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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
July-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 96649-50 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LYNDON V. MACOY

  • G.R. No. 109660 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO NELL

  • G.R. No. 124914 July 2, 1997 - JESUS UGADDAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123074 July 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO M. FERNANDEZ

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-94-1017 July 7, 1997 - OSCAR B. LAMBINO v. AMADO A. DE VERA

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1245 July 7, 1997 - BENIGNO G. GAVIOLA v. NOEL NAVARETTE

  • G.R. No. 105760 July 7, 1997 - PNB v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107193 July 7, 1997 - EUGENIO TENEBRO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112006 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO S. DE VERA

  • G.R. No. 114275 July 7, 1997 - IÑIGO F. CARLET v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116962 July 7, 1997 - MARIA SOCORRO CACA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118940-41 & 119407 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MEJIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119872 July 7, 1997 - REMEDIOS NAVOA RAMOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122206 July 7, 1997 - RAFAEL ARCEGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105284 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IGNACIO ZUMIL

  • G.R. No. 106099 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AGUSTIN SOTTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109814 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO MAALAT

  • G.R. No. 112797 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NIDA ALEGRO

  • G.R. No. 114265 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MAGALLANES

  • G.R. No. 115307 July 8, 1997 - MANUEL LAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115703 July 8, 1997 - EPIFANIO L. CASOLITA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117501 July 8, 1997 - SOLID HOMES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122308 July 8, 1997 - PURITA S. MAPA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. SC-96-1 July 10, 1997 - DAMASO S. FLORES v. BERNARDO P. ABESAMIS

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1236 July 11, 1997 - MADONNA MACALUA v. DOMINGO TIU, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1249 July 11, 1997 - PACITA SY TORRES v. FROILAN S. CABLING

  • G.R. No. 104865 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICTORIANO PONTILAR, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 113511-12 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO SINOC

  • G.R. No. 115033 July 11, 1997 - PONCIANO T. MATANGUIHAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123204 July 11, 1997 - NATIONWIDE SECURITY AND ALLIED SERVICES, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1158 July 14, 1997 - EUFEMIA BERCASIO v. HERBERTO BENITO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106153 July 14, 1997 - FLORENCIO G. BERNARDO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108838 July 14, 1997 - PAGCOR v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116528-31 July 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIETO ADORA

  • G.R. No. 108492 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOEL BANIEL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118078 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 123379 July 15, 1997 - BAROTAC SUGAR MILLS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 115439-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 120437-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO ALVARIO

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1382 July 17, 1997 - REXEL M. PACURIBOT v. RODRIGO F. LIM, JR.

  • G.R. No. 105002 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIARANGAN DANSAL

  • G.R. No. 108634 July 17, 1997 - ANTONIO P. TAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111165 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO MERCADO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113257 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY LASCOTA

  • G.R. No. 114742 July 17, 1997 - CARLITOS E. SILVA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118860 July 17, 1997 - ROLINDA B. PONO v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120262 July 17, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125195 July 17, 1997 - SAMAHAN NG MGA MANGGAGAWA SA BANDOLINO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1362 July 18, 1997 - DSWD, ET AL. v. ANTONIO M. BELEN, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-95-1283 July 21, 1997 - DAVID C. NAVAL, ET AL. v. JOSE R. PANDAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108488 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODENCIO NARCA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111002 July 21, 1997 - PACIFIC MARITIME SERVICES, INC., ET AL. v. NICANOR RANAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117402 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLLIE L. ALVARADO

  • G.R. No. 119184 July 21, 1997 - HEIRS OF FELICIDAD CANQUE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121768 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO CASTILLO, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 122250 & 122258 July 21, 1997 - EDGARDO C. NOLASCO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124347 July 21, 1997 - CMS STOCK BROKERAGE, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125510 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO LISING

  • G.R. No. 111933 July 23, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112429-30 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO P. CAYETANO

  • G.R. Nos. 118736-37 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TANG WAI LAN

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1205 July 24, 1997 - OSCAR P. DE LOS REYES v. ESTEBAN H. ERISPE, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1383 July 24, 1997 - JOSE LAGATIC v. JOSE PEÑAS, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104663 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DAVID SALVATIERRA

  • G.R. No. 105004 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO MAROLLANO

