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Worcester v.

Ocampo
February 27, 1912
FACTS:
Dean Worcester filed an action to recover damages resulting from an alleged libelous
publication against Martin Ocampo, Teodoro M. Kalaw, Lope K. Santos, Fidel A. Reyes,
Faustino Aguilar, et al, as the owners, directors, writers, editors and administrators of
the daily newspaper El Renacimiento (Spanish version) and Muling Pagsilang
(tagalong version). Worcester alleged that the defendants have been maliciously
persecuting and attacking him in the newspapers for a long time and they published an
editorial entitled Birds of Prey with the malicious intent of injuring Worcester, both as
a private person and as a government official as the editorial obviously referred to him.
Worcester alleged that he was likened to birds of prey in the following manner: Such
are the characteristics of the man who is at the same time an eagle who surprises and
devours, a vulture who gorges himself on the dead and putrid meats, an owl who
affects a petulant omniscience and a vampire who silently sucks the blood of the victim
until he leaves it bloodless.
TC: In favor of Worcester; Defendants jointly and severally liable for the P60k total
damages.
ISSUE: WON the defendants individual properties can be made jointly and severally
liable for the damages under the
civil and commercial codes,
HELD: Yes. TC modified. Damages reduced, Santos absolved. The present action is a
tort.
Universal doctrine: each joint tortfeasor is not only individually liable for the tort
in which he participates, but is also jointly liable with his tortfeasors.If several persons
commit a tort, the plaintiff or person injured, has his election to sue all or some of
the parties jointly, or one of them separately, because the TORT IS IN ITS NATURE A
SEPARATE ACT OF EACH INDIVIDUAL.
It is not necessary that cooperation should be a direct, corporal act- e.g. assault and
battery committed by various persons, under the common law, they are all principals.
Under common law, he who aided or counseled, in any way, the commission of a crime,
was as much a principal as he who inflicted or committed the actual tort.

General Rule: Joint tortfeasors are all the persons who command, instigate, promote,
encourage, advise, countenance, cooperate in, aid or abet the commission of a tort, or
who approve of it after it is done, if done for their benefit. They are each liable as
principals, to the same extent and in the same manner as if they had performed the
wrongful act themselves. Joint tortfeasors are jointly and severally liable for the tort
which they commit. Joint tortfeasors are not liable pro rata. The damages can not be
apportioned among them, except among themselves. They cannot insist upon an
apportionment, for the purpose of each paying an aliquot part.
They are jointly and severally liable for the full amount. A payment in full of the
damage done by one tortfeasor satisfies any claim which might exist against the others.
The release of one of the joint tortfeasors by agreement generally operates to discharge
all. The court however may make findings as to which of the alleged joint tortfeasors
are liable and which are not, even if they are charged jointly and severally.

DEAN C. WORCESTER, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
MARTIN OCAMPO, TEODORO M. KALAW, LOPE K. SANTOS, FIDEL A. REYES,
FAUSTINO AGUILAR, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
Felipe Agoncillo for appellants.
W. A. Kincaid and Thos. L. Hartigan for appellee.
JOHNSON, J.:
On the 23rd day of January, 1909, the plaintiff commenced an action against the
defendants in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila, for the purpose of
recovering damages resulting from an alleged libelous publication. The complaint was
in the following language:
COMPLAINT.
I.
That the plaintiff as well as the defendants are residents of the city of Manila,
Philippine Islands.
II.

That for a long time before the 30th of October, 1908, the defendants, Martin
Ocampo, Teodoro M. Kalaw, Lope K. Santos, Fidel A. Reyes, Faustino Aguilar,
Leoncio G. Liquete , Manuel Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo
Lichauco, Felipe Barretto, and Gregorio M. Cansipit, were the owners, directors,
writers (redactores), editors (editores) and administrators of a certain daily
newspaper known as "El Renacimiento" and "Muling Pagsilang," which
newspaper during all the time mentioned in this complaint was published and
circulated daily in the Spanish and Tagalog languages in the city of Manila,
having a large circulation throughout the Philippine Islands.
III.
That for a long time the defendants have been maliciously persecuting and
attacking the plaintiff in said newspaper, until at last on the 30th of October,
1908, with the malicious intention of injuring the plaintiff, who on said date was,
and still is a member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and Secretary of
the Interior in the Government of the Philippines, they attacked the honesty and
reviled the fame of the plaintiff, not only as a private person but also as an
official of the Government of the Philippine Islands, and with the object of
exposing him to the odium, contempt, and ridicule of the public, printed, wrote
(redactaron), and published in said newspaper in its ordinary number of the 30th
of October, 1908, a malicious defamation and false libel which was injurious
(injurioso) to the plaintiff, said libel reading as follows:
"EDITORIAL.
"BIRDS OF PREY.
"On the surface of the globe some were born to eat and devour, others to
be eaten and devoured.
"Now and then the latter have bestirred themselves, endeavoring to rebel
against an order of things which makes them the prey and food of the
insatiable voracity of the former. At times they have been fortunate,
putting to flight the eaters and devourers, but in the majority of cases they
did not obtain but a change of name or plumage.
"The situation is the same in all the spheres of creation: the relation
between the ones and the others is that dictated by the appetite and the
power to satisfy it at the fellow-creatures' expense.

"Among men it is very easy to observe the development of this daily


phenomenon. And for some psychological reason the nations who believe
themselves powerful have taken the fiercest and most harmful creatures
as emblems; it is either the lion, or the eagle, or the serpent. Some have
done so by a secret impulse of affinity and others in the nature of
simulation, of infatuated vanity, making themselves appear that which
they are not nor ever can be.
"The eagle, symbolizing liberty and strength, is the bird that has found the
most adepts. And men, collectively and individually, have desired to copy
and imitate the most rapacious bird in order to triumph in the plundering
of their fellow-men.
"There are men who, besides being eagles, have the characteristics of the
vulture, the owl and the vampire.
"Ascending the mountains of Benguet to classify and measure the skulls of
the Igorots and study and civilize them and to espy in his flight, with the
eye of the bird of prey, where are the large deposits of gold, the prey
concealed amidst the lonely mountains, to appropriate them to himself
afterwards, thanks to legal facilities made and unmade at will, but always
for his own benefit.
"Authorizing, despite laws and ordinances, an illegal slaughtering of
diseased cattle in order to derive benefit from the infected and putrid
meat which he himself was obliged to condemn by virtue of his official
position.
"Presenting himself on all occasions with the wrinkled brow of the
scientist who consumes his life in the mysteries of the laboratory of
science, when his whole scientific labor is confined o dissecting insects
and importing fish eggs, as if the fish eggs of this country were less
nourishing and less savory, so as to make it worth the while replacing
them with species coming from other climes.
"Giving an admirable impulse to the discovery of wealthy lodes in
Mindoro, in Mindanao, and in other virgin regions of the Archipelago,
with the money of the people, and under the pretext of the public good,
when, as a strict matter of truth, the object is to possess all the data and the
key to the national wealth for his essentially personal benefit, as is shown

by the acquisition of immense properties registered under he names of


others.
"Promoting, through secret agents and partners, the sale to the city of
worthless land at fabulous prices which the city fathers dare not refuse,
from fear of displeasing the one who is behind the motion, and which they
do not refuse for their own good.
"Patronizing concessions for hotels on filled-in-land, with the prospects of
enormous profits, at the expense of the blood of the people.
"Such are the characteristics of the man who is at the same time an eagle
who surprises and devours, a vulture who gorges himself on the dead and
putrid meats, an owl who affects a petulent omniscience and a vampire
who silently sucks the blood of the victim until he leaves it bloodless.
"It is these birds of prey who triumph. Their flight and their aim are never
thwarted.
"Who will detain them?
"Some share in the booty and the plunder. Others are too weak to raise a
voice of protest. And others die in the disconsolating destruction of their
own energies and interests.
"And then there appears, terrifying, the immortal legend:
"MANE, TECEL, PHARES."
IV.
That the plaintiff was, on the date of said publication, and still is, well known to
the officials of the Government of the Philippine Islands, and to the inhabitants
of the Philippine Islands, and to public in general, personally as well as a
member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and as Secretary of the
Interior, and the defamation and libel, and the words, terms and language used
in said defamation and libel were employed by the said defendants with the
intention of indicating the said plaintiff, and that should be understood, as in
effect they were understood, by the public officials of the Government and the
inhabitants of the Philippine Islands in general, as referring to the plaintiff, by
reason of the publicly known fact that said plaintiff in compliance with his duties

in his position as such member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and as
such Secretary of the Interior of the Philippine Islands, ascended on a previous
occasion the mountains of the Province of Benguet to study the native tribe
known as Igorot, residing in said region; by reason of the publicly known fact
that in the said mountains of Benguet there exist large deposits of gold, and for
the reason that, as member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines, which is
the legislative body of the Philippine Islands, the plaintiff takes part in the
enactment and repealing of laws in said Islands; by reason furthermore of the
fact, publicly known, that the plaintiff, as such Secretary of the Interior of the
Philippine Islands, has had under his direction and control the enforcement of
the laws of the Philippine Islands and the ordinances of the city of Manila
relating to the slaughtering of cattle; by reason furthermore of the fact, publicly
known that said plaintiff, as such Secretary of the Interior of the Philippine
Islands, had under his direction and control the Bureau of Science of the
Government of the Philippine Islands, and he is generally known as a man
devoted to the study of science; by reason furthermore of the publicly known fact
that the said plaintiff, as such Secretary of the Interior of the Philippine Islands,
at a previous time, caused the importation into the Philippine Islands of fish eggs
for the purpose of supplying the mountain streams of the Philippine Islands with
fish-hatcheries; by reason furthermore of the publicly known fact that said
plaintiff, as such Secretary of the Interior of the Philippine Islands, has journeyed
to and explored the Islands of Mindoro, Mindanao, and other regions of the
Philippine Archipelago; by reason furthermore of the publicly known fact that
said plaintiff, as such Secretary of the Interior of the Philippine Islands, at one
time investigated and prepared a report for the Civil Commission of the
Philippines in regard to a certain proposition for the purchase of a parcel of land
for the city of Manila; by reason furthermore of the publicly known fact that said
plaintiff, as member of said Civil Commission of the Philippines together with
the other members of said legislative body, once opened negotiations with a
certain firm engaged in the hotel business in regard to the location of a
prospective hotel on one of the filled-in lands of the city of Manila.
That said defendants charged said plaintiff with the prostitution of his office as
member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and as Secretary of the
Interior of said Islands, for personal ends; with wasting public funds for the
purpose of promoting his personal welfare; with the violation of the laws of the
Philippine Islands and the ordinances of the city of Manila; with taking part in
illegal combinations for the purpose of robbing the people; with the object of
gain for himself and for others; and lastly with being "a bird of prey;" and that
said defamation should be understood, as in effect it was understood, by the

public officials of the Government and the people of the Philippine Islands in
general, as charging the said plaintiff with the conduct, actions and things above
specified; all of which allegations relating to the character and conduct of the
said plaintiff, as above stated, were and are false and without any foundation
whatsoever.
That said defamation and libel were published by the defendants under a
heading in large and showy type, and every effort made by said defendants to
see that said defamation and libel should attract the attention of the public and
be read by all the subscribers to said newspaper and the readers of the same.
V.
Besides assailing the integrity and reviling the reputation of the plaintiff, said
defendants, in publishing the said libel, did so with the malicious intention of
inciting the Filipino people to believe that the plaintiff was a vile despot and a
corrupt person, unworthy of the position which he held, and for this reason to
oppose his administration of the office in his charge as Secretary of the Interior,
and in this way they endeavored to create enormous difficulties for him in the
performance of his official duties, and to make him so unpopular that he would
have to resign his office as member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines
and Secretary of the Interior.
In fact said defendants, by means of said libel and other false statements in said
mentioned newspaper, have been deliberately trying to destroy the confidence of
the public in the plaintiff and to incite the people to place obstacles in his way in
the performance of his official duties, in consequence of which the plaintiff has
met with a great many difficulties which have increased to a great extent his
labors as a public official in every one of the Departments.
VI.
And for all these reasons the plaintiff alleges: That he has been damaged and is
entitled to an indemnity for the additional work to which he has been put, by the
said defendants, in the compliance of his duties, both in the past and the future,
as well as for the injuries to his reputation and feelings, in the sum of fifty
thousand pesos (P50,000) Philippine currency, and besides this said amount he is
entitled to collect from the defendants the additional sum of fifty thousand pesos
(P50,000) Philippine currency, in the way of punitive damages, as a warning to
the defendants.

Wherefore the plaintiff files this complaint, praying the court:


(1) That the defendants be summoned according to law.
(2) That judgment be rendered ordering the defendants to pay the damages as
above stated, and the costs of the action.
On the 23d of February, 1909, the defendants presented the following demurrer to the
said complaint:
DEMURRER.
Now come the defendants, through their undersigned attorney, and demur to
the complaint filed herein, upon the following grounds:
First, That the complaint is vague and unintelligible.
Second. That the facts alleged in the complaint do not constitute a cause or right
of action.
Third. That there is another action pending between the plaintiff and several of
the defendants for the same cause; and
Fourth. That some of the defendants have been erroneously included therein.
Therefore, they respectfully ask the court to dismiss the complaint, with costs
against the plaintiff.
On the 27th of February, 1909, the Honorable Charles S. Lobingier, judge, overruled
said demurrer in the following decision, to which the defendants duly excepted:
ORDER.
The defendant demur upon several grounds:
(1) The first ground is that the complaint is vague and unintelligible and this is
directed principally to paragraph 2, in which it is alleged that the defendants
were "dueos, directores, redactores", etc., but it is not alleged that they were such
simultaneously. If this were the sole averment of the defendants' connection with
the alleged libel, the objection might be well taken, but paragraph 3 of the
complaint alleges that the defendants "imprimieron, redactaron y publicaron", etc.,

the article complained of. Under section 2 of Act 277 "every person" who
"publishes or procures to be published any belief is made responsible. (Cf.
U.S. vs. Ortiz, 8 Phil. Rep., 752.) We think, therefore, that the connection of the
defendants with the publication complained of is sufficiently charged.
(2) It is also claimed that the facts alleged are not sufficient to state a cause of
action and it is urged in support of this that the article complained of and which
is copied in the complaint, fails to mention the plaintiff or to show on its face that
it refers to him. It is, however, specifically alleged in paragraph 4 that the article
was intended to refer to the plaintiff and was so understood by the public, and
this allegation is admitted by the demurrer. Under the rule announced in Causin
vs. Jakosalem (5 Phil. Rep., 155), where the words complained of do refer to the
plaintiff "an action for libel may be maintained even though the defamatory
publication does not refer to the plaintiff by name."
(3) It is further argued that there is another action pending between the parties
for the same cause. This, it is true, is made a ground for demurrer by the Code of
Civil Procedure, sec. 91 (3), but like all grounds therein mentioned, it must
"appear upon the face" of the pleading objected to, and where it does not so
appear "the objection can only be taken by answer." (Code C. P., sec. 92.) There is
no averment in the complaint which indicates that there is no another action
pending.
The fourth ground of the demurrer is not one recognized by law (Code C. P., sec.
91) nor do we find anything in Sanidad vs. Cabotaje (5 Phil. Rep., 204) which
would necessitate any change in the views already expressed.
The demurrer is, therefore, overruled and defendants are given the usual five
days to answer.
On the 15th day of November, 1909, the defendants presented their amended answer,
which was as follows:
ANSWER.
The defendants in the above-entitled cause, through their undersigned attorney,
by their answer to the complaint, state:
That the defendants deny generally the allegation of the complaint.
As a special defense, the defendants allege:

First. That the plaintiff has no legal capacity to institute this action, as it clearly
appears from the allegations of the complaint and which the defendants hereby
deny.
Second. That the facts are set out as constituting cause of action in the complaint,
are insufficient to constitute such cause of action in favor of the plaintiff and
against the defendants.
Third. That the said complaint is manifestly improper, for the reason that there is
now pending in the Court of First Instance of this city a criminal cause, No. 4295,
for the crime of libel against the defendants herein, Martin Ocampo, Teodoro M.
Kalaw, and Fidel A. Reyes, both actions, criminal and civil, being based upon the
same facts which the plaintiffs herein, who is also a party to the said criminal
action, now alleges as the basis of his action.
Fourth. That the civil action in the above-entitled cause has been extinguished for
the reason that plaintiff did not expressly reserve the right to enforce the same in
the aforesaid cause 4295, for the crime of libel, after the said criminal cause had
been finally disposed of.
Fifth. That the defendants, Lope K. Santos, Faustino Aguilar, Leoncio G. Liquete,
Manuel Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo Lichauco, Felipe Barretto, and
Gregorio M. Cansipit, were erroneously included in the complaint for the simple
reason that the first two were acquitted in said criminal cause No. 4295, for libel,
the third was used as a witness for the prosecution in the said criminal cause,
and the others have no interest, either directly or indirectly, in the newspaper "El
Renacimiento" in which it is alleged by the plaintiff the editorial, which is the
basis of the complaint, and which it is claimed to be libelous, was published.
Wherefore the defendants pray that they be acquitted of the complaint, with the
costs against the plaintiff.
After hearing the evidence adduced during the trial of the cause, the arguments if the
respective attorneys, the Honorable James C. Jenkins, judge, on the 14th of January,
1910, rendered the following decision:
DECISION.
This is a civil action sounding in damages to the amount of P100,000 for an
alleged libel of the plaintiff by the defendants.

The plaintiff is the Honorable Dean C. Worcester, a member of the Civil


Commission of the Philippine Islands, and Secretary of the Interior of Insular
Government. The defendants are twelve persons designated by name in the
complaint and alleged therein to be the owners, directors, writers (redactores),
editors (editores), and administrators of a certain daily newspaper known as "El
Renacimiento" and "Muling Pagsilang," which defendants, as well as the
plaintiff, are residents of the city of Manila, Philippine Islands.
It is further alleged in the complaint that for a long time prior to the 30th of
October, 1908, the defendants were the owners, directors, writers, editors, and
administrators of said daily newspaper, and that said newspaper, during all the
time mentioned in the complaint, was published and circulated daily in the
Spanish and Tagalog languages in the city of Manila, having a large circulation
throughout the Philippine Islands.
It is also alleged that for a long time the defendants had been maliciously
persecuting and attacking the plaintiff in said newspaper, until at last, on said
date, with the malicious intention of injuring the plaintiff who then was still is a
member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and Secretary of the Interior
in the Government of the Philippines, they attacked the integrity and reviled the
reputation of the plaintiff, not only as a private citizen, but also as an official of
the Government of the Philippine Islands; and with the object of exposing him to
the odium, contempt, and ridicule of the public, they wrote, printed, and
published in said newspaper in its ordinary number of the said 30th of October,
1908, a malicious defamation and false libel, which was injurious to the plaintiff,
said libel, as translated from the Spanish, reading as follows:
"EDITORIAL.
"BIRDS OF PREY.
"On the surface of the globe some were born to eat and devour, others to
be eaten and devoured.
"Now and then the latter have bestirred themselves, endeavoring to rebel
against an order of things which makes them the prey and food of the
insatiable voracity of the former. At times they have been fortunate,
putting to flight the eaters and devourers, but in a majority of cases they
do not obtain anything but a change of name or plumage.

"The situation is the same in all spheres of creation; the relation between
the ones and the others is that dictated by the appetite and the power to
satisfy it at the fellow-creature's expense.
"Among men it is easy to observe the development of this daily
phenomenon. And for some psychological reason the nations who believe
themselves powerful have taken the fiercest and most harmful creatures
as emblems; it is either the lion, or the eagle, or the serpent. Some have
done so by a secret impulse of affinity and others in the nature of
simulation, of infatuated vanity, making themselves appear that which
they are not nor ever will be.
"The eagle, symbolizing liberty and strength, is the bird that has found the
most adepts. And men, collectively and individually, have desired to copy
and imitate the most rapacious bird in order to triumph in the plundering
if their fellow-men.
"There are men who, besides being eagles, have the characteristics of the
vulture, the owl and the vampire.
"Ascending the mountains of Benguet to classify and measure the skulls of
the Igorots and study and civilize them, and to espy in his flight with the
eye of the bird of prey, where are the large deposits of gold, the prey
concealed amongst the lonely mountains, to appropriate them to himself
afterwards, thanks to legal facilities made and unmade at will, but always
for his own benefit.
"Authorizing, despite laws and ordinances an illegal slaughtering of
diseased cattle in order to derive benefit from the infected and putrid
meat which he himself was obliged to condemn by virtue of his official
position.
"Presenting himself on all occasions with the wrinkled brow of the
scientist who consumes his life in the mysteries of the laboratory of
science, when his whole scientific labor is confined to dissecting insects
and importing fish eggs, as if the fish eggs of this country were less
nourishing and savory, so as to make it worth the while replacing them
with species coming from other climes.

"Giving an admirable impulse to the discovery of wealthy lodes in


Mindanao, in Mindoro, and in other virgin regions of the archipelago,
with the money of the people, and under the pretext of the public good,
when, as a strict matter of truth, the object is to possess all the data and the
key to the national wealth for his essentially personal benefit, as is shown
by the acquisition of immense properties registered under the names of
others.
"Promoting through secret agents and partners, the sale of the city
worthless land at fabulous prices which the city fathers dare not refuse
from fear of displeasing the one who is behind the motion, and which they
do not refuse to their own good.
"Patronizing concessions for hotels on filled-in lands, with the prospects of
enormous profits, at the expense of the blood of the people.
"Such are the characteristics of the man who is at the same time an eagle
who surprises and devours, a vulture who gorges himself on the dead and
putrid meats, an owl who affects a petulant omniscience and a vampire
who silently sucks the blood of the victim until he leaves it bloodless.
"It is these birds of prey who triumph. Their flight and aim are never
thwarted.
"Who will detain them?
"Some share in the body and plunder, Others are too weak to raise a voice
to protest. And others die in the disconsolating destruction of their own
energies and interests.
"And then there appears, terrifying, the immortal legend:
"MANE, TECEL, PHARES."
It is alleged, among other things, in paragraph four of the complaint, that the
plaintiff was on the date of said publication, and still is, well known to the
officials of the Government of the Philippine Islands, and to the inhabitants of
the Philippine Islands, and to the public generally, personally as well as a
member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and as a Secretary of the
Interior; and the defamation and libel, and the words, terms, and language used
in said defamation and libel were employed by the said defendants with the

intention of indicating the said plaintiff, and that they should be understood, as
in fact they were understood, by the public officials of the Government and the
inhabitants of the Philippine Islands in general, as referring to the plaintiff. (Here
follow the reasons for saying the editorial referred to plaintiff and why the public
understood it as referring to him.)
The said defendants charged plaintiff with the prostitution of his office as a
member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and as Secretary of the
Interior of said Islands, for personal ends; with wasting public funds for the
purpose of promoting his personal welfare; and with the violation of the laws of
the Philippine Islands and the ordinances of the city of Manila; with taking part
in illegal combination of the purpose of robbing the people, with the object of
gain for himself and for others; and lastly, with being a bird of prey, and that
said defamation should be understood, as in effect it was understood by the
public officials of the Government and the people of the Philippine Islands in
general, as charging the said plaintiff with the conduct, actions and things above
specified; all of which allegations relating to the character and conduct of the
said plaintiff, as above stated, were and are false and without any foundation
whatever. That said defamation and libel were published by the defendants
under a heading in large and showy type, and every effort was made by said
defendant to see that said defamation and libel should attract the attention of the
public and be read by all the subscribers to said newspaper and the readers of
the same.
In paragraph five of the complaint it is further alleged that, besides assailing the
integrity and reviling the reputation of the plaintiff, said defendants, in
publishing said libel, did so with the malicious intention of inciting the Filipino
to believe that the plaintiff was a vile despot and a corrupt person, unworthy of
the position which he held, and for this reason to oppose of his administration of
the office in his charge as Secretary of the Interior, and in this way they
endeavored to create enormous difficulties for him in the performance of his
official duties, and to make him so unpopular that he would have to resign his
office as a member of the Civil Commission of the Philippines and Secretary of
the Interior. In fact, said defendants, by means of said libel and other false
statements in said mentioned newspaper, have been deliberately trying to
destroy the confidence of the public in the plaintiff, and to in incite the people to
place obstacles in his way in the performance of his official duties, in
consequence of which said plaintiff has met with a great many difficulties which
have increased to a great extent his labors as a public official in every one of the
Departments.

And the allegations end with paragraph six, in which the plaintiff states that for
all these reasons has been damaged and is entitled to an indemnity for the
additional work to which he has been put by said defendants in compliance with
his duties, both in the past and in the future, as well as for the injuries to his
reputation and feelings, in the sum, of P50,000, and that besides this said amount
he is entitled to collect from the defendants the additional sum of fifty thousand
pesos in the way of punitive damages, as a warning to the defendants.
The complaint concludes with a prayer, among other things, that judgment be
rendered ordering the defendants to pay the damages as above stated and the
costs of the action; and is dated and signed, Manila, P.I., January 23, 1909,
Hartigan and Rohde, Kincaid and Hurd, attorneys for plaintiff.
A demurrer to this complaint was filed by the defendants, through their
attorney, Sr. Felipe Agoncillo, which demurrer was heretofore heard and
overruled by the Court, and the defendants required to answer. Accordingly, the
defendants within the prescribed time, filed their answer; and on November 16,
1909, through their attorney, filed and amended answer, which is as follows
(after stating the case):
The defendants in the above-entitled action, through their undersigned
attorney, answering the complaint, state: That they make a general denial
of the allegations in the complaint, and as a special defense allege:
"(1) That the plaintiff lacks the necessary personality to institute the complaint in
question, as evidently appears from the allegations in the same, and which the
defendants deny;
"(2) That the facts set forth as a cause of action in the complaint are insufficient to
constitute a cause of action in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants;
"(3) That the said complaint is in every sense contrary to law, criminal case No.
4295, for libel, against the defendants Martin Ocampo, Teodoro M. Kalaw, and
Fidel A. Reyes, in the Court of First Instance of this city, being still pending,
inasmuch as both causes, criminal and civil, are based upon the same facts which
the plaintiff, who is also interested in said criminal cause, considers a cause of
action;
"(4) That the civil action in the above-entitled cause has been destroyed as a
consequence of the fact that the plaintiff did not expressly reserve his right to the

same in the said mentioned cause No. 4295 for libel, in order to exercise it after
the termination of said criminal cause:
"(5) That the defendants Lope K. Santos, Faustino Aguilar, Leoncio G. Liquete,
Manuel Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo Lichauco, Felipe Barretto, and
Gregorio M. Cansipit have been erroneously included in the complaint, for the
simple reason that the first two were acquitted in said cause No. 4295 for libel,
the third was used as a witness by the prosecution in the same cause, and the
latter ones have no interest, directly or indirectly, in the newspaper "El
Renacimiento," in which the plaintiff presumes, was published the editorial
which forms the basis of the complaint, and which is said to be libelous; and
concluding with a prayer to the court to dismiss the case, with cost against the
plaintiff."
The second paragraph of this "special defense" is nothing other than a general
demurrer to the complaint, which has been overruled, as already stated.
The first paragraph is not clearly stated, but the court construes it as meaning a
simple denial that the plaintiff is the person referred to in the alleged libelous
article "Birds of Prey," which issue is sufficiently raised by the general denial of
the allegations in the complaint.
The third paragraph is not a valid defense in law, for the simple reason that
section 11 of Act 277 of the Philippine Commission, under which this suit is
brought, especially provides for a separate civil action for damages, as well as for
a criminal prosecution. (See Mr. Justice Johnson's recent decision.) This third
paragraph is therefore without merit; and the same may be said of the fourth
paragraph thereof. As to paragraph five, it contains no material averment which
could not have been set up and insisted upon under the general issue.
One part if this so-called special defense is therefore a demurrer already and
adjudicated, another part is covered by the general issue, and the residue is
without merit as a legal defense, and might have been stricken out. The defense
is therefore tantamount to the general issue only, there being no special plea that
these charges are true, nor any plea of justification.
The trial of this case on its merits began November 16, and ended December 10,
1909, and the proceedings and evidence introduced are to be found in the
exhibits and stenographic notes taken by the court's official reporter. At the trial

Judge Kincaid said Major Hartigan appeared for the plaintiff and Seores
Agoncillo, Cruz Herrera, and Ferrer for the defendants.
After hearing the testimony and arguments of counsel and a due consideration of
the case, the court finds the following facts established by the admissions and a
decided preponderance of the evidence:
That the defendants Martin Ocampo, Manuel Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel
Jose, Galo Lichauco, Felipe Barretto, and Gregorio M. Cansipit, seven in number,
are the proprietors and owners of the said daily newspaper known as "El
Renacimiento" and "Muling Pagsilang," and that "El Renacimiento" and "Muling
Pagsilang," are one and the same newspaper, owned, managed, printed and
published by the same persons; that Teodoro M. Kalaw and Lope K. Santos were
the editors in chief of directors of this paper on the 30th of October, 1908, and
that said nine defendants named were the owners, editors, proprietors, managers
and publishers of said newspaper on said 30th of October, 1908, for a long time
prior thereto, and during all the time mentioned in the complaint.
As to the defendants, Reyes, Aguilar, and Liquete, they appear from the evidence
to have been editors of said paper, but in subordinate position to the chief editors
or directors, Kalaw and Santos, and to have acted under the direction of their
latter two defendants.
The court further finds that every essential or material allegation of the
complaint is true substantially as therein stated, with the exception noted to Fidel
A. Reyes, Faustino Aguilar, and Leoncio G. Liquete, and as may be hereinafter
indicated. The case is therefore dismissed as to these three defendants.
The only serious contention of the defense is (1) that the editorial "Birds of Prey"
does not refer to a determinate person; and (2) that, conceding that it does refer
to the plaintiff, none of the defendants, except Teodoro M. Kalaw, is responsible
for the writing, printing, or publication of the alleged libelous article of the
damages to the plaintiff resulting therefrom.
In the opinion of the court this article so indubitably refers to the plaintiff, and
was so easily and well understood by the readers of said paper as indicating the
plaintiff, that it would be an act of superrogation to elaborately discuss the
evidence adduced in support of or against the proposition. It is as clear to the
court from the evidence adduced as the noonday sun, that the plaintiff is the
identical and only person meant and referred to in said article "Birds and Prey;"

and it requires no argument to prove that it does mean and refer to him and was
so intended by the writer, and therefore by said nine defendants, and could not
have been otherwise understood by any intelligent reader or subscriber of said
paper, in view of the reasons assigned in the complaint, which reasons are clearly
disclosed and fully established by the evidence. And it may be added that much
valuable time was needlessly consumed by the defense at trial in an effort to
establish the contrary.
It seems to the court a reflection upon the intelligence of the subscribers and
readers of "El Renacimiento" to contend that this editorial was not well
understood by them as referring to the plaintiff, and as fully as if his name had
been mentioned in every paragraph thereof. And assuredly the omission of his
name from the editorial has made the libel less hurtful and disastrous in its
results to the reputation and feelings of the plaintiff.
Much time was consumed also in adducing evidence to show that none of the
twelve defendants were the owners of "El Renacimiento" and "Muling
Pagsilang," but that six of them had originally contributed their money as a
partriotic donation to the Filipino people, and that Martin Ocampo simply held
the money and property of the paper as trustees for this people, and that the
paper was being devoted exclusively to philanthropic and patriotic ends, and
that Galo and Lichauco had agreed to contribute to the same ends, but had not
done so.
This proposition in the light of evidence is so preposterous as to entitle it to little,
if any, serious consideration. To ask the court to believe it is tantamount to
asking the court to stultify reason and common sense. That those seven
defendants named contributed their respective sums of money, as shown by the
evidence, to the foundation of said newspaper in 1901 for their own personal
benefit and profit is fully and unmistakably established. It is equally well
established that Martin Ocampo is and was, not only a part owner, but that he
has been and is still the administrator or business manager of said newspaper,
and that the other six persons named are shareholders, part owners and
proprietors thereof, and were such on said 30th of October, 1908.
Arcadio Arellano testified positively that Galo Lichauco was one of the seven
founders, and that Lichauco contributed P1,000. Martin Ocampo testified that
Galo Lichauco promised to contribute an amount which he (the witness) did not
remember but that Lichauco did not keep his promise. (See pp. 107, 108, and 231
of the evidence.)

