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G.R. Nos.

86587-93 July 25, 1989


HON. ERMELINDO C. ANDAL, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 27, 11th Judicial Region,
With Station at Tandag, Surigao del Sur; The Republic of the Philippines, The National Treasurer of said
Republic; The Commission on Audit of said Republic; And such other persons or entities of the Government
as may be required by the Honorable Court to be included as parties or nominal parties, respondents.


Assailed in this special civil action for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus are the orders ** of the respondent judge
dated October 11 and 12, 1988 in Criminal Cases Nos. 1371, 1439, 1475,1480, and 1476 and Civil Cases Nos. 742
and 755, denying the petitioner's Motion for Inhibition.

Textually, the Motion for Inhibition reads:

COMES NOW, the Movant to this Honorable Court respectfully states:

(1) that the Movant has just received the letter from the Supreme Court through its Deputy Court
Administrator, hereto attached to the original of this Motion only, same being covered by
confidentiality as for its internal operation only, issued in connection with my Petition for inhibition,
also annexed to the original only of this Motion, inhibition by the Honorable Presiding Judge of this
Court, to inhibit himself from trying, hearing or in any manner acting on all cases, civil and criminal,
in which the Movant is involved and handling.


WHEREFORE, in view of the letter of the Deputy Court Administrator of the Honorable Supreme
Court, undersigned Attorney is compelled to request the Honorable Presiding Judge of this Court to
inhibit himself from trying, hearing or in any manner acting in any of the cases in which the
undersigned Attorney is involved and is handling or will be involved, either as Complainant or

Madrid, Surigao del Sur, Philippines.

September 26, 1988.

Respectfully submitted without argument:


Madrid, Surigao del Sur

IBP No. 172531 and PTR No.

8798243, all for 1988 1

Considering the aforecited motion, Judge Andal issued the substantially identical orders assailed herein.

The focal issue is whether or not Judge Andal acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction
when he denied the petitioner's Motion for Inhibition in the several criminal and civil cases subject thereof and in
thereafter continuing to take cognizance of said cases and all the other cases pending before him. Concomitant
thereto is the question of whether or not Judge Andal can be held civilly liable for damages under Art. 32 of the Civil
Code in relation to the constitutional provision that all public officers must at all times be accountable to the people.
The petitioner maintains that there is between him and Judge Andal an existing state of hostility 2 sparked off by the
filing by him of petitions for certiorari and administrative cases against the latter before this Court, prior to the filing of
the Motion for Inhibition, which was, as earlier stated, denied by Judge Andal. He avers that although the Motion for
Inhibition did not explicitly state on its face the valid grounds relied upon to support his motion, such grounds were
known to Judge Andal. 3 He theorizes that the Judge in refusing to inhibit himself from the cases subject of the Motion
for Inhibition and in all the other cases pending before him in which the petitioner is acting either as counsel or a party
litigant, Judge Andal violated his constitutional rights to due process, equal protection of the law, access to the court
and speedy disposition of cases, making Judge Andal civilly liable under Art. 32 of the new Civil Code. 4He asserts
that because of Judge Andal's refusal to inhibit himself, he (petitioner) and his family suffered mental anguish and
incurred expenses for which they must be compensated. 5

On the other hand, Judge Andal maintains that the motion for inhibition did not cite any valid grounds to justify his
inhibition.6 He submits that when he denied the motion for inhibition, he was not aware that A.M. No. RTJ-88-245 was
filed against him as it was only on November 4, 1988 when he received a resolution of this Court directing him to
comment thereon, that he first came to know about it. 7 He describes as a mere gratuitous assumption the petitioner's
assertion that in denying the Motion for Inhibition he was motivated by rancor and resentment because of the
certiorari and administrative cases earlier filed against him. 8 In this score, he asseverates that he does not normally
resent the filing of certiorari cases against him as he has neither the reason nor the luxury of time to entertain such a
feeling. Moreover, he is so preoccupied with his case load to even think of it. 9 He further stresses that he has nothing
personal against petitioner, as he does not know the latter personally. 10

On the claim for damages, he submits that the same is without basis and is purely imaginary and speculative.

