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TORTS Tortious act

The commission or omission of duty of an act by one,
I. Concept of Tort without right, whereby another receives some injury,
directly or indirectly, in person, property or
It is an act or omission producing an injury to another,
without any previous existing lawful relation of which Direct Tortfeasor
the said act or omission may be said to be a natural The person who is held liable for acting with an
outgrowth or incident.1 intention that the law treats as unjustified, or acting
in a way that departs from a reasonable standard of
A tort is not a crime, not a breach of contract, not
necessarily concerned with property rights or Every person legally responsible is liable for a tort
problems of government.2 Tort law is not concerned committed by him provided it is the proximate cause
with the civil liability of the offender. of an injury to another.11
Philippine jurisprudence does not have a definite
Tortfeasors can either be natural or artificial beings. A
scope on “corporate tort”. Essentially, tort consists in corporation may be civilly liable in the same manner
the violation of a right given or the omission of a duty as natural persons. 12
imposed by law. Simply stated, tort is a breach of
legal duty.3
Joint Tortfeasors
Two or more persons acting together in committing a
There must always be a violation of some duty that wrong, or contributing to its commission, or
must arise by operation of law and not by mere participating therein actively and with common
agreement of the parties.4 intent, so that injury results to a third person
Liability in tort is not precluded by the fact that
defendant acted without evil intent.5 Persons made responsible for others (vicarious
A. ELEMENTS OF TORT (See discussion below)
Where the law imposes upon a person the duty to do SOLIDARY LIABILITY OF JOINT TORTFEASORS
something, his omission or non – performance will
render him liable to whoever may be injured.6 If several persons commit a tort, the plaintiff or
person injured, has his election to sue all or some of
Breach the parties jointly, or one of them separately,
The act or omission should play a substantial part in because the tort is in its nature a separate act of
bringing about or actually causing the injury or each individual. The injury must be indivisible
Joint tortfeasors are not liable pro rata. The damages
Injury cannot be apportioned among them, except among
The injury or damage should either be a direct result themselves. They cannot insist upon an
or a reasonably probable consequence of the act or apportionment, for the purpose of each paying an
omission.8 aliquot part. They are jointly and severally liable for
the full amount.14
Proximate Causation
The act should be the proximate cause of the injury or A payment in full of the damage done by one
damage sustained. Proximate cause is that which, in tortfeasor satisfies any claim which might exist against
natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by an the others. The release of one of the joint tortfeasors
efficient intervening cause, produces injury, and by agreement generally operates to discharge all.
without which, the result would not have occurred.9
Joint tortfeasors are all the persons who command,
Aquino, 2005. instigate, promote, encourage, advise, countenance,
Prosser and Keeton cooperate in, aid or abet in the commission of a tort,
Naguiat v. NLRC, G.R. No. 116123, 13 March 1997.
Black’s Law dictionary citing Coleman vs California Meeting of Friends or who approve of it after it is done, if done for their
Church, 27 Scal. App. 2d 579, 81 P. 2d 469, 470 benefit. They are each liable as principals to the same
Vinzons-Chato v. Fortune Tobacco Corporation, G.R. No. 141309, 19
June 2007.
Garcia vs. Salvador, G.R. No. 168512, 20 Mar 2007 10
74 Am. Jur. 2d 620
Ocean Builders Construction Corp. vs. Cubacub, G.R. No. 150898, 13 11
De Leon, Comments and Cases on Torts and Damages (2012)
Apr 2011 12
PNB vs CA, 83 SCRA 237
Ocean Builders Construction Corp. vs. Cubacub 13
De Leon, Comments and Cases on Torts and Damages, supra 18.
Mamaril v Boy Scouts, G.R. No. 179382, 14 Jan 2013. 14
Bevins vs. McElroy, 52 Am. Dec., 258

extent and in the same manner as if they had PREVENTIVE

performed the wrongful act themselves.15
Petition for the issuance of the writ of preliminary
If a passenger was injured in a vehicular accident injunction and a temporary restraining order to enjoin
involving the public utility vehicle where he was the defendant from continuing the acts constitutive of
riding, and another vehicle, the drivers of both the tortious conduct.
vehicles are solidarily liable if it can be established
that their respective negligence are the proximate RESTITUTION
causes of the injury.16 To disgorge gains that the defendant wrongfully
obtained by the doing of the tort.
An action based on quasi-delict may be instituted
against the employer for an employee’s act or D. PURPOSE OF TORT LAW
omission. The liability of the employer for the
negligent conduct of the subordinate is direct and To afford compensation for injuries sustained by one
primary, subject to the defense of due diligence in person as the result of the conduct of another.18
the selection and supervision of the employee.17

II. Quasi – Delict or Culpa
It is the omission to do acts required under the A. QUASI – DELICT
attendant circumstances resulting in damage or injury Bar 1993, 97, 2006, 07
to another. It is a voluntary act or omission which Article 2176, Civil Code
results in injury to others, without intending to cause Whoever by act or omission causes damage to
the same. another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to
pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if
Note: Quasi-delict represents an area of tort law there is no pre-existing contractual relation between
concerned with damage resulting from fault (by doing the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by
positive act constituting negligence) or negligence (by the provisions of this Chapter.
omitting to do an act due to negligence) of the
Tort or wrong perpetrated by one who intends to do The concept of quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana includes
that which the law has declared wrong. It is a conduct acts which are criminal in character, whether
where the actor desires to cause the consequences of voluntary or negligent.19
his act or believes the consequences are substantially Damages may be awarded not because of promise to
certain to result therefrom. marry but because of fraud and deceit behind it.20


The person is made liable independent of fault or The concept of quasi-delict is so broad that it includes
negligence upon submission of proof of certain facts. not only injuries to persons but also damage to
It rests not on negligence but on intentional doing of property i.e. Article 2191 (2) of the Civil Code which
that which a person knows or should, in the exercise holds proprietors responsible for damages caused by
of ordinary care, know may reasonably cause loss to excessive smoke which may be harmful to persons or
another in the normal course of events. Liability is property.21
based on the breach of an absolute duty to make
something safe. Also known as “absolute liability” or ELEMENTS OF QUASI – DELICT
“liability without fault”.
● An act or omission constituting fault or
C. REMEDIES FOR TORTS ● Damage caused by the said act or omission;
COMPENSATORY ● Direct causal relation between the damage and
the act or omission; and
Action for sum of money for damages suffered. ● Absence of contractual relation between the
plaintiff and the defendant.
Filipinas Broadcasting Network vs. AMEC-BCCM, G.R. No. 141994, 17 18
Jan 2005. Prosser and Keeton
16 Aquino, 2005. 19 Elcano vs. Hill, G.R. No. L-24803, 26 May 1977.

17 Construction Development Corporation of the Philippines v. Estrella, 20 Baksh vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 97336, 19 Feb 1993.
21 Cinco vs. Canonoy, G.R. No. L-33171, 31 May 1979.
G.R. No. 147791. 08 Sep 2006.

delict, quasi-delict and breach of contract.23

There may be a concurrence of actions even if only
(1) a connection of cause and effect between the one person is sought to be held liable.
person liable and the fact from which damage results;
(2) fault of the person liable, which implies at once an Although an act or omission may give rise to two
act of intelligent volition that is illicit or contrary to causes of action, the plaintiff cannot recover twice for
law.22 the same act or omission of the defendant.24

QUASI-DELICT & TORT, DISTINGUISHED Inasmuch as civil liability co-exists with criminal
Quasi-Delict as provided for in Art. 2176 of the New responsibility in negligence cases, the offended party
Civil Code is limited to negligent acts or omissions and has the option between an action for enforcement of
excludes the notion of willingness or intent. Tort is civil liability based on culpa criminal under Art. 100 of
much broader than quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana the Revised Penal Code or an action for damages
because it includes not only negligence but intentional under Art. 2177 of the Civil Code.
acts as well.
The choice of remedy, whether to sue for a delict or a
CULPA AQUILANA & CRIME, DISTINGUISHED quasi-delict, affects the procedural and jurisdictional
issues of action. An action based on quasi-delict may
Quasi-Delict Delict proceed independently from the criminal action.25
(Culpa Aquiliana) (Culpa Criminal)
It is the wrongful act, The vinculum juris exists
negligence or omission independently of the A quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana is a separate legal
which creates the breach of voluntary duty institution under the Civil Code, with a substantivity
vinculum juris assumed by the parties all its own, and individuality that is entirely apart and
when entering into independent from delict or crime.26
contractual relation
Violated Against When the accused in a criminal prosecution is
acquitted on the ground that his guilt has not been
Private right is violated. Affects public interest.
proved beyond reasonable doubt, a civil action for
It is a wrongful act Commission of a crime is
damages for the same act or omission may be
against a private a wrong against the
instituted. Such action requires only a preponderance
individual. State.
of evidence.
Governing Law
The Civil Code merely The Penal Code punishes
A judgment of acquittal operates to extinguish the
repairs the damage, by or corrects criminal acts. criminal liability. It does not, however, extinguish the
means of indemnification. civil liability unless there is a clear showing that the
Scope act from which the civil liability might arise did not
Includes all acts in which The acts are punished exist.27
any kind of fault or only if there is a penal
negligence intervenes. law clearly covering Under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code,
them. employers are subsidiarily liable for the adjudicated
Burden of Proof civil liabilities of their employees in the event of the
The burden of proof rests The guilt of the accused latter’s insolvency.The decision convicting an
upon Proof of the fault or must be proved beyond employee in a criminal case is binding and conclusive
negligence requires only reasonable doubt. upon the employer not only with regard to the
preponderance of former’s civil liability, but also with regard to its
evidence. amount. The liability of an employer cannot be
Available Defenses separated from that of the employee.28
The exercise of diligence The defenses are Victims of negligence have a choice between an action
of a good father of the provided to enforce the civil liability arising from culpa criminal
family is available as a under the RPC under Art. 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and an
defense action for quasi-delict under Art. 2176 of the Civil

23 Far East Bank and Trust Co. vs. Court of Appeals

Barredo v. Garcia, G.R. No. L-48006, July 8, 1942
An act or omission may give rise to an action based on 26 Barredo v. Garcia, G.R. No. 48006, 8 Jul 1942.
27 Padilla v. CA, G.R. No. L-39999, 31 May 1984.
22 Sangco, Cezar J. Philippine Law on Torts and Damages, pp.5-7. 28 Philippine Rabbit v. People, G.R. No. 147704, 2004.

Code. If the action chosen is for quasi-delict, the Extra-contractual obligation has its source in the
plaintiff may hold the employer liable for the breach or omission of those mutual duties which
negligent act of its employee, subject to the civilized society imposes upon its members, or which
employer’s defense of exercise of the diligence of a arise from these relations, other than contractual, of
good father of a family. Whereas if the action chosen certain members of society to others, generally
is for delict, the plaintiff can hold the employer embraced in the concept of status. The breach of
subsidiarily liable only upon proof of prior conviction these general duties whether due to willful intent or
of its employee.29 to mere inattention, if productive of injury, give rise
to an obligation to indemnify the injured party. The
QUASI-DELICT & BREACH OF CONTRACT, fundamental distinction between obligations of this
DISTINGUISHED character and those which arise from contract, rests
upon the fact that in cases of non-contractual
Quasi-Delict Breach of Contract obligation it is the wrongful or negligent act or
(Culpa Aquiliana) (Culpa Contractual) omission itself which creates the vinculum juris,
Nature of Negligence whereas in contractual relations the vinculum exists
Negligence is direct, Negligence is merely independently of the breach of the voluntary duty
substantive and incidental to the assumed by the parties when entering into the
independent. performance of the contractual relation.31
contractual obligation.
In culpa contractual, the mere proof of the existence
Presumption of Negligence of the contract and the failure of its compliance
There is no presumption There is a presumption of justify, prima facie, a corresponding right of relief.
of negligence. The negligence as long as it On the other hand, in culpa aquiliana, the claimant
injured party must prove can be proved that there for damages should prove negligence or fault on the
the negligence of the was breach of the part of the defendant.32
defendant. contract. In culpa contractual, once the plaintiff proves a
Legal Defenses breach of contract, there is a presumption that the
The exercise of diligence The exercise of diligence defendant was at fault or negligent. The burden is on
of a good father of a of a good father of a the defendant to prove that he was not at fault or
family to prevent damage family to prevent damage negligent. In contrast, in culpa aquiliana the plaintiff
is a proper defense is not a complete and has the burden of proving that the defendant was
insofar as parents, proper defense in the negligent. 33
guardians, employees are selection and supervision
Employer’s Liability CONTRACTUAL
Presumptive Direct and immediate.
A quasi-delict can be the cause for breaching a
responsibility for the
contract that might thereby permit the application of
negligence of his
applicable principles on tort even where there is a
pre-existing contract between the plaintiff and the
Existence of Pre-existing Contractual Obligation
defendant. The test, whether a quasi-delict can be
There may or may not be There is always a pre - deemed to undertie the breach of a contract, can be
a pre-existing contractual existing contractual stated thusly: where, without a pre-existing contract
obligation. relation. between two parties, an act or omission can
Doctrine of Proximate Cause nonetheless amount to an actionable tort by itself,
Applicable Not applicable the fact that the parties are contractually bound is no
Governing Provisions bar to the application of quasi-delict provisions to the
Article 2176 Articles 1170 to 1174 case.34

When an act which constitutes a breach of contract

would have itself constituted the source of a quasi-
While it is true that in order a person may be liable delictual liability had no contract existed between the
for quasi-delicts, there must be no pre-existing parties, the contract can be said to have been
contractual relationship between the parties, yet, if breached by tort, thereby allowing the rules on tort to
there is an act that violates the contract apply.35
independently of the contract, the act can give rise to
liability under quasi-delicts.30
31 Cangco v. Manila Railroad, G.R. No. 12191, 14 Oct 1918
FGU Insurance v. Sarmiento, G.R. No. 141910, 6 Aug 2002
29 L.G. Foods v. Philadelphia, G.R. No. 158995, 26 Sept 2006. 33 Consolidated Bank v. CA, G.R. No. 138569, 11 Sept 2003

30 YHT Realty Corp. v. Court of Appeals, G.R.No. 126780, February 17, 34 Far East v. CA, G.R. No. 108164, 23 Feb 1995.
35 Light Rail Transit v. Natividad, G.R. No. 145804, 6 Feb 2003.

