency of acknowledgment
is whether the acknowledgment contemplated in subsection 1 of article 135 of the Civil Code must be
made in a single document or may be made in more than one document, of indubitable authenticity,
written by the recognizing father. Upon this point we are of the opinion that the recognition can be
made out by putting together the admissions of more than one document, supplementing the
admission made in one letter by an admission or admissions made in another. In the case before us
the admission of paternity is contained in the note to the padre and the other letters suffice to connect
that admission with the child then being carried by Antonia L. de Jesus. There is no requirement in the
law that the writing shall be addressed to one, or any particular individual. It is merely required that the
writing shall be indubitable.
The second question that presents itself in this case is whether the trial court erred in holding that
Ismael Loanco had been in the uninterrupted possession of the status of a natural child, justified by the
conduct of the father himself, and that as a consequence, the defendant in this case should be
compelled to acknowledge the said Ismael Loanco, under No. 2 of article 135 of the Civil Code. The
facts already stated are sufficient, in our opinion, to justify the conclusion of the trial court on this point,
and we may add here that our conclusion upon the first branch of the case that the defendant had
acknowledged this child in writings above referred to must be taken in connection with the facts found
by the court upon the second point. It is undeniable that from the birth of this child the defendant
supplied a home for it and the mother, in which they lived together with the defendant. This situation
continued for about a year, and until Antonia became enciente a second time, when the idea entered

the defendant's head of abandoning her. The law fixes no period during which a child must be in the
continuous possession of the status of a natural child; and the period in this case was long enough to
evince the father's resolution to concede the status. The circumstance that he abandoned the mother
and child shortly before this action was started is unimportant. The word "continuous" in subsection 2
of article 135 of the Civil Code does not mean that the concession of status shall continue forever, but
only that it shall not be of an intermittent character while it continues.
What has been said disposes of the principal feature of the defendant's appeal. With respect to the
appeal of the plaintiffs, we are of the opinion that the trial court was right in refusing to give damages
to the plaintiff, Antonia Loanco, for supposed breach of promise to marry. Such promise is not
satisfactorily proved, and we may add that the action for breach of promise to marry has no standing in
the civil law, apart from the right to recover money or property advanced by the plaintiff upon the faith
of such promise. This case exhibits none of the features necessary to maintain such an action.
Furthermore, there is no proof upon which a judgment could be based requiring the defendant to
recognize the second baby, Pacita Loanco.
Finally, we see no necessity or propriety in modifying the judgment as to the amount of the
maintenance which the trial court allowed to Ismael Loanco. And in this connection we merely point out
that, as conditions change, the Court of First Instance will have jurisdiction to modify the order as to
the amount of the pension as circumstances will require.
The judgment appealed from is in all respects affirmed, without costs. So ordered.
Malcolm, Abad Santos, Hull, Vickers, and butte, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions
VILLA-REAL, J., dissenting:
The majority opinion is predicated on two grounds: First, that the defendant-appellant Cesar Syquia
has expressly acknowledged his paternity of the child Ismael Loanco in an indubitable writing of his;
and secondly, that said child has enjoyed the uninterrupted possession of the status of a natural son of
said defendant-appellant Cesar Syquia, justified by his acts, as required by article 135 of the Civil
Code.
The first conclusion is drawn from Exhibits C, F, G, H, and J.
Exhibit C, which is in the handwriting of any signed by the defendant-appellant Cesar Syquia, reads as
follows:
Sabado, 1.30 p. m. 14 febrero, 1931
Rev. PADRE:
La criatura que vendra el junio es mio y que yo quisiera mi nombre que se de a la criatura.
(Fdo.) CESAR SYQUIA
Exhibit F, G, H, and j, which are letters written by the said defendant-appellant Cesar Syquia to
plaintiff-appellee Antonia L. de Jesus prior to the birth of the child contain the following expressions:
Exhibit F, Feb. 18, 1931: "No hagas nada malo; ni manches mi nombre y el de junior tambien no lo
manches. A cuerdate muy bien Toni que es por ti y por junior volvere alli pronto. ..."
Exhibit G. Feb. 24, 1931: "Toni por favor cuida bien a junior eh? . ..."
Exhibit H, March 25, 1931: "Toni, cuida tu bien a junior y cuidate bien, y come tu mucho. ... ."
Exhibit J, June 1, 1931: "Cuidate bien y junior tambien . ..."
Article 135, number 1, provides as follows:
ART. 135. The father may be compelled to acknowledge his natural child in the following cases:
1. When an indisputable paper written by him, expressly acknowledging his paternity, is in existence.
Maresa (Codigo Civil, Vol. 1, page 596, 4th ed.) commenting on said article, says:
Con arreglo al articulo que comentamos, no puede haber cuestion acerca de si es posible admitir por
otro medio la prueba de la paternidad natural. Entendemos que no, porquel el articulo es terminante y
la intencion de la ley mas terminante aun. Se establecio en la base 5.a que "no se admitira
investigacion de la paternidad sino en los casos de delito, o cuando exista escrito del padre en el que
conste su voluntad indubitada de reconocer por suyo al hijo, deliberadamente expresada con ese fin,
o cuando medie posesion de estado", y esto mismo es lo que se ordena en el presente articulo.
No puede, pues, prosperar la demanda para obligar al padre al reconocimiento de un hijo natural,
aunque solo se limite a pedir alimentos, si no se funda en el reconocimiento expreso del padre hecho
por escrito, en la posesion constante de estado de hijo natural o en sentencia firme recaida en causa

por de delito violacin, estupro o rapto. El escrito y la sentencia habran de acompaarse a la


