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Alano vs Magud-Logmao

GR No. 1755540 April 7, 2014

Facts: At around 9:50pm of March 1, 1988, Arnelito Logmao then 18 y/o, was brought to the East Avenue Medical Center
(EAMC) in Quezon City by two sidewalk vendors, who allegedly saw the former fall from the overpass near the Farmers
Market in Cubao, Quezon City. The patients data sheet identified the patient as Angelito Lugmoso of Boni Ave.,
Mandaluyong. However, the clinical abstract prepared by Dr. Paterno F. Cabrera, the surgical resident on-duty at the
emergency room of EAMC, stated the patient is Angelito Logmao. Dr. Cabrera reported that Logmao was drowsy with
alcoholic breath, was conscious and coherent; that the skull x-ray showed no fracture; that at around 4:30am of March 2, 1988,
Logmao developed generalized seizures and was managed by the neuro-surgeon resident on-duty; that the condition of
Logmao progressively deteriorated and he was intubated and ambu-bagging support was provided; that admission to the ICU
and mechanical ventilation support became necessary, but there was no vacancy at the ICU and all the ventilation units were
being used by other patients; that a resident physician of NKTI, who was rotating at EAMC, suggested that Logmao be
transferred to NKTI; and that after arrangements were made, Logamo was transferred to NKTI at 10:10am. At the NKTI, the
name Angelito Logmao was recorded as Angelito Lugmoso. Lugmoso was immediately attended to and given the necessary
medical treatment. As Lugmoso had no relatives around, Jennifer Misa, transplant coordinator was asked to locate his family
by enlisting police and media assistance. Dr. Enrique Ona, chairman of the Department of Surgery, observed that severity of
the brain injury of Lugmoso manifested symptoms of brain death. He requested the laboratory section to conduct tissue typing
and tissue cross-matching examination, so that should Lugmoso expire despite the necessary care and medical management
and he would be found to be a suitable organ donor and his family would consent to organ donation, the organs thus donated
could be detached and transplanted promptly to any compatible beneficiary. The identity of Lugmoso was verified by Misa
from EAMC and she was furnished the patients data sheet. She then contacted several radio and television stations to request
for air time for the purpose of locating the family of Angelito Lugmoso of Boni Ave., Mandaluyong who was confined at
NKTI with severe head injury after allegedly falling from the Cubao overpass, as well as police station no. 5 Eastern Police
District. Lugmoso was pronounced brain dead on March 3, 1988 7:00am. Two hours later, Dr. Ona was informed that EEG
recording exhibited a flat tracing thereby confirming his brain death. He was found to be a suitable donor of the heart, kidneys,
pancreas, and liver, and after the extensive search, no relatives were found. Dr. Ona then requested the removal of the specific
organs of Lugmoso from the herein petitioners, Dr. Alano, the director of NKTI who thereafter issued a memorandum stating
that only after the requirements of RA 349 as amended by PD 856 was complied, they can remove the specified organs of
Lugmoso. Lugmosos remains was brought at La Funeraria Oro. A press release made by NKTI announcing a double organ
transplant led to the findings of the relatives of Lugmoso.

Issue: Whether or not the removal of Lugmosos organs were valid.

Held: Yes. The internal organs of the deceased were removed only after he had been declared brain dead; thus the emotional
pain suffered by respondent due to the death of her son cannot be in any way be attributed to petitioner. Neither can the court
find evidence or second to show that respondents emotional suffering at the sight of the pitful state in which she found her
sons lifeless body be categorically attributed to petitioners conduct.

Thus, there can be no cavil that petitioners employed reasonable means to disseminate notifications intended to reach the
relatives of the deceased. The only question that remains pertains to the sufficiency of time allotted for notices to reach the
relatives of the deceased.

If respondent failed to immediately receive notice of her sons death because the notices did not properly state the name or
identity of the deceased, fault cannot be laid at petitioners door. The trial and appellate courts found that it was the EAMC,
who recorded the wrong information regarding the deceaseds identity to NKTI. The NKTI could not have obtained the
information about his name from the patient, because as found by the lower courts, the deceased was already unconscious by
the time he was brought to NKTI.

G.R. No. 171365 October 6, 2010


Petitioner: ERMELINDA C. MANALOTO
Respondents: ISMAEL VELOSO III
Ponente: LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.

FACTS:
This was a petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision of the Court Appeals of an unlawful detainer case in favor of
respondent. The cause of action was for damages because the respondent supposedly suffered embarrassment and
humiliation when petitioners distributed copies of the abovementioned MTC decision to the homeowners of Horseshoe
Village while respondent's appeal was still pending before the RTC. That from the time the said decision was distributed to
said homeowners, the respondent became the subject of conversation or talk of the town and by virtue of which, greatly
damaged respondent's good name within the community; his reputation was besmirched; suffered sleepless night and
serious anxiety; and was deprived of his political career.
Petitioners reason that respondent has no cause of action against them since the MTC decision in the unlawful detainer case
was part of public records. On appeal, the CA decreed that although court decisions are public documents, distribution of the
same during the pendency of an appeal was clearly intended to cause respondent some form of harassment and/or
humiliation so that respondent would be ostracized by his neighbors.

ISSUE: Whether or not the act imputed to petitioner constitutes any of those enumerated in Arts. 26.

HELD:
Yes. The philosophy behind Art. 26 underscores the necessity for its inclusion in our civil law. The Code Commission stressed
in no uncertain terms that the human personality must be exalted. Under this article, the rights of persons are amply
protected, and damages are provided for violations of a person's dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind.
It is already settled that the public has a right to see and copy judicial records and documents. However, this is not a case of
the public seeking and being denied access to judicial records and documents. The controversy is rooted in the dissemination
by petitioner of the MTC judgment against respondent to Horseshoe Village homeowners, who were not involved at all in the
unlawful detainer case, thus, purportedly affecting negatively respondent's good name and reputation among said
homeowners. While petitioners were free to copy and distribute such copies of the MTC judgment to the public, the question
is whether they did so with the intent of humiliating respondent and destroying the latter's good name and reputation in the
community.

Liwayway Vinzons-Chato vs. Fortune Tobacco, Corp.


G.R. No. 141309, June 19, 2007

FACTS:

This is a case for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code filed by Fortune against Liwayway as CIR.

On June 10, 1993, the legislature enacted RA 7654, which provided that locally manufactured cigarettes which are currently
classified and taxed at 55% shall be charged an ad valorem tax of 55% provided that the maximum tax shall not be less than
Five Pesos per pack. Prior to effectivity of RA 7654, Liwayway issued a rule, reclassifying Champion, Hope, and More
(all manufactured by Fortune) as locally manufactured cigarettes bearing foreign brand subject to the 55% ad valorem tax.
Thus, when RA 7654 was passed, these cigarette brands were already covered.

In a case filed against Liwayway with the RTC, Fortune contended that the issuance of the rule violated its constitutional right
against deprivation of property without due process of law and the right to equal protection of the laws.

For her part, Liwayway contended in her motion to dismiss that respondent has no cause of action against her because she
issued RMC 37-93 in the performance of her official function and within the scope of her authority. She claimed that she acted
merely as an agent of the Republic and therefore the latter is the one responsible for her acts. She also contended that the
complaint states no cause of action for lack of allegation of malice or bad faith.

The order denying the motion to dismiss was elevated to the CA, who dismissed the case on the ground that under Article 32,
liability may arise even if the defendant did not act with malice or bad faith.

Hence this appeal.

