Globe Mackay vs. CA

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G.R. No. 81262
August 25, 1989


Private respondent Tobias was an employee of petitioner GLOBE MACKAY as its purchasing agent and administrative assistant. Anomalies in the petitioner’s company were later allegedly discovered by Tobias regarding fictitious purchases and other fraudulent transactions. Hendry, Executive Vice-­President and General Manager of GLOBE MACKAY, confronted Tobias stating the latter as the number one suspect and ordered a one week forced leave.

When Tobias reported for work after the forced leave, petitioner Hendry called him a “crook” and a “swindler.” He was also asked to take a lie-­detector test and the specimen of his handwriting, signature, and initials for examination by the police investigators to determine his complicity in the anomalies. The police investigators, however, cleared private respondent from the said anomalies. Later, petitioners filed criminal complaints for estafa which were all dismissed by the fiscal. Tobias was also terminated by petitioners from his employment.

Tobias sought employment with the Republic Telephone Company (RETELCO). However, petitioner Hendry, without being asked by RETELCO, wrote a letter to the latter stating that Tobias was dismissed by GLOBE MACKAY due to dishonesty. Eventually, private respondent Tobias filed a civil case for damages anchored on alleged unlawful, malicious, oppressive, and abusive acts of petitioners.


Whether or not petitioners are liable for damages to private respondent under the Civil Code.


YES. Petitioners are liable for damages to private respondent under the provisions of the Civil Code.

Art. 19 of the Civil Code commonly referred to as the principle of abuse of rights sets certain standards which must be observed not only in the exercise of one’s rights but also in the performance of one’s duties. These standards are the following: to act with justice;; to give everyone his due;; and to observe honesty and good faith. The Court said that when a right is exercised in a manner which does not conform with the norms enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for which the wrongdoer must be held responsible. But while Article 19 lays down a rule of conduct for the government of human relations and for the maintenance of social order, it does not provide a remedy for its violation. Thus, generally, an action for damages under either Article 20 or Article 21 would be proper

In the present case, petitioner Hendry showed belligerence and told private respondent that he was the number one suspect and to take a 1 week vacation leave, not to communicate with the office, and to leave his keys to said defendant (petitioner Hendry). Moreover, the imputation of guilt without basis and the pattern of harassment during the investigations of Tobias transgress the standards of human conduct set forth in Article 19 of the Civil Code.

Hence, petitioners were ordered to pay actual, moral, and exemplary damages to private respondent.

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