The other evidence and circumstances strongly corroborate Arcadio Arellano,


and the court is constrained to believe that Arellano told the truth and Ocampo
did not. See Exhibit B-J, a copy of "El Renacimiento" containing the article
"Infamy Among Comrades," page 87 of the evidence, in which there was
published that these seven persons named are the shareholders of the paper.
Furthermore, Galo Lichauco failed to appear and testify, so as to enlighten the
court as to which witness, Arellano or Ocampo, told the truth, or whether chief
editor Kalaw had his authority to publish in said paper, as he did in November
22, 1907, that he, Galo Lichauco, was one of the shareholders. The presumptions
are therefore against Galo Lichauco. See S.S. Co. vs. Brancroft-Whitney Co. (36 C.
C. A., 136 and 153).
It also appears from the evidence that Teodoro M. Kalaw was the chief editor or
director of the Spanish section of said paper, and that Lope K. Santos was the
chief editor or director of the Tagalog section on said 30th of October, 1908, and
that the Spanish and Tagalog sections are, and then were, one and the same
newspaper, but printed and published in different languages.
It is alleged that said newspaper has a large circulation throughout the
Philippine Islands, and was published and circulated daily in the Spanish and
Tagalog languages in the city of Manila. Not only are these allegations true, but it
is also true that said newspaper has a daily circulation and subscribers in other
parts of the world, notably in the United States and Spain; and it has subscribers
numbering in toto not less than 5,200, and a daily issue of 6,000 copies.
It is also true as alleged, and the court so finds that since the year 1906 to said
30th of October, 1908, these nine defendants had been maliciously persecuting
and attacking the plaintiff in their said newspapers, until at last, on said 30th of
October, 1908 with the malicious intention of injuring the plaintiff, who on said
date was and still is a member of the Civil Commission and Secretary of the
Interior in the Government of the Philippine Islands; and with the object of
exposing him to the odium, contempt, and ridicule of the public, they wrote,
printed, and published in their said newspaper, in its ordinary number of said
30th of October, 1908, the malicious defamation and false libel of and concerning
the plaintiff, entitled and herein alluded to as the editorial "Birds of Prey," which
libel was and is highly injurious to the plaintiff and from which the plaintiff has
sustained serious damage.

This editorial, when properly interpreted and read between the lines, means,
besides other things, and was intended by the writer to mean and be understood
by the readers thereof as meaning substantially the following:
That the plaintiff, Dean C. Worcester, was born on the surface of the globe to eat
and devour, like a bird of prey, and that others, born to be eaten and devoured,
are the prey and the food of the insatiable voracity of the plaintiff; that the
plaintiff had a desire to copy and imitate the most rapacious bird, the eagle, in
order to triumph in plundering his fellowman; that the plaintiff besides being an
eagle, has the characteristics of thevulture, the owl, and the vampire.
That the plaintiff ascended the mountains of Benguet to classify and measure the
skulls of the Igorots, and study and civilize them and to espy in his flight with
the eye of the bird of prey the large deposits of gold-the prey concealed amidst
the mountains-and to appropriate them to himself afterwards, and that to this
end the plaintiff had the legal facilities, made and unmade at his own will, and
that this is always done for his own benefit.
That the plaintiff authorized, inspite of laws and ordinances, the illegal
slaughtering is diseased cattle in order to derive benefit from the infected and
putrid meant which he himself was obliged to condemn by virtue of his official
position; that while the plaintiff presents himself on all occasions with the
wrinkled brow of the scientist who consumes his life in the mysteries of the
laboratory of science, his whole scientific labor is confined to dissecting insects
and importing fish eggs.
That although the plaintiff gave an admirable impulse to the discovery of
wealthy lodes in Mindanao and Mindoro, and in other virgin regions of the
Archipelago, with the money of the people, under the pretext of the public good,
as a strict matter of truth his object was to possess all the data and the key to the
national wealth for his essentially personal benefit, and that this is shown by his
acquisition of immense properties registered under the names of others.
That the plaintiff promoted, through secret agents and partners, the sale to the
city of Manila of worthless land at fabulous prices, which the city fathers dared
not refuse from fear of displeasing the plaintiff, who was behind the project, and
which they did not refuse for their own good; that the plaintiff favored
concessions for hotels in Manila on filled-in land; with the prospect of enormous
profits, at the expense of the blood of the people.

That such are the characteristics of the plaintiff, who is at the same time an eagle
that surprises and devours, a vulture that gorges his self on deed and rotten
meats, an owl that affects a petulant omniscience, and a vampire that sucks the
blood of the victim until he leaves it bloodless. And this libelous article
concludes with the asseveration in substance that the plaintiff has been "weighed
in the balance and found wanting" "Mane, Tecel, Phares."
That this editorial is malicious and injurious goes without saying. Almost every
line thereof teems with malevolence, ill will, and wanton and reckless disregard
of the rights and feelings of the plaintiff; and from the very nature and the
number of the charges therein contained the editorial is necessarily very
damaging to the plaintiff.
That this editorial, published as it was by the nine defendants, tends to impeach
the honesty and reputation of the plaintiff and publishes his alleged defects, and
thereby exposes him to public hatred, contempt, and ridicule is clearly seen by a
bare reading of the editorial.
It suffices to say that not a line is to be found in all the evidence in support of
these malicious, defamatory and injurious charges against the plaintiff; and there
was at the trial no pretense whatever by the defendants that any of them are true,
nor the slightest evidence introduced to show the truth of a solitary charge; nor is
there any plea of justification or that the charges are true, much less evidence to
sustain a plea.
In the opinion of the court "Birds of Prey," when read and considered in its
relation to and connection with the other articles libelous and defamatory in
nature, published of and concerning the plaintiff by these nine defendants
anterior and subsequent to the publication of this article, and having reference to
the same subject matter as shown by the evidence, is one of the worst libels of
record. It is safe to say that in all the court reports to the Philippine Islands, or of
Spain, or the United States, there is not to be found a libel case in which there is a
more striking exemplification of the spirit of hatred, bad faith, evil motive,
mischievous intent, actual malice, nefarious purpose, base malignity, or gross
malevolence.
It is proper to observe also that since the beginning of this attack on the plaintiff
in the year 1906 down almost to the present time, so far from there being any
apology, retraction, or effort to repair the injury already done as far as lay in the
power of the defendants, the persecution, wrong, and tortious injury to the

plaintiff had been steadily kept up and persisted in, without the slightest
abatement of the malevolent spirit.
There has been neither retraction, apology, nor reparation; per contra, the libel has
been repeated, reiterated, and accentuated, and widely and extensively
propagated by these nine defendants through the columns of their said paper
and otherwise; and it appears from the evidence that especial effort has been
made by these same defendants to give as much publicity as possible to the
libelous and defamatory words used of and concerning the plaintiff in said
editorial.
Through their instrumentality and persistency in asserting and reasserting its
truth, this diabolical libel has been spread broadcast over the Philippine Islands
and to other parts of the world. In said criminal case No. 4295 some of these nine
defendants pleaded the truth of the charges; and in Exhibit A-Q is to be found
this language: "The defense will adduce its evidence demonstrating the truth of
every one of the facts published."
In their said paper of the 11th of January, 1909, there is published statement:
"The brief period of time allowed us by the court, at the request of the
counsel, to gather evidence which we are to adduce in our effort to
demonstrate the truth of the accusation that we have formulated in the
article which is the subject of the agitation against us, having expired, the
trial of the case against our director had been resumed." (See pp. 63 and 67
of the evidence.)
And about the same time they also declared in their said paper that "there is
more graft than fish in the rivers of Benguet." And this in the year of our Lord
1909! the persecution having begun in 1905; thus indicating that there is to be no
"let-up" or cessation of the hostile attitude toward the plaintiff or the vilification
of his name and assaults upon his character, much less a retraction or an
apology, unless drastic means and measures are made use of to the end that
there may be no further propagation of the libel, or asseveration, or reiteration of
its truth.
This article "Birds of Prey" charges the plaintiff with malfeasance in office and
criminal acts, and is therefore libelous per se. It in substance charges the plaintiff
with the prostitution of his office as a member of the Civil Commission of the
Philippine Islands and Secretary of the Interior of said Islands for personal ends.

It is charged also substantially that plaintiff in his official capacity wasted the
public funds for the purpose of promoting his own personal welfare, and that he
violated the laws of the Philippine Islands and the ordinances of the city of
Manila.
In its essence he is charged with taking part in illegal combinations for the
purpose of robbing the people with the object of gain for himself and for others;
with being a bird of prey, a vulture (buzzard), an owl, and a vampire that sucks
the blood of the victim (meaning the people) until he leaves it bloodless, that is to
say, robs the people, until he leaves them wretched and poverty-stricken,
deprived of all worldly possessions; and lastly, that he, the plaintiff, like
Belshazzar, has been weighed in the balance and found wanting as a high
Government functionary; all of which charges are false and malicious and
without and foundation whatever in fact, as the evidence fully demonstrates.
It is also a matter of fact, and the court so finds, that said defamation was written
and published that it might be understood, and it was understood, by the public
officials of the Government and the people of the Philippine Islands in general,
and wherever else said newspaper may have circulated and been read, as
charging the plaintiff with the tortious and criminal acts and conduct charged in
said editorial as hereinbefore specified and interpreted.
The court finds it also true that, besides assailing the integrity and reviling the
reputation of the plaintiff, said nine defendants, in publishing said libel, did so
with the malicious intention of inciting the Filipino people to believe that the
plaintiff was despotic and corrupt and unworthy of the position which he held,
and for this reason to oppose his administration of the office in his charge as
Secretary of the Interior, and in this way they endeavored to create enormous
difficulties for him in the performance of his official duties, and to make him so
unpopular that he would have to resign his office as a member of the Civil
Commission of the Philippines and Secretary of the Interior.
It is also true that the said nine defendants, by means of said libel, and other like
false statements in their said newspaper, have been deliberately trying to destroy
the confidence of the public in the plaintiff and to incite the people to place
obstacles in his way in the performance of his official duties, in consequence of
which the plaintiff has met with many difficulties which have greatly increased
his labors as a public official.

It further appears from the evidence that not only has an effort been made by
these nine defendants to give as much publicity as possible to the charges, but in
order that said defamation should attract the attention of the public, they
published the same under a heading in large, bold and showy type, so that it
might be easily seen and read by all the subscribers and readers of said paper.
In full view of all the evidence, therefore, it is clearly seen that every essential
allegation of the complaint is true substantially as therein claimed, and that the
whole of the said editorial relating to the misconduct and bad character of the
plaintiff is false and without the slightest foundation in fact. Not a scintilla of
evidence was introduced in support of any injurious charge made therein against
the plaintiff, to say nothing of the plaintiff's evidence that each and every charge
of malfeasance therein contained is false, and without reference to whether a
failure to plead the truth admits the falsity of the charge.
The evidence shows no "special" or "actual pecuniary damage," and none is
alleged in the complaint. Two other kinds of damages, however are claimed, to
wit, general damages for injuries to the feelings and reputation of the plaintiff
and additional work to which he has been put by the conduct of the defendants,
which are laid in the sum of P50,000, and "punitive," exemplary, or vindictive
damages, "as a warning to the defendants," or as expressed in Act 277 of the
Philippine Commission, as a just punishment to the libelers and an example to
others," which are laid in the same sum of P50,000.
The nine defendants being liable to the plaintiff for damages, the next question to
be decided is what amount of damages should be awarded the plaintiff for the
injury to his reputation and feelings and his being a proper case for punitive
damages, the further question is, what sum shall be awarded as a just
punishment to these nine libelers and as an example to others. In neither of these
cases is there any precise measure of damages.
In determining the amount to be awarded in the first instance it is proper to
consider the previous character, influence, reputation, standing, official position,
hope of advancement, prospect of promotion, and social status of the plaintiff
and his family, and all the circumstances connected with the case.
The plaintiff is a man in the prime of life, holding, as he has held for the last ten
years an important, responsible, lucrative, high and exalted position of trust and
honor in the service of the Government of the United States, in the Philippine
Islands, without a blotch on his family escutcheon, so far as the evidence shows,

and with an untarnished reputation as a man, as a citizen, and as a Government


official.
He is a man of honesty, integrity, and high social position; a man of learning,
famous as a scientist, and scientific achievements and scholarly attainments, a
man of industrious habits, genuine worth, and intellectual force. He has read,
studied, traveled and learned much, and is an author of merit and distinction. He
was for a long while a professor in one of the largest and most renowned
institutions of learning in the world; he is a man of vast experience, broad and
liberal views, and an extensive acquaintanceship, not only in the Philippine
Islands, but in the United States and other countries of the world. He was well
and favorably received by the people wherever he journeyed previous to this
atrocious libel upon his integrity and reputation.
He has discharged the duties of his lofty official position in a manner that reflects
credit upon himself as well as the Government which he represents, and
apparently with entire satisfaction to all of his superiors in office and the people
generally; and but for this pernicious, outrageous, and highly reprehensible
assault upon his good name, fame and reputation, there were prospects of
promotion to higher honors. And so far as his personal and private record is
concerned it was without a blemish anterior to the time when these unfounded
and dastardly aspersions were cast upon it by these nine defendants.
Indeed, it is only necessary to advert to the testimony of the defense itself to
ascertain that the plaintiff is an honorable man, and without a stain upon his
character, officially or otherwise. It would be interesting to note here in parallel
columns and compare the charges made in "Birds of Prey" and the testimony of
one of the witnesses for the defendants.
Felipe Buencamino, an intelligent witness for the defense, in his testimony (p.
240) when asked the question, Do you know Mr. Worcester?" he answers, "Yes,
sir: I know him as an honorable man. I also know him as anhonest, honorable public
official." In answer to another question he says, "As I have said, I know Mr.
Worcester as a private citizen and as a public official, and my opinion of him is
that of honorable man and an upright official." And no other witness testified
anything to the contrary.
"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favor
rather than silver of gold."

"Who steals my purse steals trash;


xxx

xxx

xxx

But he that filches from me my good name,


Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed."
The enjoyment of a private reputation is as much a constitutional right as the
possession of life, liberty or property. It is one of those rights necessary to human
society that underlie the whole scheme of human civilization.
"The respect and esteem of his fellows are among the highest rewards of a
well-spent life vouchsafed to man in this existence. The hope of it is the
inspiration of youth, and their possession the solace of later years. A man
of affairs, a business man, who has been seen and known of his fellowmen
in the active pursuits of life for many years, and who has developed a
great character and an unblemished reputation, has secured a possession
more useful, and more valuable than lands, or houses, or silver, or gold . .
.
"The law recognizes the value of such a reputation, and constantly strives
to give redress for its injury. It imposes upon him who attacks it by
slanderous words, or libelous publication, a liability to make full
compensation for the damage to the reputation, for the shame and obloquy,
and for the injury to the feelings of the owner, which are caused by the
publication of the slander or the libel.
"It goes further. If the words are spoken, or the publication is made, with
the intent to injure the victim, or with the criminal indifference to civil
obligation, it imposes such damages as a jury (in this case the judge), in
view of all the circumstances of the particular case adjudge that the
wrongdoer ought to pay as an example to the public, to deter others from
committing like offenses, and as a punishment for the infliction of the
injury.
"In the ordinary acceptance of the term, malice signifies ill will, evil intent,
or hatred, while it is legal signification is defined to be "a wrongful act
done intentionally, without legal justification." (36 C. C. A., 475.)

Surely in the case at bar there was a wrongful or tortious act done intentionally
and without the semblance of justification or excuse, or proof that the libelous
charges against the plaintiff were "published and good motives and justifiable
ends."
But the Legislature and the highest judicial authority of these Islands have
spoken in no uncertain words with regard to the rights of the plaintiff in this
case; and we need not necessarily turn to the law of libel elsewhere, or the
decision of the courts in other jurisdictions to ascertain or determine his rights.
In sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 11 of the Libel Law (Act 277, Philippine Commission)
is to be found the law of these Islands especially applicable to this case. Section 1
thereof defines libel. Section 2 provides that every person who willfully and with
a malicious intent to injure another publishes, or procures to be published, any
libel shall be punished as therein provided. Section 3 provides that an injurious
publication is presumed to have been malicious if no justifiable motive for
making it is shown. Section 4 provides, among other things, that in all criminal
prosecutions the truth may be given in evidence; but to establish this defense, not
only must the truth of the matter charged as libelous be proven, but also that it
was published with good motives and for justifiable ends; and the presumptions,
rules of evidence, and special defenses are equally applicable in civil and
criminal actions, according to section 11 of said Act.
Section 6 is as follows:
"Every author, editor, or proprietor of any book, newspaper, or serial
publication is chargeable with the publication of any words contained in
any part of such book or number of each newspaper or serial as fully as if
he were the author of the same."
And section 11 provides as follows:
"In addition to such criminal action, any person libeled as hereinbefore set
forth shall have a right to a civil action against the person libeling him for
damages sustained by reason of such libel, and the person so libeled shall
be entitled to recover in such civil action not only the actual pecuniary
damages sustained by him, but also damages for injury to his feelings and
reputation, and in addition such punitive damages as the court may think
will be a just punishment to the libeler and an example to others. Suit may
be brought in any Court of First Instance having jurisdiction of the parties.

The presumptions, rules or evidence and special defenses provided for in


this chapter for criminal prosecutions shall be equally applicable in civil
actions under this section."
"The proprietor of a printing plant is responsible for publishing a libel.
According to the legal doctrines and jurisprudence of the United States,
the printer of a publication containing libelous matter is liable for the
same." (Mr. Justice Torres, in U.S. vs. Ortiz, 8 Phil. Rep., 757.) But said
section 6 plainly fixes the liability of editors and proprietors of
newspapers, and is clear enough for all the purposes of this case.
Mr. Justice Carson (5 Phil. Rep. 1551), speaking for our Supreme Court, says:
"When there is an averment in the complaint that the defamatory words
used refer to the plaintiff, and it is proven that the words do in fact refer to
him and are capable of bearing such special application, an action for libel
may be maintained even though the defamatory publication does not refer
to the plaintiff by name."
And Mr. Justice Willard (12 Phil. Rep., 4282), for the same high authority, says:
"In an action for libel damages for injury to feelings and reputation may be
recovered though no actual pecuniary damages are proven.
"Punitive damages cannot be recovered unless the tort is aggravated by
evil motive, actual malice, deliberate violence or oppression."
That is to say, if there is evil motive, or actual malice or deliberate violence, or
oppression then punitive damages, or "smart money," may be recovered.
And Justice Carson (U.S. vs. Sedano, 14 Phil., Rep., 338), also says:
"Actual or express malice of an alleged libelous publication may be
inferred from the style and tone of the publication.
"The publication of falsehood and calumny against public officers and
candidates for public office is specially reprehensible and is an offense
most dangerous to the people and to the public welfare.
"The interest of society require that immunity should be granted to the
discussion of public affairs, and that all acts and matters of a public nature

may be freely published with fitting comments and strictures; but they do
not require that the right to criticise public officers shall embrace the right
to base such criticism under false statements of fact, or attack the private
character of the officer, or to falsely impute to
him malfeasance or misconduct in office."
And there are almost numberless English and American authorities in perfect
harmony with these decisions of our Supreme Court too numerous indeed to be
cited here; and it is not necessary.
Among the leading cases, however, in the United States, is that of Scott vs.
Donald (165 U.S., 58) and cases therein cited. In this case the court says: "Damages
have been defined to be the compensation which law will allow for an injury
done, and are said to be exemplary and allowable in excess of the actual loss
when the tort is aggravated by evil motive, actual malice, deliberate violence or
oppression," which is in entire harmony with Justice Willard's decision
hereinbefore cited.
And quoting from the decision in Day vs. Woodworth (13 Howard, 371) the same
high court says:
"In actions of trespass, where the injury has been wanton and malicious,
or gross or outrageous, courts permit juries (here the court) to add to the
measured compensation of the plaintiff which he would have been
entitled to recover, had the injury been inflicted without design or
intention, something further by way of punishment or example, which has
sometimes been called "smart money." "
It thus clearly appears that the facts established in the case at bar are more than
sufficient to bring it within the rule of law here laid down by the highest judicial
authority.
Section 11 of the Libel Law expressly allows general damages; and Mr. Justice
Willard, in Macleod vs. Philippine Publishing Company,3 says:
"The general damages which are allowed in actions of libel are not for
mental suffering alone, but they are allowed for injury to
the standing and reputation of the person libeled, and the common law of
England and America presumed that such damages existed without proof
thereof from the mere fact of publication of the libel."

In Day vs. Woodworth, the Supreme Court of the United States recognized the
power of a jury in certain actions in tort to assess against the tort feasor punitive
damages. Where the injury has been inflicted maliciously or wantonly, and with
circumstances of contumely, or indignity, the judge or jury, as the case may be, is
not limited to the ascertainment of a simple compensation for the wrong
committed against the aggrieved person.
"The public position of the plaintiff, as an officer of the Government, and
the evil example of libels, are considerations with the jury (here the judge)
for increasing damages." (Tillotson vs. Cheetham, 3 Johns, 56.)
"The character, condition and influence of the plaintiff are relevant on the
matter of the extent of damages." (Littlejohn vs. Greely, 22 How. Prac., 345;
13 Abb. Prac., 41, 311.)
"Where the publication is libelous, the law presumes that it was made
with malice technical, legal malice, but not malice in fact and the
amount of damages depends in a large degree upon the motives which
actuated the defendants in its publication; and in such cases the law leaves
it to the jury (here the judge) to find a return such damages as they think
right and just, by a sound, temperate, deliberate, and reasonable exercise
of their functions as jurymen." (Erber vs. Dun. (C. C.) 12 Fed., 526.)
"Actions of libel, so far as they involve questions of exemplary damages,
and the law of principal and agent, are controlled by the same rules as are
other actions of tort. The right of a plaintiff to recover exemplary damages
exists wherever a tortious injury has been inflicted recklessly or wantonly,
and it is not limited to cases where the injury resulted from personal
malice or recklessness of the defendant. It follows that the owner of a
newspaper is as responsible for all the acts of omission and commission of
those he employs to edit it and manage its affairs, as he would be if
personally managing the same.' (Malloy vs. Bennett, (C. C.) 15 Fed., 371.)
"The fact that a publication, libelous per se, was made without any attempt
to ascertain its correctness is sufficient to justify a finding that defendant
committed libel client with a wanton indifference, and with actual malice
sufficient to sustain exemplary damages." (Van Ingen vs. Star Co., 1 App.
Div., 429, 37 N.Y., 114.)

"The court is not authorized to set aside a verdict for $45,000 in an action
for libel, where it appears that plaintiff was persistently persecuted in the
columns of defendant's newspaper, and that he and his family were held
up to public contempt and ridicule, and defendants withdraw from the
case after failing to establish a plea of justification." (Smith vs. Times Co.,
(Com. p. 1) 4 Pa. Dist. Rep., 399.)
"In considering the amount with the defendant shall pay, on this account
(exemplary damages) the turpitude of his conduct and his financial ability
are only considered; and such consideration is not in view of the injury or
distress of the plaintiff, but in behalf of the public; the wrongful act is
regarded as an indication of the actor's vicious mind an overt deed of
vindictive or wanton wrong, offensive and dangerous to the public good.
This is the view of those damages which generally prevails." (Sutherland
on Damages, vol. 2, p. 1092. title Exemplary Damages.)
"Punitive damages are recoverable not to compensate the plaintiff, but
solely to punish the defendant. This legal motive would suffer defeat if
punitive damages could not be given for a malicious attack on a
reputation too well established to receive substantial injury at the hands of
a libeler." (Judge Bond in Ferguson vs. Pub. Co., 72 Mo. App., 462.)
It may be suggested that the reputation of the plaintiff in this case is too well
established to be seriously affected by the defamatory words used of and
concerning him in "Birds of Prey," but it would not be proper to gravely consider
this suggestion.
The conditions in these Islands are peculiar. The minds, thoughts, and opinions
of the people are easily molded, and the public is credulous and perhaps
frequently too ready to believe anything that may be said in derogation of an
American official, especially when it is published and vouched for by the
editorial and business management and proprietors if a newspaper of the
prominence, pretensions, circulation and influence if "El Renacimiento," which
paper is everlastingly proclaiming in its columns that it is being conducted and
published solely in the interests of the Filipino people pro bono publico. There is
stronger disposition to give credence to what is said in a newspaper here in the
Islands the elsewhere, and when abuse, vilification, and defamation are
persistently practiced for a period of several years, without modification or
retraction, but with renewed emphasis, the people naturally come to believe in
its verity and authenticity.

It is apparent from the evidence that as an effect of the persecution of the plaintiff
by "El Renacimiento" and the libel published in its columns, the minds of the
major part of the Filipino people have been poisoned and prejudiced against the
plaintiff to such an extent that he is regarded by these people as odious,
dishonest, unscrupulous and tyrannical.
It may be that his reputation has not suffered so severely with those of his own
race, but when it is considered that his vocation has tenfold more to do with the
Filipinos than with his own people, that his official duties place him in constant
contact with them, and that his success in his chosen career is largely dependent
upon their good will and support, it is manifest that the damage to his reputation
has been very great and that a large sum of money should be awarded to
indemnify him, as far as money can indemnify, for the loss of his good name
with the Filipino people.
The plaintiff came to the Philippine Islands when a young man, full of hope and
ambition. Since his arrival he has devoted himself incessantly and indefatigably
to the uplifting of the inhabitants of the Archipelago and to the faithful
performance, as far as he was able, of the pledges and promises of the
Government to the Filipino people. The duties of his particular office were such
as brought him in more immediate and constant contract with the people than
any other official of the same category in these Islands.
It is clearly shown that the plaintiff faithfully endeavored to perform, and did
efficiently perform, all of these duties, doing everything that he could in an
unselfish and disinterested manner of the welfare and development of the
country and its people, knowing full well that his career, as well as his
advancement, depended largely upon the good will of these people, and that by
incurring their censure or displeasure he would have little hope of success in his
chosen work.
Imagine, therefore, the chagrin, disappointment, mortification, mental suffering,
and distress, and perturbation of spirit that would necessarily be occasioned him
when he discovered that through the nefarious, studied, and practiced
persecution of the paper in question, these high hopes were blasted, and that,
instead of having gained the respect and gratitude of the people for the
assiduous labors devoted to their uplifting, they had been made to believe that,
instead of being a benefactor, he was a vampire that was sucking their life blood,
a corrupt politician who was squandering the money wrung from the people by

means of taxation, in schemes for his own personal aggrandizement and


enrichment.
That instead of developing the mineral wealth of the Islands he was taking up all
the rich veins and appropriating them in the names of subservient tools, to his
own personal use, benefit and profit. That instead of protecting the people from
disease, he was, by means of infected meat and for his own personal gain,
spreading contagion among them.
That he united in his person all the bad qualities of the vulture, the eagle, and the
vampire; that, in short, he was a "bird of prey," with all that is implied in that
term in its worst acceptation; that he was a corrupt tyrant, who never lost an
opportunity to do the people hurt; that instead of wishing them well and seeking
their advancement, he was their enemy, who never lost an opportunity to
degrade and humiliate them; that instead of preferring them for office and
positions of official trust, he treated them with all sorts of contempt and
indifference.
It is difficult to appreciate the feelings of a refined soul in its contemplation of a
result so disastrous, so unjust, and so unmerited.
It is furthermore shown that when the plaintiff came to these Islands a young
scientist he had already won fame in his own country; that he is a fellow of the
important scientific associations in the world. His election as a fellow or member
of these scientific bodies shows that his labors in the Philippines were the object
of solicitude by the prominent scientific and learned men not only of his own
race, but in many other civilized countries of the world. Important results were
evidently expected of him by them, and it can not be doubted that they expected
of him of life honestly devoted to the conscientious discharge of his duties as a
trusted public functionary of the American Government in the Philippine
Islands.
And yet he is falsely denounced in the columns of said newspaper to his fellows
of these societies as a man who is so absolutely corrupt, so inordinately selfish
and avaricious that he has not considered for a moment the duties incumbent
upon him; that he has been oblivious to every obligation of trust and confidence,
and that he is unworthy of the respect of honest men.
One witness testified that he read this libel in the public library of the city of
Boston. It is furthermore shown that copies of this paper went to Spain, England,

and to different parts of the United States; and inasmuch as the plaintiff is a man
of prominence in the scientific world, it is to be inferred that his fellows became
more or less aware of these heinous charges.
Thus we find that the plaintiff is here confronted with disappointed ambition
and frustrated hopes, and placed in the humiliating attitude of having to explain
to his fellows that the charges are untrue, of adducing evidence to clear himself,
perhaps never with complete success, of the stain that has been cast upon his
reputation by the libelous and defamatory declarations contained in "Birds of
Prey."
In view of the foregoing findings of fact and circumstances of the case and the
law applicable thereto,
It is the opinion of the court, and the court so finds, that the plaintiff has
sustained damages on account of wounded feelings and mental suffering and
injuries to his standing and reputation in the sum of thirty-five thousand
(P35,000) pesos, and that he is entitled to recover this sum of the nine defendants
named, as being responsible for having written, printed, and published said libel;
and that the plaintiff is entitled to recover of them the further sum of twenty-five
thousand (P25,000) pesos, as punitive damages, which the court thinks will be a
just punishment to these nine libelers and an example to others.
Wherefore, it is so ordered and adjudged that the plaintiff, Dean C. Worcester,
have and recover of the defendants, Martin Ocampo, Teodoro M. Kalaw, Lope K.
Santos, Manuel Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo Lichauco, Felipe
Barretto, and Gregorio M. Cansipit, jointly and severally, the sum of sixty
thousand (P60,000) pesos, and the costs of suit, for which execution may issue.
It is ordered. At Manila, P.I., this 14th day of January , 1910.
From said decision the defendants appealed and made the following assignments of
error in this court:
I.
The court erred in overruling our motions for suspension of this case, in its
present state, until final judgment should be rendered in criminal case No. 4295
of the Court of First Instance of Manila, pending appeal in the Honorable
Supreme Court, for libel based also on the editorial, "Birds of Prey."

II.
The court erred in admitting as evidence mere opinion adduced by counsel for
the plaintiff with the intention of demonstrating to whom the editorial, alleged to
the libelous, refers.
III.
The court erred in giving greater preponderance to the opinions of the witnesses
for the plaintiff than to the expert testimony of the defense.
IV.
The court erred in declaring the editorial on which the complaint is based to be
libelous per se and to refer necessarily to the plaintiff, Dean C. Worcester.
V.
The court erred in declaring the defendants Martin Ocampo, Manuel Palma,
Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Felipe Barretto, Gregorio M. Cansipit, and Galo
Lichauco to be owners of "El Renacimiento."
VI.
The court erred in not admitting Exhibits 1 and 3 presented by counsel for the
defendants.
VII.
The court erred in rendering judgment against the defendants.
VIII.
The court erred in sentencing the defendants jointly "and severally" to pay to the
plaintiff, Dean C. Worcester, the sum of P60,000.
IX.
The court erred in not ordering that execution of the judgment to be confined to
the business known as "El Renacimiento" and to the defendant Teodoro M.
Kalaw, without extending to property of the alleged owners of said newspaper
which was not invested therein by them at its establishment.

X.
The court erred in granting damages to the plaintiff by virtue of the judgment
rendered against the defendants.
XI.
The court, finally, erred in granting to the plaintiff punitive damages against the
alleged owners of "El Renacimiento," admitting the hypothesis that said editorial
is libelous per se and refers to the Honorable Dean C. Worcester.
The theory of the defendants, under the first assignment of error, is that the civil action
could not proceed until the termination of the criminal action, relying upon the
provisions of the Penal Code in support of such theory. This court, however, has
decided in the case of Ocampo et al. vs. Jenkins (14 Phil. Rep., 681) that a judgment in a
criminal prosecution for libel, under the provisions of Act 277 of the Civil commission,
constitutes no bar or estoppel in a civil action based upon the same acts or transactions.
The reason most often given for this doctrine is that the two proceedings are not
between the same parties. Different rule as to the competency of witnesses and the
weight of evidence necessary to the findings in the two proceedings always exist. As
between civil and criminal actions under said Act (No. 277) a judgment in one is no bar
or estoppel to the prosecution of the other. A judgment in a criminal cause, under said
Act, can not be pleaded as res adjudicata in a civil action. (Stone vs. U.S., 167 U.S., 178;
Boyd vs. U.S., 616 U. S., 616, 634; Lee vs. U.S., 150 U.S., 476, 480; U.S. vs. Jaedicke, 73 Fed.
Rep., 100; U.S. vs.Schneider, 35 Fed. Rep., 107; Chamberlain vs. Pierson, 87 Fed. Rep.,
420; Steel vs. Cazeaux, 8 Martin (La.), 318, 13 American Decisions, 288; Betts vs. New
Hartford, 25 Conn., 185.)
In a criminal action for libel the State must prove its case by evidence which shows the
guilt of the defendant, beyond a reasonable doubt, while in a civil action it is sufficient
for the plaintiff to sustain his cause by a preponderance of evidence only.
(Ocampo vs. Jenkins (supra); Reilly vs. Norton, 65 Iowa, 306; Sloane vs. Gilbert, 27
American decisions, 708; Cooley on Torts, sec. 208; Greenleaf on Evidence, 426;
Wigmore on Evidence, secs. 2497, 2498.)
With reference to the second assignment of error above noted, we find that this court
has already decided the question raised thereby, in the case of U. S. vs. Ocampo et al. (18
Phil. Rep., 1).

