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7/13/2017 G.R. No.

170596

THIRDDIVISION

NGOSINSINGandTICIADYNGO, G.R.No.170596
Petitioners,
Present:

YNARESSANTIAGO,J.,
versus Chairperson,
AUSTRIAMARTINEZ,
CHICONAZARIO,
NACHURA,and
LISENGGIAP&SONS,INC.,and REYES,JJ.
CONTECHCONSTRUCTION
TECHNOLOGYDEVELOPMENT Promulgated:
CORPORATION,
Respondents. November28,2008

xx

DECISION

NACHURA,J.:


[1]
ThisisapetitionforreviewoncertiorarioftheDecision oftheCourtofAppeals(CA)dated
May11,2005andtheresolutiondenyingthemotionforreconsiderationthereofinCAG.R.CV
No.65553.

Thefactsareasfollows:

PetitionerspousesNgoSinSingandTiciaDyNgoownedalotat745CaballeroSt.,Binondo. In
1978, they decided to construct a 5storey concrete building thereon, the NSS Building, and for
this project, they contracted the services of Contech Construction Technology Development
Corporation(Contech)astheirGeneralContractor.Adjacenttotheirlotisasemiconcretebuilding
known as the Li Seng Giap Building (LSG Building), owned by Li Seng Giap & Sons, Inc.
(respondent). During the construction of the NSS Building, the respondent, through its general
manager,JohnT.Lee,receivedcomplaintsfromtheirtenantsaboutdefectsinthebuilding.There
werecracksappearingonthefloors,thesteeldoorwasbent,andconcreteslabsofthewallswere
[2]
fallingapart. An inspection of the premises revealed that the excavation made by Contech on

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petitionerslandwasclosetothecommonboundary,exposingthefoundationoftheLSGBuilding.
As a gesture of goodwill to their neighbors, the petitioners assured the respondent that repairs
would be undertaken by their contractor. In December 1979, Contech announced that it had
completedrepairsontheLSGBuilding.Notwithstandingthisassurance,moredefectsintheLSG
Buildingappeared,i.e.,tiltedfloors,cracksinthecolumnsandbeams,distortedwindowframes.
Apparently, the LSG Building was continuously sagging and the respondent felt that it was no
longersafetooccupythebuilding.

In 1981, the respondent was constrained to consult engineers, E.S. de Castro Ph.D. and
Associates,throughControlBuildersCorporation,toinvestigatethecauseofthedamagesinthe
LSGBuildingandtodetermineitspresentstructuralintegrity.Itwasimmediatelynoticedthatthe
[3]
LSG Building underwent differential settlement. Based on their ocular inspection on the
buildingmeasurementoftheactualdifferentialsettlement,structuralanalysisofthebuildingand
determination of the subsurface soil conditions, the consultants concluded that the structural
failure of the LSG Building resulted from the differential settlement caused by the excavation
duringtheconstructionoftheNSSBuilding.Since the building had undergone large differential
settlementsbeyondsafetolerablelimits,theconsultantsrecommendedthecompletedemolitionof
the LSG Building. The demolition and reconstruction of the building was estimated to cost the
[4]
respondents about P8,021,687.00. The respondents demanded that the petitioners rebuild the
LSGBuildingorpaythecostofthesame,whichthepetitionersrefused.

Thus, a complaint for sum of money was filed against Ngo Sin Sing, Ticia Dy Ngo and
Contech Construction Technology Development Corporation with the Regional Trial Court of
Manila,docketedasCivilCaseNo.8319367,prayingthatthepetitionersandContechbeordered
to,jointlyandseverally,paythefollowingsums:

1) P8,021,687.00,representingtheactualcostofdemolitionandreconstructionoftheLSG
Building

2)P154,800.00whichplaintiffcontractedtopaytheE.S.deCastro,Ph.D.andAssociates,and
Control Builders Corporation to determine the extent of the damages and the structural
integrityoftheLSGBuilding

3)P543,672.00,representingtheincomethattheplaintiffwilllosefromtherentalsduringthe
reconstructionofthebuilding

[5]
4)P10,000.00asattorneysfees.


