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G.R. No. 170071 and G.R. No. 170125

TodayisTuesday,August23,2016

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
FIRSTDIVISION
G.R.No.170071March9,2011
HEIRSOFJOSEMARCIALK.OCHOAnamely:RUBYB.OCHOA,MICAELAB.OCHOAandJOMARB.
OCHOA,Petitioners,
vs.
G&STRANSPORTCORPORATION,Respondent.
xx
G.R.No.170125
G&STRANSPORTCORPORATION,Petitioner,
vs.
HEIRSOFJOSEMARCIALK.OCHOAnamely:RUBYB.OCHOA,MICAELAB.OCHOAandJOMARB.
OCHOA,Respondents.
DECISION
DELCASTILLO,J.:
Anaccidentwhichclaimedthelifeofapassengeristherootofthesetwopetitionsonebroughtbeforeusbythe
commoncarrierandtheotherbytheheirsofthedeceased.
TheseconsolidatedPetitionsforReviewonCertiorari assail the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision1datedJune29,
2005 in CAG.R. CV No. 75602 which affirmed with modification the December 21, 2001 Decision and March 5,
2002 Order of the trial court. Likewise assailed is the Resolution2 dated October 12, 2005 denying the parties
respectiveMotionsforReconsiderationthereto.
FactualAntecedents
JoseMarcialK.Ochoa(JoseMarcial)diedonthenightofMarch10,1995whileonboardanAvistaxicabowned
and operated by G & S Transport Corporation (G & S), a common carrier. As narrated by the trial court, the
circumstancesattendingJoseMarcialsdeathareasfollows:
ItappearsthatsometimeintheeveningofMarch10,1995,attheManilaDomesticAirport,thelateJoseMarcialK.
OchoaboardedandrodeataxicabwithPlateNo.PKR534,apassengervehicleforhireownedandoperatedby
defendant corporation under the business name "Avis Coupon Taxi" (Avis) and driven by its employee and
authorizeddriverBibianoPadilla,Jr.onhiswayhometoTeachersVillage,Diliman,QuezonCity.
At about 11:00 p.m., the taxicab was cruising along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue [EDSA], in front of Camp
AguinaldoinQuezonCityathighspeed.WhilegoinguptheBoniSerrano(Santolan)flyover,itovertookanother
cab driven by Pablo Clave and tried to pass another vehicle, a tenwheeler cargo truck. Because of the narrow
spacebetweentheleftsiderailingoftheflyoverandthetenwheelertruck,theAviscabwasunabletopassand
becauseofitsspeed,itsdriver(Padilla)wasunabletocontrolit.Toavoidcollidingwiththetruck,Padillaturnedthe
wheeltotheleftcausinghistaxicabtoramtherailingthrowingitselfofftheflyoverandfellonthemiddlesurfaceof
EDSAbelow.Theforcefuldropofthevehicleontheflooroftheroadbrokeandsplititintotwoparts.Bothdriver
PadillaandpassengerJoseMarcialK.Ochoawereinjuredandrushedtothehospital.AttheEastAvenueMedical
Center,OchoawasnotasluckyasPadillawhowasalive.Hewasdeclareddeadonarrivalfromtheaccident.The
deathcertificateissuedbytheOfficeoftheCivilRegistrarofQuezonCitycitedthecauseofhisdeathasvehicular
accident.3
On May 13, 1999, Jose Marcials wife, Ruby Bueno Ochoa, and his two minor children, Micaela B. Ochoa and
JomarB.Ochoa(theheirs),throughcounsel,sentG&Saletter4demandingthatthelatterindemnifythemforJose
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Marcialsdeath,hislossofearningcapacity,andfuneralexpensesinthetotalamountofP15,000,000.00.AsG&S
failedtoheedthesame,theheirsfiledaComplaint5forDamagesbeforetheRegionalTrialCourt(RTC)ofPasig
CitywhichwasraffledtoBranch164ofsaidcourt.
TheheirsallegedthatG&S,asacommoncarrier,isunderlegalobligationtoobserveandexerciseextraordinary
diligenceintransportingitspassengerstotheirdestinationsafelyandsecurely.However,G&Sfailedtoobserve
and exercise this extraordinary diligence because its employee failed to transport Jose Marcial to his destination
safely. They averred that G & S is liable to them for having breached the contract of common carriage. As an
alternativecauseofaction,theyassertedthatG&Sislikewiseliablefordamagesbasedonquasidelictpursuantto
Article 21806 in relation to Article 21767 of the Civil Code. The heirs thus prayed for G & S to pay them actual
damages,moraldamages,exemplarydamages,andattorneysfeesandexpensesoflitigation.
InitsAnswerWithCompulsoryCounterclaims,8G&SclaimedthatJoseMarcialboardedanAvistaxicabdrivenby
its employee, Bibiano Padilla (Padilla), at the Domestic Airport to bring him to Teachers Village in Quezon City.
While passing the Santolan flyover, however, the Avis taxicab was bumped by an onrushing delivery van at the
rightportioncausingthetaxicabtoveertotheleft,ramthroughtheleftsideoftherailingsoftheflyoverandfallto
thecenteroftheislandbelow.ThetaxicabwassplitintotwoandJoseMarcialwasthrown10metersaway.G&S
positedthattheproximatecauseofJoseMarcialsdeathisa
fortuitouseventand/orthefaultornegligenceofthedriverofthedeliveryvanthathitthetaxicab.Itlikewiseclaimed
thatitexercisedthediligencerequiredofagoodfatherofafamilyintheselectionandsupervisionofitsemployees
including Padilla. By way of compulsory counterclaim, G & S sought to recover from the heirs the amount of
P300,000.00asattorneysfeesandcostsofsuit.
RulingoftheRegionalTrialCourt
OnDecember27,2001,thetrialcourtrenderedaDecision9findingthevehicularmishapnotcausedbyafortuitous
eventbutbythenegligenceofPadilla.ItlikewisefoundtheevidenceadducedbyG&Stoshowthatitexercisedthe
diligenceofagoodfatherofafamilyintheselectionandsupervisionofitsemployeesasinsufficient.Hence,thetrial
courtdeclaredG&Scivillyliabletotheheirs.However,forlackofreceiptsoranyproofoffuneralexpensesand
