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Tanada v.

Tuvera Statement of the Case


GR L-63915, 29 December 1986 (146 SCRA 446) The sworn Administrative Complaint,1 filed by Francisca P. Pascual, charged Judge
Facts: Eduardo U. Jovellanos of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Alcala, Pangasinan with
On 24 April 1985, the Court affirmed the necessity for the publication to the gross ignorance of the law, bias and partiality, abuse of discretion and neglect of duty. 2
OfficialGazette all unpublished presidential issuances which are of general application, The Antecedents
and unless so published, they shall have no binding force and effect. Decision was The facts in the present case are summarized by the Office of the Court
concurred only by 3 judges.Petitioners move for reconsideration / clarification of the Administrator (OCA) in its January 28, 2002 Memorandum 3 addressed to this Court as
decision on various questions. Solicitor General avers that the motion is a request for follows:
advisory opinion. February Revolution took place,which subsequently required the new Complainant x x x alleges that she filed a complaint for forcible entry docketed as Civil
Solicitor General to file a rejoinder on the issue (under Rule 3, Section 18 of the Rules of Case No. 730 against a certain Lorenzo L. Manaois. The complaint was dismissed
Court). without prejudice for being insufficient in some material allegations (Order dated 13
Issue: October 1999). On 15 November 1999, she filed a corrected complaint which was
Whether publication is still required in light of the clause ³unless otherwise provided´. docketed as Civil Case No. 740.
Held: Instead of filing an answer, defendant filed a Motion to Strike Out arguing that the new
The clause ³unless it is otherwise provided,´ in Article 2 of the Civil Code, refers to allegations in the complaint are false. After the period to answer lapsed and no answer
thedate of effectivity and not to the requirement of publication itself, which cannot in was submitted, complainant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment dated 15 December
any event beomitted. This clause does not mean that the legislature may make the law 1999. Defendant opposed the motion.
effective immediatelyupon approval, or on any other date, without its previous On 30 May 2000, defendants motion to strike out was granted by respondent Judge.
publication. The legislature may in itsdiscretion provide that the usual fifteen-day Complainant filed a motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid order.
period shall be shortened or extended. Publicationrequirements applies to (1) all Based on the foregoing, complainant accuse[d] respondent Judge of Neglect of Duty
statutes, including those of local application and private laws; (2) presidential decrees anchored on the following grounds:
and executive orders promulgated by the President in the exercise of legislative powers a. Defendant should have filed an answer instead of a Motion to Strike Out. Inspite
whenever the same are validly delegated by the legislature or directlyconferred by the thereof, respondent Judge granted the motion 120 days after its filing, thus defeating
Constitution; (3) Administrative rules and regulations for the purpose of enforcing or the summary nature of the case;
implementing existing law pursuant also to a valid delegation; (4) Charter of a b. The Order granting the motion to strike out is bereft of any findings of fact because
citynotwithstanding that it applies to only a portion of the national territory and no hearing was conducted relative thereon;
directly affects onlythe inhabitants of that place; (5) Monetary Board circulars to ³fill in c. Respondent Judge exhibited his bias and partiality in favor of the defendant in his
the details´ of the CentralBank Act which that body is supposed to enforce. Further, Order granting the motion to strike out when he pointed out x x x that the complaint in
publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since its purpose is to inform the this case is virtually a rehash of the complaint in Civil Case No. 730 x x x. Complainant
public of the contents of the laws. asserts that the same is to be expected because the defects or insufficiency in the first
Reasoning: complaint were just being rectified in the later one;
The Supreme Court declared that all laws as above defined shall immediately upontheir d. Her Motion for Summary Judgment remains, until the present, unacted upon.
approval, or as soon thereafter as possible, be published in full in the Official Gazette, Meanwhile, defendant, taking advantage of the lull in the proceedings, started the
to become effective only after 15 days from their publication, or on another date construction of a one-storey building on the subject land. To protect her interest,
specified by thelegislature, in accordance with Article 2 of the Civil Code. complainant filed an Application for Preliminary Injunction dated 8 May 2000. Acting
THIRD DIVISION thereon, respondent Judge issued a Temporary Restraining Order dated 9 May 2000
[A.M. No. MTJ-02-1429. October 4, 2002] and set the hearing on the Injunction. On said date, complainant was able to present
FRANCISCA P. PASCUAL, complainant, vs. Judge EDUARDO U. JOVELLANOS, Municipal evidence in support of her application while defendant chose not to present
Circuit Trial Court, Alcala, Pangasinan, respondent. controverting evidence and to just submit a memorandum.
DECISION On the last day of the effectivity of the TRO (29 May 2000), complainant filed an
PANGANIBAN, J.: Extremely Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to grant her application for injunction. On 7 June
Municipal trial court judges ought to be familiar with the Rules on Summary 2000 defendant filed his memorandum. However, until the present, respondent Judge
Procedure governing ejectment cases. Failure to observe them constitutes gross has not ruled on her application on preliminary injunction.
ignorance of the law.
Instead of obeying the TRO, defendant continued with the construction of the building precisely to achieve an expeditious and inexpensive determination of cases. Failure to
and even started with a new one. Hence, a contempt charge was filed by herein observe the period within which to render a judgment subjects the defaulting judge to
complainant on 8 May 2000. Defendant moved to dismiss the contempt charge on the administrative sanctions.17 For this reason, the Rule frowns upon delays and expressly
ground that it was filed in the same proceedings ([C]ivil [C]ase No. 740) and the filing prohibits, altogether, the filing of motions for extension.18
fee was not paid. The court, however, motu propio docketed the complaint for In this case, it is very clear that respondent lacks awareness of the relevant
contempt as Civil Case No. 744 while the required docket and other fees were paid by provisions on ejectment.19 He has evidently been remiss in resolving the forcible entry
defendant on 31 May 2000. On same date, the court issued an Order furnishing anew case, pursuant to the Revised Rules on Summary Procedure. 20 Verily, judgment should
the defendants/respondents with a copy of the contempt charge. These, complainant have been rendered based on the allegations of the Complaint and the evidence
claims, cured the defect cited by defendants/respondents in their motion to dismiss. presented therein, inasmuch as the defendant failed to file his answer after the lapse of
However, respondent Judge still has not resolved the aforesaid motion to the prejudice ten (10) days from the service of the summons. 21 Section 6 of the Rule allows the trial
of herein complainant.4 court to render judgment, even motu proprio, upon failure of the defendant to file an
In his Comment5 dated September 30, 2000, respondent denied the allegations in answer within the reglementary period. 22 Moreover, under Section 10 of the Rule,
the Complaint. He accused Atty. Alejandro V. Peregrino, complainants counsel in the respondent was duty-bound to render his decision within thirty (30) days from receipt
forcible entry case, of having a penchant for filing administrative cases against him of the last affidavits and position papers, or the expiration of the period for filing
instead of appealing decisions before the proper court. Respondent added that none of them.23 This notwithstanding, he has not yet ruled on the Motion for Summary
the charges had any factual or legal bases. He insisted that his Decision in Civil Case No. Judgment24 dated December 15, 1999, filed in accordance with Section 6 of the Rule on
730 had been rendered with utmost good faith, honesty and sound discretion. 6 Summary Procedure.
The OCAs Recommendation Furthermore, respondent failed to apply these very basic rules when he granted
After investigation of this case, the OCA found that respondent failed to apply the the defendants Motion to Strike Out which was in reality a motion to dismiss, a
Rule on Summary Procedure, which he ought to have been very conversant with, prohibited pleading.25 In his Order26 dated May 30, 2000, he ruled that the Complaint in
because it was a common procedure in municipal courts. Accordingly, it recommended Civil Case No. 740 was a mere rehash of the dismissed Complaint in Civil Case No. 730.
that respondent be FINED in the amount of P10,000.00 and warned that the He cited Section 1227 of Rule 8 of the 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure as basis for this
commission of a similar infraction will be dealt with more severely. 7 ruling. In doing so, he committed an obvious mistake showing gross ignorance of the
This Courts Ruling law. This is because the civil case assigned to him is for forcible entry, which is governed
We agree with the findings of the OCA, but increase the penalty, taking note that by the Rule on Summary Procedure. 28 In fact, all cases of forcible entry and unlawful
this is respondents second infraction. detainer are governed by this Rule.29
Administrative Liability It must likewise be underscored that respondent dismissed Civil Case No. 730
Judges are the visible representations of law and justice. 8 They ought to be without prejudice, on the theory that the date of the dispossession had not been
embodiments of competence, integrity and independence. 9 In particular, municipal initially indicated in the Complaint. Thus, it would reasonably be expected that the
judges are frontline officers in the administration of justice. 10 It is therefore essential allegations in that civil case would be reiterated in Civil Case No. 740. Needless to state,
that they live up to the high standards demanded by the Code of Judicial Conduct. 11 To what also contributed to the delay in the resolution of the main case was the grant of
be able to render substantial justice and to maintain public confidence in the legal the Motion to Strike Out based on misplaced reasoning. 30
system, they are expected to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with Lack of knowledge of the Rules on Summary Procedure reflects a serious degree
statutes and procedural rules. They are likewise expected to keep abreast of all laws of incompetence.31 When the law is so elementary, as in this case, not to be aware of it
and prevailing jurisprudence.12 Judicial competence requires no less.13 constitutes gross ignorance of the law. 32 A member of the bench must be constantly
Moreover, judges are bound to dispose of the courts business promptly and to abreast of legal and jurisprudential developments, bearing in mind that this learning
decide cases within the required period. 14 For it cannot be gainsaid that justice delayed process never ceases. It is indispensable to the correct dispensation of justice. 33
is justice denied. Procrastination among members of the judiciary in rendering Delay
decisions and in acting upon cases before them not only causes great injustice to the Respondent claimed that if there was any delay on his part in resolving the
parties involved, but also invites suspicion of ulterior motives on their part. 15 incidents, it was not intentional but merely brought about by pressure from work. 34
It must be emphasized that rules of procedure have been formulated and We are not convinced. Rule 3.05 of Canon 3 of the Canons on Judicial Ethics
promulgated by this Court to ensure the speedy and efficient administration of justice. mandates that a judge should dispose of the courts business promptly and decide each
Failure to abide by these rules undermines the wisdom behind them and diminishes case within the period prescribed therefor. 35 We have held in numerous cases that
respect for the rule of law. 16 The Rule on Summary Procedure was promulgated
failure to decide within the reglementary period constitutes gross inefficiency and used his chambers as his residence; that he failed to make the required inventory of
warrants the imposition of administrative sanctions. 36 cases; that he used his filing cabinet for storing personal belongings instead of case
In the present case, the heavy caseload in respondents sala, though unfortunate, records; that he allowed his family to use a typewriter issued by the Supreme Court;
cannot excuse him from due observance of the rules. We reiterate that judges, when that he dismissed five criminal cases against his friend and drinking companion, Captain
burdened by heavy caseloads that prevent them from deciding cases within the Josephus Javonillo; that he falsified his Certificate of Service by stating therein that he
reglementary period, may ask for additional time from this Court. Indubitably, conducted sessions everyday of the week when he was always absent on Thursdays and
respondent has failed to do so.37 He ought to know that the speedy resolution of Fridays; that he intimidated three police officers who filed complaints for grave slander
forcible entry cases is a matter of public policy. His inaction for almost three years on against him; that he maligned complainant in the presence of the public; that he sent
complainants Motion for Summary Judgment practically rendered nugatory the whole his court personnel on personal errands such as marketing chores and washing dishes;
purpose of summary proceedings -- to promote a more expeditious and inexpensive that he dismissed a rape case despite the interest of the Department of Social Welfare
determination of cases.38 By tarrying too long in deciding this forcible entry case, he and Development in the case since the victim was a minor; that he returned criminal
failed to live up to the mandate of the Code of Judicial Conduct to maintain professional cases for barangay conciliation despite the presence of certificates to file action therein
competence.39 Judges are called upon to observe utmost diligence and dedication in the but entertained the countercharges despite the lack of said certifications; that he failed
performance of their judicial functions and duties.40 to resolve three criminal cases within the period prescribed by the Supreme Court; that
In determining his administrative liability, we note that this is not the first he failed to award civil damages in Criminal Cases Nos. 12527 and 13482; that he
infraction of respondent.41 In Espiritu v. Jovellanos,42 he was found guilty of gross instigated persons to stage a demonstration against complainant; and that he ordered
misconduct for his partiality to one of the parties, for which he was fined P20,000. complainant to drop a case for robbery filed by the latters niece.
Indeed, it seems that he has remained undeterred in disregarding the law and the Respondent filed his Comment on April 7, 1997, [2] wherein he vehemently denied
Code which he has pledged to uphold. 43 He appears to be unfazed by the previous the charges against him. More specifically, he averred that he sleeps in his houses in
penalties and warnings meted out to him. 44 Since this is his second infraction, he Dagupan City and Asingan; that the inventory of cases was done by Judith Tambo under
deserves a sanction heavier than that recommended by the OCA. his supervision; that the filing cabinet in his court was not being used for kitchen
WHEREFORE, Judge Eduardo Jovellanos is hereby found GUILTY of gross ignorance utensils and personal belongings; that he owns three typewriters and a personal
of the law and is FINED in the amount of fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000). He is further computer in his house; that he does not have drinking sessions with Captain Javanillo;
warned that a repetition of this or similar offenses will be dealt with even more that he holds sessions only from Mondays to Wednesdays because the Public
severely. Prosecutor and PAO lawyer assigned to his branch are available only on those days; that
SO ORDERED. the three policemen voluntarily withdrew the cases for grave slander against him; that
Puno, (Chairman), Corona, and Carpio-Morales, JJ., concur. his resolution dismissing the rape cases were affirmed by the Provincial Prosecutor; that
Sandoval-Gutierrez, J., abroad on official leave. he referred Criminal Cases Nos. 16050, 16039 and 17001 to the barangay conciliation
because the validity of the certifications to file action was questioned by the counsel;
FIRST DIVISION that all cases forwarded to his chambers are decided and resolved with dispatch; that
[A.M. No. MTJ-96-1106. June 17, 2003] he did not award civil damages in Criminal Cases Nos. 12527 and 13482 because the
CELESTINA B. CORPUZ, Clerk of Court, Municipal Trial Court, Urdaneta, prosecution did not present any evidence therefor; that he did not tell complainant and
Pangasinan, complainant, vs. JUDGE ORLANDO ANA F. SIAPNO, Presiding her niece to drop the robbery case.
Judge, Municipal Trial Court, Urdaneta, Pangasinan, respondent. The Court referred the case to Executive Judge Luis M. Fontanilla of the Regional
RESOLUTION Trial Court of Dagupan City, Branch 42, for investigation. The case was thereafter
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: referred to the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report and
Celestina B. Corpuz, Clerk of Court of the Municipal Trial Court of Urdaneta, recommendation. The OCA adopted Judge Fontanillas findings and recommended that
Pangasinan, filed an Affidavit Complaint [1] against the respondent Orlando Ana F. all the charges against respondent Judge be dismissed, except that for Ignorance of the
Siapno, Presiding Judge of the same Court, charging him with Violation of Law for failure to award civil damages in Criminal Cases Nos. 12527 and 13482, for
Administrative Circular Nos. 3-92 and 17-94, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which respondent Judge must be fined in the amount of Two Thousand Pesos
Falsification, Conduct Unbecoming of a Public Officer, Abuse of Authority, Delay in the (P2,000.00).
Administration of Justice and Ignorance of the Law. Pursuant to a Resolution dated March 19, 2001, [3] both parties manifested their
Complainant alleged that immediately upon his assumption of office, respondent willingness to have the case submitted for resolution on the basis of the records. [4]
Judge proposed to her that they extort money from litigants; that respondent Judge
We agree with the findings and recommendation of the Office of the Court Respondent Judge meted out a fine of P49,700.00 representing the damages sustained
Administrator. by the offended parties.
The Investigating Judge found that complainant failed to present substantial In justifying his omission to award civil damages, respondent Judge alleges that
evidence to prove her allegations that respondent proposed to her the extortion of the prosecution did not present any evidence regarding the civil aspect of the case.
litigants; that he used his chambers as his place of residence; that he used the filing [12]
This was error. Concomitant with his rendition of a guilty verdict, respondent should
cabinet for his kitchen utensils, that he devoted the typewriter issued by this Court for likewise make a finding on the accuseds civil liability because it is basic that every
use by his family; that he had drinking sprees with Capt. Javanillo; that he sent court person criminally liable is also civilly liable. [13] Furthermore, Article 2202 of the Civil
personnel on unofficial errands; that the dismissal of the rape charges were unjustified. Code provides that:
Moreover, the Investigating Judge found that the charges that respondent Judge failed In crimes and quasi-delicts, the defendant shall be liable for all damages which are the
to hold sessions on Thursdays and Fridays are unfounded. natural and probable consequences of the act or omission complained of. It is not
Anent the charge of failure to conduct the docket inventories, a judge is not necessary that such damages may have been foreseen or could have reasonably been
required to personally catalog the records of cases during the physical inventory. This foreseen by the defendant.
can be delegated to members of his staff who should regularly report to him. Precisely, Under the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, when a complaint or information
this is what respondent did in this case when he instructed Judith Tambo to do the is filed even without any allegation of damages and the intention to prove and claim
physical count of the case records. them, it is understood that the offended party has the right to prove and claim for
Regarding the return of Criminal Cases Nos. 16050, 16039 and 17001 to the them, unless a waiver or reservation is made, [14] or unless in the meantime, the
Barangay Captain in spite of the issuance of a Certification to File Action, Investigating offended party instituted a separate civil action. [15] In such case, the civil liability arising
Judge Fontanilla pointed out that respondent is presumed to have acted in good faith from a crime may be determined in the criminal proceedings if the offended party does
because he was apparently motivated by the idea that the charges and counter-charges not waive to have it adjudged or does not reserve the right to institute a separate civil
could be settled before the barangay captain. It must be remembered that a judge action against the defendant.[16] Accordingly, if there is no waiver or reservation of civil
enjoys the presumption of regularity in the performance of his function no less than liability, evidence should be allowed to establish the extent of injuries suffered. [17]
any other public officer. [5] The presumption of regularity of official duty may be rebutted The rule expressly imposes upon the courts the duty of entering judgment with
by affirmative evidence of irregularity or failure to perform a duty. [6] Every reasonable respect to the civil liability arising from the offense, if no reservation has been made to
intendment will be made in support of the presumption and in case of doubt as to an ventilate it in a separate action.[18] Indeed, even in case of an acquittal, unless there is a
officers act being lawful or unlawful, construction should be made in favor of its clear showing that the act from which the civil liability might arise did not exist, the
lawfulness.[7] judgment shall make a finding on the civil liability of the accused in favor of the
Moreover, complainant based the charges on the nagging suspicion that offended party.[19] Therefore, it was error for respondent not to have entered judgment
respondent was influenced by the fact that her brother was the private prosecutor in with respect to the civil liability.[20]
the cases which where filed with his court. As held by the Investigating Judge, It is also fundamental that the imposition of the fine imposed in the criminal case
respondent cannot be disciplined based on a nagging suspicion. [8] The dearth of is not for the purpose of indemnifying the aggrieved party but for vindicating the State
evidence to substantiate this accusation justifies respondents absolution from the for the offense committed by the wrongdoer.
charge. Surely, we cannot allow ourselves to be a medium in destroying the reputation [A]n offense causes two classes of injuries-the first is the social injury produced by the
of any member of the bench by pronouncing his guilt with alacrity on a mere accusation criminal act which is sought to be repaired thru the imposition of the corresponding
based on tenuous, if not nonexistent, evidentiary support. In administrative penalty, and the second is thepersonal injury caused to the victim of the crime which
proceedings, the burden of proof that respondent committed the act complained of injury is sought to be compensated thru indemnity which is civil in nature. Hence, when
rests on complainant. Failing in this, the complaint must be dismissed. [9] no civil action is expressly instituted it shall be impliedly instituted with the criminal
As to respondent Judges failure to award civil damages in Criminal Cases Nos. action. That means that if two actions are joined in one as twins, each one complete
12527 and 13482, the records disclose that both accused in said cases pleaded guilty to with the same completeness as any of the two normal persons composing a twin. It
the charges against them and respondent Judge imposed fines corresponding to the means that the civil action may be tried and prosecuted, with all the ancillary processes
damages alleged in the Informations therein. In Criminal Case No. 12527, the provided by law.[21] (emphasis and italics supplied)
Information alleged that the damages suffered amounted to P38,800.00. [10] Respondent The methods for indemnifying the private complainant is provided for under the
Judge imposed on accused a fine of P33,900.00 representing the amount of repair on provisions on civil liability which, under Article 104 of the Revised Penal Code, includes:
the damaged property.[11] Similarly, in Criminal Case No. 13482, damage to property in restitution;[22]reparation for the damage caused;[23] and indemnification for
the amounts of P34,700.00 and P15,000.00 were alleged in the Information. consequential damages.[24] Pursuant to these statutory provisions, it behooves
respondent to require the production of evidence to make a finding on civil liability. This This a complaint by Lupo Atienza for gross immorality and appearance of
is especially so where the accused has pleaded guilty and has therefore admitted his impropriety against Judge Brillantes.
liability. Lupo Alleges that he has 2 children with Yolanda de Castro, who are living
When a judge displays an utter unfamiliarity with the law and the rules, he erodes together in a home purchased by him in 1987 in Manila. On 1991, Lupo saw Brillantes
the confidence of the public in the courts. A judge owes the public and the court the sleeping on his bed. Upon inquiry, the houseboy told that Brillantes had been
duty to be proficient in the law and is expected to keep abreast of laws and prevailing cohabiting with de Castro. Lupo left the home without confronting Brillantes.
jurisprudence.[25] Ignorance of the law by a judge can easily be the mainspring of Thereafter, respondent prevented him from visiting his children and even alienated the
injustice.[26] affection of his children from him. Lupo claims that Brillantes is married to Ongkiko
While we agree with the recommendations for the dismissal of the charges against with whom he has 5 children. Brillantes on his part, alleged that Lupo was not married
respondent Judge except for Ignorance of the Law, we find the recommended amount to de Castro and that he is not married to Ongkiko although he admits having 5 children
of fine to be insufficient. with her. Brillantes claims that when he married de Castro in 1991 at California, he
The records show that this is not respondents first administrative case. He has believed in all good faith and with all legal intents and purposes, that he was single
been administratively sanctioned by the Court in the following cases: because her first marriage was solemnized without a marriage license.
(1) Re: Absences of Judge Orlando A. Siapno, [27] where respondent was suspended Brillantes argues that the provision of Art. 40 of the Family Code does not
indefinitely on April 15, 1997; apply to him considering that his first marriage took place in 1965 and was governed by
(2) Lu v. Siapno,[28] an administrative complaint for gross incompetence, gross ignorance the Civil Code of the Philippines while the second marriage which took place in 1991
of the law, gross misconduct and abdication of official function, where respondent was governed by the Family Code.
judge was imposed a fine of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) and sternly warned that
the commission of the same or similar acts in the future will be dealt with more ISSUE:
severely; and
(3) Judge Alicia Gonzales-Decano v. Judge Orlando Ana F. Siapno,[29] a case filed against Whether or not Art. 40 of the Family Code does not apply to Brillantes.
respondent by Urdaneta RTC Executive Judge Decano for his failure to decide several
cases with in the required periods, where he was again fined Five Thousand Pesos HELD:
(P5,000.00) and sternly warned that a repetition of the same or similar acts would be
severely dealt with. Art. 40 is applicable to remarriages entered into after the effectivity of the
Obviously, being chastised thrice has not reformed respondent judge. It seems Family Code in 1988 regardless of date of the first marriage. Besides, Art. 256 of the
that respondent has remained undeterred in disregarding the law which he has pledged Family Code said Art. 15 is given “retroactive effect” insofar as it does prejudice or
to uphold and the Code which he has promised to live by. [30] He appears to be unfazed impair vested or acquired rights in accordance with Civil Code or other laws. The
by the previous penalties and warnings he received.[31] retroactive application of procedural laws is not violative of any right of a person who
Given the foregoing circumstances, more stringent penalties than those may feel that he is adversely affected. Respondent is the last person allowed to invoke
recommended by the Investigating Judge is warranted in this case. The amount of good faith. He made a mockery of the institution of marriage and employed deceit to
Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) is more commensurate for respondent Judges be able to cohabit with a woman.
infraction in this case. THIRD DIVISION
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, respondent Judge Orlando Ana F. Siapno [G.R. No. 145391. August 26, 2002]
is found GUILTY of Gross Ignorance of the Law and is FINED the amount of Twenty AVELINO CASUPANAN and ROBERTO CAPITULO, petitioners, vs. MARIO LLAVORE
Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00). He is also STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the LAROYA, respondent.
same or similar offense in the future would be dealt with more severely. DECISION
All other charges filed against respondent Judge are DISMISSED for lack of merit. CARPIO, J.:The Case
SO ORDERED. This is a petition for review on certiorari to set aside the Resolution [1] dated
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Vitug, Carpio, and Azcuna, JJ., concur. December 28, 1999 dismissing the petition for certiorari and the Resolution [2] dated
August 24, 2000 denying the motion for reconsideration, both issued by the Regional
Trial Court of Capas, Tarlac, Branch 66, in Special Civil Action No. 17-C (99).
Atienza v. Brillantes AM NO. MTJ 92 706 March 25, 1995 The Facts
FACTS:
Two vehicles, one driven by respondent Mario Llavore Laroya (Laroya for brevity) Casupanan and Capitulo assert that Civil Case No. 2089, which the MCTC
and the other owned by petitioner Roberto Capitulo (Capitulo for brevity) and driven by dismissed on the ground of forum-shopping, constitutes a counterclaim in the criminal
petitioner Avelino Casupanan (Casupanan for brevity), figured in an accident. As a case. Casupanan and Capitulo argue that if the accused in a criminal case has a
result, two cases were filed with the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC for brevity) of counterclaim against the private complainant, he may file the counterclaim in a
Capas, Tarlac. Laroya filed a criminal case against Casupanan for reckless imprudence separate civil action at the proper time. They contend that an action on quasi-delict is
resulting in damage to property, docketed as Criminal Case No. 002-99. On the other different from an action resulting from the crime of reckless imprudence, and an
hand, Casupanan and Capitulo filed a civil case against Laroya for quasi-delict, docketed accused in a criminal case can be an aggrieved party in a civil case arising from the
as Civil Case No. 2089. same incident. They maintain that under Articles 31 and 2176 of the Civil Code, the civil
When the civil case was filed, the criminal case was then at its preliminary case can proceed independently of the criminal action. Finally, they point out that
investigation stage. Laroya, defendant in the civil case, filed a motion to dismiss the civil Casupanan was not the only one who filed the independent civil action based on quasi-
case on the ground of forum-shopping considering the pendency of the criminal case. delict but also Capitulo, the owner-operator of the vehicle, who was not a party in the
The MCTC granted the motion in the Order of March 26, 1999 and dismissed the civil criminal case.
case. In his Comment, Laroya claims that the petition is fatally defective as it does not
On Motion for Reconsideration, Casupanan and Capitulo insisted that the civil case state the real antecedents. Laroya further alleges that Casupanan and Capitulo forfeited
is a separate civil action which can proceed independently of the criminal case. The their right to question the order of dismissal when they failed to avail of the proper
MCTC denied the motion for reconsideration in the Order of May 7, 1999. Casupanan remedy of appeal. Laroya argues that there is no question of law to be resolved as the
and Capitulo filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 before the Regional Trial Court order of dismissal is already final and a petition for certiorari is not a substitute for a
(Capas RTC for brevity) of Capas, Tarlac, Branch 66, [3] assailing the MCTCs Order of lapsed appeal.
dismissal. In their Reply, Casupanan and Capitulo contend that the petition raises the legal
The Trial Courts Ruling question of whether there is forum-shopping since they filed only one action - the
The Capas RTC rendered judgment on December 28, 1999 dismissing the petition independent civil action for quasi-delict against Laroya.
for certiorari for lack of merit. The Capas RTC ruled that the order of dismissal issued by Nature of the Order of Dismissal
the MCTC is a final order which disposes of the case and therefore the proper remedy The MCTC dismissed the civil action for quasi-delict on the ground of forum-
should have been an appeal. The Capas RTC further held that a special civil action for shopping under Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 04-94. The MCTC did not
certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal. Finally, the Capas RTC declared that even state in its order of dismissal [5] that the dismissal was with prejudice. Under the
on the premise that the MCTC erred in dismissing the civil case, such error is a pure Administrative Circular, the order of dismissal is without prejudice to refiling the
error of judgment and not an abuse of discretion. complaint, unless the order of dismissal expressly states it is with prejudice. [6] Absent a
Casupanan and Capitulo filed a Motion for Reconsideration but the Capas RTC declaration that the dismissal is with prejudice, the same is deemed without
denied the same in the Resolution of August 24, 2000. prejudice. Thus, the MCTCs dismissal, being silent on the matter, is a dismissal without
Hence, this petition. prejudice.
The Issue Section 1 of Rule 41[7] provides that an order dismissing an action without
The petition premises the legal issue in this wise: prejudice is not appealable. The remedy of the aggrieved party is to file a special civil
In a certain vehicular accident involving two parties, each one of them may think and action under Rule 65.Section 1 of Rule 41 expressly states that where the judgment or
believe that the accident was caused by the fault of the other. x x x [T]he first party, final order is not appealable, the aggrieved party may file an appropriate special civil
believing himself to be the aggrieved party, opted to file a criminal case for reckless action under Rule 65. Clearly, the Capas RTCs order dismissing the petition for
imprudence against the second party. On the other hand, the second party, together certiorari, on the ground that the proper remedy is an ordinary appeal, is erroneous.
with his operator, believing themselves to be the real aggrieved parties, opted in turn to Forum-Shopping
file a civil case for quasi-delict against the first party who is the very private The essence of forum-shopping is the filing of multiple suits involving the same
complainant in the criminal case.[4] parties for the same cause of action, either simultaneously or successively, to secure a
Thus, the issue raised is whether an accused in a pending criminal case for reckless favorable judgment.[8] Forum-shopping is present when in the two or more cases
imprudence can validly file, simultaneously and independently, a separate civil action pending, there is identity of parties, rights of action and reliefs sought. [9] However, there
for quasi-delict against the private complainant in the criminal case. is no forum-shopping in the instant case because the law and the rules expressly allow