During the trial of the cause the plaintiff called several witnesses for the purpose of
showing that the statements made in said alleged libelous editorial were intended to
apply to the Honorable Dean C. Worcester, Secretary of the Interior. The defendants
duly objected to these questions and excepted to the ruling of the court admitting them.
In the case of Russell vs. Kelley (44 Cal., 641, 642) the same question was raised and the
court, in its decision, said:
The rule laid down in 2 Stockey on Slander (p. 51) is that the application of the
slanderous words to the plaintiff and the extrinsic matters alleged in the
declaration may be shown by the testimony of witnesses who knew the parties
and circumstances and who can state their judgment and opinion upon the
application and meaning of the terms used by the defendant. It is said that where
the words are ambiguous on the face of the libel, to whom it was intended to be
applied, the judgment and opinion of witnesses, who from their knowledge of
the parties and circumstances are able to form a conclusion as to the defendant's
intention and application of the libel is evidence for the information of the jury.
Mr. Odgers, in his work on Libel and Slander (p. 567), says:
The plaintiff may also call at the trial his friends or others acquainted with the
circumstances, to state that, in reading the libel, they at once concluded it was
aimed at the plaintiff. It is not necessary that all the world should understand the
libel. It is sufficient if those who know the plaintiff can make out that he is the
person meant. (See also Falkard's Stockey on Libel and Slander, 4th English
edition, 589.)
The correctness of this rule is not only established by the weight of authority but is
supported by every consideration of justice and sound policy. The lower court
committed no error in admitting the opinion of witnesses offered during the trial of the
cause. One's reputation is the sum or composite of the impressions spontaneously made
by him from time to time, and in one way or another, upon his neighbors and
acquaintances. The effect of a libelous publication upon the understanding of such
persons, involving necessarily the identity of the person libeled is of the very essence of
the wrong. The issue in a libel case concerns not only the sense of the publication, but,
in a measure its effect upon a reader acquainted with the person referred to. The
correctness of the opinion of the witnesses as to the identity of the person meant in the
libelous publication may always be tested by cross-examination. (Enquirer
Co. vs. Johnston, 72 Fed. Rep., 443; 2nd Greenleaf on Evidence, 417;

Nelson vs. Barchenius, 52 Ill., 236; Smith vs.Miles, 15 Vt., 245; Miller vs. Butler, 6
Cushing (Mass.), 71.)
It is true that some of the courts have established a different rule. We think, however,
that a large preponderance of the decisions of the supreme courts of the different States
is in favor of the doctrine which we have announced here.
We are of the opinion that assignments of error Nos. 3, 4, and 7 may fairly be
considered together, the question being whether or not the evidence adduced during
the trial of the cause in the lower court shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that
the said editorial was libelous in its character. Here again we find that this question has
been passed upon by this court in the case of U. S. vs. Ocampo et al. (18 Phil. Rep., 1),
and we deem it unnecessary to discuss this question again, for the reason that the
evidence adduced in the present cause was practically the same, or at least to the same
effect, as the evidence adduced in the cause of U.S. vs. Ocampo et al.It is sufficient here to
say that the evidence adduced during the trial of the present cause shows, by a large
preponderance of the evidence, that said editorial was one of the most pernicious and malicious
libels upon a just, upright and honorable official, which the courts have ever been called upon to
consider. There is not a scintilla of evidence in the entire record, notwithstanding the fact that
the defendants from time to time attempted to make a show of proving the truthfulness of the
statements made in said editorial, which in any way reflects upon the character and high ideals of
Mr. Dean C. Worcester, in the administration of his department of the Government.
With reference to the fifth assignment of error, to wit: That the court erred in holding
that the defendants, Martin Ocampo, Manuel Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose,
Felipe Barretto, Gregorio M. Cansipit, and Galo Lichauco, were the proprietors of "El
Renacimiento," the lower court said:
Much time was consumed also in adducing evidence to show that none of the
twelve defendants were the owners of "El Renacimiento" and "Muling
Pagsilang," but that six of them had originally contributed their money as a
patriotic donation to the Filipino people, and that Martin Ocampo simply held
the money and property of the paper as trustee for this people, and that the
paper was being devoted exclusively to philanthropic and patriotic ends, and
that Galo Lichauco had agreed to contribute to the same ends but had not done
so.
"This proposition," said the lower court, "in the light of the evidence, is so preposterous
as to entitle it to little, if any, serious consideration. To ask the court to believe it is
tantamount to asking the court to stultify reason and common sense. That those seven

defendants named contributed their respective sums of money, as shown by the


evidence, to the foundation of said newspaper in 1901, for their own personal benefit
and profit, is fully and unmistakably established. It is equally well established that
Martin Ocampo is and was, not only a part owner, but that he has been and is still the
administrator or business manager of said newspaper, and that the other six persons
named are shareholders, part owners and proprietors thereof and were such on the said
30th of October, 1908."
Examining the evidence adduced during the cause in the lower court, we find,
sometime before the commencement of the present action and before any question was
raised with reference to who were the owners of the said newspaper, that the
defendant, Arcadio Arellano, in the case of United States vs. Jose Sedano (14 Phil. Rep.,
338), testified upon that question as follows:
Q.

Who are the proprietors of "El Renacimiento"?

A.
I, Martin Ocampo, Gregorio Mariano (Cansipit), Mr. Barretto, and Galo
Lichauco.
Q.

Who else?

A.

No one else.

Q.

And Rafael Palma is not so?

A.

No, sir; Manuel Palma, the brother of Rafael Palma.

During the trial of the present cause, Arcadio Arellano testified that his declarations in
other cause were true.
It also appears from the record (Exhibit B-J) that in the month of November, 1907, long
before the commencement of the present action, "El Renacimiento," in reply to an article
which was published in "El Comercio," published the following statement:
They (it) say (s) that this enterprise" (evidently meaning the publication of "El
Renacimiento") "is sustained by Federal money; that we are inspired by Federal
personages. We declare that this, besides being false, is calumnious. The
shareholders of this company are persons well known by the public, and never at
any moment of their lives have they acted with masks on--those masks for which
"El Comercio" seems to have so great an affection. They are, as the public knows:

Seores Martin Ocampo, Manuel Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo Lichauco,
Felipe Barretto, and Gregorio Cansipit.
Arcadio Arellano also testified during the trial of the present cause that he contributed
P750 to the establishment of "El Renacimiento;" that Martin Ocampo contributed the
sum of P500; that Mariano Cansipit, Felipe Barretto and Angel Jose contributed the sum
of P250 or P500 each; that Galo Lichauco contributed the sum of P1,000 and that Manuel
Palma contributed P3,000.
During the trial of the present cause Arcadio Arellano, Martin Ocampo, and Angel Jose
testified as witnesses, relating to the ownership of the newspaper called "El
Renacimiento." They testified that whatever money they gave for the purpose of
establishing said newspaper, was given as a donation, and that they were neither the
owners nor coowners of said periodical. The defendants, Manuel Palma, Galo Lichauco,
Felipe Barretto, and Gregorio Cansipit, did not testify as witnesses during the trial of
the cause in the lower court. No reason is given for their failure to appear and give
testimony in their own behalf. The record does not disclose whether or not the
declarations of Arcadio Arellano, in the case of U. S. vs. Sedano (14 Phil. Rep., 338) at
the time they were made, were called to the attention of Manuel Palma, Galo Lichauco,
Felipe Barretto, and Gregorio Cansipit, as well as the reply to "El Comercio," above
noted. Proof of said declarations and publication was adduced during the trial of the
cause in the present case, and the attorney of these particular defendants well knew the
purpose and effect of such evidence, if not disputed; but, notwithstanding the fact that
said declarations and publication were presented in evidence, and notwithstanding the
fact that the attorney for the defendants knew of the purpose of such proof, the
defendants, Palma, Lichauco, Barretto, and Cansipit, were not called as witnesses for
the purpose of rebutting the same. It is a well settled rule of evidence, that when the
circumstances in proof tend to fix the liability on a party who has it in his power to offer evidence
of all the facts as they existed and rebut the inferences which the circumstances in proof tend to
establish, and he fails to offer such proof, the natural conclusion is that the proof, if produced,
instead of rebutting would support the inferences against him, and the court is justified in acting
upon that conclusion. (Railway Company vs. Ellis, C. C. A. Reports, vol. 4, p. 454;
Commonwealth vs. Webster, 5 Cush. (Mass.), 295; People vs.McWhorter 4 Barb. (N. Y.),
438.)
Lord Mansfield, in the case of Blatch vs. Archer (Cowper, 63, 65) said:
It is certainly a maxim that all the evidence is to be weighed according to the
proof which it was in the power of one side to have produced, and in the power
of the other side to have contradicted.

Mr. Starkey, in his valuable work on evidence (vol. 1, p. 64), lays down the rule that:
The conduct of a party in omitting to produce evidence in elucidation of the
subject matter in dispute, which is within his power and which rests peculiarly
within his own knowledge, frequently offers occasion for presumptions against
him, since it raises the strong suspicion that such evidence, if adduced, would
operate to his prejudice. (Pacific Coast et al. Co. vs. Bancroft-Whitney Co., 36 C.
C. A. Reports, 136, 153.)
At the time of the said declarations of Arcadio Arellano in the case of Sedano and at the
time of the said publication in reply to "El Comercio," there was no reason for stating
anything except the truth: neither does there seem to have been any reason for publishing the
fact that the defendants were the owners of "El Renacimiento" unless it was true.
At the time there seemed to be no reason to have it appear that they were donors and
public benefactors only. They seemed to be proud of the fact that they were the owners.
The editors, publishers, and managers of "El Renacimiento," at the time the reply to "El
Comercio" was published, seemed to be anxious to announce to the public who its
owners were. It ("El Renacimiento") had not then realized that it belonged to no one;
that it had been born into the community without percentage; that it had been created a
terrible machine for the purpose of destroying the good character and reputation of
men without having any one to respond for its malicious damage occasioned to
honorable men; that it was a cast-off, without a past or the hope of a future; that it was
liable to be kicked and buffetted about the persecuted and destroyed without any one to
protect it; that its former friends and creators had scattered hither and thither and had
disappeared like feathers before a cyclone, declaring, under oath, that they did not
know their offspring and were not willing to recognize it in public. It seems to have
been a Moses found in the bulrushes, destined by its creators to be a great good among
the Filipino people, in teaching them to respect the rights of persons and property; but,
unlike its Biblical prototype, it became, by reason of its lack of parentage, an engine of
destruction let loose in the State, to enter the private abode of lawabiding citizens and to
take from them their honor and reputation, which neither it nor the State could restore.
To rob a man of his wealth is to rob him of trash, but to take from him his good name
and reputation is to rob him of that which does not make the robber richer and leaves
the person robbed poor indeed.
The appellants tried to make it appear that the money which they gave for the
establishment of "El Renacimiento" was a pure donation. They claim that it was a
donation to the Filipino people. They do not state, however, or attempt to show what
particular persons were to manage, control, and direct the enterprise for which the

donation was made. A donation must be made to definite persons or associations. A


donation to an indefinite person or association is an anomaly in law, and we do not
believe, in view of all of the facts, that it was in fact made. A donation must be made to
some definite person or association and the donee must be some ascertained or
ascertainable person or association.
A donation may be made for the benefit of the public, but it must be made, in the very
nature of things, to some definite person or association. A donation made to no person
or association could not be regarded as a donation in law. It could not be more than an
abandonment of property. Of course where a donation is in fact made, without reservation
to a particular person or association, the donor is no longer the owner of the thing
donated nor responsible, in any way, for its use, provided that the object, for which the
donation was made, was legal. A person does not become an owner or part owner of a
church, for example, to the construction of which he has made a donation; neither is he
responsible for the use to which said edifice may be applied. No one disputes the fact
that donations may be made for the public use, but they must be made to definite
persons or associations, to be administered in accordance with the purpose of the gift.
We can not believe, in the light of the whole record, that the defendants and appellants, at the
time they presented the defense that they were donors simply and not owners, had a reasonable
hope that their declarations as to said donation, given in the manner alleged, would be
believed by the court.
After a careful examination of the evidence brought to this court and taking into
consideration the failure of the other defendants to testify, we are of the opinion that a
preponderance of such evidence shows that the defendants, Martin Ocampo, Manuel
Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo Lichauco, Felipe Barretto, and Gregorio M.
Cansipit, were the coowners of the newspaper known as "El Renacimiento," at the time
of the publication of the said alleged libel.
With reference to the sixth assignment of error above noted, to wit: That the lower court
committed an error in not admitting in evidence the judgment of acquittal of the
defendant, Lope K. Santos, rendered in the criminal cause, we are of the opinion that
the refusal to admit said evidence in the civil cause was not an error. The fact that the
evidence in the criminal cause was insufficient to show that Lope K. Santos was guilty
of the crime charged, in no way barred the right of the person injured by said alleged
libel to maintain the present civil action against him. (Ocampo vs. Jenkins, 14 Phil. Rep.,
681.) The criminal action had to be sustained by evidence showing the culpability of the
defendant beyond a reasonable doubt, while in the civil action it is sufficient to show
that the defendants injured the plaintiff by the alleged libelous publication, by a

preponderance of the evidence only. (Greenleaf on Evidence, sec. 426; Cooley on Torts,
208; Reilley vs. Norton, 65 Iowa, 306; Sloane vs. Gilbert, 23 Am. Dec., 708.)
In the case of Steel vs. Cazeaux (8 Martin, La., 318; 13 American Decisions, 288), the
supreme court of Louisiana said:
A judgment of conviction in a criminal prosecution can not be given in evidence
in a civil action.
In the case of Betts et al. vs. New Hartford (25 Conn., 180) Mr. Justice Ellsworth said (in a
case where a judgment in a criminal case was offered in evidence):
A conviction in a criminal case is not evidence of facts upon which the judgment
was rendered, when those facts come up in a civil case, for this evidence would
not be material; and so the law is perfectly well settled. (1 Greenleaf on Evidence,
secs. 536, 524; 1 Phillips on Evidence, 231; Hutchinson vs. Bank of Wheeling, 41
Pa. St., 42; Beausoleil vs. Brown, 12 La. Ann., 543; McDonald vs. Stark, 176 Ill.,
456, 468.)
While we believe that the lower court committed no error in refusing to admit the
sentence acquitting Lope K. Santos in the criminal case, we are of the opinion, after a
careful examination of the record brought to this court, that it is insufficient to show
that Lope K. Santos was responsible, in any way, for the publication of the alleged libel,
and without discussing the question whether or not the so-called Tagalog edition of "El
Renacimiento" and "El Renacimiento" constituted one and the same newspaper, we find
that the evidence is insufficient to show that Lope K. Santos is responsible in damages,
in any way, for the publication of the said alleged libel.
The appellants discussed the eight and ninth assignments of error together, and claim
that the lower court committed an error in rendering a judgment jointly and
severally against the defendants and in allowing an execution against the individual
property of said owners, and cite provisions of the Civil and Commercial Codes in
support of their contention. The difficulty in the contention of the appellants is that they
fail to recognize that the basis of the present action is a tort. They fail to recognize the
universal doctrine that each joint tort feasor is not only individually liable for the tort in
which he participates, but is also jointly liable with his tort feasors. The defendants
might have been sued separately for the commission of the tort. They might have been
sued jointly and severally, as they were. (Nicoll vs. Glennie, 1 M. & S. (English Common
Law Reports), 558.) If several persons jointly commit a tort, the plaintiff or person
injured, has his election to sue all or some of the parties jointly, or one of them

separately, because the tort is in its nature a separate act of each individual. (1 Chiddey,
Common Law Pleadings, 86.) It is not necessary that the cooperation should be a direct,
corporeal act, for, to give an example, in a case of assault and battery committed by
various persons, under the common law all are principals. So also is the person who
counsels, aids or assists in any way he commission of a wrong. Under the common law,
he who aided or assisted or counseled, in any way, the commission of a crime, was as
much a principal as he who inflicted or committed the actual tort. (Page vs. Freeman, 19
Mo., 421.)
It may be stated as a general rule, that the joint tort feasors are all the persons who
command, instigate, promote, encourage, advise, countenance, cooperate in, aid or abet
the commission of a tort, or who approve of it after it is done, if done for their benefit.
They are each liable as principals, to the same extent and in the same manner as if they
had performed the wrongful act themselves. (Cooley on Torts, 133; Moir vs. Hopkins, 16
Ill., 313 (63 Am. Dec., 312 and note); Berry vs. Fletch, 1st Dill., 67; Smithwick vs. Ward, 7
Jones L. 64; Smith vs. Felt, 50 Barb. (N. Y.), 612; Shepard vs. McQuilkin, 2 W. Va., 90;
Lewis vs. Johns, 34 Cal., 269.)
Joint tort feasors are jointly and severally liable for the tort which they commit. The
person injured may sue all of them, or any number less than all. Each is liable for the
whole damage caused by all, and all together are jointly liable for the whole damage. It
is no defense for one sued alone, that the others who participated in the wrongful act
are not joined with him as defendants; nor is it any excuse for him that his participation
in the tort was insignificant as compared with that of the others.
(Forebrother vs. Ansley, 1 Campbell (English Reports), 343; Pitcher vs. Bailey, 8 East,
171; Booth vs. Hodgson, 6 Term Reports, 405; Vose vs. Grant, 15 Mass., 505;
Acheson vs. Miller, 18 Ohio, 1; Wallace vs. Miller, 15 La. Ann., 449; Murphy vs. Wilson,
44 Mo., 313; Bishop vs. Ealey, 9 Johnson (N. Y.), 294.)
Joint tort feasors are not liable pro rata. The damages can not be apportioned among
them, except among themselves. They can no insist upon an apportionment, for the
purpose of each paying an aliquot part. They are jointly and severally liable for the full
amount. (Pardrige vs. Brady, 7 Ill. App., 639; Carney vs. Read, 11 Ind., 417; Lee vs. Black,
27 Ark., 337; Bevins vs. McElroy, 52 Am. Dec., 258.)
A payment in full of the damage done, by one of the joint tort feasors, of course satisfies
any claim which might exist against the others. There can be but one satisfaction. The
release of one of the joint tort feasors by agreement, generally operates to discharge all.
(Wright vs. Lathrop, 2 Ohio, 33; Livingston vs. Bishop, 1 Johnson (N.Y.), 290;

Brown vs. Marsh, 7 Vt., 327; Ayer vs. Ashmead, 31 Conn., 447; Eastman vs. Grant, 34 Vt.,
387; Turner vs.Hitchcock, 20 Iowa, 310; Ellis vs. Esson, 50 Wis., 149.)
Of course the courts during the trial may find that some of the alleged joint tort feasors
are liable and that others are not liable. The courts may release some for lack of
evidence while condemning others of the alleged tort feasors. And this is true even
though they are charged jointly and severally. (Lansing vs. Montgomery, 2 Johnson (N.
Y.), 382; Drake vs. Barrymore, 14 Johnson, 166; Owens vs. Derby, 3 Ill., 126.)
This same principle is recognized by Act 277 of the Philippine Commission. Section 6
provides that:
Every author, editor or proprietor . . . is chargeable with the publication of any
words in any part . . . or number of each newspaper, as fully as if he were the
author of the same.
In our opinion the lower court committed no error in rendering a joint and several
judgment against the defendants and allowing an execution against their individual
property. The provisions of the Civil and Commercial Codes cited by the defendants
and appellants have no application whatever to the question presented in the present
case.
The tenth assignment of error above noted relates solely to the amount of damages
suffered on account of wounded feelings, mental suffering and injury to the good name
and reputation of Mr. Worcester, by reason of the alleged libelous publication. The
lower court found that the damages thus suffered by Mr. Worcester amounted to
P35,000. This assignment of error presents a most difficult question. The amount of
damages resulting from a libelous publication to a man's good name and reputation is
difficult of ascertainment. It is nor difficult to realize that the damage thus done is great
and almost immeasurable. The specific amount the damages to be awarded must
depend upon the facts in each case and the sound discretion of the court. No fixed or
precise rules can be laid down governing the amount of damages in cases of libel. It is
difficult to include all of the facts and conditions which enter into the measure of such
damages. A man's good name and reputation are worth more to him than all the wealth which
he can accumulate during a lifetime of industrious labor. To have them destroyed may be
eminently of more damage to him personally than the destruction of his physical wealth. The
loss is immeasurable. No amount of money can compensate him for his loss.
Notwithstanding the great loss which he, from his standpoint, sustains, the courts must
have some tangible basis upon which to estimate such damages.

In discussing the elements of damages in a case of libel, the Honorable James C. Jenkins,
who tried the present case in the court below, correctly said that, "The enjoyment of a
private reputation is as much a constitutional right as the possession of life, liberty or property.
It is one of those rights necessary to human society, that underlie the whole scheme of
human civilization. The respect and esteem of his fellows are among the highest
rewards of a wellspent life vouchsafed to man in this existence. The hope of it is the
inspiration of youth and its possession is a solace in later years. A man of affairs, a
business man, who has been seen known by his fellowmen in the active pursuits of life
for many years, and who has developed a great character and an unblemished
reputation, has secured a possession more useful and more valuable than lands or
houses or silver or gold. The law recognizes the value of such a reputation and
constantly strives to give redress for its injury. It imposes upon him who attacks it by
slanderous words or libelous publications, the liability to make full compensation for
the damage to the reputation, for the shame, obloquy and for the injury to the feelings
of its owner, which are caused by the publication of the slander or libel. The law goes
further. If the words are spoken or the publication is made with the intent to injure the
victim or with criminal indifference to civil obligation, it imposes such damages as the
jury, in view of all the circumstances of the particular case, adjudge that the wrongdoer
ought to pay as an example to the public and to deter others from doing likewise, and
for punishment for the infliction of the injury."
As was said above, the damages suffered by Mr. Worcester to his good name and
reputation are most difficult of ascertainment. The attorney for the appellants, in his
brief, lends the court but little assistance in reaching a conclusion upon this question.
The appellants leaves the whole question to the discretion of the court, without any
argument whatever.
After a careful examination, we are of the opinion that part of the judgment of the lower
court relating to the damages suffered by the Honorable Dean C. Worcester, should be
modified, and that a judgment should be rendered in favor of Mr. Dean C. Worcester
and against the defendants, jointly and severally, for the sum of P15,000, with interest at
6 per cent from the 23d of January, 1909.
With reference to the eleventh assignment of error above noted, to wit: That the court
erred in imposing punitive damages upon the defendants, we are of the opinion, after a
careful examination of the evidence, and in view of all of the facts and circumstances
and the malice connected with the publication of said editorial and the subsequent
publications with relation to said editorial, that the lower court, by virtue of the
provisions of Act No. 277 of the Philippine Commission, was justified in imposing
punitive damages upon the defendants.

Section 11 of Act No. 277 allows the court, in an action for libel, to render a judgment
for punitive damages, in an amount which the court may think will be a just
punishment to the libeler and an example to others.
Exemplary damages in civil actions for libel may always be recovered if the defendant
or defendants are actuated by malice. In the present case there was not the slightest
effort on the part of the defendants to show the existence of probable cause or
foundation whatever for the facts contained in said editorial. Malice, hatred, and ill will
against the plaintiff are seen throughout the record. The said editorial not only
attempted to paint the plaintiff as a villain, but upon every occasion, the defendants
resorted to ridicule of the severest kind.
Here again we find difficulty in arriving at a conclusion relating to the damages which
should be imposed upon the defendants for the purpose of punishment. Upon this
question the courts must be governed in each case by the evidence, the circumstances
and their sound discretion. Taking into consideration the fact that some of the
defendants have been prosecuted criminally and have been sentenced, and considering
that fact as a part of the punitive damages, we have arrived at the conclusion that the
judgment of the lower court should be modified, and that a judgment should be
rendered against the defendants, jointly and severally, and in favor of the plaintiff, the
Honorable Dean C. Worcester, in the sum of P10,000, as punitive damages, with interest
at 6 per cent from the 23d day of January, 1909.
Therefore, after a full consideration of all the facts contained in the record and the errors
assigned by the appellants in this court, we are of the opinion that the judgment of the
lower court should be modified and that a judgment should be rendered in favor of
Dean C. Worcester and against the defendants Martin Ocampo, Teodoro M. Kalaw,
Manuel Palma, Arcadio Arellano, Angel Jose, Galo Lichauco, Felipe Barretto, and
Gregorio M. Cansipit, jointly and severally, for the sum of P25,000 with interest at 6 per
cent from the 23d of January, 1909, with costs, and that a judgment should be entered
absolving Lope K. Santos from any liability under said complaint. So ordered.
J. H. CHAPMAN, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
JAMES M. UNDERWOOD, defendant-appellee.
Wolfson & Wolfson for appellant.
Bruce, Lawrence, Ross & Block for appellee.
MORELAND, J.:

At the time the accident occurred, which is the basis of this action, there was a singletrack street-car line running along Calle Herran, with occasional switches to allow cars
to meet and pass each other. One of these switches was located at the scene of the
accident.
The plaintiff had been visiting his friend, a man by the name of Creveling, in front of
whose house the accident happened. He desired to board a certain "San Marcelino" car
coming from Santa Ana and bound for Manila. Being told by Creveling that the car was
approaching, he immediately, and somewhat hurriedly, passed from the gate into the
street for the purpose of signaling and boarding the car. The car was a closed one, the
entrance being from the front or the rear flatform. Plaintiff attempted to board the front
platform but, seeing that he could not reached it without extra exertion, stopped beside
the car, facing toward the rear platform, and waited for it to come abreast of him in
order to board. While in this position he was struck from behind and run over by the
defendant's automobile.
The defendant entered Calle Herran at Calle Peafrancia in his automobile driven by
his chauffeur, a competent driver. A street car bound from Manila to Santa Ana being
immediately in front of him, he followed along behind it. Just before reaching the scene
of the accident the street car which was following took the switch that is, went off the
main line to the left upon the switch lying alongside of the main track. Thereupon the
defendant no longer followed that the street car nor went to the left, but either kept
straight ahead on the main street-car track or a bit to the right. The car which the
plaintiff intended to board was on the main line and bound in an opposite direction to
that in which the defendant was going. When the front of the "San Marcelino" car, the
one the plaintiff attempted to board, was almost in front of the defendant's automobile,
defendant's driver suddenly went to the right and struck and ran over the plaintiff, as
above described.
The judgment of the trial court was for defendant.
A careful examination of the record leads us to the conclusion that the defendant's
driver was guilty of negligence in running upon and over the plaintiff. He was passing
an oncoming car upon the wrong side. The plaintiff, in common out to board the car,
was not obliged, for his own protection, to observe whether a car was coming upon him
from his left hand. He had only to guard against those coming from the right. He knew
that, according to the law of the road, no automobile or other vehicle coming from his
left should pass upon his side of the car. He needed only to watch for cars coming from
his right, as they were the only ones under the law permitted to pass upon that side of
the street car.

The defendant, however, is not responsible for the negligence of his driver, under the
facts and circumstances of this case. As we have said in the case of Johnson vs. David (5
Phil. Rep., 663), the driver does not fall within the list of persons in article 1903 of the
Civil Code for whose acts the defendant would be responsible.
Although in the David case the owner of the vehicle was not present at the time the
alleged negligent acts were committed by the driver, the same rule applies where the
owner is present, unless the negligent act of the driver are continued for such a length
of time as to give the owner a reasonable opportunity to observe them and to direct his
driver to desist therefrom. An owner who sits in his automobile, or other vehicle, and
permits his driver to continue in a violation of the law by the performance of negligent
acts, after he has had a reasonable opportunity to observe them and to direct that the
driver cease therefrom, becomes himself responsible for such acts. The owner of an
automobile who permits his chauffeur to drive up to Escolta, for example, at a speed of
60 miles an hour, without any effort to stop him, although he has had a reasonable
opportunity to do so, becomes himself responsible, both criminally and civilly, for the
results produced by the acts of his chauffeur. On the other hand, if the driver, by a
sudden act of negligence, and without the owner having a reasonable opportunity to
prevent the acts or its continuance, injures a person or violates the criminal law, the
owner of the automobile, although present therein at the time the act was committed, is
not responsible, either civilly or criminally, therefor. The act complained of must be
continued in the presence of the owner for such a length a time that the owner, by his
acquiescence, makes his driver's act his own.
In the case before us it does not appear from the record that, from the time the
automobile took the wrong side of the road to the commission of the injury, sufficient
time intervened to give the defendant an opportunity to correct the act of his driver.
Instead, it appears with fair clearness that the interval between the turning out to meet
and pass the street car and the happening of the accident was so small as not to be
sufficient to charge defendant with the negligence of the driver.
Whether or not the owner of an automobile driven by a competent driver, would be
responsible, whether present or not, for the negligent acts of his driver when the
automobile was a part of a business enterprise, and was being driven at the time of the
accident in furtherance of the owner's business, we do not now decide.
The judgment appealed from is affirmed, with costs against the appellant.
MARCIAL T. CAEDO, JUANA SANGALANG CAEDO, and the Minors, EPHRAIM
CAEDO, EILEEN CAEDO, ROSE ELAINE CAEDO, suing through their father,

MARCIAL T. CAEDO, as guardian ad litem, plaintiffs-appellants,


vs.
YU KHE THAI and RAFAEL BERNARDO, defendants-appellants.
Norberto J. Quisumbing for plaintiffs-appellants.
De Joya, Lopez, Dimaguila, Hermoso and Divino for defendants-appellants
MAKALINTAL, J.:
As a result of a vehicular accident in which plaintiff Marcial Caedo and several
members of his family were injured they filed this suit for recovery of damages from the
defendants. The judgment, rendered by the Court of First Instance of Rizal on February
26, 1960 (Q-2952), contains the following disposition:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the court renders a judgment, one in favor of
the plaintiffs and against the defendants, Yu Khe Thai and Rafael Bernardo,
jointly and severally, to pay to plaintiffs Marcial Caedo, et al., the sum of
P1,929.70 for actual damages; P48,000.00 for moral damages; P10,000.00 for
exemplary damages; and P5,000.00 for attorney's fees, with costs against the
defendants. The counterclaim of the defendants against the plaintiffs is hereby
ordered dismissed, for lack of merits.
On March 12, 1960 the judgment was amended so as to include an additional award of
P3,705.11 in favor of the plaintiffs for the damage sustained by their car in the accident.
Both parties appealed to the Court of Appeals, which certified the case to us in view of
the total amount of the plaintiffs' claim.
There are two principal questions posed for resolution: (1) who was responsible for the
accident? and (2) if it was defendant Rafael Bernardo, was his employer, defendant Yu
Khe Thai, solidarily liable with him? On the first question the trial court found Rafael
Bernardo negligent; and on the second, held his employer solidarily liable with him.
The mishap occurred at about 5:30 in the morning of March 24, 1958 on Highway 54
(now E. de los Santos Avenue) in the vicinity of San Lorenzo Village. Marcial was
driving his Mercury car on his way from his home in Quezon City to the airport, where
his son Ephraim was scheduled to take a plane for Mindoro. With them in the car were
Mrs. Caedo and three daughters. Coming from the opposite direction was the Cadillac
of Yu Khe Thai, with his driver Rafael Bernardo at the wheel, taking the owner from his
Paraaque home to Wack Wack for his regular round of golf. The two cars were
traveling at fairly moderate speeds, considering the condition of the road and the

absence of traffic the Mercury at 40 to 50 kilometers per hour, and the Cadillac at
approximately 30 to 35 miles (48 to 56 kilometers). Their headlights were mutually
noticeable from a distance. Ahead of the Cadillac, going in the same direction, was
a caretella owned by a certain Pedro Bautista. The carretela was towing another horse by
means of a short rope coiled around the rig's vertical post on the right side and held at
the other end by Pedro's son, Julian Bautista.
Rafael Bernardo testified that he was almost upon the rig when he saw it in front of
him, only eight meters away. This is the first clear indication of his negligence.
The carretela was provided with two lights, one on each side, and they should have
given him sufficient warning to take the necessary precautions. And even if he did not
notice the lights, as he claimed later on at the trial, the carretela should anyway have
been visible to him from afar if he had been careful, as it must have been in the beam of
his headlights for a considerable while.
In the meantime the Mercury was coming on its own lane from the opposite direction.
Bernardo, instead of slowing down or stopping altogether behind the carretela until that
lane was clear, veered to the left in order to pass. As he did so the curved end of his
car's right rear bumper caught the forward rim of the rig's left wheel, wrenching it off
and carrying it along as the car skidded obliquely to the other lane, where it collided
with the oncoming vehicle. On his part Caedo had seen the Cadillac on its own lane; he
slackened his speed, judged the distances in relation to thecarretela and concluded that
the Cadillac would wait behind. Bernardo, however, decided to take a gamble beat
the Mercury to the point where it would be in line with the carretela, or else squeeze in
between them in any case. It was a risky maneuver either way, and the risk should have
been quite obvious. Or, since the car was moving at from 30 to 35 miles per hour (or 25
miles according to Yu Khe Thai) it was already too late to apply the brakes when
Bernardo saw the carretela only eight meters in front of him, and so he had to swerve to
the left in spite of the presence of the oncoming car on the opposite lane. As it was, the
clearance Bernardo gave for his car's right side was insufficient. Its rear bumper, as
already stated, caught the wheel of the carretela and wrenched it loose. Caedo,
confronted with the unexpected situation, tried to avoid the collision at the last moment
by going farther to the right, but was unsuccessful. The photographs taken at the scene
show that the right wheels of his car were on the unpaved shoulder of the road at the
moment of impact.
There is no doubt at all that the collision was directly traceable to Rafael Bernardo's
negligence and that he must be held liable for the damages suffered by the plaintiffs.
The next question is whether or not Yu Khe Thai, as owner of the Cadillac, is solidarily
liable with the driver. The applicable law is Article 2184 of the Civil Code, which reads:

ART. 2184. In motor vehicle mishaps, the owner is solidarily liable with his
driver, if the former, who was in the vehicle, could have, by the use of due
diligence, prevented the misfortune. It is disputably presumed that a driver was
negligent, if he had been found guilty of reckless driving or violating traffic
regulations at least twice within the next preceding two months.
Under the foregoing provision, if the causative factor was the driver's negligence, the
owner of the vehicle who was present is likewise held liable if he could have prevented
the mishap by the exercise of due diligence. The rule is not new, although formulated as
law for the first time in the new Civil Code. It was expressed in Chapman vs.
Underwood (1914), 27 Phil. 374, where this Court held:
... The same rule applies where the owner is present, unless the negligent acts of
the driver are continued for such a length of time as to give the owner a
reasonable opportunity to observe them and to direct his driver to desist
therefrom. An owner who sits in his automobile, or other vehicle, and permits
his driver to continue in a violation of the law by the performance of negligent
acts, after he has had a reasonable opportunity to observe them and to direct that
the driver cease therefrom, becomes himself responsible for such acts. The owner
of an automobile who permits his chauffeur to drive up the Escolta, for example,
at a speed of 60 miles an hour, without any effort to stop him, although he has
had a reasonable opportunity to do so, becomes himself responsible, both
criminally and civilly, for the results produced by the acts of the chauffeur. On
the other hand, if the driver, by a sudden act of negligence, and without the
owner having a reasonable opportunity to prevent the act or its continuance,
injures a person or violates the criminal law, the owner of the automobile,
although present therein at the time the act was committed, is not responsible,
either civilly or criminally, therefor. The act complained of must be continued in
the presence of the owner for such a length of time that the owner, by his
acquiescence, makes his driver act his own.
The basis of the master's liability in civil law is not respondent superior but rather the
relationship of paterfamilias. The theory is that ultimately the negligence of the servant, if
known to the master and susceptible of timely correction by him, reflects his own
negligence if he fails to correct it in order to prevent injury or damage.
In the present case the defendants' evidence is that Rafael Bernardo had been Yu Khe
Thai's driver since 1937, and before that had been employed by Yutivo Sons Hardware
Co. in the same capacity for over ten years. During that time he had no record of
violation of traffic laws and regulations. No negligence for having employed him at all

may be imputed to his master. Negligence on the part of the latter, if any, must be
sought in the immediate setting and circumstances of the accident, that is, in his failure
to detain the driver from pursuing a course which not only gave him clear notice of the
danger but also sufficient time to act upon it. We do not see that such negligence may
be imputed. The car, as has been stated, was not running at an unreasonable speed. The
road was wide and open, and devoid of traffic that early morning. There was no reason
for the car owner to be in any special state of alert. He had reason to rely on the skill
and experience of his driver. He became aware of the presence of the carretela when his
car was only twelve meters behind it, but then his failure to see it earlier did not
constitute negligence, for he was not himself at the wheel. And even when he did see it
at that distance, he could not have anticipated his driver's sudden decision to pass
the carretela on its left side in spite of the fact that another car was approaching from the
opposite direction. The time element was such that there was no reasonable
opportunity for Yu Khe Thai to assess the risks involved and warn the driver
accordingly. The thought that entered his mind, he said, was that if he sounded a
sudden warning it might only make the other man nervous and make the situation
worse. It was a thought that, wise or not, connotes no absence of that due diligence
required by law to prevent the misfortune.
The test of imputed negligence under Article 2184 of the Civil Code is, to a great degree,
necessarily subjective. Car owners are not held to a uniform and inflexible standard of
diligence as are professional drivers. In many cases they refrain from driving their own
cars and instead hire other persons to drive for them precisely because they are not
trained or endowed with sufficient discernment to know the rules of traffic or to
appreciate the relative dangers posed by the different situations that are continually
encountered on the road. What would be a negligent omission under aforesaid Article
on the part of a car owner who is in the prime of age and knows how to handle a motor
vehicle is not necessarily so on the part, say, of an old and infirm person who is not
similarly equipped.
The law does not require that a person must possess a certain measure of skill or
proficiency either in the mechanics of driving or in the observance of traffic rules before
he may own a motor vehicle. The test of his intelligence, within the meaning of Article
2184, is his omission to do that which the evidence of his own senses tells him he should
do in order to avoid the accident. And as far as perception is concerned, absent a
minimum level imposed by law, a maneuver that appears to be fraught with danger to
one passenger may appear to be entirely safe and commonplace to another. Were the
law to require a uniform standard of perceptiveness, employment of professional
drivers by car owners who, by their very inadequacies, have real need of drivers'
services, would be effectively proscribed.

