Exemplary Damages

In order to set an example for the public good, exemplary or corrective damages are awarded in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages.[1]

Lopez v. Pan American World Airways
G.R. No. L-22415, 30 March 1966

Plaintiffs were entitled to exemplary damages. “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).

“In view of its nature, it should be imposed in such an amount as to sufficiently and effectively deter similar breach of contracts in the future by defendant or other airlines. In this light, we find it just to award P75,000.00 as exemplary or corrective damages.”

Criminal cases and civil liability

In criminal cases, exemplary damages may be included in the civil liability when there is a finding of one or more aggravating circumstances.[2] These damages are “separate and distinct” from fines to be paid to the offended party. [3]


In quasi-delicts, exemplary damages are awarded whenever the defendant acted with “gross negligence.”[4] Meanwhile, in contracts and quasi-contracts, exemplary damages are awarded whenever the defendant acted in a “wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent manner.”[5]

Tan v. OMC Carriers, Inc.
G.R. No. 190521, 12 January 2011

Reduction of exemplary damages proper – Exemplary or corrective damages are imposed “by way of example or correction for the public good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages. In quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be granted if the defendant acted with gross negligence.” The death of the deceased and the destruction of petitioner’s home and tailoring shop “were unquestionably caused by the respondents’ gross negligence. The law allows the grant of exemplary damages in cases such as this to serve as a warning to the pubic and as a deterrent against the repetition of this kind of deleterious actions. The grant, however, should be tempered, as it is not intended to enrich one party or to impoverish another. From this perspective, [the Court finds] the CA’s reduction of the exemplary damages awarded to the petitioners from P500,000.00 to P200,000.00 to be proper.”

Not as a matter of right – A complainant is not entitled to exemplary damages as a matter of right; it is the court that will decide whether the same is proper.[6] In fact, a complainant needs first to prove that he is entitled to moral, temperate or compensatory damages – even in the existence of stipulation for liquidated damages – before the court may consider the question of granting exemplary damages, and, if applicable, on top of liquidated damages.[7] Parties cannot agree to renounce in advance any claim to exemplary damages[8] as the same is imposed for the public good.[9]


– – –

[1] Ibid. Article 2229.

[2] Ibid. Article 2230.

[3] Ibid.

[4] CIVIL CODE. Article 2231.

[5] Ibid. Article 2232.

[6] Ibid. Article 2233.

[7] Ibid. Article 2234.

[8] Ibid. Article 2235.

[9] Ibid. Article 2229.

Liquidated Damages

In a contract, parties may agree to liquidated damages as indemnity or penalty for non-performance of any or all of the obligations in their agreement.[1]

Best Legal Practices:

Stipulate liquidated damages – The party who has interest to protect in a transaction should ask for liquidated damages to be stipulated in the contract. The amount for the penalty depends on the value of transaction involved to the said party.

Equitable reduction

Stipulated liquidated damages may be “equitably reduced” once they are found to be “iniquitous or unconscionable.”[2] However, if the breach is not one stipulated or contemplated by the parties, it shall be the applicable law which shall determine the measure of damages and not the stipulated damages.[3]


– – –

[1] Ibid. Article 2226.

[2] Ibid. Article 2227.

[3] Ibid. Article 2228.

Temperate Damages

Temperate or moderate damages are awarded when there is a finding of pecuniary loss but the amount cannot be determined with certainty due to the nature of the circumstances.[1] Temperate damages are more than nominal but less than compensatory damages.[2]Despite the fact that the amount cannot be determined, the courts are required to impose reasonable amounts as may be derived from the circumstances of the case.[3]

Tan v. OMC Carriers, Inc.
G.R. No. 190521, 12 January 2011

Temperate damages in lieu of actual damages – Despite the failure to submit proof of actual damages, “a party still has the option of claiming temperate damages, which may be allowed in cases where, from the nature of the case, definite proof of pecuniary loss cannot be adduced although the court is convinced that the aggrieved party suffered some pecuniary loss.” In this case, the petitioners submitted photographs as evidence to show “the extent of damage done to the house, the tailoring shop and the petitioners’ appliances and equipment.” The loss thereof or damage to petitioner is directly attributed to the truck ramming her house and tailoring shop, as well as the gross negligence of the driver in handling the truck. However, the photographs alone is not sufficient to establish the amount with certainty. The Supreme Court found the award of P200,000.00 as a fair and sufficient award by way of temperate damages based on “the attendant circumstances and given the property destroyed.”

