Republic of the Philippines



G.R. No. L-28589 January 8, 1973

RAFAEL ZULUETA, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees,
PAN AMERICAN WORLD AIRWAYS, INC., defendant-appellant.

Alfredo L. Benipayo for plaintiffs-appellee Rafael Zulueta and Carolina Zulueta.

Justo L. Albert for plaintiff-appellee Telly Albert Zulueta.

V.E. del Rosario and Associates and Salcedo, Del Rosario, Bito, Misa and Lozada for defendant-appellant.



Both parties in this case have moved for the reconsideration of the decision of this Court promulgated on February 29, 1972. Plaintiffs maintain that the decision appealed from should be affirmed in toto. The defendant, in turn, prays that the decision of this Court be "set aside ... with or without a new trial, ... and that the complaint be dismissed, with costs; or, in the alternative, that the amount of the award embodied therein be considerably reduced." .

Subsequently to the filing of its motion for reconsideration, the defendant filed a "petition to annul proceedings and/or to order the dismissal of plaintiffs-appellees' complaint" upon the ground that "appellees' complaint actually seeks the recovery of only P5,502.85 as actual damages, because, for the purpose of determining the jurisdiction of the lower court, the unspecified sums representing items of alleged damages, may not be considered, under the settled doctrines of this Honorable Court," and "the jurisdiction of courts of first instance when the complaint in the present case was filed on Sept. 30, 1965" was limited to cases "in which the demand, exclusive of interest, or the value of the property in controversy amounts to more than ten thousand pesos" and "the mere fact that the complaint also prays for unspecified moral damages and attorney's fees, does not bring the action within the jurisdiction of the lower court."

We find no merit in this contention. To begin with, it is not true that "the unspecified sums representing items or other alleged damages, may not be considered" — for the purpose of determining the jurisdiction of the court — "under the settled doctrines of this Honorable Court." In fact, not a single case has been cited in support of this allegation.

Secondly, it has been held that a clam for moral damages is one not susceptible of pecuniary estimation.1 In fact, Article 2217 of the Civil Code of the Philippines explicitly provides that "(t)hough incapable of pecuniary computation, moral damages may be recovered if they are the proximate result of the defendant's wrongful act or omission." Hence, "(n)o proof pecuniary loss necessary" — pursuant to Article 2216 of the same Code — "in order that moral ... damages may be adjudicated." And "(t)he assessment of such damages ... is left to the discretion of the court" - said article adds - "according to the circumstances of each case." Appellees' complaint is, therefore, within the original jurisdiction of courts of first instance, which includes "all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is not capable of pecuniary estimation."2

Thirdly, in its answer to plaintiffs' original and amended complainants, defendant had set up a counterclaim in the aggregate sum of P12,000, which is, also, within the original jurisdiction of said courts, thereby curing the alleged defect if any, in plaintiffs' complaint.3

We need not consider the jurisdictional controversy as to the amount the appellant sues to recover because the counterclaim interposed establishes the jurisdiction of the District Court. Merchants' Heat & Light Co. v. James B. Clow & Sons, 204 U.S. 286, 27 S. Ct. 285, 51 L. Ed. 488; O. J. Lewis Mercantile Co. v. Klepner, 176 F. 343 (C.C.A. 2), certiorari denied 216 U.S. 620, 30 S Ct. 575, 54 L. Ed. 641. ... .4

... courts have said that "when the jurisdictional amount is in question, the tendering of a counterclaim in an amount which in itself, or added to the amount claimed in the petition, makes up a sum equal to the amount necessary to the jurisdiction of this court, jurisdiction is established, whatever may be the state of the plaintiff's complaint." American Sheet & Tin Plate Co. v. Winzeler (D.C.) 227 F. 321, 324.5

Thus, in Ago v. Buslon,6 We held:

... . Then, too, petitioner's counterclaim for P37,000.00 was, also, within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the latter courts, and there are ample precedents to the effect that "although the original claim involves less than the jurisdictional amount, ... jurisdiction can be sustained if the counterclaim (of the compulsory type)" — such as the one set up by petitioner herein, based upon the damages allegedly suffered by him in consequence of the filing of said complaint — "exceeds the jurisdictional amount." (Moore Federal Practice, 2nd ed. [1948], Vol. 3, p. 41; Ginsburg vs. Pacific Mutual Life Ins. Co. of California, 69 Fed. [2d] 97; Home Life Ins. Co. vs. Sipp., 11 Fed. [2d]474; American Sheet & Tin Plate Co. vs. Winzeler [D.C.], 227 Fed. 321, 324; Brix vs. People's Mutual Life Ins. Co., 41 P. 2d. 537, 2 Cal. 2d. 446; Emery vs. Pacific Employees Ins. Co., 67 P. 2d. 1046, 8 Cal. 2d. 663).

