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G.R. No. 74431 November 6, 1989


PURITA
MIRANDA
VESTIL
and
AGUSTIN
VESTIL, petitioners,
vs.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, DAVID UY and TERESITA UY, respondents.
Pablo P. Garcia for petitioners.
Roberto R. Palmares for private respondents.
Little Theness Tan Uy was dead at the age of three. Her parents said she died because she
was bitten by a dog of the petitioners, but the latter denied this, claiming they had nothing to do
with the dog. The Uys sued the Vestils, who were sustained by the trial court. On appeal, the
decision of the court a quo was reversed in favor of the Uys. The Vestils are now before us.
They ask us to set aside the judgment of the respondent court and to reinstate that of the trial
court.
On July 29, 1915, Theness was bitten by a dog while she was playing with a child of the
petitioners in the house of the late Vicente Miranda, the father of Purita Vestil, at F. Ramos
Street in Cebu City. She was rushed to the Cebu General Hospital, where she was treated for
"multiple lacerated wounds on the forehead" 1 and administered an anti-rabies vaccine by Dr.
Antonio Tautjo. She was discharged after nine days but was readmitted one week later due to
"vomiting of saliva." 2 The following day, on August 15, 1975, the child died. The cause of death
was certified as broncho-pneumonia. 3
Seven months later, the Uys sued for damages, alleging that the Vestils were liable to them as
the possessors of "Andoy," the dog that bit and eventually killed their daughter. The Vestils
rejected the charge, insisting that the dog belonged to the deceased Vicente Miranda, that it was
a tame animal, and that in any case no one had witnessed it bite Theness. After trial, Judge
Jose R. Ramolete of the Court of First Instance of Cebu sustained the defendants and dismissed
the complaint. 4
The respondent court arrived at a different conclusion when the case was appealed. 5 It found
that the Vestils were in possession of the house and the dog and so should be responsible
under Article 2183 of the Civil Code for the injuries caused by the dog. It also held that the child
had died as a result of the dog bites and not for causes independent thereof as submitted by the
appellees. Accordingly, the Vestils were ordered to pay the Uys damages in the amount of
P30,000.00 for the death of Theness, P12,000.00 for medical and hospitalization expenses, and
P2,000.00 as attorney's fees.
In the proceedings now before us, Purita Vestil insists that she is not the owner of the house or
of the dog left by her father as his estate has not yet been partitioned and there are other heirs
to the property. Pursuing the logic of the Uys, she claims, even her sister living in Canada would
be held responsible for the acts of the dog simply because she is one of Miranda's heirs.
However, that is hardly the point. What must be determined is the possession of the dog that
admittedly was staying in the house in question, regardless of the ownership of the dog or of the
house.
Article 2183 reads as follows:

The possessor of an animal or whoever may make use of the same is


responsible for the damage which it may cause, although it may escape or
be lost. 'This responsibility shall cease only in case the damages should
come from force majeure from the fault of the person who has suffered
damage.
Thus, in Afialda v. Hisole, 6 a person hired as caretaker of a carabao gored him to death and his
heirs thereupon sued the owner of the animal for damages. The complaint was dismissed on the
ground that it was the caretaker's duty to prevent the carabao from causing injury to any one,
including himself.
Purita Vestil's testimony that she was not in possession of Miranda's house is hardly credible.
She said that the occupants of the house left by her father were related to him ("one way or the
other") and maintained themselves out of a common fund or by some kind of arrangement (on
which, however, she did not elaborate ). 7 She mentioned as many as ten of such relatives who
had stayed in the house at one time or another although they did not appear to be close
kin. 8 She at least implied that they did not pay any rent, presumably because of their relation
with Vicente Miranda notwithstanding that she herself did not seem to know them very well.
There is contrary evidence that the occupants of the house, were boarders (or more of boarders
than relatives) who paid the petitioners for providing them with meals and accommodations. It
also appears that Purita Vestil had hired a maid, Dolores Jumao-as, who did the cooking and
cleaning in the said house for its occupants. 9 Her mother, Pacita, who was a nursemaid of
Purita herself, categorically declared that the petitioners were maintaining boarders in the house
where Theness was bitten by a dog. 10 Another witness, Marcial Lao, testified that he was indeed
a boarder and that the Vestils were maintaining the house for business purposes. 11 And
although Purita denied paying the water bills for the house, the private respondents submitted
documentary evidence of her application for water connection with the Cebu Water District,
which strongly suggested that she was administering the house in question. 12
While it is true that she is not really the owner of the house, which was still part of Vicente
Miranda's estate, there is no doubt that she and her husband were its possessors at the time of
the incident in question. She was the only heir residing in Cebu City and the most logical person
to take care of the property, which was only six kilometers from her own house. 13 Moreover,
there is evidence showing that she and her family regularly went to the house, once or twice
weekly, according to at least one witness, 14 and used it virtually as a second house.
Interestingly, her own daughter was playing in the house with Theness when the little girl was
bitten by the dog. 15 The dog itself remained in the house even after the death of Vicente
Miranda in 1973 and until 1975, when the incident in question occurred. It is also noteworthy that
the petitioners offered to assist the Uys with their hospitalization expenses although Purita said
she knew them only casually. 16
The petitioners also argue that even assuming that they were the possessors of the dog that bit
Theness there was no clear showing that she died as a result thereof. On the contrary, the death
certificate 17 declared that she died of broncho-pneumonia, which had nothing to do with the dog
bites for which she had been previously hospitalized. The Court need not involve itself in an
extended scientific discussion of the causal connection between the dog bites and the certified
cause of death except to note that, first, Theness developed hydrophobia, a symptom of rabies,
as a result of the dog bites, and second, that asphyxia broncho-pneumonia, which ultimately
caused her death, was a complication of rabies. That Theness became afraid of water after she
was bitten by the dog is established by the following testimony of Dr. Tautjo:

2
COURT: I think there was mention of rabies in the report in the second
admission?
A: Now, the child was continuously vomiting just before I referred to Dr. Co
earlier in the morning and then the father, because the child was asking for
water, the father tried to give the child water and this child went under the
bed, she did not like to drink the water and there was fright in her eyeballs.
For this reason, because I was in danger there was rabies, I called Dr. Co.
Q: In other words, the child had hydrophobia?
A: Yes, sir. 18
As for the link between rabies and broncho-pneumonia, the doctor had the following to say
under oath:
A: Now, as 1 said before, broncho-pneumonia can result from physical,
chemical and bacterial means. ... It can be the result of infection, now, so if
you have any other disease which can lower your resistance you can also
get pneumonia.
xxx xxx xxxQ: Would you say that a person who has rabies may die of
complication which is broncho-pneumonia?
A: Yes.Q: For the record, I am manifesting that this book shown the witness
is know as CURRENT DIANOSIS & TREATMENT, 1968 by Henry Brainerd,
Sheldon Margen and Milton Chaton. Now, I invite your attention, doctor, to
page 751 of this book under the title "Rabies." There is on this page,
"Prognosis" as a result of rabies and it says: Once the symptoms, have
appeared death inevitably occurs after 2-3 days as a result of cardiac or
respiratory failure or generalized paralysis. After a positive diagnosis of
rabies or after a bite by a suspected animal if the animal cannot be
observed or if the bite is on the head, give rabies vaccine (duck embryo). Do
you believe in this statement?
A: Yes.
Q: Would you say therefore that persons who have rabies may die of
respiratory failure which leave in the form of bronco-pneumonia?
A: Broncho-pneumonia can be a complication of rabies.

19

On the strength of the foregoing testimony, the Court finds that the link between the dog bites
and the certified cause of death has beep satisfactorily established. We also reiterate our ruling
in Sison v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 20 that the death certificate is not
conclusive proof of the cause of death but only of the fact of death. Indeed, the evidence of the
child's hydrophobia is sufficient to convince us that she died because she was bitten by the dog
even if the death certificate stated a different cause of death. The petitioner's contention that
they could not be expected to exercise remote control of the dog is not acceptable. In fact,
Article 2183 of the Civil Code holds the possessor liable even if the animal should "escape or be

lost" and so be removed from his control. And it does not matter either that, as the petitioners
also contend, the dog was tame and was merely provoked by the child into biting her. The law
does not speak only of vicious animals but covers even tame ones as long as they cause injury.
As for the alleged provocation, the petitioners forget that Theness was only three years old at
the time she was attacked and can hardly be faulted for whatever she might have done to the
animal.
It is worth observing that the above defenses of the petitioners are an implied rejection of their
original posture that there was no proof that it was the dog in their father's house that bit
Theness.
According to Manresa the obligation imposed by Article 2183 of the Civil Code is not based on
the negligence or on the presumed lack of vigilance of the possessor or user of the animal
causing the damage. It is based on natural equity and on the principle of social interest that he
who possesses animals for his utility, pleasure or service must answer for the damage which
such animal may cause. 21
We sustain the findings of the Court of Appeals and approve the monetary awards except only
as to the medical and hospitalization expenses, which are reduced to P2,026.69, as prayed for
in the complaint. While there is no recompense that can bring back to the private respondents
the child they have lost, their pain should at least be assuaged by the civil damages to which
they are entitled.
WHEREFORE, the challenged decision is AFFIRMED as above modified. The petition is
DENIED, with costs against the petitioners. It is so ordered.

3
G.R. No. L-31864 September 29, 1972
THE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION OF EL DEPOSITO, BARRIO CORAZON DE JESUS,
SAN JUAN, RIZAL, represented by its President NAPOLEON VILORIA, PANTALEON
PENARANDA, JULIAN PENARANDA, PILAR DEL PILAR, MIGUEL POMPERADA, ESTER
PORRAS, TEODULO ROBLANDO, PABLO RELATO, ABRAHAM REMPULA, HUGO
ROBETO, ASUNCION REYES, ERNESTO SALAZAR, FEDERICO SALAZAR, JUANITO
SALLEGUE, SAMONTE NESTOR, BEN SANTOS, ELEUTERIA SANTOS, DOMINGO
SARMOY, CORA SASTRE, TRANSFIGURACION SOMBE, PEDRO SUBONG, IGMEDIO
TAMBONG, SALVADOR TERUEL, ALFREDO TORRES, CELSO TORRES, ROQUE
TUMAMPIL, TITA TUTANES, CATALINA UNANA, DIONISIA VIGIL, ASUNCION
VILLANUEVA, DELMO VILLANUEVA, JOSE VILORIA, JR., BENIGNO VIRAY, DOMINADOR
WINDECA, SALVADOR YULO, JOSUE DAGON, FELIPE TORRENTE, LEON LUCAS,
JACINTO PASCUAL, and THREE HUNDRED SIXTY ONE OTHER MEMBERS, THE
HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION OF EL DEPOSITO, BARRIO HALO HALO, SAN JUAN,
RIZAL, represented by its President AQUILINO BELO, JUAN GARCIA, GREGORIO
GARCIA, PABLO REANO, DOMINADOR TIBAR, GERONIMO LAZARRAGA, and ONE
HUNDRED
THIRTY
OTHER
MEMBERS, petitioners,
vs.
HON. GUARDSON LOOD, Judge of The Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch VI, Pasig,
Rizal, THE MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JUAN, RIZAL, MUNICIPAL MAYOR OF SAN JUAN,
MUNICIPAL COUNCIL OF SAN JUAN, RIZAL, ENGINEERING DISTRICT OF RIZAL, ACTING
THRU NICOLAS ALDANA, ENGINEER II, Pasig, Rizal, respondents.
H. A. Jambora for petitioners.
Office of the Solicitor General for respondents.
PER CURIAM:p
Petitioners filed on April 15, 1970 this action for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary
injunction to set aside respondent court's questioned orders dated February 9, 1970 and March
30, 1970 denying petitioners' motions for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to stay the
demolition and removal of their houses and structures on a parcel of public land in barrios
Corazon de Jesus and Halo Halo in San Juan, Rizal, (more popularly known as "El Deposito"
from the Spanish times), pending final outcome of Civil Case No. 11078 filed by them before
respondent court.
Petitioners' action below was one for declaratory relief to declare as null and void as ex post
facto legislation, municipal ordinance No. 89, as amended, of respondent Municipality of San
Juan, prohibiting squatting on public property and providing a penalty therefor, under which
ordinance, petitioners claimed, respondents were summarily demolishing and removing their
houses and improvements.
On April 20, 1970, upon issuance of summons requiring respondents to answer the petition, the
Court issued a temporary restraining order restraining respondents, until further orders, "from
proceeding with the summary destruction, removal and demolition of all other houses found in
the premises of the land in barrio Corazon de Jesus and barrio Halo Halo, San Juan, Rizal, by
reason of Ordinance No. 89-Amd. as amended, passed by the Municipal Council of San Juan,
Rizal, on April 26, 1968 ... ."

Respondents filed their answer in due course and the case was thereafter submitted for decision
with the filing by the parties of their respective memoranda in lieu of oral argument.
As restated by petitioners themselves in their memorandum, the main issue at bar is whether
respondent judge "exceeded his authority and jurisdiction and gravely abused his discretion" 1 in
issuing the questioned orders of February 9, and March 30, 1970, denying the preliminary
injunction sought to stay demolition and removal of petitioners' houses and structures.
Petitioners raise as issues also the issue of validity and constitutionality of municipal ordinance
No. 89-Amended as questioned by them in their action below, and whether respondent Engineer
may remove or demolish their houses without a special court demolition order under said
challenged ordinance; and furthermore, "whether the filing of the petition for compulsory
registration in LRC Cad. Case No. N-6, LRC Cad. Rec. No. N-511 which placed in issue the
status of the land as demanded for reasons of public interest where the houses and other
improvements of the petitioners as claimants in the cadastral proceeding are found, precludes
the enforcement of municipal ordinance No. 89-Amd." 2
Subsequent events have cleared up the matter of this last issue as to the alleged pendency of a
petition in petitioner's favor for compulsory registration of the land in question, as shown by
proceedings held in the Rizal court of first instance and this Court as hereinafter recounted.
A motion to reopen the cadastral proceedings 3 was filed under date of August 2, 1971 by
petitioners as claimants, citing the passage on June 19, 1971 of Republic Act No. 6236 which
extended the time limit (not to extend beyond December 31, 1976) for filing of applications for
free patents and for judicial confirmation of imperfect and incomplete titles to public agricultural
lands.
The court of first instance of Rizal, Branch I, presided by Judge Emilio V. Salas had denied such
reopening of the proceedings as per its order dated August 20, 1971, "it appearing that the
instant case was dismissed without prejudice in our order dated April 6, 1970, which order was
affirmed
by
the
Supreme
Court
in
its
resolution
in
G.R.
No.
L-32156, dated August 10, 1970, which became final and executory since September 1, 1970." 4
Petitioners-claimants' motion for reconsideration, notwithstanding, withdrawal of the opposition
of respondent municipality of San Juan, Rizal, was denied in the Rizal court of first instance's
order dated November 16, 1971.
A special civil action for certiorari and mandamus was then filed on December 13, 1971 by
petitioners-claimants and docketed as Case L-34438 of this Court. 5 Said action was dismissed
for lack of merit per the Court's resolution therein of December 16, 1971. Reconsideration was
denied for lack of merit per the Court's resolution of May 23, 1972, after the Court had received
the comment of the therein respondent Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, (as
successor-in-interest of Nawasa) asserting its ownership of the property since its survey in 1910
as conducted for the Metropolitan Water District (predecessor-in-interest of Nawasa) and
approved by the Director of Lands. In its comment, said therein respondent MWSS further
averred that within the property which had been declared for taxation purposes in the name of
the old Metropolitan Water District (with a total area of 132,597 square meters, of which 14,138
square meters are used for public roads) 6 are "aqueducts and an underground reservoir", and
that its predecessor-in-interest (Nawasa) had sold a portion (16,409 sq. meters) of the property
to the Municipality of San Juan (on which are constructed the municipality's elementary school,
home economics building and gymnasium), leased a portion thereof (4,102 sq. meters) for the
municipality's public high school, and "leased some lots to those who have squatted on the said
property." 50,000 square meters or five hectares of the property were likewise leased by the

4
Nawasa to the Pinaglabanan Commemorative Commission (created by Executive Order No. 263
of the President of the Philippines dated August 15, 1957) 7 for a 99-year period from August 21,
1963 for the site of the national shrine to commemorate the "Battle of Pinaglabanan" on August
28 and 29, 1896 between the Katipunan revolutionaries and the Spanish garrison defending the
gunpowder dump (called the "polvorin") in San Juan, Rizal. Final entry of the dismissal order of
December 16, 1971 was made as of June 12, 1972. Hence, it is quite clear that as of now, there
exist no proceedings, cadastral or otherwise, questioning the public character of the land and
asserting petitioners' alleged claims of ownership thereto.
On the main issue at bar, the Court is satisfied that by no means may respondent court be said
to have exceeded its authority or gravely abused its discretion in issuing its questioned orders
denying petitioners' motion below for a writ of preliminary injunction allegedly "to maintain the
status quo" and stay demolition and removal of their illegal constructions found to be public
nuisances per se and serious hazards to public health, 8 by virtue of the following principal
considerations:
1. As found in respondent court's extended two-page order of February 9, 1970 9 and ten-page
order of March 30, 1970 10 denying reconsideration, petitioners' motions to maintain the
alleged status quo were based on the same grounds already reiterated before and denied by
then Judge (now appellate associate justice) Andres Reyes who was then presiding over
respondent court in an order dated September 19, 1968, 11 which was upheld in a similar action
for certiorari by the Court of Appeals in its decision of February 4, 1969. 12
2. In both said proceedings before Judge Reyes and the Court of Appeals, petitioners
succeeded in obtaining restraining orders or preliminary writs of injunction to stay demolition,
which were dissolved upon said court's handing down their order or decision on the merits of the
injunction petitions submitted by petitioners. With petitioners definitely having lost their bid to
reopen the cadastral proceedings to pursue their alleged claims of ownership over the lands
occupied by their constructions, supra, no further reason or justification exists to continue the
stay order against the removal and demolition of their constructions.
3. As was well stated in then Judge Reyes' order of September 19, 1968, petitioners failed after
several hearings "to show that they have even a color of title to entitle them to exercise the right
of possession to the premises in question. On the other hand, the land is admittedly public land
and consequently the petitioners have no right to possession thereof....." 13
4. Petitioners' lack of right to the injunction sought by them was further shown in the Court of
Appeals' decision of February 4, 1969, where it noted that "their very evidence, their
documentary proof, would justify that their houses were built upon land of the Metropolitan Water
District, that is to say, of the Philippine Government, therefore, such tax declarations of
petitioners' houses themselves are the best proof of their admission that their possession of the
lands they occupy was not and could not be adverse" 14 and that "their shanties pose a veritable
danger to public health." 15
5. No error, much less abuse of authority or discretion, could be attributed to respondent court's
statements and reasons for denying the injunction sought by petitioners, as per its order of
March 30, 1970, denying reconsideration, as follows:
... The issues raised by the pleadings to determine whether or not the
petitioners are entitled to a writ of preliminary injunction, or a status quo, in
the words of the petitioners, had been resolved several times not only by

this Court but also by the Court of Appeals, and this Court believes that
insofar as the same grounds are concerned, they are res judicata
xxx xxx xxx
Lastly, the Court does not lose sight of the fact that the land in question is
public land, in the sense that it is untitled. However, as the government now
contends, the land in question is clothed with a public purpose to be utilized
for public service by the government. This fact has not been denied and as
a matter of fact, the petitioners admit that the land in question is public land.
...
6. The question of validity or unconstitutionality of municipal ordinance No. 89-Amended need
not be resolved in this proceeding, as it should first properly be submitted for resolution of the
lower court in the action below. Suffice it to note that the Solicitor General appears to have
correctly stated the actual situation in that petitioners do not dispute the authority of the San
Juan council to pass ordinances providing for the summary abatement of public nuisances, and
that the ordinance in question may not be faulted for being ex post facto in application since it
"does not seek to punish an action done which was innocent before the passage of the same.
Rather, it punishes the present and continuing act of unlawful occupancy of public property or
properties intended for public use." 16At any rate, the decisive point is that independently of the
said ordinance, petitioners' constructions which have been duly found to be public nuisances per
se (without provision for accumulation or disposal of waste matters and constructed without
building permits contiguously to and therefore liable to pollute one of the main water pipelines
which supplies potable water to the Greater Manila area) may be abated without judicial
proceedings under our Civil Code. 17
As stated in Sitchon vs. Aquino, 18 the police power of the state justifies the abatement or
destruction by summary proceedings of public nuisances per se. No error, much less any abuse
of discretion, grave or otherwise, may therefore be attributed against respondent court in having
issued its orders denying for imperative reasons of public health and welfare the preliminary
injunction sought again by petitioners to allow them to continue occupying the land in question
with their condemned constructions and structures.
ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the petition. The temporary restraining
order heretofore issued on April 20, 1970 is hereby dissolved and such dissolution is declared
immediately executory. No pronouncement as to costs.