Although there was a pre-existing contract between required

the air carrier and the passenger, the stress of the
action was put on the wrongful expulsion of the latter THE “CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP” DOCTRINE
from the former’s premises, which is a violation of a
public duty, which a is a quasi-delict. Passengers have A surgeon is likened to a captain of the ship, in that it
a right to be treated by the carrier’s employees with is his duty to control everything going on in the
kindness, respect, courtesy and due consideration.36 operating room.40

It has been repeatedly held that the act that breaks a THE THEORY OF PRESUMED NEGLIGENCE
contract may also be a tort. However, this principle In contrast with the American doctrine of respondent
applies only if the breach of contract was done in (1) superior, where the negligence of the employee is
bad faith and (2) in violation of Art. 21 of the New conclusively presumed to be the negligence of the
Civil Code. employer, is clearly deducible from the last paragraph
of Article 2180 of the Civil Code which provides that
III. Negligence the responsibility therein mentioned shall cease if the
employers prove that they observed all the diligence
A. CONCEPT of a good father of a family to prevent damages.41
Negligence is the failure to observe for the protection
of the interest of another person, that degree of care,
It is the omission to do something which a reasonable
precaution and vigilance which the circumstances
man, guided by those considerations which ordinarily
justly demand, whereby such other person suffers
regulate the conduct of human affairs would do, or
the doing of something which a prudent and
reasonable man would not do.42
Negligence is a relative or comparative concept. Its
application depends upon the situation that the
parties are in and the degree of care and vigilance B. STANDARD OF CONDUCT
which the prevailing circumstances reasonably I. DILIGENCE OF A GOOD FATHER OF A FAMILY
Conduct is said to be negligent when a prudent man in
the position of the tortfeasor would have foreseen
that an effect harmful to another was sufficiently
probable to warrant his foregoing conduct or guarding
Would a prudent man, in the position of the
against its consequences.43
tortfeasor, foresee harm to the person injured as a
consequence of the course to be pursued? If so, the
The state of mind of the actor is not important; good
law imposes a duty on the actor to take precaution
faith or use of sound judgment is immaterial. Even if
against its mischievous results, and failure to do so
the actor believed that he exercised proper diligence,
constitutes negligence. 39
he will still be liable if his conduct did not correspond
to what a reasonable man would have done under the
1. Determine the diligence required of the actor
under the circumstances The test to determine the existence of negligence in a
2. Determine if the actor exercised the particular case may be stated as follows: Did the
diligence required defendant, in doing the alleged negligent act, use that
reasonable care and caution which an ordinary
Article 1173, Civil Code prudent person would have used in the same situation?
The fault or negligence of the obligor consists in the If not, the person is guilty of negligence.45
omission of that diligence which is required by the
nature of the obligation and corresponds with the II. SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
circumstances of the persons, of the time and of the
place. When negligence shows bad faith, the A motor vehicle poses a greater danger of harm to a
provisions of Articles 1171 and 2201 paragraph 2, shall bicyclist than vice versa. While the duty of using
apply reasonable care falls alike on a motorist and a
If the law or contract does not state the diligence bicyclist, due to the inherent differences in the two
which is to be observed in the performance, that
which is expected of a good father of a family shall be 40 Ramos v. Court of Appeals, 380 SCRA 467
41 Poblete v, Fabros, 93 SCRA 200
PNR v. Brunty, G. R. No. 169891, 2 Nov 2006.
36 Air France v. Carrascoso, G.R. No. L-21438, 28 Sept 1996. 43 Picart v. Smith, G.R. No. L-12219, March 15, 1918.
37 Sangco, Cezar J. Philippine Law on Torts and Damages. 44 Aquino, 2005.
38 Bulilan v. COA, G.R. No. 130057, December 22, 1998. 45 Corinthian Gardens v. Spouses Tanjanco, G.R. No. 160795, 27 Jun
39 Picart vs. Smith, G.R. No. L-12219, March 15, 1918 2008.

vehicles, more care is required from the motorist to caution required of a child is according to his maturity
fully discharge the duty than from the bicyclist.46 and capacity only, and this is so determined by the
circumstances of each case. 50
A higher degree of care is required of someone who
has in his possession or under his control an A child under 9 years of age is conclusively presumed
instrumentality extremely dangerous in character. A to be incapable of negligence; and that the
business dealing with dangerous weapons requires the presumption of lack of discernment or incapacity for
exercise of a higher degree of care.47 negligence in the case of a child over 9 but under 15
years of age is rebuttable, under our law.51
Art. 12. Revised Penal Code
Circumstances which exempt from criminal a. In General
liability: When a person holds himself out as being competent
2. A person under nine years of age. to do things requiring professional skill, he will be
3. A person over nine years of age and under held liable for negligence if he fails to exhibit the care
fifteen, unless he has acted with discernment, in and skill of one ordinarily skilled in the particular
which case, such minor shall be proceeded work which he attempts to do.52
against in accordance with the provisions of Art.
80 of this Code.
When such minor is adjudged to be criminally The profession of pharmacy is one demanding care and
irresponsible, the court, in conformably with the skill. The responsibility of the druggist to use care can
provisions of this and the preceding paragraph, be qualified as the highest degree of care known to
shall commit him to the care and custody of his practical men, which is the highest practicable degree
family who shall be charged with his surveillance of prudence, thoughtfulness, vigilance and the most
and education otherwise, he shall be committed exact and reliable safeguards consistent with
to the care of some institution or person reasonable conduct of business.53
mentioned in said Art. 80.
There exists an imperative duty on the seller or the
druggist to take precaution to prevent death or injury
Standard: Ordinarily Prudent Child to any person who relies on one’s absolute honesty
and peculiar learning.54
The standard of conduct which a child must conform
for his own protection is that of a reasonable person
of like age, intelligence and experience under like or
similar circumstances or that degree of care ordinarily
exercised by children of the same age, capacity, Doctors or physicians are experts, who, because of
discretion, knowledge and experience under the same their training and the very nature of their work, are
or similar circumstances.48 required to exercise utmost diligence in the
performance of their tasks.55
Turntable Cases, defined
A doctor has a duty to use at least the same level of
A class of cases where the owner of the property is care that any other reasonable competent doctor
held liable to children who are trespassing thereon would use to treat a condition under the same
and injured, upon the ground that the owner is bound circumstances.56
to know that children may be attracted and may be The standard contemplated is not what is actually the
injured thereby, although the owner is guilty of no average merit among all known practitioners from the
negligence except in maintaining the property in such best to the worst and from the most to the least
condition that children may trespass thereon to their experienced, but the reasonable average merit among
harm.49 the ordinarily good physicians.57
While it is the general rule in regard to an adult that
to entitle him to recover damages for an injury
resulting from the fault or negligence of another, he 50Taylor vs. Manila Electric Railroad

must have been free from fault, such is not the rule in 51Jarco Marketing Corporation vs. Court of Appeals

regard to an infant of tender years. The care and 52Culion Ice, Fish & Electric Co. vs. Philippine Motors Corporation, g.r.
No. 32611, 3 Nov. 1930.
46 53United States vs. Pineda, G. R. No. L-12858, 22 Jan 1918
Anonuevo v. CA, G. R. No. 130003, 20 Oct 2004.
47Pacis vs. Morales, G. R. No. 169467, 25 Feb 2010. Mercury Drug v. De Leon, G. R. No. 165622, 17 Oct 2009.
48Sangco, Cezar J. Philippine Law on Torts and Damages, pp.71. 55Aquino, 2005

49Taylor vs. Manila Electric Railroad and Light Co., G. R. No. 4977, 22 56Cruz vs. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 122445, 18 Nov 1997.
57Reyes vs. Sisters of Mercy Hospital, G.R. No. 130547, 3 Oct, 2000.
Mar 1910.

E. LAWYERS accustomed to us.62

An attorney is not bound to exercise extraordinary
diligence, but only a reasonable degree of care and GROSS NEGLIGENCE
skill, having reference to the character of the business
he undertakes to do. Prone to err like any other Want of even scant care. It is the failure to exercise
human being, he is not answerable for every error or even that care which a careless person would use.63
mistake, and will be protected as long as he acts
honestly and in good faith to the best of his skill and Notorious negligence is also interpreted to mean the
knowledge. 58 same thing as “gross” negligence — implying
“conscious indifference to consequences” “pursuing a
E. INSANE PERSONS course of conduct which would naturally and probably
result in injury” “utter disregard of consequences.”
Getting or accepting a free ride on the company’s
The act or omission of a person who is suffering from haulage truck couldn’t be gross negligence, because
mental defect is still subject to the standard test of a as the referee found, “no danger or risk was
reasonable man. apparent.”64
Civil liability generally accompanies criminal liability Jumping into the sea, one mile and a half from the
because every person liable criminally is also liable for seashore, to recover a fallen 2-peso bill, is an open
reparation of damage and for indemnification for the and reckless disregard of one’s safety and the
harm done; but by express provision of the penal laws resulting death is undoubtedly caused by notorious
there may be civil liability even when the perpetrator negligence.65
is held to be exempt from criminal liability. Such is
the case of a lunatic or demented person who, in spite
of his deranged mind is still-reasonably and justly WILLFUL, WANTON AND RECKLESS
liable with his property for the consequences of his The actor has intentionally done an act of
acts, even though they be performed unwittingly. 59 unreasonable character in disregard of a risk known to
him, and so great as to make it highly probable that
F. BANKS harm would follow.
The law imposes in banks high standards in view of the
fiduciary nature of banking. This fiduciary relationship D. PROOF OF NEGLIGENCE
means that the bank’s obligation to observe high
standards of integrity and performance is deemed I. BURDEN OF PROOF
written into every deposit agreement between the If the plaintiff alleged in his complaint that he was
bank and its depositor. The fiduciary nature of damaged because of the negligent acts of the
banking requires banks to assume the diligence higher defendant, the plaintiff has the burden of proving
than that of the good father of the family. 60 such negligence.66

G. POSSESOR OF EXTREMELY DANGEROUS The quantum of proof required is preponderance of

INSTRUMENTALITIES evidence (Sec. 1, Rule 133, Revised Rules of Court).

A higher degree of care is required of someone who There are exceptional cases when the rules of the
has in his possession or under his control an laws provide for cases when negligence is presumed.67
instrumentality extremely dangerous in character,
such as dangerous weapons or substances. Such person
in possession or control of dangerous instrumentalities
has the duty to take exceptional precautions to The party invoking presumptions provided by law must
prevent any injury being done thereby. Unlike the still establish certain preconditions before the
ordinary affairs of life or business which involve little presumption can operate.
or no risk, a business dealing with dangerous weapons
requires the exercise of a higher degree of care . 61 The following are “exceptions” to the general rule
that negligence is not to be presumed by must be
C. DEGREES OF NEGLIGENCE affirmatively proven.

62Sangco, Torts and Damages, pp. 10-12
An absence of that degree of vigilance which persons 63Supra.
of extraordinary prudence and foresight are 64
Marinduque v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, G. R. No. L-
8110, 30 Jun 1956.
58Adarne vs. Aldaba, Adm. Case No. 80, June 27, 1978 65Amedo v. Rio, G. R. No. L-6870, 24 May 1954.
59US vs. Baggay, Jr. G.R. No. 6706, Sept. 1, 1911 66Taylor vs. Manila Railroad
Consolidated Bank vs CA, G.R. No. 138569, 2003
61 Pacis vs Morales, G.R. No. 169467, 2010 67Aquino, 2005.

A. In motor vehicle mishaps Art. 2184. In motor vehicle mishaps, the owner is
solidarily liable with his driver, if the former, who was
LIABILITY OF THE OWNER in the vehicle, could have, by the use of the due
Bar 1996, 98, 2002 diligence, prevented the misfortune. It is disputably
Article 2184, Civil Code presumed that a driver was negligent, if he had been
In motor vehicle mishaps, the owner is solidarily liable found guilty or reckless driving or violating traffic
with his driver, if the former, who was in the vehicle, regulations at least twice within the next preceding
could have, by the use of due diligence, prevented two months.
the misfortune. It is disputable presumed that a driver
was negligent, if he had been found guilty of reckless If the owner was not in the motor vehicle, the
driving or violating traffic regulations at least twice provisions of Article 2180 are applicable. (n)
within the next preceding two months
If the owner was not in the motor vehicle, the
provisions of Article 2180 are applicable Article 2185, Civil Code
Art. 2185. Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is
Article 2186, Civil Code presumed that a person driving a motor vehicle has
Every owner of a motor vehicle shall file with the been negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was
proper government office a bond executed by a violating any traffic regulation. (n)
government-controlled corporation or office, to
answer for damages to third persons. The amount of
the bond and other terms shall be fixed by the Claimant must show that the violation of the statute
competent public official. was the proximate or legal cause of the injury or that
it substantially contributed thereto. Negligence,
Owner- actual legal owner of the vehicle registered consisting in whole or in part, of violation of law, like
with the LTO. any other negligence, is without legal consequence
unless it is a contributing cause of the injury. 69
Note: Registration is not required, it is only necessary
for the identification of the owner of the motor Art. 2185 was not formulated to compel or ensure
vehicle. obeisance by all to traffic rules and regulations. If
such were indeed the evil sought to be remedied or
Solidary liability of the Owner to the Driver of the guarded against, then the framers of the Code would
vehicle: have expanded the provision to include non-motorized
1. The owner is in the vehicle at the time of the vehicles or for that matter, pedestrians. Article 2185
mishap AND exists precisely to recognize such higher standard.
2. The owner could have, by the use of due Consequently, the standards applicable to motor
diligence, prevented the misfortune vehicle are not on equal footing with other types of
In absence of all the circumstances stated above,
the owner of the vehicle is liabile under Article 2180 B.Possession of dangerous weapons or
of the Civil Code. substances
Article 2188, Civil Code
The registered owner/operator of a passenger vehicle, There is prima facie presumption of negligence on the
jointly and severally liable with the driver for part of the defendant if the death or injury results
damages incurred by passengers or third persons as a from his possession of dangerous weapons or
consequence of injuries (or death) sustained in the substances, such as firearms and poison, except when
operation of said vehicles. The operator of record the possession or use thereof is indispensable in his
continues to be the operator of the vehicle in occupation or business
contemplation of law, as regards the public and third
persons, and such is responsible for the consequences However, the presumption does not apply to those
incident to its operation, such owner-operation of whose occupation or business requires the possession
record as the employer, in contemplation of law, the or use of a firearm, such as peace officers or armed
driver. In this case, the court considered the actual forces, or in the case of poisonous substances, the
operation and employer as the agent of the operator drug companies or drug stores. 71
of record.68
C. Common carriers
Article 1734, Civil Code
Liability of the Driver Common carriers are responsible for the loss,