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[6]
IntheirAnswer, spousesNgoSinSingandTiciaDyNgomovedtodismissthecomplaint
alleging that: (1) the respondents building had been structurally unstable and deficient since
incipiency, having been constructed in 1966 without the appropriate provision to vouchsafe its
structuralintegrityincludingdifferentialsettlementsduringitseconomiclifeand(2)thestructural
defects and failure were traceable not necessarily due to soil erosion but to a number of external
forces constantly working upon the building including earthquakes and improper maintenance.
PetitionersfiledacrossclaimagainstContechaverringthatpursuanttotheirconstructioncontract,
[7]
allclaimsofthirdpartiesshouldbeansweredbysaidcorporation.

Foritspart,Contechallegedthattheexcavationdidnotreachthecommonboundaryandwas
eight (8) inches, more or less, away from the common boundary. Adequate and necessary
precautionswereundertakenwhichincludedtheputtingofwoodsheetpilesalongtheboundariesto
preventsoilerosionandallphasesofworkweredoneaccordingtotheapprovedplan.Assumingit
wasliableonthecrossclaim,suchliabilitywasdeemedwaivedorabandonedforfailureofNgoSin
[8]
SingtonotifyContechofsuchclaim.

Afterduehearing,thetrialcourtruledthatthedefendantswerenegligent.Itfoundthatthe
excavationmadeondefendantslotwasnearthecommonboundary,andthatsoilerosionwould
nothavetakenplaceifwoodsheetpileswereproperlyputinplacealongthecommonboundary.
However,thetrialcourtalsostatedthattheplaintiffwaslikewisenotwithoutfault.Thetrialcourt
notedthattheLSGBuildingwasoriginallya2storeybuildingandtheplaintiffaddedtwomore
floorswithoutprovidingthenecessaryfoundationandreinforcementcausingthebuildingtosag.
Thetrialcourtheldthatitwasbutfairfortheplaintifftoassumeitsshareofthefaultsanddefects
ofitspropertyinthiscase.

Thus,thetrialcourtrenderedjudgmentasfollows:

WHEREFORE,premisesconsidered,judgmentisherebyrenderedorderingdefendantsNgo
Sin Sing, Ticia Dy Ngo and [Contech] Construction Technology Development Corp. jointly and
severally,liabletopayplaintiffLiSengGiap&Sons,Inc.thesumofP4,010,843.50.Theclaimfor
other damages cannot be awarded for lack of sufficient basis. Defendant Contech Technology &
DevelopmentCorp.shallreimbursedefendantsSpousesNgoSinSing&TiciaDyNgoforwhatever
[9]
amountthelatterwillpaytoplaintiff.ThecounterclaimsofdefendantsareDISMISSED.

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Dissatisfiedwiththetrialcourtsruling,LiSengGiap&Sons,Inc.andthespousesNgoSin
SingandTiciaDyNgofiledtheirrespectiveappeals.Contechnolongerappealed.

The respondent disagreed with the trial courts finding that it was guilty of contributory
negligenceandthatitmustshareinthecostofthereconstructionoftheLSGBuilding.Itclaimed
that the LSG Building never exhibited any sign of structural distress from the time it was
completely constructed in 1968, despite the fact that Manila was rocked by several earthquakes,
themostviolentofwhichwasin1969.Thedefectswereexperiencedonlywhenexcavationand
constructionoftheNSSBuildingstarted.Respondentreiterateditsprayerinthecomplaint.

Thepetitioners,ontheotherhand,averredthattherewasnobasisforholdingthemjointly
and severally liable with Contech for the payment of the amount of damages to the respondent.
Thetrialcourtcorrectlypointedoutthatasowneroftheproperty,itwastheirrighttoconstructon
theirlandandhaveitexcavated. More importantly, they had a contract with Contech wherein it
wasprovidedthatallclaimsofthirdpersonswouldbeansweredbythecompany.