demandada, y no puede admitirse otra prueba que la conducente a justificar que el escrito es
indubitadamente del padre que en el reconozca su paternidad, o la relativa a los actos directos del
mismo padre o de su familia, que demuestren la posesion continua de dicho estado. Para la prueba
de estos dos hechos podran utilizarse todos los medios que permite la Ley de Enjuiciamiento Civil,
debiendo el juez rechazar la que por cualquier otro concepto se dirija a la investigacion de la
paternidad.
xxx
xxx
xxx
En cuanto al otro requisito de ser expreso el reconocimiento, tengase presente que no basta hacerlo
por incidencia; es indespensable que se consigne en el escrito la voluntad indubitada, clara y
terminante del padre, de reconocer por suyo al hijo, deliberadamente expresada con este fin, como se
ordena an la base 5.a antes citada, de las aprobadas por la Ley de 11 de mayo de 1888; de suerte
que el escrito, aunque contenga otros particulares, como sucede en los testamentos, ha de tener por
objecto el reconocimiento deliberado y expreso del hijo natural. No llena, pues, ese objecto la
manifestacion que incidentalmente haga el padre de ser hijo natural suyo la persona a quien se
refiera, y mucho menos el dar a una persona el titulo y tratamiento de hijo en cartas familiares. Sin
embrago, en cada caso decidiran los un modo suficientemente expresivo la paternidad, servira de
base para acreditar, en union con otros datos, la posesion contante del estado del hijo a los efectos de
este articulo, y con arreglo a su numero 2.
Let it first be noted that the law prohibits the investigation of paternity (Borres and Barza vs.
Municipality of Panay, 42 Phil., 643; Donado vs. Menendez Donado, 55 Phil., 861). The only
exceptions to this rule are those established in article 135 of the Civil Code quoted above, the first of
which is that the father may be compelled to acknowledge his paternity, "When an indubitable writing
of his exists in which he expressly acknowledge his paternity." The writing that is required by said
provision must be complete in itself and by itself, and must contain all the statements that are
necessary to constitute a full and clear acknowledgment by a father of his paternity of a child, in order
that it may serve as a basis for compelling him to acknowledge said child should be afterwards deny
his paternity. If several writings put together, each not being complete in itself, should be necessary in
order to obtain a full and complete expression of acknowledgment by a father of his paternity of a
child, the general prohibition to investigate paternity would be violated.
By the mere reading of all said letters, the one addressed to a priest and the others to the herein
plaintiff-appellee, Antonia L. de Jesus, the reader cannot ascertain which is the "creature that is
coming on June", which the defendant- appellant, Cesar Syquia, says in the said letter addressed to
the priest is his, nor who is the "junior" that he recommends to said Antonia L. de Jesus to take good
care of, as there is nothing in anyone of said letters from which it may be inferred that Antonia L. de
Jesus was enciente at the time, that the "junior" was the being she was carrying in her womb, and that
it was the "creature that is coming in June." To connect all these facts it was necessary to prove that
Cesar Syquia had had illicit relations with Antonia L. de Jesus, that as a result of such relations the
woman became pregnant, and that she gave birth to a boy in June 1931. All this certainly constitutes
an investigation of the paternity of Cesar Syquia of said child outside of the documents, which is
prohibited by law.
Either taken alone therefore, or in connection with Exhibits F, G, H, and J, Exhibit C is insufficient to
constitute a "indubitable writing of Cesar Syquia, in which he expressly acknowledges his paternity of
the child Ismael Loanco," as required by number 1 of article 135 of the Civil Code.
As to the second ground of the decision of the majority, number 2 of article 135 of the Civil Code
provides:
ART. 135. The father may be compelled to acknowledge his natural child in the following cases:
xxx
xxx
xxx
2. When the child has been in the uninterrupted possession of the status of a natural child of the
defendant father, justified by the conduct of the father himself or that of his family.
The majority decision bases its connection on the second point on Exhibits C, F, G, H, and J and the
following facts, as found by the lower court in its decision:
Cuando la demandante Antonia L. de Jesus estaba para dar a luz, el demandado Cesar Syquia llamo
a su comprovinciano Dr. Crescenciano Talavera, medico que entonces ejercia su profesion en la
Ciudad de Manila, para que asistiera a aquella en su parto y a ese efecto llevo a la demandante
Antonia L. de Jesus acompaado del Dr. Talavera al Hospital San Jose, de esta Ciudad, donde ella
dio a luz el 17 de junio de 1931 asistida por dicho Dr. Talavera, que firmo el certificado de necimiento
Exhibit E.

Despues del nacimiento del demandante Ismael Loanco, el demandado estuvo viviendo con este y
con la demandante Antonio L. de Jesus en la casa No. 551 de la Calle Camarines, Manila, entregando
a dicha demandante el dinero para los gastos de casa y el pago del consumo de gas y luz electrica,
habiendo firmado el contrato para el suministro del fluido electrico en dicha casa.
Exhibit, C, F, G, H, and J, are inadmissible in evidence the purpose of showing that Ismael Loanco has
enjoyed the continuous possession of the status of a natural child, because being of prior date to the
birth of said child they can not be considered as direct acts of Cesar Syquia showing possession of the
status of natural child, as no human being can enjoy such possession until he be born with legal
capacity for acquiring civil rights (Infante vs. Figueras, 4 Phil., 738; Granados vs. Leynes, G.R. No.
31224, promulgated September 9, 1929, not reported).
It must also be stated that Cesar Syquia refused to allow his name to be given to the child Ismael
when it was baptized, so that the name of its mother, Loanco, had to be given to it.
The facts which were found by the court below to have been proved by the testimony of the witnesses
during the trial, are not sufficient to constitute the uninterrupted possession of the status of Ismael
Loanco as natural child of said Cesar Syquia, in the light of the following authorities:
In the case of Buenaventura vs. Urbano (5 Phil., 1, 9), this court said:
. . . Confining ourselves to the acts proved to have been performed by Don Telesforo, we find that he
visited the mother of the plaintiff; that he paid money for her support; that he paid money for the
support of the plaintiff; that he hold one witness that the plaintiff was his son; that the plaintiff called
him "Papa," and that Don Telesforo answered to this designation; that when the plaintiff visited Don
Telesforo he kissed his hand; that Don Telesforo wrote letters to him; that he paid his fees for
instruction in school, and secured him a position in a commercial house.
xxx
xxx
xxx
All these facts taken together are not sufficient to show that plaintiff possesses continuously the status
of a natural child. They may have a tendency to show that Don Telesforo was the father of the child,
but that it is not sufficient. It is not sufficient that the father recognize the child as his. By the express
terms of article 135 that recognition must appear either in writing, made by the father, or it must appear
in acts which show that the son has possessed continuously the status of a natural child. No
recognition by the father of the child which comes short of the requirements of these two paragraphs is
sufficient. It must appear that it was the intention of the father to recognize the child as to give him that
status, and that the acts performed by him were done with that intention.
Manresa (Codigo Civil, Vol. 1, page 602, 4th ed.) in citing some decisions of the Supreme Court of
Spain says:
En la sentencia de 5 de junio de 1906 declarase que para justificar la posesion de estado de hijo
natural se requiere que los actos sean de tal naturaleza que revelen, a la vez que el convencimiento
de la paternidad, la voluntad ostensible de tener y tratar al hijo como tal en las relaciones sociales y
de la vida, y esto no accidentalmente, sino continuedamente, porque en tal supuesto los actos tiene el
mismo valor que el reconocimiento expreso.lawphil.net
En el mismo criterio restrictivo se inspira la de 12 de octubre de 1907, que estima que el hecho de que
dos nodrizas criaron a otros tantos nios, sufragando el gasto el demandado, quien ademas iba a
casa de la demandante, los besada, los llamaba hijos y encargaba para los mismos el mayor cuidado;
el de que subvenia a las necesidades de la madre y de los seis hijos que la nacieron, el primero de los
cuales se llamaba como el padre; y el de que los porteros de la casa donde vivio la actora sabian que
el finado visitaba a esta, se lamentaba de la mucha familia que tenia y era tenido en el concepto
publico como padre de los menores, no son suficientes para fundar la declaracion de paternidad, pues
no es legal confundir actos que puedan revelar mas o menos la presuncion o convencimiento en que
una persona este de su paternidad con relacion a hijos naturales, con los que demuestren su
proposito de poner a estos hijos en la posesion de tal estado.
It will thus be seen from the foregoing discussion and authorities that the herein defendant-appellant
Cesar Syquia cannot be compelled to acknowledge the child Ismael Loanco as his natural son
because there exists not an indubitable writing of his in which he expressly acknowledges his paternity
of said child, and because the said child has not enjoyed the uninterrupted possession of the status of
a
natural
child
of
the
said
defendant-appellant, justified by his own conduct or that of his family, as required by article 135 of the
Civil Code.
The decision appealed from should, therefore, be reversed and the complaint dismissed.
G.R. No. 182836