Needless to say, having not only failed to question the jurisdiction of the trial court — either in that court or in this Court, before the rendition of the latter's decision, and even subsequently thereto, by filing the aforementioned motion for reconsideration and seeking the reliefs therein prayed for — but, also, urged both courts to exercise jurisdiction over the merits of the case, defendant is now estopped from impugning said jurisdiction.7

Before taking up the specific questions raised in defendant's motion for reconsideration, it should be noted that the same is mainly predicated upon the premise that plaintiffs' version is inherently incredible, and that this Court should accept the theory of the defense to the effect that petitioner was off-loaded because of a bomb-scare allegedly arising from his delay in boarding the aircraft and subsequent refusal to open his bags for inspection. We need not repeat here the reasons given in Our decision for rejecting defendant's contention and not disturbing the findings of fact of His Honor, the Trial Judge, who had the decided advantage — denied to Us — of observing the behaviour of the witnesses in the course of the trial and found those of the plaintiffs worthy of credence, not the evidence for the defense.

It may not be amiss however, to stress the fact that, in his written report, made in transit from Wake to Manila — or immediately after the occurrence and before the legal implications or consequences thereof could have been the object of mature deliberation, so that it could, in a way, be considered as part of the res gestae — Capt. Zentner stated that Zulueta had been off-loaded "due to drinking" and "belligerent attitude," thereby belying the story of the defense about said alleged bomb-scare, and confirming the view that said agent of the defendant had acted out of resentment because his ego had been hurt by Mr. Zulueta's adamant refusal to be bullied by him. Indeed, had there been an iota of truth in said story of the defense, Capt. Zentner would have caused every one of the passengers to be frisked or searched and the luggage of all of them examined — as it is done now — before resuming the flight from Wake Island. His failure to do so merely makes the artificious nature of defendant's version more manifest. Indeed, the fact that Mrs. Zulueta and Miss Zulueta were on board the plane shows beyond doubt that Mr. Zulueta could not possibly have intended to blow it up.

The defense tries to explain its failure to introduce any evidence to contradict the testimony of Mr. Zulueta as to why he had gone to the beach and what he did there, alleging that, in the very nature of things, nobody else could have witnessed it. Moreover, the defense insists, inter alia, that the testimony of Mr. Zulueta is inherently incredible because he had no idea as to how many toilets the plane had; it could not have taken him an hour to relieve himself in the beach; there were eight (8) commodes at the terminal toilet for men ; if he felt the need of relieving himself, he would have seen to it that the soldiers did not beat him to the terminal toilets; he did not tell anybody about the reason for going to the beach, until after the plane had taken off from Wake.

We find this pretense devoid of merit. Although Mr. Zulueta had to look for a secluded place in the beach to relieve himself, beyond the view of others, defendant's airport manager, whom Mr. Zulueta informed about it, soon after the departure of the plane, could have forthwith checked the veracity of Mr. Zulueta's statement by asking him to indicate the specific place where he had been in the beach and then proceeding thereto for purposes of verification.

Then, again, the passenger of a plane seldom knows how many toilets it has. As a general rule, his knowledge is limited to the toilets for the class — first class or tourist class — in which he is. Then, too, it takes several minutes for the passengers of big aircrafts, like those flying from the U.S. to the Philippines, to deplane. Besides, the speed with which a given passenger may do so depends, largely, upon the location of his seat in relation to the exit door. He cannot go over the heads of those nearer than he thereto. Again, Mr. Zulueta may have stayed in the toilet terminal for some time, expecting one of the commodes therein to be vacated soon enough, before deciding to go elsewhere to look for a place suitable to his purpose. But he had to walk, first, from the plane to the terminal building and, then, after vainly waiting therein for a while, cover a distance of about 400 yards therefrom to the beach, and seek there a place not visible by the people in the plane and in the terminal, inasmuch as the terrain at Wake Island is flat. What is more, he must have had to takeoff part, at least, of his clothing, because, without the facilities of a toilet, he had to wash himself and, then, dry himself up before he could be properly attired and walk back the 400 yards that separated him from the terminal building and/or the plane. Considering, in addition to the foregoing, the fact that he was not feeling well, at that time, We are not prepared to hold that it could not have taken him around an hour to perform the acts narrated by him.

