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Legal Meaning of Damages in the Philippines

The term “damages” was defined by the Supreme Court in the case of MEA Builders, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 121484, 31 January 2005), as the sum of money which the law awards or imposes as a pecuniary compensation, a recompense, or satisfaction for an injury done or a wrong sustained as a consequence either of a breach of a contractual obligation or a tortious act.

In Philippine laws, there are six kinds of damages, namely:

  1. Actual or compensatory Damages
  2. Moral Damages
  3. Exemplary or corrective Damages
  4. Liquidated Damages
  5. Nominal Damages
  6. Temperate or moderate Damages

Kinds of Damages under Philippine Law

Actual or compensatory damages are those awarded in satisfaction of, or in recompense for, loss or injury sustained. They simply make good or replace the loss caused by the wrong. (Mariano Mendoza vs. Leonora Gomez, G.R. No. 160110, June 18, 2014)

Moral damages are awarded to enable the injured party to obtain means, diversions or amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering he has undergone, by reason of the defendant’s culpable action. (Kierulf vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 99301, 13 March 1997)

Article 2229 of the Civil Code provides that exemplary or corrective damages are imposed, by way of example or correction for the public good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages. Article 2231 of the same Code further states that in quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be granted if the defendant acted with gross negligence. (Mariano Mendoza vs. Leonora Gomez, G.R. No. 160110, June 18, 2014)

Under Article 2226 of the Civil Code, liquidated damages are those agreed upon by the parties to a contract, to be paid in case of breach thereof. the parties to a contract are allowed to stipulate on liquidated damages to be paid in case of breach. It is attached to an obligation in order to ensure performance and has a double function: (1) to provide for liquidated damages, and (2) to strengthen the coercive force of the obligation by the threat of greater responsibility in the event of breach. The amount agreed upon answers for damages suffered by the owner due to delays in the completion of the project. As a pre-condition to such award, however, there must be proof of the fact of delay in the performance of the obligation. (Atlantic Erectors, Inc., vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 170732, 11 October 2012)

Under Article 2224 of the New Civil Code, temperate damages may be recovered when pecuniary loss has been suffered but the amount cannot, from the nature of the case, be proven with certainty. In such cases, the amount of the award is left to the discretion of the courts, according to the circumstances of each case, but the same should be reasonable, bearing in mind that temperate damages should be more than nominal but less than compensatory. (Republic of the Philippines vs. Alberto Looyuko, G.R. No. 170966, 22 June 2016)

Under Article 2221 of the Civil Code, nominal damages may be awarded in order that the plaintiff’s right, which has been violated or invaded by the defendant, may be vindicated or recognized, and not for the purpose of indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered.  Nominal damages are ‘recoverable where a legal right is technically violated and must be vindicated against an invasion that has produced no actual present loss of any kind or where there has been a breach of contract and no substantial injury or actual damages whatsoever have been or can be shown. (Seven Brothers Shipping Corporation vs. DMC-Construction Resources, Inc., G.R. No. 193914, 26 November 2014)

About Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices

If you need assistance in corporate law, commercial law, corporate or commercial litigation, or civil or other criminal law-related issues,  we can help you. Nicolas and de Vega Law Offices is a full-service law firm in the Philippines.  You may visit us at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines.  You may also call us at +632 84706126, +632 84706130, +632 84016392 or e-mail us at [email protected]. Visit our website https://ndvlaw.com.

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