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Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 88694 January 11, 1993
ALBENSON ENTERPRISES CORP., JESSE YAP, AND BENJAMIN MENDIONA, petitioners, vs.THE COURT
OF APPEALS AND EUGENIO S. BALTAO, respondents.
Puruganan, Chato, Chato & Tan for petitioners.
Lino M. Patajo, Francisco Ma. Chanco, Ananiano Desierto and Segundo Mangohig for private respondent.
BIDIN, J.:
This petition assails the decision of respondent Court of Appeals inCA-GR CV No. 14948 entitled "Eugenio S.
Baltao, plaintiff-appellee vs. Albenson Enterprises Corporation, et al, defendants-appellants", which modified
the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch XCVIII in Civil Case No. Q-40920 and ordered
petitioner to pay private respondent, among others, the sum of P500,000.00 as moral damages and attorney's
fees in the amount of P50,000.00.
The facts are not disputed.
In September, October, and November 1980, petitioner Albenson Enterprises Corporation (Albenson for short)
delivered to Guaranteed Industries, Inc. (Guaranteed for short) located at 3267 V. Mapa Street, Sta. Mesa,
Manila, the mild steel plates which the latter ordered. As part payment thereof, Albenson was given Pacific
Banking Corporation Check No. 136361 in the amount of P2,575.00 and drawn against the account of E.L.
Woodworks (Rollo, p. 148).
When presented for payment, the check was dishonored for the reason "Account Closed." Thereafter,
petitioner Albenson, through counsel, traced the origin of the dishonored check. From the records of the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Albenson discovered that the president of Guaranteed, the
recipient of the unpaid mild steel plates, was one "Eugenio S. Baltao." Upon further inquiry, Albenson was
informed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry that E.L. Woodworks, a single proprietorship business, was
registered in the name of one "Eugenio Baltao". In addition, upon verification with the drawee bank, Pacific
Banking Corporation, Albenson was advised that the signature appearing on the subject check belonged to
one "Eugenio Baltao."
After obtaining the foregoing information, Albenson, through counsel, made an extrajudicial demand upon
private respondent Eugenio S. Baltao, president of Guaranteed, to replace and/or make good the dishonored
check.
Respondent Baltao, through counsel, denied that he issued the check, or that the signature appearing thereon
is his. He further alleged that Guaranteed was a defunct entity and hence, could not have transacted business
with Albenson.
On February 14, 1983, Albenson filed with the Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Rizal a complaint against
Eugenio S. Baltao for violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22. Submitted to support said charges was an
affidavit of petitioner Benjamin Mendiona, an employee of Albenson. In said affidavit, the above-mentioned
circumstances were stated.
It appears, however, that private respondent has a namesake, his son Eugenio Baltao III, who manages a
business establishment, E.L. Woodworks, on the ground floor of the Baltao Building, 3267 V. Mapa Street, Sta.
Mesa, Manila, the very same business address of Guaranteed.
On September 5, 1983, Assistant Fiscal Ricardo Sumaway filed an information against Eugenio S. Baltao for
Violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22. In filing said information, Fiscal Sumaway claimed that he had given
Eugenio S. Baltao opportunity to submit controverting evidence, but the latter failed to do so and therefore, was
deemed to have waived his right.
Respondent Baltao, claiming ignorance of the complaint against him, immediately filed with the Provincial
Fiscal of Rizal a motion for reinvestigation, alleging that it was not true that he had been given an opportunity
to be heard in the preliminary investigation conducted by Fiscal Sumaway, and that he never had any dealings
with Albenson or Benjamin Mendiona, consequently, the check for which he has been accused of having
issued without funds was not issued by him and the signature in said check was not his.
On January 30, 1984, Provincial Fiscal Mauro M. Castro of Rizal reversed the finding of Fiscal Sumaway and
exonerated respondent Baltao. He also instructed the Trial Fiscal to move for dismissal of the information filed
against Eugenio S. Baltao. Fiscal Castro found that the signature in PBC Check No. 136361 is not the
signature of Eugenio S. Baltao. He also found that there is no showing in the records of the preliminary
investigation that Eugenio S. Baltao actually received notice of the said investigation. Fiscal Castro then
castigated Fiscal Sumaway for failing to exercise care and prudence in the performance of his duties, thereby
causing injustice to respondent who was not properly notified of the complaint against him and of the
requirement to submit his counter evidence.

Because of the alleged unjust filing of a criminal case against him for allegedly issuing a check which bounced
in violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 for a measly amount of P2,575.00, respondent Baltao filed before the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City a complaint for damages against herein petitioners Albenson Enterprises,
Jesse Yap, its owner, and Benjamin Mendiona, its employee.
In its decision, the lower court observed that "the check is drawn against the account of "E.L. Woodworks," not
of Guaranteed Industries of which plaintiff used to be President. Guaranteed Industries had been inactive and
had ceased to exist as a corporation since 1975. . . . . The possibility is that it was with Gene Baltao or Eugenio
Baltao III, a son of plaintiff who had a business on the ground floor of Baltao Building located on V. Mapa
Street, that the defendants may have been dealing with . . . ." (Rollo, pp. 41-42).
The dispositive portion of the trial court 's decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff and against defendants ordering the latter to
pay plaintiff jointly and severally:
1. actual or compensatory damages of P133,350.00;
2. moral damages of P1,000,000.00 (1 million pesos);
3. exemplary damages of P200,000.00;
4. attorney's fees of P100,000.00;
5 costs.
Defendants' counterclaim against plaintiff and claim for damages against Mercantile Insurance Co. on the bond
for the issuance of the writ of attachment at the instance of plaintiff are hereby dismissed for lack of merit.
(Rollo, pp. 38-39).
On appeal, respondent court modified the trial court's decision as follows:
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is MODIFIED by reducing the moral damages awarded therein
from P1,000,000.00 to P500,000.00 and the attorney's fees from P100,000.00 to P50,000.00, said decision
being hereby affirmed in all its other aspects. With costs against appellants. (Rollo, pp. 50-51)
Dissatisfied with the above ruling, petitioners Albenson Enterprises Corp., Jesse Yap, and Benjamin Mendiona
filed the instant Petition, alleging that the appellate court erred in:
1. Concluding that private respondent's cause of action is not one based on malicious prosecution but one for
abuse of rights under Article 21 of the Civil Code notwithstanding the fact that the basis of a civil action for
malicious prosecution is Article 2219 in relation to Article 21 or Article 2176 of the Civil Code . . . .
2. Concluding that "hitting at and in effect maligning (private respondent) with an unjust criminal case was,
without more, a plain case of abuse of rights by misdirection" and "was therefore, actionable by itself," and
which "became inordinately blatant and grossly aggravated when . . . (private respondent) was deprived of his
basic right to notice and a fair hearing in the so-called preliminary investigation . . . . "
3. Concluding that petitioner's "actuations in this case were coldly deliberate and calculated", no evidence
having been adduced to support such a sweeping statement.
4. Holding the petitioner corporation, petitioner Yap and petitioner Mendiona jointly and severally liable without
sufficient basis in law and in fact.
5. Awarding respondents —
5.1. P133,350.00 as actual or compensatory damages, even in the absence of sufficient evidence to show that
such was actually suffered.
5.2. P500,000.00 as moral damages considering that the evidence in this connection merely involved private
respondent's alleged celebrated status as a businessman, there being no showing that the act complained of
adversely affected private respondent's reputation or that it resulted to material loss.
5.3. P200,000.00 as exemplary damages despite the fact that petitioners were duly advised by counsel of their
legal recourse.
5.4. P50,000.00 as attorney's fees, no evidence having been adduced to justify such an award (Rollo, pp. 4-6).
Petitioners contend that the civil case filed in the lower court was one for malicious prosecution. Citing the case
of Madera vs. Lopez (102 SCRA 700 [1981]), they assert that the absence of malice on their part absolves
them from any liability for malicious prosecution. Private respondent, on the other hand, anchored his

complaint for Damages on Articles 19, 20, and 21 ** of the Civil Code.
Article 19, known to contain what is commonly referred to as the principle of abuse of rights, sets certain
standards which may be observed not only in the exercise of 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; and to observe honesty
and good faith. The law, therefore, recognizes the primordial limitation on all rights: that in their exercise, the
norms of human conduct set forth in Article 19 must be observed. A right, though by itself legal because
recognized or granted by law as such, may nevertheless become the source of some illegality. When a right is
exercised in a manner which does not conform with the norms enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to
another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for which the wrongdoer must be held responsible. Although the
requirements of each provision is different, these three (3) articles are all related to each other. As the eminent
Civilist Senator Arturo Tolentino puts it: "With this article (Article 21), combined with articles 19 and 20, the
scope of our law on civil wrongs has been very greatly broadened; it has become much more supple and
adaptable than the Anglo-American law on torts. It is now difficult to conceive of any malevolent exercise of a
right which could not be checked by the application of these articles" (Tolentino, 1 Civil Code of the Philippines
72).
There is however, no hard and fast rule which can be applied to determine whether or not the principle of
abuse of rights may be invoked. The question of whether or not the principle of abuse of rights has been
violated, resulting in damages under Articles 20 and 21 or other applicable provision of law, depends on the
circumstances of each case. (Globe Mackay Cable and Radio Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 176 SCRA
778 [1989]).
The elements of an abuse of right under Article 19 are the following: (1) There is a legal right or duty; (2) which
is exercised in bad faith; (3) for the sole intent of prejudicing or injuring another. Article 20 speaks of the
general sanction for all other provisions of law which do not especially provide for their own sanction (Tolentino,
supra, p. 71). Thus, anyone who, whether willfully or negligently, in the exercise of his legal right or duty,
causes damage to another, shall indemnify his victim for injuries suffered thereby. Article 21 deals with acts
contra bonus mores, and has the following elements: 1) There is an act which is legal; 2) but which is contrary
to morals, good custom, public order, or public policy; 3) and it is done with intent to injure.
Thus, under any of these three (3) provisions of law, an act which causes injury to another may be made the
basis for an award of damages.
There is a common element under Articles 19 and 21, and that is, the act must be intentional. However, Article
20 does not distinguish: the act may be done either "willfully", or "negligently". The trial court as well as the
respondent appellate court mistakenly lumped these three (3) articles together, and cited the same as the
bases for the award of damages in the civil complaint filed against petitioners, thus:
With the foregoing legal provisions (Articles 19, 20, and 21) in focus, there is not much difficulty in ascertaining
the means by which appellants' first assigned error should be resolved, given the admitted fact that when there
was an attempt to collect the amount of P2,575.00, the defendants were explicitly warned that plaintiff Eugenio
S. Baltao is not the Eugenio Baltao defendants had been dealing with (supra, p. 5). When the defendants
nevertheless insisted and persisted in filing a case — a criminal case no less — against plaintiff, said
defendants ran afoul of the legal provisions (Articles 19, 20, and 21 of the Civil Code) cited by the lower court
and heretofore quoted (supra).
Defendants, not having been paid the amount of P2,575.00, certainly had the right to complain. But that right is
limited by certain constraints. Beyond that limit is the area of excess, of abuse of rights. (Rollo, pp.44-45).
Assuming, arguendo, that all the three (3) articles, together and not independently of each one, could be
validly made the bases for an award of damages based on the principle of "abuse of right", under the
circumstances, We see no cogent reason for such an award of damages to be made in favor of private
respondent.
Certainly, petitioners could not be said to have violated the aforestated principle of abuse of right. What
prompted petitioners to file the case for violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 against private respondent was
their failure to collect the amount of P2,575.00 due on a bounced check which they honestly believed was
issued to them by private respondent. Petitioners had conducted inquiries regarding the origin of the check,
and yielded the following results: from the records of the Securities and Exchange Commission, it was
discovered that the President of Guaranteed (the recipient of the unpaid mild steel plates), was one "Eugenio
S. Baltao"; an inquiry with the Ministry of Trade and Industry revealed that E.L. Woodworks, against whose
account the check was drawn, was registered in the name of one "Eugenio Baltao"; verification with the
drawee bank, the Pacific Banking Corporation, revealed that the signature appearing on the check belonged to
one "Eugenio Baltao".
In a letter dated December 16, 1983, counsel for petitioners wrote private respondent demanding that he make
good the amount of the check. Counsel for private respondent wrote back and denied, among others, that
private respondent ever transacted business with Albenson Enterprises Corporation; that he ever issued the
check in question. Private respondent's counsel even went further: he made a warning to defendants to check
the veracity of their claim. It is pivotal to note at this juncture that in this same letter, if indeed private
respondent wanted to clear himself from the baseless accusation made against his person, he should have

made mention of the fact that there are three (3) persons with the same name, i.e.: Eugenio Baltao, Sr.,
Eugenio S. Baltao, Jr. (private respondent), and Eugenio Baltao III (private respondent's son, who as it turned
out later, was the issuer of the check). He, however, failed to do this. The last two Baltaos were doing business
in the same building — Baltao Building — located at 3267 V. Mapa Street, Sta. Mesa, Manila. The mild steel
plates were ordered in the name of Guaranteed of which respondent Eugenio S. Baltao is the president and
delivered to Guaranteed at Baltao building. Thus, petitioners had every reason to believe that the Eugenio
Baltao who issued the bouncing check is respondent Eugenio S. Baltao when their counsel wrote respondent
to make good the amount of the check and upon refusal, filed the complaint for violation of BP Blg. 22.
Private respondent, however, did nothing to clarify the case of mistaken identity at first hand. Instead, private
respondent waited in ambush and thereafter pounced on the hapless petitioners at a time he thought was
propitious by filing an action for damages. The Court will not countenance this devious scheme.
The criminal complaint filed against private respondent after the latter refused to make good the amount of the
bouncing check despite demand was a sincere attempt on the part of petitioners to find the best possible
means by which they could collect the sum of money due them. A person who has not been paid an obligation
owed to him will naturally seek ways to compel the debtor to pay him. It was normal for petitioners to find
means to make the issuer of the check pay the amount thereof. In the absence of a wrongful act or omission or
of fraud or bad faith, moral damages cannot be awarded and that the adverse result of an action does not per
se make the action wrongful and subject the actor to the payment of damages, for the law could not have
meant to impose a penalty on the right to litigate (Rubio vs. Court of Appeals, 141 SCRA 488 [1986]).
In the case at bar, private respondent does not deny that the mild steel plates were ordered by and delivered to
Guaranteed at Baltao building and as part payment thereof, the bouncing check was issued by one Eugenio
Baltao. Neither had private respondent conveyed to petitioner that there are two Eugenio Baltaos conducting
business in the same building — he and his son Eugenio Baltao III. Considering that Guaranteed, which
received the goods in payment of which the bouncing check was issued is owned by respondent, petitioner
acted in good faith and probable cause in filing the complaint before the provincial fiscal.
To constitute malicious prosecution, there must be proof that the prosecution was prompted by a sinister
design to vex and humiliate a person, and that it was initiated deliberately by the defendant knowing that his
charges were false and groundless. Concededly, the mere act of submitting a case to the authorities for
prosecution does not make one liable for malicious prosecution. (Manila Gas Corporation vs. Court of Appeals,
100 SCRA 602 [1980]). Still, private respondent argues that liability under Articles 19, 20, and 21 of the Civil
Code is so encompassing that it likewise includes liability for damages for malicious prosecution under Article
2219 (8). True, a civil action for damages for malicious prosecution is allowed under the New Civil Code, more
specifically Articles 19, 20, 26, 29, 32, 33, 35, and 2219 (8) thereof. In order that such a case can prosper,
however, the following three (3) elements must be present, to wit: (1) The fact of the prosecution and the
further fact that the defendant was himself the prosecutor, and that the action was finally terminated with an
acquittal; (2) That in bringing the action, the prosecutor acted without probable cause; (3) The prosecutor was
actuated or impelled by legal malice (Lao vs. Court of Appeals, 199 SCRA 58, [1991]).
Thus, a party injured by the filing of a court case against him, even if he is later on absolved, may file a case
for damages grounded either on the principle of abuse of rights, or on malicious prosecution. As earlier stated,
a complaint for damages based on malicious prosecution will prosper only if the three (3) elements aforecited
are shown to exist. In the case at bar, the second and third elements were not shown to exist. It is well-settled
that one cannot be held liable for maliciously instituting a prosecution where one has acted with probable
cause. "Probable cause is the existence of such facts and circumstances as would excite the belief, in a
reasonable mind, acting on the facts within the knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person charged was
guilty of the crime for which he was prosecuted. In other words, a suit will lie only in cases where a legal
prosecution has been carried on without probable cause. The reason for this rule is that it would be a very
great discouragement to public justice, if prosecutors, who had tolerable ground of suspicion, were liable to be
sued at law when their indictment miscarried" (Que vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 169 SCRA 137 [1989]).
The presence of probable cause signifies, as a legal consequence, the absence of malice. In the instant case,
it is evident that petitioners were not motivated by malicious intent or by sinister design to unduly harass
private respondent, but only by a well-founded anxiety to protect their rights when they filed the criminal
complaint against private respondent.
To constitute malicious prosecution, there must be proof that the prosecution was prompted by a sinister
design to vex and humiliate a person, that it was initiated deliberately by the defendant knowing that his
charges were false and groundless. Concededly, the mere act of submitting a case to the authorities for
prosecution does not make one liable for malicious prosecution. Proof and motive that the institution of the
action was prompted by a sinister design to vex and humiliate a person must be clearly and preponderantly
established to entitle the victims to damages (Ibid.).
In the case at bar, there is no proof of a sinister design on the part of petitioners to vex or humiliate private
respondent by instituting the criminal case against him. While petitioners may have been negligent to some
extent in determining the liability of private respondent for the dishonored check, the same is not so gross or
reckless as to amount to bad faith warranting an award of damages.
The root of the controversy in this case is founded on a case of mistaken identity. It is possible that with a more
assiduous investigation, petitioners would have eventually discovered that private respondent Eugenio S.

