Factual basis for granting moral damages

As to Patricia's entitlement to damages, the Supreme Court has held that while no proof of pecuniary loss is necessary in order that moral damages may be awarded, the amount of indemnity being left to the discretion of the court, it is nevertheless essential that the claimant should satisfactorily show the existence of the factual basis of damages and its causal connection to defendants acts. This is so because moral damages, though incapable of pecuniary estimation, are in the category of an award designed to compensate the claimant for actual injury suffered and not to impose a penalty on the wrongdoer. Moreover, additional facts must be pleaded and proven to warrant the grant of moral damages under the Civil Code, these being, social humiliation, wounded feelings, grave anxiety, etc. that resulted from the act being complained of. In the present case, both the RTC and the CA were not convinced that Patricia is entitled to damages. Quoting the RTC, the CA held thus:
With respect to Patricia, she did not even bother to know the details of the case against her, she left everything to the hands of her mother Alice. Her attitude towards the case appears weird, she being a banker who seems so concerned of her reputation.

Aside from the parties to this case, her immediate superiors in the BPI knew that she is involved in a case. They did not however know whether she is the plaintiff or the defendant in the case. Further, they did not know the nature of the case that she is involved in. It appears that Patricia has not suffered any of the injuries enumerated in Article 2217 of the Civil Code, thus, she is not entitled to moral damages and attorney's fees.

The Supreme Court finds no cogent reason to depart from the above-quoted findings as Patricia failed to satisfactorily show the existence of the factual basis for granting her moral damages and the causal connection of such fact to the act of respondents in filing a complaint against her.

In addition, and with respect to Benjamin, the Court agrees with the CA that in the absence of a wrongful act or omission, or of fraud or bad faith, moral damages cannot be awarded. The adverse result of an action does not per se make the action wrongful, or the party liable for it. One may err, but error alone is not a ground for granting such damages. In the absence of malice and bad faith, the mental anguish suffered by a person for having been made a party in a civil case is not the kind of anxiety which would warrant the award of moral damages. (G.R. No. 155033; December 19, 2007)