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G.R. No.

147079

December 21, 2004

A.F. SANCHEZ BROKERAGE INC., petitioners, vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and FGU INSURANCE CORPORATION, respondents.

DECISION

CARPIO MORALES, J.: Before this Court on a petition for Certiorari is the appellate court’s Decision1 of August 10, 2000 reversing and setting aside the judgment of Branch 133, Regional Trial Court of Makati City, in Civil Case No. 93-76B which dismissed the complaint of respondent FGU Insurance Corporation (FGU Insurance) against petitioner A.F. Sanchez Brokerage, Inc. (Sanchez Brokerage). On July 8, 1992, Wyeth-Pharma GMBH shipped on board an aircraft of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines at Dusseldorf, Germany oral contraceptives consisting of 86,800 Blisters Femenal tablets, 14,000 Blisters Nordiol tablets and 42,000 Blisters Trinordiol tablets for delivery to Manila in favor of the consignee, Wyeth-Suaco Laboratories, Inc.2 The Femenal tablets were placed in 124 cartons and the Nordiol tablets were placed in 20 cartons which were packed together in one (1) LD3 aluminum container, while the Trinordial tablets were packed in two pallets, each of which contained 30 cartons. 3 Wyeth-Suaco insured the shipment against all risks with FGU Insurance which issued Marine Risk Note No. 4995 pursuant to Marine Open Policy No. 138.4 Upon arrival of the shipment on July 11, 1992 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA),5 it was discharged "without exception"6 and delivered to the warehouse of the Philippine Skylanders, Inc. (PSI) located also at the NAIA for safekeeping. 7 In order to secure the release of the cargoes from the PSI and the Bureau of Customs, Wyeth-Suaco engaged the services of Sanchez Brokerage which had been its licensed broker since 1984.8 As its customs broker, Sanchez Brokerage calculates and pays the customs duties, taxes and storage fees for the cargo and thereafter delivers it to WyethSuaco.9 On July 29, 1992, Mitzi Morales and Ernesto Mendoza, representatives of Sanchez Brokerage, paid PSI storage fee amounting to P8,572.35 a receipt for which, Official Receipt No. 016992,10 was issued. On the receipt, another representative of Sanchez

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Brokerage, M. Sison,11 acknowledged that he received the cargoes consisting of three pieces in good condition.12 Wyeth-Suaco being a regular importer, the customs examiner did not inspect the cargoes13 which were thereupon stripped from the aluminum containers 14 and loaded inside two transport vehicles hired by Sanchez Brokerage.15 Among those who witnessed the release of the cargoes from the PSI warehouse were Ruben Alonso and Tony Akas,16 employees of Elite Adjusters and Surveyors Inc. (Elite Surveyors), a marine and cargo surveyor and insurance claim adjusters firm engaged by Wyeth-Suaco on behalf of FGU Insurance. Upon instructions of Wyeth-Suaco, the cargoes were delivered to Hizon Laboratories Inc. in Antipolo City for quality control check.17 The delivery receipt, bearing No. 07037 dated July 29, 1992, indicated that the delivery consisted of one container with 144 cartons of Femenal and Nordiol and 1 pallet containing Trinordiol.18 On July 31, 1992, Ronnie Likas, a representative of Wyeth-Suaco, acknowledged the delivery of the cargoes by affixing his signature on the delivery receipt. 19 Upon inspection, however, he, together with Ruben Alonzo of Elite Surveyors, discovered that 44 cartons containing Femenal and Nordiol tablets were in bad order. 20 He thus placed a note above his signature on the delivery receipt stating that 44 cartons of oral contraceptives were in bad order. The remaining 160 cartons of oral contraceptives were accepted as complete and in good order. Ruben Alonzo thus prepared and signed, along with Ronnie Likas, a survey report21 dated July 31, 1992 stating that 41 cartons of Femenal tablets and 3 cartons of Nordiol tablets were "wetted" (sic).22 The Elite Surveyors later issued Certificate No. CS-0731-1538/9223 attached to which was an "Annexed Schedule" whereon it was indicated that prior to the loading of the cargoes to the broker’s trucks at the NAIA, they were inspected and found to be in "apparent good condition."24 Also noted was that at the time of delivery to the warehouse of Hizon Laboratories Inc., slight to heavy rains fell, which could account for the wetting of the 44 cartons of Femenal and Nordiol tablets.25 On August 4, 1992, the Hizon Laboratories Inc. issued a Destruction Report26 confirming that 38 x 700 blister packs of Femenal tablets, 3 x 700 blister packs of Femenal tablets and 3 x 700 blister packs of Nordiol tablets were heavily damaged with water and emitted foul smell. On August 5, 1992, Wyeth-Suaco issued a Notice of Materials Rejection27 of 38 cartons of Femenal and 3 cartons of Nordiol on the ground that they were "delivered to Hizon Laboratories with heavy water damaged (sic) causing the cartons to sagged (sic) emitting a foul order and easily attracted flies."28