other actual damages, the trial court denied the heirs claim for actual damages. It also denied them moral and
exemplarydamagesforlackoflegalbasis.ThedispositiveportionofsaidDecisionreads:
WHEREFORE,defendantisherebyadjudgedguiltyofbreachofcontractofcarriageandisorderedtopayplaintiffs
thefollowingamounts:
1.P50,000.00ascivilindemnityforthedeathofdeceasedJoseMarcialK.Ochoa
2.P6,537,244.96forthelossofearningcapacityofthedeceased
3.P100,00.00forattorneysfees
4.Andthecostoflitigation.
SOORDERED.10
G&SfiledaNoticeofAppeal11whiletheheirsfiledaMotionforPartialReconsideration.12Theheirsaverredthat
theyareentitledtomoraldamagespursuanttoArticle176413inrelationtoArticle2206(3)14oftheCivilCode.They
alsocitedapplicablejurisprudenceprovidingthatmoraldamagesarerecoverableinadamagesuitpredicatedupon
abreachofcontractofcarriagewherethemishapresultsinthedeathofthepassenger.Withrespecttotheirclaim
for exemplary damages, the heirs relied upon Article 2232 of the Civil Code which provides that in contracts and
quasicontracts,thecourtmayawardexemplarydamagesifthedefendantactedinawanton,fraudulent,reckless,
oppressiveormalevolentmanner.And,sincePadillawasdeclaredbythetrialcourttohavebeengrosslynegligent
indrivingthetaxicab,theheirsclaimedthattheyarelikewiseentitledtoexemplarydamages.
AfterG&SfileditsOpposition(ToPlaintiffsMotionforPartialReconsideration),15thetrialcourtissuedanOrder16
onMarch5,2002.ItfoundmeritintheheirsMotionforPartialReconsiderationandthusdeclaredthementitledto
moralandexemplarydamages,viz:
WHEREFORE,thedecisiondatedDecember27,2001isherebymodifiedsoastoorderdefendantCorporationto
pay plaintiffs the amount of P300,000.00 as moral damages and P50,000.00 as exemplary damages. The
dispositiveportionofsaiddecisionisherebyamendedtoreadasfollows:
WHEREFORE,defendantisherebyadjudgedguiltyofbreachofcontractofcarriageandisorderedtopayplaintiffs
thefollowingamounts:
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1.P50,000.00ascivilindemnityforthedeathofthedeceasedJoseMarcialK.Ochoa
2.P6,537,244.96forthelossofearningcapacityofthedeceased.
3.P300,000.00asmoraldamages
4.P50,000.00asexemplarydamages
5.P100,000.00forattorneysfees
6.Andthecostsoflitigation.
SOORDERED.17
Because of this, G & S filed another Notice of Appeal18 and same was given due course by the trial court in an
Order19datedApril23,2002.
RulingoftheCourtofAppeals
BeforetheCA,G&Scontinuedtoinsistthatitexercisedthediligenceofagoodfatherofthefamilyintheselection
and supervision of its employees. It averred that it has been carrying out not only seminars for its drivers even
beforetheyweremadetowork,butalsoperiodicevaluationsfortheirperformance.Asidefromthese,ithasalso
been conducting monthly checkup of its automobiles and has regularly issued rules regarding the conduct of its
drivers.G&Sclaimedthatitwasabletoestablishagoodnameintheindustryandmaintainaclientele.
InanefforttobuildupPadillascharacterasanexperiencedandcarefuldriver,G&Saverredthat:(1)beforeG&S
employedPadilla,hewasadeliverytruckdriverofInterIslandGasServicefor11years(2)Padillahasbeenan
employee of G & S from 1989 to 1996 and during said period, there was no recorded incident of his being a
negligentdriver(3)despitehisqualifications,G&SstillrequiredPadillatosubmitanNBIclearance,driverslicense
andpoliceclearance(4)PadillasbeingagooddriveremployeewasmanifestinhisyearsofservicewithG&S,as
infact,hehasreceivedcongratulatorymessagesfromthelatterasshownbytheinterofficememosdatedAugust
23, 1990 and February 1, 1993 and that (5) Padilla attended a seminar at the Pope Pius Center sometime in
December1999aspartoftheNAIATaxiOperationProgram.
G & S also argued that the proximate cause of Jose Marcials death is a fortuitous event and/or the fault or
negligenceofanotherandnotofitsemployee.AccordingtoG&S,thecollisionwastotallyunforeseensincePadilla
had every right to expect that the delivery van would just overtake him and not hit the right side of the taxicab.
Therefore,whattranspiredwasbeyondPadillascontrol.Therewasnonegligenceonhispartbutonthepartofthe
driverofthedeliveryvan.Forthisreason,G&Sopinedthatitwasnotliabletotheheirs.
Ontheotherhand,theheirsmaintainedthatPadillawasgrosslynegligentindrivingtheAvistaxicabonthenightof
March10,1995.TheyclaimedthatPadilla,whilerunningataveryhighspeed,actednegligentlywhenhetriedto
overtakeatenwheelertruckatthefootoftheflyover.Thisforcedhimtoswervetotheleftandasaconsequence,
the Avis taxicab hit the center of the railing and was split into two upon hitting the ground. The manner by which
Padilladrovethetaxicabclearlyshowedthatheactedwithoutregardtothesafetyofhispassenger.
The heirs also averred that in order for a fortuitous event to exempt one from liability, it is necessary that he has
committed no negligence or conduct that may have occasioned the loss. Thus, to be exempt from liability for the
deathofJoseMarcialonthisground,G&Smustclearlyshowthattheproximatecauseofthecasualtywasentirely
independent of human will and that it was impossible to avoid. And since in the case at bar it was Padillas
inexcusablepoorjudgment,utterlackofforesightandextremenegligencewhichweretheimmediateandproximate
causesoftheaccident,samecannotbeconsideredtobeduetoafortuitousevent.Thisisbolsteredbythefactthat
