Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 10

11/22/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 351

VOL. 351, FEBRUARY 15, 2001 731


Amonoy vs. Gutierrez
*
G.R. No. 140420. February 15, 2001.

SERGIO AMONOY, petitioner, vs. Spouses JOSE


GUTIERREZ and ANGELA FORNILDA, respondents.

Damages; Human Relations; Well settled is the maxim that


damage resulting from the legitimate exercise of a persons rights
is a loss without injurydamnum absque injuriafor which the
law gives no remedy. Wellsettled is the maxim that damage
resulting from the legitimate exercise of a persons rights is a loss
without injurydamnum absque injuriafor which the law gives
no remedy. In other words, one who merely exercises ones rights
does no actionable injury and cannot be held liable for damages.

_______________

* THIRD DIVISION.

732

732 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED

Amonoy vs. Gutierrez

Same; Same; Abuse of Rights; Temporary Restraining Orders;


Even if the acts of a party may have been legally justified at the
outset, their continuation after the issuance of the TRO amounted
to an insidious abuse of his righthis acts constituted not only an
abuse of a right, but an invalid exercise of a right that had been
suspended.Although the acts of petitioner may have been
legally justified at the outset, 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

http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015fe226acccd07840dc003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 1/10
11/22/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 351

invalid exercise of a right that had been suspended when he


received the TRO from this Court on June 4, 1986. By then, he
was no longer entitled to proceed with the demolition.
Same; Same; Same; The exercise of a right ends when the
right disappears, and it disappears when it is abused, especially to
the prejudice of others.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 justice 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 x x x. Over and above the specific precepts of positive law
are the supreme norms of justice x x x; and he who violates them
violates the law. For this reason, it is not permissible to abuse our
rights to prejudice others.

PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the


Court of Appeals.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.


Mamaril, Arca & Associates for petitioner.
Romeo B. Igot Law Offices for private respondents.

PANGANIBAN, J.:

Damnum absque injuria. Under this principle, the


legitimate exercise of a persons 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 persons right, or when the exercise of
this right is suspended or extinguished pursuant to a court
733

VOL. 351, FEBRUARY 15, 2001 733


Amonoy vs. Gutierrez

order. Indeed, in the availment of ones rights, one must act


with justice, give others their due, and observe honesty and
good faith.

The Case

Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 1 of the


Rules of Court, assailing the April 21, 1999 Decision of the
Court of Appeals (CA)
2
in CAGR CV No. 41451, which set
aside the judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015fe226acccd07840dc003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 2/10
11/22/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 351

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 defendantappellee
Sergio Amonoy to pay the plaintiffsappellants Bruno and
Bernardina Gutierrez as actual damages the sum of [t]wo
3
[h]undred [f]ifty [tlhousand [p]esos (P250,000.00).
4
Likewise assailed is the October 19, 1999 CA Resolution,
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 Formilda.
On 12 January 1965, the Project of Partition submitted was
approved and x x x two (2) of the said lots were adjudicated to
Asuncion Pasamba and Alfonso Formilda. The attor

________________

1 Rollo, pp. 3444. The CA Decision was penned by Justice Roberto A. Barrios,
with the concurrence of Justices Godardo A. Jacinto (Division chairman) and
Renato C. Dacudao.
2 Rollo, pp. 8387; written by Judge Gil P. Fernandez.
3 Rollo, p. 41.
4 Rollo, pp. 4344.

734

734 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Amonoy vs. Gutierrez

ne/s fees charged by Amonoy was P27,600.00 and on 20 January


1965 Asuncion Pasamba and Alfonso Formilda 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 attorneys 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.
http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015fe226acccd07840dc003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 3/10
11/22/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 351

Asuncion Pasamba died on 24 February 1969 while Alfonso


Fornilda passed away on 2 July 1969. Among the heirs of the
latter was his daughter, plaintiffappellant Angela Gutierrez.
Because his attorneys fees thus secured by the two lots were
not paid, on 21 January 1970 Amonoy filed for their foreclosure in
Civil Case 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 attorneys 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 attorneys 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 Case No. 12726
was rendered, the said decedents heirs filed on 19 December 1973
before the CFI of Pasig, Rizal[,] 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 Amonoys 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.

735

VOL. 351, FEBRUARY 15, 2001 735


Amonoy vs. Gutierrez

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. L72306, was filed
before the Supreme Court. Among the petitioners was the
plaintiffappellant Angela Gutierrez. On a twin Musiyun
(Mahigpit na Musiyon Para Papanagutin Kaugnay ng
http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015fe226acccd07840dc003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 4/10
11/22/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 351

Paglalapastangan, and Musiyung Makahingi ng Utos sa


Pagpapapigil ng Pagpapagiba at Pananagutin sa
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. L72306 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
Orders, 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 set aside, and the Temporary Restraining
Order heretofore issued, is made permanent. The six (6) parcels of land
herein controverted are hereby ordered returned to petitioners unless
5
some of them have been conveyed to innocent third persons.

But by the time the Supreme Court promulgated the above


mentioned 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
courts ruling and ordered petitioner to pay respondents
P250.000 as actual damages. Petitioner then filed a Motion
for Reconsideration, which
6
was also denied.
Hence, this recourse.

________________

5 Rollo, pp. 3537.


6 The case was deemed submitted for resolution on July 21, 2000, upon
receipt by this Court of respondents Memorandum signed by Attys.