Temperate damages in lieu of loss of earning capacity – For loss of earning capacity, temperate damages may be awarded in lieu of actual damages “where earning capacity is plainly established but no evidence was presented to support the allegation of the injured party’s actual income.” Here, the deceased income-earning capacity was never disputed. His five minor children “all relied mainly on the income earned by their father from his tailoring activities for their sustenance and support. Under these facts and taking into account the unrebutted annual earnings of the deceased, [the Court holds] that the petitioners are entitled to temperate damages in the amount of P300,000.00 [or roughly, the gross income for two (2) years] to compensate for damages for loss of the earning capacity of the deceased.”


– – –

[1] Ibid. Article 2224.

[2] Ibid.

[3] CIVIL CODE. Article 2225.

Nominal Damages

Nominal damages are awarded in recognition or vindication of the complainant’s right/s which have been violated by the defendant and not for the purpose of indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered.[1]

This type of damage may be awarded in obligations regardless of its source,[2] even in instances involving violations of property rights.[3] Once nominal damages are adjudicated, there will be no further contest upon the right involved and all accessory questions by and between parties to the suit, including their respective heirs or assigns.[4]


– – –

[1] Ibid. Article 2211.

[2] Ibid. Article 1157.

[3] Ibid. Article 2222.

[4] Ibid. Article 2223.

Actual damages

Actual or compensatory damages is award to aperson who is entitled “to an adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has duly proved” except as otherwise provided by law or by stipulation.[1] Actual or compensatory damages include the value of the loss suffered and the profits which the injured party failed to obtain.[2]

Tan v. OMC Carriers, Inc.
G.R. No. 190521, 12 January 2011

Petitioners Leticia Tan filed a Complaint for damages against Respondent OMC Carriers. Previously, a truck owned by OMC lost its brakes resulting in its driver and his companion to jump out. The driverless truck rammed into the hosue and tailoring shop owned by Petitioner Leticia Tan resulting in the instant death of her husband who happened to be standing at the doorway at the time of the incident. In their defense, OMC claimed that everything was due to a fortuitous event as the truck skidded due to the slippery condition of the road caused by spilled motor vehicle.

HELD: OMC was liable. However, no actual damages were awarded. It is a basic rule that “to recover damages there must be pleading and proof of actual damages suffered.” This is so as courts “cannot simply rely on speculation, conjecture or guesswork in determining the fact and amount of damages. To justify an award of actual damages, there must be competent proof of the actual amount of loss, credence can be given only to claims which are duly supported by receipts.”

Here, petitioners did not submit any receipt to support their claim for actual damages “to prove the monetary value of the damage caused to the house and tailoring shop when the truck rammed into them.”  Thus, there is no basis for awarding actual damages on petitioner’s house and tailoring shop.

Similarly, there is no basis for actual damages arising from loss of earning capacity. It is a rule that “documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate the claim for loss of earning capacity. By way of exception, damages for loss of earning capacity may be awarded despite the absence of documentary evidence when: (1) the deceased is self-employed and earning less than the minimum wage under current labor laws, in which case, judicial notice may be taken of the fact that in the deceased’s line of work, no documentary evidence is available; or (2) the deceased is employed as a daily wage worker earning less than the minimum wage under current labor laws.” Petitioners claimed that the deceased was self-employed and earning around 3.5 times (P13,000.00/month or P156,000.00/year) the prevailing minimum wage then (P3,770.00/month).

The above exemption was not applied as the deceased was not a daily minimum wage earner. “Even if [the Court takes] judicial notice of the fact that a small tailoring shop normally does not issue receipts to its customers, and would probably not have any documentary evidence of the income it earns, [the deceased’s] alleged monthly income of P13,000.00 greatly exceeded the prevailing monthly minimum wage; thus, the exception set forth above does not apply.”