thecourttryingthecaseforcriminalnegligencearisingfromthesameincidentconvictedPadillaforsaidcharge.20
At any rate, the heirs contended that regardless of whether G & S observed due diligence in the selection of its
employees,itshouldnonethelessbeheldliableforthedeathofJoseMarcialpursuanttoArticle1759oftheCivil
Codewhichprovides:
ART.1759Commoncarriersareliableforthedeathoforinjuriestopassengersthroughthenegligenceorwillful
actsoftheformersemployees,althoughsuchemployeesmayhaveactedbeyondthescopeoftheirauthorityorin
violationoftheordersofthecommoncarriers.
Thisliabilityofthecommoncarriersdoesnotceaseuponproofthattheyexercisedallthediligenceofagoodfather
ofafamilyintheselectionandsupervisionoftheiremployees.
Insum,theheirsprayedthattheappealbedismissedforlackofmeritandtheassailedDecisionandOrderofthe
trialcourtbeaffirmedintoto.
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In a Decision21 dated June 29, 2005, the CA ruled in favor of the heirs. The appellate court gave weight to their
argument that in order for a fortuitous event to exempt one from liability, it is necessary that he committed no
negligence or misconduct that may have occasioned the loss. In this case, the CA noted that Padilla failed to
employreasonableforesight,diligenceandcareneededtoexemptG&SfromliabilityforJoseMarcialsdeath.Said
court also quoted pertinent portions of the MTC decision convicting Padilla of reckless imprudence resulting in
homicidetonegateG&Sclaimthattheproximatecauseoftheaccidentwasthefaultofthedriverofthedelivery
vanwhoallegedlyhittherightsideofthetaxicab.Andjustlikethetrialcourt,theCAfoundinsufficienttheevidence
adduced by G & S to support its claim that it exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of its
employees.
WithrespecttotheawardofP6,537,244.96forJoseMarcialslossofearningcapacity,theCAdeclaredthesame
unwarranted. It found the Certification22 issued by Jose Marcials employer, the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) through its Chief of Human Resources Division Jonas Cruz (Cruz), as self
serving, unreliable, and biased. While said certification states that Jose Marcial was earning an annual salary of
P450,844.49 at the time of his untimely demise, the CA noted that same is unsupported by competent evidence
suchasincometaxreturnsorreceipts.ThisisinviewoftherulinginPeoplev.Ereo23whereitwasheldthat"there
must be unbiased proof of the deceaseds average income." Anent moral damages, the CA found the award of
P300,000.00 excessive and thus reduced the same to P200,000.00 as to make it proportionate to the award of
exemplarydamageswhichisP50,000.00.ThedispositiveportionofsaidDecisionreads:
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision dated December 27, 2001 and Order dated March 5, 2002 are AFFIRMED
withthefollowingMODIFICATION:appellantisorderedtopayappelleesthesumofP50,000.00ascivilindemnity
forthedeathofthedeceasedJoseMarcialK.Ochoa,P200,000.00asmoraldamages,P50,000.00 as exemplary
damages,P100,000.00forattorneysfeesandthecostsoflitigation.ThetrialcourtsawardofP6,537,244.96forthe
lossofearningcapacityofthedeceasedisDELETEDforlackofbasis.
SOORDERED.
Both parties moved for reconsideration24 but the CA denied their respective motions for reconsideration in a
Resolution25datedOctober12,2005.
Hence, G & S and the heirs filed their respective Petitions for Review on Certiorari before this Court. The heirs
petition was docketed as G.R. No. 170071 and that of G & S as G.R. No. 170125. These petitions were later
consolidatedpursuanttothisCourtsResolutionofNovember21,2005.26
G.R.No.170125
G&Sanchorsitspetitiononthefollowinggrounds:
I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT RULING THAT THE
PROXIMATECAUSEOFDEATHOFMR.JOSEMARCIALK.OCHOAWASAFORTUITOUSEVENT
AND/ORWASDUETOTHEFAULTORNEGLIGENCEOFANOTHERANDSHOULDTHUSEXEMPT
THEPETITIONERFROMLIABILITY.
II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT TAKING NOTE OF THE
FACT THAT THE PETITIONERS EMPLOYEE HAD BEEN ACQUITTED OF THE CRIME OF
RECKLESSIMPRUDENCERESULTING(IN)HOMICIDE.
III.THEHONORABLECOURTOFAPPEALSGRAVELYERREDINUPHOLDINGTHETESTIMONY
OFAWITNESSWHOSURFACEDMONTHSAFTERTHEINCIDENTWHILEDISREGARDINGTHAT
OFANEYEWITNESSWHOWASPRESENTATTHETIMEANDPLACEOFTHEACCIDENT.
IV. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT RULING THAT THE
PETITIONER EXERCISED THE DILIGENCE OF A GOOD FATHER OF A FAMILY IN THE
SELECTIONANDSUPERVISIONOFITSEMPLOYEESPARTICULARLYMR.BIBIANOPADILLA.27
G&Sreiteratesitsargumentsthattheproximatecauseoftheaccidentisafortuitouseventand/orthenegligenceof
thedriverofthedeliveryvanwhichbumpedtherightportionofitstaxicaband,thatitexercisedthediligenceofa
goodfatherofafamilyintheselectionandsupervisionofitsemployees.ItfaultstheCAwhenitoverlookedthefact
thattheMTCDecisionconvictingPadillaofrecklessimprudencehasalreadybeenreversedonappealbytheRTC
with Padilla having been accordingly acquitted of the crime charged. Moreover, it claims that the appellate court
erredinaccordingrespecttothetestimonyoftheloneprosecutionwitness,PabloClave(Clave),whenitconcluded
thatPadillawasdrivingnegligentlyatthetimeoftheaccident.ItassertsthatClaveisnotacrediblewitnessandso
ishistestimony.Thus,G&SpraysthattheassailedCADecisionandResolutionbereversedandsetaside.