The Courts Ruling the filing of a separate civil action which can proceed independently of the criminal
action.
Laroya filed the criminal case for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. When a criminal action is instituted,
property based on the Revised Penal Code while Casupanan and Capitulo filed the civil the civil action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal
action for damages based on Article 2176 of the Civil Code. Although these two actions action, unless the offended party waives the action, reserves his right to institute it
arose from the same act or omission, they have different causes of action. The criminal separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.
case is based on culpa criminal punishable under the Revised Penal Code while the civil Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and
case is based on culpa aquiliana actionable under Articles 2176 and 2177 of the Civil damages under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising
Code. These articles on culpa aquiliana read: from the same act or omission of the accused.
Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or A waiver of any of the civil actions extinguishes the others. The institution of, or the
negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is reservation of the right to file, any of said civil actions separately waives the others.
no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is The reservation of the right to institute the separate civil actions shall be made before
governed by the provisions of this Chapter. the prosecution starts to present its evidence and under circumstances affording the
Art. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is entirely offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation.
separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal In no case may the offended party recover damages twice for the same act or omission
Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of of the accused.
the defendant. x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
Any aggrieved person can invoke these articles provided he proves, by Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules was amended on December 1, 2000 and
preponderance of evidence, that he has suffered damage because of the fault or now provides as follows:
negligence of another. Either the private complainant or the accused can file a separate SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. (a) When a criminal action is
civil action under these articles. There is nothing in the law or rules that state only the instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense
private complainant in a criminal case may invoke these articles. charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party
Moreover, paragraph 6, Section 1, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil
Procedure (2000 Rules for brevity) expressly requires the accused to litigate his action prior to the criminal action.
counterclaim in a separate civil action, to wit: The reservation of the right to institute separately the civil action shall be made before
SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. (a) x x x. the prosecution starts presenting its evidence and under circumstances affording the
No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint may be filed by the accused in offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation.
the criminal case, but any cause of action which could have been the subject thereof xxx
may be litigated in a separate civil action. (Emphasis supplied) (b) x x x
Since the present Rules require the accused in a criminal action to file his counterclaim Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial thereof has not yet
in a separate civil action, there can be no forum-shopping if the accused files such commenced, it may be consolidated with the criminal action upon application with the
separate civil action. court trying the latter case. If the application is granted, the trial of both actions shall
Filing of a separate civil action proceed in accordance with section 2 of this rule governing consolidation of the civil
Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure (1985 Rules for and criminal actions. (Emphasis supplied)
brevity), as amended in 1988, allowed the filing of a separate civil action independently Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, what is deemed instituted with the
of the criminal action provided the offended party reserved the right to file such civil criminal action is only the action to recover civil liability arising from the crime or ex-
action. Unless the offended party reserved the civil action before the presentation of delicto. All the other civil actions under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code
the evidence for the prosecution,all civil actions arising from the same act or omission are no longer deemed instituted, and may be filed separately and prosecuted
were deemed impliedly instituted in the criminal case. These civil actions referred to independently even without any reservation in the criminal action. The failure to make
the recovery of civil liability ex-delicto, the recovery of damages for quasi-delict, and the a reservation in the criminal action is not a waiver of the right to file a separate and
recovery of damages for violation of Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Civil Code on Human independent civil action based on these articles of the Civil Code.The prescriptive
Relations. period on the civil actions based on these articles of the Civil Code continues to run
Thus, to file a separate and independent civil action for quasi-delict under the even with the filing of the criminal action. Verily, the civil actions based on these articles
1985 Rules, the offended party had to reserve in the criminal action the right to bring of the Civil Code are separate, distinct and independent of the civil action deemed
such action.Otherwise, such civil action was deemed impliedly instituted in the criminal instituted in the criminal action.[10]
action. Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules provided as follows:
Under the present Rule 111, the offended party is still given the option to file a When civil action may proceed independently
separate civil action to recover civil liability ex-delicto by reserving such right in the The crucial question now is whether Casupanan and Capitulo, who are not the
criminal action before the prosecution presents its evidence. Also, the offended party is offended parties in the criminal case, can file a separate civil action against the
deemed to make such reservation if he files a separate civil action before filing the offended party in the criminal case. Section 3, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules provides as
criminal action. If the civil action to recover civil liability ex-delicto is filed separately but follows:
its trial has not yet commenced, the civil action may be consolidated with the criminal SEC 3. When civil action may proceed independently. - In the cases provided in Articles
action. The consolidation under this Rule does not apply to separate civil actions arising 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, the independent civil action
from the same act or omission filed under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code. may be brought by the offendedparty. It shall proceed independently of the criminal
[11]
action and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. In no case, however, may
Suspension of the Separate Civil Action the offended party recover damages twice for the same act or omission charged in the
Under Section 2, Rule 111 of the amended 1985 Rules, a separate civil action, if criminal action. (Emphasis supplied)
reserved in the criminal action, could not be filed until after final judgment was Section 3 of the present Rule 111, like its counterpart in the amended 1985 Rules,
rendered in the criminal action. If the separate civil action was filed before the expressly allows the offended party to bring an independent civil action under Articles
commencement of the criminal action, the civil action, if still pending, was suspended 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code. As stated in Section 3 of the present Rule 111,
upon the filing of the criminal action until final judgment was rendered in the criminal this civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal action and shall require only
action. This rule applied only to the separate civil action filed to recover liability ex- a preponderance of evidence.In no case, however, may the offended party recover
delicto. The rule did not apply to independent civil actions based on Articles 32, 33, 34 damages twice for the same act or omission charged in the criminal action.
and 2176 of the Civil Code, which could proceed independently regardless of the filing There is no question that the offended party in the criminal action can file an
of the criminal action. independent civil action for quasi-delict against the accused. Section 3 of the present
The amended provision of Section 2, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules continues this Rule 111 expressly states that the offended party may bring such an action but the
procedure, to wit: offended party may not recover damages twice for the same act or omission charged in
SEC. 2. When separate civil action is suspended. After the criminal action has been the criminal action. Clearly, Section 3 of Rule 111 refers to the offended party in the
commenced, the separate civil action arising therefrom cannot be instituted until final criminal action, not to the accused.
judgment has been entered in the criminal action. Casupanan and Capitulo, however, invoke the ruling in Cabaero vs.
If the criminal action is filed after the said civil action has already been instituted, the Cantos[12] where the Court held that the accused therein could validly institute a
latter shall be suspended in whatever stage it may be found before judgment on the separate civil action for quasi-delict against the private complainant in the criminal
merits. The suspension shall last until final judgment is rendered in the criminal case. In Cabaero, the accused in the criminal case filed his Answer with Counterclaim
action. Nevertheless, before judgment on the merits is rendered in the civil action, the for malicious prosecution. At that time the Court noted the absence of clear-cut rules
same may, upon motion of the offended party, be consolidated with the criminal action governing the prosecution on impliedly instituted civil actions and the necessary
in the court trying the criminal action. In case of consolidation, the evidence already consequences and implications thereof. Thus, the Court ruled that the trial court
adduced in the civil action shall be deemed automatically reproduced in the criminal should confine itself to the criminal aspect of the case and disregard any counterclaim
action without prejudice to the right of the prosecution to cross-examine the witnesses for civil liability. The Court further ruled that the accused may file a separate civil case
presented by the offended party in the criminal case and of the parties to present against the offended party after the criminal case is terminated and/or in accordance
additional evidence. The consolidated criminal and civil actions shall be tried and with the new Rules which may be promulgated. The Court explained that a cross-claim,
decided jointly. counterclaim or third-party complaint on the civil aspect will only unnecessarily
During the pendency of the criminal action, the running of the period of prescription of complicate the proceedings and delay the resolution of the criminal case.
the civil action which cannot be instituted separately or whose proceeding has been Paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present Rule 111 was incorporated in the 2000 Rules
suspended shall be tolled. precisely to address the lacuna mentioned in Cabaero. Under this provision, the
x x x. (Emphasis supplied) accused is barred from filing a counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint in the
Thus, Section 2, Rule 111 of the present Rules did not change the rule that the separate criminal case. However, the same provision states that any cause of action which could
civil action, filed to recover damages ex-delicto, is suspended upon the filing of the have been the subject (of the counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint) may
criminal action.Section 2 of the present Rule 111 also prohibits the filing, after be litigated in a separate civil action. The present Rule 111 mandates the accused to file
commencement of the criminal action, of a separate civil action to recover damages ex- his counterclaim in a separate civil action which shall proceed independently of the
delicto.
criminal action, even as the civil action of the offended party is litigated in the criminal independent civil action may proceed independently of the criminal proceedings and
action. regardless of the result of the latter. InAzucena vs. Potenciano,[13] the Court declared:
Conclusion x x x. There can indeed be no other logical conclusion than this, for to subordinate the
Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, the independent civil action in Articles civil action contemplated in the said articles to the result of the criminal prosecution
32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code is not deemed instituted with the criminal action whether it be conviction or acquittal would render meaningless the independent
but may be filed separately by the offended party even without reservation. The character of the civil action and the clear injunction in Article 31 that this action 'may
commencement of the criminal action does not suspend the prosecution of the proceed independently of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the
independent civil action under these articles of the Civil Code. The suspension in latter.
Section 2 of the present Rule 111 refers only to the civil action arising from the crime, if More than half a century has passed since the Civil Code introduced the concept
such civil action is reserved or filed before the commencement of the criminal action. of a civil action separate and independent from the criminal action although arising
Thus, the offended party can file two separate suits for the same act or from the same act or omission. The Court, however, has yet to encounter a case of
omission. The first a criminal case where the civil action to recover civil liability ex- conflicting and irreconcilable decisions of trial courts, one hearing the criminal case and
delicto is deemed instituted, and the other a civil case for quasi-delict - without the other the civil action for quasi-delict. The fear of conflicting and irreconcilable
violating the rule on non-forum shopping. The two cases can proceed simultaneously decisions may be more apparent than real. In any event, there are sufficient remedies
and independently of each other. The commencement or prosecution of the criminal under the Rules of Court to deal with such remote possibilities.
action will not suspend the civil action for quasi-delict. The only limitation is that the One final point. The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure took effect on December
offended party cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the 1, 2000 while the MCTC issued the order of dismissal on December 28, 1999 or before
defendant. In most cases, the offended party will have no reason to file a second civil the amendment of the rules. The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure must be given
action since he cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the retroactive effect considering the well-settled rule that -
accused. In some instances, the accused may be insolvent, necessitating the filing of x x x statutes regulating the procedure of the court will be construed as applicable to
another case against his employer or guardians. actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage. Procedural laws are
Similarly, the accused can file a civil action for quasi-delict for the same act or retroactive in that sense and to that extent.[14]
omission he is accused of in the criminal case. This is expressly allowed in paragraph 6, WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is hereby GRANTED. The
Section 1 of the present Rule 111 which states that the counterclaim of the Resolutions dated December 28, 1999 and August 24, 2000 in Special Civil Action No.
accused may be litigated in a separate civil action. This is only fair for two 17-C (99) are ANNULLED and Civil Case No. 2089 is REINSTATED.
reasons. First, the accused is prohibited from setting up any counterclaim in the civil SO ORDERED.
aspect that is deemed instituted in the criminal case. The accused is therefore forced to Puno, (Chairman), Panganiban, JJ., concur.
litigate separately his counterclaim against the offended party. If the accused does not Sandoval-Gutierrez, J., on leave.
file a separate civil action for quasi-delict, the prescriptive period may set in since the FIRST DIVISION
period continues to run until the civil action for quasi-delict is filed. [G.R. No. 133978. November 12, 2002]
Second, the accused, who is presumed innocent, has a right to invoke Article 2177 JOSE S. CANCIO, JR., represented by ROBERTO L.
of the Civil Code, in the same way that the offended party can avail of this remedy CANCIO, petitioner, vs. EMERENCIANA ISIP, respondent.
which is independent of the criminal action. To disallow the accused from filing a DECISION
separate civil action for quasi-delict, while refusing to recognize his counterclaim in the YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
criminal case, is to deny him due process of law, access to the courts, and equal The instant petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court raises pure
protection of the law. questions of law involving the March 20, 1998 [1] and June 1, 1998[2] Orders[3] rendered
Thus, the civil action based on quasi-delict filed separately by Casupanan and by the Regional Trial Court of Pampanga, Branch 49, in Civil Case No. G-3272.
Capitulo is proper. The order of dismissal by the MCTC of Civil Case No. 2089 on the The undisputed facts are as follows:
ground of forum-shopping is erroneous. Petitioner, assisted by a private prosecutor, filed three cases of Violation of B.P.
We make this ruling aware of the possibility that the decision of the trial court in No. 22 and three cases of Estafa, against respondent for allegedly issuing the following
the criminal case may vary with the decision of the trial court in the independent civil checks without sufficient funds, to wit: 1) Interbank Check No. 25001151 in the amount
action. This possibility has always been recognized ever since the Civil Code introduced of P80,000.00; 2) Interbank Check No. 25001152 in the amount of P 80,000.00; and 3)
in 1950 the concept of an independent civil action under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of Interbank Check No. 25001157 in the amount of P30,000.00. [4]
the Code. But the law itself, in Article 31 of the Code, expressly provides that the
The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor dismissed Criminal Case No. 13356, for The modes of enforcement of the foregoing civil liabilities are provided for in the
Violation of B.P. No. 22 covering check no. 25001151 on the ground that the check was Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. Though the assailed order of the trial court was
deposited with the drawee bank after 90 days from the date of the check. The two issued on March 20, 1998, the said Rules, which took effect on December 1, 2000, must
other cases for Violation of B.P. No. 22 (Criminal Case No. 13359 and 13360) were filed be given retroactive effect in the instant case considering that statutes regulating the
with and subsequently dismissed by the Municipal Trial Court of Guagua, Pampanga, procedure of the court are construed as applicable to actions pending and
Branch 1, on the ground of failure to prosecute.[5] undetermined at the time of their passage.[18]
Meanwhile, the three cases for Estafa were filed with the Regional Trial Court of Section 1, Rule 111, of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:
Pampanga, Branch 49, and docketed as Criminal Case Nos. G-3611 to G-3613. On SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. (a) When a criminal action is
October 21, 1997, after failing to present its second witness, the prosecution moved to instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense
dismiss the estafa cases against respondent. The prosecution likewise reserved its right charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party
to file a separate civil action arising from the said criminal cases. On the same date, the waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil
trial court granted the motions of the prosecution. Thus- action prior to the criminal action.
Upon motion of the prosecution for the dismissal of these cases without prejudice to The reservation of the right to institute separately the civil action shall be made before
the refiling of the civil aspect thereof and there being no comment from the defense, the prosecution starts presenting its evidence and under circumstances affording the
let these cases be dismissed without prejudice to the refiling of the civil aspect of the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation.
cases. xxxxxxxxx
SO ORDER[ED].[6] Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial thereof has not yet
On December 15, 1997, petitioner filed the instant case for collection of sum of commenced, it may be consolidated with the criminal action upon application with the
money, seeking to recover the amount of the checks subject of the estafa cases. On court trying the latter case. If the application is granted, the trial of both actions shall
February 18, 1998, respondent filed a motion to dismiss the complaint contending that proceed in accordance with section 2 of this Rule governing consolidation of the civil
petitioners action is barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Respondent further prayed and criminal actions.
that petitioner should be held in contempt of court for forum-shopping. [7] Under the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended in 1988 and under the
On March 20, 1998, the trial court found in favor of respondent and dismissed the present Rules, the civil liability ex-delicto is deemed instituted with the criminal action,
complaint. The court held that the dismissal of the criminal cases against respondent on but the offended party is given the option to file a separate civil action before the
the ground of lack of interest or failure to prosecute is an adjudication on the merits prosecution starts to present evidence.[19]
which amounted to res judicata on the civil case for collection. It further held that the Anent the independent civil actions under Articles 31, 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the
filing of said civil case amounted to forum-shopping. Civil Code, the old rules considered them impliedly instituted with the civil liability ex-
On June 1, 1998, the trial court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration. delicto in the criminal action, unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves
[8]
Hence, the instant petition. his right to institute it separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal
The legal issues for resolution in the case at bar are: 1) whether the dismissal of action. Under the present Rules, however, the independent civil actions may be filed
the estafa cases against respondent bars the institution of a civil action for collection of separately and prosecuted independently even without any reservation in the criminal
the value of the checks subject of the estafa cases; and 2) whether the filing of said civil action. The failure to make a reservation in the criminal action is not a waiver of the
action violated the anti-forum-shopping rule. right to file a separate and independent civil action based on these articles of the Civil
An act or omission causing damage to another may give rise to two separate civil Code.[20]
liabilities on the part of the offender, i.e., (1) civil liability ex delicto, under Article 100 of In the case at bar, a reading of the complaint filed by petitioner show that his
the Revised Penal Code;[9] and (2) independent civil liabilities, such as those (a) not cause of action is based on culpa contractual, an independent civil action. Pertinent
arising from an act or omission complained of as felony [e.g. culpa contractual or portion of the complaint reads:
obligations arising from law under Article 31 [10] of the Civil Code,[11] intentional torts xxxxxxxxx
under Articles 32[12] and 34,[13] and culpa aquiliana under Article 2176[14] of the Civil 2. That plaintiff is the owner/proprietor to CANCIOS MONEY EXCHANGE with
Code]; or (b) where the injured party is granted a right to file an action independent office address at Guagua, Pampanga;
and distinct from the criminal action [Article 33, [15] Civil Code].[16] Either of these two 3. That on several occasions, particularly on February 27, 1993 to April 17
possible liabilities may be enforced against the offender subject, however, to the caveat 1993, inclusive, defendant drew, issued and made in favor of the plaintiff the
under Article 2177 of the Civil Code that the offended party cannot recover damages following checks:
twice for the same act or omission or under both causes. [17] CHECK NO. DATE AMOUNT
1. INTERBANK CHECK NO. 25001151 March 10, 1993 P80,000.00 Article 31 of the Civil Code, held that a civil case seeking to recover the value of the
2. INTERBANK CHECK NO. 25001152 March 27, 1993 P80,000.00 goods subject of a Letter of Credit-Trust Receipt is a civil action ex contractu and not ex
3. INTERBANK CHECK NO. 25001157 May 17, 1993 P30,000.00 delicto. As such, it is distinct and independent from the estafa case filed against the
in exchange of cash with the assurance that the said checks will be honored for offender and may proceed regardless of the result of the criminal proceedings.
payment on their maturity dates, copy of the aforementioned checks are hereto One of the elements of res judicata is identity of causes of action. [25] In the instant
attached and marked. case, it must be stressed that the action filed by petitioner is an independent civil
4. That when the said checks were presented to the drawee bank for action, which remains separate and distinct from any criminal prosecution based on the
encashment, the same were all dishonored for reason of DRAWN AGAINST same act.[26] Not being deemed instituted in the criminal action based on culpa criminal,
INSUFFICIENT FUNDS (DAIF); a ruling on the culpability of the offender will have no bearing on said independent civil
5. That several demands were made upon the defendant to make good the action based on an entirely different cause of action, i.e., culpa contractual.
checks but she failed and refused and still fails and refuses without justifiable In the same vein, the filing of the collection case after the dismissal of the estafa
reason to pay plaintiff; cases against respondent did not amount to forum-shopping. The essence of forum-
6. That for failure of the defendant without any justifiable reason to pay shopping is the filing of multiple suits involving the same parties for the same cause of
plaintiff the value of the checks, the latter was forced to hire the services of action, either simultaneously or successively, to secure a favorable judgment. Although
undersigned counsel and agreed to pay the amount of P30,000.00 as attorneys the cases filed by petitioner arose from the same act or omission of respondent, they
fees and P1,000.00 per appearance in court; are, however, based on different causes of action. The criminal cases for estafa are
7. That for failure of the defendant without any justifiable reason to pay based on culpa criminal while the civil action for collection is anchored on culpa
plaintiff and forcing the plaintiff to litigate, the latter will incur litigation expenses contractual. Moreover, there can be no forum-shopping in the instant case because the
in the amount of P20,000.00. law expressly allows the filing of a separate civil action which can proceed
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, it is prayed of this Court that after due notice independently of the criminal action.[27]
and hearing a judgment be rendered ordering defendant to pay plaintiff as Clearly, therefore, the trial court erred in dismissing petitioners complaint for
follows: collection of the value of the checks issued by respondent. Being an independent civil
a. the principal sum of P190,000.00 plus the legal interest; action which is separate and distinct from any criminal prosecution and which require
b. attorneys fees of P30,000.00 plus P1,000.00 per court appearance; no prior reservation for its institution, the doctrine of res judicata and forum-shopping
c. litigation expenses in the amount of P20,000.00 will not operate to bar the same.
PLAINTIFF prays for other reliefs just and equitable under the premises. WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the instant petition is GRANTED. The
x x x x x x x x x.[21] March 20, 1998 and June 1, 1998 Orders of the Regional Trial Court of Pampanga,
Evidently, petitioner sought to enforce respondents obligation to make good the Branch 49, in Civil Case No. G-3272 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The instant case is
value of the checks in exchange for the cash he delivered to respondent. In other REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings.
words, petitioners cause of action is the respondents breach of the contractual SO ORDERED.
obligation. It matters not that petitioner claims his cause of action to be one based Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Vitug, Carpio, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
on delict.[22] The nature of a cause of action is determined by the facts alleged in the VAN DORN vs. ROMILLO, G.R. No. L-68470 October 8, 1985
complaint as constituting the cause of action. The purpose of an action or suit and the
law to govern it is to be determined not by the claim of the party filing the action, made ALICE REYES VAN DORN, petitioner, VS. HON. MANUEL ROMILLO JR., as Presiding Judge
in his argument or brief, but rather by the complaint itself, its allegations and prayer for of
relief.[23] Branch CX, Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Region Pasay City and RICHARD
Neither does it matter that the civil action reserved in the October 21, 1997 order UPTON, respondents
of the trial court was the civil action ex delicto. To reiterate, an independent civil action October 8, 1985
arising from contracts, as in the instant case, may be filed separately and prosecuted
independently even without any reservation in the criminal action. Under Article 31 of FACTS:
the Civil Code [w]hen the civil action is based on an obligation not arising from the act Alice Reyes, the petitioner is a citizen of the Philippines while private respondent
or omission complained of as a felony, [e.g. culpa contractual] such civil action may Richard Upton is a citizen of the United States. They were married in Hong Kong in 1972
proceed independently of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the and they established residence in the Philippines. They had two children and they were
latter. Thus, in Vitola, et al. v. Insular Bank of Asia and America,[24] the Court, applying divorced in Nevada, USA in 1982. The petitioner remarried in Nevada to Theodore Van
Dorn. The private responded filed against petitioner stating that the petitioner’s As cogently argued by Pilapil, Article 344 of the RPC thus presupposes that the marital
business is a conjugal property of the parties and that respondent is declared with right relationship is still subsisting at the time of the institution of the criminal action for
to manage the conjugal property. Petitioner moved to dismiss the case on the ground adultery.
that the cause of action is barred by previous judgment in the divorce proceedings ISSUE: Did Geiling have legal capacity at the time of the filing of the complaint for
before the Nevada Court, where respondent acknowledged that they had no adultery, considering that it was done after obtaining a divorce decree?
community property as of June 11, 1982. HELD: WHEREFORE, the questioned order denying petitioner’s MTQ is SET ASIDE and
another one entered DISMISSING the complaint … for lack of jurisdiction. The TRO
ISSUE: issued in this case … is hereby made permanent.
Whether or not the private respondent as petitioner’s husband is entitled to exercise NO
control over conjugal assets? Under Article 344 of the RPC, the crime of adultery cannot be prosecuted except upon a
sworn written complaint filed by the offended spouse. It has long since been
RULING: established, with unwavering consistency, that compliance with this rule is a
The petition is granted. Complaint is dismissed. jurisdictional, and not merely a formal, requirement.
The policy against absolute divorce cover only Philippine nationals. However, aliens may Corollary to such exclusive grant of power to the offended spouse to institute the
obtain divorce abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines provided they are action, it necessarily follows that such initiator must have the status, capacity or legal
valid according to their national law. representation to do so at the time of the filing of the criminal action. This is a logical
From the standards of American law, under which divorce dissolves marriage, the consequence since the raison d’etre of said provision of law would be absent where the
divorce in Nevada released private respondent from the marriage between them with supposed offended party had ceased to be the spouse of the alleged offender at the
the petitioner. Thus, pursuant to his national law, private respondent is no longer the time of the filing of the criminal case.
husband of petitioner. He would have no standing to sue in the case as petitioner’s Stated differently, the inquiry would be whether it is necessary in the commencement
husband entitled to exercise control over conjugal assets. He is estopped by his own of a criminal action for adultery that the marital bonds between the complainant and
representation before said court from asserting his right over the alleged conjugal the accused be unsevered and existing at the time of the institution of the action by the
property. former against the latter.
In the present case, the fact that private respondent obtained a valid divorce in his
PILAPIL vs. HON IBAY-SOMERA, VICTOR AND GEILING et al country, the Federal Republic of Germany, is admitted. Said divorce and its legal effects
G.R. No. 80116 may be recognized in the Philippines insofar as private respondent is concerned in view
June 30, 1989 of the nationality principle in our civil law on the matter of status of persons Under the
FACTS: Petitioner Imelda Pilapil, a Filipino citizen, and private respondent Erich Geiling, same considerations and rationale, private respondent, being no longer the husband of
a German national, were married in Germany. After about three and a half years of petitioner, had no legal standing to commence the adultery case under the imposture
marriage, such connubial disharmony eventuated in Geiling initiating a divorce that he was the offended spouse at the time he filed suit.
proceeding against Pilapil in Germany. The Local Court, Federal Republic of Germany, Case Digest: Roehr v. Rodriguez
promulgated a decree of divorce on the ground of failure of marriage of the spouses.
More than five months after the issuance of the divorce decree, Geiling filed two WOLFGANG O. ROEHR, petitioner, vs. MARIA CARMEN D. RODRIGUEZ, HON. JUDGE
complaints for adultery before the City Fiscal of Manila alleging in one that, while still JOSEFINA GUEVARA-SALONGA, Presiding Judge of Makati RTC, Branch 149,
married to said Geiling, Pilapil “had an affair with a certain William Chia.” The Assistant respondents.
Fiscal, after the corresponding investigation, recommended the dismissal of the cases G.R. No. 142820, June 20, 2003
on the ground of insufficiency of evidence. However, upon review, the respondent city
fiscal Victor approved a resolution directing the filing of 2 complaint for adultery against
the petitioner. The case entitled “PP Philippines vs. Pilapil and Chia” was assigned to the QUISUMBING, J.:
court presided by the respondent judge Ibay-Somera.
A motion to quash was filed in the same case which was denied by the respondent. Petitioner Wolfgang O. Roehr, a German citizen, married private respondent Carmen
Pilapil filed this special civil action for certiorari and prohibition, with a prayer for a TRO, Rodriguez, a Filipina, on December 11, 1980 in Germany. Their marriage was
seeking the annulment of the order of the lower court denying her motion to quash. subsequently ratified on February 14, 1981 in Tayasan, Negros Oriental. Out of their
union were born Carolynne and Alexandra Kristine.
opposed to the judgment had been given ample opportunity to do so on grounds
Carmen filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage before the Makati Regional allowed under Rule 39, Section 50 of the Rules of Court (now Rule 39, Section 48, 1997
Trial Court (RTC). Wolfgang filed a motion to dismiss, but it was denied. Rules of Civil Procedure).

