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Torts and Damages Case Digest: Carlos Arcona y Moban v. CA (2002)

G.R. No. 134784          December 9, 2002
Lessons Applicable: Moral Damages on Taking of Life (Torts and Damages)
Laws Applicable: 


  • June 27, 1986 7:30pm: Napoleon Ong and Edgardo Talanquines were walking along the national highway at Barangay Labog, Brooke’s Point, Palawan, on their way home after coming from a birthday party.  When Carlos Arcona y Moban and his brother Benito Arcona y Moban confederating together and mutually helping one another, with intent to kill and with evident premeditation and treachery assault, strike and beat with a bamboo pole Edgardo Talanquines who managed to escape and seek medical assistance thereby preventing his death.  They also stabbed Napoleon Ong with a bladed weapon causing his immediate death.
  • RTC: Carlos Arcona y Moban guilty of the crime of Homicide under Art. 249 of the Revised Penal Code, with the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender to authorities and no aggravating circumstances.  He is hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of 6 YEARS and 1 DAY of PRISION MAYOR as MINIMUM to 14 YEARS and 1 DAY OF RECLUSION TEMPORAL as MAXIMUM, and to indemnify the heirs of Napoleon Ong P30,000 for his death, P10,000 actual damages and P10,000 moral damages. Benito Arcona is acquitted.  Benito Arcona is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Slight Physical injuries 20 DAYS of ARRESTO MENOR and to indemnify Edgardo Talanquines 10,000 as actual damages. 
  • CA: Affirms increases indemnity to P50,000 
ISSUE: W/N moral damages should be awarded.

HELD: YES. AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION increasing moral damages to P50,000.  actual damages is deleted

  • In self-defense, unlawful aggression is a primordial element.  While the physical evidence may suggest that Napoleon drew the bolo from its scabbard, such fact alone would not in any way satisfactorily support the conclusion that, indeed, Napoleon was the unlawful aggressor
  • In cases of murder, homicide, parricide and rape, civil indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00 is automatically granted to the offended party or his heirs in case of his death, without need of further evidence other than the fact of the commission of the crime
  • award of moral damages P 10,000 must be increased to P50,000. As borne out by human nature and experience, a violent death invariably and necessarily brings about emotional pain and anguish on the part of the victim’s family. It is inherently human to suffer sorrow, torment, pain and anger when a loved one becomes the victim of a violent or brutal killing. Such violent death or brutal killing not only steals from the family of the deceased his precious life, deprives them forever of his love, affection and support, but often leaves them with the gnawing feeling that an injustice has been done to them. For this reason, moral damages must be awarded even in the absence of any allegation and proof of the heirs’ emotional suffering