But, why — asks the defendant — did he not reveal the same before the plane took off? The record shows that, even before Mr. Zulueta had reached the ramp leading to the plane, Capt. Zentner was already demonstrating at him in an intemperate and arrogant tone and attitude ("What do you think you are?), thereby impelling Mr. Zulueta to answer back in the same vein. As a consequence, there immediately ensued an altercation in the course of which each apparently tried to show that he could not be cowed by the other. Then came the order of Capt. Zentner to off-load all of the Zuluetas, including Mrs. Zulueta and the minor Miss Zulueta, as well as their luggage, their overcoats and other effects handcarried by them; but, Mr. Zulueta requested that the ladies be allowed to continue the trip. Meanwhile, it had taken time to locate his four (4) pieces of luggage. As a matter of fact, only three (3) of them were found, and the fourth eventually remained in the plane. In short, the issue between Capt. Zentner and Mr. Zulueta had been limited to determining whether the latter would allow himself to be browbeaten by the former. In the heat of the altercation, nobody had inquired about the cause of Mr. Zulueta's delay in returning to the plane, apart from the fact that it was rather embarrassing for him to explain, in the presence and within the hearing of the passengers and the crew, then assembled around them, why he had gone to the beach and why it had taken him some time to answer there a call of nature, instead of doing so in the terminal building.

Defendant's motion for reconsideration assails: (1) the amount of damages awarded as excessive; (2) the propriety of accepting as credible plaintiffs' theory; (3) plaintiffs' right to recover either moral or exemplary damages; (4) plaintiffs' right to recover attorney's fees; and (5) the non-enforcement of the compromise agreement between the defendant and plaintiff's wife, Mrs. Zulueta. Upon the other hand, plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration contests the decision of this Court reducing the amount of damages awarded by the trial court to approximately one-half thereof, upon the ground, not only that, contrary to the findings of this Court, in said decision, plaintiff had not contributed to the aggravation of his altercation or incident with Capt. Zentner by reacting to his provocation with extreme belligerency thereby allowing himself to be dragged down to the level on which said agent of the defendant had placed himself, but, also, because the purchasing power of our local currency is now much lower than when the trial court rendered its appealed decision, over five (5) years ago, on July 5, 1967, which is an undeniable and undisputed fact. Precisely, for this reason, defendant's characterization as exorbitant of the aggregate award of over P700,000 by way of damages, apart from attorney's fees in the sum of P75,000, is untenable. Indeed, said award is now barely equivalent to around 100,000 U. S. dollars.

It further support of its contention, defendant cites the damages awarded in previous cases to passengers of airlines,8 as well as in several criminal cases, and some cases for libel and slander. None of these cases is, however, in point. Said cases against airlines referred to passengers who were merely constrained to take a tourist class accommodation, despite the fact that they had first class tickets, and that although, in one of such cases, there was proof that the airline involved had acted as it did to give preference to a "white" passenger, this motive was not disclosed until the trial in court. In the case at bar, plaintiff Rafael Zulueta was "off-loaded" at Wake Island, for having dared to retort to defendant's agent in a tone and manner matching, if not befitting his intemperate language and arrogant attitude. As a consequence, Capt. Zentner's attempt to humiliate Rafael Zulueta had boomeranged against him (Zentner), in the presence of the other passengers and the crew. It was, also, in their presence that defendant's agent had referred to the plaintiffs as "monkeys," a racial insult not made openly and publicly in the abovementioned previous cases against airlines.

In other words, Mr. Zulueta was off-loaded, not to protect the safety of the aircraft and its passengers, but to retaliate and punish him for the embarrassment and loss of face thus suffered by defendant's agent. This vindictive motive is made more manifest by the note delivered to Mr. Zulueta by defendant's airport manager at Wake Island, Mr. Sitton, stating that the former's stay therein would be "for a minimum of one week," during which he would be charged $13.30 per day. This reference to a "minimum of one week" revealed the intention to keep him there stranded that long, for no other plane, headed for Manila, was expected within said period of time, although Mr. Zulueta managed to board, days later, a plane that brought him to Hawaii, whence he flew back to the Philippines, via Japan.