We hold that the imputation of liability to Yu Khe Thai, solidarily with Rafael Bernardo,
is an error. The next question refers to the sums adjudged by the trial court as damages.
The award of P48,000 by way of moral damages is itemized as follows:
1. Marcial Caedo

P 20,000.00

2. Juana S. Caedo

15,000.00

3. Ephraim Caedo

3,000.00

4. Eileen Caedo

4,000.00

5. Rose Elaine Caedo

3,000.00

6. Merilyn Caedo

3,000.00

Plaintiffs appealed from the award, claiming that the Court should have granted them
also actual or compensatory damages, aggregating P225,000, for the injuries they
sustained. Defendants, on the other hand maintain that the amounts awarded as moral
damages are excessive and should be reduced. We find no justification for either side.
The amount of actual damages suffered by the individual plaintiffs by reason of their
injuries, other than expenses for medical treatment, has not been shown by the
evidence. Actual damages, to be compensable, must be proven. Pain and suffering are
not capable of pecuniary estimation, and constitute a proper ground for granting moral,
not actual, damages, as provided in Article 2217 of the Civil Code.
The injuries sustained by plaintiffs are the following:
MARCIAL T. CAEDO:
A. Contusion, with hematoma, scalp, frontal left; abrasions, chest wall,
anterior;
B. Multiple fractures, ribs, right, lst to 5th inclusive. Third rib has a double
fracture; Subparieto-plaural hematoma; Basal disc atelectasis, lung, right
lower lobe, secondary;
C. Pseudotosis, left, secondary to probable basal fracture, skull.
JUANA SANGALANG CAEDO:
A. Abrasions, multiple:
(1)frontal region, left; (2) apex of nose; (3) upper eyelid, left; (4) knees.
B. Wound, lacerated, irregular, deep, frontal;

C. Fracture, simple, 2nd rib posterior, left with displacement.


D. Fracture, simple, base, proximal phalanx right, big toe.
E. Fracture, simple, base, metatarsals III and V right.
F. Concussion, cerebral.
EPHRAIM CAEDO:
A. Abrasions, multiple:
(1) left temporal area; (2) left frontal; (3) left supraorbital
EILEEN CAEDO:
A. Lacerated wound (V-shaped), base, 5th finger, right, lateral aspect.
B. Abrasions, multiple:
(1) dorsum, proximal phalanx middle finger; (2) Knee, anterior,
bilateral; (3) shin, lower 1/3.
ROSE ELAINE CAEDO:
A. Abrasions, multiple: (1) upper and lower lids; (2) left temporal; (3)
nasolabial region; (4) leg, lower third, anterior.
MARILYN CAEDO:
A. Abrasions, multiple: (1)shin, lower 1/3 right; (2) arm, lower third
C. Contusion with hematoma, shin, lower 1/3, anterior aspect, right. (See
Exhibits D, D-1, D-2, D-3, D-4, and D- 5)
It is our opinion that, considering the nature and extent of the above-mentioned
injuries, the amounts of moral damages granted by the trial court are not excessive.
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is modified in the sense of declaring
defendant-appellant Yu Khe Thai free from liability, and is otherwise affirmed with
respect to defendant Rafael Bernardo, with costs against the latter.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro and Capistrano, JJ., concur.
FELINA RODRIGUEZ-LUNA, JOSE R. LUNA and ROBERTO R. LUNA,
JR., petitioners,
vs.

THE HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, JOSE E. DELA ROSA and LUIS
DELA ROSA, respondents.
Ezequiel S. Consulta for petitioners.
David M. Castro for respondents.

ABAD SANTOS, J.:


This is a petition to review a decision of the defunct Court of Appeals. The petitioners
are the heirs of Roberto R. Luna who was killed in a vehicular collision. The collision
took place on January 18, 1970, at the go-kart practice area in Greenhills, San Juan,
Metro Manila. Those involved were the go-kart driven by the deceased, a business
executive, and a Toyota car driven by Luis dela Rosa, a minor of 13 years who had no
driver's license.
In a suit for damages brought by the heirs of Roberto R. Luna against Luis dela Rosa
and his father Jose dela Rosa, the Court of First Instance of Manila in Civil Case No.
81078, rendered the following judgment:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered sentencing the defendants
Luis dela Rosa and Jose dela Rosa to pay, jointly and severally, to the
plaintiffs the sum of P1,650,000.00 as unearned net earnings of Roberto
Luna, P12,000.00 as compensatory damages, and P50,000.00 for the loss of
his companionship, with legal interest from the date of this decision; plus
attorney's fees in the sum of P50,000.00, and the costs of suit. (Record on
Appeal, p. 35.)
The defendants appealed to the defunct Court of Appeals which in a decision dated
May 22, 1979, affirmed in totothat of the trial court. (Rollo, p. 48.) However, upon a
motion for reconsideration filed by the defendants-appellants, the Court of Appeals, in
a resolution dated June 19, 1981, modified its judgment thus:
WHEREFORE, the decision rendered in this case is hereby modified
insofar as the judgment ordering the defendants to pay, jointly and
severally, the sum of P 1,650,000.00 to plaintiffs with legal interest from
July 5, 1973, is concerned. In lieu thereof, defendants are hereby ordered
to pay plaintiffs, jointly and severally, the sum of Four Hundred Fifty
Thousand Pesos (P450,000.00) as unearned net earnings of Roberto R.

Luna, with legal interest thereon from the date of the filing of the
complaint until the whole amount shall have been totally paid.
The rest of the other dispositions in the judgment a quo stand. (Rollo, pp.
33-34.)
Both parties filed separate petitions for review of the appellate court's decision.
In G.R. No. 57362, the petition for review of Jose and Luis dela Rosa was denied for lack
of merit on October 5, 1981. Subsequently, they informed that the decision sought to be
reviewed was not yet final because the Lunas had a pending motion for
reconsideration. For prematurity, this Court set aside all previous resolutions. On
February 16, 1983, acting upon the motion and manifestation of the petitioners, they
were required to file an amended petition within thirty days from notice. On June 20,
1983, this Court resolved: "For failure of the petitioners to file an amended petition as
required, this case is hereby DISMISSED and the dismissal is final."
The instant case G.R. No. 62988 is the separate appeal of the Lunas. Their petition
contains the following prayer:
1. That the petition be given due course;
2. That after notice and hearing, judgment be rendered, setting aside or
modifying the RESOLUTION of respondent Court of Appeals dated June
19, 1981, attached as Annex "A" to the petition, only insofar as it reduced
the unearned net earnings to P450,000.00, s as to affirm the trial court's
finding as to the unearned net earnings of the deceased in the amount of
P1,650,000.00;
3. Ordering that the award of attorney's fees shall also be with interest, at
the legal rate. (Rollo, p. 27.)
On June 27, 1983, the petition was given due course. (Rollo, pp. 122-123.)
In the light of the foregoing, the resolution stated:
It thus appears that the questions in esse are with respect to the award for
unearned net earnings should the award be P450,000.00 only or should
it be P1,650,000.00 as originally adjudged; and whether the award for
attorney's fees shall also be with interest at the legal rate.

The Court takes notice that the wrongful death occurred as early as
January 18, 1970, and that until now the process of litigation is not yet
over. In the meantime the value of the Philippine peso has been seriously
eroded so that the heirs of the deceased may ultimately have a greatly
depreciated judgment. In the interest of justice, the private respondents
are hereby ordered to PAY to the petitioners within thirty (30) days from
notice the following amounts adjudged against them: P450,000.00 for
unearned net earnings of the deceased; (P12,000.00 as compensatory
damages; P50,000.00 for the loss of his companionship with legal interest
from July 3, 1973; and P50,000.00 as attorney's fees.
Still to be resolved shall be the following: whether the award for unearned
net earnings shall be increased to P1,650,000.00; and whether the award
for attorney's fees shall also be with interest at the legal rate. The costs will
be adjudged as a matter of course. (Rollo, p. 123.)
The private respondents failed to pay the amounts and when required to explain they
said that they had no cash money. Accordingly, this Court directed the trial court to
issue a writ of execution but the attempt of the special sheriff to enter the private
respondent's premises so that he could make an inventory of personal properties was
thwarted by guards and this Court had to direct the Chief of the Philippine
Constabulary to assist in enforcing the writ of execution. The execution yielded only a
nominal amount. In the meantime, Luis dela Rosa is now of age, married with two
children, and living in Madrid, Spain with an uncle but only casually employed. It is
said: "His compensation is hardly enough to support his family. He has no assets of his
own as yet." (Rollo, p. 208.)
1. On the amount of the award.
The award of P1,650,000.00 was based on two factors, namely: (a) that the deceased
Roberto R. Luna could have lived for 30 more years; and (b) that his annual net income
was P55,000.00, computed at P75,000.00 annual gross income less P20,000.00 annual
personal expenses.
This is what the trial court said on Luna's life expectancy:
According to the American Experience Table of Mortality, at age 33 the
life expectancy of Roberto Luna was 33.4 years, and under the
Commissioner Standard Ordinary, used by our domestic insurance
companies since 1968 for policies above P5,000.00 his life expectancy was

38.51 years. Dr. Vicente Campa, medical director of San Miguel


Corporation, testified that he was the regular physician of Roberto Luna
since his marriage to Felina Rodriguez in 1957. He said that except for a
slight anemia which he had ten years earlier, Roberto Luna was of good
health. Allowing for this condition, he could reasonably expect to have a
life expectancy of 30 years. (Record on Appeal, p. 33.)
The Court of Appeals in sustaining the trial court's conclusion said:
We have not been persuaded to disturb the conclusion that the deceased
had a life expectancy of thirty years. At the time of Luna's death, he was
only thirty-three years old and in the best of health. With his almost
perfect physical condition and his sound mind, the expectation that he
could have lived for another thirty years is reasonable, considering that
with his educational attainment, his social and financial standing, he had
the means of staying fit and preserving his health and well-being. That he
could have lived at least until the age of sixty-three years is an assessment
which is more on the conservative side in view of the testimony of Dr.
Vicente Campa that the general life expectancy nowadays had gone up to
seventy years. (Rollo, p. 45.)
The Court of Appeals likewise sustained the trial court in respect of Luna's annual
income and expense. This is what the trial court said:
Roberto Luna was 33 years old when he died, and was survived by his
wife Felina Rodriguez-Luna, and two children, Roberto Jr., 13 years, and
Jose, 12 years. His wife was 35 years old at the time. He declared a gross
income of P16,900.00 for 1967 (Exhibit I), P29,700,000 for 1968 (Exhibit H)
and P45,117.69 for 1969 (Exhibit G). He had investments in various
corporations amounting to P136,116.00 (Exhibits K, M, M-1, N, N-1 to N-3,
O, O-1, P, Q and R) and was the president and general manager of
Rodlum Inc.; general manager of Esso Greenhills Service Center; Assistant
manager of Jose Rodriguez Lanuza Sons; director of Steadfast Investment
Corporation; chairman and treasurer of Greenhills Industrial Corporation;
vice-president of Oasis, Inc.; director of Nation Savings Association;
director of Arlun Taxi; and treasurer of National Association of Retired
Civil Employees.
... . His income tax returns show an increase in his income in the short
period of three years. It is reasonable to expect that it would still go higher

for the next fifteen years and reach a minimum of P75,000.00 a year. The
potential increase in the earning capacity of a deceased person is
recognized by the Supreme Court. ... the court believes that the expected
gross earnings of Roberto Luna should be fixed in the sum of P75,000.00 a
year for the period of his life expectancy of 30 years, but deducting his
personal expenses which, because of his business and social standing the
court in the amount of P20,000.00 a year, in accordance with the rulings of
the Supreme Court. (Record on Appeal, pp. 32-34.)
Acting on a motion for reconsideration filed by the dela Rosas, the Court of Appeals
took into account the fact "that the deceased Roberto R. Luna had been engaged in car
racing as a sport, having participated in tournaments both here and abroad;" it said that
Luna's habit and manner of life should be "one of the factors affecting the value of
mortality table in actions for damages;" and, consequently, concluded that Luna could
not have lived beyond 43 years. The result was that the 30-year life expectancy of Luna
was reduced to 10 years only.
Further on the motion for reconsideration, the Court of Appeals ruled in respect of
Luna's annual personal expenses:
... . Considering the escalating price of automobile gas which is a key
expenditure in Roberto R. Luna's social standing, We should increase that
amount to P30,000.00 as the would be personal expenses of the deceased
per annum. (Rollo, p. 33.)
The Court of Appeals then determined the amount of the award thus: P75,000.00 annual
gross income less P30,000.00 annual personal expenses leaves P45,000.00 multiplied by
10 years of life expectancy and the product is P450,000.00.
The petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred when by its resolution of June
19, 1981, it reduced Luna's life expectancy from 30 to 10 Years and increased his annual
personal expenses from P20,000.00 to P30,000.00. We sustain the petitioners.
The Court of Appeals, in reducing Luna's life expectancy from 30 to 10 years said that
his habit and manner of life should be taken into account, i.e. that he had been engaged
in car racing as a sport both here and abroad - a dangerous and risky activity tending to
shorten his life expectancy. That Luna had engaged in car racing is not based on any
evidence on record. That Luna was engaged in go-kart racing is the correct statement
but then go-kart racing cannot be categorized as a dangerous sport for go-karts are
extremely low slung, low powered vehicles, only slightly larger than foot-pedalled four

wheeled conveyances. It was error on the part of the Court of Appeals to have
disturbed the determination of the trial court which it had previously affirmed.
Similarly, it was error for the Court of Appeals to reduce the net annual income of the
deceased by increasing his annual personal expenses but without at the same time
increasing his annual gross income. It stands to reason that if his annual personal
expenses should increase because of the "escalating price of gas which is a key
expenditure in Roberto R. Luna's social standing" [a statement which lacks complete
basis], it would not be unreasonable to suppose that his income would also increase
considering the manifold sources thereof.
In short, the Court of Appeals erred in modifying its original decision.
2. Attorney's fees with or without interest at the legal rate.
The trial court awarded attorney's fees to the petitioners in the sum of P50,000.00. This
award was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in its decision of May 22, 1979. The
resolution of June 19, 1981, reaffirmed the award. The two decisions as well as the
resolution do not provide for interest at the legal rate to be tacked to the award.
The petitioners now pray that the award of attorney's fees be with interest at the legal
rate from the date of the filing of the complaint. There is merit in this prayer. The
attorney's fees were awarded in the concept of damages in a quasi-delict case and under
the circumstances interest as part thereof may be adjudicated at the discretion of the
court. (See Art. 2211, Civil Code.) As with the other damages awarded, the interest
should accrue only from the date of the trial court's decision.
The private respondents invoke Elcano vs. Hill, L-24803, May 26,1977; 77 SCRA 98,
where it was held that Article 2180 of the Civil Code applied to Atty. Marvin Hill
notwithstanding the emancipation by marriage of Reginald Hill, his son but since
Reginald had attained age, as a matter of equity, the liability of Atty. Hill had become
merely subsidiary to that of his son. It is now said that Luis dela Rosa, is now married
and of legal age and that as a matter of equity the liability of his father should be
subsidiary only.
We are unwilling to apply equity instead of strict law in this case because to do so will
not serve the ends of justice. Luis dela Rosa is abroad and beyond the reach of
Philippine courts. Moreover, he does not have any property either in the Philippines or
elsewhere. In fact his earnings are insufficient to support his family.

WHEREFORE, the resolution of the Court of Appeals dated June 19, 1981, is hereby set
aside; its decision dated May 22, 1979, is reinstated with the sole modification that the
award for attorney's fees shall earn interest at the legal rate from July 5, 1973, the date of
the trial court's decision. Costs against the private respondents.
SO ORDERED.
Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., Gutierrez, Jr. and De la Fuente, * JJ., concur.
Makasiar (Chairman), J., I reserve my vote.
SABINA EXCONDE, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
DELFIN CAPUNO and DANTE CAPUNO, defendants-appellees.
Magno T. Bueser for appellant.
Alver Law Offices and Edon B. Brion and Vencedor A. Alimario for appellees.
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:
Dante Capuno, son of Delfin Capuno, was accused of double homicide through reckless
imprudence for the death of Isidoro Caperina and Amado Ticzon on March 31, 1949 in
the Court of First Instance of Laguna (Criminal Case No. 15001). During the trial, Sabina
Exconde, as mother of the deceased Isidoro Caperina, reserved her right to bring a
separate civil action for damages against the accused. After trial, Dante Capuno was
found guilty of the crime charged and, on appeal, the Court Appeals affirmed the
decision. Dante Capuno was only (15) years old when he committed the crime.
In line with her reservation, Sabina Exconde filed the present action against Delfin
Capuno and his son Dante Capuno asking for damages in the aggregate amount of
P2,959.00 for the death of her son Isidoro Caperia. Defendants set up the defense that
if any one should be held liable for the death of Isidoro Caperina, he is Dante Capuno
and not his father Delfin because at the time of the accident, the former was not under
the control, supervision and custody, of the latter. This defense was sustained by the
lower court and, as a consequence it only convicted Dante Capuno to pay the damages
claimed in the complaint. From decision, plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals but
the case was certified to us on the ground that the appeal only involves questions of
law.
It appears that Dante Capuno was a member of the Boy Scouts Organization and a
student of the Bilintawak Elementary School situated in a barrio in the City of San Pablo

and on March 31, 1949 he attended a parade in honor of Dr. Jose Rizal in said city upon
instruction of the city school's supervisor. From the school Dante, with other students,
boarded a jeep and when the same started to run, he took hold of the wheel and drove it
while the driver sat on his left side. They have not gone far when the jeep turned turtle
and two of its passengers, Amado Ticzon and Isidore Caperia, died as a consequence.
It further appears that Delfin Capuno, father of Dante, was not with his son at the time
of the accident, nor did he know that his son was going to attend a parade. He only
came to know it when his son told him after the accident that he attended the parade
upon instruction of his teacher.
The only issue involved in this appeal is whether defendant Delfin Capuno can be held
civilly liable, jointly and severally with his son Dante, for damages resulting from the
death of Isidoro Caperia caused by the negligent act of minor Dante Capuno.
The case comes under Article 1903 of the Spanish Civil Code, paragraph 1 and 5, which
provides:
ART. 1903. The obligation impossed by the next preceding articles is enforceable
not only for personal acts and omissions, but also for those of persons for whom
another is responsible.
The father, and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are liable for any
damages caused by the minor children who live with them.
xxx

xxx

xxx

Finally, teachers or directors of arts and trades are liable for any damages caused
by their pupils or apprentices while they are under their custody.
Plaintiff contends that defendant Delfin Capuno is liable for the damages in question
jointly and severally with his son Dante because at the time the latter committed the
negligent act which resulted in the death of the victim, he was a minor and was then
living with his father, and inasmuch as these facts are not disputed, the civil liability of
the father is evident. And so, plaintiff contends, the lower court erred in relieving the
father from liability.
We find merit in this claim. It is true that under the law above quoted, "teachers or
directors of arts and trades are liable for any damages caused by their pupils or
apprentices while they are under their custody", but this provision only applies to an
institution of arts and trades and not to any academic educational institution (Padilla,
Civil Law, 1953, Ed., Vol. IV, p. 841; See 12 Manresa, 4th Ed., p. 557). Here Dante

capuno was then a student of the Balintawak Elementary School and as part of his
extra-curricular activity, he attended the parade in honor of Dr. Jose Rizal upon
instruction of the city school's supervisor. And it was in connection with that parade
that Dante boarded a jeep with some companions and while driving it, the accident
occurred. In the circumstances, it is clear that neither the head of that school, nor the
city school's supervisor, could be held liable for the negligent act of Dante because he
was not then a student of an institute of arts and trades as provided by law.
The civil liability which the law impose upon the father, and, in case of his death or
incapacity, the mother, for any damages that may be caused by the minor children who
live with them, is obvious. This is necessary consequence of the parental authority they
exercise over them which imposes upon the parents the "duty of supporting them,
keeping them in their company, educating them and instructing them in proportion to
their means", while, on the other hand, gives them the "right to correct and punish them
in moderation" (Articles 154 and 155, Spanish Civil Code). The only way by which they
can relieve themselves of this liability is if they prove that they exercised all the
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage(Article 1903, last
paragraph, Spanish Civil Code). This defendants failed to prove.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is modified in the sense that defendants
Delfin Capuno and Dante Capuno shall pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the sum
of P2,959.00 as damages, and the costs of action.
Bengzon, Montemayor, Labrador and Endencia, JJ., concur.
Paras, C.J., concurs in the result.

Separate Opinions
REYES, J.B.L., J., dissenting:
After mature consideration I believe we should affirm the judgement relieving the
father of liability. I can see no sound reason for limiting Art. 1903 of the old Civil Code
to teachers of arts and trades and not to academic ones. What substantial difference is
there between them in so far as, concerns the proper supervision and vigilance over
their pupils? It cannot be seriously contended that an academic teacher is exempt from
the duty of watching do not commit a tort to the detriment of third persons, so long as
they are in a position to exercise authority and supervision over the pupil. In my

opinion, in the phrase "teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades" used in
Art. 1903 of the old Civil Code, the words "arts and trades" does not qualify "teachers"
but only "heads of establishments". The phrase is only an updated version of the
equivalent terms "preceptors y artesanos" used in the Italian and French Civil Codes.
If, as conceded by all commentators, the basis of the presumption of negligence of Art.
1903 in some culpa in vigilando that the parents, teachers, etc. are supposed to have
incurred in the exercise of their authority, it would seem clear that where the parent
places the child under the effective authority of the teacher, the latter, and not the
parent, should be the one answerable for the torts committed while under his custody,
for the very reason that the parent is not supposed to interfere with the discipline of the
school nor with the authority and supervision of the teacher while the child is under
instruction. And if there is no authority, there can be no responsibility.
In the case before us, there is no question that the pupil, Dante Capuno, was instructed
by the City School Supervisor to attend the Rizal parade. His father could not properly
refuse to allow the child to attend, in defiance of the school authorities. The father had
every reason to assume that in ordering a minor to attend a parade with other children,
the school authorities would provide adequate supervision over them. If a teacher or
scout master was present, then he should be the one responsible for allowing the minor
to drive the jeep without being qualified to do so. On the other hand, if no teacher or
master was at hand to watch over the pupils, the school authorities are the ones
answerable for that negligence, and not the father.
At any rate, I submit that the father should not be held liable for a tort that he was in no
way able to prevent, and which he had every right to assume the school authorities
would avoid. Having proved that he trusted his child to the custody of school
authorities that were competent to exercise vigilance over him, the father has rebutted
the presumption of Art. 1903 and the burden of proof shifted to the claimant to show
actual negligence on the part of the parent in order to render him liable.
Padilla and Reyes, A., JJ., concur.
SEVERINO SALEN and ELENA SALBANERA, plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
JOSE BALCE, defendant-appellee.
Marciano C. Dating, Jr. for appellants.
Severino Balce for appellee.

BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:


On February 5, 1957, plaintiffs brought this action against defendant before the Court of
First Instance of Camarines Norte to recover the sum of P2,000.00, with legal interest
thereon from July 18, 1952, plus attorney' fees and other incidental expenses.
Defendant, in his answer, set up the defense that the law upon which plaintiffs
predicate their right to recover does not here apply for the reason that law refers to
quasi-delicts and not to criminal cases.
After trial, the court sustained the theory of defendant and dismissed the complaint
with costs. Hence the present appeal.
Plaintiffs are the legitimate parents of Carlos Salen who died single from wounds
caused by Gumersindo Balce, a legitimate son of defendant. At the time, Gumersindo
Balce was also Single, a minor below 18 years of age, and was living with defendant. As
a result of Carlos Salen's death, Gumersindo Balce accused and convicted of homicide
and was sentenced to imprisonment and to pay the heirs of the deceased an indemnity
in the amount of P2,000.00. Upon petition of plaintiff, the only heirs of the deceased, a
writ of execution was issued for the payment of the indemnity but it was returned
unsatisfied because Gumersindo Balce was insolvent and had no property in his name.
Thereupon, plaintiffs demanded upon defendant, father of Gumersindo, the payment of
the indemnity the latter has failed to pay, but defendant refused, thus causing plaintiffs
to institute the present action.
The question for determination is whether appellee can be held subsidiary liable to pay
the indemnity of P2,000.00 which his son was sentenced to pay in the criminal case filed
against him.
In holding that the civil liability of the son of appellee arises from his criminal liability
and, therefore, the subsidiary liability of appellee must be determined under the
provisions of the Revised Penal Code, and not under Article 2180 of the new Civil Code
which only applies to obligations which arise from quasi-delicts, the trial court made
the following observation:
The law provides that a person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable
(Art. 100 of the Revised Penal Code). But there is no law which holds the father
either primarily or subsidiarily liable for the civiliability inccured by the son who
is a minor of 8 years. Under Art. 101 of the Penal Code, the father is civilly liable
for the acts committed by his son if the latter is an imbecile, or insane, or under 9

years of age or over 9 but under 15, who has acted without discernment. Under
Art. 102, only in keepers and tavern-keepers are held subsidiarily liable and
under Art. 103 of the same Penal Code, the subsidiary liability established in Art.
102 shall apply only to "employers, teachers, persons and corporations engaged
in any kind of industry for felonies committed by their servants, pupils,
workmen, apprentices or employees in the discharge of their duties." By the
principle of exclusio unus exclusio ulterius, the defendant in this case cannot be
held subsidiary liable for the civil liability of Gumersindo Balce who has been
convicted of homicide for the killing of the plaintiff's son Carlos Salen.
Art. 2180 of the Civil Code, relied by the plaintiff's, is not applicable to the case at
bar. It applies to obligations which arise from quasi-delicts and not obligations
which arise from criminal offenses. Civil liability arising from criminal
negligence or offenses is governed by the provisions of the Penal Code and civil
liability arising from civil negligence is governed by the provision of the Civil
Code. The obligation imposed by Art. 2176 of the New Civil Code expressly
refers to obligations which arise from quasi-delicts. And obligations arising from
quasi-delict (Commissioner's note). And according to Art. 2177, the
'responsibility for fault of negligence under Art. 2176 is entirely separate and
distinct from the civil liabilty arising from negligence under the Penal Code. . . .
While we agree with the theory that, as a rule, the civil liability arising from a crime
shall be governed by the provisions of the Revised Penal Code, we disagree with the
contention that the subsidiary liability of persons for acts of those who are under their
custody should likewise be governed by the same Code even in the absence of any
provision governing the case, for that would leave the transgression of certain right
without any punishment or sanction in the law. Such would be the case if we would
uphold the theory of appellee as sustained by the trial court.
It is true that under Article 101 of the Revised Penal Code, a father is made civilly liable
for the acts committed by his son only if the latter is an imbecile, an insane, under 9
years of age, over 9 but under 15 years of age, who act without discernment, unless it
appears that there is no fault or negligence on his part. This is because a son who
commits the act under any of those conditions is by law exempt from criminal liability
(Article 12, subdivisions 1, 2 and 3, Revised Penal Code). The idea is not to leave the act
entirely unpunished but to attach certain civil liability to the person who has the
deliquent minor under his legal authority or control. But a minor over 15 who acts with
discernment is not exempt from criminal liability, for which reason the Code is silent as
to the subsidiary liability of his parents should he stand convicted. In that case, resort
should be had to the general law which is our Civil Code.