Rule 137, Section 1 of the new Rules of Court provides:

Section 1. Disqualification of Judges — No judge or judicial officer shall sit in any case in which he,
or his wife or child, is pecuniarily interested as heir, legatee, creditor or otherwise, or in which he is
related to either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity, or to counsel within the
fourth degree, computed according to the rules of the civil law, or in which he has been executor,
administrator, guardian, trustee or counsel, or in which he has presided in any inferior court when
his ruling or decision is the subject of review, without the written consent of all parties in interest,
signed by them and entered upon the record.

A judge may, in the exercise of his sound discretion, disqualify himself from sitting ill a case for just
or valid reasons other than those mentioned above.

It must be observed that the Motion for Inhibition, as correctly stated by Judge Andal in his orders denying the same,
cited no valid ground, which fact was confirmed by the prosecuting fiscal and the counsel for the accused in the
criminal cases and the defendants in the civil cases. There is, therefore, no doubt that the denial of the said motion
was not whimsical or capricious nor was the said denial intended to spite the petitioner, as the petitioner would want
this Court to believe, but was done in the valid and judicious exercise of his function and duty as judge.

We agree with the Solicitor General that the state of hostility being pressed by the petitioner is purely
imaginary. 11Indeed the petitioner had not presented any evidence to support his conclusion that the filing of the
petition for certiorari docketed as UDK 8748 and UDK 8822 and the administrative cases adverted to, caused the
displeasure of Judge Andal as to affect his impartiality in trying petitioner's cases. In fact, such allegations were
refuted by Judge Andal when he categorically stated that he does not normally resent the filing of certiorari cases
before this Court where he is impleaded as a mere nominal party, 12 after all, when still a practitioner he too filed
certiorari cases. Moreover, as a judge, he knows he has neither the reason nor luxury of time to entertain such a
feeling, preoccupied as he is with the many cases assigned to him.. 13

A circumspective analysis of the assailed orders belies the petitioner's charge of bias or prejudice and hostility, as all
of the said orders appear to have been issued in accordance with law and nowhere was there a showing of any
outward manifestation of the supposed state of hostility between Judge Andal and petitioner as to warrant the
inhibition or disqualification of the former. And having denied the Motion for Inhibition, Judge Andal acted within his
jurisdiction when he continued to take cognizance of all the cases pending before him, there being no writ of
injunction or a restraining order issued, enjoining him to cease and desist from acting on the said cases. It must be
noted that it was only on February 16, 1989 that a restraining order was issued by this Court. 14 The Court has held
that mere pendency of a special civil action for certiorari commenced in relation to a case pending before the lower
court, does not interrupt the course of the latter when there is no writ of injunction restraining it. 15 Likewise, "the mere
filing of an administrative case against respondent judge is not a ground for disqualifying him from hearing the case,
for if on every occasion the party apparently aggrieved would be allowed to either stop the proceedings in order to
await the final decision on the desired disqualification, or demand the immediate inhibition of the judge on the basis
alone of his being so charged, many cases would have to be kept pending or perhaps there would not be enough
judges to handle all the cases pending in all the courts. The Court has to be shown acts or conduct of the judge
clearly indicative of arbitrariness or prejudice before the latter can be branded the stigma of being biased or
partial, 16 and on this regard the petitioner failed.

In Pimentel vs. Salanga, 17 we rationalized:

Efforts to attain fair, just and impartial trial and decision, have a natural and alluring appeal. But, we are not
licensed to indulge in unjustified assumptions, or make a speculative approval to this Ideal. It ill behooves this
Court to tar and feather a judge as biased or prejudiced, simply because counsel for a party litigant happens
to complain against him. As applied here, respondent judge has not as yet crossed the line that divides
partiality and impartiality. He has not thus far stepped to one side of the fulcrum. No act or conduct of his
would show arbitrariness or prejudice. Therefore, we are not to assume what respondent judge, not otherwise
legally disqualified, will do in a case before him. We have had occasion to rule in a criminal case that a
charge made before trial that a party "will not be given a fair, impartial and just hearing is "premature."
Prejudice is not to be presumed. Especially if weighed against a judge's legal obligation under his oath to
administer justice without respect to person and do equal right to the poor and the rich." To disqualify or not to
disqualify himself then, as far as respondent judge is concerned, is a matter of conscience. (Emphasis