ISSUES:

Whether or not a public officer may be validly sued in his/her private capacity for acts done in connection with the discharge
of the functions of his/her office
Whether or not Article 32, NCC, should be applied instead of Sec. 38, Book I, Administrative Code

HELD:

On the first issue, the general rule is that a public officer is not liable for damages which a person may suffer arising from the
just performance of his official duties and within the scope of his assigned tasks. An officer who acts within his authority to
administer the affairs of the office which he/she heads is not liable for damages that may have been caused to another, as it
would virtually be a charge against the Republic, which is not amenable to judgment for monetary claims without its consent.
However, a public officer is by law not immune from damages in his/her personal capacity for acts done in bad faith which,
being outside the scope of his authority, are no longer protected by the mantle of immunity for official actions.

Specifically, under Sec. 38, Book I, Administrative Code, civil liability may arise where there is bad faith, malice, or gross
negligence on the part of a superior public officer. And, under Sec. 39 of the same Book, civil liability may arise where the
subordinate public officers act is characterized by willfulness or negligence. In Cojuangco, Jr. V. CA, a public officer who
directly or indirectly violates the constitutional rights of another, may be validly sued for damages under Article 32 of the Civil
Code even if his acts were not so tainted with malice or bad faith.

Thus, the rule in this jurisdiction is that a public officer may be validly sued in his/her private capacity for acts done in the
course of the performance of the functions of the office, where said public officer: (1) acted with malice, bad faith, or
negligence; or (2) where the public officer violated a constitutional right of the plaintiff.

On the second issue, SC ruled that the decisive provision is Article 32, it being a special law, which prevails over a general law
(the Administrative Code).

Article 32 was patterned after the tort in American law. A tort is a wrong, a tortious act which has been defined as the
commission or omission of an act by one, without right, whereby another receives some injury, directly or indirectly, in person,
property or reputation. There are cases in which it has been stated that civil liability in tort is determined by the conduct and
not by the mental state of the tortfeasor, and there are circumstances under which the motive of the defendant has been
rendered immaterial. The reason sometimes given for the rule is that otherwise, the mental attitude of the alleged wrongdoer,
and not the act itself, would determine whether the act was wrongful. Presence of good motive, or rather, the absence of an evil
motive, does not render lawful an act which is otherwise an invasion of anothers legal right; that is, liability in tort in not
precluded by the fact that defendant acted without evil intent.

GR No. 184861, Jun 30, 2009 ]

DREAMWORK CONSTRUCTION v. CLEOFE S. JANIOLA +

DECISION
609 Phil. 245

VELASCO JR., J.:

The Case

Petitioner Dreamwork Construction, Inc. seeks the reversal of the August 26, 2008 Decision[1] in SCA No. 08-0005 of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 253 in Las Pias City. The Decision affirmed the Orders dated October 16, 2007[2] and
March 12, 2008[3] in Criminal Case Nos. 55554-61 issued by the Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC), Branch 79 in Las Pias
City.

The Facts

On October 18, 2004, petitioner, through its President, Roberto S. Concepcion, and Vice-President for Finance and Marketing,
Normandy P. Amora, filed a Complaint Affidavit dated October 5, 2004[4] for violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 (BP 22)
against private respondent Cleofe S. Janiola with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Las Pias City. The case was docketed as
I.S. No. 04-2526-33. Correspondingly, petitioner filed a criminal information for violation of BP 22 against private respondent
with the MTC on February 2, 2005 docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 55554-61, entitled People of the Philippines v. Cleofe S.
Janiola.

On September 20, 2006, private respondent, joined by her husband, instituted a civil complaint against petitioner by filing a
Complaint dated August 2006[5] for the rescission of an alleged construction agreement between the parties, as well as for
damages. The case was filed with the RTC, Branch 197 in Las Pias City and docketed as Civil Case No. LP-06-0197.
Notably, the checks, subject of the criminal cases before the MTC, were issued in consideration of the construction agreement.

Thereafter, on July 25, 2007, private respondent filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings dated July 24, 2007[6] in Criminal
Case Nos. 55554-61, alleging that the civil and criminal cases involved facts and issues similar or intimately related such that
in the resolution of the issues in the civil case, the guilt or innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined . In other
words, private respondent claimed that the civil case posed a prejudicial question as against the criminal cases.

Petitioner opposed the suspension of the proceedings in the criminal cases in an undated Comment/Opposition to Accused's
Motion to Suspend Proceedings based on Prejudicial Question[7] on the grounds that: (1) there is no prejudicial question in
this case as the rescission of the contract upon which the bouncing checks were issued is a separate and distinct issue from the
issue of whether private respondent violated BP 22; and (2) Section 7, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court states that one of the
elements of a prejudicial question is that "the previously instituted civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to
the issue raised in the subsequent criminal action"; thus, this element is missing in this case, the criminal case having preceded
the civil case.

Later, the MTC issued its Order dated October 16, 2007, granting the Motion to Suspend Proceedings, and reasoned that:
Should the trial court declare the rescission of contract and the nullification of the checks issued as the same are without
consideration, then the instant criminal cases for alleged violation of BP 22 must be dismissed. The belated filing of the civil
case by the herein accused did not detract from the correctness of her cause, since a motion for suspension of a criminal action
may be filed at any time before the prosecution rests (Section 6, Rule 111, Revised Rules of Court).[8]
In an Order dated March 12, 2008,[9] the MTC denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration dated November 29, 2007.

Petitioner appealed the Orders to the RTC with a Petition dated May 13, 2008. Thereafter, the RTC issued the assailed decision
dated August 26, 2008, denying the petition. On the issue of the existence of a prejudicial question, the RTC ruled:
Additionally, it must be stressed that the requirement of a "previously" filed civil case is intended merely to obviate delays in
the conduct of the criminal proceedings. Incidentally, no clear evidence of any intent to delay by private respondent was
shown. The criminal proceedings are still in their initial stages when the civil action was instituted. And, the fact that the civil
action was filed after the criminal action was instituted does not render the issues in the civil action any less prejudicial in
character.[10]
Hence, we have this petition under Rule 45.
The Issue

WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT A QUO SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT PERCEIVING GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION ON THE PART OF THE INFERIOR COURT, WHEN THE LATTER RULED TO SUSPEND
PROCEEDINGS IN CRIM. CASE NOS. 55554-61 ON THE BASIS OF "PREJUDICIAL QUESTION" IN CIVIL CASE NO.
LP-06-0197.[11]
The Court's Ruling

This petition must be granted.

The Civil Action Must Precede the Filing of the


Criminal Action for a Prejudicial Question to Exist

Under the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended by Supreme Court Resolutions dated June 17, 1988 and July 7,
1988, the elements of a prejudicial question are contained in Rule 111, Sec. 5, which states:
SEC. 5. Elements of prejudicial question. -- The two (2) essential elements of a prejudicial question are: (a) the civil action
involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the criminal action; and (b) the resolution of such issue
determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed.
Thus, the Court has held in numerous cases[12] that the elements of a prejudicial question, as stated in the above-quoted
provision and in Beltran v. People,[13] are:
The rationale behind the principle of prejudicial question is to avoid two conflicting decisions. It has two essential elements:
(a) the civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the criminal action; and (b) the
resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed.
On December 1, 2000, the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure, however, became effective and the above provision was
amended by Sec. 7 of Rule 111, which applies here and now provides:
SEC. 7. Elements of prejudicial question.--The elements of a prejudicial question are: (a) the previously instituted civil action
involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the subsequent criminal action, and (b) the resolution of
such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed. (Emphasis supplied.)

RAFAEL JOSE-CONSING, JR., Petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

G.R. No. 161075/ July 15, 2013

Ponente: BERSAMIN, J.