The particular law that governs this case is Article 2180, the pertinent portion of which
provides: "The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible
for damages caused by the minor children who lived in their company." To hold that
this provision does not apply to the instant case because it only covers obligations
which arise from quasi-delicts and not obligations which arise from criminal offenses,
would result in the absurdity that while for an act where mere negligence intervenes the
father or mother may stand subsidiarily liable for the damage caused by his or her son,
no liability would attach if the damage is caused with criminal intent. Verily, the void
that apparently exists in the Revised Penal Code is subserved by this particular
provision of our Civil Code, as may be gleaned from some recent decisions of this Court
which cover equal or identical cases.
A case in point is Exconde vs. Capuno, 101 Phil., 843, the facts of which are as follows:
Dante Capuno, a minor of 15 years of age, lives in the company of his father,
Delfin Capuno. He is a student of the Balintawak Elementary School in the City
of San Pablo and a member of the Boy Scout Organization of his school. On
Marcy 31, 1949, on the occasion of a certain parade in honor of Dr. Jose Rizal in
the City of San Pablo, Dante Capuno was one of those instructed by the City
School Supervisor to join the parade. From the school, Dante Capuno, together
with other students, boarded a jeep. When the jeep started to run, Dante Capuno
took hold of the wheel and drove it while the driver sat on his left side. They
have not gone far when the jeep turned turtle and two of its passengers, Amando
Ticson and Isidro Caperina died as a consequence. The corresponding criminal
action for double homicide through reckless imprudence was instituted against
Dante Capuno. During the trial, Sabina Exconde, as mother of the deceased
Isidro Caperina, reserved her right to bring a separate civil action for damages
against the accused. Dante Capuno was found guilty of the criminal offense
charged against him. In line with said reservation of Sabina Exconde, the
corresponding civil action for damages was filed against Delfin Capuno, Dante
Capuno and others.
In holding Delfin Capuno jointly and severally liable with his minor son Dante Capuno
arising from the criminal act committed by the latter, this Court made the following
ruling:
The civil liability which the law imposes upon the father and, in case of his death
or incapacity, the mother, for any damages that may be caused by the minor
children who live with them, is obvious. This is a necessary consequence of the
parental authority they exercise over them which imposes upon the parents the

"duty of supporting them, keeping them in their company, educating them in


proportion to their means", while, on the other hand, gives them the "right to
correct and punish them in moderation" (Arts. 134 and 135, Spanish Civil Code).
The only way by which they can relieved themselves of this liability is if they
prove that they exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent
the damage (Art. 1903, last paragraph, Spanish Civil Code.) This defendants
failed to prove.
Another case in point is Araneta vs. Arreglado 104 Phil., 524; 55 Off. Gaz. [9] 1961. The
facts of this case are as follows:
On March 7, 1951, while plaintiff Benjamin Araneta was talking with the other
students of the Ateneo de Manila while seated atop a low ruined wall bordering
the Ateneo grounds along Dakota Street, in the City of Manila, Dario Arreglado,
a former student of the Ateneo, chanced to pass by. Those on the wall called
Dario and conversed with him, and in the course of their talk, twitted him on his
leaving the Ateneo and enrolling in the De La Salle College. Apparently,
Arreglado resented the banter and suddenly pulling from his pocket a Japanese
Luger pistol (licensed in the name of his father Juan Arreglado), fired the same at
Araneta, hitting him in the lower jaw, causing him to drop backward, bleeding
profusely. Helped by his friends, the injured lad was taken first to the school
infirmary and later to the Singian Hospital, where he lay hovering between life
and death for three days. The vigor of youth came to his rescue; he rallied and
after sometime finally recovered, the gunshot would left him with a degenerative
injury to the jawbone (mandible) and a scar in the lower portion of the face,
where the bullet had plowed through. The behavior of Benjamin was likewise
affected, he becoming inhibited and morose after leaving the hospital.
Dario Arreglado was indicted for frustrated homicide and pleaded guilty, but in view
of his youth, he being only 14 years of age, the court suspended the proceedings as
prescribed by Article 80 of the Revised Penal Code. Thereafter, an action was instituted
by Araneta and his father against Juan Arreglado, his wife, and their son Dario, to
recover material, moral and exemplary damages. The court of first instance, after trial,
sentenced the Arreglados to pay P3,943.00 as damages and attorney's fees. From this
decision, the Araneta appealed in view of the meager amount of indemnity awarded.
This Court affirmed the decision but increased the indemnity to P18,000.00. This is a
typical case of parental subsidiary liability arising from the criminal act of a minor son.

Wherefore, the decision appealed from is reversed. Judgement is hereby rendered


ordering appellee to pay appellants the sum of P2,000.00, with legal interest thereon
from the filing of the complaint, and the costs.
AGAPITO FUELLAS, petitioner,
vs.
ELPIDIO CADANO, ET AL., respondents.
Ambrosio Padilla, Feliciano C. Tumale and Roberto R. Reverente for petitioner.
Valerio V. Rovira for respondents.
PAREDES, J.:
For serious physical injuries sustained by Pepito Cadano, son of plaintiff-appellee
Elpidio Cadano, two separate actions were instituted, Civil Case No. 583, filed on
October 1, 1954, for damages against Agapito Fuellas, father of the minor Rico Fuellas,
who caused the injuries, and Criminal Case No. 1765, against Rico Fuellas, filed on
November 11, 1954, for serious physical injuries. They were tried jointly. On May 18,
1956, a judgment of conviction in the criminal case was rendered, finding Rico Fuellas
guilty of the offense charged. No pronouncement as to his civil liability was made, the
trial judge having ruled that the same "shall be determined in Civil Case No. 583 of this
Court." On May 25, 1956, the same court, rendered judgment in the civil case making
defendant therein, now appellant Agapito Fuellas, liable under Art. 2180 of the new
Civil Code for the following damages:
For medicine, etc.

P1,000.00

For moral damages

6,000.00

As exemplary
damages

2,000.00

As attorney's fees
Total

600.00
P9,600.00

with 6% annual interest thereon until paid. The Court of Appeals modified the
judgment by reducing the moral damages to P3,000.00. An appeal was taken to this
tribunal solely on questions of law.

Pepito Cadano and Rico Fuellas, son of defendant-appellant Agapito Fuellas, were both
13 years old, on September 16, 1954. They were classmates at St. Mary's High School,
Dansalan City. In the afternoon of September 16, 1954, while Pepito was studying his
lessons in the classroom, Rico took the pencil of one Ernesto Cabanok and
surreptitiously placed it inside the pocket of Pepito. When Ernesto asked Rico to return
the pencil, it was Pepito who returned the same, an act which angered Rico, who held
the neck of Pepito and pushed him to the floor. Villamira, a teacher, separated Rico and
Pepito and told them to go home. Rico went ahead, with Pepito following. When Pepito
had just gone down of the schoolhouse, he was met by Rico, still in an angry mood.
Angelito Aba, a classmate, told the two to shake hands. Pepito extended his hand to
Rico. Instead of accepting the proffer to shake hands, Rico held Pepito by the neck and
with his leg, placed Pepito out of balance and pushed him to the ground. Pepito fell on
his right side with his right arm under his body, whereupon, Rico rode on his left side.
While Rico was in such position, Pepito suddenly cried out "My arm is broken." Rico
then got up and went away. Pepito was helped by others to go home. That same
evening Pepito was brought to the Lanao General Hospital for treatment (Exh. 4). An XRay taken showed that there was a complete fracture of the radius and ulna of the right
forearm which necessitated plaster casting (Exhs. A, B and D). On November 20, 1954,
more than a month after Pepito's release from the hospital, the plaster cast was
removed. And up to the last day of hearing of the case, the right forearm of Pepito was
seen to be shorter than the left forearm, still in bandage and could not be fully used.
It is contended that in the decision of the Court of Appeals, the petitioner-appellant was
ordered to pay damages for the deliberate injury caused by his son; that the said court
held the petitioner liable pursuant to par. 2 of Art. 2180 of the Civil Code, in connection
with Art. 2176 of the same Code; that according to the last article, the act of the minor
must be one wherein "fault or negligence" is present; and that there being no fault or
negligence on the part of petitioner-appellant's minor son, but deliberate intent, the
above mentioned articles are not applicable, for the existence of deliberate intent in the
commission of an act negatives the presence of fault or negligence in its commission.
Appellant, therefore, submits that the appellate Court erred in holding him liable for
damages for the deliberate criminal act of his minor son.
The above-mentioned provisions of the Civil Code states:
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 quasidelict and is governed by the provisions of this chapter. (Article 2176)

The obligations imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own
acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.
The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible for
the damages caused by the minor children who live in their company.
xxx

xxx

xxx (Article 2180).

In the case of Araneta vs. Arreglado, G.R. No. L-11394, prom. September 9, 1958,
Benjamin Araneta was talking with other students of the Ateneo de Manila, seated atop
a low ruined wall. Dario Arreglado, a former student of the Ateneo, chanced to pass by.
The boys twitted him on his leaving the Ateneo and enrolling in the De la Salle College.
Arreglado, resenting the banter, pulled a Japanese luger pistol (licensed in the name of
his father Juan Arreglado), fired the same at Araneta, hitting him in the lower jaw.
Dario was indicted for frustrated homicide and pleaded guilty. But in view of his youth,
he being only 14 years of age, the Court suspended the proceedings (Art. 80 of the
Revised Penal Code). Thereafter, action was instituted by Araneta and his father against
Juan Arreglado, his wife and their son Dario to recover material, moral and exemplary
damages. The Court of First Instance sentenced the Arreglados to pay P3,943.00 as
damages and attorney's fees. The Aranetas appealed in view of the meager amount of
indemnity awarded. This tribunal affirmed the decision but increased the indemnity to
P18,000.00. This decision was predicated upon the fact that Arreglado's father had acted
negligently in allowing his son to have access to the pistol used to injure Benjamin. And
this was the logical consequence of the case, considering the fact that the civil law
liability under Article 2180 is not respondeat superior but the relationship of pater
familias which bases the liability of the father ultimately on his own negligence and not
on that of his minor son (Cuison vs. Norton & Harrison, 55 Phil. 23), and that if an
injury is caused by the fault or negligence of his minor son, the law presumes that there
was negligence on the part of his father (Bahia vs. Litonjua y Leynes, 30 Phil., 625).
In an earlier case (Exconde vs. Capuno, et al., G.R. No. L-10132, prom. June 29, 1957),
holding the defendants jointly and severally liable with his minor son Dante for
damages, arising from the criminal act committed by the latter, this tribunal gave the
following reasons for the rule:
The civil liability which the law imposes upon the father and, in case of his death
or incapacity, the mother, for any damages that may be caused by the minor
children who live with them, is obvious. This is a necessary consequence of the
parental authority they exercise over them which imposes upon the parents the
"duty of supporting them, keeping them in their company, educating them in

proportion to their means", while on the other hand, gives them the "right to
correct and punish them in moderation" (Arts. 134 and 135, Spanish Civil Code).
The only way by which they can relieve themselves of this liability is if they
prove that they exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent
the damage (Art. 1903, last paragraph, Spanish Civil Code). This, defendants
failed to prove.
And a noted Spanish commentator said:
Since children and wards do not yet have the capacity to govern themselves, the
law imposes upon the parents and guardians the duty of exercising special
vigilance over the acts of their children and wards in order that damages to third
persons due to the ignorance, lack of foresight or discernment of such children
and wards may be avoided. If the parents and guardians fail to comply with this
duty, they should suffer the consequences of their abandonment or negligence by
repairing the damage caused" (12 Manresa, 649-650). (See also Arts. 311 and 316,
Civil Code).
It is further argued that the only way by which a father can be made responsible for the
criminal act of his son committed with deliberate intent and with discernment, is an
action based on the provisions of the Revised Penal Code on subsidiary liability of the
parents; that the minor Fuellas having been convicted of serious physical injuries at the
age of 13, the provisions of par. 3 of Art. 12, Revised Penal Code, could have been
applied, but having acted with discernment, Art. 101 of the same Code can not include
him. And as par. 2, of Art. 101, states that "the exemption from criminal liability
established in subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of Article 12 and in subdivision 4 of Art. 11 of
this Code does not include exemption from civil liability, which shall be enforced
subject to the following rules: First, in cases of subdivisions 1, 2 and 3 of Article 12, the
civil liability for acts committed by an imbecile or insane person and by a person under
nine years of age or by one over nine but under fifteen years of age, who has acted
without discernment, shall devolve upon those having such person under their legal
authority or control, unless it appears that there was no fault or negligence on their
part," the appellant concluded that this provision covers only a situation where a minor
under 15 but over 9 years old commits a criminal act "without discernment."
In the recent case of Salen and Salbanera vs. Jose Balce, G.R. No. L-14414, April 27, 1960; 57
Off. Gaz. No. 37, p. 6603, September 11, 1961, the defendant Balce was the father of a
minor Gumersindo Balce, below 18 years of age who was living with him. Gumersindo
was found guilty of homicide for having killed Carlos Salen, minor son of plaintiffs. The
trial court rendered judgment dismissing the case, stating that the civil liability of the

minor son of defendant arising from his criminal liability must be determined under the
provisions of the Revised Penal Code and not under Art. 2180 of the new Civil Code. In
reversing the decision, this tribunal held:
It is true that under Art. 101 of the Revised Penal Code, a father is made civilly
liable for the acts committed by his son only if the latter is an imbecile, an insane,
under 9 years of age, or over 9 but under 15 years of age, who acts without
discernment, unless it appears that there is no fault or negligence on his part.
This is because a son who commits the act under any of those conditions is by
law exempt from criminal liability (Article 12, subdivisions 1, 2 and 3, Revised
Penal Code). The idea is not to leave the act entirely unpunished but to attach
certain civil liability to the person who has the delinquent minor under his legal
authority or control. But a minor over 15 who acts with discernment is not
exempt from criminal liability, for which reason the Code is silent as to the
subsidiary liability of his parents should he stand convicted. In that case, resort
should be had to the general law which is our Civil Code.
The particular law that governs this case is Article 2180, the pertinent portion of
which provides: "The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother,
are responsible for damages caused by the minor children who live in their
company." To hold that this provision does not apply to the instant case because
it only covers obligations which arise from quasi-delicts and not obligations which
arise from criminal offenses, would result in the absurdity that while for an act
where mere negligence intervenes the father or mother may stand subsidiarily
liable for the damage caused by his or her son, no liability would attach if the
damage is caused with criminal intent. Verily, the void apparently exists in the
Revised Penal Code is subserved by this particular provision of our Civil Code,
as may be gleaned from some recent decisions of this Court which cover equal or
identical cases.
Moreover, the case at bar was decided by the Court of Appeals on the basis of the
evidence submitted therein by both parties, independently of the criminal case. And
responsibility for fault or negligence under Article 2176 upon which the action in the
present case was instituted, is entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability
arising from fault of negligence under the Penal Code (Art. 2177), and having in mind
the reasons behind the law as heretofore stated, any discussion as to the minor's
criminal responsibility is of no moment.
IN VIEW HEREOF, the petition is dismissed, the decision appealed from is affirmed,
with costs against the petitioner.

MACARIO TAMARGO, CELSO TAMARGO and AURELIA


TAMARGO, petitioners,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, THE HON. ARISTON L. RUBIO, RTC Judge, Branch
20, Vigan, Ilocos Sur; VICTOR BUNDOC; and CLARA BUNDOC, respondents.

FELICIANO, J.:
On 20 October 1982, Adelberto Bundoc, then a minor of 10 years of age, shot Jennifer
Tamargo with an air rifle causing injuries which resulted in her death. Accordingly, a
civil complaint for damages was filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 20, Vigan,
Ilocos Sur, docketed as Civil Case No. 3457-V, by petitioner Macario Tamargo, Jennifer's
adopting parent, and petitioner spouses Celso and Aurelia Tamargo, Jennifer's natural
parents against respondent spouses Victor and Clara Bundoc, Adelberto's natural
parents with whom he was living at the time of the tragic incident. In addition to this
case for damages, a criminal information or Homicide through Reckless Imprudence
was filed [Criminal Case No. 1722-V] against Adelberto Bundoc. Adelberto, however,
was acquitted and exempted from criminal liability on the ground that he bad acted
without discernment.
Prior to the incident, or on 10 December 1981, the spouses Sabas and Felisa Rapisura
had filed a petition to adopt the minor Adelberto Bundoc in Special Proceedings No.
0373-T before the then Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur. This petition for adoption
was grunted on, 18 November 1982, that is, after Adelberto had shot and killed Jennifer.
In their Answer, respondent spouses Bundoc, Adelberto's natural parents, reciting the
result of the foregoing petition for adoption, claimed that not they, but rather the
adopting parents, namely the spouses Sabas and Felisa Rapisura, were indispensable
parties to the action since parental authority had shifted to the adopting parents from
the moment the successful petition for adoption was filed.
Petitioners in their Reply contended that since Adelberto Bundoc was then actually
living with his natural parents, parental authority had not ceased nor been relinquished
by the mere filing and granting of a petition for adoption.
The trial court on 3 December 1987 dismissed petitioners' complaint, ruling that
respondent natural parents of Adelberto indeed were not indispensable parties to the
action.

Petitioners received a copy of the trial court's Decision on 7 December 1987. Within the
15-day reglementary period, or on 14 December 1987, petitioners filed a motion for
reconsideration followed by a supplemental motion for reconsideration on 15 January
1988. It appearing, however, that the motions failed to comply with Sections 4 and 5 of
Rule 15 of the Revised Rules of Court that notice of the motion shall be given to all
parties concerned at least three (3) days before the hearing of said motion; and that said
notice shall state the time and place of hearing both motions were denied by the trial
court in an Order dated 18 April 1988. On 28 April 1988, petitioners filed a notice of
appeal. In its Order dated 6 June 1988, the trial court dismissed the notice at appeal, this
time ruling that the notice had been filed beyond the 15-day reglementary period
ending 22 December 1987.
Petitioners went to the Court of Appeals on a petition
for mandamus and certiorari questioning the trial court's Decision dated 3 December 1987
and the Orders dated 18 April 1988 and 6 June 1988, The Court of Appeals dismissed
the petition, ruling that petitioners had lost their right to appeal.
In the present Petition for Review, petitioners once again contend that respondent
spouses Bundoc are the indispensable parties to the action for damages caused by the
acts of their minor child, Adelberto Bundoc. Resolution of this Petition hinges on the
following issues: (1) whether or not petitioners, notwithstanding loss of their right to
appeal, may still file the instant Petition; conversely, whether the Court may still take
cognizance of the case even through petitioners' appeal had been filed out of time; and
(2) whether or not the effects of adoption, insofar as parental authority is concerned
may be given retroactive effect so as to make the adopting parents the indispensable
parties in a damage case filed against their adopted child, for acts committed by the
latter, when actual custody was yet lodged with the biological parents.
1. It will be recalled that, petitioners' motion (and supplemental motion) for
reconsideration filed before the trial court, not having complied with the requirements
of Section 13, Rule 41, and Section 4, Rule 15, of the Revised Rules of Court, were
considered pro forma and hence did not interrupt and suspend the reglementary period
to appeal: the trial court held that the motions, not having contained a notice of time
and place of hearing, had become useless pieces of paper which did not interrupt the
reglementary period. 1 As in fact repeatedly held by this Court, what is mandatory is
the service of the motion on the opposing counsel indicating the time and place of
hearing. 2
In view, however, of the nature of the issue raised in the instant. Petition, and in order
that substantial justice may be served, the Court, invoking its right to suspend the

application of technical rules to prevent manifest injustice, elects to treat the notice of
appeal as having been seasonably filed before the trial court, and the motion (and
supplemental motion) for reconsideration filed by petitioner in the trial court as having
interrupted the reglementary period for appeal. As the Court held in Gregorio v. Court of
Appeals: 3
Dismissal of appeal; purely on technical grounds is frowned upon where
the policy of the courts is to encourage hearings of appeal on their merits.
The rules of procedure ought not be applied in a very rigid technical
sense, rules of procedure are used only to help secure not override,
substantial justice. if d technical and rigid enforcement of the rules is
made their aim would be defeated. 4
2. It is not disputed that Adelberto Bundoc's voluntary act of shooting Jennifer Tamargo
with an air rifle gave rise to a cause of action on quasi-delict against him. As Article 2176
of the Civil Code provides:
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 . . .
Upon the other hand, the law imposes civil liability upon the father and, in case of his
death or incapacity, the mother, for any damages that may be caused by a minor
child who lives with them. Article 2180 of the Civil Code reads:
The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's
own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is
responsible.
The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are
responsible for the damages caused by the minor children who live in their
company.
xxx xxx xxx
The responsibility treated of in this Article shall cease when the person
herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good
father of a family to prevent damage. (Emphasis supplied)

This principle of parental liability is a species of what is frequently designated as


vicarious liability, or the doctrine of "imputed negligence" under Anglo-American tort
law, where a person is not only liable for torts committed by himself, but also for torts
committed by others with whom he has a certain relationship and for whom he is
responsible. Thus, parental liability is made a natural or logical consequence of the
duties and responsibilities of parents their parental authority which includes the
instructing, controlling and disciplining of the child. 5 The basis for the doctrine of
vicarious liability was explained by the Court in Cangco v. Manila Railroad Co. 6 in the
following terms:
With respect to extra-contractual obligation arising from negligence,
whether of act or omission, it is competent for the legislature to elect
and our Legislature has so elected to limit such liability to cases in
which the person upon whom such an obligation is imposed is morally
culpable or, on the contrary, for reasons of public policy. to extend that
liability, without regard to the lack of moral culpability, so as to
include responsibility for the negligence of those persons whose acts or omissions
are imputable, by a legal fiction, to others who are in a position to exercise an
absolute or limited control over them. The legislature which adopted our Civil
Code has elected to limit extra-contractual liability with certain welldefined exceptions to cases in which moral culpability can be directly
imputed to the persons to be charged. This moral responsibility may consist in
having failed to exercise due care in one's own acts, or in having failed to
exercise due care in the selection and control of one's agent or servants, or in
the control of persons who, by reasons of their status, occupy a position of
dependency with respect to the person made liable for their conduct. 7 (Emphasis
Supplied)
The civil liability imposed upon parents for the torts of their minor children
living with them, may be seen to be based upon the parental authority vested by
the Civil Code upon such parents. The civil law assumes that when an
unemancipated child living with its parents commits a tortious acts, the parents
were negligent in the performance of their legal and natural duty closely to
supervise the child who is in their custody and control. Parental liability is, in
other words, anchored upon parental authority coupled with presumed parental
dereliction in the discharge of the duties accompanying such authority. The
parental dereliction is, of course, only presumed and the presumption can be
overtuned under Article 2180 of the Civil Code by proof that the parents had
exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage.

In the instant case, the shooting of Jennifer by Adelberto with an air rifle occured when
parental authority was still lodged in respondent Bundoc spouses, the natural parents
of the minor Adelberto. It would thus follow that the natural parents who had then
actual custody of the minor Adelberto, are the indispensable parties to the suit for
damages.
The natural parents of Adelberto, however, stoutly maintain that because a decree of
adoption was issued by the adoption court in favor of the Rapisura spouses, parental
authority was vested in the latter as adopting parents as of the time of the filing of the
petition for adoption that is, before Adelberto had shot Jennifer which an air rifle. The
Bundoc spouses contend that they were therefore free of any parental responsibility for
Adelberto's allegedly tortious conduct.
Respondent Bundoc spouses rely on Article 36 of the Child and Youth Welfare
Code 8 which reads as follows:
Art. 36. Decree of Adoption. If, after considering the report of the
Department of Social Welfare or duly licensed child placement agency
and the evidence submitted before it, the court is satisfied that the
petitioner is qualified to maintain, care for, and educate the child, that the
trial custody period has been completed, and that the best interests of the
child will be promoted by the adoption, a decree of adoption shall be entered,
which shall be effective he date the original petition was filed. The decree shall
state the name by which the child is thenceforth to be known. (Emphasis
supplied)
The Bundoc spouses further argue that the above Article 36 should be read in
relation to Article 39 of the same Code:
Art. 39. Effect of Adoption. The adoption shall:
xxx xxx xxx
(2) Dissolve the authority vested in the natural parents, except where the
adopter is the spouse of the surviving natural parent;
xxx xxx xxx
(Emphasis supplied)

and urge that their Parental authority must be deemed to have been dissolved as of the
time the Petition for adoption was filed.
The Court is not persuaded. As earlier noted, under the Civil Code, the basis of parental
liability for the torts of a minor child is the relationship existing between the parents
and the minor child living with them and over whom, the law presumes, the parents
exercise supervision and control. Article 58 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code, reenacted this rule:
Article 58 Torts Parents and guardians are responsible for the damage
caused by the child under their parental authority in accordance with the
civil Code. (Emphasis supplied)
Article 221 of the Family Code of the Philippines 9 has similarly insisted upon the
requisite that the child, doer of the tortious act, shall have beer in the actual custody of
the parents sought to be held liable for the ensuing damage:
Art. 221. Parents and other persons exercising parental authority shall be
civilly liable for the injuries and damages caused by the acts or omissions
of their unemancipated children living in their companyand under their
parental authority subject to the appropriate defenses provided by law.
(Emphasis supplied)
We do not believe that parental authority is properly regarded as having been
retroactively transferred to and vested in the adopting parents, the Rapisura spouses, at
the time the air rifle shooting happened. We do not consider that retroactive effect may
be giver to the decree of adoption so as to impose a liability upon the adopting parents
accruing at a time when adopting parents had no actual or physically custody over the adopted
child. Retroactive affect may perhaps be given to the granting of the petition for
adoption where such is essential to permit the accrual of some benefit or advantage in
favor of the adopted child. In the instant case, however, to hold that parental authority
had been retroactively lodged in the Rapisura spouses so as to burden them with
liability for a tortious act that they could not have foreseen and which they could not
have prevented (since they were at the time in the United States and had no physical
custody over the child Adelberto) would be unfair and unconscionable. Such a result,
moreover, would be inconsistent with the philosophical and policy basis underlying the
doctrine of vicarious liability. Put a little differently, no presumption of parental
dereliction on the part of the adopting parents, the Rapisura spouses, could have arisen
since Adelberto was not in fact subject to their control at the time the tort was
committed.

Article 35 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code fortifies the conclusion reached above.
Article 35 provides as follows:
Art. 35. Trial Custody. No petition for adoption shall be finally granted
unless and until the adopting parents are given by the courts a supervised
trial custody period of at least six months to assess their adjustment and
emotional readiness for the legal union. During the period of trial custody,
parental authority shall be vested in the adopting parents. (Emphasis supplied)
Under the above Article 35, parental authority is provisionally vested in the adopting
parents during the period of trial custody, i.e., before the issuance of a decree of
adoption, precisely because the adopting parents are given actual custody of the child during
such trial period. In the instant case, the trial custody period either had not yet begun or
bad already been completed at the time of the air rifle shooting; in any case, actual
custody of Adelberto was then with his natural parents, not the adopting parents.
Accordingly, we conclude that respondent Bundoc spouses, Adelberto's natural
parents, were indispensable parties to the suit for damages brought by petitioners, and
that the dismissal by the trial court of petitioners' complaint, the indispensable parties
being already before the court, constituted grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition for Review is hereby GRANTED DUE
COURSE and the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 6 September 1988, in C.A.G.R. No. SP-15016 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioners' complaint filed
before the trial court is hereby REINSTATED and this case is REMANDED to that court
for further proceedings consistent with this Decision. Costs against respondent Bundoc
spouses. This Decision is immediately executory.
SO ORDERED.
MARIA TERESA Y. CUADRA, minor represented by her father ULISES P.
CUADRA, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees,
vs.
ALFONSO MONFORT, defendant-appellant.
Rodolfo J. Herman for plaintiffs-appellees.
Luis G. Torres and Abraham E. Tionko for defendant-appellant.

MAKALINTAL, J.:
This is an action for damages based on quasi-delict, decided by the Court of First
Instance of Negros Occidental favorably to the plaintiffs and appealed by the defendant
to the Court of Appeals, which certified the same to us since the facts are not in issue.
Maria Teresa Cuadra, 12, and Maria Teresa Monfort, 13, were classmates in Grade Six at
the Mabini Elementary School in Bacolod City. On July 9, 1962 their teacher assigned
them, together with three other classmates, to weed the grass in the school premises.
While thus engaged Maria Teresa Monfort found a plastic headband, an ornamental
object commonly worn by young girls over their hair. Jokingly she said aloud that she
had found an earthworm and, evidently to frighten the Cuadra girl, tossed the object at
her. At that precise moment the latter turned around to face her friend, and the object
hit her right eye. Smarting from the pain, she rubbed the injured part and treated it with
some powder. The next day, July 10, the eye became swollen and it was then that the
girl related the incident to her parents, who thereupon took her to a doctor for
treatment. She underwent surgical operation twice, first on July 20 and again on August
4, 1962, and stayed in the hospital for a total of twenty-three days, for all of which the
parents spent the sum of P1,703.75. Despite the medical efforts, however, Maria Teresa
Cuadra completely lost the sight of her right eye.
In the civil suit subsequently instituted by the parents in behalf of their minor daughter
against Alfonso Monfort, Maria Teresa Monfort's father, the defendant was ordered to
pay P1,703.00 as actual damages; P20,000.00 as moral damages; and P2,000.00 as
attorney's fees, plus the costs of the suit.
The legal issue posed in this appeal is the liability of a parent for an act of his minor
child which causes damage to another under the specific facts related above and the
applicable provisions of the Civil Code, particularly Articles 2176 and 2180 thereof,
which read:
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 provisions of this
Chapter.
ART 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only
for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom
one is responsible.

The father and, in case of his death or incapacity are responsible for the
damages caused by the minor children who live in their company.
xxx xxx xxx
The responsibility treated of in this Article shall cease when the persons
herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good
father of a family to prevent damage.
The underlying basis of the liability imposed by Article 2176 is the fault or negligence
accompanying the act or the omission, there being no willfulness or intent to cause
damage thereby. When the act or omission is that of one person for whom another is
responsible, the latter then becomes himself liable under Article 2180, in the different
cases enumerated therein, such as that of the father or the mother under the
circumstances above quoted. The basis of this vicarious, although primary, liability is,
as in Article 2176, fault or negligence, which is presumed from that which accompanied
the causative act or omission. The presumption is merely prima facie and may therefore
be rebutted. This is the clear and logical inference that may be drawn from the last
paragraph of Article 2180, which states "that the responsibility treated of in this Article
shall cease when the persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage."
Since the fact thus required to be proven is a matter of defense, the burden of proof
necessarily rests on the defendant. But what is the exact degree of diligence
contemplated, and how does a parent prove it in connection with a particular act or
omission of a minor child, especially when it takes place in his absence or outside his
immediate company? Obviously there can be no meticulously calibrated measure
applicable; and when the law simply refers to "all the diligence of a good father of the
family to prevent damage," it implies a consideration of the attendant circumstances in
every individual case, to determine whether or not by the exercise of such diligence the
damage could have been prevented.
In the present case there is nothing from which it may be inferred that the defendant
could have prevented the damage by the observance of due care, or that he was in any
way remiss in the exercise of his parental authority in failing to foresee such damage, or
the act which caused it. On the contrary, his child was at school, where it was his duty
to send her and where she was, as he had the right to expect her to be, under the care
and supervision of the teacher. And as far as the act which caused the injury was
concerned, it was an innocent prank not unusual among children at play and which no
parent, however careful, would have any special reason to anticipate much less guard

against. Nor did it reveal any mischievous propensity, or indeed any trait in the child's
character which would reflect unfavorably on her upbringing and for which the blame
could be attributed to her parents.
The victim, no doubt, deserves no little commiseration and sympathy for the tragedy
that befell her. But if the defendant is at all obligated to compensate her suffering, the
obligation has no legal sanction enforceable in court, but only the moral compulsion of
good conscience.
The decision appealed from is reversed, and the complaint is dismissed, without
pronouncement as to costs.
Reyes, J.B.L., Actg. C.J., Dizon, Zaldivar, Castro, Teehankee, Villamor and Makasiar, JJ.,
concur.
Concepcion, C.J., is on leave.
Fernando, J., took no part.

Separate Opinions

BARREDO, J., dissenting:


I am afraid I cannot go along with my esteemed colleagues in holding that the act of
appellant's daughter does not constitute fault within the contemplation of our law or
torts. She was 13 years and should have known that by jokingly saying "aloud that she
had found an earthworm and, evidently to frighten the Cuadra girl, tossed the object at
her," it was likely that something would happen to her friend, as in fact, she was hurt.
As to the liability of appellant as father, I prefer to hold that there being no evidence
that he had properly advised his daughter to behave properly and not to play
dangerous jokes on her classmate and playmates, he can be liable under Article 2180 of

the Civil Code. There is nothing in the record to show that he had done anything at all
to even try to minimize the damage caused upon plaintiff child.

# Separate Opinions
BARREDO, J., dissenting:
I am afraid I cannot go along with my esteemed colleagues in holding that the act of
appellant's daughter does not constitute fault within the contemplation of our law or
torts. She was 13 years and should have known that by jokingly saying "aloud that she
had found an earthworm and, evidently to frighten the Cuadra girl, tossed the object at
her," it was likely that something would happen to her friend, as in fact, she was hurt.
As to the liability of appellant as father, I prefer to hold that there being no evidence
that he had properly advised his daughter to behave properly and not to play
dangerous jokes on her classmate and playmates, he can be liable under Article 2180 of
the Civil Code. There is nothing in the record to show that he had done anything at all
to even try to minimize the damage caused upon plaintiff child.
Spouses MOISES P. PALISOC and BRIGIDA P. PALISOC, plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
ANTONIO C. BRILLANTES and TEODOSIO V. VALENTON, owner and President,
respectively, of a school of arts and trades, known under the name and style of
"Manila Technical Institute" (M.I.T.), VIRGILIO L. DAFFON and SANTIAGO M.
QUIBULUE, defendants-appellees.
Leovillo C. Agustin for plaintiffs-appellants. .
Honorato S. Reyes for appellee Brillantes, et al. .
Villareal, Almacen Navarra & Amores for appellee Daffon. .

TEEHANKEE, J.:
An appeal in forma pauperis on pure questions of law from a decision of the Court of
First Instance of Manila. .

