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Torts and Damages Case Digest: Cometa v. CA (1999)

G.R. No. 124062    January 21, 1999
Lessons Applicable: Unfounded Suits (Torts and Damages)
Laws Applicable: 


  • 1979: State Investment Trust, Inc (SITI), formerly State Investment House, Inc. (SIHI) extended loans in various amounts to Guevent Industrial Development Corp. (GIDC) which failed to pay when due.
  • A rehabilitation plan where GIDC mortgaged its property but it still defaulted resulting in a foreclosure sale where SITI is the highest bidder.
  • GIDC filed in the RTC alleging irregularities in the foreclosure of the mortgages and the sale of properties to petitioner SITI which ended with a compromise agreement wherein HBI offered to purchasea and SITI agreed 
  • RTC AND CA: compelled SITI to accept HBI's offer to purchase
  • HBI applied to the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board for a permit to develop the property submitting an affidavit by SITTI president Cometa releasing the mortgage.
  • Cometa denied executing an affidavit as supported by the NBI's finding that it is forged.  Cometa filed a complaint for falsification of public document against HBI president Guevara
  • RTC: dismissed
  • HBI filed a complaint for malicious prosecution against petitioners Cometa and SITI alleging that it was filed with the sole intent of harassing and pressuring Guevara, in his capacity as chairman of GIDC, to give in to their illicit and malicious desire to appropriate the remaining unsold properties of GIDC
    • Cometa and SITI answered that the action seeks to impose a penalty on the right to litigate and for that reason is unconstitutional and against settled public policy
  • RTC and CA: denied since without malice
ISSUE: W/N Cometa and SITI should be penalized for malicious prosecution

HELD: NO. CA affirmed

  • It is hardly necessary to say that to allow the present action to proceed is not to impose a penalty on the right to litigate. For trial is still to be conducted and liability is not automatic.
  • Just as it is bad to encourage the indiscriminate filing of actions for damages by accused persons after they have been acquitted, whether correctly or incorrectly, a blanket clearance of all who may be minded to charge others with offenses, fancied or otherwise, without any chance of the aggrieved parties in the appropriate cases of false accusation to obtain relief, is in Our Opinion short of being good law