5
G.R. No. L-41941
January 9, 1936 JUAN BENGZON, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
THE PROVINCE OF PANGASINAN, defendant-appellee. Mario Bengzon for appellant.
Provincial Fiscal Fajardo for appellee.In this case the motion for reconsideration of the decision
promulgated on October 26, 1935, was granted and the case set for re-argument on December
17, 1935. The court having had the benefit of the oral argument of counsel on the issue of their
present value of the premises of the plaintiff-appellant involved in this suit, its decision of
October 26, 1935, is amended to read as follows:
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan in
action for damages for maintaining a nuisance continuously injurious to the plaintiff
and his family by reason of the maintenance and operation of a stand pipe, pumping
station and open reservoir for the storage of water upon the premises immediately
adjacent to the plaintiff's residence.
It appears from the stipulation of facts that the plaintiff owns a house constructed of
wood and covered with nipa on Avenida Rizal, municipality of Lingayen, Province of
Pangasinan; that he had and his family have resided there for twenty-seven years, his
family being composed of eight members. Their house is two stories constructed upon
a lot which contains 720 square meter. Upon the adjacent lot the defendant, during the
years 1924 and 1925, constructed a reinforced concrete stand pipe 28 meters high
and nine meters in diameter. Within the base of this cylindrical tank there are three
machines: One electrical, one gasoline and one crude oil. On the side of the tank
nearest the plaintiff's residence and at a distance of 3.4 meters is a chimney which
rises to about the height of the gable of the house. The tank itself is 3.8 meters from
the house of the plaintiff.
In March, 1927, the plaintiff protested to the governor of the province for the manner in
which the plant was being operated and asked that he be indemnified for the value of
his house and lot so that he might move his family and his effects to another
residence. In this protest he stated:
"Expide humo y olor desagradable que penetran en el interior de mi casa, aun
cerradas sus ventanas, molestos y perjudiciales a nuestra salud. La chimenea de la
maquina, que esta en en el lado del tanque, contiguo al alero de mi casa, aunque esta
envuela en la cabeza como una red de acero chispea en ocasiones en que detro de la
red se ha acumulado por el humo bastante suciedad inflamable, y si algumas tiguo de
mi casa, techada de nipa, ella naturalmente nada de su contenido."El tangue nos
asusta y ponne en en peligro de ser aplastadoos por el, siempre que ocurre un
tembor como ya ha ocurrido varias veces desde su levantamiento, por sus porciones
y condiciones mencionadas, y la circunstancia de estar plantado sobre terreno blado,
bajo y anegadizo. No es improbable, ni menos increible, que este tanque volcara o se
tumbra, si ocurriera en Lingayen un temblor tan fuerte como el ocurrido el ao 63 u 80
en Manila, o el occurrido en Japon en 1923, o en la fecha 7 de estee mes, que
derrumbo muchas casas, matando a millares de personas. Ninguna personans, por
sabia que sea, puede dar certidumre y seguridad de que no se tumbaria, por
cualquier terremoto fuerte que occuriera aqui en Lingayen, maxime, estado cargada
de CIEN MIL galones de agua en su parte superior. Y si en ocasion en que yo mi
familia estuvieramos dormidos, ocurrienran el temblor y el volacamiento del TANQUE
hacia mi casa ay de nosotros!" After making an ocular inspection of the plant and
hearing the testimony of the witnesses, the trial court came to the conclusion that
although the operation of the pumps and the tank creates some annoyance and
discomfort to the plaintiff, these are but ordinary and incidental to the reasonable

conduct of the defendant's water system. The court further held that inasmuch as the
plaintiff did not protest till after the plan was constructed, his action is barred for
laches.
For this later conclusion of law the trial court cites no authority and we are not aware
of any. It is to be noted that this is not a suit for equitable relief but an action for
damages. The doctrine that one who consents to permits or acquiesces in the erection
of structure with knowledge of the purpose for which it is to be put and the
consequences of its uses are productive of a nuisance, is not applicable here, for the
plaintiff neither consented to, permitted or acquiesced in the erection of the structure;
nor could it fairly be said that he had knowledge in advance of all the consequences of
the erection and the manner of operation of the plant here in question. The amended
complaint in this case was filed on January 4, 1930, from which we infer that the suit
was instituted some time before that date. But there is nothing in the record which
warrants the inference of an estoppel by acquiescence.
The learned trial judge, in his decision of January 27, 1934, made a careful and
exhaustive analysis both of the law and the evidence in this case. But after a careful
examination of the entire record, we cannot accept his conclusion that the evidence a
case of actionable nuisance.
In locating its pumping station within 3.8 meters from the house of the plaintiff, the
defendant should reasonably have foreseen that the noise, vibrations, smoke, odor
and sparks coming from the plant during its operation, not only during the day but
during the night as well, would cause a constant annoyance, discomfort and danger
both to the property of the plaintiff and the health and comport of himself and his
family. The chimney which is just opposite the plaintiff's house at a distance of only
3.4 meters emits smoke, gases of crude oil and gasoline and occasionally sparks well.
The plaintiff testified that at times the smoke blinds him and his family affecting their
lungs and their eyes and that the noise and vibrations affect their sleep. As against the
testimony of the plaintiff, who is exposed day in and day out to these conditions, and
of his neighbors who corroborate him, the brief ocular inspection made by the court on
one day, although conducted with eminent fairness, seems to us to be entitled to less
weight. The witnesses for the defendant, its employees, naturally minimize the harmful
effects to the plaintiff of the operation of the machines in the pumping plant. But the
evidence as a whole leaves us with clear conviction that the construction and
operation of this pumping plant in such close proximity to the plaintiff's residence has
rendered the same practically uninhabitable without exposing to risk the comfort,
health and, in case of fire, even the live of the plaintiff and his family.
We find from the preponderance of the evidence that the fair present value of the
appellant's premises involved in this suit is P3,000; and as, under the circumstances,
the maintenance of the nuisance is practically tantamount to an expropriation, we
have concluded that the defendant-appellee should be and it is hereby required and
adjudged to pay by him to it of a valid conveyance of the premises, free of liens and
incumbrances, reserving to the plaintiff-appellant the right to remove his improvements
therefrom within three months from the date of payment of the said P3,000.
The judgment appealed from is reserved and the cause is remanded for further
proceedings in accordance with this decision. No special pronouncement as to costs
in this instance.

6
G.R. No. L-18390 December 20, 1971
PEDRO J. VELASCO, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
MANILA ELECTRIC CO., ET AL., defendants-appellees.
RESOLUTION

REYES, J.B.L., J.:


Both appellant Velasco and appellee Manila Electric have filed their respective motions to
reconsider the decision of this Court dated 6 August 1971. For the sake of clarity, the two
motions will be here dealt with separately.
A APPELLANT'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
The thrust of this motion is that the decision has incorrectly assessed appellant's damages and
unreasonably reduced their amount. It is first argued that the decision erred in not taking into
account, in computing appellant's loss of income, the appellant's undeclared income of
P8,338.20, assessed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue for the year 1954, in addition to his
declared income for that year (P10,975), it being argued that appellant never claim any other
source of income besides his professional earnings. Several circumstances of record disprove
this claim. (1) That the amount of P8,338.20 was kept apart from ordinary earnings of appellant
for the year 1954 (P10,975), and not declared with it, is in itself circumstantial evidence that it
was not of comparable character. (2) If it was part of his ordinary professional income, appellant
was guilty of fraud in not declaring it and he should not be allowed to derive advantage from his
own wrongdoing. (3) The decision pointed out that by including the undeclared amount in
appellant's disclosed professional earning for 1954, to a grand total of P19,313.20, the income
for said year becomes abnormally high (in fact, more that double), as compared to appellant's
earnings for the preceding years, 1951-1953, that averaged not more that P7,000 per annum.
Such abnormality justifies the Court's refusal to consider the undisclosed P8,338.20 as part of
appellant's regular income for the purpose of computing the reduction in his earnings as a result
of the complained acts of appellee. (4) Finally, the true source of the undeclared amount lay in
appellant's own knowledge, but he chose not to disclose it; neither did he call upon the
assessing revenue officer to reveal its character.
Appellant Velasco urges that the damages awarded him are inadequate considering the present
high cost of living, and calls attention to Article 1250 of the present Civil Code, and to the
doctrines laid down in People vs. Pantoja G.R. No. L-18793, 11 October 1968, 25 SCRA 468.
We do not deem the rules invoked to be applicable. Article 1250 of the Civil Code is to the effect
that:
ART. 1250. In case an extraordinary inflation or deflation of the currency
stipulated should supervene, the value of the currency at the time of the
establishment of the obligation shall be the basis of payment, unless there is
an agreement to the contrary.

It can be seen from the employment of the words "extraordinary inflation or deflation of the
currency stipulated" that the legal rule envisages contractual obligations where a specific
currency is selected by the parties as the medium of payment; hence it is inapplicable to
obligations arising from tort and not from contract, as in the case at bar, besides there being no
showing that the factual assumption of the article has come into existence. As to the Pantoja
ruling, the regard paid to the decreasing purchase of the peso was considered a factor in
estimating the indemnity due for loss of life, which in itself is not susceptible of accurate
estimation. It should not be forgotten that the damages awarded to herein appellant were by no
means full compensatory damages, since the decision makes clear that appellant, by his failure
to minimize his damages by means easily within his reach, was declared entitled only to a
reduced award for the nuisance sued upon (Steel vs. Rail & River Coal Co., 43 Ohio App.
228,182 N.E. 552); and the amount granted him had already taken into account the changed
economic circumstances.
Nor is the fact that appellant lost a chance to sell his house for P95,000 to Jose Valencia
constitute a ground for an award of damages in that amount. As remarked in the main decision,
there is no adequate proof of loss, since there is no evidence of the depreciation in the market
value of the house in question caused by the acts of defendant Meralco The house, after all, has
remained with appellant and he admits in his motion for reconsideration (page 48) that
properties have increased in value by 200% since then.
For the foregoing reasons, the motion for reconsideration is denied.
B APPELLEE'S MOTION TO RECONSIDER
Appellee Manila Electric Company argues that in case the noise emitted by its substation can
not be brought down to the 50 decibel level imposed by our decision in chief, the remedy of the
appellant would be to compel appellee Company to acquire and pay for the value of the house,
under the so-called doctrine of "inverse condemnation and cites in support our doctrines in
Bengzon vs. Province of Pangasinan, 62 Phil. 816, and Republic vs. Philippine Long Distance
Telephone Co., L-18841, 27 January 1969, 26 SCRA 620-634. But as pointed out by appellant
in his opposition, this issue was not raised, nor was the inverse condemnation doctrine invoked
in the trial court, so that it would be improper to consider it on appeal, and worse still, on a
motion for reconsideration of the decision on the merits. Furthermore, there is no showing that it
is impossible to reduce the substation noise to the level decreed by this Court in the main
decision. On the contrary, appellee's own evidence is that the noise can be reduced by erecting
a wall barrier on the line separating the substation lot and the property of appellant.
The version that appellee did not erect the wall because of the objections of appellant's wife was
denied by her, and there is no preponderance of evidence in favor of appellee on this point.
Moreover, since it was appellant Dr. Velasco who complained, his wife's objection would not
suffice to constitute a waiver of his claim.
As to the petition to increase the sound level prescribed by his Court from 50 to 55 decibels on
the ground that present "ambient sound already ranges from 44 to 55 decibels in the mornings",
the same can not be granted. As shown by the evidence at the trial, the intensity of the noise
emitted by appellee's transformers are most objectionable at night, when people are
endeavoring to rest and sleep in compensation for the fatigue and tensions accumulated during
daytime.
WHEREFORE, appellee's motion to reconsider is likewise denied.

7
G.R. No. L-8646

March 31, 1915

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
BENITO SIY CONG BIEN and CO KONG, defendants.
BENITO SIY CONG BIENG, appellant.
Tirso de Irureta Goyena for appellant.
Attorney-General Avancea for appellee.
CARSON, J.:
Benito Siy Cong Bieng and Co Kong, the defendants in this action, were convicted in the court
below of a violation of section 7 of Act No. 1655 of the Philippine Commission, known as the
Pure Food and Drugs Sct, and each of them was sentenced to pay a fine of P10 and one-half of
the costs of the proceedings. From this judgment the defendant Benito Siy Cong Bieng alone
appealed. The only error assigned by counsel for the appellant in his brief on this appeal is as
follows:
The court erred in holding that the accused Benito Siy Cong Bieng had violated the
provision of Act No. 1655 and was criminally responsible, in the same way as his
agent Co Kong, notwithstanding the fact that he had never had any knowledge of the
acts performed by the latter, which are the subject matter of the complaint, to wit, sale
of adulterated coffee or of any kind of coffee.
The record discloses that Co Kong, while in charge of appellant's tienda (store) and acting as his
agent and employee, sold, in the ordinary course of business coffee which had been adulterated
by the admixture of peanuts and other extraneous substances. The circumstances under which
the sale was made clearly appear from the following statement of facts which was read into the
record under an agreement signed by both defendants and by all the attorneys in the case:

While it is true that, as a rule and on principles of abstract justice, men are not and should not be
held criminally responsible for acts committed by them without guilty knowledge and criminal or
at least evil intent (Bishop's New Crim. Law, Vol. I, sec. 286), the courts have always recognized
the power of the legislature, on grounds of public policy and compelled by necessity, "the great
master of things," to forbid in a limited class of cases the doing of certain acts, and to make their
commission criminal without regard to the intent of the doer. (U. S. vs. Go Chico, 14 Phil. Rep.,
128; U. S. vs. Ah Chong, 15 Phil. Rep., 488.) In such cases no judicial authority has the power to
require, in the enforcement of the law, such knowledge or motive to be shown. As was said in
the case of State vs. McBrayer (98 N. C., 619, 623):
It is a mistaken notion that positive, willful intent, as distinguished from a mere intent,
to violate the criminal law, is an essential ingredient in every criminal offense, and that
where there is the absence of such intent there is no offense; this is especially so as
to statutory offenses. When the statute plainly forbids an act to be done, and it is done
by some person, the law implies conclusively the guilty intent, although the offender
was honestly mistaken as to the meaning of the law he violates. When the language is
plain and positive, and the offense is not made to depend upon the positive, will intent
and purpose, nothing is left to interpretation.
In the case of United States vs. Go Chico (14 Phil. Rep., 128, 138) it was said that: "Care must
be exercised in distinguishing the difference between the intent to commit the crime and the
intent to perpetrate the act."
The intent to commit an act prohibited and penalized by statute must, of course, always appear
before a conviction upon a charge of the commission of a crime can be maintained. But whether
or not the existence of guilty knowledge and criminal or evil intent, that is to say, the conscious
intent or will to violate the statute, just also appear in order to sustain a judgment of conviction is
a question which must be determined in each case by reference to the language of the statute
defining the offense.

It is hereby stipulated and admitted by both parties that the defendant Benito Siy Cong
Bieng is the owner oftienda No. 326, Calle Santo Cristo, and that Co Kong is his agent
duly installed thereon and performing the services of his employment; that on July 2,
1912, the defendant Co Kong in the ordinary course of the business sold a certain
food product designated by the name of coffee; that said coffee was adulterated and
falsely branded, as alleged in the complaint; 'that the defendant Benito Siy Con Bieng
really had no knowledge that his agent Co Kong would sell said coffee or any special
brand of coffee, such as the aforesaid adulterated and falsely branded coffee, as is
specified in the complaint; it was not manufactured or put up by or with the knowledge
of the defendant Benito Siy Cong Bieng;' and the defendants Benito Siy Cong Bieng
and Co Kong furthermore agree that this stipulation shall have the effects of, and may
be used by the prosecution as, an admission of the facts herein established."

The growing interest manifested during the past decade on the subject if pure food has been
reflected in the passage of the Federal Pure Food and Drugs Act of June 30, 1906, and in the
passage of similar acts by a number of the state legislatures. The Philippine Pure Food and
Drugs Act (No. 1655) is, with some light modifications, substantially identical with the Federal
act. Its prohibitions of the sales of adulterated foodstuffs and drugs are absolute and general.
Indeed, they could hardly be expressed in terms more explicit and comprehensive. The statutory
definition of the offense embraces no word implying that the forbidden act shall be done
knowingly or willfully, and if it did, the design and purpose of the Act would in many instances be
thwarted and practically defeated. The intention of the Legislature is plain that persons engaged
in the sale drugs and food products cannot set up their ignorance of the nature and quality of the
commodities sold by them as a defense. We conclude therefore that under the Act proof of the
facts of the sale of adulterated drugs and food products as prohibited by the Act is sufficient to
sustain a conviction, without proof of guilty knowledge of the fact of adulteration, or criminal
intent in the making of the sale other than that necessarily implied by the statute in the doing of
the prohibited act.

The only questions, therefore, which need be considered on this appeal are: first, whether a
conviction under the Pure Food and Drugs Act can be sustained where it appears that the sale
of adulterated food products charged in the information was made without guilty knowledge of
the fact of adulteration, and without conscious intent to violate the statute; and second, whether
a principal can be convicted under the Act for a sale of adulterated goods made by one of his
agents or employees in the regular course of his employment, but without knowledge on the part
of the principal of the fact that the goods sold were adulterated.