OnMay11,2005,theCAaffirmedthetrialcourtsdecisionwithmodification.Theappellate
courtruledthattherespondenthadaprovencauseofactionagainstthepetitionersthatrespondents
righttopropertywasinvadedordisturbedwhenexcavationwasdonewithoutsufficientlateralor
subjacent support. As such, the petitioners liability as project owner should be shared with the
contractor, applying the provisions of Article 2194 of the Civil Code which states that the
[10]
responsibilityoftwoormorepersonsforaquasidelictissolidary. TheCArefutedthefindings
ofthetrialcourtimputingcontributorynegligencetotherespondentsLiSengGiap&Sons,Inc.,
andruledthatthespousesNgoSinSingandTiciaDyNgotogetherwithContech,weresolidarily
liableforthewholeamount.Thus:

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from is MODIFIED in that the
defendantsshalljointlyandseverallypaytheplaintiffthesumofP8,021,687.[00]withinterestat6
percent per annum from the date of the filing of the complaint until paid, plus ten percent of the
principalawardasattorneysfeesandcosts.TherestofthedecisionisAFFIRMED.


Aggrieved,thespousesNgoSinSingandTiciaDyNgonowcometothisCourtraisingthe
followingassignmentoferrors:

I.

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RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE REVERSIBLE ERROR IN


RENDERING THE ASSAILED DECISION AND RESOLUTION WHICH IGNORED AND
DISREGARDED CLEAR EVIDENCE ON RECORD THAT RESPONDENT LSGS OWN
NEGLIGENCE WAS THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE DAMAGE TO ITS BUILDING, OR
ATLEAST,AMOUNTEDTOCONTRIBUTORYNEGLIGENCEWARRANTINGREDUCTION
OFTHEAWARD.

II.

RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE REVERSIBLE ERROR IN
RENDERING THE ASSAILED DECISION AND RESOLUTION WHEN DESPITE THE FACT
THATNOACTOROMISSIONCONSTITUTINGNEGLIGENCEHADBEENSUCCESSFULLY
IMPUTED AGAINST PETITIONERS, IT HELD PETITIONERS JOINTLYAND SEVERALLY
LIABLEWITHRESPONDENTCONTECHFORRECONSTRUCTIONCOSTS.

III.

RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE REVERSIBLE ERROR IN
RENDERING THE ASSAILED DECISION AND RESOLUTION WHEN, WITHOUT ANY
LEGAL AND FACTUAL BASIS, IT ORDERED PETITIONER TO PAY RESPONDENT LSG
ATTORNEYS FEES IN THE AMOUNT OF TEN (10%) [PERCENT] OF THE PRINCIPAL
[11]
AMOUNT.


Weresolvetograntthepetition.


Inpetitionsforreview,theCourtdoesnotnormallyreviewthefactualfindingsofthecourts
below, but when the findings of the CA differ from those of the trial court, the Court will not
hesitatetoscrutinizetheevidenceonrecord.Asbetweenthesetwocourts,itcannotbedeniedthat
the trial court is in a better position to ascertain the facts of the case considering its peculiar
opportunity to be in direct contact with the witnesses and the evidence presented. As such, this
Court is inclined to uphold the findings of the trial court in this case which we find to be more
conformabletotheevidenceonrecord.

TherecordsrevealthattheLSGBuildingwasconstructedasearlyas1956.Originally, the
[12]
building permit dated June 27, 1956 was for the construction of a 3storey building.
[13]
Apparently,thiswasamendedwhenanotherbuildingpermitwasissuedonAugust20,1956,
fortheconstructionofa2storeybuildingonly.TheCityEngineertestifiedthattheCertificateof
[14]
OccupancywasissuedfortheAugust20,1956permitwhichwasforthe2storeybuilding. In
1966,thebuildingwasburned.Thereafter,itwasrebuiltwithtwofloorsaddedtotheoriginal2
storey building. The CA stressed that, according to John T. Lee, Manager of LSG Building, the
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[15]
present building was an entirely new edifice and not one built on the ashes of the old.
However,oncrossexamination,JohnT.Leeadmittedthat:

WITNESS:
May I recall sometime in 1940, the property was purchased with an existing building apartment
wooden in 1940. Sometime in 1956, the wooden apartment was destroyed by fire. So in 1956, a
permitwasrequestedandgrantedtoconstructathreestoreyreinforceconcretebuilding.Nowonthe
laterpartof1956itwasamended.Thepermitwasamended.Itwaschangedtoatwostoreyconcrete
building.Itiscalledsemiconcrete.Sothebuildingwasfinishedin1957.Thenin1966thatsemi
concretebuildingwasburned.Sowerequestedforabuildingpermittoreconstructandincludea3rd
and4thstoreybuilding.

COURT:

QSothe3rdand4thstoreywillbebuiltontheskeleton?

AAccordingtomybrotherthatisexactlythe

QSkeleton on the ground floor and second floor and what was added was the 3rd and 4th floor?
Storey?

AYes,sir.

QAnditwasfinishedwhen?

AItwasfinishedin1968.

QAnditwassemiconcrete?

ANoreinforceconcretein1968.

Q So the 3rd and 4th storey was added to the shell of the ground and 2nd floor which was
burned?

[16]
AYes,yourhonor.


Whetherornotthebuildingisanewedificeorbuiltontheoldashesisreallyofnomoment.
Verily,thefoundationoftheLSGBuildingwhichwasgoodtosupportonlytwofloorsremained
thesameandcouldnotsupporttheweightofthepresent4storeybuilding.EdgardoSoriano,Civil
EngineerfromtheOfficeoftheCityEngineersManila,testifiedthattherewasagreatpossibility
[17]
thatthesettlementmaybeprogressive, andthatthedamagesmaybeduetothedefectinthe
[18]
foundationandnotduetotheexcavation. MoreintriguingisthestatementinthereportofE.S
deCastrowhichreads:
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In terms of purely engineering considerations, it would be best to demolish the existing
building and then rebuild using present data as design guides. Economic feasibility is, of course,
beyondthescopeofthisstudy.

Iftheownerswishtosalvagewhatevertheycanofthepresentbuilding,itissuggestedthat
the3 and4thfloorsberemovedandretainuseofthegroundandsecondfloorsonly.Toleavethe
rd
[19]
buildinginitspresentconditionwouldbeunsafe.


ThisonlygoestoshowthattheadditionaltwofloorsputupontheLSGBuildingcouldhave
overburdenedthefoundationsloadbearingcapacityandcontributedtothesaggingofthebuilding.
Thepossibilityofsettlementduetoweakfoundationcannot,therefore,bediscounted.Asthetrial
courtcorrectlyruled:addingmorefloorswithouttouchingorreinforcingthebuildingsbottomline
orfoundationarealreadymanifestiveofsomenegligenceorignoranceonthepartofsaidbuilding
owner.xxxHadplaintiffstucktohisoriginalbuilding2storeywithitskindoffoundation,the
excavationbyitsadjacentneighborwouldnotmattermuchoraffectthebuildinginquestionatthe
[20]
outset.

Contributorynegligenceisconductonthepartoftheinjuredparty,contributingasalegal
cause to the harm he has suffered, which falls below the standard to which he is required to
[21]
conform for his own protection. In this case, considering that respondents negligence must
have necessarily contributed to the sagging of the LSG Building, a reduction of the award is
warranted. We, therefore, agree with the trial court that respondent should likewise share in the
costoftherestructuringofitsbuilding.Thisismoreinkeepingwithjusticeandequity.Asthetrial
courtratiocinated:

After going over the records of the case, the Court believes and so holds that plaintiff is
equally negligent in not providing the necessary foundation and reinforcement to
accommodate/supporttheadditionalfloorsandthisfindingissupportedbyplaintiffsevidencemore
particularlythedeclarationofJohnLeethatthe3rdand4thfloorswerebuiltontheskeletonofthe
groundand2ndfloorwhichwasburned(tsnpp.89,July9,1985).Tobeaddingadditionalfloorsto
theoriginal2storeyofplaintiffsbuildinganddependingmerelyontheskeletonofthegroundand
second floors for its third and fourth floors without touching or reinforcing that buildings bottom
line or foundation are already manifestive of some negligence or ignorance on the part of said
buildingowner(plaintiff).Toputalltheblameandresponsibilityforthedefects,cracksandtilting
orsaggingofthebuildinginquestionontheshouldersofthedefendantsisnotproper.Plaintiffmust
[22]
realizehisshareofthefaultsanddefectsofhispropertyinthesituation.

xxxx

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Inviewofthisandconsideringthattheplaintiffsbuildingisstilloccupiedbytenantsandhas
notbeencondemnednorcondemnationproceedingsaccordinglyinstituted,theCourtbelievesthat
demandsofsubstantialjusticearesatisfiedbyallocatingthedamageson5050ratio.Thus,50%of
the damages sustained by the building is to be borne by the plaintiff and the other 50% by the
defendants jointly and severally upon reconstruction of the formers building. The amount of
P154,000.00 for the services rendered by Contech (sic) Builders should be shouldered by the
plaintiffalone.DefendantContechshallreimbursedefendantsSpousesNgoSinSingandTiciaDy
[23]
Ngoforwhateveramountthelatterwillpaytotheplaintiff.


Thelowercourtsalsofoundthattherewasinsufficientlateralorsubjacentsupportprovided
ontheadjoininglotwhenexcavationwasdoneonpetitionersland.Whiletherewerewoodsheet
pilesplacedalongthesidesoftheexcavation,theywerenotproperlybracedtopreventafailure
[24]
wedge. Suchfailurecanonlybeaccountedtothecontractor,whichisnootherthanContech.
[25]
IntheProposal submittedtothepetitioners,Contechcommittedtoundertaketheconstruction
oftheNSSBuilding,providinglaborandequipmentfortheproject.Workincludedexcavationfor
foundation,formworks,steelworks,etc.Constructionwouldbecompletedafter365days.It was
also provided that the petitioners were released and relieved of any and all liabilities and
responsibilitiesforanyinjurytotheworkersandlaborersemployedintheworkcontractedfor,as
[26]
wellasforthirdpartyliabilities. AsitturnedoutinthecourseoftheconstructionoftheNSS
Building, Contech failed to observe the proper procedure prior to excavation. We quote the trial
court:

Clearly, defendant Contech failed to observe his procedure of providing lateral and subjacent
supportpriortoexcavation.Underthedoctrineofsuperveningnegligencewhichstatesthatwhere
bothpartiesarenegligentbutthenegligenceofoneisappreciablylaterintimethanoftheother,or
whenitisimpossibletodeterminewhosefaultornegligenceshouldbeattributedtotheincident,the
onewhohadthelastclearopportunitytoavoidtheimpendingharmandfailedtodosoischargeable
with the consequences thereof. Stated differently, the rule would also mean that an antecedent
negligenceofapersondoesnotprecludetherecoveryofdamagesforthesuperveningnegligenceof
or bar a defense against the liability sought by another, if the latter, who had the last fair chance,
couldhaveavoidedtheimpendingharmbytheexerciseofduediligence.

Inthecaseatbench,thenegligenceofContechcausedthedamagessustainedbythebuilding,which
didnotdischargeitsdutyofexcavatingeight(8)inchesawayfromtheboundarylinefromthelotof
[27]
plaintiffwithinsufficientlateralandsubjacentsupport.


Article2176oftheNewCivilCodeprovides:

Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is
obligedtopayforthedamagedone.Suchfaultornegligence,ifthereisnopreexistingcontractual

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relation between the parties, is called a quasidelict and is governed by the provisions of this
Chapter.


Therequisitesofquasidelictarethefollowing:

(a)Theremustbeanactoromission
(b)Suchactoromissioncausesdamagetoanother
(c)Suchactoromissioniscausedbyfaultornegligenceand
[28]
(d)Thereisnopreexistingcontractualrelationbetweentheparties.

