Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1998 > January 1998 Decisions > G.R. No. 127823 January 29, 1998 - "J" MARKETING CORP., ET AL. v. FELICIDAD SIA, JR., ET AL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 127823. January 29, 1998.]

"J" MARKETING CORPORATION represented by HECTOR L. CALUDAC, Petitioner, v. FELICIDAD SIA, JR. and COURT OF APPEALS, Respondents.


D E C I S I O N


FRANCISCO, J.:


This is a case of damages and attorney’s fees. The undisputed facts are as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"(Petitioner) J. Marketing Corporation, a company engaged in the business of appliances and motorcycles, received on April 24, 1983 from Kawasaki Motors (Phils.) a brand new Kawasaki motorcycle, color Blue, Model HD-11 (1985) with Engine No. G7E-04848 and Chassis No. KG-805535. Upon receipt, petitioner’s representative placed the motorcycle in the bodega of YKS Bldg., Rizal Avenue, Tacloban City. However, on April 20, 1987, (Petitioner) found out that the motorcycle unit was missing in the bodega and the loss was immediately reported to the police authorities specifically to the Headquarters Constabulary Highway Patrol District No. 8, Tacloban City. Subsequently, (petitioner) tried to trace the lost motorcycle to one Felicidad Sia, Jr., herein (private respondent), who bought a motorcycle from one Renato Pelande, Jr. on May 25, 1987. Allegedly, petitioner’s representative went to the house of the private respondent and examined the chassis and motor numbers of the motorcycle in his (private respondent) possession, and found out that the chassis and motor numbers of the motorcycle in private respondent’s possession have been tampered to jibe with the chassis and motor numbers of the motorcycle unit previously purchased by Renato Pelande, Jr. from petitioner. When petitioner’s representative confronted private respondent at the Constabulary Highway Patrol Group office anent the questionable motorcycle, private respondent refused to return the said motorcycle to petitioner and instead told petitioner’s representative to file a case in court. Hence, on September 24, 1987, petitioner filed a complaint for replevin with damages against private respondent Felicidad C. Sia, Jr. before the Regional Trial Court of Tacloban City, Branch 8.chanrobles law library

"On April 14, 1988, private respondent Felicidad C. Sia Jr. filed a third party complaint against Renato Pelante, Jr. from whom he purchased his motorcycle. Said third party defendant was subsequently declared as in default." 1

After trial, the lower Court rendered a decision dismissing petitioner’s complaint but awarded damages and attorney’s fees to private Respondent. 2 On appeal, the CA affirmed the decision of the court a quo. 3 Hence this petition where the sole issue raised is whether the award of attorney’s fees and damages (moral and exemplary) is proper.

A person’s right to litigate should not be penalized by holding him liable for damages. This is especially true when the filing of the case is to enforce what he believes to be his rightful claim against another although found to be erroneous. In this case, petitioner precisely instituted the replevin case against private respondent based on the latter’s own challenge to the former that if they really had a right on the motorcycle, then they should institute the necessary case in court. When petitioner did sue private respondent and filed a third party complaint against the person from whom private respondent claims to have bought the motorcycle, it cannot be said that the institution of the replevin suit was tainted with gross and evident bad faith or was done maliciously to harass, embarrass, annoy or ridicule private Respondent.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

Moreover, the adverse result of an action — dismissal of petitioner’s complaint — does not per se make an act unlawful and subject the actor to the payment of moral damages. It is not a sound public policy to place a premium on the right to litigate. 4 No damages can be charged on those who may exercise such precious right in good faith, even if done erroneously. 5

The award of exemplary damages has likewise no factual basis. It is a requisite that the act must be accompanied by bad faith or done in wanton, fraudulent or malevolent manner 6 — circumstances which are absent in this case. In addition, exemplary damages cannot be awarded as the requisite element of compensatory damages was not present. 7

With respect to the attorney’s fees, an adverse decision does not ipso facto justify the award thereof to the winning party. 8 All indications point to the fact that petitioner honestly thought that they had a good cause of action, so that notwithstanding the dismissal of their case, no attorney’s fees can be granted to private Respondent. 9 Considering that the latter claims to be the owner of the motorcycle, petitioner was compelled to sue him. When the former "necessarily" became a party defendant no attorney’s fees and litigation expenses can automatically be recovered even if he should win, as it is not the fact of winning alone that entitles recovery of such items but rather the attendance of special circumstances 10 — the enumerated exceptions in Article 2208 of the New Civil Code. 11 There being no bad faith reflected in petitioner’s persistence in pursuing its case, other than an erroneous conviction of the righteousness of its cause, attorney’s fees cannot not be recovered as cost. 12

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED WITH THE MODIFICATION that the award of damages, attorney’s fees and cost to private respondent is deleted.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary:red

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Romero, Melo and Panganiban, JJ., concur.