Counsel for appellant has cited a number of cases touching the various phases of the question
now under discussion, but it will be sufficient for our purposes to limit ourselves to some
reference to the cases wherein prosecutions have arisen upon charges of violations of pure food
laws. In some of these statutes guilty knowledge and criminal intent is made essential to the
commission of the offense prohibited, and of course where such is the case guilty knowledge
and criminal intent must appear before a conviction can be sustained. But the overwhelming
weight of authority construing statutes, generally known as pure food laws, is to the effect that in

8
the absence of language in the statute making guilty knowledge and criminal intent an essential
element of the acts prohibited thereunder, it is not necessary to charge or to prove that
prohibited sales of food products are made with guilty knowledge or criminal intent in order to
sustain convictions under such statutes.
Supported by numerous citations of authority, Thornton in his work on "Pure Food and Drugs,"
says with reference to the Federal act of June 30, 1906: "The intent with which these several
violations of the statute is done is immaterial. There may be no intention to violate the statute,
yet if the act produces the result forbidden by the statute, an offense has been committed." (Sec.
119, p. 202.)
And again: "Repeated statements have been made in this work that an intent to violate the
statute is not necessary in order to incur the infliction of a penalty for the sale or keeping for sale
[of] adulterated or impure food or drugs. An act performed with no intent to violate a purefoods
statute is just as much a crime under this Federal Pure Food and Drug Act of June 30, 1906, as
if a criminal design to violate it was intended and entertained at the time of its performance. This
rule extends to sales or other acts by servants." (Sec. 512, p. 613.)
And again, at section 559, the same author, citing numerous authorities, shows that in
prosecutions for the sale of adulterated milk it has been quite uniformly held that it is no defense
that the accused had no knowledge of the fact of alteration, and that it need not be alleged or
proven that he had such knowledge, in the absence of special words in the statute requiring the
sale to be made with knowledge of the adulteration.
In the case of People vs. Kibler (106 N. Y., 321), the court said: "It is notorious that the
adulteration of food products has grown to proportions so enormous as to menace the health
and safety of the people. Ingenuity keeps pace with greed, and the careless and heedless
consumers are exposed to increasing perils. The redress such evils is a plain duty but a difficult
task. Experience such taught the lesson that repressive measures which depend for their
efficiency upon proof of the dealer's knowledge and of his intent to deceive and defraud are of
title use and rarely accomplish their purpose. Such an emergency may justify legislation which
throws upon the seller the entire responsibility of the purity and soundness of what he sells and
compels him to know and to be certain."
Upon the question of the liability of the master for the violation of a pure food law by his clerk
committed without his knowledge or consent, the leading case would seem to be Groff vs.
State (171 Ind., 547). In that case the court said:
The distribution of impure or adulterated food for consumption is an act perilous to
human life and health; hence, a dangerous act, and cannot be made innocent and
harmless by the want of knowledge or the good faith of the seller.
Guilty intent is not an element in the crime . . . . hence, the rule that governs in that
large class of offenses, which rests upon criminal intent, has no application here.
Cases like this are founded largely upon the principle that he who voluntarily deals in
perilous articles must be cautious how he deals.
The sale of oleomargarine in an adulterated form, or as a substitute for butter, is a
crime against the public health. Whoever, therefore, engages in its sale, or in the sale
of any article interdicted by the law, does so at his peril, and impliedly undertakes to
conduct it with whatever degree of care is necessary to secure compliance with the

law. He may conduct the business himself, or by clerks or agents but if he chooses the
latter the duty is imposed upon him to see to it that those selected by him to sell the
article to the public obey the law in the matter of selling; otherwise, he, as the principal
and the responsible proprietor of the business, is liable for the penalty imposed by the
statute.
See also the cases of State vs. Bockstruck (136 Mo., 335), and Commonwealth vs. Vieth (155
Mass., 442).
Labatt in his work on Master and Servant (vol. 7, sec. 2569) discusses the general rule as to
liability of the master for criminal conduct of his servant as follows: "Although the courts are in
accord as to the master's liability when he participates in the criminal conduct of his servant,
there is a decided conflict of opinion as to his responsibility when the act of the servant is without
the master's knowledge or connivance and against his express orders. These cases can be
reconciled to some extent by the difference in the language employed in the statutes to define
the various offenses, and the policy of the statutes themselves. Wherever guilty intent is an
essential ingredient of the crime, it would be impossible to fix responsibility upon the master for
his servant's transgression of the law, if the master did not harbor such an intent. . . . In most
instances where the master is held to be responsible criminally for the wrongful conduct of his
servant, it is on the theory that the act complained of is positively forbidden, and therefore guilty
intention is not essential to a conviction of the offense."
And in section 2573, supported by numerous citations from cases dealing with infringement of
liquor laws and pure food laws, he say: "I f certain acts are positively forbidden by statute, and it
is the policy of the law to prohibit them, irrespective of what the motive or intent of the person
violating statute may be, no principle of justice is violated by holding the master responsible for
the conduct of his servant on the same theory that he is held responsible civilly."
Upon the reasoning and the authority of the cases there referred to, we are of opinion that even
in the absence of express provisions in the statute, the appellant in the case at bar was properly
held criminally responsible for the act of his agent in selling the adulterated coffee, and indeed it
seems write clear that his liability is expressly contemplated under the provision of section 12 of
Act No. 1655 of the Philippine Commission, which is as follows:
The word "person" as used in this Act shall be construed to import both the plural and
the singular, as the case demands, and shall include corporations, companies,
societies, associations, and other commercial or legal entities. When construing and
enforcing the provisions of this Act, the act, omission, or failure of any officer, agent, or
other person acting for or employed by any corporation, company society, association,
or other commercial or legal entity, within the scope of his employment or office, shall
in every case be also deemed to be the act, omission, or failure of such corporation,
company, society, association, or other commercial or legal entity, as well as that of
the person.
It is contended that the express provisions of this section, referring as they do to the liability of
any "corporation, society, association, or other commercial or legal entity," do not include cases
of agency of a private individual. We are of opinion, however, that the words "commercial or
legal entity" as used in this provision is sufficiently comprehensive to include a private individual
engaged in business who makes use of agent or agents, employee or employees, in the conduct
of his business; and even if this position could be successfully controverted we would still be of
opinion that the provisions of this section clearly and definitely indicate the policy of the statute to
prohibit and penalize the acts forbidden thereunder, irrespective of what the motive or intent of

9
the person violating the statute may be, and to hold the master in all cases responsible for the
act, omission or failure of his servant, within the scope of his employment, whether he be a
private individual, a corporation, company, society, association, or other commercial or legal
entity.
We conclude that the judgment of conviction entered in the court below should be affirmed, with
the costs of this instances against the appellant. So ordered.
G.R. No. 61516 March 21, 1989
FLORENTINA A. GUILATCO, petitioner,
vs.
CITY OF DAGUPAN, and the HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
Nolan R. Evangelista for petitioner.
The City Legal Officer for respondents.

SARMIENTO, J.:
In a civil action 1 for recovery of damages filed by the petitioner Florentina A. Guilatco, the
following judgment was rendered against the respondent City of Dagupan:
xxx
(1) Ordering defendant City of Dagupan to pay plaintiff actual damages in
the amount of P 15,924 (namely P8,054.00 as hospital, medical and other
expenses [Exhs. H to H-60], P 7,420.00 as lost income for one (1) year
[Exh. F] and P 450.00 as bonus). P 150,000.00 as moral damages, P
50,000.00 as exemplary damages, and P 3,000.00 as attorney's fees, and
litigation expenses, plus costs and to appropriate through its Sangguniang
Panglunsod (City Council) said amounts for said purpose;
(2) Dismissing plaintiffs complaint as against defendant City Engr. Alfredo
G. Tangco; and
(3) Dismissing the counterclaims of defendant City of Dagupan and
defendant City Engr. Alfredo G. Tangco, for lack of merit. 2
The facts found by the trial court are as follows: 3
It would appear from the evidences that on July 25, 1978, herein plaintiff, a
Court Interpreter of Branch III, CFI--Dagupan City, while she was about to
board a motorized tricycle at a sidewalk located at Perez Blvd. (a National
Road, under the control and supervision of the City of Dagupan)
accidentally fell into a manhole located on said sidewalk, thereby causing

her right leg to be fractured. As a result thereof, she had to be hospitalized,


operated on, confined, at first at the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital, from
July 25 to August 3, 1978 (or for a period of 16 days). She also incurred
hospitalization, medication and other expenses to the tune of P 8,053.65
(Exh. H to H-60) or a total of P 10,000.00 in all, as other receipts were either
lost or misplaced; during the period of her confinement in said two hospitals,
plaintiff suffered severe or excruciating pain not only on her right leg which
was fractured but also on all parts of her body; the pain has persisted even
after her discharge from the Medical City General Hospital on October 9,
1978, to the present. Despite her discharge from the Hospital plaintiff is
presently still wearing crutches and the Court has actually observed that she
has difficulty in locomotion. From the time of the mishap on July 25, 1978 up
to the present, plaintiff has not yet reported for duty as court interpreter, as
she has difficulty of locomotion in going up the stairs of her office, located
near the city hall in Dagupan City. She earns at least P 720.00 a month
consisting of her monthly salary and other means of income, but since July
25, 1978 up to the present she has been deprived of said income as she
has already consumed her accrued leaves in the government service. She
has lost several pounds as a result of the accident and she is no longer her
former jovial self, she has been unable to perform her religious, social, and
other activities which she used to do prior to the incident.
Dr. Norberto Felix and Dr. Dominado Manzano of the Provincial Hospital, as
well as Dr. Antonio Sison of the Medical City General Hospital in
Mandaluyong Rizal (Exh. I; see also Exhs. F, G, G-1 to G-19) have
confirmed beyond shadow of any doubt the extent of the fracture and
injuries sustained by the plaintiff as a result of the mishap. On the other
hand, Patrolman Claveria, De Asis and Cerezo corroborated the testimony
of the plaintiff regarding the mishap and they have confirmed the existence
of the manhole (Exhs. A, B, C and sub-exhibits) on the sidewalk along
Perez Blvd., at the time of the incident on July 25, 1978 which was partially
covered by a concrete flower pot by leaving gaping hole about 2 ft. long by 1
1/2 feet wide or 42 cms. wide by 75 cms. long by 150 cms. deep (see Exhs.
D and D-1).
Defendant Alfredo Tangco, City Engineer of Dagupan City and admittedly
ex-officio Highway Engineer, City Engineer of the Public Works and Building
Official for Dagupan City, admitted the existence of said manhole along the
sidewalk in Perez Blvd., admittedly a National Road in front of the Luzon
Colleges. He also admitted that said manhole (there are at least 11 in all in
Perez Blvd.) is owned by the National Government and the sidewalk on
which they are found along Perez Blvd. are also owned by the National
Government. But as City Engineer of Dagupan City, he supervises the
maintenance of said manholes or drainage system and sees to it that they
are properly covered, and the job is specifically done by his subordinates,
Mr. Santiago de Vera (Maintenance Foreman) and Engr. Ernesto Solermo
also a maintenance Engineer. In his answer defendant Tangco expressly
admitted in par. 7-1 thereof, that in his capacity as ex-officio Highway
Engineer for Dagupan City he exercises supervision and control over
National roads, including the Perez Blvd. where the incident happened.
On appeal by the respondent City of Dagupan, the appellate court 4 reversed the lower court
findings on the ground that no evidence was presented by the plaintiff- appellee to prove that the
City of Dagupan had "control or supervision" over Perez Boulevard. 5

10
The city contends that Perez Boulevard, where the fatal drainage hole is located, is a national
road that is not under the control or supervision of the City of Dagupan. Hence, no liability should
attach to the city. It submits that it is actually the Ministry of Public Highways that has control or
supervision through the Highway Engineer which, by mere coincidence, is held concurrently by
the same person who is also the City Engineer of Dagupan.
After examination of the findings and conclusions of the trial court and those of the appellate
court, as well as the arguments presented by the parties, we agree with those of the trial court
and of the petitioner. Hence, we grant the petition.
In this review on certiorari, we have simplified the errors assigned by the petitioner to a single
issue: whether or not control or supervision over a national road by the City of Dagupan exists,
in effect binding the city to answer for damages in accordance with article 2189 of the Civil
Code.
The liability of public corporations for damages arising from injuries suffered by pedestrians from
the defective condition of roads is expressed in the Civil Code as follows:
Article 2189. Provinces, cities and municipalities shall be liable for damages
for the death of, or injuries suffered by, any person by reason of the
defective condition of roads, streets, bridges, public buildings, and other
public works under their control or supervision.
It is not even necessary for the defective road or street to belong to the province, city or
municipality for liability to attach. The article only requires that either control or supervision is
exercised over the defective road or street. 6
In the case at bar, this control or supervision is provided for in the charter of Dagupan and is
exercised through the City Engineer who has the following duties:
Sec. 22. The City Engineer--His powers, duties and compensation-There
shall be a city engineer, who shall be in charge of the department of
Engineering and Public Works. He shall receive a salary of not exceeding
three thousand pesos per annum. He shall have the following duties:

The express provision in the charter holding the city not liable for damages or injuries sustained
by persons or property due to the failure of any city officer to enforce the provisions of the
charter, can not be used to exempt the city, as in the case at bar.8
The charter only lays down general rules regulating the liability of the city. On the other hand
article 2189 appliesin particular to the liability arising from "defective streets, public buildings and
other public works." 9
The City Engineer, Mr. Alfredo G. Tangco, admits that he exercises control or supervision over
the said road. But the city can not be excused from liability by the argument that the duty of the
City Engineer to supervise or control the said provincial road belongs more to his functions as an
ex-officio Highway Engineer of the Ministry of Public Highway than as a city officer. This is
because while he is entitled to an honorarium from the Ministry of Public Highways, his salary
from the city government substantially exceeds the honorarium.
We do not agree.
Alfredo G. Tangco "(i)n his official capacity as City Engineer of Dagupan, as Ex- Officio Highway
Engineer, as Ex-Officio City Engineer of the Bureau of Public Works, and, last but not the least,
as Building Official for Dagupan City, receives the following monthly compensation: P 1,810.66
from Dagupan City; P 200.00 from the Ministry of Public Highways; P 100.00 from the Bureau of
Public Works and P 500.00 by virtue of P.D. 1096, respectively." 10This function of supervision
over streets, public buildings, and other public works pertaining to the City Engineer is coursed
through a Maintenance Foreman and a Maintenance Engineer.11 Although these last two
officials are employees of the National Government, they are detailed with the City of Dagupan
and hence receive instruction and supervision from the city through the City Engineer.
There is, therefore, no doubt that the City Engineer exercises control or supervision over the
public works in question. Hence, the liability of the city to the petitioner under article 2198 of the
Civil Code is clear.
Be all that as it may, the actual damages awarded to the petitioner in the amount of P 10,000.00
should be reduced to the proven expenses of P 8,053.65 only. The trial court should not have
rounded off the amount. In determining actual damages, the court can not rely on "speculation,
conjecture or guess work" as to the amount. Without the actual proof of loss, the award of actual
damages becomes erroneous. 12

xxx
(j) He shall have the care and custody of the public system of waterworks
and sewers, and all sources of water supply, and shall control, maintain and
regulate the use of the same, in accordance with the ordinance relating
thereto; shall inspect and regulate the use of all private systems for
supplying water to the city and its inhabitants, and all private sewers, and
their connection with the public sewer system.
xxx
The same charter of Dagupan also provides that the laying out, construction and improvement of
streets, avenues and alleys and sidewalks, and regulation of the use thereof, may be legislated
by the Municipal Board . 7 Thus the charter clearly indicates that the city indeed has supervision
and control over the sidewalk where the open drainage hole is located.

On the other hand, moral damages may be awarded even without proof of pecuniary loss,
inasmuch as the determination of the amount is discretionary on the court.13 Though incapable
of pecuniary estimation, moral damages are in the nature of an award to compensate the
claimant for actual injury suffered but which for some reason can not be proven. However, in
awarding moral damages, the following should be taken into consideration:
(1) First, the proximate cause of the injury must be the claimee's acts.14
(2) Second, there must be compensatory or actual damages as satisfactory
proof of the factual basis for damages.15
(3) Third, the award of moral damages must be predicated on any of the
cases enumerated in the Civil Code. 16

11
In the case at bar, the physical suffering and mental anguish suffered by the petitioner were
proven. Witnesses from the petitioner's place of work testified to the degeneration in her
disposition-from being jovial to depressed. She refrained from attending social and civic
activities.17
Nevertheless the award of moral damages at P 150,000.00 is excessive. Her handicap was not
permanent and disabled her only during her treatment which lasted for one year. Though
evidence of moral loss and anguish existed to warrant the award of damages,18 the moderating
hand of the law is called for. The Court has time and again called attention to the reprehensible
propensity of trial judges to award damages without basis,19 resulting in exhorbitant amounts.20
Although the assessment of the amount is better left to the discretion of the trial court 21 under
preceding jurisprudence, the amount of moral damages should be reduced to P 20,000.00.
As for the award of exemplary damages, the trial court correctly pointed out the basis:
To serve as an example for the public good, it is high time that the Court,
through this case, should serve warning to the city or cities concerned to be
more conscious of their duty and responsibility to their constituents,
especially when they are engaged in construction work or when there are
manholes on their sidewalks or streets which are uncovered, to immediately
cover the same, in order to minimize or prevent accidents to the poor
pedestrians.22
Too often in the zeal to put up "public impact" projects such as beautification drives, the end is
more important than the manner in which the work is carried out. Because of this obsession for
showing off, such trivial details as misplaced flower pots betray the careless execution of the
projects, causing public inconvenience and inviting accidents.
Pending appeal by the respondent City of Dagupan from the trial court to the appellate court, the
petitioner was able to secure an order for garnishment of the funds of the City deposited with the
Philippine National Bank, from the then presiding judge, Hon. Willelmo Fortun. This order for
garnishment was revoked subsequently by the succeeding presiding judge, Hon. Romeo D.
Magat, and became the basis for the petitioner's motion for reconsideration which was also
denied. 23
We rule that the execution of the judgment of the trial court pending appeal was premature. We
do not find any good reason to justify the issuance of an order of execution even before the
expiration of the time to appeal .24
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed decision and resolution of the
respondent Court of Appeals are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the decision of the
trial court, dated March 12, 1979 and amended on March 13, 1979, is hereby REINSTATED with
the indicated modifications as regards the amounts awarded:
(1) Ordering the defendant City of Dagupan to pay the plaintiff actual
damages in the amount of P 15,924 (namely P 8,054.00 as hospital,
medical and other expenses; P 7,420.00 as lost income for one (1) year and
P 450.00 as bonus); P 20,000.00 as moral damages and P 10,000.00 as
exemplary damages.

The attorney's fees of P 3,000.00 remain the same.