October 13, 2009

CONTINENTAL
STEEL
MANUFACTURING
CORPORATION,
Petitioner,
vs.
HON. ACCREDITED VOLUNTARY ARBITRATOR ALLAN S. MONTAO and NAGKAKAISANG
MANGGAGAWA NG CENTRO STEEL CORPORATION-SOLIDARITY OF UNIONS IN THE
PHILIPPINES FOR EMPOWERMENT AND REFORMS (NMCSC-SUPER), Respondents.
DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
Before Us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari, under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the
Decision1 dated 27 February 2008 and the Resolution 2 dated 9 May 2008 of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 101697, affirming the Resolution 3 dated 20 November 2007 of respondent Accredited
Voluntary Arbitrator Atty. Allan S. Montao (Montao) granting bereavement leave and other death
benefits to Rolando P. Hortillano (Hortillano), grounded on the death of his unborn child.
The antecedent facts of the case are as follows:
Hortillano, an employee of petitioner Continental Steel Manufacturing Corporation (Continental Steel)
and a member of respondent Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Centro Steel Corporation-Solidarity of
Trade Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms (Union) filed on 9 January 2006, a
claim for Paternity Leave, Bereavement Leave and Death and Accident Insurance for dependent,
pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) concluded between Continental and the
Union, which reads:
ARTICLE X: LEAVE OF ABSENCE
xxxx
Section 2. BEREAVEMENT LEAVEThe Company agrees to grant a bereavement leave with pay to
any employee in case of death of the employees legitimate dependent (parents, spouse, children,
brothers and sisters) based on the following:
2.1 Within Metro Manila up to Marilao, Bulacan - 7 days
2.2 Provincial/Outside Metro Manila - 11 days
xxxx
ARTICLE XVIII: OTHER BENEFITS
xxxx
Section 4. DEATH AND ACCIDENT INSURANCEThe Company shall grant death and accidental
insurance to the employee or his family in the following manner:
xxxx
4.3 DEPENDENTSEleven Thousand Five Hundred Fifty Pesos (Php11,550.00) in case of death of
the employees legitimate dependents (parents, spouse, and children). In case the employee is single,
this benefit covers the legitimate parents, brothers and sisters only with proper legal document to be
presented (e.g. death certificate).4
The claim was based on the death of Hortillanos unborn child. Hortillanos wife, Marife V. Hortillano,
had a premature delivery on 5 January 2006 while she was in the 38th week of pregnancy. 5 According
to the Certificate of Fetal Death dated 7 January 2006, the female fetus died during labor due to fetal
Anoxia secondary to uteroplacental insufficiency.6
Continental Steel immediately granted Hortillanos claim for paternity leave but denied his claims for
bereavement leave and other death benefits, consisting of the death and accident insurance.7
Seeking the reversal of the denial by Continental Steel of Hortillanos claims for bereavement and
other death benefits, the Union resorted to the grievance machinery provided in the CBA. Despite the
series of conferences held, the parties still failed to settle their dispute, 8 prompting the Union to file a
Notice to Arbitrate before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) of the Department of
Labor and Employment (DOLE), National Capital Region (NCR). 9 In a Submission Agreement dated 9
October 2006, the Union and Continental Steel submitted for voluntary arbitration the sole issue of
whether Hortillano was entitled to bereavement leave and other death benefits pursuant to Article X,
Section 2
and Article XVIII, Section 4.3 of the CBA.10 The parties mutually chose Atty. Montao, an Accredited
Voluntary Arbitrator, to resolve said issue.11
When the preliminary conferences again proved futile in amicably settling the dispute, the parties
proceeded to submit their respective Position Papers, 12 Replies,13 and Rejoinders14 to Atty. Montao.
The Union argued that Hortillano was entitled to bereavement leave and other death benefits pursuant
to the CBA. The Union maintained that Article X, Section 2 and Article XVIII, Section 4.3 of the CBA did
not specifically state that the dependent should have first been born alive or must have acquired
juridical personality so that his/her subsequent death could be covered by the CBA death benefits. The

Union cited cases wherein employees of MKK Steel Corporation (MKK Steel) and Mayer Steel Pipe
Corporation (Mayer Steel), sister companies of Continental Steel, in similar situations as Hortillano
were able to receive death benefits under similar provisions of their CBAs.
The Union mentioned in particular the case of Steve L. Dugan (Dugan), an employee of Mayer Steel,
whose wife also prematurely delivered a fetus, which had already died prior to the delivery. Dugan was
able to receive paternity leave, bereavement leave, and voluntary contribution under the CBA between
his union and Mayer Steel. 15 Dugans child was only 24 weeks in the womb and died before labor, as
opposed to Hortillanos child who was already 37-38 weeks in the womb and only died during labor.
The Union called attention to the fact that MKK Steel and Mayer Steel are located in the same
compound as Continental Steel; and the representatives of MKK Steel and Mayer Steel who signed
the CBA with their respective employees unions were the same as the representatives of Continental
Steel who signed the existing CBA with the Union.
Finally, the Union invoked Article 1702 of the Civil Code, which provides that all doubts in labor
legislations and labor contracts shall be construed in favor of the safety of and decent living for the
laborer.
On the other hand, Continental Steel posited that the express provision of the CBA did not
contemplate the death of an unborn child, a fetus, without legal personality. It claimed that there are
two elements for the entitlement to the benefits, namely: (1) death and (2) status as legitimate
dependent, none of which existed in Hortillanos case. Continental Steel, relying on Articles 40, 41 and
4216 of the Civil Code, contended that only one with civil personality could die. Hence, the unborn child
never died because it never acquired juridical personality. Proceeding from the same line of thought,
Continental Steel reasoned that a fetus that was dead from the moment of delivery was not a person
at all. Hence, the term dependent could not be applied to a fetus that never acquired juridical
personality. A fetus that was delivered dead could not be considered a dependent, since it never
needed any support, nor did it ever acquire the right to be supported.
Continental Steel maintained that the wording of the CBA was clear and unambiguous. Since neither
of the parties qualified the terms used in the CBA, the legally accepted definitions thereof were
deemed automatically accepted by both parties. The failure of the Union to have unborn child included
in the definition of dependent, as used in the CBA the death of whom would have qualified the
parent-employee for bereavement leave and other death benefits bound the Union to the legally
accepted definition of the latter term.
Continental Steel, lastly, averred that similar cases involving the employees of its sister companies,
MKK Steel and Mayer Steel, referred to by the Union, were irrelevant and incompetent evidence, given
the separate and distinct personalities of the companies. Neither could the Union sustain its claim that
the grant of bereavement leave and other death benefits to the parent-employee for the loss of an
unborn child constituted "company practice."
On 20 November 2007, Atty. Montao, the appointed Accredited Voluntary Arbitrator, issued a
Resolution17 ruling that Hortillano was entitled to bereavement leave with pay and death benefits.
Atty. Montao identified the elements for entitlement to said benefits, thus:
This Office declares that for the entitlement of the benefit of bereavement leave with pay by the
covered employees as provided under Article X, Section 2 of the parties CBA, three (3) indispensable
elements must be present: (1) there is "death"; (2) such death must be of employees "dependent";
and (3) such dependent must be "legitimate".
On the otherhand, for the entitlement to benefit for death and accident insurance as provided under
Article XVIII, Section 4, paragraph (4.3) of the parties CBA, four (4) indispensable elements must be
present: (a) there is "death"; (b) such death must be of employees "dependent"; (c) such dependent
must be "legitimate"; and (d) proper legal document to be presented.18
Atty. Montao found that there was no dispute that the death of an employees legitimate dependent
occurred. The fetus had the right to be supported by the parents from the very moment he/she was
conceived. The fetus had to rely on another for support; he/she could not have existed or sustained
himself/herself without the power or aid of someone else, specifically, his/her mother. Therefore, the
fetus was already a dependent, although he/she died during the labor or delivery. There was also no
question that Hortillano and his wife were lawfully married, making their dependent, unborn child,
legitimate.
In the end, Atty. Montao decreed:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, a resolution is hereby rendered ORDERING [herein petitioner
Continental Steel] to pay Rolando P. Hortillano the amount of Four Thousand Nine Hundred Thirty-