Meanwhile, Wolfgang obtained a decree of divorce from the Court of First Instance of In the present case, it cannot be said that private respondent was given the opportunity
Hamburg-Blankenese. Said decree also provides that the parental custody of the to challenge the judgment of the German court so that there is basis for declaring that
children should be vested to Wolfgang. judgment as res judicata with regard to the rights of Wolfgang to have parental custody
of their two children. The proceedings in the German court were summary. As to what
Wolfgang filed another motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction as a divorce decree had was the extent of Carmen’s participation in the proceedings in the German court, the
already been promulgated, and said motion was granted by Public Respondent RTC records remain unclear.
Judge Salonga.
Absent any finding that private respondent is unfit to obtain custody of the children, the
Carmen filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration, with a prayer that the case proceed trial court was correct in setting the issue for hearing to determine the issue of parental
for the purpose of determining the issues of custody of children and the distribution of custody, care, support and education mindful of the best interests of the children.
the properties between her and Wolfgang. Judge Salonga partially set aside her
previous order for the purpose of tackling the issues of support and custody of their SECOND DIVISION
children. [G.R. No. 124862. December 22, 1998]
FE D. QUITA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and BLANDINA
1st Issue: W/N Judge Salonga was correct in granting a partial motion for DANDAN,* respondents.
reconsideration. DECISION
BELLOSILLO, J .:
Ruling: Yes. FE D. QUITA and Arturo T. Padlan, both Filipinos, were married in the Philippines
on 18 May 1941. They were not however blessed with children. Somewhere along the
A judge can order a partial reconsideration of a case that has not yet attained finality, as way their relationship soured.Eventually Fe sued Arturo for divorce in San Francisco,
in the case at bar. California, U.S.A. She submitted in the divorce proceedings a private writing dated 19
July 1950 evidencing their agreement to live separately from each other and a
The Supreme Court goes further to say that the court can modify or alter a judgment settlement of their conjugal properties. On 23 July 1954 she obtained a final judgment
even after the same has become executory whenever circumstances transpire of divorce. Three (3) weeks thereafter she married a certain Felix Tupaz in the same
rendering its decision unjust and inequitable, as where certain facts and circumstances locality but their relationship also ended in a divorce. Still in the U.S.A., she married for
justifying or requiring such modification or alteration transpired after the judgment has the third time, to a certain Wernimont.
become final and executory and when it becomes imperative in the higher interest of On 16 April 1972 Arturo died. He left no will. On 31 August 1972 Lino Javier
justice or when supervening events warrant it. Inciong filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for issuance of
letters of administration concerning the estate of Arturo in favor of the Philippine Trust
2nd issue: W/N Judge Salonga's act was valid when she assumed and retained Company. Respondent Blandina Dandan (also referred to as Blandina Padlan), claiming
jurisdiction as regards child custody and support. to be the surviving spouse of Arturo Padlan, and Claro, Alexis, Ricardo, Emmanuel,
Zenaida and Yolanda, all surnamed Padlan, named in the petition as surviving children
Ruling: Yes. of Arturo Padlan, opposed the petition and prayed for the appointment instead of Atty.
Leonardo Cabasal, which was resolved in favor of the latter. Upon motion of the
As a general rule, divorce decrees obtained by foreigners in other countries are oppositors themselves, Atty. Cabasal was later replaced by Higino Castillon. On 30 April
recognizable in our jurisdiction. But the legal effects thereof, e.g. on custody, care and 1973 the oppositors (Blandina and the Padlan children) submitted certified photocopies
support of the children, must still be determined by our courts. of the 19 July 1950 private writing and the final judgment of divorce between petitioner
and Arturo. Later Ruperto T. Padlan, claiming to be the sole surviving brother of the
Before our courts can give the effect of res judicata to a foreign judgment, such as the deceased Arturo, intervened.
award of custody to Wolfgang by the German court, it must be shown that the parties
On 7 October 1987 petitioner moved for the immediate declaration of heirs of the issue obtains for resolution either as to the heirship of the Padlan children or as to their
decedent and the distribution of his estate. At the scheduled hearing on 23 October respective shares in the intestate estate of the decedent; and, second, the issue as to
1987, private respondent as well as the six (6) Padlan children and Ruperto failed to who between petitioner and private respondent is the proper heir of the decedent is
appear despite due notice. On the same day, the trial court required the submission of one of law which can be resolved in the present petition based on established facts and
the records of birth of the Padlan children within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, admissions of the parties.
after which, with or without the documents, the issue on the declaration of heirs would We cannot sustain petitioner. The provision relied upon by respondent court is
be considered submitted for resolution. The prescribed period lapsed without the clear: If there is a controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of the
required documents being submitted. deceased person or as to the distributive shares to which each person is entitled under
The trial court invoking Tenchavez v. Escao[1] which held that "a foreign divorce the law, the controversy shall be heard and decided as in ordinary cases.
between Filipino citizens sought and decreed after the effectivity of the present Civil We agree with petitioner that no dispute exists either as to the right of the six (6)
Code (Rep. Act 386) was not entitled to recognition as valid in this Padlan children to inherit from the decedent because there are proofs that they have
jurisdiction,"[2] disregarded the divorce between petitioner and Arturo. Consequently, it been duly acknowledged by him and petitioner herself even recognizes them as heirs of
expressed the view that their marriage subsisted until the death of Arturo in Arturo Padlan;[10] nor as to their respective hereditary shares. But controversy remains
1972.Neither did it consider valid their extrajudicial settlement of conjugal properties as to who is the legitimate surviving spouse of Arturo. The trial court, after the parties
due to lack of judicial approval. [3] On the other hand, it opined that there was no other than petitioner failed to appear during the scheduled hearing on 23 October 1987
showing that marriage existed between private respondent and Arturo, much less was of the motion for immediate declaration of heirs and distribution of estate, simply
it shown that the alleged Padlan children had been acknowledged by the deceased as issued an order requiring the submission of the records of birth of the Padlan children
his children with her. As regards Ruperto, it found that he was a brother of Arturo.On 27 within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, after which, with or without the documents,
November 1987[4] only petitioner and Ruperto were declared the intestate heirs of the issue on declaration of heirs would be deemed submitted for resolution.
Arturo. Accordingly, equal adjudication of the net hereditary estate was ordered in We note that in her comment to petitioner's motion private respondent raised,
favor of the two intestate heirs.[5] among others, the issue as to whether petitioner was still entitled to inherit from the
On motion for reconsideration, Blandina and the Padlan children were allowed to decedent considering that she had secured a divorce in the U.S.A. and in fact had twice
present proofs that the recognition of the children by the deceased as his legitimate remarried. She also invoked the above quoted procedural rule. [11] To this, petitioner
children, except Alexis who was recognized as his illegitimate child, had been made in replied that Arturo was a Filipino and as such remained legally married to her in spite of
their respective records of birth. Thus on 15 February 1988[6] partial reconsideration the divorce they obtained. [12] Reading between the lines, the implication is that
was granted declaring the Padlan children, with the exception of Alexis, entitled to one- petitioner was no longer a Filipino citizen at the time of her divorce from Arturo. This
half of the estate to the exclusion of Ruperto Padlan, and petitioner to the other half. should have prompted the trial court to conduct a hearing to establish her
[7]
Private respondent was not declared an heir. Although it was stated in the citizenship. The purpose of a hearing is to ascertain the truth of the matters in issue
aforementioned records of birth that she and Arturo were married on 22 April 1947, with the aid of documentary and testimonial evidence as well as the arguments of the
their marriage was clearly void since it was celebrated during the existence of his parties either supporting or opposing the evidence. Instead, the lower court
previous marriage to petitioner. perfunctorily settled her claim in her favor by merely applying the ruling in Tenchavez v.
In their appeal to the Court of Appeals, Blandina and her children assigned as one Escao.
of the errors allegedly committed by the trial court the circumstance that the case was Then in private respondent's motion to set aside and/or reconsider the lower
decided without a hearing, in violation of Sec. 1, Rule 90, of the Rules of Court, which court's decision she stressed that the citizenship of petitioner was relevant in the light
provides that if there is a controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of of the ruling in Van Dorn v. Romillo Jr.[13] that aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which
the deceased person or as to the distributive shares to which each person is entitled may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national
under the law, the controversy shall be heard and decided as in ordinary cases. law. She prayed therefore that the case be set for hearing. [14]Petitioner opposed the
Respondent appellate court found this ground alone sufficient to sustain the motion but failed to squarely address the issue on her citizenship. [15] The trial court did
appeal; hence, on 11 September 1995 it declared null and void the 27 November 1987 not grant private respondent's prayer for a hearing but proceeded to resolve her
decision and 15 February 1988 order of the trial court, and directed the remand of the motion with the finding that both petitioner and Arturo were "Filipino citizens and were
case to the trial court for further proceedings. [8] On 18 April 1996 it denied married in the Philippines."[16] It maintained that their divorce obtained in 1954 in San
reconsideration.[9] Francisco, California, U.S.A., was not valid in Philippine jurisdiction. We deduce that the
Should this case be remanded to the lower court for further finding on their citizenship pertained solely to the time of their marriage as the trial
proceedings? Petitioner insists that there is no need because, first, no legal or factual court was not supplied with a basis to determine petitioner's citizenship at the time of
their divorce. The doubt persisted as to whether she was still a Filipino citizen when court should be limited to the hereditary rights of petitioner as the surviving spouse of
their divorce was decreed. The trial court must have overlooked the materiality of this Arturo Padlan.
aspect. Once proved that she was no longer a Filipino citizen at the time of their The motion to declare petitioner and her counsel in contempt of court and to
divorce, Van Dorn would become applicable and petitioner could very well lose her dismiss the present petition for forum shopping is DENIED.
right to inherit from Arturo. SO ORDERED.
Respondent again raised in her appeal the issue on petitioner's citizenship; [17] it did Puno, Mendoza, and Martinez, JJ., concur.
not merit enlightenment however from petitioner. [18] In the present proceeding,
petitioner's citizenship is brought anew to the fore by private respondent. She even GARCIA vs. RECIO G.R. No. 138322. October 2, 2001
furnishes the Court with the transcript of stenographic notes taken on 5 May 1995 GRACE J. GARCIA, a.k.a. GRACE J. GARCIA-RECIO, petitioner, VS. RODERICK A. RECIO,
during the hearing for the reconstitution of the original of a certain transfer certificate respondent
title as well as the issuance of new owner's duplicate copy thereof before another trial October 2, 2001
court. When asked whether she was an American citizen petitioner answered that she
was since 1954.[19]Significantly, the decree of divorce of petitioner and Arturo was FACTS:
obtained in the same year. Petitioner however did not bother to file a reply The respondent, a Filipino was married to Editha Samson, an Australian citizen, in Rizal
memorandum to erase the uncertainty about her citizenship at the time of their in 1987. They lived together as husband and wife in Australia. In 1989, the Australian
divorce, a factual issue requiring hearings to be conducted by the trial family court issued a decree of divorce supposedly dissolving the marriage. In 1992,
court. Consequently, respondent appellate court did not err in ordering the case respondent acquired Australian citizenship. In 1994, he married Grace Garcia, a Filipina,
returned to the trial court for further proceedings. herein petitioner, in Cabanatuan City. In their application for marriage license,
We emphasize however that the question to be determined by the trial court respondent was declared as “single” and “Filipino”. Since October 1995, they lived
should be limited only to the right of petitioner to inherit from Arturo as his surviving separately; and in 1996 while in Autralia, their conjugal assets were divided. In 1998,
spouse. Private respondent's claim to heirship was already resolved by the trial petitioner filed Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage on the ground of
court. She and Arturo were married on 22 April 1947 while the prior marriage of bigamy, claiming that she learned of the respondent’s former marriage only in
petitioner and Arturo was subsisting thereby resulting in a bigamous marriage November. On the other hand, respondent claims that he told petitioner of his prior
considered void from the beginning under Arts. 80 and 83 of the Civil marriage in 1993, before they were married. Respondent also contended that his first
Code. Consequently, she is not a surviving spouse that can inherit from him as this marriage was dissolved by a divorce decree obtained in Australia in 1989 and hence, he
status presupposes a legitimate relationship.[20] was legally capacitated to marry petitioner in 1994. The trial court declared that the
As regards the motion of private respondent for petitioner and her counsel to be first marriage was dissolved on the ground of the divorce issued in Australia as valid and
declared in contempt of court and that the present petition be dismissed for forum recognized in the Philippines. Hence, this petition was forwarded before the Supreme
shopping,[21] the same lacks merit. For forum shopping to exist the actions must involve Court.
the same transactions and same essential facts and circumstances. There must also be
identical causes of action, subject matter and issue. [22] The present petition deals with ISSUES:
declaration of heirship while the subsequent petitions filed before the three (3) trial 1. Whether or not the divorce between respondent and Editha Samson was proven.
courts concern the issuance of new owner's duplicate copies of titles of certain 2. Whether or not respondent has legal capacity to marry Grace Garcia.
properties belonging to the estate of Arturo. Obviously, there is no reason to declare
the existence of forum shopping. RULING:
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The decision of respondent Court of Appeals The Philippine law does not provide for absolute divorce; hence, our courts cannot
ordering the remand of the case to the court of origin for further proceedings and grant it. In mixed marriages involving a Filipino and a foreigner, Article 26 of the Family
declaring null and void its decision holding petitioner Fe D. Quita and Ruperto T. Padlan Code allows the former to contract a subsequent marriage in case the divorce is “validly
as intestate heirs is AFFIRMED. The order of the appellate court modifying its previous obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry”. A divorce
decision by granting one-half (1/2) of the net hereditary estate to the Padlan children, obtained abroad by two aliens, may be recognized in the Philippines, provided it is
namely, Claro, Ricardo, Emmanuel, Zenaida and Yolanda, with the exception of Alexis, consistent with their respective laws. Therefore, before our courts can recognize a
all surnamed Padlan, instead of Arturo's brother Ruperto Padlan, is likewise foreign divorce, the party pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate
AFFIRMED.The Court however emphasizes that the reception of evidence by the trial its conformity to the foreign law allowing it.
In this case, the divorce decree between the respondent and Samson appears to be
authentic, issued by an Australian family court. Although, appearance is not sufficient; plaintiff’s feelings in a manner “contrary to morals, good customs or public policy” (Civ.
and compliance with the rules on evidence regarding alleged foreign laws must be Code, Art. 21) for which Article 2219 (10) authorizes an award of moral damages.
demonstrated, the decree was admitted on account of petitioner’s failure to object
properly because he objected to the fact that it was not registered in the Local Civil Art 19
Registry of Cabanatuan City, not to its admissibility. GLOBE MACKAY CABLE AND RADIO CORP V. CAG.R. NO. 81262 August 25, 1989FACTS:
Respondent claims that the Australian divorce decree, which was validly admitted as Respondent Restituto Tobias was employed by petitioner Globe Mackay in a dual
evidence, adequately established his legal capacity to marry under Australian law. capacity, as a purchasing agentand administrative assistant to the engineering
However, there are two types of divorce, absolute divorce terminating the marriage and operations manager. In 1972, globe Mackay discovered fictitious purchasesand other
limited divorce merely suspending the marriage. In this case, it is not known which type fraudulent transactions for which it lost several thousands of pesos. Respondent was
of divorce the respondent procured. the one who discovered theanomalies and reported them to his immediate superior
Even after the divorce becomes absolute, the court may under some foreign statutes, Ferraren and to petitioner Herbert C. Hendry who was then theExecutive Vice President
still restrict remarriage. Under the Australian divorce decree “a party to a marriage who and General Manager of Globe Mackay.A day after respondent Tobias made the report,
marries again before this decree becomes absolute commits the offense of bigamy”. petitioner Hendry confronted him by stating that he was thenumber one suspect and
This shows that the divorce obtained by the respondent might have been restricted. ordered him to take one week forced leave, not to communicate with the office, to
Respondent also failed to produce sufficient evidence showing the foreign law leave his tabledrawers open and to leave the office keys. When respondent Tobias
governing his status. Together with other evidences submitted, they don’t absolutely returned to work after the forced leave, petitionerHendry went up to him and called
establish his legal capacity to remarry according to the alleged foreign law. him a crook and a swindler. Tobias was then ordered to take a lie detector test.
Case remanded to the court a quo. The marriage between the petitioner and Also,he was instructed to submit specimen of his handwriting, signature, and initials
respondent can not be declared null and void based on lack of evidence conclusively for examination by the police investigators todetermine his complicity in the
showing the respondent’s legal capacity to marry petitioner. With the lack of such anomalies.Manila police investigators submitted a laboratory crime report clearing
evidence, the court a quo may declare nullity of the parties’ marriage based on two private respondent of participation in theanomalies. Not satisfied with the police
existing marriage certificates. report, petitioners hired a private investigator, Jose Fernandez who submitted areport
finding Tobias guilty. This report however expressly stated that further investigation was
PASTOR B. TENCHAVEZ still to be conducted.Petitioner Hendry issued a memorandum suspending Tobias from
vs. work preparatory to the filing of criminal chargesagainst him.DioscoroTagle, Metro
VICENTA F. ESCAÑO, ET AL. Manila Police Chief Document Examiner, after investigating other documents pertaining
G.R. No. L-19671 July 26, 1966 to thealleged anomalous transactions, submitted a report reiterating his previous
FACTS finding that the handwritings, signatures, andinitials appearing in the checks and other
—Tenchavez and Escaño contracted a valid marriage. A few months after, they became documents were not those of Tobias. Moreover, lie detector tests conducted onTobias
estranged. The latter left for the US and obtained a “final and absolute” decree of also yielded negative results. Notwithstanding the two police reports, petitioners filed
divorce in Nevada, acquired American citizenship, and married an American. with the City Fiscal of Manila acomplaint for estafa through falsification of commercial
—The decision of the Court, promulgated on 29 November 1965, in the same case, is documents, later amended to just estafa. Subsequently, five othercriminal complaints
being assailed by Vicenta Escaño as to the award of moral damages against her. were filed against Tobias. All of the six criminal complaints were dismissed by the
—She argues that her refusal to perform her wifely duties, her denial fiscal.Meanwhile, Tobias received a notice from petitioners that his employment has
of consortium anddesertion of her husband are not included in the enumeration of been terminated. Tobias filed acomplaint for illegal dismissal which has been dismissed
cases where moral damages may lie. by the labor arbiter. On appeal, the National Labor RelationsCommission reversed the
—ISSUE labor arbiters decision. Secretary of Labor reinstated the labor arbiters decision.
—Whether the desertion by a spouse is an actionable wrong within the contemplation Tobias appealedthe Secretary of Labors order with the Office of the President. During
of Article 21 of the NCC? the pendency of the appeal, petitioners andrespondent Tobias entered into
RULING a compromise agreement regarding the complaint for illegal dismissal.Unemployed,
—Yes. The desertion by a spouse is an actionable wrong within the contemplation of Tobias sought employment with the Republic Telephone Company (RETELCO). However,
Article 21 of the NCC. petitionerHendry, without being asked by RETELCO, wrote a letter to the latter stating
—The acts of Vicenta (up to and including her divorce, for grounds not countenanced that Tobias was dismissed by Globe Mackay dueto dishonesty.Respondent Tobias filed a
by our law, which was hers at the time) constitute a wilful infliction of injury upon civil case for damages anchored on alleged unlawful, malicious, oppressive, and
abusiveacts of petitioners. Petitioners contend that they could not be made liable for after receipt, already sent a letterto Marasigan, informing him of the temporary
damages in the lawful exercise of their right todismiss respondent. On the other side, suspension of the privileges of hiscard. He was also told to refrain from using his card to
respondent contends that because of petitioners abusive manner in dismissing him avoid anyinconvenience/embarrassment and that unless he settles his outstanding
aswell as for the inhuman treatment he got from them, the petitioner must indemnify him for the damage accountwithin 5 days from receipt of the letter, his membership will
that he had suffered. be permanentlycancelled.On the other hand, confident that he had settled his account
ISSUE: with the issuance of the postdated check, Marasigan invited some guests at Café
Whether or not petitioners are liable for damages to respondent in relation to Article Adriatico (there isalso no showing that he received the letter from BPI before he went
19 of the New Civil Code. to CaféAdriatico). When he presented his credit card to paythe bill, the it
HELD: wasdishonored and one of his guests paid the bill by using her own credit
Supreme Court held that petitioners have indeed abused the right that they invoke, card.Marasigan asked BPI to withhold the deposit of his postdated check and to
causing damage to Tobias andfor which the respondent must be indemnified. returnthe said check to him because according to him,
Furthermore, Article 19 of the New Civil Code provides that, Every personmust, in the BPI violated theiragreement that once Marasigan issues the check to the to cover
exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give hisunpaid account, BPI will not suspend the effectivity of the card
everyone his due, and observehonesty and good faith. This article, known to contain .Marasigan filed a complaint for damages against BPI before the trial court, and thetrial
what is commonly referred to as the principle of abuse of rights, setscertain standards court ruled in favor of him. The decision was affirmed by the CA.
which must be observed not only in the exercise of ones rights but also in ISSUE/S:
the performance of ones duties.A right, though by itself legal because recognized or 1.W/N BPI had the right to suspend the credit card of the Marasigan2.W/N
granted by law as such, may nevertheless become the source of some the trial court and CA erred in holding BPI liable for damages
HELD:
illegality. When a right is exercised in a manner which does not conform with the norms 1 . Y E S 2 . Y E S
enshrined in Article 19 and results indamage to another, a legal wrong is thereby RATIO:
committed for which the wrongdoer must be held responsible.Upon reporting for work, Under the terms and conditi ons of the credit card, signed by Marasigan,
Tobias was confronted by Hendry who said that respondent Tobias was a crook and any cardwith outstanding balances after 30 days from original billing shall
aswindler to the company. Considering that the first report made by the police automatically besuspended. Marasigan admitt ed that he did not pay within
investigators was yet to be submitted, thestatement made by Hendry was baseless. The 30 days for his originalbilling. BPI could automatically suspend his credit card
imputation of guilt without basis and the pattern of harassment during
theinvestigations of Tobias transgress the standards of human conduct set forth in SECOND DIVISION
Article 19 of the New Civil Code. The Courthas already ruled that the right of the [G.R. No. 159590. October 18, 2004]
employer to dismiss an employee should not be confused with the manner in which HONGKONG AND SHANGHAI BANKING CORPORATION LIMITED, petitioner, vs. CECILIA
theright is exercised and the effect flowing therefrom. If the dismissal is done abusively, DIEZ CATALAN, respondent.
then the employer is liable for damagesto the employee. Under the circumstances of [G.R. No. 159591. October 18, 2004]
this case, the petitioners clearly failed to exercise in a legitimate manner theirright to HSBC INTERNATIONAL TRUSTEE LIMITED, petitioner, vs. CECILIA DIEZ
dismiss Tobias, giving the latter the right to recover damages under Article 19 in relation CATALAN, respondent.
to Article 21 of the CivilCode DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
BPI EXPRESS CARD CORPORATION, Before us are two petitions for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
petitioner, vs. Court separately filed by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited
COURT OF APPEALS and RICARDO J. MARASIGAN,respondents.G.R. No. 120639. September (HSBANK) and HSBC International Trustee Limited (HSBC TRUSTEE). They seek the
25, 1998FACTS: reversal of the consolidated Decision, [1] dated August 14, 2003, of the Court of Appeals
Marasigan, a lawyer, is a BPI credit card holder. His contractual relationswith BPI went (CA) in CA-G.R. SP Nos. 75756 and 75757, which dismissed the petitions for certiorari of
on smoothly until October 1989, when his statement of accountamounting to P8,987.84 herein petitioners assailing the Order, dated May 15, 2002, of the Regional Trial Court,
was not paid in due time. BPI demanded immediatepayment, and required him to issue Branch 44, Bacolod City (RTC) in Civil Case No. 01-11372 that denied their respective
a check in favor of BPI, otherwise his card willbe suspended. Marasigan issued a post- motions to dismiss the amended complaint of respondent Cecilia Diez Catalan.
dated check (PDC) in favor of BPI.BPI, having been informed of the PDC only a week The factual antecedents are as follows:
On January 29, 2001, respondent filed before the RTC, a complaint for a sum of TRUSTEE. Not satisfied, HSBC TRUSTEE through deceit and trickery, required Catalan, as
money with damages against petitioner HSBANK, docketed as Civil Case No. 01-11372, a condition for the acceptance of the checks, to submit the original copies of the
due to HSBANKs alleged wanton refusal to pay her the value of five HSBANK checks returned checks, purportedly, to hasten payment of her claim. HSBC TRUSTEE
issued by Frederick Arthur Thomson (Thomson) amounting to HK$3,200,000.00. [2] succeeded in its calculated deception because on April 21, 1999, Catalan and her
On February 7, 2001, summons was served on HSBANK at the Enterprise Center, former counsel went to Hongkong at their own expense to personally deliver the
Tower I, Ayala Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas St., Makati City.[3] HSBANK filed a Motion originals of the returned checks to the officers of HSBC TRUSTEE, anxious of receiving
for Extension of Time to File Answer or Motion to Dismiss dated February 21, 2001. the money value of the checks but HSBC TRUSTEE despite receipt of the original checks,
[4]
Then, it filed a Motion to Dismiss, dated March 8, 2001, on the grounds that (a) the refused to pay Catalans claim. Having seen and received the original of the checks,
RTC has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint; (b) the RTC has not upon its request, HSBC TRUSTEE is deemed to have impliedly accepted the
acquired jurisdiction for failure of the plaintiff to pay the correct filing or docket fees; (c) checks.Moreover, the refusal of HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE to pay the checks is
the RTC has no jurisdiction over the person of HSBANK; (d) the complaint does not state equivalent to illegal freezing of ones deposit. On the assurance of HSBC TRUSTEE that
a cause of action against HSBANK; and (e) plaintiff engages in forum-shopping. [5] her claim will soon be paid, as she was made to believe that payments of the checks
On September 10, 2001, Catalan filed an Amended Complaint impleading shall be made by HSBC TRUSTEE upon sight, the unsuspecting Catalan left the originals
petitioner HSBC TRUSTEE as co-defendant and invoking Article 19 of the Civil Code as of the checks with HSBC TRUSTEE and was given only an acknowledgment
basis for her cause of action.[6] receipt. Catalan made several demands and after several more follow ups, on August
The Amended Complaint alleges: 16, 1999, Phoenix Lam, Senior Vice President of HSBC TRUSTEE, in obvious disregard of
Defendants HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE, doing business in the Philippines, are her valid claim, informed Catalan that her claim is disapproved. No reason or
corporations duly organized under the laws of the British Virgin Islands with head office explanation whatsoever was made why her claim was disapproved, neither were the
at 1 Grenville Street, St. Helier Jersey, Channel Islands and with branch offices at Level checks returned to her. Catalan appealed for fairness and understanding, in the hope
12, 1 Queens Road Central, Hongkong and may be served with summons and other that HSBC TRUSTEE would act fairly and justly on her claim but these demands were
court processes through their main office in Manila with address at HSBC, the met by a stonewall of silence. On June 9, 2000, Catalan through counsel sent a last and
Enterprise Center, Tower 1, Ayala Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas Street, Makati City. final demand to HSBC TRUSTEE to remit the amount covered by the checks but despite
Sometime in March 1997, Thomson issued five HSBANK checks payable to Catalan, receipt of said letter, no payment was made. Clearly, the act of the HSBANK and HSBC
to wit: TRUSTEE in refusing to honor and pay the checks validly issued by Thomson violates the
CHECK NO. DATE AMOUNT abuse of rights principle under Article 19 of the Civil Code which requires that everyone
807852 Mar. 15, 1997 $600,000.00 must act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith. The
807853 Mar. 17, 1997 800,000.00 refusal of HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE to pay the checks without any valid reason is
807854 Mar. 17, 1997 600,000.00 intended solely to prejudice and injure Catalan. When they declined payment of the
807855 Mar. 22, 1997 600,000.00 checks despite instructions of the drawer, Thomson, to honor them, coupled with the
807856 Mar. 23, 1997 600,000.00 fact that the checks were duly funded, they acted in bad faith, thus causing damage to
TOTAL $3,200,000.00 Catalan. A person may not exercise his right unjustly or in a manner that is not in
The checks when deposited were returned by HSBANK purportedly for reason of keeping with honesty or good faith, otherwise he opens himself to liability for abuse of
payment stopped pending confirmation, despite the fact that the checks were duly right.[8]
funded. On March 18, 1997, Thomson wrote a letter to a certain Ricky Sousa [7] of Catalan prays that HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE be ordered to pay P20,864,000.00
HSBANK confirming the checks he issued to Catalan and requesting that all his checks representing the value of the five checks at the rate of P6.52 per HK$1 as of January 29,
be cleared. On March 20, 1997, Thomson wrote another letter to Sousa of HSBANK 2001 for the acts of HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE in refusing to pay the amount justly
requesting an advice in writing to be sent to the Philippine National Bank, through the due her, in addition to moral and exemplary damages, attorneys fees and litigation
fastest means, that the checks he previously issued to Catalan were already expenses.[9]
cleared. Thereafter, Catalan demanded that HSBANK make good the checks issued by On October 2, 2001, HSBANK filed a Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint on
Thomson. On May 16, 1997, Marilou A. Lozada, personal secretary and attorney-in-fact the grounds that: (a) the RTC has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the
of Thomson, wrote a letter to Sousa of HSBANK informing him that HSBANKs failure to complaint since the action is a money claim for a debt contracted by Thomson before
clear all the checks had saddened Thomson and requesting that the clearing of the his death which should have been filed in the estate or intestate proceedings of
checks be facilitated. Subsequently, Thomson died and Catalan forwarded her demand Thomson; (b) Catalan engages in forum shopping by filing the suit and at the same time
to HSBC TRUSTEE. Catalan sent photocopies of the returned checks to HSBC filing a claim in the probate proceeding filed with another branch of the RTC; (c) the
amended complaint states no cause of action against HSBANK since it has no obligation Subsequently, HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE filed before the RTC separate
to pay the checks as it has not accepted the checks and Catalan did not re-deposit the Answers ad cautelam, both dated March 18, 2003, as a precaution against being
checks or make a formal protest; (d) the RTC has not acquiredjurisdiction over the declared in default and without prejudice to the separate petitions for certiorari and/or
person of HSBANK for improper service of summons; and, (e) it did not submit to the prohibition then pending with the CA.[18]
jurisdiction of the RTC by filing a motion for extension of time to file a motion to Meanwhile, the two petitions for certiorari before the CA were consolidated and
dismiss.[10] after responsive pleadings were filed, the cases were deemed submitted for decision.
Meanwhile, on October 17, 2001, summons for HSBC TRUSTEE was tendered to In a consolidated Decision dated August 14, 2003, the CA dismissed the two
the In House Counsel of HSBANK (Makati Branch) at the Enterprise Center, Tower 1, petitions for certiorari.[19] The CA held that the filing of petitioners answers before the
Ayala Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati. Without submitting itself to the RTC rendered moot and academic the issue of the RTCs lack of jurisdiction over the
jurisdiction of the RTC, HSBC TRUSTEE filed a Special Appearance for Motion to Dismiss person of the petitioners; that the RTC has jurisdiction over the subject matter since it is
Amended Complaint, dated October 29, 2001, questioning the jurisdiction of the RTC one for damages under Article 19 of the Civil Code for the alleged unjust acts of
over it.[11] HSBC TRUSTEE alleges that tender of summons through HSBANK Makati did petitioners and not a money claim against the estate of Thomson; and, that the
not confer upon the RTC jurisdiction over it because: (a) it is a corporation separate and amended complaint states a cause of action under Article 19 of the Civil Code which
distinct from HSBANK; (b) it does not hold office at the HSBANK Makati or in any other could merit a favorable judgment if found to be true. The CA noted that Catalan may
place in the Philippines; (c) it has not authorized HSBANK Makati to receive summons have prayed for payment of the value of the checks but ratiocinated that she merely
for it; and, (d) it has no resident agent upon whom summons may be served because it used the value as basis for the computation of the damages.
does not transact business in the Philippines. Hence, the present petitions.
Subsequently, HSBC TRUSTEE filed a Submission, dated November 15, 2001, In G.R. No. 159590, HSBANK submits the following assigned errors:
attaching the Affidavit executed in Hongkong by Phoenix Lam, Senior Vice-President of I.
HSBC TRUSTEE, attesting to the fact that: 1) HSBC TRUSTEE has not done nor is it doing THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN HOLDING THAT THE COURT A
business in the Philippines; 2) it does not maintain any office in Makati or anywhere in QUO, ACTING AS AN (SIC) REGULAR COURT, HAS JURISDICTION OVER THE AMENDED
the Philippines; 3) it has not appointed any agent in Philippines; and 4) HSBANK Makati COMPLAINT SEEKING TO ORDER HSBC TRUSTEE, THE EXECUTOR OF THE DECEASED
has no authority to receive any summons or court processes for HSBC TRUSTEE. [12] FREDERICK ARTHUR THOMSON, TO PAY SUBJECT CHECKS ISSUED BY THE LATE
On May 15, 2002, the RTC issued an Order denying the two motions to dismiss. FREDERICK ARTHUR THOMSON, ADMITTEDLY IN PAYMENT OF HIS INDEBTEDNESS TO
[13]
The RTC held that it has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action because it CATALAN.
is an action for damages under Article 19 of the Civil Code for the acts of unjustly II.
refusing to honor the checks issued by Thomson and not a money claim against the THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN HOLDING THAT THE
estate of Thomson; that Catalan did not engage in forum-shopping because the AMENDED COMPLAINT DOES NOT SEEK TO ORDER HSBANK AND HSBC INTERNATIONAL
elements thereof are not attendant in the case; that the question of cause of action TRUSTEE LIMITED TO PAY THE OBLIGATION OF THE (SIC) FREDERICK ARTHUR THOMSON
should be threshed out or ventilated during the proceedings in the main action and AS EVIDENCED BY THE CHECKS, BUT PRAYS FOR DAMAGES EQUIVALENT OR COMPUTED