Attorney’s fees in order

As exemplary damages are proper and thus awarded, it is also proper “to award the petitioners attorney’s fees.” The Court awarded attorney’s fees, equivalent to 10% of the total amount adjudged the petitioners, which is just and reasonable under the circumstances.

Nevertheless, the following were awarded: temperate and exemplary damages, attorney’s fees, and interest (See additional discussion under respective topic.):

“(1) P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of Celedonio Tan;

“(2) P72,295.00 as actual damages for funeral expenses;

“(3) P200,000.00 as temperate damages for the damage done to petitioner Leticia’s house, tailoring shop, household appliances and shop equipment;

“(4) P300,000.00 as damages for the loss of Celedonio Tan’s earning capacity;

“(5) P500,000.00 as moral damages;

“(6) P200,000.00 as exemplary damages; and

“(7) 10% of the total amount as attorney’s fees; and costs of suit.

“In addition, the total amount adjudged shall earn interest at the rate of 6% per annum from May 14, 2003, and at the rate of 12% per annum, from the finality of this Resolution on the balance and interest due, until fully paid.”

Best Legal Practices:

Keep records of actual payments made – As actual damages depend on proof, the injured party should keep records of actual payments made. Without such pieces of evidence, actual damages cannot be awarded.

In Contact or quasi-contracts

In the case of contracts and quasi-contracts, the defendant who acted in good faith is liable only for damages which are the “natural and probable consequences of the breach of the obligation” and “which the parties have foreseen or could have reasonably foreseen at the time the obligation was constituted.”[3] If there is fraud, bad faith, malice or wanton attitude, the defendant is responsible for “all damages which may be reasonably attributed to the non-performance of the obligation.”[4]

Crimes or quasi-delicts

In the case of crimes and quasi-delicts, the defendant is liable for all damages which are the “natural and probable consequences of the act or omission complained of” by the plaintiff.[5] Here, it is not necessary that the damages have been or could have reasonably been foreseen by the defendant.[6] In addition, the defendant is liable for the “loss of the earning capacity of the deceased”, which shall be paid to the latter’s heirs, if he had any.[7] The defendant is likewise liable to give support to the heirs for a period of not exceeding five years if the decedent was obliged to give it.[8] Meanwhile, damages resulting from a crime may be increased or decreased depending on the existence of aggravating or mitigating circumstances.[9]

Diligence of a good father of a family to minimize damages

In any circumstance, the injured party is required to exercise the “diligence of a good father of family” with the aim “to minimize the damages resulting from the act or omission in question.”[10]

What may also be recovered

Damages may likewise be recovered in these situations: (a) loss/impairment of earning capacity for temporary or permanent personal injury; and (b) injury to complainant’s business standing or commercial credit.[11]


Should the defendant’s insurance do not fully cover the injury or loss, the complainant is entitled to recover the deficiency from the complainant and not from the insurance company.[12]

Attorney’s fees

As a general rule, and absent any stipulation to the contrary, attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation, other than judicial costs, cannot be recovered.[13] These are the exceptions:

  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; and
  11. In any other case where the court deems it just and equitable that attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation should be recovered.[14]

Lopez v. Pan American World Airways

Plaintiffs were entitled to attorney’s fees. “Now, as to attorney’s fees, the record shows a written contract of services executed on June 1, 1960… whereunder plaintiffs-appellants engaged the services of their counsel — Atty. Vicente J. Francisco — and agreed to pay the sum of P25,000.00 as attorney’s fees upon the termination of the case in the Court of First Instance, and an additional sum of P25,000.00 in the event the case is appealed to the Supreme Court… A consideration of the subject matter of the present controversy, of the professional standing of the attorney for plaintiffs-appellants, and of the extent of the service rendered by him, shows that said amount provided for in the written agreement is reasonable. Said lawyer — whose prominence in the legal profession is well known — studied the case, prepared and filed the complaint, conferred with witnesses, analyzed documentary evidence, personally appeared at the trial of the case in twenty-two days, during a period of three years, prepared four sets of cross-interrogatories for deposition taking, prepared several memoranda and the motion for reconsideration, filed a joint record on appeal with defendant, filed a brief for plaintiffs as appellants consisting of 45 printed pages and a brief for plaintiffs as appellees consisting of 265 printed pages. And we are further convinced of its reasonableness because defendant’s counsel likewise valued at P50,000.00 the proper compensation for his services rendered to defendant in the trial court and on appeal.”