Article 2184, Civil Code

69 Sanitary Steam vs CA, G.R. No. 119092, 1998
70 Anonuevo vs CA, G.R. No. 130003, 2004
71Sangco, Torts and Damages
68 Vargas vs. Langcay, G.R. No. 17459

destruction, or deterioration of the goods, unless the

same is due to any of the following causes only: If the plaintiff is guilty of contributory negligence.
Flood, storm, earthquake, lightning, or other natural
disaster or calamity; All of the requisites must be present.
Act of public enemy in war, whether international or
civil; Basis of the Doctrine
Act or omission of the shipper or owner of the goods; The res ipsa loquitur doctrine is based in part upon
The character of the goods or defects in the packing the theory that the defendant in charge of the
or in the containers; instrumentality which causes the injury either knows
Order or act of competent public authority the cause of the accident or has the best opportunity
of ascertaining it and that the plaintiff has no such
Article 1735, Civil Code knowledge, and therefore is compelled to allege
In all cases other than those mentioned in Nos. 1, 2, negligence in general terms and to rely upon the proof
3, 4, and 5 of the preceding articles, if the goods are of the happening of the accident in order to establish
lost, destroyed or deteriorated, common carriers are negligence. 74
presumed to have been at fault or to have acted
negligently, unless they prove that they observed Rationale
extraordinary diligence as required in Article 1733 As a matter of common knowledge and experience,
the very nature of certain types of occurrences may
Article 1752, Civil Code justify an inference of negligence on the part of the
Art. 1752. Even when there is an agreement limiting person who controls the instrumentality causing the
the liability of the common carrier in the vigilance injury in the absence of some explanation by the
over the goods, the common carrier is disputably defendant who is charged with negligence.75
presumed to have been negligent in case of their loss,
destruction or deterioration 3.3.) In medical negligence cases

The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is simply a
recognition of the postulate that, as a matter of
RES IPSA LOQUITUR (DOCTRINE OF COMMON common knowledge and experience, the very nature
 of certain types of occurrences may justify an
inference of negligence on the part of the person who
controls the instrumentality causing the injury in the
Definition absence of some explanation by the defendant who is
It is a Latin phrase that literally means “the thing or charged with negligence. It is grounded in the superior
the transaction speaks for itself”. It is a maxim for the logic of ordinary human experience and on the basis of
rule that the fact of the occurrence of an injury, such experience or common knowledge, negligence
taken with the surrounding circumstances, may permit may be deduced from the mere occurrence of the
an inference or raise a presumption of negligence, or accident itself. Hence, res ipsa loquitur is applied in
make out a plaintiff’s prima facie case, and present a conjunction with the doctrine of common
question of fact for defendant to meet with an knowledge.76
In cases involving medical negligence, the doctrine of
Requisites for the application of the doctrine 73 res ipsa loquitur allows the mere existence of an
1. The accident is of a kind which ordinarily does not injury to justify a presumption of negligence on the
occur in the absence of someone’s negligence; 
 part of the person who controls the instrument
causing the injury, provided that the following
2. It is caused by an instrumentality within the
requisites concur:
exclusive control of the defendant.
(1) The accident is of a kind which ordinarily does not
3. The possibility of contributing conduct, which
occur in the absence of someone’s negligence;
would make the plaintiff responsible is eliminated.
(2) It is caused by an instrumentality within the
exclusive control of the defendant or defendants; AND
When doctrine is not applicable: (3) The possibility of contributing conduct which
It is not applicable if there is direct proof of absence would make theplaintiff responsible is eliminated.77
or presence of negligence.
If the injured party had
knowledge or means of knowledge as to the cause of
the accident, or that the party to be charged with
negligence has inferior knowledge or opportunity for
explanation of the accident.
74 DM Consunji vs CA, G.R. No. 137873, 2001
72Tan v. Jam Transit, G. R. No. 183198, 25 Nov 2009 75 Rogelio Ramos vs. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 124354, 29 Dec 1999.

73Rogelio Ramos vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 124354, December 29, 76 Ramos v. CA, 321 SCRA 584
77 Cantre v. Go, G.R. No. 160889, April 27, 2007

IV. Defenses against Charge of WHEN DEFENSE IS NOT APPLICABLE

The defense of contributory negligence does not apply
Negligence in criminal cases committed through reckless
imprudence, since one cannot allege the negligence of
another to evade the effects of his own negligence.81
The defenses herein enumerated may be raised by
defendants in negligence cases. It may either be
partial (contributory negligence) or complete
(assumption of risk and fortuitous event) defenses. The relative degree of negligence of the parties is
considered in determining whether, and to what
KINDS OF DEFENSES: degree, either should be responsible for his
negligence.82 The rule involves apportionment of
1. Partial – mitigates liability
2. Complete – completely bars recovery
Negligence is imputed if the actor is different from
PROXIMATE CAUSE the person who is being made liable.84


When the plaintiff’s own negligence was the The defendant will be subject to mitigated liability
immediate and proximate cause of his injury, he even if the plaintiff was not himself personally
cannot recover damages. negligent because the negligence of another is
imputed to the plaintiff.
A party cannot charge another for the damage caused
by his own negligence. A person claiming damages for
the negligence of another has the burden of proving
the existence of such fault or negligence causative This rule is applicable where the negligence was on
thereof. Whosoever relies on negligence for his cause the part of the person for whom the plaintiff is
of action has the burden in the first instance of responsible, and especially, by negligence of an
proving the existence of the same if contested, associate in the transaction where he was injured.85
otherwise his action must fail.78
CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE An event which could not be foreseen, or which
though foreseen, was inevitable.
It is the conduct on the part of the injured party,
contributing as a legal cause to the harm he has Fortuitous events by definition are extraordinary
suffered, which falls below the standard which he is events not foreseeable or avoidable. It is therefore,
required to conform for his own protection.79 not enough that the event should not have been
foreseen or anticipated, as is commonly believed but
It is an act or omission amounting to want of ordinary it must be one impossible to foresee or avoid. The
care on the part of the person injured which, mere difficulty to foresee the happening is not the
concurring with the defendant’s negligence, is the impossibility to foresee the same.86
proximate cause of the injury.80
1. The cause of the unforeseen and unexpected
To hold a person as having contributed to his injuries,
occurrence, or of the failure of the debtor to
it must be shown that he performed an act that
comply with his obligation, must be independent
brought about his injuries in disregard of warnings or
of human will;
signs of an impending danger to health and body. To
2. It must be impossible to foresee the event which
prove contributory negligence, it is still necessary to
constitutes the ‘caso fortuito’, or if it can be
establish a causal link, although not proximate,
foreseen, it must be impossible to avoid;
between the negligence of the party and the
succeeding injury.
81Genobiagan vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 40452, October 12, 1989.
8257 Am. Jur 2d 847
Prosser and Keeton, p. 472
78PLDT v. CA, G. R. No. 57079, 29 Sept 1989. 84Aquino, 2005
79NPC vs. Heirs of Casionan, G.R. No. 165969, November 27, 2008. 85Reyes and Puno, Outline of Phil. Civil Law, Vol. 6, p. 169
80NPC vs Heirs of Casionan 86Sicam v. Jorge, G. R. No.159617, 8 Aug 2007.

3. The occurrence must be such as to render it

impossible for the debtor to fulfill his obligation 2. Implied Assumption
in a normal manner; and
4. The obligor must be free from any participation in
A person who, knowing that he is exposed to a
the aggravation of the injury resulting to the
dangerous condition, voluntarily assumes the risk of
such dangerous condition may not recover from the
defendant who maintained such dangerous
1) Acts of God – Events which are totally independent
of the will of every human being e.g. earthquake, B. CONTRACTUAL RELATIONS
lightning, eruption of volcano. By entering into a relationship freely and voluntarily
2) Acts of Man – Events which are independent of the where the negligence of the defendant is obvious, the
will of the obligor but not of other human wills e.g. plaintiff may be found to accept and consent to it,
war, fire, robbery, insurrection. and to undertake to look out for himself and to relieve
the defendant of the duty.95
The doctrine is based on the implied consent of the
FIT INJURIA servant to accept or continue in the employment after
becoming aware of the risk which resulted in his

A plaintiff who voluntarily assumes a risk of harm It is true that the employee assumes the ordinary risks
arising from the negligent or reckless conduct of the inherent in the industry in which he is employed. But
defendant cannot recover for such harm.88 as to those abnormal risks arising from unusual
ELEMENTS: conditions, it requires the question of fact and to
● The plaintiff must know that the risk is present; require cogent and convincing evidence of such
● He must further understand its nature; and consent.96
● His choice to incur it is free and voluntary.89
In the contract of carriage, when a passenger boards a
common carrier, he takes the risks incidental to the
EXCEPTION mode of travel he has taken.97
The plaintiff is excused from the force of the rule if
an emergency is found to exist or if the life or C. DANGEROUS ACTIVITIES
property of another is in peril or when he seeks to Persons who voluntarily participate in dangerous
rescue his endangered property.90 activities assume the risks which are usually present in
such activities i.e. professional athletes who are
KINDS: deemed to assume the risks of injury incident to their
1. Express Waiver of the Right to Recover
There is assumption of risk if the plaintiff, in advance, D. DEFENDANT’S NEGLIGENCE
has expressly waived his right to recover damages for When the plaintiff is aware of the risk created by the
the negligent act of the defendant.91 defendant’s negligence, yet he voluntarily decided to
proceed to encounter it i.e. If the plaintiff has been
Rights can be waived unless the waiver is contrary to supplied with a product which he knows to be unsafe,
law, public order, public policy, morals or good he is deemed to have assumed the risk of using such
customs, or prejudicial to a third person with a right unsafe product.99
recognized by law.92
The waiver contemplated here is the waiver of the
In order that the defense of due diligence in the
right to recover before the negligent act was
selection and supervision of the employees may be
deemed sufficient and plausible, the employer has the
burden of proving that it has been diligent not only in
87Aquino, 2005 the selection of employees but also in the actual
88Sangco, Torts and Damages, pp. 81 – 82
89Prosser and Keaton, p. 487
94Aquino, 2005
90Ilocos Norte Electric Company vs. Court of Appeals, 179 SCRA 5
95Prosser and keeton, p. 485
91Aquino, 2005 Cerezo vs. Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co.
92Canete vs. San Antonio Agro – Industrial Development Corporation, 97Yobido vs. Court of Appeals, 281 SCRA 1 [1997]
98Aquino, 2005
113 SCRA 723 [1982]
93Aquino, 2005 99Prosser and Keaton, p. 481

supervision of their work.100 I. PRESCRIPTION

Where the defendant-bank is shown to have exercised The prescriptive period begins from the day the
the degree of diligence expected of an ordinary quasi-delict is committed.
prudent person in commercial transactions that do not The prescriptive period must be counted when the last
involve their fiduciary relationship with their element occurs or takes place, that is, the time of the
depositors, such as when the relationship between commission of an act or omission violative of the right
plaintiff and defendant-bank is that of a buyer and of the plaintiff, which is the time when the cause of
seller, respectively, the bank is absolved from any action arises.106
F. LAST CLEAR CHANCE Article 2177, New Civil Code
The doctrine of last clear chance states that where Responsibility for fault or negligence under the
both parties are negligent but the negligent act of one preceding article is entirely separate and distinct
is appreciably later than that of the other, or where it from the civil liability arising from negligence under
is impossible to determine whose fault or negligence the Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover
caused the loss, the one who had the last clear damages twice for the same or omission of the
opportunity to avoid the loss but failed to do so, is defendant.
chargeable with the loss. The antecedent negligence
of the plaintiff does not preclude him from recovering
damages caused by the supervening negligence of the V. Causation
defendant, who had the last fair chance to prevent
the impending harm by the exercise of due diligence.
G. EMERGENCY RULE That cause which, in natural and continuous
Under the Emergency Rule, one who suddenly finds sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening
himself in a place of danger, and is required to act cause, produces the injury, and without which the
without time to consider the best means that may be result would not have occurred.107
adopted to avoid the impending danger, is not guilty
of negligence, if he fails to adopt what subsequently Proximate cause is not necessarily the nearest cause
and upon reflection may appear to have been a better but rather the procuring efficient and predominant
method.103 cause.108
It is not enough that there be proof of negligence and
When not applicable damage. It is still required that the plaintiff presents
If the emergency in which the plaintiff finds himself in proof that the proximate cause of the damage to the
is brought about by his own negligence. plaintiff is the negligent act or omission of the
There is a material distinction between damages and
injury. Injury is the illegal invasion of a legal right; Nearest Cause
damage is the loss, hurt or harm which results from That cause which is the last link in the chain of
the injury; and damages are the recompense or events. It is the nearest point in time or relation109
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 C. CONCURRENT CAUSE
violation of a legal duty. These situations are often
Concurrent Cause
called damnum absque injuria.104
Where several causes producing the injury are
concurrent and each is an efficient cause without
One who makes use of his own legal right does no
which the injury would not have happened, the injury
injury. If damage results from a person’s legal rights,
may be attributed to all or any of the causes and
it is damnum absque injuria.105
recovery may be had against any or all of the
responsible persons.110
100Metro Manila v. CA, G.R. NO. 104408, 21 June 1993.
101 106 Kramer vs. Court of Appeals, 178 SCRA 526, 13 Oct, 1989.
Reyes v. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 118492, 15 Aug 2001.
102Consolidated Bank vs. CA, G.R. No. 138569. September 11, 2003 57 Am. Jur. 2d 482
103Gan v. CA, G. R. No. L-44264, 19 Sep 1988. 108 Pennsylvania Fire Ins. Co. vs. Sikes, 166 ALR 375
104 Custodio v. CA, G.R. No. 116100. 9 Feb 1996. 109 Aquino, 2005
105 Proline v. CA, Proline v. CA, G. R. No. 118192, 23 Oct 1997. 110 Aquino, 2005

When applicable VI. Tests to Determine

When it is impossible to determine in what proportion
each contributed to the injury and either of them is
Proximate Cause
responsible for the whole injury.
Note: The liability of concurrent negligence is
The defendant’s conduct is the cause in fact of the
damage which would not have resulted had there been
no negligence on the part of the defendant.
Remote Cause Whether such negligent conduct is a cause without
That cause which some independent force merely took which the injury would not have taken place (sine qua
advantage of to accomplish something not the natural non rule) or is the efficient cause which set in motion
effect thereof111 the chain of circumstances leading to the injury.115