Nine Pesos (P4,939.00), representing his bereavement leave pay and the amount of Eleven Thousand
Five Hundred Fifty Pesos (P11,550.00) representing death benefits, or a total amount of P16,489.00
The complaint against Manuel Sy, however, is ORDERED DISMISSED for lack of merit.
All other claims are DISMISSED for lack of merit.
Further, parties are hereby ORDERED to faithfully abide with the herein dispositions.
Aggrieved, Continental Steel filed with the Court of Appeals a Petition for Review on Certiorari, 19 under
Section 1, Rule 43 of the Rules of Court, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 101697.
Continental Steel claimed that Atty. Montao erred in granting Hortillanos claims for bereavement
leave with pay and other death benefits because no death of an employees dependent had occurred.
The death of a fetus, at whatever stage of pregnancy, was excluded from the coverage of the CBA
since what was contemplated by the CBA was the death of a legal person, and not that of a fetus,
which did not acquire any juridical personality. Continental Steel pointed out that its contention was
bolstered by the fact that the term death was qualified by the phrase legitimate dependent. It asserted
that the status of a child could only be determined upon said childs birth, otherwise, no such
appellation can be had. Hence, the conditions sine qua non for Hortillanos entitlement to bereavement
leave and other death benefits under the CBA were lacking.
The Court of Appeals, in its Decision dated 27 February 2008, affirmed Atty. Montaos Resolution
dated 20 November 2007. The appellate court interpreted death to mean as follows:
[Herein petitioner Continental Steels] exposition on the legal sense in which the term "death" is used
in the CBA fails to impress the Court, and the same is irrelevant for ascertaining the purpose, which
the grant of bereavement leave and death benefits thereunder, is intended to serve. While there is no
arguing with [Continental Steel] that the acquisition of civil personality of a child or fetus is conditioned
on being born alive upon delivery, it does not follow that such event of premature delivery of a fetus
could never be contemplated as a "death" as to be covered by the CBA provision, undoubtedly an
event causing loss and grief to the affected employee, with whom the dead fetus stands in a legitimate
relation. [Continental Steel] has proposed a narrow and technical significance to the term "death of a
legitimate dependent" as condition for granting bereavement leave and death benefits under the CBA.
Following [Continental Steels] theory, there can be no experience of "death" to speak of. The Court,
however, does not share this view. A dead fetus simply cannot be equated with anything less than
"loss of human life", especially for the expectant parents. In this light, bereavement leave and death
benefits are meant to assuage the employee and the latters immediate family, extend to them solace
and support, rather than an act conferring legal status or personality upon the unborn child.
[Continental Steels] insistence that the certificate of fetal death is for statistical purposes only sadly
misses this crucial point.20
Accordingly, the fallo of the 27 February 2008 Decision of the Court of Appeals reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. The
assailed Resolution dated November 20, 2007 of Accredited Voluntary Arbitrator Atty. Allan S. Montao
is hereby AFFIRMED and UPHELD.
With costs against [herein petitioner Continental Steel].21
In a Resolution22 dated 9 May 2008, the Court of Appeals denied the Motion for Reconsideration 23 of
Continental Steel.
Hence, this Petition, in which Continental Steel persistently argues that the CBA is clear and
unambiguous, so that the literal and legal meaning of death should be applied. Only one with juridical
personality can die and a dead fetus never acquired a juridical personality.
We are not persuaded.
As Atty. Montao identified, the elements for bereavement leave under Article X, Section 2 of the CBA
are: (1) death; (2) the death must be of a dependent, i.e., parent, spouse, child, brother, or sister, of an
employee; and (3) legitimate relations of the dependent to the employee. The requisites for death and
accident insurance under Article XVIII, Section 4(3) of the CBA are: (1) death; (2) the death must be of
a dependent, who could be a parent, spouse, or child of a married employee; or a parent, brother, or
sister of a single employee; and (4) presentation of the proper legal document to prove such death,
e.g., death certificate.
It is worthy to note that despite the repeated assertion of Continental Steel that the provisions of the
CBA are clear and unambiguous, its fundamental argument for denying Hortillanos claim for
bereavement leave and other death benefits rests on the purportedly proper interpretation of the terms
"death" and "dependent" as used in the CBA. If the provisions of the CBA are indeed clear and
unambiguous, then there is no need to resort to the interpretation or construction of the same.

