St. Martin Polyclinic, Inc. vs. LWV Construction Corporation

G.R. No. 217426. December 4, 2017

FACTS:

The respondent is engaged in the business of recruiting Filipino workers for deployment to Saudi Arabia. The petitioner is authorized to conduct medical examinations of prospective applicants for overseas employment. Respondent referred prospective applicant Jonathan V. Raguindin (Raguindin) to the petitioner for a pre-deployment medical examination. The petitioner cleared Raguindin and found him “fit for employment,” as evidenced by a Medical Report.
Respondent deployed Raguindin to Saudi Arabia, allegedly incurring expenses of P84,373.41. Unfortunately, when Raguindin underwent another medical examination in Saudi Arabia, he purportedly tested positive for HCV or the hepatitis C virus. This leads to repatriation.

Respondent filed a Complaint for the sum of money and damages against petitioner for being reckless in issuing its Medical Report

ISSUE:

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Whether or not the petitioner was negligent in issuing the Medical Report declaring Raguindin “fit for employment” and hence, should be held liable for damages.

HELD:

In this case, the courts a quo erroneously anchored their respective rulings on the provisions of Articles 19, 20, and 21 of the Civil Code. This is because respondent did not proffer (nor have these courts mentioned) any law as basis for which damages may be recovered due to petitioner’s alleged negligent act. The claimed negligent act of petitioner was not premised on the breach of any law, and not to mention the incontestable fact that no preexisting contractual relation was averred to exist between the parties, Article 2176 should govern.

ARTICLE 20ARTICLE 21ARTICLE 2176
Every person who, contrary to law, wilfully or negligently causes damage to another, shall indemnify the latter. 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 damage.Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relationship between parties is called quasi delict. 
Article 20 of the Civil Code concerns “violations of existing law as the basis for an injuryArticle 21 concerns injuries that may be caused by acts that are not necessarily proscribed by law. This article requires that the act be willful, that is, that there was an intention to do the act and a desire to achieve the outcome.Article 2176 applies when the negligent act causing damage to another does not constitute “a breach of existing law or a preexisting contractual obligation

However, the fact that Raguindin tested positive for HCV could not have been properly established since the courts a quo, in the first place, erred in admitting and giving probative weight to the Certification of the General Care Dispensary, which was written in an unofficial language. Section 33, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court states that: 

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Section 33. Documentary evidence in an unofficial language.—Documents written in an unofficial language shall not be admitted as evidence unless accompanied with a translation into English or Filipino. 

Moreover, the due execution and authenticity of the said certification were not proven in accordance with Section 20, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. In addition, case law states that “since a medical certificate involves an opinion of one who must first be established as an expert witness, it cannot be given weight or credit unless the doctor who issued it is presented in court to show his qualifications.

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