TOPIC: PERSONS; Effect and Application of Laws; Human Relations

Nature: Petition for Review on Certiorari

Doctrine: An independent civil action based on fraud initiated by the defrauded party does not raise a
prejudicial question to stop the proceedings in a pending criminal prosecution of the defendant for estafa
through falsification. This is because the result of the independent civil action is irrelevant to the issue of guilt
or innocence of the accused.

Facts: Petitioner negotiated with and obtained for himself and his mother, Cecilia de la Cruz (de la Cruz)
various loans totaling P18,000,000.00 from Unicapital Inc. (Unicapital). The loans were secured by a real
estate mortgage constituted on a parcel of land registered under the name of de la Cruz. In accordance with
its option to purchase the mortgaged property, Unicapital agreed to purchase one-half of the property for a
total consideration of P21,221,500.00. Payment was effected by off-setting the amounts due to Unicapital
under the promissory notes of de la Cruz and Consing in the amount of P18,000,000.00 and paying an
additional amount of P3,145,946.50. The other half of the property was purchased by Plus Builders, Inc. (Plus
Builders), a joint venture partner of Unicapital. Before Unicapital and Plus Builders could develop the
property, they learned that the title to the property was really TCT No. 114708 in the names of Po Willie Yu
and Juanito Tan Teng, the parties from whom the property had been allegedly acquired by de la Cruz. TCT
No. 687599 held by De la Cruz appeared to be spurious. On its part, Unicapital demanded the return of the
total amount of P41,377,851.48 as of April 19, 1999 that had been paid to and received by de la Cruz and
Consing, but the latter ignored the demands.

Consing filed Civil Case No. 1759 in the Pasig City RTC for injunctive relief, thereby seeking to enjoin
Unicapital from proceeding against him for the collection of theP41,377,851.48 on the ground that he had
acted as a mere agent of his mother.

On the same date, Unicapital initiated a criminal complaint for estafa through falsification of public document
against Consing and de la Cruz in the Makati City Prosecutors Office.

Unicapital sued Consing in the RTC in Makati City (Civil Case No. 99-1418) for the recovery of a sum of
money and damages, with an application for a writ of preliminary attachment.

The Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati City filed against Consing and De la Cruz an information for estafa
through falsification of public document in the RTC in Makati City.

Consing moved to defer his arraignment in the Makati criminal case on the ground of existence of a
prejudicial question due to the pendency of the Pasig and Makati civil cases. On September 25, 2001,
Consing reiterated his motion for deferment of his arraignment, citing the additional ground of pendency of
CA-G.R. SP No. 63712 in the CA. On November 19, 2001, the Prosecution opposed the motion.

On November 26, 2001, the RTC issued an order suspending the proceedings in the Makati criminal case on
the ground of the existence of a prejudicial question, and on March 18, 2001, the RTC denied the
Prosecutions motion for reconsideration.

The State thus assailed in the CA the last two orders of the RTC in the Makati criminal case via petition for
certiorari (C.A.-G.R. SP No. 71252).

On May 20, 2003, the CA promulgated its decision in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 71252, dismissing the petition for
certiorari and upholding the RTCs questioned orders. On August 18, 2003, the CA amended its decision,
reversing itself.

Consing filed a motion for reconsideration, but the CA denied the motion through the second assailed
resolution of December 11, 2003. Hence, this appeal by petition for review on certiorari.

Issue: Whether or not there is an existence of a prejudicial question that warranted the suspension of the
proceedings in the Makati criminal case

Held: NO

Ruling: Consing has hereby deliberately chosen to ignore the firm holding in the ruling in G.R. No. 148193 to
the effect that the proceedings in Criminal Case No. 00-120 could not be suspended because the Makati civil
case was an independent civil action, while the Pasig civil case raised no prejudicial question. That was
wrong for him to do considering that the ruling fully applied to him due to the similarity between his case with
Plus Builders and his case with Unicapital.

A perusal of Unicapitals complaint in the Makati civil case reveals that the action was predicated on fraud.
This was apparent from the allegations of Unicapital in its complaint to the effect that Consing and de la Cruz
had acted in a "wanton, fraudulent, oppressive, or malevolent manner in offering as security and later object
of sale, a property which they do not own, and foisting to the public a spurious title." As such, the action was
one that could proceed independently of Criminal Case No. 00-120 pursuant to Article 33 of the Civil Code.

It is well settled that a civil action based on defamation, fraud and physical injuries may be independently
instituted pursuant to Article 33 of the Civil Code, and does not operate as a prejudicial question that will
justify the suspension of a criminal case.

In the instant case, Civil Case No. 99-95381, for Damages and Attachment on account of the alleged fraud
committed by respondent and his mother in selling the disputed lot to PBI is an independent civil action under
Article 33 of the Civil Code. As such, it will not operate as a prejudicial question that will justify the suspension
of the criminal case at bar.

Contrary to Consings stance, it was not improper for the CA to apply the ruling in G.R. No. 148193 to his
case with Unicapital, for, although the Manila and Makati civil cases involved different complainants (i.e., Plus
Builders and Unicapital), the civil actions Plus Builders and Unicapital had separately instituted against him
were undeniably of similar mold, i.e., they were both based on fraud, and were thus covered by Article 33 of
the Civil Code. Clearly, the Makati criminal case could not be suspended pending the resolution of the Makati
civil case that Unicapital had filed.

As far as the Pasig civil case is concerned, the issue of Consings being a mere agent of his mother who
should not be criminally liable for having so acted due to the property involved having belonged to his mother
as principal has also been settled in G.R. No. 148193, to wit:

In the case at bar, we find no prejudicial question that would justify the suspension of the proceedings in the
criminal case (the Cavite criminal case). The issue in Civil Case No. SCA 1759 (the Pasig civil case) for
Injunctive Relief is whether or not respondent (Consing) merely acted as an agent of his mother, Cecilia de la
Cruz; while in Civil Case No. 99-95381 (the Manila civil case), for Damages and Attachment, the question is
whether respondent and his mother are liable to pay damages and to return the amount paid by PBI for the
purchase of the disputed lot. Even if respondent is declared merely an agent of his mother in the transaction
involving the sale of the questioned lot, he cannot be adjudged free from criminal liability. An agent or any
person may be held liable for conspiring to falsify public documents. Hence, the determination of the issue
involved in Civil Case No. SCA 1759 for Injunctive Relief is irrelevant to the guilt or innocence of the
respondent in the criminal case for estafa through falsification of public document.

WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the amended decision promulgated on August 18, 2003; and ORDERS
petitioner to pay the costs of suit.

Capili v People
700 SCRA 443 Civil Law Family Code Void Marriages A Void 2nd Marriage is not a Defense in Bigamy

Criminal Law Bigamy Elements


In September 1999, James Capili married Karla Medina. But then, just three months later in December 1999, he married
another woman named Shirley Tismo.

In 2004, Karla Medina filed an action for declaration of nullity of the second marriage between Capili and Tismo. In June
2004, Tismo filed a bigamy case against Capili.

Before a decision can be had in the bigamy case, the action filed by Karla Medina was granted and Capilis marriage with
Tismo was declared void by reason of the subsisting marriage between Medina and Capili. Thereafter, Capili filed a motion to
dismiss in the bigamy case. He alleged that since the second marriage was already declared void ab initio that marriage never
took place and that therefore, there is no bigamy to speak of.

The trial court agreed with Capili and it dismissed the bigamy case. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal and
remanded the case to the trial court.

ISSUE: Whether or not a declaration of nullity of the second marriage avoids a prosecution for bigamy.

