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Torts and Damages Case Digest: Philippine Airlines v. CA (1997)

G.R. No. 120262  July 17, 1997

Lessons Applicable: Factors in determining amount (Torts and Damages)
Laws Applicable: 


  • October 23, 1988: Pantejo, then City Fiscal of Surigao City, boarded a PAL plane in Manila and disembarked in Cebu City where he was supposed to take his connecting flight to Surigao City.  But, due to typhoon Osang, the connecting flight to Surigao City was cancelled.  
  • PAL gave out cash assistance of P100 and P200 the next day.  
  • Pantejo requested instead that he be billeted in a hotel at PAL’s expense because he did not have cash with him at that time, but PAL refused.  He instead shared with a co-passenger Andoni Dumlao and stayed at Sky View Hotel with the promise to pay his share of the expenses upon reaching Surigao
  • October 25, 1988: Pantejo discovered that co-passangers Superintendent Ernesto Gonzales and Mrs. Gloria Rocha, an auditor of the Philippine National Bank were reimbursed by PAL for their hotel stay.
  • He told Oscar Jereza, PAL’s Manager for Departure Services that he will sue for discrimination and it was then that he offered P300.
  • RTC: Ordered PAL to pay P300 actual damages, P150,000 moral damages, P100,000 exemplary damages, P15,000 attorney’s fees, and 6% interest from the time of the filing of the complaint until paid, plus costs of suit
  • CA: affirmed but deleted attorney’s fees and litigation expenses
ISSUE: W/N PAL was in bad faith so award for damages is proper

HELD: YES.  AFFIRMED, subject to the MODIFICATION regarding the computation of the 6% legal rate of interest on the monetary awards

  • No compelling or justifying reason was advanced for such discriminatory and prejudicial conduct.  More importantly, it has been sufficiently established that it is petitioner’s standard company policy, whenever a flight has been cancelled, to extend to its hapless passengers cash assistance or to provide them accommodations in hotels with which it has existing tie-ups.
  • PAL acted in bad faith in disregarding its duties as a common carrier to its passengers and in discriminating Pantejo.  He was exposed to humiliation and embarrassment especially because of his government position and social prominence, which altogether necessarily subjected him to ridicule, shame and anguish.  His refusal to accept the P300.00 proffered as an afterthought when he threatened suit was justified by his resentment when he belatedly found out that his co-passengers were reimbursed for hotel expenses and he was not.  The discriminatory act of petitioner against respondent ineludibly makes the former liable for moral damages under Article 21 in relation to Article 2219 (10) of the Civil Code.
  • Under the peculiar circumstances of this case, we are convinced that the awards for actual, moral and exemplary damages granted in the judgment of respondent court, for the reasons meticulously analyzed and thoroughly explained in its decision, are just and equitable. 
  • interest of 6% imposed by respondent court should be computed from the date of rendition of judgment and not from the filing of the complaint