Ex-solon told to pay P200k for slapping House sgt-at-arms
MANILA - The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered actor and former San Juan Representative Jose Mari Gonzales to pay damages amounting to P200,000 for slapping the late House of Representatives sergeant-at-arms Bayani Fabic 13 years ago at the height of debates on the impeachment of then President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
In a 19-page decision penned by Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta, the appellate court ordered Gonzales to pay Fabic's widow, Editha, the said amount as moral damages as it affirmed with modification the order issued by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) which granted her civil suit.
Editha Fabic substituted her husband as the main complainant in the case, after the latter died on Aug. 17, 2011.
The RTC awarded P600,000 (P500,000 as moral damages; P100,000 as attorney’s fees) to Mrs Fabic, but the appellate court ruled in favor of the lesser amound of P200,000, pointing out that the penalty is "not intended to enrich the claimant at the expense of the defendant."
In affirming the RTC, the appellate court said it found no reason to reverse the lower court's findings against Gonzales.