HELD: No. The elements of bigamy are:

1. That the offender has been legally married;

2. That the first marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case his or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet
be presumed dead according to the Civil Code;

3. That he contracts a second or subsequent marriage;

4. That the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential requisites for validity.

When Capili married Tismo, all the above elements are present. The crime of bigamy was already consummated. It is already
immaterial if the second (or first marriage, see Mercado vs Tan) was subsequently declared void. The outcome of the civil case
filed by Karla Medina had no bearing to the determination of Capilis guilt or innocence in the bigamy case because all that is
required for the charge of bigamy to prosper is that the first marriage be subsisting at the time the second marriage is
contracted. He who contracts a second marriage before the judicial declaration of the first marriage assumes the risk of being
prosecuted for bigamy.

The Supreme Court also notes that even if a party has reason to believe that his first marriage is void, he cannot simply
contract a second marriage without having such first marriage be judicially declared as void. The parties to the marriage should
not be permitted to judge for themselves its nullity, for the same must be submitted to the judgment of competent courts and
only when the nullity of the marriage is so declared can it be held as void, and so long as there is no such declaration the
presumption is that the marriage exists

G.R. No. 158253 March 2, 2007

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS,
COMMISSION ON AUDIT and THE NATIONAL TREASURER, Petitioner,
vs.
CARLITO LACAP, doing business under the name and style CARWIN CONSTRUCTION AND CONSTRUCTION
SUPPLY, Respondent.
DECISION

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court assailing the Decision1
dated April 28, 2003 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 56345 which affirmed with modification the Decision2
of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 41, San Fernando, Pampanga (RTC) in Civil Case No. 10538, granting the complaint for
Specific Performance and Damages filed by Carlito Lacap (respondent) against the Republic of the Philippines (petitioner).

The factual background of the case is as follows:

The District Engineer of Pampanga issued and duly published an "Invitation To Bid" dated January 27, 1992. Respondent,
doing business under the name and style Carwin Construction and Construction Supply (Carwin Construction), was pre-
qualified together with two other contractors. Since respondent submitted the lowest bid, he was awarded the contract for the
concreting of Sitio 5 Bahay Pare.3 On November 4, 1992, a Contract Agreement was executed by respondent and petitioner.4
On September 25, 1992, District Engineer Rafael S. Ponio issued a Notice to Proceed with the concreting of Sitio 5 Bahay
Pare.5 Accordingly, respondent undertook the works, made advances for the purchase of the materials and payment for labor
costs.6

On October 29, 1992, personnel of the Office of the District Engineer of San Fernando, Pampanga conducted a final inspection
of the project and found it 100% completed in accordance with the approved plans and specifications. Accordingly, the Office
of the District Engineer issued Certificates of Final Inspection and Final Acceptance.7

Thereafter, respondent sought to collect payment for the completed project.8 The DPWH prepared the Disbursement Voucher
in favor of petitioner.9 However, the DPWH withheld payment from respondent after the District Auditor of the Commission
on Audit (COA) disapproved the final release of funds on the ground that the contractors license of respondent had expired at
the time of the execution of the contract. The District Engineer sought the opinion of the DPWH Legal Department on whether
the contracts of Carwin Construction for various Mount Pinatubo rehabilitation projects were valid and effective although its
contractors license had already expired when the projects were contracted.10

In a Letter-Reply dated September 1, 1993, Cesar D. Mejia, Director III of the DPWH Legal Department opined that since
Republic Act No. 4566 (R.A. No. 4566), otherwise known as the Contractors License Law, does not provide that a contract
entered into after the license has expired is void and there is no law which expressly prohibits or declares void such contract,
the contract is enforceable and payment may be paid, without prejudice to any appropriate administrative liability action that
may be imposed on the contractor and the government officials or employees concerned.11

In a Letter dated July 4, 1994, the District Engineer requested clarification from the DPWH Legal Department on whether
Carwin Construction should be paid for works accomplished despite an expired contractors license at the time the contracts
were executed.12

In a First Indorsement dated July 20, 1994, Cesar D. Mejia, Director III of the Legal Department, recommended that payment
should be made to Carwin Construction, reiterating his earlier legal opinion.13 Despite such recommendation for payment, no
payment was made to respondent.

Thus, on July 3, 1995, respondent filed the complaint for Specific Performance and Damages against petitioner before the
RTC.14

On September 14, 1995, petitioner, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaint
on the grounds that the complaint states no cause of action and that the RTC had no jurisdiction over the nature of the action
since respondent did not appeal to the COA the decision of the District Auditor to disapprove the claim.15

Following the submission of respondents Opposition to Motion to Dismiss,16 the RTC issued an Order dated March 11, 1996
denying the Motion to Dismiss.17 The OSG filed a Motion for Reconsideration18 but it was likewise denied by the RTC in its
Order dated May 23, 1996.19

On August 5, 1996, the OSG filed its Answer invoking the defenses of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies and the
doctrine of non-suability of the State.20

Following trial, the RTC rendered on February 19, 1997 its Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing consideration, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the
defendant, ordering the latter, thru its District Engineer at Sindalan, San Fernando, Pampanga, to pay the following:

a) 457,000.00 representing the contract for the concreting project of Sitio 5 road, Bahay Pare, Candaba, Pampanga plus
interest at 12% from demand until fully paid; and

b) The costs of suit.

SO ORDERED.21

The RTC held that petitioner must be required to pay the contract price since it has accepted the completed project and enjoyed
the benefits thereof; to hold otherwise would be to overrun the long standing and consistent pronouncement against enriching
oneself at the expense of another.22

Dissatisfied, petitioner filed an appeal with the CA.23 On April 28, 2003, the CA rendered its Decision sustaining the Decision
of the RTC. It held that since the case involves the application of the principle of estoppel against the government which is a
purely legal question, then the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies does not apply; that by its actions the
government is estopped from questioning the validity and binding effect of the Contract Agreement with the respondent; that
denial of payment to respondent on purely technical grounds after successful completion of the project is not countenanced
either by justice or equity.

The CA rendered herein the assailed Decision dated April 28, 2003, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, the decision of the lower court is hereby AFFIRMED with modification in that the interest shall be six percent
(6%) per annum computed from June 21, 1995.

SO ORDERED.24

Hence, the present petition on the following ground:

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT RESPONDENT HAS NO CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST
PETITIONER, CONSIDERING THAT:

(a) RESPONDENT FAILED TO EXHAUST ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES; AND

(b) IT IS THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT WHICH HAS THE PRIMARY JURISDICTION TO RESOLVE RESPONDENTS
MONEY CLAIM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.25

Petitioner contends that respondents recourse to judicial action was premature since the proper remedy was to appeal the
District Auditors disapproval of payment to the COA, pursuant to Section 48, Presidential Decree No. 1445 (P.D. No. 1445),
otherwise known as the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines; that the COA has primary jurisdiction to resolve
respondents money claim against the government under Section 2(1),26 Article IX of the 1987 Constitution and Section 2627
of P.D. No. 1445; that non-observance of the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies and the principle of primary
jurisdiction results in a lack of cause of action.

Respondent, on the other hand, in his Memorandum28 limited his discussion to Civil Code provisions relating to human
relations. He submits that equity demands that he be paid for the work performed; otherwise, the mandate of the Civil Code
provisions relating to human relations would be rendered nugatory if the State itself is allowed to ignore and circumvent the
standard of behavior it sets for its inhabitants.

The present petition is bereft of merit.