after the plaintiff and defendants have adduced evidence in their favor; that it acquired ON THE BASIS OF THE VALUE OF THE CHECKS BECAUSE THE DEFENDANTS FAILED TO
jurisdiction over the person of defendants because the question of whether a foreign COMPLY WITH THE MANDATES OF ARTICLE 19 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE.
corporation is doing business or not in the Philippines cannot be a subject of a Motion III.
to Dismiss but should be ventilated in the trial on the merits; and defendants THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN HOLDING THAT ALLEGATIONS
voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the RTC setting up in their Motions to IN THE AMENDED COMPLAINT MAKE OUT A CAUSE OF ACTION WHICH COULD MERIT A
Dismiss other grounds aside from lack of jurisdiction. FAVORABLE JUDGMENT IF FOUND TO BE TRUE, OR IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE
HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE filed separate motions for reconsideration [14] but both AMENDED COMPLAINT STATES NO CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST HSBANK, AS DRAWEE
proved futile as they were denied by the RTC in an Order dated December 20, 2002. [15] BANK.
On February 21, 2003, Catalan moved to declare HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE in IV.
default for failure to file their answer to the amended complaint. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN DISREGARDING THE FACT
On March 5, 2003, HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE filed separate petitions for THAT CATALAN ENGAGED IN FORUM SHOPPING BY FILING THE AMENDED COMPLAINT
certiorari and/or prohibition with the CA, docketed as CA-G.R. SP Nos. 75756 [16] and WHILE HER PETITION FOR THE PROBATE OF THE SUPPOSED WILL OF THE DECEASED
75757,[17]respectively. FREDERICK ARTHUR THOMSON IS PENDING WITH ANOTHER BRANCH OF THE COURT A
QUO.
V. Catalan anchors her complaint for damages on Article 19 of the Civil Code. It
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN HOLDING THAT HSBANK HAD speaks of the fundamental principle of law and human conduct that a person " must, in
SUBMITTED TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE COURT A QUO BY SUBMITTING AN ANSWER the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give
TO THE AMENDED COMPLAINT.[20] every one his due, and observe honesty and good faith." It sets the standards which may
In G.R. No. 159591, HSBC TRUSTEE also assigns the foregoing first, second and be observed not only in the exercise of ones rights but also in the performance of ones
fifth errors as its own.[21] In addition, it claims that: duties. When a right is exercised in a manner which does not conform with the norms
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN NOT ORDERING THE enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to another, a legal wrong is thereby
DISMISSAL OF THE AMENDED COMPLAINT AGAINST HSBC TRUSTEE DESPITE THE FACT committed for which the wrongdoer must be held responsible. [26] But a right, though by
IT HAS NOT BEEN DULY SERVED WITH SUMMONS. [22] itself legal because recognized or granted by law as such, may nevertheless become the
HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE contend in common that Catalan has no cause of source of some illegality. A person should be protected only when he acts in the
action for abuse of rights under Article 19 of the Civil Code; that her complaint, under legitimate exercise of his right, that is, when he acts with prudence and in good faith;
the guise of a claim for damages, is actually a money claim against the estate of but not when he acts with negligence or abuse. [27] There is an abuse of right when it is
Thomson arising from checks issued by the latter in her favor in payment of exercised for the only purpose of prejudicing or injuring another. The exercise of a right
indebtedness. must be in accordance with the purpose for which it was established, and must not be
HSBANK claims that the money claim should be dismissed on the ground of excessive or unduly harsh; there must be no intention to injure another. [28]
forum-shopping since Catalan also filed a petition for probate of the alleged last will of Thus, in order to be liable under the abuse of rights principle, three elements must
Thomson before RTC, Branch 48, Bacolod City, docketed as Spec. Proc No. 00-892. In concur, to wit: (a) that there is a legal right or duty; (b) which is exercised in bad faith;
addition, HSBANK imputes error upon the CA in holding that by filing an answer to the and (c) for the sole intent of prejudicing or injuring another. [29]
amended complaint, petitioners are estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the In this instance, after carefully examining the amended complaint, we are
RTC. convinced that the allegations therein are in the nature of an action based on tort
HSBC TRUSTEE maintains that the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over it for under Article 19 of the Civil Code. It is evident that Catalan is suing HSBANK and HSBC
improper service of summons. TRUSTEE for unjustified and willful refusal to pay the value of the checks.
In her Comment, Catalan insists that her complaint is one for damages under HSBANK is being sued for unwarranted failure to pay the checks notwithstanding
Article 19 of the Civil Code for the wanton refusal to honor and pay the value of five the repeated assurance of the drawer Thomson as to the authenticity of the checks and
checks issued by the Thomson amounting to HK$3,200,000.00. She argues that the frequent directives to pay the value thereof to Catalan. Her allegations in the complaint
issue of jurisdiction has been rendered moot by petitioners participation in the that the gross inaction of HSBANK on Thomsons instructions, as well as its evident
proceedings before the RTC. failure to inform Catalan of the reason for its continued inaction and non-payment of
Succinctly, the issues boil down to the following: the checks, smack of insouciance on its part, are sufficient statements of clear abuse of
1) Does the complaint state a cause of action? right for which it may be held liable to Catalan for any damages she incurred resulting
2) Did Catalan engage in forum-shopping by filing the complaint for damages therefrom. HSBANKs actions, or lack thereof, prevented Catalan from seeking further
when she also filed a petition for probate of the alleged last will of Thomson with redress with Thomson for the recovery of her claim while the latter was alive.
another branch of the RTC? and, HSBANK claims that Catalan has no cause of action because under Section 189 of
3) Did the RTC acquire jurisdiction over HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE? Corollary the Negotiable Instruments Law, a check of itself does not operate as an assignment of
thereto, did the filing of the answer before the RTC render the issue of lack of any part of the funds to the credit of the drawer with the bank, and the bank is not
jurisdiction moot and academic? liable to the holder unless and until it accepts or certifies it. However, HSBANK is not
We shall resolve the issue in seriatim. being sued on the value of the check itself but for how it acted in relation to Catalans
Does the complaint state a cause of action against HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE? claim for payment despite the repeated directives of the drawer Thomson to recognize
The elementary test for failure to state a cause of action is whether the complaint the check the latter issued. Catalan may have prayed that she be paid the value of the
alleges facts which if true would justify the relief demanded. Stated otherwise, may the checks but it is axiomatic that what determines the nature of an action, as well as which
court render a valid judgment upon the facts alleged therein? [23] The inquiry is into the court has jurisdiction over it, are the allegations of the complaint, irrespective of
sufficiency, not the veracity of the material allegations. [24] If the allegations in the whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims
complaint furnish sufficient basis on which it can be maintained, it should not be asserted therein.[30]
dismissed regardless of the defense that may be presented by the defendants.[25] Anent HSBC TRUSTEE, it is being sued for the baseless rejection of Catalans
claim. When Catalan parted with the checks as a requirement for the processing of her
claim, even going to the extent of traveling to Hongkong to deliver personally the We find that both lower courts overlooked Section 20 of Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules
checks, HSBC TRUSTEE summarily disapproved her claim with nary a reason. HSBC of Civil Procedure which provides that the inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other
TRUSTEE gave no heed to Catalans incessant appeals for an explanation. Her pleas fell grounds aside from lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant shall not be
on deaf and uncaring corporate ears. Clearly, HSBC TRUSTEEs acts are anathema to the deemed a voluntary appearance. Nonetheless, such omission does not aid HSBANKs
prescription for human conduct enshrined in Article 19 of the Civil Code. case.
Did Catalan engage in forum-shopping? It must be noted that HSBANK initially filed a Motion for Extension of Time to File
It has been held that forum-shopping exists where a litigant sues the same party Answer or Motion to Dismiss. [35] HSBANK already invoked the RTCs jurisdiction over it by
against whom another action or actions for the alleged violation of the same right and praying that its motion for extension of time to file answer or a motion to dismiss be
the enforcement of the same relief is/are still pending, the defense of litis pendentia in granted. The Court has held that the filing of motions seeking affirmative relief, such as,
one case is a bar to the others; and, a final judgment in one would constitute res to admit answer, for additional time to file answer, for reconsideration of a default
judicata and thus would cause the dismissal of the rest.[31] judgment, and to lift order of default with motion for reconsideration, are considered
Thus, there is forum-shopping when there exist: a) identity of parties, or at least voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the court.[36] Consequently, HSBANKs
such parties as represent the same interests in both actions, b) identity of rights expressed reservation in its Answer ad cautelam that it filed the same as a mere
asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts, and c) the precaution against being declared in default, and without prejudice to the Petition for
identity of the two preceding particulars is such that any judgment rendered in the Certiorari and/or Prohibition xxx now pending before the Court of Appeals [37] to assail
pending case, regardless of which party is successful would amount to res judicata in the jurisdiction of the RTC over it is of no moment. Having earlier invoked the
the other.[32] jurisdiction of the RTC to secure affirmative relief in its motion for additional time to file
Applying the foregoing requisites to the case before us in relation to Spec. Proc answer or motion to dismiss, HSBANK, effectively submitted voluntarily to the
No. 00-892, the probate proceeding brought by Catalan before RTC, Branch 48, Bacolod jurisdiction of the RTC and is thereby estopped from asserting otherwise, even before
City, it is obvious that forum-shopping does not exist. this Court.
There is no identity of parties. HSBANK is not a party in the probate In contrast, the filing by HSBC TRUSTEE of a motion to dismiss cannot be
proceeding. HSBC TRUSTEE is only a party in the probate proceeding because it is the considered a voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the RTC. It was a conditional
executor and trustee named in the Hongkong will of Thomson. HSBC TRUSTEE is appearance, entered precisely to question the regularity of the service of summons. It
representing the interest of the estate of Thomson and not its own corporate interest. is settled that a party who makes a special appearance in court challenging the
With respect to the second and third requisites, a scrutiny of the entirety of the jurisdiction of said court, e.g., invalidity of the service of summons, cannot be
allegations of the amended complaint in this case reveals that the rights asserted and considered to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. [38] HSBC TRUSTEE
reliefs prayed for therein are different from those pleaded in the probate proceeding, has been consistent in all its pleadings in assailing the service of summons and the
such that a judgment in one case would not bar the prosecution of the other jurisdiction of the RTC over it. Thus, HSBC TRUSTEE cannot be declared in estoppel
case. Verily, there can be no forum-shopping where in one proceeding a party raises a when it filed an Answer ad cautelam before the RTC while its petition for certiorari was
claim for damages based on tort and, in another proceeding a party seeks the pending before the CA. Such answer did not render the petition for certiorari before the
allowance of an alleged last will based on ones claim as an heir.After all, the merits of CA moot and academic. The Answer of HSBC TRUSTEE was only filed to prevent any
the action for damages is not to be determined in the probate proceeding and vice declaration that it had by its inaction waived the right to file responsive pleadings.
versa. Undeniably, the facts or evidence as would support and establish the two causes Admittedly, HSBC TRUSTEE is a foreign corporation, organized and existing under
of action are not the same.[33] Consequently, HSBANKs reliance on the principle of the laws of the British Virgin Islands. For proper service of summons on foreign
forum-shopping is clearly misplaced. corporations, Section 12 of Rule 14 of the Revised Rules of Court provides:
Did the RTC acquire jurisdiction over HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE? SEC. 12. Service upon foreign private juridical entity. When the defendant is a foreign
The Rules of Court provides that a court generally acquires jurisdiction over a private juridical entity which has transacted business in the Philippines, service may be
person through either a valid service of summons in the manner required by law or the made on its resident agent designated in accordance with law for that purpose, or if
persons voluntary appearance in court.[34] there be no such agent, on the government official designated by law to that effect, or
In holding that it acquired jurisdiction over HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE, the RTC on any of its officers or agents within the Philippines.
held that both voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the court by setting up in In French Oil Mill Machinery Co., Inc. vs. Court of Appeals,[39] we had occasion to
their Motions to Dismiss other grounds aside from lack of jurisdiction. On the other rule that it is not enough to merely allege in the complaint that a defendant foreign
hand, the CA ruled that HSBANK and HSBC TRUSTEE are estopped from challenging the corporation is doing business. For purposes of the rule on summons, the fact of doing
jurisdiction of the RTC because they filed their respective answers before the RTC.
business must first be "established by appropriate allegations in the complaint" and the PETALCORIN, MELCHIZEDECH LOON, NORBERTA MARODA and JOSEPH
court in determining such fact need not go beyond the allegations therein. [40] WIERTZ, respondents.
The allegations in the amended complaint subject of the present cases did not Basilio E. Duaban for petitioner.
sufficiently show the fact of HSBC TRUSTEEs doing business in the Philippines. It does Julius Z. Neri for private respondent.
not appear at all that HSBC TRUSTEE had performed any act which would give the
general public the impression that it had been engaging, or intends to engage in its GRIÑO-AQUINO, J.:
ordinary and usual business undertakings in the country. Absent from the amended This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing the
complaint is an allegation that HSBC TRUSTEE had performed any act in the country complaint for damages filed by the petitioner against the private respondents.
that would place it within the sphere of the courts jurisdiction. The petitioner was hired to teach during the 1981-82 school year in the Immaculate
We have held that a general allegation, standing alone, that a party is doing Concepcion Institute in the Island of Camotes. On January 13, 1982, or before the
business in the Philippines does not make it so; a conclusion of fact or law cannot be school year ended, she applied for an indefinite leave of absence because her daughter
derived from the unsubstantiated assertions of parties notwithstanding the demands of was taking her to Austria where her daughter was employed (Exh. B). The application
convenience or dispatch in legal actions, otherwise, the Court would be guilty of was recommended for approval by the school principal, Emerito O. Labajo, and
sorcery; extracting substance out of nothingness.[41] approved by the President of the school's Board of Directors (Exh. B-1).
Besides, there is no allegation in the amended complaint that HSBANK is the On June 1, 1982, Emerito Labajo addressed a letter to the petitioner through her
domestic agent of HSBC TRUSTEE to warrant service of summons upon it. Thus, the husband, Sotero Garciano (for she was still abroad), informing her of the decision of Fr.
summons tendered to the In House Counsel of HSBANK (Makati Branch) for HSBC Joseph Wiertz, the school's founder, concurred in by the president of the Parent-
TRUSTEE was clearly improper. Teachers Association and the school faculty, to terminate her services as a member of
There being no proper service of summons, the RTC cannot take cognizance of the the teaching staff because of: (1) the absence of any written contract of employment
case against HSBC TRUSTEE for lack of jurisdiction over it. Any proceeding undertaken between her and the school due to her refusal to sign one; and (2) the difficulty of
by the RTC is therefore null and void. [42] Accordingly, the complaint against HSBC getting a substitute for her on a temporary basis as no one would accept the position
TRUSTEE should have been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction over it. without a written contract (Exhs. C and 1). Upon her return from Austria in the later
WHEREFORE, the petition in G.R. No. 159590 is DENIED. The Decision of the Court part of June, 1982, she received the letter informing her that her services at the
of Appeals, dated August 14, 2003, in CA-G.R. SP No. 75757 dismissing the petition for Immaculate Concepcion Institute had been terminated. She made inquiries from the
certiorari of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited is AFFIRMED. school about the matter and, on July 7, 1982, the members of the Board of Directors of
The petition in G.R. No. 159591 is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals, the school, with the exception of Fr. Joseph Wiertz, signed a letter notifying her that she
dated August 14, 2003, in CA-G.R. SP No. 75756 dismissing the petition for certiorari of was "reinstated to report and do your usual duties as Classroom Teacher . . . effective
the HSBC International Trustee Limited is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial July 5, 1982," and that "any letter or notice of termination received by you before this
Court, Branch 44, Bacolod City is declared without jurisdiction to take cognizance of date has no sanction or authority by the Board of Directors of this Institution, therefore
Civil Case No. 01-11372 against the HSBC International Trustee Limited, and all its it is declared null and void . . ." (Exhs. D and 2).
orders and issuances with respect to the latter are hereby ANNULLED and SET On July 9, 1982, the president, vice president, secretary, and three members of the
ASIDE. The said Regional Trial Court is hereby ORDERED to DESIST from maintaining Board of Directors, out of a membership of nine (9), resigned their positions from the
further proceedings against the HSBC International Trustee Limited in the case Board "for the reason that the ICI Faculty, has reacted acidly to the Board's
aforestated. deliberations for the reinstatement of Mrs. Esteria F. Garciano, thereby questioning the
SO ORDERED. integrity of the Board's decision" (Exh. E).
Puno, (Chairman), Callejo, Sr., and Tinga, JJ., concur. On September 3, 1982, petitioner filed a complaint for damages in the Regional Trial
Chico-Nazario, J., on leave. Court, Cebu, Branch XI, against Fr. Wiertz, Emerito Labajo, and some members of the
faculty of the school for discrimination and unjust and illegal dismissal.
G.R. No. 96126 August 10, 1992 After trial, the lower court rendered a decision on August 30, 1985, ordering the
ESTERIA F. GARCIANO, petitioner, defendants jointly and severally to pay her P200,000 as moral damages, P50,000
vs. exemplary damages, P32,400 as lost earnings for nine years, and P10,000 as litigation
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, EMERITO LABAJO, LUNISITA MARODA, LALIANA expenses and attorney's fees.
DIONES, CANONISA PANINSORO, DIONISIO ROSAL, REMEDIOS GALUSO, FLORDELUNA The defendants (now private respondents) appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R.
CV No. 10692), which on August 30, 1990 reversed the trial court's decision thus:
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is reversed, the complaint is Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, willfully or negligently
dismissed, and defendants-appellants are absolved from any liability causes damage to another, shall indemnify the latter for the same.
to plaintiff-appellee. With costs against plaintiff-appellee. (p. Art. 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a
13, Rollo.) manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall
The plaintiff-appellee (now petitioner) filed a motion for reconsideration which the compensate the latter for the damage.
Court of Appeals denied on October 26, 1990. Hence, this petition for review wherein The Court of Appeals was correct in finding that petitioner's discontinuance from
the lone error assigned by petitioner reads: teaching was her own choice. While the respondents admittedly wanted her service
Respondent Court of Appeals gravely erred in absolving the private terminated, they actually did nothing to physically prevent her from reassuming her
respondents from liability by faulting the petitioner for her failure to post, as ordered by the school's Board of Directors. That the school principal and Fr.
report back to her work. (p. 6, Rollo.) Wiertz disagreed with the Board's decision to retain her, and some teachers allegedly
After a careful perusal of the petition and the respondents' comments, the Court threatened to resign en masse, even if true, did not make them liable to her for
resolved to deny the petition for lack of merit. damages. They were simply exercising their right of free speech or their right to dissent
The board of directors of the Immaculate Concepcion Institute, which alone possesses from the Board's decision. Their acts were not contrary to law, morals, good customs or
the authority to hire and fire teachers and other employees of the school, did not public policy. They did not "illegally dismiss" her for the Board's decision to retain her
dismiss the petitioner. It in fact directed her to report for work. While the private prevailed. She was ordered to report for work on July 5, 1982, but she did not comply
respondents sent her a letter of termination through her husband, they admittedly had with that order. Consequently, whatever loss she may have incurred in the form of lost
no authority to do so. As the Court of Appeals aptly observed: earnings was self-inflicted. Volenti non fit injuria.
We agree with defendants-appellants, however, that they should not With respect to petitioner's claim for moral damages, the right to recover them under
have been held liable to plaintiff-appellee for damages. Defendants- Article 21 is based on equity, and he who comes to court to demand equity, must come
appellants had no authority to dismiss plaintiff-appellee and the latter with clean hands. Article 21 should be construed as granting the right to recover
was aware of this. Hence, the letter of termination sent to her damages to injured persons who are not themselves at fault (Mabutas vs. Calapan
through her husband (Exhs. C and 1) by defendants-appellants had no Electric Co. [CA] 50 OG 5828, cited in Padilla, Civil Code Annotated, Vol. 1, 1975 Ed., p.
legal effect whatsoever. It did not effectively prevent her from 87). Moral damages are recoverable only if the case falls under Article 2219 in relation
reporting for work. What is more, it was subsequently repudiated by to Article 21 (Flordelis vs. Mar, 114 SCRA 41). In the case at bar, petitioners is not
the Board of Directors which directed her to report for work. (Exhs. D without fault. Firstly, she went on an indefinite leave of absence and failed to report
and 2) There was, therefore, no reason why she did not continue with back in time for the regular opening of classes. Secondly, for reasons known to herself
her teaching in the school. No evidence had been presented to show alone, she refused to sign a written contract of employment. Lastly, she ignored the
that defendants-appellants prevented her from reporting for work. Board of Directors' order for her to report for duty on July 5, 1982.
The fact that defendants-appellants had "acidly" received the action The trial court's award of exemplary damages to her was not justified for she is not
of the Board of Directors repudiating their decision to terminate entitled to moral, temperate or compensatory damages. (Art. 2234, Civil Code).
plaintiff-appellee is not proof that defendants-appellants had In sum, the Court of Appeals correctly set aside the damages awarded by the trial court
effectively and physically prevented plaintiff-appellee from resuming to the petitioner for they did not have any legal or factual basis.
her post. It was nothing more than a reaction to what defendants- WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit and the decision of the Court
appellants perceived as an affront to their collective prestige. It would of Appeals is AFFIRMED.
appear, therefore, that plaintiff-appellee voluntarily desisted from her SO ORDERED.
teaching job in the school and has no right to recover damages from Cruz , Medialdea and Bellosillo, JJ., concur.
defendants-appellants. (p. 13, Rollo.) [G.R. No. 156841. June 30, 2005]
Liability for damages under Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Civil Code arises only from GF EQUITY, INC., petitioner, vs. ARTURO VALENZONA, respondent.
unlawful, willful or negligent acts that are contrary to law, or morals, good customs or DECISION
public policy. CARPIO-MORALES, J.:
Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the On challenge via Petition for Review on Certiorari is the Court of Appeals October
performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and 14, 2002 Decision[1] reversing that of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila dated June
observe honesty and good faith. 28, 1997[2] which dismissed the complaint of herein respondent Arturo Valenzona
(Valenzona) for breach of contract with damages against herein petitioner GF Equity, Under the contract, GF Equity would pay Valenzona the sum of Thirty Five
Inc. (GF Equity). Thousand Pesos (P35,000.00) monthly, net of taxes, and provide him with a service
The factual antecedents of the case are as follows: vehicle and gasoline allowance.
GF Equity, represented by its Chief Financial Officer W. Steven Uytengsu While the employment period agreed upon was for two years commencing on
(Uytengsu), hired Valenzona as Head Coach of the Alaska basketball team in the January 1, 1988 and ending on December 31, 1989, the last sentence of paragraph 3 of
Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) under a Contract of Employment. [3] the contract carried the following condition:
As head coach, the duties of Valenzona were described in the contract to include 3. x x x If at any time during the contract, the COACH, in the sole opinion of the
the following: CORPORATION, fails to exhibit sufficient skill or competitive ability to coach the team,
xxx the CORPORATION may terminate this contract. (Emphasis supplied)
1. . . . coaching at all practices and games scheduled for the CORPORATIONs TEAM Before affixing his signature on the contract, Valenzona consulted his lawyer who
during the scheduled season of the ASSOCIATION . . ., coaching all exhibition pointed out the one-sidedness of the above-quoted last sentence of paragraph 3
games scheduled by the corporation as approved by the PBA during and prior to the thereof. The caveatnotwithstanding, Valenzona still acceded to the terms of the
scheduled season, coaching (if invited to participate) in the ASSOCIATIONs All Star contract because he had trust and confidence in Uytengsu who had recommended him
Game and attending every event conducted in association with the All Star to the management of GF Equity.
Game, and coaching the play-off games subsequent to the scheduled season based on During his stint as Alaskas head coach, the team placed third both in the Open and
the athletic program of the PBA. All-Filipino PBA Conferences in 1988.
xxx Valenzona was later advised by the management of GF Equity by letter of
3. The COACH agrees to observe and comply with all requirements of the September 26, 1988 of the termination of his services in this wise:
CORPORATION respecting conduct of its TEAM and its players, at all times whether on We regret to inform you that under the contract of employment dated
or off the playing floor. The CORPORATION may, from time to time during the January 1, 1988 we are invoking our rights specified in paragraph 3.
continuance of this contract, establish reasonable rules for the government of its You will continue to be paid until your outstanding balance which, as of
players at home and on the road; and such rules shall be part of this contract as fully is September 25, 1988, is P75,868.38 has been fully paid.
(sic) if herein written and shall be the responsibility of the COACH to implement; x x x Please return the service vehicle to my office no later than September 30,
4. The COACH agrees (a) to report at the time and place fixed by the CORPORATION in 1988.[4] (Emphasis supplied)
good physical condition; (b) to keep himself throughout the entire season in good Close to six years after the termination of his services, Valenzonas counsel, by
physical condition; (c) to give his best services, as well as his loyalty to the letter of July 30, 1994,[5] demanded from GF Equity payment of compensation arising
CORPORATION, and to serve as basketball coach for the CORPORATION and its from the arbitrary and unilateral termination of his employment. GF Equity, however,
assignees; (d) to be neatly and fully attired in public and always to conduct himself on refused the claim.
and off the court according to the highest standards of honesty, morality, fair play and Valenzona thus filed on September 26, 1994 before the Regional Trial Court of
sportsmanship; (e) not to do anything which is detrimental to the best interests of the Manila a complaint[6] against GF Equity for breach of contract with damages, ascribing
CORPORATION. bad faith, malice and disregard to fairness and to the rights of the plaintiff by
xxx unilaterally and arbitrarily pre-terminating the contract without just cause and legal and
7. The COACH agrees that if so requested by the CORPORATION, he will endorse the factual basis. He prayed for the award of actual damages in the amount of P560,000.00
CORPORATIONs products in commercial advertising, promotions and the like. The representing his unpaid compensation from September 26, 1988 up to December 31,
COACH further agrees to allow the CORPORATION or the ASSOCIATION to take pictures 1989, at the rate of P35,000.00 a month; moral damages in the amount of P100,000.00;
of the COACH alone or together with others, for still photographs, motion pictures or exemplary damages in the amount of P50,000.00; attorneys fees in the amount
television, at such times as the CORPORATION or the ASSOCIATION may designate, and of P100,000.00; and costs of suit.
no matter by whom taken may be used in any manner desired by either of them for Before the trial court, Valenzona challenged the condition in paragraph 3 of the
publicity or promotional purposes. (Underscoring supplied). contract as lacking the element of mutuality of contract, a clear transgression of Article
xxx 1308 of the New Civil Code, and reliance thereon, he contended, did not warrant his
Even before the conclusion of the contract, Valenzona had already served GF unjustified and arbitrary dismissal.
Equity under a verbal contract by coaching its team, Hills Brothers, in the 3 rd PBA GF Equity maintained, on the other hand, that it merely exercised its right under
Conference of 1987 where the team was runner-up. the contract to pre-terminate Valenzonas employment due to incompetence. And it
posited that he was guilty of laches and, in any event, his complaint should have been Central to the resolution of the instant controversy is the determination of
instituted before a labor arbiter. whether the questioned last sentence of paragraph 3 is violative of the principle of
The trial court, upholding the validity of the assailed provision of the contract, mutuality of contracts.
dismissed, by decision of June 28, 1997, [7] the complaint of Valenzona who, it held, was Mutuality is one of the characteristics of a contract, its validity or performance or
fully aware of entering into a bad bargain. compliance of which cannot be left to the will of only one of the parties. [10] This is
The Court of Appeals, before which Valenzona appealed, reversed the trial courts enshrined in Article 1308 of the New Civil Code, whose underlying principle is
decision, by decision of October 14, 2002, [8] and accordingly ordered GF Equity to pay explained in Garcia v. Rita Legarda, Inc.,[11] viz:
him damages. Article 1308 of the New Civil Code reads as follows:
In its decision, the appellate court held that the questioned provision in the The contract must bind both contracting parties; its validity or compliance cannot be
contract merely confers upon GF Equity the right to fire its coach upon a finding of left to the will of one of them.
inefficiency, a valid reason within the ambit of its management prerogatives, subject to The above legal provision is a virtual reproduction of Article 1256 of the old Civil Code
limitations imposed by law, although not expressly stated in the clause; but it was so phrased as to emphasize the principle that the contract must
and the right granted in the contract can neither be saidto be immoral, unlawful, or con bind both parties. This, of course is based firstly, on the principle that obligations arising
trary to public policy. It concluded, however, that while the mutuality of the clause is from contracts have the force of law between the contracting parties and
evident, GF Equity abused its right by arbitrarily terminating . . . Valenzonas secondly, that there must be mutuality between the parties based on their essential
employment and opened itself to a charge of bad faith. Hence, finding that Valenzonas equality to which is repugnant to have one party bound by the contract leaving the
claim for damages is obviously . . . based on Art. 19 of the Civil Code which provides: other free therefrom (8 Manresa 556). Its ultimate purpose is to render void a
Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his contract containing a condition which makes its fulfillment dependent exclusively
duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith., upon the uncontrolled will of one of the contracting parties.
the appellate court awarded Valenzona the following damages, furnishing the x x x (Emphasis, italics and underscoring supplied)
justification therefor: The ultimate purpose of the mutuality principle is thus to nullify a contract
. . . a) Compensatory damages representing his unearned income for 15 months. Actual containing a condition which makes its fulfillment or pre-termination
and compensatory damages are those recoverable because of a pecuniary loss in dependent exclusively upon theuncontrolled will of one of the contracting parties.
business, trade, property, profession, job or occupation. As testified, his employment Not all contracts though which vest to one party their determination of validity or
contract provided a monthly income of PhP35,000, which he lost from September 26, compliance or the right to terminate the same are void for being violative of the
1988 up to December 31, 1989 as a consequence of his arbitrary dismissal; b) Moral mutuality principle. Jurisprudence is replete with instances of cases [12] where this Court
damages of PhP20,000. The act caused wounded feelings on the part of the upheld the legality of contracts which left their fulfillment or implementation to the will
plaintiff. Moral damages is recoverable under Article 2220 and the chapter on Human of either of the parties. In these cases, however, there was a finding of the presence
Relations of the Civil Code (Articles 1936) when a contract is breached in bad faith; of essential equality of the parties to the contracts, thus preventing the perpetration of
c) Exemplary damages of PhP20,000, by way of example or correction for the public injustice on the weaker party.
good; and d) When exemplary damages are awarded, attorneys fees can also be given. In the case at bar, the contract incorporates in paragraph 3 the right of GF Equity
We deem it just to grant 10% of the actual damages as attorneys fees. (Underscoring to pre-terminate the contract that if the coach, in the sole opinion of the corporation,
supplied) fails to exhibit sufficient skill or competitive ability to coach the team, the corporation
Hence, this petition at bar, GF Equity faulting the appellate court in may terminate the contract. The assailed condition clearly transgresses the principle of
. . . CONCLUD[ING] WRONGLY FROM ESTABLISHED FACTS IN A MANNER VIOLATIVE OF mutuality of contracts. It leaves the determination of whether Valenzona failed to
APPLICABLE LAWS AND ESTABLISHED JURISPRUDENCE.[9] exhibit sufficient skill or competitive ability to coach Alaska team solely to the
GF Equity argues that the appellate court committed a non-sequitur when it opinion of GF Equity. Whether Valenzona indeed failed to exhibit the required skill or
agreed with the findings of fact of the lower court but reached an opposite conclusion. competitive ability depended exclusively on the judgment of GF Equity. In other words,
It avers that the appellate court made itself a guardian of an otherwise intelligent GF Equity was given an unbridled prerogative to pre-terminate the contract irrespective
individual well-versed in tactical maneuvers; that the freedom to enter into contracts is of the soundness, fairness or reasonableness, or even lack of basis of its opinion.
protected by law, and the courts will not interfere therewith unless the contract is To sustain the validity of the assailed paragraph would open the gate for arbitrary
contrary to law, morals, good customs, public policy or public order; that there was and illegal dismissals, for void contractual stipulations would be used as justification
absolutely no reason for the appellate court to have found bad faith on its part; and therefor.
that, at all events, Valenzona is guilty of laches for his unexplained inaction for six years.
The assailed stipulation being violative of the mutuality principle underlying ON THE PROPOSED CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES, p. 39]. The framers of the Code,
Article 1308 of the Civil Code, it is null and void. seeking to remedy the defect of the old Code which merely stated the effects of the
The nullity of the stipulation notwithstanding, GF Equity was not precluded from law, but failed to draw out its spirit, incorporated certain fundamental precepts which
the right to pre-terminate the contract. The pre-termination must have legal basis, were "designed to indicate certain norms that spring from the fountain of good
however, if it is to be declared justified. conscience" and which were also meant to serve as "guides for human conduct [that]
GF Equity failed, however, to advance any ground to justify the pre-termination. It should run as golden threads through society, to the end that law may approach its