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On the other hand, the heirs posit that the determination of the issues raised by G & S necessarily entails a re
examination of the factual findings which this Court cannot do in this petition for review on certiorari. At any rate,
they maintain that the trial court itself is convinced of Claves credibility. They stress the settled rule that the
evaluation of the credibility of witnesses is a matter that particularly falls within the authority of the trial court
becauseithadtheopportunitytoobservethedemeanorofthewitnessesonthestand.
Theheirsassertthatfortuitouseventwasnottheproximatecauseofthemishap.Theypointoutthatascorrectly
found by the trial court, Padilla was running at an extremely high speed. This was why the impact was so strong
whenthetaxicabrammedtheflyoverrailingsandwassplitintotwowhenithittheground.Also,whileitistruethat
theMTCDecisioninthecriminalcaseforrecklessimprudencehasbeenreversedbytheRTC,thisdoesnotexcuse
G & S from its liability to the heirs because its liability arises from its breach of contract of carriage and from its
negligence in the selection and supervision of its employees. Also, since the acquittal of Padilla is based on
reasonabledoubt,samedoesnotinanywayruleouthisnegligenceasthismaymerelymeanthattheprosecution
failed to meet the requisite quantum of evidence to sustain his conviction. Therefore, G & S cannot bank on said
acquittaltodisproveitsliability.
G.R.No.170071
Theheirs,ontheotherhand,advancethefollowinggroundsinsupportoftheirpetition:
THECOURTOFAPPEALSMANIFESTLYANDGRAVELYERREDINCOMPLETELYDELETINGTHE
TRIALCOURTSAWARDFORTHELOSSOFEARNINGCAPACITYOFTHEDECEASED.
THE COURT OF APPEALS MANIFESTLY AND GRAVELY ERRED IN REDUCING THE TRIAL
COURTSAWARDFORMORALDAMAGES.28
The focal point of the heirs petition is the CAs deletion of the award of P6,537,244.96 for Jose Marcials loss of
earningcapacityaswellasthereductionoftheawardofmoraldamagesfromP300,000.00toP200,000.00.
TheheirsaverthattheappellatecourtgravelyerredinrelyinguponEreoassaidcaseisnotonallfourswiththe
presentcase.TheycontendthatinEreo,thisCourtdisallowedtheawardforlossofincomebecausetheonlyproof
presentedwasahandwrittenstatementofthevictimsspousestatingthedailyincomeofthedeceasedasaself
employedfishvendor.TheheirsarguethatthereasonwhythisCourtdeclaredsaidhandwrittenstatementasself
serving is because the one who prepared it, the deceaseds wife, was also the one who would directly and
personallybenefitfromsuchanaward.29Thiscannotbesaidinthecaseatbarsincethesamebiasandpersonal
interestcannotbeattributedtoJoseMarcialsemployer,theUSAID.UnlikeinEreo,USAIDheredoesnotstandto
bebenefitedbyanawardforJoseMarcialslossofearningcapacity.Clearly,theCertificationissuedbyitisfarfrom
beingselfserving.Atanyrate,theheirscontendthatEreohasalreadybeensupersededbyPleyto v. Lomboy30
wherethisCourtheldthatinawardingdamagesforlossofearningcapacity,"meretestimonialevidencesufficesto
establishabasisforwhichthecourtcanmakeafairandreasonableestimateofthelossofearningcapacity".In
addition,theheirspointoutthattheauthenticityandaccuracyofsaidCertificationwasneitherquestionedbyG&S
nordiscreditedbyanycontrovertingevidence.Infact,itsadmissionbythetrialcourtwasnotevenassignedbyG&
SasanerrorintheirappealbeforetheCA.
Astothereductionofmoraldamages,theheirsclaimthatsincetheCAagreedwiththefactualcircumstancesofthe
caseasfoundbythetrialcourt,thereisthereforenoreasonforittoaltertheawardofdamagesarisingfromsuch
factual circumstances. They aver that the CA may only modify the damages awarded by the trial court when it is
excessive and scandalous as held in Meneses v. Court of Appeals.31 Here, they claim that the award of moral
damages in the amount of P300,000.00 cannot be considered as excessive and unreasonable but only
commensuratetothesufferingscausedbytheincidenttoawifewhobecameayoungwidowattheageof33andto
two minor children who lost a father. Moreover, the heirs aver that the CA should not have reduced the award of
moraldamagesjusttomakesaidamountproportionatetotheexemplarydamagesawarded.Thisisbecausethere
isnosuchrulewhichdictatesthattheamountofmoraldamagesshouldbeproportionatetothatoftheexemplary
damages.TheheirspraythattheassailedCADecisionandResolutionbereversedandsetasideinsofarasthey
deletedtheawardforlossofearningcapacityandreducedtheawardformoraldamages.
For its part, G & S avers that the Certification issued by USAID is selfserving because the USAID officer who
issuedithasnotbeenputonthewitnessstandtovalidatethecontentsthereof.Moreover,saidCertificationwasnot
supportedbycompetentevidencesuchasincometaxreturnsandreceipts.G&Slikewisefindsthereductionofthe
award of moral damages appropriate in view of the settled rule that moral damages are not meant to enrich the