The general rule is that before a party may seek the intervention of the court, he should first avail of all the means afforded him
by administrative processes.29 The issues which administrative agencies are authorized to decide should not be summarily
taken from them and submitted to a court without first giving such administrative agency the opportunity to dispose of the
same after due deliberation.30

Corollary to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is the doctrine of primary jurisdiction; that is, courts cannot
or will not determine a controversy involving a question which is within the jurisdiction of the administrative tribunal prior to
the resolution of that question by the administrative tribunal, where the question demands the exercise of sound administrative
discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience and services of the administrative tribunal to determine technical and
intricate matters of fact.31

Nonetheless, the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies and the corollary doctrine of primary jurisdiction, which
are based on sound public policy and practical considerations, are not inflexible rules. There are many accepted exceptions,
such as: (a) where there is estoppel on the part of the party invoking the doctrine; (b) where the challenged administrative act is
patently illegal, amounting to lack of jurisdiction; (c) where there is unreasonable delay or official inaction that will
irretrievably prejudice the complainant; (d) where the amount involved is relatively small so as to make the rule impractical
and oppressive; (e) where the question involved is purely legal and will ultimately have to be decided by the courts of
justice;32 (f) where judicial intervention is urgent; (g) when its application may cause great and irreparable damage; (h) where
the controverted acts violate due process; (i) when the issue of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies has been rendered
moot;33 (j) when there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy; (k) when strong public interest is involved; and, (l) in
quo warranto proceedings.34 Exceptions (c) and (e) are applicable to the present case.

Notwithstanding the legal opinions of the DPWH Legal Department rendered in 1993 and 1994 that payment to a contractor
with an expired contractors license is proper, respondent remained unpaid for the completed work despite repeated demands.
Clearly, there was unreasonable delay and official inaction to the great prejudice of respondent.

Furthermore, whether a contractor with an expired license at the time of the execution of its contract is entitled to be paid for
completed projects, clearly is a pure question of law. It does not involve an examination of the probative value of the evidence
presented by the parties. There is a question of law when the doubt or difference arises as to what the law is on a certain state
of facts, and not as to the truth or the falsehood of alleged facts.35 Said question at best could be resolved only tentatively by
the administrative authorities. The final decision on the matter rests not with them but with the courts of justice. Exhaustion of
administrative remedies does not apply, because nothing of an administrative nature is to be or can be done.36 The issue does
not require technical knowledge and experience but one that would involve the interpretation and application of law.

Thus, while it is undisputed that the District Auditor of the COA disapproved respondents claim against the Government, and,
under Section 4837 of P.D. No. 1445, the administrative remedy available to respondent is an appeal of the denial of his claim
by the District Auditor to the COA itself, the Court holds that, in view of exceptions (c) and (e) narrated above, the complaint
for specific performance and damages was not prematurely filed and within the jurisdiction of the RTC to resolve, despite the
failure to exhaust administrative remedies. As the Court aptly stated in Rocamora v. RTC-Cebu (Branch VIII):38

The plaintiffs were not supposed to hold their breath and wait until the Commission on Audit and the Ministry of Public
Highways had acted on the claims for compensation for the lands appropriated by the government. The road had been
completed; the Pope had come and gone; but the plaintiffs had yet to be paid for the properties taken from them. Given this
official indifference, which apparently would continue indefinitely, the private respondents had to act to assert and protect their
interests.39

On the question of whether a contractor with an expired license is entitled to be paid for completed projects, Section 35 of
R.A. No. 4566 explicitly provides:

SEC. 35. Penalties. Any contractor who, for a price, commission, fee or wage, submits or attempts to submit a bid to construct,
or contracts to or undertakes to construct, or assumes charge in a supervisory capacity of a construction work within the
purview of this Act, without first securing a license to engage in the business of contracting in this country; or who shall
present or file the license certificate of another, give false evidence of any kind to the Board, or any member thereof in
obtaining a certificate or license, impersonate another, or use an expired or revoked certificate or license, shall be deemed
guilty of misdemeanor, and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than five hundred pesos but not more
than five thousand pesos. (Emphasis supplied)

The "plain meaning rule" or verba legis in statutory construction is that if the statute is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it
must be given its literal meaning and applied without interpretation.40 This rule derived from the maxim Index animi sermo
est (speech is the index of intention) rests on the valid presumption that the words employed by the legislature in a statute
correctly express its intention or will and preclude the court from construing it differently. The legislature is presumed to know
the meaning of the words, to have used words advisedly, and to have expressed its intent by use of such words as are found in
the statute.41 Verba legis non est recedendum, or from the words of a statute there should be no departure.42

The wordings of R.A. No. 4566 are clear. It does not declare, expressly or impliedly, as void contracts entered into by a
contractor whose license had already expired. Nonetheless, such contractor is liable for payment of the fine prescribed therein.
Thus, respondent should be paid for the projects he completed. Such payment, however, is without prejudice to the payment of
the fine prescribed under the law.

Besides, Article 22 of the Civil Code which embodies the maxim Nemo ex alterius incommode debet lecupletari (no man
ought to be made rich out of anothers injury) states:

Art. 22. Every person who through an act of performance by another, or any other means, acquires or comes into possession of
something at the expense of the latter without just or legal ground, shall return the same to him.

This article is part of the chapter of the Civil Code on Human Relations, the provisions of which were formulated as "basic
principles to be observed for the rightful relationship between human beings and for the stability of the social order, x x x
designed to indicate certain norms that spring from the fountain of good conscience, x x x guides human conduct [that] should
run as golden threads through society to the end that law may approach its supreme ideal which is the sway and dominance of
justice."43 The rules thereon apply equally well to the Government.44 Since respondent had rendered services to the full
satisfaction and acceptance by petitioner, then the former should be compensated for them. To allow petitioner to acquire the
finished project at no cost would undoubtedly constitute unjust enrichment for the petitioner to the prejudice of respondent.
Such unjust enrichment is not allowed by law.

WHEREFORE, the present petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals dated April
28, 2003 in CA-G.R. CV No. 56345 is AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED

Case Digest: Spouses Hing v. Choachuy, Sr.


G.R. No. 179736 : June 26, 2013

SPOUSES BILL AND VICTORIA HING,Petitioners, v. ALEXANDER CHOACHUY, SR. and ALLAN CHOACHUY,
Respondents.

DEL CASTILLO, J.:

FACTS:

On August 23, 2005, petitioner-spouses Bill and Victoria Hing filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaue City a
Complaintfor Injunction and Damages with prayer for issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction/Temporary
Restraining Order (TRO), docketed as Civil Case MAN-5223 and raffled to Branch 28, against respondents Alexander
Choachuy, Sr. and Allan Choachuy.

Petitioners alleged that they are the registered owners of a parcel of land (Lot 1900-B) covered by Transfer Certificate of Title
(TCT) No. 42817 situated in Barangay Basak, City of Mandaue, Cebu;that respondents are the owners of Aldo Development &
Resources, Inc. (Aldo) located at Lots 1901 and 1900-C, adjacent to the property of petitioners;that respondents constructed an
auto-repair shop building (Aldo Goodyear Servitec) on Lot 1900-C; that in April 2005, Aldo filed a case against petitioners for
Injunction and Damages with Writ of Preliminary Injunction/TRO, docketed as Civil Case No. MAN-5125;that in that case,
Aldo claimed that petitioners were constructing a fence without a valid permit and that the said construction would destroy the
wall of its building, which is adjacent to petitioners property;that the court, in that case, denied Aldos application for
preliminary injunction for failure to substantiate its allegations;that, in order to get evidence to support the said case,
respondents on June 13, 2005 illegally set-up and installed on the building of Aldo Goodyear Servitec two video surveillance
cameras facing petitioners property;that respondents, through their employees and without the consent of petitioners, also took
pictures of petitioners on-going construction;and that the acts of respondents violate petitioners right to privacy.Thus,
petitioners prayed that respondents be ordered to remove the video surveillance cameras and enjoined from conducting illegal
surveillance.