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Wyeth-Suaco later demanded, by letter29 of August 25, 1992, from Sanchez Brokerage the payment of P191,384.25 representing the value of its loss arising from the damaged tablets. As the Sanchez Brokerage refused to heed the demand, Wyeth-Suaco filed an insurance claim against FGU Insurance which paid Wyeth-Suaco the amount of P181,431.49 in settlement of its claim under Marine Risk Note Number 4995. Wyeth-Suaco thus issued Subrogation Receipt30 in favor of FGU Insurance. On demand by FGU Insurance for payment of the amount of P181,431.49 it paid Wyeth-Suaco, Sanchez Brokerage, by letter31 of January 7, 1993, disclaimed liability for the damaged goods, positing that the damage was due to improper and insufficient export packaging; that when the sealed containers were opened outside the PSI warehouse, it was discovered that some of the loose cartons were wet, 32 prompting its (Sanchez Brokerage’s) representative Morales to inform the Import-Export Assistant of Wyeth-Suaco, Ramir Calicdan, about the condition of the cargoes but that the latter advised to still deliver them to Hizon Laboratories where an adjuster would assess the damage.33 Hence, the filing by FGU Insurance of a complaint for damages before the Regional Trial Court of Makati City against the Sanchez Brokerage. The trial court, by Decision34 of July 29, 1996, dismissed the complaint, holding that the Survey Report prepared by the Elite Surveyors is bereft of any evidentiary support and a mere product of pure guesswork.35 On appeal, the appellate court reversed the decision of the trial court, it holding that the Sanchez Brokerage engaged not only in the business of customs brokerage but also in the transportation and delivery of the cargo of its clients, hence, a common carrier within the context of Article 1732 of the New Civil Code.36 Noting that Wyeth-Suaco adduced evidence that the cargoes were delivered to petitioner in good order and condition but were in a damaged state when delivered to Wyeth-Suaco, the appellate court held that Sanchez Brokerage is presumed negligent and upon it rested the burden of proving that it exercised extraordinary negligence not only in instances when negligence is directly proven but also in those cases when the cause of the damage is not known or unknown.37 The appellate court thus disposed: IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the appeal of the Appellant is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court a quo is REVERSED. Another Decision is hereby rendered in favor of the Appellant and against the Appellee as follows:

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1. The Appellee is hereby ordered to pay the Appellant the principal amount of P181, 431.49, with interest thereupon at the rate of 6% per annum, from the date of the Decision of the Court, until the said amount is paid in full; 2. The Appellee is hereby ordered to pay to the Appellant the amount of P20,000.00 as and by way of attorney’s fees; and 3. The counterclaims of the Appellee are DISMISSED.38 Sanchez Brokerage’s Motion for Reconsideration having been denied by the appellate court’s Resolution of December 8, 2000 which was received by petitioner on January 5, 2001, it comes to this Court on petition for certiorari filed on March 6, 2001. In the main, petitioner asserts that the appellate court committed grave and reversible error tantamount to abuse of discretion when it found petitioner a "common carrier" within the context of Article 1732 of the New Civil Code. Respondent FGU Insurance avers in its Comment that the proper course of action which petitioner should have taken was to file a petition for review on certiorari since the sole office of a writ of certiorari is the correction of errors of jurisdiction including the commission of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and does not include correction of the appellate court’s evaluation of the evidence and factual findings thereon. On the merits, respondent FGU Insurance contends that petitioner, as a common carrier, failed to overcome the presumption of negligence, it being documented that petitioner withdrew from the warehouse of PSI the subject shipment entirely in good order and condition.39 The petition fails. Rule 45 is clear that decisions, final orders or resolutions of the Court of Appeals in any case, i.e., regardless of the nature of the action or proceedings involved, may be appealed to this Court by filing a petition for review, which would be but a continuation of the appellate process over the original case.40 The Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated December 8, 2000 denying the motion for reconsideration of its Decision of August 10, 2000 was received by petitioner on January 5, 2001. Since petitioner failed to appeal within 15 days or on or before January 20, 2001, the appellate court’s decision had become final and executory. The filing by petitioner of a petition for certiorari on March 6, 2001 cannot serve as a substitute for the lost remedy of appeal.