  • G.R. No. 107723 July 24, 1997 - EMS MANPOWER & PLACEMENT SERVICES v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111211 July 24, 1997 - ABS-CBN EMPLOYEES UNION, ET AL., v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113235 July 24, 1997 - VICTORINA MEDINA, ET AL. v. CITY SHERIFF, MANILA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 113366-68 July 24, 1997 - GREGORIO ISABELO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116635 July 24, 1997 - CONCHITA NOOL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116736 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN ORTEGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118458 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICKY DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 120276 July 24, 1997 - SINGA SHIP MANAGEMENT PHILS., INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121075 July 24, 1997 - DELTA MOTORS CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121867 July 24, 1997 - SMITH KLINE & FRENCH LAB., LTD. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127262 July 24, 1997 - HUBERT WEBB, ET AL. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter Nos. 95-6-55-MTC & P-96-1173 July 28, 1997 - REPORT ON AUDIT IN THE MTC OF PEÑARANDA, NUEVA ECIJA

  • G.R. No. 102858 July 28, 1997 - DIRECTOR OF LANDS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103209 July 28, 1997 - APOLONIO BONDOC, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110823 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROCHEL TRAVERO

  • G.R. No. 112323 July 28, 1997 - HELPMATE, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113344 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ATANACIO LUTO

  • G.R. No. 116668 July 28, 1997 - ERLINDA A. AGAPAY v. CARLINA V. PALANG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116726 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONARDO P. DE LA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 118822 July 28, 1997 - G.O.A.L., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119000 July 28, 1997 - ROSA UY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119649 July 28, 1997 - RICKY GALICIA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119868 July 28, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120072 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO I. MESA

  • G.R. No. 123361 July 28, 1997 - TEOFILO CACHO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126556 July 28, 1997 - NELSON C. DAVID v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117742 July 29, 1997 - GEORGE M. TABERRAH v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • SBC Case No. 519 July 31, 1997 - PATRICIA FIGUEROA v. SIMEON BARRANCO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 97369 July 31, 1997 - P.I. MANPOWER PLACEMENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99030 July 31, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106582 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUPERTO BALDERAS

  • G.R. No. 107802 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JASON NAREDO

  • G.R. No. 108399 July 31, 1997 - RAFAEL M. ALUNAN III, ET AL. v. ROBERT MIRASOL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108619 July 31, 1997 - EPIFANIO LALICAN v. FILOMENO A. VERGARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113689 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE SANGIL, SR.

  • G.R. No. 113958 July 31, 1997 - BANANA GROWERS COLLECTIVE, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116060 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLEMENTE DE LA PEÑA

  • G.R. No. 116292 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY PEÑERO

  • G.R. No. 119068 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE CASTRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121027 July 31, 1997 - CORAZON DEZOLLER TISON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121157 July 31, 1997 - HEIRS OF SEGUNDA MANINGDING, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123561 July 31, 1997 - DELIA R. NERVES v. CSC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124678 July 31, 1997 - DELIA BANGALISAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 120262   July 17, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 120262. July 17, 1997.]

    PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC., Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS and LEOVIGILDO A. PANTEJO, Respondents.

    Rebanal & Hernando Law Offices, for Petitioners.

    Noel P. Catre for Private Respondents.

    SYNOPSIS


    Leovegildo A. Pantejo, then City Fiscal of Surigao City, was booked on a PAL flight to Cebu City, and from Cebu City he would take a connecting flight to Surigao City. But due to a typhoon, the connecting flight was cancelled. He asked PAL that he be billeted in a hotel at PAL’s expense instead of the cash assistance given by PAL to its stranded passengers. PAL refused, and Pantejo was forced to seek and accept the generosity of a co-passenger, and he shared a room with him at the Sky View Hotel. Pantejo subsequently learned that hotel expenses of some of his co-passengers were shouldered by PAL. When Pantejo threatened to sue the airline for discriminating against him, PAL offered to pay him P300.00. He later sued PAL for damages.

    The trial court rendered judgment in favor of Pantejo by awarding him damages and attorney’s fees. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.

    The Supreme Court ruled that PAL was guilty of bad faith in disregarding its duties as a common carrier and in discriminating against Pantejo. It was even oblivious to the fact that Pantejo suffered humiliation and embarrassment especially because of his government position and social prominence which necessarily subjected him to ridicule, shame and anguish. PAL is liable for damages because of its blatant refusal to accord the so-called amenities equally to all its stranded passengers. It has been sufficiently established that it is PAL’s standard company policy, whenever a flight has been cancelled, to extend to its hapless passengers cash assistance or to provide their accommodations in hotels.