In their Answer with Counterclaim,respondents claimed that they did not install the video surveillance cameras,nor did they
order their employees to take pictures of petitioners construction.They also clarified that they are not the owners of Aldo but
are mere stockholders.

On October 18, 2005, the RTC issued an Ordergranting the application for a TRO.

Respondents moved for a reconsiderationbut the RTC denied the same in its Orderdated February 6, 2006.

Aggrieved, respondents filed with the CA a Petition for Certiorariunder Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with application for a
TRO and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction.

On July 10, 2007, the CA issued its Decisiongranting the Petition for Certiorari. The CA ruled that the Writ of Preliminary
Injunction was issued with grave abuse of discretion because petitioners failed to show a clear and unmistakable right to an
injunctive writ.The CA explained that the right to privacy of residence under Article 26(1) of the Civil Code was not violated
since the property subject of the controversy is not used as a residence. The CA alsosaid that since respondents are not the
owners of the building, they could not have installed video surveillance cameras.They are mere stockholders of Aldo, which
has a separate juridical personality.Thus, they are not the proper parties.

ISSUE:

1. Whether or not there is a violation of petitioners right to privacy?


2. Whether or not respondents are the proper parties to this suit?

HELD: Court of Appeals decision is reversed.

POLITICAL LAW: right to privacy

The right to privacy is enshrined in our Constitutionand in our laws. It is defined as "the right to be free from unwarranted
exploitation of ones person or from intrusion into ones private activities in such a way as to cause humiliation to a persons
ordinary sensibilities."It is the right of an individual "to be free from unwarranted publicity, or to live without unwarranted
interference by the public in matters in which the public is not necessarily concerned."Simply put, the right to privacy is "the
right to be let alone."

The Bill of Rights guarantees the peoples right to privacy and protects them against the States abuse of power. In this regard,
the State recognizes the right of the people to be secure in their houses. No one, not even the State, except "in case of
overriding social need and then only under the stringent procedural safeguards," can disturb them in the privacy of their
homes.

CIVIL LAW: right to privacy under Article 26(1) of the Civil Code covers business offices where the public are excluded
therefrom and only certain individuals are allowed to enter.

Article 26(1) of the Civil Code, on the other hand, protects an individuals right to privacy and provides a legal remedy against
abuses that may be committed against him by other individuals. It states:

Art. 26. Every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons. The
following and similar acts, though they may not constitute a criminal offense, shall produce a cause of action for damages,
prevention and other relief:

(1) Prying into the privacy of anothers residence;

This provision recognizes that a mans house is his castle, where his right to privacy cannot be denied or even restricted by
others. It includes "any act of intrusion into, peeping or peering inquisitively into the residence of another without the consent
of the latter."The phrase "prying into the privacy of anothers residence," however, does not mean that only the residence is
entitled to privacy. As elucidated by Civil law expert Arturo M. Tolentino:

Our Code specifically mentions "prying into the privacy of anothers residence." This does not mean, however, that only the
residence is entitled to privacy, because the law covers also "similar acts." A business office is entitled to the same privacy
when the public is excluded therefrom and only such individuals as are allowed to enter may come in.

Thus, an individuals right to privacy under Article 26(1) of the Civil Code should not be confined to his house or residence as
it may extend to places where he has the right to exclude the public or deny them access. The phrase "prying into the privacy
of anothers residence," therefore, covers places, locations, or even situations which an individual considers as private. And as
long as his right is recognized by society, other individuals may not infringe on his right to privacy. The CA, therefore, erred in
limiting the application of Article 26(1) of the Civil Code only to residences

Moral Damages: When awardable; when not

EQUITABLE BANKING CORPORATION v. CALDERON

2004 Dec 14 G. R. No. 156168


Facts:

Jose Calderon, a prominent businessman, applied and was issued an Equitable International Visa card which can be
used for both peso and dollar transactions within and outside the Philippines. In its dollar transactions, respondent is
required to maintain a dollar account with a minimum deposit of $3, 000.00, the balance shall serve as a credit limit. In
one of his trips to Hongkong, together with a friend, he went to a Gucci Department Store where he tried to purchase
several Gucci items (which amounted to HK$4,030.00 or equivalent to US$523.00) using his Visa card. The saleslady
informed him in front of his friend and other shoppers that the transaction failed because his Visa card was blacklisted.
Upon his return to the Philippines, Calderon filed a complaint for damages claiming he suffered much torment and
embarrassment on account of EBCs wrongful act of blacklisting/suspending his Visa card while at the Gucci Store in
Hongkong. The trial court ruled in favor of Caldeon. On appeal, the CA affirmed the ruling of the lower court but
reducing the moral damages awarded by the latter and justified that EBC was negligent in not informing Calderon that
his credit card was already suspended even before he left for Hongkong, ratiocinating that petitioner s right to
automatically suspend a cardholders privileges without notice should not have been indiscriminately used in the case
of respondent because the latter has already paid his past obligations and has an existing dollar deposit in an amount
more than the required minimum for credit card at the time he made his purchases in Hongkong.

Issue:

Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in holding that the respondent is entitled to moral damages
notwithstanding its finding that petitioners actions have not been attended with any malice or bad faith?

Ruling:

In law, moral damages include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched
reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation and similar injury. However, to be entitled to the award
thereof, it is not enough that one merely suffered sleepless nights, mental anguish or serious anxiety as a result of the
actuations of the other party.

Conditions to be met in order that moral damages may be recovered:

Evidence of besmirched reputation, or physical, mental or psychological suffering sustained by the claimant;

A culpable act or omission factually established;

Proof that the wrongful act or omission of the defendant is the proximate cause of the damages sustained by the claimant; and

That the case is predicated on any of the instances expressed or envisioned by Articles 2219 and 2220 of the Civil Code.
(Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corporation vs. Court of Appeals)

Particularly, in culpa contractual or breach of contract, moral damages are recoverable only if the defendant has
acted fraudulently or in bad faith, or is found guilty of gross negligence amounting to bad faith, or in wanton
disregard of his contractual obligations. Verily, the breach must be wanton, reckless, malicious or in bad faith,
oppressive or abusive.

In the present case, the CA ruled, and rightly so, that no malice or bad faith attended petitioner s dishonor of
respondents credit card. For, as found no less by the same court, petitioner was justified in doing so under the
provisions of its Credit Card Agreement with respondent, paragraph 3 of which states:

xxx the CARDHOLDER agrees not to exceed his/her approved credit limit, otherwise, all charges
incurred including charges incurred through the use of the extension CARD/S, if any in excess of credit limit
shall become due and demandable and the credit privileges shall be automatically suspended without notice
to the CARDHOLDER in accordance with Section 11 hereof.

We are thus at a loss to understand why, despite its very own finding of absence of bad faith or malice on the
part of the petitioner, the CA nonetheless adjudged it liable for moral damages to respondent.

Calderons card privileges for dollar transactions were suspended because of his past due and demandable
obligations. He made a deposit of US$14,000.00 in his dollar account but did not bother to request the petitioner for the
reinstatement of his credit card privileges for dollar transactions, thus the same remained under suspension. On
account of this, and with the express provision on automatic suspension without notice under paragraph 3 of the
parties Credit Card Agreement, there is simply no basis for holding petitioner negligent for not notifying respondent of
the suspended status of his credit card privileges. And, certainly, respondent could not have justifiably assumed that
petitioner must have reinstated his card by reason alone of his having deposited US$14,000.00 a day before he left for
Hongkong. As issuer of the card, petitioner has the option to decide whether to reinstate or altogether terminate a
credit card previously suspended on considerations which the petitioner deemed proper, not the least of which are the
cardholders payment record, capacity to pay and compliance with any additional requirements imposed by it.