On his claim for damages against Judge Andal in these same proceedings, the petitioner-lawyer invokes Art. 32 of
the Civil Code which provides in part:

Any public officer or employee, or any private individual, who directly or indirectly obstructs, defeats, violates or in any
manner impedes or impairs any of the following rights and liberties of another person shall be liable to the latter for

8) The right to the equal protection of the laws

16) The right of the accused to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and
cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy and public trial, to meet the witnesses face
to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witness in his behalf:

(19) Freedom of access to the courts.

The responsibility herein set forth is not demandable from the judge unless his act or omission constitutes a violation
of the Penal Code or other penal statute.

In Aberca v. Ver, 18 we postulated thus: "The purpose of the above codal provision is to provide a sanction to the
deeply cherished rights and freedom enshrined in the constitution. Its message is clear; no man may seek to violate
those sacred rights with impunity." Under said article judges are excluded from liability, provided their acts or
omissions do not constitute a violation of the Penal Code and other penal statute. 19 As we have earlier stated, the
acts of Judge Andal in denying the motion for inhibition and in thereafter proceeding with the trial of the different
criminal and civil cases pending before his court were done in a regular manner and were considered as his official
acts, thus, he is not answerable for damages.

In Alzua and Arnalot vs. Johnson, 20 this Court, adopting the concurring opinion in Forbes, etc. vs. Chuoco Tiaco and
Crossfield, 21 stated thus:

... whenever and wherever a judge of a court of superior jurisdiction exercises judicial functions, he
will not be personally liable in civil damages for the result of his actions, and the test of judicial
liability is not jurisdiction, but such liability depends wholly upon the nature of the question which is
being determined when the error complained of is committed by the court. If such question is one
the determination of which requires the exercise of judicial functions, the judge is not liable, even
though there is in reality an absolute failure of jurisdiction over the subject matter ... .

An important point that should not be overlooked in this case is petitioner's audacious propensity of filing certiorari
and administrative cases against the respondent judge based on flimsy and unfounded charges he can conceive.
Thus, it behooves us to remind the petitioner of his basic duty "to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts
of justice and judicial officers to conduct himself with "all good fidelity to the courts;" to maintain towards the courts a
respectful attitude, not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its
supreme importance that his duty to render respectful civility, without fawning, to the courts is indeed essential to the
orderly administration of justice. Thus, he should be courteous, fair, and circumspect, not petulant, combative, or
bellicose in his dealings with the courts; and finally, that the use of disrespectful, intemperate, manifestly baseless,
and malicious statements by an attorney in his pleading or motion is not only a violation of the lawyer's oath and a
transgression of the cannons of professional ethics, but also constitutes direct contempt of court for which a lawyer
may be disciplined. 22

Accordingly, the petitioner is hereby admonished to be more prudent in his dealings with the court and its judicial

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The Restraining Order dated
February 16, 1980 is lifted and set aside. Atty. Lolito G. Aparicio is hereby REPRIMANDED for conduct unbecoming
a member of the bar and an officer of the court with a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar conduct will
be dealt with more severely.
G.R. No. L-4380 March 31, 1909

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ESTANISLAO ANABAN, ET AL., defendants-appellants.


The facts in this case, according to the information and the testimony of all the witnesses, are:

That on the night of Thursday October 4, 1906, the six defendants, accompanied by other persons, invaded the
dwelling of one Guiled, located in the sitio of Selpang, Baguio, said Guiled being a councilor for the barrio of Taloy of
the municipality of Baguio; that the defendants demanded from Guiled the payment of a fine of P20 because they
found a horse in the vicinity of his house, and the payment of said fine being refused, Maniguay and Bombon, two of
the defendants, bound him, while the other defendants, who had remained on the ground floor of the house, in
obedience to the orders given by the former, seized and carried away three pigs. Cimbay, the wife of Guiled, on
seeing her husband bound and fearing that they would all be killed, jumped out of the window and proceeded to the
house of Lateng, ex-councilor of the same barrio. Ogues, who lived nearest to the house of Guiled, having heard the
squealing of the pigs, had left his own house, also went to the house of ex-councilor Lateng and confirmed the
statement of Cimbay. These three, Lateng, Cimbay and Ogues, the same night or at daybreak of the following
morning, proceeded to the house of Guiled. On arrival Lateng again learned of what had passed, and then, that same
morning Friday, returned to his house.

