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G.R. No. L-48250 December 28, 1979 firm saying: "No, Mr., please come with me.

It is the
GRAND UNION SUPERMARKET, INC. and NELIA procedure of the supermarket to bring people that we
SANTOS FANDINO, petitioners, apprehend to the back of the supermarket" (p. 8, Ibid).
vs. The time was between 9 and 10 o'clock. A crowd of
JOSE J. ESPINO JR., and THE HONORABLE customers on their way into the supermarket saw the
COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. plaintiff being stopped and led by a uniformed guard
toward the rear of the supermarket. Plaintiff acquiesced
and signaled to his wife and daughters to wait.
"Into a cubicle which was immediately adjacent to the
This is a petition tor certiorari by way of appeal from the area where deliveries to the supermarket were being
decision of the Court of Appeals 1 dated September 26, made, the plaintiff was ushered. The guard directed him
1977 rendered in CA-G.R. No. 55186-R entitled "Jose J. to a table and gave the file to the man seated at the
Espino, Jr., plaintiff-appellant. versus Grand Union desk. Another man stood beside the plaintiff. The man
Supermarket, Inc. and Nelia Santos- at the desk looked at the plaintiff and the latter
Fandino, defendants-appellees," the dispositive portion immediately explained the circumstances that led to the
of which states; finding of the file in his possession. The man at the desk
WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is hereby pulled out a sheet of paper and began to ask plaintiff's
reversed and set aside. Defendants are ordered to name, age, residence and other personal data. Plaintiff
pay plaintiff-jointly and severally, the sum of was asked to make a brief statement, and on the sheet
Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) by way of paper or "Incident Report" he wrote down the
of moral damages. Twenty-Five Thousand Pesos following: "While talking to my aunt's maid with my wife,
(P25,000.00) as exemplary damages, and Five I put this item in my shirt pocket. I forgot to check it out
Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) as attorney's fee, with my wife's items" (Exhibit A). Meanwhile, the
Costs of both instances shall be taxed against the plaintiff's wife joined him and asked what had taken him
defendant defendants. so long.
The facts of the case are as stated in the decision of the "The guard who had accosted plaintiff took him back
respondent court to wit: inside the supermarket in the company of his wife.
"Upon the evidence, and from the findings of the lower Plaintiff and his wife were directed across the main
court, it appears that in the morning of August 22, 1970, entrance to the shopping area, down the line of check-
plaintiff Jose J. Espino. Jr., a civil engineer and an out counters, to a desk beside the first checkout counter.
executive of Procter and Gamble Philippines, Inc., and To the woman seated at the desk, who turned out to be
his wife and their two daughters went to shop at the defendant Nelia Santos-Fandino, the guard presented
defendants' South Supermarket in Makati. While his wife the incident report and the file, Exhibit B. Defendant
was shopping at the groceries section, plaintiff browsed Fandino read the report and addressing the guard
around the other parts of the market. Finding a remarked: "Ano, nakaw na naman ito" (p. 22, Id.).
cylindrical "rat tail" file which he needed in his hobby and Plaintiff explained and narrated the incident that led to
had been wanting to buy, plaintiff picked up that item the finding of the file in his pocket, telling Fandino that
from one of the shelves. He held it in his hand thinking he was going to pay for the file because he needed it.
that it might be lost, because of its tiny size, if he put it But this defendant replied: "That is all they say, the
in his wife's grocery cart. In the course of their shopping, people whom we cause not paying for the goods say...
plaintiff and his wife saw the maid of plaintiff's aunt. They all intended to pay for the things that are found to
While talking to this maid, plaintiff stuck the file into the them." (p. 23, Id). Plaintiff objected and said that he was
front breast pocket of his shirt with a good part of the a regular customer of the supermarket.
merchandise exposed. "Extracting a P5.00 bill from his pocket, plaintiff told
"At the check-out counter, the plaintiff paid for his wife's Fandino that he was paying for the file whose cost was
purchases which amounted to P77.00, but he forgot to P3.85. Fandino reached over and took the P5.00 bill
pay for the file. As he was leaving by the exit of the from plaintiff with these words: "We are fining you P5.00.
supermarket on his way to his car, carrying two bags of That is your the fine." Plaintiff was shocked. He and his
groceries and accompanied by his wife and two wife objected vigorously that he was not a common
daughter, plaintiff was approached by a uniformed criminal, and they wanted to get back the P5.00. But
guard of the supermarket who said: "Excuse me, Mr., I Fandino told them that the money would be given as an
think you have something in your pocket which you have incentive to the guards who apprehend pilferers. People
not paid for." (p. 5, tsn, Aug. 13, 1971), pointing to his were milling around them and staring at the plaintiff.
left front breast pocket. Suddenly reminded of the file, Plaintiff gave up the discussion. He drew a P50.00 bill
plaintiff apologized thus: "I am sorry," and he turned and took back the file. Fandino directed him to the
back toward the cashier to pay for the file. But the guard nearest check-out counter where he had to fall in line.
stopped him and led him instead toward the rear of the The people who heard the exchange of words between
supermarket. The plaintiff protested but the guard was Fandino and plaintiff continued to stare at him. At the

TORTS (Finals) | 1
trial, plaintiff expressed his embarrassment and E. The proximate cause of respondent Espino's
humiliation thus: " I felt as though I wanted to disappear alleged injury or suffering was his own negligence
into a hole on the ground" (p. 34, Id.). After paying for or forgetfulness; petitioners acted in good faith.
the file, plaintiff and his wife walked as fast as they could II
out of the supermarket. His first impulse was to go back
Assuming arguendo that petitioners are hable for
to the supermarket that night to throw rocks at its glass
moral and exemplary damages, the award of
windows. But reason prevailed over passion and he
P75,000.00 for moral damages and P25,000.00 for
thought that justice should take its due course.
exemplary damages by the respondent Court of
"Plaintiff was certain during the trial that when he signed Appeals is not legally justified and/or is grossly
the incident report, Exhibit A, inside the cubicle at the excessive in the premises.
back of the supermarket only his brief statement of the
facts (Exhibit A-2), aside from his name and personal
circumstances, was written thereon. He swore that the The award of P5,000.00 for attorney's fees by the
following were not in the incident report at, the time he respondent Court of Appeals is unjustified and
signed it: unwarranted under Article 2199 of the Civil Code.
Exhibit A-I which says opposite the stenciled word We agree with the holding of the respondent appellate
SUBJECT "Shoplifting" court that "the evidence sustains the court's finding that
the plaintiff had absolutely no intention to steal the file."
Exhibit A-3 which says opposite the stenciled words
The totality of the facts and circumstances as found by
Action Taken: Released by Mrs. Fandino after
the Court of Appeals unerringly points to the conclusion
paying the item.
that private respondent did not intend to steal the file and
Exhibit A-4 which says opposite the stenciled words that is act of picking up the file from the open shelf was
Remarks Noted: "Grd. Ebreo requested Grd. Paunil not criminal nor done with malice or criminal intent for on
to apprehend subject shoplifter. the contrary, he took the item with the intention of buying
Private respondent's complaint filed on October 8, 1970 and paying for it.
is founded on Article 21 in relation to Article 2219 of the This Court needs only to stress the following undisputed
New Civil Code and prays for moral damages, facts which strongly and convincingly uphold the
exemplary damages, attorney s fees and 'expenses of conclusion that private respondent was not "shoplifting."
litigation, costs of the suit and the return of the P5.00 Thus, the facts that private respondent after picking the
fine. After trial, the Court of First Instance of Pasig, Rizal, cylindrical "rat-tail" file costing P3.85 had placed it inside
Branch XIX dismissed the complaint, Interposing the his left front breast pocket with a good portion of the item
appeal to the Court of Appeals, the latter reversed and exposed to view and that he did not conceal it in his
set aside the appealed judgment, granting and damages person or hid it from sight as well as the fact that he paid
as earlier stated. the purchases of his wife amounting to P77.00 at the
Not satisfied with the decision of the respondent court, checkout counter of the Supermarket, owed that he was
petitioners instituted the present petition and submits not acting suspiciously or furtively. And the
the following grounds and/or assignment of errors, to circumstance that he was with his family consisting of
wit: his wife Mrs. Caridad Jayme Espino, and their two
I daughters at the time negated any criminal intent on his
part to steal. Moreover, when private respondent was
Respondent Court of Appeals erred in awarding
approached by the guard of the Supermarket as he was
moral and exemplary damages to the respondent
leaving by the exit to his car who told him, "Excuse me,
Espino under Articles 19 and 21 in relation to Article
Mr., I think you have something in your pocket which you
2219 of the Civil Code, considering that —
have not paid for," Espino, immediately apologized and
A. Respondent Espino was guilty of theft; answered, "I am sorry," which indicated his sincere
B. Petitioners legitimately exercised their right of apology or regrets. He turned back towards the cashier
defense of property within the context of Article 429 to pay for the file which proved his honesty sincerity and
of the Civil Code negating the application of Articles good faith in buying the item, and not to shoplift the
19 and 21 of the same Code; same. His brief statement on the sheet of paper called
C. Petitioners acted upon probable cause in the Incident Report where private respondent wrote the
stopping and investigating respondent Espino for following: "While talking to my aunt's maid with my wife,
shoplifting and as held in various decisions in the I put this item in in my shirt pocket. I forgot to check it
United States on shoplifting, a merchant who acts out with my wife's item," was an instant and
upon probable cause should not be held liable in contemporaneous explanation of the incident.
damages by the suspected shoplifter; Considering further the personal circumstances of the
D. Petitioners did not exercise their right maliciously, private respondent. his education, position and
wilfully or in bad faith; and/or character showing that he is a graduate Mechanical
Engineer from U.P. Class 1950, employed as an