Moreover, Continental Steel itself admitted that neither management nor the Union sought to define
the pertinent terms for bereavement leave and other death benefits during the negotiation of the CBA.
The reliance of Continental Steel on Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code for the legal definition of
death is misplaced. Article 40 provides that a conceived child acquires personality only when it is born,
and Article 41 defines when a child is considered born. Article 42 plainly states that civil personality is
extinguished by death.
First, the issue of civil personality is not relevant herein. Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code on
natural persons, must be applied in relation to Article 37 of the same Code, the very first of the general
provisions on civil personality, which reads:
Art. 37. Juridical capacity, which is the fitness to be the subject of legal relations, is inherent in every
natural person and is lost only through death. Capacity to act, which is the power to do acts with legal
effect, is acquired and may be lost.
We need not establish civil personality of the unborn child herein since his/her juridical capacity and
capacity to act as a person are not in issue. It is not a question before us whether the unborn child
acquired any rights or incurred any obligations prior to his/her death that were passed on to or
assumed by the childs parents. The rights to bereavement leave and other death benefits in the
instant case pertain directly to the parents of the unborn child upon the latters death.
Second, Sections 40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code do not provide at all a definition of death. Moreover,
while the Civil Code expressly provides that civil personality may be extinguished by death, it does not
explicitly state that only those who have acquired juridical personality could die.
And third, death has been defined as the cessation of life.24 Life is not synonymous with civil
personality. One need not acquire civil personality first before he/she could die. Even a child inside the
womb already has life. No less than the Constitution recognizes the life of the unborn from
conception,25 that the State must protect equally with the life of the mother. If the unborn already has
life, then the cessation thereof even prior to the child being delivered, qualifies as death.
Likewise, the unborn child can be considered a dependent under the CBA. As Continental Steel itself
defines, a dependent is "one who relies on another for support; one not able to exist or sustain oneself
without the power or aid of someone else." Under said general definition, 26 even an unborn child is a
dependent of its parents. Hortillanos child could not have reached 38-39 weeks of its gestational life
without depending upon its mother, Hortillanos wife, for sustenance. Additionally, it is explicit in the
CBA provisions in question that the dependent may be the parent, spouse, or child of a married
employee; or the parent, brother, or sister of a single employee. The CBA did not provide a
qualification for the child dependent, such that the child must have been born or must have acquired
civil personality, as Continental Steel avers. Without such qualification, then child shall be understood
in its more general sense, which includes the unborn fetus in the mothers womb.
The term legitimate merely addresses the dependent childs status in relation to his/her parents. In
Angeles v. Maglaya,27 we have expounded on who is a legitimate child, viz:
A legitimate child is a product of, and, therefore, implies a valid and lawful marriage. Remove the
element of lawful union and there is strictly no legitimate filiation between parents and child. Article 164
of the Family Code cannot be more emphatic on the matter: "Children conceived or born during the
marriage of the parents are legitimate." (Emphasis ours.)
Conversely, in Briones v. Miguel,28 we identified an illegitimate child to be as follows:
The fine distinctions among the various types of illegitimate children have been eliminated in the
Family Code. Now, there are only two classes of children -- legitimate (and those who, like the legally
adopted, have the rights of legitimate children) and illegitimate. All children conceived and born
outside a valid marriage are illegitimate, unless the law itself gives them legitimate status. (Emphasis
ours.)
It is apparent that according to the Family Code and the afore-cited jurisprudence, the legitimacy or
illegitimacy of a child attaches upon his/her conception. In the present case, it was not disputed that
Hortillano and his wife were validly married and that their child was conceived during said marriage,
hence, making said child legitimate upon her conception.1avvphi1
Also incontestable is the fact that Hortillano was able to comply with the fourth element entitling him to
death and accident insurance under the CBA, i.e., presentation of the death certificate of his unborn
child.
Given the existence of all the requisites for bereavement leave and other death benefits under the
CBA, Hortillanos claims for the same should have been granted by Continental Steel.
We emphasize that bereavement leave and other death benefits are granted to an employee to give
aid to, and if possible, lessen the grief of, the said employee and his family who suffered the loss of a

loved one. It cannot be said that the parents grief and sense of loss arising from the death of their
unborn child, who, in this case, had a gestational life of 38-39 weeks but died during delivery, is any
less than that of parents whose child was born alive but died subsequently.
Being for the benefit of the employee, CBA provisions on bereavement leave and other death benefits
should be interpreted liberally to give life to the intentions thereof. Time and again, the Labor Code is
specific in enunciating that in case of doubt in the interpretation of any law or provision affecting labor,
such should be interpreted in favor of labor.29 In the same way, the CBA and CBA provisions should be
interpreted in favor of labor. In Marcopper Mining v. National Labor Relations Commission,30 we
pronounced:
Finally, petitioner misinterprets the declaration of the Labor Arbiter in the assailed decision that "when
the pendulum of judgment swings to and fro and the forces are equal on both sides, the same must be
stilled in favor of labor." While petitioner acknowledges that all doubts in the interpretation of the Labor
Code shall be resolved in favor of labor, it insists that what is involved-here is the amended CBA which
is essentially a contract between private persons. What petitioner has lost sight of is the avowed policy
of the State, enshrined in our Constitution, to accord utmost protection and justice to labor, a policy, we
are, likewise, sworn to uphold.
In Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corporation v. NLRC [183 SCRA 451 (1990)], we categorically
stated that:
When conflicting interests of labor and capital are to be weighed on the scales of social justice, the
heavier influence of the latter should be counter-balanced by sympathy and compassion the law must
accord the underprivileged worker.
Likewise, in Terminal Facilities and Services Corporation v. NLRC [199 SCRA 265 (1991)], we
declared:
Any doubt concerning the rights of labor should be resolved in its favor pursuant to the social justice
policy.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Petition is DENIED. The Decision dated 27 February 2008 and Resolution
dated 9 May 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 101697, affirming the Resolution dated
20 November 2007 of Accredited Voluntary Arbitrator Atty. Allan S. Montao, which granted to Rolando
P. Hortillano bereavement leave pay and other death benefits in the amounts of Four Thousand Nine
Hundred Thirty-Nine Pesos (P4,939.00) and Eleven Thousand Five Hundred Fifty Pesos (P11,550.00),
respectively, grounded on the death of his unborn child, are AFFIRMED. Costs against Continental
Steel Manufacturing Corporation.
SO ORDERED.

ARTICLE 43
G.R. No. L-770
April 27, 1948
ANGEL
T.
LIMJOCO,
petitioner,
vs.
INTESTATE ESTATE OF PEDRO O. FRAGRANTE, deceased, respondent.
Angel
Limjoco,
Jr.
and
Delfin
L.
Gonzales
for
petitioner.
Bienvenido A. Tan for respondent.
HILADO, J.:
Under date of May 21, 1946, the Public Service Commission, through Deputy Commissioner Fidel
Ibaez, rendered its decision in case No. 4572 of Pedro O. Fragante, as applicant for a certificate of
public convenience to install, maintain and operate an ice plant in San Juan, Rizal, whereby said
commission held that the evidence therein showed that the public interest and convenience will be
promoted in a proper and suitable manner "by authorizing the operation and maintenance of another
ice plant of two and one-half (2-) tons in the municipality of San Juan; that the original applicant
Pedro O. Fragante was a Filipino Citizen at the time of his death; and that his intestate estate is
financially capable of maintaining the proposed service". The commission, therefore, overruled the
opposition filed in the case and ordered "that under the provisions of section 15 of Commonwealth Act
No. 146, as amended a certificate of public convenience be issued to the Intestate Estate of the
deceased Pedro Fragante, authorizing said Intestate Estate through its Special or Judicial
Administrator, appointed by the proper court of competent jurisdiction, to maintain and operate an ice
plant with a daily productive capacity of two and one-half (2-1/2) tons in the Municipality of San Juan
and to sell the ice produced from said plant in the said Municipality of San Juan and in the Municipality