While on the one hand the prosecution has stated the facts in the terms set forth above, the defendants, on the other,
have, with more or less uniformity, related the affair in the terms used in his testimony by Estanislao Anaban. This
defendant says that, from the month of January of that year, he was the president of the settlement (ranchería) of

We went there in search of a horse that was lost. On Thursday morning we commenced our searched and
followed the trail of the animal which lead to the place. At noon we arrived at the house of Guiled and
thought it better that we first see the councilor of the barrio. This we did; we went to see Guiled and I asked
him to help us in the search. He detailed Palos, a friend of mine, to help us, and we continued to follow the
tracts of the horse. In the company of Palos, we endeavored to find the horse and followed its tracks, and,
after a while, we found the animal tied near the house of Guiled; we then untied it, this being done by Palos,
who also took the horse away; from there we led the horse to the house of Guiled and requested him to
furnish us with a certificate showing that the animal was found at his place. He replied: "How can I furnish
you with the certificate? No one here knows how to write." As it was growing late, I begged Guiled to allow
us to remain in his house, to which he assented, whereupon some of us started to prepare our meal, while
one of our companions repaired to the east side of Guiled's house to obtain some bark which they needed;
after a while our said companion returned and told us that there were three pigs in a pen. We went to the
place where the pigs were and I recognized one of them as being my own and the other two as the property
of CapitánBayasang and Sabong, respectively. Having made this discovery I went to Guiled and asked him
from whom he obtained the animals and he replied that he had acquired them from one Martin. After hearing
his reply, I notified him that one of the pigs belonged to me and that the others were the property
of Capitán Bayasang and Sabong, respectively, and asked him to allow me to take the animals to my house.
To this he assented, and said, moreover, that he would come along with us to the town in order to see
Martin and recover from him the money he had paid for the pigs, and besides that he had also collect P9
that Martin owed him. After this conversation, it being almost dark, we prepared our supper there, ate, and
spent the night in the house of Guiled. The following day, Friday, we took breakfast there and also our noon
meal in said house, and then started for Pugo shortly after midday, and in the company of Osteng and
Guiled we went to the office of the president.

The witness further testified: That the twelve individuals who came from Pugo, besides Osteng, Palos, and Guiled,
with their respective wives, one Capitán Saliuag whom found already in the house and the children thereof, slept in
the house of Guiled; that they arrived at Pugo on Friday afternoon; that they met Martin in the office of the president,
where he had gone; that he (the witness) overheard the witness saying to Martin: "Inasmuch as you are not the
owner of the pigs you sold me, you must return the money to me," and Martin who replied: "All right, but I have no
money now, I will pay you as soon as I get it;" that Guiled had told them that he had paid 6 pesos for the three hogs
and that Guiled had passed the night of Friday at Pugo, in the house of Capitán Guideng, taking his supper at the
house of Capitán Licao and his breakfast on Saturday morning at the house of the witness, after which he (Guiled)
returned to his house.
The judgment reads, and it is true, that:

There is no dispute or controversy as regards the fact that the defendants had been in the house of Guiled,
nor as to the taking of the three pigs by them; and, if these animals were taken away under the
circumstances alleged by the defendants, they have committed no crime. The testimony of the principal
witnesses is absolutely contradictory and can not be reconciled; either the witnesses for the prosecution or
those for the defense have testified falsely.

Guiled and Cimbay, his wife, Palos, and Osteng are the witnesses for the prosecution, as to the affair which, they
say, took place in the house of Guiled.