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In another vein, the rule is well settled that in a petition for certiorari, the petitioner must prove not merely reversible error but also grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Petitioner alleges that the appellate court erred in reversing and setting aside the decision of the trial court based on its finding that petitioner is liable for the damage to the cargo as a common carrier. What petitioner is ascribing is an error of judgment, not of jurisdiction, which is properly the subject of an ordinary appeal. Where the issue or question involves or affects the wisdom or legal soundness of the decision – not the jurisdiction of the court to render said decision – the same is beyond the province of a petition for certiorari.41 The supervisory jurisdiction of this Court to issue a cert writ cannot be exercised in order to review the judgment of lower courts as to its intrinsic correctness, either upon the law or the facts of the case.42 Procedural technicalities aside, the petition still fails. The appellate court did not err in finding petitioner, a customs broker, to be also a common carrier, as defined under Article 1732 of the Civil Code, to wit: Art. 1732. Common carriers are persons, corporations, firms or associations engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or both, by land, water, or air, for compensation, offering their services to the public. Anacleto F. Sanchez, Jr., the Manager and Principal Broker of Sanchez Brokerage, himself testified that the services the firm offers include the delivery of goods to the warehouse of the consignee or importer. ATTY. FLORES: Q: What are the functions of these license brokers, license customs broker? WITNESS: As customs broker, we calculate the taxes that has to be paid in cargos, and those upon approval of the importer, we prepare the entry together for processing and claims from customs and finally deliver the goods to the warehouse of the importer.43 Article 1732 does not distinguish between one whose principal business activity is the carrying of goods and one who does such carrying only as an ancillary activity.44 The contention, therefore, of petitioner that it is not a common carrier but a customs broker whose principal function is to prepare the correct customs declaration and proper shipping documents as required by law is bereft of merit. It suffices that petitioner undertakes to deliver the goods for pecuniary consideration.