E. INTERVENING CAUSE/ NOVUS ACTUS INTERVIENS The proximate legal cause is that acting first and
producing the injury, either immediately or by setting
Intervening Cause other events in motion, all constituting a natural and
An efficient intervening cause is one that breaksthe continuous chain of events, each having a close causal
causal connection between the negligent act and connection with its immediate predecessor, the final
injury and thereby negatives liability.112 event in the chain immediately effecting the injury as
a natural and probable result of the cause which first
A cause is not an intervening cause if it is already in acted, under such circumstances that the person
operation at the time the negligent act is committed responsible for the first event should, as an ordinary
prudent and intelligent person, have reasonable
When not applicable ground to expect at the moment of his act or default
There is no efficient intervening cause if the force that an injury to some person might probably result
created by the negligent act or omission have either: therefrom.116
(1) remained active itself, or (2) created another
force which remained active until it directly caused
the result, or (3) created a new active risk of being
acted upon by the active force that caused the Plaintiff must establish a sufficient link between the
result.113 act or omission and the damage or injury. That link
must not be remote or far-fetched; otherwise, no
Foreseeable Intervening Cause liability will attach. The damage or injury must be a
It cannot be considered as a sufficient intervening natural or probable result of the act or omission.117
cause because there is an opportunity to guard against
There is no exact mathematical formula to determine
Unforeseen and Unexpected Act or Cause
proximate cause. It is based upon mixed
The intervention of an unforeseen and unexpected
considerations of logic, common sense, policy and
cause is not sufficient to relieve the wrongdoer from
consequences of negligence if such negligence directly
and proximately cooperates with the independent
cause in the resulting injury.114 D. SUBSTANTIAL FACTOR TEST
It makes the negligent conduct the cause in fact of
An unforeseen and unexpected act of a third person the damage if it was a substantial factor in producing
may not be considered an efficient intervening cause the injuries.
if it is duplicative in nature or if it merely aggravated
the injury that resulted because of the prior cause. In order to be a substantial factor in producing the
The same conclusion can be reached if the third harm, the causes set in motion by the defendant must
person’s act is part of the causal set, together with continue until the moment of the damage or at least
the defendant’s negligence, that operated to cause down the setting in motion of the final active injurious
the injury. force which immediately produced or preceded the

115 Bataclan v. Medina, L-10126, 1957.

111 116
57 Am. Jur. 2d 484 supra
112 Moril vs. Moril, 60 ALR 102 117 Dy Teban v. Jose Ching, G. R. No. 161803, 4 Feb 2008.
113 57 Am. Jur. 2d 507 118 supra
114 Africa vs. Caltex, G.R. No. L – 12986 119 65 CJS 1157

If the actor‘s conduct is a substantial factor in position of danger or in the exercise of ordinary
bringing about harm to another, the fact that the care should have known such;
actor neither foresees nor should have foreseen the ● Defendant had the Last Clear Chance to avoid
harm or the manner in which it occurred, does not the accident by the exercise of ordinary care but
prevent him from being liable.120 failed to exercise such last clear chance; and
● The accident occurred as a proximate result of
E. CAUSE V. CONDITION such failure.
Many courts have sought to distinguish between the
active "cause" of the harm and the existing PARTY WHO MAY INVOKE THE DOCTRINE
"conditions" upon which that cause operated. If the ● Plaintiff or Person injured
defendant has created only a passive static condition ● Defendant - he may prove that plaintiff had the
which made the damage possible, the defendant is last clear opportunity and establish that plaintiff
said not to be liable. "Cause" and "condition" still find was guilty of contributory negligence.
occasional mention in the decisions; but the
distinction is now almost entirely discredited. So far The rule is that the antecedent negligence of a person
as it has any validity at all, it must refer to the type of does not preclude recovery of damages caused by the
case where the forces set in operation by the supervening negligence of the latter, who had the last
defendant have come to rest in a position of apparent [clear] chance to prevent the impending harm by the
safety, and some new force intervenes. But even in exercise of diligence.123
such cases, it is not the distinction between "cause"
and "condition" which is important, but the nature of Last clear chance applies only if the person who
the risk and the character of the intervening cause." allegedly had the last opportunity to avert the
121 accident was aware of the existence of peril or
should, with exercise of due care, have been aware of
Distinction between Cause and Condition it.124
The cause is the active aspect whereas the condition
is the passive action that may produce the injury. A WHEN NOT APPLICABLE
condition was a cause at some point time. It is the
passive set of circumstances given in a situation which Last clear chance does not apply where the party
may lead to a certain injury or damage. charged is required to act instantaneously, and if the
injury cannot be avoided by the application of all
means at hand after the peril is or should have been
VII. Doctrine of Last Clear discovered.125

Chance It cannot be extended into the field of joint

The doctrine of Last Clear Chance, in essence, is to tortfeasors as a test of whether only one of them
the effect that where both parties are negligent, but should be held liable to the injured person and it
the negligent act of one is appreciably later in time cannot be invoked as between defendants
than that of the other, or when it is impossible to concurrently negligent.126
determine whose fault or negligence should be
attributed to the incident, the one who had the last The principle of Last Clear Chance would call for the
clear opportunity to avoid the impending harm and application in a suit between the owners and drivers
failed to do so is chargeable with the consequences of two colliding vehicles. It does not arise where a
thereof. Stated differently, the rule would also mean passenger demands responsibility from the carrier to
that an antecedent negligence of a person does not enforce its contractual obligations.127
preclude the recovery of damages for supervening
negligence of, or bar a defense against the liability
sought by, another if the latter, who had the last fair
chance, could have avoided the impending harm by
VIII. Vicarious Liability
the exercise of due diligence.122 There is vicarious liability where a person is not only
liable for torts committed by himself, but also for
ELEMENTS OF LAST CLEAR CHANCE torts committed by others with whom he has a certain
relationship and for whom he is responsible.128
● Plaintiff was in a position of danger and, by his
own negligence, became unable to escape from
such position by the use of ordinary care;
● Defendant knew that the plaintiff was in a 123Canlas v. IAC, G.R. No. 112160, 28 Feb 2000.
124 Pantranco v. Baesa L-79050-51, 1989.
120 Philippine Rabbit v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 189 SCRA 158, Ong v. Metropolitan, L-7664, 1958.
126 Bustamante v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 89880, February 6, 1991.
121 Phoenix Construction v. IAC, G. R. No. L-65295, 10 Mar 1987. 127 Anuran v. Buno, L-21353, May 20, 1966.
122LBC Air Cargo, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 241 SCRA 619 128 Tamargo vs. Court of Appeals, 209 SCRA 518

The basis of liability is not the doctrine of respondeat The basis of liability of parents for the acts or
superior or command responsibility under which the omissions of their minor children is the parental
negligent act or omission of the servant is conclusively authority that they exercise over them.
the master’s negligence. The liability is rather based
on pater familias or the failure of the persons The civil liability of the father is a necessary
mentioned therein to exercise due care and vigilance consequence of the parental authority he exercises.
over the acts of subordinates to prevent the damage. The only defense that can be interposed is the proof
of diligence of a good father of a family to prevent
Article 2180, New Civil Code the damage.129
The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is
demandable not only for one’s own acts or Article 2180, New Civil Code
omissions, but also for those of persons for whom Guardians are liable for damages caused by the
one is responsible. minors or incapacitated persons who are under their
The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, authority and live in their company.
the mother, are responsible for the damages caused
by the minor children who live in their company. Children and wards do not have the capacity to govern
themselves so parents and guardians have the duty to
Guardians are liable for damages caused by the exercise special vigilance. If they fail to comply with
minors or incapacitated persons who are under their this duty, they should suffer the consequences of their
authority and live in their company. abandonment or negligence by repairing the damage
The owners and managers of an establishment or
enterprise are likewise responsible for damages WHO ARE INCOMPETENT (Rules of Court;
caused by their employees in the service of the
branches in which the latter are employed or on the
Rule 92)
1. Persons suffering the penalty of civil interdiction
occasion of their functions.
2. Hospitalized lepers
3. Prodigals, deaf and dumb who are unable to read
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by
and write
their employees and household helpers acting within
4. Those who are of unsound mind, even though they
the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the
have lucid intervals
former are not engaged in any business or industry.
5. Persons not being of unsound mind, but by reason
The State is responsible in like manner when it acts
of age, disease, weak mind, and other similar causes,
through a special agent; but not when the damage
cannot, without outside aid, take care of themselves
has been caused by the official to whom the task
and manage their property, becoming thereby an easy
done properly pertains, in which case what is
prey for deceit and exploitation.
provided in Article 2176 shall be applicable.

Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts Article 216, Family Code

and trades shall be liable for damages caused by In default of parents or a judicially appointed
their pupils and students or apprentices, so long as guardian, the following persons shall exercise
they remain in their custody. substitute parental authority over the child in the
order indicated:
The responsibility treated of in this article shall ● The surviving grandparent, as provided in Art.
cease when the persons herein mentioned prove that 214;
they observed all the diligence of a good father of a ● The oldest brother or sister, over twenty – one
family to prevent damage. years of age, unless unfit or disqualified; and
● The child’s actual custodian, over twenty – one
years of age, unless unfit or disqualified.
Article 2181, New Civil Code
● Whenever the appointment of a judicial
Whoever pays for the damage caused by his
guardian over the property of the child becomes
dependents or employees may recover from the latter
necessary, the same order of preference shall
what he has paid or delivered in satisfaction of the
be observed.
Article 217, Family Code
In case of foundlings, abandoned, neglected or abused
A. PARENTS/ GUARDIANS children and other children similarly situated,
parental authority shall be entrusted in summary
Article 2180, New Civil Code judicial proceedings to heads of children’s homes,
The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, orphanages and similar institutions duly accredited by
the mother, are responsible for the damages caused the proper government agency.
by the minor children who live in their company.
129 Exconde v. Capuno, L-10134, 1957.

● Oldest Sibling, over twenty-one years old unless

Article 221, Family Code unfit or disqualified;
Parents and other persons exercising parental ● Child’s actual custodian, over twenty-one years
authority shall be civilly liable for the injuries and old unless unfit or disqualified.
damages caused by the acts or omissions of their
unemancipated children living in their company and LIABILITY FOR ACTS OF THOSE NO LONGER MINORS
under their parental authority subject to the
The parents or guardians can still be held liable even
appropriate defenses provided by law.
if the minor is already emancipated provided that he
is below twenty-one years of age.
Liability based on parental authority is not limited to DEEP POCKET THEORY
parents; the same is also imposed on those exercising
Young Filipinos aged 18-21 are usually not yet
substitute parental authority and special parental
gainfully employed and without property. The law
allows the injured party to pursue actions against the
tortfeasor’s parents.
The father, or in case of death or incapacity, the
mother are civilly liable for any damages that may be
Parents are not liable if their child is presently living
caused by the minor children who live in their
with a relative under an informal adoption
The parent's liability under 2180 should be primary
A child under fifteen (15) years of age or under is
and not subsidiary. If it were subsidiary, the parents
exempt from criminal liability under R.A. 9344 or the
cannot invoke due diligence as a defense. Such
Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.
interpretation reconciles Articles 2180 with 2194
which calls for solidary liability of joint tortfeasors. 131
The liability of parents for felonies is likewise primary
and not subsidiary. Art. 101 of the Revised Penal Code
He shall be answerable with his own property in an
says so. For both quasi-delict and delict, the fact that
action against him where a guardian ad litem should
parents primarily respond for such damages is
be appointed. (Article 2182 Civil Code)
buttressed by the corresponding provisions in both the
RPC and NCC that the minor transgressor shall be
answerable or shall respond with his own property B. TEACHERS AND SCHOOLS
only in the absence of parents or their insolvency. Art.
2182 of the New Civil Code and Art. 101 of the Revised Article 2180, New Civil Code
Penal Code support this. Teachers or heads of establishments of arts and
trades shall be liable for damages caused by their
PERSONS EXERCISING PARENTAL AUTHORITY OTHER pupils and students or apprentices, so long as they
THAN PARENTS remain in their custody.

Other persons exercising parental authority include The protective custody of the school heads and
the adopter and a court-appointed guardian.132 teachers is mandatorily substituted for that of the
Adopters – liable when the adopting parents had parents, and hence, it becomes their obligation as
actual or physical custody over the adopted child. well as that of the school itself to provide proper
Guardians – liable for damages caused by minors or supervision of the students’ activities during the
incapacitated persons (even if they are already of age) whole time that they are at attendance in the school,
under their authority and live in their company. including recess time, as well as to take the necessary
precautions to protect the students in their custody
PERSONS EXERCISING SUBSTITUTE PARENTAL from dangers and hazards that would reasonably be
AUTHORITY anticipated, including injuries that some student
themselves may inflict wilfully or through negligence
Persons mentioned under Art. 216 of the Family Code
on their fellow students.134
are civilly liable only in cases where both parents are
dead, absent or otherwise incapacitated to perform
It is only the head of the school, not the teacher, who
their duty.
is held liable where the injury is caused in a school of
● Surviving grandparents;

130 Aquino, 2005

131 Libi v. IAC, G. R. No. 10890, 18 Sept 1992. 133Aquino, 2005
132Ibid. 134 Palisoc v. Brillantes, G. R. No. L-47745, 4 Oct 1971.

arts and trade.135 tavernkeepers, and any other persons or corporations

shall be civilly liable for crimes committed in their
The principal of the school cannot be held liable for establishments, in all cases where a violation of
the reason that the school he leads is an academic municipal ordinances or some general or special police
school and not a school of arts and trades.136 regulation shall have been committed by them or
their employees.
Article 218, Family Code
The school, its administrators and teachers, or the Innkeepers are also subsidiarily liable for the
individual, entity or institution engaged in child care restitution of goods taken by robbery or theft within
shall have special parental authority and their houses from guests lodging therein, or for the
responsibility over the minor child while under their payment of the value thereof, provided that such
supervision, instruction or custody. guests shall have notified in advance the innkeeper
Authority and responsibility shall apply to all himself, or the person representing him, of the
authorized activities whether inside or outside the deposit of such goods within the inn; and shall
premises of the school, entity or institution. furthermore have followed the directions which such
innkeeper or his representative may have given them
The liability of teachers and heads of institutions with respect to the care and vigilance over such
under Article 2180 are modified by Art. 218 of the goods. No liability shall attach in case of robbery with
Family Code by making the school itself liable. The violence against or intimidation of persons unless
liability extends to acts committed even outside the committed by the innkeeper’s employees.
school so long as it is an official activity of the
Article 103, Revised Penal Code
Article 219, Family Code The subsidiary liability established in the next
Those given the authority and responsibility under the preceding article shall also apply to employers,
preceding Article shall be principally and solidarily teachers, persons and corporations engaged in any
liable for damages caused by the acts or omissions of kind of industry for felonies committed by their
the unemancipated minor. The parents’ judicial servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or employees
guardians or the persons exercising substitute in the discharge of their duties.
parental authority over said minor shall be subsidiarily
liable. The teacher is liable whether he is employed in an
The respective liabilities of those referred to in the academic or non-academic institution regardless
preceding paragraph shall not apply if it is proved that whether his/her pupil is a minor or not.141
they exercised the proper diligence required under
the particular circumstances. C. OWNERS/ MANAGERS OF ESTABLISHMENTS/
All other cases not covered by this and the preceding EMPLOYERS
articles shall be governed by the provisions of the
Civil Code on quasi – delicts.
Art. 2180 (4) New Civil Code
The basis of liability under Article 219 is special The owners and managers of an establishment or
parental authority.138 enterprise are likewise responsible for damages
caused by their employees in the service of the
Although parental authority remains, the parents are branches in which the latter are employed or on the
not supposed to interfere with the discipline of the occasion of their functions.
school nor with the authority and supervision of the
teacher while the child is under instruction.139 Art. 2180 (5) New Civil Code
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by
To be held liable under articles 218 and 219 of the their employees and household helpers acting within
Family Code, the negligence of the school authorities the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the
must have been the proximate cause of the former are not engaged in any business or industry.
The responsibility of employers for the negligence of
Article 102, Revised Penal Code their employees in the performance of their duties is
In default of the persons criminally liable, innkeepers, primary, that is, the injured party may recover from
the employers directly, regardless of the solvency of
their employees.142
135 Amadora vs. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. L-47745, 15 Apr 1988.
136 Ylarde v. Aquino, L-33722, 1988.
Valenzuela vs. Court of Appeals, 253 SCRA 303
138 Aquino, 2005 141 Aquino, 2005
139 Amadora vs. Court of Appeals, 160 SCRA 315 142 Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 273 SCRA
140 St. Mary’s Academy v. Carpitanos, G. R. No. 143363, 6 Feb 2002.