Anaban, the president of the settlement or pueblo of Pugo, and the other eleven persons who composed the party
which went out in search of two horses they had lost, have consistently given a long detailed account of their two
days' trip, of their stay in the house of Guiled as guests of the latter, and to whom belonged the rice they cooked on
that night, and who even gave them the meal on Friday which was brought by four members of his settlement who
returned to Pugo with the other twelve of Friday afternoon. Guiled accompanied them and remained at Pugo during
that night until Saturday morning, when he left. This was testified to with rare unanimity by sixteen witnesses, with the
exception of slight discrepancies as regards the stay of Guiled at Pugo from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning.

There is one very important point in the case. Lateng sent Licao, an Igorot, to Baguio to give information as to what
had happened in the house of Guiled. Licao testified that he was sent by Lateng, Cimbay, and Ogues. Licao left Taloy
on Friday morning and reached Baguio in the afternoon. The Attorney-General says in his brief:

On arriving at Baguio in the afternoon, Licao proceeded at once to the tribunal to give the above said
information. Naturally, Licao knew nothing more of what had occurred in the house of Guiled than what he
had been told by Cimbay and Ogues, each one of whom ran out for help as soon as they saw Guiled tied
up, so that, when Licao arrived at Baguio, he could do nothing but notify, as he did, the municipal secretary,
Santiago Sales, that something unusual was taking place in the house of Guiled, whereupon Sales wrote
and handed to Licao the following letter:

"Baguio, October 6, 1906. — Dear Belet, councilor of Taloy, Benguet. — With reference to the information
given me by the person you have sent over here, regarding the presence of certain strangers in that locality,
you may forward them to this office, whatever purpose they have or things they are looking for, especially if
they come from other provinces and are unknown to you — (Sgd.) Santiago Sales, municipal secretary."
(Exhibit A.)

Although this letter — the Attorney-General continues — is dated October 6, it must have been written on
Friday the 5th of October, on which date Licao says he arrived at Baguio, received the letter and went back
to Taloy, though he only got as far as Atab. Santiago Sales himself is very certain that he sent the letter on
the day of previous to the arrival of Guiled at Baguio, and we find no inconsistency in the testimony as
regards the fact that Guiled reached Baguio on the afternoon of Saturday the 6th of October. (Brief, p. 8.)

This letter written by Sales, which must have been in the possession of Guiled or someone of the barrio of Taloy, was
found at Pugo and produced by the defense during the trial. How this happened has not been explained at the trial.

Licao testified that he left Baguio on Friday night, spent the night, spent the night at Atab, and then proceeded to
Pugo, in compliance with the instructions he received from Sales. To judge by the inconsistencies found in his
answers, while testifying during the taking of the evidence in rebuttal, this witness must have been greatly harassed.
It appears that his testimony was controlled by the dominant idea that he did not go farther than Atab, in which place,
it first appears he slept twice, but later he says he remained there only once, on Friday night; it must have been
another controlling idea in his testimony that he did not reach Pugo until Sunday, and that he slept in his house on
Saturday night, not taking into account the serious happening at the house of his councilor and not taking any pains
in delivering at once the letter to Guiled. The following questions were propounded by the court:

Q. Did you meet any of your acquaintances while travelling from Atab to your home?

A. Yes. I met Guiled.

Q. Was there anybody with him?

A. He was alone, I wanted to give him the letter, but he told me to take it to Pugo.

The defense put the following questions:

Q. What orders did you receive from the secretary when he gave you the letter?

A. He said nothing.

Q. Did the municipal secretary tell you to hand the letter to Guiled?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you give the letter to Guiled?

A. No, because he told me that he could not read.

Q. You delivered the letter to Guiled, did you not?

A. Yes, I did, but not seeing it, he told me to take it to Pugo because he could not read.

Q. Where did you meet Guiled?

A. Between Baguio and Taloy.

Q. When you went to Pugo, did you see Guiled there?

A. No.

Q. Where was he when you were at Pugo?

A. He must have been here (in Baguio) on Saturday the 6th because I met him on the road, on his way
to this place.

Q. Is it true that you went to Pugo because they told you in Taloy that Guiled was there?

A. No; I went there on account of the letter.

Q. When you met Guiled, did you tell him that the letter was for him?

A. No.

Q. Did not the municipal secretary of Baguio tell you to deliver the letter to Guiled?

A. Yes he told me to hand it to Guiled, and for this reason I handed it to him when I met him, but he told
me take it to Pugo because he could not read.