complainantattheexpenseofthedefendant.Hence,itpraysthatthepetitionbedismissedforlackofmerit.
OurRuling
WeshallfirsttackletheissuesraisedbyG&Sinitspetition.
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Thefirst,thirdandfourthissuesraisedbyG&Sinvolvequestionsoffact
Wehavereviewedsaidissuesandwefindthatthedeterminationofthefirst,thirdandfourthissuesraisedentails
reexamination of the evidence presented because they all involve questions of fact. In Microsoft Corporation v.
Maxicorp,Inc.,32weheldthat:
Onceitisclearthattheissueinvitesareviewoftheevidencepresented,thequestionposedisoneoffact.Ifthe
query requires a reevaluation of the credibility of witnesses, or the existence or relevance of surrounding
circumstancesandtheirrelationtoeachother,theissueinthatqueryisfactual.OurrulinginPaternov.Paternois
illustrativeonthispoint:
Suchquestionsaswhethercertainitemsofevidenceshouldbeaccordedprobativevalueorweight,orrejectedas
feebleorspurious,orwhetherornottheproofononesideortheotherareclearandconvincingandadequateto
establishapropositioninissue,arewithoutdoubtquestionsoffact.Whetherornotthebodyofproofspresentedby
aparty,weighedandanalyzedinrelationtocontraryevidencesubmittedbyadverseparty,maybesaidtobestrong,
clear and convincing whether or not certain documents presented by one side should be accorded full faith and
creditinthefaceofprotestsastotheirspuriouscharacterbytheothersidewhetherornotinconsistenciesinthe
bodyofproofsofapartyareofsuchagravityastojustifyrefusingtogivesaidproofsweightalltheseareissues
offact.(Citationsomitted)
Inthiscase,thesaidthreeissuesboildowntothedeterminationofthefollowingquestions:Whatistheproximate
causeofthedeathofJoseMarcial?IsthetestimonyofprosecutionwitnessClavecredible?DidG&Sexercisethe
diligenceofagoodfatherofafamilyintheselectionandsupervisionofitsemployees?Sufficeittosaythatthese
areallquestionsoffactwhichrequirethisCourttoinquireintotheprobativevalueoftheevidencepresentedbefore
the trial court. As we have consistently held, "[t]his Court is not a trier of facts. It is not a function of this court to
analyze or weigh evidence. When we give due course to such situations, it is solely by way of exception. Such
exceptionsapplyonlyinthepresenceofextremelymeritoriouscircumstances."33Here,wenotethatalthoughG&S
enumeratedinitsConsolidatedMemorandum34theexceptions35totherulethatapetitionforreviewoncertiorari
shouldonlyraisequestionsoflaw,itneverthelessdidnotpointoutunderwhatexceptionitscasefalls.And,upon
reviewoftherecordsofthecase,weareconvincedthatitdoesnotfallunderany.Hence,wecannotproceedto
resolve said issues and disturb the findings and conclusions of the CA with respect thereto. As we declared in
Dioknov.Cacdac:36
It is aphoristic that a reexamination of factual findings cannot be done through a petition for review on certiorari
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court because as earlier stated, this Court is not a trier of facts it reviews only
questionsoflaw.TheSupremeCourtisnotdutyboundtoanalyzeandweighagaintheevidenceconsideredinthe
proceedingsbelow.ThisisalreadyoutsidetheprovinceoftheinstantPetitionforCertiorari.[Citationsomitted.]
ThereisacontractofcarriagebetweenG&SandJoseMarcial
WhatisclearfromtherecordsisthatthereexistedacontractofcarriagebetweenG&S,astheownerandoperator
oftheAvistaxicab,andJoseMarcial,asthepassengerofsaidvehicle.Asacommoncarrier,G&S"isboundto
carry [Jose Marcial] safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very
cautious persons, with due regard for all the circumstances."37 However, Jose Marcial was not able to reach his
destination safely as he died during the course of the travel. "In a contract of carriage, it is presumed that the
commoncarrierisatfaultorisnegligentwhenapassengerdiesorisinjured.Infact,thereisevennoneedforthe
courttomakeanexpressfindingoffaultornegligenceonthepartofthecommoncarrier.Thisstatutorypresumption
may only be overcome by evidence that the carrier exercised extraordinary diligence."38 Unfortunately, G & S
miserablyfailedtoovercomethispresumption.BoththetrialcourtandtheCAfoundthattheaccidentwhichledto
JoseMarcialsdeathwasduetotherecklessdrivingandgrossnegligenceofG&Sdriver,Padilla,therebyholding
G&SliabletotheheirsofJoseMarcialforbreachofcontractofcarriage.
TheacquittalofPadillainthecriminalcaseisimmaterialtotheinstantcaseforbreachofcontract
ThisthusnowleavesuswiththeremainingissueraisedbyG&S,thatis,whethertheCAgravelyerredinnottaking
noteofthefactthatPadillahasalreadybeenacquittedofthecrimeofrecklessimprudenceresultinginhomicide,a
chargewhicharosefromthesameincidentsubjectofthiscase.
Article31oftheCivilCodeprovides,viz:
Whenthecivilactionisbasedonanobligationnotarisingfromtheactoromissioncomplainedofasafelony,such
civilactionmayproceedindependentlyofthecriminalproceedingsandregardlessoftheresultofthelatter.
Thus,inCancio,Jr.v.Isip,39wedeclared:

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In the instant case, it must be stressed that the action filed by petitioner is an independent civil action, which
remainsseparateanddistinctfromanycriminalprosecutionbasedonthesameact.Notbeingdeemedinstitutedin
thecriminalactionbasedonculpacriminal,arulingontheculpabilityoftheoffenderwillhavenobearingon
said independent civil action based on an entirely different cause of action, i.e., culpa contractual."
(EmphasissuppliedCitationsomitted.)
Inthiscase,theactionfiledbytheheirsisprimarilyfortherecoveryofdamagesarisingfrombreachofcontractof
carriage allegedly committed by G & S. Clearly, it is an independent civil action arising from contract which is
separateanddistinctfromthecriminalactionforrecklessimprudenceresultinginhomicidefiledbytheheirsagainst
Padillabyreasonofthesameincident.Hence,regardlessofPadillasacquittalorconvictioninsaidcriminalcase,
samehasnobearingintheresolutionofthepresentcase.TherewasthereforenoerroronthepartoftheCAwhen
it resolved this case without regard to the fact that Padilla has already been acquitted by the RTC in the criminal
case.Moreover,whiletheCAquotedsomeportionsoftheMTCDecisioninsaidcriminalcase,wehoweverfindthat
those quoted portions were only meant to belie G & S claim that the proximate cause of the accident was the
negligenceofthedriverofthedeliveryvanwhichallegedlyhittheAvistaxicab.Evenwithoutthosequotedportions,
theappellatecourtsultimatefindingthatitwasPadillasnegligencewhichwastheproximatecauseofthemishap
wouldstillbethesame.ThisisbecausetheCAhas,infact,alreadymadethisdeclarationintheearlierpartofits
assailedDecision.ThefactthattheMTCDecisionfromwhichthesubjectquotedportionswereliftedhasalready
beenreversedbytheRTCisthereforeimmaterial.
Inviewoftheforegoing,wedenyG&Spetitionforlackofmerit.
ThedenialbytheCAoftheheirsclaimforlostearningsisunwarranted
Goingnowtothepetitionfiledbytheheirs,wenoteattheoutsetthattheissuesofwhethertheCAerredindeleting
theawardforlossofearningcapacityandinreducingtheawardformoraldamagesmadebythetrialcourtlikewise
raise questions of fact as they "involve an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the
parties".40However,wefindthattheheirscasefallsunderoneoftheexceptionsbecausethefindingsoftheCA
conflictwiththefindingsoftheRTC.41Sincetheheirsproperlyraisedtheconflictingfindingsofthelowercourts,itis
properforthisCourttoresolvesuchcontradiction.42
InEreo,wedeniedtheclaimforlossofincomebecausethehandwrittenestimateofthedeceasedsdailyincome
asaselfemployedvendorwasnotsupportedbycompetentevidencelikeincometaxreturnsorreceipts.Thiswas
inviewoftherulethatcompensationforlostincomeisinthenatureofdamagesandassuchrequiresdueproofof
damagessuffered.WereiteratedthisruleinPeoplev.Yrat43wherewelikewisedeniedthesameclaimbecausethe
onlyevidencepresentedtoshowthatthedeceasedwasearningP50,000.00amonthwasthetestimonyofthewife.
Therewestatedthatforlostincomeduetodeath,theremustbeunbiasedproofofthedeceasedsaverageincome.
Selfserving, hence, unreliable statement is not enough. In People v. Caraig,44 we declared that "documentary
evidence should be presented to substantiate the claim for damages for loss of earning capacity. By way of
exception,damagesthereformaybeawardeddespitetheabsenceofdocumentaryevidence,providedthatthereis
testimonythatthevictimwaseither(1)selfemployedearninglessthantheminimumwageundercurrentlaborlaws,
andjudicialnoticemaybetakenofthefactthatinthevictimslineofworknodocumentaryevidenceisavailableor
(2)employedasadailywageworkerearninglessthantheminimumwageundercurrentlaborlaws".However,we
subsequentlyruledinPleytov.Lomboy45that"failuretopresentdocumentaryevidencetosupportaclaimforlossof
earningcapacityofthedeceasedneednotbefataltoitscause.Testimonialevidencesufficestoestablishabasis
for which the court can make a fair and reasonable estimate of the loss of earning capacity". Hence, we held as
sufficienttoestablishabasisforanestimateofdamagesforlossofearningcapacitythetestimonyofthevictims
widowthatherhusbandwasearningamonthlyincomeofP8,000.00.Later,inVictoryLiner,Inc.v.Gammad,46after
findingthatthedeceasedsearningsdoesnotfallwithintheexceptionslaiddowninCaraig,wedeletedtheaward
forcompensatorydamagesforlossofearningcapacityassamewasawardedbythelowercourtsonlyonthebasis
of the husbands testimony that the deceased was 39 years of age and a Section Chief of the Bureau of Internal
RevenuewithasalaryofP83,088.00perannumatthetimeofherdeath.Thissamerulewasalsoappliedinthe
2008caseofLicyayov.People.47
In all of the cases mentioned except for Ereo, the sole basis for the claim for loss of earning capacity were the
testimoniesoftheclaimants.Thisisnotthecasehere.JustlikeinEreowherethetestimonyofthemotherofthe
deceased was accompanied by a handwritten estimate of her daughters alleged income as a fish vendor, the
testimonyofJoseMarcialswifethathewasearningaroundP450,000.00ayearwascorroboratedbyaCertification
issued by the USAID. However in Ereo, we declared as selfserving the handwritten estimate submitted by the
motherhencewedeniedtheclaimforsuchaward.Basedonsaidruling,theCAinthiscasedeletedtheawardfor
lostincomeafteritfoundtheUSAIDCertificationtobeselfservingandunreliable.
We disagree. The CA sweepingly concluded that the USAID Certification is selfserving and unreliable without
elaboratingonhowitwasabletoarriveatsuchaconclusion.AresearchonUSAIDrevealsthatitisthe"principal
[United States] agency to extend assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and
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engagingindemocraticreforms."48Itisan"independentfederalgovernmentagencythatreceivesoverallforeign
policy guidance from the Secretary of the State [of the United States]."49 Given this background, it is highly
improbablethatsuchanagencywillissueacertificationcontainingunreliableinformationregardinganemployees
income.Besides,thereexistsapresumptionthatofficialdutyhasbeenregularlyperformed.50Absentanyshowing
tothecontrary,itispresumedthatCruz,asChiefofHumanResourcesDivisionofUSAID,hasregularlyperformed
hisdutyrelativetotheissuanceofsaidcertificationandtherefore,thecorrectnessofitscontentscanbereliedupon.
Thispresumptionremainsespeciallysowheretheauthenticity,dueexecutionandcorrectnessofsaidcertification
havenotbeenputinissueeitherbeforethetrialcourtortheCA.Astoitsbeingselfserving,ourdiscussionon"self
servingevidence"inHeirsofPedroClemeayZurbanov.HeirsofIreneB.Bien51isenlightening,viz:
Selfserving evidence, perhaps owing to its descriptive formulation, is a concept much misunderstood. Not
infrequently,thetermisemployedasaweapontodevalueanddiscreditaparty'stestimonyfavorabletohiscause.
That,itseems,isthesenseinwhichpetitionersareusingitnow.Thisisagraveerror."Selfservingevidence"isnot
to be taken literally to mean any evidence that serves its proponent's interest. The term, if used with any legal
sense,refersonlytoactsordeclarationsmadebyapartyinhisowninterestatsomeplaceandtimeoutof
courtxxx.(Citationsomittedemphasissupplied.)
Verily, the USAID certification cannot be said to be selfserving because it does not refer to an act or declaration
madeoutofcourtbytheheirsthemselvesaspartiestothiscase.
1awphi1