    Judgment affirmed.


    SYLLABUS


    1. CIVIL LAW; COMMON CARRIERS; CONTRACT OF AIR CARRIAGE, GENERATES A RELATION ATTENDED WITH A PUBLIC DUTY. — It must be emphasized that a contract to transport passengers is quite different in kind and degree from any other contractual relation, and this is because of the relation which an air carrier sustains with the public. Its business is mainly with the travelling public. It invites people to avail of the comforts and advantages it offers. The contract of air carriage, therefore, generates a relation attended with a public duty. Neglect or malfeasance of the carrier’s employees naturally could give ground for an action for damages.

    2. ID.; ID.; PETITIONER ACTED IN BAD FAITH IN DISREGARDING ITS DUTIES AS COMMON CARRIER TO ITS PASSENGERS; CASE AT BAR. — Respondent Court of Appeals correctly concluded that the refund of hotel expenses was surreptitiously and discriminatorily made by herein petitioner since the same was not made known to everyone, except through word of mouth to a handful of passengers. This is a sad commentary on the quality of service and professionalism of an airline company, which is the country’s flag carrier at that. On the bases of all the foregoing, the inescapable conclusion is that petitioner acted in bad faith in disregarding its duties as a common carrier to its passengers and in discriminating against herein respondent Pantejo. It was even oblivious to the fact that this respondent was exposed to humiliation and embarrassment especially because of his government position and social prominence, which altogether necessarily subjected him to ridicule, shame and anguish.

    3. ID.; MORAL DAMAGES; THE DISCRIMINATORY ACT OF PETITIONER AGAINST RESPONDENT INELUDIBLY MAKES THE FORMER LIABLE FOR MORAL DAMAGES. — The discriminatory act of petitioner against respondent ineludibly makes the former liable for moral damages under Article 21 in relation to Article 2219(10) of the Civil Code. As held in Alitalia Airways v. CA, Et Al., such inattention to and lack of care by petitioner airline for the interest of its passengers who are entitled to its utmost consideration, particularly as to their convenience, amount to bad faith which entitles the passenger to the award of moral damages.

    4. ID.; ID.; AWARDED ONLY TO ALLOW A PARTY TO OBTAIN MEANS, DIVERSION, OR AMUSEMENT THAT WILL SERVE TO ALLEVIATE THE MORAL SUFFERING HE HAS UNDERGONE DUE TO THE DEFENDANT’S CULPABLE ACTION. — Moral damages are emphatically not intended to enrich a plaintiff at the expense of the defendant. They are awarded only to allow the former to obtain means, diversion, or amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering he has undergone due to the defendant’s culpable action and must, perforce, be proportional to the suffering inflicted. However, substantial damages do not translate into excessive damages. Except for attorney’s fees and costs of suit, it will be noted that the Court of Appeals affirmed point by point the factual findings of the lower court upon which the award of damages had been based. We, therefore, see no reason to modify the award by the trial court. Under the peculiar circumstances of this case, we are convinced that the awards for actual, moral and exemplary damages granted in the judgment of respondent court, for the reasons meticulously analyzed and thoroughly explained in its decision, are just and equitable. It is high time that the travelling public is afforded protection and that the duties of common carriers, long detailed in our previous laws and jurisprudence and thereafter collated and specifically catalogued in our Civil Code in 1950, be enforced through appropriate sanctions.

    5. ID.; OBLIGATIONS AND CONTRACTS; INTEREST OF 6% IMPOSED BY RESPONDENT COURT SHOULD BE COMPUTED FROM THE DATE OF RENDITION OF JUDGMENT AND NOT FROM THE FILING OF THE COMPLAINT. — We agree, however, with the contention that the interest of 6% imposed by respondent court should be computed from the date of rendition of judgment and not from the filing of the complaint. . . . This is because at the time of the filing of the complaint, the amount of damages to which plaintiff may be entitled remains unliquidated and not known, until it is definitely ascertained, assessed and determined by the court, and only after the presentation of proof thereon.


    D E C I S I O N


    REGALADO, J.:


    In this appeal by certiorari, petitioner Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL) seeks to set aside the decision of respondent Court of Appeals, 1 promulgated on December 29, 1994, which affirmed the award for damages made by the trial court in favor of herein private respondent Leovigildo A. Pantejo.