Plaintiffs-appellants as parents of their sixteen-year old son, Dominador Palisoc, and a


student in automotive mechanics at the Manila Technical Institute, Quezon Boulevard,
Manila, had filed on May 19, 1966, the action below for damages arising from the death
on March 10, 1966 of their son at the hands of a fellow student, defendant Virgilio L.
Daffon, at the laboratory room of the said Institute. .
Defendants, per the trial court's decision, are: "(T)he defendant Antonio C. Brillantes, at
the time when the incident which gave rise to his action occurred was a member of the
Board of Directors of the institute; 1 the defendant Teodosio Valenton, the president
thereof; the defendant Santiago M. Quibulue, instructor of the class to which the
deceased belonged; and the defendant Virgilio L. Daffon, a fellow student of the
deceased. At the beginning the Manila Technical Institute was a single proprietorship,
but lately on August 2, 1962, it was duly incorporated."
The facts that led to the tragic death of plaintiffs' son were thus narrated by the trial
court: "(T)he deceased Dominador Palisoc and the defendant Virgilio L. Daffon were
classmates, and on the afternoon of March 10, 1966, between two and three o'clock,
they, together with another classmate Desiderio Cruz were in the laboratory room
located on the ground floor. At that time the classes were in recess. Desiderio Cruz and
Virgilio L. Daffon were working on a machine while Dominador Palisoc was merely
looking on at them. Daffon made a remark to the effect that Palisoc was acting like a
foreman. Because of this remark Palisoc slapped slightly Daffon on the face. Daffon, in
retaliation, gave Palisoc a strong flat blow on the face, which was followed by other fist
blows on the stomach. Palisoc retreated apparently to avoid the fist blows, but Daffon
followed him and both exchanged blows until Palisoc stumbled on an engine block
which caused him to fall face downward. Palisoc became pale and fainted. First aid was
administered to him but he was not revived, so he was immediately taken to a hospital.
He never regained consciousness; finally he died. The foregoing is the substance of the
testimony of Desiderio Cruz, the lone witness to the incident."
The trial court expressly gave credence to this version of the incident, as testified to by
the lone eyewitness, Desiderio Cruz, a classmate of the protagonists, as that of a
disinterested witness who "has no motive or reason to testify one way or another in
favor of any party" and rejected the self-exculpatory version of defendant Daffon
denying that he had inflicted any fist blows on the deceased. .
With the postmortem findings of Dr. Angelo Singian of the Manila Police Department
who performed the autopsy re "Cause of death: shock due to traumatic fracture of
theribs (6th and 7th, left, contusion of the pancreas and stomach with intra-gastric
hemorrhage and slight subarachnoid hemorrhage on the brain," and his testimony that

these internal injuries of the deceased were caused "probably by strong fist blows," the
trial court found defendant Daffon liable for the quasi delict under Article 2176 of the
Civil Code. 3 It held that "(T)he act, therefore, of the accused Daffon in giving the
deceased strong fistblows in the stomach which ruptured his internal organs and
caused his death falls within the purview of this article of the Code." 4
The trial court, however, absolved from liability the three other defendants-officials of
the Manila Technical Institute, in this wise:
... Their liabilities are based on the provisions of Article 2180 of the New
Civil Code which reads:
Art. 2180. ... .
Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades
shall be liable for damages caused by their pupils and
students and apprentices, so long as they remain in their
custody.
In the opinion of the Court, this article of the Code is not applicable to the
case at bar, since this contemplates the situation where the control or
influence of the teachers and heads of school establishments over the
conduct and actions by the pupil supersedes those of the parents.
CIVIL LAW: DAMAGES ART 2180. NEW CIVIL CODE
CONSTRUED: The clause "so long as they remain in their
custody" contained in Article 2180 of the new civil code
contemplated a situation where the pupil lives and boards
with the teacher, such that the control or influence on the
pupil supersedes those of the parents. In those circumstances
the control or influence over the conduct and actions of the
pupil as well as the responsibilities for their sort would pass
from the father and mother to the teachers. (Ciriaco L.
Mercado, Petitioner vs. the Court of Appeals, Manuel
Quisumbing, Jr., et al., respondents, G.R. No. L-14862, May
30, 1960). 5
There is no evidence that the accused Daffon lived and boarded with his
teacher or the other defendant officials of the school. These defendants
cannot therefore be made responsible for the tort of the defendant Daffon.

Judgment was therefore rendered by the trial court as follows:


1. Sentencing the defendant Virgilio L. Daffon to pay the plaintiffs as heirs
of the deceased Dominador Palisoc (a) P6,000.00 for the death of
Dominador Palisoc; (b) P3,375.00 for actual and compensatory expenses;
(c) P5,000.00 for moral damages; (d) P10,000.00 for loss of earning power,
considering that the deceased was only between sixteen and seventeen
years, and in good health when he died, and (e) P2,000.00 for attorney's
fee, plus the costs of this action. .
2. Absolving the other defendants. .
3. Dismissing the defendants' counterclaim for lack of merit.
Plaintiffs' appeal raises the principal legal question that under the factual findings of the
trial court, which are now beyond review, the trial court erred in absolving the
defendants-school officials instead of holding them jointly and severally liable as
tortfeasors, with defendant Daffon, for the damages awarded them as a result of their
son's death. The Court finds the appeal, in the main, to be meritorious. .
1. The lower court absolved defendants-school officials on the ground that the
provisions of Article 2180, Civil Code, which expressly hold "teachers or heads of
establishments of arts and trades ... liable for damages caused by their pupils and
students and apprentices, so long as they remain in their custody," are not applicable to
to the case at bar, since "there is no evidence that the accused Daffon [who inflicted the
fatal fistblows] 6 lived and boarded with his teacher or the other defendants-officials of
the school. These defendants cannot therefore be made responsible for the tort of the
defendant Daffon."
The lower court based its legal conclusion expressly on the Court's dictum in Mercado
vs. Court of Appeals, 7 that "(I)t would seem that the clause "so long as they remain in
their custody," contemplates a situation where the pupil lives and boards with the
teacher, such that the control, direction and influence on the pupil supersedes those of
the parents. In these circumstances the control or influence over the conduct and actions
of the pupil would pass from the father and mother to the teacher; and so would the
responsibility for the torts of the pupil. Such a situation does not appear in the case at
bar; the pupils appear to go to school during school hours and go back to their homes
with their parents after school is over." This dictum had been made in rejecting therein
petitioner father's contention that his minor son's school, Lourdes Catholic School at
Kanlaon, Quezon City [which was not a party to the case] should be held responsible,

rather than him as father, for the moral damages of P2,000.00 adjudged against him for
the physical injury inflicted by his son on a classmate. [A cut on the right cheek with a
piece of razor which costs only P50.00 by way of medical expenses to treat and cure,
since the wound left no scar.] The moral damages award was after all set aside by the
Court on the ground that none of the specific cases provided in Article 2219, Civil Code,
for awarding moral damages had been established, petitioner's son being only nine
years old and not having been shown to have "acted with discernment" in inflicting the
injuries on his classmate. .
The dictum in Mercado was based in turn on another dictum in the earlier case
of Exconde vs. Capuno, 8 where the only issue involved as expressly stated in the decision,
was whether the therein defendant-father could be civilly liable for damages resulting
from a death caused in a motor vehicle accident driven unauthorizedly and negligently
by his minor son, (which issue was resolved adversely against the father). Nevertheless,
the dictum in such earlier case that "It is true that under the law abovequoted, teachers
or directors of arts and trades are liable for any damage caused by their pupils or
apprentices while they are under their custody, but this provision only applies to an
institution of arts and trades and not to any academic educational institution" was
expressly cited and quoted in Mercado. .
2. The case at bar was instituted directly against the school officials and squarely raises
the issue of liability of teachers and heads of schools under Article 2180, Civil Code, for
damages caused by their pupils and students against fellow students on the school
premises. Here, the parents of the student at fault, defendant Daffon, are not involved,
since Daffon was already of age at the time of the tragic incident. There is no question,
either, that the school involved is a non-academic school, 9 the Manila Technical
Institute being admittedly a technical vocational and industrial school. .
The Court holds that under the cited codal article, defendants head and teacher of the
Manila Technical Institute (defendants Valenton and Quibulue, respectively) are liable
jointly and severally for damages to plaintiffs-appellants for the death of the latter's
minor son at the hands of defendant Daffon at the school's laboratory room. No liability
attaches to defendant Brillantes as a mere member of the school's board of directors.
The school itself cannot be held similarly liable, since it has not been properly
impleaded as party defendant. While plaintiffs sought to so implead it, by impleading
improperly defendant Brillantes, its former single proprietor, the lower court found that
it had been incorporated since August 2, 1962, and therefore the school itself, as thus
incorporated, should have been brought in as party defendant. Plaintiffs failed to do so,
notwithstanding that Brillantes and his co-defendants in their reply to plaintiffs' request
for admission had expressly manifested and made of record that "defendant Antonio C.

Brillantes is not the registered owner/head of the "Manila Technical Institute" which is
now a corporation and is not owned by any individual person." 10
3. The rationale of such liability of school heads and teachers for the tortious acts of
their pupils and students, so long as they remain in their custody, is that they stand, to a
certain extent, as to their pupils and students, in loco parentis and are called upon to
"exercise reasonable supervision over the conduct of the child." 11 This is expressly
provided for in Articles 349, 350 and 352 of the Civil Code. 12 In the law of torts, the
governing principle is that the protective custody of the school heads and teachers is
mandatorily substituted for that of the parents, and hence, it becomes their obligation as
well as that of the school itself to provide proper supervision of the students' activities
during the whole time that they are at attendance in the school, including recess time, as
well as to take the necessary precautions to protect the students in their custody from
dangers and hazards that would reasonably be anticipated, including injuries that some
student themselves may inflict willfully or through negligence on their fellow students.
.
4. As tersely summarized by Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes in his dissenting opinion
in Exconde, "the basis of the presumption of negligence of Art. 1903 [now 2180] is
some culpa in vigilando that the parents, teachers, etc. are supposed to have incurred in
the exercise of their authority" 13 and "where the parent places the child under the
effective authority of the teacher, the latter, and not the parent, should be the one
answerable for the torts committed while under his custody, for the very reason that the
parent is not supposed to interfere with the discipline of the school nor with the
authority and supervision of the teacher while the child is under instruction." The
school itself, likewise, has to respond for the fault or negligence of its school head and
teachers under the same cited article. 14
5. The lower court therefore erred in law in absolving defendants-school officials on the
ground that they could be held liable under Article 2180, Civil Code, only if the student
who inflicted the fatal fistblows on his classmate and victim "lived and boarded with his
teacher or the other defendants officials of the school." As stated above, the phrase used
in the cited article "so long as (the students) remain in their custody" means the
protective and supervisory custody that the school and its heads and teachers exercise
over the pupils and students for as long as they are at attendance in the school,
including recess time. There is nothing in the law that requires that for such liability to
attach the pupil or student who commits the tortious act must live and board in the
school, as erroneously held by the lower court, and the dicta in Mercado (as well as
in Exconde) on which it relied, must now be deemed to have been set aside by the
present decision. .

6. Defendants Valenton and Quibulue as president and teacher-in-charge of the school


must therefore be held jointly and severally liable for the quasi-delict of their codefendant Daffon in the latter's having caused the death of his classmate, the deceased
Dominador Palisoc. The unfortunate death resulting from the fight between the
protagonists-students could have been avoided, had said defendants but complied with
their duty of providing adequate supervision over the activities of the students in the
school premises to protect their students from harm, whether at the hands of fellow
students or other parties. At any rate, the law holds them liable unless they relieve
themselves of such liability, in compliance with the last paragraph of Article 2180, Civil
Code, by "(proving) that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to
prevent damage." In the light of the factual findings of the lower court's decision, said
defendants failed to prove such exemption from liability. .
7. Plaintiffs-appellees' contention that the award of P6,000.00 as indemnity for the death
of their son should be increased to P12,000.00 as set by the Court in People vs.
Pantoja, 15 and observed in all death indemnity cases thereafter is well taken. The Court,
in Pantoja, after noting the decline in the purchasing power of the Philippine peso, had
expressed its "considered opinion that the amount of award of compensatory damages
for death caused by a crime or quasi-delict should now be P12,000.00." The Court thereby
adjusted the minimum amount of "compensatory damages for death caused by a crime
or quasi-delict" as per Article 2206, Civil Code, from the old stated minimum of P3,000.00
to P12,000.00, which amount is to be awarded "even though there may have been
mitigating circumstances" pursuant to the express provisions of said codal article. .
8. Plaintiffs-appellees' other claims on appeal that the lower court should have awarded
exemplary damages and imposed legal interest on the total damages awarded, besides
increasing the award of attorney's fees all concern matters that are left by law to the
discretion of the trial court and the Court has not been shown any error or abuse in the
exercise of such discretion on the part of the trial court. 16 Decisive here is the touchstone
provision of Article 2231, Civil Code, that "In quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be
granted if the defendant acted with gross negligence." No gross negligence on the part of
defendants was found by the trial court to warrant the imposition of exemplary
damages, as well as of interest and increased attorney's fees, and the Court has not been
shown in this appeal any compelling reason to disturb such finding. .
ACCORDINGLY, the judgment appealed from is modified so as to provide as follows: .
1. Sentencing the defendants Virgilio L. Daffon, TeodosioV. Valenton and Santiago M.
Quibulue jointly and severallyto pay plaintiffs as heirs of the deceased Dominador Palisoc
(a) P12,000.00 for the death of Dominador Palisoc; (b) P3,375.00 for actual and

compensatory expenses; (c) P5,000.00 for moral, damages; (d) P10,000.00 for loss of
earning power and (e) P2,000.00 for attorney's fee, plus the costs of this action in both
instances; 2. absolvingdefendant Antonio C. Brillantes from the complaint; and 3.
dismissing defendants' counterclaims. .
Concepcion, C.J., Villamor and Makasiar, JJ., concur. .
Dizon, J., took no part. .
REYES, J.B.L., J., concurring: .
I concur with the opinion of Mr. Justice Teehankee but would like to clarify that the
argument of the dissenting opinion of the effect that the responsibility of teachers and
school officers under Articles 2180 should be limited to pupils who are minors (below
the age of majority) is not in accord with the plain text of the law. Article 2180 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines is to the following effect: .
The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's
own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is
responsible. .
The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are
responsible for the damages caused by the minor children who live in
their company. .
Guardians are liable for damages caused by the minors or incapacitated
persons who are under their authority and live in their company. .
The owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise
responsible for damages caused by their employees in the service of the
branches in which the latter are employed or on the occasion of their
functions. .
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and
household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even
though the former are not engaged in any business or industry. .
The State is responsible in like manner when it acts through a special
agent; but not when the damage has been caused by the official to whom
the task done properly pertains, in which case what is provided in article
2176 shall be applicable. .

Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be


liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices, so
long as they remain in their custody.
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons
herein mentioned prove that they observe all the diligence of a good
father of a family to prevent damages.
Examination of the article shows that where the responsibility prescribed therein is
limited to illegal acts during minority, the article expressly so provides, as in the case of
the parents and of the guardians. It is natural to expect that if the law had intended to
similarly restrict the civil responsibility of the other categories of persons enumerated in
the article, it would have expressly so stated. The fact that it has not done so indicates
an intent that the liability be not restricted to the case of persons under age. Further, it is
not without significance that the teachers and heads of scholarly establishments are not
grouped with parents and guardians but ranged with owners and managers of
enterprises, employers and the state, as to whom no reason is discernible to imply that
they should answer only for minors. .
Giorgi, in his well-known "Teoria de las Obligaciones en el Derecho Moderno", Volume
5, page 404, No. 272 (Sp. Ed.), after noting the split among commentators on the point it
issue, observes with considerable cogency that
272. Ante esta variedad de opiniones, ninguna de las cuales se funds en
argumentos merecedores de seria ponderacion, no es facil tomar un
partido. Esto no obstante, debiendo manisfestar nuestra opinion, nos
acercamos a la de los que no estiman necesaria la menor edad del
discipulo o del aprendiz; porque si el aforismo ubi voluit dixit, ubi noluit
tacuit, no es siempre argumento seguro para interpreter la ley, es infalible
cuanto se refiere a una misma disposicion relative a varios casos. Y tal es
el art. 1.153. Lo que haya establecido important poco si, elevandones a los
principios de razon, puede dudarse de la oportunidad de semajante
diferencia; porque la voluntad cierta del legislador prevalecein iure
condito a cualquier otra consideracion. Por otra parte, si bien se considera,
no puede parecer extrano o absurdo el suponer que un discipulo y un
aprendiz, aunque mayores de edad, acepten voluntariamente la entera
vigilancia de su preceptor mientras dura la educacion. Ni parece dudoso
desde el momento que los artesanos y los preceptores deben, al par de los
padres, responder civilmente de los daos comitidos por sus discipulos,
aun cuando estos esten faltos de discernimiento.

Similarly, Planiol-Ripert, in their "Droit Civil Pratique," Volume VI, No. 635 (Spanish
version), say that
635. Personas de quien responde. Si bien la responsibilidad del maestro
es originalmente una estension de la de los padres (1), el art. 1384 no
especifica que los alumnos y aprendices han de ser menores de edad, por
lo que la presuncion de culpa funcionara aun cuando sean mayores (2);
pero, la vigilancia no tendra que ser ejercida en iguales terminos. Aun
respecto a los menores variara segun la edad, extremo que tendra que
ternese en ceunta a los fines de apreciar si el maestro ha podido impedir el
acto nocivo o no. .
I submit, finally, that while in the case of parents and guardians, their authority and
supervision over the children and wards end by law upon the latter reaching majority
age, the authority and custodial supervision over pupils exist regardless of the age of
the latter. A student over twenty-one, by enrolling and attending a school, places
himself under the custodial supervision and disciplinary authority of the school
authorities, which is the basis of the latter's correlative responsibility for his torts,
committed while under such authority. Of course, the teachers' control is not as plenary
as when the student is a minor; but that circumstance can only affect the decree of the
responsibility but cannot negate the existence thereof. It is only a factor to be
appreciated in determining whether or not the defendant has exercised due diligence in
endeavoring to prevent the injury, as prescribed in the last paragraph of Article 2180. .
Barredo, J., concurs.

Separate Opinions

MAKALINTAL, J., dissenting:


I vote to affirm the decision appealed from. I see no reason to depart from the doctrine
laid down by this Court inMercado v. Court of Appeals, 108 Phil. 414, where the clause "so
long as they remain in their custody" used in Article 2180 of the Civil Code was

construed as referring to a "situation where the pupil lives and boards with the teacher,
such that the (latter's) control, direction and influence on the pupil supersedes those of
the parents." I think it is highly unrealistic and conducive to unjust results, considering
the size of the enrollment in many of our educational institutions, academic and nonacademic, as well as the temper, attitudes and often destructive activism of the students,
to hold their teachers and/or the administrative heads of the schools directly liable for
torts committed by them. When even the school authorities find themselves besieged,
beleaguered and attacked, and unable to impose the traditional disciplinary measures
formerly recognized as available to them, such as suspension or outright expulsion of
the offending students, it flies in the face of logic and reality to consider such students,
merely from the fact of enrollment and class attendance, as "in the custody" of the
teachers or school heads within the meaning of the statute, and to hold the latter liable
unless they can prove that they have exercised "all the diligence of a good father of the
family to prevent damage." Article 2180, if applied as appellants construe it, would be
bad law. It would demand responsibility without commensurate authority, rendering
teachers and school heads open to damage suits for causes beyond their power to
control. Present conditions being what they are, I believe the restrictive interpretation of
the aforesaid provision enunciated in Mercado should be maintained. .
With particular reference to the case at bar, one other factor constrains me to dissent.
The opinion of the majority states: "Here, the parents of the student at fault, defendant
Daffon, are not involved, since Daffon was already of age at the time of the tragic
incident." This statement is of course in accordance with Article 2180, which says that
"the father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible for the
damages caused by the minor children who live in their company." Note that for
parental responsibility to arise the children must be minors who live in their company.
If, as stated also in the opinion of the majority, "the rationale of (the) liability of school
heads and teachers for the tortious acts of their pupils and students, so long as they
remain in their custody, is that they stand, to a certain extent, as to their pupils and
students, in loco parentis and are called upon to exercise reasonable supervision over the
conduct of the child," then it stands to reason that (1) the clause "so long as they remain
in their custody" as used in reference to teachers and school heads should be equated
with the phrase "who live in their company" as used in reference to parents; and (2) that
just as parents are not responsible for damages caused by their children who are no
longer minors, so should teachers and school heads be exempt from liability for the
tortious acts of their students in the same age category. I find no justification, either in
the law itself or in justice and equity, to make a substitute parent liable where the real
parent would be free from liability. .
Zaldivar, Castro and Fernando, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions
MAKALINTAL, J., dissenting:
I vote to affirm the decision appealed from. I see no reason to depart from the doctrine
laid down by this Court inMercado v. Court of Appeals, 108 Phil. 414, where the clause "so
long as they remain in their custody" used in Article 2180 of the Civil Code was
construed as referring to a "situation where the pupil lives and boards with the teacher,
such that the (latter's) control, direction and influence on the pupil supersedes those of
the parents." I think it is highly unrealistic and conducive to unjust results, considering
the size of the enrollment in many of our educational institutions, academic and nonacademic, as well as the temper, attitudes and often destructive activism of the students,
to hold their teachers and/or the administrative heads of the schools directly liable for
torts committed by them. When even the school authorities find themselves besieged,
beleaguered and attacked, and unable to impose the traditional disciplinary measures
formerly recognized as available to them, such as suspension or outright expulsion of
the offending students, it flies in the face of logic and reality to consider such students,
merely from the fact of enrollment and class attendance, as "in the custody" of the
teachers or school heads within the meaning of the statute, and to hold the latter liable
unless they can prove that they have exercised "all the diligence of a good father of the
family to prevent damage." Article 2180, if applied as appellants construe it, would be
bad law. It would demand responsibility without commensurate authority, rendering
teachers and school heads open to damage suits for causes beyond their power to
control. Present conditions being what they are, I believe the restrictive interpretation of
the aforesaid provision enunciated in Mercado should be maintained. .
With particular reference to the case at bar, one other factor constrains me to dissent.
The opinion of the majority states: "Here, the parents of the student at fault, defendant
Daffon, are not involved, since Daffon was already of age at the time of the tragic
incident." This statement is of course in accordance with Article 2180, which says that
"the father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible for the
damages caused by the minor children who live in their company." Note that for
parental responsibility to arise the children must be minors who live in their company.
If, as stated also in the opinion of the majority, "the rationale of (the) liability of school

heads and teachers for the tortious acts of their pupils and students, so long as they
remain in their custody, is that they stand, to a certain extent, as to their pupils and
students, in loco parentis and are called upon to exercise reasonable supervision over the
conduct of the child," then it stands to reason that (1) the clause "so long as they remain
in their custody" as used in reference to teachers and school heads should be equated
with the phrase "who live in their company" as used in reference to parents; and (2) that
just as parents are not responsible for damages caused by their children who are no
longer minors, so should teachers and school heads be exempt from liability for the
tortious acts of their students in the same age category. I find no justification, either in
the law itself or in justice and equity, to make a substitute parent liable where the real
parent would be free from liability. .
Zaldivar, Castro and Fernando, JJ., concur.
JOSE S. AMADORA, LORETA A. AMADORA, JOSE A. AMADORA JR., NORMA
A. YLAYA PANTALEON A. AMADORA, JOSE A. AMADORA III, LUCY A.
AMADORA, ROSALINDA A. AMADORA, PERFECTO A. AMADORA, SERREC A.
AMADORA, VICENTE A. AMADORA and MARIA TISCALINA A.
AMADORA,petitioners
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, COLEGIO DE SAN JOSE-RECOLETOS,
VICTOR LLUCH SERGIO P. DLMASO JR., CELESTINO DICON, ANIANO
ABELLANA, PABLITO DAFFON thru his parents and natural guardians, MR. and
MRS. NICANOR GUMBAN, and ROLANDO VALENCIA, thru his guardian, A.
FRANCISCO ALONSO, respondents.
Jose S. Amadora & Associates for petitioners.
Padilla Law Office for respondents.

CRUZ, J.:
Like any prospective graduate, Alfredo Amadora was looking forward to the
commencement exercises where he would ascend the stage and in the presence of his
relatives and friends receive his high school diploma. These ceremonies were scheduled
on April 16, 1972. As it turned out, though, fate would intervene and deny him that
awaited experience. On April 13, 1972, while they were in the auditorium of their
school, the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos, a classmate, Pablito Damon, fired a gun that

mortally hit Alfredo, ending all his expectations and his life as well. The victim was
only seventeen years old. 1
Daffon was convicted of homicide thru reckless imprudence . 2 Additionally, the herein
petitioners, as the victim's parents, filed a civil action for damages under Article 2180 of
the Civil Code against the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos, its rector the high school
principal, the dean of boys, and the physics teacher, together with Daffon and two other
students, through their respective parents. The complaint against the students was later
dropped. After trial, the Court of First Instance of Cebu held the remaining defendants
liable to the plaintiffs in the sum of P294,984.00, representing death compensation, loss
of earning capacity, costs of litigation, funeral expenses, moral damages, exemplary
damages, and attorney's fees . 3On appeal to the respondent court, however, the
decision was reversed and all the defendants were completely absolved . 4
In its decision, which is now the subject of this petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court, the respondent court found that Article 2180 was not applicable as the
Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos was not a school of arts and trades but an academic
institution of learning. It also held that the students were not in the custody of the
school at the time of the incident as the semester had already ended, that there was no
clear identification of the fatal gun and that in any event the defendant, had exercised
the necessary diligence in preventing the injury. 5
The basic undisputed facts are that Alfredo Amadora went to the San Jose-Recoletos on
April 13, 1972, and while in its auditorium was shot to death by Pablito Daffon, a
classmate. On the implications and consequences of these facts, the parties sharply
disagree.
The petitioners contend that their son was in the school to show his physics experiment
as a prerequisite to his graduation; hence, he was then under the custody of the private
respondents. The private respondents submit that Alfredo Amadora had gone to the
school only for the purpose of submitting his physics report and that he was no longer
in their custody because the semester had already ended.
There is also the question of the identity of the gun used which the petitioners consider
important because of an earlier incident which they claim underscores the negligence of
the school and at least one of the private respondents. It is not denied by the
respondents that on April 7, 1972, Sergio Damaso, Jr., the dean of boys, confiscated from
Jose Gumban an unlicensed pistol but later returned it to him without making a report
to the principal or taking any further action . 6 As Gumban was one of the companions
of Daffon when the latter fired the gun that killed Alfredo, the petitioners contend that

this was the same pistol that had been confiscated from Gumban and that their son
would not have been killed if it had not been returned by Damaso. The respondents
say, however, that there is no proof that the gun was the same firearm that killed
Alfredo.
Resolution of all these disagreements will depend on the interpretation of Article 2180
which, as it happens, is invoked by both parties in support of their conflicting positions.
The pertinent part of this article reads as follows:
Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be
liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices so
long as they remain in their custody.
Three cases have so far been decided by the Court in connection with the above-quoted
provision, to wit: Exconde v. Capuno 7 Mercado v. Court of Appeals, 8 and Palisoc v.
Brillantes. 9 These will be briefly reviewed in this opinion for a better resolution of the
case at bar.
In the Exconde Case, Dante Capuno, a student of the Balintawak Elementary School and
a Boy Scout, attended a Rizal Day parade on instructions of the city school supervisor.
After the parade, the boy boarded a jeep, took over its wheel and drove it so recklessly
that it turned turtle, resulting in the death of two of its passengers. Dante was found
guilty of double homicide with reckless imprudence. In the separate civil action flied
against them, his father was held solidarily liable with him in damages under Article
1903 (now Article 2180) of the Civil Code for the tort committed by the 15-year old boy.
This decision, which was penned by Justice Bautista Angelo on June 29,1957, exculpated
the school in an obiter dictum (as it was not a party to the case) on the ground that it was
riot a school of arts and trades. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, with whom Justices Sabino Padilla
and Alex Reyes concurred, dissented, arguing that it was the school authorities who
should be held liable Liability under this rule, he said, was imposed on (1) teachers in
general; and (2) heads of schools of arts and trades in particular. The modifying clause
"of establishments of arts and trades" should apply only to "heads" and not "teachers."
Exconde was reiterated in the Mercado Case, and with an elaboration. A student cut a
classmate with a razor blade during recess time at the Lourdes Catholic School in
Quezon City, and the parents of the victim sued the culprits parents for damages.
Through Justice Labrador, the Court declared in another obiter (as the school itself had
also not been sued that the school was not liable because it was not an establishment of
arts and trades. Moreover, the custody requirement had not been proved as this

"contemplates a situation where the student lives and boards with the teacher, such that
the control, direction and influences on the pupil supersede those of the parents."
Justice J.B.L. Reyes did not take part but the other members of the court concurred in
this decision promulgated on May 30, 1960.
In Palisoc vs. Brillantes, decided on October 4, 1971, a 16-year old student was killed by a
classmate with fist blows in the laboratory of the Manila Technical Institute. Although
the wrongdoer who was already of age was not boarding in the school, the head
thereof and the teacher in charge were held solidarily liable with him. The Court
declared through Justice Teehankee:
The phrase used in the cited article "so long as (the students) remain in
their custody" means the protective and supervisory custody that the
school and its heads and teachers exercise over the pupils and students for
as long as they are at attendance in the school, including recess time.
There is nothing in the law that requires that for such liability to attach,
the pupil or student who commits the tortious act must live and board in
the school, as erroneously held by the lower court, and the dicta in Mercado
(as well as in Exconde) on which it relied, must now be deemed to have
been set aside by the present decision.
This decision was concurred in by five other members, 10 including Justice J.B.L. Reyes,
who stressed, in answer to the dissenting opinion, that even students already of age
were covered by the provision since they were equally in the custody of the school and
subject to its discipline. Dissenting with three others, 11 Justice Makalintal was for
retaining the custody interpretation in Mercado and submitted that the rule should
apply only to torts committed by students not yet of age as the school would be acting
only in loco parentis.
In a footnote, Justice Teehankee said he agreed with Justice Reyes' dissent in the
Exconde Case but added that "since the school involved at bar is a non-academic school,
the question as to the applicability of the cited codal provision to academic institutions
will have to await another case wherein it may properly be raised."
This is the case.
Unlike in Exconde and Mercado, the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos has been directly
impleaded and is sought to be held liable under Article 2180; and unlike in Palisoc, it is
not a school of arts and trades but an academic institution of learning. The parties
herein have also directly raised the question of whether or not Article 2180 covers even

establishments which are technically not schools of arts and trades, and, if so, when the
offending student is supposed to be "in its custody."
After an exhaustive examination of the problem, the Court has come to the conclusion
that the provision in question should apply to all schools, academic as well as nonacademic. Where the school is academic rather than technical or vocational in nature,
responsibility for the tort committed by the student will attach to the teacher in charge
of such student, following the first part of the provision. This is the general rule. In the
case of establishments of arts and trades, it is the head thereof, and only he, who shall
be held liable as an exception to the general rule. In other words, teachers in general
shall be liable for the acts of their students except where the school is technical in
nature, in which case it is the head thereof who shall be answerable. Following the
canon of reddendo singula singulis"teachers" should apply to the words "pupils and
students" and "heads of establishments of arts and trades" to the word "apprentices."
The Court thus conforms to the dissenting opinion expressed by Justice J.B.L. Reyes in
Exconde where he said in part:
I can see no sound reason for limiting Art. 1903 of the Old Civil Code to
teachers of arts and trades and not to academic ones. What substantial
difference is there between them insofar as concerns the proper
supervision and vice over their pupils? It cannot be seriously contended
that an academic teacher is exempt from the duty of watching that his
pupils do not commit a tort to the detriment of third Persons, so long as
they are in a position to exercise authority and Supervision over the pupil.
In my opinion, in the phrase "teachers or heads of establishments of arts
and trades" used in Art. 1903 of the old Civil Code, the words "arts and
trades" does not qualify "teachers" but only "heads of establishments." The
phrase is only an updated version of the equivalent terms "preceptores y
artesanos" used in the Italian and French Civil Codes.
If, as conceded by all commentators, the basis of the presumption of
negligence of Art. 1903 in someculpa in vigilando that the parents, teachers,
etc. are supposed to have incurred in the exercise of their authority, it
would seem clear that where the parent places the child under the
effective authority of the teacher, the latter, and not the parent, should be
the one answerable for the torts committed while under his custody, for
the very reason/that the parent is not supposed to interfere with the
discipline of the school nor with the authority and supervision of the

teacher while the child is under instruction. And if there is no authority,


there can be no responsibility.
There is really no substantial distinction between the academic and the non-academic
schools insofar as torts committed by their students are concerned. The same vigilance
is expected from the teacher over the students under his control and supervision,
whatever the nature of the school where he is teaching. The suggestion in the Exconde
and Mercado Cases is that the provision would make the teacher or even the head of the
school of arts and trades liable for an injury caused by any student in its custody but if
that same tort were committed in an academic school, no liability would attach to the
teacher or the school head. All other circumstances being the same, the teacher or the
head of the academic school would be absolved whereas the teacher and the head of the
non-academic school would be held liable, and simply because the latter is a school of
arts and trades.
The Court cannot see why different degrees of vigilance should be exercised by the
school authorities on the basis only of the nature of their respective schools. There does
not seem to be any plausible reason for relaxing that vigilance simply because the
school is academic in nature and for increasing such vigilance where the school is nonacademic. Notably, the injury subject of liability is caused by the student and not by the
school itself nor is it a result of the operations of the school or its equipment. The injury
contemplated may be caused by any student regardless of the school where he is
registered. The teacher certainly should not be able to excuse himself by simply
showing that he is teaching in an academic school where, on the other hand, the head
would be held liable if the school were non-academic.
These questions, though, may be asked: If the teacher of the academic school is to be
held answerable for the torts committed by his students, why is it the head of the school
only who is held liable where the injury is caused in a school of arts and trades? And in
the case of the academic or non- technical school, why not apply the rule also to the
head thereof instead of imposing the liability only on the teacher?
The reason for the disparity can be traced to the fact that historically the head of the
school of arts and trades exercised a closer tutelage over his pupils than the head of the
academic school. The old schools of arts and trades were engaged in the training of
artisans apprenticed to their master who personally and directly instructed them on the
technique and secrets of their craft. The head of the school of arts and trades was such a
master and so was personally involved in the task of teaching his students, who usually
even boarded with him and so came under his constant control, supervision and
influence. By contrast, the head of the academic school was not as involved with his

students and exercised only administrative duties over the teachers who were the
persons directly dealing with the students. The head of the academic school had then
(as now) only a vicarious relationship with the students. Consequently, while he could
not be directly faulted for the acts of the students, the head of the school of arts and
trades, because of his closer ties with them, could be so blamed.
It is conceded that the distinction no longer obtains at present in view of the expansion
of the schools of arts and trades, the consequent increase in their enrollment, and the
corresponding diminution of the direct and personal contract of their heads with the
students. Article 2180, however, remains unchanged. In its present state, the provision
must be interpreted by the Court according to its clear and original mandate until the
legislature, taking into account the charges in the situation subject to be regulated, sees
fit to enact the necessary amendment.
The other matter to be resolved is the duration of the responsibility of the teacher or the
head of the school of arts and trades over the students. Is such responsibility coextensive with the period when the student is actually undergoing studies during the
school term, as contended by the respondents and impliedly admitted by the petitioners
themselves?
From a reading of the provision under examination, it is clear that while the custody
requirement, to repeat Palisoc v. Brillantes, does not mean that the student must be
boarding with the school authorities, it does signify that the student should be within
the control and under the influence of the school authorities at the time of the
occurrence of the injury. This does not necessarily mean that such, custody be coterminous with the semester, beginning with the start of classes and ending upon the
close thereof, and excluding the time before or after such period, such as the period of
registration, and in the case of graduating students, the period before the
commencement exercises. In the view of the Court, the student is in the custody of the
school authorities as long as he is under the control and influence of the school and
within its premises, whether the semester has not yet begun or has already ended.
It is too tenuous to argue that the student comes under the discipline of the school only
upon the start of classes notwithstanding that before that day he has already registered
and thus placed himself under its rules. Neither should such discipline be deemed
ended upon the last day of classes notwithstanding that there may still be certain
requisites to be satisfied for completion of the course, such as submission of reports,
term papers, clearances and the like. During such periods, the student is still subject to
the disciplinary authority of the school and cannot consider himself released altogether
from observance of its rules.