Baltao is not the "Eugenio Baltao" responsible for the dishonored check. However, the record shows that
petitioners did exert considerable effort in order to determine the liability of private respondent. Their
investigation pointed to private respondent as the "Eugenio Baltao" who issued and signed the dishonored
check as the president of the debtor-corporation Guaranteed Enterprises. Their error in proceeding against the
wrong individual was obviously in the nature of an innocent mistake, and cannot be characterized as having
been committed in bad faith. This error could have been discovered if respondent had submitted his counteraffidavit before investigating fiscal Sumaway and was immediately rectified by Provincial Fiscal Mauro Castro
upon discovery thereof, i.e., during the reinvestigation resulting in the dismissal of the complaint.
Furthermore, the adverse result of an action does not per se make the act wrongful and subject the actor to the
payment of moral damages. The law could not have meant to impose a penalty on the right to litigate, such
right is so precious that moral damages may not be charged on those who may even exercise it erroneously.
And an adverse decision does not ipso facto justify the award of attorney's fees to the winning party (Garcia vs.
Gonzales, 183 SCRA 72 [1990]).
Thus, an award of damages and attorney's fees is unwarranted where the action was filed in good faith. If
damage results from a person's exercising his legal rights, it is damnum absque injuria (Ilocos Norte Electric
Company vs. Court of Appeals, 179 SCRA 5 [1989]).
Coming now to the claim of private respondent for actual or compensatory damages, the records show that the
same was based solely on his allegations without proof to substantiate the same. He did not present proof of
the cost of the medical treatment which he claimed to have undergone as a result of the nervous breakdown
he suffered, nor did he present proof of the actual loss to his business caused by the unjust litigation against
him. In determining actual damages, the court cannot rely on speculation, conjectures or guesswork as to the
amount. Without the actual proof of loss, the award of actual damages becomes erroneous (Guilatco vs. City of
Dagupan, 171 SCRA 382 [1989]).
Actual and compensatory damages are those recoverable because of pecuniary loss — in business, trade,
property, profession, job or occupation — and the same must be proved, otherwise, if the proof is flimsy and
unsubstantiated, no damages will be given (Rubio vs. Court of Appeals, 141 SCRA 488 [1986]). For these
reasons, it was gravely erroneous for respondent court to have affirmed the award of actual damages in favor
of private respondent in the absence of proof thereof.
Where there is no evidence of the other party having acted in wanton, fraudulent or reckless, or oppressive
manner, neither may exemplary damages be awarded (Dee Hua Liong Electrical Equipment Corporation vs.
Reyes, 145 SCRA 488 [1986]).
As to the award of attorney's fees, it is well-settled that the same is the exception rather than the general rule.
Needless to say, the award of attorney's fees must be disallowed where the award of exemplary damages is
eliminated (Article 2208, Civil Code; Agustin vs. Court of Appeals, 186 SCRA 375 [1990]). Moreover, in view of
the fact that there was no malicious prosecution against private respondent, attorney's fees cannot be awarded
him on that ground.
In the final analysis, there is no proof or showing that petitioners acted maliciously or in bad faith in the filing of
the case against private respondent. Consequently, in the absence of proof of fraud and bad faith committed
by petitioners, they cannot be held liable for damages (Escritor, Jr. vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 155 SCRA
577 [1987]). No damages can be awarded in the instant case, whether based on the principle of abuse of
rights, or for malicious prosecution. The questioned judgment in the instant case attests to the propensity of
trial judges to award damages without basis. Lower courts are hereby cautioned anew against awarding
unconscionable sums as damages without bases therefor.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. C.V. No. 14948
dated May 13, 1989, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Costs against respondent Baltao.
SO ORDERED.
Gutierrez, Jr., Davide, Jr., Romero and Melo, JJ., concur.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-8883

July 14, 1959

ALFREDO M. VELAYO, ETC., plaintiff, vs.SHELL COMPANY OF THE PHILIPPINES ISLANDS, LTD.,
defendant-appellee.ALFONSO Z. SYCIP, ET. AL., intervenors-appellants.
Sycip, Quisumbing, Salazar and Associates for appellants.Ozaeta, Lichauco and Picazo for appellee.
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:
On December 17, 1948, Alfredo M. Velayo as assignees of the insolvent Commercial Airlines, Inc., instituted an
action against Shell Company of the Philippine Islands, Ltd., in the Court of First Instance of Manila for
injunction and damages (Civil Case No. 6966). On October 26, 1951, a complaint in intervention was filed by
Alfonso Sycip, Paul Sycip, and Yek Trading Corporation, and on November 14, 1951, by Mabasa & Company.
After trial wherein plaintiff presented evidence in his behalf, but none in behalf of intervenors, the court
rendered decision dismissing plaintiff's complaint as well as those filed by the intervenors. On March 31, 1954,
counsel for plaintiff filed a notice of appeal, appeal bond, and record on appeal in behalf only of plaintiff even if
they also represent the intervenors, which in due time were approved, the Court instructing its clerk to forward
the record on appeal to the Supreme Court together with all the evidence presented in the case. This
instruction was actually complied with.
On August 31, 1954, the Deputy Clerk of the Supreme Court notified counsel of plaintiff that the record as well
as the evidence have already been received and that they should file their brief within 45 days from receipt of
the notice. On November 2, 1954, counsel filed their brief for appellants. On November 6, 1954, or 7 months
after the judgment had become final as against the intervenors, and 4 days after counsel for appellants had
submitted the latter's brief, counsel for intervenors filed with the Supreme Court a petition for correction of the
record on appeal in order to enable them to insert therein the names of the intervenors as appellants, the
petition being based, among others, on the ground that the omission of the names of the intervenors in said
record on appeal was due to the mistake of the typist who prepared it while the attorney in charge was on
vacation. The petition was vigorously opposed by counsel for defendant, contending that the same would serve
no purpose, whatsoever considering that the intervenors had not presented any evidence in support of their
claim, aside from the fact that the alleged absence of the attorney of the intervenors cannot constitute a
justification for the alleged omission of the intervenors as appellants. On November 12, 1954, the Court denied
the petition. Counsel intervenors moved for a reconsideration of the order, but the same was denied.
On November 19, 1954, counsel for intervenors filed with the lower court a petition for relief under Rule 38 of
the Rules of Court, wherein he reiterated the same grounds they alleged in the petition for correction filed by
them in the Supreme Court, which petition was denied on November 27, 1954, for having been filed outside
the reglementary period fixed in said Rule 38. Counsel filed a motion for reconsideration, which was again
denied, the Court stating that "no judgment or order has been rendered, nor any other proceeding taken by this
Court on the right of the intervenors to appeal."
On December 20, 1954, counsel filed once more a motion to amend the record on appeal based on grounds
identical with those alleged in the petition for correction filed before the Supreme Court. On December 27,
1954, the lower court denied the motion. On January 6, 1955, counsel filed a petition for relief from this last
order entered on December 27, 1954, to which counsel for defendant filed an opposition. On February 5, 1955,
hearing was had on both the petition for relief and the opposition, and on February 9, 1955, the petition was
denied on the ground that the case is already before the Supreme Court on appeal. It is from this order that the
counsel for intervenors has taken the appeal now before us.
The instant appeal has no merit.
To begin with, the only remedy which appellants now seek in this appeal is the inclusion of the intervenors as
appellants in the appeal from the decision rendered in the main case, but this remedy has already been denied
twice by this Court, first, in its resolution of November 12, 1954 denying their petition for correction of the
record on appeal, and, second, in denying their motion for reconsideration of said resolution. It should be noted
that the grounds relied upon in this appeal are the same grounds alleged in said petition for correction.
In the second place, the intervenors have no right or reason to appeal from the decision in the main case, it
appearing that they did not introduce any evidence during the trial in support of their complaint, which shows
that their appeal would be merely pro-forma. And, in any event, they made the attempt to amend the record on
appeal seven (7) months after the decision had become final against them.
In the third place, the intervenors have no right or reason to file a petition for relief under Rule 38 of the Rules
of Court from the order of the lower court issued on December 27, 1954, for the reason that the same was
entered upon a motion filed by them. Indeed they cannot reasonably assert that the order was entered against
them through fraud, accident, mistake, or negligence. The fraud mentioned in Rule 38 is the fraud committed
by the adverse party and certainly the same cannot be attributed to the Court.
Finally, it appears that the main case has already been decided by this Court on the merits on October 31,

1956, reversing the decision of the lower court and awarding damages to plaintiff, which apparently is the very
purpose which the intervenors seek to accomplish in joining the appeal as co-appellants. This appeal,
therefore, has already become moot.
Wherefore, the order appealed from is affirmed, with costs against appellants.
Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Labrador, Concepcion, Endencia and Barrera, JJ., concur.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 126486 February 9, 1998
BARONS MARKETING CORP., petitioner, vs.COURT OF APPEALS and PHELPS DODGE PHILS., INC.
respondents.
KAPUNAN, J.:
The instant petition raises two issues: (1) whether or not private respondent is guilty of abuse of right; and (2)
whether or not private respondent is entitled to interest and attorney's fees.
The facts are undisputed:
On August 31, 1973, plaintiff [Phelps Dodge, Philippines, Inc. private respondent herein] appointed defendant
[petitioner Barons Marketing, Corporation] as one of its dealers of electrical wires and cables effective
September 1, 1973 (Exh. A). As such dealer, defendant was given by plaintiff 60 days credit for its purchases
of plaintiff's electrical products. This credit term was to be reckoned from the date of delivery by plaintiff of its
products to defendant (Exh. 1).
During the period covering December 1986 to August 17, 1987, defendant purchased, on credit, from plaintiff
various electrical wires and cables in the total amount of P4,102,438.30 (Exh. B to K). These wires and cables
were in turn sold, pursuant to previous arrangements, by defendant to MERALCO, the former being the
accredited supplier of the electrical requirements of the latter. Under the sales invoices issued by plaintiff to
defendant for the subject purchases, it is stipulated that interest at 12% on the amount due for attorney's fees
and collection (Exh. BB). 1 On September 7, 1987, defendant paid plaintiff the amount of P300,000.00 out of its
total purchases as above-stated (Exh. S), thereby leaving an unpaid account on the aforesaid deliveries of
P3,802,478.20. On several occasions, plaintiff wrote defendant demanding payment of its outstanding
obligations due plaintiff (Exhs. L, M, N, and P). In response, defendant wrote plaintiff on October 5, 1987
requesting the latter if it could pay its outstanding account in monthly installments of P500,000.00 plus 1%
interest per month commencing on October 15, 1987 until full payment (Exh. O and O-4). Plaintiff, however,
rejected defendant's offer and accordingly reiterated its demand for the full payment of defendant's account
(Exh. P). 2
On 29 October 1987, private respondent Phelps Dodge Phils., Inc. filed a complaint before the Pasig Regional
Trial Court against petitioner Barons Marketing Corporation for the recovery of P3,802,478.20 representing the
value of the wires and cables the former had delivered to the latter, including interest. Phelps Dodge likewise
prayed that it be awarded attorney's fees at the rate of 25% of the amount demanded, exemplary damages
amounting to at least P100,000.00, the expenses of litigation and the costs of suit.
Petitioner, in its answer, admitted purchasing the wires and cables from private respondent but disputed the
amount claimed by the latter. Petitioner likewise interposed a counterclaim against private respondent, alleging
that it suffered injury to its reputation due to Phelps Dodge's acts. Such acts were purportedly calculated to
humiliate petitioner and constituted an abuse of rights.
After hearing, the trial court on 17 June 1991 rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, from all the foregoing considerations, the Court finds Phelps Dodge Phils., Inc. to have
preponderantly proven its case and hereby orders Barons Marketing, Inc. to pay Phelps Dodge the following:
1. P3,108,000.00 constituting the unpaid balance of defendant's purchases from plaintiff and interest thereon
at 12% per annum computed from the respective expiration of the 60 day credit term, vis-a-vis the various
sales invoices and/or delivery receipts;
2. 25% of the preceding obligation for and as attorney's fees;
3. P10,000.00 as exemplary damages;
4. Costs of suit. 3
Both parties appealed to respondent court. Private respondent claimed that the trial court should have awarded
it the sum of P3,802,478.20, the amount which appeared in the body of the complaint and proven during the
trial rather than P3,1081000.00 The latter amount appears in petitioner's prayer supposedly as a result of a
typographical error.
On the other hand, petitioner reiterated its claims for damages as a result of "creditor's abuse." It also alleged
that private respondent failed to prove its cause of action against it.
On 25 June 1996, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision modifying the decision of the trial court, thus:
WHEREFORE, from all the foregoing considerations, the Court finds Phelps Dodge Phils., Inc. to have

preponderantly proven its case and hereby orders Barons Marketing, Inc. to pay Phelps Dodge the following:
1. P3,802,478.20 constituting the unpaid balance of defendant's purchases from plaintiff and interest thereon
at 12% per annum computed from the respective expiration of the 60 day credit term, vis-a-vis the various
sales invoices and/or delivery receipts; and
2. 5% of the preceding obligation for and as attorney's fees.
No costs. 4
Petitioner Barons Marketing is now before this Court alleging that respondent court erred when it held (1)
private respondent Phelps Dodge not guilty of "creditor's abuse," and (2) petitioner liable to private respondent
for interest and attorney's fees.
I
Petitioner does not deny private respondent's rights to institute an action for collection and to claim full
payment. Indeed, petitioner's right to file an action for collection is beyond cavil. 5 Likewise, private
respondent's right to reject petitioner's offer to pay in installments is guaranteed by Article 1248 of the Civil
Code which states:
Art. 1248. Unless there is an express stipulation to that effect, the creditor cannot be compelled partially to
receive the prestations in which the obligation consists. Neither may the debtor be required to make partial
payments.
However, when the debt is in part liquidated and in part unliquidated, the creditor may demand and the debtor
may effect the payment of the former without waiting for the liquidation of the latter.
Under this provision, the prestation, i.e., the object of the obligation, must be performed in one act, not in parts.
Tolentino concedes that the right has its limitations:
Partial Prestations. — Since the creditor cannot be compelled to accept partial performance, unless otherwise
stipulated, the creditor who refuses to accept partial prestations does not incur in delay or mora accipiendi,
except when there is abuse of right or if good faith requires acceptance. 6
Indeed, the law, as set forth in Article 19 of the Civil Code, prescribes a "primordial limitation on all rights" by
setting certain standards that must be observed in the exercise thereof. 7 Thus:
Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice,
give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.
Petitioner now invokes Article 19 and Article 21 8 of the Civil Code, claiming that private respondent abused its
rights when it rejected petitioner's offer of settlement and subsequently filed the action for collection
considering:
. . . that the relationship between the parties started in 1973 spanning more than 13 years before the complaint
was filed, that the petitioner had been a good and reliable dealer enjoying a good credit standing during the
period before it became delinquent in 1987, that the relationship between the parties had been a fruitful one
especially for the private respondent, that the petitioner exerted its outmost efforts to settle its obligations and
avoid a suit, that the petitioner did not evade in the payment of its obligation to the private respondent, and that
the petitioner was just asking a small concession that it be allowed to liquidate its obligation to eight (8)
monthly installments of P500,000.00 plus 1% interest per month on the balance which proposal was supported
by post-dated checks. 9
Expounding on its theory, petitioner states:
In the ordinary course of events, a suit for collection of a sum of money filed in court is done for the primary
purpose of collecting a debt or obligation. If there is an offer by the debtor to pay its debt or obligation
supported by post-dated checks and with provision for interests, the normal response of a creditor would be to
accept the offer of compromise and not file the suit for collection. It is of common knowledge that proceedings
in our courts would normally take years before an action is finally settled. It is always wiser and more prudent
to accept an offer of payment in installment rather than file an action in court to compel the debtor to settle his
obligation in full in a single payment.
xxx xxx xxx
. . . Why then did private respondent elect to file a suit for collection rather than accept petitioner's offer of
settlement, supported by post-dated checks, by paying monthly installments of P500,000.00 plus 1% per
month commencing on October 15, 1987 until full payment? The answer is obvious. The action of private
respondent in filling a suit for collection was an abuse of right and exercised for the sole purpose of prejudicing

and injuring the petitioner. 10
Petitioner prays that the Court order private respondent to pay petitioner moral and exemplary damages,
attorney's fees, as well as the costs of suit. It likewise asks that it be allowed to liquidate its obligation to private
respondent, without interests, in eight equal monthly installments.
Petitioner's theory is untenable.
Both parties agree that to constitute an abuse of rights under Article 19 the defendant must act with bad faith or
intent to prejudice the plaintiff. They cite the following comments of Tolentino as their authority:
Test of Abuse of Right. — Modern jurisprudence does not permit acts which, although not unlawful, are antisocial. There is undoubtedly an abuse of right when it is exercised for the only purpose of prejudicing or
injuring another. When the objective of the actor is illegitimate, the illicit act cannot be concealed under the
guise of exercising a right. The principle does not permit acts which, without utility or legitimate purpose cause
damage to another, because they violate the concept of social solidarity which considers law as rational and
just. Hence, every abnormal exercise of a right, contrary to its socio-economic purpose, is an abuse that will
give rise to liability. The exercise of a right must be in accordance with the purpose for which it was
established, and must not be excessive or unduly harsh; there must be no intention to injure another.
Ultimately, however, and in practice, courts, in the sound exercise of their discretion, will have to determine all
the facts and circumstances when the exercise of a right is unjust, or when there has been an abuse of right. 11
The question, therefore, is whether private respondent intended to prejudice or injure petitioner when it
rejected petitioner's offer and filed the action for collection.
We hold in the negative. It is an elementary rule in this jurisdiction that good faith is presumed and that the
burden of proving bad faith rests upon the party alleging the same. 12 In the case at bar, petitioner has failed to
prove bad faith on the part of private respondent. Petitioner's allegation that private respondent was motivated
by a desire to terminate its agency relationship with petitioner so that private respondent itself may deal directly
with Meralco is simply not supported by the evidence. At most, such supposition is merely speculative.
Moreover, we find that private respondent was driven by very legitimate reasons for rejecting petitioner's offer
and instituting the action for collection before the trial court. As pointed out by private respondent, the
corporation had its own "cash position to protect in order for it to pay its own obligations." This is not such "a
lame and poor rationalization" as petitioner purports it to be. For if private respondent were to be required to
accept petitioner's offer, there would be no reason for the latter to reject similar offers from its other debtors.
Clearly, this would be inimical to the interests of any enterprise, especially a profit-oriented one like private
respondent. It is plain to see that what we have here is a mere exercise of rights, not an abuse thereof Under
these circumstances, we do not deem private respondent to have acted in a manner contrary to morals, good
customs or public policy as to violate the provisions of Article 21 of the Civil Code.
Consequently, petitioner's prayer for moral and exemplary damages must thus be rejected. Petitioner's claim
for moral damages is anchored on Article 2219 (10) of the Civil Code which states:
Art. 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:
xxx xxx xxx
(10) Acts and actions referred to in articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35.
xxx xxx xxx
Having ruled that private respondent's acts did not transgress the provisions of Article 21, petitioner cannot be
entitled to moral damages or, for that matter, exemplary damages. While the amount of exemplary damages
need not be proved, petitioner must show that he is entitled to moral, temperate or compensatory damages
before the court may consider the question of whether or not exemplary damages should be awarded. 13 As we
have observed above; petitioner has failed to discharge this burden.
It may not be amiss to state that petitioner's contract with private respondent has the force of law between
them. 14 Petitioner is thus bound to fulfill what has been expressly stipulated therein. 15 In the absence of any
abuse of right, private respondent cannot be allowed to perform its obligation under such contract in parts.
Otherwise, private respondent's right under Article 1248 will be negated, the sanctity of its contract with
petitioner defiled. The principle of autonomy of contracts 16 must be respected.
II
Under said contract, petitioner is liable to private respondent for the unpaid balance of its purchases from
private respondent plus 12% interest. Private respondent's sales invoices expressly provide that:
. . . Interest at 12% per annum will be charged on all overdue account plus 25% on said amount for attorney's
fees and collection. . . . 17

It may also be noted that the above stipulation, insofar as it provides for the payment of "25% on said amount
for attorney's fees and collection (sic)," constitutes what is known as a penal clause. 18 Petitioner is thus obliged
to pay such penalty in addition to the 12% annual interest, there being an express stipulation to that effect.
Petitioner nevertheless urges this Court to reduce the attorney's fees for being "grossly excessive,"
"considering the nature of the case which is a mere action for collection of a sum of money." It may be pointed
out however that the above penalty is supposed to answer not only for attorney's fees but for collection fees as
well. Moreover:
. . . the attorneys' fees here provided is not, strictly speaking, the attorneys' fees recoverable as between
attorney and client spoken of and regulated by the Rules of Court. Rather, the attorneys' fees here are in the
nature of liquidated damages and the stipulation therefor is aptly called a penal clause. It has been said that so
long as such stipulation does not contravene law, morals, or public order, it is strictly binding upon defendant.
The attorneys' fees so provided are awarded in favor of the litigant, not his counsel. It is the litigant, not
counsel, who is the judgment creditor entitled to enforce the judgment by execution. 19
Nonetheless, courts are empowered to reduce such penalty if the same is "iniquitous or unconscionable."
Article 1229 of the Civil Code states thus:
Art. 1229. The judge shall equitably reduce the penalty when the principal obligation has been partly or been
irregularly complied with by the debtor. Even if there has no performance, the penalty may also be reduced by
the courts if it is iniquitous or unconscionable. (Emphasis supplied.)
The sentiments of the law are echoed in Article 2227 of the same Code:
Art. 2227. Liquidated damages, whether intended as an indemnity or a penalty, shall be equitably reduced if
they are iniquitous or unconscionable.
It is true that we have upheld the reasonableness of penalties in the form of attorney's fees consisting of
twenty-five percent (25%) of the principal debt plus interest. 20 In the case at bar, however, the interest alone
runs to some four and a half million pesos (P4.5M), even exceeding the principal debt amounting to almost four
million pesos (P4.0M). Twenty five percent (25%) of the principal and interest amounts to roughly two million
pesos (P2M). In real terms, therefore, the attorney's fees and collection fees are manifestly exorbitant.
Accordingly, we reduce the same to ten percent (10%) of the principal.
Private respondent, however, argues that petitioner failed to question the award of attorney's fees on appeal
before respondent court and raised the issue only in its motion for reconsideration. Consequently, petitioner
should be deemed to have waived its right to question such award.
Private respondent's attempts to dissuade us from reducing the penalty are futile. The Court is clothed with
ample authority to review matters, even if they are not assigned as errors in their appeal, if it finds that their
consideration is necessary in arriving at a just decision of the case. 21
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby MODIFIED in that the attorney's and collection
fees are reduced to ten percent (10%) of the principal but is AFFIRMED in all other respects.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Romero, Francisco and Purisima, JJ., concur.

THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. No. 138964. August 9, 2001]
VICENTE RELLOSA, CYNTHIA ORTEGA assisted by husband Roberto Ortega, petitioner, vs. GONZALO
PELLOSIS, INESITA MOSTE, and DANILO RADAM, respondents.
DECISION
VITUG, J.:
Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give
everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.[1] This provision in our law is not just a declaration of
principle for it can in itself constitute, when unduly ignored or violated, a valid source of a cause of action or
defense.
The case seeks to reverse the Court of Appeals in not countenancing an attempt to abridge and render
inutile a legal right to contest an adverse ruling of an agency of government.
Respondents were lessees of a parcel of land, owned by one Marta Reyes, located at San Pascual
Street, Malate, Manila. Respondents had built their houses on the land which, over the years, underwent
continuous improvements. After the demise of Marta, the land was inherited by her son Victor Reyes.
Sometime in 1986, Victor informed respondents that, for being lessees of the land for more than twenty (20)
years, they would have a right of first refusal to buy the land. Sometime in the early part of 1989, without the
knowledge of respondents, the land occupied by them was sold to petitioner Cynthia Ortega who was able to
ultimately secure title to the property in her name.
On 25 May 1989, Cynthia Ortega, filed a petition for condemnation, docketed Condemnation Case No.
89-05-007, with the Office of the Building Official, City of Manila, of the structures on the land.
On 31 May 1989, respondents filed with the Regional Trial Court of Manila a suit for the Declaration of
Nullity of the Sale, docketed as Civil Case No. 89-49176, made in favor of petitioner Cynthia Ortega predicated
upon their right of first refusal which was claimed to have been impinged upon the sale of the land to petitioner
Ortega without their knowledge.
After due hearing in the condemnation case, the Office of the Building Official issued a resolution, dated
27 November 1989, ordering the demolition of the houses of respondents. Copies of the resolution were
served upon respondents and their counsel on 07 December 1989. The following day, or on 08 December
1989, Cynthia Ortega, together with her father and co-petitioner, Vicente Rellosa, hired workers to commence
the demolition of respondents' houses. Due to the timely intervention of a mobile unit of the Western Police
District, the intended demolition did not take place following talks between petitioner Rellosa and counsel who
pleaded that the demolition be suspended since the order sought to be implemented was not yet final and
executory. On 11 December 1989, respondents filed their appeal contesting the order of the Office of the
Building Official. On 12 December 1989, petitioners once again hired workers and proceeded with the
demolition of respondents' houses.
Resultantly, respondents filed Civil Case No. 89-49176 before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch
54, praying that petitioners be ordered to pay moral and exemplary damages, as well as attorneys fees, for the
untimely demolition of the houses. After trial, the court dismissed the complaint of respondents and instead
ordered them to pay petitioners moral damages. On appeal, the Court of Appeals, on the basis of its findings
and conclusions, reversed the decision of the trial court and ordered petitioners to pay respondents the
following sums:
"1) Seventy Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) , or Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) for each
appellant, by way of moral damages;"
"2) Seventy Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00), or Twenty Five thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) for each
appellant, by way of exemplary damages;"
"3) Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15,000.00) as and for attorney's fees; and
"4) The costs of suit."[2]
The appellate court ruled:
"Thus, by the clear provisions of paragraph 23 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of PD 1096
(otherwise known as the Building Code), above, appellants, being the parties adversely affected by the
November 27, 1989 Resolution of the Office of the Building Official, had fifteen (15) days from receipt of a copy
of the same within which to perfect an administrative appeal. Thus, since appellants received a copy of the
Resolution on December 7, 1989, they had until December 22, 1989 within which to perfect an administrative
appeal and until such time, the said Resolution was not yet final and executory."
xxxxxxxxx
"It cannot be denied, therefore, that when appellees commenced to demolish appellants' houses as early as

December 8, 1989 and eventually on December 12, 1989, neither the Resolution of the Building Official nor the
Demolition Order itself were final and executory."[3]
Petitioners filed the instant petition contending that the appellate court gravely erred in ruling that the
premature demolition of respondents' houses entitled them to the award of damages. Petitioners pointed out
that the order of the Office of the Building Official was eventually upheld on appeal by the Department of Public
Works and Highways in its decision of 14 March 1990. Furthermore, petitioners added, the structures subject
matter of the demolition order were declared to be dangerous structures by the Office of the Building Official
and, as such, could be abated to avoid danger to the public.
The Court rules for affirmance of the assailed decision.
A right is a power, privilege, or immunity guaranteed under a constitution, statute or decisional law, or
recognized as a result of long usage,[4] constitutive of a legally enforceable claim of one person against
another.
Petitioner might verily be the owner of the land, with the right to enjoy[5] and to exclude any person from
the enjoyment and disposal thereof,[6] but the exercise of these rights is not without limitations. The abuse of
rights rule established in Article 19 of the Civil Code requires every person to act with justice, to give everyone
his due; and to observe honesty and good faith.[7] When a right is exercised in a manner which discards these
norms resulting in damage to another, a legal wrong is committed for which the actor can be held accountable.
In this instance, the issue is not so much about the existence of the right or validity of the order of demolition as
the question of whether or not petitioners have acted in conformity with, and not in disregard of, the standard
set by Article 19 of the Civil Code.
At the time petitioners implemented the order of demolition, barely five days after respondents received a
copy thereof, the same was not yet final and executory. The law provided for a fifteen-day appeal period in
favor of a party aggrieved by an adverse ruling of the Office of the Building Official but by the precipitate action
of petitioners in demolishing the houses of respondents (prior to the expiration of the period to appeal), the
latter were effectively deprived of this recourse. The fact that the order of demolition was later affirmed by the
Department of Public Works and Highways was of no moment. The action of petitioners up to the point where
they were able to secure an order of demolition was not condemnable but implementing the order unmindful of
the right of respondents to contest the ruling was a different matter and could only be held utterly indefensible.
The Court, however, finds the award of P75,000.00 exemplary damages and another of P75,000.00
moral damages for each respondent to be rather excessive given the circumstances; the awards must be
reduced to the reasonable amounts of P20,000.00 exemplary damages and P20,000.00 moral damages.
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is MODIFIED by reducing the awards of
P75,000.00 exemplary damages and of P75,000.00 moral damages to each respondent reduced to
P20,000.00 exemplary damages and P20,000.00 moral damages for each respondent. In all other respects,
the decision of the appellate court is AFFIRMED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Melo, (Chairman), Panganiban, and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.
Sandoval-Gutierrez, J., on leave.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 161188

June 13, 2008

Heirs of PURISIMA NALA, represented by their attorney-in-fact EFEGENIA DIGNA DUYAN, petitioners,
vs.ARTEMIO CABANSAG, respondent.
DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision 1
dated December 19, 2002 and Resolution2 dated October 28, 2003, dismissing petitioners' appeal and
affirming with modification the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Decision dated August 10, 1994 rendered in Civil
Case No. Q-91-10541.
The facts of the case are as follows:
Artemio Cabansag (respondent) filed Civil Case No. Q-91-10541 for damages in October 1991. According to
respondent, he bought a 50-square meter property from spouses Eugenio Gomez, Jr. and Felisa Duyan
Gomez on July 23, 1990. Said property is part of a 400-square meter lot registered in the name of the Gomez
spouses. In October 1991, he received a demand letter from Atty. Alexander del Prado (Atty. Del Prado), in
behalf of Purisima Nala (Nala), asking for the payment of rentals from 1987 to 1991 until he leaves the
premises, as said property is owned by Nala, failing which criminal and civil actions will be filed against him.
Another demand letter was sent on May 14, 1991. Because of such demands, respondent suffered damages
and was constrained to file the case against Nala and Atty. Del Prado.3
Atty. Del Prado claimed that he sent the demand letters in good faith and that he was merely acting in behalf of
his client, Nala, who disputed respondent's claim of ownership. Nala alleged that said property is part of an
800-square meter property owned by her late husband, Eulogio Duyan, which was subsequently divided into
two parts. The 400-square meter property was conveyed to spouses Gomez in a fictitious deed of sale, with
the agreement that it will be merely held by them in trust for the Duyan's children. Said property is covered by
Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 281115 in the name of spouses Gomez. Nala also claimed that
respondent is only renting the property which he occupies.4
After trial, the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 93, rendered its Decision on August 10, 1994, in favor of
respondent. The dispositive portion of the Decision provides:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, by preponderance of evidence, the Court finds in favor of the plaintiff and
hereby orders the defendants, jointly and severally, to pay plaintiff the following:
1. P150,000.00 by way of moral damages;
2. P30,000.00 by way of exemplary damages;
3. P20,000.00 as and for reasonable attorney's fees and other litigation expenses; and
4. to pay the costs.
SO ORDERED.5
Nala and Atty. Del Prado appealed to the CA. The herein assailed CA Decision dated December 19, 2002
affirmed the RTC Decision with modification, thus:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is hereby DISMISSED. The assailed decision of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 93, Quezon City, in Civil Case No. Q-91-10541 is heretofore AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION. Defendants-appellants are ordered to pay, jointly and severally, plaintiff-appellee the amount
of P30,000.00 by way of moral damages. It is further ordered to pay him exemplary damages in the amount of
P10,000.00 and P10,000.00, attorney's fees.
SO ORDERED.6
In affirming the RTC Decision, the CA took note of the Decision dated September 5, 1994 rendered by the RTC
of Quezon City, Branch 80, dismissing Civil Case No. 91-8821, an action for reconveyance of real property and
cancellation of TCT No. 281115 with damages, filed by Nala against spouses Gomez.7
Hence, herein petition by the heirs of Nala (petitioners)8 with the following assignment of errors:
a) Respondent Court of Appeals erred in not considering the right of Purisima Nala to assert her rights and
interest over the property.

b) Respondent Court of Appeals erred in not considering the Decision rendered by the Court of Appeals in the
case for reconveyance which upheld the rights and interest of Purisima Nala and her children over a certain
parcel of land, a portion of which is subject of the present case.
c) Respondent Court of Appeals erred in awarding damages and attorney's fees without any basis.9
Atty. Del Prado filed a motion for extension of time to file his separate petition but it was denied by the Court
per its Resolution dated January 19, 2004 issued in G.R. No. 160829.
Petitioners argue that their predecessor-in-interest had every right to protect and assert her interests over the
property. Nala had no knowledge that the property was sold by spouses Gomez to respondent when the
demand letters were sent. What she was aware of was the fact that spouses Gomez were managing the
rentals on the property by virtue of the implied trust created between them and Eulogio Duyan. When spouses
Gomez failed to remit the rentals and claimed ownership of the property, it was then that Nala decided to
procure the services of legal counsel to protect their rights over the property.
Petitioners also contend that it was error for the CA to take note of the RTC Decision in Civil Case No. 91-8821
without further noting that the CA had already reversed and set aside said RTC Decision and ordered
reconveyance of the property to Nala and her children in a Decision dated March 8, 2000 rendered in CA-G.R.
CV No. 49163. Petitioners also argue that respondent did not substantiate his claim for damages.
Preliminarily, the Court notes that both the RTC and the CA failed to indicate the particular provision of law
under which it held petitioners liable for damages. Nevertheless, based on the allegations in respondent's
complaint, it may be gathered that the basis for his claim for damages is Article 19 of the Civil Code, which
provides:
Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice,
give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.
The foregoing provision sets the standards which may be observed not only in the exercise of one's rights but
also in the performance of one's duties. When a right is exercised in a manner which does not conform with the
norms enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for which
the wrongdoer must be held responsible. But a right, though by itself legal because recognized or granted by
law as such, may nevertheless become the source of some illegality. A person should be protected only when
he acts in the legitimate exercise of his right; that is, when he acts with prudence and in good faith, but not
when he acts with negligence or abuse. There is an abuse of right when it is exercised only for the purpose of
prejudicing or injuring another. The exercise of a right must be in accordance with the purpose for which it was
established, and must not be excessive or unduly harsh; there must be no intention to injure another.[10]
In order to be liable for damages under the abuse of rights principle, the following requisites must concur: (a)
the existence of a legal right or duty; (b) which is exercised in bad faith; and (c) for the sole intent of prejudicing
or injuring another.11
It should be stressed that malice or bad faith is at the core of Article 19 of the Civil Code. Good faith is
presumed, and he who alleges bad faith has the duty to prove the same. 12 Bad faith, on the other hand, does
not simply connote bad judgment to simple negligence, dishonest purpose or some moral obloquy and
conscious doing of a wrong, or a breach of known duty due to some motives or interest or ill will that partakes
of the nature of fraud. Malice connotes ill will or spite and speaks not in response to duty. It implies an intention
to do ulterior and unjustifiable harm.13
In the present case, there is nothing on record which will prove that Nala and her counsel, Atty. Del Prado,
acted in bad faith or malice in sending the demand letters to respondent. In the first place, there was ground for
Nala's actions since she believed that the property was owned by her husband Eulogio Duyan and that
respondent was illegally occupying the same. She had no knowledge that spouses Gomez violated the trust
imposed on them by Eulogio and surreptitiously sold a portion of the property to respondent. It was only after
respondent filed the case for damages against Nala that she learned of such sale. The bare fact that
respondent claims ownership over the property does not give rise to the conclusion that the sending of the
demand letters by Nala was done in bad faith. Absent any evidence presented by respondent, bad faith or
malice could not be attributed to petitioner since Nala was only trying to protect their interests over the
property.
Moreover, respondent failed to show that Nala and Atty. Del Prado's acts were done with the sole intention of
prejudicing and injuring him. It may be true that respondent suffered mental anguish, serious anxiety and
sleepless nights when he received the demand letters; however, there is a material distinction between
damages and injury. Injury is the legal invasion of a legal right while damage is the hurt, loss or harm which
results from the injury.14 Thus, there can be damage without injury in those instances in which the loss or harm
was not the result of a violation of a legal duty. In such cases, the consequences must be borne by the injured
person alone; the law affords no remedy for damages resulting from an act which does not amount to a legal
injury or wrong. These situations are often called damnum absque injuria.15
Nala was acting well within her rights when she instructed Atty. Del Prado to send the demand letters. She had
to take all the necessary legal steps to enforce her legal/equitable rights over the property occupied by

respondent. One who makes use of his own legal right does no injury.16 Thus, whatever damages are suffered
by respondent should be borne solely by him.
Nala's acts in protecting her rights over the property find further solid ground in the fact that the property has
already been ordered reconveyed to her and her heirs. In its Decision dated March 8, 2000 in CA-G.R. CV No.
49163, the CA reversed and set aside the RTC's Decision and ordered the reconveyance of the property to
petitioners, and TCT No. 281115 was declared canceled. Said CA Decision was affirmed by this Court in its
Decision dated March 18, 2005 in G.R. No. 144148, which became final and executory on July 27, 2005.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated December 19, 2002 and Resolution dated
October 28, 2003 rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 48580 are NULLIFIED. Civil Case No.
Q-91-10541 is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
Costs against respondent.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 164273

March 28, 2007

EMMANUEL B. AZNAR, Petitioner, vs.CITIBANK, N.A., (Philippines), Respondent.
DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Before this Court is a Petition for Review assailing the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV
No. 62554 dated January 30, 2004 which set aside the November 25, 1998 Order of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) Branch 10, Cebu City and reinstated the Decision of RTC Branch 20 of Cebu City dated May 29, 1998
in Civil Case No. CEB-16474; and the CA Resolution dated May 26, 2004 denying petitioner’s motion for
reconsideration.
The facts are as follows:
Emmanuel B. Aznar (Aznar), a known businessman 2 in Cebu, is a holder of a Preferred Master Credit Card
(Mastercard) bearing number 5423-3920-0786-7012 issued by Citibank with a credit limit of P150,000.00. As
he and his wife, Zoraida, planned to take their two grandchildren, Melissa and Richard Beane, on an Asian
tour, Aznar made a total advance deposit of P485,000.00 with Citibank with the intention of increasing his
credit limit to P635,000.00.3
With the use of his Mastercard, Aznar purchased plane tickets to Kuala Lumpur for his group worth
P237,000.00. On July 17, 1994, Aznar, his wife and grandchildren left Cebu for the said destination.4
Aznar claims that when he presented his Mastercard in some establishments in Malaysia, Singapore and
Indonesia, the same was not honored.5 And when he tried to use the same in Ingtan Tour and Travel Agency
(Ingtan Agency) in Indonesia to purchase plane tickets to Bali, it was again dishonored for the reason that his
card was blacklisted by Citibank. Such dishonor forced him to buy the tickets in cash. 6 He further claims that
his humiliation caused by the denial of his card was aggravated when Ingtan Agency spoke of swindlers trying
to use blacklisted cards.7 Aznar and his group returned to the Philippines on August 10, 1994.8
On August 26, 1994, Aznar filed a complaint for damages against Citibank, docketed as Civil Case No. CEB16474 and raffled to RTC Branch 20, Cebu City, claiming that Citibank fraudulently or with gross negligence
blacklisted his Mastercard which forced him, his wife and grandchildren to abort important tour destinations
and prevented them from buying certain items in their tour.9 He further claimed that he suffered mental
anguish, serious anxiety, wounded feelings, besmirched reputation and social humiliation due to the wrongful
blacklisting of his card.10 To prove that Citibank blacklisted his Mastercard, Aznar presented a computer printout, denominated as ON-LINE AUTHORIZATIONS FOREIGN ACCOUNT ACTIVITY REPORT, issued to him
by Ingtan Agency (Exh. "G") with the signature of one Victrina Elnado Nubi (Nubi) 11 which shows that his card
in question was "DECL OVERLIMIT" or declared over the limit.12
Citibank denied the allegation that it blacklisted Aznar’s card. It also contended that under the terms and
conditions governing the issuance and use of its credit cards, Citibank is exempt from any liability for the
dishonor of its cards by any merchant affiliate, and that its liability for any action or incident which may be
brought against it in relation to the issuance and use of its credit cards is limited to P1,000.00 or the actual
damage proven whichever is lesser.13
To prove that they did not blacklist Aznar’s card, Citibank’s Credit Card Department Head, Dennis Flores,
presented Warning Cancellation Bulletins which contained the list of its canceled cards covering the period of
Aznar’s trip.14
On May 29, 1998, RTC Branch 20, Cebu City, through Judge Ferdinand J. Marcos, rendered its decision
dismissing Aznar’s complaint for lack of merit.15 The trial court held that as between the computer print-out 16
presented by Aznar and the Warning Cancellation Bulletins17 presented by Citibank, the latter had more weight
as their due execution and authenticity were duly established by Citibank.18 The trial court also held that even if
it was shown that Aznar’s credit card was dishonored by a merchant establishment, Citibank was not shown to
have acted with malice or bad faith when the same was dishonored.19
Aznar filed a motion for reconsideration with motion to re-raffle the case saying that Judge Marcos could not be
impartial as he himself is a holder of a Citibank credit card. 20 The case was re-raffled21 and on November 25,
1998, the RTC, this time through Judge Jesus S. De la Peña of Branch 10 of Cebu City, issued an Order
granting Aznar’s motion for reconsideration, as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby GRANTED. The DECISION dated May 29, 1998 is
hereby reconsidered, and consequently, the defendant is hereby condemned liable to pay the following sums
of money:
a) P10,000,000.00 as moral damages;

