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G.R. No. 114791 – 272 SCRA 752 – 339 Phil. 136 – Civil Law – Persons and Family Relations – Family Code – Article 73 – Exercise of Profession of Either Spouse
In 1981, Hermogenes Ong and Jane Ong contracted with Nancy Go for the latter to film their wedding. After the wedding, the newlywed inquired about their wedding video but Nancy Go said it’s not yet ready. She advised them to return for the wedding video after their honeymoon. The newlywed did so but only to find out that Nancy Go can no longer produce the said wedding video because the copy has been erased.
The Ongs then sued Nancy Go for damages. Nancy’s husband, Alex Go, was impleaded. The trial court ruled in favor of the spouses Ong and awarded in their favor, among others, P75k in moral damages. In her defense on appeal, Nancy Go said: that they erased the video tape because as per the terms of their agreement, the spouses are supposed to claim their wedding tape within 30 days after the wedding, however, the spouses neglected to get said wedding tape because they only made their claim after two months; that her husband should not be impleaded in this suit.
ISSUE: Whether or not Nancy Go is liable for moral damages.
HELD: Yes. Her contention is bereft of merit. It is shown that the spouses Ong made their claim after the wedding but were advised to return after their honeymoon. The spouses advised Go that their honeymoon is to be done abroad and won’t be able to return for two months. It is contrary to human nature for any newlywed couple to neglect to claim the video coverage of their wedding; the fact that the Ongs filed a case against Nancy Go belies such assertion. Considering the sentimental value of the tapes and the fact that the event therein recorded – a wedding which in our culture is a significant milestone to be cherished and remembered – could no longer be reenacted and was lost forever, the trial court was correct in awarding the Ongs moral damages in compensation for the mental anguish, tortured feelings, sleepless nights and humiliation that the Ongs suffered and which under the circumstances could be awarded as allowed under Articles 2217 and 2218 of the Civil Code.
Anent the issue that Nancy Go’s husband should not be included in the suit, this argument is valid. Under Article 73 of the Family Code, the wife may exercise any profession, occupation or engage in business without the consent of the husband. In this case, it was shown that it was only Nancy Go who entered into a contract with the spouses Ong hence only she (Nancy) is liable to pay the damages awarded in favor of the Ongs.