Theserequisitesareattendantintheinstantcase.Thetortiousactwastheexcavationdone
without observing the proper safeguards. Although the trial court stated that petitioner as land
owner had every right to excavate on his own land, such right is not absolute as to deprive the
adjacent owner sufficient lateral support pursuant toArticle 684, New Civil Code, which states
that:

Noproprietorshallmakesuchexcavationuponhislandastodepriveanyadjacentlandor
buildingofsufficientlateralorsubjacentsupport.


Forthedamagecausedtotherespondent,petitionersandContecharejointlyliableasthey
are joint tortfeasors. Conformably with Article 2194, the responsibility of two or more persons
[29]
who are liable for the quasidelict is solidary. In Lafarge Cement Philippines, Inc. v.
[30]
ContinentalCementCorporation, theCourthadtheoccasiontoexplain:

[O]bligationsarisingfromtortare,bytheirnature,alwayssolidary.Wehaveassiduouslymaintained
thislegalprincipleasearlyas1912inWorcesterv.Ocampo,inwhichweheld:

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
universaldoctrinethateachjointtortfeasorisnotonlyindividuallyliableforthetort
inwhichheparticipates,butisalsojointlyliablewithhistortfeasors.xxx

Itmaybestatedasageneralrulethatjointtortfeasorsareallthepersonswho
command, instigate, promote, encourage, advise, countenance, cooperate in, aid or
abetthecommissionofatort,orwhoapproveofitafteritisdone,ifdonefortheir
benefit.Theyareeachliableasprincipals,tothesameextentandinthesamemanner
asiftheyhadperformedthewrongfulactthemselves.xxx

Joint tort feasors are jointly and severally liable for the tort which they
commit.Thepersonsinjuredmaysueallofthemoranynumberlessthanall.Eachis
liableforthewholedamagescausedbyall,andalltogetherarejointlyliableforthe
wholedamage.Itisnodefenseforonesuedalone,thattheotherswhoparticipatedin
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thewrongfulactarenotjoinedwithhimasdefendantsnorisitanyexcuseforhim
thathisparticipationinthetortwasinsignificantascomparedtothatoftheothers.x
xx

Jointtortfeasorsarenotliableprorata.Thedamagescannotbeapportioned
amongthem,exceptamongthemselves.They cannot insist upon an apportionment,
forthepurposeofeachpayinganaliquotpart.Theyarejointlyandseverallyliable
forthewholeamount.xxx

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
operatestodischargeall.xxx

Ofcourse,thecourtduringtrialmayfindthatsomeoftheallegedtortfeasors
are liable and that others are not liable. The courts may release some for lack of
evidencewhilecondemningothersoftheallegedtortfeasors.And this is true even
[31]
thoughtheyarechargedjointlyandseverally.


Prescindingfromtheabove,thereisbasistoreexaminethecourtsdispositioninthiscaseas
totheliabilityofthepetitionerinthelightofthejudgmentrendered(1)holdingthepetitionerand
Contechjointlyandseverallyliable,and(2)givingtherighttothepetitionertobereimbursedfor
[32]
whateveramountitshallpaytherespondent.

[33]
InCitytrustBankingCorporationv.CourtofAppeals, theCourtstatedthatajudgment
maydeterminetheultimaterightsofthepartiesonthesamesideasbetweenthemselves,suchthat
questions of primary and secondary liability between joint tortfeasors may be determined. Such
judgment does not make the codefendants adversaries. It permits only the determination of
[34]
questionsofprimaryandsecondaryliabilitybetweenjointtortfeasors.

[35]
InWeinerv.Mager&Throne,Inc.,etal., itwasheldthat

Inordertoavoidamultiplicityofsuits,andtoplaceitinthepowerofthedefendanttogeta
determinationofanentirecontroversyinasingleaction,statutoryprovisionismadewhereby,ifthe
rightsofthedefendantsasbetweenthemselvesaredeterminableinanaction,thewholemattermay
be disposed of in the judgment of such action, instead of leaving the defendants to litigate
independentlyafterthejudgmenthasbeenenteredinthemainaction.