Best Legal Practices:

Stipulate attorney’s fees – It is a good and sound practice to agree on attorney’s fees that will be paid by the defaulting party in a case a litigation is resorted to by the injured party.

When interest is imposed

As a general rule, interest is imposed as indemnity for damages incurred when the defendant incurred delay in an obligation consisting of the payment of a sum of money and there was no stipulation thereof to the contrary.[15] If there was no stipulation, the legal interest of six percent (6%) will be imposed as indemnity.[16]

Tan v. OMC Carriers, Inc.
G.R. No. 190521, 12 January 2011

Interests due – Finally, legal interest is due based on the prevailing rule:

I. When an obligation, regardless of its source, i.e., law, contracts, quasi-contracts, delicts or quasi-delicts is breached, the contravenor can be held liable for damages. The provisions under Title XVIII on “Damages” of the Civil Code govern in determining the measure of recoverable damages.

II. With regard particularly to an award of interest in the concept of actual and compensatory damages, the rate of interest, as well as the accrual thereof, is imposed, as follows:

“1. When the obligation is breached, and it consists in the payment of a sum of money, i.e., a loan or forbearance of money, the interest due should be that which may have been stipulated in writing. Furthermore, the interest due shall itself earn legal interest from the time it is judicially demanded. In the absence of stipulation, the rate of interest shall be 12% per annum to be computed from default, i.e., from judicial or extrajudicial demand under and subject to the provisions of Article 1169 of the Civil Code.

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

“3. When the judgment of the court awarding a sum of money becomes final and executory, the rate of legal interest, whether the case falls under paragraph 1 or paragraph 2, above, shall be 12% per annum from such finality until its satisfaction, this interim period being deemed to be by then an equivalent to a forbearance of credit.

“Accordingly, legal interest at the rate of 6% per annum on the amounts awarded starts to run from May 14, 2003, when the trial court rendered judgment. From the time this judgment becomes final and executory, the interest rate shall be 12% per annum on the judgment amount and the interest earned up to that date, until the judgment is wholly satisfied.” (Citations omitted)

Court may award different and separate interest

A different and separate interest, in the discretion of the court, may be imposed upon the damages awarded for a breach of contract. [17] The same may also be observed in crimes and quasi-delicts where interest is part of the damages.[18]

When interest is due

Any interest due earns interest from the time it is judicially demanded even if the obligation did not specify such.[19] Interest cannot be recovered upon unliquidated claims or damages, except when the demand can be established with reasonably certainty.[20]

When liability is mitigated

The courts may mitigate the liability for damages arising from contracts, quasi-contracts, and quasi-delict in the following instances:[21]

  1. That the plaintiff himself has contravened the terms of the contract;
  2. That the plaintiff has derived some benefit as a result of the contract;
  3. In cases where exemplary damages are to be awarded, that the defendant acted upon the advice of counsel;
  4. That the loss would have resulted in any event; or
  5. That since the filing of the action, the defendant has done his best to lessen the plaintiff’s loss or injury.

Contributory negligence mitigates liability

Meanwhile, in quasi-delicts, the damages may be reduced upon finding of contributory negligence on the part of the complainant.[22]


– – –

[1] Ibid. Article 2199.

[2] Ibid. Article 2200.

[3] Ibid. Paragraph 1, Article 2201.

[4] Ibid. Paragraph 2, Article 2201.

[5] Ibid. Article 2202.

[6] Ibid.

[7] CIVIL CODE. Paragraph 1, Article 2206.

[8] Ibid. Paragraph 2, Article 2206.

[9] Ibid. Article 2204.