Even on the aspect of negligence, therefore, petitioner could not have been properly adjudged liable for moral
damages.

Unquestionably, respondent suffered damages as a result of the dishonor of his card. There is, however, a
material distinction between damages and injury. To quote from the decision in BPI Express Card Corporation vs. Court
of Appeals:

Injury is the illegal invasion of a legal right; damage is the loss, hurt or harm which results from the injury; and damages
are the recompense or compensation awarded for the damage suffered. Thus, there can be damage without injury in
those instances in which the loss or harm was not the result of a violation of a legal duty. In such cases the
consequences must be borne by the injured person alone, the law affords no remedy for damages resulting from an act
which does not amount to a legal injury or wrong. These situations are often called damnum absque injuria.

In other words, in order that a plaintiff may maintain an action for the injuries of which he complains, he must
establish that such injuries resulted from a breach of duty which the defendant owed to the plaintiff- a concurrence of
injury to the plaintiff and legal responsibility by the person causing it. The underlying basis for the award of tort
damages is the premise that an individual was injured in contemplation of law. Thus, there must first be a breach of
some duty and the imposition of liability for that breach before damages may be awarded; and the breach of such duty
should be the proximate cause of the injury.

In the situation in which respondent finds himself, his is a case of damnum absque injuria.

On a final note, x x x moral damages are in the category of an award designed to compensate the claim for
actual injury suffered and not to impose a penalty on the wrongdoer.

G.R. No. 140420 February 15, 2001

SERGIO AMONOY, petitioner,


vs.
Spouses JOSE GUTIERREZ and ANGELA FORNIDA, respondents.
PANGANIBAN, J.:

Damnum absque injuria. Under this principle, the legitimate exercise of a person's rights, even if it causes loss to another, does
not automatically result in an actionable injury. The law does not prescribe a remedy for the loss. This principle does not,
however, apply when there is an abuse of a person's right, or when the exercise of this right is suspended or extinguished
pursuant to a court order. Indeed, in the availment of one's rights, one must act with justice, give their due, and observe honesty
and good faith
The Case

Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the April 21, 1999 Decision1 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 41451, which set aside the judgment2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tanay, Rizal. The
RTC had earlier dismissed the Complaint for damages filed by herein respondents against petitioner. The dispositive portion of
the challenged CA Decision reads as follows:
"WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision is SET ASIDE, and in its stead judgment is rendered ordering the defendant-appellee
Sergio Amonoy to pay the plaintiffs-appellants bruno and Bernadina Gutierrez as actual damages the sum of [t]wo [h]undred
[f]ifty [t]housand [p]esos (P250,000.00)."3

Likewise assailed is the October 19, 1999 CA Resolution,4 which denied the Motion for Reconsideration.
The Facts

The appellate court narrated the factual antecedents of this case as follows:
"This case had its roots in Special Proceedings No. 3103 of Branch I of the CFI of Pasig, Rizal, for the settlement of the estate
of the deceased Julio Cantolos, involving six(6) parcels of land situated in Tanay Rizal. Amonoy was the counsel of therein
Francisca Catolos, Agnes Catolos, Asuncion Pasamba and Alfonso Formida. On 12 January 1965, the Project of Partition
submitted was approved and xxx two (2) of the said lots were adjudicated to Asuncion Pasamba and Alfonso Formilda. The
Attorney's fees charged by Amonoy was P27,600.00 and on 20 January 1965 Asuncion Pasamba and Alfonso Formida
executed a deed of real estate mortgage on the said two (2) lots adjudicated to them, in favor of Amonoy to secure the payment
of his attorney's fees. But it was only on 6 August 1969 after the taxes had been paid, the claims settled and the properties
adjudicated, that the estate was declared closed and terminated.

"Asuncion Pasamba died on 24 February 1969 while Alfonso Fornilda passsed away on 2 July 1969. Among the heirs of the
latter was his daughter, plaintiff-appellant Angela Gutierrez.

"Because his Attorney's fess thus secured by the two lots were not paid, on 21 January 1970 Amonoy filed for their foreclosure
in Civil Code4 No. 12726 entitled Sergio Amonoy vs. Heirs of Asuncion Pasamba and Heirs of Alfonso Fornilda before the
CFI of Pasig, Rizal, and this was assigned to Branch VIII. The heirs opposed, contending that the attorney's fees charged
[were] unconscionable and that the attorney's fees charged [were] unconscionable and that the agreed sum was only
P11,695.92. But on 28 September 1972 judgment was rendered in favor of Amonoy requiring the heirs to pay within 90 days
the P27,600.00 secured by the mortgage, P11,880.00 as value of the harvests, and P9,645.00 as another round of attorney's
fees. Failing in that, the two (2) lots would be sold at public auction.

"They failed to pay. On 6 February 1973, the said lots were foreclosed and on 23 March 1973 the auction sale was held where
Amonoy was the highest bidder at P23,760.00. On 2 May 1973 his bid was judicially confirmed. A deficiency was claimed and
to satisfy it another execution sale was conducted, and again the highest bidder was Amonoy at P12,137.50.

"Included in those sold was the lot on which the Gutierrez spouses had their house.

"More than a year after the Decision in Civil Code No. 12726 was rendered, the said decedent's heirs filed on 19 December
1973 before the CFI of Pasig, Rixal[,] Civil case No. 18731 entitled Maria Penano, et al vs. Sergio Amonoy, et al, a suit for the
annulment thereof. The case was dismissed by the CFI on 7 November 1977, and this was affirmed by the Court of Appeals on
22 July 1981.

"Thereafter, the CFI on 25 July 1985 issued a Writ of Possession and pursuant to which a notice to vacate was made on 26
August 1985. On Amonoy's motion of 24 April 1986, the Orders of 25 April 1986 and 6 May 1986 were issued for the
demolition of structures in the said lots, including the house of the Gutierrez spouses.

"On 27 September 1985 the petition entitled David Fornilda, et al vs Branch 164 RTC Ivth Pasig, Deputy Sheriff Joaquin
Antonil and Atty. Sergio Amonoy, G.R. No. L-72306, was filed before the Supreme Court. Among the petitioners was the
plaintiff-appellant Angela Gutierrez. On a twin musiyun (Mahigpit na Musiyon Para Papanagutin Kaugnay ng
Paglalapastangan) with full titles as fanciful and elongated as their Petisyung (Petisyung Makapagsuri Taglay and Pagpigil ng
Utos), a temporary restraining order was granted on 2 June 1986 enjoining the demolition of the petitioners' houses.

"Then on 5 October 1988 a Decision was rendered in the said G.R. No. L-72306 disposing that:
"WHEREFORE, Certiorari is granted; the Order of respondent Trial Court, dated 25 July 1985, granting a Writ of Possession,
as well as its Orderd, dated 25 April 1986 and 16 May 1986, directing and authorizing respondent Sheriff to demolish the
houses of petitioners Angela and Leocadia Fornilda are hereby ordered returned to petitioners unless some of them have been
conveyed to innocent third persons."5

But by the time the Supreme Court promulgated the abovementioned Decision, respondents' house had already been destroyed,
supposedly in accordance with a Writ of Demolition ordered by the lower court.
Thus, a Complaint for damages in connection with the destruction of their house was filed by respondents against petitioner
before the RTC on December 15, 1989.
In its January 27, 1993 Decision, the RTC dismissed respondents' suit. On appeal, the CA set aside the lower court's ruling and
ordered petitioner to pay respondents P250,000 as actual damages. Petitioner then filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which
was also denied.
The Issue

In his Memorandum,7 petitioner submits this lone issue for our consideration:
"Whether or not the Court of Appeals was correct was correct in deciding that the petition [was] liable to the respondents for
damages."8

The Court's Ruling

The Petition has no merit.