Neither may criminal cases, nor the cases for libel and slander cited in the defendant's motion for reconsideration, be equated with the present case. Indeed, in ordinary criminal cases, the award for damages is, in actual practice, of purely academic value, for the convicts generally belong to the poorest class of society. There is, moreover, a fundamental difference between said cases and the one at bar. The Zuluetas had a contract of carriage with the defendant, as a common carrier, pursuant to which the latter was bound, for a substantial monetary consideration paid by the former, not merely to transport them to Manila, but, also, to do so with "extraordinary diligence" or "utmost diligence."9 The responsibility of the common carrier, under said contract, as regards the passenger's safety, is of such a nature, affecting as it does public interest, that it "cannot be dispensed with" or even "lessened by stipulation, by the posting of notices, by statements on tickets, or otherwise." 10 In the present case, the defendant did not only fail to comply with its obligation to transport Mr. Zulueta to Manila, but, also, acted in a manner calculated to humiliate him, to chastise him, to make him suffer, to cause to him the greatest possible inconvenience, by leaving him in a desolate island, in the expectation that he would be stranded there for a "minimum of one week" and, in addition thereto, charged therefor $13.30 a day.

It is urged by the defendant that exemplary damages are not recoverable in quasi-delicts, pursuant to Article 2231 of our Civil Code, except when the defendant has acted with "gross negligence," and that there is no specific finding that it had so acted. It is obvious, however, that in off-loading plaintiff at Wake Island, under the circumstances heretofore adverted to, defendant's agents had acted with malice aforethought and evident bad faith. If "gross negligence" warrants the award of exemplary damages, with more reason is its imposition justified when the act performed is deliberate, malicious and tainted with bad faith. Thus, in Lopez v. PANAM, 11 We held:

The rationale behind exemplary or corrective damages is, as the name implies, to provide an example or correction for public good. Defendant having breached its contracts in bad faith, the court, as stated earlier, may award exemplary damages in addition to moral damages (Articles 2229, 2232, New Civil Code.)

Similarly, in NWA v. Cuenca, 12 this Court declared that an award for exemplary damages was justified by the fact that the airline's "agent had acted in a wanton, reckless and oppressive manner" in compelling Cuenca, upon arrival at Okinawa, to transfer, over his objection, from the first class, where he was accommodated from Manila to Okinawa, to the tourist class, in his trip to Japan, "under threat of otherwise leaving him in Okinawa," despite the fact that he had paid in full the first class fare and was issued in Manila a first class ticket.

Defendant cites Rotea v. Halili, 13 in support of the proposition that a principal is not liable for exemplary damages owing to acts of his agent unless the former has participated in said acts or ratified the same. Said case involved, however, the subsidiary civil liability of an employer arising from criminal acts of his employee, and "exemplary damages ... may be imposed when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances." 14 Accordingly, the Rotea case is not in point, for the case at bar involves a breach of contract, as well as a quasi-delict.

Neither may the case of Palisoc v. Brillantes, 15 invoked by the defendant, be equated with the case at bar. The Palisoc case dealt with the liability of school officials for damages arising from the death of a student (Palisoc) due to fist blows given by another student (Daffon), in the course of a quarrel between them, while in a laboratory room of the Manila Technical Institute. In an action for damages, the head thereof and the teacher in charge of said laboratory were held jointly and severally liable with the student who caused said death, for failure of the school to provide "adequate supervision over the activities of the students in the school premises," to protect them "from harm, whether at the hands of fellow students or other parties." Such liability was predicated upon Article 2180 of our Civil Code, the pertinent part of which reads:

ART. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.

xxx xxx xxx

Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices, so long as they remain in their custody.

xxx xxx xxx

Obviously, the amount of damages warded in the Palisoc case is not and cannot serve as the measure of the damages recoverable in the present case, the latter having been caused directly and intentionally by an employee or agent of the defendant, whereas the student who killed the young Palisoc was in no wise an agent of the school. Moreover, upon her arrival in the Philippines, Mrs. Zulueta reported her husband's predicament to defendant's local manager and asked him to forthwith have him (Mr. Zulueta) brought to Manila, which defendant's aforementioned manager refused to do, thereby impliedly ratifying the off-loading of Mr. Zulueta at Wake Island.