REQUISITES FOR THE CLAIM AGAINST EMPLOYER supervision of said employee. To rebut this
presumption, the employer must present adequate
● 1. That the employee was chosen by the and convincing proof that he exercised care and
employer personally or through another; diligence in the selection and supervision of his
● 2. That the service to be rendered in accordance employees.149
with orders which the employer has the authority
to give at all times; and In the selection of its prospective employees, the
● 3. That the illicit act of the employee was on the employer is required to examine them as to their
occasion or by reason of the functions entrusted qualifications, experience, and service records. With
to him. respect to the supervision of its employees, the
employer should formulate standard operating
WHEN APPLICABLE procedures, monitor their implementation, and
1. Employer-employee relationship impose disciplinary measures for their breach. To
establish compliance with these requirements,
The liability of the employer can be established by employers must submit concrete proof, including
proving the existence of an employer-employee documentary evidence.150
relationship with the actor and that the latter caused
the injury while performing his assigned task or Article 103, Revised Penal Code
functions.143 The subsidiary liability established in the next
For the purpose of apportioning responsibility in preceding article shall also apply to employers,
medical negligence cases, an employer-employee teachers, persons and corporations engaged in any
relationship in effect exists between hospitals and kind of industry for felonies committed by their
their attending and visiting physicians.144 servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or employees
in the discharge of their duties.
2. Within the scope of their assigned tasks
To make the employee liable under paragraphs 5 and REQUISITES OF VICARIOUS LIABILITY UNDER ARTICLE
6 of Article 2180, it must be established that the 103, RPC
injurious or tortuous act was committed at the time
the employee was performing his functions. ● Employer is engaged in any kind of industry
The employer is liable only if the employee was ● Employee was convicted of the offense
performing his assigned task at the time the injury committed in the discharge of his duties
was caused.145 It is enough that the task is ● Employee is insolvent
indispensable to the business or beneficial to the
employer.146 D. STATE
An employer is expected to impose upon its employees Article 2180, New Civil Code
the necessary discipline called for in the performance The State is responsible in like manner when it acts
of any act indispensable to the business and beneficial through a special agent; but not when the damage has
to their employer. Supervision includes the been caused by the official to whom the task done
formulation of suitable rules and regulations for the properly pertains, in which case what is provided in
guidance of its employees and the issuance of proper Article 2176 shall be applicable.
instructions intended for the protection of the public
and persons with whom the employer has relations
through his employees.147
Owners and managers of an establishment or ● Its public or governmental aspects where it is
enterprise do not include a manager of a liable for the tortious acts of special agents only.
corporation.148 ● Its private or business aspects (as when it engages
in private enterprises) where it becomes liable as
REBUTTAL OF PRESUMPTION an ordinary employer.151
Once negligence on the part of the employee is
established, a presumption instantly arises that the In this jurisdiction, the State assumes a limited
employer was negligent in the selection and/or liability for the damage caused by the tortious acts or
conduct of its special agent.
143 Aquino, 2005
Under paragraph six (6) of Art. 2180, the State has
144 Professional Services v. Agana, G. R. No. 126297, 31 Jan 2007.
St. Francis High School vs. Court of Appeals
146 Filamer Christian Institute vs. IAC 149 Lampesa v. De Vera, G. R. No. 155111, 14 Feb 2008.
147 Filamer Christian Institute vs. IAC, G. R. No. 75112, 16 Oct 1990; 17 150 Mercury Drug v. Huang, 172122, 22 Jun 2007.
Aug 1992 151Paras, Civil Code of the Philippines; Annotated, Paras, p. 961, 1986
148 Philippine Rabbit vs. Philam Forwarders

voluntarily assumed liability for acts done through

special agents.
The State's agent, if a public official, must not only be
specially commissioned to do a particular task but that Article 2183, New Civil Code
such task must be foreign to said official's usual The possessor of an animal or whoever may make use
governmental functions. of the same is responsible for the damage which it
may cause, although it may escape or be lost. This
If the State's agent is not a public official, and is responsibility shall cease only in case the damage
commissioned to perform non-governmental functions, should come from force majeure or from the fault of
then the State assumes the role of an ordinary the person who has suffered damage.
employer and will be held liable as such for its agent's
tort. Where the government commissions a private The Civil Code provision is applicable whether the
individual for a special governmental task, it is acting animal is domestic, domesticated or wild.156
through a special agent within the meaning of the
provision.152 Possession of the animal, not ownership, is
determinative of liability under Art. 2183. The
Officials – comprises all officials and employees of the obligation imposed by said article is not based on the
government who exercise duties of their respective negligence or on the presumed lack of vigilance of the
public offices. The responsibility of employers for the possessor or user of the animal causing damage. It is
negligence of their employees in the performance of based on natural equity and on the principle of social
their duties is primary, that is, the injured party may interest that he who possesses animals for his utility,
recover from the employers directly, regardless of the pleasure, or service, must answer for any damage
solvency of their employees.153 which such animal may cause.157
Special Agent – all others who are acting by
commission of the government, whether individual or
juridical bodies. Article 2184, New Civil Code
In motor vehicle mishaps, the owner is solidarily
The State is not responsible for the damages suffered liable with his driver, if the former, who was in the
by private individuals in consequence of the acts vehicle, could have, by the use of due diligence,
performed by its employees pertaining to their office prevented the misfortune. It is disputably presumed
because neither fault nor negligence can be presumed that a driver was negligent, if he had been found
on the part of the State in the organization of guilty of reckless driving or violating traffic
branches of public service and appointment of its regulations at least twice within the next preceding
agents.154 two months.

VIII. Strict Liability Ratio: the owner’s own omission is a concurring

proximate cause of the injury


There is strict liability if one is made liable The registered owner of a public service vehicle is
independent of fault, negligence or intent after responsible for damages that may arise from
establishing certain facts specified by law. consequences incident to its operation or that may be
caused to any of the passengers therein.158
Strict liability tort can be committed even if
reasonable care was exercised and regardless of the With respect to the public and third persons, the
state of mind of the actor at that time. registered owner of a motor vehicle is directly and
primarily responsible for the consequences of its
A case is one of strict liability when neither care nor operation regardless of who the actual vehicle owner
negligence, neither good nor bad faith, neither might be. Well- settled is the rule that the registered
knowledge nor ignorance will save the defendant.155 owner of the vehicle is liable for quasi-delict resulting
from its use.159


Article 2189, New Civil Code
Sangco, Torts and Damages, p. 347, 1984 Ed.
153 Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 273 SCRA Vestil vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 74431, 6 Nov 1989.
157Vestil vs. Intermediate Appellate Court
154 Merrit vs. Government of Philippine Islands, 34 Phil 311 158 Gelisan vs. Alday, G.R. No. L – 30212
155 Black’s Law Dictionary 159 FEB Leasing and Finance Corp. v. Baylon, 653 SCRA 22

Provinces, cities, and municipalities shall be liable for E. ENGINEER/ ARCHITECT OF COLLAPSED BUILDING
damages for the death of, or injuries suffered by, any
person by reason of the defective condition roads,
streets, bridges, public buildings, and other public Article 1723. New Civil Code
works under their control or supervision. The engineer or architect who drew up the plans and
specifications for a building is liable for damages if
The provisions of Article 2189 of the New Civil Code within fifteen years from the completion of the
encapsulates the responsibility of the city government structure, the same should collapse by reason of a
relative to the maintenance of roads and bridges since defect in those plans and specifications, or due to the
it exercises the control and supervision over the same. defects in the ground. The contractor is likewise
responsible for the damages if the edifice falls, within
It is not even necessary for the defective road or the same period, on materials of inferior quality
street to belong to the province, city or municipality furnished by him, or due to any violation of the terms
for liability to attach. The abovementioned article of the contract. If the engineer or architect supervises
only requires that either control or supervision is the construction, he shall be solidarily liable with the
exercised over the defective road or street. 160 contractor.
Acceptance of the building, after completion, does
Failure of the City Engineer to comply with the not imply waiver of any of the causes of action by
statutory provision found in the subject-article is reason of any defect mentioned in the preceeding
tantamount to negligence per se which renders the paragraph.
City government liable.161 The action must be brought within ten years following
the collapse of the building.
Bar 1990, 2007
Article 2190, New Civil Code FALLING FROM A BUILDING
The proprietor of a building or structure is responsible
for the damages resulting from its total or partial Article 2193, New Civil Code
collapse, if it should be due to the lack of necessary The head of a family that lives in a building or a part
repairs. thereof, is responsible for damages caused by things
thrown or falling from the same.
Bar 2002
Article 2191, New Civil Code Liability is absolute. It does not indicate a
Proprietors shall also be responsible for damages presumption or admit proof of care. 162
● By the explosion of machinery which has not been The term head of the family is not limited to the
taken care of with due diligence, and the owner of the building and it may even include the
inflammation of explosive substances which have lessee thereof.163
not been kept in a safe and adequate place;
● By excessive smoke, which may be harmful to G. OWNERS OF ENTERPRISES/ OTHER EMPLOYEES
persons or property;
● By the falling of trees situated at or near
highways or lanes, if not caused by force Article 1711, New Civil Code
majeure; Owners of enterprises and other employers are
● By emanations from tubes, canals, sewers or obliged to pay compensation for the death of or
deposits of infectious matter, constructed injuries to their laborers, workmen, mechanics or
without precautions suitable to the place. other employees even though the event may have
been purely accidental or entirely due to a fortuitous
cause, if the death or personal injury arose out of and
Article 2192, New Civil Code
in the course of the employment. The employer is also
If damage referred to in the two preceding articles
liable for compensation if the employee contracts any
should be the result of any defect in the construction
illness or disease caused by such employment or as
mentioned in Article 1723, the third person suffering
the result of the nature of the employment, If the
damages may proceed only against the engineer or
mishap was due to the employee’s own notorious
architect or contractor in accordance with said
negligence, or voluntary act, or drunkenness, the
article, within the period therein fixed.
employer shall not be liable for compensation. When
the employee’s lack of due care contributed to his
death or injury, the compensation shall be equitable

160 Guilatco v. Dagupan, G. R. No. 61516, 21 Mar 1989. 162 Reyes and Puno, p. 165
161 Quezon City v. Dacara, G. R. No. 150304, 15 Jun 2005. 163 Dingcong vs. Kanaan, 72 Phil. 14

reduced. injured thereby; and his continued interference may

be ground for an injunction where the injuries
Liability exists even if the cause is purely accidental. resulting will be irreparable.165

Article 1712, New Civil Code The defendant guilty of interference with contractual
If the death or injury is due to the negligence of a relations cannot be held liable for more than the
fellow – worker, the latter and the employer shall be amount for which the party who was induced to break
solidarily liable for compensation. If a fellow – the contract can be held liable.166
worker’s intentional or malicious act is the only cause
of the death or injury, the employer shall not be B. INTERFERENCE WITH PROSPECTIVE ADVANTAGE
answerable, unless it should be shown that the latter If there is no contract yet and the defendant is only
did not exercise due diligence in the selection or being sued for inducing another not to enter into a
supervision of the plaintiff’s fellow – worker. contract with the plaintiff, the tort committed is
appropriately called interference with prospective
Article 2187, New Civil Code
Manufacturers and processors of foodstuffs, drinks, C. UNFAIR COMPETITION
toilet articles and similar goods shall be liable for Article 28, New Civil Code
death or injuries caused by any noxious or harmful Unfair competition in agricultural, commercial or
substances used, although no contractual relation industrial enterprises or in labor through the use of
exists between them and the consumers. force, intimidation, deceit, machination or any other
unjust, oppressive or high handed method shall give
LIABILITY FOR DEFECTIVE PRODUCT OR SERVICE rise to a right of action by the person who thereby
suffers damage.
1. Manufacturer
Liability shall be imposed upon manufacturers Monopoly embraces any combination the tendency of
independent of fault. (Secs. 97 and 98, Consumer Act which is to prevent competition in the broad and
or R.A. 7394) general sense, or to control prices to the detriment of
the public. It is the concentration of business in the
2. Tradesman or Seller hands of a few. The material consideration in
Not generally liable for damages caused by defective determining its existence is not that prices are raised
products under the Act. and competition actually excluded but
that power exists to raise prices or exclude
competition when desired. 167
● It is not possible to identify the manufacturer, D. SECURITIES RELATED TORTS
builder, producer or importer;
● The product is supplied, without clear Kinds
identification of the manufacturer, producer, ● Fraudulent Transactions (Section 26, Securities
builder or importer; Regulation Code or R.A. 8799)
● He does not adequately preserve perishable goods ● Misstatements or Omission of statement of a
(Section 98, Consumer Act or R.A. 7394) material fact required to be stated (Sections 56
and 57, Securities Regulation Code or R.A. 8799)

I. INTERFERENCE WITH CONTRACTUAL RELATIONS Defendants are not liable if they can prove that at the
time of the acquisition the plaintiff knew of the
untrue statement if he was are of the falsity.168