b) P5,000,000.00 as exemplary damages;
c) P1,000,000.00 as attorney’s fees; and
d) P200,000.00 as litigation expenses.22
Judge De la Peña ruled that: it is improbable that a man of Aznar’s stature would fabricate Exh. "G" or the
computer print-out which shows that Aznar’s Mastercard was dishonored for the reason that it was declared
over the limit; Exh. "G" was printed out by Nubi in the ordinary or regular course of business in the modern
credit card industry and Nubi was not able to testify as she was in a foreign country and cannot be reached by
subpoena; taking judicial notice of the practice of automated teller machines (ATMs) and credit card facilities
which readily print out bank account status, Exh. "G" can be received as prima facie evidence of the dishonor
of Aznar’s Mastercard; no rebutting evidence was presented by Citibank to prove that Aznar’s Mastercard was
not dishonored, as all it proved was that said credit card was not included in the blacklisted cards; when
Citibank accepted the additional deposit of P485,000.00 from Aznar, there was an implied novation and
Citibank was obligated to increase Aznar’s credit limit and ensure that Aznar will not encounter any
embarrassing situation with the use of his Mastercard; Citibank’s failure to comply with its obligation constitutes
gross negligence as it caused Aznar inconvenience, mental anguish and social humiliation; the fine prints in
the flyer of the credit card limiting the liability of the bank to P1,000.00 or the actual damage proven, whichever
is lower, is a contract of adhesion which must be interpreted against Citibank.23
Citibank filed an appeal with the CA and its counsel filed an administrative case against Judge De la Peña for
grave misconduct, gross ignorance of the law and incompetence, claiming among others that said judge
rendered his decision without having read the transcripts. The administrative case was held in abeyance
pending the outcome of the appeal filed by Citibank with the CA.24lawphi1.net
On January 30, 2004, the CA rendered its Decision granting Citibank’s appeal thus:
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is GRANTED. The assailed order of the Regional Trial Court, 7th Judicial
Region, Branch 10, Cebu City, in Civil Case No. CEB-16474, is hereby SET ASIDE and the decision, dated 29
May 1998 of the Regional Trial Court, 7th Judicial Region, Branch 20, Cebu City in this case is REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED.25
The CA ruled that: Aznar had no personal knowledge of the blacklisting of his card and only presumed the
same when it was dishonored in certain establishments; such dishonor is not sufficient to prove that his card
was blacklisted by Citibank; Exh. "G" is an electronic document which must be authenticated pursuant to
Section 2, Rule 5 of the Rules on Electronic Evidence26 or under Section 20 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court27
by anyone who saw the document executed or written; Aznar, however, failed to prove the authenticity of Exh.
"G", thus it must be excluded; the unrefuted testimony of Aznar that his credit card was dishonored by Ingtan
Agency and certain establishments abroad is not sufficient to justify the award of damages in his favor, absent
any showing that Citibank had anything to do with the said dishonor; Citibank had no absolute control over the
actions of its merchant affiliates, thus it should not be held liable for the dishonor of Aznar’s credit card by said
establishments.28
Aznar filed a motion for reconsideration which the CA dismissed in its Resolution dated May 26, 2004.29
Parenthetically, the administrative case against Judge De la Peña was activated and on April 29, 2005, the
Court’s Third Division30 found respondent judge guilty of knowingly rendering an unjust judgment and ordered
his suspension for six months. The Court held that Judge De la Peña erred in basing his Order on a
manifestation submitted by Aznar to support his Motion for Reconsideration, when no copy of such
manifestation was served on the adverse party and it was filed beyond office hours. The Court also noted that
Judge De la Peña made an egregiously large award of damages in favor of Aznar which opened himself to
suspicion.31
Aznar now comes before this Court on a petition for review alleging that: the CA erroneously made its own
factual finding that his Mastercard was not blacklisted when the matter of blacklisting was already a non-issue
in the November 25, 1998 Order of the RTC; the RTC found that Aznar’s Mastercard was dishonored for the
reason that it was declared over the credit limit; this factual finding is supported by Exh. "G" and by his
(Aznar’s) testimony; the issue of dishonor on the ground of ‘DECL OVERLIMIT’, although not alleged in the
complaint, was tried with the implied consent of the parties and should be treated as if raised in the pleadings
pursuant to Section 5, Rule 10 of the Rules of Civil Procedure;32 Exh. "G" cannot be excluded as it qualifies as
an electronic evidence following the Rules on Electronic Evidence which provides that print-outs are also
originals for purposes of the Best Evidence Rule; Exh. "G" has remained complete and unaltered, apart from
the signature of Nubi, thus the same is reliable for the purpose for which it was generated; the RTC judge
correctly credited the testimony of Aznar on the issuance of the computer print-out as Aznar saw that it was
signed by Nubi; said testimony constitutes the "other evidence showing the integrity and reliability of the printout to the satisfaction of the judge" which is required under the Rules on Electronic Evidence; the trial court
was also correct in finding that Citibank was grossly negligent in failing to credit the additional deposit and
make the necessary entries in its systems to prevent Aznar from encountering any embarrassing situation with
the use of his Mastercard.33

Citibank, in its Comment, contends that: Aznar never had personal knowledge that his credit card was
blacklisted as he only presumed such fact; the issue of dishonor on the ground that the card was declared over
the limit was also never tried with the implied consent of both parties; Aznar’s self-serving testimony is not
sufficient to prove the integrity and reliability of Exh. "G"; Aznar did not declare that it was Nubi who printed the
document and that said document was printed in his presence as he merely said that the print-out was
provided him; there is also no annotation on Exh. "G" to establish that it was Nubi who printed the same;
assuming further that Exh. "G" is admissible and Aznar’s credit card was dishonored, Citibank still cannot be
held liable for damages as it only shows that Aznar’s credit card was dishonored for having been declared over
the limit; Aznar’s cause of action against Citibank hinged on the alleged blacklisting of his card which
purportedly caused its dishonor; dishonor alone, however, is not sufficient to award Aznar damages as he must
prove that the dishonor was caused by a grossly negligent act of Citibank; the award of damages in favor of
Aznar was based on Article 117034 of the Civil Code, i.e., there was fraud, negligence or delay in the
performance of its obligation; there was no proof, however that Citibank committed fraud or delay or that it
contravened its obligations towards Aznar; the terms and conditions of the credit card cannot be considered as
a contract of adhesion since Aznar was entirely free to reject the card if he did not want the conditions
stipulated therein; a person whose stature is such that he is expected to be more prudent with respect to his
transactions cannot later on be heard to complain for being ignorant or having been forced into merely
consenting to the contract.35
In his Reply, Aznar contended that to a layman, the term "blacklisting" is synonymous with the words "hot list"
or "declared overlimit"; and whether his card was blacklisted or declared over the limit, the same was
dishonored due to the fault or gross negligence of Citibank.36
Aznar also filed a Memorandum raising as issues the following:
I. Whether or not the augmentation deposit in the amount of P485,000.00 of the Petitioner constitutes relative
extinctive novation;
II. Whether or not the purchases made by Petitioner were beyond his credit limit;
III. Whether or not the issues of dishonor by reason of overlimit was tried with the consent of the parties;
IV. Whether or not the "On Line Authorization Report" is an electronic document."
V. Whether or not the "On Line Authorization Report" constitutes electronic evidence;
VI. Whether or not the agreement between the parties is a contract of adhesion;
VII. Whether or not the Respondent is negligent in not crediting the deposits of the Respondent.37
Aznar further averred in his Memorandum that Citibank assured him that with the use of his Mastercard, he
would never be turned down by any merchant store, and that under Section 43, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court,
Exh. "G" is admissible in evidence.38
Citibank also filed a Memorandum reiterating its earlier arguments.39
Stripped to its essentials, the only question that needs to be answered is: whether Aznar has established his
claim against Citibank.
The answer is no.
It is basic that in civil cases, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff to establish his case based on a
preponderance of evidence. The party that alleges a fact also has the burden of proving it.40
In the complaint Aznar filed before the RTC, he claimed that Citibank blacklisted his Mastercard which caused
its dishonor in several establishments in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, particularly in Ingtan Agency in
Indonesia where he was humiliated when its staff insinuated that he could be a swindler trying to use a
blacklisted card.
As correctly found by the RTC in its May 29, 1998 Decision, Aznar failed to prove with a preponderance of
evidence that Citibank blacklisted his Mastercard or placed the same on the "hot list."41
Aznar in his testimony admitted that he had no personal knowledge that his Mastercard was blacklisted by
Citibank and only presumed such fact from the dishonor of his card.
Q Now, paragraph 12 also states and I quote: "its entry in the "hot" list was confirmed to be authentic".
Now, who confirmed that the blacklisting of your Preferred Citibank Mastercard was authentic?
A. Okey. When I presented this Mastercard, my card rather, at the Merchant’s store, I do not know, they called
up somebody for verification then later they told me that "your card is being denied". So, I am not in a position

to answer that. I do not know whom they called up; where they verified. So, when it is denied that’s
presumed to be blacklisted.
Q. So the word that was used was denied?
A. Denied.
Q. And after you were told that your card was denied you presumed that it was blacklisted?
A. Definitely.
Q. So your statement that your card was allegedly blacklisted is only your presumption drawn from the
fact, from your allegations, that it was denied at the merchandise store?
A. Yes, sir.42 (Emphasis supplied)
The dishonor of Aznar’s Mastercard is not sufficient to support a conclusion that said credit card was
blacklisted by Citibank, especially in view of Aznar’s own admission that in other merchant establishments in
Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, his Mastercard was accepted and honored.43
Aznar puts much weight on the ON-LINE AUTHORIZATION FOREIGN ACCOUNT ACTIVITY REPORT, a
computer print-out handed to Aznar by Ingtan Agency, marked as Exh. "G", to prove that his Mastercard was
dishonored for being blacklisted. On said print-out appears the words "DECL OVERLIMIT" opposite Account
No. 5423-3920-0786-7012.
As correctly pointed out by the RTC and the CA, however, such exhibit cannot be considered admissible as its
authenticity and due execution were not sufficiently established by petitioner.
The prevailing rule at the time of the promulgation of the RTC Decision is Section 20 of Rule 132 of the Rules
of Court. It provides that whenever any private document offered as authentic is received in evidence, its due
execution and authenticity must be proved either by (a) anyone who saw the document executed or written; or
(b) by evidence of the genuineness of the signature or handwriting of the maker.
Aznar, who testified on the authenticity of Exh. "G," did not actually see the document executed or written,
neither was he able to provide evidence on the genuineness of the signature or handwriting of Nubi, who
handed to him said computer print-out. Indeed, all he was able to allege in his testimony are the following:
Q I show to you a Computer Print Out captioned as On Line Authorization Activity Report where it is shown that
the Preferred Master Card Number 5423392007867012 was denied as per notation on the margin of this
Computer Print Out, is this the document evidencing the dishonor of your Preferred Master Card?
xxxx
A Yes sir, after that Ingtan incident, I went straight to the Service Agency there and on the left hand side you
will be able to see the name of the person in-charged [sic] there certifying that really my card is being
blacklisted and there is the signature there of the agency.
ATTY. NAVARRO:
The witness, your honor, is pointing to the signature over the handwritten name of Victrina Elnado Nubi which I
pray, your honor, that the Computer Print Out be marked as our Exhibit "G" and the remarks at the left hand
bottom portion of Victorina Elnado Nubi with her signature thereon be encircled and be marked as our Exhibit
"G-1".
xxxx
Q Mr. Aznar, where did you secure this Computer Print Out marked as Exhibit "G"?
A This is provided by that Agency, your honor. They were the ones who provided me with this. So what
the lady did, she gave me the Statement and I requested her to sign to show proof that my Preferred
Master Card has been rejected.44 (Emphasis supplied).
Even if examined under the Rules on Electronic Evidence, which took effect on August 1, 2001, and which is
being invoked by Aznar in this case, the authentication of Exh. "G" would still be found wanting.
Pertinent sections of Rule 5 read:
Section 1. Burden of proving authenticity. – The person seeking to introduce an electronic document in any
legal proceeding has the burden of proving its authenticity in the manner provided in this Rule.
Section 2. Manner of authentication. – Before any private electronic document offered as authentic is received

in evidence, its authenticity must be proved by any of the following means:
(a) by evidence that it had been digitally signed by the person purported to have signed the same;
(b) by evidence that other appropriate security procedures or devices as may be authorized by the Supreme
Court or by law for authentication of electronic documents were applied to the document; or
(c) by other evidence showing its integrity and reliability to the satisfaction of the judge.
Aznar claims that his testimony complies with par. (c), i.e., it constitutes the "other evidence showing integrity
and reliability of Exh. "G" to the satisfaction of the judge." The Court is not convinced. Aznar’s testimony that
the person from Ingtan Agency merely handed him the computer print-out and that he thereafter asked said
person to sign the same cannot be considered as sufficient to show said print-out’s integrity and reliability. As
correctly pointed out by Judge Marcos in his May 29, 1998 Decision, Exh. "G" does not show on its face that it
was issued by Ingtan Agency as Aznar merely mentioned in passing how he was able to secure the print-out
from the agency; Aznar also failed to show the specific business address of the source of the computer printout because while the name of Ingtan Agency was mentioned by Aznar, its business address was not reflected
in the print-out.45
Indeed, Aznar failed to demonstrate how the information reflected on the print-out was generated and how the
said information could be relied upon as true. In fact, Aznar to repeat, testified as follows:
ATTY. NERI
Q Now, paragraph 12 also states and I quote: "its entry in the "hot" list was confirmed to be authentic"
Now, who confirmed that the blacklisting of your Preferred Citibank Mastercard was authentic?
A Okey. When I presented this Mastercard, my card rather, at the Merchant’s store, I do not know, they called
up somebody for verification then later they told me that "your card is being denied". So, I am not in a position
to answer that. I do not know whom they called up; where they verified. So, when it is denied that’s
presumed to be blacklisted.46 (Emphasis supplied)
Aznar next invokes Section 43 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, which pertains to entries in the course of
business, to support Exh. "G". Said provision reads:
Sec. 43. Entries in the course of business. – Entries made at, or near the time of the transactions to which they
refer, by a person deceased or unable to testify, who was in a position to know the facts therein stated, may be
received as prima facie evidence, if such person made the entries in his professional capacity or in the
performance of duty and in the ordinary or regular course of business or duty.
Under this rule, however, the following conditions are required:
1. the person who made the entry must be dead, or unable to testify;
2. the entries were made at or near the time of the transactions to which they refer;
3. the entrant was in a position to know the facts stated in the entries;
4. the entries were made in his professional capacity or in the performance of a duty, whether legal,
contractual, moral or religious; and
5. the entries were made in the ordinary or regular course of business or duty.47
As correctly pointed out by the RTC in its May 29, 1998 Decision, there appears on the computer print-out the
name of a certain "Victrina Elnado Nubi" and a signature purportedly belonging to her, and at the left dorsal
side were handwritten the words "Sorry for the delay since the records had to be retrieved. Regards. Darryl
Mario." It is not clear therefore if it was Nubi who encoded the information stated in the print-out and was the
one who printed the same. The handwritten annotation signed by a certain Darryl Mario even suggests that it
was Mario who printed the same and only handed the print-out to Nubi. The identity of the entrant, required by
the provision above mentioned, was therefore not established. Neither did petitioner establish in what
professional capacity did Mario or Nubi make the entries, or whether the entries were made in the performance
of their duty in the ordinary or regular course of business or duty.
And even if Exh. "G" is admitted as evidence, it only shows that the use of the credit card of petitioner was
denied because it was already over the limit. There is no allegation in the Complaint or evidence to show that
there was gross negligence on the part of Citibank in declaring that the credit card has been used over the
limit.
The Court is also perplexed that stated on Exh. "G" is the amount of "6,289,195.10" opposite petitioner's
account number, which data, petitioner did not clarify.48 As plaintiff in this case, it was incumbent on him to

prove that he did not actually incur the said amount which is above his credit limit. As it is, the Court cannot see
how Exh. "G" could help petitioner's claim for damages.
The claim of petitioner that Citibank blacklisted his card through fraud or gross negligence is likewise
effectively negated by the evidence of Citibank which was correctly upheld by the RTC and the CA, to wit:
xxx Mr. Dennis Flores, the Head of the Credit Card Department of defendant Bank, presented documents
known as Warning Cancellation Bulletin for July 10, 17, 24, and 31, 1994 (Exhibits ‘3’, ‘3-1’ to ‘3-38’, ‘4’, ‘4-1’ to
‘4-38’ ‘5’, ‘5-1’ to ‘5-39’ and ‘6’, ‘6-1’ to ‘6-39’), for August 7, 1994 (Exhibit[s] ‘7’, ‘7-1’ to ‘7-37’), for August 8,
1994 (Exhibit[s] ‘8’, ‘8-1’ to ‘8-20’) which show that plaintiff’s Citibank preferred mastercard was not placed in a
hot list or was not blacklisted.
The Warning Cancellation Bulletins (WCB) (Exhibits ‘3’, ‘4’, ‘5’, ‘6’, ‘7’, ‘8’ and their submarkings) which covered
the period of four (4) days in July 1994 (from July 10, 17, 24 and 31, 1994), and two (2) days in August 1994,
(August 7 and 8, 1994), when plaintiff traveled in the aforementioned Asian countries showed that said Citibank
preferred mastercard had never been placed in a ‘hot list’ or the same was blacklisted, let alone the fact that all
the credit cards which had been cancelled by the defendant bank were all contained, reported and listed in
said Warning Cancellation Bulletin which were issued and released on a regular basis.
These three hundred (300) Warning Cancellation Bulletins pieces of documentary proofs, all in all, adduced by
defendant pointed to the fact that said plaintiff’s credit car (sic) was not among those found in said bulletins as
having been cancelled for the period for which the said bulletins had been issued.
Between said computer print out (Exhibit ‘G’) and the Warning Cancellation Bulletins (Exhibits ‘3’ to ‘8’ and their
submarkings) the latter documents adduced by defendant are entitled to greater weight than that said
computer print out presented by plaintiff that bears on the issue of whether the plaintiff’s preferred master card
was actually placed in the ‘hot list’ or blacklisted for the following reasons:
The first reason is that the due execution and authentication of these Warning Cancellation Bulletins (or WCB)
have been duly established and identified by defendant’s own witness, Dennis Flores, one of the bank’s
officers, who is the head of its credit card department, and, therefore, competent to testify on the said bulletins
as having been issued by the defendant bank showing that plaintiff’s preferred master credit card was never
blacklisted or placed in the Bank’s ‘hot list’. But on the other hand, plaintiff’s computer print out (Exhibit ‘G’)
was never authenticated or its due execution had never been duly established. Thus, between a set of duly
authenticated commercial documents, the Warning Cancellation Bulletins (Exhibits ‘3’ to ‘8’ and their
submarkings), presented by defendants (sic) and an unauthenticated private document, plaintiff’s computer
print out (Exhibit ‘G’), the former deserves greater evidentiary weight supporting the findings of this Court that
plaintiff’s preferred master card (Exhibit ‘1’) had never been blacklisted at all or placed in a so-called ‘hot list’ by
defendant.49
Petitioner next argues that with the additional deposit he made in his account which was accepted by Citibank,
there was an implied novation and Citibank was under the obligation to increase his credit limit and make the
necessary entries in its computerized systems in order that petitioner may not encounter any embarrassing
situation with the use of his credit card. Again, the Court finds that petitioner's argument on this point has no
leg to stand on.
Citibank never denied that it received petitioner’s additional deposit.50 It even claimed that petitioner was able
to purchase plane tickets from Cebu to Kuala Lumpur in the amount of P237,170.00, which amount was
beyond his P150,000.00 limit, because it was able to credit petitioner’s additional deposit to his account. Flores
of Citibank testified:
COURT:
Q When was this ticket purchased, after the account was augmented
or before?
A After the account was augmented, Your Honor, because there is no way we can approve a P250,000.00
purchase with a P150,000.00 credit limit.51
xxx
ATTY. NERI:
For the record, your honor, the deposit of P450,000.00 was made as per exhibit of the plaintiff on June
28. The purchase of the tickets amount to P237,000.00 was approved and debited on the account of Mr.
Aznar on July 20, your honor. The deposit was made about a month before the purchase of the tickets
as per documentary exhibits, your honor.
COURT:
So, Atty. Navarro, what do you say to that explanation?