Q. Did you tell Guiled that the municipal secretary had instructed you to deliver the letter to him?

A. Yes, I told him, but he could not read and I took the letter to Pugo. (Pp. 466 to 468.)
The letter and the testimony of this witness throw much light on the two versions which appear from the records in
regard to the facts which really happened in Selpang and Pugo, on Thursday and Friday, the 4th and the 5th of
October, 1906.

If the defendants are really guilty, if they have committed the crime of robbery en cuadrilla, with aggravating
circumstance of nocturnity being present, they should be sentenced to the penalty of presidio mayor in its maximum
degree, and the chief of the band, Anaban, to the penalty next higher. Anaban, however, was sentenced to two years'
imprisonment, and the others to six months and one day.

The letter shows that the defendants went to Selpang for the purpose of looking for something, not to steal, and this
is what was communicated to the secretary. It is unnatural and improbable that Guiled, after having been abused by
the people from Pugo, should have sent to them the very letter which is the reply to the complaint he made against
them. Guiled must have been really present at Pugo on Saturday; he must have received Sales' letter there, and from
thence he must have left for Baguio, perhaps for fear of being complained of. On arrival at Baguio, and if he had
made any complaint of that abuse and robbery en cuadrilla with arms, the municipality would have necessarily
referred to him to the court of the justice of the peace for the preliminary investigation. Said proceeding could not
have lasted until the 18th of October.

The justice of the peace stated that he remembered that the defendants testified that they had gone to Selpang to
look for some horses, and the testimony of Anaban during the preliminary investigation having been produced by the
defense, it appears in every way consistent with the testimony which, in regard to their trip to Selpang, he and his
companions have so uniformly given. The innocence of the defendants is evident.

We, therefore, reverse the judgment appealed from in all its parts and acquit the defendants with the costs of both
instances de oficio.
G.R. No. L-23052 January 29, 1968

CITY OF MANILA, petitioner,


City Fiscal Manuel T. Reyes for petitioner.

Sevilla, Daza and Associates for respondents.


Appeal by certiorari from a decision of the Court of Appeals.

On January 27, 1958, at about 8:00 p.m., Genaro N. Teotico was at the corner of the Old Luneta and P. Burgos
Avenue, Manila, within a "loading and unloading" zone, waiting for a jeepney to take him down town. After waiting for
about five minutes, he managed to hail a jeepney that came along to a stop. As he stepped down from the curb to
board the jeepney, and took a few steps, he fell inside an uncovered and unlighted catch basin or manhole on P.
Burgos Avenue. Due to the fall, his head hit the rim of the manhole breaking his eyeglasses and causing broken
pieces thereof to pierce his left eyelid. As blood flowed therefrom, impairing his vision, several persons came to his
assistance and pulled him out of the manhole. One of them brought Teotico to the Philippine General Hospital, where
his injuries were treated, after which he was taken home. In addition to the lacerated wound in his left upper eyelid,
Teotico suffered contusions on the left thigh, the left upper arm, the right leg and the upper lip apart from an abrasion
on the right infra-patella region. These injuries and the allergic eruption caused by anti-tetanus injections
administered to him in the hospital, required further medical treatment by a private practitioner who charged therefor

As a consequence of the foregoing occurrence, Teotico filed, with the Court of First Instance of Manila, a complaint
— which was, subsequently, amended — for damages against the City of Manila, its mayor, city engineer, city health
officer, city treasurer and chief of police. As stated in the decision of the trial court, and quoted with approval by the
Court of Appeals,

At the time of the incident, plaintiff was a practicing public accountant, a businessman and a professor at the
University of the East. He held responsible positions in various business firms like the Philippine
Merchandising Co., the A.U. Valencia and Co., the Silver Swan Manufacturing Company and the Sincere
Packing Corporation. He was also associated with several civic organizations such as the Wack Wack Golf
Club, the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Y's Men Club of Manila and the Knights of Rizal. As a
result of the incident, plaintiff was prevented from engaging in his customary occupation for twenty days.
Plaintiff has lost a daily income of about P50.00 during his incapacity to work. Because of the incident, he
was subjected to humiliation and ridicule by his business associates and friends. During the period of his
treatment, plaintiff was under constant fear and anxiety for the welfare of his minor children since he was
their only support. Due to the filing of this case, plaintiff has obligated himself to pay his counsel the sum of