TORTS (Finals) | 2
executive of Proctor & Gamble Phils., Inc., a corporate doubted the explanation. saying: "That is all what they
manager incharge of motoring and warehousing therein; say, the people whom we caught not paying for the
honorably discharged from the Philippine Army in 1946; goods say... they all intended to pay for the things that
a Philippine government pensionado of the United are found to them." Private respondent objected and
States for six months; member of the Philippine veterans said that he was a regular customer of the Supermarket.
Legion; author of articles published in the Manila The admission of Fandino that she required private
Sunday Times and Philippines Free Press; member of respondent to pay a fine of P5.00 and did in fact take the
the Knights of Columbus, Council No. 3713; son of the P5.00 bill of private respondent tendered by the latter to
late Jose Maria Espino, retired Minister, Department of pay for the file, as a fine which would be given as an
Foreign Affairs at the Philippine Embassy Washington, incentive to the guards who apprehend pilferers clearly
We are fully convinced, as the trial and appellate courts proved that Fandino branded private respondent as a
were, that private respondent did not intend to steal the thief which was not right nor justified.
article costing P3.85. Nothing in the records intimates or
The testimony of the guard that management instructed
hints whatsoever that private respondent has had any
them to bring the suspected customers to the public
police record of any sort much less suspicion of stealing
area for the people to see those kind of customers in
or shoplifting.
order that they may be embarassed (p. 26, tsn, Sept. 30,
We do not lay down here any hard-and-fast rule as to 1971); that management wanted "the customers to be
what act or combination of acts constitute the crime of embarrassed in public so that they will not repeat the
shoplifting for it must be stressed that each case must stealing again" (p. 2, tsn, Dec. 10, 1971); that the
be considered and adjudged on a case-to-case basis management asked the guards "to bring these
and that in the determination of whether a person customers to different cashiers in order that they will
suspected of shoplifting has in truth and in fact know that they are pilferers" (p. 2, Ibid.) may indicate the
committed the same, all the attendant facts and manner or pattern whereby a confirmed or self-
circumstances should be considered in their entirety and confessed shoplifter is treated by the Supermarket
not from any single fact or circumstance from which to management but in the case at bar, there is no showing
impute the stigma of shoplifting on any person that such procedure was taken in the case of the private
suspected and apprehended therefor. respondent who denied strongly and vehemently the
We likewise concur with the Court of Appeals that charge of shoplifting.
"(u)pon the facts and under the law, plaintiff has clearly Nonetheless, the false accusation charged against the
made the cause of action for damages against the private respondent after detaining and interrogating him
defendants. Defendants wilfully caused loss or injury to by the uniformed guards and the mode and manner in
plaintiff in a manner that was contrary to morals, good which he was subjected, shouting at him, imposing upon
customs or public policy, making them amenable to him a fine, threatening to call the police and in the
damages under Articles 19 and 21 in relation to Article presence and hearing of many people at the
2219 of the Civil Code." 2 Supermarket which brought and caused him humiliation
That private respondent was falsely accused of and embarrassment, sufficiently rendered the
shoplifting is evident. The Incident Report (Exhibit A) petitioners liable for damages under Articles 19 and 21
with the entries thereon under Exhibit A-1 which says in relation to Article 2219 of the Civil Code. We rule that
opposite the stenciled word SUBJECT: "Shoplifting," under the facts of the case at bar, petitioners wilfully
Exhibit A-3 which says opposite the stenciled words caused loss or injury to private respondent in a manner
Action Taken: Relesed by Mrs. Fandino after paying the that was contrary to morals, good customs or public
item," Exhibit A-4 which says opposite the stenciled policy. It is against morals, good customs and public
words Remarks Noted: Grd. Ebreo requested Grd. policy to humiliate, embarrass and degrade the dignity
Paunil to apprehend subject shoplifter," established the of a person. Everyone must respect the dignity,
opinion, judgment or thinking of the management of personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors
petitioner's supermarket upon private respondent's act and other persons (Article 26, Civil Code). And one must
of picking up the file. ln plain words, private respondent act with justice, give everyone his due and observe
was regarded and pronounced a shoplifter and had honesty and good faith (Article 19, Civil Code).
committed "shoplifting." Private respondent is entitled to damages but We hold
We also affirm the Court of Appeals' finding that that the award of Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos
petitioner Nelia Santos Fandino, after reading the (P75,000.00) for moral damages and Twenty-Five
incident report, remarked the following: "Ano, nakaw na Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00, for exemplary damages
naman ito". Such a remark made in the presence of is unconscionable and excessive.
private respondent and with reference to the incident While no proof of pecuniary loss is necessary in order
report with its entries, was offensive to private that moral, nominal, temperate, liquidated or exemplary
respondent's dignity and defamatory to his character damages may be adjudicated, the assessment of such
and honesty. When Espino explained that he was going damages, except liquidated ones, is left to the discretion
to pay the file but simply forgot to do so, Fandino of the court, according to the circumstances of each

TORTS (Finals) | 3
case (Art. 2216, New Civil Code). In the case at bar, that the facts and circumstances of the case at bar do
there is no question that the whole incident that befell not warrant the grant of exemplary damages.
respondent had arisen in such a manner that was Petitioners acted in good faith in trying to protect and
created unwittingly by his own act of forgetting to pay for recover their property, a right which the law accords to
the file. It was his forgetfullness in checking out the item them. Under Article 429, New Civil Code, the owner or
and paying for it that started the chain of events which lawful possessor of a thing has a right to exclude any
led to his embarassment and humiliation thereby person from the enjoyment and disposal thereof and for
causing him mental anguish, wounded feelings and this purpose, he may use such force as may be
serious anxiety. Yet, private respondent's act of reasonably necessary to repel or prevent an actual or
omission contributed to the occurrence of his injury or threatened unlawful physical invasion or usurpation of
loss and such contributory negligence is a factor which his property. And since a person who acts in the
may reduce the damages that private respondent may fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or
recover (Art. 2214, New Civil Code). Moreover, that office exempts him from civil or criminal liability,
many people were present and they saw and heard the petitioner may not be punished by imposing exemplary
ensuing interrogation and altercation appears to be damages against him. We agree that petitioners acted
simply a matter of coincidence in a supermarket which upon probable cause in stopping and investigating
is a public place and the crowd of onlookers, hearers or private respondent for taking the file without paying for
bystanders was not deliberately sought or called by it, hence, the imposition of exemplary damages as a
management to witness private respondent's warning to others by way of a deterrent is without legal
predicament. We do not believe that private respondent basis. We, therefore, eliminate the grant of exemplary
was intentionally paraded in order to humiliate or damages to the private respondent.
embarrass him because petitioner's business depended
In the light of the reduction of the damages, We hereby
for its success and patronage the good will of the buying
likewise reduce the original award of Five Thousand
public which can only be preserved and promoted by
Pesos (P5,000.00) as attorney's fees to Two Thousand
good public relations.
Pesos (P2,000.00).
As succinctly expressed by Mr. Justice J. B. L. Reyes in
his concurring and dissenting opinion in Pangasinan
judgment of the Court of Appeals is hereby modified.
Transportation Company, Inc, vs. Legaspi, 12 SCRA
Petitioners are hereby ordered to pay, jointly and
598, the purpose of moral damages is essentially
severally, to private respondent moral damages in the
indemnity or reparation, both punishment or correction.
sum of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) and the
Moral damages are emphatically not intended to enrich
amount of Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00) as and for
a complainant at the expense of a defendant; they are
attorney's fees; and further, to return the P5.00 fine to
awarded only to enable the injured party to obtain
private respondent. No costs.
means, diversion or amusements that will serve to
alleviate the moral suffering he has undergone, by SO ORDERED.
reason of the defendant's culpable action. In other
words, the award of moral damages is aimed at a
restoration, within the limits of the possible, of the
spiritual status quo ante and, it must be proportionate to
the suffering inflicted.
In Our considered estimation and assessment, moral
damages in the amount of Five Thousand Pesos
(P5,000.00) is reasonable and just to award to private
The grant of Twenty-Five Thousand Pesos
(P25,000.00) as exemplary damages is unjustified.
Exemplary or corrective damages are imposed by way
of example or correction for the public good, in addition
to the moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory
damages (Art. 2229, New Civil Code). Exemplary
damages cannot be recovered as a matter of right; the
court will decide whether or not they could be
adjudicated (Art. 2223, New Civil Code). Considering
that exemplary damages are awarded for wanton acts,
that they are penal in character granted not by way of
compensation but as a punishment to the offender and
as a warning to others as a sort of deterrent, We hold