It is next urged that, under the contract of carriage with the defendant, Mr. Zulueta was bound to be present at the time scheduled for the departure of defendant's plane and that he had, consequently, violated said contract when he did not show up at such time. This argument might have had some weight had defendant's plane taken off before Mr. Zulueta had shown up. But the fact is that he was ready, willing and able to board the plane about two hours before it actually took off, and that he was deliberately and maliciously off-loaded on account of his altercation with Capt. Zentner. It should, also, be noted that, although Mr. Zulueta was delayed some 20 to 30 minutes, the arrival or departure of planes is often delayed for much longer periods of time. Followed to its logical conclusion, the argument adduced by the defense suggests that airlines should be held liable for damages due to the inconvenience and anxiety, aside from actual damages, suffered by many passengers either in their haste to arrive at the airport on scheduled time just to find that their plane will not take off until later, or by reason of the late arrival of the aircraft at its destination.

PANAM impugns the award of attorney's fees upon the ground that no penalty should be imposed upon the right to litigate; that, by law, it may be awarded only in exceptional cases; that the claim for attorney's fees has not been proven; and that said defendant was justified in resisting plaintiff's claim "because it was patently exorbitant."

Nothing, however, can be farther from the truth. Indeed apart from plaintiff's claim for actual damages, the amount of which is not contested, plaintiffs did not ask any specific sum by way of exemplary and moral damages, as well as attorney's fees, and left the amount thereof to the "sound discretion" of the lower court. This, precisely, is the reason why PANAM, now, alleges — without justification that the lower court had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the present case.

Moreover, Article 2208 of our Civil Code expressly authorizes the award of attorney's fees "when exemplary damages are awarded," — as they are in this case —as well as "in any other case where the court deems it just and equitable that attorney's fees ... be recovered," and We so deem it just and equitable in the present case, considering the "exceptional" circumstances obtaining therein, particularly the bad faith with which defendant's agent had acted, the place where and the conditions under which Rafael Zulueta was left at Wake Island, the absolute refusal of defendant's manager in Manila to take any step whatsoever to alleviate Mr. Zulueta's predicament at Wake and have him brought to Manila — which, under their contract of carriage, was defendant's obligation to discharge with "extra-ordinary" or "utmost" diligence — and, the "racial" factor that had, likewise, tainted the decision of defendant's agent, Capt. Zentner, to off-load him at Wake Island.

As regards the evidence necessary to justify the sum of P75,000 awarded as attorney's fees in this case, suffice it to say that the quantity and quality of the services rendered by plaintiffs' counsel appearing on record, apart from the nature of the case and the amount involved therein, as well as his prestige as one of the most distinguished members of the legal profession in the Philippines, of which judicial cognizance may be taken, amply justify said award, which is a little over 10% of the damages (P700,000) collectible by plaintiffs herein. Indeed, the attorney's fees in this case is proportionally much less than that adjudged in Lopez v. PANAM 16 in which the judgment rendered for attorney's fees (P50,000) was almost 20% of the damages (P275,000) recovered by the plaintiffs therein.

The defense assails the last part of the decision sought to be reconsidered, in which — relying upon Article 172 of our Civil Code, which provides that "(t)he wife cannot bind the conjugal partnership without the husband's consent, except in cases provided by law," and it is not claimed that this is one of such cases — We denied a motion, filed by Mrs. Zulueta, for the dismissal of this case, insofar as she is concerned - she having settled all her differences with the defendant, which appears to have paid her the sum of P50,000 therefor - "without prejudice to this sum being deducted from the award made in said decision." Defendant now alleges that this is tantamount to holding that said compromise agreement is both effective and ineffective.