of Mandaluyong, Rizal, and in Quezon City", subject to the conditions therein set forth in detail
(petitioner's brief, pp. 33-34).
Petitioner makes four assignments of error in his brief as follows:
1. The decision of the Public Service Commission is not in accordance with law.
2. The decision of the Public Service Commission is not reasonably supported by evidence.
3. The Public Service Commission erred in not giving petitioner and the Ice and Cold Storage
Industries of the Philippines, Inc., as existing operators, a reasonable opportunity to meet the
increased demand.
4. The decision of the Public Service Commission is an unwarranted departure from its announced
policy with respect to the establishment and operation of ice plant. (Pp. 1-2, petitioner's brief.)
In his argument petitioner contends that it was error on the part of the commission to allow the
substitution of the legal representative of the estate of Pedro O. Fragante for the latter as party
applicant in the case then pending before the commission, and in subsequently granting to said estate
the certificate applied for, which is said to be in contravention of law.
If Pedro O. Fragante had not died, there can be no question that he would have had the right to
prosecute his application before the commission to its final conclusion. No one would have denied him
that right. As declared by the commission in its decision, he had invested in the ice plant in question P
35,000, and from what the commission said regarding his other properties and business, he would
certainly have been financially able to maintain and operate said plant had he not died. His
transportation business alone was netting him about P1,440 a month. He was a Filipino citizen and
continued to be such till his demise. The commission declared in its decision, in view of the evidence
before it, that his estate was financially able to maintain and operate the ice plant. The aforesaid right
of Pedro O. Fragante to prosecute said application to its conclusion was one which by its nature did
not lapse through his death. Hence, it constitutes a part of the assets of his estate, for which a right
was property despite the possibility that in the end the commission might have denied application,
although under the facts of the case, the commission granted the application in view of the financial
ability of the estate to maintain and operate the ice plant. Petitioner, in his memorandum of March 19,
1947, admits (page 3) that the certificate of public convenience once granted "as a rule, should
descend to his estate as an asset". Such certificate would certainly be property, and the right to
acquire such a certificate, by complying with the requisites of the law, belonged to the decedent in his
lifetime, and survived to his estate and judicial administrator after his death.
If Pedro O. Fragrante had in his lifetime secured an option to buy a piece of land and during the life of
the option he died, if the option had been given him in the ordinary course of business and not out of
special consideration for his person, there would be no doubt that said option and the right to exercise
it would have survived to his estate and legal representatives. In such a case there would also be the
possibility of failure to acquire the property should he or his estate or legal representative fail to comply
with the conditions of the option. In the case at bar Pedro O. Fragrante's undoubted right to apply for
and acquire the desired certificate of public convenience the evidence established that the public
needed the ice plant was under the law conditioned only upon the requisite citizenship and
economic ability to maintain and operate the service. Of course, such right to acquire or obtain such
certificate of public convenience was subject to failure to secure its objective through nonfulfillment of
the legal conditions, but the situation here is no different from the legal standpoint from that of the
option in the illustration just given.
Rule 88, section 2, provides that the executor or administrator may bring or defend actions, among
other cases, for the protection of the property or rights of the deceased which survive, and it says that
such actions may be brought or defended "in the right of the deceased".
Rule 82, section 1, paragraph (a), mentions among the duties of the executor or administrator, the
making of an inventory of all goods, chattels, rights, credits, and estate of the deceased which shall
come to his possession or knowledge, or to the possession of any other person for him.
In his commentaries on the Rules of Court (Volume II, 2nd ed., pages 366, 367) the present chief
Justice of this Court draws the following conclusion from the decisions cited by him:
Therefore, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, any action affecting the property or rights
(emphasis supplied) of a deceased person which may be brought by or against him if he were alive,
may likewise be instituted and prosecuted by or against the administrator, unless the action is for
recovery of money, debt or interest thereon, or unless, by its very nature, it cannot survive, because
death extinguishes the right . . . .
It is true that a proceeding upon the application for a certificate of public convenience before the Public
Service Commission is not an "action". But the foregoing provisions and citations go to prove that the

decedent's rights which by their nature are not extinguished by death go to make up a part and parcel
of the assets of his estate which, being placed under the control and management of the executor or
administrator, can not be exercised but by him in representation of the estate for the benefit of the
creditors, devisees or legatees, if any, and the heirs of the decedent. And if the right involved happens
to consist in the prosecution of an unfinished proceeding upon an application for a certificate of public
convenience of the deceased before the Public Service Commission, it is but logical that the legal
representative be empowered and entitled in behalf of the estate to make the right effective in that
proceeding.
Manresa (Vol. III, 6th ed., p. 11) says that No. 10 of article 334 and article 336 of the Civil Code,
respectively, consider as immovable and movable things rights which are not material. The same
eminent commentator says in the cited volume (p. 45) that article 336 of the Civil Code has been
deficiently drafted in that it is not sufficiently expressive of all incorporeal rights which are also property
for juridical purposes.
Corpus Juris (Vol. 50, p. 737) states that in the broad sense of the term, property includes, among
other things, "an option", and "the certificate of the railroad commission permitting the operation of a
bus line", and on page 748 of the same volume we read:
However, these terms (real property, as estate or interest) have also been declared to include every
species of title, inchoate or complete, and embrace rights which lie in contract, whether executory or
executed. (Emphasis supplied.)
Another important question raised by petitioner is whether the estate of Pedro O. Fragrante is a
"person" within the meaning of the Public Service Act.
Words and Phrases, First Series, (Vol. 6, p, 5325), states the following doctrine in the jurisdiction of the
State of Indiana:
As the estate of the decedent is in law regarded as a person, a forgery committed after the death of
the man whose name purports to be signed to the instrument may be prosecuted as with the intent to
defraud the estate. Billings vs. State, 107 Ind., 54, 55, 6 N. E. 914, 7 N. E. 763, 57 Am. Rep. 77.
The Supreme Court of Indiana in the decision cited above had before it a case of forgery committed
after the death of one Morgan for the purpose of defrauding his estate. The objection was urged that
the information did not aver that the forgery was committed with the intent to defraud any person. The
Court, per Elliott, J., disposed of this objection as follows:
. . . The reason advanced in support of this proposition is that the law does not regard the estate of a
decedent as a person. This intention (contention) cannot prevail. The estate of the decedent is a
person in legal contemplation. "The word "person" says Mr. Abbot, "in its legal signification, is a
generic term, and includes artificial as well as natural persons," 2 Abb. Dict. 271; Douglas vs. Pacific,
etc. Co., 4 Cal. 304; Planters', etc., Bank vs. Andrews, 8 Port. (Ala.) 404. It said in another work that
'persons are of two kinds: natural and artificial. A natural person is a human being. Artificial persons
include (1) a collection or succession of natural persons forming a corporation; (2) a collection of
property to which the law attributes the capacity of having rights and duties. The latter class of artificial
persons is recognized only to a limited extent in our law. "Examples are the estate of a bankrupt or
deceased person." 2 Rapalje & L. Law Dict. 954. Our own cases inferentially recognize the
correctness of the definition given by the authors from whom we have quoted, for they declare that it is
sufficient, in pleading a claim against a decedent's estate, to designate the defendant as the estate of
the deceased person, naming him. Ginn vs. Collins, 43 Ind. 271. Unless we accept this definition as
correct, there would be a failure of justice in cases where, as here, the forgery is committed after the
death of a person whose name is forged; and this is a result to be avoided if it can be done consistent
with principle. We perceive no difficulty in avoiding such a result; for, to our minds, it seems reasonable
that the estate of a decedent should be regarded as an artificial person. It is the creation of law for the
purpose of enabling a disposition of the assets to be properly made, and, although natural persons as
heirs, devises, or creditors, have an interest in the property, the artificial creature is a distinct legal
entity. The interest which natural persons have in it is not complete until there has been a due
administration; and one who forges the name of the decedent to an instrument purporting to be a
promissory note must be regarded as having intended to defraud the estate of the decedent, and not
the natural persons having diverse interests in it, since ha cannot be presumed to have known who
those persons were, or what was the nature of their respective interest. The fraudulent intent is against
the artificial person, the estate and not the natural persons who have direct or contingent interest
in it. (107 Ind. 54, 55, 6 N.E. 914-915.)
In the instant case there would also be a failure of justice unless the estate of Pedro O. Fragrante is
considered a "person", for quashing of the proceedings for no other reason than his death would entail