TORTS (Finals) | 4
G.R. No. 140420 February 15, 2001 "Asuncion Pasamba died on 24 February 1969
SERGIO AMONOY, petitioner, while Alfonso Fornilda passsed away on 2 July
vs. 1969. Among the heirs of the latter was his
Spouses JOSE GUTIERREZ and ANGELA daughter, plaintiff-appellant Angela Gutierrez.
FORNIDA, respondents. "Because his Attorney's fess thus secured by the
PANGANIBAN, J.: two lots were not paid, on 21 January 1970 Amonoy
filed for their foreclosure in Civil Code4 No. 12726
Damnum absque injuria. Under this principle, the
entitled Sergio Amonoy vs. Heirs of Asuncion
legitimate exercise of a person's rights, even if it causes
Pasamba and Heirs of Alfonso Fornilda before the
loss to another, does not automatically result in an
CFI of Pasig, Rizal, and this was assigned to Branch
actionable injury. The law does not prescribe a remedy
VIII. The heirs opposed, contending that the
for the loss. This principle does not, however, apply
attorney's fees charged [were] unconscionable and
when there is an abuse of a person's right, or when the
that the attorney's fees charged [were]
exercise of this right is suspended or extinguished
unconscionable and that the agreed sum was only
pursuant to a court order. Indeed, in the availment of
P11,695.92. But on 28 September 1972 judgment
one's rights, one must act with justice, give their due,
was rendered in favor of Amonoy requiring the heirs
and observe honesty and good faith
to pay within 90 days the P27,600.00 secured by the
The Case mortgage, P11,880.00 as value of the harvests, and
Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the P9,645.00 as another round of attorney's fees.
Rules of Court, assailing the April 21, 1999 Decision1 of Failing in that, the two (2) lots would be sold at public
the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 41451, auction.
which set aside the judgment2 of the Regional Trial "They failed to pay. On 6 February 1973, the said
Court (RTC) of Tanay, Rizal. The RTC had earlier lots were foreclosed and on 23 March 1973 the
dismissed the Complaint for damages filed by herein auction sale was held where Amonoy was the
respondents against petitioner. The dispositive portion highest bidder at P23,760.00. On 2 May 1973 his
of the challenged CA Decision reads as follows: bid was judicially confirmed. A deficiency was
"WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision is SET claimed and to satisfy it another execution sale was
ASIDE, and in its stead judgment is rendered conducted, and again the highest bidder was
ordering the defendant-appellee Sergio Amonoy to Amonoy at P12,137.50.
pay the plaintiffs-appellants bruno and Bernadina "Included in those sold was the lot on which the
Gutierrez as actual damages the sum of [t]wo Gutierrez spouses had their house.
[h]undred [f]ifty [t]housand [p]esos (P250,000.00)."3
"More than a year after the Decision in Civil Code
Likewise assailed is the October 19, 1999 CA No. 12726 was rendered, the said decedent's heirs
Resolution,4 which denied the Motion for filed on 19 December 1973 before the CFI of Pasig,
Reconsideration. Rixal[,] Civil case No. 18731 entitled Maria Penano,
The Facts et al vs. Sergio Amonoy, et al, a suit for the
The appellate court narrated the factual antecedents of annulment thereof. The case was dismissed by the
this case as follows: CFI on 7 November 1977, and this was affirmed by
the Court of Appeals on 22 July 1981.
"This case had its roots in Special Proceedings No.
3103 of Branch I of the CFI of Pasig, Rizal, for the "Thereafter, the CFI on 25 July 1985 issued a Writ
settlement of the estate of the deceased Julio of Possession and pursuant to which a notice to
Cantolos, involving six(6) parcels of land situated in vacate was made on 26 August 1985. On Amonoy's
Tanay Rizal. Amonoy was the counsel of therein motion of 24 April 1986, the Orders of 25 April 1986
Francisca Catolos, Agnes Catolos, Asuncion and 6 May 1986 were issued for the demolition of
Pasamba and Alfonso Formida. On 12 January structures in the said lots, including the house of the
1965, the Project of Partition submitted was Gutierrez spouses.
approved and xxx two (2) of the said lots were "On 27 September 1985 the petition entitled David
adjudicated to Asuncion Pasamba and Alfonso Fornilda, et al vs Branch 164 RTC Ivth Pasig,
Formilda. The Attorney's fees charged by Amonoy Deputy Sheriff Joaquin Antonil and Atty. Sergio
was P27,600.00 and on 20 January 1965 Asuncion Amonoy, G.R. No. L-72306, was filed before the
Pasamba and Alfonso Formida executed a deed of Supreme Court. Among the petitioners was the
real estate mortgage on the said two (2) lots plaintiff-appellant Angela Gutierrez. On a
adjudicated to them, in favor of Amonoy to secure twin musiyun (Mahigpit na Musiyon Para
the payment of his attorney's fees. But it was only Papanagutin Kaugnay ng Paglalapastangan) with
on 6 August 1969 after the taxes had been paid, the full titles as fanciful and elongated as
claims settled and the properties adjudicated, that their Petisyung (Petisyung Makapagsuri Taglay and
the estate was declared closed and terminated. Pagpigil ng Utos), a temporary restraining order was

TORTS (Finals) | 5
granted on 2 June 1986 enjoining the demolition of Supreme Court process server, that a copy of the TRO
the petitioners' houses. was served on petitioner himself on June 4, 1986.
"Then on 5 October 1988 a Decision was rendered Petitioner, howeverm, did not heed the TRO of this
in the said G.R. No. L-72306 disposing that: Court. We agree with the CA that he unlawfully pursued
"WHEREFORE, Certiorari is granted; the Order the demolition of respondents' house well until the
of respondent Trial Court, dated 25 July 1985, middle of 1987. This is clear from Respondent Angela
granting a Writ of Possession, as well as its Gutierrez's testimony. The appellate court quoted the
Orderd, dated 25 April 1986 and 16 May 1986, following pertinent portion thereof:10
directing and authorizing respondent Sheriff to "Q. On May 30, 1986, were they able to destroy
demolish the houses of petitioners Angela and your house?
Leocadia Fornilda are hereby ordered returned "A. Not all, a certain portion only
to petitioners unless some of them have been
xxx xxx xxx
conveyed to innocent third persons."5
"Q. Was your house completely demolished?
But by the time the Supreme Court promulgated the
abovementioned Decision, respondents' house had "A. No, sir.
already been destroyed, supposedly in accordance with xxx xxx xxx
a Writ of Demolition ordered by the lower court. "Q. Until when[,] Mrs. Witness?
Thus, a Complaint for damages in connection with the "A. Until 1987.
destruction of their house was filed by respondents
"Q. About what month of 1987?
against petitioner before the RTC on December 15,
1989. "A. Middle of the year.
In its January 27, 1993 Decision, the RTC dismissed "Q. Can you tell the Honorable Court who
respondents' suit. On appeal, the CA set aside the lower completed the demolition?
court's ruling and ordered petitioner to pay respondents A. The men of Fiscal Amonoy."11
P250,000 as actual damages. Petitioner then filed a The foregoing disproves the claim of petitioner that the
Motion for Reconsideration, which was also denied. demolition, which allegedly commenced only on May 30,
The Issue 1986, was completed the following day. It likewise belies
In his Memorandum,7 petitioner submits this lone issue his allegation that the demolitions had already ceased
for our consideration: when he received notice of the TRO.
"Whether or not the Court of Appeals was correct Although the acts of petitioner may have been legally
was correct in deciding that the petition [was] liable justified at the outsset, their continuation after the
to the respondents for damages."8 issuance of the TRO amounted to an insidious abuse of
The Court's Ruling his right. Indubitably, his actions were tainted with bad
faith. Had he not insisted on completing the demolition,
The Petition has no merit. respondents would not have suffered the loss that
Main Issue: engendered the suit before the RTC. Verily, his acts
Petitioner's Liability constituted not only an abuse of a right, but an invalid
exercise of a right that had been suspended when he
Well-settled is the maxim that damage resulting from the
received thae TRO from this Court on June 4, 1986. By
legitimate exercise of a person's rights is a loss without
then he was no longer entitled to proceed with the
injury- damnum absque injuria - for which the law gives
no remedy.9 In other words, one who merely exercises
one's rights does no actionable injury and cannot be A commentator on this topic explains:
held liable for damages. "The exercise of a right ends when the right
Petitioner invokes this legal precept in arguing that he is disappears, and it disappears when it is abused,
not liable for the demolition of respondents' house. He especially to the prejudice of others. The mask of a
maintains that he was merely acting in accordance with right without the spirit of justcie which gives it life, is
the Writ of Demolition ordered by the RTC. repugnant to the modern concept of social law. It
cannot be said that a person exercises a right when
We reject this submission. Damnum absque injuria finds
he unnecessarily prejudices another xxx. Over and
no application to this case.
above the specific precepts of postive law are the
True, petitioner commenced the demolition of supreme norms of justice xxx; and he who violates
respondents' house on May 30, 1986 under the authority them violates the law. For this reason it is not
of a Writ of Demolition issued by the RTC. But the permissible to abuse our rights to prejudice
records show that a Temporary Restraining Order others."12
(TRO), enjoining the demolition of respondents' house,
was issued by the Supreme Court on June 2, 1986. The
CA also found, based on the Certificate of Service of the