On the other hand, the defense presented evidence, oral and documentary, to prove that the Storm Drain
Section, Office of the City Engineer of Manila, received a report of the uncovered condition of a catchbasin
at the corner of P. Burgos and Old Luneta Streets, Manila, on January 24, 1958, but the same was covered
on the same day (Exhibit 4); that again the iron cover of the same catch basin was reported missing on
January 30, 1958, but the said cover was replaced the next day (Exhibit 5); that the Office of the City
Engineer never received any report to the effect that the catchbasin in question was not covered between
January 25 and 29, 1968; that it has always been a policy of the said office, which is charged with the duty
of installation, repair and care of storm drains in the City of Manila, that whenever a report is received from
whatever source of the loss of a catchbasin cover, the matter is immediately attended to, either by
immediately replacing the missing cover or covering the catchbasin with steel matting that because of the
lucrative scrap iron business then prevailing, stealing of iron catchbasin covers was rampant; that the Office
of the City Engineer has filed complaints in court resulting from theft of said iron covers; that in order to
prevent such thefts, the city government has changed the position and layout of catchbasins in the City by
constructing them under the sidewalks with concrete cement covers and openings on the side of the gutter;
and that these changes had been undertaken by the city from time to time whenever funds were available.
After appropriate proceedings the Court of First Instance of Manila rendered the aforementioned decision sustaining
the theory of the defendants and dismissing the amended complaint, without costs.

On appeal taken by plaintiff, this decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals, except insofar as the City of Manila is
concerned, which was sentenced to pay damages in the aggregate sum of P6,750.00. 1 Hence, this appeal by the
City of Manila.

The first issue raised by the latter is whether the present case is governed by Section 4 of Republic Act No. 409
(Charter of the City of Manila) reading:

The city shall not be liable or held for damages or injuries to persons or property arising from the failure of
the Mayor, the Municipal Board, or any other city officer, to enforce the provisions of this chapter, or any
other law or ordinance, or from negligence of said Mayor, Municipal Board, or other officers while enforcing
or attempting to enforce said provisions.

or by Article 2189 of the Civil Code of the Philippines which provides:

Provinces, cities and municipalities shall be liable for damages for the death of, or injuries suffered by, any
person by reason of defective conditions of road, streets, bridges, public buildings, and other public works
under their control or supervision.

Manila maintains that the former provision should prevail over the latter, because Republic Act 409, is a special law,
intended exclusively for the City of Manila, whereas the Civil Code is a general law, applicable to the entire

The Court of Appeals, however, applied the Civil Code, and, we think, correctly. It is true that, insofar as its territorial
application is concerned, Republic Act No. 409 is a special law and the Civil Code a general legislation; but, as
regards the subject-matter of the provisions above quoted, Section 4 of Republic Act 409 establishes a general rule
regulating the liability of the City of Manila for: "damages or injury to persons or property arising from the failure of"
city officers "to enforce the provisions of" said Act "or any other law or ordinance, or from negligence" of the city
"Mayor, Municipal Board, or other officers while enforcing or attempting to enforce said provisions." Upon the other
hand, Article 2189 of the Civil Code constitutes a particular prescription making "provinces, cities and municipalities . .
. liable for damages for the death of, or injury suffered by any person by reason" — specifically — "of the defective
condition of roads, streets, bridges, public buildings, and other-public works under their control or supervision." In
other words, said section 4 refers to liability arising from negligence, in general, regardless of the object thereof,
whereas Article 2189 governs liability due to "defective streets," in particular. Since the present action is based upon
the alleged defective condition of a road, said Article 2189 is decisive thereon.

It is urged that the City of Manila cannot be held liable to Teotico for damages: 1) because the accident involving him
took place in a national highway; and 2) because the City of Manila has not been negligent in connection therewith.