ATTY. NAVARRO [counsel of petitioner]:
That is correct, your honor, that is borne out by the records, your honor. (Emphasis supplied)
COURT: (to witness)
Q So, I think Atty. Navarro is only after whether a credit line could be extended?
A Yes, your honor.
Q Even if there is no augmenting?
A No, sir, it is not possible. So, the only way the P237,000.00 transaction could be approved was by way
of advance payment which actually happened in this case because there is no way that the P237,000.00
can be approved with the P150,000.00 credit limit.52 (Emphasis supplied)
The allegations of blacklisting not having been proved, is Citibank liable for damages for the dishonor of
Aznar’s Mastercard?
Again, the answer is no.
Citibank, in its attempt to evade liability, invokes paragraphs 7 and 15 of the terms and conditions governing
the issuance of its Mastercard which read:
7. MERCHANT AFFILIATES. [Citibank is] not responsible if the Card is not honored by any merchant affiliate
for any reason. Furthermore, [the cardholder] will not hold [Citibank] responsible for any defective product or
service purchased through the Card.
xxxx
15. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. In any action arising from this agreement or any incident thereto which [the
cardholder] or any other party may file against [Citibank], [Citibank’s] liability shall not exceed One Thousand
Pesos [P1,000.00] or the actual damages proven, whichever is lesser.53
On this point, the Court agrees with Aznar that the terms and conditions of Citibank’s Mastercard constitute a
contract of adhesion. It is settled that contracts between cardholders and the credit card companies are
contracts of adhesion, so-called, because their terms are prepared by only one party while the other merely
affixes his signature signifying his adhesion thereto.54
In this case, paragraph 7 of the terms and conditions states that "[Citibank is] not responsible if the Card is not
honored by any merchant affiliate for any reason x x x". While it is true that Citibank may have no control of all
the actions of its merchant affiliates, and should not be held liable therefor, it is incorrect, however, to give it
blanket freedom from liability if its card is dishonored by any merchant affiliate for any reason. Such phrase
renders the statement vague and as the said terms and conditions constitute a contract of adhesion, any
ambiguity in its provisions must be construed against the party who prepared the contract, 55 in this case
Citibank.
Citibank also invokes paragraph 15 of its terms and conditions which limits its liability to P1,000.00 or the
actual damage proven, whichever is lesser.
Again, such stipulation cannot be considered as valid for being unconscionable as it precludes payment of a
larger amount even though damage may be clearly proven. This Court is not precluded from ruling out blind
adherence to the terms of a contract if the attendant facts and circumstances show that they should be ignored
for being obviously too one-sided.56
The invalidity of the terms and conditions being invoked by Citibank, notwithstanding, the Court still cannot
award damages in favor of petitioner.
It is settled that in order that a plaintiff may maintain an action for the injuries of which he complains, he must
establish that such injuries resulted from a breach of duty which the defendant owed to the plaintiff – a
concurrence of injury to the plaintiff and legal responsibility by the person causing it. The underlying basis for
the award of tort damages is the premise that an individual was injured in contemplation of law; thus there
must first be a breach before damages may be awarded and the breach of such duty should be the proximate
cause of the injury.57
It is not enough that one merely suffered sleepless nights, mental anguish or serious anxiety as a result of the
actuations of the other party. It is also required that a culpable act or omission was factually established, that
proof that the wrongful act or omission of the defendant is shown as the proximate cause of the damage
sustained by the claimant and that the case is predicated on any of the instances expressed or envisioned by
Arts. 221958 and 222059 of the Civil Code.60

In culpa contractual or breach of contract, moral damages are recoverable only if the defendant has acted
fraudulently or in bad faith, or is found guilty of gross negligence amounting to bad faith, or in wanton disregard
of his contractual obligations. The breach must be wanton, reckless, malicious or in bad faith, oppressive or
abusive.61
While the Court commiserates with Aznar for whatever undue embarrassment he suffered when his credit card
was dishonored by Ingtan Agency, especially when the agency’s personnel insinuated that he could be a
swindler trying to use blacklisted cards, the Court cannot grant his present petition as he failed to show by
preponderance of evidence that Citibank breached any obligation that would make it answerable for said
suffering.
As the Court pronounced in BPI Express Card Corporation v. Court of Appeals,62
We do not dispute the findings of the lower court that private respondent suffered damages as a result of the
cancellation of his credit card. However, there is a material distinction between damages and injury. Injury is
the illegal invasion of a legal right; damage is the loss, hurt, or harm which results from the injury; and
damages are the recompense or compensation awarded for the damage suffered. Thus, there can be damage
without injury to those instances in which the loss or harm was not the result of a violation of a legal duty. In
such cases, the consequences must be borne by the injured person alone, the law affords no remedy for
damages resulting from an act which does not amount to a legal injury or wrong. These situations are often
called damnum absque injuria.63
WHEREFORE, the petition is denied for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 97336 February 19, 1993
GASHEM SHOOKAT BAKSH, petitioner, vs.HON. COURT OF APPEALS and MARILOU T. GONZALES,
respondents.
Public Attorney's Office for petitioner.
Corleto R. Castro for private respondent.
DAVIDE, JR., J.:
This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to review and set aside the Decision
1
of the respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 24256 which affirmed in toto the 16 October 1939
Decision of Branch 38 (Lingayen) of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pangasinan in Civil Case No. 16503.
Presented is the issue of whether or not damages may be recovered for a breach of promise to marry on the
basis of Article 21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.
The antecedents of this case are not complicated:
On 27 October 1987, private respondent, without the assistance of counsel, filed with the aforesaid trial court a
complaint 2 for damages against the petitioner for the alleged violation of their agreement to get married. She
alleges in said complaint that: she is twenty-two (22) years old, single, Filipino and a pretty lass of good moral
character and reputation duly respected in her community; petitioner, on the other hand, is an Iranian citizen
residing at the Lozano Apartments, Guilig, Dagupan City, and is an exchange student taking a medical course
at the Lyceum Northwestern Colleges in Dagupan City; before 20 August 1987, the latter courted and
proposed to marry her; she accepted his love on the condition that they would get married; they therefore
agreed to get married after the end of the school semester, which was in October of that year; petitioner then
visited the private respondent's parents in Bañaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan to secure their approval to the
marriage; sometime in 20 August 1987, the petitioner forced her to live with him in the Lozano Apartments; she
was a virgin before she began living with him; a week before the filing of the complaint, petitioner's attitude
towards her started to change; he maltreated and threatened to kill her; as a result of such maltreatment, she
sustained injuries; during a confrontation with a representative of the barangay captain of Guilig a day before
the filing of the complaint, petitioner repudiated their marriage agreement and asked her not to live with him
anymore and; the petitioner is already married to someone living in Bacolod City. Private respondent then
prayed for judgment ordering the petitioner to pay her damages in the amount of not less than P45,000.00,
reimbursement for actual expenses amounting to P600.00, attorney's fees and costs, and granting her such
other relief and remedies as may be just and equitable. The complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. 16503.
In his Answer with Counterclaim, 3 petitioner admitted only the personal circumstances of the parties as averred
in the complaint and denied the rest of the allegations either for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to
form a belief as to the truth thereof or because the true facts are those alleged as his Special and Affirmative
Defenses. He thus claimed that he never proposed marriage to or agreed to be married with the private
respondent; he neither sought the consent and approval of her parents nor forced her to live in his apartment;
he did not maltreat her, but only told her to stop coming to his place because he discovered that she had
deceived him by stealing his money and passport; and finally, no confrontation took place with a representative
of the barangay captain. Insisting, in his Counterclaim, that the complaint is baseless and unfounded and that
as a result thereof, he was unnecessarily dragged into court and compelled to incur expenses, and has
suffered mental anxiety and a besmirched reputation, he prayed for an award of P5,000.00 for miscellaneous
expenses and P25,000.00 as moral damages.
After conducting a pre-trial on 25 January 1988, the trial court issued a Pre-Trial Order
stipulated facts which the parties had agreed upon, to wit:

4

embodying the

1. That the plaintiff is single and resident (sic) of Bañaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan, while the defendant is single,
Iranian citizen and resident (sic) of Lozano Apartment, Guilig, Dagupan City since September 1, 1987 up to the
present;
2. That the defendant is presently studying at Lyceum Northwestern, Dagupan City, College of Medicine,
second year medicine proper;
3. That the plaintiff is (sic) an employee at Mabuhay Luncheonette , Fernandez Avenue, Dagupan City since
July, 1986 up to the present and a (sic) high school graduate;
4. That the parties happened to know each other when the manager of the Mabuhay Luncheonette, Johhny
Rabino introduced the defendant to the plaintiff on August 3, 1986.
After trial on the merits, the lower court, applying Article 21 of the Civil Code, rendered on 16 October 1989 a
decision 5 favoring the private respondent. The petitioner was thus ordered to pay the latter damages and
attorney's fees; the dispositive portion of the decision reads:

IN THE LIGHT of the foregoing consideration, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against
the defendant.
1. Condemning (sic) the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of twenty thousand (P20,000.00) pesos as moral
damages.
2. Condemning further the defendant to play the plaintiff the sum of three thousand (P3,000.00) pesos as atty's
fees and two thousand (P2,000.00) pesos at (sic) litigation expenses and to pay the costs.
3. All other claims are denied. 6
The decision is anchored on the trial court's findings and conclusions that (a) petitioner and private respondent
were lovers, (b) private respondent is not a woman of loose morals or questionable virtue who readily submits
to sexual advances, (c) petitioner, through machinations, deceit and false pretenses, promised to marry private
respondent, d) because of his persuasive promise to marry her, she allowed herself to be deflowered by him,
(e) by reason of that deceitful promise, private respondent and her parents — in accordance with Filipino
customs and traditions — made some preparations for the wedding that was to be held at the end of October
1987 by looking for pigs and chickens, inviting friends and relatives and contracting sponsors, (f) petitioner did
not fulfill his promise to marry her and (g) such acts of the petitioner, who is a foreigner and who has abused
Philippine hospitality, have offended our sense of morality, good customs, culture and traditions. The trial court
gave full credit to the private respondent's testimony because, inter alia, she would not have had the temerity
and courage to come to court and expose her honor and reputation to public scrutiny and ridicule if her claim
was false. 7
The above findings and conclusions were culled from the detailed summary of the evidence for the private
respondent in the foregoing decision, digested by the respondent Court as follows:
According to plaintiff, who claimed that she was a virgin at the time and that she never had a boyfriend before,
defendant started courting her just a few days after they first met. He later proposed marriage to her several
times and she accepted his love as well as his proposal of marriage on August 20, 1987, on which same day
he went with her to her hometown of Bañaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan, as he wanted to meet her parents and
inform them of their relationship and their intention to get married. The photographs Exhs. "A" to "E" (and their
submarkings) of defendant with members of plaintiff's family or with plaintiff, were taken that day. Also on that
occasion, defendant told plaintiffs parents and brothers and sisters that he intended to marry her during the
semestral break in October, 1987, and because plaintiff's parents thought he was good and trusted him, they
agreed to his proposal for him to marry their daughter, and they likewise allowed him to stay in their house and
sleep with plaintiff during the few days that they were in Bugallon. When plaintiff and defendant later returned
to Dagupan City, they continued to live together in defendant's apartment. However, in the early days of
October, 1987, defendant would tie plaintiff's hands and feet while he went to school, and he even gave her
medicine at 4 o'clock in the morning that made her sleep the whole day and night until the following day. As a
result of this live-in relationship, plaintiff became pregnant, but defendant gave her some medicine to abort the
fetus. Still plaintiff continued to live with defendant and kept reminding him of his promise to marry her until he
told her that he could not do so because he was already married to a girl in Bacolod City. That was the time
plaintiff left defendant, went home to her parents, and thereafter consulted a lawyer who accompanied her to
the barangay captain in Dagupan City. Plaintiff, her lawyer, her godmother, and a barangay tanod sent by the
barangay captain went to talk to defendant to still convince him to marry plaintiff, but defendant insisted that he
could not do so because he was already married to a girl in Bacolod City, although the truth, as stipulated by
the parties at the pre-trial, is that defendant is still single.
Plaintiff's father, a tricycle driver, also claimed that after defendant had informed them of his desire to marry
Marilou, he already looked for sponsors for the wedding, started preparing for the reception by looking for pigs
and chickens, and even already invited many relatives and friends to the forthcoming wedding. 8
Petitioner appealed the trial court's decision to the respondent Court of Appeals which docketed the case as
CA-G.R. CV No. 24256. In his Brief, 9 he contended that the trial court erred (a) in not dismissing the case for
lack of factual and legal basis and (b) in ordering him to pay moral damages, attorney's fees, litigation
expenses and costs.
On 18 February 1991, respondent Court promulgated the challenged decision 10 affirming in toto the trial
court's ruling of 16 October 1989. In sustaining the trial court's findings of fact, respondent Court made the
following analysis:
First of all, plaintiff, then only 21 years old when she met defendant who was already 29 years old at the time,
does not appear to be a girl of loose morals. It is uncontradicted that she was a virgin prior to her unfortunate
experience with defendant and never had boyfriend. She is, as described by the lower court, a barrio lass "not
used and accustomed to trend of modern urban life", and certainly would (sic) not have allowed "herself to be
deflowered by the defendant if there was no persuasive promise made by the defendant to marry her." In fact,
we agree with the lower court that plaintiff and defendant must have been sweethearts or so the plaintiff must
have thought because of the deception of defendant, for otherwise, she would not have allowed herself to be
photographed with defendant in public in so (sic) loving and tender poses as those depicted in the pictures
Exhs. "D" and "E". We cannot believe, therefore, defendant's pretense that plaintiff was a nobody to him except
a waitress at the restaurant where he usually ate. Defendant in fact admitted that he went to plaintiff's

hometown of Bañaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan, at least thrice; at (sic) the town fiesta on February 27, 1987 (p.
54, tsn May 18, 1988), at (sic) a beach party together with the manager and employees of the Mabuhay
Luncheonette on March 3, 1987 (p. 50, tsn id.), and on April 1, 1987 when he allegedly talked to plaintiff's
mother who told him to marry her daughter (pp. 55-56, tsn id.). Would defendant have left Dagupan City where
he was involved in the serious study of medicine to go to plaintiff's hometown in Bañaga, Bugallon, unless
there was (sic) some kind of special relationship between them? And this special relationship must indeed
have led to defendant's insincere proposal of marriage to plaintiff, communicated not only to her but also to her
parents, and (sic) Marites Rabino, the owner of the restaurant where plaintiff was working and where
defendant first proposed marriage to her, also knew of this love affair and defendant's proposal of marriage to
plaintiff, which she declared was the reason why plaintiff resigned from her job at the restaurant after she had
accepted defendant's proposal (pp. 6-7, tsn March 7, 1988).
Upon the other hand, appellant does not appear to be a man of good moral character and must think so low
and have so little respect and regard for Filipino women that he openly admitted that when he studied in
Bacolod City for several years where he finished his B.S. Biology before he came to Dagupan City to study
medicine, he had a common-law wife in Bacolod City. In other words, he also lived with another woman in
Bacolod City but did not marry that woman, just like what he did to plaintiff. It is not surprising, then, that he felt
so little compunction or remorse in pretending to love and promising to marry plaintiff, a young, innocent,
trustful country girl, in order to satisfy his lust on her. 11
and then concluded:
In sum, we are strongly convinced and so hold that it was defendant-appellant's fraudulent and deceptive
protestations of love for and promise to marry plaintiff that made her surrender her virtue and womanhood to
him and to live with him on the honest and sincere belief that he would keep said promise, and it was likewise
these (sic) fraud and deception on appellant's part that made plaintiff's parents agree to their daughter's livingin with him preparatory to their supposed marriage. And as these acts of appellant are palpably and
undoubtedly against morals, good customs, and public policy, and are even gravely and deeply derogatory and
insulting to our women, coming as they do from a foreigner who has been enjoying the hospitality of our people
and taking advantage of the opportunity to study in one of our institutions of learning, defendant-appellant
should indeed be made, under Art. 21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, to compensate for the moral
damages and injury that he had caused plaintiff, as the lower court ordered him to do in its decision in this
case. 12
Unfazed by his second defeat, petitioner filed the instant petition on 26 March 1991; he raises therein the
single issue of whether or not Article 21 of the Civil Code applies to the case at bar. 13
It is petitioner's thesis that said Article 21 is not applicable because he had not committed any moral wrong or
injury or violated any good custom or public policy; he has not professed love or proposed marriage to the
private respondent; and he has never maltreated her. He criticizes the trial court for liberally invoking Filipino
customs, traditions and culture, and ignoring the fact that since he is a foreigner, he is not conversant with such
Filipino customs, traditions and culture. As an Iranian Moslem, he is not familiar with Catholic and Christian
ways. He stresses that even if he had made a promise to marry, the subsequent failure to fulfill the same is
excusable or tolerable because of his Moslem upbringing; he then alludes to the Muslim Code which
purportedly allows a Muslim to take four (4) wives and concludes that on the basis thereof, the trial court erred
in ruling that he does not posses good moral character. Moreover, his controversial "common law life" is now
his legal wife as their marriage had been solemnized in civil ceremonies in the Iranian Embassy. As to his
unlawful cohabitation with the private respondent, petitioner claims that even if responsibility could be pinned
on him for the live-in relationship, the private respondent should also be faulted for consenting to an illicit
arrangement. Finally, petitioner asseverates that even if it was to be assumed arguendo that he had professed
his love to the private respondent and had also promised to marry her, such acts would not be actionable in
view of the special circumstances of the case. The mere breach of promise is not actionable. 14
On 26 August 1991, after the private respondent had filed her Comment to the petition and the petitioner had
filed his Reply thereto, this Court gave due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their
respective Memoranda, which they subsequently complied with.
As may be gleaned from the foregoing summation of the petitioner's arguments in support of his thesis, it is
clear that questions of fact, which boil down to the issue of the credibility of witnesses, are also raised. It is the
rule in this jurisdiction that appellate courts will not disturb the trial court's findings as to the credibility of
witnesses, the latter court having heard the witnesses and having had the opportunity to observe closely their
deportment and manner of testifying, unless the trial court had plainly overlooked facts of substance or value
which, if considered, might affect the result of the case. 15
Petitioner has miserably failed to convince Us that both the appellate and trial courts had overlooked any fact
of substance or values which could alter the result of the case.
Equally settled is the rule that only questions of law may be raised in a petition for review on certiorari under
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. It is not the function of this Court to analyze or weigh all over again the evidence
introduced by the parties before the lower court. There are, however, recognized exceptions to this rule. Thus,
in Medina vs. Asistio, Jr., 16 this Court took the time, again, to enumerate these exceptions:

xxx xxx xxx
(1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures (Joaquin v.
Navarro, 93 Phil. 257 [1953]); (2) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurb or impossible (Luna
v. Linatok, 74 Phil. 15 [1942]); (3) Where there is a grave abuse of discretion (Buyco v. People, 95 Phil. 453
[1955]); (4) When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts (Cruz v. Sosing, L-4875, Nov. 27,
1953); (5) When the findings of fact are conflicting (Casica v. Villaseca, L-9590 Ap. 30, 1957; unrep.) (6) When
the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the
admissions of both appellate and appellee (Evangelista v. Alto Surety and Insurance Co., 103 Phil. 401 [1958]);
(7) The findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court (Garcia v. Court of Appeals, 33
SCRA 622 [1970]; Sacay v. Sandiganbayan, 142 SCRA 593 [1986]); (8) When the findings of fact are
conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based (Ibid.,); (9) When the facts set forth in
the petition as well as in the petitioners main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents (Ibid.,); and
(10) The finding of fact of the Court of Appeals is premised on the supposed absence of evidence and is
contradicted by the evidence on record (Salazar v. Gutierrez, 33 SCRA 242 [1970]).
Petitioner has not endeavored to joint out to Us the existence of any of the above quoted exceptions in this
case. Consequently, the factual findings of the trial and appellate courts must be respected.
And now to the legal issue.
The existing rule is that a breach of promise to marry per se is not an actionable wrong. 17 Congress
deliberately eliminated from the draft of the New Civil Code the provisions that would have made it so. The
reason therefor is set forth in the report of the Senate Committees on the Proposed Civil Code, from which We
quote:
The elimination of this chapter is proposed. That breach of promise to marry is not actionable has been
definitely decided in the case of De Jesus vs. Syquia. 18 The history of breach of promise suits in the United
States and in England has shown that no other action lends itself more readily to abuse by designing women
and unscrupulous men. It is this experience which has led to the abolition of rights of action in the so-called
Heart Balm suits in many of the American states. . . . 19
This notwithstanding, the said Code contains a provision, Article 21, which is designed to expand the concept
of torts or quasi-delict in this jurisdiction by granting adequate legal remedy for the untold number of moral
wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to specifically enumerate and punish in the statute books. 20
As the Code Commission itself stated in its Report:
But the Code Commission had gone farther than the sphere of wrongs defined or determined by positive law.
Fully sensible that there are countless gaps in the statutes, which leave so many victims of moral wrongs
helpless, even though they have actually suffered material and moral injury, the Commission has deemed it
necessary, in the interest of justice, to incorporate in the proposed Civil Code the following rule:
Art. 23. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good
customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.
An example will illustrate the purview of the foregoing norm: "A" seduces the nineteen-year old daughter of "X".
A promise of marriage either has not been made, or can not be proved. The girl becomes pregnant. Under the
present laws, there is no crime, as the girl is above nineteen years of age. Neither can any civil action for
breach of promise of marriage be filed. Therefore, though the grievous moral wrong has been committed, and
though the girl and family have suffered incalculable moral damage, she and her parents cannot bring action
for damages. But under the proposed article, she and her parents would have such a right of action.
Thus at one stroke, the legislator, if the forgoing rule is approved, would vouchsafe adequate legal remedy for
that untold number of moral wrongs which it is impossible for human foresight to provide for specifically in the
statutes. 21
Article 2176 of the Civil Code, which defines a quasi-delict thus:
Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for
the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties,
is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
is limited to negligent acts or omissions and excludes the notion of willfulness or intent. Quasi-delict, known in
Spanish legal treatises as culpa aquiliana, is a civil law concept while torts is an Anglo-American or common
law concept. Torts is much broader than culpa aquiliana because it includes not only negligence, but
international criminal acts as well such as assault and battery, false imprisonment and deceit. In the general
scheme of the Philippine legal system envisioned by the Commission responsible for drafting the New Civil
Code, intentional and malicious acts, with certain exceptions, are to be governed by the Revised Penal Code
while negligent acts or omissions are to be covered by Article 2176 of the Civil Code. 22 In between these
opposite spectrums are injurious acts which, in the absence of Article 21, would have been beyond redress.
Thus, Article 21 fills that vacuum. It is even postulated that together with Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code,

