PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation vs CA

July 22, 2017 | Author: maria00c | Category: Hearsay, Hearsay In United States Law, Evidence (Law), Common Law, Public Law
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PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation, petitioner vs. Court of Appeals and Maria Efigenia Fishing Corporation, respondents. October 8, 1998 Digest Copy Facts:

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On the morning of September 21, 1977, M/V Maria Efigenia XV (of the private respondent) was navigating the waters near Fortune Island in Nasugbu, Batangas on its way to Navotas, Metro Manila when it collided with the vessel “Petroparcel”, owned at that time by Luzon Stevedoring Corporation (LSC). The Board of Marine Inquiry found the Petroparcel at fault for the collision and based on this and after unsuccessful demands on petitioner, private respondent sued LSC and Petroparcel captain Edgardo Doruelo for actual and compensatory damages. During the pendency of the proceedings, PNOC Shipping Transport Corporation acquired ownership of Petroparcel and replaced LSC in the trial. CFI Caloocan ruled in favor of private respondent, awarding it: the sum of P6,438,048.00 representing the value of the fishing boat with interest of 6% per annum; P50,000 attorney’s fees and the cost of suit. The basis of said amount was the testimony of the general manager of Maria Efigenia Fishin Corporation, Edilberto del Rosario and several documentary evidence that included: ownership certificate, price quotations, and invoices issued at the request of Del Rosario. CFI ruled that PNOC-STC was unable to contest such evidence with only the testimony of its senior estimator Lorenzo Lazaro as sole witness and without any documentary evidence. On appeal, petitioner questioned the admissibility and competency of private respondent’s documents as basis for damages. The Court of Appeals affirmed the CFI decision ruling that where a lower court is confronted with evidence which appears to be of doubtful admissibility, the judge should declare in favor of admissibility rather than of non-admissibility. On appeal to the SC, petitioner argued, among other things, that the documents were not sufficient evidence to support the extent and actual damages incurred by private respondent. The price quotations were not duly authenticated and that the witness (Del Rosario) did not have personal knowledge on the contents of the writings and neither was he an expert on the subjects thereof. CA argued that the documents were sufficient and exempt from the hearsay rule as they are part of “commercial lists” defined in sec.45 Rule 130 of the Revised Rules on Evidence in so far as they fall under the “or other published compilation” phrase of the rule. Section 45. Commercial lists and the like. — Evidence of statements of matters of interest to persons engaged in an occupation contained in a list, register, periodical, or other published compilation is admissible as tending to prove the truth of any relevant matter so stated if that compilation is published for use by persons engaged in that occupation and is generally used and relied upon by them therein.

Issue: WON the documents fall under the exception to the hearsay evidence rule under sec. 45 rule 130 of the Revised Rules on Evidence and would therefore be competent enough to establish the amount of actual and compensatory damages. Ruling: • • •

With respect to the documentary evidence, the SC ruled in favor of the petitioner PNOC-STC. For actual and compensatory damages, the injured party is required to prove the actual amount of loss with reasonable degree of certainty premised upon competent proof and on the best evidence available. Damages may not be awarded on the basis of on the basis of hearsay evidence. The documents presented by private respondent were regarded as hearsay evidence. Del Rosario could not have testified on the veracity of the documents as he was not the author of them. He can only testify as to facts of his personal knowledge. As such, the price quotations were considered ordinary private writings which under the Revised Rules of Court should be proferred along with the testimony of the writers thereof. One of the exemptions to the hearsay evidence rule under Sec.37-47 of Rule 130 of the Revised Rules on Evidence is “commercial lists”.

However, the quotations do not fall under “other published compilation” mentioned in the said exemption as they are not published in any list, register, periodical, or other compilation. They are also not standard handbooks or periodicals containing data of everyday professionals need and relied upon in the work of occupation. They are merely letters responding to the queries of Del Rosario. Under the principle of ejusdem generis, “where general words follow an enumeration of persons or things, by words of a particular and specific meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent but are to be held as applying only to persons or things of the same kind or class as those specifically mentioned. Because of the absence of competent proof of the actual damage suffered, SC modified the CA decision and awarded the private respondent nominal damages amounting to P2,000,000.00.

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