This, of course, is not true. The payment is effective, insofar as it is deductible from the award, and, because it is due (or part of the amount due) from the defendant, with or without its compromise agreement with Mrs. Zulueta. What is ineffective is the compromise agreement, insofar as the conjugal partnership is concerned. Mrs. Zulueta's motion was for the dismissal of the case insofar as she was concerned, and the defense cited in support thereof Article 113 of said Code, pursuant to which "(t)he husband must be joined in all suits by or against the wife except: ... (2) If they have in fact been separated for at least one year." This provision, We held, however, refers to suits in which the wife is the principal or real party in interest, not to the case at bar, "in which the husband is the main party in interest, both as the person principally aggrieved and as administrator of the conjugal partnership ... he having acted in this capacity in entering into the contract of carriage with PANAM and paid the amount due to the latter, under the contract, with funds of the conjugal partnership," to which the amounts recoverable for breach of said contract, accordingly, belong. The damages suffered by Mrs. Zulueta were mainly an in accident of the humiliation to which her husband had been subjected. The Court ordered that said sum of P50,00 paid by PANAM to Mrs. Zulueta be deducted from the aggregate award in favor of the plaintiffs herein for the simple reason that upon liquidation of the conjugal partnership, as provided by law, said amount would have to be reckoned with, either as part of her share in the partnership, or as part of the support which might have been or may be due to her as wife of Rafael Zulueta. It would surely be inane to sentence the defendant to pay the P700,000 due to the plaintiffs and to direct Mrs. Zulueta to return said P50,000 to the defendant.

In this connection, it is noteworthy that, for obvious reasons of public policy, she is not allowed by law to waive her share in the conjugal partnership, before the dissolution thereof. 17 She cannot even acquire any property by gratuitous title, without the husband's consent, except from her ascendants, descendants, parents-in-law, and collateral relatives within the fourth degree. 18

It is true that the law favors and encourages the settlement of litigations by compromise agreement between the contending parties, but, it certainly does not favor a settlement with one of the spouses, both of whom are plaintiffs or defendants in a common cause, such as the defense of the rights of the conjugal partnership, when the effect, even if indirect, of the compromise is to jeopardize "the solidarity of the family" — which the
law 19 seeks to protect — by creating an additional cause for the misunderstanding that had arisen between such spouses during the litigation, and thus rendering more difficult a reconciliation between them.

It is urged that there is no proof as to the purpose of the trip of the plaintiffs, that neither is there any evidence that the money used to pay the plane tickets came from the conjugal funds and that the award to Mrs. Zulueta was for her personal suffering or injuries. There was, however, no individual or specific award in favor of Mrs. Zulueta or any of the plaintiffs. The award was made in their favor collectively. Again, in the absence of said proof, the presumption is that the purpose of the trip was for the common benefit of the plaintiffs and that the money had come from the conjugal funds, for, unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed "(t)hat things have happened according to the ordinary course of nature and the ordinary habits of life." 20 In fact Manresa maintains 21 that they are deemed conjugal, when the source of the money used therefor is not established, even if the purchase had been made by the wife. 22 And this is the rule obtaining in the Philippines. Even property registered, under the Torrens system, in the name of one of the spouses, or in that of the wife only, if acquired during the marriage, is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership, unless there is competent proof to the contrary. 23

PANAM maintains that the damages involved in the case at bar are not among those forming part of the conjugal partnership pursuant to Article 153 of the Civil Code, reading:

ART. 153. The following are conjugal partnership property:

(1) That which is acquired by onerous title during the marriage at the expense of the common fund, whether the acquisition be for the partnership, or for only one of the spouses;

(2) That which is obtained by the industry, or work, or as salary of the spouses, or of either of them;

(3) The fruits, rents or interests received or due during the marriage, coming from the common property or from the exclusive property of each spouse.

Considering that the damages in question have arisen from, inter alia, a breach of plaintiffs' contract of carriage with the defendant, for which plaintiffs paid their fare with funds presumably belonging to the conjugal partnership, We hold that said damages fall under paragraph (1) of said Article 153, the right thereto having been "acquired by onerous title during the marriage ... ." This conclusion is bolstered up by Article 148 of our Civil Code, according to which:

ART. 148. The following shall be the exclusive property of each spouse:

(1) That which is brought to the marriage as his or her own;

(2) That which each acquires, during the marriage, by lucrative title;

(3) That which is acquired by right of redemption or by exchange with other property belonging to only one of the spouses;

(4) That which is purchased with exclusive money of the wife or of the husband.