12
G.R. No. L-23052

January 29, 1968

CITY OF MANILA, petitioner,


vs.
GENARO N. TEOTICO and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
City Fiscal Manuel T. Reyes for petitioner.
Sevilla, Daza and Associates for respondents.
CONCEPCION, C.J.:
Appeal by certiorari from a decision of the Court of Appeals.
On January 27, 1958, at about 8:00 p.m., Genaro N. Teotico was at the corner of the Old Luneta
and P. Burgos Avenue, Manila, within a "loading and unloading" zone, waiting for a jeepney to
take him down town. After waiting for about five minutes, he managed to hail a jeepney that
came along to a stop. As he stepped down from the curb to board the jeepney, and took a few
steps, he fell inside an uncovered and unlighted catch basin or manhole on P. Burgos Avenue.
Due to the fall, his head hit the rim of the manhole breaking his eyeglasses and causing broken
pieces thereof to pierce his left eyelid. As blood flowed therefrom, impairing his vision, several
persons came to his assistance and pulled him out of the manhole. One of them brought Teotico
to the Philippine General Hospital, where his injuries were treated, after which he was taken
home. In addition to the lacerated wound in his left upper eyelid, Teotico suffered contusions on
the left thigh, the left upper arm, the right leg and the upper lip apart from an abrasion on the
right infra-patella region. These injuries and the allergic eruption caused by anti-tetanus
injections administered to him in the hospital, required further medical treatment by a private
practitioner who charged therefor P1,400.00.
As a consequence of the foregoing occurrence, Teotico filed, with the Court of First Instance of
Manila, a complaint which was, subsequently, amended for damages against the City of
Manila, its mayor, city engineer, city health officer, city treasurer and chief of police. As stated in
the decision of the trial court, and quoted with approval by the Court of Appeals,

(Exhibit 4); that again the iron cover of the same catch basin was reported missing on
January 30, 1958, but the said cover was replaced the next day (Exhibit 5); that the
Office of the City Engineer never received any report to the effect that the catchbasin
in question was not covered between January 25 and 29, 1968; that it has always
been a policy of the said office, which is charged with the duty of installation, repair
and care of storm drains in the City of Manila, that whenever a report is received from
whatever source of the loss of a catchbasin cover, the matter is immediately attended
to, either by immediately replacing the missing cover or covering the catchbasin with
steel matting that because of the lucrative scrap iron business then prevailing, stealing
of iron catchbasin covers was rampant; that the Office of the City Engineer has filed
complaints in court resulting from theft of said iron covers; that in order to prevent
such thefts, the city government has changed the position and layout of catchbasins in
the City by constructing them under the sidewalks with concrete cement covers and
openings on the side of the gutter; and that these changes had been undertaken by
the city from time to time whenever funds were available.
After appropriate proceedings the Court of First Instance of Manila rendered the aforementioned
decision sustaining the theory of the defendants and dismissing the amended complaint, without
costs.
On appeal taken by plaintiff, this decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals, except insofar
as the City of Manila is concerned, which was sentenced to pay damages in the aggregate sum
of P6,750.00. 1 Hence, this appeal by the City of Manila.
The first issue raised by the latter is whether the present case is governed by Section 4 of
Republic Act No. 409 (Charter of the City of Manila) reading:
The city shall not be liable or held for damages or injuries to persons or property
arising from the failure of the Mayor, the Municipal Board, or any other city officer, to
enforce the provisions of this chapter, or any other law or ordinance, or from
negligence of said Mayor, Municipal Board, or other officers while enforcing or
attempting to enforce said provisions.
or by Article 2189 of the Civil Code of the Philippines which provides:

At the time of the incident, plaintiff was a practicing public accountant, a businessman
and a professor at the University of the East. He held responsible positions in various
business firms like the Philippine Merchandising Co., the A.U. Valencia and Co., the
Silver Swan Manufacturing Company and the Sincere Packing Corporation. He was
also associated with several civic organizations such as the Wack Wack Golf Club, the
Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Y's Men Club of Manila and the Knights of
Rizal. As a result of the incident, plaintiff was prevented from engaging in his
customary occupation for twenty days. Plaintiff has lost a daily income of about
P50.00 during his incapacity to work. Because of the incident, he was subjected to
humiliation and ridicule by his business associates and friends. During the period of
his treatment, plaintiff was under constant fear and anxiety for the welfare of his minor
children since he was their only support. Due to the filing of this case, plaintiff has
obligated himself to pay his counsel the sum of P2,000.00.
On the other hand, the defense presented evidence, oral and documentary, to prove
that the Storm Drain Section, Office of the City Engineer of Manila, received a report
of the uncovered condition of a catchbasin at the corner of P. Burgos and Old Luneta
Streets, Manila, on January 24, 1958, but the same was covered on the same day

Provinces, cities and municipalities shall be liable for damages for the death of, or
injuries suffered by, any person by reason of defective conditions of road, streets,
bridges, public buildings, and other public works under their control or supervision.
Manila maintains that the former provision should prevail over the latter, because Republic Act
409, is a special law, intended exclusively for the City of Manila, whereas the Civil Code is a
general law, applicable to the entire Philippines.
The Court of Appeals, however, applied the Civil Code, and, we think, correctly. It is true that,
insofar as its territorial application is concerned, Republic Act No. 409 is a special law and the
Civil Code a general legislation; but, as regards the subject-matter of the provisions above
quoted, Section 4 of Republic Act 409 establishes a general rule regulating the liability of the
City of Manila for: "damages or injury to persons or property arising from the failure of" city
officers "to enforce the provisions of" said Act "or any other law or ordinance, or from
negligence" of the city "Mayor, Municipal Board, or other officers while enforcing or attempting to
enforce said provisions." Upon the other hand, Article 2189 of the Civil Code constitutes a

13
particular prescription making "provinces, cities and municipalities . . . liable for damages for the
death of, or injury suffered by any person by reason" specifically "of the defective condition
of roads, streets, bridges, public buildings, and other-public works under their control or
supervision." In other words, said section 4 refers to liability arising from negligence, in general,
regardless of the object thereof, whereas Article 2189 governs liability due to "defective streets,"
in particular. Since the present action is based upon the alleged defective condition of a road,
said Article 2189 is decisive thereon.
It is urged that the City of Manila cannot be held liable to Teotico for damages: 1) because the
accident involving him took place in a national highway; and 2) because the City of Manila has
not been negligent in connection therewith.
As regards the first issue, we note that it is based upon an allegation of fact not made in the
answer of the City. Moreover, Teotico alleged in his complaint, as well as in his amended
complaint, that his injuries were due to the defective condition of a street which is "under the
supervision and control" of the City. In its answer to the amended complaint, the City, in turn,
alleged that "the streets aforementioned were and have been constantly kept in good condition
and regularly inspected and the storm drains and manholes thereof covered by the defendant
City and the officers concerned" who "have been ever vigilant and zealous in the performance of
their respective functions and duties as imposed upon them by law." Thus, the City had, in
effect, admitted that P. Burgos Avenue was and is under its control and supervision.
Moreover, the assertion to the effect that said Avenue is a national highway was made, for
the first time, in its motion for reconsideration of the decision of the Court of Appeals. Such
assertion raised, therefore, a question of fact, which had not been put in issue in the trial court,
and cannot be set up, for the first time, on appeal, much less after the rendition of the decision of
the appellate court, in a motion for the reconsideration thereof.
At any rate, under Article 2189 of the Civil Code, it is not necessary for the liability therein
established to attach that the defective roads or streets belong to the province, city or
municipality from which responsibility is exacted. What said article requires is that the province,
city or municipality have either "control or supervision" over said street or road. Even if P. Burgos
Avenue were, therefore, a national highway, this circumstance would not necessarily detract
from its "control or supervision" by the City of Manila, under Republic Act 409. In fact Section
18(x) thereof provides:
Sec. 18. Legislative powers. The Municipal Board shall have the following
legislative powers:
xxx

xxx

xxx

(x) Subject to the provisions of existing law to provide for the laying out,
construction and improvement, and to regulate the use of streets, avenues, alleys,
sidewalks, wharves, piers, parks, cemeteries, and other public places; to provide for
lighting, cleaning, and sprinkling of streets and public places; . . . to provide for the
inspection of, fix the license fees for and regulate the openings in the same for the
laying of gas, water, sewer and other pipes, the building and repair of tunnels, sewers,
and drains, and all structures in and under the same and the erecting of poles and the
stringing of wires therein; to provide for and regulate cross-works, curbs, and gutters
therein, . . . to regulate traffic and sales upon the streets and other public places; to
provide for the abatement of nuisances in the same and punish the authors or owners
thereof; to provide for the construction and maintenance, and regulate the use, of

bridges, viaducts and culverts; to prohibit and regulate ball playing, kite-flying, hoop
rolling, and other amusements which may annoy persons using the streets and public
places, or frighten horses or other animals; to regulate the speed of horses and other
animals, motor and other vehicles, cars, and locomotives within the limits of the city;
to regulate the lights used on all vehicles, cars, and locomotives; . . . to provide for and
change the location, grade, and crossing of railroads, and compel any such railroad to
raise or lower its tracks to conform to such provisions or changes; and to require
railroad companies to fence their property, or any part thereof, to provide suitable
protection against injury to persons or property, and to construct and repair ditches,
drains, sewers, and culverts along and under their tracks, so that the natural drainage
of the streets and adjacent property shall not be obstructed.
This authority has been neither withdrawn nor restricted by Republic Act No. 917 and Executive
Order No. 113, dated May 2, 1955, upon which the City relies. Said Act governs the disposition
or appropriation of the highway funds and the giving of aid to provinces, chartered cities and
municipalities in the construction of roads and streets within their respective boundaries, and
Executive Order No. 113 merely implements the provisions of said Republic Act No. 917,
concerning the disposition and appropriation of the highway funds. Moreover, it provides that
"the construction, maintenance and improvement of national primary, national secondary and
national aid provincial and city roads shall be accomplished by the Highway District Engineers
and Highway City Engineers under the supervision of the Commissioner of Public Highways and
shall be financed from such appropriations as may be authorized by the Republic of the
Philippines in annual or special appropriation Acts."
Then, again, the determination of whether or not P. Burgos Avenue is under the control or
supervision of the City of Manila and whether the latter is guilty of negligence, in connection with
the maintenance of said road, which were decided by the Court of Appeals in the affirmative, is
one of fact, and the findings of said Court thereon are not subject to our review.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from should be as it is hereby affirmed, with costs against
the City of Manila. It is so ordered.1wph1.t

14
G.R. No. 80718 January 29, 1988

last resort, which may in its sound discretion either grant or deny the extension requested. (at p.
212)

FELIZA P. DE ROY and VIRGILIO RAMOS, petitioners,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and LUIS BERNAL, SR., GLENIA BERNAL, LUIS BERNAL, JR.,
HEIRS OF MARISSA BERNAL, namely, GLICERIA DELA CRUZ BERNAL and LUIS
BERNAL, SR., respondents.
RESOLUTION

Lacsamana v. Second Special Cases Division of the intermediate Appellate Court, [G.R. No.
73146-53, August 26, 1986, 143 SCRA 643], reiterated the rule and went further to restate and
clarify the modes and periods of appeal.
Bacaya v. Intermediate Appellate Court, [G.R. No. 74824, Sept. 15, 1986,144 SCRA
161],stressed the prospective application of said rule, and explained the operation of the grace
period, to wit:

CORTES, J.:
This special civil action for certiorari seeks to declare null and void two (2) resolutions of the
Special First Division of the Court of Appeals in the case of Luis Bernal, Sr., et al. v. Felisa
Perdosa De Roy, et al., CA-G.R. CV No. 07286. The first resolution promulgated on 30
September 1987 denied petitioners' motion for extension of time to file a motion for
reconsideration and directed entry of judgment since the decision in said case had become final;
and the second Resolution dated 27 October 1987 denied petitioners' motion for reconsideration
for having been filed out of time.
At the outset, this Court could have denied the petition outright for not being verified as required
by Rule 65 section 1 of the Rules of Court. However, even if the instant petition did not suffer
from this defect, this Court, on procedural and substantive grounds, would still resolve to deny it.
The facts of the case are undisputed. The firewall of a burned-out building owned by petitioners
collapsed and destroyed the tailoring shop occupied by the family of private respondents,
resulting in injuries to private respondents and the death of Marissa Bernal, a daughter. Private
respondents had been warned by petitioners to vacate their shop in view of its proximity to the
weakened wall but the former failed to do so. On the basis of the foregoing facts, the Regional
Trial Court. First Judicial Region, Branch XXXVIII, presided by the Hon. Antonio M. Belen,
rendered judgment finding petitioners guilty of gross negligence and awarding damages to
private respondents. On appeal, the decision of the trial court was affirmed in toto by the Court
of Appeals in a decision promulgated on August 17, 1987, a copy of which was received by
petitioners on August 25, 1987. On September 9, 1987, the last day of the fifteen-day period to
file an appeal, petitioners filed a motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration,
which was eventually denied by the appellate court in the Resolution of September 30, 1987.
Petitioners filed their motion for reconsideration on September 24, 1987 but this was denied in
the Resolution of October 27, 1987.
This Court finds that the Court of Appeals did not commit a grave abuse of discretion when it
denied petitioners' motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration, directed entry
of judgment and denied their motion for reconsideration. It correctly applied the rule laid down
in Habaluyas Enterprises, Inc. v. Japzon, [G.R. No. 70895, August 5, 1985,138 SCRA 461, that
the fifteen-day period for appealing or for filing a motion for reconsideration cannot be extended.
In its Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration, promulgated on July 30, 1986 (142
SCRA 208), this Court en banc restated and clarified the rule, to wit:
Beginning one month after the promulgation of this Resolution, the rule shall be strictly enforced
that no motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration may be filed with the
Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Courts, the Regional Trial Courts, and the Intermediate Appellate
Court. Such a motion may be filed only in cases pending with the Supreme Court as the court of

In other words, there is a one-month grace period from the promulgation on


May 30, 1986 of the Court's Resolution in the clarificatory Habaluyas case,
or up to June 30, 1986, within which the rule barring extensions of time to
file motions for new trial or reconsideration is, as yet, not strictly
enforceable.
Since petitioners herein filed their motion for extension on February 27,
1986, it is still within the grace period, which expired on June 30, 1986, and
may still be allowed.
This grace period was also applied in Mission v. Intermediate Appellate Court [G.R. No. 73669,
October 28, 1986, 145 SCRA 306].]
In the instant case, however, petitioners' motion for extension of time was filed on September 9,
1987, more than a year after the expiration of the grace period on June 30, 1986. Hence, it is no
longer within the coverage of the grace period. Considering the length of time from the expiration
of the grace period to the promulgation of the decision of the Court of Appeals on August 25,
1987, petitioners cannot seek refuge in the ignorance of their counsel regarding said rule for
their failure to file a motion for reconsideration within the reglementary period.
Petitioners contend that the rule enunciated in the Habaluyas case should not be made to apply
to the case at bar owing to the non-publication of the Habaluyas decision in the Official Gazette
as of the time the subject decision of the Court of Appeals was promulgated. Contrary to
petitioners' view, there is no law requiring the publication of Supreme Court decisions in the
Official Gazette before they can be binding and as a condition to their becoming effective. It is
the bounden duty of counsel as lawyer in active law practice to keep abreast of decisions of the
Supreme Court particularly where issues have been clarified, consistently reiterated, and
published in the advance reports of Supreme Court decisions (G. R. s) and in such publications
as the Supreme Court Reports Annotated (SCRA) and law journals.
This Court likewise finds that the Court of Appeals committed no grave abuse of discretion in
affirming the trial court's decision holding petitioner liable under Article 2190 of the Civil Code,
which provides that "the proprietor of a building or structure is responsible for the damage
resulting from its total or partial collapse, if it should be due to the lack of necessary repairs.
Nor was there error in rejecting petitioners argument that private respondents had the "last clear
chance" to avoid the accident if only they heeded the. warning to vacate the tailoring shop and ,
therefore, petitioners prior negligence should be disregarded, since the doctrine of "last clear
chance," which has been applied to vehicular accidents, is inapplicable to this case.

15
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court Resolved to DENY the instant petition for lack
of merit.
72 Phil 14 Civil Law Torts and Damages Liability of proprietors

suit for the death of the latter's daughter. MMTC and Musa in G.R. No. 116617 appeal insofar as
they are held liable for damages, while the spouses Rosales in G.R. No. 126395 appeal insofar
as the amounts awarded are concerned.
The facts are as follows:

Jose Dingcong was the owner of a hotel in Iloilo. In 1933, a certain Francisco Echevarria rented
a room in the upper floor of the hotel. The room he rented was immediately above the store
occupied by the Kanaan brothers who are also tenants of the hotel. One night, Echevarria

MMTC is the operator of a fleet of passenger buses within the Metro Manila area. Musa was its
driver assigned to MMTC Bus No. 27. The spouses Rosales were parents of Liza Rosalie, a
third-year high school student at the University of the Philippines Integrated School.

carelessly left his faucet open thereby flooding his room and it caused water to drip from his
room to the store below. Because of this, the articles being sold by Kanaan were damaged.
Apparently also, the water pipes supposed to drain the water from Echevarrias room was
defective hence the flooding and the dripping.
ISSUE: Whether or not Dingcong is liable to pay for the damages caused by Echevarria.
HELD: Yes. Dingcong as proprietor is liable for the negligent act of the guest of his hotel

At around a quarter past one in the afternoon of August 9, 1986, MMTC Bus No. 27, which was
driven by Musa, hit Liza Rosalie who was then crossing Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. An
eye witness said the girl was already near the center of the street when the bus, then bound for
the south, hit her. 2 She fell to the ground upon impact, rolled between the two front wheels of
the bus, and was run over by the left rear tires thereof. 3 Her body was dragged several meters
away from the point of impact. Liza Rosalie was taken to the Philippine Heart Center, 4 but
efforts to revive her proved futile.

(Echevarria). It was not shown that Dingcong exercised the diligence of a good father in
preventing the damage caused. The pipe should have been repaired prior and Echevarria
should have been provided with a container to catch the drip. Therefore, Dingcong is liable to
pay for damages by reason of his negligence.

G.R. No. 116617 November 16, 1998


METRO MANILA TRANSIT CORPORATION (MMTC), PEDRO A. MUSA, CONRADO
TOLENTINO, FELICIANA CELEBRADO and THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE
SYSTEM, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, SPS. RODOLFO V. ROSALES and LILY R. ROSALES, respondents.
G.R. No. 126395 November 16, 1998
RODOLFO V. ROSALES, and LILY R. ROSALES, petitioners,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, METRO MANILA TRANSIT CORPORATION, (MMTC) PEDRO A.
MUSA, CONRADO TOLENTINO, FELICIANA CELEBRADO and THE GOVERNMENT
SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, respondents.

MENDOZA, J.:
These are appeals brought, on the one hand, by the Metro Manila Transit Corporation (MMTC)
and Pedro Musa and, on the other, by the spouses Rodolfo V. Rosales and Lily R. Rosales from
the decision, 1 dated August 5, 1994, of the Court of Appeals, which affirmed with modification
the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City holding MMTC and Musa liable to the
spouses Rosales for actual, moral, and exemplary damages, attorney's fees, and the costs of

Pedro Musa was found guilty of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and sentenced to
imprisonment for a term of 2 years and 4 months, as minimum, to 6 years, as maximum, by the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City. 5 The trial court found:
All told, this Court, therefore, holds that the accused, who was then, the
driver of MMTC Bus No. 027, is criminally responsible for the death of the
girl victim in violation of Article 365 (2) of the Revised Penal Code. For, in
the light of the evidence that the girl victim was already at the center of the
Katipunan Road when she was bumped, and, therefore, already past the
right lane when the MMTC Bus No. 027 was supposed to have passed; and,
since the said bus was then running at a speed of about 25 kilometers per
hour which is inappropriate since Katipunan road is a busy street, there is,
consequently, sufficient proof to show that the accused was careless,
reckless and imprudent in the operation of his MMTC Bus No. 027, which is
made more evident by the circumstance that the accused did not blow his
horn at the time of the accident, and he did not even know that he had
bumped the girl victim and had ran over her, demonstrating thereby that he
did not exercise diligence and take the necessary precaution to avoid injury
to persons in the operation of his vehicle, as, in fact, he ran over the girl
victim who died as a result thereof. 6
The spouses Rosales filed an independent civil action for damages against MMTC, Musa,
MMTC Acting General Manager Conrado Tolentino, and the Government Service Insurance
System (GSIS). They subsequently amended their complaint to include Feliciana Celebrado, a
dispatcher of the MMTC, as a defendant therein. The counsel of MMTC and Musa attempted to
introduce testimony that Musa was not negligent in driving Bus No. 27 but was told by the trial
judge:
COURT:
That is it. You can now limit your question to the other defendant here but to
re-try again the actual facts of the accident, this Court would not be in the

16
position. It would be improper for this Court to make any findings with
respect to the negligence of herein driver. You ask questions only regarding
the civil aspect as to the other defendant but not as to the
accused. 7
The counsel submitted to the ruling of the court. 8
In a decision rendered on March 6, 1990, the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City found MMTC
and Musa guilty of negligence and ordered them to pay damages and attorney's fees, as follows:
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, judgment is hereby
rendered ordering defendant Metro Manila Transit Corporation primarily and
defendant Pedro Musa subsidiarily liable to plaintiffs-spouses Rodolfo V.
Rosales and Lily R. Rosales as follows:
1. Actual damages in the amount of P150,000.00;

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS, JUST LIKE THE


COURT A QUO, OVERLOOKED THE FACT THAT PETITIONER MMTC, A
GOVERNMENT-OWNED CORPORATION, COMMITTED NO FRAUD,
MALICE, BAD FAITH, NOR WANTON, FRAUDULENT, OPPRESSIVE AND
MALEVOLENT ACTUATIONS AGAINST HEREIN RESPONDENTSAPPELLEES.
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
AFFIRMING THE COURT A QUO'SDECISION TO HOLD PETITIONERAPPELLANT MMTC PRIMARILY LIABLE TO PRIVATE RESPONDENTSAPPELLEES IN THE AMOUNT OF P500,000 AS MORAL DAMAGES,
P100,000 AS EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND P30,000 BY WAY OF DEATH
INDEMNITY.
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
AFFIRMING THE COURT A QUO'SDECISION IN RENDERING
JUDGMENT FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES IN THE AMOUNT OF P50,000.00
IN FAVOR OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES.