Article 21 has greatly broadened the scope of the law on civil wrongs; it has become much more supple and
adaptable than the Anglo-American law on torts. 23
In the light of the above laudable purpose of Article 21, We are of the opinion, and so hold, that where a man's
promise to marry is in fact the proximate cause of the acceptance of his love by a woman and his
representation to fulfill that promise thereafter becomes the proximate cause of the giving of herself unto him in
a sexual congress, proof that he had, in reality, no intention of marrying her and that the promise was only a
subtle scheme or deceptive device to entice or inveigle her to accept him and to obtain her consent to the
sexual act, could justify the award of damages pursuant to Article 21 not because of such promise to marry but
because of the fraud and deceit behind it and the willful injury to her honor and reputation which followed
thereafter. It is essential, however, that such injury should have been committed in a manner contrary to
morals, good customs or public policy.
In the instant case, respondent Court found that it was the petitioner's "fraudulent and deceptive protestations
of love for and promise to marry plaintiff that made her surrender her virtue and womanhood to him and to live
with him on the honest and sincere belief that he would keep said promise, and it was likewise these fraud and
deception on appellant's part that made plaintiff's parents agree to their daughter's living-in with him
preparatory to their supposed marriage." 24 In short, the private respondent surrendered her virginity, the
cherished possession of every single Filipina, not because of lust but because of moral seduction — the kind
illustrated by the Code Commission in its example earlier adverted to. The petitioner could not be held liable for
criminal seduction punished under either Article 337 or Article 338 of the Revised Penal Code because the
private respondent was above eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the seduction.
Prior decisions of this Court clearly suggest that Article 21 may be applied in a breach of promise to marry
where the woman is a victim of moral seduction. Thus, in Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals, 25 this Court
denied recovery of damages to the woman because:
. . . we find ourselves unable to say that petitioner is morally guilty of seduction, not only because he is
approximately ten (10) years younger than the complainant — who was around thirty-six (36) years of age, and
as highly enlightened as a former high school teacher and a life insurance agent are supposed to be — when
she became intimate with petitioner, then a mere apprentice pilot, but, also, because the court of first instance
found that, complainant "surrendered herself" to petitioner because, "overwhelmed by her love" for him, she
"wanted to bind" him by having a fruit of their engagement even before they had the benefit of clergy.
In Tanjanco vs. Court of Appeals, 26 while this Court likewise hinted at possible recovery if there had been
moral seduction, recovery was eventually denied because We were not convinced that such seduction existed.
The following enlightening disquisition and conclusion were made in the said case:
The Court of Appeals seem to have overlooked that the example set forth in the Code Commission's
memorandum refers to a tort upon a minor who had been seduced. The essential feature is seduction, that in
law is more than mere sexual intercourse, or a breach of a promise of marriage; it connotes essentially the
idea of deceit, enticement, superior power or abuse of confidence on the part of the seducer to which the
woman has yielded (U.S. vs. Buenaventura, 27 Phil. 121; U.S. vs. Arlante, 9 Phil. 595).
It has been ruled in the Buenaventura case (supra) that —
To constitute seduction there must in all cases be some sufficient promise or inducement and the woman must
yield because of the promise or other inducement. If she consents merely from carnal lust and the intercourse
is from mutual desire, there is no seduction (43 Cent. Dig. tit. Seduction, par. 56) She must be induced to
depart from the path of virtue by the use of some species of arts, persuasions and wiles, which are calculated
to have and do have that effect, and which result in her person to ultimately submitting her person to the sexual
embraces of her seducer (27 Phil. 123).
And in American Jurisprudence we find:
On the other hand, in an action by the woman, the enticement, persuasion or deception is the essence of the
injury; and a mere proof of intercourse is insufficient to warrant a recovery.
Accordingly it is not seduction where the willingness arises out of sexual desire of curiosity of the female, and
the defendant merely affords her the needed opportunity for the commission of the act. It has been
emphasized that to allow a recovery in all such cases would tend to the demoralization of the female sex, and
would be a reward for unchastity by which a class of adventuresses would be swift to profit. (47 Am. Jur. 662)
xxx xxx xxx
Over and above the partisan allegations, the fact stand out that for one whole year, from 1958 to 1959, the
plaintiff-appellee, a woman of adult age, maintain intimate sexual relations with appellant, with repeated acts of
intercourse. Such conduct is incompatible with the idea of seduction. Plainly there is here voluntariness and
mutual passion; for had the appellant been deceived, had she surrendered exclusively because of the deceit,
artful persuasions and wiles of the defendant, she would not have again yielded to his embraces, much less for
one year, without exacting early fulfillment of the alleged promises of marriage, and would have cut short all
sexual relations upon finding that defendant did not intend to fulfill his defendant did not intend to fulfill his

promise. Hence, we conclude that no case is made under article 21 of the Civil Code, and no other cause of
action being alleged, no error was committed by the Court of First Instance in dismissing the complaint. 27
In his annotations on the Civil Code, 28 Associate Justice Edgardo L. Paras, who recently retired from this
Court, opined that in a breach of promise to marry where there had been carnal knowledge, moral damages
may be recovered:
. . . if there be criminal or moral seduction, but not if the intercourse was due to mutual lust. (Hermosisima vs.
Court of Appeals, L-14628, Sept. 30, 1960; Estopa vs. Piansay, Jr., L-14733, Sept. 30, 1960; Batarra vs.
Marcos, 7 Phil. 56 (sic); Beatriz Galang vs. Court of Appeals, et al., L-17248, Jan. 29, 1962). (In other words, if
the CAUSE be the promise to marry, and the EFFECT be the carnal knowledge, there is a chance that there
was criminal or moral seduction, hence recovery of moral damages will prosper. If it be the other way around,
there can be no recovery of moral damages, because here mutual lust has intervened). . . .
together with "ACTUAL damages, should there be any, such as the expenses for the wedding presentations
(See Domalagon v. Bolifer, 33 Phil. 471).
Senator Arturo M. Tolentino 29 is also of the same persuasion:
It is submitted that the rule in Batarra vs. Marcos, 30 still subsists, notwithstanding the incorporation of the
present article 31 in the Code. The example given by the Code Commission is correct, if there was seduction,
not necessarily in the legal sense, but in the vulgar sense of deception. But when the sexual act is
accomplished without any deceit or qualifying circumstance of abuse of authority or influence, but the woman,
already of age, has knowingly given herself to a man, it cannot be said that there is an injury which can be the
basis for indemnity.
But so long as there is fraud, which is characterized by willfulness (sic), the action lies. The court, however,
must weigh the degree of fraud, if it is sufficient to deceive the woman under the circumstances, because an
act which would deceive a girl sixteen years of age may not constitute deceit as to an experienced woman
thirty years of age. But so long as there is a wrongful act and a resulting injury, there should be civil liability,
even if the act is not punishable under the criminal law and there should have been an acquittal or dismissal of
the criminal case for that reason.
We are unable to agree with the petitioner's alternative proposition to the effect that granting, for argument's
sake, that he did promise to marry the private respondent, the latter is nevertheless also at fault. According to
him, both parties are in pari delicto; hence, pursuant to Article 1412(1) of the Civil Code and the doctrine laid
down in Batarra vs. Marcos, 32 the private respondent cannot recover damages from the petitioner. The latter
even goes as far as stating that if the private respondent had "sustained any injury or damage in their
relationship, it is primarily because of her own doing, 33 for:
. . . She is also interested in the petitioner as the latter will become a doctor sooner or later. Take notice that
she is a plain high school graduate and a mere employee . . . (Annex "C") or a waitress (TSN, p. 51, January
25, 1988) in a luncheonette and without doubt, is in need of a man who can give her economic security. Her
family is in dire need of financial assistance. (TSN, pp. 51-53, May 18, 1988). And this predicament prompted
her to accept a proposition that may have been offered by the petitioner. 34
These statements reveal the true character and motive of the petitioner. It is clear that he harbors a
condescending, if not sarcastic, regard for the private respondent on account of the latter's ignoble birth,
inferior educational background, poverty and, as perceived by him, dishonorable employment. Obviously then,
from the very beginning, he was not at all moved by good faith and an honest motive. Marrying with a woman
so circumstances could not have even remotely occurred to him. Thus, his profession of love and promise to
marry were empty words directly intended to fool, dupe, entice, beguile and deceive the poor woman into
believing that indeed, he loved her and would want her to be his life's partner. His was nothing but pure lust
which he wanted satisfied by a Filipina who honestly believed that by accepting his proffer of love and proposal
of marriage, she would be able to enjoy a life of ease and security. Petitioner clearly violated the Filipino's
concept of morality and brazenly defied the traditional respect Filipinos have for their women. It can even be
said that the petitioner committed such deplorable acts in blatant disregard of Article 19 of the Civil Code which
directs every person to act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith in the
exercise of his rights and in the performance of his obligations.
No foreigner must be allowed to make a mockery of our laws, customs and traditions.
The pari delicto rule does not apply in this case for while indeed, the private respondent may not have been
impelled by the purest of intentions, she eventually submitted to the petitioner in sexual congress not out of
lust, but because of moral seduction. In fact, it is apparent that she had qualms of conscience about the entire
episode for as soon as she found out that the petitioner was not going to marry her after all, she left him. She is
not, therefore, in pari delicto with the petitioner. Pari delicto means "in equal fault; in a similar offense or crime;
equal in guilt or in legal fault." 35 At most, it could be conceded that she is merely in delicto.
Equity often interferes for the relief of the less guilty of the parties, where his transgression has been brought
about by the imposition of undue influence of the party on whom the burden of the original wrong principally
rests, or where his consent to the transaction was itself procured by fraud. 36

In Mangayao vs. Lasud, 37 We declared:
Appellants likewise stress that both parties being at fault, there should be no action by one against the other
(Art. 1412, New Civil Code). This rule, however, has been interpreted as applicable only where the fault on
both sides is, more or less, equivalent. It does not apply where one party is literate or intelligent and the other
one is not. (c.f. Bough vs. Cantiveros, 40 Phil. 209).
We should stress, however, that while We find for the private respondent, let it not be said that this Court
condones the deplorable behavior of her parents in letting her and the petitioner stay together in the same
room in their house after giving approval to their marriage. It is the solemn duty of parents to protect the honor
of their daughters and infuse upon them the higher values of morality and dignity.
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the challenged decision, the instant petition is hereby DENIED,
with costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Feliciano, Bidin, Romero and Melo, JJ., concur.
Gutierrez, Jr., J., is on leave.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 151866

September 9, 2004

SOLEDAD CARPIO, petitioner, vs.LEONORA A. VALMONTE, respondent.
DECISION
TINGA, J.:
Assailed in the instant petition for review is the Decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 69537, 1
promulgated on 17 January 2002.2 The appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision denying respondent’s
claim for damages against petitioner and ordered the latter to pay moral damages to the former in the amount
of P100,000.00.
Respondent Leonora Valmonte is a wedding coordinator. Michelle del Rosario and Jon Sierra engaged her
services for their church wedding on 10 October 1996. At about 4:30 p.m. on that day, Valmonte went to the
Manila Hotel where the bride and her family were billeted. When she arrived at Suite 326-A, several persons
were already there including the bride, the bride’s parents and relatives, the make-up artist and his assistant,
the official photographers, and the fashion designer. Among those present was petitioner Soledad Carpio, an
aunt of the bride who was preparing to dress up for the occasion.
After reporting to the bride, Valmonte went out of the suite carrying the items needed for the wedding rites and
the gifts from the principal sponsors. She proceeded to the Maynila Restaurant where the reception was to be
held. She paid the suppliers, gave the meal allowance to the band, and went back to the suite. Upon entering
the suite, Valmonte noticed the people staring at her. It was at this juncture that petitioner allegedly uttered the
following words to Valmonte: "Ikaw lang ang lumabas ng kwarto, nasaan ang dala mong bag? Saan ka
pumunta? Ikaw lang and lumabas ng kwarto, ikaw ang kumuha." Petitioner then ordered one of the ladies to
search Valmonte’s bag. It turned out that after Valmonte left the room to attend to her duties, petitioner
discovered that the pieces of jewelry which she placed inside the comfort room in a paper bag were lost. The
jewelry pieces consist of two (2) diamond rings, one (1) set of diamond earrings, bracelet and necklace with a
total value of about one million pesos. The hotel security was called in to help in the search. The bags and
personal belongings of all the people inside the room were searched. Valmonte was allegedly bodily searched,
interrogated and trailed by a security guard throughout the evening. Later, police officers arrived and
interviewed all persons who had access to the suite and fingerprinted them including Valmonte. During all the
time Valmonte was being interrogated by the police officers, petitioner kept on saying the words "Siya lang ang
lumabas ng kwarto." Valmonte’s car which was parked at the hotel premises was also searched but the search
yielded nothing.
A few days after the incident, petitioner received a letter from Valmonte demanding a formal letter of apology
which she wanted to be circulated to the newlyweds’ relatives and guests to redeem her smeared reputation as
a result of petitioner’s imputations against her. Petitioner did not respond to the letter. Thus, on 20 February
1997, Valmonte filed a suit for damages against her before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City,
Branch 268. In her complaint, Valmonte prayed that petitioner be ordered to pay actual, moral and exemplary
damages, as well as attorney’s fees.
Responding to the complaint, petitioner denied having uttered words or done any act to confront or single out
Valmonte during the investigation and claimed that everything that transpired after the theft incident was purely
a police matter in which she had no participation. Petitioner prayed for the dismissal of the complaint and for
the court to adjudge Valmonte liable on her counterclaim.
The trial court rendered its Decision on 21 August 2000, dismissing Valmonte’s complaint for damages. It ruled
that when petitioner sought investigation for the loss of her jewelry, she was merely exercising her right and if
damage results from a person exercising his legal right, it is damnum absque injuria. It added that no proof was
presented by Valmonte to show that petitioner acted maliciously and in bad faith in pointing to her as the
culprit. The court said that Valmonte failed to show that she suffered serious anxiety, moral shock, social
humiliation, or that her reputation was besmirched due to petitioner’s wrongful act.
Respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals alleging that the trial court erred in finding that petitioner did not
slander her good name and reputation and in disregarding the evidence she presented.
The Court of Appeals ruled differently. It opined that Valmonte has clearly established that she was singled out
by petitioner as the one responsible for the loss of her jewelry. It cited the testimony of Serena Manding,
corroborating Valmonte’s claim that petitioner confronted her and uttered words to the effect that she was the
only one who went out of the room and that she was the one who took the jewelry. The appellate court held
that Valmonte’s claim for damages is not predicated on the fact that she was subjected to body search and
interrogation by the police but rather petitioner’s act of publicly accusing her of taking the missing jewelry. It
categorized petitioner’s utterance defamatory considering that it imputed upon Valmonte the crime of theft. The
court concluded that petitioner’s verbal assault upon Valmonte was done with malice and in bad faith since it
was made in the presence of many people without any solid proof except petitioner’s suspicion. Such
unfounded accusation entitles Valmonte to an award of moral damages in the amount of P100,000.00 for she
was publicly humiliated, deeply insulted, and embarrassed. However, the court found no sufficient evidence to

justify the award of actual damages.
Hence, this petition.
Petitioner contends that the appellate court’s conclusion that she publicly humiliated respondent does not
conform to the evidence presented. She adds that even on the assumption that she uttered the words
complained of, it was not shown that she did so with malice and in bad faith.
In essence, petitioner would want this Court to review the factual conclusions reached by the appellate court.
The cardinal rule adhered to in this jurisdiction is that a petition for review must raise only questions of law, 3
and judicial review under Rule 45 does not extend to an evaluation of the sufficiency of evidence unless there
is a showing that the findings complained of are totally devoid of support in the record or that they are so
glaringly erroneous as to constitute serious abuse of discretion.4 This Court, while not a trier of facts, may
review the evidence in order to arrive at the correct factual conclusion based on the record especially so when
the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are at variance with those of the trial court, or when the inference
drawn by the Court of Appeals from the facts is manifestly mistaken.5
Contrary to the trial court’s finding, we find sufficient evidence on record tending to prove that petitioner’s
imputations against respondent was made with malice and in bad faith.
Petitioner’s testimony was shorn of substance and consists mainly of denials. She claimed not to have uttered
the words imputing the crime of theft to respondent or to have mentioned the latter’s name to the authorities as
the one responsible for the loss of her jewelry. Well-settled is the rule that denials, if unsubstantiated by clear
and convincing evidence, are negative and self-serving which merit no weight in law and cannot be given
greater evidentiary value over the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters.6
Respondent, however, has successfully refuted petitioner’s testimony. Quite credibly, she has narrated in great
detail her distressing experience on that fateful day. She testified as to how rudely she was treated by
petitioner right after she returned to the room. Petitioner immediately confronted her and uttered the words
"Ikaw lang ang lumabas ng kwarto. Nasaan ang dala mong bag? Saan ka pumunta? Ikaw ang kumuha."
Thereafter, her body was searched including her bag and her car. Worse, during the reception, she was once
more asked by the hotel security to go to the ladies room and she was again bodily searched.7
Sereña Manding, a make-up artist, corroborated respondent’s testimony. She testified that petitioner
confronted respondent in the presence of all the people inside the suite accusing her of being the only one who
went out of the comfort room before the loss of the jewelry. Manding added that respondent was embarrassed
because everybody else in the room thought she was a thief. 8 If only to debunk petitioner’s assertion that she
did not utter the accusatory remarks in question publicly and with malice, Manding’s testimony on the point
deserves to be reproduced. Thus,
Q After that what did she do?
A Then Leo came out from the other room she said, she is (sic) the one I only saw from the comfort room.
Q Now, what exact word (sic) were said by Mrs. Carpio on that matter?
A She said "siya lang yung nakita kong galing sa C.R."
Q And who was Mrs. Carpio or the defendant referring to?
A Leo Valmonte.
Q Did she say anything else, the defendant?
A Her jewelry were lost and Leo was the only one she saw in the C.R. After that she get (sic) the paper bag
then the jewelry were already gone.
Q Did she confront the plaintiff Mrs. Valmonte regarding that fact?
A Yes.
Q What did the defendant Mrs. Carpio tell the plaintiff, Mrs. Valmonte?
A "Ikaw yung nakita ko sa C.R. nawawala yung alahas ko."
Q When the defendant Mrs. Carpio said that to plaintiff Mrs. Valmonte were there other people inside the
room?
A Yes, sir.
Q Were they able to hear what Mrs. Carpio said to Mrs. Valmonte?