Main Issue:

Petitioner's Liability

Well-settled is the maxim that damage resulting from the legitimate exercise of a person's rights is a loss without injury-
damnum absque injuria - for which the law gives no remedy.9 In other words, one who merely exercises one's rights does no
actionable injury and cannot be held liable for damages.
Petitioner invokes this legal precept in arguing that he is not liable for the demolition of respondents' house. He maintains that
he was merely acting in accordance with the Writ of Demolition ordered by the RTC.
We reject this submission. Damnum absque injuria finds no application to this case.
True, petitioner commenced the demolition of respondents' house on May 30, 1986 under the authority of a Writ of Demolition
issued by the RTC. But the records show that a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), enjoining the demolition of respondents'
house, was issued by the Supreme Court on June 2, 1986. The CA also found, based on the Certificate of Service of the
Supreme Court process server, that a copy of the TRO was served on petitioner himself on June 4, 1986.
Petitioner, howeverm, did not heed the TRO of this Court. We agree with the CA that he unlawfully pursued the demolition of
respondents' house well until the middle of 1987. This is clear from Respondent Angela Gutierrez's testimony. The appellate
court quoted the following pertinent portion thereof:10
"Q. On May 30, 1986, were they able to destroy your house?

"A. Not all, a certain portion only

xxx xxx xxx

"Q. Was your house completely demolished?

"A. No, sir.

xxx xxx xxx


"Q. Until when[,] Mrs. Witness?

"A. Until 1987.

"Q. About what month of 1987?

"A. Middle of the year.

"Q. Can you tell the Honorable Court who completed the demolition?

A. The men of Fiscal Amonoy."11

The foregoing disproves the claim of petitioner that the demolition, which allegedly commenced only on May 30, 1986, was
completed the following day. It likewise belies his allegation that the demolitions had already ceased when he received notice
of the TRO.
Although the acts of petitioner may have been legally justified at the outsset, their continuation after the issuance of the TRO
amounted to an insidious abuse of his right. Indubitably, his actions were tainted with bad faith. Had he not insisted on
completing the demolition, respondents would not have suffered the loss that engendered the suit before the RTC. Verily, his
acts constituted not only an abuse of a right, but an invalid exercise of a right that had been suspended when he received thae
TRO from this Court on June 4, 1986. By then he was no longer entitled to proceed with the demolition.
A commentator on this topic explains:
"The exercise of a right ends when the right disappears, and it disappears when it is abused, especially to the prejudice of
others. The mask of a right without the spirit of justcie which gives it life, is repugnant to the modern concept of social law. It
cannot be said that a person exercises a right when he unnecessarily prejudices another xxx. Over and above the specific
precepts of postive law are the supreme norms of justice xxx; and he who violates them violates the law. For this reason it is
not permissible to abuse our rights to prejudice others."12

Likewise, in Albenson Enterprises Corp. v. CA,13 the Court discussed the concept of abuse of rights as follows:
"Artilce 19, known to contain what is commonly referred to as the principle of abuse of rights, sets certain standards which
may be observed not only in the exercise of one's rights but also in the performance of one's duties.These standards are the
following: to act with justice; to give everyone his due; recognizes the primordial limitation on all rights: that in their exercise,
the norms of human conduct set forth in Article 19 and results in damage to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for
which the wrongdoer must be held responsible xxx."

Clearly then, the demolition of respondents' house by petitioner, despite his receipt of the TRO, was not only an abuse but also
an unlawful exercise of such right. In insisting on his alleged right, he wantonly violated this Court's Order and wittingly
caused the destruction of respondents; house.1wphi1.nt
Obviously, petitioner cannot invoke damnum absque injuria, a principle premised on the valid exercise of a right.14 Anything
less or beyond such exercise will not give rise to the legal protection that the principle accords. And when damage or prejudice
to another is occasioned thereby, liability cannot be obscured, much less abated.
In the ultimate analysis, petitioner's liability is premised on the obligation to repair or to make whole the damage caused to
another by reason of one's act or omission, whether done intentionally or negligently and whether or not punishable by law.15
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the appealed Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

Continental Steel vs Montao

603 SCRA 621 Labor Law Labor Standards Death Benefits for the Death of a Dependent A Fetus is a Dependent
Civil Law Civil Personality When does civil personality start When does life begin

In January 2006, the wife of Rolando Hortillano had a miscarriage which caused the death of their unborn child. Hortillano, in
accordance with the collective bargaining agreement, then filed death benefits claim from his employer, the Continental Steel
Manufacturing Corporation which denied the claim. Eventually, the issue was submitted for arbitration and both parties agreed
to have Atty. Allan Montao act as the arbitrator. Montao ruled that Hortillano is entitled to his claims. The Court of Appeals
affirmed the decision of Montao.

On appeal, Continental Steel insisted that Hortillano is not entitled because under the CBA, death benefits are awarded if an
employees legitimate dependent has died; but that in this case, no death has occurred because the fetus died inside the
womb of the mother, that a fetus has no juridical personality because it was never born pursuant to Article 40 of the Civil Code
which provides a conceived child acquires personality only when it is born; that the fetus was not born hence it is not a
legitimate dependent as contemplated by the CBA nor did it suffer death as contemplated under civil laws.

ISSUES:

1. Whether or not the fetus is a legitimate dependent?

2. Whether or not a person has to be born before it could die?

HELD:

1. Yes. In the first place, the fact of marriage between Hortillano and his wife was never put in question, hence they are
presumed to be married. Second, children conceived or born during the marriage of the parents are legitimate. Hence, the
unborn child (fetus) is already a legitimate dependent the moment it was conceived (meeting of the sperm and egg cell).

2. No. Death is defined as cessation of life. Certainly, a child in the womb has life. There is no need to discuss whether or
not the unborn child acquired juridical personality that is not the issue here. But nevertheless, life should not be equated to
civil personality. Moreover, while the Civil Code expressly provides that civil personality may be extinguished by death, it
does not explicitly state that only those who have acquired juridical personality could die. In this case, Hortillanos fetus had
had life inside the womb as evidenced by the fact that it clung to life for 38 weeks before the unfortunate miscarriage. Thus,
death occurred on a dependent hence Hortillano as an employee is entitled to death benefit claims as provided for in their CBA

WASSMER vs.VELEZ G.R. No. L-20089

FACTS:

On August 23, 1954 plaintiff and defendant applied for a license to contract marriage, which was subsequently issued. Their
wedding was set for September 4, 1954. Invitations were printed and distributed to relatives, friends and acquaintances. The
bride-to-be's trousseau, party dresses and other apparel for the important occasion were purchased. Dresses for the maid of
honor and the flower girl were prepared. A matrimonial bed, with accessories, was bought. Bridal showers were given and gifts
received. And then, with but two days before the wedding, defendant, who was then 28 years old,: simply left a note for
plaintiff stating: "Will have to postpone wedding My mother opposes it ... " He enplaned to his home city in Mindanao, and
the next day, the day before the wedding, he wired plaintiff: "Nothing changed rest assured returning soon." But he never
returned and was never heard from again.

ISSUE:

Whether or not breach of promise to marry is an actionable wrong?

HELD:
Mere breach of promise to marry is not an actionable wrong. But to formally set a wedding and go through all the preparation
and publicity, only to walk out of it when the matrimony is about to be solemnized, is quite different. This is palpably and
unjustifiably contrary to good customs for which defendant must be held answerable in damages in accordance with Article 21
of the Civil Code