TORTS (Finals) | 6
Likewise, in Albenson Enterprises Corp. v. CA,13 the
Court discussed the concept of abuse of rights as
"Artilce 19, known to contain what is commonly
referred to as the principle of abuse of rights, sets
certain standards which may be observed not only
in the exercise of one's rights but also in the
performance of one's duties.These standards are
the following: to act with justice; to give everyone his
due; recognizes the primordial limitation on all
rights: that in their exercise, the norms of human
conduct set forth in Article 19 and results in damage
to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for
which the wrongdoer must be held responsible xxx."
Clearly then, the demolition of respondents' house by
petitioner, despite his receipt of the TRO, was not only
an abuse but also an unlawful exercise of such right. In
insisting on his alleged right, he wantonly violated this
Court's Order and wittingly caused the destruction of
respondents; house.1âwphi1.nêt
Obviously, petitioner cannot invoke damnum absque
injuria, a principle premised on the valid exercise of a
right.14Anything less or beyond such exercise will not
give rise to the legal protection that the principle
accords. And when damage or prejudice to another is
occasioned thereby, liability cannot be obscured, much
less abated.
In the ultimate analysis, petitioner's liability is premised
on the obligation to repair or to make whole the damage
caused to another by reason of one's act or omission,
whether done intentionally or negligently and whether or
not punishable by law.15
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the
appealed Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against

TORTS (Finals) | 7
G.R. No. 101749 July 10, 1992 September 8, 1973, they had a quarrel, and
CONRADO BUNAG, JR., petitioner, Bunag, Jr. wanted to talk matters over with
vs. plaintiff, so that he invited her to take their
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, First Division, and merienda at the Aristocrat Restaurant in Manila
ZENAIDA B. CIRILO, respondents. instead of at the San Juan de Dios Canteen, to
which plaintiff obliged, as she believed in his
sincerity (t.s.n., pp. 8-10, Nov. 5, 1974).
Plaintiff rode in the car and took the front seat
Petitioner appeals for the reversal of the decision 1 of beside the driver while Bunag, Jr. seated
respondent Court of Appeals promulgated on May 17, himself by her right side. The car travelled north
1991 in CA-G.R. CV No. 07054, entitled "Zenaida B. on its way to the Aristocrat Restaurant but upon
Cirilo vs. Conrado Bunag, Sr. and Conrado Bunag, Jr.," reaching San Juan Street in Pasay City, it
which affirmed in toto the decision of the Regional Trial turned abruptly to the right, to which plaintiff
Court, Branch XI at Bacoor, Cavite, and, implicitly, protested, but which the duo ignored and
respondent court's resolution of September 3, instead threatened her not to make any noise as
1991 2 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. they were ready to die and would bump the car
Respondent court having assiduously discussed the against the post if she persisted. Frightened and
salient antecedents of this case, vis-a-vis the factual silenced, the car travelled its course thru F.B.
findings of the court below, the evidence of record and Harrison Boulevard until they reached a motel.
the contentions of the parties, it is appropriate that its Plaintiff was then pulled and dragged from the
findings, which we approve and adopt, be extensively car against her will, and amidst her cries and
reproduced hereunder: pleas. In spite of her struggle she was no match
Based on the evidence on record, the following facts to the joint strength of the two male combatants
are considered indisputable: On the afternoon of because of her natural weakness being a
September 8, 1973, defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr. woman and her small stature. Eventually, she
brought plaintiff-appellant to a motel or hotel where was brought inside the hotel where the
they had sexual intercourse. Later that evening, said defendant Bunag, Jr. deflowered her against
defendant-appellant brought plaintiff-appellant to her will and consent. She could not fight back
the house of his grandmother Juana de Leon in and repel the attack because after Bunag, Jr.
Pamplona, Las Piñas, Metro Manila, where they had forced her to lie down and embraced her,
lived together as husband and wife for 21 days, or his companion held her two feet, removed her
until September 29, 1973. On September 10, 1973, panty, after which he left. Bunag, Jr. threatened
defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr. and plaintiff- her that he would ask his companion to come
appellant filed their respective applications for a back and hold her feet if she did not surrender
marriage license with the Office of the Local Civil her womanhood to him, thus he succeeded in
Registrar of Bacoor, Cavite. On October 1, 1973, feasting on her virginity. Plaintiff described the
after leaving plaintiff-appellant, defendant-appellant pains she felt and how blood came out of her
Bunag, Jr. filed an affidavit withdrawing his private parts after her vagina was penetrated by
application for a marriage license. the penis of the defendant Bunag, Jr. (t.s.n. pp.
17-24, Nov. 5, 1974).
Plaintiff-appellant contends that on the afternoon of
September 8, 1973, defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr., After that outrage on her virginity, plaintiff asked
together with an unidentified male companion, Bunag, Jr. once more to allow her to go home
abducted her in the vicinity of the San Juan de Dios but the latter would not consent and stated that
Hospital in Pasay City and brought her to a motel he would only let her go after they were married
where she was raped. The court a quo, which as he intended to marry her, so much so that
adopted her evidence, summarized the same which she promised not to make any scandal and to
we paraphrased as follows: marry him. Thereafter, they took a taxi together
after the car that they used had already gone,
Plaintiff was 26 years old on November 5, 1974
and proceeded to the house of Juana de Leon,
when she testified, single and had finished a Bunag, Jr.'s grandmother in Pamplona, Las
college course in Commerce (t.s.n., p. 4, Nov. Piñas, Metro Manila where they arrived at 9:30
5, 1974). It appears that on September 8, 1973,
o'clock in the evening (t.s.n., p. 26, Nov. 5,
at about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon, while she
1974). At about ten (10) o'clock that same
was walking along Figueras Street, Pasay City
evening, defendant Conrado Bunag, Sr., father
on her way to the San Juan de Dios Canteen to
of Bunag, Jr. arrived and assured plaintiff that
take her snack, defendant, Conrado Bunag, Jr., the following day which was a Monday, she and
came riding in a car driven by a male Bunag, Jr. would go to Bacoor, to apply for a
companion. Plaintiff and defendant Bunag, Jr.
marriage license, which they did. They filed their
were sweethearts, but two weeks before

TORTS (Finals) | 8
applications for marriage license (Exhibits "A" thereby leaving the defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr.
and "C") and after that plaintiff and defendant and plaintiff-appellant alone. According to
Bunag, Jr. returned to the house of Juana de defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr., after Guillermo
Leon and lived there as husband and wife from Ramos, Jr. and Lydia left, he and plaintiff-appellant
September 8, 1973 to September 29, 1973. took a taxi to the Golden Gate and Flamingo Hotels
On September 29, 1973 defendant Bunag, Jr. where they tried to get a room, but these were full.
left and never returned, humiliating plaintiff and They finally got a room at the Holiday Hotel, where
compelled her to go back to her parents on defendant-appellant registered using his real name
October 3, 1973. Plaintiff was ashamed when and residence certificate number. Three hours later,
she went home and could not sleep and eat the couple check out of the hotel and proceeded to
because of the deception done against her by the house of Juana de Leon at Pamplona, Las
defendants-appellants (t.s.n., p. 35, Nov. 5, Piñas, where they stayed until September 19, 1873.
1974). Defendant-appellant claims that bitter
disagreements with the plaintiff-appellant over
The testimony of plaintiff was corroborated in
money and the threats made to his life prompted him
toto by her uncle, Vivencio Bansagan who
to break off their plan to get married.
declared that on September 8, 1973 when
plaintiff failed to arrive home at 9:00 o'clock in During this period, defendant-appellant Bunag, Sr.
the evening, his sister who is the mother of denied having gone to the house of Juan de Leon
plaintiff asked him to look for her but his efforts and telling plaintiff-appellant that she would be wed
proved futile, and he told his sister that plaintiff to defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr. In fact, he phoned
might have married (baka nag-asawa, t.s.n., pp. Atty. Conrado Adreneda, member of the board of
5-6, March 18, 1976). However, in the afternoon directors of Mandala Corporation, defendant-
of the next day (Sunday), his sister told him that appellant Bunag, Jr.'s employer, three times
Francisco Cabrera, accompanied by barrio between the evening of September 8, 1973 and
captain Jacinto Manalili of Ligas, Bacoor, September 9, 1973 inquiring as to the whereabouts
Cavite, informed her that plaintiff and Bunag, Jr. of his son. He came to know about his son's
were in Cabrera's house, so that her sister whereabouts when he was told of the couple's
requested him to go and see the plaintiff, which elopement late in the afternoon of September 9,
he did, and at the house of Mrs. Juana de Leon 1973 by his mother Candida Gawaran. He likewise
in Pamplona, Las Piñas, Metro Manila he met denied having met relatives and emissaries of
defendant Conrado Bunag, Sr., who told him, plaintiff-appellant and agreeing to her marriage to
"Pare, the children are here already. Let us his son. 3
settle the matter and have them married." A complaint for damages for alleged breach of promise
He conferred with plaintiff who told him that as she to marry was filed by herein private respondent Zenaida
had already lost her honor, she would bear her B. Cirilo against petitioner Conrado Bunag, Jr. and his
sufferings as Boy Bunag, Jr. and his father promised father, Conrado Bunag, Sr., as Civil Case No. N-2028 of
they would be married. the Regional Trial Court, Branch XIX at Bacoor, Cavite.
On August 20, 1983, on a finding, inter alia, that
Defendants-appellants, on the other hand, deny that
petitioner had forcibly abducted and raped private
defendant-appellant Conrado Bunag, Jr. abducted
respondent, the trial court rendered a
and raped plaintiff-appellant on September 8, 1973.
decision 4 ordering petitioner Bunag, Jr. to pay private
On the contrary, plaintiff-appellant and defendant-
respondent P80,000.00 as moral damages, P20,000.00
appellant Bunag, Jr. eloped on that date because of
as exemplary damages, P20,000.00 by way of
the opposition of the latter's father to their
temperate damages, and P10,000.00 for and as
attorney's fees, as well as the costs of suit. Defendant
Defendant-appellants claim that defendant- Conrado Bunag, Sr. was absolved from any and all
appellant Bunag, Jr. and plaintiff-appellant had liability.
earlier made plans to elope and get married, and
Private respondent appealed that portion of the lower
this fact was known to their friends, among them,
court's decision disculpating Conrado Bunag, Sr. from
Architect Chito Rodriguez. The couple made good
civil liability in this case. On the other hand, the Bunags,
their plans to elope on the afternoon of September
as defendants-appellants, assigned in their appeal
8, 1973, when defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr.,
several errors allegedly committed by trial court, which
accompanied by his friend Guillermo Ramos, Jr.,
were summarized by respondent court as follows: (1) in
met plaintiff-appellant and her officemate named
finding that defendant-appellant Conrado Bunag, Jr.
Lydia in the vicinity of the San Juan de Dios
forcibly abducted and raped plaintiff-appellant; (2) in
Hospital. The foursome then proceeded to (the)
finding that defendants-appellants promised plaintiff-
aforesaid hospital's canteen where they had some
appellant that she would be wed to defendant-appellant
snacks. Later, Guillermo Ramos, Jr. took Lydia to
Conrado Bunag, Jr.; and (3) in awarding plaintiff-
Quirino Avenue where she could get a ride home,