A Yes, sir.
Q What was your thinking at that time that Mrs. Carpio said that to Mrs. Valmonte?
A "Nakakahiya kasi akala ng iba doon na talagang magnanakaw siya. Kasi marami na kaming nandodoon,
dumating na yung couturier pati yung video man and we sir.
Q Who was the person you [were] alleging "na nakakahiya" whose (sic) being accused or being somebody
who stole those item of jewelry?
A "Nakakahiya para kay Leo kasi pinagbibintangan siya. Sa dami namin doon siya yung napagbintangan."
Q And who is Leo, what is her full name?
A Leo Valmonte.
Q Did the defendant tell this matter to other people inside the room?
A Yes, the mother of the bride.
Q And who else did she talk to?
A The father of the bride also.
Q And what did the defendant tell the mother regarding this matter?
A "Nawawala yung alahas ko." Sabi naman nung mother baka naman hindi mo dala tignan mo munang
mabuti.
Q Who was that other person that she talked to?
A Father of the bride.9
Significantly, petitioner’s counsel elected not to pursue her cross-examination of the witness on this point
following her terse and firm declaration that she remembered petitioner’s exact defamatory words in answer to
the counsel’s question.10
Jaime Papio, Security Supervisor at Manila Hotel, likewise contradicted petitioner’s allegation that she did not
suspect or mention the name of respondent as her suspect in the loss of the jewelry.11
To warrant recovery of damages, there must be both a right of action, for a wrong inflicted by the defendant,
and the damage resulting therefrom to the plaintiff. Wrong without damage, or damage without wrong, does not
constitute a cause of action.12
In the sphere of our law on human relations, the victim of a wrongful act or omission, whether done willfully or
negligently, is not left without any remedy or recourse to obtain relief for the damage or injury he sustained.
Incorporated into our civil law are not only principles of equity but also universal moral precepts which are
designed to indicate certain norms that spring from the fountain of good conscience and which are meant to
serve as guides for human conduct. 13 First of these fundamental precepts is the principle commonly known as
"abuse of rights" under Article 19 of the Civil Code. It provides that "Every person must, in the exercise of his
rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and
good faith." To find the existence of an abuse of right, the following elements must be present: (1) there is a
legal right or duty; (2) which is exercised in bad faith; (3) for the sole intent or prejudicing or injuring another. 14
When a right is exercised in a manner which discards these norms resulting in damage to another, a legal
wrong is committed for which the actor can be held accountable. 15 One is not allowed to exercise his right in a
manner which would cause unnecessary prejudice to another or if he would thereby offend morals or good
customs. Thus, a person should be protected only when he acts in the legitimate exercise of his right, that is
when he acts with prudence and good faith; but not when he acts with negligence or abuse.16
Complementing the principle of abuse of rights are the provisions of Articles 20 and 21 of the Civil Code which
read, thus:
Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, willfully or negligently causes damage to another, shall indemnify
the latter for the same.
Art. 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals or good
customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.
The foregoing rules provide the legal bedrock for the award of damages to a party who suffers damage
whenever one commits an act in violation of some legal provision, or an act which though not constituting a
transgression of positive law, nevertheless violates certain rudimentary rights of the party aggrieved.

In the case at bar, petitioner’s verbal reproach against respondent was certainly uncalled for considering that
by her own account nobody knew that she brought such kind and amount of jewelry inside the paper bag. 17
This being the case, she had no right to attack respondent with her innuendos which were not merely
inquisitive but outrightly accusatory. By openly accusing respondent as the only person who went out of the
room before the loss of the jewelry in the presence of all the guests therein, and ordering that she be
immediately bodily searched, petitioner virtually branded respondent as the thief. True, petitioner had the right
to ascertain the identity of the malefactor, but to malign respondent without an iota of proof that she was the
one who actually stole the jewelry is an act which, by any standard or principle of law is impermissible.
Petitioner had willfully caused injury to respondent in a manner which is contrary to morals and good customs.
Her firmness and resolve to find her missing jewelry cannot justify her acts toward respondent. She did not act
with justice and good faith for apparently, she had no other purpose in mind but to prejudice respondent.
Certainly, petitioner transgressed the provisions of Article 19 in relation to Article 21 for which she should be
held accountable.
Owing to the rule that great weight and even finality is given to factual conclusions of the Court of Appeals
which affirm those of the trial court, 18 we sustain the findings of the trial court and the appellate court that
respondent’s claim for actual damages has not been substantiated with satisfactory evidence during the trial
and must therefore be denied. To be recoverable, actual damages must be duly proved with reasonable
degree of certainty and the courts cannot rely on speculation, conjecture or guesswork.19
Respondent, however, is clearly entitled to an award of moral damages. Moral damages may be awarded
whenever the defendant’s wrongful act or omission is the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s physical suffering,
mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social
humiliation, and similar injury20 in the cases specified or analogous to those provided in Article 2219 of the Civil
Code.21 Though no proof of pecuniary loss is necessary in order that moral damages may be adjudicated,
courts are mandated to take into account all the circumstances obtaining in the case and assess damages
according to their discretion. 22 Worthy of note is that moral damages are not awarded to penalize the
defendant,23 or to enrich a complainant, but to enable the latter to obtain means, diversions or amusements
that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering he has undergone, by reason of defendant’s culpable action. In
any case, award of moral damages must be proportionate to the sufferings inflicted.24
Based on the foregoing jurisprudential pronouncements, we rule that the appellate court did not err in awarding
moral damages. Considering respondent’s social standing, and the fact that her profession is based primarily
on trust reposed in her by her clients, the seriousness of the imputations made by petitioner has greatly
tarnished her reputation and will in one way or the other, affect her future dealings with her clients, the award of
P100,000.00 as moral damages appears to be a fair and reasonable assessment of respondent’s damages.
WHEREFORE, the instant Petition is DENIED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, Austria-Martinez*, Callejo, Sr., and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-19671

November 29, 1965

PASTOR B. TENCHAVEZ, plaintiff-appellant, vs.VICENTA F. ESCAÑO, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
I. V. Binamira & F. B. Barria for plaintiff-appellant.Jalandoni & Jarnir for defendants-appellees.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
Direct appeal, on factual and legal questions, from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, in its
Civil Case No. R-4177, denying the claim of the plaintiff-appellant, Pastor B. Tenchavez, for legal separation
and one million pesos in damages against his wife and parents-in-law, the defendants-appellees, Vicente,
Mamerto and Mena,1 all surnamed "Escaño," respectively.2
The facts, supported by the evidence of record, are the following:
Missing her late afternoon classes on 24 February 1948 in the University of San Carlos, Cebu City, where she
was then enrolled as a second year student of commerce, Vicenta Escaño, 27 years of age (scion of a well-todo and socially prominent Filipino family of Spanish ancestry and a "sheltered colegiala"), exchanged marriage
vows with Pastor Tenchavez, 32 years of age, an engineer, ex-army officer and of undistinguished stock,
without the knowledge of her parents, before a Catholic chaplain, Lt. Moises Lavares, in the house of one Juan
Alburo in the said city. The marriage was the culmination of a previous love affair and was duly registered with
the local civil register.
Vicenta's letters to Pastor, and his to her, before the marriage, indicate that the couple were deeply in love.
Together with a friend, Pacita Noel, their matchmaker and go-between, they had planned out their marital
future whereby Pacita would be the governess of their first-born; they started saving money in a piggy bank. A
few weeks before their secret marriage, their engagement was broken; Vicenta returned the engagement ring
and accepted another suitor, Joseling Lao. Her love for Pastor beckoned; she pleaded for his return, and they
reconciled. This time they planned to get married and then elope. To facilitate the elopement, Vicenta had
brought some of her clothes to the room of Pacita Noel in St. Mary's Hall, which was their usual trysting place.
Although planned for the midnight following their marriage, the elopement did not, however, materialize
because when Vicente went back to her classes after the marriage, her mother, who got wind of the intended
nuptials, was already waiting for her at the college. Vicenta was taken home where she admitted that she had
already married Pastor. Mamerto and Mena Escaño were surprised, because Pastor never asked for the hand
of Vicente, and were disgusted because of the great scandal that the clandestine marriage would provoke
(t.s.n., vol. III, pp. 1105-06). The following morning, the Escaño spouses sought priestly advice. Father Reynes
suggested a recelebration to validate what he believed to be an invalid marriage, from the standpoint of the
Church, due to the lack of authority from the Archbishop or the parish priest for the officiating chaplain to
celebrate the marriage. The recelebration did not take place, because on 26 February 1948 Mamerto Escaño
was handed by a maid, whose name he claims he does not remember, a letter purportedly coming from San
Carlos college students and disclosing an amorous relationship between Pastor Tenchavez and Pacita Noel;
Vicenta translated the letter to her father, and thereafter would not agree to a new marriage. Vicenta and
Pastor met that day in the house of Mrs. Pilar Mendezona. Thereafter, Vicenta continued living with her parents
while Pastor returned to his job in Manila. Her letter of 22 March 1948 (Exh. "M"), while still solicitous of her
husband's welfare, was not as endearing as her previous letters when their love was aflame.
Vicenta was bred in Catholic ways but is of a changeable disposition, and Pastor knew it. She fondly accepted
her being called a "jellyfish." She was not prevented by her parents from communicating with Pastor (Exh. "1Escaño"), but her letters became less frequent as the days passed. As of June, 1948 the newlyweds were
already estranged (Exh. "2-Escaño"). Vicenta had gone to Jimenez, Misamis Occidental, to escape from the
scandal that her marriage stirred in Cebu society. There, a lawyer filed for her a petition, drafted by then
Senator Emmanuel Pelaez, to annul her marriage. She did not sign the petition (Exh. "B-5"). The case was
dismissed without prejudice because of her non-appearance at the hearing (Exh. "B-4").
On 24 June 1950, without informing her husband, she applied for a passport, indicating in her application that
she was single, that her purpose was to study, and she was domiciled in Cebu City, and that she intended to
return after two years. The application was approved, and she left for the United States. On 22 August 1950,
she filed a verified complaint for divorce against the herein plaintiff in the Second Judicial District Court of the
State of Nevada in and for the County of Washoe, on the ground of "extreme cruelty, entirely mental in
character." On 21 October 1950, a decree of divorce, "final and absolute", was issued in open court by the said
tribunal.
In 1951 Mamerto and Mena Escaño filed a petition with the Archbishop of Cebu to annul their daughter's
marriage to Pastor (Exh. "D"). On 10 September 1954, Vicenta sought papal dispensation of her marriage
(Exh. "D"-2).
On 13 September 1954, Vicenta married an American, Russell Leo Moran, in Nevada. She now lives with him
in California, and, by him, has begotten children. She acquired American citizenship on 8 August 1958.
But on 30 July 1955, Tenchavez had initiated the proceedings at bar by a complaint in the Court of First

Instance of Cebu, and amended on 31 May 1956, against Vicenta F. Escaño, her parents, Mamerto and Mena
Escaño, whom he charged with having dissuaded and discouraged Vicenta from joining her husband, and
alienating her affections, and against the Roman Catholic Church, for having, through its Diocesan Tribunal,
decreed the annulment of the marriage, and asked for legal separation and one million pesos in damages.
Vicenta claimed a valid divorce from plaintiff and an equally valid marriage to her present husband, Russell
Leo Moran; while her parents denied that they had in any way influenced their daughter's acts, and
counterclaimed for moral damages.
The appealed judgment did not decree a legal separation, but freed the plaintiff from supporting his wife and to
acquire property to the exclusion of his wife. It allowed the counterclaim of Mamerto Escaño and Mena Escaño
for moral and exemplary damages and attorney's fees against the plaintiff-appellant, to the extent of
P45,000.00, and plaintiff resorted directly to this Court.
The appellant ascribes, as errors of the trial court, the following:
1. In not declaring legal separation; in not holding defendant Vicenta F. Escaño liable for damages and in
dismissing the complaint;.
2. In not holding the defendant parents Mamerto Escano and the heirs of Doña Mena Escaño liable for
damages;.
3 In holding the plaintiff liable for and requiring him to pay the damages to the defendant parents on their
counterclaims; and.
4. In dismissing the complaint and in denying the relief sought by the plaintiff.
That on 24 February 1948 the plaintiff-appellant, Pastor Tenchavez, and the defendant-appellee, Vicenta
Escaño, were validly married to each other, from the standpoint of our civil law, is clearly established by the
record before us. Both parties were then above the age of majority, and otherwise qualified; and both
consented to the marriage, which was performed by a Catholic priest (army chaplain Lavares) in the presence
of competent witnesses. It is nowhere shown that said priest was not duly authorized under civil law to
solemnize marriages.
The chaplain's alleged lack of ecclesiastical authorization from the parish priest and the Ordinary, as required
by Canon law, is irrelevant in our civil law, not only because of the separation of Church and State but also
because Act 3613 of the Philippine Legislature (which was the marriage law in force at the time) expressly
provided that —
SEC. 1. Essential requisites. Essential requisites for marriage are the legal capacity of the contracting parties
and consent. (Emphasis supplied)
The actual authority of the solemnizing officer was thus only a formal requirement, and, therefore, not essential
to give the marriage civil effects,3 and this is emphasized by section 27 of said marriage act, which provided
the following:
SEC. 27. Failure to comply with formal requirements. No marriage shall be declared invalid because of the
absence of one or several of the formal requirements of this Act if, when it was performed, the spouses or one
of them believed in good faith that the person who solemnized the marriage was actually empowered to do so,
and that the marriage was perfectly legal.
The good faith of all the parties to the marriage (and hence the validity of their marriage) will be presumed until
the contrary is positively proved (Lao vs. Dee Tim, 45 Phil. 739, 745; Francisco vs. Jason, 60 Phil. 442, 448). It
is well to note here that in the case at bar, doubts as to the authority of the solemnizing priest arose only after
the marriage, when Vicenta's parents consulted Father Reynes and the archbishop of Cebu. Moreover, the
very act of Vicenta in abandoning her original action for annulment and subsequently suing for divorce implies
an admission that her marriage to plaintiff was valid and binding.
Defendant Vicenta Escaño argues that when she contracted the marriage she was under the undue influence
of Pacita Noel, whom she charges to have been in conspiracy with appellant Tenchavez. Even granting, for
argument's sake, the truth of that contention, and assuming that Vicenta's consent was vitiated by fraud and
undue influence, such vices did not render her marriage ab initio void, but merely voidable, and the marriage
remained valid until annulled by a competent civil court. This was never done, and admittedly, Vicenta's suit for
annulment in the Court of First Instance of Misamis was dismissed for non-prosecution.
It is equally clear from the record that the valid marriage between Pastor Tenchavez and Vicenta Escaño
remained subsisting and undissolved under Philippine law, notwithstanding the decree of absolute divorce that
the wife sought and obtained on 21 October 1950 from the Second Judicial District Court of Washoe County,
State of Nevada, on grounds of "extreme cruelty, entirely mental in character." At the time the divorce decree
was issued, Vicenta Escaño, like her husband, was still a Filipino citizen. 4 She was then subject to Philippine
law, and Article 15 of the Civil Code of the Philippines (Rep. Act No. 386), already in force at the time,
expressly provided:

Laws relating to family rights and duties or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding
upon the citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.
The Civil Code of the Philippines, now in force, does not admit absolute divorce, quo ad vinculo matrimonii;
and in fact does not even use that term, to further emphasize its restrictive policy on the matter, in contrast to
the preceding legislation that admitted absolute divorce on grounds of adultery of the wife or concubinage of
the husband (Act 2710). Instead of divorce, the present Civil Code only provides for legal separation (Title IV,
Book 1, Arts. 97 to 108), and, even in that case, it expressly prescribes that "the marriage bonds shall not be
severed" (Art. 106, subpar. 1).
For the Philippine courts to recognize and give recognition or effect to a foreign decree of absolute divorce
betiveen Filipino citizens could be a patent violation of the declared public policy of the state, specially in view
of the third paragraph of Article 17 of the Civil Code that prescribes the following:
Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those which have for their object public order,
policy and good customs, shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated, or by
determinations or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country.
Even more, the grant of effectivity in this jurisdiction to such foreign divorce decrees would, in effect, give rise
to an irritating and scandalous discrimination in favor of wealthy citizens, to the detriment of those members of
our polity whose means do not permit them to sojourn abroad and obtain absolute divorces outside the
Philippines.
From this point of view, it is irrelevant that appellant Pastor Tenchavez should have appeared in the Nevada
divorce court. Primarily because the policy of our law cannot be nullified by acts of private parties (Civil
Code,Art. 17, jam quot.); and additionally, because the mere appearance of a non-resident consort cannot
confer jurisdiction where the court originally had none (Area vs. Javier, 95 Phil. 579).
From the preceding facts and considerations, there flows as a necessary consequence that in this jurisdiction
Vicenta Escaño's divorce and second marriage are not entitled to recognition as valid; for her previous union to
plaintiff Tenchavez must be declared to be existent and undissolved. It follows, likewise, that her refusal to
perform her wifely duties, and her denial of consortium and her desertion of her husband constitute in law a
wrong caused through her fault, for which the husband is entitled to the corresponding indemnity (Civil Code,
Art. 2176). Neither an unsubstantiated charge of deceit nor an anonymous letter charging immorality against
the husband constitute, contrary to her claim, adequate excuse. Wherefore, her marriage and cohabitation with
Russell Leo Moran is technically "intercourse with a person not her husband" from the standpoint of Philippine
Law, and entitles plaintiff-appellant Tenchavez to a decree of "legal separation under our law, on the basis of
adultery" (Revised Penal Code, Art. 333).
The foregoing conclusions as to the untoward effect of a marriage after an invalid divorce are in accord with
the previous doctrines and rulings of this court on the subject, particularly those that were rendered under our
laws prior to the approval of the absolute divorce act (Act 2710 of the Philippine Legislature). As a matter of
legal history, our statutes did not recognize divorces a vinculo before 1917, when Act 2710 became effective;
and the present Civil Code of the Philippines, in disregarding absolute divorces, in effect merely reverted to the
policies on the subject prevailing before Act 2710. The rulings, therefore, under the Civil Code of 1889, prior to
the Act above-mentioned, are now, fully applicable. Of these, the decision in Ramirez vs. Gmur, 42 Phil. 855, is
of particular interest. Said this Court in that case:
As the divorce granted by the French Court must be ignored, it results that the marriage of Dr. Mory and Leona
Castro, celebrated in London in 1905, could not legalize their relations; and the circumstance that they
afterwards passed for husband and wife in Switzerland until her death is wholly without legal significance. The
claims of the very children to participate in the estate of Samuel Bishop must therefore be rejected. The right to
inherit is limited to legitimate, legitimated and acknowledged natural children. The children of adulterous
relations are wholly excluded. The word "descendants" as used in Article 941 of the Civil Code cannot be
interpreted to include illegitimates born of adulterous relations. (Emphasis supplied)
Except for the fact that the successional rights of the children, begotten from Vicenta's marriage to Leo Moran
after the invalid divorce, are not involved in the case at bar, the Gmur case is authority for the proposition that
such union is adulterous in this jurisdiction, and, therefore, justifies an action for legal separation on the part of
the innocent consort of the first marriage, that stands undissolved in Philippine law. In not so declaring, the trial
court committed error.
True it is that our ruling gives rise to anomalous situations where the status of a person (whether divorced or
not) would depend on the territory where the question arises. Anomalies of this kind are not new in the
Philippines, and the answer to them was given in Barretto vs. Gonzales, 58 Phil. 667:
The hardship of the existing divorce laws in the Philippine Islands are well known to the members of the
Legislature. It is the duty of the Courts to enforce the laws of divorce as written by Legislature if they are
constitutional. Courts have no right to say that such laws are too strict or too liberal. (p. 72)
The appellant's first assignment of error is, therefore, sustained.