Elements IX. Torts with Independent

● Existence of a valid contract; Civil Action
● Knowledge on the part of the third person of the
existence of the contract; and A. VIOLATION OF CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS
● Interference of the third person without legal
justification or excuse.164 Article 32, New Civil Code
One who wrongfully interferes in a contract between
others, and, for the purpose of gain to himself induces 165 Gilchrist v. Cuddy, G.R. No. 9356, 18 Feb 1915.
one of the parties to break it, is liable to the party 166 Aquino, 2005
167 Gokongwei vs SEC, G.R. No. L-45911, April 11, 1979
164 So Ping Bun vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 120554 168Aquino, 2005

Any public officer or employee, or any private violation of the Penal Code or other penal statute.
individual, who directly or indirectly obstructs,
defeats, violates or in any manner impedes or impairs RATIONALE
any of the following rights and liberties of another
person shall be liable to the latter for damages: The creation of an absolutely separate and
● Freedom of religion; independent civil action for the violation of civil
● Freedom of speech; liberties is essential to the effective maintenance of
● Freedom to write for the press or to maintain a democracy.169
periodical publication; Although Article 32 normally involves intentional acts,
● Freedom from arbitrary or illegal detention; the tort of violation of civil and political rights can
● Freedom of suffrage; also be committed through negligence.
● The right against deprivation of property without
due process of law; GOOD FAITH IS NOT A DEFENSE
● The right to a just compensation when private Good faith on the part of the defendant does not
property is taken for public use; necessarily excuse such violation.
● The right to the equal protection of the laws;
● The right to be secured in one’s person, house, PERSONS LIABLE
papers, and effects against unreasonable search
and seizures; ● Public officers or employees
● The liberty of abode and of changing the same; ● Private individuals
● The privacy of communication and
correspondence; A person may be held liable whether his participation
● The right to become a member of associations or is direct or indirect.
societies for purposes not contrary to law;
● The right to take part in a peaceable assembly to B. DEFAMATION, FRAUD, PHYSICAL INJURIES
petition the Government for redress of
In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical injuries, a
● The right to be free from involuntary servitude in civil action for damages, entirely separate and distinct
any form; from the criminal action, may be brought by the
injured party. Such civil action shall proceed
● The right of the accused against excessive bail;
independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall
● The right of the accused to be heard by himself
require only a preponderance of evidence.170
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 THERE ARE AT LEAST TWO THINGS ABOUT ART. 33 OF THE CIVIL
face to face, and to have compulsory process to CODE WHICH ARE WORTH NOTING, NAMELY:
secure the attendance of witness in his behalf; ● The civil action for damages which it allows to be
● Freedom from being compelled to be a witness instituted is ex-delicto or quasi-delict. This is
against one’s self, or from being forced to confess manifest from the provision which uses the
guilt, or from being induced by a promise of expressions "criminal action" and "criminal
immunity or reward to make such confession, prosecution."
except when the person confessing becomes a ● The term "physical injuries" is used in a generic
State witness; sense. It is not the crime of physical injuries
● Freedom from excessive fines, or cruel and defined in the Revised Penal Code. It includes not
unusual punishment, unless the same is imposed only physical injuries but consummated,
or inflicted in accordance with a statute which frustrated and attempted homicide.
has not been judicially declared unconstitutional;
● Freedom of access to the courts.
An invasion of the interest in reputation and good
In any of the cases referred to in this article, whether
name, by communication to others which tends to
or not the defendant’s act or omission constitutes a
diminish the esteem in which the plaintiff is helf, or
criminal offense, the aggrieved party has a right to
to excite adverse feeligns or opinion against him.171
commence an entirely separate and distinct civil
action for damages, and for other relief. Such civil
This action is similar to the action in tort for libel or
action shall proceed independently of any criminal
slander, deceit, and assault and battery.172
prosecution, if the latter be instituted, and may be
proved by a preponderance of evidence.
The indemnity shall include moral damages.
Exemplary damages may also be adjudicated. 169
Code Commission
The responsibility herein set forth is not demandable 170 Madeja v. Caro, 211 Phil 469.

from a judge unless his act or omission constitutes a 171 Prosser, Handbook on the Law on Torts, p. 572
172 Code Commission

Defamation is that which tends to injure reputation or representation should be acted on;
diminish esteem, respect, good will, or confidence of ● The plaintiff must have suffered damage as a
the plaintiff, or excite derogatory feelings about him. result of acting on the representation.176
It must be personal.173
Reason for liability
The desire to protect the reputation of every Battery
individual An intentional infliction of a harmful or offensive
bodily contract.
Requisites Offensive bodily contact – offends a reasonable
1. IT MUST BE DEFAMATORY; person’s sense of dignity even though it is intended
The defamatory character of the imputation may be only as a joke or a compliment.
established by showing that the statement is
defamatory as a matter of law i.e. where the Elements:
imputation is the commission of a crime, the 1. Intent
defamation is so plain that the charge is automatically 2. Harmful or offensive conduct
deemed libelous. 3. Absence of privilege
If the statement is not defamatory as a matter of law,
the Court must then make a determination on the Assault
defamatory capability of the statement. Intentional conduct by one person directed at another
placing the latter in apprehension of immediate bodily
2. IT MUST BE MALICIOUS; harm or offensive act.
There is malice when the author of the imputation is
prompted by personal ill – will or spite and speaks not Elements:
in response to a duty but merely to injure the 1. An act by defendant creating a reasonable
reputation of the person who claims to have been apprehension in plaintiff
defamed.174 2. Immediate harmful or offensive contact to
plaintiff’s person
There must be a communication of the defamatory 4. Causation
information to third persons.
The “Doctrine of Privileged Communication”
Communication to a single individual is sufficient. Statements made in the course of judicial proceedings
are absolutely privileged. This absolute privilege
No liability will result if the defamatory matter is not remains regardless of the defamatory tenor and the
seen or heard by anyone except the defendant and the presence of malice if the same are relevant, pertinent
plaintiff.175 or material to the cause in hand or subject of the
inquiry. Thus, the person making these statements
4. THE VICTIM MUST BE IDENTIFIABLE. such as a judge, lawyer or witness does not thereby
The plaintiffs or the complainants in defamation cases incur the risk of being found liable thereon in a
include natural and juridical persons. criminal prosecution or an action for the recovery of
It must be shown that at least a third person could
identify him as the object of the libelous publication. C. NEGLECT OF DUTY

II. FRAUD Article 34, New Civil Code

When a member of a city or municipal police force
Elements of Fraud/Misrepresentation refuses or fails to render aid or protection to any
person in case of danger to life or property. Such
● The defendant must have made false
peace officer shall be primarily liable for damages,
representation to the plaintiff;
and the city or municipality shall be subsidiarily
● The representation must be one of fact;
responsible thereof. The civil action herein recognized
● The defendant must know that the representation
shall be independent of any criminal proceedings, and
is false or be reckless about whether it is false;
preponderance of evidence shall suffice to support
● The defendant must have acted on the false
such action.
● The defendant must have intended that the
It is intended to afford a remedy against police
173 MVRS vs. Islamic Da'wah, G. R. No. 135306, 28 Jan 2003.
174 Alonzo vs. Court of Appeals 176 Elliot and Quinn, Tort law, p. 69
175 Aquino, 2005 177 Navarrete v. Generoso, 325 SCRA 540

officers who connive with bad elements, are afraid of

them or are simply indifferent to duty.178 Article 19 of the Civil Code contains the principle of
abuse of rights which sets certain standards which
Subsidiary liability of cities and municipalities is must be observed not only in the exercise of one’s
imposed so that they will exercise great care in right but also in the performance of one’s duties.
selecting conscientious and duly qualified policeman
and exercise supervision over them in the While the said provision lays down a rule of conduct
performance of their duties as peace officers.179 for the government of human relations and for the
maintenance of social order, the remedies for its
violations may be found in Arts. 20 and 21 of the Civil

Article 35, New Civil Code B. ILLEGAL ACTS

When a person, claiming to be injured by a criminal
offense, charges another with the same, for which no Article 20, New Civil Code
independent civil action is granted in this Code or any Every person who, contrary to law, willfully or
special law, but the justice of the peace finds no negligently causes damage to another, shall indemnify
reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been the latter for the same.
committed, or the prosecuting attorney refuses or
fails to institute criminal proceedings, the The rule pervades the entire legal system, and renders
complainant may bring a civil action for damages it impossible that a person who suffers damage
against the alleged offender. Such civil action may be because another has violated some legal provision,
supported by a preponderance of evidence. Upon the should find himself without relief.182
defendant’s motion, the court may require the
plaintiff to file a bond to indemnify the defendant in It speaks of the general sanction for all other
case the complaint should be found to be malicious. provisions of law which do not especially provide for
their own sanction.183


Intentional Torts Article 21, New Civil Code

Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to
another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good
A. ABUSE OF RIGHTS customs or public policy shall compensate the latter
Article 19, New Civil Code for the damage.
Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and
in the performance of his duties, act with justice, Elements
give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good ● There is an act which is legal;
faith. ● But which is contrary to morals, good custom,
public order, or public policy;
SCOPE ● And it is done with intent to injure.184
● The expanded coverage of tort finds resonance in The common element under Articles 19 and 21 is that
Articles 19, 20, and 21 of the New Civil Code. the act complained of must be intentional, and
● Under any of these three provisions of law, an act attended with malice or bad faith. There is no hard
which causes injury to another may be made the and fast rule which can be applied to determine
basis for an award of damages. whether or not the principle of abuse of rights may be
● This provision is believed to be a mere invoked. The question of whether or not this principle
declaration of principles which is being has been violated, resulting in damages under Articles
implemented by other provisions. 20 and 21, or other applicable provision of law,
depends on the circumstances of each case.185
● There is a legal right or duty;
● which is exercised in bad faith;
● for the sole intent of prejudicing or injuring
another.180 181 Globe Mackay v. CA, G. R. No. 81262, 25 Aug 1989.
Code Commission
178 1 Capistrano 38 183 Tolentino, p. 71
179 Jarencio 184 Albenson v. CA, G. R. No. 88694, 11 Jan 1993.
180 Tolentino, p. 71 185 Mata v. Agravante G.R. No. 147597 August 6, 2008.

I. BREACH OF PROMISE TO MARRY, SEDUCTION AND without probable cause; and

SEXUAL ASSAULT ● That the prosecutor was actuated or impelled by
legal malice, that is by improper or sinister
Mere breach of promise to marry is not an actionable
wrong. But to formally set a wedding and go through When Not Applicable
all the above-described preparation and publicity, The mere act of submitting a case to the authorities
only to walk out of it when the matrimony is about to for prosecution does not make one liable for malicious
be solemnized, is quite different. This palpably and prosecution.
unjustifiably contrary to good customs for which
defendant must be held answerable in damages IV. OPPRESSIVE DISMISSAL
pursuant to Article 21.186

To constitute seduction there must in all cases be An action for damages under Article 21 may be
some sufficient promise or inducement and the instituted if the complaint is grounded on the manner
woman must yield because of the promise or other and consequent effect of dismissal and not the
inducement.187 dismissal itself.

Where a man's promise to marry is the reason for the If the dismissal was done anti-socially or oppressively,
acceptance of his love by a woman and his as the complaint alleges, then the respondents
representation to fulfil that promise thereafter violated Art. 1701 of the Civil Code which prohibits
becomes the proximate cause of the giving of herself acts of oppression by either capital or labor against
unto him in a sexual congress, proof that he had, in the other and Article 21, which makes a person liable
reality, no intention of marrying her and that the for damages if he wilfully causes loss or injury to
promise was only a subtle scheme or deceptive device another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good
to entice her to accept him and to obtain her consent customs, or public policy, sanction for which, by way
to the sexual act, could justify the award of damages of moral damages.193
pursuant to Article 21 not because of such promise to
marry but because of the fraud and deceit behind it D. VIOLATION OF HUMAN DIGNITY
and the wilful injury to her honor and reputation.188
Article 26, New Civil Code
II. PUBLIC HUMILIATION Every person shall respect the dignity, personality,
The hitting on the face is contrary to morals and good privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other
customs which may cause mental anguish, moral person. The following and similar acts, though they
shock, wounded feelings and social humiliation. Thus, may not constitute a criminal offense, shall produce a
the award of moral damages is proper.189 cause of action for damages, prevention and other
The reason underlying the award of damages under ● Prying into the privacy of another’s residence;
Article 21 is to compensate the injured party for the ● Meddling with or disturbing the private life or
moral injury caused upon his person.190 family relations of another;
● Intriguing to cause another to be alienated fom
● Vexing or humiliating another on account of his
religious beliefs, lowly station in life, place of
To constitute malicious prosecution, there must be birth, physical defect, or other personal
proof that the prosecution was prompted by a sinister condition.
design to vex and humiliate a person that it
was initiated deliberately by the defendant knowing THE COURT RECOGNIZES THAT EVERY PERSON IS ENTITLED TO
that his charges were false and groundless.191 RESPECT OF HIS DIGNITY, PERSONALITY, PRIVACY AND PEACE OF
Elements MIND.
● The fact of the prosecution and the further fact
that the defendant was himself the prosecutor Article 26 of the Civil Code grants a cause of action
and that the action finally terminated with an for damages, prevention, and other relief in cases of
acquittal; breach, though not necessarily constituting a criminal
● That in bringing the action, the prosecutor acted offense, of the following rights: (1) right to personal
dignity; (2) right to personal security; (3) right to
186 Wassmer v. Velez, G. R. No. L-20089, 26 Dec 1964.
family relations; (4) right to social intercourse; (5)
187 Tanjanco v. CA, G. R. No. L-18630, 17 Dec 1966.
Baksh v. CA, G. R. No. 97336, 19 Feb 1993.
189 Patricio v. Leviste, G.R. No. 51832, 1989.
190 Code Commission 192 Drilon v. CA, G. R. No. 107019, 20 Mar 1997.
191 Que v. IAC, G. R. No. 66865, 13 Jan 1989. 193 Quisaba v. Sta. Ines, G. R. No. L-38000, 30 Aug 1974.

right to privacy; and (6) right to peace of mind. 194 There is a material distinction between damages and
injury. Injury is the illegal invasion of a legal right;
Prying into the privacy of another's residence" and damage is the loss, hurt, or harm which results from
"meddling with or disturbing the private life or family the injury; and damages are the recompense or
relations of another" and "similar acts", "though they compensation awarded for the damages suffered. 197
may not constitute a criminal offense, shall produce a
cause of action for damages, prevention and other
relief".195 II. Kinds of Damages
Article 27, New Civil Code Bar 1991, 96, 2004
Any person suffering material or moral loss because a Article 2199, New Civil Code
public servant or employee refuses or neglects, Except as provided by law or by stipulation, one is
without just cause, to perform his official duty may entitled to an adequate compensation only for such
file an action for damages and other relief against the pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has duly proved.
latter, without prejudice to any disciplinary Such compensation is referred to as actual or
administrative action that may be taken. compensatory damages.