The damages involved in the case at bar do not come under any of these provisions or of the other provisions forming part of Chapter 3, Title VI, of Book I of the Civil Code, which chapter is entitled "Paraphernal Property." What is more, if "(t)hat which is acquired by right of redemption or by exchange with other property belonging to only one of the spouses," and "(t)hat which is purchased with exclusive money of the wife or of the husband," 24 belong exclusively to such wife or husband, it follows necessarily that that which is acquired with money of the conjugal partnership belongs thereto or forms part thereof. The rulings in Maramba v. Lozano 25 and Perez v. Lantin, 26 cited in defendant's motion for reconsideration, are, in effect, adverse thereto. In both cases, it was merely held that the presumption under Article 160 of our Civil Code — to the effect that all property of the marriage belong to the conjugal partnership — does not apply unless it is shown that it was acquired during marriage. In the present case, the contract of carriage was concededly entered into, and the damages claimed by the plaintiffs were incurred, during marriage. Hence, the rights accruing from said contract, including those resulting from breach thereof by the defendant, are presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership of Mr. and Mrs. Zulueta. The fact that such breach of contract was coupled, also, with a quasi-delict constitutes an aggravating circumstance and can not possibly have the effect of depriving the conjugal partnership of such property rights.

Defendant insists that the use of conjugal funds to redeem property does not make the property redeemed conjugal if the right of redemption pertained to the wife. In the absence, however, of proof that such right of redemption pertains to the wife — and there is no proof that the contract of carriage with PANAM or the money paid therefor belongs to Mrs. Zulueta — the property involved, or the rights arising therefrom, must be presumed, therefore, to form part of the conjugal partnership.

It is true that in Lilius v. Manila Railroad Co., 27 it was held that the "patrimonial and moral damages" awarded to a young and beautiful woman by reason of a scar — in consequence of an injury resulting from an automobile accident — which disfigured her face and fractured her left leg, as well as caused a permanent deformity, are her paraphernal property. Defendant cites, also, in support of its contention the following passage from Colin y Capitant:

No esta resuelta expresamente en la legislacion española la cuestion de si las indemnizaciones debidas por accidentes del trabaho tienen la consideracion de gananciales, o son bienes particulares de los conyuges.

Inclinan a la solucion de que estas indemnizaciones deben ser consideradas como gananciales, el hecho de que la sociedad pierde la capacidad de trabajocon el accidente, que a ella le pertenece, puesto que de la sociedad son losfrutos de ese trabajo; en cambio, la consideracion de que igual manera que losbienes que sustituyen a los que cada conyuge lleva al matrimonio como propiostienen el caracter de propios, hace pensar que las indemnizaciones que vengana suplir la capacidad de trabajo aportada por cada conyuge a la sociedad, debenser juridicamente reputadas como bienes propios del conyuge que haya sufrido elaccidente. Asi se llega a la misma solucion aportada por la jurisprudencia francesca. 28

This opinion is, however, undecisive, to say the least. It should be noted that Colin y Capitant were commenting on the French Civil Code; that their comment referred to indemnities due in consequence of "accidentes del trabajo "resulting in physical injuries sustained by one of the spouses (which Mrs. Zulueta has not suffered); and that said commentators admit that the question whether or not said damages are paraphernal property or belong to the conjugal partnership is not settled under the Spanish law. 29 Besides, the French law and jurisprudence — to which the comments of Planiol and Ripert, likewise, refer — are inapposite to the question under consideration, because they differ basically from the Spanish law in the treatment of the property relations between husband and wife. Indeed, our Civil Code, like the Spanish Civil Code, favors the system of conjugal partnership of gains. Accordingly, the former provides that, "(i)n the absence of marriage settlements, or when the same are void, the system of relative community or conjugal partnership of gains ... shall govern the property relations between" the spouses. 30 Hence, "(a)ll property of the marriage is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it be proved that it pertains exclusively to the husband or to the wife." 31

No similar rules are found in the French Civil Code. What is more, under the provisions thereof, the conjugal partnership exists only when so stipulated in the "capitulaciones matrimoniales" or by way of exception. In the language of Manresa —

Prescindimos de los preceptos de los Condigos de Francia, Italia, Holanda, Portugal, Alemania y Suiza, porsue solo excepcionalmente, o cuando asi se pacta en las capitulaciones, admiten el sistema de gananciales. 32

Again, Colin y Capitant, as well as the Lilius case, refer to damages recovered for physical injuries suffered by the wife. In the case at bar, the party mainly injured, although not physically, is the husband.