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In this light, petitioner as a common carrier is mandated to observe, under Article 173345 of the Civil Code, extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods it transports according to all the circumstances of each case. In the event that the goods are lost, destroyed or deteriorated, it is presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless it proves that it observed extraordinary diligence.46 The concept of "extra-ordinary diligence" was explained in Compania Maritima v. Court of Appeals:47 The extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods tendered for shipment requires the common carrier to know and to follow the required precaution for avoiding damage to, or destruction of the goods entrusted to it for sale, carriage and delivery. It requires common carriers to render service with the greatest skill and foresight and "to use all reasonable means to ascertain the nature and characteristics of goods tendered for shipment, and to exercise due care in the handling and stowage, including such methods as their nature requires."48 In the case at bar, it was established that petitioner received the cargoes from the PSI warehouse in NAIA in good order and condition;49 and that upon delivery by petitioner to Hizon Laboratories Inc., some of the cargoes were found to be in bad order, as noted in the Delivery Receipt50 issued by petitioner, and as indicated in the Survey Report of Elite Surveyors51 and the Destruction Report of Hizon Laboratories, Inc.52 In an attempt to free itself from responsibility for the damage to the goods, petitioner posits that they were damaged due to the fault or negligence of the shipper for failing to properly pack them and to the inherent characteristics of the goods 53; and that it should not be faulted for following the instructions of Calicdan of Wyeth-Suaco to proceed with the delivery despite information conveyed to the latter that some of the cartons, on examination outside the PSI warehouse, were found to be wet.54 While paragraph No. 4 of Article 173455 of the Civil Code exempts a common carrier from liability if the loss or damage is due to the character of the goods or defects in the packing or in the containers, the rule is that if the improper packing is known to the carrier or his employees or is apparent upon ordinary observation, but he nevertheless accepts the same without protest or exception notwithstanding such condition, he is not relieved of liability for the resulting damage.56 If the claim of petitioner that some of the cartons were already damaged upon delivery to it were true, then it should naturally have received the cargo under protest or with reservations duly noted on the receipt issued by PSI. But it made no such protest or reservation.57 Moreover, as observed by the appellate court, if indeed petitioner’s employees only examined the cargoes outside the PSI warehouse and found some to be wet, they would certainly have gone back to PSI, showed to the warehouseman the damage, and demanded then and there for Bad Order documents or a certification confirming the
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damage.58 Or, petitioner would have presented, as witness, the employees of the PSI from whom Morales and Domingo took delivery of the cargo to prove that, indeed, part of the cargoes was already damaged when the container was allegedly opened outside the warehouse.59 Petitioner goes on to posit that contrary to the report of Elite Surveyors, no rain fell that day. Instead, it asserts that some of the cargoes were already wet on delivery by PSI outside the PSI warehouse but such notwithstanding Calicdan directed Morales to proceed with the delivery to Hizon Laboratories, Inc. While Calicdan testified that he received the purported telephone call of Morales on July 29, 1992, he failed to specifically declare what time he received the call. As to whether the call was made at the PSI warehouse when the shipment was stripped from the airport containers, or when the cargoes were already in transit to Antipolo, it is not determinable. Aside from that phone call, petitioner admitted that it had no documentary evidence to prove that at the time it received the cargoes, a part of it was wet, damaged or in bad condition.60 The 4-page weather data furnished by PAGASA61 on request of Sanchez Brokerage hardly impresses, no witness having identified it and interpreted the technical terms thereof. The possibility on the other hand that, as found by Hizon Laboratories, Inc., the oral contraceptives were damaged by rainwater while in transit to Antipolo City is more likely then. Sanchez himself testified that in the past, there was a similar instance when the shipment of Wyeth-Suaco was also found to be wet by rain. ATTY. FLORES: Q: Was there any instance that a shipment of this nature, oral contraceptives, that arrived at the NAIA were damaged and claimed by the Wyeth-Suaco without any question? WITNESS: A: Yes sir, there was an instance that one cartoon (sic) were wetted (sic) but Wyeth-Suaco did not claim anything against us. ATTY. FLORES: Q: HOW IS IT? WITNESS:

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A: We experienced, there was a time that we experienced that there was a cartoon (sic) wetted (sic) up to the bottom are wet specially during rainy season.62 Since petitioner received all the cargoes in good order and condition at the time they were turned over by the PSI warehouseman, and upon their delivery to Hizon Laboratories, Inc. a portion thereof was found to be in bad order, it was incumbent on petitioner to prove that it exercised extraordinary diligence in the carriage of the goods. It did not, however. Hence, its presumed negligence under Article 1735 of the Civil Code remains unrebutted. WHEREFORE, the August 10, 2000 Decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner. G.R. No. 147246 August 19, 2003

ASIA LIGHTERAGE AND SHIPPING, INC., petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and PRUDENTIAL GUARANTEE AND ASSURANCE, INC., respondents. PUNO, J.: On appeal is the Court of Appeals' May 11, 2000 Decision 1 in CA-G.R. CV No. 49195 and February 21, 2001 Resolution2 affirming with modification the April 6, 1994 Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila which found petitioner liable to pay private respondent the amount of indemnity and attorney's fees. First, the facts. On June 13, 1990, 3,150 metric tons of Better Western White Wheat in bulk, valued at US$423,192.354 was shipped by Marubeni American Corporation of Portland, Oregon on board the vessel M/V NEO CYMBIDIUM V-26 for delivery to the consignee, General Milling Corporation in Manila, evidenced by Bill of Lading No. PTD/Man-4.5 The shipment was insured by the private respondent Prudential Guarantee and Assurance, Inc. against loss or damage for P14,621,771.75 under Marine Cargo Risk Note RN 11859/90.6 On July 25, 1990, the carrying vessel arrived in Manila and the cargo was transferred to the custody of the petitioner Asia Lighterage and Shipping, Inc. The petitioner was contracted by the consignee as carrier to deliver the cargo to consignee's warehouse at Bo. Ugong, Pasig City.