736

736 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Amonoy vs. Gutierrez

The Issue
7
In his Memorandum, petitioner submits this lone issue for
our consideration:

http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015fe226acccd07840dc003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 5/10
11/22/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 351

Whether or not the Court of Appeals was correct in deciding that


8
the petitioner [was] liable to the respondents for damages.

The Courts Ruling

The Petition has no merit.

Main Issue:
Petitioners Liability

Wellsettled is the maxim that damage resulting from the


legitimate exercise of a persons rights is a loss without
injurydamnum
9
absque injuriafor which the law gives
no remedy. In other words, one who merely exercises ones
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

________________

Romeo B. Igot and Liberato F. Mojica. Filed earlier was petitioners


Memorandum, signed by Attys. Gelacio C. Mamaril and Roberto B. Arca.
7 Rollo, pp. 180210.
8 Ibid., p. 192. Upper case used in the original.
9 Custodio v. Court of Appeals, 253 SCRA 483, February 9, 1996; China
Banking Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 231 SCRA 472, March 28, 1994;
Saba v. Court of Appeals, 189 SCRA 50, August 24, 1990; Ilocos Norte
Electric Company v. Court of Appeals, 179 SCRA 5, November 6, 1989;
Auyong Hidn v. CTA, 59 SCRA 110, September 12, 1974.

737

VOL. 351, FEBRUARY 15, 2001 737


Amonoy vs. Gutierrez

house, was issued by the Supreme Court on June 2, 1986.


The CA also found, based on the Certificate of Service of
http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015fe226acccd07840dc003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 6/10
11/22/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 351

the Supreme Court process server, that a copy of the TRO


was served on petitioner himself on June 4, 1986.
Petitioner, however, 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 Gutierrezs
testimony. The appellate 10
court quoted the following
pertinent portion thereof:

Q. On May 30, 1986, were they able to destroy your


house?
A. Not all, a certain portion only.
x x xx x xx x x
Q. Was your house completely demolished?
A. No, sir.
Q. How about the following day?
A. It was completely demolished.
x x xx x xx x x
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?
11
A. The men of Fiscal Amonoy.

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 outset, their continuation after the issuance
of the TRO amounted to an insidious abuse of his right.
Indubitably, his ac

________________

10 CA Decision, pp. 67; rollo, pp. 3940.


11 TSN, February 12, 1991, pp. 1415.

738

738 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015fe226acccd07840dc003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 7/10
11/22/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 351

Amonoy vs. Gutierrez

tions 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 the 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 justice 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 x x x. Over and abeve the specific precepts of positive law
are the supreme norms of justice x x x; and he who violates them
violates the law. For this reason, it is not permissible to abuse our
12
rights to prejudice others.
13
Likewise, in Albenson Enterprises Corp. v. CA, the Court
discussed the concept of abuse of rights as follows:

Article 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 ones rights but also in the
performance of ones duties. These standards are the following: to
act with justice; to give everyone his due; and to observe honesty
and good faith. The law, therefore, recognizes the primordial
limitation on all rights: that in their exercise, the norms of human
conduct set forth in Article 19 must be observed. A right, though
by itself legal because recognized or granted by law as such, may
nevertheless become the source of some illegality. When a right is
exercised in a manner which does not conform with norms
enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to another, a legal
wrong is thereby committed for which the wrongdoer must be held
responsible x x x.

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

________________

12 Alicia GonzalesDecano, Notes on Torts and Damages, p. 97.


13 217 SCRA 16, 2425, January 11, 1993, per Bidin, J.

http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015fe226acccd07840dc003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 8/10
11/22/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 351

739

VOL. 351, FEBRUARY 15, 2001 739


Amonoy vs. Gutierrez

wantonly violated this Courts Order and wittingly caused


the destruction of respondents house.
Obviously, petitioner cannot invoke damnum absque
injuria,
14
a principle premised on the valid exercise of a
right. 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, petitioners liability is
premised on the obligation to repair or to make whole the
damage caused to another by reason of ones act or
omission, whether done intentionally
15
or negligently and
whether or not punishable by law.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the
appealed Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

Melo (Chairman), Vitug, GonzagaReyes and


SandovalGutierrez, JJ., concur.

Petition denied, judgment affirmed.

Notes.The victorious party in an election case cannot


be indemnified for expenses which he has incurred in an
electoral contest in the absence of a wrongful act or
omission or breach of obligation clearly attributable to the
losing party, and if any damage had been suffered by the
former due to the execution of judgment pending appeal,
that damage may be said to be equivalent to damnum.
absque injuria. (Malaluan vs. Commission on Elections,
254 SCRA 397 [1996])
One who makes use of his own legal right does no injury,
and if damage results from a persons exercising his legal
rights, it is damnum absque injuria. (Pro Line Sports
Center, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 281 SCRA 162 [1997])

________________

14 Globe Mackay Cable and Radio Corp. v. Court of Appeals, 176 SCRA
778, August 25, 1989.
15 Occena v. Icamina, 181 SCRA 328, January 22, 1990.

740

http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015fe226acccd07840dc003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 9/10
11/22/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 351

740 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Amonoy vs. Gutierrez

The principle of abuse of rights stated in Article 19 of the


Civil Code departs from the classical theory that he who
uses a right injures no onethe modern tendency is to
depart from the classical and traditional theory, and to
grant indemnity for damages in cases where there is an
abuse of rights, even when the act is not illicit; The absence
of good faith is essential to abuse of right. (Sea Commercial
Company, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 319 SCRA 210 [1999])

o0o

Copyright 2017 Central Book Supply, Inc. All rights reserved.

http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015fe226acccd07840dc003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 10/10