Liability for damages (Articles 19, 20, 21)

Liability for damages under Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Civil Code arises only from unlawful, willful or negligent acts that are contrary to law, or morals, good customs or public policy. (G.R. No. 96126, August 10, 1992) "Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.

"Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, willfully or negligently causes damage to another, shall indemnify the latter for the same.

"Art. 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage."

As to a claim for moral damages, the right to recover them under Article 21 is based on equity, and he who comes to court to demand equity, must come with clean hands. Article 21 should be construed as granting the right to recover damages to injured persons who are not themselves at fault (Mabutas vs. Calapan Electric Co. [CA] 50 OG 5828, cited in Padilla, Civil Code Annotated, Vol. 1, 1975 Ed., p. 87). Moral damages are recoverable only if the case falls under Article 2219 in relation to Article 21 (Flordelis vs. Mar, 114 SCRA 41). In the case at bar, petitioner is not without fault. Firstly, she went on an indefinite leave of absence and failed to report back in time for the regular opening of classes. Secondly, for reasons known to herself alone, she refused to sign a written contract of employment. Lastly, she ignored the Board of Directors' order for her to report for duty on July 5, 1982. (G.R. No. 96126, August 10, 1992)

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