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On August 15, 1990, 900 metric tons of the shipment was loaded on barge PSTSI III, evidenced by Lighterage Receipt No. 03647 for delivery to consignee. The cargo did not reach its destination. It appears that on August 17, 1990, the transport of said cargo was suspended due to a warning of an incoming typhoon. On August 22, 1990, the petitioner proceeded to pull the barge to Engineering Island off Baseco to seek shelter from the approaching typhoon. PSTSI III was tied down to other barges which arrived ahead of it while weathering out the storm that night. A few days after, the barge developed a list because of a hole it sustained after hitting an unseen protuberance underneath the water. The petitioner filed a Marine Protest on August 28, 1990. 8 It likewise secured the services of Gaspar Salvaging Corporation which refloated the barge. 9 The hole was then patched with clay and cement. The barge was then towed to ISLOFF terminal before it finally headed towards the consignee's wharf on September 5, 1990. Upon reaching the Sta. Mesa spillways, the barge again ran aground due to strong current. To avoid the complete sinking of the barge, a portion of the goods was transferred to three other barges. 10 The next day, September 6, 1990, the towing bits of the barge broke. It sank completely, resulting in the total loss of the remaining cargo. 11 A second Marine Protest was filed on September 7, 1990.12 On September 14, 1990, a bidding was conducted to dispose of the damaged wheat retrieved and loaded on the three other barges. 13 The total proceeds from the sale of the salvaged cargo was P201,379.75.14 On the same date, September 14, 1990, consignee sent a claim letter to the petitioner, and another letter dated September 18, 1990 to the private respondent for the value of the lost cargo. On January 30, 1991, the private respondent indemnified the consignee in the amount of P4,104,654.22.15 Thereafter, as subrogee, it sought recovery of said amount from the petitioner, but to no avail. On July 3, 1991, the private respondent filed a complaint against the petitioner for recovery of the amount of indemnity, attorney's fees and cost of suit.16 Petitioner filed its answer with counterclaim.17 The Regional Trial Court ruled in favor of the private respondent. The dispositive portion of its Decision states: WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered ordering defendant Asia Lighterage & Shipping, Inc. liable to pay plaintiff Prudential Guarantee & Assurance Co., Inc. the sum of P4,104,654.22 with interest from the date complaint was filed on July 3, 1991 until fully satisfied plus 10% of the
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amount awarded as and for attorney's fees. Defendant's counterclaim is hereby DISMISSED. With costs against defendant.18 Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals insisting that it is not a common carrier. The appellate court affirmed the decision of the trial court with modification. The dispositive portion of its decision reads: WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED with modification in the sense that the salvage value of P201,379.75 shall be deducted from the amount of P4,104,654.22. Costs against appellant. SO ORDERED. Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration dated June 3, 2000 was likewise denied by the appellate court in a Resolution promulgated on February 21, 2001. Hence, this petition. Petitioner submits the following errors allegedly committed by the appellate court, viz:19 (1) THE COURT OF APPEALS DECIDED THE CASE A QUO IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND/OR WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT WHEN IT HELD THAT PETITIONER IS A COMMON CARRIER. (2) THE COURT OF APPEALS DECIDED THE CASE A QUO IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND/OR WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT WHEN IT AFFIRMED THE FINDING OF THE LOWER COURT A QUO THAT ON THE BASIS OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE CIVIL CODE APPLICABLE TO COMMON CARRIERS, "THE LOSS OF THE CARGO IS, THEREFORE, BORNE BY THE CARRIER IN ALL CASES EXCEPT IN THE FIVE (5) CASES ENUMERATED." (3) THE COURT OF APPEALS DECIDED THE CASE A QUO IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND/OR WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT WHEN IT EFFECTIVELY CONCLUDED THAT PETITIONER FAILED TO EXERCISE DUE DILIGENCE AND/OR WAS NEGLIGENT IN ITS CARE AND CUSTODY OF THE CONSIGNEE'S CARGO. The issues to be resolved are: (1) Whether the petitioner is a common carrier; and, (2) Assuming the petitioner is a common carrier, whether it exercised extraordinary diligence in its care and custody of the consignee's cargo. On the first issue, we rule that petitioner is a common carrier.
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Article 1732 of the Civil Code defines common carriers as persons, corporations, firms or associations engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or both, by land, water, or air, for compensation, offering their services to the public. Petitioner contends that it is not a common carrier but a private carrier. Allegedly, it has no fixed and publicly known route, maintains no terminals, and issues no tickets. It points out that it is not obliged to carry indiscriminately for any person. It is not bound to carry goods unless it consents. In short, it does not hold out its services to the general public.20 We disagree. In De Guzman vs. Court of Appeals,21 we held that the definition of common carriers in Article 1732 of the Civil Code makes no distinction between one whose principal business activity is the carrying of persons or goods or both, and one who does such carrying only as an ancillary activity. We also did not distinguish between a person or enterprise offering transportation service on a regular or scheduled basis and one offering such service on an occasional, episodic or unscheduled basis. Further, we ruled that Article 1732 does not distinguish between a carrier offering its services to the general public, and one who offers services or solicits business only from a narrow segment of the general population. In the case at bar, the principal business of the petitioner is that of lighterage and drayage22 and it offers its barges to the public for carrying or transporting goods by water for compensation. Petitioner is clearly a common carrier. In De Guzman, supra,23 we considered private respondent Ernesto Cendaña to be a common carrier even if his principal occupation was not the carriage of goods for others, but that of buying used bottles and scrap metal in Pangasinan and selling these items in Manila. We therefore hold that petitioner is a common carrier whether its carrying of goods is done on an irregular rather than scheduled manner, and with an only limited clientele. A common carrier need not have fixed and publicly known routes. Neither does it have to maintain terminals or issue tickets. To be sure, petitioner fits the test of a common carrier as laid down in Bascos vs. Court of Appeals.24 The test to determine a common carrier is "whether the given undertaking is a part of the business engaged in by the carrier which he has held out to the general public as his occupation rather than the quantity or extent of the business transacted."25 In the case at bar, the petitioner admitted that it is engaged in the business of shipping and lighterage,26 offering its barges to the public, despite its limited clientele for carrying or transporting goods by water for compensation.27 On the second issue, we uphold the findings of the lower courts that petitioner failed to exercise extraordinary diligence in its care and custody of the consignee's goods.