Clearly, the CA erred in deleting the award for lost income on the ground that the USAID Certification supporting
suchclaimisselfservingandunreliable.Onthecontrary,wefindsaidcertificationsufficientbasisforthecourtto
make a fair and reasonable estimate of Jose Marcials loss of earning capacity just like in Tamayo v. Seora52
where we based the victims gross annual income on his pay slip from the Philippine National Police. Hence, we
upholdthetrialcourtsawardforJoseMarcialslossofearningcapacity.
Whilethetrialcourtappliedtheformulagenerallyusedbythecourtstodeterminenetearningcapacitywhichis,to
wit:
NetEarningCapacity=lifeexpectancy*x(grossannualincomereasonablelivingexpenses),53
*Lifeexpectancy=2/3(80ageofthedeceased)

we,however,findincorrecttheamountofP6,537,244.96arrivedat.TheawardshouldbeP6,611,634.59asborne
outbythefollowingcomputation:

Netearningcapacity=

2(803654)

x450,844.495550%56

3
=

88

x225,422.25

3
= 29.33x225,422.25
= P6,611,634.59
Theawardofmoraldamagesshouldbemodified
Whilewedeemeditpropertomodifytheamountofmoraldamagesawardedbythetrialcourtasdiscussedbelow,
weneverthelessagreewiththeheirsthattheCAshouldnothavepeggedsaidawardinproportiontotheawardof
exemplarydamages.Moralandexemplarydamagesarebasedondifferentjuralfoundations.57Theyaredifferentin
natureandrequireseparatedetermination.58Theamountofonecannotbemadetodependontheother.
InVictoryLinerInc.v.Gammad59weawardedP100,000.00 by way of moral damages to the husband and three
childrenofthedeceased,a39yearoldSectionChiefoftheBureauofInternalRevenue,tocompensatesaidheirs
forthegriefcausedbyherdeath.ThisispursuanttotheprovisionsofArticles1764and2206(3)whichprovide:
Art.1764.DamagesincasescomprisedinthisSectionshallbeawardedinaccordancewithTitleXVIIIofthisBook,
concerningDamages.Articles2206shallalsoapplytothedeathofapassengercausedbythebreachofcontract
byacommoncarrier.
Art.2206.xxx