    On October 23, 1988, private respondent Pantejo, then City Fiscal of Surigao City, boarded a PAL plane in Manila and disembarked in Cebu City where he was supposed to take his connecting flight to Surigao City. However, due to typhoon Osang, the connecting flight to Surigao City was cancelled.

    To accommodate the needs of its stranded passengers, PAL initially gave out cash assistance of P 100.00 and, the next day, P200.00, for their expected stay of two days in Cebu. Respondent Pantejo requested instead that he be billeted in a hotel at the PAL’s expense because he did not have cash with him at that time, but PAL refused. Thus, respondent Pantejo was forced to seek and accept the generosity of a co-passenger, an engineer named Andoni Dumlao, and he shared a room with the latter at Sky View Hotel with the promise to pay his share of the expenses upon reaching Surigao.

    On October 25, 1988 when the flight for Surigao was resumed, respondent Pantejo came to know that the hotel expenses of his co-passengers, one Superintendent Ernesto Gonzales and a certain Mrs. Gloria Rocha, an Auditor of the Philippine National Bank, were reimbursed by PAL. At this point, respondent Pantejo informed Oscar Jereza, PAL’s Manager for Departure Services at Mactan Airport and who was in charge of cancelled flights, that he was going to sue the airline for discriminating against him. It was only then that Jereza offered to pay respondent Pantejo P300.00 which, due to the ordeal and anguish he had undergone, the latter declined.

    On March 18, 1991, the Regional Trial Court of Surigao City, Branch 30, rendered judgment in the action for damages filed by respondent Pantejo against herein petitioner, Philippine Airlines, Inc., ordering the latter to pay Pantejo P300.00 for actual damages, P150,000.00 as moral damages, P100,000.00 as exemplary damages, P15,000.00 as attorney’s fees, and 6% interest from the time of the filing of the complaint until said amounts shall have been fully paid, plus costs of suit. 2 On appeal, respondent court affirmed the decision of the court a quo, but with the exclusion of the award of attorney’s fees and litigation expenses.

    The main issue posed for resolution is whether petitioner airlines acted in bad faith when it failed and refused to provide hotel accommodations for respondent Pantejo or to reimburse him for hotel expenses incurred by reason of the cancellation of its connecting flight to Surigao City due to force majeure.

    To begin with, it must be emphasized that a contract to transport passengers is quite different in kind and degree from any other contractual relation, and this is because of the relation which an air carrier sustains with the public. Its business is mainly with the travelling public. It invites people to avail of the comforts and advantages it offers. The contract of air carriage, therefore, generates a relation attended with a public duty. Neglect or malfeasance of the carrier’s employees naturally could give ground for an action for damages. 3

    In ruling for respondent Pantejo, both the trial court and the Court of Appeals found that herein petitioner acted in bad faith in refusing to provide hotel accommodations for respondent Pantejo or to reimburse him for hotel expenses incurred despite and in contrast to the fact that other passengers were so favored.

    In declaring that bad faith existed, respondent court took into consideration the following factual circumstances:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. Contrary to petitioner’s claim that cash assistance was given instead because of non-availability of rooms in hotels where petitioner had existing tie-ups, the evidence shows that Sky View Hotel, where respondent Pantejo was billeted, had plenty of rooms available.

    2. It is not true that the P300.00 paid to Ernesto Gonzales, a co-passenger of respondent, was a refund for his plane ticket, the truth being that it was a reimbursement for hotel and meal expenses.

    3. It is likewise not denied that said Gonzales and herein respondent came to know about the reimbursements only because another passenger, Mrs. Rocha, informed them that she was able to obtain the refund for her own hotel expenses.

    4. Petitioner offered to pay P300.00 to private respondent only after he had confronted the airline’s manager about the discrimination committed against him, which the latter realized was an actionable wrong.

    5. Service Voucher No. 199351, presented by petitioner to prove that it gave cash assistance to its passengers, was based merely on the list of passengers already given cash assistance and was purportedly prepared at around 10:00 A.M. of October 23, 1988. This was two hours before respondent came to know of the cancellation of his flight to Surigao, hence private respondent could not have possibly refused the same. 4

    It must be stressed that these factual findings, which are supported by substantial evidence, are binding, final and conclusive upon this Court absent any reason, and we find none, why this settled evidential rule should not apply.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    Petitioner theorizes that the hotel accommodations or cash assistance given in case a flight is cancelled is in the nature of an amenity and is merely a privilege that may be extended at its own discretion, but never a right that may be demanded by its passengers. Thus, when respondent Pantejo was offered cash assistance and he refused it, petitioner cannot be held liable for whatever befell respondent Pantejo on that fateful day, because it was merely exercising its discretion when it opted to just give cash assistance to its passengers.