F. UNFAIR COMPETITION It includes all damages that the plaintiff may show he
has suffered in respect to his property, business,
trade, profession, or occupation, and no other
Article 28, New Civil Code
damages whatever.198
Unfair competition in agricultural, commercial or
industrial enterprises or in labor through the use of The burden of proof of the damage suffered is
force, intimidation, deceit, machination or any other imposed on the party claiming the same who should
unjust, oppressive or high 0 handed method shall give adduce the best evidence available in support
rise to a right of action by the person who thereby thereof.199
suffers damage.
DAMAGES To compensate for the injury inflicted, and not to
impose a penalty.200
I. Concept of Damages I. PROOF REQUIRED
There must be pleading and proof of actual damages
Damage suffered for the same to be recovered. It must also be
It is the detriment, injury or loss which is occasioned actually proven with a reasonable degree of certainty,
by reason of fault of another in the property or premised upon competent proof or the best evidence
person. obtainable.201
The pecuniary compensation, recompense, or Damages cannot be presumed and courts, in giving an
satisfaction for an injury sustained, or as otherwise award, must point out specific facts that could afford
expressed, the pecuniary consequences which the law a basis for measuring whatever compensatory or
imposes for the breach of some duty or the or the actual damages are borne.202
violation of some right.196
Pecuniary Loss
A complaint for damages is a personal action.
Loss of money or something by which money or
Damnum Absque Injuria something of money value may be acquired.
Literally means “damage without injury”. A person
may have suffered physical hurt or injury, but for long Proof of Pecuniary Loss Required
as no legal injury or wrong has been done, there is no To justify an award for actual damages.
Where the conjunction of damages and wrong is
absent there can be no actionable wrong if either one 197 Custodio vs. Court of Appeals, 235 SCRA 483

or the other is wanting. 198 Algarra vs. Sandejas, 27 Phil 284.

Oceaneering Contractors vs. Baretto, G.R. No. 184215, Feb. 9, 2011
200 Algarra vs. Sandejas
194 Gregorio v. CA, G. R. No. 179799, 11 Sep 2009. 201 Oceaneering Contractors vs. Baretto
195 St. Louis v. CA, G. R. No. L-46061, 14 Nov 1984. 202 PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation vs. Court of Appeals,
196 People vs. Ballesteros, G.R. No. 120921, 29 Jan 1998.
297 SCRA 402

probable consequences of the act or omission

Burden of Proof complained of. It is not necessary that such damages
have been foreseen or could have reasonably been
The burden of proof of the damage suffered is
foreseen by the defendant.
imposed on the party claiming the same who should
adduce the best evidence available in support thereof,
like sales and delivery receipts, cash and check Article 2204, New Civil Code
vouchers and other pieces of documentary evidence of In crimes, the damages to be adjudicated may be
the same nature.203 respectively increased or lessened according to the
aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
According to law and jurisprudence, civil indemnity is
Article 2200, New Civil Code in the nature of actual and compensatory damages for
Indemnification for damages shall comprehend not the injury caused to the offended party and that
only the value of the loss suffered, but also that of suffered by her family, and moral damages are
the profits which the obligee failed to obtain. likewise compensatory in nature.207

A party is entitled to adequate compensation only for The principal consideration for the award of damages
such pecuniary loss actually suffered and duly proved. is the penalty provided by law or imposable for the
offense because of its heinousness, not the public
Basic is the rule that to recover actual damages, the penalty actually imposed on the offender.208
amount of loss must not only be capable of proof but
must actually be proven with a reasonable degree of V. EARNING CAPACITY
certainty, premised upon competent proof or best Bar 1993
evidence obtainable of the actual amount thereof.204 Article 2205, New Civil Code
Damages may be recovered:
Indemnification for damages shall comprehend not ● For loss or impairment of earning capacity in
only the value of the loss suffered, but also that of cases of temporary or permanent personal injury;
the profits which the obligee failed to obtain.205 ● For injury to the plaintiff's business standing or
commercial credit.
Bar 1994 Loss or impairment of earning capacity
Article 2201, New Civil Code The indemnity for loss of earning capacity of the
In contracts and quasi-contracts, the damages for deceased is awarded not for loss of earning, but for
which the obligor who acted in good faith is liable loss of capacity to earn money.209
shall be those that are the natural and probable
consequences of the breach of the obligation, and The important variables taken into account in
which the parties have foreseen or could have determining the compensable amount of lost earnings
reasonably foreseen at the time the obligation was are:
constituted. ● The number of years for which the victim would
In case of fraud, bad faith, malice or wanton attitude, otherwise have lived (life expectancy); and
the obligor shall be responsible for all damages which ● The total of the earnings less expenses necessary
may be reasonably attributed to the non-performance for the creation of such earnings and less living or
of the obligation. other incidental expenses (net income/earnings).

A common carrier which allowed overbooking without Formula

informing its passengers that they can breach the {2/3 x (80 – age of death)} x (mo. Earnings/2) x 12
contract should be responsible for all damages which
may be reasonably attributed to the non-performance General Rule: Documentary evidence should be
of its obligation pursuant to Article 2201.206 presented to substantiate the claim for damages for
loss of earning capacity.
Exception: Damages for loss of earning capacity may
be awarded despite the absence of documentary
Article 2202, New Civil Code evidence when:
In crimes and quasi-delicts, the defendant shall be ● The deceased is self – employed and earning less
liable for all damages which are the natural and than the minimum wage under current labor laws,
in which case, judicial notice may be taken of the
Oceaneering Contractors vs. Baretto, G.R. No. 184215, Feb. 9, 2011.
204 PNOC v. CA, G.R. No. 107518, 8 Oct 1998. 207 People v. Sarcia, G.R. No. 169641, 10 Sept 2009.
205 Candano v. Sugata-on, G.R. No. 163212, 13 Mar 2007. 208 Ibid.
206 Spouses Zalamea v. CA,G.R. No. 104235, 18 Nov 1993. 209 Philippine Hawk v. Lee, G.R. No. 166869, Feb. 16, 2010.

fact that in the deceased’s line of work no The award of P75,000 as civil indemnity is proper in
documentary evidence is available; or cases where the proper imposable penalty is death.214
● The deceased is employed as a daily wage worker
earning less than the minimum wage under Loss of Earning Capacity
current labor laws.210
The rule is that documentary evidence should be
presented to substantiate a claim for loss of earning
To determine the amount for the award for damages
of loss or impairment of his earning capacity, the
court must consider his age, probable life expectancy,
It is well-settled in jurisprudence that the factors that
the state of his health, and his mental and physical
should be taken into account in determining the
condition before the accident.211
compensable amount of lost earnings are: (1) the
number of years for which the victim would otherwise
VI. DEATH BY CRIME OR QUASI – DELICT have lived; and (2) the rate of loss sustained by the
Bar 1992, 93, 2007 heirs of the deceased.216
Article 2206, New Civil Code
The amount of damages for death caused by a crime VII. IN RAPE CASES
or quasi-delict shall be at least three thousand pesos,
even though there may have been mitigating Civil indemnity due to a crime, rape, is in the nature
circumstances. In addition: of actual damages and is mandatorily granted to upon
● The defendant shall be liable for the loss of the proving of the fact of the crime. It is granted without
earning capacity of the deceased, and the any need of proof other than the commission of the
indemnity shall be paid to the heirs of the latter; crime.
such indemnity shall in every case be assessed Jurisprudence has consistently upheld the ruling that
and awarded by the court, unless the deceased on the civil indemnity for Simple Rape is P50,000 while
account of permanent physical disability not P75,000 for Qualified Rape.217
caused by the defendant, had no earning capacity
at the time of his death; The award of moral damages is separate and distinct
from the civil indemnity awarded to rape victims. The
● If the deceased was obliged to give support moral damages cannot take the place of the civil
according to the provisions of Article 291, the indemnity. While the award of moral damages is
recipient who is not an heir called to the discretionary on the part of the court, the civil
decedent's inheritance by the law of testate or indemnity, which is actually in the nature of actual or
intestate succession, may demand support from compensatory damages, is mandatory upon the finding
the person causing the death, for a period not of the fact of rape.218
exceeding five years, the exact duration to be
fixed by the court;
● The spouse, legitimate and illegitimate Bar 1991, 94, 2002
descendants and ascendants of the deceased may Article 2208, New Civil Code
demand moral damages for mental anguish by In the absence of stipulation, attorney's fees and
reason of the death of the deceased. expenses of litigation, other than judicial costs,
cannot be recovered, except:
Civil/Death Indemnity ● When exemplary damages are awarded;
● When the defendant's act or omission has
Civil indemnity due to a crime is in the nature of
compelled the plaintiff to litigate with third
actual damages and is mandatorily granted to the
persons or to incur expenses to protect his
heirs upon proving of the fact of the crime. It is
granted without any need of proof other than the
● In criminal cases of malicious prosecution against
commission of the crime.212
the plaintiff;
● In case of a clearly unfounded civil action or
The current amount of fixed damages is P50,000. The
proceeding against the plaintiff;
amount of P3,000 is the minimum. The Supreme Court
● Where the defendant acted in gross and evident
had repeatedly increased the amount of indemnity in
bad faith in refusing to satisfy the plaintiff's
order to reflect the current value of currency and
plainly valid, just and demandable claim;
prevailing inflation.213
● In actions for legal support;

210 214 People v. Apacible, G.R. No. 189091, Aug. 25, 2010
Philippine Hawk Corporation, v. Lee, G.R. No. 166869, Feb. 16,
2010. People v. Lopez, G.R. No. 188902, 16 Feb 2011.
211 Mercury Drug v. Huang, G.R. No. 172122, 22 Jun 2007. 216 Pleyto v. Lomboy, G.R. No. 148737, 16 Jun 2004.
212 People v. Buban, G.R. No. 170471, May 11, 2007. 217 People v. Astrologo, G.R. No. 169873, June 8, 2007.
213 Aquino, 2009. 218 People v. Banago, G.R. No. 128384, 29 Jun 1999.

● In actions for the recovery of wages of household In crimes and quasi-delicts, interest as a part of the
helpers, laborers and skilled workers; damages may, in a proper case, be adjudicated in the
● In actions for indemnity under workmen's discretion of the court.
compensation and employer's liability laws;
Article 2212, New Civil Code
● In a separate civil action to recover civil liability Interest due shall earn legal interest from the time it
arising from a crime; is judicially demanded, although the obligation may
● When at least double judicial costs are awarded; be silent upon this point.
● In any other case where the court deems it just
and equitable that attorney's fees and expenses Article 2213, New Civil Code
of litigation should be recovered. Interest cannot be recovered upon unliquidated claims
or damages, except when the demand can be
In all cases, the attorney's fees and expenses of established with reasonably certainty.
litigation must be reasonable.
No interest shall be due unless it has been expressly
Kinds stipulated in writing.221
Ordinary – the attorney’s fee is the reasonable
compensation paid to a lawyer by his client for the Brief Rulings on Compensatory Damages
legal services he has rendered to the latter.
● Actual damages must be specifically prayed for.
● May be executed pending appeal but not an award
Extraordinary – the attorney’s fee is an indemnity for
for moral or exemplary damages which cannot be
damages ordered by the court to be paid by the losing
disregarded as fixed until there is a final
party in a litigation to the prevailing party.
Payable not the lawyer but to the client, unless they
have agreed that the award shall pertain to the lawyer
as additional compensation or as part thereof.219 What is “The Abrazaldo Doctrine” 
Where the amount of the actual damages cannot be
Article 2208 of the Civil Code demands factual, legal determined because of the absence of receipts to
and equitable justification; its basis cannot be left to prove the same, but it is shown that the heirs are
speculation or conjecture. entitled thereto, temperate damages may be
When granted, the court must explicitly state in the
body of the decision, and not only in the dispositive
portion thereof, the legal reason for the award of
attorney’s fees.220 Article 2203, New Civil Code
The party suffering loss or injury must exercise the
In all cases, the attorney’s fees and expenses of diligence of a good father of a family to minimize
litigation must be reasonable. the damages.

IX. INTEREST Article 2204, New Civil Code

In crimes, the damages to be adjudicated may be
respectively increased or lessened according to the
Article 2209, New Civil Code
aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
If the obligation consists in the payment of a sum of
money, and the debtor incurs in delay, the indemnity
Article 2214, New Civil Code
for damages, there being no stipulation to the
In quasi-delicts, the contributory negligence of the
contrary, shall be the payment of the interest agreed
plaintiff shall reduce the damages that he may
upon, and in the absence of stipulation, the legal
interest, which is six per cent per annum.
Article 2215, New Civil Code
Bar 2002
In contracts, quasi-contracts, and quasi-delicts, the
Article 2210, New Civil Code
court may equitably mitigate the damages under
Interest may, in the discretion of the court, be
circumstances other than the case referred to in the
allowed upon damages awarded for breach of
preceding article, as in the following instances:
● That the plaintiff himself has contravened the
terms of the contract;
Bar 2002 ● That the plaintiff has derived some benefit as a
Article 2211, New Civil Code

219 Benedicto v. Villaflores, G.R. No. 185020, 6 Oct. 2010. 221 Pan Pacific v. Equitable, G.R. No. 169975, March 18, 2010
220 Briones v. Macabagdal, G.R. No. 150666, Aug. 3, 2010 222 People v. Abrazaldo, 397 SCRA 137, 149-150

result of the contract; ● Adultery or concubinage;

● In cases where exemplary damages are to be ● Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest;
awarded, that the defendant acted upon the ● Illegal search;
advice of counsel; ● Libel, slander or any other form of defamation;
● That the loss would have resulted in any event; ● Malicious prosecution;
● That since the filing of the action, the defendant ● Acts mentioned in Article 309;
has done his best to lessen the plaintiff's loss or ● Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27,
injury. 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35.