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(3) The spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants and the ascendants of the deceased may demand moral
damagesformentalanguishbyreasonofthedeathofthedeceased.
Here,thereisnoquestionthattheheirsarelikewiseentitledtomoraldamagespursuanttotheaboveprovisions,
considering the mental anguish suffered by them by reason of Jose Marcials untimely death, as can be deduced
fromthefollowingtestimonyofhiswifeRuby:
Atty.Suarez:
Q:HowwouldyoudescribeJoseMarcialOchoa?
(Ruby)A:Myhusbandwasaverylovinghusband,faithfulhusband,avery[good]provider[.]Idependedon
himsomuchfinancially[and]emotionally[.]Hewaspracticallymylifethen.
Q:Howisheasafather?
A:Averygoodfather,heisverycommittedtoMicaela[.H]ehasalwaystimeforher[.H]eisafamilyman,so
itsreallyagreat[loss]tomeandtoMicaela.
Q:Whatwasyourreactionuponlearningofyourhusbandsdeath?
A:ImmediatelyafterIlearnedofhisdeath,Itriedveryhardtokeepaclearmindformylittlegirl,shewas3
andshecouldnotgraspwhatdeathis,soIfound[it]sohardtoexplaintoher[at]thattimewhathappened
[e]specially[because]shejusttalkedtoherfatherfromtheairporttellingherthatheiscominghome,tapos
hindinapala.
Q:Howdiditaffectyou?
A:Itwasapainfulstruggleeverydayjusttogetupandmoveonwhensomeonewho[you]reallyreallylove
and[who]isimportanttoyouitisveryhardtomoveonand[itiseven]hardertomoveon[when]Ifound
out that I was pregnant with my second child, parang tinabunan ka [ng] lahat eh[. I]ts [too] hard to find
happiness,yourepregnant,whenyouknowwalanamantalagangfatheryungbatalateronxxx
xxxx
Q:Howdidthisaffectyourfamily?
A:YungeffectkayMicaela,she[used]tobeagregariouschild,yunghappyganyan,butnungwalanayong
father niya that time, [during] graduation ng nursery that time naging very very [quiet] siya, so a lot of
emotionalsupportfrommyownfamilywasgiventoheratthetimeparamakacopeupsiyasalosskasisheis
veryclosetothefather.
Q:Financially,howdiditaffectyou?
A: I had to make do of what was left by my husband, I couldnt also work so much at the time because I
was.andhirapeh,IcannotfindenthusiasminwhatIdo,tapospregnantpaako,andhiraptalaga.
Q:Howelsediditaffectyou?
A:WehadtomovehouseslikeweusedtoliveinQuezonCityat(the)timeofhisdeath,taposkinuhakamini
Gorjie my brotherinlaw sa compound nila para hindi [to] support us emotionally (at that time) kasi nga I
waspregnantandthenIalsodecidedtomove(tomakeiteasyforme)toadjustyunglifestylengmgabata,
becauseIcannotcope[here]financiallyonmyown[.N]ahihirapannaakoditobecausethelivingexpenses
herearequitehighcomparedsaprobinsiyasoIdecidedtomove.
Q:Ifyouwouldassignthatpainandsufferingthatyousufferedasaresultofthedeathofyourhusband,what
willbethemonetaryconsideration?
A: I struggled with that kasi.I can honestly say no amount of money can ever repay the [loss] that my
childrensuffered,futurenilayaneh,andmysonwasnotgivenachancetogettoknowhisfather,soIcannot
imaginekunganoyungsinasabinyongamountthatwillcompensatethesufferingthatIhavetogothrough
andmychildrenwillgothrough,yonandmahirapbayaran.60
Under this circumstance, we thus find as sufficient and "somehow proportional to and in approximation of the
suffering inflicted"61 an award of moral damages in an amount similar to that awarded in Victory which is
P100,000.00.
Fromtheabovediscussion,we,thus,partlygranttheheirspetition.
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WHEREFORE,thepetitionforreviewoncertiorariinG.R.No.170071isPARTLYGRANTEDwhilethepetitionin
G.R.No.170125isDENIED.TheassailedDecisionandResolutiondatedJune29,2005andOctober12,2005of
theCourtofAppealsinCAG.R.CVNo.75602areAFFIRMEDwiththeMODIFICATIONSthatG&Sisorderedto
paytheheirsofJoseMarcialK.OchoathesumofP6,611,634.59forlossofearningcapacityofthedeceasedand
P100,000.00asmoraldamages.
SOORDERED.
MARIANOC.DELCASTILLO
AssociateJustice
WECONCUR:
RENATOC.CORONA
ChiefJustice
Chairperson
PRESBITEROJ.VELASCO,JR.
AssociateJustice

TERESITAJ.LEONARDODECASTRO
AssociateJustice

JOSEPORTUGALPEREZ
AssociateJustice
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above
DecisionhadbeenreachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedtothewriteroftheopinionoftheCourts
Division.
RENATOC.CORONA
ChiefJustice

Footnotes
1 CA rollo, pp. 216233 penned by Associate Justice Vicente S.E. Veloso and concurred in by Associate

JusticesRobertoA.BarriosandAmelitaG.Tolentino.
2Id.at309.
3RTCDecisiondatedDecember7,2001pennedbyJudgeLibradoS.Correa,records,pp.298303.
4Id.at1819.
5Id.at18.
6Art.2180TheobligationimposedbyArticle2176isdemandablenotonlyforonesownactsoromissions,

butalsoforthoseofpersonsforwhomoneisresponsible.
xxxx
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting
withinthescopeoftheirassignedtasks,eventhoughtheformerarenotengagedinanybusinessor
industry.
xxxx
Theresponsibilitytreatedofinthisarticleshallceasewhenthepersonshereinmentionedprovethat
theyobservedallthediligenceofagoodfatherofafamilytopreventdamage.
7 Art. 2176 Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is

obligedtopayforthedamagedone.Suchfaultornegligence,ifthereisnopreexistingcontractualrelation
betweentheparties,iscalledquasidelictxxx.
8Records,pp.4854.
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