    Assuming arguendo that the airline passengers have no vested right to this amenities in case a flight is cancelled due to force majeure, what makes petitioner liable for damages in this particular case and under the facts obtaining herein is its blatant refusal to accord the so-called amenities equally to all its stranded passengers who were bound for Surigao City. No compelling or justifying reason was advanced for such discriminatory and prejudicial conduct.

    More importantly, it has been sufficiently established that it is petitioner’s standard company policy, whenever a flight has been cancelled, to extend to its hapless passengers cash assistance or to provide them accommodations in hotels with which it has existing tie-ups. In fact, petitioner’s Mactan Airport Manager for departure services, Oscar Jereza, admitted that the PAL has an existing arrangement with hotel to accommodate stranded passengers, 5 and that the hotel bills of Ernesto Gonzales were reimbursed 6 obviously pursuant to that policy.

    Also, two witnesses presented by respondent, Teresita Azarcon and Nerie Bol, testified that sometime in November, 1988, when their flight from Cebu to Surigao was cancelled, they were billeted at Rajah Hotel for two nights and three days at the expense of PAL. 7 This was never denied by PAL.

    Further, Ernesto Gonzales, the aforementioned co-passenger of respondent on that fateful flight, testified that based on his previous experience hotel accommodations were extended by PAL to its stranded passengers either in Magellan or Rajah Hotels, or even in Cebu Plaza. Thus, we view as impressed with dubiety PAL’s present attempt to represent such emergency assistance as being merely ex gratia and not ex debito.

    While petitioner now insists that the passengers were duly informed that they would be reimbursed for their hotel expenses, it miserably and significantly failed to explain why the other passengers were given reimbursements while private respondent was not. Although Gonzales was subsequently given a refund, this was only so because he came to know about it by accident through Mrs. Rocha, as earlier explained.

    Petitioner could only offer the strained and flimsy pretext that possibly the passengers were not listening when the announcement was made. This is absurd because when respondent Pantejo came to know that his flight had been cancelled, he immediately proceeded to petitioner’s office and requested for hotel accommodations. He was not only refused accommodations, but he was not even informed that he may later on be reimbursed for his hotel expenses. This explains why his co-passenger, Andoni Dumlao, offered to answer for respondent’s hotel bill and the latter promised to pay him when they arrive in Surigao. Had both known that they would be reimbursed by the airline, such arrangement would not have been necessary.

    Respondent Court of Appeals thus correctly concluded that the refund of hotel expenses was surreptitiously and discriminatorily made by herein petitioner since the same was not made known to everyone, except through word of mouth to a handful of passengers. This is a sad commentary on the quality of service and professionalism of an airline company, which is the country’s flag carrier at that.

    On the bases of all the foregoing, the inescapable conclusion is that petitioner acted in bad faith in disregarding its duties as a common carrier to its passengers and in discriminating against herein respondent Pantejo. It was even oblivious to the fact that this respondent was exposed to humiliation and embarrassment especially because of his government position and social prominence, which altogether necessarily subjected him to ridicule, shame and anguish. It remains uncontroverted that at the time of the incident, herein respondent was then the City Prosecutor of Surigao City, and that he is a member of the Philippine Jaycee Senate, past Lt. Governor of the Kiwanis Club of Surigao, a past Master of the Mount Diwata Lodge of Free Masons of the Philippines, member of the Philippine National Red Cross, Surigao Chapter, and past Chairman of the Boy Scout of the Philippines, Surigao del Norte Chapter. 8

    It is likewise claimed that the moral and exemplary damages awarded to respondent Pantejo are excessive and unwarranted on the ground that respondent is not totally blameless because of his refusal to accept the P100.00 cash assistance which was inceptively offered to him. It bears emphasis that respondent Pantejo had every right to make such refusal since it evidently could not meet his needs and that was all that PAL claimed it could offer.

    His refusal to accept the P300.00 proffered as an afterthought when he threatened suit was justified by his resentment when he belatedly found out that his co-passengers were reimbursed for hotel expenses and he was not. Worse, he would not even have known about it were it not for a co-passenger who verbally told him that she was reimbursed by the airline for hotel and meal expenses. It may even be said that the amounts, the time and the circumstances under which those amounts were offered could not solve the moral wounds inflicted by PAL on private respondent but even approximated insult added to injury.