simply invoked the assailed provision which is null and void. supreme ideal, which is the sway and dominance of justice" (Id.) Foremost among these
While GF Equitys act of pre-terminating Valenzonas services cannot be considered principles is that pronounced in Article 19 which provides:
willful as it was based on a stipulation, albeit declared void, it, in doing so, failed to Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his
consider theabuse of rights principle enshrined in Art. 19 of the Civil Code which duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.
provides: This article, known to contain what is commonly referred to as the principle of abuse of
Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his rights, sets certain standards which must be observed not only in the exercise of one's
duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith. rights but also in the performance of one's duties. These standards are the following: to
This provision of law sets standards which must be observed in the exercise of ones act with justice; to give everyone his due; and to observe honesty and good faith. The
rights as well as in the performance of its duties, to wit: to act with justice; give every law, therefore, recognizes a primordial limitation on all rights; that in their exercise, the
one his due; and observe honesty and good faith. norms of human conduct set forth in Article 19 must be observed. A right, though by
Since the pre-termination of the contract was anchored on an illegal ground, itself legal because recognized or granted by law as such, may nevertheless become
hence, contrary to law, and GF Equity negligently failed to provide legal basis for such the source of some illegality. When a right is exercised in a manner which does not
pre-termination, e.g.that Valenzona breached the contract by failing to discharge his conform with the norms enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to another, a
duties thereunder, GF Equity failed to exercise in a legitimate manner its right to pre- legal wrong is thereby committed for which the wrongdoer must be held
terminate the contract, thereby abusing the right of Valenzona to thus entitle him to responsible. But while Article 19 lays down a rule of conduct for the government of
damages under Art. 19 in relation to Article 20 of the Civil Code the latter of which human relations and for the maintenance of social order, it does not provide a remedy
provides: for its violation. Generally, an action for damages under either Article 20 or Article 21
Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, willfully or negligently causes damage to would be proper.[18] Emphasis and underscoring supplied).
another, shall indemnify the latter for the same. As for GF Equitys defense of laches on account of Valenzonas invocation of his
In De Guzman v. NLRC,[13] this Court quoted the following explanation of Tolentino right under the contract only after the lapse of six years, the same fails.
why it is impermissible to abuse our rights to prejudice others. Laches has been defined as the failure or neglect for an unreasonable and
The exercise of a right ends when the right disappears, and it disappears when it is unexplained length of time to do that which by exercising due diligence, could or should
abused, especially to the prejudice of others. The mask of a right without the spirit of have been done earlier, thus giving rise to a presumption that the party entitled to
justice which gives it life is repugnant to the modern concept of social law. It cannot be assert it either has abandoned or declined to assert it. It is not concerned with mere
said that a person exercises a right when he unnecessarily prejudices another or lapse of time; the fact of delay, standing alone, is insufficient to constitute laches. [19]
offends morals or good customs. Over and above the specific precepts of positive law Laches applies in equity, whereas prescription applies at law. Our courts are
are the supreme norms of justice which the law develops and which are expressed in basically courts of law, not courts of equity. Laches cannot thus be invoked to evade the
three principles: honeste vivere,[14] alterum non laedere[15] and jus suum quique tribuere; enforcement of an existing legal right. Equity, which has been aptly described as a
[16]
and he who violates them violates the law. For this reason, it is not permissible to justice outside legality, is applied only in the absence of, and never against, statutory
abuse our rights to prejudice others. law. Aequetas nunquam contravenit legis. Thus, where the claim was filed within the
The disquisition in Globe Mackay Cable and Radio Corporation v. Court of statutory period of prescription, recovery therefor cannot be barred by laches. The
Appeals[17] is just as relevant as it is illuminating on the present case. In that case, this doctrine of laches should never be applied earlier than the expiration of time limited for
Court declared that even granting that the therein petitioners might have had the right the commencement of actions at law, [20] unless, as a general rule, inexcusable delay in
to dismiss the therein respondent from work, the abusive manner in which that right asserting a right and acquiescense in existing conditions are proven. [21] GF Equity has
was exercised amounted to a legal wrong for which the petitioners must be held liable. not proven, nay alleged, these.
One of the more notable innovations of the New Civil Code is the codification of "some Under Article 1144[22] of the New Civil Code, an action upon a written contract
basic principles that are to be observed for the rightful relationship between human must be brought within 10 years from the time the right of action accrues. Since the
beings and for the stability of the social order." [REPORT ON THE CODE COMMISSION action filed by Valenzona is an action for breach upon a written contract, his filing of the
case 6 years from the date his cause of action arose was well within the prescriptive Petitioner appeals for the reversal of the decision 1 of respondent Court of Appeals
period, hence, the defense of laches would not, under the circumstances, lie. promulgated on May 17, 1991 in CA-G.R. CV No. 07054, entitled "Zenaida B. Cirilo vs.
Consequently, Valenzona is entitled to recover actual damages his salary which he Conrado Bunag, Sr. and Conrado Bunag, Jr.," which affirmed in toto the decision of the
should have received from the time his services were terminated up to the time the Regional Trial Court, Branch XI at Bacoor, Cavite, and, implicitly, respondent court's
employment contract expired.[23] resolution of September 3, 1991 2 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration.
As for moral damages which the appellate court awarded, Article 2220 of the New Respondent court having assiduously discussed the salient antecedents of this case, vis-
Civil Code allows such award to breaches of contract where the defendant acted a-vis the factual findings of the court below, the evidence of record and the contentions
fraudulently or in bad faith. Malice or bad faith implies a conscious and intentional of the parties, it is appropriate that its findings, which we approve and adopt, be
design to do a wrongful act for a dishonest purpose or moral obliquity. It contemplates extensively reproduced hereunder:
a state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or ill-will. [24] Bad faith means Based on the evidence on record, the following facts are considered
a breach of a known duty through some motive of interest or ill will. It must, however, indisputable: On the afternoon of September 8, 1973, defendant-
be substantiated by evidence. Bad faith under the law cannot be presumed, it must be appellant Bunag, Jr. brought plaintiff-appellant to a motel or hotel
established by clear and convincing evidence. where they had sexual intercourse. Later that evening, said
As earlier stated, however, the pre-termination of the contract was not willful as defendant-appellant brought plaintiff-appellant to the house of his
GF Equity based it on a provision therein which is void. Malice or bad faith cannot thus grandmother Juana de Leon in Pamplona, Las Piñas, Metro Manila,
be ascribed to GF Equity. where they lived together as husband and wife for 21 days, or until
The unbroken jurisprudence is that in breach of contract cases where a party is September 29, 1973. On September 10, 1973, defendant-appellant
not shown to have acted fraudulently or in bad faith, liability for damages is limited to Bunag, Jr. and plaintiff-appellant filed their respective applications for
the natural and probable consequences of the breach of the obligation which the a marriage license with the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of
parties had foreseen or could reasonably have foreseen. The damages, however, do not Bacoor, Cavite. On October 1, 1973, after leaving plaintiff-appellant,
include moral damages.[25] defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr. filed an affidavit withdrawing his
The award by the appellate court of moral damages must thus be set aside. And so application for a marriage license.
must the award of exemplary damages, absent a showing that GF Equity acted in a Plaintiff-appellant contends that on the afternoon of September 8,
wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent manner. [26] 1973, defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr., together with an unidentified
The award to Valenzona of attorneys fees must remain, however, GF Equity having male companion, abducted her in the vicinity of the San Juan de Dios
refused to pay the balance of Valenzonas salaries to which he was, under the facts and Hospital in Pasay City and brought her to a motel where she was
circumstances of the case, entitled under the contract, thus compelling him to litigate raped. The court a quo, which adopted her evidence, summarized the
to protect his interest.[27] same which we paraphrased as follows:
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated October 14, 2002 is Plaintiff was 26 years old on November 5, 1974
hereby SET ASIDE and another rendered declaring the assailed provision of the contract when she testified, single and had finished a college
NULL AND VOID and ORDERING petitioner, GF Equity, to pay private respondent, Arturo course in Commerce (t.s.n., p. 4, Nov. 5, 1974). It
Valenzona, actual damages in the amount of P525,000.00 and attorneys fees in the appears that on September 8, 1973, at about 4:00
amount of P60,000.00. o'clock in the afternoon, while she was walking
Costs against petitioner. along Figueras Street, Pasay City on her way to the
SO ORDERED. San Juan de Dios Canteen to take her snack,
Panganiban, (Chairman), Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona, and Garcia, JJ., concur. defendant, Conrado Bunag, Jr., came riding in a car
driven by a male companion. Plaintiff and defendant
G.R. No. 101749 July 10, 1992 Bunag, Jr. were sweethearts, but two weeks before
CONRADO BUNAG, JR., petitioner, September 8, 1973, they had a quarrel, and Bunag,
vs. Jr. wanted to talk matters over with plaintiff, so that
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, First Division, and ZENAIDA B. CIRILO, respondents. he invited her to take their merienda at the
Aristocrat Restaurant in Manila instead of at the San
REGALADO, J.: Juan de Dios Canteen, to which plaintiff obliged, as
she believed in his sincerity (t.s.n., pp. 8-10, Nov. 5, (t.s.n., p. 26, Nov. 5, 1974). At about ten (10) o'clock
1974). that same evening, defendant Conrado Bunag, Sr.,
Plaintiff rode in the car and took the front seat father of Bunag, Jr. arrived and assured plaintiff that
beside the driver while Bunag, Jr. seated himself by the following day which was a Monday, she and
her right side. The car travelled north on its way to Bunag, Jr. would go to Bacoor, to apply for a
the Aristocrat Restaurant but upon reaching San marriage license, which they did. They filed their
Juan Street in Pasay City, it turned abruptly to the applications for marriage license (Exhibits "A" and
right, to which plaintiff protested, but which the "C") and after that plaintiff and defendant Bunag, Jr.
duo ignored and instead threatened her not to returned to the house of Juana de Leon and lived
make any noise as they were ready to die and would there as husband and wife from September 8, 1973
bump the car against the post if she persisted. to September 29, 1973.
Frightened and silenced, the car travelled its course On September 29, 1973 defendant Bunag, Jr. left
thru F.B. Harrison Boulevard until they reached a and never returned, humiliating plaintiff and
motel. Plaintiff was then pulled and dragged from compelled her to go back to her parents on October
the car against her will, and amidst her cries and 3, 1973. Plaintiff was ashamed when she went
pleas. In spite of her struggle she was no match to home and could not sleep and eat because of the
the joint strength of the two male combatants deception done against her by defendants-
because of her natural weakness being a woman appellants (t.s.n., p. 35, Nov. 5, 1974).
and her small stature. Eventually, she was brought The testimony of plaintiff was corroborated in
inside the hotel where the defendant Bunag, Jr. toto by her uncle, Vivencio Bansagan who declared
deflowered her against her will and consent. She that on September 8, 1973 when plaintiff failed to
could not fight back and repel the attack because arrive home at 9:00 o'clock in the evening, his sister
after Bunag, Jr. had forced her to lie down and who is the mother of plaintiff asked him to look for
embraced her, his companion held her two feet, her but his efforts proved futile, and he told his
removed her panty, after which he left. Bunag, Jr. sister that plaintiff might have married (baka nag-
threatened her that he would ask his companion to asawa, t.s.n., pp. 5-6, March 18, 1976). However, in
come back and hold her feet if she did not the afternoon of the next day (Sunday), his sister
surrender her womanhood to him, thus he told him that Francisco Cabrera, accompanied by
succeeded in feasting on her virginity. Plaintiff barrio captain Jacinto Manalili of Ligas, Bacoor,
described the pains she felt and how blood came Cavite, informed her that plaintiff and Bunag, Jr.
out of her private parts after her vagina was were in Cabrera's house, so that her sister
penetrated by the penis of the defendant Bunag, Jr. requested him to go and see the plaintiff, which he
(t.s.n. pp. 17-24, Nov. 5, 1974). did, and at the house of Mrs. Juana de Leon in
After that outrage on her virginity, plaintiff asked Pamplona, Las Piñas, Metro Manila he met
Bunag, Jr. once more to allow her to go home but defendant Conrado Bunag, Sr., who told him, "Pare,
the latter would not consent and stated that he the children are here already. Let us settle the
would only let her go after they were married as he matter and have them married."
intended to marry her, so much so that she He conferred with plaintiff who told him that as she had already lost
promised not to make any scandal and to marry her honor, she would bear her sufferings as Boy Bunag, Jr. and his
him. Thereafter, they took a taxi together after the father promised they would be married.
car that they used had already gone, and proceeded Defendants-appellants, on the other hand, deny that defendant-
to the house of Juana de Leon, Bunag, Jr.'s appellant Conrado Bunag, Jr. abducted and raped plaintiff-appellant
grandmother in Pamplona, Las Piñas, Metro Manila on September 8, 1973. On the contrary, plaintiff-appellant and
where they arrived at 9:30 o'clock in the evening
defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr. eloped on that date because of the P10,000.00 for and as attorney's fees, as well as the costs of suit. Defendant Conrado
opposition of the latter's father to their relationship. Bunag, Sr. was absolved from any and all liability.
Defendant-appellants claim that defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr. and Private respondent appealed that portion of the lower court's decision disculpating
plaintiff-appellant had earlier made plans to elope and get married, Conrado Bunag, Sr. from civil liability in this case. On the other hand, the Bunags, as
and this fact was known to their friends, among them, Architect Chito defendants-appellants, assigned in their appeal several errors allegedly committed by
Rodriguez. The couple made good their plans to elope on the trial court, which were summarized by respondent court as follows: (1) in finding that
afternoon of September 8, 1973, when defendant-appellant Bunag, defendant-appellant Conrado Bunag, Jr. forcibly abducted and raped plaintiff-appellant;
Jr., accompanied by his friend Guillermo Ramos, Jr., met plaintiff- (2) in finding that defendants-appellants promised plaintiff-appellant that she would be
appellant and her officemate named Lydia in the vicinity of the San wed to defendant-appellant Conrado Bunag, Jr.; and (3) in awarding plaintiff-appellant
Juan de Dios Hospital. The foursome then proceeded to (the) damages for the breach of defendants-appellants' promise of marriage. 5
aforesaid hospital's canteen where they had some snacks. Later, As stated at the outset, on May 17, 1991 respondent Court of Appeals rendered
Guillermo Ramos, Jr. took Lydia to Quirino Avenue where she could judgment dismissing both appeals and affirming in toto the decision of the trial court.
get a ride home, thereby leaving the defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr. His motion for reconsideration having been denied, petitioner Bunag, Jr. is before us on
and plaintiff-appellant alone. According to defendant-appellant a petition for review, contending that (1) respondent court failed to consider vital
Bunag, Jr., after Guillermo Ramos, Jr. and Lydia left, he and plaintiff- exhibits, testimonies and incidents for petitioner's defense, resulting in the
appellant took a taxi to the Golden Gate and Flamingo Hotels where misapprehensions of facts and violative of the law on preparation of judgment; and (2)
they tried to get a room, but these were full. They finally got a room it erred in the application of the proper law and jurisprudence by holding that there
at the Holiday Hotel, where defendant-appellant registered using his was forcible abduction with rape, not just a simple elopement and an agreement to
real name and residence certificate number. Three hours later, the marry, and in the award of excessive damages. 6
couple check out of the hotel and proceeded to the house of Juana de Petitioner Bunag, Jr. first contends that both the trial and appellate courts failed to take
Leon at Pamplona, Las Piñas, where they stayed until September 19, into consideration the alleged fact that he and private respondent had agreed to marry,
1873. Defendant-appellant claims that bitter disagreements with the and that there was no case of forcible abduction with rape, but one of simple
plaintiff-appellant over money and the threats made to his life elopement and agreement to marry. It is averred that the agreement to marry has been
prompted him to break off their plan to get married. sufficiently proven by the testimonies of the witnesses for both parties and the exhibits
During this period, defendant-appellant Bunag, Sr. denied having gone presented in court.
to the house of Juan de Leon and telling plaintiff-appellant that she This submission, therefore, clearly hinges on the credibility of the witnesses and
would be wed to defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr. In fact, he phoned evidence presented by the parties and the weight accorded thereto in the factual
Atty. Conrado Adreneda, member of the board of directors of findings of the trial court and the Court of Appeals. In effect, what petitioner would
Mandala Corporation, defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr.'s employer, want this Court to do is to evaluate and analyze anew the evidence, both testimonial
three times between the evening of September 8, 1973 and and documentary, presented before and calibrated by the trial court, and as further
September 9, 1973 inquiring as to the whereabouts of his son. He meticulously reviewed and discussed by respondent court.
came to know about his son's whereabouts when he was told of the The issue raised primarily and ineluctably involves questions of fact. We are, therefore,
couple's elopement late in the afternoon of September 9, 1973 by his once again constrained to stress the well-entrenched statutory and jurisprudential
mother Candida Gawaran. He likewise denied having met relatives mandate that findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are, as a rule, conclusive upon this
and emissaries of plaintiff-appellant and agreeing to her marriage to Court. Only questions of law, distinctly set forth, may be raised in a petition for review
his son. 3 on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, subject to clearly settled exceptions in
A complaint for damages for alleged breach of promise to marry was filed by herein case law.
private respondent Zenaida B. Cirilo against petitioner Conrado Bunag, Jr. and his father, Our jurisdiction in cases brought to us from the Court of Appeals is limited to reviewing
Conrado Bunag, Sr., as Civil Case No. N-2028 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch XIX at and revising the errors of law imputed to the latter, its findings of fact being conclusive.
Bacoor, Cavite. On August 20, 1983, on a finding, inter alia, that petitioner had forcibly This Court has emphatically declared that it is not its function to analyze or weigh such
abducted and raped private respondent, the trial court rendered a decision 4 ordering evidence all over again, its jurisdiction being limited to reviewing errors of law that
petitioner Bunag, Jr. to pay private respondent P80,000.00 as moral damages, might have been committed by the lower court. Barring, therefore, a showing that the
P20,000.00 as exemplary damages, P20,000.00 by way of temperate damages, and findings complained of are totally devoid of support in the record, or that they are so
glaringly erroneous as to constitute serious abuse of discretion, such findings must
stand, for this Court is not expected or required to examine or contrast the oral and declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which the civil case might arise did
documentary evidence submitted by the parties. 7 Neither does the instant case reveal not exist. Consequently, the dismissal did not in any way affect the right of herein
any feature falling within, any of the exceptions which under our decisional rules may private respondent to institute a civil action arising from the offense because such
warrant a review of the factual findings of the Court of Appeals. On the foregoing preliminary dismissal of the penal action did not carry with it the extinction of the civil
considerations and our review of the records, we sustain the holding of respondent action.
court in favor of private respondent. The reason most often given for this holding is that the two proceedings involved are
Petitioner likewise asserts that since action involves a breach of promise to marry, the not between the same parties. Furthermore, it has long been emphasized, with
trial court erred in awarding damages. continuing validity up to now, that there are different rules as to the competency of
It is true that in this jurisdiction, we adhere to the time-honored rule that an action for witnesses and the quantum of evidence in criminal and civil proceedings. In a criminal
breach of promise to marry has no standing in the civil law, apart from the right to action, the State must prove its case by evidence which shows the guilt of the accused
recover money or property advanced by the plaintiff upon the faith of such beyond reasonable doubt, while in a civil action it is sufficient for the plaintiff to sustain
promise. 8 Generally, therefore, a breach of promise to marry per se is not actionable, his cause by preponderance of evidence only. 13 Thus, in Rillon, et al. vs. Rillon, 14 we
except where the plaintiff has actually incurred expenses for the wedding and the stressed that it is not now necessary that a criminal prosecution for rape be first
necessary incidents thereof. instituted and prosecuted to final judgment before a civil action based on said offense
However, the award of moral damages is allowed in cases specified in or analogous to in favor of the offended woman can likewise be instituted and prosecuted to final
those provided in Article 2219 of the Civil Code. Correlatively, under Article 21 of said judgment.
Code, in relation to paragraph 10 of said Article 2219, any person who wilfully causes WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit, and the assailed judgment
loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public and resolution are hereby AFFIRMED.
policy shall compensate the latter for moral damages. 9 Article 21 was adopted to SO ORDERED.
remedy the countless gaps in the statutes which leave so many victims of moral wrongs Narvasa, C.J. and Padilla, J., concur.
helpless even though they have actually suffered material and moral injury, and is Nocon, J., took no part.
intended to vouchsafe adequate legal remedy for that untold number of moral wrongs
which is impossible for human foresight to specifically provide for in the statutes. 10 Wassmer vs. Velez
Under the circumstances obtaining in the case at bar, the acts of petitioner in forcibly G.R. No. L-20089, December 26, 1964
abducting private respondent and having carnal knowledge with her against her will, 12 SCRA 648
and thereafter promising to marry her in order to escape criminal liability, only to
thereafter renege on such promise after cohabiting with her for twenty-one days,
irremissibly constitute acts contrary to morals and good customs. These are grossly Facts: Francisco Velez and Beatriz Wassmer applied for a Marriage License on August
insensate and reprehensible transgressions which indisputably warrant and abundantly 23, 1954. The wedding was to take place on September 4, 1954. All the necessary
justify the award of moral and exemplary damages, pursuant to Article 21 in relation to preparations were undertaken for the said event. However, two days before the
paragraphs 3 and 10, Article 2219, and Article 2229 and 2234 of Civil Code. wedding, Francisco left a note for Beatriz informing her that the wedding will not push
Petitioner would, however, belabor the fact that said damages were awarded by the through because his mother opposed the union. The following day, he sent her a
trial court on the basis of a finding that he is guilty of forcible abduction with rape, telegram stating that he will be returning very soon. Francisco never showed up and has
despite the prior dismissal of the complaint therefor filed by private respondent with not been heard since then. Beatriz subsequently sued Francisco for damages. The
the Pasay City Fiscal's Office. trial court ordered Francisco to pay Beatriz actual, moral and exemplary damages.
Generally, the basis of civil liability from crime is the fundamental postulate of our law
that every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. In other words, Francisco filed a petition for relief from orders, judgment and proceedings and motion
criminal liability will give rise to civil liability ex delicto only if the same felonious act or for new trial and reconsideration which was denied by the trial court. Francisco
omission results in damage or injury to another and is the direct and proximate cause appealed to the Supreme Court, asserting that the judgment is contrary to law as there
thereof. 11 Hence, extinction of the penal action does not carry with it the extinction of is no provision in the Civil Code authorizing an action for breach of promise to marry.
civil liability unless the extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment that
the fact from which the civil might arise did not exist. 12
In the instant case, the dismissal of the complaint for forcible abduction with rape was Issue: May Francisco be held liable to pay Beatriz damages for breach of promise to
by mere resolution of the fiscal at the preliminary investigation stage. There is no marry?
promise of marriage succeeded in having sexual intercourse with the latter; that after
the sexual contact, Ivan confessed to Amelita that he is a married man; that they
Held: Yes. Francisco may be held liable under Article 21 of the Civil Code, which repeated their sexual contact in the months of September and November, 1974,
provides: "Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is whenever Ivan is in Manila, as a result of which Amelita got pregnant; that her pleas for
contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the help and support fell on deaf ears; that Amelita had no sexual relations with any other
damage." man except Ivan who is the father of the child yet to be born at the time of the filing of
the complaint; that because of her pregnancy, Amelita was forced to leave her work as
Mere breach of promise to marry is not an actionable wrong. But to formally set a a waitress; that Ivan is a prosperous businessman of Davao City with a monthly income
wedding and go through all the preparation and publicity, only to walk out of it when of P5,000 to P8,000. As relief, Amelita prayed for the recognition of the unborn child,
the matrimony is about to be solemnized, is quite different. Surely this is not a case of the payment of actual, moral and exemplary damages, attorney's fees plus costs.
mere breach of promise to marry. This is palpably and unjustifiably contrary to good In his answer dated August 5, 1975, Ivan admitted that he met Amelita at Tony's
customs for which defendant must be held answerable in damages in accordance with Cocktail Lounge but denied having sexual knowledge or illicit relations with her. He
Article 21. prayed for the dismissal of the complaint for lack of cause of action. By way of
counterclaim, he further prayed for the payment of exemplary damages and litigation
expense including attorney's fees for the filing of the malicious complaint.
G.R. No. 57227 May 14, 1992 On September 1, 1975, Amelita Constantino filed a motion for leave to amend the
AMELITA CONSTANTINO and MICHAEL CONSTANTINO, the latter represented herein complaint impleading as co-plaintiff her son Michael Constantino who was born on
by the former, his mother and natural guardian, petitioners, August 3, 1975. In its order dated September 4, 1975, the trial court admitted the
vs. amended complaint.
IVAN MENDEZ and the HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. On September 11, 1975, Ivan Mendez filed his answer to the amended complaint
Roberto M. Sarenas for petitioners. reiterating his previous answer denying that Michael Constantino is his illegitimate son.
Bienvinido D. Cariaga for private respondent. After hearing, the trial court rendered a decision dated June 21, 1976, the dispositive
portion of which reads, viz:
BIDIN, J.: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered
This is a petition for review on certiorari questioning the decision 1 dated April 30, 1981 in favor of plaintiff Amelita Constantino and against defendant Ivan
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 61552-R which dismissed petitioner's complaint Mendez, ordering the latter to pay Amelita Constantino the sum of
and set aside the resolution 2 dated October 21, 1976 of the then Court of First Instance P8,000.00 by way of actual and moral damages; and, the sum of
of Davao, 16th Judicial District, amending the dispositive portion of its decision dated P3,000.00, as and by way of attorney's fees. The defendant shall pay
June 21, 1976 and ordering private respondent Ivan Mendez: (1) to acknowledge the the costs of this suit.
minor Michael Constantino as his illegitimate child; (2) to give a monthly support of SO ORDERED.
P300.00 to the minor child; (3) to pay complainant Amelita Constantino the sum of From the above decision, both parties filed their separate motion for reconsideration.
P8,200.00 as actual and moral damages; and (4) to pay attorney's fees in the sum of Ivan Mendez anchored his motion on the ground that the award of damages was not
P5,000 plus costs. supported by evidence. Amelita Constantino, on the other hand, sought the recognition
It appears on record that on June 5, 1975, petitioner Amelita Constantino filed an action and support of her son Michael Constantino as the illegitimate son of Ivan Mendez.
for acknowledgment, support and damages against private respondent Ivan Mendez. In its resolution dated October 21, 1976, the trial court granted Amelita Constantino's
The case was filed with the then CFI of Davao, 10th Judicial District and docketed as motion for reconsideration, and amended the dispositive portion of its decision dated
Civil Case No. 8881. In her complaint, Amelita Constantino alleges, among others, that June 21, 1976 to read as follows, viz:
sometime in the month of August, 1974, she met Ivan Mendez at Tony's Restaurant WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered
located at Sta. Cruz, Manila, where she worked as a waitress; that the day following in favor of plaintiff Amelita Constantino and plaintiff-minor Michael
their first meeting, Ivan invited Amelita to dine with him at Hotel Enrico where he was Constantino, and against defendant Ivan Mendez ordering the latter
billeted; that while dining, Ivan professed his love and courted Amelita; that Amelita to pay Amelita Constantino the sum of P8,000.00 by way of actual and
asked for time to think about Ivan's proposal; that at about 11:00 o'clock in the moral damages and the sum of P200.00 as and by way of payment of
evening, Amelita asked Ivan to bring her home to which the latter agreed, that on the the hospital and medical bills incurred during the delivery of plaintiff-
pretext of getting something, Ivan brought Amelita inside his hotel room and through a minor Michael Constantino; to recognize as his own illegitimate child
the plaintiff-minor Michael Constantino who shall be entitled to all crucial point that was not even established on direct examination as she merely
the rights, privileges and benefits appertaining to a child of such testified that she had sexual intercourse with Ivan in the months of September, October
status; to give a permanent monthly support in favor of plaintiff and November, 1974.
Michael Constantino the amount of P300.00; and the sum of Michael Constantino is a full-term baby born on August 3, 1975 (Exhibit 6) so that as
P5,000.00 as and by way of attorney's fees. The defendant shall pay correctly pointed out by private respondent's counsel, citing medical science (Williams
the costs of this suit. Obstetrics, Tenth Ed., p. 198) to the effect that "the mean duration of actual pregnancy,
Let this Order form part of the decision dated June 21, 1976. counting from the day of conception must be close to 267 days", the conception of the
SO ORDERED. child (Michael) must have taken place about 267 days before August 3, 1975 or
On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the above amended decision was set aside and the sometime in the second week of November, 1974. While Amelita testified that she had
complaint was dismissed. Hence, this petition for review. sexual contact with Ivan in November, 1974, nevertheless said testimony is contradicted
Basically, the issue to be resolved in the case at bar is whether or not the Court of by her own evidence (Exh. F), the letter dated February 11, 1975, addressed to Ivan
Appeals committed a reversible error in setting aside the decision of the trial court and Mendez requesting for a conference, prepared by her own counsel Atty. Roberto
in dismissing the complaint. Sarenas to whom she must have confided the attendant circumstances of her
Petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the factual findings of pregnancy while still fresh in her memory, informing Ivan that Amelita is four (4)
the trial and in not affirming the decision of the trial court. They also pointed out that months pregnant so that applying the period of the duration of actual pregnancy, the
the appellate court committed a misapprehension of facts when it concluded that Ivan child was conceived on or about October 11, 1974.
did not have sexual access with Amelita during the first or second week of November, Petitioner's assertion that Ivan is her first and only boyfriend (TSN, December 8, 1975,
1976 (should be 1974), the time of the conception of the child. p. 65) is belied by Exhibit 2, her own letter addressed to Mrs. Mendez where she
It must be stressed at the outset that factual findings of the trial court have only a revealed the reason for her attachment to Ivan who possessed certain traits not
persuasive and not a conclusive effect on the Court of Appeals. In the exercise of its possessed by her boyfriend. She also confided that she had a quarrel with her boyfriend
appellate jurisdiction, it is the duty of the Court of Appeals to review the factual because of gossips so she left her work. An order for recognition and support may
findings of the trial court and rectify the errors it committed as may have been properly create an unwholesome atmosphere or may be an irritant in the family or lives of the
assigned and as could be established by a re-examination of the evidence on record. It parties so that it must be issued only if paternity or filiation is established by clear and
is the factual findings of the Court of Appeals, not those of the trial court, that as a rule convincing evidence. The burden of proof is on Amelita to establish her affirmative
are considered final and conclusive even on this Court (Hermo v. Hon. Court of Appeals, allegations that Ivan is the father of her son. Consequently, in the absence of clear and
et al., 155 SCRA 24 [1987]). This being a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the convincing evidence establishing paternity or filiation, the complaint must be dismissed.
Rules of Court, this Court will review only errors of law committed by the Court of As regards Amelita's claim for damages which is based on Articles 19 3 & 21 4 of the Civil
Appeals. It is not the function of this Court to re-examine all over again the oral and Code on the theory that through Ivan's promise of marriage, she surrendered her
documentary evidence submitted by the parties unless the findings of facts of the Court virginity, we cannot but agree with the Court of Appeals that more sexual intercourse is
of Appeals is not supported by the evidence on record or the judgment is based on not by itself a basis for recovery. Damages could only be awarded if sexual intercourse is
misapprehension of facts (Remalante v. Tibe, et al., 158 SCRA 138 [1988]; Hernandez v. not a product of voluntariness and mutual desire. At the time she met Ivan at Tony's
Court of Appeals, et al., 149 SCRA 97 [1987]). Restaurant, Amelita was already 28 years old and she admitted that she was attracted
It is the conclusion of the Court of Appeals, based on the evidence on record, that to Ivan (TSN, December 3, 1975, p. 83). Her attraction to Ivan is the reason why she
Amelita Constantino has not proved by clear and convincing evidence her claim that surrendered her womanhood. Had she been induced or deceived because of a promise
Ivan Mendez is the father of her son Michael Constantino. Such conclusion based on of marriage, she could have immediately severed her relation with Ivan when she was
the evaluation of the evidence on record is controlling on this Court as the same is informed after their first sexual contact sometime in August, 1974, that he was a
supported by the evidence on record. Even the trial court initially entertained such married man. Her declaration that in the months of September, October and November,
posture. It ordered the recognition of Michael as the illegitimate son of Ivan only when 1974, they repeated their sexual intercourse only indicates that passion and not the
acting on the motions for reconsideration, it reconsidered, on October 21, 1976, its alleged promise of marriage was the moving force that made her submit herself to Ivan.
earlier decision dated June 21, 1976. Amelita's testimony on cross-examination that she WHEREFORE, the instant petition is Dismissed for lack of merit.
had sexual contact with Ivan in Manila in the first or second week of November, 1974 SO ORDERED.
(TSN, December 8, 1975, p. 108) is inconsistent with her response that she could not Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano, Davide, Jr. and Romero, JJ., concur.
remember the date of their last sexual intercourse in November, 1974 (Ibid, p. 106). DAVID REYES (Substituted by Victoria R. Fabella), petitioner, vs. JOSE LIM, CHUY
