G.R. No. 110015 October 13, 1995
MANILA BAY CLUB CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. THE COURT OF APPEALS, MODESTA SABENIANO and MIRIAM SABENIANO, JUDITH SABENIANO, JOY DENNIS SABENIANO, et. al., Respondents.
After carefully perusing the instant motion for reconsideration, petitioner's arguments, in sum, dwell on the focal issues involved in the controversy which have been passed upon in the Court's July 11, 1995 Decision sought to be reconsidered. No reasons of significant and compelling import have been advanced to alter the Court's observation and conclusion that 1) petitioner's non-designation of private respondents as beneficiaries of the insurance policies was a violation of the "insurance clause" amounting to a "substantial", and not a mere "slight or casual", breach entitling private respondents to rescind the lease contract, and 2) the amount of rentals/damages petitioner was bound to pay was correctly adjudged by respondent Court of Appeals after slightly modifying the trial court's assessment. The Court, however, would like to make some additional disquisitions in response to certain noteworthy contentions raised by petitioner.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Anent the issue of the rentals/damages, petitioner avers that "the Decision awards excessive damages" since "the Decision of this Honorable Court condemned the petitioner to pay, up front, the total sum of P12,029,800.00", "a staggering sum by any calculation . . . that will probably reduce the petitioner to utter bankruptcy"; It is likewise maintained that private respondents will be "unjustly enriched" simply because petitioner failed to present controverting evidence, or rebut Mrs. Sabeniano's testimony which, according to petitioner, is mere "speculation".chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
We need to stress the one decisive fact that petitioner had all the opportunity at its disposal before the trial court to refute, with all allowable pieces of evidence it can produce, Mrs. Sabeniano's testimony or any other evidence of private respondents, and there is nothing to indicate that petitioner was ever denied such opportunity/opportunities by the trial court. The trial court, respondent court and this Court cannot be faulted for taking private respondents' uncontroverted evidence below vis-a-vis the monthly rentals on its face value - no matter how "staggering" it may appear - for petitioner's omission to rebut that which would have naturally invited an immediate, pervasive and stiff opposition from petitioner created an adverse inference that either the controverting evidences to be presented by petitioner will only prejudice its case, or that the uncontroverted evidence of private respondents indeed speaks of the truth. And such adverse inference, recognized and adhered to by courts in judging the weight of evidence in all kinds of proceedings, surely is not without basis - the rationale and effect of which rest on sound, logical and practical considerations.
The inference still holds even if it be assumed, for argument's sake, that Mrs. Sabeniano's testimony is improbable or weak, for it has likewise been said that:
As petitioner seemed willing to admit private respondents' evidence bearing on the fair rental value without question, the trial court was well-justified in having done the same - exhibiting, still, due consideration when it reduced the monthly rental value from P400,000.00 as per Mrs. Sabeniano's uncontroverted testimony, to P250,000.00. In answer, therefore, to petitioner's questions, i.e.,
With regard to petitioner's contention that it "did not raise a fresh matter on appeal", the Court merely reiterates that petitioner's invocation of the principles of trust found its way only for the first time in its "Motion For Reconsideration" of the respondent court's decision. If well-recognized jurisprudence precludes raising an issue only for the first time on appeal proper, with more reason should such issue be disallowed or disregarded when initially raised only in a motion for reconsideration of the decision of the appellate court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
We cannot finally put this case to rest without confronting the perceived "unusual dispatch" in its resolution the petitioner is "genuinely disturbed" of - consisting in the rendition of the judgment (July 11, 1995) having been made in six (6) months from the ponente's appointment to the Court on January 5, 1995. Petitioner amplifies that: 1) ". . . hardly has the ponente warmed his seat, the case would be decided . . .", and 2) ". . . when prior to the appointment of the ponente, it took the rest of the Justices of the Third Division of this Honorable Court more than a year to deliberate on the Petition, . . . ".chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
It is the practice of the Court to encourage the speedy resolution of cases unloaded to a newly-appointed Member, especially those cases that are already ripe for decision and in which motions for their early resolution have been filed by either of the parties concerned, as in this case. This is the reason why it became imperative to resolve this case at the soonest possible time and without further delay, lest we be charged with footdragging on the case thereby putting the Court in a more objectionable situation.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
In fact, the undersigned ponente has come across some of the maiden decisions of one of petitioner's counsels, Mr. Justice Abraham F. Sarmiento, a distinguished former magistrate of this Court himself who the undersigned holds in high-respect, which were disposed of by him in less than six (6) months from the date of his appointment to the Court on January 26, 1987. To name a few are: People v. Decierdo, G.R. No. L-46956, May 7, 1987, 149 SCRA 496; People v. Saavedra, G.R. No. L-48738, May 18, 1987, 149 SCRA 610; People v. Pecato, G.R. No. L-41008, June 18, 1987, 151 SCRA 14; People v. Ferrera, G.R. No. L-66965, June 18, 1987, 151 SCRA 113; Madrigal & Company, Inc. v. Zamora, G.R. Nos. L-49023 and L-48237, June 30, 1987, 151 SCRA 355 (Labor Case); Banco Filipino Savings & Mortgage Bank v. Pardo, G.R. No.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motion For Reconsideration is hereby DENIED with FINALITY.
Feliciano, Romero, Melo and Vitug, JJ., concur.
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