Question: How is moral damages determined in a case for tort?
SUMALPONG V CA (PEOPLE)
268 SCRA 764
Petition for review
Sumalpong shot the victim Ramos after the former slapped the latter’s wife. Be fore this, Sumalpong called upon the spouses then inquired regarding the identity of those who stoned his house, then accused Ramos of stoning his house.
Ramos’ wife, Leonarda, remarked that he should first confirm the information he received before accusing anyone, then after this Sumalpong shot Leonarda at the back of her head (though apparently, Leonarda was not harmed) then Ramos rushed towards Sumalpong who then shot Ramos twice but missed. They wrestled and in the act, Sumalpong bit on Ramos’ ear, causing its mutilation. –
At the RTC, Sumalpong was convicted of attempted homicide. Ramos awarded with P 16,800.00 for the loss of his crops due to his failure to attend to his farmwork because of the injuries inflicted upon him by the petitioner, P2,000.00 for hospitalization expenses, and P5,000.00 by way of moral damages. –
At the Court of Appeals, the conviction was affirmed, the award for loss of crops and hospitalization expenses were removed and moral damages increased to P10,000.00. Nominal damages in the same amount were awarded.
Whether or not the increase in moral damages is warranted
YES – Anent the increase in the amount of moral damages awarded, suffice it to state that the nature of the injuries and the degree of physical suffering endured by the complainant warrants the same. The tragic incident caused a mutilation of complainant’s left ear and a permanent scar on his right forearm. These injuries have left indelible marks on the complainant’s body and will serve as a constant reminder of this traumatic experience. (more discussion on the modification of amount of nominal damages and moral damages when it was not the issue appealed, rationalization for deletion of actual and compensatory damages…)