TORTS (Finals) | 9
appellant damages for the breach of defendants- which under our decisional rules may warrant a review
appellants' promise of marriage. 5 of the factual findings of the Court of Appeals. On the
As stated at the outset, on May 17, 1991 respondent foregoing considerations and our review of the records,
Court of Appeals rendered judgment dismissing both we sustain the holding of respondent court in favor of
appeals and affirming in toto the decision of the trial private respondent.
court. His motion for reconsideration having been Petitioner likewise asserts that since action involves a
denied, petitioner Bunag, Jr. is before us on a petition breach of promise to marry, the trial court erred in
for review, contending that (1) respondent court failed to awarding damages.
consider vital exhibits, testimonies and incidents for It is true that in this jurisdiction, we adhere to the time-
petitioner's defense, resulting in the misapprehensions honored rule that an action for breach of promise to
of facts and violative of the law on preparation of marry has no standing in the civil law, apart from the
judgment; and (2) it erred in the application of the proper right to recover money or property advanced by the
law and jurisprudence by holding that there was forcible plaintiff upon the faith of such promise. 8 Generally,
abduction with rape, not just a simple elopement and an therefore, a breach of promise to marry per se is not
agreement to marry, and in the award of excessive actionable, except where the plaintiff has actually
damages. 6 incurred expenses for the wedding and the necessary
Petitioner Bunag, Jr. first contends that both the trial and incidents thereof.
appellate courts failed to take into consideration the However, the award of moral damages is allowed in
alleged fact that he and private respondent had agreed cases specified in or analogous to those provided in
to marry, and that there was no case of forcible Article 2219 of the Civil Code. Correlatively, under
abduction with rape, but one of simple elopement and Article 21 of said Code, in relation to paragraph 10 of
agreement to marry. It is averred that the agreement to said Article 2219, any person who wilfully causes loss or
marry has been sufficiently proven by the testimonies of injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals,
the witnesses for both parties and the exhibits presented good customs or public policy shall compensate the
in court. latter for moral damages. 9 Article 21 was adopted to
This submission, therefore, clearly hinges on the remedy the countless gaps in the statutes which leave
credibility of the witnesses and evidence presented by so many victims of moral wrongs helpless even though
the parties and the weight accorded thereto in the they have actually suffered material and moral injury,
factual findings of the trial court and the Court of and is intended to vouchsafe adequate legal remedy for
Appeals. In effect, what petitioner would want this Court that untold number of moral wrongs which is impossible
to do is to evaluate and analyze anew the evidence, both for human foresight to specifically provide for in the
testimonial and documentary, presented before and statutes. 10
calibrated by the trial court, and as further meticulously Under the circumstances obtaining in the case at bar,
reviewed and discussed by respondent court. the acts of petitioner in forcibly abducting private
The issue raised primarily and ineluctably involves respondent and having carnal knowledge with her
questions of fact. We are, therefore, once again against her will, and thereafter promising to marry her in
constrained to stress the well-entrenched statutory and order to escape criminal liability, only to thereafter
jurisprudential mandate that findings of fact of the Court renege on such promise after cohabiting with her for
of Appeals are, as a rule, conclusive upon this Court. twenty-one days, irremissibly constitute acts contrary to
Only questions of law, distinctly set forth, may be raised morals and good customs. These are grossly insensate
in a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the and reprehensible transgressions which indisputably
Rules of Court, subject to clearly settled exceptions in warrant and abundantly justify the award of moral and
case law. exemplary damages, pursuant to Article 21 in relation to
Our jurisdiction in cases brought to us from the Court of paragraphs 3 and 10, Article 2219, and Article 2229 and
Appeals is limited to reviewing and revising the errors of 2234 of Civil Code.
law imputed to the latter, its findings of fact being Petitioner would, however, belabor the fact that said
conclusive. This Court has emphatically declared that it damages were awarded by the trial court on the basis of
is not its function to analyze or weigh such evidence all a finding that he is guilty of forcible abduction with rape,
over again, its jurisdiction being limited to reviewing despite the prior dismissal of the complaint therefor filed
errors of law that might have been committed by the by private respondent with the Pasay City Fiscal's
lower court. Barring, therefore, a showing that the Office.
findings complained of are totally devoid of support in Generally, the basis of civil liability from crime is the
the record, or that they are so glaringly erroneous as to fundamental postulate of our law that every person
constitute serious abuse of discretion, such findings criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. In other
must stand, for this Court is not expected or required to words, criminal liability will give rise to civil liability ex
examine or contrast the oral and documentary evidence delicto only if the same felonious act or omission results
submitted by the parties. 7 Neither does the instant case in damage or injury to another and is the direct and
reveal any feature falling within, any of the exceptions

TORTS (Finals) | 10
proximate cause thereof. 11 Hence, extinction of the
penal action does not carry with it the extinction of civil
liability unless the extinction proceeds from a
declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which
the civil might arise did not exist. 12
In the instant case, the dismissal of the complaint for
forcible abduction with rape was by mere resolution of
the fiscal at the preliminary investigation stage. There is
no declaration in a final judgment that the fact from
which the civil case might arise did not exist.
Consequently, the dismissal did not in any way affect the
right of herein private respondent to institute a civil
action arising from the offense because such
preliminary dismissal of the penal action did not carry
with it the extinction of the civil action.
The reason most often given for this holding is that the
two proceedings involved are not between the same
parties. Furthermore, it has long been emphasized, with
continuing validity up to now, that there are different
rules as to the competency of witnesses and the
quantum of evidence in criminal and civil proceedings.
In a criminal action, the State must prove its case by
evidence which shows the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt, while in a civil action it is sufficient for
the plaintiff to sustain his cause by preponderance of
evidence only. 13Thus, in Rillon, et al. vs. Rillon, 14 we
stressed that it is not now necessary that a criminal
prosecution for rape be first instituted and prosecuted to
final judgment before a civil action based on said offense
in favor of the offended woman can likewise be instituted
and prosecuted to final judgment.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack
of merit, and the assailed judgment and resolution are
hereby AFFIRMED.