From the foregoing, it is clear that this Court is not precluded from rendering a judgment
that determines the liabilities of the codefendants (petitioners and Contech) in this case. Rather
than invite the definite prospect of the petitioners filing or instituting an action later on seeking
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reimbursementfromthepartyprimarilyliable,whichinthiscaseisContech,itwouldbemorein
keeping with the principles of expediency and the policy against multiplicity of suits to make a
directadjudicationinthisregard.Consideringthattherewasnoprofferedevidenceofnegligence
on the part of the petitioners, the inescapable conclusion is that Contech is ultimately liable and
shouldanswerforthecostofthedamage.

Indeed, the facts show that Contechs negligence was the proximate cause of the damage.
Construction is a field requiring technical expertise. The petitioners, as ordinary laymen, would
understandablyhavenoknowledgeatallaboutthetechnicalaspectofconstructingabuilding.This
was precisely the reason why they contracted the services of a reputable construction firm to
undertaketheproject.Petitionershadeveryrighttorelyonthewarrantiesandrepresentationsof
theircontractor.

WenotethatContechhasremainedsilent,asifacceptingitsfateofliabilityinthiscase.The
trial court observed that Contech did not present evidence to controvert the parties assertions or
[36]
provetheirallegationsintheanswer,despiteanordertodoso. Fromthetrialcourtsdecision,
both the petitioner and respondent filed their respective appeals while Contech no longer
challengedsaiddecision.Thus,thedecisionholdingitliablehasbecomefinalandexecutory.

Moreover,thetrialcourtpointedoutthatContechfellshortofitsresponsibilityascontractor
inthisvaluableproject.Itfailedtoinsureitsworkagainstpossiblerisks.Wequote:

Defendant Contech as the contractor should have been prudent enough as to have sought and
acquiredaContractorAllRisk(CAR)insurancepolicyand/orErectionAllRisk(EAR)insurance
policy in the course of such a construction that it had contracted with codefendant Spouses.Had
CAR&EARinsurancepoliciesbeenavailedofbeforeanyexcavationwasundertakentheplaintiff
could have run after the insurance companies that could have covered those risks. Contractors of
buildingshouldhavetakentherolesofthewiseandprudentfathertotheircustomersorclientsas
they are specialists in themselves as their field of knowhow in technology would always be
[37]
demandedandextractedofthembyalltheirpatrons.


As to the award for attorneys fees in the CA decision, the same should be deleted, as the
appellatecourtdidnotprovideanybasiswhatsoevertojustifytheaward.

WHEREFORE,thepetitionisGRANTED.TheDecisionoftheCourtofAppealsisSET
ASIDE. The decision of the Regional Trial Court is REINSTATED with the modification that

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Contech Construction Technology Development Corporation, alone, is ORDERED to pay


respondentLiSengGiap&Sons,Inc.,thesumofP4,010,843.50.

SOORDERED.


ANTONIOEDUARDOB.NACHURA
AssociateJustice


WECONCUR:



CONSUELOYNARESSANTIAGO
AssociateJustice
Chairperson



MA.ALICIAAUSTRIAMARTINEZ MINITAV.CHICONAZARIO
AssociateJustice AssociateJustice



RUBENT.REYES
AssociateJustice


ATTESTATION

IattestthattheconclusionsintheaboveDecisionwerereachedinconsultationbeforethecasewas
assignedtothewriteroftheopinionoftheCourtsDivision.



CONSUELOYNARESSANTIAGO
AssociateJustice
Chairperson,ThirdDivision


CERTIFICATION

PursuanttoSection13,ArticleVIIIoftheConstitutionandtheDivisionChairperson'sAttestation,
I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the
casewasassignedtothewriteroftheopinionoftheCourtsDivision.



REYNATOS.PUNO
ChiefJustice
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[1]
Penned by Associate Justice Mario L. Guaria III, with Associate Justices Rebecca de GuiaSalvador and Santiago Javier Ranada,
concurringrollo,pp.3543.

[2]
TSN,February8,1985,p.6.
[3]
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