Maxicare vs Estrada (GR No. 171052 January 28, 2008)

Philippine Health-Care Providers Inc. vs Estrada
GR No. 171052 January 28, 2008

Facts: Maxicare is a domestic corporation engaged in selling health insurance plans whose Chairman Dr. Roberto K. Macasaet, Chief Operating Officer Virgilio del Valle, and Sales/Marketing Manager Josephine Cabrera were impleaded as defendants-appellants. On September 15, 1990, Maxicare allegedly engaged the services of Carmela Estrada who was doing business under the name of CARA HEALTH SERVICES.to promote and sell the prepaid group practice health care delivery program called MAXICARE Plan with the position of Independent Account Executive. Maxicare formally appointed Estrada as its “General Agent,” evidenced by a letter-agreement dated February 16, 1991. The letter agreement provided for plaintiff-appellee’s Estrada’s compensation in the form of commission. Maxicare alleged that it followed a “franchising system” in dealing with its agents whereby an agent had to first secure permission from Maxicare to list a prospective company as client. Estrada alleged that it did apply with Maxicare for the MERALCO account and other accounts, and in fact, its franchise to solicit corporate accounts, MERALCO account included, was renewed on February 11, 1991. Plaintiff-appellee Estrada submitted proposals and made representations to the officers of MERALCO regarding the MAXICARE Plan but when MERALCO decided to subscribe to the MAXICARE Plan, Maxicare directly negotiated with MERALCO regarding the terms and conditions of the agreement and left plaintiff-appellee Estrada out of the discussions on the terms and conditions.
 
Issue: Whether or not Estrada is entitled to the commission despite her admission that the negotiation between her and MERALCO failed.
 
Held: Yes. The statement in Annex “F” amounted to an admission, provides a contrary answer to Maxicare’s ridiculous contention. We intoned therein that in spite of the presence of judicial admissions in a party’s pleading, the trial court is still given leeway to consider other evidence presented.
 
As provided for in Section 4 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court, the general rule that a judicial admission is conclusive upon the party making it and does not require proof admits of two exceptions: 1) when it is shown that the admission was made through palpable mistake, and 2) when it is shown that no such admission was in fact made. The latter exception allows one to contradict an admission by denying that he made such an admission.
 
For instance, if a party invokes an “admission” by an adverse party, but cites the admission “out of context,” then the one making the admission may show that he made no “such” admission, or that his admission was taken out of context.
 
This may be interpreted as to mean “not in the sense in which the admission is made to appear.” That is the reason for the modifier “such.”
 
In this case, the letter, although part of Estrada’s Complaint, is not, ipso facto, an admission of the statements contained therein, especially since the bone of contention relates to Estrada’s entitlement to commissions for the sale of health plans she claims to have brokered. It is more than obvious from the entirety of the records that Estrada has unequivocally and consistently declared that her involvement as broker is the proximate cause which consummated the sale between Meralco and Maxicare.
 
Moreover, Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court requires the purpose for which the evidence is offered to be specified. Undeniably, the letter was attached to the Complaint, and offered in evidence, to demonstrate Maxicare’s bad faith and ill will towards Estrada.

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