As regards the first issue, we note that it is based upon an allegation of fact not made in the answer of the City.
Moreover, Teotico alleged in his complaint, as well as in his amended complaint, that his injuries were due to the
defective condition of a street which is "under the supervision and control" of the City. In its answer to the amended
complaint, the City, in turn, alleged that "the streets aforementioned were and have been constantly kept in good
condition and regularly inspected and the storm drains and manholes thereof covered by the defendant City and the
officers concerned" who "have been ever vigilant and zealous in the performance of their respective functions and
duties as imposed upon them by law." Thus, the City had, in effect, admitted that P. Burgos Avenue was and
is under its control and supervision.

Moreover, the assertion to the effect that said Avenue is a national highway was made, for the first time, in its motion
for reconsideration of the decision of the Court of Appeals. Such assertion raised, therefore, a question of fact, which
had not been put in issue in the trial court, and cannot be set up, for the first time, on appeal, much less after the
rendition of the decision of the appellate court, in a motion for the reconsideration thereof.

At any rate, under Article 2189 of the Civil Code, it is not necessary for the liability therein established to attach that
the defective roads or streets belong to the province, city or municipality from which responsibility is exacted. What
said article requires is that the province, city or municipality have either "control or supervision" over said street or
road. Even if P. Burgos Avenue were, therefore, a national highway, this circumstance would not necessarily detract
from its "control or supervision" by the City of Manila, under Republic Act 409. In fact Section 18(x) thereof provides:

Sec. 18. Legislative powers. — The Municipal Board shall have the following legislative powers:

(x) Subject to the provisions of existing law to provide for the laying out, construction and improvement, and
to regulate the use of streets, avenues, alleys, sidewalks, wharves, piers, parks, cemeteries, and other
public places; to provide for lighting, cleaning, and sprinkling of streets and public places; . . . to provide for
the inspection of, fix the license fees for and regulate the openings in the same for the laying of gas, water,
sewer and other pipes, the building and repair of tunnels, sewers, and drains, and all structures in and under
the same and the erecting of poles and the stringing of wires therein; to provide for and regulate cross-
works, curbs, and gutters therein, . . . to regulate traffic and sales upon the streets and other public places;
to provide for the abatement of nuisances in the same and punish the authors or owners thereof; to provide
for the construction and maintenance, and regulate the use, of bridges, viaducts and culverts; to prohibit and
regulate ball playing, kite-flying, hoop rolling, and other amusements which may annoy persons using the
streets and public places, or frighten horses or other animals; to regulate the speed of horses and other
animals, motor and other vehicles, cars, and locomotives within the limits of the city; to regulate the
lights used on all vehicles, cars, and locomotives; . . . to provide for and change the location, grade, and
crossing of railroads, and compel any such railroad to raise or lower its tracks to conform to such provisions
or changes; and to require railroad companies to fence their property, or any part thereof, to provide suitable
protection against injury to persons or property, and to construct and repair ditches, drains, sewers, and
culverts along and under their tracks, so that the natural drainage of the streets and adjacent property shall
not be obstructed.

This authority has been neither withdrawn nor restricted by Republic Act No. 917 and Executive Order No. 113, dated
May 2, 1955, upon which the City relies. Said Act governs the disposition or appropriation of the highway funds and
the giving of aid to provinces, chartered cities and municipalities in the construction of roads and streets within their
respective boundaries, and Executive Order No. 113 merely implements the provisions of said Republic Act No. 917,
concerning the disposition and appropriation of the highway funds. Moreover, it provides that "the
construction, maintenance and improvement of national primary, national secondary and national aid provincial and
city roads shall be accomplished by the Highway District Engineers and Highway City Engineers under the
supervision of the Commissioner of Public Highways and shall be financed from such appropriations as may be
authorized by the Republic of the Philippines in annual or special appropriation Acts."

Then, again, the determination of whether or not P. Burgos Avenue is under the control or supervision of the City of
Manila and whether the latter is guilty of negligence, in connection with the maintenance of said road, which were
decided by the Court of Appeals in the affirmative, is one of fact, and the findings of said Court thereon are not
subject to our review.

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from should be as it is hereby affirmed, with costs against the City of Manila. It
is so ordered.1äwphï1.ñët

Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and Fernando, JJ., concur.