2. Moral damages in the amount of P500,000.00;


On the other hand, in G.R. No. 126395, the spouses Rosales contend:
3. Exemplary damages in the amount of P100,000.00;
The Court of Appeals erred in:
4. Attorney's fees in the amount of P50,000.00; and
5. Costs of suit.

Both parties appealed to the Court of Appeals. On August 5, 1994, the Court of Appeals affirmed
the decision of the trial court with the following modification:
WHEREFORE, except for the modification deleting the award of
P150,000.00 as actual damages and awarding in lieu thereof the amount of
P30,000.00 as death indemnity, the decision appealed from is, in all other
aspects, hereby AFFIRMED. 10
The spouses Rosales filed a motion for reconsideration, which the appellate court, in a
resolution, dated September 12, 1996, partly granted by increasing the indemnity for the death
of Liza Rosalie from P30,000.00 to P50,000.00. Hence, these appeals.
In G.R. No. 116617, MMTC and Musa assail the decision of the Court of Appeals on the
following grounds:
PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING
THE COURT A QUO'SDECISION PARTICULARLY IN NOT HOLDING
THAT APPELLANT MMTC EXERCISED THE DILIGENCE OF A GOOD
FATHER OF A FAMILY IN THE SELECTION AND SUPERVISION OF ITS
DRIVERS. THIS BEING THE CASE, APPELLANT MMTC IS ENTITLED TO
BE ABSOLVED FROM ANY LIABILITY OR AT LEAST TO A REDUCTION
OF THE RECOVERABLE DAMAGES.

First, considering that death indemnity which this Honorable Court set at
P50,000.00 is akin to actual damages;
Second, not increasing the amount of damages awarded;
Third, refusing to hold all the defendants, now private respondents, solidarily
liable.
MMTC and Musa do not specifically question the findings of the Court of Appeals and the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City that Liza Rosalie was hit by MMTC Bus No. 27.
Nonetheless, their petition contains discussions which cast doubts on this point. 11 Not only can
they not do this as the rule is that an appellant may not be heard on a question not specifically
assigned as error, but the rule giving great weight, and even finality, to the factual conclusions of
the Court of Appeals which affirm those of the trial court bars a reversal of the finding of liability
against petitioners MMTC and Musa. Only where it is shown that such findings are whimsical,
capricious, and arbitrary can they be overturned. To the contrary, the findings of both the Court
of Appeals and the Regional Trial Court are solidly anchored on the evidence submitted by the
parties. We, therefore, regard them as conclusive in resolving the petitions at bar. 12 Indeed, as
already stated, petitioners' counsel submitted to the ruling of the court that the finding of the trial
court in the criminal case was conclusive on them with regard to the questions of whether Liza
Rosalie was hit by MMTC Bus No. 27 and whether its driver was negligent. Rather, the issue in
this case turns on Art. 2180 of the Civil Code, which provides that "employers shall be liable for
the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their
assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry." The
responsibility of employers for the negligence of their employees in the performance of their
duties is primary, that is, the injured party may recover from the employers directly, regardless of
the solvency of their employees. 13 The rationale for the rule on vicarious liability has been
adumbrated thus:

17
What has emerged as the modern justification for vicarious liability is a rule
of policy, a deliberate allocation of a risk. The losses caused by the torts of
employees, which as a practical matter are sure to occur in the conduct of
the employer's enterprise, are placed upon that enterprise itself, as a
required cost of doing business. They are placed upon the employer
because, having engaged in an enterprise, which will on the basis of all past
experience involve harm to others through the tort of employees, and
sought to profit by it, it is just that he, rather than the innocent injured
plaintiff, should bear them; and because he is better able to absorb them,
and to distribute them, through prides, rates or liability insurance, to the
public, and so to shift them to society, to the community at large. Added to
this is the makeweight argument that an employer who is held strictly liable
is under the greatest incentive to be careful in the selection, instruction and
supervision of his servants, and to take every precaution to see that the
enterprise is conducted safely. 14
In Campo v. Camarote, 15 we explained the basis of the presumption of negligence in this wise:
The reason for the law is obvious. It is indeed difficult for any person injured
by the carelessness of a driver to prove the negligence or lack of due
diligence of the owner of the vehicle in the choice of the driver. Were we to
require the injured party to prove the owner's lack of diligence, the right will
in many cases prove illusory, as seldom does a person in the community,
especially in the cities, have the opportunity to observe the conduct of all
possible car owners therein. So the law imposes the burden of proof of
innocence on the vehicle owner. If the driver is negligent and causes
damage, the law presumes that the owner was negligent and imposes upon
him the burden of proving the contrary.

MMTC's evidence consists entirely of testimonial evidence (1) that transport supervisors are
assigned to oversee field operations in designated areas; (2) that the maintenance department
daily inspects the engines of the vehicles; and, (3) that for infraction of company rules there are
corresponding penalties. 21 Although testimonies were offered that in the case of Pedro Musa all
these precautions were followed, 22 the records of his interview, of the results of his
examinations, and of his service were not presented.
MMTC submitted brochures and programs of seminars for prospective employees on vehicle
maintenance, traffic regulations, and driving skills and claimed that applicants are given tests to
determine driving skills, concentration, reflexes, and vision, 23 but there is no record that Musa
attended such training programs and passed the said examinations before he was employed. No
proof was presented that Musa did not have any record of traffic violations. Nor were records of
daily inspections, allegedly conducted by supervisors, ever presented.
Normally, employers' keep files concerning the qualifications, work experience, training
evaluation, and discipline of their employees. The failure of MMTC to present such documentary
proof puts in doubt the credibility of its witnesses. What was said in Central Taxicab Corporation
v. Ex-Meralco Employees Transportation Corporation 24applies to this case:
This witness spoke of an affidavit of experience which a driver-applicant
must accomplish before he is employed by the company, a written time
schedule for each bus, and a record of the inspections and thorough checks
pertaining to each bus before it leaves the car barn; yet no attempt was ever
made to present in evidence any of these documents, despite the fact that
they were obviously in the possession and control of the defendant
company.
....

Employers may be relieved of responsibility for the negligent acts of their employees within the
scope of their assigned tasks only if they can show that "they observed all the diligence of a
good father of a family to prevent
damage." 16 For this purpose, they have the burden of proving that they have indeed exercised
such diligence, both in the selection of the employee who committed the quasi-delict and in the
supervision of the performance of his duties.
In the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to examine them as to their
qualifications, experience, and service records. 17 On the other hand, with respect to the
supervision of employees, employers should formulate standard operating, procedures, monitor
their implementation, and impose disciplinary measures for breaches thereof. 18 To establish
these factors in a trial involving the issue of vicarious liability, employers must submit concrete
proof, including documentary evidence. 19
In this case, MMTC sought to prove that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a family
with respect to the selection of employees by presenting mainly testimonial evidence on its hiring
procedure. According to MMTC, applicants are required to submit professional driving licenses,
certifications of work experience, and clearances from the National Bureau of Investigation; to
undergo tests of their driving skills, concentration, reflexes, and vision; and, to complete training
programs on traffic rules, vehicle maintenance, and standard operating procedures during
emergency cases. 20

Albert also testified that he kept records of the preliminary and final tests
given by him as well as a record of the qualifications and experience of each
of the drivers of the company. It is rather' strange, therefore, that he failed to
produce in court the all important record of Roberto, the driver involved in
this case.
The failure of the defendant company to produce in court any record or
other documentary proof tending to establish that it had exercised all the
diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its
drivers and buses, notwithstanding the calls therefor by both the trial court
and the opposing counsel, argues strongly against its pretensions.
It is noteworthy that, in another case involving MMTC, testimonial evidence of identical content,
which MMTC presented to show that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the
selection and supervision of employees and thus avoid vicarious liability for the negligent acts of
its employees, was held to be insufficient to overcome the presumption of negligence against it.
In Metro Manila Transit Corp. v. Court of Appeals, 25 this Court said:
Coming now to the case at bar, while there is no rule which requires that
testimonial evidence, to hold sway, must be corroborated by documentary
evidence, or even object evidence for that matter, inasmuch as the
witnesses' testimonies dwelt on mere generalities, we cannot consider the

18
same as sufficiently persuasive proof that there was observance of due
diligence in the selection and supervision of employees. Petitioner's attempt
to prove its diligentissimi patris familias in the selection and supervision of
employees through oral evidence must fail as it was unable to buttress the
same with any other evidence, object or documentary, which might obviate
the apparent biased nature of the testimony.
Having found both MMTC and its driver Pedro Musa liable for negligence for the death of Liza
Rosalie on August 9, 1986; we now consider the question of damages which her parents, the
spouses Rosales, are entitled to recover, which is the subject of the appeal in G.R. No. 126395.
Indemnity for Death. Art. 2206 provides for the payment of indemnity for death caused by a
crime or quasi-delict. Initially fixed in said article of the Civil Code at P3,000.00, the amount of
the indemnity has through the years been gradually increased based on the value of the peso.
At present, it is fixed at P50,000.00. 26 To conform to this new ruling, the Court of Appeals
correctly increased the indemnity it had originally ordered the spouses Rosales to be paid from
P30,000.00 to P50,000.00 in its resolution, dated September 12, 1996.
Actual Damages. Art. 2199 provides that "except as provided by law or by stipulation, one is
entitled to an adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has
duly proved." The spouses Rosales are claiming actual damages in the amount of P239,245.40.
However, during the trial, they submitted receipts showing that expenses for the funeral, wake,
and interment of Liza Rosalie amounted only to P60,226.65 itemized as follows: 27
Medical Attendance P 739.65
Funeral Services 5,100.00
Wreaths 2,500.00

Hence, apart from the indemnity for death, the spouses Rosales are entitled to recover the
above amount as actual damages.
Moral Damages. Under Art. 2206, the "spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants and
ascendants of the deceased may demand moral damages for mental anguish by reason of the
death of the deceased." The reason for the grant of moral damages has been explained thus:
. . . the award of moral damages is aimed at a restoration, within the limits of
the possible, of the spiritual status quo ante; and therefore, it must be
proportionate to the suffering inflicted. The intensity of the pain experienced
by the relatives of the victim is proportionate to the intensity of affection for
him and bears no relation whatsoever with the wealth or means of the
offender. 28
In the instant case, the spouses Rosales presented evidence of the intense moral suffering they
had gone through as a result of the loss of Liza Rosalie who was their youngest child. Rodolfo
Rosales recounted the place of Liza Rosalie in the family and their relationship with her in the
following words:
Q: Mr. Rosales, how was Liza to you as a daughter?
A: Well, Liza as a daughter was the greatest joy of the
family; she was our pride, and everybody loved her
all her brothers and sisters because she was sweet
and unspoiled. . . . She was soft-spoken to all of us;
and she still slept with us at night although she had her
own room. Sometimes in the middle of the night she
would open our door and ask if she could sleep with us.
So we let her sleep with us, as she was the youngest. 29
The death of Liza Rosalie left a void in their lives. Rodolfo Rosales testified on the devastating
effect of the death of Liza Rosalie:

Embalment 1,000.00
Obituaries 7,125.00

Q: And after she died, what changes, if any, did you


feel in your family?

Interment fees 2,350.00


Expenses during wake 14,935.00
Mourning clothes 5,000.00
Photography 3,500.00
Video Coverage 10,000.00
Printing of invitation cards 7,977.00
TOTAL 60,226.65

A: Well, there is something hollow in our family,


something is missing. She used to greet me when I
came home and smell if I was drunk and would tell me
to dress up and take a shower before her mommy could
see me. She would call me up at the office and say:
"Daddy, come home, please help me with my
homework." Now, all these things, I am missing, you
know. . . I do not feel like going home early. Sometimes
my wife would complain and ask: "Where did you go?"
But I cannot explain to her how I feel. 30
Lily Rosales described life without Liza Rosalie thus:

19
Q: Now, your life without Liza, how would you describe
it, Dr. Rosales?
A: You know it is very hard to describe. The family was
broken apart. We could not go together because we
remember Liza. Every time we go to the cemetery we
try as much as possible not to go together. So, we go to
the cemetery one at a time, sometimes, my husband
and I, or my son and another one, but we never go
together because we remember Liza. But before her
death we would always be together, the whole family on
weekends and on our days off. My husband works very
hard, I also work very hard and my children go to
school. They study very hard. Now we cannot go
together on outings because of the absence of Liza. 31
The spouses Rosales claim moral damages in the amount of P5,000,000.00. In People v.
Teehankee, Jr., 32 this Court awarded P1 million as moral damages to the heirs of a seventeenyear-old girl who was murdered. This amount seems reasonable to us as moral damages for the
loss of a minor child, whether he or she was a victim of a crime or a quasi-delict. Hence, we hold
that the MMTC and Musa are solidarily liable to the spouses Rosales in the amount of
P1,000,000.00 as moral damages for the death of Liza Rosalie.
Exemplary Damages. Art. 2231 provides that exemplary damages may be recovered in cases
involving quasi-delicts if "the defendant acted with gross negligence." This circumstance obtains
in the instant case. The records indicate that at the time of the mishap, there was a pending
criminal case against Musa for reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries with
another branch of the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City. 33 The evidence also shows that he
failed to stop his vehicle at once even after eye witnesses shouted at him. The spouses Rosales
claim exemplary damages in the amount of P5,000,000.00. Under the circumstances, we deem
it reasonable to award the spouses Rosales exemplary damages in the amount of five hundred
thousand pesos (P500,000.00).
Attorney's Fees. Pursuant to Art. 2208, attorney's fees may be recovered when, as in the instant
case, exemplary damages are awarded. In the recent case of Sulpicio Lines, Inc. v. Court of
Appeals, 34 which involved the death of a minor child in the sinking of a vessel, we held an award
of P50,000.00 as attorney's fees to be reasonable. Hence, we affirm the award of attorney's fees
made by the Court of Appeals to the spouses Rosales in that amount.
Compensation for Loss of Earning Capacity. Art. 2206 of the Civil Code provides that in addition
to the indemnity for death caused by a crime or quasi delict, the "defendant shall be liable for the
loss of the earning capacity of the deceased, and the indemnity shall be paid to the heirs of the
latter; . . ." Compensation of this nature is awarded not for loss of earnings but for loss of
capacity to earn money. 35 Evidence must be presented that the victim, if not yet employed at the
time of death, was reasonably certain to complete training for a specific profession. 36 InPeople
v. Teehankee 37 no award of compensation for loss of earning capacity was granted to the heirs
of a college freshman because there was no sufficient evidence on record to show that the
victim would eventually become a professional pilot. 38 But compensation should be allowed for
loss of earning capacity resulting from the death of a minor who has not yet commenced
employment or training for a specific profession if sufficient evidence is presented to establish
the amount thereof. In the United States it has been observed:

This raises the broader question of the proper measure of damages in death
cases involving children, housewives, the old, and others who do not have
market income so that there is no pecuniary loss to survivors or to the
estate of the decedent. The traditional approach was to award no or merely
nominal damages in such cases. . . . Increasingly, however, courts allow
expert testimony to be used to project those lost earnings. 39
Thus, in Haumersen v. Ford Motor Co., 40 the court allowed the heirs of a seven-year-old boy
who was killed in a car accident to recover compensation for loss of earning capacity:
Considerable evidence was presented by plaintiffs in an effort to give the
jury a foundation on which to make an award. Briefly stated, this evidence
showed Charles Haumersen was a seven-year-old of above average
characteristics. He was described as "very intelligent" and "all-American."
He received high marks in school. He was active in church affairs and
participated in recreational and athletic events, often with, children older
than himself. In addition, he had an unusual talent for creating numerous
cartoons and other drawings, some of which plaintiffs introduced at trial.
The record does not disclose passion and prejudice. The key question is
whether the verdict of $100,000 has support in the evidence.
Upon analysis of the record, we conclude that we should not disturb the
award.
The argument for allowing compensation for loss of earning capacity of a minor is even stronger
if he or she was a student, whether already training for a specific profession or still engaged in
general studies. In Krohmer v. Dahl,41 the court, in affirming the award by the jury of $85,000.00
to the heirs of an eighteen-year-old college freshman who died of carbon monoxide poisoning,
stated as follows:
There are numerous cases that have held admissible evidence of
prospective earnings of a student or trainee. . . . The appellants contend
that such evidence is not admissible unless the course under study relates
to a given occupation or profession and it is shown that the student is
reasonably certain to follow that occupation or profession. It is true that the
majority of these decisions deal with students who are studying for a
specific occupation or profession. However, not one of these cases indicate
that evidence of one's education as a guide to future earnings is not
admissible where the student is engaged in general studies or whose
education does not relate to a specific occupation.
In sharp contrast with the situation obtaining in People v. Teehankee, where the prosecution
merely presented evidence to show the fact of the victim's graduation from high school and the
fact of his enrollment in a flying school, spouses Rosales did not content themselves with simply
establishing Liza Rosalie's enrollment at UP Integrated School. They presented evidence to
show that Liza Rosalie was a good student, promising artist, and obedient child. She
consistently performed well in her studies since grade school. 42 A survey taken in 1984 when
Liza Rosalie was twelve years old showed that she had good study habits and
attitudes. 43 Cleofe Chi, guidance counselor of the University of the Philippines Integrated
School, described Liza Rosalie as personable, well-liked, and with a balanced
personality. 44 Professor Alfredo Rebillon, a faculty member of the University of the Philippines

20
College of Fine Arts, who organized workshops which Liza Rosalie attended in 1982 and 1983,
testified that Liza Rosalie had the potential of eventually becoming an artist. 45 Professor
Rebillon's testimony is more than sufficiently established by the 51 samples of Liza Rosalie's
watercolor, charcoal, and pencil drawings submitted as exhibits by the spouses
Rosales. 46 Neither MMTC nor Pedro Musa controverted this evidence.
Considering her good academic record, extra-curricular activities, and varied interests, it is
reasonable to assume that Liza Rosalie would have enjoyed a successful professional career
had it not been for her untimely death. Hence, it is proper that compensation for loss of earning
capacity should be awarded to her heirs in accordance with the formula established in decided
cases 47 for computing net earning capacity, to wit:
Net Earning = Life [Gross Necessary
Capacity Expectancy x [Annual Living
[Income Expenses
Life expectancy is equivalent to two thirds (2/3) multiplied by the difference of eighty (80) and the
age of the deceased. 48 Since Liza Rosalie was 16 at the time of her death, her life expectancy
was 44 more years. 49 Her projected gross annual income, computed based on the minimum
wage for workers in the non-agricultural sector in effect at the time of her death, 50 then fixed at
P37.00, 51 is P14,630.46. 52 Allowing for necessary living expenses of fifty percent (50%) of her
projected gross annual income, 53 her total net earning capacity amounts to P321,870.12. 54
Finally, the spouses Rosales argue that the Court of Appeals erred in absolving Conrado
Tolentino, Feliciana Celebrado, and the GSIS of liability. The Spouses Rosales alleged that
Tolentino, as Acting General Manager of the MMTC, and Celebrado, as a dispatcher thereof,
were charged with the supervision of Musa and should, therefore, be held vicariously liable
under Art. 2180 of the Civil Code. With respect to the GSIS, they contend that it was the insurer
in a contract for third party liability it had with the MMTC.