[10] Ibid. Article 2203.

[11] Ibid. Article 2205.

[12] Ibid. Article 2207.

[13] Ibid. Article 2208.

[14] Ibid. Article 2208. Should attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation be awarded, they must be reasonable.

[15] Ibid. Article 2209.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid. Article 2210.

[18] Ibid. Article 2211.

[19] Ibid. Article 2212.

[20] Ibid. Article 2213.

[21] Ibid. Article 2215.

[22] Ibid. Article 2214.

Moral damages: Compensation Amount for Wounded Feelings

Moral damages - legalaspects.ph

Moral damages include the “physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury.”[1]

While they cannot be specifically known as to the amount or compensation/recompense, moral damages may be recovered in a case once it is shown that they are the “proximate result” of the defendant’s wrongful act or omission.[2]

In the pecuniary computation, the “sentimental value” of the property (real or personal) may be considered[3], especially if there is a finding of willful injury to property.[4] Moral damages may also be awarded for breaches of contract where the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad faith.[5]

Keirulf v. Court of Appeals
G.R. Nos. 99301, 99343, 13 March 1997

A husband claimed for moral damages against PANTRANCO on the ground that he and her wife’s right to marital consortium was diminished due to the disfigurement of her wife arising from a collision accident with a bus owned by the corporation.

HELD: The husband was not awarded moral damages since his claim is not supported by evidence; he did not testify. It is essential that the claimant satisfactorily establish the factual basis for moral damages and its causal connection to defendant’s acts.

NB: An earlier jurisprudence (Rodriguez case) ruled that “when a person is injured to the extent that he/she is no longer capable of giving love, affection, comfort, and sexual relations to his/her spouse, that spouse has suffered a direct and real personal loss. The loss is immediate and consequential rather than remote and unforeseeable, if it is personal to the spouse and separate and distinct from that of the injured person.”

Lopez v. Pan American World Airways

Plaintiffs were entitled to moral damages as they are recoverable “in breach of contracts where the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad faith.”  Plaintiffs suffered, among others, social humiliation when they were compelled to travel as such. “As a proximate result of defendant’s breach in bad faith of its contracts with plaintiffs, the latter suffered social humiliation, wounded feelings, serious anxiety and mental anguish. For plaintiffs were travelling with first class tickets issued by defendant and yet they were given only the tourist class. At stop-overs, they were expected to be among the first-class passengers by those awaiting to welcome them, only to be found among the tourist passengers. It may not be humiliating to travel as tourist passengers; it is humiliating to be compelled to travel as such, contrary to what is rightfully to be expected from the contractual undertaking.”

Senator Lopez, who was traveling with his family, was then the Senate President Pro Tempore. “International carriers like defendant know the prestige of such an office. For the Senate is not only the Upper Chamber of the Philippine Congress, but the nation’s treaty-ratifying body. It may also be mentioned that in his aforesaid office Senator Lopez was in a position to preside in impeachment cases should the Senate sit as Impeachment Tribunal. And he was former Vice-President of the Philippines. Senator Lopez was going to the United States to attend a private business conference of the Binalbagan-Isabela Sugar Company; but his aforesaid rank and position were by no means left behind, and in fact he had a second engagement awaiting him in the United States: a banquet tendered by Filipino friends in his honor as Senate President Pro Tempore… For the moral damages sustained by him, therefore, an award of P100,000.00 is appropriate.”

Mrs. Lopez is also entitled to moral damages. “Mrs. Maria J. Lopez, as wife of Senator Lopez, shared his prestige and therefore his humiliation. In addition she suffered physical discomfort during the 13-hour trip, (5 hours from Tokyo to Honolulu and 8 hours from Honolulu to San Francisco). Although Senator Lopez stated that ‘she was quite well’…. he obviously meant relatively well, since the rest of his statement is that two months before, she was attacked by severe flu and lost 10 pounds of weight and that she was advised by Dr. Sison to go to the United States as soon as possible for medical check-up and relaxation… In fact, Senator Lopez stated, as shown a few pages after in the transcript of his testimony, that Mrs. Lopez was sick when she left the Philippines.”