Endnotes:



1. Annex "A" to the Petition; Rollo, p. 20.

2. The dispositive portion of the RTC Decision reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, this Court —

1. Orders the dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint for replevin with damages for lack of merit;

2. Orders plaintiff to pay defendant Felicidad Sia, Jr. P5,000.00 for moral damages and another P5,000.00 for exemplary damages;

3. Orders plaintiff to pay defendant P20,000.00 for attorney’s fees (for his two hired counsels) and

4. To pay cost of the suit.

SO ORDERED." (Rollo, p. 19.)

3. Court of Appeals decision promulgated on September 26, 1996.

4. Arenas v. CA, 169 SCRA 558; Mirasol v. Dela Cruz, 84 SCRA 337.

5. Barreto v. Arevalo, 99 Phil. 771.

6. Philippine National Bank v. CA, 256 SCRA 44.

7. Philippine National Bank v. CA, supra.

8. Ramos v. Ramos, 61 SCRA 284 citing Herrera v. Lim Kuy Guan, 110 Phil. 1020; Lazatin v. Twaño and Castro, 112 Phil. 733.

9. Herrera v. Lim Kuy Guan, supra.

10. Rizal Surety and Insurance, Co., Inc. v. CA, et. al., 26 Phil. 430.

11. Article 2208. In the absence of stipulation, attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation, other than judicial costs, cannot be recovered except:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

(1) When exemplary damages are awarded;

(2) When the defendant’s act or omission has compelled the plaintiff to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to protect his interest;

(3) In criminal cases of malicious prosecution against the plaintiff;

(4) In case of a clearly unfounded civil action or proceeding against the plaintiff;

(5) Where the defendant acted in gross and evident bad faith in refusing to satisfy the plaintiff’s plainly valid, just and demandable claim;

(6) In actions for legal support;

(7) In actions for the recovery of wages of household helpers, laborers and skilled workers;

(8) In actions for indemnity under workmen’s compensation and employer’s liability laws;

(9) In a separate civil action to recover civil liability arising from a crime;

(10) When at least double judicial costs are awarded;

(11) In any other case where the court deems it just and equitable that attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation should be recovered.

In all cases, the attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation must be reasonable.

12. Servicewide Specialists, Incorporated v. CA, 256 SCRA 649.




Back to Home | Back to Main


chanrobles.com



ChanRobles Professional Review, Inc.

ChanRobles Professional Review, Inc. : www.chanroblesprofessionalreview.com
ChanRobles On-Line Bar Review

ChanRobles Internet Bar Review : www.chanroblesbar.com
ChanRobles CPA Review Online

ChanRobles CPALE Review Online : www.chanroblescpareviewonline.com
ChanRobles Special Lecture Series

ChanRobles Special Lecture Series - Memory Man : www.chanroblesbar.com/memoryman





January-1998 Jurisprudence                 

  • Adm. Matter No. 95-1-01-MTCC January 5, 1998 - REPORT OF COA ON THE SHORTAGE OF THE ACCOUNTABILITIES OF LILIA S. BUENA

  • G.R. Nos. 118342 & 118367 January 5, 1998 - DBP v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122704 January 5, 1998 - PEDRO CHICO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108369 January 7, 1998 - CINDY AND LYNSY GARMENT, ET AL v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111710 January 7, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO ABUAN

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1385 January 8, 1998 - RAMON T. ARDOSA v. LOLITA O. GAL-LANG, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-98-1260 January 14, 1998 - PHILIPPINE BANK OF COMMUNICATIONS v. CESAR TORIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108772 January 14, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLLY OBELLO

  • G.R. Nos. 113250-52 January 14, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TEOTIMO MAGPANTAY

  • G.R. No. 117043 January 14, 1998 - FELIX VILLA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120616 January 14, 1998 - LONGINO BUHISAN v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113592 January 15, 1998 - INDUSTRIAL AND TRANSPORT EQUIPMENT, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128399 January 15, 1998 - CAGAYAN SUGAR MILLING CO. v. SECRETARY OF LABOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 84857 January 16, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO DELA ROSA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110315 January 16, 1998 - RENATO CUDIA v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. Nos. 111313-14 January 16, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JULIE VILLAMOR

  • G.R. No. 112035 January 16, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PANFILO CABILES

  • G.R. No. 113296 January 16, 1998 - ABC DAVAO AUTO SUPPLY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113804 January 16, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SERGIO BATO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116629 January 16, 1998 - NFD INTERNATIONAL MANNING AGENTS, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117683 January 16, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TEOFILO TANEO

  • G.R. No. 118883 January 16, 1998 - SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF SAN ANDRES, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120366 January 16, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO BACCAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122046 January 16, 1998 - METRO TRANSIT ORGANIZATION v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122770 January 16, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO AGBAYANI

  • G.R. No. 123455 January 16, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARNOLD HILARIO

  • G.R. No. 124290 January 16, 1998 - ALLIED BANKING CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125906 January 16, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUANITO AQUINO

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-95-1065 January 20, 1998 - JOSEPHINE R. TULIAO v. JOSE O. RAMOS

  • G.R. No. 120107 January 20, 1998 - DANILO P. AGUAS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120180 January 20, 1998 - LINELL VILLARUEL, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 120334 & 120337 January 20, 1998 - NORTHWEST AIRLINES, INC v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL

  • G.R. No. 122098 January 20, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE TENORIO

  • G.R. No. 122100 January 20, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO TUMALA, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 124185-87 January 20, 1998 - RUBY INDUSTRIAL CORP., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124705 January 20, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GERRY SUMALPONG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107725 January 22, 1998 - ESPERO SALAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 115555-59 January 22, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILFREDO VILLANUEVA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116775 January 22, 1998 - HEIRS OF PASCASIO URIARTE, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 119074-75 January 22, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO PACISTOL

  • G.R. No. 120969 January 22, 1998 - ALEJANDRO MARAGUINOT, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121193 January 22, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AMBITONIO PALMA GIL

  • G.R. No. 124326 January 22, 1998 - BOYET SEMPIO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124736 January 22, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO GALLO

  • G.R. No. 127296 January 22, 1998 - EDUBIGIS GORDULA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128379 January 22, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BRANDO RAVANES

  • G.R. No. 105188 January 23, 1998 - MYRON C. PAPA v. A.U. VALENCIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113911 January 23, 1998 - VINTA MARITIME, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115625 January 23, 1998 - ESMUNDO B. RIVERA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115809 January 23, 1998 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MELVIN MENDOZA

  • G.R. Nos. 125218 & 128077 January 23, 1998 - FILSTREAM INTERNATIONAL INCORPORATED v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-98-1397 January 26, 1998 - DEOGRACIAS VILLALUZ JR., ET AL. v. WENIFREDO A. ARMENTA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120556 January 26, 1998 - HDA. DAPDAP I, ET AL v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121908 January 26, 1998 - ESTER SANTIAGO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123989 January 26, 1998 - DAVID B. CORPUZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127850 January 26, 1998 - MARIA ARCAL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128421 January 26, 1998 - TRANS INTERNATIONAL v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Bar Matter No. 810 January 27, 1998 - PETITION TO TAKE THE LAWYER’S OATH BY ARTHUR M. CUEVAS

  • G.R. No. 118939 January 27, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBINSON TIMBLOR

  • G.R. No. 121468 January 27, 1998 - ARSENIO DELOS REYES, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL

  • Adm. Case CBD No. 190 January 28, 1998 - CORAZON T. REONTOY v. LIBERATO R. IBADLIT

  • Adm. Case No. 2884 January 28, 1998 - IRENE RAYOS-OMBAC v. ORLANDO A. RAYOS

  • Adm. Case No. 3919 January 28, 1998 - SOCORRO T. CO v. GODOFREDO N. BERNARDINO

  • Adm. Matter Nos. MTJ-94-986, MTJ-95-1052, MTJ-95-1069 January 28, 1998 - MIGUEL ABARQUEZ v. BIENVENIDO M. REBOSURA

  • G.R. No. 91262 January 28, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILFREDO LLAGUNO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105892 January 28, 1998 - LEIDEN FERNANDEZ, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110921 January 28, 1998 - BALTAZAR L. VILLANUEVA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116765 January 28, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JACOB QUITORIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119835 January 28, 1998 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSEPH BARRIENTOS

  • G.R. No. 121004 January 28, 1998 - ROMEO LAGATIC v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121534 January 28, 1998 - JUAN M. CASIL v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121901 January 28, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLARITA BAHATAN

  • G.R. No. 122075 January 28, 1998 - HAGONOY RURAL BANK v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125334 January 28, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CRESENCIO TABUGOCA

  • G.R. No. 126196 January 28, 1998 - GREGORIO C. MORALES, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127549 January 28, 1998 - CESAR STA. MARIA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-94-1135 January 29, 1998 - SALAM NAGA PANGADAPUN v. AMER R. IBRAHIM

  • G.R. No. 106233 January 29, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBINSON ESTRERA

  • G.R. No. 110495 January 29, 1998 - PRODUCERS BANK OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114385 January 29, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EFREN JEREZ

  • G.R. No. 116382 January 29, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MA. LOURDES BAUTISTA DE GUIANG

  • G.R. No. 117572 January 29, 1998 - GSIS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120921 January 29, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE BALLESTEROS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121824 January 29, 1998 - BRITISH AIRWAYS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121898 January 29, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENE H. ARANJUEZ

  • G.R. No. 123151 January 29, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SABINO GEMENTIZA

  • G.R. No. 124521 January 29, 1998 - MICHAEL O. MASTURA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 127073 & 126995 January 29, 1998 - JOSE P. DANS, ET AL. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL

  • G.R. No. 127823 January 29, 1998 - "J" MARKETING CORP., ET AL. v. FELICIDAD SIA, JR., ET AL.

  • CBD Adm. Case No. 313 January 30, 1998 - AUGUSTO G. NAVARRO, ET AL. v. ROSENDO MENESES III

  • G.R. Nos. 106210-11 January 30, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO LISING, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 115253-74 January 30, 1998 - ANTONIO P. CALLANTA, ET AL. v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118744 January 30, 1998 - IRENEO V. GUERRERO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119246 January 30, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO CORREA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123872 January 30, 1998 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUBEN MONTILLA