Sexual contact of Ivan and Amelita in the first or second week of November, 1974 is the CHENG KENG and HARRISON LUMBER, INC., respondents.
DECISION difficulty in finding a new location for their business. Harrison Lumber claimed that as
CARPIO, J.: of March 1995, it had already started transferring some of its merchandise to its new
The Case business location in Malabon.[7]
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision[1] dated 12 May 1998 of On 31 May 1995, Lim filed his Answer [8] stating that he was ready and willing to
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 46224. The Court of Appeals dismissed the pay the balance of the purchase price on or before 8 March 1995. Lim requested a
petition for certiorari assailing the Orders dated 6 March 1997, 3 July 1997 and 3 meeting with Reyes through the latters daughter on the signing of the Deed of Absolute
October 1997 of the Regional Trial Court of Paranaque, Branch 260 [2] (trial court) in Civil Sale and the payment of the balance but Reyes kept postponing their meeting. On 9
Case No. 95-032. March 1995, Reyes offered to return the P10 million down payment to Lim because
The Facts Reyes was having problems in removing the lessee from the Property. Lim rejected
On 23 March 1995, petitioner David Reyes (Reyes) filed before the trial court a Reyes offer and proceeded to verify the status of Reyes title to the Property. Lim
complaint for annulment of contract and damages against respondents Jose Lim (Lim), learned that Reyes had already sold the Property to Line One Foods Corporation (Line
Chuy Cheng Keng (Keng) and Harrison Lumber, Inc. (Harrison Lumber). One) on 1 March 1995 for P16,782,840. After the registration of the Deed of Absolute
The complaint[3] alleged that on 7 November 1994, Reyes as seller and Lim as Sale, the Register of Deeds issued to Line One TCT No. 134767 covering the Property.
buyer entered into a contract to sell (Contract to Sell) a parcel of land (Property) located Lim denied conniving with Keng and Harrison Lumber to defraud Reyes.
along F.B. Harrison Street, Pasay City. Harrison Lumber occupied the Property as lessee On 2 November 1995, Reyes filed a Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint
with a monthly rental of P35,000. The Contract to Sell provided for the following terms due to supervening facts. These included the filing by Lim of a complaint for estafa
and conditions: against Reyes as well as an action for specific performance and nullification of sale and
1. The total consideration for the purchase of the aforedescribed parcel of land title plus damages before another trial court.[9] The trial court granted the motion in an
together with the perimeter walls found therein is TWENTY EIGHT MILLION Order dated 23 November 1995.
(P28,000,000.00) PESOS payable as follows: In his Amended Answer dated 18 January 1996, [10] Lim prayed for the cancellation
(a) TEN MILLION (P10,000,000.00) PESOS upon signing of this Contract to Sell; of the Contract to Sell and for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment against
(b) The balance of EIGHTEEN MILLION (P18,000,000.00) PESOS shall be paid on or Reyes. The trial court denied the prayer for a writ of preliminary attachment in an Order
before March 8, 1995 at 9:30 A.M. at a bank to be designated by the Buyer but upon dated 7 October 1996.
the complete vacation of all the tenants or occupants of the property and execution of On 6 March 1997, Lim requested in open court that Reyes be ordered to deposit
the Deed of Absolute Sale. However, if the tenants or occupants have vacated the the P10 million down payment with the cashier of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque.
premises earlier than March 8, 1995, the VENDOR shall give the VENDEE at least one The trial court granted this motion.
week advance notice for the payment of the balance and execution of the Deed of On 25 March 1997, Reyes filed a Motion to Set Aside the Order dated 6 March
Absolute Sale. 1997 on the ground the Order practically granted the reliefs Lim prayed for in his
2. That in the event, the tenants or occupants of the premises subject of this sale shall Amended Answer.[11]The trial court denied Reyes motion in an Order [12] dated 3 July
not vacate the premises on March 8, 1995 as stated above, the VENDEE shall withhold 1997. Citing Article 1385 of the Civil Code, the trial court ruled that an action for
the payment of the balance of P18,000,000.00 and the VENDOR agrees to pay a penalty rescission could prosper only if the party demanding rescission can return whatever he
of Four percent (4%) per month to the herein VENDEE based on the amount of the may be obliged to restore should the court grant the rescission.
downpayment of TEN MILLION (P10,000,000.00) PESOS until the complete vacation of The trial court denied Reyes Motion for Reconsideration in its Order [13] dated 3
the premises by the tenants therein.[4] October 1997. In the same order, the trial court directed Reyes to deposit the P10
The complaint claimed that Reyes had informed Harrison Lumber to vacate the million down payment with the Clerk of Court on or before 30 October 1997.
Property before the end of January 1995. Reyes also informed Keng [5] and Harrison On 8 December 1997, Reyes[14] filed a Petition for Certiorari[15] with the Court of
Lumber that if they failed to vacate by 8 March 1995, he would hold them liable for the Appeals. Reyes prayed that the Orders of the trial court dated 6 March 1997, 3 July
penalty of P400,000 a month as provided in the Contract to Sell. The complaint further 1997 and 3 October 1997 be set aside for having been issued with grave abuse of
alleged that Lim connived with Harrison Lumber not to vacate the Property until the discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. On 12 May 1998, the Court of Appeals
P400,000 monthly penalty would have accumulated and equaled the unpaid purchase dismissed the petition for lack of merit.
price of P18,000,000. Hence, this petition for review.
On 3 May 1995, Keng and Harrison Lumber filed their Answer [6] denying they The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
connived with Lim to defraud Reyes. Keng and Harrison Lumber alleged that Reyes The Court of Appeals ruled the trial court could validly issue the assailed orders in
approved their request for an extension of time to vacate the Property due to their the exercise of its equity jurisdiction. The court may grant equitable reliefs to breathe
life and force to substantive law such as Article 1385 [16] of the Civil Code since the be attained in cases where the prescribed or customary forms of ordinary law are
provisional remedies under the Rules of Court do not apply to this case. inadequate.[25]
The Court of Appeals held the assailed orders merely directed Reyes to deposit Reyes is seeking rescission of the Contract to Sell. In his amended answer, Lim is
the P10 million to the custody of the trial court to protect the interest of Lim who paid also seeking cancellation of the Contract to Sell. The trial court then ordered Reyes to
the amount to Reyes as down payment. This did not mean the money would be deposit in court the P10 million down payment that Lim made under the Contract to
returned automatically to Lim. Sell. Reyes admits receipt of the P10 million down payment but opposes the order to
The Issues deposit the amount in court. Reyes contends that prior to a judgment annulling the
Reyes raises the following issues: Contract to Sell, he has the right to use, possess and enjoy [26] the P10 million as its
1. Whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding the trial court could issue owner[27] unless the court orders its preliminary attachment.[28]
the questioned Orders dated March 6, 1997, July 3, 1997 and October To subscribe to Reyes contention will unjustly enrich Reyes at the expense of Lim.
3, 1997, requiring petitioner David Reyes to deposit the amount of Reyes sold to Line One the Property even before the balance of P18 million under the
Ten Million Pesos (P10,000,000.00) during the pendency of the action, Contract to Sell with Lim became due on 8 March 1995. On 1 March 1995, Reyes signed
when deposit is not among the provisional remedies enumerated in a Deed of Absolute Sale[29] in favor of Line One. On 3 March 1995, the Register of Deeds
Rule 57 to 61 of the 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure. issued TCT No. 134767[30] in the name of Line One. [31] Reyes cannot claim ownership of
2. Whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding the trial court could issue the P10 million down payment because Reyes had already sold to another buyer the
the questioned Orders on grounds of equity when there is an Property for which Lim made the down payment. In fact, in his Comment [32] dated 20
applicable law on the matter, that is, Rules 57 to 61 of the 1997 Rules March 1996, Reyes reiterated his offer to return to Lim the P10 million down payment.
on Civil Procedure.[17] On balance, it is unreasonable and unjust for Reyes to object to the deposit of the
The Courts Ruling P10 million down payment. The application of equity always involves a balancing of the
Reyes contentions are without merit. equities in a particular case, a matter addressed to the sound discretion of the court.
Reyes points out that deposit is not among the provisional remedies enumerated Here, we find the equities weigh heavily in favor of Lim, who paid the P10 million down
in the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Reyes stresses the enumeration in the Rules is payment in good faith only to discover later that Reyes had subsequently sold the
exclusive. Not one of the provisional remedies in Rules 57 to 61 [18] applies to this case. Property to another buyer.
Reyes argues that a court cannot apply equity and require deposit if the law already In Eternal Gardens Memorial Parks Corp. v. IAC,[33] this Court held the plaintiff
prescribes the specific provisional remedies which do not include deposit. Reyes could not continue to benefit from the property or funds in litigation during the
invokes the principle that equity is applied only in the absence of, and never against, pendency of the suit at the expense of whomever the court might ultimately adjudge as
statutory law or x x x judicial rules of procedure. [19] Reyes adds the fact that the the lawful owner. The Court declared:
provisional remedies do not include deposit is a matter of dura lex sed lex.[20] In the case at bar, a careful analysis of the records will show that petitioner admitted
The instant case, however, is precisely one where there is a hiatus in the law and among others in its complaint in Interpleader that it is still obligated to pay certain
in the Rules of Court. If left alone, the hiatus will result in unjust enrichment to Reyes at amounts to private respondent; that it claims no interest in such amounts due and is
the expense of Lim. The hiatus may also imperil restitution, which is a precondition to willing to pay whoever is declared entitled to said amounts. x x x
the rescission of the Contract to Sell that Reyes himself seeks. This is not a case of Under the circumstances, there appears to be no plausible reason for petitioners
equity overruling a positive provision of law or judicial rule for there is none that objections to the deposit of the amounts in litigation after having asked for the
governs this particular case. This is a case of silence or insufficiency of the law and the assistance of the lower court by filing a complaint for interpleader where the deposit of
Rules of Court. In this case, Article 9 of the Civil Code expressly mandates the courts to aforesaid amounts is not only required by the nature of the action but is a contractual
make a ruling despite the silence, obscurity or insufficiency of the laws. [21] This calls for obligation of the petitioner under the Land Development Program (Rollo, p. 252).
the application of equity,[22] which fills the open spaces in the law.[23] There is also no plausible or justifiable reason for Reyes to object to the deposit of
Thus, the trial court in the exercise of its equity jurisdiction may validly order the the P10 million down payment in court. The Contract to Sell can no longer be enforced
deposit of the P10 million down payment in court. The purpose of the exercise of equity because Reyes himself subsequently sold the Property to Line One. Both Reyes and Lim
jurisdiction in this case is to prevent unjust enrichment and to ensure restitution. Equity are now seeking rescission of the Contract to Sell. Under Article 1385 of the Civil Code,
jurisdiction aims to do complete justice in cases where a court of law is unable to adapt rescission creates the obligation to return the things that are the object of the contract.
its judgments to the special circumstances of a case because of the inflexibility of its Rescission is possible only when the person demanding rescission can return whatever
statutory or legal jurisdiction.[24] Equity is the principle by which substantial justice may he may be obliged to restore. A court of equity will not rescind a contract unless there is
restitution, that is, the parties are restored to the status quo ante.[34]
Thus, since Reyes is demanding to rescind the Contract to Sell, he cannot refuse to The Facts
deposit the P10 million down payment in court. [35] Such deposit will ensure restitution On 23 March 1995, petitioner David Reyes (Reyes) filed before the trial court a
of the P10 million to its rightful owner. Lim, on the other hand, has nothing to refund, complaint for annulment of contract and damages against respondents Jose Lim (Lim),
as he has not received anything under the Contract to Sell. [36] Chuy Cheng Keng (Keng) and Harrison Lumber, Inc. (Harrison Lumber).
In Government of the Philippine Islands v. Wagner and Cleland Wagner,[37] the The complaint[3] alleged that on 7 November 1994, Reyes as seller and Lim as
Court ruled the refund of amounts received under a contract is a precondition to the buyer entered into a contract to sell (Contract to Sell) a parcel of land (Property) located
rescission of the contract. The Court declared: along F.B. Harrison Street, Pasay City. Harrison Lumber occupied the Property as lessee
The Government, having asked for rescission, must restore to the defendants whatever with a monthly rental of P35,000. The Contract to Sell provided for the following terms
it has received under the contract. It will only be just if, as a condition to rescission, the and conditions:
Government be required to refund to the defendants an amount equal to the purchase 1. The total consideration for the purchase of the aforedescribed parcel of land
price, plus the sums expended by them in improving the land. (Civil Code, art. 1295.) together with the perimeter walls found therein is TWENTY EIGHT MILLION
The principle that no person may unjustly enrich himself at the expense of (P28,000,000.00) PESOS payable as follows:
another is embodied in Article 22 [38] of the Civil Code. This principle applies not only to (a) TEN MILLION (P10,000,000.00) PESOS upon signing of this Contract to Sell;
substantive rights but also to procedural remedies. One condition for invoking this (b) The balance of EIGHTEEN MILLION (P18,000,000.00) PESOS shall be paid on or
principle is that the aggrieved party has no other action based on contract, quasi- before March 8, 1995 at 9:30 A.M. at a bank to be designated by the Buyer but upon
contract, crime, quasi-delict or any other provision of law. [39] Courts can extend this the complete vacation of all the tenants or occupants of the property and execution of
condition to the hiatus in the Rules of Court where the aggrieved party, during the the Deed of Absolute Sale. However, if the tenants or occupants have vacated the
pendency of the case, has no other recourse based on the provisional remedies of the premises earlier than March 8, 1995, the VENDOR shall give the VENDEE at least one
Rules of Court. week advance notice for the payment of the balance and execution of the Deed of
Thus, a court may not permit a seller to retain, pendente lite, money paid by a Absolute Sale.
buyer if the seller himself seeks rescission of the sale because he has subsequently sold 2. That in the event, the tenants or occupants of the premises subject of this sale shall
the same property to another buyer.[40] By seeking rescission, a seller necessarily offers not vacate the premises on March 8, 1995 as stated above, the VENDEE shall withhold
to return what he has received from the buyer. Such a seller may not take back his offer the payment of the balance of P18,000,000.00 and the VENDOR agrees to pay a penalty
if the court deems it equitable, to prevent unjust enrichment and ensure restitution, to of Four percent (4%) per month to the herein VENDEE based on the amount of the
put the money in judicial deposit. downpayment of TEN MILLION (P10,000,000.00) PESOS until the complete vacation of
There is unjust enrichment when a person unjustly retains a benefit to the loss of the premises by the tenants therein.[4]
another, or when a person retains money or property of another against the The complaint claimed that Reyes had informed Harrison Lumber to vacate the
fundamental principles of justice, equity and good conscience. [41] In this case, it was Property before the end of January 1995. Reyes also informed Keng [5] and Harrison
just, equitable and proper for the trial court to order the deposit of the P10 million Lumber that if they failed to vacate by 8 March 1995, he would hold them liable for the
down payment to prevent unjust enrichment by Reyes at the expense of Lim. [42] penalty of P400,000 a month as provided in the Contract to Sell. The complaint further
WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the Decision of the Court of Appeals. alleged that Lim connived with Harrison Lumber not to vacate the Property until the
SO ORDERED. P400,000 monthly penalty would have accumulated and equaled the unpaid purchase
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Vitug, Ynares-Santiago, and Azcuna, JJ., concur. price of P18,000,000.
On 3 May 1995, Keng and Harrison Lumber filed their Answer [6] denying they
DAVID REYES (Substituted by Victoria R. Fabella), petitioner, vs. JOSE LIM, CHUY connived with Lim to defraud Reyes. Keng and Harrison Lumber alleged that Reyes
CHENG KENG and HARRISON LUMBER, INC., respondents. approved their request for an extension of time to vacate the Property due to their
DECISION difficulty in finding a new location for their business. Harrison Lumber claimed that as
CARPIO, J.: of March 1995, it had already started transferring some of its merchandise to its new
The Case business location in Malabon.[7]
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision[1] dated 12 May 1998 of On 31 May 1995, Lim filed his Answer [8] stating that he was ready and willing to
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 46224. The Court of Appeals dismissed the pay the balance of the purchase price on or before 8 March 1995. Lim requested a
petition for certiorari assailing the Orders dated 6 March 1997, 3 July 1997 and 3 meeting with Reyes through the latters daughter on the signing of the Deed of Absolute
October 1997 of the Regional Trial Court of Paranaque, Branch 260 [2] (trial court) in Civil Sale and the payment of the balance but Reyes kept postponing their meeting. On 9
Case No. 95-032. March 1995, Reyes offered to return the P10 million down payment to Lim because
Reyes was having problems in removing the lessee from the Property. Lim rejected 1. Whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding the trial court could issue
Reyes offer and proceeded to verify the status of Reyes title to the Property. Lim the questioned Orders dated March 6, 1997, July 3, 1997 and October
learned that Reyes had already sold the Property to Line One Foods Corporation (Line 3, 1997, requiring petitioner David Reyes to deposit the amount of
One) on 1 March 1995 for P16,782,840. After the registration of the Deed of Absolute Ten Million Pesos (P10,000,000.00) during the pendency of the action,
Sale, the Register of Deeds issued to Line One TCT No. 134767 covering the Property. when deposit is not among the provisional remedies enumerated in
Lim denied conniving with Keng and Harrison Lumber to defraud Reyes. Rule 57 to 61 of the 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure.
On 2 November 1995, Reyes filed a Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint 2. Whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding the trial court could issue
due to supervening facts. These included the filing by Lim of a complaint for estafa the questioned Orders on grounds of equity when there is an
against Reyes as well as an action for specific performance and nullification of sale and applicable law on the matter, that is, Rules 57 to 61 of the 1997 Rules
title plus damages before another trial court. [9] The trial court granted the motion in an on Civil Procedure.[17]
Order dated 23 November 1995. The Courts Ruling
In his Amended Answer dated 18 January 1996, [10] Lim prayed for the cancellation Reyes contentions are without merit.
of the Contract to Sell and for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment against Reyes points out that deposit is not among the provisional remedies enumerated
Reyes. The trial court denied the prayer for a writ of preliminary attachment in an Order in the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Reyes stresses the enumeration in the Rules is
dated 7 October 1996. exclusive. Not one of the provisional remedies in Rules 57 to 61 [18] applies to this case.
On 6 March 1997, Lim requested in open court that Reyes be ordered to deposit Reyes argues that a court cannot apply equity and require deposit if the law already
the P10 million down payment with the cashier of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque. prescribes the specific provisional remedies which do not include deposit. Reyes
The trial court granted this motion. invokes the principle that equity is applied only in the absence of, and never against,
On 25 March 1997, Reyes filed a Motion to Set Aside the Order dated 6 March statutory law or x x x judicial rules of procedure. [19] Reyes adds the fact that the
1997 on the ground the Order practically granted the reliefs Lim prayed for in his provisional remedies do not include deposit is a matter of dura lex sed lex.[20]
Amended Answer.[11]The trial court denied Reyes motion in an Order [12] dated 3 July The instant case, however, is precisely one where there is a hiatus in the law and
1997. Citing Article 1385 of the Civil Code, the trial court ruled that an action for in the Rules of Court. If left alone, the hiatus will result in unjust enrichment to Reyes at
rescission could prosper only if the party demanding rescission can return whatever he the expense of Lim. The hiatus may also imperil restitution, which is a precondition to
may be obliged to restore should the court grant the rescission. the rescission of the Contract to Sell that Reyes himself seeks. This is not a case of
The trial court denied Reyes Motion for Reconsideration in its Order [13] dated 3 equity overruling a positive provision of law or judicial rule for there is none that
October 1997. In the same order, the trial court directed Reyes to deposit the P10 governs this particular case. This is a case of silence or insufficiency of the law and the
million down payment with the Clerk of Court on or before 30 October 1997. Rules of Court. In this case, Article 9 of the Civil Code expressly mandates the courts to
On 8 December 1997, Reyes[14] filed a Petition for Certiorari[15] with the Court of make a ruling despite the silence, obscurity or insufficiency of the laws. [21] This calls for
Appeals. Reyes prayed that the Orders of the trial court dated 6 March 1997, 3 July the application of equity,[22] which fills the open spaces in the law.[23]
1997 and 3 October 1997 be set aside for having been issued with grave abuse of Thus, the trial court in the exercise of its equity jurisdiction may validly order the
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. On 12 May 1998, the Court of Appeals deposit of the P10 million down payment in court. The purpose of the exercise of equity
dismissed the petition for lack of merit. jurisdiction in this case is to prevent unjust enrichment and to ensure restitution. Equity
Hence, this petition for review. jurisdiction aims to do complete justice in cases where a court of law is unable to adapt
The Ruling of the Court of Appeals its judgments to the special circumstances of a case because of the inflexibility of its
The Court of Appeals ruled the trial court could validly issue the assailed orders in statutory or legal jurisdiction.[24] Equity is the principle by which substantial justice may
the exercise of its equity jurisdiction. The court may grant equitable reliefs to breathe be attained in cases where the prescribed or customary forms of ordinary law are
life and force to substantive law such as Article 1385 [16] of the Civil Code since the inadequate.[25]
provisional remedies under the Rules of Court do not apply to this case. Reyes is seeking rescission of the Contract to Sell. In his amended answer, Lim is
The Court of Appeals held the assailed orders merely directed Reyes to deposit also seeking cancellation of the Contract to Sell. The trial court then ordered Reyes to
the P10 million to the custody of the trial court to protect the interest of Lim who paid deposit in court the P10 million down payment that Lim made under the Contract to
the amount to Reyes as down payment. This did not mean the money would be Sell. Reyes admits receipt of the P10 million down payment but opposes the order to
returned automatically to Lim. deposit the amount in court. Reyes contends that prior to a judgment annulling the
The Issues Contract to Sell, he has the right to use, possess and enjoy [26] the P10 million as its
Reyes raises the following issues: owner[27] unless the court orders its preliminary attachment.[28]
To subscribe to Reyes contention will unjustly enrich Reyes at the expense of Lim. Government be required to refund to the defendants an amount equal to the purchase
Reyes sold to Line One the Property even before the balance of P18 million under the price, plus the sums expended by them in improving the land. (Civil Code, art. 1295.)
Contract to Sell with Lim became due on 8 March 1995. On 1 March 1995, Reyes signed The principle that no person may unjustly enrich himself at the expense of
a Deed of Absolute Sale[29] in favor of Line One. On 3 March 1995, the Register of Deeds another is embodied in Article 22[38] of the Civil Code. This principle applies not only to
issued TCT No. 134767[30] in the name of Line One. [31] Reyes cannot claim ownership of substantive rights but also to procedural remedies. One condition for invoking this
the P10 million down payment because Reyes had already sold to another buyer the principle is that the aggrieved party has no other action based on contract, quasi-
Property for which Lim made the down payment. In fact, in his Comment [32] dated 20 contract, crime, quasi-delict or any other provision of law. [39] Courts can extend this
March 1996, Reyes reiterated his offer to return to Lim the P10 million down payment. condition to the hiatus in the Rules of Court where the aggrieved party, during the
On balance, it is unreasonable and unjust for Reyes to object to the deposit of the pendency of the case, has no other recourse based on the provisional remedies of the
P10 million down payment. The application of equity always involves a balancing of the Rules of Court.
equities in a particular case, a matter addressed to the sound discretion of the court. Thus, a court may not permit a seller to retain, pendente lite, money paid by a
Here, we find the equities weigh heavily in favor of Lim, who paid the P10 million down buyer if the seller himself seeks rescission of the sale because he has subsequently sold
payment in good faith only to discover later that Reyes had subsequently sold the the same property to another buyer.[40] By seeking rescission, a seller necessarily offers
Property to another buyer. to return what he has received from the buyer. Such a seller may not take back his offer
In Eternal Gardens Memorial Parks Corp. v. IAC,[33] this Court held the plaintiff if the court deems it equitable, to prevent unjust enrichment and ensure restitution, to
could not continue to benefit from the property or funds in litigation during the put the money in judicial deposit.
pendency of the suit at the expense of whomever the court might ultimately adjudge as There is unjust enrichment when a person unjustly retains a benefit to the loss of
the lawful owner. The Court declared: another, or when a person retains money or property of another against the
In the case at bar, a careful analysis of the records will show that petitioner admitted fundamental principles of justice, equity and good conscience. [41] In this case, it was
among others in its complaint in Interpleader that it is still obligated to pay certain just, equitable and proper for the trial court to order the deposit of the P10 million
amounts to private respondent; that it claims no interest in such amounts due and is down payment to prevent unjust enrichment by Reyes at the expense of Lim. [42]
willing to pay whoever is declared entitled to said amounts. x x x WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the Decision of the Court of Appeals.
Under the circumstances, there appears to be no plausible reason for petitioners SO ORDERED.
objections to the deposit of the amounts in litigation after having asked for the Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Vitug, Ynares-Santiago, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
assistance of the lower court by filing a complaint for interpleader where the deposit of
aforesaid amounts is not only required by the nature of the action but is a contractual THIRD dIVISION
obligation of the petitioner under the Land Development Program (Rollo, p. 252). G.R. No. L-54598 April 15, 1988
There is also no plausible or justifiable reason for Reyes to object to the deposit of JOSE B. LEDESMA, petitioner,
the P10 million down payment in court. The Contract to Sell can no longer be enforced vs.
because Reyes himself subsequently sold the Property to Line One. Both Reyes and Lim HON. COURT OF APPEALS, Spouses PACIFICO DELMO and SANCHA DELMO (as private
are now seeking rescission of the Contract to Sell. Under Article 1385 of the Civil Code, respondents),respondents.
rescission creates the obligation to return the things that are the object of the contract. The Solicitor General for petitioner.
Rescission is possible only when the person demanding rescission can return whatever Luzel D. Demasu-ay for respondent.
he may be obliged to restore. A court of equity will not rescind a contract unless there is
restitution, that is, the parties are restored to the status quo ante.[34] GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
Thus, since Reyes is demanding to rescind the Contract to Sell, he cannot refuse to This petition seeks to reverse the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals which
deposit the P10 million down payment in court. [35] Such deposit will ensure restitution afirmed the decision of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo, adjudging the petitioner,
of the P10 million to its rightful owner. Lim, on the other hand, has nothing to refund, who was then the President of the West Visayas College liable for damages under
as he has not received anything under the Contract to Sell. [36] Article 27 of the Civil Code of the Philippines for failure to graduate a student with
In Government of the Philippine Islands v. Wagner and Cleland Wagner,[37] the honors.
Court ruled the refund of amounts received under a contract is a precondition to the The facts are not disputed.
rescission of the contract. The Court declared: An organization named Student Leadership Club was formed by some students of the
The Government, having asked for rescission, must restore to the defendants whatever West Visayas College. They elected the late Violets Delmo as the treasurer. In that
it has received under the contract. It will only be just if, as a condition to rescission, the capacity, Delmo extended loans from the funds of the club to some of the students of
the school. "the petitioner claims that the said act of extending loans was against the Club have been inducted to office on October 9,1965 by the
school rules and regulations. Thus, the petitioner, as President of the School, sent a Superintendent and that the Club had been likewise allowed to
letter to Delmo informing her that she was being dropped from the membership of the cosponsor the Education Week Celebration.
club and that she would not be a candidate for any award or citation from the school. After a careful study of the records, this Office sustains the action
Delmo asked for a reconsideration of the decision but the petitioner denied it. Delmo, taken by the Superintendent in penalizing the adviser of the Club as
thus, appealed to the Office of the Director of the Bureau of Public Schools. well as the officers and members thereof by dropping them from
The Director after due investigation, rendered a decison on April 13, 1966 which membership therein. However, this Office is convinced that Violets M.
provided: Delmo had acted in good faith, in her capacity as Club Treasurer, in
Records of the preliminary investigation conducted by one of the legal extending loans to the officers and members of the Student
officers of this Office disclosed the following: That Violeta Delmo was partnership Club. Resolution No. 2 authorizing the Club treasurer to
the treasurer of the Student Leadership Club, an exclusive student discharge finds to students in need of financial assistance and other
organization; that pursuant to Article IX of the of the Constitution and humanitarian purposes had been approved by the Club adviser, Mr.
By-Laws of the club, it passed Resolution No. 2, authorizing the Jesse Dagoon, with the notation that approval was given in his
treasurer to disburse funds of the Club to student for financial aid and capacity as adviser of the Club and extension of the Superintendent's
other humanitarian purposes; that in compliance with said resolution personality. Aside from misleading the officers and members of the
and as treasurer of the Club, Violeta Delmo extended loans to some Club, Mr. Dagoon, had unsatisfactorily explained why he failed to give
officers and members of the Club upon proper application duly the Constitution and By-Laws of the Club to the Superintendent for
approved by the majority of the members of the Executive Board; and approval despite his assurance to the Club president that he would do
that upon receiving the report from Mr. Jesse Dagoon, adviser of the so. With this finding of negligence on the part of the Club adviser, not
funds of the Club, that Office conducted an investigation on the to mention laxity in the performance of his duties as such, this Office
matter and having been convinced of the guilt of Violets Delmo and considers as too severe and unwarranted that portion of the
the other officers and members of the Club, that Office rendered the questioned order stating that Violeta Delmo "shall not be a candidate
order or decision in question. In justifying that Office's order or for any award or citation from this school or any organization in this
decision, it is contended that approval by that Office of the school." Violeta Delmo, it is noted, has been a consistent full scholar
Constitution and By-Laws of the Club is necessary for its effectivity of the school and she alone has maintained her scholarship. The
and validity and since it was never submitted to that Office, the Club decision in question would, therefore, set at naught all her sacrifice
had no valid constitution and By-Laws and that as a consequence, and frustrate her dreams of graduating with honors in this year's
Resolution No. 2 which was passed based on the Constitution and By- commencement exercises.
Laws- is without any force and effect and the treasurer, Violeta In view of all the foregoing, this Office believes and so holds and
Delmo, who extended loans to some officers and members of the hereby directs that appellant Violeta. M. Delmo, and for that matter
Club pursuant thereto are illegal (sic), hence, she and the other all other Club members or officers involved in this case, be not
students involved are deemed guilty of misappropriating the funds of deprived of any award, citation or honor from the school, if they are
the Club. On the other hand, Raclito Castaneda, Nestor Golez and otherwise entitled thereto. (Rollo, pp. 28-30)
Violeta Delmo, President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Club, On April 27, 1966, the petitioner received by mail the decision of the Director and all
respectively, testified that the Club had adopted its Constitution and the records of the case. On the same day, petitioner received a telegram stating the
By-Laws in a meeting held last October 3, 1965, and that pursuant to following:
Article I of said Constitution and By-Laws, the majority of the "AIRMAIL RECORDS DELMO CASE MISSENT THAT OFFICE"
members of the Executive Board passed Resolution No. 2, which The Director asked for the return only of the records but the petitioner allegedly
resolution became the basis for the extension on of loans to some mistook the telegram as ordering him to also send the decision back. On the same day,
officers and members of the Club, that the Club honestly believed he returned by mail all the records plus the decision of the Director to the Bureau of
that its Constitution and By-Laws has been approved by the Public Schools.
superintendent because the adviser of the Club, Mr. Jesse Dagoon, The next day, the petitioner received another telegram from the Director order him to
assured the President of the Club that he will cause the approval of furnish Delmo with a copy of the decision. The petitioner, in turn, sent a night letter to
the Constitution and By-Laws by the Superintendent; the officers of
the Director informing the latter that he had sent the decision back and that he had not entitled thereto is found at the last paragraph of the same. How did
retained a copy thereof.. he know the last paragraph if he did not read the letter.
On May 3, 1966, the day of the graduation, the petitioner received another telegram Defendants actuations regarding Miss Delmo's cam had been one of
from the Director ordering him not to deprive Delmo of any honors due her. As it was bias and prejudice. When his action would favor him, he was
impossible by this time to include Delmo's name in the program as one of the honor deliberate and aspect to the utter prejudice and detriment of Miss
students, the petitioner let her graduate as a plain student instead of being awarded Delmo. Thus, although, as early as April 27, 1966, he knew of the
the Latin honor of Magna Cum Laude. exoneration of Miss Delino by Director Bernardino, he withheld the
To delay the matter further, the petitioner on May 5, 1966, wrote the Director for a information from Miss Delmo. This is eloquently dramatized by Exh.
reconsideration of the latters" decision because he believed that Delmo should not be "11" and Exh. "13" On April 29,1966, Director Bernardino cabled him
allowed to graduate with honors. The Director denied the petitioner's request. to furnish Violeta Delmo copy of the Decision, Exh. "L," but instead of
On July 12, 1966, the petitioner finally instructed the Registrar of the school to enter informing Miss Delmo about the decision, since he said he mailed
into the scholastic records of Delmo the honor, "Magna Cum Laude." back the decision on April 28,1966, he sent a night letter on April
On July 30, 1966, Delmo, then a minor, was joined by her parents in flag action for 29,1966, to Director Bernardino, informing the latter that he had
damages against the petitioner. During the pendency of the action, however, Delmo returned the decision (Exh. "l3"), together with the record. Why a
passed away, and thus, an Amended and Supplemental Complaint was filed by her night letter when the matter was of utmost urgency to the parties in
parents as her sole and only heirs. the case, because graduation day was only four days ahead? An
The trial court after hearing rendered judgment against the petitioner and in favor of examination of the telegrams sent by the defendant shows that he
the spouses Delmo. The court said: had been sending ordinary telegram and not night letters. (Exh. "5",