prejudicial results to his investment amounting to P35,000.00 as found by the commission, not
counting the expenses and disbursements which the proceeding can be presumed to have occasioned
him during his lifetime, let alone those defrayed by the estate thereafter. In this jurisdiction there are
ample precedents to show that the estate of a deceased person is also considered as having legal
personality independent of their heirs. Among the most recent cases may be mentioned that of "Estate
of Mota vs. Concepcion, 56 Phil., 712, 717, wherein the principal plaintiff was the estate of the
deceased Lazaro Mota, and this Court gave judgment in favor of said estate along with the other
plaintiffs in these words:
. . . the judgment appealed from must be affirmed so far as it holds that defendants Concepcion and
Whitaker are indebted to he plaintiffs in the amount of P245,804.69 . . . .
Under the regime of the Civil Code and before the enactment of the Code of Civil Procedure, the heirs
of a deceased person were considered in contemplation of law as the continuation of his personality
by virtue of the provision of article 661 of the first Code that the heirs succeed to all the rights and
obligations of the decedent by the mere fact of his death. It was so held by this Court in Barrios vs.
Dolor, 2 Phil., 44, 46. However, after the enactment of the Code of Civil Procedure, article 661 of the
Civil Code was abrogated, as held in Suiliong & Co. vs. Chio-Taysan, 12 Phil., 13, 22. In that case, as
well as in many others decided by this Court after the innovations introduced by the Code of Civil
Procedure in the matter of estates of deceased persons, it has been the constant doctrine that it is the
estate or the mass of property, rights and assets left by the decedent, instead of the heirs directly, that
becomes vested and charged with his rights and obligations which survive after his demise.
The heirs were formerly considered as the continuation of the decedent's personality simply by legal
fiction, for they might not have been flesh and blood the reason was one in the nature of a legal
exigency derived from the principle that the heirs succeeded to the rights and obligations of the
decedent. Under the present legal system, such rights and obligations as survive after death have to
be exercised and fulfilled only by the estate of the deceased. And if the same legal fiction were not
indulged, there would be no juridical basis for the estate, represented by the executor or administrator,
to exercise those rights and to fulfill those obligations of the deceased. The reason and purpose for
indulging the fiction is identical and the same in both cases. This is why according to the Supreme
Court of Indiana in Billings vs. State, supra, citing 2 Rapalje & L. Dictionary, 954, among the artificial
persons recognized by law figures "a collection of property to which the law attributes the capacity of
having rights and duties", as for instance, the estate of a bankrupt or deceased person.
Petitioner raises the decisive question of whether or not the estate of Pedro O. Fragrante can be
considered a "citizen of the Philippines" within the meaning of section 16 of the Public Service Act, as
amended, particularly the proviso thereof expressly and categorically limiting the power of the
commission to issue certificates of public convenience or certificates of public convenience and
necessity "only to citizens of the Philippines or of the United States or to corporations, copartnerships,
associations, or joint-stock companies constituted and organized under the laws of the Philippines",
and the further proviso that sixty per centum of the stock or paid-up capital of such entities must
belong entirely to citizens of the Philippines or of the United States.
Within the Philosophy of the present legal system, the underlying reason for the legal fiction by which,
for certain purposes, the estate of the deceased person is considered a "person" is the avoidance of
injustice or prejudice resulting from the impossibility of exercising such legal rights and fulfilling such
legal obligations of the decedent as survived after his death unless the fiction is indulged. Substantially
the same reason is assigned to support the same rule in the jurisdiction of the State of Indiana, as
announced in Billings vs. State, supra, when the Supreme Court of said State said:
. . . It seems reasonable that the estate of a decedent should be regarded as an artificial person. it is
the creation of law for the purpose of enabling a disposition of the assets to be properly made . . . .
Within the framework and principles of the constitution itself, to cite just one example, under the bill of
rights it seems clear that while the civil rights guaranteed therein in the majority of cases relate to
natural persons, the term "person" used in section 1 (1) and (2) must be deemed to include artificial or
juridical persons, for otherwise these latter would be without the constitutional guarantee against being
deprived of property without due process of law, or the immunity from unreasonable searches and
seizures. We take it that it was the intendment of the framers to include artificial or juridical, no less
than natural, persons in these constitutional immunities and in others of similar nature. Among these
artificial or juridical persons figure estates of deceased persons. Hence, we hold that within the
framework of the Constitution, the estate of Pedro O. Fragrante should be considered an artificial or
juridical person for the purposes of the settlement and distribution of his estate which, of course,
include the exercise during the judicial administration thereof of those rights and the fulfillment of those

obligations of his which survived after his death. One of those rights was the one involved in his
pending application before the Public Service Commission in the instant case, consisting in the
prosecution of said application to its final conclusion. As stated above, an injustice would ensue from
the opposite course.
How about the point of citizenship? If by legal fiction his personality is considered extended so that any
debts or obligations left by, and surviving, him may be paid, and any surviving rights may be exercised
for the benefit of his creditors and heirs, respectively, we find no sound and cogent reason for denying
the application of the same fiction to his citizenship, and for not considering it as likewise extended for
the purposes of the aforesaid unfinished proceeding before the Public Service Commission. The
outcome of said proceeding, if successful, would in the end inure to the benefit of the same creditors
and the heirs. Even in that event petitioner could not allege any prejudice in the legal sense, any more
than he could have done if Fragrante had lived longer and obtained the desired certificate. The fiction
of such extension of his citizenship is grounded upon the same principle, and motivated by the same
reason, as the fiction of the extension of personality. The fiction is made necessary to avoid the
injustice of subjecting his estate, creditors and heirs, solely by reason of his death to the loss of the
investment amounting to P35,000, which he has already made in the ice plant, not counting the other
expenses occasioned by the instant proceeding, from the Public Service Commission of this Court.
We can perceive no valid reason for holding that within the intent of the constitution (Article IV), its
provisions on Philippine citizenship exclude the legal principle of extension above adverted to. If for
reasons already stated our law indulges the fiction of extension of personality, if for such reasons the
estate of Pedro O. Fragrante should be considered an artificial or juridical person herein, we can find
no justification for refusing to declare a like fiction as to the extension of his citizenship for the
purposes of this proceeding.
Pedro O. Fragrante was a Filipino citizen, and as such, if he had lived, in view of the evidence of
record, he would have obtained from the commission the certificate for which he was applying. The
situation has suffered but one change, and that is, his death. His estate was that of a Filipino citizen.
And its economic ability to appropriately and adequately operate and maintain the service of an ice
plant was the same that it received from the decedent himself. In the absence of a contrary showing,
which does not exist here, his heirs may be assumed to be also Filipino citizens; and if they are not,
there is the simple expedient of revoking the certificate or enjoining them from inheriting it.
Upon the whole, we are of the opinion that for the purposes of the prosecution of said case No. 4572
of the Public Service Commission to its final conclusion, both the personality and citizenship of Pedro
O. Fragrante must be deemed extended, within the meaning and intent of the Public Service Act, as
amended, in harmony with the constitution: it is so adjudged and decreed.
Decision affirmed, without costs. So ordered.
Moran,
C.J.,
Pablo,
Bengzon,
Briones,
Padilla
and
Tuason,
JJ.,
concur.
Paras, J., I hereby certify that Mr. Justice Feria voted with the majority.
Separate Opinions
PERFECTO, J., dissenting:
Commonwealth Act No. 146 reserves to Filipino citizens the right to obtain a certificate of public
convenience to operate an ice plant in San Juan, Rizal. The limitation is in accordance with section 8
of Article XIV of the Constitution which provides
No franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of a public utility shall be
granted except to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or other entities organized under the
laws of the Philippines, sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned by citizens of the Philippines,
nor such franchise, certificate or authorization be exclusive in character or for a longer period than fifty
years. No franchise granted to any individual, firm or corporation, except under the condition that it
shall be subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by Congress when the public interest so requires.
The main question in this case is whether the estate of Pedro O. Fragrante fulfills the citizenship
requirement. To our mind, the question can be restated by asking whether the heirs of Pedro O.
Fragrante fulfill the citizenship requirement of the law.
The estate is an abstract entity. As such, its legal value depends on what it represents. It is a device by
which the law gives a kind of personality and unity to undetermined tangible persons, the heirs. They
inherit and replace the deceased at the very moment of his death. As there are procedural requisites
for their identification and determination that need time for their compliance, a legal fiction has been
devised to represent them. That legal fiction is the estate, a liquid condition in process of solidification.