As already stated, MMTC is primarily liable for damages for the negligence of its employee in
view of Art. 2180. Pursuant to Art. 2181, it can recover from its employee what it may pay. This
does not make the employee's liability subsidiary. It only means that if the judgment for damages
is satisfied by the common carrier, the latter has a right to recover what it has paid from its
employee who committed the fault or negligence which gave rise to the action based on quasidelict. 59 Hence, the spouses Rosales have the option of enforcing the judgment against either
MMTC or Musa.
From another point of view, Art. 2194 provides that "the responsibility of two or more persons
who are liable for aquasi-delict is solidary." We ruled in Gelisan v. Alday 60 that "the registered
owner/operator of a public service vehicle is jointly and severally liable with the driver for
damages incurred by passengers or third persons as a consequence of injuries sustained in the
operation of said vehicle." In Baliwag Transit Inc. v. Court of Appeals 61 it was held that "to
escape solidaryliability for a quasi-delict committed by an employee, the employer must adduce
sufficient proof that it exercised such degree of care." Finally, we held in the recent case
of Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc. v. Court of Appeals 62 that "the liability of the registered
owner of a public service vehicle . . . for damages arising from the tortious acts of the driver is
primary, direct, and joint and several or solidary with the driver."
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE and another one is
RENDERED holding the Metro Manila Transit Corporation and Pedro Musa jointly and severally
liable for the death of Liza Rosalie R. Rosales and ORDERING them as such to pay to the
spouses Rodolfo V. Rosales and Lily R. Rosales the following amounts:
1) death indemnity in the amount of fifty-thousand pesos (P50,000,00);
2) actual damages in the amount of sixty thousand two hundred twenty six pesos and sixty five
centavos (P60,226.65);
3) moral damages in the amount of one million pesos (P1,000,000.00);
4) exemplary damages in the amount of five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00);

Although the fourth paragraph of Art. 2180 mentions "managers" among those made responsible
for the negligent acts of others, it is settled that this term is used in the said provision in the
sense of "employers." 55 Thus, Tolentino and Celebrado cannot be held liable for the tort of
Pedro Musa.
In Vda. de Maglana v. Consolacion, 56 it was ruled that an insurer in an indemnity contract for
third party liability is directly liable to the injured party up to the extent specified in the
agreement, but it cannot be held solidarily liable beyond that amount. The GSIS admitted in its
answer that it was the insurer of the MMTC for third party liability with respect to MMTC Bus No.
27 to the extent of P50,000.00. 57 Hence, the spouses Rosales have the option either to claim
the said amount from the GSIS and the balance of the award from MMTC and Musa or to
enforce the entire judgment against the latter, subject to reimbursement from the former to the
extent of the insurance coverage. 58
One last word. The Regional Trial Court of Quezon City erred in holding MMTC primarily and
Musa secondarily liable for damages arising from the death of Liza Rosalie. It was error for the
appellate court to affirm this aspect of the trial court's decision.

5) attorney's fees in the amount of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00);


6) compensation for loss of earning capacity in the amount of three hundred twenty-one
thousand eight hundred seventy pesos and twelve centavos (P321,870.12); and
7) the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.

21
G.R. No. L-30860 March 29, 1972
HERMINIA MANIO, DOMINGA GUEVARRA, MATILDE GUEVARRA, JOSE GUEVARRA,
ABELARDO GUEVARRA, GLORIA GUEVARRA, and ZENAIDA GUEVARRA, plaintiffsappellants, (petitioners),
vs.
THE HON. CEFERINO GADDI, Judge of the CFI of Pampanga, Branch IV, Angeles City,
LUIS BALANZA, FRANCISCO BALANZA, RUSTICA BALANZA, ALBERTO DAVID, and
DOROTEA DAVID, respondents.
Jorge C. Salenga for petitioner.
(No appearance for respondents).
Appeal by certiorari from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, dismissing Civil
Case No. A-10 of said court, entitled "Herminia S. Manio v. Luis Balanza, et al."
The record shows that on or about December 27, 1968, the acting city fiscal of Angeles City filed
with the city court thereof an information, which was docketed as Criminal Case No. C-6258 of
said court, charging Luis Balanza, one of the respondents herein, who is 16 years of age, with
homicide through reckless negligence. It is alleged in said information "(t)hat on or about the
10th day of December, 1968, at Angeles City, Philippines," said accused, being the person in
"charge of a rig with plate No. C-569, without taking the necessary care and precautions to avoid
injuries to persons, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously drive the said vehicle
along Rizal Street," of said city, "in a careless, reckless and imprudent manner and in utter
disregard of traffic laws, rules and regulations and by reason of such carelessness, recklessness
and imprudence, a pedestrian," whose identity was then unknown but, who, later on, turned
out to be Melquiades Guevarra "was sideswept by the rig, as a result of which the latter
sustained physical injuries which caused his death."
Upon arraignment, Luis Balanza entered a plea of guilty, whereupon City Judge Nicias O.
Mendoza, who presided over said court, issued, on January 4, 1969, an order suspending the
promulgation of the sentence, by reason of the defendant's minority, and placing him under the
custody of a city councilor until he (the accused) shall have reached the age of 18 years, when
said accused shall be brought back to the court for its final action on the criminal aspect of the
case. The court further ordered the accused "to pay the sum of P6,000.00 to the heirs of the
deceased."
Soon thereafter, or on January 20, 1969, petitioners herein, namely, Herminia Manio, widow of
the deceased Melquiades Guevarra and their children, Dominga, Matilde, Jose, Abelardo, Gloria
and Zenaida Guevarra, as heirs of the deceased, filed, with the Court of First Instance of
Pampanga and Angeles City, presided over by respondent Judge, Hon. Ceferino Gaddi, a
complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. A-10 of said court, against said Luis Balanza, his parents
Francisco and Rustica Balanza, and his alleged employers and owners of said rig, the spouses
Alberto and Dorotea David, to recover damages in consequence of said death of Melquiades
Guevarra due to the aforementioned reckless negligence of Luis Balanza. After the filing of the
requisite answers, in which the defendants in said Civil Case No. A-10 private respondents
herein denied the liability imputed to them, the case was set for pre-trial, but neither the
defendants nor their counsel appeared at said proceeding, in view of which said defendants
private respondents herein were declared in default and the plaintiffs petitioners herein
introduced their evidence before the clerk of court, who had been commissioned therefor. From
said evidence, it appeared, inter alia in the language of respondent Judge Ceferino Gaddi

... that defendant Luis Balanza was charged in Criminal Case No. C-6258,
of the City Court of Angeles City (Branch II) entitled People vs. Luis Balanza
y Bautista for Homicide Thru Reckless Imprudence for the death of the
deceased Melquiades Guevarra as a result of the very negligent act of
defendant Luis Balanza which is the basis of the cause of action in the
above entitled complaint, and that in that criminal case defendant Luis
Balanza pleaded guilty and was adjudged to pay the sum of P6,000.00
(Exhibit G). Evidently the civil action was not reserved by the plaintiffs in that
case.
Relying upon Tactaquin v. Palileo, 1 respondent Judge Gaddi thereafter rendered the appealed
decision dismissing the case, upon the theory that the decision of the City Court of Angeles City,
in Criminal Case No. C-6258 thereof, awarding P6,000 to the heirs of the deceased, as
damages, barred the institution of said civil case, and that
... plaintiffs' remedy is to enforce the indemnity adjudged in the decision in
criminal case No. C-6258 of the City Court of Angeles City (Branch II)
entitled People vs. Luis Balanza y Bautista and in case of non-payment of
the defendant Luis Balanza, to pursue their remedy under Articles 102 and
103 of the Revised Penal Code.
Hence, the present petition, of the plaintiffs in the court of first instance, for review on certiorari,
against Judge Gaddi and the defendants in the aforementioned Civil Case No. A-10, which
petition was given due course.
It is conceded that no express reservation had been made in Criminal Case No.
C-6258 of the right of petitioners herein to file a separate civil action for damages, in view of
which the City Court of Angeles City and respondent Judge considered that said civil action had
been impliedly instituted with the criminal action, as provided in section 1 of Rule 111 of the
Rules of Court, reading:
When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for recovery of civil
liability arising from the offense charged is impliedly instituted with the
criminal action, unless the offended party expressly waives the civil action or
reserves his right to institute it separately.
Petitioners herein maintain that this provision is inapplicable to the present case and that the
Tactaquin case invoked by Judge Gaddi is not controlling in the one at bar, because, unlike said
petitioners, the offended party in the Tactaquin case had intervened actively through a private
prosecutor in the criminal case, and the defendant in the civil case had not only not been
declared in default, but, also, moved to dismiss said civil case. Indeed, the original decision of
the Supreme Court in the Tactaquin case was set aside in a subsequent resolution granting a
reconsideration of said decision and remanding the case to the lower court for further
proceedings in the civil action, upon the ground that the offended party had seasonably
reserved, in the criminal case, her right to file a separate civil action for damages. 2
Upon the other hand, herein respondents Francisco and Rustica Balanza and Alberto and
Dorotea David were not parties in the criminal case, so that, as to them, the plea of res
adjudicata is manifestly untenable. Moreover, these respondents and Luis Balanza were
declared in default in the lower court. Accordingly, even if they wanted to, they could not invoke
the principle of res adjudicata, which is deemed waived unless pleaded specifically

22
... for the principle of bar by prior judgment or res judirata to operate, there
must be identity of parties and of issues. Appellant Bachrach Motor Co. was
not a party nor a co-accused in the criminal case. Not having been a party
therein, it can not invoke the judgment rendered in said case as res
judicatain the present case. (Tan v. Standard Vacuum Oil Co., et al., L4160, July 29, 1952; also Quetulio v. Ver, L-6831, June 29, 1956;
Bancairen, et al. v. Diones, L-8013, Dec. 20, 1955; Valdez v. Mendoza, L2847, May 28, 1951). Such a defense could have been availed of only by
defendants Angeles and De Guzman, the accused in the former criminal
case, but as they were declared in default in this civil action, they are
deemed to have waived such defense. 3
Again, the information in the criminal case was filed without the intervention of petitioners herein,
the widow and children of the deceased. What is more, since the information was filed on
December 27, 1968, and, evidently, the plea of guilty was entered by Luis Balanza a week later,
or on January 4, 1969, before the identity of the deceased had been ascertained, petitioners
herein were not included in the list of witnesses at the foot of the information. None of them
(petitioners), therefore, was notified of the proceedings in the criminal case. For the same
reason, the order of the city court, dated January 4, 1969, setting forth the measures taken in
respect of the criminal aspect of the case, and awarding P6,000 as damages to the "heirs of the
deceased did not state the latter's name. Not having participated, in any manner whatsoever, in
the criminal case, and having had no knowledge thereof, at the time the proceedings therein
took place, petitioners can not be deemed to have impliedly instituted with said case the action
for the recovery of damages, as provided in the above quoted section 1 of Rule 111.
Under the foregoing circumstances, and considering that the aforementioned order of January 4,
1969, in the criminal case, had become immediately final and executory, Luis Balanza having
forthwith proceeded to comply with it, except as to the damages therein awarded, it would
manifestly be iniquitous to hold that Civil Case No. A-10 is barred by said order.
In Meneses v. Luat, 4 We held that .
... The mere appearance of private counsel in representation of the offended
party (in the criminal case) did not constitute such active intervention as
could only import an intention to press a claim for damages in the same
action. It is as reasonable to indulge the possibility that the private
prosecutors appeared precisely to be able to make a seasonable
reservation of the right to file a separate civil action which, even if
unnecessary at the time would nevertheless have been the prudent and
practical thing to do for the purpose of better protecting the interest of their
clients. But as matters turned out, the accused pleaded guilty upon
arraignment and was immediately sentenced. Thereafter there was no
chance to enter such a reservation in the record.
We do not believe that plaintiffs' substantive right to claim damages should
necessarily be foreclosed by the fact at best equivocal as to its purpose
that private prosecutors entered their appearance at the very inception of
the proceeding, which was then cut short at that stage. It cannot be said
with any reasonable certainty that plaintiffs had thereby committed
themselves to the submission of their action for damages in that action. The
rule laid down in Roa vs. De la Cruz, supra, does not govern this case. The
ends of justice will be better served if plaintiffs are given their day in court.

The foregoing view applies with greater force to the case at bar, for petitioners herein were not
reported by a private prosecutor in the criminal case. In this respect, their predicament is more
like that of the offended party inSan Jose v. Del Mundo, et al., 5 in which this Court, speaking
through Mr. Justice Guillermo Pablo, said:
... Si el demandante hubiera sido el que presento la denuncia ante el
Juzgado de Paz, sin decir nada en cuanto a la reclamacion civil, podriamos
deducir que el renuncio porque no se reservo su derecho de ejercitar
civilmente una accion aparte; pero el que actuo fue el jefe de policia,
oficiosamente. For tanto, ni el demandante ni la ofendida Carmelita, de 13
aos de edad, podian haber renunciado expresamente a su derecho a
incoar la accion civil, ni podian reservarlo porque no habian tenido
participacion en la actuacion criminal.
La accion precipitada del jefe de policia y del fiscal provincial interino, sin
dar oportunidad a la parte agraviada de ser oida por el Juzgado, no es
plausible. Es injusta. Es contraria a la practica seguida en el foro. La
ofendida, por el inexplicable deseo de la acusacion de dar fin al asunto
criminal, no debe ser privada del derecho a reclamar la indemnizacion que
le concede el articulo 100 del Codigo Penal Revisado que dispone que
"Toda persona responsable criminalmente de un delito lo es tambien
civilmente,' y el articulo 103 que hace responsable subsidiariamente a las
empresas de transportacion cuyo dependiente comete delito en el
desempeo de su obligacion.
At any rate, the allegations in petitioners' complaint are such as to indicate clearly the intention
to base their action upon a quasi-delict and the provisions of Articles 33 and 2180 of our Civil
Code, and
... (I)t has been consistently held, not only that "the responsibility arising
from fault or negligence inquasi-delict is entirely separate and distinct from
the civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code," but, also,
that at least, in cases instituted before January 1, 1964 the failure to
make, in the criminal action, the reservation required in said Rule will not
bar a separate civil action for quasi-delict, provided that the injured party
has not intervened "actually" or actively in the prosecution of said criminal
action. Hence, in Parker v. Panlilio, we said:
... . The failure, therefore, on the part of the petitioner to reserve her right to
institute the civil action in the criminal case cannot in any way be deemed as
a waiver on her part to institute a separate civil action against the
respondent company based on its contractual liability, or on culpa
aquiliana under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code.
"It should be here emphasized that these two actions are separate and
distinct and should not be confused one with the other. In the supposition
that the one accused in the criminal case is a driver, employee, or
dependent of the respondent company, the failure to reserve the right to
institute a separate civil action in the criminal case would not necessarily
constitute a bar to the institution of the civil action against said
respondent, for the cause of action in one is different from that in the other.
These are two independent actions based on distinct causes of action. This

23
distinction is aptly stated in the Barredo case (Barredo vs. Garcia and
Almario, 73 Phil. 607). This Court said: "There are two liabilities of Barredo:
first, the subsidiary one because of the civil liability of the taxi driver arising
from the latter's criminal negligence; and, second, Barredo's primary
liability as an employer under Article 1903. The plaintiffs were free to
choose which course to take, and they preferred the second remedy. In so
doing they were acting within their rights." (pp. 614-615, id.).
"A distinction exists between the civil liability arising
from a crime and responsibility forcuasi-delitos or culpa
extra-contractual. The same negligent act causing
damages may produce a civil liability arising from a
crime under article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, or
create an action for cuasi-delicto or culpa extracontractual under articles 1902-1910 of the Civil Code.
Plaintiffs were free to choose which remedy to enforce"
(Barredo vs. Garcia and Almario, 73 Phil. 607)."
In Azucena v. Potenciano, the language used was:
"This Court in Dyogi vs. Yatco, G.R. No. L-9623, Jan.
22, 1957, stated that Article 33 constitutes a partial
amendment of Rule 107. In Calo vs. Peggy, G.R. No. L10756, March 29, 1958, substantially the same situation
as the one now before us was passed upon by this
Court. A minor son of the defendant there, while driving
a jeep belonging to the father, bumped and injured
plaintiff Romeo Calo. A criminal action for serious
physical injuries through reckless imprudence was
instituted. While it was pending, a civil action to recover
damages on the theory of quasi-delict was filed against
the father of the accused. After a judgement of acquittal
was rendered, where it was intimated that the victim of
the accident was the one at fault, the defendant in the
civil action moved for its dismissal, alleging that since in
the criminal case there was no reservation of the right
to file a separate civil action for damages the judgment
of acquittal operated to extinguish the civil liability of the
defendant based on the same incident. The trial court
granted the motion to dismiss, but on appeal this
Court reserved the ruling on the ground that the civil
action was entirely independent of the criminal case
according to Articles 33 and 2177 of the Civil Code.
There can indeed be no other logical conclusion than
this, for to subordinate the civil action contemplated in
the said articles to the result of the criminal prosecution
whether it be conviction or acquittal would render
meaningless the independent character of the civil
action and the clear injunction in Article 31 that this
action "may proceed independently of the criminal
proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter."
To be sure, an exception to this principle of separation
and independence of the two classes of actions from
each other has been recognized, namely, when the

offended party not only fails to reserve the right to file a


separate civil action but intervenes actually in the
criminal suit by appearing through a private
prosecutor for the purpose of recovering indemnity for
damages therein, in which case a judgment of acquittal
bars a subsequent civil action. Maria Roa vs. Segunda
de la Cruz, et al., supra. The case at bar, however,
does not fall under the exception, for the plaintiff here
did not so intervene in the criminal action against
defendant Potenciano." 6
In their second amended complaint, petitioners sought to recover the following as damages: .
a) For the death of Melquiades Guevarra P6,000.00
(Note: This is in accord with the judgment Annex "A" hereof).
b) Actual Damages P300.00
c) Moral, corrective and exemplary damages P2,000.00
d) Attorney's fees P1,600.00
e) Nominal, Temperate, and Liquidated Damages P2,000.00
T o t a l P11,300.00
In other words, they claimed P300 as actual damages, P1,000 as attorney's fees, and the
aggregate sum of P10,000 for the death of Melquiades Guevarra, including moral, corrective,
exemplary, nominal, temperate and liquidated damages. Upon the other hand, petitioners
introduced oral evidence to the effect that they had spent the total sum of P2,600 in connection
with the interment of the deceased; but, since the private respondents have been declared in
default, the award for actual damages can not exceed the sum of P300 alleged in the
complaint.7 Petitioners, likewise, proved that the deceased used to earn P12 daily in
construction work. Considering, however, that Melquiades Guevarra was already 65 years old,
at the time of the occurrence, and that "a judgment entered against a party in default shall not
exceed the amount ... prayed for," 8 We believe that the interest of justice and equity would be
served by awarding to the petitioners an aggregate indemnity of P10,000, including moral
damages, but, aside from P300 as actual damages and P1,000, as and for attorney's fees.
Springing, as it does, from a tort or quasi-delict, private respondent's liability therefor is
"solidary." 9
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed, and another one shall be
entered, sentencing private respondents herein namely, Luis, Francisco and Rustica Balanza,
and Alberto and Dorotea David to jointly and solidarily pay to petitioners herein the total sum
of P11,300, with interest thereon at the legal rate, from the date when this decision shall have
become final, aside from the costs. It is so ordered.