Let us go to specific badges of the defendants (now petitioners) bad Exhibit "7"). At least, if the defendant could not furnish a copy of the
faith. Per investigation of Violeta Delmo's appeal to Director Vitaliano decision, (Exh. "L"), to Miss Delmo, he should have told her about it or
Bernardino of the Bureau of Public Schools (Exhibit L it was the that Miss Delmo's honors and citation in the commencement be
defendant who inducted the officers of the Student Leadership Club announced or indicated. But Mr. Ledesma is one who cannot admit a
on October 9, 1965. In fact the Club was allowed to cosponsor the mistake. Very ungentlemanly this is home out by his own testimony
Education Week Celebration. (Exh. "L"). If the defendant he not despite his knowledge that his decision to deprive Miss Delmo of
approve of the constitution and by-laws of the Club, why did he honors due to her was overturned by Director Bernardino, he on his
induct the officers into office and allow the Club to sponsor the wrong belief. To quote the defendant,1 believed that she did not
Education Week Celebration"? It was through his own act that the deserve those honors(Tsn Feb. 5, 1974, p. 43,Empasized supplied).
students were misled to do as they did. Coupled with the defendants Despite the telegram of Director Bernardino which the defendant
tacit recognition of the Club was the assurance of Mr. Jemm Dagoon, received hours before the commencement executory on May 3-
Club Adviser, who made the students believe that he was acting as an 4,1966, he did not obey Director Bernardino because he said in his
extension of Mr. Ledesma's personality. (Exhibit "L"). testimony that he would be embarrassment . Tan Feb 5,1974, P. 46).
Another badge of the defendan'ts want of good faith is the fact that, Evidently, he knew only his embarrassment and not that of r
although, he kaew as early as April 27,1966 that per on of r Bernardino whose order was being flagrantly and wantonly
Bernardino, Exhibit "L," he was directed to give honors to Miss Delmo, disregarded by bim And certainly, not the least of Miss Delmo's
he kept Id information to . He told the Court that he knew that the embarrassment. His acts speak eloquently of ho bad faith and unjust
letter of Director Bernardino directed him not to deprive Miss Delmo of mindwarped by his delicate sensitivity for having been challenged
the honors due her, but she (sic) says that he has not finished reading by Miss Delmo, a mere student.
the letter-decision, Exhibit "L," of Director Bernardino 0, him to give xxx xxx xxx
honors to Miss Delmo. (Tsn, Feb. 5, 1974, testimony of Mr. Ledesma, Finally the defendant's behaviour relative to Miss s case smacks of
pp. .33-35). It could not be true that he has not finished reading the contemptuous arrogance, oppression and abuse of power. Come to
letter-decision, Exh. "L," because said letter consisted of only three think of it. He refused to obey the directive of Be o and instead, chose
pages, and the portion which directed that Miss Delmo "be not to feign ignorance of it." (Reward on Appeal, p. 72-76).
deprived of any award, citation or honor from the school, if otherwise
The trial court awarded P20,000.00 to the estate of Violeta Delmo and P10,000.00 to Defendant, being a public officer should have acted with
her parents for moral damages; P5,000.00 for nominal damages to Violeta's estate; circumspection and due regard to the rights of Miss Delmo. Inasmuch
exemplary damages of P10,000.00 and P2,000.00 attorney's fees. as he exceeded the scope of his authority by defiantly disobeying the
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision. Hence, this petition. lawful directive of his superior, Director Bernardino, defendant is
The issues raised in this petition can be reduced to the sole question of whether or not liable for damages in his personal capacity. . . . (Rollo, pp- 57-58)
the respondent Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial court's finding that Based on the undisputed facts, exemplary damages are also in order. In the same case
petitioner is liable for damages under Article 27 of the New Civil Code. of Prudenciado v. Alliance Transport System, Inc., supra., at p. 450, we ruled:
We find no reason why the findings of the trial and appellate courts should be reversed. The rationale behind exemplary or corrective damages is, as the name
It cannot be disputed that Violeta Delmo went through a painful ordeal which was implies, to provide an example or correction for the public good
brought about by the petitioner's neglect of duty and callousness. Thus, moral damages (Lopez, et al. v. Pan American World Airways, 16 SCRA 431).
are but proper. As we have affirmed in the case of (Prudenciado v. Alliance Transport However, we do not deem it appropriate to award the spouses Delmo
System, Inc., 148 SCRA 440, 448): damages in the amount of P10,000.00 in their individual capacity,
There is no argument that moral damages include physical suffering, separately from and in addition to what they are already entitled to as
mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, sole heirs of the deceased Violeta Delmo. Thus, the decision is
wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury. modified insofar as moral damages are awarded to the spouses in
Though incapable of pecuniary computation, moral damages may be their own behalf.
recovered if they are the proximate result of defendant's wrongly act WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The decision of the Court of
or omission." (People v. Baylon, 129 SCRA 62 (1984). Appeals is AFFIRMED with the slight modification as stated in the preceding paragraph.
The Solicitor-General tries to cover-up the petitioner's deliberate omission to inform This decision is immediately executory.
Miss Delmo by stating that it was not the duty of the petitioner to furnish her a copy of SO ORDERED.
the Director's decision. Granting this to be true, it was nevertheless the petitioner's Fernan (Chairman), Feliciano, Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.
duty to enforce the said decision. He could have done so considering that he received Digest of no. 22 case:
the decision on April 27, 1966 and even though he sent it back with the records of the
case, he undoubtedly read the whole of it which consisted of only three pages. Ledesma vs Court of Appeals (Article 27 of the New Civil Code)
Moreover, the petitioner should have had the decency to meet with Mr. Delmo, the Jose B. Ledesma vs Court of Appeals 160 SCRA 449 (1988)
girl's father, and inform the latter, at the very least of the decision. This, the petitioner
likewise failed to do, and not without the attendant bad faith which the appellate court Facts:
correctly pointed out in its decision, to wit:
Third, assuming that defendant could not furnish Miss Delmo of a A student, Violeta Delmo, was not able to graduate as Magna Cum Laude, because the
copy of the decision, he could have used his discretion and plain president, herein petitioner Jose Ledesma, of the West Visayas College neglected his
common sense by informing her about it or he could have directed duty to inform the student on the result of a case against the student which has, as its
the inclusion of Miss Delmo's honor in the printed commencement punishment, the removal of awards or citations of the student. Said case was the
program or announced it during the commencement exercises. extension of loans to students, which the president contends to be against the school
Fourth, defendant despite receipt of the telegram of Director rules and regulations, and which the student innocently performed in her capacity as
Benardino hours before the commencement exercises on May 3-4, the treasurer of the Student Leadership Club and in accordance to the Constitution and
1966, disobeyed his superior by refusing to give the honors due Miss By-Laws of the club, on the belief that said constitution was presented and approved by
Delmo with a lame excuse that he would be embarrassed if he did so, the president. The student appealed to the Director of the Bureau of Public Schools
to the prejudice of and in complete disregard of Miss Delmo's rights. after being denied for reconsideration by the president, where upon investigation, it
Fifth, defendant did not even extend the courtesy of meeting Mr. was found out that the student acted in good faith and that her awards be reinstituted.
Pacifico Delmo, father of Miss Delmo, who tried several times to see The president, upon receiving said decision, delayed action and even e-mailed the
defendant in his office thus Mr. Delmo suffered extreme director to reverse his decision. The student therefore graduated as a plain student and
disappointment and humiliation. without honors and her award as Magna Cum Laude was only entered on the scholastic
xxx xxx xxx records weeks after the receipt by the president of the decision and after the
graduation.
unlawfully, and feloniously, by means of threats, force and violence
Issue: Whether or not the petitioner is liable for damages under Article 27 of the Civil prevent Antonio Vergara and his family to close their stall located at
Code of the Philippines. the Public Market, Building No. 3, Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte,
and by subsequently forcibly opening the door of said stall and
Ruling: thereafter brutally demolishing and destroying said stall and the
furnitures therein by axes and other massive instruments, and
carrying away the goods, wares and merchandise, to the damage and
Yes. The president’s failure to graduate a student with honors and blatant disregard of prejudice of the said Antonio Vergara and his family in the amount of
the student’s rights on the account of him being embarrassed shows neglect of duty P30,000.00 in concept of actual or compensatory and moral damages,
without just cause, rendering him liable for damages under Article 27 of the Civil Code. and further the sum of P20,000.00 as exemplary damages.
Undoubtedly, the student and the student’s parents went through a painful ordeal That in committing the offense, the accused took advantage of their
brought about by such neglect. Thus, moral and exemplary damages under Article 27 public positions: Roy Padilla, being the incumbent municipal mayor,
are but proper. and the rest of the accused being policemen, except Ricardo Celestino
who is a civilian, all of Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, and that it
G.R. No. L-39999 May 31, 1984 was committed with evident premeditation.
ROY PADILLA, FILOMENO GALDONES, ISMAEL GONZALGO and JOSE FARLEY The Court of First Instance of Camarines Norte, Tenth Judicial District rendered a
BEDENIA, petitioners, decision, the dispositive portion of which states that:
vs. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court finds the accused Roy Padilla, Filomeno
COURT OF APPEALS, respondent. Galdonez, Ismael Gonzalgo and Jose Parley Bedenia guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
Sisenando Villaluz, Sr. for petitioners. the crime of grave coercion, and hereby imposes upon them to suffer an imprisonment
The Solicitor General for respondent. of FIVE (5) months and One (1) day; to pay a fine of P500.00 each; to pay actual and
compensatory damages in the amount of P10,000.00; moral damages in the amount of
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: P30,000.00; and another P10,000.00 for exemplary damages, jointly and severally, and
This is a petition for review on certiorari of a Court of Appeals' decision which reversed all the accessory penalties provided for by law; and to pay the proportionate costs of
the trial court's judgment of conviction and acquitted the petitioners of the crime of this proceedings.
grave coercion on the ground of reasonable doubt but inspite of the acquittal ordered The accused Federico Realingo alias 'Kamlon', David Bermundo,
them to pay jointly and severally the amount of P9,000.00 to the complainants as actual Christopher Villanoac, Godofredo Villania, Romeo Garrido, Roberto
damages. Rosales, Ricardo Celestino and Jose Ortega, are hereby ordered
The petitioners were charged under the following information: acquitted on grounds of reasonable doubt for their criminal
The undersigned Fiscal accused ROY PADILLA, FILOMENO GALDONES, participation in the crime charged.
PEPITO BEDENIA, YOLLY RICO, DAVID BERMUNDO, VILLANOAC, The petitioners appealed the judgment of conviction to the Court of Appeals. They
ROBERTO ROSALES, VILLANIA, ROMEO GARRIDO, JOSE ORTEGA, JR., contended that the trial court's finding of grave coercion was not supported by the
RICARDO CELESTINO, REALINGO alias "KAMLON", JOHN DOE alias evidence. According to the petitioners, the town mayor had the power to order the
TATO, and FOURTEEN (14) RICARDO DOES of the crime of GRAVE clearance of market premises and the removal of the complainants' stall because the
COERCION, committed as follows: municipality had enacted municipal ordinances pursuant to which the market stall was
That on or about February 8, 1964 at around 9:00 o'clock in the a nuisance per se. The petitioners stated that the lower court erred in finding that the
morning, in the municipality of Jose Panganiban, province of demolition of the complainants' stall was a violation of the very directive of the
Camarines Norte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this petitioner Mayor which gave the stall owners seventy two (72) hours to vacate the
Honorable Court, the above- named accused, Roy Padilla, Filomeno market premises. The petitioners questioned the imposition of prison terms of five
Galdones, Pepito Bedenia, Yolly Rico, David Bermundo, Villanoac, months and one day and of accessory penalties provided by law. They also challenged
Roberto Rosales, Villania, Romeo Garrido, Jose Ortega, Jr., Ricardo the order to pay fines of P500.00 each, P10,000.00 actual and compensatory damages,
Celestino, Realingo alias Kamlon, John Doe alias Tato, and Fourteen P30,000.00 moral damages, P10,000.00 exemplary damages, and the costs of the suit.
Richard Does, by confederating and mutually helping one another, The dispositive portion of the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals states:
and acting without any authority of law, did then and there wilfully,
WHEREFORE, we hereby modify the judgment appealed from in the Petitioners maintain the view that where the civil liability which is included in the
sense that the appellants are acquitted on ground of reasonable criminal action is that arising from and as a consequence of the criminal act, and the
doubt. but they are ordered to pay jointly and severally to defendant was acquitted in the criminal case, (no civil liability arising from the criminal
complainants the amount of P9,600.00, as actual damages. case), no civil liability arising from the criminal charge could be imposed upon him. They
The petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration contending that the acquittal of the cite precedents to the effect that the liability of the defendant for the return of the
defendants-appellants as to criminal liability results in the extinction of their civil amount received by him may not be enforced in the criminal case but must be raised in
liability. The Court of Appeals denied the motion holding that: a separate civil action for the recovery of the said amount (People v. Pantig, 97 Phil.
xxx xxx xxx 748; following the doctrine laid down in Manila Railroad Co. v. Honorable Rodolfo
... appellants' acquittal was based on reasonable doubt whether the Baltazar, 49 O.G. 3874; Pueblo contra Abellera, 69 Phil. 623; People v. Maniago 69 Phil.
crime of coercion was committed, not on facts that no unlawful act 496; People v. Miranda, 5 SCRA 1067; Aldaba v. Elepafio 116 Phil. 457). In the case
was committed; as their taking the law into their hands, destructing before us, the petitioners were acquitted not because they did not commit the acts
(sic) complainants' properties is unlawful, and, as evidence on record stated in the charge against them. There is no dispute over the forcible opening of the
established that complainants suffered actual damages, the market stall, its demolition with axes and other instruments, and the carting away of
imposition of actual damages is correct. the merchandize. The petitioners were acquitted because these acts were denominated
Consequently, the petitioners filed this special civil action, contending that: coercion when they properly constituted some other offense such as threat or
I malicious mischief.
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR OF LAW OR The respondent Court of Appeals stated in its decision:
GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN IMPOSING UPON PETITIONERS For a complaint to prosper under the foregoing provision, the
PAYMENT OF DAMAGES TO COMPLAINANTS AFTER ACQUITTING violence must be employed against the person, not against property
PETITIONERS OF THE CRIME CHARGED FROM WHICH SAID LIABILITY as what happened in the case at bar. ...
AROSE. xxx xxx xxx
II The next problem is: May the accused be convicted of an offense
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING IN ITS RESOLUTION other than coercion?
DATED DECEMBER 26, 1974 THAT SINCE APPELLANTS' ACQUITTAL From all appearances, they should have been prosecuted either for
WAS BASED ON REASONABLE DOUBT, NOT ON FACTS THAT NO threats or malicious mischief. But the law does not allow us to render
UNLAWFUL ACT WAS COMMITTED, THE IMPOSITION OF ACTUAL judgment of conviction for either of these offenses for the reason that
DAMAGES IS CORRECT. they were not indicted for, these offenses. The information under
III which they were prosecuted does not allege the elements of either
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A LEGAL INCONSISTENCY, IF threats or malicious mischief. Although the information mentions that
NOT PLAIN JUDICIAL ERROR, IN HOLDING IN ITS APPEALED the act was by means of threats', it does not allege the particular
RESOLUTION THAT PETITIONERS COMMITTED AN UNLAWFUL ACT, threat made. An accused person is entitled to be informed of the
THAT IS TAKING THE LAW INTO THEIR HANDS, DESTRUCTING (sic) nature of the acts imputed to him before he can be made to enter
'COMPLAINANTS' PROPERTIES', AFTER HOLDING IN ITS MAIN into trial upon a valid information.
DECISION OF NOVEMBER 6,1974 THAT THE ACTS FOR WHICH THEY We rule that the crime of grave coercion has not been proved in
WERE CHARGED DID NOT CONSTITUTE GRAVE COERCION AND THEY accordance with law.
WERE NOT CHARGED OF ANY OTHER CRIME. While appellants are entitled to acquittal they nevertheless are liable
IV for the actual damages suffered by the complainants by reason of the
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ORDERING THE PETITIONERS demolition of the stall and loss of some of their properties. The
HEREIN, APPELLANTS IN CA-G.R. NO. 13456CR, JOINTLY AND extinction of the penal action does not carry with it that of the civil,
SEVERALLY, TO PAY COMPLAINANTS P9,600.00 IN SUPPOSED ACTUAL unless the extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment
DAMAGES. that the fact from which the civil might arise did not exist. (Rule 111,
The issue posed in the instant proceeding is whether or not the respondent court Sec. 3 (c), Rev. Rules of Court; Laperal v. Aliza, 51 OG.R. 1311, People
committed a reversible error in requiring the petitioners to pay civil indemnity to the v. Velez, 44 OG. 1811). In the instant case, the fact from which the civil
complainants after acquitting them from the criminal charge. might arise, namely, the demolition of the stall and loss of the
properties contained therein; exists, and this is not denied by the exist. Thus, the civil liability is not extinguished by acquittal where the acquittal is based
accused. And since there is no showing that the complainants have on reasonable doubt (PNB v. Catipon, 98 Phil. 286) as only preponderance of evidence
reserved or waived their right to institute a separate civil action, the is required in civil cases; where the court expressly declares that the liability of the
civil aspect therein is deemed instituted with the criminal action. accused is not criminal but only civil in nature (De Guzman v. Alvia, 96 Phil. 558; People
(Rule 111, Sec. 1, Rev. Rules of Court). v. Pantig, supra) as, for instance, in the felonies of estafa, theft, and malicious mischief
xxx xxx xxx committed by certain relatives who thereby incur only civil liability (See Art. 332,
Section 1 of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court states the fundamental proposition that Revised Penal Code); and, where the civil liability does not arise from or is not based
when a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for recovery of civil liability arising upon the criminal act of which the accused was acquitted (Castro v. Collector of Internal
from the offense charged is impliedly instituted with it. There is no implied institution Revenue, 4 SCRA 1093; See Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, 1983 ed., p. 623).
when the offended party expressly waives the civil action or reserves his right to Article 29 of the Civil Code also provides that:
institute it separately. (Morte Sr. v. Alvizo, Jr., 101 SCRA 221). When the accused in a criminal prosecution is acquitted on the
The extinction of the civil action by reason of acquittal in the criminal case refers ground that his guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt, a
exclusively to civil liability ex delicto founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code. civil action for damages for the same act or omission may be
(Elcano v. Hill, 77 SCRA 98; Virata v. Ochoa, 81 SCRA 472). In other words, the civil instituted. Such action requires only a preponderance of evidence.
liability which is also extinguished upon acquittal of the accused is the civil liability Upon motion of the defendant, the court may require the plaintiff to
arising from the act as a crime. file a bond to answer for damages in case the complaint should be
As easily as 1942, the Supreme Court speaking through Justice Jorge Bocobo in Barredo found to be malicious.
v. Garcia, et at. 73 Phil. 607 laid down the rule that the same punishable act or If in a criminal case the judgment of acquittal is based upon
omission can create two kinds of civil liabilities against the accused and, where reasonable doubt, the court shall so declare. In the absence of any
provided by law, his employer. 'There is the civil liability arising from the act as declaration to that effect, it may be inferred from the text of the
a crime and the liability arising from the same act as a quasi-delict. Either one of these decision whether or not the acquittal is due to that ground.
two types of civil liability may be enforced against the accused, However, the offended More recently, we held that the acquittal of the defendant in the criminal case would
party cannot recover damages under both types of liability. For instance, in cases of not constitute an obstacle to the filing of a civil case based on the same acts which led
criminal negligence or crimes due to reckless imprudence, Article 2177 of the Civil Code to the criminal prosecution:
provides: ... The finding by the respondent court that he spent said sum for and
Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is in the interest of the Capiz Agricultural and Fishery School and for his
entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from personal benefit is not a declaration that the fact upon which Civil
negligence under the Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover Case No. V-3339 is based does not exist. The civil action barred by
damages twice for the same act or omission of the defendant. such a declaration is the civil liability arising from the offense charged,
Section 3 (c) of Rule 111 specifically provides that: which is the one impliedly instituted with the criminal action. (Section
Sec. 3. Other civil actions arising from offenses. — In all cases not 1, Rule III, Rules of Court.) Such a declaration would not bar a civil
included in the preceding section the following rules shall be action filed against an accused who had been acquitted in the
observed: criminal case if the criminal action is predicated on factual or legal
xxx xxx xxx considerations other than the commission of the offense charged. A
xxx xxx xxx person may be acquitted of malversation where, as in the case at bar,
(c) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of he could show that he did not misappropriate the public funds in his
the civil, unless the extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final possession, but he could be rendered liable to restore said funds or at
judgment that the fact from which the civil might arise did not exist. least to make a proper accounting thereof if he shall spend the same
In other cases, the person entitled to the civil action may institute it in for purposes which are not authorized nor intended, and in a manner
the Jurisdiction and in the manner provided by law against the person not permitted by applicable rules and regulations. (Republic v. Bello,
who may be liable for restitution of the thing and reparation or 120 SCRA 203)
indemnity for the damage suffered. There appear to be no sound reasons to require a separate civil action to still be filed
The judgment of acquittal extinguishes the liability of the accused for damages only considering that the facts to be proved in the civil case have already been established in
when it includes a declaration that the facts from which the civil might arise did not the criminal proceedings where the accused was acquitted. Due process has been
accorded the accused. He was, in fact, exonerated of the criminal charged. The allowed them to lease the stall. It is, therefore, farfetched to say that
constitutional presumption of innocence called for more vigilant efforts on the part of the stall was a nuisance per se which could be summarily abated.
prosecuting attorneys and defense counsel, a keener awareness by all witnesses of the The petitioners, themselves, do not deny the fact that they caused the destruction of
serious implications of perjury, and a more studied consideration by the judge of the the complainant's market stall and had its contents carted away. They state:
entire records and of applicable statutes and precedents. To require a separate civil On February 8, 1964, despite personal pleas on Vergaras by the Mayor
action simply because the accused was acquitted would mean needless clogging of to vacate the passageways of Market Building No. 3, the Vergaras
court dockets and unnecessary duplication of litigation with all its attendant loss of were still in the premises, so the petitioners Chief of Police and
time, effort, and money on the part of all concerned. members of the Police Force of Jose Panganiban, pursuant to the
The trial court found the following facts clearly established by the evidence adduced by Mayor' 6 directives, demolished the store of the Vergaras, made an
both the prosecution and the defense: inventory of the goods found in said store, and brought these goods
xxx xxx xxx to the municipal building under the custody of the Municipal
(9) In the morning of February 8, 1964, then Chief Galdones, Treasurer, ...
complying with the instructions contained in said Memorandum No. The only supposed obstacle is the provision of Article 29 of the Civil Code, earlier cited,
32 of the Mayor, and upon seeing that Antonio Vergara had not that "when the accused in a criminal prosecution is acquitted on the ground that his
vacated the premises in question, with the aid of his policemen, guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt, a civil action for damages for the
forced upon the store or stall and ordered the removal of the goods same act or omission may be instituted." According to some scholars, this provision of
inside the store of Vergara, at the same time taking inventory of the substantive law calls for a separate civil action and cannot be modified by a rule of
goods taken out, piled them outside in front of the store and had it remedial law even in the interests of economy and simplicity and following the dictates
cordoned with a rope, and after all the goods were taken out from the of logic and common sense.
store, ordered the demolition of said stall of Antonio Vergara. Since As stated by retired Judge J. Cezar Sangco:
then up to the trial of this case, the whereabouts of the goods taken ... if the Court finds the evidence sufficient to sustain the civil action
out from the store nor the materials of the demolished stall have not but inadequate to justify a conviction in the criminal action, may it
been made known. render judgment acquitting the accused on reasonable doubt, but
The respondent Court of Appeals made a similar finding that: hold him civilly liable nonetheless? An affirmative answer to this
On the morning of February 8th, because the said Vergaras had not question would be consistent with the doctrine that the two are
up to that time complied with the order to vacate, the co-accused distinct and separate actions, and win (a) dispense with the
Chief of Police Galdones and some members of his police force, went reinstituting of the same civil action, or one based on quasi-delict or
to the market and, using ax, crowbars and hammers, demolished the other independent civil action, and of presenting the same evidence:
stall of the Vergaras who were not present or around, and after (b) save the injured party unnecessary expenses in the prosecution of
having first inventoried the goods and merchandise found therein, the civil action or enable him to take advantage of the free services of
they had them brought to the municipal building for safekeeping. the fiscal; and (c) otherwise resolve the unsettling implications of
Inspite of notice served upon the Vergaras to take possession of the permitting the reinstitution of a separate civil action whether based
goods and merchandise thus taken away, the latter refused to do so. on delict, or quasi-delict, or other independent civil actions.
The loss and damage to the Vergaras as they evaluated them were: ... But for the court to be able to adjudicate in the manner here
Cost of stall construction P1,300.00 suggested, Art. 29 of the Civil Code should be amended because it
Value of furniture and equipment clearly and expressly provides that the civil action based on the same
judgment destroyed 300.00 act or omission may only be instituted in a separate action, and
Value of goods and equipment taken 8,000.00 therefore, may not inferentially be resolved in the same criminal
P9,600.00 action. To dismiss the civil action upon acquittal of the accused and
It is not disputed that the accused demolished the grocery stall of the disallow the reinstitution of any other civil action, would likewise
complainants Vergaras and carted away its contents. The defense that render, unjustifiably, the acquittal on reasonable doubt without any
they did so in order to abate what they considered a nuisance per se significance, and would violate the doctrine that the two actions are
is untenable, This finds no support in law and in fact. The couple has distinct and separate.
been paying rentals for the premises to the government which
In the light of the foregoing exposition, it seems evident that there is responsibility, and to determine the logical result of the distinction.
much sophistry and no pragmatism in the doctrine that it is The two liabilities are separate and distinct from each other. One
inconsistent to award in the same proceedings damages against the affects the social order and the other, private rights. One is for the
accused after acquitting him on reasonable doubt. Such doctrine must punishment or correction of the offender while the other is for
recognize the distinct and separate character of the two actions, the reparation of damages suffered by the aggrieved party... it is just and
nature of an acquittal on reasonable doubt, the vexatious and proper that, for the purposes of the imprisonment of or fine upon the
oppressive effects of a reservation or institution of a separate civil accused, the offense should be proved beyond reasonable doubt. But
action, and that the injured party is entitled to damages not because for the purpose of indemnifying the complaining party, why should
the act or omission is punishable but because he was damaged or the offense also be proved beyond reasonable doubt? Is not the
injured thereby (Sangco, Philippine Law on Torts and Damages, pp. invasion or violation of every private right to be proved only by
288-289). preponderance of evidence? Is the right of the aggrieved person any
We see no need to amend Article 29 of the Civil Code in order to allow a court to grant less private because the wrongful act is also punishable by the
damages despite a judgment of acquittal based on reasonable doubt. What Article 29 criminal law? (Code Commission, pp. 45-46).
clearly and expressly provides is a remedy for the plaintiff in case the defendant has A separate civil action may be warranted where additional facts have to be established
been acquitted in a criminal prosecution on the ground that his guilt has not been or more evidence must be adduced or where the criminal case has been fully
proved beyond reasonable doubt. It merely emphasizes that a civil action for damages terminated and a separate complaint would be just as efficacious or even more
is not precluded by an acquittal for the same criminal act or omission. The Civil Code expedient than a timely remand to the trial court where the criminal action was
provision does not state that the remedy can be availed of only in a separate civil decided for further hearings on the civil aspects of the case. The offended party may, of
action. A separate civil case may be filed but there is no statement that such separate course, choose to file a separate action. These do not exist in this case. Considering
filing is the only and exclusive permissible mode of recovering damages. moreover the delays suffered by the case in the trial, appellate, and review stages, it
There is nothing contrary to the Civil Code provision in the rendition of a judgment of would be unjust to the complainants in this case to require at this time a separate civil
acquittal and a judgment awarding damages in the same criminal action. The two can action to be filed.
stand side by side. A judgment of acquittal operates to extinguish the criminal liability. It With this in mind, we therefore hold that the respondent Court of Appeals did not err in
does not, however, extinguish the civil liability unless there is clear showing that the act awarding damages despite a judgment of acquittal.
from which civil liability might arise did not exist. WHEREFORE, we hereby AFFIRM the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals and
A different conclusion would be attributing to the Civil Code a trivial requirement, a dismiss the petition for lack of merit.
provision which imposes an uncalled for burden before one who has already been the SO ORDERED.
victim of a condemnable, yet non-criminal, act may be accorded the justice which he Fernando, C.J., Teehankee, Makasiar, Guerrero, Abad Santos, Melencio- Herrera, Plana,
seeks. Escolin, Relova and De la Fuente, JJ., concur.
We further note the rationale behind Art. 29 of the Civil Code in arriving at the intent of Aquino, J., concur in the result.
the legislator that they could not possibly have intended to make it more difficult for De Castro, J., took no part.
the aggrieved party to recover just compensation by making a separate civil action Concepcion, Jr. J., is on leave.
mandatory and exclusive:
The old rule that the acquittal of the accused in a criminal case also PEOPLE V. BAYOTAS (G.R. No. 102007)
releases him from civil liability is one of the most serious flaws in the TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2013 Labels: civil liability, criminal liability, Obligations and
Philippine legal system. It has given rise to numberless instances of Contracts
miscarriage of justice, where the acquittal was due to a reasonable
doubt in the mind of the court as to the guilt of the accused. The
reasoning followed is that inasmuch as the civil responsibility is Rogelio Bayotas y Cordova was charged with Rape and eventually convicted thereof.
derived from the the criminal offense, when the latter is not proved, Pending appeal of his conviction, Bayotas died. Consequently, the Supreme Court
civil liability cannot be demanded. dismissed the criminal aspect of the appeal. However, it required the Solicitor General
This is one of those cases where confused thinking leads to to file its comment with regard to the civil liability of Bayotas arising from his
unfortunate and deplorable consequences. Such reasoning fails to commission of the offense charged.
draw a clear line of demarcation between criminal liability and civil
ISSUE: damages or injury caused to the aggrieved party. Art 32 makes the persons who
Whether or not the death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction extinguish aredirectly, as well as indirectly, responsible for the transgression joint tortfeasors.
his civil liability. Petitioners:
HELD: MHP Garments, Inc. and its employee, Larry De Guzman
Respondents/Injured Parties:
Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code provides that by death of the convict personal Agnes Villa Cruz, Mirasol Lugatiman, and Gertrudes Gonzales
liabilities are extinguished, as to pecuniary penalties liability therefore is extinguished Tort/Event:
only when the death of the offender occurs before final judgment. Warrantless search and seizure of boy and girl scouts pants, dresses, and suits
FACTS:
Thus the court made a ruling as follows: MHP
Garments Inc. (“MHP”) was granted the exclusive franchise to sell and distribute official
1. Death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction extinguishes his criminal Boy
liability as well as the civil liability based solely thereon; Scouts uniforms, supplies, badges, and insignias. In its Memorandum Agreement with
2. Corollarily, the claim for civil liability survives notwithstanding the death of the the Boy Scouts of thePhilippines, MHP was given the authority to undertake or cause to
accused, if the same may also be predicated on a source of obligation other than delict. be undertaken the prosecution in courtof all illegal sources of scout uniforms and
Aricle 1157 of the Civil Code enumerates these other sources of obligation from which scouting supplies.Upon receipt of information that Agnes Villa Cruz, Mirasol Lugatiman,
the civil liability may arise as a result of the same act or omission: Law, Contracts, Quasi- and Gertrudes Gonzales (the
contracts, Delicts…,Quasi-delicts; “respondents”) were selling Boy Scouts items
3. Where the civil liability survives, an action for recovery therefore may be pursued and paraphernalia without any authority, Larry De Guzman,an employee of MHP, was
but only by way of separate civil action and may be enforced either against the tasked to undertake surveillance and to make a report to the Philippine
executor/administrator of the estate of the accused, depending on the source of Constabulary (the “PC”). Thereafter, De Guzman together with 3 PC men went to the
obligation aside from delicts; stores of responden
4. Finally, the private offended party need not fear a forfeiture of his right to file this tsat the Marikina Public Market and without any warrant, seized the boy and girl scouts
separate civil action by prescription, in cases where during the prosecution of the pants, dresses, and
criminal action and prior to its extinction, the private offended party instituted together suits on display at the stalls. The seizure caused a commotion and embarrassed
therewith the civil action. In such case, the statute of limitations on the civil liability is respondents. The itemswere then turned over by the PC Captain to MHP for
deemed interrupted during the pendency of the criminal case, conformably with safekeeping. A criminal complaint for unfaircompetition was then filed against
provisions of Article 1155 of the Civil Code, that should thereby avoid any apprehension respondents. After a preliminary investigation, the Provincial Fiscaldismissed the
on a possible privation of right by prescription. complaint and ordered the return of the seized items. Respondents then filed a civil
case
In the case at bar, the death of Bayotas extinguished his criminal and civil liability based against MHP and De Guzman (the “petitioners”) for sums of money and damages.
solely on the act of rape. Hence, his civil liability also extinguished together with his ISSUE:
criminal liability upon his death. W/N the petitioners should be held liable for damages, even if they did not actually
effect theseizure of the merchandise