Evidently, Mrs. Lopez suffered physical discomfort during the long trip. “It is not hard to see that in her condition then a physical discomfort sustained for thirteen hours may well be considered a physical suffering. And even without regard to the noise and trepidation inside the plane — which defendant contends, upon the strengh of expert testimony, to be practically the same in first class and tourist class — the fact that the seating spaces in the tourist class are quite narrower than in first class, there being six seats to a row in the former as against four to a row in the latter, and that in tourist class there is very little space for reclining in view of the closer distance between rows… will suffice to show that the aforesaid passenger indeed experienced physical suffering during the trip. Added to this, of course, was the painful thought that she was deprived by defendant — after having paid for and expected the same — of the most suitable, place for her, the first class, where evidently the best of everything would have been given her, the best seat, service, food and treatment. Such difference in comfort between first class and tourist class is too obvious to be recounted, is in fact the reason for the former’s existence, and is recognized by the airline in charging a higher fare for it and by the passengers in paying said higher rate. Accordingly, considering the totality of her suffering and humiliation, an award to Mrs. Maria J. Lopez of P50,000.00 for moral damages will be reasonable.”

Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Alfredo Montelibano, Jr., were travelling as immediate members of the family of Senator Lopez. They likewise shred in the Senator’s prestige and humiliation. “Although defendant contends that a few weeks before the flight they had asked their reservations to be charged from first class to tourist class – which did not materialize due to alleged full booking in the tourist class – the same does not mean they suffered no shared in having to take tourist class during the flight. For by that time they had already been made to pay for first class seats and therefore to expect first class accommodations. As stated, it is one thing to take the tourist class by free choice; a far different thing to be compelled to take it notwithstanding having paid for first class seats. Plaintiffs-appellants now ask P37,500.00 each for the two but we note that in their motion for reconsideration filed in the court a quo, they were satisfied with P25,000.00 each for said persons… For their social humiliation, therefore, the award to them of P25,000.00 each is reasonable.


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[1] CIVIL CODE. Article 2217.

[2] Ibid. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases: (1) A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries; (2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries; (3) Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts; (4) Adultery or concubinage; (5) Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest; (6) Illegal search; (7) Libel, slander or any other form of defamation; (8) Malicious prosecution; (9) Acts mentioned in Article 309; (10) Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35 (Article 2219, Ibid.).

[3] Ibid. Article 2218.

[4] Ibid. Article 2220.

[5] Ibid.

Damage and Damages

What constitute damages

Damages are the “pecuniary compensation, recompense or satisfaction for an injury sustained or, as otherwise expressed, the pecuniary consequences, which the law imposes for the breach of some duty or the violation of some right.”[1] To be entitled to damages, these two requisites must be present: (a) a right of action for a legal wrong inflicted, and (b) damage resulting to plaintiff as a result thereof.[2] Under the Civil Code, these are the various forms of damage: moral, actual or compensatory, nominal, temperate, liquidated, exemplary.

What constitute damage

Damage is not the same as with injury and damages.[3] An injury is the invasion of a legal right; on the other hand, damage is the loss, hurt or harm, which results from the injury.[4] Damages are recompense or compensation awarded for the damage suffered.[5] Hence, there may be instances where there is damage but no injury (damnum absque injuria).[6]

Sps. Custodio v. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 116100, 09 February 1996

After his tenants left due to difficulty of access, an owner of a two-storey apartment filed suit for loss of income against his neighbors who had built fences on their properties resulting in the obstruction and/or narrowing of passageways to and from the apartment.

HELD: The neighbors were not liable. They were exercising their property right when they built the fences and the same is allowed in the Civil Code. While there may have been damage to the complainant, there was no injury to him since the neighbors acts were done in a lawful and proper manner. Damne absque injuria.


– – –

[1] People v. Ballesteros, G.R. No. 120921, 29 January 1998.

[2] Sps. Custodio v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 116100, 09 February 1996.

[3] Sangco, Philippine Law on Torts and Damages, Vol. II, (1994)

[4] Id at 33.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.