24
G.R. No. L-26737

July 31, 1969

LAURA CORPUS, and the minors RICARDO, TERESITA and CORAZON, all surnamed
MARCIA and represented by their mother LAURA CORPUS, plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
FELARDO PAJE and THE VICTORY LINER TRANSPORTATION CO., INC., defendantsappellees.
Crispin D. Baizas and Associates for plaintiffs-appellants.
Flores, Macapagal, Ocampo and Balbastro for defendants-appellees.
CAPISTRANO, J.:
This is a direct appeal on questions of law from an order of the Court of First Instance of Rizal
dismissing the complaint in Civil Case No. 6880 of that court.
On December 23, 1956, a passenger bus of the Victory Liner Transportation Co., Inc., driven by
Felardo Paje, collided within the municipality of Lubao, Pampanga, with a jeep driven by
Clemente Marcia, resulting in the latter's death and in physical injuries to two other persons.
An information for homicide and double serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence
was filed against Felardo Paje in the Court First Instance of Pampanga. The heirs of Clemente
Marcia reserved their right to institute a separate civil action for damages. On November 7,
1960, the accused, Felardo Paje, was found guilty and convicted of the crime charged in the
information. Said defendant appealed the judgment of conviction to the Court of Appeals. On
November 21, 1961, while defendant's appeal was pending decision in the Court of Appeals,
Clemente Marcia's heirs, namely, his widow, Laura Corpus, and their minor children, instituted in
the Court of First Instance of Rizal a separate civil action (Civil Case No. 6880) for damages
based upon the criminal act of reckless imprudence against Felardo Paje and the Victory Liner
Transportation Co., Inc., defendants, praying that said defendants be ordered to pay jointly and
severally the amounts of damages claimed by the plaintiffs. On November 9, 1962, the Court of
Appeals promulgated its decision in the appeal of Felardo Paje reversing the appealed judgment
and acquitting the appellant after finding that the reckless imprudence charged against him did
not exist, and that the collision was a case of pure accident.
On December 29, 1962, the defendants filed in the civil action a motion to dismiss on the ground
that the action was barred by the acquittal by the Court of Appeals of the defendant Felardo Paje
in the criminal action. The motion was denied.
At the pre-trial of the civil case, the defendants asked the court to rule on their special defense
that plaintiffs' cause of action based upon a quasi-delict had prescribed considering that the
complaint was brought four years and eleven months after the collision and that according to
Article 1144 of the Civil Code an action based upon a quasi-delict must be instituted within four
years. The lower court, in its order of May 31, 1966, dismissed the complaint on the ground that
plaintiffs' action was based upon a quasi-delict and that it had prescribed. The plaintiffs appealed
direct to this Court on questions of law from the order dismissing the complaint.
Plaintiffs-appellants contend that the lower court erred in dismissing the complaint. The
contention is unmeritorious in view of the following considerations.

(1) The acquittal of the defendant Felardo Paje by the Court of Appeals in the criminal action on
the ground that the reckless imprudence or criminal negligence charged against him did not exist
and that the collision was a case of pure accident, was a bar to the civil action for damages for
the death of Clemente Marcia, which action was based upon the same criminal negligence of
which the defendant Felardo Paje was acquitted in the criminal action. In the celebrated case
of Chantangco vs. Abaroa, which was an appeal from the Philippine Supreme Court to the
United States Supreme Court, 218 U.S. 476; 54 L. Ed. 1116; 40 Phil. 1056, Mr. Justice Lurton,
speaking for the Supreme Court of the United States, said:
It is true that one of the plaintiffs in the present case reserved whatever right he may
have had to bring a civil action. This was obviously of no avail, inasmuch as there
resulted a judgment for the defendant, and the plain inference from the foregoing is
that a verdict of acquittal must carry with it exemption from civil responsibility.
Criminal negligence, that is, reckless imprudence, is not one of the three crimes mentioned in
Article 33 of the Civil Code which authorizes the institution of an independent civil action, that is,
of an entirely separate and distinct civil action for damages, which shall proceed independently
of the criminal prosecution and shall be proved only by a preponderance of evidence. Said
article mentions only the crimes of defamation, fraud (estafa) and physical injuries. Although in
the case of Dyogi, et al. vs. Yatco, et al., G.R. No. L-9623, January 22, 1957, this Court held that
the term "physical injuries" used in article 33 of the Civil Code includes homicide, 1 it is to be
borne in mind that the charge against Felardo Paje was for reckless imprudence resulting in
homicide, and not for homicide and physical injuries. In the case of People vs. Buan, G.R. No. L25366, March 29, 1968, Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, speaking for the Supreme Court, said that the
"offense of criminal negligence under article 365 of the Revised Penal Code lies in the execution
of an imprudent or negligent act that, if intentionally done, would be punishable as a felony. The
law penalizes thus the negligent or careless act, not the result thereof. The gravity of the
consequence is only taken into account to determine the penalty; it does not qualify the
substance of the offense." It is, therefore, clear that the charge against Felardo Paje was not for
homicide but for reckless imprudence, that is, criminal negligence resulting in homicide (death of
Clemente Marcia) and double physical injuries suffered by two other persons. As reckless
imprudence or criminal negligence is not one of the three crimes mentioned in Article 33 of the
Civil Code, there is no independent civil action for damages that may be instituted in connection
with said offense. Hence, homicide through reckless imprudence or criminal negligence comes
under the general rule that the acquittal of the defendant in the criminal action is a bar to his civil
liability based upon the same criminal act notwithstanding that the injured party reserved 2 his
right to institute a separate civil action (Chantangco vs. Abaroa, supra). In the language of the
Rules of Court (Rule 111, Sec. 3) the extinction of the criminal action by acquittal of the
defendant on the ground that the criminal act charged against him did not exist, necessarily
extinguished also the civil action for damages based upon the same act.
(2) Assuming, arguendo, that the civil action for damages for the death of Clemente Marcia was
based upon a quasi-delict, 3 the trial court's finding that on that basis the action had prescribed is
correct. An action upon a quasi-delict must be instituted within four (4) years (Article 1146, Civil
Code). The four-year prescriptive period began to run from the day the quasi-delict was
committed, or from December 23, 1956, and the running of the said period was not interrupted
by the institution of the criminal action for reckless imprudence. (Paulan vs. Sarabia, G.R. No. L10542, July 31, 1958.)
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the order appealed from is affirmed, with special pronouncement as
to costs.

25
Concepcion, C.J., Castro, Fernando and Barredo, JJ., concur.
1wph1.t Dizon, Makalintal, Sanchez and Teehankee, JJ., concur in the result.
Reyes, J.B.L., and Zaldivar, JJ., took no part.

(c) Article 34 of the Civil Code, insofar as it authorizes the institution of an independent
civil action, is also intended for the same purpose.
2

Footnotes
1

This and the following footnotes express my opinion on certain controversial articles
of the New Civil Code, which was drafted when I was a member of the Code
Commission.
(a) The holding in the case of Dyogi, et al. vs. Yatco, etc., et al., supra, at the term
"physical injuries" used in Article 33 of the Civil Code includes homicide or murder, is
contrary to the letter and spirit of the law. I recall that when the draft of what is now
Article 33 of the New Civil Code was presented for deliberation by Code Commission
Chairman Dean Jorge C. Bocobo, a great civilian, before the Code Commission (then
composed of besides Chairman Bocobo, Professor Guillermo B. Guevarra, Dean
Pedro Y. Ylagan, and Dean Francisco R. Capistrano, members), said Chairman
made, in substance, the following remarks: In America the injured party in crime has
the initiative, through his lawyer he immediately files a civil action for damages against
the offender. In the Philippines the offended party depends upon the fiscal to demand
in the criminal action the damages he has suffered. I think it is about time to educate
our people the American way by giving the injured party in crime the initiative to go to
court through his lawyer to demand damages, and for this purpose we should give him
an independent civil action for damages. Let us begin with just three crimes which are
of common occurrence, namely, defamation, fraud, and physical injuries. Depending
upon the success of the experiment, when the new Civil Code may come up for
revision about fifty (50) or one hundred (100) years from now, it will be up to our
successors in the Code Commission to add more crimes to the three already
mentioned or make the provision comprise all crimes causing damages to the injured
party. This civil action, as in America, should proceed independently of the criminal
action and should be proved only by preponderance of evidence. Defamation may be
oral or written. Fraud comprises all forms of estafa. Physical Injuries is to be
understood in its ordinary meaning and does not include homicide or murder because
where physical injuries result in homicide or murder, the reason for the law (namely, to
give the injured party personally the initiative to demand damages by an independent
civil action) ceases, for the reason that a dead person can no longer personally,
through his lawyer institute an independent civil action for damages. (All the members
of the Code Commission agreed with the Chairman and the draft of the article was
unanimously approved.)
In the Revised Penal Code, the crime of homicide is treated in Title Eight (Crimes
Against Persons), Chapter One (Destruction of life), while the crime of physical injuries
is separately treated in Chapter Two of the same title. This shows that the two crimes
are distinct from each other, that physical injuries is not included in homicide.
(b) Article 32 (drafted by Code Commission Chairman Bocobo) of the Civil Code is
also intended, insofar as it provides for an independent civil action, to educate the
Filipino the American way by going immediately to the courts to file a civil action for
damages in vindication of his constitutional rights and liberties enumerated in the
article in case of violation of any of them.

(a) The crime of reckless imprudence resulting in the death of Clemente Marcia and
physical injuries to two other persons not being one of the three crimes mentioned in
Article 33 of the Civil Code which authorizes the institution of an independent civil
action for damages, the heirs of the deceased correctly reserved their right to institute
a separate civil action for damages against the bus driver, Felardo Paje, who stood
charged with the crime of homicide and double physical injuries through reckless
imprudence. The reservation was in accordance with what is now Rule 111, Section 1,
of the Rules of Court, which provides:
Institution of criminal and civil action. When a criminal action is instituted, the civil
action for recovery of a civil liability arising from the offense charged is impliedly
instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party expressly waives the civil
action or reserves his right to institute it separately.
The civil action for damages against Felardo Paje was prematurely instituted in view of
Rule 111, Section 3, which, in part, provides:
Criminal and civil actions arising from the same offense may be instituted separately,
but after the criminal action has been commenced the civil action cannot be instituted
until final judgment has been rendered in the criminal action.
At any rate, said civil action was correctly suspended in the Court of First Instance
until final judgment by the Court of Appeals in the criminal action was rendered
pursuant to Section 3(b) of said Rule 111 which provides that:
After a criminal action has been commenced, no civil action arising from the same
offense can be prosecuted, and the same shall be suspended, in whatever stage it
may be found, until final judgment in the criminal proceeding has been rendered.
The decision of the Court of Appeals acquitting the appellant Felardo Paje of the crime
of reckless imprudence charged against him on the ground that it did not exist,
extinguished the civil action for damages filed against him, in accordance with Section
3(c) of Rule 111 which states that:
Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil, unless the
extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which the
civil might arise did not exist. ....
This rule finds support in the celebrated case of Chantangco vs. Abaroa, supra.
(b) Section 2 of Rule 111 which provides:
Independent civil action. In the cases provided for in Articles 31, 32, 33, 34 and
2177 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, an independent civil action entirely separate
and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the injured party during the
pendency of the criminal case, provided the right is reserved as required in the

26
preceding section. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal
prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence.
is defective and imperfect in many ways:
First. Article 31 of the Civil Code does not provide for an independent civil action. An
independent civil action is an action that is based upon the same criminal act as in the
case of Articles 32, 33 and 34. When the civil action is based on an obligation not
arising from the act or omission complained of as a felony, such civil action being
based upon an obligation not arising from the criminal act but from a different source,
is not an independent civil action within the meaning of Articles 32, 33 and 34. Article
31 (drafted by Code Commissioner Capistrano) which provides that:
When the civil action is based on an obligation not arising from the act or omission
complained of as a felony, such civil action may proceed independently of the criminal
proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter.
states a self-explanatory rule different and distinct from that laid down in Articles 32,
33 and 34. For example: A is prosecuted for the crime of reckless imprudence
resulting in homicide. The heirs of the deceased institute a civil action for damages
against him based upon quasi-delict, under Article 2177 of the Civil Code, which is
separate and distinct from criminal negligence punished as a crime or delict under the
Revised Penal Code. Quasi-delict is culpa aquiliana and is separate and distinct from
criminal negligence, which is a delict. The distinction is made in Article 2177 itself
which in part provides that:
Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is entirely separate
and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. But
the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the
defendant.
Code Commission Chairman Bocobo, who drafted Article 2177 of the New Civil Code,
took the distinction from modern authorities in civil law. Accordingly, the report of the
Code Commission on the Project of Civil Code makes reference to the sources of the
distinction, thus:
The foregoing provision though at first sight startling, is not so novel or extraordinary
when we consider the exact nature of criminal and civil negligence. The former is a
violation of the criminal law, while the latter, is a distinct and independent negligence,
which is the 'culpa aquiliana' or quasi-delict, of ancient origin, having always had its
own foundation and individuality, separate from criminal negligence. Such distinction
between criminal negligence and 'culpa extra-contractual' or 'quasi-delict' has been
sustained by decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain and maintained as clear,
sound, and perfectly tenable by Maura, an outstanding Spanish jurist." .
Therefore, under the proposed article 2177, acquittal from an accusation of criminal
negligence, whether on reasonable doubt or not, shall not be a bar to a subsequent
civil action, not for civil liability arising from criminal negligence, but for damages due
to a 'quasi-delict' or 'culpa aquiliana'. But said article forestalls a double recovery.
(Capistrano, Civil Code of the Philippines, With Comments and Annotations, Vol. 4, p.
470.)

Second. As above explained, Article 2177 of the Civil Code does not provide for an
independent civil action in crime. The article precisely distinguishes quasi-delict or civil
negligence from criminal negligence (reckless imprudence) and authorizes the
institution of a civil action for damages based upon quasi-delict and not upon criminal
negligence, which is a delict and not a quasi-delict. In accordance with Article 31, the
civil action for damages based upon quasi-delict may proceed independently of the
criminal proceeding for criminal negligence and regardless of the result of the latter.
Hence, even if the defendant is acquitted in the criminal action of the charge of
reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, the civil action for damages for the death of
the deceased based upon quasi-delict may proceed to judgment.
Third. The proviso in Section 2 of Rule 111, with reference to the correctly cited
Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Civil Code, is contrary to the letter and spirit of the said
articles, for these articles were drafted for the purpose explained in footnote one and
are intended to constitute as exceptions to the general rule stated in what is now
Section 1 of Rule 111. The proviso, which is procedural, may also be regarded as an
unauthorized amendment of substantive law, Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Civil Code,
which do not provide for the reservation required in the proviso.
In view of all the foregoing, Section 2 of Rule 111 should be amended so as to read as
follows:
Independent civil action. In the cases provided for in Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines, an independent civil action entirely separate and distinct
from the criminal action, may be brought by the injured party before or after the
criminal action is instituted. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the
criminal prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. Notice shall
be given in the criminal action of the institution of the civil action or of the intention to
institute the same.
3

The prayer of the complaint in the civil action asked that the defendants, Felardo Paje
and the Victory Liner Transportation Co., Inc., be ordered to pay jointly and severally
the damages claimed by plaintiffs. This prayer, considering the action as one upon a
quasi-delict, is not in accordance with law. In quasi-delict, according to Article 2180 of
the Civil Code, the obligation to pay damages is demandable not only for one's own
acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. The
article then, in part continues: "The owners and managers of an establishment or
enterprise, are likewise responsible for damages caused by their employees in the
service of the branches in which the latter are employed, or on the occasion of their
functions." Hence, the bus driver, Felardo Paje, was responsible for the quasi-delict,
he being, in the language of the American law, a tort-feasor. Likewise, the bus
operator, Victory Liner Transportation Co., Inc., was liable for the quasi-delict of its bus
driver. This liability is not solidary but primary, with right to full reimbursement pursuant
to Article 2181, which provides: .
Whoever pays for the damages caused by his dependents or employees may recover
from the latter what he has paid or delivered in satisfaction of the claim.
The prayer of the complaint, based upon a quasi-delict, against the bus driver, Felardo
Paje, and the bus operator, Victory Liner Transportation Co., Inc., should have been
that the plaintiffs recover the damages claimed from either of them. The bus operator
defendant Victory Liner Transportation Co., Inc., could have filed a third-party

27
complaint against the defendant bus driver, pleading its right for reimbursement under
Article 2181.
When is the bus operator solidarily liable with the bus driver? Article 2184 of the Civil
Code provides:
In motor vehicle mishaps, the owner is solidarily liable with his driver, if the former,
who was in the vehicle, could have by the use of due diligence, prevented the
misfortune. .... "If the owner was not in the motor vehicle, the provisions of article 2180
are applicable.
This article (drafted by Code Commission Chairman Bocobo) is intended to cover only
the owners of private motor vehicles for private use. It is not generally applicable to
motor vehicles for public use and convenience because the operator thereof, usually a
corporation, cannot in the very nature of things, be in the motor vehicle at the time of
the mishap. However, if the manager of the bus company was in the bus at the time of
the mishap, Article 2184 may be applied by analogy.
In the case of De Leon Brokerage Co., Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. L15247, February 28, 1962, it was held that in quasi-delict, the bus operator is solidarily
liable with the bus driver in view of article 2194 of the Civil Code which provides:
"The responsibility of two or more persons who are liable for a quasi-delict is solidary.
This article (drafted by Code Commissioner Capistrano) merely restates the basic rule
in American law that joint tort-feasors are jointly and severally liable for the tort. In the
case of a quasi-delict committed by a bus driver, he alone is the tort-feasor; the bus
operator is not a joint tort-feasor. For this reason the liability of the bus operator is not
governed by Article 2194 but by Article 2180.
Joint tort-feasors in American law are the same as co-authors or co-principals of a
quasi-delict in the civil law, and it is only to them that Article 2194 is applicable. A bus
operator is not a co-author or co-principal of the tort committed by its bus driver;
hence, it cannot be made solidarily liable with the bus driver under Article 2194. Its
liability is that of an employer under Article 2180, with right to full reimbursement under
Article 2181.
To make the bus operator solidarily liable with the driver would diminish its right to full
reimbursement from the driver because in passive solidarity, the solidary debtors
share equally in the obligation (Article 1208, Civil Code). Consequently, if the bus
operator's liability were solidary, in the event of full payment by it of the obligation, its
right to reimbursement from the bus driver would only be of one-half of the obligation
because its share of the solidary obligation would be one-half. This would result in
reducing by one-half its right to full reimbursement under Article 2181.
The prayer for solidary liability in the complaint against the defendants Felardo Paje
and the Victory Liner Transportation Co. Inc., considering the complaint as based
upon criminal negligence, is likewise not in the accordance with law. In crime
committed by an employee within the scope of his duties, the employer's liability is
subsidiary, not solidary, in accordance with Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code
which provides:.