MHP GARMENTS, INC. VS. CA YES


GR No. 86720 2 September 1994
DOCTRINE: HELD:
Under the Civil Code, damages may be recovered for violation of constitutional rights
andliberties from any public officer or private individual. Art 32 speaks of an officer or The constitutional protection of our people against unreasonable search and
employee or person"directly or indirectly" responsible for the violation of constitutional seizurevouchsafes our right to privacy and dignity against undesirable intrusions
rights and liberties. It is not the actoralone (i.e., one directly responsible) who must committed by any publicofficer or private individual.
answer for damages; the person indirectly responsible alsohas to answer for the
An infringement of this right justifies an award for damages. The allencompassing and effected the illegal seizure. Also, the raid was conducted with the active
protection extends against intrusions directly done both by government andindirectly participation of their employee. By standing by and apparently assenting thereto, De
by private entities. Guzman was liable to the same extent as the officers themselves. In fact, MHP even
Art. III, Sec. 2 of the Constitution protects our people from unreasonablesearch and received for safekeeping the goods unreasonably seized and refused to surrender them
seizure. A warrantless search may only be done under the circumstances provided in for quite a time despite the dismissal of its complaint for unfair competition. Secondly,
the Rulesof Court. The evidence in this case did not justify the warrantless search and Letter of Instruction No. 12994 (“LOI”) was precisely crafted to safeguard not only the
seizure. The progression oftime between the receipt of information and the raid privilege of franchise holder of scouting items but also the citizen's constitutional rights.
shows there was sufficient time for the application fora judicial warrant. In not Under the LOI, petitioners miserably failed to report the unlawful peddling of scouting
procuring a judicial warrant, the petitioners and the PC took the risk of a suit for goods to the Boy Scouts of the Philippines for the proper application of a warrant.
damages in case the seizure would be proved to violate the respondents’ right against Respondents' rights are immutable and petitioners did not have the unbridled license
unreasonable search to cause the seizure of respondents' goods without any warrant. And thirdly, if
and seizure. petitioners did not have a hand in the raid, they should have filed a third-party
ON PETITIONERS’ ARGU complaint against the raiding team for contribution or any other relief, in respect of
MENT THAT IT WAS THE PC THAT CONDUCTED THE RAID AND THEIRPARTICIPATION respondents' claim; but they did not.
WAS ONLY TO REPORT THE ILLEGAL ACTIVITY:
The members of the PC team should have been included in the complaint; still, the G.R. No. L-71914 January 29, 1986
omission will notexculpate petitioners.
Under the Civil Code, damages may be recovered for violation of constitutionalrights ZENAIDA CRUZ REYES, petitioner, vs.HON. JUDGE ALICIA SEMPIO-DIY,
and liberties from any public officer or private individual 'Vacation' Judge of
. RTC, BRANCH 170, Malabon, Metro Manila, and SPS. CRISTINA MALICSI and DANILO
2 MALICSI,
respondents
Art 32
3 FACTS:
speaks of an officer oremployee or person "directly or indirectly" responsible for the
violation of the constitutional rightsand liberties of another. In Criminal Case No. 23633 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Navotas, Metro Manila,
Thus, it is Cristina Malicsi was charged with the crime of intriguing against honor. The aggrieved
not the actor alone (i.e., the one directly responsible) who mustanswer for damages; party therein was Zenaida Cruz Reyes, the herein petitioner. In said case Zenaida Cruz
the person indirectly responsible also has to answer for the damages or injurycaused Reyes was represented by a private prosecutor, Atty.
to the aggrieved party. Barayang. The accused pleaded guilty to the information and was sentenced by the
Court to a fine of P50.00. Because of her plea of guilty, the aggrieved party was unable
Art 32 makes the persons who are directly, as well as indirectly,responsible for the to present evidence to prove damages against the accused. Neither was she able to
transgression joint tortfeasors. make a reservation of her right to file a separate civil action for damages. Instead, she
filed a new action against Cristina Malicsi and her husband with the Regional Trial Court
It encompasses within its ambit those directly,as well as indirectly, responsible for its for damages arising from the defamatory words uttered against her by Cristina Malicsi
violations. which was the subject of the information filed against the latter for intriguing against
In this case, petitioners were indirectly involved in transgressing the right of honor. Said case is Civil Case No. 357-MN.At the pre-trial plaintiff admitted that she was
respondents againstunreasonable search and seizure. represented by a private prosecutor in the criminal case against defendant Cristina
Firstly, Malicsi and in said case she did not reserve the right to file a separate action for
they instigated the raid pursuant to the Memorandum Agreementto undertake the damages. She further admitted that the appearance of said private prosecutor was for
prosecution in court of all illegal sources of scouting supplies. The acts committed by the purpose of proving damages against the accused. After said admission made by
thePC of unlawfully seizing the merchandise and of filing the criminal complaint for plaintiff, the parties agreed to have the Court rule on the question of whether or not
unfair competition werefor the protection and benefit of the petitioners. It is, thus, plaintiff by her being represented by a private prosecutor in the criminal case and her
reasonably fair to infer that it was upon MHP'sinstance that the PC conducted the raid failing to make a reservation in said case to file a separate action was barred from filing
a separate civil action for damages against the accused Cristina Malicsi. On said issue, In 1982, five-year old Roy Camaso, while standing on the sidewalk of M. de
the Court a quo ruled in favor of the defendants, relying principally upon Roa vs. dela la FuenteStreet, Sampaloc, Manila, was sideswiped by motorcycle owned by
Cruz, 107 Phil. 8, and dismissed the case. Yakult Philippines anddriven by its employee, Larry Salvado. The latt er was
charged with the crime of reckless imprudence resulting to slight physical injuries
ISSUE: in an information that was filed with the thenCity Court of Manila. In 1984, a complaint
for damages was filed by Roy Camaso representedby his father, David Camaso,
Whether or not the rule laid down in the Roa case should govern this one against Yakult and Salvado in RTC Manila. A decision
wasr e n d e r e d i n t h e c i v i l c a s e o r d e r i n g d e f e n d a n t s Ya k u l t a n d S a l
HELD: v a d o t o p a y j o i n t l y a n d severally the plainti ff sums for actual expenses
for medical services and hospital bills,attorney’s fees and the costs of the suit.
NO. In the instant case the criminal action against defendant Luat did not proceed to Issue:
trial, as he pleaded guilty upon arraignment. The mere appearance of private counsel in whether or not a civil action instituted after the criminal action was filed prosper evenif
representation of the offended party did not constitute such active intervention as there was no reservation to file a separate civil action
could only import an intention to press a claim for damages in the same action. It is as Held:
reasonable to indulge the possibility that the private prosecutors appeared precisely to Yes. Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure provides as follows:S
be able to make a seasonable reservation of the right to file a separate civil action EC
which, even if unnecessary at the time would nevertheless have been the prudent and . 1.
practical thing to do for the purpose of better protecting the interest of their clients. Insti tuti on of criminal and civil acti ons
But as matters turned out, the accused pleaded guilty upon arraignment and was . — When a criminal acti on
immediately sentenced. Thereafter there was no chance to enter such a reservation in isi n s ti t u t e d , t h e c i v i l a c ti o n f o r t h e r e c o v e r y o f c i v i l l i a b i l i t y i s i
the record. We do not believe that plaintiffs' substantive right to claim damages m p l i e d l y instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party waives the
should necessarily be foreclosed by the fact at best equivocal as to its purpose that civilaction, reserves his right to institute it separately, or institutes the civil actionprior
private prosecutors entered their appearance at the very inception of the proceeding, to the criminal action.x x x The reservati on of the right to insti tute the
which was then cut short at that stage. It cannot be said with any reasonable certainty separate civil acti ons shall
that plaintiffs had thereby committed themselves to the submission of their action for bem a d e b e f o r e t h e p r o s e c u ti o n s t a r t s t o p r e s e n t i t s e v i d e
damages in that action. The rule laid down in Roa vs. De la Cruz, supra, does not govern n c e a n d u n d e r circumstances affording the offended party a reasonable
this case. The ends of justice will be better served if plaintiffs are given their day in opportunity to
court. (pp. 457-458) Upon authority, therefore, of Meneses vs. Luat We find and so hold makesuch reservation. T h e c i v i l a c ti o n f o r t h e r e c o v e r y o f c i v i l l i a b i l i t
that the mere appearance of a private prosecutor in the criminal case against the herein y i s i m p l i e d l y i n s ti t u t e d w i t h t h e c r i m i n a l a c ti o n u n l e s s t h e o ff e n
private respondents did not necessarily constitute such intervention on the part of the d e d p a r t y w a i v e s t h e c i v i l a c ti o n , r e s e r v e s h i s r i g h t t o insti tute it
aggrieved party as could only import an intention on her part to press her separately or insti tutes the civil acti on prior to the criminal acti on. It is
alsoprovided that the reservation of the right to institute the separate civil action shall
claim for damages in said criminal case and a waiver of her right to file a separate civil be madebefore the prosecution starts to present its evidence and under circumstances
action for damages affording theoffended party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation. In this
Because the accused had pleaded guilty upon arraignment and was immediately case, the offendedparty has not waived the civil action, nor reserved the right
sentenced, there was no chance for the aggrieved party to present evidence in support to institute it separately. Neitherhas the offended party instituted the civil action prior
of her claim for damages and to enter a reservation in the record to file a separate civil to the criminal action. However, thecivil acti on in this case was fi led in court
action. before the presentati on of the evidence for the prosecution in the criminal
action of which the judge presiding on the criminal case was dulyinformed, so that in
the disposition of the criminal action no damages was awarded
Yakult Phils. v. CA
G.R. No. 91856, October 5, 1990
Gancayco, J.
Facts:
CITY OF PASIG, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and THE approved by the residents. Hence, the Municipality of Cainta filed a petition (G.R. No.
MUNICIPALITY OF CAINTA, PROVINCE OF RIZAL, respondents 128663) to the Supreme Court.
G.R. No. 125646. September 10, 1999 Issue:
MUNICIPALITY OF CAINTA, PROVINCE OF RIZAL, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON Whether or not the plebiscites scheduled for the creation of Barangays Karangalan and
ELECTIONS, CITY OF PASIG, respondent Napico should be suspended or cancelled in view of the pending boundary dispute
G.R. No. 128663. September 10, 1999 between the two local governments.
Facts: Ruling:
On April 22, 1996, upon petition of the residents of Karangalan Village that they be The Court ruled that the pending civil case on boundary dispute presents a prejudicial
segregated from its mother Barangays and converted into a separate one, the City question which must first be decided before the creation of the proposed barangays.
Council of Pasig passed and approved an ordinance, creating Barangay Karangalan While the City of Pasig argues that there is no prejudicial question since the same
scheduling the plebiscite on the creation of said barangay on June 22, 1996. Upon contemplates a civil and criminal action and does not come into play where both cases
learning of the ordinance, the Municipality of Cainta filed a petition on June 19, 1996 to are civil, as in the instant case, still in the interest of good order, the Court can suspend
the Commission on Elections to suspend or cancel the scheduled plebiscite. According action on one case pending the final outcome of another case closely interrelated or
to the Municipality of Cainta, the proposed barangay involve areasincluded in the linked to the first.
pending case before the RTC Antipolo Rizal, Br. 74 for settlement of boundary dispute, The decision on whose territorial jurisdiction the areas fall has material bearing to the
hence the plebiscite should be suspended or cancelled until after the said case shall creation of the proposed Barangays. A requisite for the creation of a barangay is
have been finally decided by the court. properly identified territorial jurisdiction for these define the limits of the exercise of
Meanwhile, on September 9, 1996, the City of Pasig similarly issued another ordinance, the governmental powers of the LGU. Beyond these limits, its acts are ultra vires
creating Barangay Napico in Pasig City. Plebiscite for this purpose was set for March 15, (beyond the legal capacity). Moreover, considering the expenses entailed in the holding
1997. Again the Municipality of Cainta filed another petition on March 12, 1997 to of plebiscites, it is far more prudent to hold in abeyance the conduct of the same until
suspend or cancel the plebiscite on the same ground as for the proposed creation of the resolution of the boundary dispute.
Barangay Karangalan. In the case of Barangay Napico, the Court does not agree that the petition of the
The COMELEC ordered the plebiscite on the creation of Barangay Karangalan to be held Municipality of Cainta has been rendered moot and academic because the plebiscite
in abeyance until the boundary dispute is settled because it presents a prejudicial was already held. The issues raised are still pending and must first be resolved.
question which must first be decided. The City of Pasig filed the petition (G.R. No. Therefore, the plebiscite on the creation of Barangay Karangalan should be held in
125646) to the Supreme Court, arguing that there is no prejudicial question since the abeyance; and the plebiscite held on March 15, 1997 ratifying the creation of Barangay
same contemplates a civil and criminal action and does not come into play where both Napico should be annulled and set aside, and any plebiscite thereto is hold in abeyance
cases are civil, as in the instant case. pending final resolution of the boundary dispute.
In the case of Barangay Napico, the COMELEC dismissed the petition for
beingmoot because the plebiscite was already held and the creation ratified and
MEYNARDO L. BELTRAN, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, and HON. JUDGE final judgment declaring such previous marriage void, whereas, for purposes of other
FLORENTINO TUAZON, JR., being the Judge of the RTC, Branch 139, Makati
City, respondents. than remarriage, other evidence is acceptable.

Article 40 In a case for concubinage, the accused (Beltran) need not present a final judgment

In 1973, Beltran and Charmaine Felix married each other. They’ve had 4 children since declaring his marriage void for he can adduce evidence in the criminal case of the

then but after 24 years of marriage Beltran filed an action for the declaration of the nullity of his marriage other than proof of a final judgment declaring his marriage void.

nullity of their marriage due to Felix’s PI. Felix countered that Beltran left the conjugal With regard to Beltran’s argument that he could be acquitted of the charge of

home to cohabit with a certain Milagros and that she filed a case of concubinage concubinage should his marriage be declared null and void, suffice it to state that even

against Beltran. In 1997, the lower court found probable cause against Beltran and a subsequent pronouncement that his marriage is void from the beginning is not a

Milagros. In order to forestall the issuance of a warrant of arrest against him, Beltran defense.

raised the issue that the civil case he filed is a prejudicial question to the criminal case MARBELLA-BOBIS v. BOBIS
filed by Milagros. He said that the courts hearing the cases may issue conflicting rulings July 31, 2000 (G.R. No. 138509)
if the criminal case will not be suspended until the civil case gets resolved. The lower PARTIES:
court denied Beltran’s petition and so did Judge Tuazon of the RTC upon appeal. Beltran Petitioner: IMELDA MARBELLA-BOBIS
then elevated the case to the SC. Respondent: ISAGANI D. BOBIS
ISSUE: Whether or not the absolute nullity of a previous marriage be invoked as a FACTS:
prejudicial question in the case at bar. • October 21, 1985, first marriage with one Maria Dulce B. Javier. Not annulled, nullified
HELD: The rationale behind the principle of prejudicial question is to avoid two or terminated
conflicting decisions. It has two essential elements: (a) the civil action involves an issue • January 25, 1996, second marriage with petitioner Imelda Marbella-Bobis
similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the criminal action; and (b) the • Third marriage with a certain Julia Sally Hernandez
resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed. • February 25, 1998, Imelda Bobis filed bigamy
The pendency of the case for declaration of nullity of Beltran’s marriage is not a • Sometime thereafter, respondent initiated a civil action for the judicial declaration of
prejudicial question to the concubinage case. For a civil case to be considered absolute nullity of his first marriage on the ground that it was celebrated without a
prejudicial to a criminal action as to cause the suspension of the latter pending the final marriage license
determination of the civil case, it must appear not only that the said civil case involves • Petitioner argues that respondent should have first obtained a judicial declaration of
the same facts upon which the criminal prosecution would be based, but also that in nullity of his first marriage before entering into the second marriage
the resolution of the issue or issues raised in the aforesaid civil action, the guilt or
*After petitioner sued for bigamy, it’s just when the respondent filed a declaration of
innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined.
absolute nullity.
Article 40 of the Family Code provides:
“The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage
ISSUE:
on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void.”
Whether or not the subsequent filing of a civil action for declaration of nullity of a
The SC ruled that the import of said provision is that for purposes of remarriage, the
previous marriage constitutes a prejudicial question to a criminal case for bigamy
only legally acceptable basis for declaring a previous marriage an absolute nullity is a
HELD: Facts:
• A prejudicial question is one which arises in a case the resolution of which is a logical Petitioners institute this special civil action for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65
antecedent of the issue involved therein.3It is a question based on a fact distinct and of the Revised Rules of Court to set aside the resolution of Sandiganbayan and its
separate from the crime but so intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt orders denying petitioners' motion for suspension of their arraignment.
or innocence of the accused. Its two essential elements are:7 Fabruary 9, 1989 Delia Estrellanes and Bartolome Binaohan were designated as
(a) the civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in
industrial labor sectoral representative and agricultural labor sectoral representative for
the criminal action; and
the Sangguniang Bayan of Jimalalud, Negros Oriental by DILG Secretary Santos. They
(b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may
both took their oath of office on February 16 and 17, 1989.
proceed
In Article 40 of the Family Code, respondent, without first having obtained the judicial
Then, petitioners filed a petition with the Office of the President for review and recall of
declaration of nullity of the first marriage, can not be said to have validly entered into
said designations. This was denied and enjoined Tuanda to recognize private sectoral
the second marriage. In the current jurisprudence, a marriage though void still needs a
representatives. Estrallanes and Binaohan then filed a petition for mandamus with RTC
judicial declaration of such fact before any party can marry again; otherwise the second
Negros Oriental for recognition as members of the Sangguniang Bayan. It was
marriage will also be void. The reason is that, without a judicial declaration of its nullity,
the first marriage is presumed to be subsisting. In the case at bar, respondent was for all dismissed.

legal intents and purposes regarded as a married man at the time he contracted his
second marriage with petitioner. The matter was then brought to RTC Dumaguete City accusing Tuanda and others of
Any decision in the civil action for nullity would not erase the fact that respondent taking advantage of their official functions and unlawfully causing undue injury to
entered into a second marriage during the subsistence of a first marriage. Thus, a Estrellanes and Binaohan.
decision in the civil case is not essential to the determination of the criminal charge. It
is, therefore, not a prejudicial question Petitioners filed a motion with Sandiganbayan for suspension of the Criminal Case on
*Parties to a marriage should not be permitted to judge for themselves its nullity, only the ground that a prejudicial question exists. The RTC rendered a decision declaring null
competent courts having such authority. Prior to such declaration of nullity, the validity and void ab initio the designations issued by DILG for violation of the provisions saying
of the first marriage is beyond question. A party who contracts a second marriage then that the Sanggunian itself must make a determination first of the number of sectors in
assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy (Landicho v. Relova) the city/municipality to warrant representation.
G.R. No. 110544 Case Digest
G.R. No. 110544 October 17, 1995 Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan has issued a resolution saying that the private
Reynaldo Tuanda, etc., petitioners respondents have rendered such services and the said appointments enjoy the
vs The Honorable Sandiganbayan, Bartolome Binaohan and Delia Estrellanes, presumption of regularity; for these reasons, the private respondents were entitled to
respondents the slaries attached to their office. Even if the RTC later declare the appointments null
Ponente: Kapunan
and void, they would still be given salaries because of the period they acted as Applying the foregoing principles to the case at bench, we find that the issue in the civil
representatives has made them a de facto officers. case, CA-G.R. CV No. 36769, constitutes a valid prejudicial question to warrant
suspension of the arraignment and further proceedings in the criminal case against
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the resolution in view of the RTC petitioners.
nullification of the appointments. But it was likewise denied along with the cancellation All the elements of a prejudicial question are clearly and unmistakably present in this
of their arraignment, instead Sandiganbayan required Tuanda and the others to submit case. There is no doubt that the facts and issues involved in the civil action (No. 36769)
a written show cause why they should not be cited for contempt of court for their and the criminal case (No. 16936) are closely related. The filing of the criminal case was
failure to appear in court today for the arraignment. premised on petitioners' alleged partiality and evident bad faith in not paying private
respondents' salaries and per diems as sectoral representatives, while the civil action
Hence, this special civil action for certiorari and prohibition where petitioners attribute was instituted precisely to resolve whether or not the designations of private
to respondent Sandiganbayan the following errors: respondents as sectoral representatives were made in accordance with law.
A. The Respondent Court committed grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioners'
motions for the suspension of the proceedings in Criminal Case Private respondents insist that even if their designations are nullified, they are entitled
B. The Respondent Court acted without or in excess of jurisdiction in refusing to to compensation for actual services rendered. We disagree. As found by the trial court
suspend the proceedings that would entail a retrial and rehearing by it of the basic and as borne out by the records, from the start, private respondents' designations as
issue involved sectoral representatives have been challenged by petitioners. They began with a
C. The Respondent Court committed grave abuse of discretion and/or acted without or petition filed with the Office of the President copies of which were received by private
in excess of jurisdiction in effectively allowing petitioners to be prosecuted under two respondents on 26 February 1989, barely eight (8) days after they took their oath of
alternative theories that private respondents are de jure and/or de facto officers in office. Hence, private respondents' claim that they have actually rendered services as
violation of petitioners' right to due process. sectoral representatives has not been established.

Issue: The legality of private respondents' designation as sectoral representatives. Finally, we find unmeritorious respondent Sandiganbayan's thesis that even in the event
that private respondents' designations are finally declared invalid, they may still be
Held: considered de facto public officers entitled to compensation for services actually
The rationale behind the principle of prejudicial question is to avoid two conflicting rendered.
decisions. 14 It has two essential elements: The conditions and elements of de facto officership are the following:
(a) the civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in 1) There must be a de jure office;
the criminal action; and 2) There must be color of right or general acquiescence by the public; and
(b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may 3) There must be actual physical possession of the office in good faith.
proceed. 15 Sandiganbayan Resolution was set aside.
but so intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or innocence of the
accused.
JULIANA P. YAP, Petitioner, G.R. No. 101236
It was held that "for a civil case to be considered prejudicial to a criminal action as to
vs. January 30, 1992
cause the suspension of the criminal action pending the determination of the civil
MATIN PARAS AND ALFREDO D. BARCELONA, SR.,
action, it must appear not only that the civil case involves the same facts upon which
Judge of the 3rd MTC of Glan Malapatan, South Cotabato, Respondent.
the criminal prosecution is based, but also that the resolution of the issues raised in
said civil action would be necessarily determinative of the guilt or innocence of the
accused".
According to Yap, Paras sold IN 1971 to her his share in the intestate estate for P300.00.
Indeed, the civil case at bar does not involve the same facts upon which the criminal
The sale was evidenced by a private document. Nineteen years later, (in 1990), Paras
action is based. There was no motion for suspension in the case at bar; and no less
sold the same property to Santiago Saya-ang for P5,000.00. This was evidenced by a
importantly, the respondent judge had not been informed of the defense Paras was
notarized Deed of Absolute Sale.
raising in the civil action. Judge Barcelona could not have ascertained then if the issue
raised in the civil action would determine the guilt or innocence of the accused in the
When Yap learned of the second sale, she filed a complaint for estafa against Paras and
criminal case.
Saya-ang with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of General Santos City. On the
same date, she filed a complaint for the nullification of the said sale with the Regional
Trial Court of General Santos City.
After investigation, the Provincial Prosecutor instituted a criminal complaint for estafa
against Paras with the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Glan-Malapatan, South Cotabato,
presided by Judge Alfredo D. Barcelona, Sr., who dismissed the criminal case on the
ground that the issue in the civil case is prejudicial to the criminal case for estafa.
Issue:
Is the Judge correct in motu proprio dismissing the criminal case?
Ruling:
The judge is wrong. First, he should not have dismissed the criminal case but only
suspended it. Second, it was wrong for him to dismiss the criminal case outright, since it
requires a motion first from the proper party.
The rule provides: Sec. 6. Suspension by reason of prejudicial question. — A petition for
suspension of the criminal action based upon the pendency of a prejudicial question in
a civil action may be filed in the office of the fiscal or the court conducting the
preliminary investigation. When the criminal action has been filed in court for trial, the
petition to suspend shall be filed in the same criminal action at any time before the
prosecution rests. Third, there is actually no prejudicial question here.
Anent the issue of prejudicial question, the rule provides that:
Section 5, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as amended provides:
Sec. 5. Elements of prejudicial question. — The two (2) essential elements of a
prejudicial question are: (a) the civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related
to the issue raised in the criminal action; and (b) the resolution of such issue
determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed.
A prejudicial question is defined as that which arises in a case the resolution of which is
a logical antecedent of the issue involved therein, and the cognizance of which pertains
to another tribunal. The prejudicial question must be determinative of the case before
the court but the jurisdiction to try and resolve the question must be lodged in another
court or tribunal. It is a question based on a fact distinct and separate from the crime