However, the plaintiff-appellant's charge that his wife's parents, Dr. Mamerto Escaño and his wife, the late
Doña Mena Escaño, alienated the affections of their daughter and influenced her conduct toward her husband
are not supported by credible evidence. The testimony of Pastor Tenchavez about the Escaño's animosity
toward him strikes us to be merely conjecture and exaggeration, and are belied by Pastor's own letters written
before this suit was begun (Exh. "2-Escaño" and "Vicenta," Rec. on App., pp. 270-274). In these letters he
expressly apologized to the defendants for "misjudging them" and for the "great unhappiness" caused by his
"impulsive blunders" and "sinful pride," "effrontery and audacity" [sic]. Plaintiff was admitted to the Escaño
house to visit and court Vicenta, and the record shows nothing to prove that he would not have been accepted
to marry Vicente had he openly asked for her hand, as good manners and breeding demanded. Even after
learning of the clandestine marriage, and despite their shock at such unexpected event, the parents of Vicenta
proposed and arranged that the marriage be recelebrated in strict conformity with the canons of their religion
upon advice that the previous one was canonically defective. If no recelebration of the marriage ceremony was
had it was not due to defendants Mamerto Escaño and his wife, but to the refusal of Vicenta to proceed with it.
That the spouses Escaño did not seek to compel or induce their daughter to assent to the recelebration but
respected her decision, or that they abided by her resolve, does not constitute in law an alienation of
affections. Neither does the fact that Vicenta's parents sent her money while she was in the United States; for it
was natural that they should not wish their daughter to live in penury even if they did not concur in her decision
to divorce Tenchavez (27 Am. Jur. 130-132).
There is no evidence that the parents of Vicenta, out of improper motives, aided and abetted her original suit
for annulment, or her subsequent divorce; she appears to have acted independently, and being of age, she
was entitled to judge what was best for her and ask that her decisions be respected. Her parents, in so doing,
certainly cannot be charged with alienation of affections in the absence of malice or unworthy motives, which
have not been shown, good faith being always presumed until the contrary is proved.
SEC. 529. Liability of Parents, Guardians or Kin. — The law distinguishes between the right of a parent to
interest himself in the marital affairs of his child and the absence of rights in a stranger to intermeddle in such
affairs. However, such distinction between the liability of parents and that of strangers is only in regard to what
will justify interference. A parent isliable for alienation of affections resulting from his own malicious conduct, as
where he wrongfully entices his son or daughter to leave his or her spouse, but he is not liable unless he acts
maliciously, without justification and from unworthy motives. He is not liable where he acts and advises his
child in good faith with respect to his child's marital relations in the interest of his child as he sees it, the
marriage of his child not terminating his right and liberty to interest himself in, and be extremely solicitous for,
his child's welfare and happiness, even where his conduct and advice suggest or result in the separation of the
spouses or the obtaining of a divorce or annulment, or where he acts under mistake or misinformation, or
where his advice or interference are indiscreet or unfortunate, although it has been held that the parent is liable
for consequences resulting from recklessness. He may in good faith take his child into his home and afford him
or her protection and support, so long as he has not maliciously enticed his child away, or does not maliciously
entice or cause him or her to stay away, from his or her spouse. This rule has more frequently been applied in
the case of advice given to a married daughter, but it is equally applicable in the case of advice given to a son.
Plaintiff Tenchavez, in falsely charging Vicenta's aged parents with racial or social discrimination and with
having exerted efforts and pressured her to seek annulment and divorce, unquestionably caused them unrest
and anxiety, entitling them to recover damages. While this suit may not have been impelled by actual malice,
the charges were certainly reckless in the face of the proven facts and circumstances. Court actions are not
established for parties to give vent to their prejudices or spleen.
In the assessment of the moral damages recoverable by appellant Pastor Tenchavez from defendant Vicente
Escaño, it is proper to take into account, against his patently unreasonable claim for a million pesos in
damages, that (a) the marriage was celebrated in secret, and its failure was not characterized by publicity or
undue humiliation on appellant's part; (b) that the parties never lived together; and (c) that there is evidence
that appellant had originally agreed to the annulment of the marriage, although such a promise was legally
invalid, being against public policy (cf. Art. 88, Civ. Code). While appellant is unable to remarry under our law,
this fact is a consequence of the indissoluble character of the union that appellant entered into voluntarily and
with open eyes rather than of her divorce and her second marriage. All told, we are of the opinion that
appellant should recover P25,000 only by way of moral damages and attorney's fees.
With regard to the P45,000 damages awarded to the defendants, Dr. Mamerto Escaño and Mena Escaño, by
the court below, we opine that the same are excessive. While the filing of this unfounded suit must have
wounded said defendants' feelings and caused them anxiety, the same could in no way have seriously injured
their reputation, or otherwise prejudiced them, lawsuits having become a common occurrence in present
society. What is important, and has been correctly established in the decision of the court below, is that said
defendants were not guilty of any improper conduct in the whole deplorable affair. This Court, therefore,
reduces the damages awarded to P5,000 only.
Summing up, the Court rules:
(1) That a foreign divorce between Filipino citizens, sought and decreed after the effectivity of the present Civil
Code (Rep. Act 386), is not entitled to recognition as valid in this jurisdiction; and neither is the marriage
contracted with another party by the divorced consort, subsequently to the foreign decree of divorce, entitled to
validity in the country;
(2) That the remarriage of divorced wife and her co-habitation with a person other than the lawful husband

entitle the latter to a decree of legal separation conformably to Philippine law;
(3) That the desertion and securing of an invalid divorce decree by one consort entitles the other to recover
damages;
(4) That an action for alienation of affections against the parents of one consort does not lie in the absence of
proof of malice or unworthy motives on their part.
WHEREFORE, the decision under appeal is hereby modified as follows;
(1) Adjudging plaintiff-appellant Pastor Tenchavez entitled to a decree of legal separation from defendant
Vicenta F. Escaño;
(2) Sentencing defendant-appellee Vicenta Escaño to pay plaintiff-appellant Tenchavez the amount of P25,000
for damages and attorneys' fees;
(3) Sentencing appellant Pastor Tenchavez to pay the appellee, Mamerto Escaño and the estate of his wife,
the deceased Mena Escaño, P5,000 by way of damages and attorneys' fees.
Neither party to recover costs.
Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P. and Zaldivar, JJ.,
concur.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-17396

May 30, 1962

CECILIO PE, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants, vs.ALFONSO PE, defendant-appellee.
Cecilio L. Pe for and in his own behalf as plaintiff-appellant.Leodegario L. Mogol for defendant-appellee.
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:
Plaintiffs brought this action before the Court of First Instance of Manila to recover moral, compensatory,
exemplary and corrective damages in the amount of P94,000.00 exclusive of attorney's fees and expenses of
litigation.
Defendant, after denying some allegations contained in the complaint, set up as a defense that the facts
alleged therein, even if true, do not constitute a valid cause of action.
After trial, the lower court, after finding that defendant had carried on a love affair with one Lolita Pe, an
unmarried woman, being a married man himself, declared that defendant cannot be held liable for moral
damages it appearing that plaintiffs failed to prove that defendant, being aware of his marital status,
deliberately and in bad faith tried to win Lolita's affection. So it rendered decision dismissing the
complaint.1äwphï1.ñët
Plaintiffs brought this case on appeal before this Court on the ground that the issues involved are purely of law.
The facts as found by the trial court are: Plaintiffs are the parents, brothers and sisters of one Lolita Pe. At the
time of her disappearance on April 14, 1957, Lolita was 24 years old and unmarried. Defendant is a married
man and works as agent of the La Perla Cigar and Cigarette Factory. He used to stay in the town of Gasan,
Marinduque, in connection with his aforesaid occupation. Lolita was staying with her parents in the same town.
Defendant was an adopted son of a Chinaman named Pe Beco, a collateral relative of Lolita's father. Because
of such fact and the similarity in their family name, defendant became close to the plaintiffs who regarded him
as a member of their family. Sometime in 1952, defendant frequented the house of Lolita on the pretext that he
wanted her to teach him how to pray the rosary. The two eventually fell in love with each other and conducted
clandestine trysts not only in the town of Gasan but also in Boac where Lolita used to teach in a barrio school.
They exchanged love notes with each other the contents of which reveal not only their infatuation for each
other but also the extent to which they had carried their relationship. The rumors about their love affairs
reached the ears of Lolita's parents sometime, in 1955, and since then defendant was forbidden from going to
their house and from further seeing Lolita. The plaintiffs even filed deportation proceedings against defendant
who is a Chinese national. The affair between defendant and Lolita continued nonetheless.
Sometime in April, 1957, Lolita was staying with her brothers and sisters at their residence at 54-B España
Extension, Quezon City. On April 14, 1957, Lolita disappeared from said house. After she left, her brothers and
sisters checked up her thing and found that Lolita's clothes were gone. However, plaintiffs found a note on a
crumpled piece of paper inside Lolita's aparador. Said note, written on a small slip of paper approximately 4"
by 3" in size, was in a handwriting recognized to be that of defendant's. In English it reads:
Honey, suppose I leave here on Sunday night, and that's 13th of this month and we will have a date on the
14th, that's Monday morning at 10 a.m.
Reply
Love
The disappearance of Lolita was reported to the police authorities and the NBI but up to the present there is no
news or trace of her whereabouts.
The present action is based on Article 21 of the New Civil Code which provides:
Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner which is contrary to morals, good customs
or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.
There is no doubt that the claim of plaintiffs for damages is based on the fact that defendant, being a married
man, carried on a love affair with Lolita Pe thereby causing plaintiffs injury in a manner contrary to morals,
good customs and public policy. But in spite of the fact that plaintiffs have clearly established that in illicit affair
was carried on between defendant and Lolita which caused great damage to the name and reputation of
plaintiffs who are her parents, brothers and sisters, the trial court considered their complaint not actionable for
the reason that they failed to prove that defendant deliberately and in bad faith tried to win Lolita's affection
Thus, the trial court said: "In the absence of proof on this point, the court may not presume that it was the
defendant who deliberately induced such relationship. We cannot be unmindful of the uncertainties and
sometimes inexplicable mysteries of the human emotions. It is a possibility that the defendant and Lolita simply
fell in love with each other, not only without any desire on their part, but also against their better judgment and

in full consciousness of what it will bring to both of them. This is specially so with respect to Lolita, being an
unmarried woman, falling in love with defendant who is a married man."
We disagree with this view. The circumstances under which defendant tried to win Lolita's affection cannot
lead, to any other conclusion than that it was he who, thru an ingenious scheme or trickery, seduced the latter
to the extent of making her fall in love with him. This is shown by the fact that defendant frequented the house
of Lolita on the pretext that he wanted her to teach him how to pray the rosary. Because of the frequency of his
visits to the latter's family who was allowed free access because he was a collateral relative and was
considered as a member of her family, the two eventually fell in love with each other and conducted
clandestine love affairs not only in Gasan but also in Boac where Lolita used to teach in a barrio school. When
the rumors about their illicit affairs reached the knowledge of her parents, defendant was forbidden from going
to their house and even from seeing Lolita. Plaintiffs even filed deportation proceedings against defendant who
is a Chinese national. Nevertheless, defendant continued his love affairs with Lolita until she disappeared from
the parental home. Indeed, no other conclusion can be drawn from this chain of events than that defendant not
only deliberately, but through a clever strategy, succeeded in winning the affection and love of Lolita to the
extent of having illicit relations with her. The wrong he has caused her and her family is indeed immeasurable
considering the fact that he is a married man. Verily, he has committed an injury to Lolita's family in a manner
contrary to morals, good customs and public policy as contemplated in Article 21 of the new Civil Code.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is reversed. Defendant is hereby sentenced to pay the plaintiffs the
sum of P5,000.00 as damages and P2,000.00 as attorney's fees and expenses of litigations. Costs against
appellee.
Padilla, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes and Dizon, JJ., concur.

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-18630

December 17, 1966

APOLONIO TANJANCO, petitioner, vs.HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ARACELI SANTOS, respondents.
P. Carreon and G. O. Veneracion, Jr. for petitioner.Antonio V. Bonoan for respondents.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
Appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeals (in its Case No. 27210-R) revoking an order of the Court of First
Instance of Rizal (in Civil Case No. Q-4797) dismissing appellant's action for support and damages.
The essential allegations of the complaint are to the effect that, from December, 1957, the defendant (appellee
herein), Apolonio Tanjanco, courted the plaintiff, Araceli Santos, both being of adult age; that "defendant
expressed and professed his undying love and affection for plaintiff who also in due time reciprocated the
tender feelings"; that in consideration of defendant's promise of marriage plaintiff consented and acceded to
defendant's pleas for carnal knowledge; that regularly until December 1959, through his protestations of love
and promises of marriage, defendant succeeded in having carnal access to plaintiff, as a result of which the
latter conceived a child; that due to her pregnant condition, to avoid embarrassment and social humiliation,
plaintiff had to resign her job as secretary in IBM Philippines, Inc., where she was receiving P230.00 a month;
that thereby plaintiff became unable to support herself and her baby; that due to defendant's refusal to marry
plaintiff, as promised, the latter suffered mental anguish, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral
shock, and social humiliation. The prayer was for a decree compelling the defendant to recognize the unborn
child that plaintiff was bearing; to pay her not less than P430.00 a month for her support and that of her baby,
plus P100,000.00 in moral and exemplary damages, plus P10,000.00 attorney's fees.
Upon defendant's motion to dismiss, the court of first instance dismissed the complaint for failure to state a
cause of action.
Plaintiff Santos duly appealed to the Court of Appeals, and the latter ultimately decided the case, holding with
the lower court that no cause of action was shown to compel recognition of a child as yet unborn, nor for its
support, but decreed that the complaint did state a cause of action for damages, premised on Article 21 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines, prescribing as follows:
ART. 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good
customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.
The Court of Appeals, therefore, entered judgment setting aside the dismissal and directing the court of origin
to proceed with the case.
Defendant, in turn, appealed to this Court, pleading that actions for breach of a promise to marry are not
permissible in this jurisdiction, and invoking the rulings of this Court in Estopa vs. Piansay, L-14733,
September 30, 1960; Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals, L-14628, January 29, 1962; and De Jesus vs.
SyQuia, 58 Phil. 886.
We find this appeal meritorious.
In holding that the complaint stated a cause of action for damages, under Article 21 above mentioned, the
Court of Appeals relied upon and quoted from the memorandum submitted by the Code Commission to the
Legislature in 1949 to support the original draft of the Civil Code. Referring to Article 23 of the draft (now Article
21 of the Code), the Commission stated:
But the Code Commission has gone farther than the sphere of wrongs defined or determined by positive law.
Fully sensible that there are countless gaps in the statutes, which leave so many victims of moral wrongs
helpless, even though they have actually suffered material and moral injury, the Commission has deemed it
necessary, in the interest of justice, to incorporate in the proposed Civil Code the following rule:
"ART. 23. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good
customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage."
An example will illustrate the purview of the foregoing norm: "A" seduces the nineteen-year old daughter of "X".
A promise of marriage either has not been made, or can not be proved. The girl becomes pregnant. Under the
present laws, there is no crime, as the girl is above eighteen years of age. Neither can any civil action for
breach of promise of marriage be filed. Therefore, though the grievous moral wrong has been committed, and
though the girl and her family have suffered incalculable moral damage, she and her parents cannot bring any
action for damages. But under the proposed article, she and her parents would have such a right of action.
The Court of Appeals seems to have overlooked that the example set forth in the Code Commission's
memorandum refers to a tort upon a minor who has been seduced. The essential feature is seduction, that in
law is more than mere sexual intercourse, or a breach of a promise of marriage; it connotes essentially the

idea of deceit, enticement, superior power or abuse of confidence on the part of the seducer to which the
woman has yielded (U.S. vs. Buenaventura, 27 Phil. 121; U.S. vs. Arlante, 9 Phil. 595).
It has been ruled in the Buenaventura case (supra) that —
To constitute seduction there must in all cases be some sufficient promise or inducement and the woman must
yield because of the promise or other inducement. If she consents merely from carnal lust and the intercourse
is from mutual desire, there is no seduction (43 Cent. Dig. tit. Seduction, par. 56). She must be induced to
depart from the path of virtue by the use of some species of arts, persuasions and wiles, which are calculated
to have and do have that effect, and which result in her ultimately submitting her person to the sexual
embraces of her seducer (27 Phil. 123).
And in American Jurisprudence we find:
On the other hand, in an action by the woman, the enticement, persuasion or deception is the essence of the
injury; and a mere proof of intercourse is insufficient to warrant a recover.
Accordingly it is not seduction where the willingness arises out of sexual desire or curiosity of the female, and
the defendant merely affords her the needed opportunity for the commission of the act. It has been
emphasized that to allow a recovery in all such cases would tend to the demoralization of the female sex, and
would be a reward for unchastity by which a class of adventuresses would be swift to profit." (47 Am. Jur. 662)
Bearing these principles in mind, let us examine the complaint. The material allegations there are as follows:
I. That the plaintiff is of legal age, single, and residing at 56 South E. Diliman, Quezon City, while defendant is
also of legal age, single and residing at 525 Padre Faura, Manila, where he may be served with summons;
II. That the plaintiff and the defendant became acquainted with each other sometime in December, 1957 and
soon thereafter, the defendant started visiting and courting the plaintiff;
III. That the defendant's visits were regular and frequent and in due time the defendant expressed and
professed his undying love and affection for the plaintiff who also in due time reciprocated the tender feelings;
IV. That in the course of their engagement, the plaintiff and the defendant as are wont of young people in love
had frequent outings and dates, became very close and intimate to each other and sometime in July, 1958, in
consideration of the defendant's promises of marriage, the plaintiff consented and acceded to the former's
earnest and repeated pleas to have carnal knowledge with him;
V. That subsequent thereto and regularly until about July, 1959 except for a short period in December, 1958
when the defendant was out of the country, the defendant through his protestations of love and promises of
marriage succeeded in having carnal knowledge with the plaintiff;
VI. That as a result of their intimate relationship, the plaintiff started conceiving which was confirmed by a
doctor sometime in July, 1959;
VII. That upon being certain of her pregnant condition, the plaintiff informed the defendant and pleaded with
him to make good his promises of marriage, but instead of honoring his promises and righting his wrong, the
defendant stopped and refrained from seeing the plaintiff since about July, 1959 has not visited the plaintiff and
to all intents and purposes has broken their engagement and his promises.
Over and above the partisan allegations, the facts stand out that for one whole year, from 1958 to 1959, the
plaintiff-appellee, a woman of adult age, maintained intimate sexual relations with appellant, with repeated acts
of intercourse. Such conduct is incompatible with the idea of seduction. Plainly there is here voluntariness and
mutual passion; for had the appellant been deceived, had she surrendered exclusively because of the deceit,
artful persuasions and wiles of the defendant, she would not have again yielded to his embraces, much less for
one year, without exacting early fulfillment of the alleged promises of marriage, and would have cut chart all
sexual relations upon finding that defendant did not intend to fulfill his promises. Hence, we conclude that no
case is made under Article 21 of the Civil Code, and no other cause of action being alleged, no error was
committed by the Court of First Instance in dismissing the complaint.
Of course, the dismissal must be understood as without prejudice to whatever actions may correspond to the
child of the plaintiff against the defendant-appellant, if any. On that point, this Court makes no pronouncement,
since the child's own rights are not here involved.
FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and that of the Court of
First Instance is affirmed. No costs.
Concepcion, C.J., Barrera, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez and Castro, JJ.,
concur.

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