TORTS (Finals) | 11
G.R. No. 154259 February 28, 2005 twenty (20) years.18 One of her functions included
NIKKO HOTEL MANILA GARDEN and RUBY organizing the birthday party of the hotel’s former
LIM, petitioners, General Manager, Mr. Tsuruoka.19 The year 1994 was
vs. no different. For Mr. Tsuruoka’s party, Ms. Lim
ROBERTO REYES, a.k.a. "AMAY generated an exclusive guest list and extended
BISAYA," respondent. invitations accordingly.20 The guest list was limited to
approximately sixty (60) of Mr. Tsuruoka’s closest
friends and some hotel employees and that Mr. Reyes
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: was not one of those invited.21 At the party, Ms. Lim first
In this petition for review on certiorari, petitioners Nikko noticed Mr. Reyes at the bar counter ordering a
Hotel Manila Garden (Hotel Nikko)1 and Ruby Lim assail drink.22 Mindful of Mr. Tsuruoka’s wishes to keep the
the Decision2 of the Court of Appeals dated 26 party intimate, Ms. Lim approached Mr. Boy Miller, the
November 2001 reversing the Decision3 of the Regional "captain waiter," to inquire as to the presence of Mr.
Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 104, as well Reyes who was not invited.23 Mr. Miller replied that he
as the Resolution4 of the Court of Appeals dated 09 July saw Mr. Reyes with the group of Dr. Filart.24 As Dr. Filart
2002 which denied petitioners’ motion for was engaged in conversation with another guest and as
reconsideration. Ms. Lim did not want to interrupt, she inquired instead
The cause of action before the trial court was one for from the sister of Dr. Filart, Ms. Zenaida Fruto, who told
damages brought under the human relations provisions her that Dr. Filart did not invite Mr. Reyes.25 Ms. Lim then
of the New Civil Code. Plaintiff thereat (respondent requested Ms. Fruto to tell Mr. Reyes to leave the party
herein) Roberto Reyes, more popularly known by the as he was not invited.26 Mr. Reyes, however, lingered
screen name "Amay Bisaya," alleged that at around 6:00 prompting Ms. Lim to inquire from Ms. Fruto who said
o’clock in the evening of 13 October 1994, while he was that Mr. Reyes did not want to leave.27 When Ms. Lim
having coffee at the lobby of Hotel Nikko,5 he was turned around, she saw Mr. Reyes conversing with a
spotted by his friend of several years, Dr. Violeta Filart, Captain Batung whom she later approached.28 Believing
who then approached him.6 Mrs. Filart invited him to join that Captain Batung and Mr. Reyes knew each other,
her in a party at the hotel’s penthouse in celebration of Ms. Lim requested from him the same favor from Ms.
the natal day of the hotel’s manager, Mr. Masakazu Fruto, i.e., for Captain Batung to tell Mr. Reyes to leave
Tsuruoka.7 Mr. Reyes asked if she could vouch for him the party as he was not invited.29 Still, Mr. Reyes
for which she replied: "of course."8 Mr. Reyes then went lingered. When Ms. Lim spotted Mr. Reyes by the buffet
up with the party of Dr. Filart carrying the basket of fruits table, she decided to speak to him herself as there were
which was the latter’s present for the celebrant.9 At the no other guests in the immediate vicinity. 30 However, as
penthouse, they first had their picture taken with the Mr. Reyes was already helping himself to the food, she
celebrant after which Mr. Reyes sat with the party of Dr. decided to wait.31 When Mr. Reyes went to a corner and
Filart.10 After a couple of hours, when the buffet dinner started to eat, Ms. Lim approached him and said: "alam
was ready, Mr. Reyes lined-up at the buffet table but, to ninyo, hindo ho kayo dapat nandito. Pero total nakakuha
his great shock, shame and embarrassment, he was na ho kayo ng pagkain, ubusin na lang ninyo at
stopped by petitioner herein, Ruby Lim, who claimed to pagkatapos kung pwede lang po umalis na kayo."32 She
speak for Hotel Nikko as Executive Secretary then turned around trusting that Mr. Reyes would show
thereof.11 In a loud voice and within the presence and enough decency to leave, but to her surprise, he began
hearing of the other guests who were making a queue screaming and making a big scene, and even
at the buffet table, Ruby Lim told him to leave the party threatened to dump food on her.33 1awphi1.nét
("huwag ka nang kumain, hindi ka imbitado, bumaba ka Dr. Violeta Filart, the third defendant in the complaint
na lang").12 Mr. Reyes tried to explain that he was invited before the lower court, also gave her version of the story
by Dr. Filart.13 Dr. Filart, who was within hearing to the effect that she never invited Mr. Reyes to the
distance, however, completely ignored him thus adding party.34 According to her, it was Mr. Reyes who
to his shame and humiliation.14 Not long after, while he volunteered to carry the basket of fruits intended for the
was still recovering from the traumatic experience, a celebrant as he was likewise going to take the elevator,
Makati policeman approached and asked him to step out not to the penthouse but to Altitude 49.35 When they
of the hotel.15 Like a common criminal, he was escorted reached the penthouse, she reminded Mr. Reyes to go
out of the party by the policeman.16 Claiming damages, down as he was not properly dressed and was not
Mr. Reyes asked for One Million Pesos actual damages, invited.36 All the while, she thought that Mr. Reyes
One Million Pesos moral and/or exemplary damages already left the place, but she later saw him at the bar
and Two Hundred Thousand Pesos attorney’s fees.17 talking to Col. Batung.37 Then there was a commotion
Ruby Lim, for her part, admitted having asked Mr. Reyes and she saw Mr. Reyes shouting.38She ignored Mr.
to leave the party but not under the ignominious Reyes.39 She was embarrassed and did not want the
circumstance painted by the latter. Ms. Lim narrated that celebrant to think that she invited him.40
she was the Hotel’s Executive Secretary for the past

TORTS (Finals) | 12
After trial on the merits, the court a quo dismissed the consideration of one person, which calls not only
complaint,41 giving more credence to the testimony of protection of human dignity but respect of such dignity.
Ms. Lim that she was discreet in asking Mr. Reyes to Under Article 20 of the Civil Code, every person who
leave the party. The trial court likewise ratiocinated that violates this duty becomes liable for damages,
Mr. Reyes assumed the risk of being thrown out of the especially if said acts were attended by malice or bad
party as he was uninvited: faith. Bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment
Plaintiff had no business being at the party because he or simple negligence. It imports a dishonest purpose or
was not a guest of Mr. Tsuruoka, the birthday celebrant. some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong, a
He assumed the risk of being asked to leave for breach of a known duty to some motive or interest or ill-
attending a party to which he was not invited by the host. will that partakes of the nature of fraud (Cojuangco, Jr.
Damages are pecuniary consequences which the law v. CA, et al., 309 SCRA 603).44
imposes for the breach of some duty or the violation of Consequently, the Court of Appeals imposed upon Hotel
some right. Thus, no recovery can be had against Nikko, Ruby Lim and Dr. Violeta Filart the solidary
defendants Nikko Hotel and Ruby Lim because he obligation to pay Mr. Reyes (1) exemplary damages in
himself was at fault (Garciano v. Court of Appeals, 212 the amount of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos
SCRA 436). He knew that it was not the party of (P200,000); (2) moral damages in the amount of Two
defendant Violeta Filart even if she allowed him to join Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000); and (3)
her and took responsibility for his attendance at the attorney’s fees in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos
party. His action against defendants Nikko Hotel and (P10,000).45 On motion for reconsideration, the Court of
Ruby Lim must therefore fail.42 Appeals affirmed its earlier decision as the argument
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the ruling of raised in the motion had "been amply discussed and
the trial court as it found more commanding of belief the passed upon in the decision sought to be
testimony of Mr. Reyes that Ms. Lim ordered him to reconsidered."46
leave in a loud voice within hearing distance of several Thus, the instant petition for review. Hotel Nikko and
guests: Ruby Lim contend that the Court of Appeals seriously
In putting appellant in a very embarrassing situation, erred in –
telling him that he should not finish his food and to leave I.
the place within the hearing distance of other guests is … NOT APPLYING THE DOCTRINE OF VOLENTI
an act which is contrary to morals, good customs . . ., for NON FIT INJURIA CONSIDERING THAT BY ITS OWN
which appellees should compensate the appellant for FINDINGS, AMAY BISAYA WAS A GATE-CRASHER
the damage suffered by the latter as a consequence
therefore (Art. 21, New Civil Code). The liability arises
from the acts which are in themselves legal or not … HOLDING HOTEL NIKKO AND RUBY LIM JOINTLY
prohibited, but contrary to morals or good customs. AND SEVERALLY LIABLE WITH DR. FILART FOR
Conversely, even in the exercise of a formal right, [one] DAMAGES SINCE BY ITS OWN RULING, AMAY
cannot with impunity intentionally cause damage to BISAYA "COULD NOT HAVE SUFFERED SUCH
another in a manner contrary to morals or good HUMILIATION," "WERE IT NOT FOR DR. FILART’S
customs.43 INVITATION"
The Court of Appeals likewise ruled that the actuation of III.
Ms. Lim in approaching several people to inquire into the … DEPARTING FROM THE FINDINGS OF FACT OF
presence of Mr. Reyes exposed the latter to ridicule and THE TRIAL COURT AS REGARDS THE
was uncalled for as she should have approached Dr. CIRCUMSTANCES THAT ALLEGEDLY CAUSED THE
Filart first and both of them should have talked to Mr. HUMILIATION OF AMAY BISAYA
Reyes in private: IV.
Said acts of appellee Lim are uncalled for. What should … IN CONCLUDING THAT AMAY BISAYA WAS
have been done by appellee Lim was to approach TREATED UNJUSTLY BECAUSE OF HIS POVERTY,
appellee Mrs. Filart and together they should have told CONSIDERING THAT THIS WAS NEVER AN ISSUE
appellant Reyes in private that the latter should leave AND NO EVIDENCE WAS PRESENTED IN THIS
the party as the celebrant only wanted close friends REGARD
around. It is necessary that Mrs. Filart be the one to
approach appellant because it was she who invited V.
appellant in that occasion. Were it not for Mrs. Filart’s … IN FAILING TO PASS UPON THE ISSUE ON THE
invitation, appellant could not have suffered such DEFECTS OF THE APPELLANT’S BRIEF, THEREBY
humiliation. For that, appellee Filart is equally liable. DEPARTING FROM THE ACCEPTED AND USUAL
The acts of [appellee] Lim are causes of action which Petitioners Lim and Hotel Nikko contend that pursuant
to the doctrine of volenti non fit injuria, they cannot be
are predicated upon mere rudeness or lack of
made liable for damages as respondent Reyes