    The discriminatory act of petitioner against respondent ineludibly makes the former liable for moral damages under Article 21 in relation to Article 2219 (10) of the Civil Code. 9 As held in Alitalia Airways v. CA, Et. Al. 10 such inattention to and lack of care by petitioner airline for the interest of its passengers who are entitled to its utmost consideration, particularly as to their convenience, amount to bad faith which entitles the passenger to the award of moral damages.

    Moral damages are emphatically not intended to enrich a plaintiff at the expense of the defendant. They are awarded only to allow the former to obtain means, diversion, or amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering he has undergone due to the defendant’s culpable action and must, perforce, be proportional to the suffering inflicted. 11 However, substantial damages do not translate into excessive damages. 12 Except for attorney’s fees and costs of suit, it will be noted that the Courts of Appeals affirmed point by point the factual findings of the lower court upon which the award of damages had been based. 13 We, therefore, see no reason to modify the award of damages made by the trial court.

    Under the peculiar circumstances of this case, we are convinced that the awards for actual, moral and exemplary damages granted in the judgment of respondent court, for the reasons meticulously analyzed and thoroughly explained in its decision, are just and equitable. It is high time that the travelling public is afforded protection and that the duties of common carriers, long detailed in our previous laws and jurisprudence and thereafter collated and specially catalogued in our Civil Code in 1950, be enforced through appropriate sanctions.

    We agree, however, with the contention that the interest of 6% imposed by respondent court should be computed from the date of rendition of judgment and not from the filing of the complaint.

    The rule has been laid down in Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, Et. Al. 14 that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "When an obligation, not constituting a loan or forbearance of money, is breached, an interest on the amount of damages awarded may be imposed at the discretion of the court at the rate of 6% per annum. No interest, however, shall be adjudged on unliquidated claims or damages except when or until the demand can be established with reasonable certainty. Accordingly, where the demand is established with reasonable certainty, the interest shall begin to run from the time the claim is made judicially or extrajudicially (Art. 1169, Civil Code) but when such certainty cannot be so reasonably established at the time the demand is made, the interest shall begin to run only from the date the judgment of the court is made (at which time the quantification of damages may be deemed to have been reasonably ascertained). The actual base for the computation of legal interest shall, in any case, be on the amount finally adjudged."cralaw virtua1aw library

    This is because at the time of the filling of the complaint, the amount of the damages to which plaintiff may be entitled remains unliquidated and not known, until it is definitely ascertained, assessed and determined by the court, and only after the presentation of proof thereon. 15

    WHEREFORE the challenged judgment of respondent Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED, subject to the MODIFICATION regarding the computation of the 6% legal rate of interest on the monetary awards granted therein to private Respondent.

    SO ORDERED.

    Romero and Puno, JJ., concur.

    Mendoza, J., took no part; daughter in management of petitioner.

    Torres, Jr., J., is on official leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. CA-G.R. CV 33842; Presiding Justice Nathaniel P. De Pano, Jr., ponente; Associate Justices Artemon de Luna and Ramon U. Mabutas, Jr, concurring; Annex A, Petition; Rollo, 48.

    2. Petition, 3; Rollo, 30.

    3. Zulueta, Et. Al. v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., L-28589, February 29, 1972, 43 SCRA 397.

    4. Rollo, 52-57.

    5. Ibid., 54.

    6. Ibid., 57.

    7. Ibid., 52.

    8. Ibid., 58.

    9. Sibal v. Notre Dame of Greater Manila, Et. Al. G.R. No. 75093, February 23, 1990, 182 SCRA 538.

    10. G.R. No. 77011, July 24, 1990, 187 SCRA 763.

    11. Philtranco Service Enterprises Inc. Et. Al. v. CA, Et Al., G.R. No. 120553, June 17, 1997.

    12. National Power Corporation, Et. Al. v. CA Et. Al., G.R. No. 113103, June 13, 1997.

    13. Meneses, Et. Al. v. CA, Et Al., G.R. No. 82220, July 14, 1995, 246 SCRA 162.

    14. G.R. No. 97412, July 12, 1994, 234 SCRA 78.

    15. Korean Airlines Co. Ltd. v. Court of Appeals, Et Al., G.R. No. 114061, August 3, 1994, 234 SCRA 717.

    G.R. No. 120262   July 17, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.


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