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Gacal v PAL

Facts: Gacal et al. boarded the plane of PAL from Davao, heading
towards Manila. Unknown to them, six MNLF members were also inside
the plane. 10min after take off, they announced a hijack, and forced
the pilot to take them to Sabah. Due to lack of fuel, they had to land at
the Zamboanga Airport, where military personnel were waiting for
them. After a few days, negotiation failed, and battle ensued, where 10
passengers were killed (buti na lang hindi foreigners yung hostage).
Gacal et al. filed the case, but was dismissed by the RTC.
Issue: Whether hijacking or air piracy during martial law is a caso
fortuito which would exempt and aircraft from payment of damages to
its passengers whose lives were put in jeopardy and whose personal
belongings were lost during the incident (Bernas style of issue)
Ruling: Yes it is a case of force majeure. There are four elements of a
force majeure: 1. The cause of the breach of the obligation must be
independent of the human will
2. The event must be either unforeseeable or unavoidable
3. The event must be such as to render it impossible for the debtor to
fulfill his obligation in a normal manner
4. The debtor must be free from any participation in, or aggravation of
the injury to the creditor
The first element, the failure to transport was due to the hijacking done
by the MNLF. The second element, although foreseeable, it was due to
the military take over of the airport during martial law that made it
impossible for PAL to perform its obligations (of frisking and checking
the baggage of the passengers). The third element, the hijacking
rendered the obligation impossible (doy!). The fourth element was
supposedly satisfied, according to the case. Thus, PAL is exempted
from the payment of damages to its passengers.