TORTS (Finals) | 13
assumed the risk of being asked to leave (and being crasher" in the most hush-hush manner in order not to
embarrassed and humiliated in the process) as he was call attention to a glitch in an otherwise seamless affair
a "gate-crasher." and, in the process, risk the displeasure of the celebrant,
The doctrine of volenti non fit injuria ("to which a person her former boss. To unnecessarily call attention to the
assents is not esteemed in law as injury"47 ) refers to presence of Mr. Reyes would certainly reflect badly on
self-inflicted injury48 or to the consent to injury49 which Ms. Lim’s ability to follow the instructions of the
precludes the recovery of damages by one who has celebrant to invite only his close friends and some of the
knowingly and voluntarily exposed himself to danger, hotel’s personnel. Mr. Reyes, upon whom the burden
even if he is not negligent in doing so.50 As formulated rests to prove that indeed Ms. Lim loudly and rudely
by petitioners, however, this doctrine does not find ordered him to leave, could not offer any satisfactory
application to the case at bar because even if explanation why Ms. Lim would do that and risk ruining
respondent Reyes assumed the risk of being asked to a formal and intimate affair. On the contrary, Mr. Reyes,
leave the party, petitioners, under Articles 19 and 21 of on cross-examination, had unwittingly sealed his fate by
the New Civil Code, were still under obligation to treat admitting that when Ms. Lim talked to him, she was very
him fairly in order not to expose him to unnecessary close. Close enough for him to kiss:
ridicule and shame. Q: And, Mr. Reyes, you testified that Miss Lim
Thus, the threshold issue is whether or not Ruby Lim approached you while you were at the buffet table?
acted abusively in asking Roberto Reyes, a.k.a. "Amay How close was she when she approached you?
Bisaya," to leave the party where he was not invited by A: Very close because we nearly kissed each other.
the celebrant thereof thereby becoming liable under Q: And yet, she shouted for you to go down? She
Articles 19 and 21 of the Civil Code. Parenthetically, and was that close and she shouted?
if Ruby Lim were so liable, whether or not Hotel Nikko,
A: Yes. She said, "wag kang kumain, hindi ka
as her employer, is solidarily liable with her.
imbitado dito, bumaba ka na lang."
As the trial court and the appellate court reached
Q: So, you are testifying that she did this in a loud
divergent and irreconcilable conclusions concerning the
same facts and evidence of the case, this Court is left
without choice but to use its latent power to review such ...
findings of facts. Indeed, the general rule is that we are A: Yes. If it is not loud, it will not be heard by many.55
not a trier of facts as our jurisdiction is limited to In the absence of any proof of motive on the part of Ms.
reviewing and revising errors of law.51 One of the Lim to humiliate Mr. Reyes and expose him to ridicule
exceptions to this general rule, however, obtains herein and shame, it is highly unlikely that she would shout at
as the findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to him from a very close distance. Ms. Lim having been in
those of the trial court.52 The lower court ruled that Ms. the hotel business for twenty years wherein being polite
Lim did not abuse her right to ask Mr. Reyes to leave the and discreet are virtues to be emulated, the testimony of
party as she talked to him politely and discreetly. The Mr. Reyes that she acted to the contrary does not inspire
appellate court, on the other hand, held that Ms. Lim is belief and is indeed incredible. Thus, the lower court was
liable for damages as she needlessly embarrassed Mr. correct in observing that –
Reyes by telling him not to finish his food and to leave
the place within hearing distance of the other guests. Considering the closeness of defendant Lim to plaintiff
Both courts, however, were in agreement that it was Dr. when the request for the latter to leave the party was
made such that they nearly kissed each other, the
Filart’s invitation that brought Mr. Reyes to the party.
request was meant to be heard by him only and there
The consequential question then is: Which version is could have been no intention on her part to cause
credible? embarrassment to him. It was plaintiff’s reaction to the
From an in depth review of the evidence, we find more request that must have made the other guests aware of
credible the lower court’s findings of fact. what transpired between them. . .
First, let us put things in the proper perspective. Had plaintiff simply left the party as requested, there was
We are dealing with a formal party in a posh, five-star no need for the police to take him out.56
hotel,53 for-invitation-only, thrown for the hotel’s former Moreover, another problem with Mr. Reyes’s version of
Manager, a Japanese national. Then came a person the story is that it is unsupported. It is a basic rule in civil
who was clearly uninvited (by the celebrant)54 and who cases that he who alleges proves. Mr. Reyes, however,
could not just disappear into the crowd as his face is had not presented any witness to back his story up. All
known by many, being an actor. While he was already his witnesses – Danny Rodinas, Pepito Guerrero and
spotted by the organizer of the party, Ms. Lim, the very Alexander Silva - proved only that it was Dr. Filart who
person who generated the guest list, it did not yet appear invited him to the party.57
that the celebrant was aware of his presence. Ms. Lim, Ms. Lim, not having abused her right to ask Mr. Reyes
mindful of the celebrant’s instruction to keep the party to leave the party to which he was not invited, cannot be
intimate, would naturally want to get rid of the "gate- made liable to pay for damages under Articles 19 and

TORTS (Finals) | 14
21 of the Civil Code. Necessarily, neither can her Parenthetically, the manner by which Ms. Lim asked Mr.
employer, Hotel Nikko, be held liable as its liability Reyes to leave was likewise acceptable and humane
springs from that of its employee.58 under the circumstances. In this regard, we cannot put
Article 19, known to contain what is commonly referred our imprimatur on the appellate court’s declaration that
to as the principle of abuse of rights,59 is not a panacea Ms. Lim’s act of personally approaching Mr. Reyes
for all human hurts and social grievances. Article 19 (without first verifying from Mrs. Filart if indeed she
states: invited Mr. Reyes) gave rise to a cause of action
"predicated upon mere rudeness or lack of
Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights
consideration of one person, which calls not only
and in the performance of his duties, act with justice,
protection of human dignity but respect of such
give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good
dignity."70 Without proof of any ill-motive on her part, Ms.
Lim’s act of by-passing Mrs. Filart cannot amount to
Elsewhere, we explained that when "a right is exercised abusive conduct especially because she did inquire
in a manner which does not conform with the norms from Mrs. Filart’s companion who told her that Mrs. Filart
enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to another, did not invite Mr. Reyes.71 If at all, Ms. Lim is guilty only
a legal wrong is thereby committed for which the of bad judgment which, if done with good intentions,
wrongdoer must be responsible."60 The object of this cannot amount to bad faith.
article, therefore, is to set certain standards which must
Not being liable for both actual and moral damages,
be observed not only in the exercise of one’s rights but
neither can petitioners Lim and Hotel Nikko be made
also in the performance of one’s duties.61 These
answerable for exemplary damages72 especially for the
standards are the following: act with justice, give
reason stated by the Court of Appeals. The Court of
everyone his due and observe honesty and good
Appeals held –
faith.62 Its antithesis, necessarily, is any act evincing bad
faith or intent to injure. Its elements are the following: (1) Not a few of the rich people treat the poor with contempt
There is a legal right or duty; (2) which is exercised in because of the latter’s lowly station in
bad faith; (3) for the sole intent of prejudicing or injuring life.l^vvphi1.net This has to be limited somewhere. In a
another.63 When Article 19 is violated, an action for democracy, such a limit must be established. Social
damages is proper under Articles 20 or 21 of the Civil equality is not sought by the legal provisions under
Code. Article 20 pertains to damages arising from a consideration, but due regard for decency and propriety
violation of law64 which does not obtain herein as Ms. (Code Commission, pp. 33-34). And by way of example
Lim was perfectly within her right to ask Mr. Reyes to or correction for public good and to avert further
leave. Article 21, on the other hand, states: commission of such acts, exemplary damages should
be imposed upon appellees.73
Art. 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to
another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good The fundamental fallacy in the above-quoted findings is
customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for that it runs counter with the very facts of the case and
the damage. the evidence on hand.l^vvphi1.net It is not disputed that
at the time of the incident in question, Mr. Reyes was
Article 2165 refers to acts contra bonus mores and has
"an actor of long standing; a co-host of a radio program
the following elements: (1) There is an act which is legal;
over DZRH; a Board Member of the Music Singer
(2) but which is contrary to morals, good custom, public
Composer (MUSICO) chaired by popular singer Imelda
order, or public policy; and (3) it is done with intent to
Papin; a showbiz Coordinator of Citizen Crime Watch;
and 1992 official candidate of the KBL Party for
A common theme runs through Articles 19 and 21, 67 and Governor of Bohol; and an awardee of a number of
that is, the act complained of must be intentional.68 humanitarian organizations of the Philippines." 74 During
As applied to herein case and as earlier discussed, Mr. his direct examination on rebuttal, Mr. Reyes stressed
Reyes has not shown that Ms. Lim was driven by that he had income75 and nowhere did he say otherwise.
animosity against him. These two people did not know On the other hand, the records are bereft of any
each other personally before the evening of 13 October information as to the social and economic standing of
1994, thus, Mr. Reyes had nothing to offer for an petitioner Ruby Lim. Consequently, the conclusion
explanation for Ms. Lim’s alleged abusive conduct reached by the appellate court cannot withstand scrutiny
except the statement that Ms. Lim, being "single at 44 as it is without basis.
years old," had a "very strong bias and prejudice against All told, and as far as Ms. Lim and Hotel Nikko are
(Mr. Reyes) possibly influenced by her associates in her concerned, any damage which Mr. Reyes might have
work at the hotel with foreign businessmen."69 The suffered through Ms. Lim’s exercise of a legitimate right
lameness of this argument need not be belabored. done within the bounds of propriety and good faith, must
Suffice it to say that a complaint based on Articles 19 be his to bear alone.
and 21 of the Civil Code must necessarily fail if it has
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition filed
nothing to recommend it but innuendos and conjectures.
by Ruby Lim and Nikko Hotel Manila Garden is
GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated

TORTS (Finals) | 15
26 November 2001 and its Resolution dated 09 July
2002 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,
Branch 104, dated 26 April 1999 is hereby AFFIRMED.
No costs.