ART. 103. Subsidiary civil liability of other persons. The subsidiary liability
established in the next preceding article shall also apply to employers, teachers,
persons, and corporations engaged in any kind of industry for felonies committed by
their servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or employees in the discharge of their
duties.
G.R. No. 147791

September 8, 2006

CONSTRUCTION DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,


vs.
REBECCA G. ESTRELLA, RACHEL E. FLETCHER, PHILIPPINE PHOENIX SURETY &
INSURANCE INC., BATANGAS LAGUNA TAYABAS BUS CO., and WILFREDO
DATINGUINOO, respondents.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
This petition for review assails the March 29, 2001 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CV No. 46896, which affirmed with modification the February 9, 1993 Decision2 of the Regional
Trial Court of Manila, Branch 13, in Civil Case No. R-82-2137, finding Batangas Laguna
Tayabas Bus Co. (BLTB) and Construction Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP)
liable for damages.
The antecedent facts are as follows:
On December 29, 1978, respondents Rebecca G. Estrella and her granddaughter, Rachel E.
Fletcher, boarded in San Pablo City, a BLTB bus bound for Pasay City. However, they never
reached their destination because their bus was rammed from behind by a tractor-truck of CDCP
in the South Expressway. The strong impact pushed forward their seats and pinned their knees
to the seats in front of them. They regained consciousness only when rescuers created a hole in
the bus and extricated their legs from under the seats. They were brought to the Makati Medical
Center where the doctors diagnosed their injuries to be as follows:
Medical Certificate of Rebecca Estrella
Fracture, left tibia mid 3rd
Lacerated wound, chin
Contusions with abrasions, left lower leg
Fracture, 6th and 7th ribs, right3
Medical Certificate of Rachel Fletcher
Extensive lacerated wounds, right leg posterior aspect popliteal area
and antero-lateral aspect mid lower leg with severance of muscles.
Partial amputation BK left leg with severance of gastro-soleus and
antero-lateral compartment of lower leg.
Fracture, open comminuted, both tibial4

28
Thereafter, respondents filed a Complaint5 for damages against CDCP, BLTB, Espiridion
Payunan, Jr. and Wilfredo Datinguinoo before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 13.
They alleged (1) that Payunan, Jr. and Datinguinoo, who were the drivers of CDCP and BLTB
buses, respectively, were negligent and did not obey traffic laws; (2) that BLTB and CDCP did
not exercise the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of their
employees; (3) that BLTB allowed its bus to operate knowing that it lacked proper maintenance
thus exposing its passengers to grave danger; (4) that they suffered actual damages amounting
to P250,000.00 for Estrella and P300,000.00 for Fletcher; (5) that they suffered physical
discomfort, serious anxiety, fright and mental anguish, besmirched reputation and wounded
feelings, moral shock, and lifelong social humiliation; (6) that defendants failed to act with justice,
give respondents their due, observe honesty and good faith which entitles them to claim for
exemplary damage; and (7) that they are entitled to a reasonable amount of attorney's fees and
litigation expenses.
CDCP filed its Answer6 which was later amended to include a third-party complaint against
Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc. (Phoenix).7
On February 9, 1993, the trial court rendered a decision finding CDCP and BLTB and their
employees liable for damages, the dispositive portion of which, states:
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered:
In the Complaint
1. In favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants BLTB, Wilfredo Datinguinoo,
Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (now PNCC) and
Espiridion Payunan, Jr., ordering said defendants, jointly and severally to pay the
plaintiffs the sum of P79,254.43 as actual damages and to pay the sum of P10,000.00
as attorney's fees or a total of P89,254.43;

6. On the crossclaim against BLTB


Dismissing the crossclaim;
7. On the Third Party Complaint by Construction and Development Corporation of the
Philippines against Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Incorporated
Dismissing the Third Party Complaint.
SO ORDERED.8
The trial court held that BLTB, as a common carrier, was bound to observe extraordinary
diligence in the vigilance over the safety of its passengers. It must carry the passengers safely
as far as human care and foresight provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons,
with a due regard for all the circumstances. Thus, where a passenger dies or is injured, the
carrier is presumed to have been at fault or has acted negligently. BLTB's inability to carry
respondents to their destination gave rise to an action for breach of contract of carriage while its
failure to rebut the presumption of negligence made it liable to respondents for the breach. 9
Regarding CDCP, the trial court found that the tractor-truck it owned bumped the BLTB bus from
behind. Evidence showed that CDCP's driver was reckless and driving very fast at the time of
the incident. The gross negligence of its driver raised the presumption that CDCP was negligent
either in the selection or in the supervision of its employees which it failed to rebut thus making it
and its driver liable to respondents.10
Unsatisfied with the award of damages and attorney's fees by the trial court, respondents moved
that the decision be reconsidered but was denied. Respondents elevated the case 11 to the Court
of Appeals which affirmed the decision of the trial court but modified the amount of damages, the
dispositive portion of which provides:

2. In addition, defendant Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines


and defendant Espiridion Payunan, Jr., shall pay the plaintiffs the amount of Fifty
Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos to plaintiff Rachel Fletcher and Twenty Five Thousand
(P25,000.00) Pesos to plaintiff Rebecca Estrella;

WHEREFORE, the assailed decision dated October 7, 1993 of the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 13, Manila is hereby AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATION:

3. On the counterclaim of BLTB Co. and Wilfredo Datinguinoo

1. The interest of six (6) percent per annum on the actual damages of P79,354.43
should commence to run from the time the judicial demand was made or from the filing
of the complaint on February 4, 1980;

Dismissing the counterclaim;


4. On the crossclaim against Construction and Development Corporation of the
Philippines (now PNCC) and Espiridion Payunan, Jr.
Dismissing the crossclaim;
5. On the counterclaim of Construction and Development Corporation of the
Philippines (now PNCC)

2. Thirty (30) percent of the total amount recovered is hereby awarded as attorney's
fees;
3. Defendants-appellants Construction and Development Corporation of the
Philippines (now PNCC) and Espiridion Payunan, Jr. are ordered to pay plaintiffappellants Rebecca Estrella and Rachel Fletcher the amount of Twenty Thousand
(P20,000.00) each as exemplary damages and P80,000.00 by way of moral damages
to Rachel Fletcher.
SO ORDERED.12

Dismissing the counterclaim;

29
The Court of Appeals held that the actual or compensatory damage sought by respondents for
the injuries they sustained in the form of hospital bills were already liquidated and were
ascertained. Accordingly, the 6% interest per annum should commence to run from the time the
judicial demand was made or from the filing of the complaint and not from the date of judgment.
The Court of Appeals also awarded attorney's fees equivalent to 30% of the total amount
recovered based on the retainer agreement of the parties. The appellate court also held that
respondents are entitled to exemplary and moral damages. Finally, it affirmed the ruling of the
trial court that the claim of CDCP against Phoenix had already prescribed.

The case filed by respondents against petitioner is an action for culpa aquiliana or quasi-delict
under Article 2176 of the Civil Code.13 In this regard, Article 2180 provides that the obligation
imposed by Article 2176 is demandable for the acts or omissions of those persons for whom one
is responsible. Consequently, an action based on quasi-delict may be instituted against the
employer for an employee's act or omission. The liability for the negligent conduct of the
subordinate is direct and primary, but is subject to the defense of due diligence in the selection
and supervision of the employee.14 In the instant case, the trial court found that petitioner failed
to prove that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and
supervision of Payunan, Jr.

Hence, this petition raising the following issues:


I
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT
HOLDING RESPONDENTS BLTB AND/OR ITS DRIVER WILFREDO DATINGUINOO
SOLELY LIABLE FOR THE DAMAGES SUSTAINED BY HEREIN RESPONDENTS
FLETCHER AND ESTRELLA.
II
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN AWARDING
EXCESSIVE OR UNFOUNDED DAMAGES, ATTORNEY'S FEES AND LEGAL
INTEREST TO RESPONDENTS FLETCHER AND ESTRELLA.
III
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT
HOLDING RESPONDENT PHOENIX LIABLE UNDER ITS INSURANCE POLICY ON
THE GROUND OF PRESCRIPTION.
The issues for resolution are as follows: (1) whether BLTB and its driver Wilfredo Datinguinoo
are solely liable for the damages sustained by respondents; (2) whether the damages, attorney's
fees and legal interest awarded by the CA are excessive and unfounded; (3) whether CDCP can
recover under its insurance policy from Phoenix.

The trial court and the Court of Appeals found petitioner solidarily liable with BLTB for the actual
damages suffered by respondents because of the injuries they sustained. It was established that
Payunan, Jr. was driving recklessly because of the skid marks as shown in the sketch of the
police investigator.
It is well-settled in Fabre, Jr. v. Court of Appeals,15 that the owner of the other vehicle which
collided with a common carrier is solidarily liable to the injured passenger of the same. We held,
thus:
The same rule of liability was applied in situations where the negligence of the driver
of the bus on which plaintiff was riding concurred with the negligence of a third party
who was the driver of another vehicle, thus causing an accident. In Anuran v.
Buo, Batangas Laguna Tayabas Bus Co. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, and Metro
Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of Appeals, the bus company, its driver, the
operator of the other vehicle and the driver of the vehicle were jointly and
severally held liable to the injured passenger or the latter's heirs. The basis of
this allocation of liability was explained inViluan v. Court of Appeals, thus:
Nor should it make any difference that the liability of petitioner [bus owner]
springs from contract while that of respondents [owner and driver of other
vehicle] arises from quasi-delict.As early as 1913, we already ruled in Gutierrez vs.
Gutierrez, 56 Phil. 177, that in case of injury to a passenger due to the negligence of
the driver of the bus on which he was riding and of the driver of another vehicle, the
drivers as well as the owners of the two vehicles are jointly and severally liable for
damages. x x x
xxxx

Petitioner contends that since it was made solidarily liable with BLTB for actual damages and
attorney's fees in paragraph 1 of the trial court's decision, then it should no longer be held liable
to pay the amounts stated in paragraph 2 of the same decision. Petitioner claims that the liability
for actual damages and attorney's fees is based on culpa contractual, thus, only BLTB should be
held liable. As regards paragraph 2 of the trial court's decision, petitioner claims that it is
ambiguous and arbitrary because the dispositive portion did not state the basis and nature of
such award.
Respondents, on the other hand, argue that petitioner is also at fault, hence, it was properly
joined as a party. There may be an action arising out of one incident where questions of fact are
common to all. Thus, the cause of action based on culpa aquiliana in the civil suit they filed
against it was valid.
The petition lacks merit.

As in the case of BLTB, private respondents in this case and her co-plaintiffs did not
stake out their claim against the carrier and the driver exclusively on one theory, much
less on that of breach of contract alone.After all, it was permitted for them to allege
alternative causes of action and join as many parties as may be liable on such
causes of action so long as private respondent and her co-plaintiffs do not
recover twice for the same injury. What is clear from the cases is the intent of the
plaintiff there to recover from both the carrier and the driver, thus justifying the holding
that the carrier and the driver were jointly and severally liable because their separate
and distinct acts concurred to produce the same injury. 16(Emphasis supplied)
In a "joint" obligation, each obligor answers only for a part of the whole liability; in a "solidary" or
"joint and several" obligation, the relationship between the active and the passive subjects is so
close that each of them must comply with or demand the fulfillment of the whole obligation.
In Lafarge Cement v. Continental Cement Corporation,17 we reiterated that joint tort feasors are

30
jointly and severally liable for the tort which they commit. Citing Worcester v. Ocampo,18 we held
that:

intended to enrich the plaintiff at the expense of the defendant, the award should nonetheless be
commensurate to the suffering inflicted.23

x x x The difficulty in the contention of the appellants is that they fail to recognize that
the basis of the present action is tort. They fail to recognize the universal doctrine that
each joint tort feasor is not only individually liable for the tort in which he participates,
but is also jointly liable with his tort feasors. x x x

The Court of Appeals correctly awarded respondents exemplary damages in the amount of
P20,000.00 each. Exemplary damages may be awarded in addition to moral and compensatory
damages.24 Article 2231 of the Civil Code also states that in quasi-delicts, exemplary damages
may be granted if the defendant acted with gross negligence. 25 In this case, petitioner's driver
was driving recklessly at the time its truck rammed the BLTB bus. Petitioner, who has direct and
primary liability for the negligent conduct of its subordinates, was also found negligent in the
selection and supervision of its employees. In Del Rosario v. Court of Appeals,26 we held, thus:

It may be stated as a general rule that joint tort feasors are all the persons who
command, instigate, promote, encourage, advise, countenance, cooperate in, aid or
abet the commission of a tort, or who approve of it after it is done, if done for their
benefit. They are each liable as principals, to the same extent and in the same manner
as if they had performed the wrongful act themselves. x x x
Joint tort feasors are jointly and severally liable for the tort which they commit. The
persons injured may sue all of them or any number less than all. Each is liable for the
whole damages caused by all, and all together are jointly liable for the whole damage.
It is no defense for one sued alone, that the others who participated in the wrongful act
are not joined with him as defendants; nor is it any excuse for him that his participation
in the tort was insignificant as compared to that of the others. x x x
Joint tort feasors are not liable pro rata. The damages can not be apportioned among
them, except among themselves. They cannot insist upon an apportionment, for the
purpose of each paying an aliquot part. They are jointly and severally liable for the
whole amount. x x x
A payment in full for the damage done, by one of the joint tort feasors, of course
satisfies any claim which might exist against the others. There can be but satisfaction.
The release of one of the joint tort feasors by agreement generally operates to
discharge all. x x x
Of course the court during trial may find that some of the alleged tort feasors are liable
and that others are not liable. The courts may release some for lack of evidence while
condemning others of the alleged tort feasors. And this is true even though they are
charged jointly and severally.19
Petitioner's claim that paragraph 2 of the dispositive portion of the trial court's decision is
ambiguous and arbitrary and also entitles respondents to recover twice is without basis. In the
body of the trial court's decision, it was clearly stated that petitioner and its driver Payunan, Jr.,
are jointly and solidarily liable for moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00 to respondent
Fletcher and P25,000.00 to respondent Estrella.20 Moreover, there could be no double recovery
because the award in paragraph 2 is for moral damages while the award in paragraph 1 is for
actual damages and attorney's fees.
Petitioner next claims that the damages, attorney's fees, and legal interest awarded by the Court
of Appeals are excessive.
Moral damages may be recovered in quasi-delicts causing physical injuries.21 The award of
moral damages in favor of Fletcher and Estrella in the amount of P80,000.00 must be reduced
since prevailing jurisprudence fixed the same at P50,000.00.22 While moral damages are not

ART. 2229 of the Civil Code also provides that such damages may be imposed, by
way of example or correction for the public good. While exemplary damages cannot
be recovered as a matter of right, they need not be proved, although plaintiff must
show that he is entitled to moral, temperate or compensatory damages before the
court may consider the question of whether or not exemplary damages should be
awarded. Exemplary Damages are imposed not to enrich one party or impoverish
another but to serve as a deterrent against or as a negative incentive to curb socially
deleterious actions.
Regarding attorney's fees, we held in Traders Royal Bank Employees Union-Independent v.
National Labor Relations Commission,27 that:
There are two commonly accepted concepts of attorney's fees, the so-called ordinary
and extraordinary. In its ordinary concept, an attorney's fee is the reasonable
compensation paid to a lawyer by his client for the legal services he has rendered to
the latter. The basis of this compensation is the fact of his employment by and his
agreement with the client.
In its extraordinary concept, an attorney's fee is an indemnity for damages
ordered by the court to be paid by the losing party in a litigation. The basis of this
is any of the cases provided by law where such award can be made, such as those
authorized in Article 2208, Civil Code, and is payable not to the lawyer but to the
client, unless they have agreed that the award shall pertain to the lawyer as
additional compensation or as part thereof.28 (Emphasis supplied)
In the instant case, the Court of Appeals correctly awarded attorney's fees and other expenses
of litigation as they may be recovered as actual or compensatory damages when exemplary
damages are awarded; when the defendant acted in gross and evident bad faith in refusing to
satisfy the plaintiff's valid, just and demandable claim; and in any other case where the court
deems it just and equitable that attorney's fees and expenses of litigation should be recovered. 29
Regarding the imposition of legal interest at the rate of 6% from the time of the filing of the
complaint, we held inEastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,30 that when an obligation,
regardless of its source, i.e., law, contracts, quasi-contracts, delicts or quasi-delicts is breached,
the contravenor can be held liable for payment of interest in the concept of actual and
compensatory damages,31 subject to the following rules, to wit
1. When the obligation is breached, and it consists in the payment of a sum of money,
i.e., a loan or forbearance of money, the interest due should be that which may have
been stipulated in writing. Furthermore, the interest due shall itself earn legal interest

31
from the time it is judicially demanded. In the absence of stipulation, the rate of
interest shall be 12% per annum to be computed from default, i.e., from judicial or
extrajudicial demand under and subject to the provisions of Article 1169 of the Civil
Code.
2. When an obligation, not constituting a loan or forbearance of money, is breached,
an interest on the amount of damages awarded may be imposed at the discretion of
the court at the rate of 6% per annum. No interest, however, shall be adjudged on
unliquidated claims or damages except when or until the demand can be established
with reasonable certainty. Accordingly, where the demand is established with
reasonable certainty, the interest shall begin to run from the time the claim is made
judicially or extrajudicially (Art. 1169, Civil Code) but when such certainty cannot be so
reasonably established at the time the demand is made,the interest shall begin to
run only from the date the judgment of the court is made (at which time the
quantification of damages may be deemed to have been reasonably
ascertained). The actual base for the computation of legal interest shall, in any case,
be on the amount finally adjudged.
3. When the judgment of the court awarding a sum of money becomes final and
executory, the rate of legal interest, whether the case falls under paragraph 1 or
paragraph 2, above, shall be 12% per annum from such finality until its
satisfaction, this interim period being deemed to be by then an equivalent to a
forbearance of credit.32 (Emphasis supplied)
Accordingly, the legal interest of 6% shall begin to run on February 9, 1993 when the trial court
rendered judgment and not on February 4, 1980 when the complaint was filed. This is because
at the time of the filing of the complaint, the amount of the damages to which plaintiffs may be
entitled remains unliquidated and unknown, until it is definitely ascertained, assessed and
determined by the court and only upon presentation of proof thereon. 33From the time the
judgment becomes final and executory, the interest rate shall be 12% until its satisfaction.
Anent the last issue of whether petitioner can recover under its insurance policy from Phoenix,
we affirm the findings of both the trial court and the Court of Appeals, thus:
As regards the liability of Phoenix, the court a quo correctly ruled that defendantappellant CDCP's claim against Phoenix already prescribed pursuant to Section 384
of P.D. 612, as amended, which provides:
Any person having any claim upon the policy issued pursuant to this chapter
shall, without any unnecessary delay, present to the insurance company
concerned a written notice of claim setting forth the nature, extent and
duration of the injuries sustained as certified by a duly licensed physician.
Notice of claim must be filed within six months from date of the accident,
otherwise, the claim shall be deemed waived. Action or suit for recovery of
damage due to loss or injury must be brought in proper cases, with the
Commissioner or Courts within one year from denial of the claim, otherwise,
the claimant's right of action shall prescribe. (As amended by PD 1814, BP
874.)34
The law is clear and leaves no room for interpretation. A written notice of claim must be filed
within six months from the date of the accident. Since petitioner never made any claim within six
months from the date of the accident, its claim has already prescribed.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CV No. 46896 dated March 29, 2001, which modified the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila, Branch 13, in Civil Case No. R-82-2137, is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS that
petitioner is held jointly and severally liable to pay (1) actual damages in the amount of
P79,354.43; (2) moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00 each for Rachel Fletcher and
Rebecca Estrella; (3) exemplary damages in the amount of P20,000.00 each for Rebecca
Estrella and Rachel Fletcher; and (4) thirty percent (30%) of the total amount recovered as
attorney's fees. The total amount adjudged shall earn interest at the rate of 6% per annum from
the date of judgment of the trial court until finality of this judgment. From the time this Decision
becomes final and executory and the judgment amount remains unsatisfied, the same shall earn
interest at the rate of 12% per annum until its satisfaction.
SO ORDERED.