The estate, therefore, has only a representative value. What the law calls estate is, a matter of fact,
intended to designate the heirs of the deceased. The question, therefore, in this case, boils down to
the citizenship of the heirs of Fragrante.
There is nothing in the record to show conclusively the citizenship of the heirs of Fragrante. If they are
Filipino citizens, the action taken by the Public Service Commission should be affirmed. If they are not,
it should be reversed.
Petitioner alleges that the estate is just a front or dummy for aliens to go around the citizenship
constitutional provision. It is alleged that Gaw Suy, the special administrator of the estate, is an alien.
We are of the opinion that the citizenship of the heirs of Fragrante should be determined by the
Commission upon evidence that the party should be present. It should also determine the dummy
question raised by the petitioner.
We are of opinion and so vote that the decision of the Public Service Commission of May 21, 1946, be
set aside and that the Commission be instructed to receive evidence of the above factual questions
and render a new decision accordingly.

G.R. No. L-27956 April 30, 1976


DIONISIO DUMLAO, in his own behalf and in his capacity as Administrator of the Testate Estate
of the late Pedro Oria; FAUSTA DUMLAO, AMADO DUMLAO, and BENJAMIN DUMLAO, plaintiffsappellants,
vs.
QUALITY PLASTIC PRODUCTS, INC., defendant-appellee.
Castillo & Castillo for appellants.
Eugenio T. Estavillo for appellee.
AQUINO, J.:p
On February 28, 1962 the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan in Civil Case No.
T-662 rendered a judgment ordering defendants Vicente Soliven, Pedro Oria, Santiago Laurencio,
Marcelino Sumalbag and Juana Darang to pay solidarity Quality Plastic Products, Inc. the sum of
P3,667.03 plus the legal rate of interest from November, 1958. The lower court directed that in case
the defendants failed to pay the said amount before its decision became final, then Quality Plastic
Products, Inc. "is hereby authorized to foreclose the bond, Exhibit A, in accordance with law, for the
satisfaction of the judgment". (Under that bond the four sureties bound themselves to answer solidarity
for the obligations of the principal, Vicente Soliven and certain real properties of the sureties were
"given as security for" their undertaking).
Upon defendants' failure to pay the amount of the judgment and after the decision had become final,
the lower court, on motion of Quality Plastic Products, Inc., ordered the "foreclosure" of the surety
bond and the sale at public auction of the land of Pedro Oria which he had given as security under the
bond. Oria's land, which was covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 28732 and has an area of nine
and six-tenths hectares, was levied upon and sold by the sheriff at public auction on September 24,
1962. The sale was confirmed by the lower court in its order of November 20, 1962.
It turned out that Oria died on April 23, 1959 or long before June 13, 1960 when the action was filed.
Oria's death was not known to Quality Plastic Products, Inc. Nor were the representatives of Quality
Plastic Products, Inc. aware that in the same Tayug court Special Proceeding No. T-212, Testate
Estate of the deceased Pedro Oria, was pending.

The summons and copies of the complaint for the five defendants in Civil Case No.
T-662 had been personally served on June 24, 1960 by a deputy sheriff on Soliven, the principal in the
bond, who acknowledged such service by signing on the back of the original summons in his own
behalf and again signing for his co-defendants.
On March 1, 1963 Dionisio, Fausta, Amado and Benjamin, all surnamed Dumlao and all testamentary
heirs in Oria's duly probated will, sued Quality Plastic Products, Inc., also in the Tayug court for the
annulment of the judgment against Oria and the execution against his land. (Dionisio Dumlao also
sued in his capacity as administrator of Oria's testate estate).
The ground for annulment was lack of jurisdiction over the person of the deceased Oria (Civil Case
No. T- 873). It was only when Quality Plastic Products, Inc. received the summons in Civil Case No. T873 that it learned that Oria was already dead at the time the prior case, Civil Case No. T-662, was
filed.
Quality Plastic Products, Inc. in its answer alleged that Oria's heirs were aware of the suit against
Soliven and his sureties and that the said heirs were estopped to question the court's jurisdiction over
Oria.
After hearing the lower court held that it acquired jurisdiction over Soliven and the other defendants in
Civil Case No. T-662 by reason of their voluntary appearance. It reasoned out that Soliven acted in
bad faith because he did not apprise the court that Oria was dead. It specifically ruled that "it had
acquired jurisdiction over the person" of Oria and that the judgment was valid as to him. From that
decision the plaintiffs appealed.
The four assignments of error of appellants Dumlao may be boiled down to the issue as to the validity
of the lower court's judgment against the deceased Pedro Oria who, being already in the other world,
was never served with summons.
There is no difficulty in resolving that issue. Since no jurisdiction was acquired over Oria, the judgment
against him is a patent nullity (Ang Lam vs. Rosillosa and Santiago, 86 Phil. 447; Asuncion vs. Nieto, 4
Phil. 97; Gorostiaga vs. Sarte, 68 Phil. 4).
As far as Oria was concerned, the lower court's judgment against him in Civil Case No. T-662 is void
for lack of jurisdiction over his person. He was not, and he could not have been, validly served with
summons. He had no more civil personality. His juridical capacity, which is the fitness to be the subject
of legal relations, was lost through death. (Arts. 37 and 42, Civil Code).
The lower court erred in ruling that since Soliven's counsel also appeared as counsel for Oria, there
was a voluntary appearance which enabled the court to acquire jurisdiction over Oria, as contemplated
in section 23, Rule 14 of the Revised Rules of Court. Soliven's counsel could not have validly
appeared for a dead co-defendant. Estoppel has no application to this case.
But from the fact that appellants Dumlao had to sue Quality Plastic Products, Inc. in order to annul the
judgment against Oria, it does not follow that they are entitled to claim attorney's fees against that
corporation. The parties herein agreed in their stipulation of facts that Quality Plastic Products, Inc.
was unaware of Oria's death. Appellants Dumlao in effect conceded that the appellee acted in good
faith in joining Oria as a co-defendant.
WHEREFORE, the lower court's decision is reversed and set aside. Its judgment in Civil Case No. T662 against Pedro Oria is declared void for lack of jurisdiction. The execution sale of Oria's land
covered by OCT No. 28732 is also void. No costs.
SO ORDERED.