Doctrine of Avoidable Consequences The parents of the female seduced, abducted, raped,
or abused, referred to in No. 3 of this article, may
It is a well-recognized principle of law that damages
also recover moral damages.
resulting from avoidable consequences of the breach
The spouse, descendants, ascendants, and brothers
of a contract are not recoverable. It is the duty of one
and sisters may bring the action mentioned in No. 9 of
injured by the act of another to take such measures as
this article, in the order named.
prudent men usually take under such circumstances to
reduce the damage as much as possible.223
Bar 1994, 2004, 05
Article 2220, New Civil Code
B. MORAL DAMAGES Wilful injury to property may be a legal ground for
awarding moral damages if the court should find that,
To be entitled to moral damages, a party must have a under the circumstances, such damages are justly
right based upon law.224 due. The same rule applies to breaches of contract
where the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad
Purpose faith.
Moral damages are awarded to enable the injured
party to obtain the means, diversions, or amusements General Rule
that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering he has The plaintiff must allege and prove:
undergone by reason of the tragic event.225 ● The factual basis for moral damages; and
Moral damages are in the category of an award ● Its causal relation to the defendant’s act.
designed to compensate the claimant for actual injury
suffered, and not to impose a penalty on the Exception
wrongdoer.226 Moral damages may be awarded to the victim in
criminal proceedings without the need for pleading of
When Recoverable proof of the basis thereof. 227
Such damages must be the proximate result of a
wrongful act or omission the factual basis of which is Moral damages are recoverable where the dismissal of
satisfactorily established by the aggrieved party. the employee was attended by bad faith or fraud or
constituted an act oppressive to labor, or was done in
Bar 1991, 2002, 03 a manner contrary to morals, good customs or public
Article 2217, New Civil Code policy.228
Moral damages include physical suffering, mental
anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched The award of moral damages is unsupported where
reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social the widow of the victim did not testify on any mental
humiliation, and similar injury. Though incapable of anguish or emotional distress, which she suffered as a
pecuniary computation, moral damages may be result of her husband’s death.229
recovered if they are the proximate result of the
defendant's wrongful act for omission. MORAL DAMAGES IN CULPA CONTRACTUAL
Moral damages are recoverable in breach of contracts
Bar 1992, 93, 96, 2002, 04, 06 where defendant acted fraudulently or in bad faith.230
Article 2219, New Civil Code
Moral damages may be recovered in the following and Moral damages are in the category of an award
analogous cases: designed to compensate the claimant for actual injury
● A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries; suffered and not to impose a penalty on the
● Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries; wrongdoer. The person claiming moral damages must
● Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious prove the existence of bad faith by clear and
acts; convincing evidence for the law always presumes good

223 227
Cerrano v. Tan, 38 Phil 392. Aquino, 2009.
224 Kierulf v. CA, G.R. No. 99301, 13 Mar 1997. 228 Triple Eight v. NLRC, 299 SCRA 608
225 Sulpicio Lines v. Curso, G.R. No. 157009, March 17, 2010 229 People v. Pirame, 327 SCRA 552
226 ABS – CBN v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 128690, Jan. 21, 1999 230 Lopez v. Pan American, 16 SCRA 431

faith. It is not enough that one merely suffered cases stated in Article 2219 of the Civil Code.236
sleepless nights, mental anguish, serious anxiety as
the result of the actuations of the other party. Such WHO MAY RECOVER
action must be shown to have been wilfully done in
1. Relatives of Injured Persons
bad faith or with ill motive.231
Art. 2219, New Civil Code
Article 1764 of the New Civil Code provides that moral Moral damages may be recovered in the following
damages may also be awarded in case the death of a and analogous cases:
passenger results from a breach of a contract of (1) A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries;
carriage. (2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries;
(3) Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious
(4) Adultery or concubinage;
When an act or omission causes physical injuries or (5) Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest;
where the defendant is guilty of intentional tort, (6) Illegal search;
moral damages may be aptly recovered.232 (7) Libel, slander or any other form of defamation;
(8) Malicious prosecution;
MORAL DAMAGES IN CULPA CRIMINAL (9) Acts mentioned in Article 309;
Moral damages are automatically granted in rape (10) Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26,
cases without the need of further proof other than the 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35.
commission of the crime because it is assumed that a The parents of the female seduced, abducted,
rape victim has actually suffered moral injuries raped, or abused, referred to in No. 3 of this article,
entitling her to such award.233 may also recover moral damages.
The spouse, descendants, ascendants, and brothers
Art. 2219 of the Civil Code provides that moral and sisters may bring the action mentioned in No. 9
damages may be recovered in cases of illegal of this article, in the order named.
detention; especially so when the victim is shown to
have suffered serious anxiety and fright when she was 2. Juridical Persons
detained for more than five months.234
General Rule
MORAL DAMAGES IN LABOR CASES A corporation may not be awarded moral damages, it
being a juridical person thus it cannot suffer from
Moral damages are recoverable where the dismissal of
wounded feelings, serious anxiety, mental anguish or
the employee was attended by bad faith or fraud or
moral shock.237
constituted an act oppressive to labor or was done in a
manner contrary to morals, good customs, or public
Article 2279, par. 7 of the Civil Code expressly
authorizes the recovery of moral damages in cases of
FACTORS CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING AMOUNT libel, slander or any other form of defamation. But
The claimant must be able to satisfactorily prove that there must be evidence to prove it to justify the
he has suffered moral damages and that the injury award.238
causing it has sprung from any of the cases listed in
Articles 2219 and 2220 of the Civil Code
Conditions for awarding moral damages are:
● There must be an injury, whether physical,
mental, or psychological, clearly substantiated by
the claimant; Nominal damages are not intended for indemnification
● There must be a culpable act or omission of loss suffered but for the vindication or recognition
factually established; of a right violated or invaded.
● The wrongful act or omission of the defendant
must be the proximate cause of the injury They are recoverable where some injury has been
sustained by the claimant; and done the amount of which the evidence fails to show,
● The award of damages is predicated on any of the the assessment of damages being left to the discretion
of the court according to the circumstances of the

231 Spouses Valenzuela v. Spouses Mano, G.R. No. 172611, 9 Jul 2010.
236 Sulpicio Lines v. Curso, G.R. No. 157009, 17 March 2010
De Leon, Torts. 237 Manila Electric Co. v. T.E.A.M. Corporation, G.R. No. 131723, 13 Dec
233 People v. Lizano, G.R. No. 174470, 27 April 2007.
234 People v. Madsali, G.R. No. 179570, 4 Feb 2010. 238 Filipinas Broadcasting Network Inc. v. Ago Medical and Education
235 Triple Eight v. NLRC, G.R. No.129584, 3 Dec 1998.
Center, G.R. No. 141994, 17 Jan 2005.


Nominal damages by their nature are small sums fixed Bar 1994
by the court without regard to the extent of the harm Article 2224, New Civil Code
done to the injured party. However, nominal damage Temperate or moderate damages which are more than
is a substantial claim, if based upon the violation of a nominal but less than compensatory damages, may be
legal right; in such a case, the law presumes damage recovered when the court finds that some pecuniary
although actual or compensatory damages are not loss has been suffered but its amount cannot, from
proven. the nature of the case, be proved with certainty.

Bar 1991, 94, 2005 Article 2225, New Civil Code

Article 2221, New Civil Code Temperate damages must be reasonable under the
Nominal damages are adjudicated in order that a circumstances.
right of the plaintiff, which has been violated or
invaded by the defendant, may be vindicated or Temperate damages in lieu of actual damages for loss
recognized, and not for the purpose of indemnifying of earning capacity may be awarded where earning
the plaintiff for any loss suffered by him. capacity is plainly established but no evidence was
presented to support the allegation of the injured
WHEN AWARDED party’s actual income.241

Article 2222, New Civil Code Also, when actual damages proven by receipts during
The court may award nominal damages in every the trial amount to less than P25,000, the award of
obligation arising from any source enumerated in temperate damages for P25,000 is justified in lieu of
Article 1157, or in every case where any property actual damages of a lesser amount.242
right has been invaded.
Where a legal right is technically violated and must be
vindicated against an invasion that has produced no General Rule
actual present loss of any kind or where there has Documentary evidence should be presented to
been a breach of contract and no substantial injury or substantiate the claim for loss of earning capacity.
actual damages whatsoever have been or can be
shown. Exception
(1) The deceased is self-employed and earning less
than the minimum wage under current labor laws, in
EFFECT OF AWARD which case, judicial notice may be taken of the fact
Article 2223, New Civil Code that in the deceased's line of work, no documentary
The adjudication of nominal damages shall preclude evidence is available; or
further contest upon the right involved and all (2) The deceased is employed as a daily wage worker
accessory questions, as between the parties to the earning less than the minimum wage under current
suit, or their respective heirs and assigns. labor laws.243


When there is an award of actual or compensatory In cases where the resulting injury might be
damages. Nominal damages cannot coexist with actual continuing and possible future complications directly
or compensatory damages. The law presumes damage arising from the injury, while certain to occur are
although actual or compensatory damages are not difficult to predict, temperate damages can and
proven. should be awarded on top of actual or compensatory
damages; in such cases there is no incompatibility
D. TEMPERATE DAMAGES between actual and temperate damages.244

If actual damages, proven by receipts during the trial,

Definition amount to less than P25, 000, the victim shall be
These are damages, which are more than nominal but entitled to temperate damages in the amount of P25,
less than compensatory, and maybe allowed in cases 000, in lieu of actual damages.245
where from the nature of the case, definite proof of
pecuniary loss cannot be adduced, although the court
is convinced that the aggrieved party suffered some
pecuniary loss.240 241 Tan v. OMC Carriers, G.R. No. 190521, Jan. 12, 2011.
People v. Barde, 631 SCRA 187
243 Tan v. OMC Carriers
239 Robes – Francisco v. Court of First Instance, 86 SCRA 59. 244 Ramos v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 124354
240 Adriano v. Lasala, G.R. No. 197842, 9 Oct 2013. 245 Serrano v. People, G.R. No. 1752021, July 5, 2010

WHEN INAPPLICABLE of example or correction for the public good, in

addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated or
When there is an award of actual or compensatory compensatory damages.
damages. Temperate and actual damages are mutually
exclusive in that both may not be awarded at the
Article 2230, New Civil Code
same time.246
In criminal offenses, exemplary damages as a part of
the civil liability may be imposed when the crime was
E. LIQUIDATED DAMAGES committed with one or more aggravating
Definition circumstances. Such damages are separate and
Article 2226, New Civil Code distinct from fines and shall be paid to the offended
Liquidated damages are those agreed upon by the party.
parties to a contract, to be paid in case of breach
thereof. Article 2231, New Civil Code
In quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be granted if
Purpose the defendant acted with gross negligence.
To prevent breach of obligations between the
contracting parties. Article 2232, New Civil Code
REDUCING THE AMOUNT In contracts and quasi-contracts, the court may award
exemplary damages if the defendant acted in a
Article 2227, New Civil Code wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or
Liquidated damages, whether intended as an malevolent manner.
indemnity or a penalty, shall be equitably reduced if
they are iniquitous or unconscionable. Article 2233, New Civil Code
Exemplary damages cannot be recovered as a matter
Article 2228, New Civil Code of right; the court will decide whether or not they
When the breach of the contract committed by the should be adjudicated.
defendant is not the one contemplated by the parties
in agreeing upon the liquidated damages, the law
ii. In addition to other damages
shall determine the measure of damages, and not the
stipulation. Bar 1991
Article 2234, New Civil Code
The determination of whether the penalty is iniquitous While the amount of the exemplary damages need not
or unconscionable is addressed to the sound discretion be proved, the plaintiff must show that he is entitled
of the court and depends on several factors such as to moral, temperate or compensatory damages before
the type, extent, and purpose of the penalty, the the court may consider the question of whether or not
nature of the obligation, the mode of breach and its exemplary damages should be awarded. In case
consequences.247 liquidated damages have been agreed upon, although
no proof of loss is necessary in order that such
F. EXEMPLARY OR CORRECTIVE DAMAGES liquidated damages may be recovered, nevertheless,
before the court may consider the question of
granting exemplary in addition to the liquidated
damages, the plaintiff must show that he would be
Article 2229, New Civil Code entitled to moral, temperate or compensatory
Exemplary or corrective damages are imposed, by way damages were it not for the stipulation for liquidated
of example or correction for the public good, in damages.
addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated or
compensatory damages. Jurisprudence has set down the requirements for
exemplary damages to be awarded:
They are designed to reshape behavior that is socially ● They may be imposed by way of example in
deleterious in its consequence.248 addition to compensatory damages, and only after
the claimant’s right to them has been
WHEN IMPOSED established;
i. In General ● They cannot be recovered as a matter of right,
Bar 2003, 05 their determination depending upon the amount
Article 2229, New Civil Code of compensatory damages that may be awarded
Exemplary or corrective damages are imposed, by way to the claimant;
● The act must be accompanied by bad faith or
done in a wanton, fraudulent, oppressive or
246 People v. Gutierrez, G.R. No. 188602, 4 Feb 2010.
malevolent manner.249
247 Titan Construction Corporation v. Uni – Field Enterprises, G.R. No.
153874, March 1, 2007
248 Mevenas v. Court of Appeals 249 PNB v. CA, G.R. No. 108630, 2 Apr 1996.

iii. Renunciation Not Allowed

Article 2235, New Civil Code
A stipulation whereby exemplary damages are
renounced in advance shall be null and void.
iv. In Crimes
Article 2230, New Civil Code
In criminal offenses, exemplary damages as a part of
the civil liability may be imposed when the crime was
committed with one or more aggravating
circumstances. Such damages are separate and
distinct from fines and shall be paid to the offended

An aggravating circumstance, whether ordinary or

qualifying, should entitle the offended party to an
award of exemplary damages within the unbridled
meaning of Article 2230 of the Civil Code.250

Courts may still award exemplary damages based on

Article 2230, even if the aggravating circumstance has
not be alleged, so long as it has been proven, in
criminal cases instituted before the effectivity of the
Revised Rules which remained pending thereafter.251

Being corrective in nature, exemplary damages,

therefore, can be awarded, not only in the presence
of an aggravating circumstance, but also where the
circumstances of the case show the highly
reprehensible or outrageous conduct of the

v. In Quasi-Delicts
Article 2231, New Civil Code
In quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be granted if
the defendant acted with gross negligence.

vi. In Contracts and Quasi – contracts

Article 2232, New Civil Code
In contracts and quasi – contracts, the court may
award exemplary damages if the defendant acted in a
wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or
malevolent manner.

A principal or master can be held liable for exemplary

or punitive damages based upon the wrongful act of
his agent or servant only where he participated in the
doing of such wrongful act or has previously
authorized or subsequently ratified it with full
knowledge of the facts.253

People v. Catubig, G.R. No. 137842, 23 Aug 2001.
251 People v. Dalisay, G.R. No. 188106, 25 Nov 2009
253 Munsayac v. De Lara, G.R. No. L-21151, 26 Jun 1968.