Accordingly, the other Philippine cases 33 and those from Louisiana — whose civil law is based upon the French Civil Code — cited by the defendant, which similarly refer to moral damages due to physical injuries suffered by the wife, are, likewise, inapplicable to the case at bar.

We find, therefore, no plausible reason to disturb the views expressed in Our decision promulgated on February 29, 1972.

WHEREFORE, the motions for reconsideration above-referred to should be, as they are hereby denied.

Makalintal, Zaldivar, Fernando, Makasiar, Antonio and Esguerra, JJ., concur.

Castro and Teehankee, JJ., took no part.

Barredo, J., voted to modify the judgment by reducing the amount of the awarded damages and individualizing the same, and now reserves the filing of a separate concurring and dissenting opinion in support of his vote.



1 Layda v. Court of Appeals, L-4487, Jan. 29, 1952; Yutuk v. Manila Electric Co., L-13016, May 31, 1961.

2 See. 44 (a), Rep. Act No. 296.

3 See 38 Harvard Law Review, 744-751; 45 Yale Law Journal, 416.

4 Ginsburg v. Pacific Mutual Life Ins. Co., 69 F. (2d) 97, 98.

5 Home Life Ins. Co. v. Sipp., 11 F. (2d) 474, 476.

6 L-19631, Jan. 31, 1964. Emphasis ours.

7 People v. Casiano, L-15309, Feb. 16, 1961; People v. Roberts, L-15632, Feb. 28, 1961; People v. Fajardo, L-18257, June 30, 1966; Tijam v. Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., L-21450, April 15, 1968; Carillo v. Allied Workers' Association of the Philippines, L-23689, July 31, 1968; Rizal Light & Ice Co. v. Municipality of Morong, L-20993 and L-21221, Sept. 28, 1968; Tolentino v. Escalona, et al., L-26556 Jan. 24, 1969; Surigao Consolidated Mining Co., Inc. v. Philippine Land-Air-Sea Labor Union (PLASLU), L-22970, June 9, 1969; Rodriguez v. Court of Appeals, et al., L-29264, Aug. 29, 1969; Calderon, Jr. v. Public Service Commission and Milo, L-29228, April 30, 1971.

8 Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Cuenca, et al., L-22425, Aug. 31, 1965; Lopez, et al. v. Pan American World Airways, L-22415, March 30, 1966; Air France v. Carrascoso, et al., L-21438, Sept. 28, 1966.

9 Articles 1733 and 1755, Civil Code of the Philippines.

10 Article 1757, Civil Code of the Philippines.

11 Supra.

12 Supra.

13 109 Phil. 495.

14 Article 2230, New Civil Code.

15 L-29025; October 4, 1971.

16 Supra.

17 Civil Code of the Philippines, Article 179.

18 Ibid., Article 114.

19 Id., Article 220.

20 Paragraph (z) of Sec. 5, Rule 131 of the Rules of Court.

21 Codigo Civil Espanol, by Manresa (1950 ed.), Vol. 9, pp. 548-549.

22 In support of this view, Manresa cites the resolutions of the Supreme Court of Spain of March 30 ad May 6, 1904 as well as those of September 2, 1896, March 6, 1897, April 23, 1898, November 30, 1903 and September 20, 1907.

23 Flores v. Flores, 48 Phil. 288; Guinguing v. Abuton, Phil. 144; Bucoy v. Paulino, G.R. No.
L-25775, April 26, 1968.

24 Pursuant to Article 148.

25 L-21533, June 29, 1967.

26 L-22320, May 22, 1968.

27 62 Phil. 56, 64-65.

28 Emphasis ours.

29 Although Colin y Capitant actually said that the question has not been "expressly" settled under the Spanish law, they did not say that it has been "impliedly" settled and in what way.

30 Art. 119, Civil Code of the Philippines.

31 Art. 160, Civil Code of the Philippines, and Art. 1407 of the Civil Code of Spain.

32 9 Manresa, p. 552. Emphasis ours.

33 Strebel v. Figueras, 96 Phil. 321; Araneta v. Arreglado, 104 Phil. 529; Soberano v. Manila Railroad Co., L-19407, Nov. 23, 1966.

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