TORTS (Finals) | 16
G.R. No. L-39019 January 22, 1988 At or about the end of March, 1965, defendant
MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY and PEDRO Pedro Yambao went to the residence of plaintiffs
YAMBAO, petitioners-appellants, and presented two overdue bills, one for January 11
vs. to February 9,1965, for the sum of P7.90 (Exhibit
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and "C"), and the other for February 9 to March 10, 1965,
ISAAC CHAVEZ, SR., ISAAC O. CHAVEZ, JR., for the amount of P7.20 (Exhibit "C"). Juana O.
ROSENDO O. CHAVES, and JUAN O. Chaves, however, informed Yambao that these bills
CHAVES, respondents-appellees. would be paid at the MERALCO main office.
Accordingly, on April 2, 1965, Isaac Chaves went to
the defendant's main office at San Marcelino,
YAP, J.:
Manila, but paid only the bill marked as Exhibit 'C"
In an action for recovery of damages for embarassment, leaving the other bill Identified as Exhibit "C-l"
humiliation, wounded feelings and hurt pride, caused to unpaid.
herein private respondents, by reason of the
Past 2:30 o'clock in the afternoon of April 21,1965,
disconnection of their electrical service by the
MERALCO caused the electric service in plaintiff's
petitioners, the then Court of First Instance of Manila,
residence to be discontinued and the power line cut
Sixth Judicial District, Branch XXIV, rendered a decision
dated December 13,1967, ordering herein petitioners
jointly and severally to pay private respondents the sum The next day, April 22, 1965, at about 9:00 a.m.,
of Ten Thousand (P10,000.00) Pesos as moral plaintiff Rosendo O. Chaves went to the MERALCO
damages, Two Thousand (P2,000.00) Pesos as main office and paid the amount of P7.20 for the bill
exemplary damages and, One Thousand (P1,000.00) marked as Exhibit "C-l", and the sum of P7.00 for
Pesos as attorney's fees, and dismissing petitioners' the subsequent bill corresponding to the period from
counterclaim. March 10 up to April 8, 1965 (Exhibit "C-2") after his
attention was called to the latter account. Rosendo
On appeal, the Court of Appeals and in toto the trial
O. Chaves then sought the help of Atty. Lourdy
court's decision. Their Motion for Reconsideration
Torres, one of the defendants' counsel, and,
having been denied, petitioners filed the instant petition
thereafter, the power line was reconnected and
for certiorari.
electric service restored to the Chaves residence at
Petitioner Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) is a about 7:00 p.m. of that same day. 1
public utility corporation providing electric power for the
Petitioners dispute the finding that there was no notice
consumption of the general public in Metro Manila.
given to herein respondent. However, since only
Petitioner Pedro Yambao is a bill collector of
questions of law may be raised in a petition for certiorari
under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, petitioners,
Private respondents Isaac Chaves and Juana O. 'for the sake of argument and for the purpose of giving
Chaves, husband and wife, filed the complaint for focus on the legal issues', do not take issue with such
damages, together with their children, Isaac O. Chaves, finding.
Jr. and Rosendo O. Chaves. Isaac Sr. and Isaac Jr. and
Petitioners contend that in the absence of bad faith, they
Rosendo were members of the Philippine Bar; Isaac, Sr.
could not be held liable for moral and exemplary
and Isaac, Jr. were practicing lawyers and Rosendo was
damages as well as attorney's fees. The failure to give
a Legal Officer at the Agricultural Productivity
a notice of disconnection to private respondents might
Commission. Juana O. Chaves was a public school
have been a breach of duty or breach of contract, but by
itself does not constitute bad faith or fraud; it must be
The facts as found by the trial court and adopted by the shown that such a failure was motivated by in or done
Court of Appeals are as follows: with fraudulent intent.Petitioners also maintain that '
Plaintiff Isaac Chaves became a customer of private respondents were in arrears in the payment of
defendant MERALCO in the year 1953 when he and their electricity bills when their electric service was
his family were residing at No. 211-D Rubi, Manila. connected, no moral damages may be recovered by
In connection with the contract for electrical service, them under the 'clean hands' doctrine enunciated in
he deposited the sum of P5.00 (Exh. "A") with Mabutas vs. Calapan Electric Company, CA-G.R. No. L-
defendant MERALCO on February 12, 1953. This 9683-R, May 26, 1964.
deposit in the name of plaintiff Isaac Chaves was In its decision, the respondent Court of Appeals held that
retained by MERALCO and made to apply to MERALCO's right to disconnect the electric service of a
subsequent contracts for electrical service entered delinquent customer "is an absolute one, subject only to
into after subsequent transfers of the Chaves family the requirement that defendant MERALCO should give
to other residences and up to the time this family the customer a written notice of disconnection 48 hours
went to reside at the place aforementioned, at No. in advance." This requirement is embodied in Section 97
2656 Mercedes Street, Singalong, Manila. ...

TORTS (Finals) | 17
of the Revised Order No. 1 of the Public Service breach of contract amounting to an independent
Commission which provides as follows: tort. The prematurity of the action is indicative of an
Section 97. Payment of bills. — A public service, intent to cause additional mental and moral suffering
may require that bills for service be paid within a to private respondent. This is a clear violation of
specified time after rendition. When the billing Article 21 of the Civil Code which provides that any
period covers a month or more, the minimum time person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another
allowed will be ten days and upon expiration of the in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs
specified time, service may be discontinued for the or public policy shall compensate the latter for
non-payment of bills, provided that a 48 hours' damages. This is reiterated by paragraph 10 of
written notice of such disconnection has been given Article 2219 of the Code. Moreover, the award of
the customer: Provided, however, that moral damages is sanctioned by Article 2220 which
disconnections of service shall not be made on provides that wilfull injury to property may be a legal
Sundays and official holidays and never after 2 p.m. ground for awarding moral damages if the court
of any working day: Provided, further, that if at the should find that, under the circumstances, such
moment the disconnection is to be made the damages are justly due. The same rule applies to
customer tenders payment of the unpaid bill to the breaches of contract where the defendant acted
agent or employee of the operator who is to effect fraudulently or in bad faith.
the disconnection, the said agent or employee shall Likewise, we find no merit in petitioners' contention that
be obliged to accept tender of payment and issue a being in arrears in the payment of their bills, the private
temporary receipt for the amount and shall desist respondents are not entitled to moral damages under
from disconnecting the service. 2 the doctrine that "he who comes to court in demand of
The respondent court stressed the importance and equity, must come with clean hands." We rejected this
necessity of the 48-hour advance written notification argument in the Manila Gas Corporation case, supra,
before a disconnection of service may be effected. Said wherein we held that respondents' default in the
the court: payment of his bills "cannot be utilized by petitioner to
defeat or null the claim for damages. At most, this
... It sets in motion the disconnection of an electrical
circumstance can be considered as a mitigating factor in
service of the customer by giving the notice,
ascertaining the amount of damages to which
determining the expiration date thereof, and
respondent ... is entitled."
executing the disconnection. It, therefore, behooves
the defendant MERALCO that before it disconnects Accordingly, we find no grave abuse of discretion
a customer's electrical service, there should be committed by respondent court in affirming the trial
sufficient evidence that the requirements for the court's decision. The petition is hereby DISMISSED for
disconnection had been duly complied with, lack of merit.
otherwise, the poor consumer can be subjected to SO ORDERED.
the whims and caprices of the defendant, by the
mere pretension that the written notice had been
duly served upon the customer. 3
We find no reversible error in the decision appealed
from. One can not deny the vital role which a public utility
such as MERALCO, having a monopoly of the supply of
electrical power in Metro Manila and some nearby
municipalities, plays in the life of people living in such
areas. Electricity has become a necessity to most
people in these areas justifying the exercise by the State
of its regulatory power over the business of supplying
electrical service to the public, in which petitioner
MERALCO is engaged. Thus, the state may regulate, as
it has done through Section 97 of the Revised Order No.
1 of the Public Service Commission, the conditions
under which and the manner by which a public utility
such as MERALCO may effect a disconnection of
service to a delinquent customer. Among others, a prior
written notice to the customer is required before
disconnection of the service. Failure to give such prior
notice amounts to a tort, as held by us in a similar
case, 4 where we said:
... petitioner's act in 'disconnecting respondent
Ongsip's gas service without prior notice constitutes

TORTS (Finals) | 18