As long as it can be shown that the student is in the school premises in pursuance of a
legitimate student objective, in the exercise of a legitimate student right, and even in the
enjoyment of a legitimate student right, and even in the enjoyment of a legitimate
student privilege, the responsibility of the school authorities over the student continues.
Indeed, even if the student should be doing nothing more than relaxing in the campus
in the company of his classmates and friends and enjoying the ambience and
atmosphere of the school, he is still within the custody and subject to the discipline of
the school authorities under the provisions of Article 2180.
During all these occasions, it is obviously the teacher-in-charge who must answer for
his students' torts, in practically the same way that the parents are responsible for the
child when he is in their custody. The teacher-in-charge is the one designated by the
dean, principal, or other administrative superior to exercise supervision over the pupils
in the specific classes or sections to which they are assigned. It is not necessary that at
the time of the injury, the teacher be physically present and in a position to prevent it.
Custody does not connote immediate and actual physical control but refers more to the
influence exerted on the child and the discipline instilled in him as a result of such
influence. Thus, for the injuries caused by the student, the teacher and not the parent
shag be held responsible if the tort was committed within the premises of the school at
any time when its authority could be validly exercised over him.
In any event, it should be noted that the liability imposed by this article is supposed to
fall directly on the teacher or the head of the school of arts and trades and not on the
school itself. If at all, the school, whatever its nature, may be held to answer for the acts
of its teachers or even of the head thereof under the general principle of respondeat
superior, but then it may exculpate itself from liability by proof that it had exercised the
diligence of a bonus paterfamilias.
Such defense is, of course, also available to the teacher or the head of the school of arts
and trades directly held to answer for the tort committed by the student. As long as the
defendant can show that he had taken the necessary precautions to prevent the injury
complained of, he can exonerate himself from the liability imposed by Article 2180,
which also states that:
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the Persons
herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good
father of a family to prevent damages.
In this connection, it should be observed that the teacher will be held liable not only
when he is acting in loco parentis for the law does not require that the offending student

be of minority age. Unlike the parent, who wig be liable only if his child is still a minor,
the teacher is held answerable by the law for the act of the student under him regardless
of the student's age. Thus, in the Palisoc Case, liability attached to the teacher and the
head of the technical school although the wrongdoer was already of age. In this sense,
Article 2180 treats the parent more favorably than the teacher.
The Court is not unmindful of the apprehensions expressed by Justice Makalintal in his
dissenting opinion in Palisoc that the school may be unduly exposed to liability under
this article in view of the increasing activism among the students that is likely to cause
violence and resulting injuries in the school premises. That is a valid fear, to be sure.
Nevertheless, it should be repeated that, under the present ruling, it is not the school
that will be held directly liable. Moreover, the defense of due diligence is available to it
in case it is sought to be held answerable as principal for the acts or omission of its head
or the teacher in its employ.
The school can show that it exercised proper measures in selecting the head or its
teachers and the appropriate supervision over them in the custody and instruction of
the pupils pursuant to its rules and regulations for the maintenance of discipline among
them. In almost all cases now, in fact, these measures are effected through the assistance
of an adequate security force to help the teacher physically enforce those rules upon the
students. Ms should bolster the claim of the school that it has taken adequate steps to
prevent any injury that may be committed by its students.
A fortiori, the teacher himself may invoke this defense as it would otherwise be unfair to
hold him directly answerable for the damage caused by his students as long as they are
in the school premises and presumably under his influence. In this respect, the Court is
disposed not to expect from the teacher the same measure of responsibility imposed on
the parent for their influence over the child is not equal in degree. Obviously, the parent
can expect more obedience from the child because the latter's dependence on him is
greater than on the teacher. It need not be stressed that such dependence includes the
child's support and sustenance whereas submission to the teacher's influence, besides
being coterminous with the period of custody is usually enforced only because of the
students' desire to pass the course. The parent can instill more las discipline on the child
than the teacher and so should be held to a greater accountability than the teacher for
the tort committed by the child.
And if it is also considered that under the article in question, the teacher or the head of
the school of arts and trades is responsible for the damage caused by the student or
apprentice even if he is already of age and therefore less tractable than the minor
then there should all the more be justification to require from the school authorities less

accountability as long as they can prove reasonable diligence in preventing the injury.
After all, if the parent himself is no longer liable for the student's acts because he has
reached majority age and so is no longer under the former's control, there is then all the
more reason for leniency in assessing the teacher's responsibility for the acts of the
student.
Applying the foregoing considerations, the Court has arrived at the following
conclusions:
1. At the time Alfredo Amadora was fatally shot, he was still in the custody of the
authorities of Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos notwithstanding that the fourth year
classes had formally ended. It was immaterial if he was in the school auditorium to
finish his physics experiment or merely to submit his physics report for what is
important is that he was there for a legitimate purpose. As previously observed, even
the mere savoring of the company of his friends in the premises of the school is a
legitimate purpose that would have also brought him in the custody of the school
authorities.
2. The rector, the high school principal and the dean of boys cannot be held liable
because none of them was the teacher-in-charge as previously defined. Each of them
was exercising only a general authority over the student body and not the direct control
and influence exerted by the teacher placed in charge of particular classes or sections
and thus immediately involved in its discipline. The evidence of the parties does not
disclose who the teacher-in-charge of the offending student was. The mere fact that
Alfredo Amadora had gone to school that day in connection with his physics report did
not necessarily make the physics teacher, respondent Celestino Dicon, the teacher-incharge of Alfredo's killer.
3. At any rate, assuming that he was the teacher-in-charge, there is no showing that
Dicon was negligent in enforcing discipline upon Daffon or that he had waived
observance of the rules and regulations of the school or condoned their non-observance.
His absence when the tragedy happened cannot be considered against him because he
was not supposed or required to report to school on that day. And while it is true that
the offending student was still in the custody of the teacher-in-charge even if the latter
was physically absent when the tort was committed, it has not been established that it
was caused by his laxness in enforcing discipline upon the student. On the contrary, the
private respondents have proved that they had exercised due diligence, through the
enforcement of the school regulations, in maintaining that discipline.

4. In the absence of a teacher-in-charge, it is probably the dean of boys who should be


held liable especially in view of the unrefuted evidence that he had earlier confiscated
an unlicensed gun from one of the students and returned the same later to him without
taking disciplinary action or reporting the matter to higher authorities. While this was
clearly negligence on his part, for which he deserves sanctions from the school, it does
not necessarily link him to the shooting of Amador as it has not been shown that he
confiscated and returned pistol was the gun that killed the petitioners' son.
5. Finally, as previously observed, the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos cannot be held
directly liable under the article because only the teacher or the head of the school of arts
and trades is made responsible for the damage caused by the student or apprentice.
Neither can it be held to answer for the tort committed by any of the other private
respondents for none of them has been found to have been charged with the custody of
the offending student or has been remiss in the discharge of his duties in connection
with such custody.
In sum, the Court finds under the facts as disclosed by the record and in the light of the
principles herein announced that none of the respondents is liable for the injury
inflicted by Pablito Damon on Alfredo Amadora that resulted in the latter's death at the
auditorium of the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos on April 13, 1972. While we deeply
sympathize with the petitioners over the loss of their son under the tragic circumstances
here related, we nevertheless are unable to extend them the material relief they seek, as
a balm to their grief, under the law they have invoked.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, without any pronouncement as to costs. It is so
ordered.
FEDERICO YLARDE and ADELAIDA DORONIO petitioners,
vs.
EDGARDO AQUINO, MAURO SORIANO and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
Buenaventura C. Evangelista for petitioners.
Modesto V. Cabanela for respondent Edgardo Aquino.
Manuel P. Pastor for respondent Mauro Soriano.

GANCAYCO, J.:

In this petition for review on certiorari seeking the reversal of the decision of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 36390-R entitled "Federico Ylarde, et al. vs. Edgardo Aquino,
et al.," a case which originated from the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, We are
again caned upon determine the responsibility of the principals and teachers towards
their students or pupils.
In 1963, private respondent Mariano Soriano was the principal of the Gabaldon Primary
School, a public educational institution located in Tayug, Pangasinan-Private
respondent Edgardo Aquino was a teacher therein. At that time, the school was fittered
with several concrete blocks which were remnants of the old school shop that was
destroyed in World War II. Realizing that the huge stones were serious hazards to the
schoolchildren, another teacher by the name of Sergio Banez started burying them one
by one as early as 1962. In fact, he was able to bury ten of these blocks all by himself.
Deciding to help his colleague, private respondent Edgardo Aquino gathered eighteen
of his male pupils, aged ten to eleven, after class dismissal on October 7, 1963. Being
their teacher-in-charge, he ordered them to dig beside a one-ton concrete block in order
to make a hole wherein the stone can be buried. The work was left unfinished. The
following day, also after classes, private respondent Aquino called four of the original
eighteen pupils to continue the digging. These four pupils Reynaldo Alonso,
Francisco Alcantara, Ismael Abaga and Novelito Ylarde, dug until the excavation was
one meter and forty centimeters deep. At this point, private respondent Aquino alone
continued digging while the pupils remained inside the pit throwing out the loose soil
that was brought about by the digging.
When the depth was right enough to accommodate the concrete block, private
respondent Aquino and his four pupils got out of the hole. Then, said private
respondent left the children to level the loose soil around the open hole while he went
to see Banez who was about thirty meters away. Private respondent wanted to borrow
from Banez the key to the school workroom where he could get some rope. Before
leaving. , private respondent Aquino allegedly told the children "not to touch the
stone."
A few minutes after private respondent Aquino left, three of the four kids, Alonso,
Alcantara and Ylarde, playfully jumped into the pit. Then, without any warning at all,
the remaining Abaga jumped on top of the concrete block causing it to slide down
towards the opening. Alonso and Alcantara were able to scramble out of the excavation
on time but unfortunately fo Ylarde, the concrete block caught him before he could get
out, pinning him to the wall in a standing position. As a result thereof, Ylarde sustained
the following injuries:

1. Contusion with hematoma, left inguinal region and suprapubic region.


2. Contusion with ecchymosis entire scrotal region.
3. Lacerated wound, left lateral aspect of penile skin with phimosis
4. Abrasion, gluteal region, bilateral.
5. Intraperitoneal and extrapertitoneal extravasation of blood and urine
about 2 liters.
6. Fracture, simple, symphesis pubis
7. Ruptured (macerated) urinary bladder with body of bladder almost
entirely separated from its neck.
REMARKS:
1. Above were incurred by crushing injury.
2. Prognosis very poor.
(Sgd.)
MELQUIADES A.
BRAVO
Physic
ian on
Duty.
1

Three days later, Novelito Ylarde died.


Ylarde's parents, petitioners in this case, filed a suit for damages against both private
respondents Aquino and Soriano. The lower court dismissed the complaint on the
following grounds: (1) that the digging done by the pupils is in line with their course
called Work Education; (2) that Aquino exercised the utmost diligence of a very
cautious person; and (3) that the demise of Ylarde was due to his own reckless
imprudence. 2
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the Decision of the lower court.

Petitioners base their action against private respondent Aquino on Article 2176 of the
Civil Code for his alleged negligence that caused their son's death while the complaint
against respondent Soriano as the head of school is founded on Article 2180 of the same
Code.
Article 2176 of the Civil Code provides:
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.
On the other hand, the applicable provision of Article 2180 states:
Art. 2180. x x x
xxx xxx xxx
Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be
liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices, so
long as they remain in their custody. 3
The issue to be resolved is whether or not under the cited provisions, both private
respondents can be held liable for damages.
As regards the principal, We hold that he cannot be made responsible for the death of
the child Ylarde, he being the head of an academic school and not a school of arts and
trades. This is in line with Our ruling in Amadora vs. Court of Appeals, 4 wherein this
Court thoroughly discussed the doctrine that under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, it is
only the teacher and not the head of an academic school who should be answerable for
torts committed by their students. This Court went on to say that in a school of arts and
trades, it is only the head of the school who can be held liable. In the same case, We
explained:
After an exhaustive examination of the problem, the Court has come to
the conclusion that the provision in question should apply to all schools,
academic as well as non-academic. Where the school is academic rather
than technical or vocational in nature, responsibility for the tort
committed by the student will attach to the teacher in charge of such
student, following the first part of the provision. This is the general rule.

In the case of establishments of arts and trades, it is the head thereof, and
only he, who shall be held liable as an exception to the general rule. In
other words, teachers in general shall be liable for the acts of their
students except where the school is technical in nature, in which case it is
the head thereof who shall be answerable. Following the canon of reddendo
singula sinquilis 'teachers' should apply to the words "pupils and students'
and 'heads of establishments of arts and trades to the word "apprentices."
Hence, applying the said doctrine to this case, We rule that private respondent Soriano,
as principal, cannot be held liable for the reason that the school he heads is an academic
school and not a school of arts and trades. Besides, as clearly admitted by private
respondent Aquino, private respondent Soriano did not give any instruction regarding
the digging.
From the foregoing, it can be easily seen that private respondent Aquino can be held
liable under Article 2180 of the Civil Code as the teacher-in-charge of the children for
being negligent in his supervision over them and his failure to take the necessary
precautions to prevent any injury on their persons. However, as earlier pointed out,
petitioners base the alleged liability of private respondent Aquino on Article 2176 which
is separate and distinct from that provided for in Article 2180.
With this in mind, the question We need to answer is this: Were there acts and
omissions on the part of private respondent Aquino amounting to fault or negligence
which have direct causal relation to the death of his pupil Ylarde? Our answer is in the
affirmative. He is liable for damages.
From a review of the record of this case, it is very clear that private respondent Aquino
acted with fault and gross negligence when he: (1) failed to avail himself of services of
adult manual laborers and instead utilized his pupils aged ten to eleven to make an
excavation near the one-ton concrete stone which he knew to be a very hazardous task;
(2) required the children to remain inside the pit even after they had finished digging,
knowing that the huge block was lying nearby and could be easily pushed or kicked
aside by any pupil who by chance may go to the perilous area; (3) ordered them to level
the soil around the excavation when it was so apparent that the huge stone was at the
brink of falling; (4) went to a place where he would not be able to check on the
children's safety; and (5) left the children close to the excavation, an obviously attractive
nuisance.
The negligent act of private respondent Aquino in leaving his pupils in such a
dangerous site has a direct causal connection to the death of the child Ylarde. Left by

themselves, it was but natural for the children to play around. Tired from the strenuous
digging, they just had to amuse themselves with whatever they found. Driven by their
playful and adventurous instincts and not knowing the risk they were facing three of
them jumped into the hole while the other one jumped on the stone. Since the stone was
so heavy and the soil was loose from the digging, it was also a natural consequence that
the stone would fall into the hole beside it, causing injury on the unfortunate child
caught by its heavy weight. Everything that occurred was the natural and probable
effect of the negligent acts of private respondent Aquino. Needless to say, the child
Ylarde would not have died were it not for the unsafe situation created by private
respondent Aquino which exposed the lives of all the pupils concerned to real danger.
We cannot agree with the finding of the lower court that the injuries which resulted in
the death of the child Ylarde were caused by his own reckless imprudence, It should be
remembered that he was only ten years old at the time of the incident, As such, he is
expected to be playful and daring. His actuations were natural to a boy his age. Going
back to the facts, it was not only him but the three of them who jumped into the hole
while the remaining boy jumped on the block. From this, it is clear that he only did
what any other ten-year old child would do in the same situation.
In ruling that the child Ylarde was imprudent, it is evident that the lower court did not
consider his age and maturity. This should not be the case. The degree of care required
to be exercised must vary with the capacity of the person endangered to care for
himself. A minor should not be held to the same degree of care as an adult, but his
conduct should be judged according to the average conduct of persons of his age and
experience. 5 The standard of conduct to which a child must conform for his own
protection is that degree of care ordinarily exercised by children of the same age,
capacity, discretion, knowledge and experience under the same or similar
circumstances. 6 Bearing this in mind, We cannot charge the child Ylarde with reckless
imprudence.
The court is not persuaded that the digging done by the pupils can pass as part of their
Work Education. A single glance at the picture showing the excavation and the huge
concrete block 7 would reveal a dangerous site requiring the attendance of strong,
mature laborers and not ten-year old grade-four pupils. We cannot comprehend why
the lower court saw it otherwise when private respondent Aquino himself admitted
that there were no instructions from the principal requiring what the pupils were told
to do. Nor was there any showing that it was included in the lesson plan for their Work
Education. Even the Court of Appeals made mention of the fact that respondent Aquino
decided all by himself to help his co-teacher Banez bury the concrete remnants of the
old school shop. 8 Furthermore, the excavation should not be placed in the category of

school gardening, planting trees, and the like as these undertakings do not expose the
children to any risk that could result in death or physical injuries.
The contention that private respondent Aquino exercised the utmost diligence of a very
cautious person is certainly without cogent basis. A reasonably prudent person would
have foreseen that bringing children to an excavation site, and more so, leaving them
there all by themselves, may result in an accident. An ordinarily careful human being
would not assume that a simple warning "not to touch the stone" is sufficient to cast
away all the serious danger that a huge concrete block adjacent to an excavation would
present to the children. Moreover, a teacher who stands inloco parentis to his pupils
would have made sure that the children are protected from all harm in his company.
We close by categorically stating that a truly careful and cautious person would have
acted in all contrast to the way private respondent Aquino did. Were it not for his gross
negligence, the unfortunate incident would not have occurred and the child Ylarde
would probably be alive today, a grown- man of thirty-five. Due to his failure to take
the necessary precautions to avoid the hazard, Ylarde's parents suffered great anguish
all these years.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is hereby GRANTED and the
questioned judgment of the respondent court is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and
another judgment is hereby rendered ordering private respondent Edagardo Aquino to
pay petitioners the following:
(1) Indemnity for the death of Child Ylarde P30,000.00
(2) Exemplary damages 10,000.00
(3) Moral damages 20,000.00
SO ORDERED.
ST. FRANCIS HIGH SCHOOL, as represented by SPS. FERNANDO NANTES AND
ROSARIO LACANDULA, BENJAMIN ILUMIN, TIRSO DE CHAVEZ, LUISITO
VINAS, CONNIE ARQUIO AND PATRIA CADIZ, petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ELEVENTH DIVISION and DR.
ROMULO CASTILLO and LILIA CADIZ, respondents.
Jose C. Flores, Jr. for petitioners.
Jovito E. Talabong for private respondents.

PARAS, J.:
This is a petition for review of the decision * of the Court of Appeals, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the decision under appeal is hereby affirmed, with the following
modifications: (1) Exemplary damages in the amount of P20,000.00 are hereby
awarded to plaintiffs, in addition to the actual damages of P30,000.00, moral
damages of P20,000.00 and attorney's fees in the amount of P15,000.00 awarded
to plaintiffs in the decision under appeal; (2) St. Francis High School, represented
by the Spouses Fernando Nantes and Rosario Lacandula, and Benjamin Illumin,
are hereby held jointly and severally liable with defendants Connie Arquio, Tirso
de Chaves, Luisito Vinas and Patria Cadis for the payment to plaintiffs of the
abovementioned actual damages, moral damages, exemplary damages and
attorney's fees, and for costs; and (3) Defendants Yoly Jaro and Nida Aragones
are hereby absolved from liability, and the case against them, together with their
respective counterclaims, is hereby ordered dismissed.
SO ORDERED. (p. 60, Rollo)
The complaint alleged that Ferdinand Castillo, then a freshman student of Section 1-C
at the St. Francis High School, wanted to join a school picnic undertaken by Class I-B
and Class I-C at Talaan Beach, Sariaya, Quezon. Ferdinand's parents, respondents
spouses Dr. Romulo Castillo and Lilia Cadiz Castillo, because of short notice, did not
allow their son to join but merely allowed him to bring food to the teachers for the
picnic, with the directive that he should go back home after doing so. However, because
of persuasion of the teachers, Ferdinand went on with them to the beach.
During the picnic and while the students, including Ferdinand, were in the water, one
of the female teachers was apparently drowning. Some of the students, including
Ferdinand, came to her rescue, but in the process, it was Ferdinand himself who
drowned. His body was recovered but efforts to resuscitate him ashore failed. He was
brought to a certain Dr. Luna in Sariaya, Quezon and later to the Mt. Cannel General
Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Thereupon, respondent spouses filed a complaint docketed as Civil Case No. 8834, in
the Regional Trial Court, Branch LVIII of Lucena City, against the St. Francis High

School, represented by the spouses Fernando Nantes and Rosario Lacandula, Benjamin
Illumin (its principal), and the teachers: Tirso de Chaves, Luisito Vinas, Connie Arquio,
Nida Aragones, Yoly Jaro, and Patria Cadiz, for Damages which respondents allegedly
incurred from the death of their 13-year old son, Ferdinand Castillo. Contending that
the death of their son was due to the failure of the petitioners to exercise the proper
diligence of a good father of the family in preventing their son's drowning, respondents
prayed of actual, moral and exemplary damages, attorney's fees and expenses for
litigation.
The trial court found in favor of the respondents and against petitioners-teachers
Arquio, de Chaves, Vinas, Aragones, Jaro and Cadiz, ordering all of them jointly and
severally to pay respondents the sum of P30,000.00 as actual damages, P20,000.00 as
moral damages, P15,000.00 as attorney's fees, and to pay the costs. The court a
quo reasoned:
Taking into consideration the evidence presented, this Court believes that the
defendant teachers namely: Connie Arquio, Luisito Vinas, Tirso de Chaves, Yoly
Jaro, Nida Aragones and Patria Cadiz had failed to exercise the diligence
required of them by law under the circumstances to guard against the harm they
had foreseen. (pp. 2930, Rollo)
xxx

xxx

xxx

While it is alleged that when defendants Yoly Jaro and Nida Aragones arrived at
the picnic site, the drowning incident had already occurred, such fact does not
and cannot excuse them from their liability. In fact, it could be said that by
coming late, they were remiss in their duty to safeguard the students. (p.
30, Rollo)
The students, young as they were then (12 to 13 years old), were easily attracted
to the sea without aforethought of the dangers it offers. Yet, the precautions and
reminders allegedly performed by the defendants-teachers definitely fell short of
the standard required by law under the circumstances. While the defendantsteachers admitted that some parts of the sea where the picnic was held are deep,
the supposed lifeguards of the children did not even actually go to the water to
test the depth of the particular area where the children would swim. And indeed
the fears of the plaintiffs that the picnic area was dangerous was confirmed by
the fact that three persons during the picnic got drowned at the same time. Had
the defendant teachers made an actual and physical observation of the water
before they allowed the students to swim, they could have found out that the

area where the children were swimming was indeed dangerous. And not only
that, the male teachers who according to the female teachers were there to
supervise the children to ensure their safety were not even at the area where the
children were swimming. They were somewhere and as testified to by plaintiffs'
witness they were having a drinking spree. (pp. 55-56, Rollo)
On the other hand, the trial court dismissed the case against the St. Francis High School,
Benjamin Illumin and Aurora Cadorna. Said the court a quo:
As shown and adverted to above, this Court cannot find sufficient evidence
showing that the picnic was a school sanctioned one. Similarly no evidence has
been shown to hold defendants Benjamin Illumin and Aurora Cadorna
responsible for the death of Ferdinand Castillo together with the other defendant
teachers. It has been sufficiently shown that Benjamin Illumin had himself not
consented to the picnic and in fact he did not join it. On the other hand,
defendant Aurora Cadorna had then her own class to supervise and in fact she
was not amongst those allegedly invited by defendant Connie Arquio to
supervise class I-C to which Ferdinand Castillo belongs. (p. 30, Rollo)
Both petitioners and respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals. Respondentsspouses assigned the following errors committed by the trial court:
1. The lower court erred in not declaring the defendant St. Francis High School
and its administrator/principal Benjamin Illumin as equally liable not only for its
approved co-curricular activities but also for those which they unreasonably
failed to exercise control and supervision like the holding of picnic in the
dangerous water of Talaan Beach, Sariaya, Quezon.
2. The lower court erred in not declaring the St. Francis High School and
principal Benjamin Illumin as jointly and solidarily liable with their codefendants-teachers Rosario Lacandula, et als., for the tragic death of Ferdinand
Castillo in a picnic at Talaan Beach, Sariaya, Quezon, last March 20, 1982.
3. The lower court erred in not declaring higher amount for actual and moral
damages for the untimely and tragic death of Ferdinand Castillo in favor of
plaintiffs-appellants against all the defendants. (pp. 56-57, Rollo)
The Court of Appeals ruled:
We find plaintiffs-appellants' submission well-taken.

Even were We to find that the picnic in question was not a school-sponsored
activity, nonetheless it cannot be gainsaid that the same was held under the
supervision of the teachers employed by the said school, particularly the teacher
in charge of Class I-C to whom the victim belonged, and those whom she invited
to help her in supervising the class during the picnic. Considering that the
court a quo found negligence on the part of the six defendants-teachers who, as
such, were charged with the supervision of the children during the picnic, the St.
Francis High School and the school principal, Benjamin Illumin, are liable under
Article 2176 taken together with the 1st, 4th and 5th paragraphs of Article 2180 of
the Civil Code. They cannot escape liability on the mere excuse that the picnic
was not an "extra-curricular activity of the St. Francis High School." We find from
the evidence that, as claimed by plaintiffs-appellants, the school principal had
knowledge of the picnic even from its planning stage and had even been invited
to attend the affair; and yet he did not express any prohibition against
undertaking the picnic, nor did he prescribe any precautionary measures to be
adopted during the picnic. At the least, We must find that the school and the
responsible school officials, particularly the principal, Benjamin Illumin, had
acquiesced to the holding of the picnic.
Under Article 2180, supra, the defendant school and defendant school principal
must be found jointly and severally liable with the defendants-teachers for the
damages incurred by the plaintiffs as a result of the death of their son. It is the
rule that in cases where the above-cited provisions find application, the
negligence of the employees in causing the injury or damage gives rise to a
presumption of negligence on the part of the owner and/or manager of the
establishment (in the present case, St. Francis High School and its principal); and
while this presumption is not conclusive, it may be overthrown only by clear and
convincing proof that the owner and/or manager exercised the care and diligence
of a good father of a family in the selection and/or supervision of the employee
or employees causing the injury or damage (in this case, the defendantsteachers). The record does not disclose such evidence as would serve to
overcome the aforesaid presumption and absolve the St. Francis High School and
its principal from liability under the above-cited provisions.
As to the third assigned error interposed by plaintiffs-appellants, while We
cannot but commiserate with the plaintiffs for the tragedy that befell them in the
untimely death of their son Ferdinand Castillo and understand their suffering as
parents, especially the victim's mother who, according to appellants, suffered a
nervous breakdown as a result of the tragedy, We find that the amounts fixed by
the court a quo as actual damages and moral damages (P30,000.00 and P20,000.00,

respectively) are reasonable and are those which are sustained by the evidence
and the law.
However, We believe that exemplary or corrective damages in the amount of
P20,000.00 may and should be, as it is hereby, imposed in the present case by
way of example of correction for the public good, pursuant to Article 2229 of the
Civil Code. (pp. 57-59, Rollo)
On the other hand, petitioners-teachers assigned the following errors committed by the
trial court:
1. ". . . in finding the defendants Connie Arquio, Tirso de Chavez, Luisito Vinas,
Nida Aragones, Yoly Jaro and Patria Cadiz guilty of negligence and jointly and
severally liable for damages such finding not being supported by facts and
evidence.
2. ". . . in dismissing the counterclaim interposed by the defendants. (p. 59, Rollo)
On this score, respondent Court ruled:
The main thrust of defendants-appellants appeal is that plaintiffs, the parents of
the victim Ferdinand Castillo, were not able to prove by their evidence that they
did not give their son consent to join the picnic in question. However, We agree
with the trial court in its finding that whether or not the victim's parents had
given such permission to their son was immaterial to the determination of the
existence of liability on the part of the defendants for the damage incurred by the
plaintiffs-appellants as a result of the death of their son. What is material to such
a determination is whether or not there was negligence on the part of
defendants vis-a-visthe supervision of the victim's group during the picnic; and,
as correctly found by the trial court, an affirmative reply to this question has
been satisfactorily established by the evidence, as already pointed out.
However, We sustain defendants-appellants insofar as two of the defendantsteachers, Yoly Jaro and Nida Aragones, are concerned. As to them, the trial court
found:
While it is alleged that when defendants Yoly Jaro and Nida Aragones
arrived at the picnic site, the drowning incident had already occurred,
such fact does not and cannot excuse them from their liability. In fact, it
could be said that by coming late, they were remiss in their duty to
safeguard the students.

The evidence shows that these two defendants had satisfactorily explained why
they were late in going to the picnic site, namely, that they had to attend to the
entrance examination being conducted by the school which is part of their duty
as teachers thereof. Since they were not at the picnic site during the occurrence in
question, it cannot be said that they had any participation in the negligence
attributable to the other defendants-teachers who failed to exercise diligence in
the supervision of the children during the picnic and which failure resulted in
the drowning of plaintiffs' son. Thus, We may not attribute any act or omission to
the two teachers, Yoly Jaro and Nida Aragones, as to make them liable for the
injury caused to the plaintiffs because of the death of their son resulting from his
drowning at the picnic. Accordingly, they must be absolved from any liability.
As to the second assigned error raised by defendants-appellants, We agree with
the court a quo that the counterclaim must be dismissed for lack of merit. (pp. 5960, Rollo)
Hence, this petition.
The issues presented by petitioners are:
A) Whether or not there was negligence attributable to the defendants which will
warrant the award of damages to the plaintiffs;
B) Whether or not Art. 2180, in relation to Art. 2176 of the New Civil Code is
applicable to the case at bar;
C) Whether or not the award of exemplary and moral damages is proper under
the circumstances surrounding the case at bar. (pp. 81-82, Rollo)
In the resolution of January 16, 1989, We gave due course to the petition and required
the parties to submit their respective memoranda.
The petition is impressed with merit.
If at all petitioners are liable for negligence, this is because of their own negligence or
the negligence of people under them. In the instant case however, as will be shown
hereunder, petitioners are neither guilty of their own negligence or guilty of the
negligence of those under them.
Hence, it cannot be said that they are guilty at all of any negligence. Consequently they
cannot be held liable for damages of any kind.

