Tamayo vs. Aquino et al & Rayos - G.R. Nos. L-12634 and L-12720 -May 29, 1959
Facts:Epifania Gonzales (wife of Aquino) boarded a truck owned by Tamayo, holderof a certificate of public convenience to operate. Allegedly, while Epifania wasmaking a trip aboard the truck, it bumped against a culvert on the side of theroad, causing her death. Aquino et al filed an action for damages against Tamayo. Tamayo answered alleging that the truck is owned by Rayos, so hefiled a 3rd party complaint against him (Rayos). The CFI ruled that Tamayo isthe registered owner, under a public convenience certificate but such truckwas sold to Rayos one month after the accident, but he (Tamayo) did notinform the Public Service Commission of the sale. CFI held Tamayo and Rayos jointly and severally liable to Aquino. CA affirmed, holding that, both theregistered owner (Tamayo) and the actual owner and operator (Rayos) shouldbe considered as joint tortfeasors and should be made liable in accordancewith Article 2194 of the Civil Code (solidary).Issue: WON Art 2194 (solidary liability) is applicable; and, if NOT, howshould Tamayo (holder of the cert. of public convenience) participate withRayos (transferee/operator) in the damages recoverable.Held: No, Art 2194 is not applicable. The action instituted in this case is one for breach of contract, for failure of the defendant to carry safety the deceased for her destination. The liabilityfor which he is made responsible, i.e., for the death of the passenger, maynot be considered as arising from a quasi-delict. As the registered owner Tamayo and his transferee Rayos may not be held guilty of tort or a quasi-delict; their responsibility is NOT SOLIDARY.As Tamayo is the registered owner of the truck, his responsibility to thepublic or to any passenger riding in the vehicle or truck must be direct. If thepolicy of the law is to be enforced and carried out, the registered ownershould not be allowed to prove that a third person or another has become theowner, so that he may thereby be relieved of the responsibility to the injured.But as the transferee, who operated the vehicle when the passenger died, isthe one directly responsible for the accident and death he should in turn bemade responsible to the registered owner for what the latter may have beenadjudged to pay. In operating the truck without transfer thereof having beenapproved by the Public Service Commission, the transferee acted merely asagent of the registered owner and should be responsible to him (theregistered owner), for any damages that he may cause the latter by hisnegligence.