At the outset, it should be noted that respondent spouses, parents of the victim
Ferdinand, allowed their son to join the excursion.
Testimony of Dr. Castillo on cross exam. by Atty. Flores
Q Now, when your son asked you for money to buy food, did you not ask
him where he will bring this?
A I asked him where he was going, he answered, I am going to the picnic,
and when I asked him where, he did not answer, sir.
Q And after giving the money, you did not tell him anything more?
A No more, sir.
Q And after that you just learned that your son join the picnic?
A Yes, sir.
Q And you came to know of it after the news that your son was drowned
in the picnic came to you, is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q From 8:00 o'clock in the morning up to 12:00 o'clock noon of March 20,
1982, you did not know that your son join the picnic?
A No, sir, I did not know.
Q Did you not look for your son during that time?
A I am too busy with my profession, that is why I was not able, sir.
Q You did not ask your wife?
A I did not, sir.
Q And neither did your wife tell you that your son join the picnic?
A Later on after 12:00, sir.

Q And during that time you were too busy that you did not inquire
whether your son have joined that picnic?
A Yes, sir.
(TSN, pp. 16-17, hearing of April 2, 1984 witness Romulo Castillo)
The fact that he gave money to his son to buy food for the picnic even without knowing
where it will be held, is a sign of consent for his son to join the same. Furthermore.
Testimony of Dr. Lazaro on cross examination:
Q How did you conduct this mental and physical examination?
A I have interviewed several persons and the patient herself She even felt guilty
about the death of her son because she cooked adobo for him so he could join the
excursion where her son died of drowning.
Q Why were you able to say she was feeling guilty because she was the
one who personally cooked the adobo for her son?
A It was during the interview that I had gathered it from the patient
herself. She was very sorry had she not allowed her son to join the
excursion her son would have not drowned. I don't know if she actually
permitted her son although she said she cooked adobo so he could join.
(Emphasis Supplied) (TSN, p. 19, hearing of April 30, 1984, Dr. Lazaro
witness).
Respondent Court of Appeals committed an error in applying Article 2180 of the Civil
Code in rendering petitioner school liable for the death of respondent's son.
Article 2180, par. 4 states that:
The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts
or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.
xxx

xxx

xxx

Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and
household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though
the former are not engaged in any business or industry.

Under this paragraph, it is clear that before an employer may be held liable for the
negligence of his employee, the act or omission which caused damage or prejudice must
have occurred while an employee was in the performance of his assigned tasks.
In the case at bar, the teachers/petitioners were not in the actual performance of their
assigned tasks. The incident happened not within the school premises, not on a school
day and most importantly while the teachers and students were holding a purely
private affair, a picnic. It is clear from the beginning that the incident happened while
some members of the I-C class of St. Francis High School were having a picnic at Talaan
Beach. This picnic had no permit from the school head or its principal, Benjamin Illumin
because this picnic is not a school sanctioned activity neither is it considered as an extracurricular activity.
As earlier pointed out by the trial court, mere knowledge by petitioner/principal Illumin
of the planning of the picnic by the students and their teachers does not in any way or
in any manner show acquiescence or consent to the holding of the same. The
application therefore of Article 2180 has no basis in law and neither is it supported by
any jurisprudence. If we were to affirm the findings of respondent Court on this score,
employers wig forever be exposed to the risk and danger of being hailed to Court to
answer for the misdeeds or omissions of the employees even if such act or omission he
committed while they are not in the performance of their duties.
Finally, no negligence could be attributable to the petitioners-teachers to warrant the
award of damages to the respondents-spouses.
Petitioners Connie Arquio the class adviser of I-C, the section where Ferdinand
belonged, did her best and exercised diligence of a good father of a family to prevent
any untoward incident or damages to all the students who joined the picnic.
In fact, Connie invited co-petitioners Tirso de Chavez and Luisito Vinas who are both
P.E. instructors and scout masters who have knowledge in First Aid application and
swimming. Moreover, even respondents' witness, Segundo Vinas, testified that "the
defendants (petitioners herein) had life savers especially brought by the defendants in
case of emergency." (p. 85, Rollo) The records also show that both petitioners Chavez
and Vinas did all what is humanly possible to save the child.
Testimony of Luisito Vinas on cross examination,
Q And when you saw the boy, Ferdinand Castillo, you approached the
boy and claim also having applied first aid on him?

A Yes, sir.
Q And while you were applying the so called first aid, the children were
covering you up or were surrounding you?
A Yes, sir.
Q You were rattled at that time, is it not?
A No, sir.
Q You mean you were in calm and peaceful condition?
A Yes, sir.
Q Despite the fact that the boy was no longer responding to your
application of first aid?
A Yes, sir.
Q You have never been disturbed, "nababahala" in the process of your
application of the first aid on the body of Ferdinand Castillo?
A No, sir, because we were attending to the application of first aid that we
were doing, sir.
Q After you have applied back to back pressure and which you claimed
the boy did not respond, were you not disturb anyway?
A I was disturbed during that time, sir.
Q For how many minutes have you applied the back to back pressure?
A From 9 to 11 times, sir.
Q You mean 9 to 11 times of having applied the pressure of your body on
the body of Ferdinand Castillo?
A Yes, sir.
Q Will you please describe how you applied a single act of back to back
pressure?

A This has been done by placing the boy lay first downwards, then the
face was a little bit facing right and doing it by massaging the back of the
child, sir." (TSN, pp. 32-35, hearing of July 30, 1984)
Testimony of Tirso de Chavez on direct examination
ATTY. FLORES:
Q Who actually applied the first aid or artificial respiration to the child?
A Myself, sir.
Q How did you apply the first aid to the guy?
A The first step that I took, with the help of Mr. Luisito Vinas, was I
applied back to back pressure and took notice of the condition of the child.
We placed the feet in a higher position, that of the head of the child, sir.
Q After you have placed the boy in that particular position, where the feet
were on a higher level than that of the head, what did you do next?
A The first thing that we did, particularly myself, was that after putting
the child in that position, I applied the back to back pressure and started
to massage from the waistline up, but I noticed that the boy was not
responding, sir.
Q For how long did you apply this back to back pressure on the boy?
A About 10 seconds, sir.
Q What about Mr. Vinas?
A Almost the same a little longer, for 15 seconds, sir.
Q After you noticed that the boy was not responding, what did you do?
A When we noticed that the boy was not responding, we changed the
position of the boy by placing the child facing upwards laying on the sand
then we applied the mouth to mouth resuscitation, sir. (pp. 92-93, Rollo)

With these facts in mind, no moral nor exemplary damages may be awarded in favor of
respondents-spouses. The case at bar does not fall under any of the grounds to grant
moral damages.
Art. 2217. Moral Damages include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright,
serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social
humiliation, and similar injury. Though incapable of pecuniary
computation, moral damages may be recovered if they are the proximate result of the
defendant's wrongful act or omission.
Moreover, as already pointed out hereinabove, petitioners are not guilty of any fault or
negligence, hence, no moral damages can be assessed against them.
While it is true that respondents-spouses did give their consent to their son to join the
picnic, this does not mean that the petitioners were already relieved of their duty to
observe the required diligence of a good father of a family in ensuring the safety of the
children. But in the case at bar, petitioners were able to prove that they had exercised
the required diligence. Hence, the claim for moral or exemplary damages becomes
baseless.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the questioned decision dated November 19, 1987, finding
petitioners herein guilty of negligence and liable for the death of Ferdinand Castillo and
awarding the respondents damages, is hereby SET ASIDE insofar as the petitioners
herein are concerned, but the portion of the said decision dismissing their counterclaim,
there being no merit, is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Sarmiento and Regalado, JJ., concur.

The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

Separate Opinions
PADILLA, J., dissenting:
I regret that I can not concur with the majority. I believe that the reversal of respondent
appellate court's decision gives rise to a situation which was neither contemplated nor

intended by the applicable laws. I refer more particularly to the fact that
the ponencia has left private respondents-spouses with no one to hold liable for the
untimely demise of their son. On the other hand, they have, to my mind, been wronged.
and they should at least be recompensed for their sufferings. For this and other reasons
stated hereunder. I dissent.
The issues, as adopted by the ponencia from the record, are as follows:
A) Whether or not there was negligence attributable to the defendants which will
warrant the award of damages to the plaintiffs;
B) Whether or not Art. 2180, in relation to Art. 2176 of the New Civil Code is
applicable to the case at bar;
C) Whether or not the award of exemplary and moral damages is proper under
the circumstances surrounding the case at bar. 1
In my opinion, the record clearly shows negligence on the part of the petitionersteachers, with the exception of Aragones and Jaro. As to these two, respondent court
absolved them from liability for their having satisfactorily demonstrated lack of
participation in the negligence of their colleagues. I am in agreement with said
conclusion. But I also agree with the respondent court in its finding that Tirso de
Chavez, Luisito Vias, Connie Arguio and Patria Cadiz failed to exercise DILIGENT
SUPERVISION over the children during the ill-fated excursion.
I may concede, albeit with reservation, that the afore-mentioned petitioners may not
have been negligent in finding ways and means to revive the young Castillo AFTER the
drowning incident. Their application of first-aid measures may have failed to revive
him but the petitioners had fully exhausted their efforts to save the deceased. This
concession, however, is given with hesitation, for there is indication in the record that
petitioner petitioners may have tarried too long in securing immediate medical
attention for the deceased. I refer to the trial court's finding that "it still took the jeep
which brought Ferdinand Castillo to the poblacion six (6) minutes before it finally
moved to await the other teachers." 2
All this aside, I am really disturbed about, and would like to emphasize the
demonstrated lack of diligence on the part of the petitioners-teachers BEFORE the
unfortunate incident took place. Despite awareness that the waters in the area were
deep, petitioners- teachers did not take concrete steps to make sure their wards did not
stray too far and too deeply. Even if they were not actually informed of the possible

dangers which the area posed, petitioners-teachers should have first "tested the waters",
so to speak, to ensure which parts thereof were safe for swimming purposes. However,
this was not the case for as testified to by petitioner de Chavez, "they admitted that they
did not even go to the water to check its depth although they were aware that some
parts of it were deep." 3
At best, it appears that only oral safety instructions were imparted to the young
excursionists.
But, what I find most disturbing is the fact that at the time the trouble arose, Vias and
de Chavez, the male teachers who were supposed to ensure the children's safety, being
physical education instructors, were nowhere within the immediate vicinity but were,
in fact, as admitted by the latter, "at his house getting some foods (sic) and thinks." The
Court a quo even went as far as to say that "they were somewhere and as testified to by
plaintiffs' witness they were having a drinking spree!" 4
It thus appears that the petitioners-teachers failed to exercise the proper diligence or
what I may refer to as DILIGENCE BEFORE THE FACT. As earlier mentioned, the steps
taken to revive the deceased may be considered adequate, despite my reservations, but
the over-all lack of diligence on the part of petitioners-teachers suffices to put them
within the standards set by this Court in determining the existence of negligence. As
held in Hedy Gan y Yu vs. Court of Appeals, et al., the test in determining whether or not a
person is negligent in doing an act whereby injury or damage results to the person or
property of another is this: Would a prudent man in the position of the person to whom
negligence is attributed foresee harm to the person injured as a reasonable consequence
of the course about to be pursued? If so, the law imposes the duty on the doer TO TAKE
PRECAUTION against its mischievous results and the failure to do so constitutes
negligence. 5
The next issue to be addressed pertains to the liability of the petitioner St. Francis High
School as represented by petitioners-spouses Fernando Nantes and Rosario Lacandula.
The majority would like to emphasize the fact that the unfortunate incident having
occurred during a purely private affair, the teachers involved therein were not in the
actual performance of their assigned tasks. Consequently, any act or omission caused by
them cannot bind their employer, petitioner St. Francis High School.
I take exception to this proposition. Although the excursion may not have been
attended by the appropriate school authorities, the presence or stamp of authority of the
school nevertheless pervaded by reason of the participationnot of one but of several
teachers, the petitioners. As found by the court a quo, the excursion was an activity

"organized by the teachers themselves, for the students and to which the student,
NATURALLY, acceded." 6
Moreover, the record indicates that petitioner Benjamin Illumin, school principal, knew
of the excursion and had, in fact, been invited to attend. As the majority see it, such
knowledge does not in any manner show acquiescence or consent to the holding of the
excursion, a view which I do not accept. It seems to me that having known of the
forthcoming activity, petitioner Illumin, as school principal, should have taken
appropriate measures to ensure the safety of his students. Having preferred to remain
silent, and even indifferent, he now seeks excuse from such omission by invoking his
alleged lack of consent to the excursion. But it is precisely his silence and negligence in
performing his role as principal head of the school that must be construed as an implied
consent to such activity.
As administrative head (principal) of St. Francis High School, petitioner Illumin acted as
the agent of his principal (the school) or its representatives, the petitioners-spouses
Nantes and Lacandula. Consequently, and as found by the respondent
court.1wphi1 Article 2176 in conjunction with Article 2180, paragraphs (1) and (5) are
applicable to the situation. In the application of these provisions, the negligence of the
employee in causing injury or damage gives rise to a presumption of negligence on the
part of the owner and/or manager of the establishment. While this presumption is not
conclusive, it may be overcome only by clear and convincing evidence that the owner
and/or manager exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family in the
selection and/or supervision of the employees causing the injury or damage. I agree
with the respondent court that no proof was presented to absolve the owner and/or
manager, herein petitioners-spouses Nantes and Lacandula, and Illumin. Thus, as
correctly held by the respondent court, they too must be accountable for the death of
Ferdinand Castillo.
The majority view appears to be apprehensive that employers will be continuously held
accountable for misdeeds of their employees committed even when the same are done
not in the actual exercise of their duties. I fail to appreciate such apprehensions, which
need not arise on the part of employers, so long as the latter have no knowledge of, or
give consent to, such act or omission on the part of their employee.
Educational institutions have responsibilities which cannot be equated with those of the
ordinary employer or business establishment. Such institutions, particularly the
primary and secondary schools, hold the tremendous responsibility of exercising
supervision over young children. Too often, such schools avoid liabilities, as in the
instant cage, by invoking the absence of approval on their part for activities that may be

held outside school premises or held on a day not a school day. It is about time that
such schools realize that theirs is not a mere moneymaking entity or one impersonally
established for the sole task of teaching the rudimentary skills of "reading, writing and
'rithmetic." They must consider that their students are children of tender years who are
in need of adequate care, continuing attention and guidance.
Anent the issue of damages, from the foregoing discussion the award thereof is clearly
proper. I only wish to point out the basis for moral damages which is found in Article
2219 of the Civil Code, to wit:
Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:
1. . . . .
2. Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries;
xxx

xxx

xxx

It should be noted that the term "physical injuries" must not be construed in its penal
sense alone but rather in its generic sense, in the spirit of this Court's rulings
in Carandang vs. Santiago (51 O.G. 2878) and Madeja vs. Caro, et al., (G.R. No. 51183, 21
December 1983, 126 SCRA 293). Thus, the death of private respondents' son as a result
of petitioners' negligence gives rise to an action for quasi-delict which, as provided,
entitles the claimant to an award of moral damages.
In the light of the foregoing, I vote to AFFIRM the decision of the respondent court and
thus hold the petitioners jointly and severally liable for the death of Ferdinand Castillo.
PHILIPPINE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, JUAN D. LIM,
BENJAMIN P. PAULINO, ANTONIO M. MAGTALAS, COL. PEDRO SACRO and
LT. M. SORIANO, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, HON. REGINA ORDOEZ-BENITEZ, in her capacity as
Presiding Judge of Branch 47, Regional Trial Court, Manila, SEGUNDA R.
BAUTISTA and ARSENIA D. BAUTISTA, respondents.
Balgos and Perez for petitioners.
Collantes, Ramirez & Associates for private respondents.

PADILLA, J.:
A stabbing incident on 30 August 1985 which caused the death of Carlitos Bautista
while on the second-floor premises of the Philippine School of Business Administration
(PSBA) prompted the parents of the deceased to file suit in the Regional Trial Court of
Manila (Branch 47) presided over by Judge (now Court of Appeals justice) Regina
Ordoez-Benitez, for damages against the said PSBA and its corporate officers. At the
time of his death, Carlitos was enrolled in the third year commerce course at the PSBA.
It was established that his assailants were not members of the school's academic
community but were elements from outside the school.
Specifically, the suit impleaded the PSBA and the following school authorities: Juan D.
Lim (President), Benjamin P. Paulino (Vice-President), Antonio M. Magtalas
(Treasurer/Cashier), Col. Pedro Sacro (Chief of Security) and a Lt. M. Soriano (Assistant
Chief of Security). Substantially, the plaintiffs (now private respondents) sought to
adjudge them liable for the victim's untimely demise due to their alleged negligence,
recklessness and lack of security precautions, means and methods before, during and
after the attack on the victim. During the proceedings a quo, Lt. M. Soriano terminated
his relationship with the other petitioners by resigning from his position in the school.
Defendants a quo (now petitioners) sought to have the suit dismissed, alleging that since
they are presumably sued under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, the complaint states no
cause of action against them, as jurisprudence on the subject is to the effect that academic
institutions, such as the PSBA, are beyond the ambit of the rule in the afore-stated
article.
The respondent trial court, however, overruled petitioners' contention and thru an
order dated 8 December 1987, denied their motion to dismiss. A subsequent motion for
reconsideration was similarly dealt with by an order dated 25 January 1988. Petitioners
then assailed the trial court's disposition before the respondent appellate court which, in
a decision * promulgated on 10 June 1988, affirmed the trial court's orders. On 22
August 1988, the respondent appellate court resolved to deny the petitioners' motion
for reconsideration. Hence, this petition.
At the outset, it is to be observed that the respondent appellate court primarily
anchored its decision on the law ofquasi-delicts, as enunciated in Articles 2176 and 2180
of the Civil Code. 1 Pertinent portions of the appellate court's now assailed ruling state:
Article 2180 (formerly Article 1903) of the Civil Code is an adoption from
the old Spanish Civil Code. The comments of Manresa and learned

authorities on its meaning should give way to present day changes. The
law is not fixed and flexible (sic); it must be dynamic. In fact, the greatest
value and significance of law as a rule of conduct in (sic) its flexibility to
adopt to changing social conditions and its capacity to meet the new
challenges of progress.
Construed in the light of modern day educational system, Article 2180
cannot be construed in its narrow concept as held in the old case
of Exconde vs. Capuno 2 and Mercado vs. Court of Appeals; 3hence, the ruling
in the Palisoc 4 case that it should apply to all kinds of educational
institutions, academic or vocational.
At any rate, the law holds the teachers and heads of the school staff liable
unless they relieve themselves of such liability pursuant to the last
paragraph of Article 2180 by "proving that they observed all the diligence
to prevent damage." This can only be done at a trial on the merits of the
case. 5
While we agree with the respondent appellate court that the motion to dismiss the
complaint was correctly denied and the complaint should be tried on the merits, we do
not however agree with the premises of the appellate court's ruling.
Article 2180, in conjunction with Article 2176 of the Civil Code, establishes the rule
of in loco parentis. This Court discussed this doctrine in the afore-cited cases of Exconde,
Mendoza, Palisoc and, more recently, in Amadora vs.Court of Appeals. 6 In all such cases, it
had been stressed that the law (Article 2180) plainly provides that the damage should
have been caused or inflicted by pupils or students of he educational institution sought to
be held liable for the acts of its pupils or students while in its custody. However, this
material situation does not exist in the present case for, as earlier indicated, the
assailants of Carlitos were not students of the PSBA, for whose acts the school could be
made liable.
However, does the appellate court's failure to consider such material facts mean the
exculpation of the petitioners from liability? It does not necessarily follow.
When an academic institution accepts students for enrollment, there is established
a contract between them, resulting in bilateral obligations which both parties are bound
to comply with. 7 For its part, the school undertakes to provide the student with an
education that would presumably suffice to equip him with the necessary tools and
skills to pursue higher education or a profession. On the other hand, the student

covenants to abide by the school's academic requirements and observe its rules and
regulations.
Institutions of learning must also meet the implicit or "built-in" obligation of providing
their students with an atmosphere that promotes or assists in attaining its primary
undertaking of imparting knowledge. Certainly, no student can absorb the intricacies of
physics or higher mathematics or explore the realm of the arts and other sciences when
bullets are flying or grenades exploding in the air or where there looms around the
school premises a constant threat to life and limb. Necessarily, the school must ensure
that adequate steps are taken to maintain peace and order within the campus premises
and to prevent the breakdown thereof.
Because the circumstances of the present case evince a contractual relation between the
PSBA and Carlitos Bautista, the rules on quasi-delict do not really govern. 8 A perusal
of Article 2176 shows that obligations arising from quasi-delicts or tort, also known as
extra-contractual obligations, arise only between parties not otherwise bound by
contract, whether express or implied. However, this impression has not prevented this
Court from determining the existence of a tort even when there obtains a contract.
In Air France vs. Carrascoso (124 Phil. 722), the private respondent was awarded damages
for his unwarranted expulsion from a first-class seat aboard the petitioner airline. It is
noted, however, that the Court referred to the petitioner-airline's liability as one arising
from tort, not one arising from a contract of carriage. In effect, Air France is authority for
the view that liability from tort may exist even if there is a contract, for the act that
breaks the contract may be also a tort. (Austro-America S.S. Co. vs. Thomas, 248 Fed.
231).
This view was not all that revolutionary, for even as early as 1918, this Court was
already of a similar mind. InCangco vs. Manila Railroad (38 Phil. 780), Mr. Justice Fisher
elucidated thus:
The field of non-contractual obligation is much broader than that of
contractual obligation, comprising, as it does, the whole extent of juridical
human relations. These two fields, figuratively speaking, concentric; that
is to say, the mere fact that a person is bound to another by contract does
not relieve him from extra-contractual liability to such person. When such
a contractual relation exists the obligor may break the contract under such
conditions that the same act which constitutes a breach of the contract would
have constituted the source of an extra-contractual obligation had no contract
existed between the parties.

Immediately what comes to mind is the chapter of the Civil Code on Human Relations,
particularly Article 21, which provides:
Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that
is contrary to morals, good custom or public policy shall compensate the latter
for the damage. (emphasis supplied).
Air France penalized the racist policy of the airline which emboldened the petitioner's
employee to forcibly oust the private respondent to cater to the comfort of a white man
who allegedly "had a better right to the seat." In Austro-American, supra, the public
embarrassment caused to the passenger was the justification for the Circuit Court of
Appeals, (Second Circuit), to award damages to the latter. From the foregoing, it can be
concluded that should the act which breaches a contract be done in bad faith and be
violative of Article 21, then there is a cause to view the act as constituting a quasi-delict.
In the circumstances obtaining in the case at bar, however, there is, as yet, no finding
that the contract between the school and Bautista had been breached thru the former's
negligence in providing proper security measures. This would be for the trial court to
determine. And, even if there be a finding of negligence, the same could give rise
generally to a breach of contractual obligation only. Using the test of Cangco, supra, the
negligence of the school would not be relevant absent a contract. In fact, that negligence
becomes material only because of the contractual relation between PSBA and Bautista.
In other words, a contractual relation is a condition sine qua non to the school's liability.
The negligence of the school cannot exist independently of the contract, unless the
negligence occurs under the circumstances set out in Article 21 of the Civil Code.
This Court is not unmindful of the attendant difficulties posed by the obligation of
schools, above-mentioned, for conceptually a school, like a common carrier, cannot be
an insurer of its students against all risks. This is specially true in the populous student
communities of the so-called "university belt" in Manila where there have been reported
several incidents ranging from gang wars to other forms of hooliganism. It would not
be equitable to expect of schools to anticipate all types of violent trespass upon their
premises, for notwithstanding the security measures installed, the same may still fail
against an individual or group determined to carry out a nefarious deed inside school
premises and environs. Should this be the case, the school may still avoid liability by
proving that the breach of its contractual obligation to the students was not due to its
negligence, here statutorily defined to be the omission of that degree of diligence which
is required by the nature of the obligation and corresponding to the circumstances of
persons, time and place. 9

As the proceedings a quo have yet to commence on the substance of the private
respondents' complaint, the record is bereft of all the material facts. Obviously, at this
stage, only the trial court can make such a determination from the evidence still to
unfold.
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The court of
origin (RTC, Manila, Br. 47) is hereby ordered to continue proceedings consistent with
this ruling of the Court. Costs against the petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
ST. MARYS ACADEMY, petitioner, vs. WILLIAM CARPITANOS and LUCIA S.
CARPITANOS, GUADA DANIEL, JAMES DANIEL II, JAMES DANIEL,
SR.,and VIVENCIO VILLANUEVA, respondents.
DECISION
PARDO, J.:

The Case
The case is an appeal via certiorari from the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals as
well as the resolution denying reconsideration, holding petitioner liable for damages
arising from an accident that resulted in the death of a student who had joined a
campaign to visit the public schools in Dipolog City to solicit enrollment.

The Facts
The facts, as found by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:
Claiming damages for the death of their only son, Sherwin Carpitanos, spouses William
Carpitanos and Lucia Carpitanos filed on June 9, 1995 a case against James Daniel II and
his parents, James Daniel Sr. and Guada Daniel, the vehicle owner, Vivencio Villanueva
and St. Marys Academy before the Regional Trial Court of Dipolog City.
On 20 February 1997, Branch 6 of the Regional Trial Court of Dipolog City rendered its
decision the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered in the


following manner:
1. Defendant St. Marys Academy of Dipolog City, is hereby ordered to pay plaintiffs
William Carpitanos and Luisa Carpitanos, the following sums of money:
a. FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) indemnity for the loss of
life of Sherwin S. Carpitanos;
b. FORTY THOUSAND PESOS (P40,000.00) actual damages incurred
by plaintiffs for burial and related expenses;
c. TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10,000.00) for attorneys fees;
d. FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P500,000.00) for moral
damages; and to pay costs.
2. Their liability being only subsidiary, defendants James Daniel, Sr. and Guada Daniel
are hereby ordered to pay herein plaintiffs the amount of damages above-stated in the
event of insolvency of principal obligor St. Marys Academy of Dipolog City;
3. Defendant James Daniel II, being a minor at the time of the commission of the tort
and who was under special parental authority of defendant St. Marys Academy, is
ABSOLVED from paying the above-stated damages, same being adjudged against
defendants St. Marys Academy, and subsidiarily, against his parents;
4. Defendant Vivencio Villanueva is hereby ABSOLVED of any liability. His
counterclaim not being in order as earlier discussed in this decision, is hereby
DISMISSED.
IT IS SO ORDERED. (Decision, pp. 32-33; Records, pp. 205-206).
From the records it appears that from 13 to 20 February 1995, defendant-appellant St.
Marys Academy of Dipolog City conducted an enrollment drive for the school year
1995-1996. A facet of the enrollment campaign was the visitation of schools from where
prospective enrollees were studying. As a student of St. Marys Academy, Sherwin
Carpitanos was part of the campaigning group. Accordingly, on the fateful day,
Sherwin, along with other high school students were riding in a Mitsubishi jeep owned
by defendant Vivencio Villanueva on their way to Larayan Elementary School,
Larayan, Dapitan City. The jeep was driven by James Daniel II then 15 years old and a
student of the same school. Allegedly, the latter drove the jeep in a reckless manner and
as a result the jeep turned turtle.

Sherwin Carpitanos died as a result of the injuries he sustained from the accident.[2]
In due time, petitioner St. Marys academy appealed the decision to the Court of
Appeals.[3]
On February 29, 2000, the Court of Appeals promulgated a decision reducing the
actual damages to P25,000.00 but otherwise affirming the decision a quo, in toto.[4]
On February 29, 2000, petitioner St. Marys Academy filed a motion for
reconsideration of the decision. However, on May 22, 2000, the Court of Appeals denied
the motion.[5]
Hence, this appeal.[6]

The Issues
1) Whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding the petitioner liable for
damages for the death of Sherwin Carpitanos.
2) Whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the award of moral
damages against the petitioner.

The Courts Ruling


We reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals held petitioner St. Marys Academy liable for the death of
Sherwin Carpitanos under Articles 218[7] and 219[8] of the Family Code, pointing out that
petitioner was negligent in allowing a minor to drive and in not having a teacher
accompany the minor students in the jeep.
Under Article 218 of the Family Code, the following shall have special parental
authority over a minor child while under their supervision, instruction or custody: (1)
the school, its administrators and teachers; or (2) the individual, entity or institution
engaged in child care. This special parental authority and responsibility applies to all
authorized activities, whether inside or outside the premises of the school, entity or
institution. Thus, such authority and responsibility applies to field trips, excursions and
other affairs of the pupils and students outside the school premises whenever
authorized by the school or its teachers.[9]

Under Article 219 of the Family Code, if the person under custody is a minor, those
exercising special parental authority are principally and solidarily liable for damages
caused by the acts or omissions of the unemancipated minor while under their
supervision, instruction, or custody.[10]
However, for petitioner to be liable, there must be a finding that the act or omission
considered as negligent was the proximate cause of the injury caused because the
negligence must have a causal connection to the accident.[11]
In order that there may be a recovery for an injury, however, it must be shown that the
injury for which recovery is sought must be the legitimate consequence of the wrong
done; the connection between the negligence and the injury must be a direct and natural
sequence of events, unbroken by intervening efficient causes. In other words, the
negligence must be the proximate cause of the injury. For, negligence, no matter in what
it consists, cannot create a right of action unless it is the proximate cause of the injury
complained of. And the proximate cause of an injury is that cause, which, in natural and
continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury,
and without which the result would not have occurred.[12]
In this case, the respondents failed to show that the negligence of petitioner was the
proximate cause of the death of the victim.
Respondents Daniel spouses and Villanueva admitted that the immediate cause of
the accident was not the negligence of petitioner or the reckless driving of James Daniel
II, but the detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep.
In their comment to the petition, respondents Daniel spouses and Villanueva
admitted the documentary exhibits establishing that the cause of the accident was the
detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep. Hence, the cause of the accident was
not the recklessness of James Daniel II but the mechanical defect in the jeep of Vivencio
Villanueva. Respondents, including the spouses Carpitanos, parents of the deceased
Sherwin Carpitanos, did not dispute the report and testimony of the traffic investigator
who stated that the cause of the accident was the detachment of the steering wheel
guide that caused the jeep to turn turtle.
Significantly, respondents did not present any evidence to show that the proximate
cause of the accident was the negligence of the school authorities, or the reckless driving
of James Daniel II. Hence, the respondents reliance on Article 219 of the Family Code
that those given the authority and responsibility under the preceding Article shall be
principally and solidarily liable for damages caused by acts or omissions of the
unemancipated minor was unfounded.

Further, there was no evidence that petitioner school allowed the minor James
Daniel II to drive the jeep of respondent Vivencio Villanueva. It was Ched Villanueva,
grandson of respondent Vivencio Villanueva, who had possession and control of the
jeep. He was driving the vehicle and he allowed James Daniel II, a minor, to drive the
jeep at the time of the accident.
Hence, liability for the accident, whether caused by the negligence of the minor
driver or mechanical detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep, must be
pinned on the minors parents primarily. The negligence of petitioner St. Marys
Academy was only a remote cause of the accident. Between the remote cause and the
injury, there intervened the negligence of the minors parents or the detachment of the
steering wheel guide of the jeep.
The proximate cause of an injury is that cause, which, in natural and continuous
sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and
without which the result would not have occurred.[13]
Considering that the negligence of the minor driver or the detachment of the
steering wheel guide of the jeep owned by respondent Villanueva was an event over
which petitioner St. Marys Academy had no control, and which was the proximate
cause of the accident, petitioner may not be held liable for the death resulting from such
accident.
Consequently, we find that petitioner likewise cannot be held liable for moral
damages in the amount of P500,000.00 awarded by the trial court and affirmed by the
Court of Appeals.
Though incapable of pecuniary computation, moral damages may be recovered if
they are the proximate result of the defendants wrongful act or omission.[14] In this case,
the proximate cause of the accident was not attributable to petitioner.
For the reason that petitioner was not directly liable for the accident, the decision of
the Court of Appeals ordering petitioner to pay death indemnity to respondent
Carpitanos must be deleted. Moreover, the grant of attorneys fees as part of damages is
the exception rather than the rule.[15] The power of the court to award attorneys fees
under Article 2208 of the Civil Code demands factual, legal and equitable
justification.[16] Thus, the grant of attorneys fees against the petitioner is likewise
deleted.
Incidentally, there was no question that the registered owner of the vehicle was
respondent Villanueva. He never denied and in fact admitted this fact. We have held
that the registered owner of any vehicle, even if not used for public service, would
primarily be responsible to the public or to third persons for injuries caused the latter

while the vehicle was being driven on the highways or streets. [17] Hence, with the
overwhelming evidence presented by petitioner and the respondent Daniel spouses that
the accident occurred because of the detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep,
it is not the school, but the registered owner of the vehicle who shall be held responsible
for damages for the death of Sherwin Carpitanos.

The Fallo
WHEREFORE, the Court REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the decision of the Court of
Appeals[18] and that of the trial court.[19] The Court remands the case to the trial court for
determination of the liability of defendants, excluding petitioner St. Marys
Academy, Dipolog City.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.