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Common carriers are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods transported by them.28 They are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently if the goods are lost, destroyed or deteriorated. 29 To overcome the presumption of negligence in the case of loss, destruction or deterioration of the goods, the common carrier must prove that it exercised extraordinary diligence. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. Article 1734 of the Civil Code enumerates the instances when the presumption of negligence does not attach: Art. 1734. Common carriers are responsible for the loss, destruction, or deterioration of the goods, unless the same is due to any of the following causes only: (1) Flood, storm, earthquake, lightning, or other natural disaster or calamity; (2) Act of the public enemy in war, whether international or civil; (3) Act or omission of the shipper or owner of the goods; (4) The character of the goods or defects in the packing or in the containers; (5) Order or act of competent public authority. In the case at bar, the barge completely sank after its towing bits broke, resulting in the total loss of its cargo. Petitioner claims that this was caused by a typhoon, hence, it should not be held liable for the loss of the cargo. However, petitioner failed to prove that the typhoon is the proximate and only cause of the loss of the goods, and that it has exercised due diligence before, during and after the occurrence of the typhoon to prevent or minimize the loss.30 The evidence show that, even before the towing bits of the barge broke, it had already previously sustained damage when it hit a sunken object while docked at the Engineering Island. It even suffered a hole. Clearly, this could not be solely attributed to the typhoon. The partly-submerged vessel was refloated but its hole was patched with only clay and cement. The patch work was merely a provisional remedy, not enough for the barge to sail safely. Thus, when petitioner persisted to proceed with the voyage, it recklessly exposed the cargo to further damage. A portion of the cross-examination of Alfredo Cunanan, cargo-surveyor of Tan-Gatue Adjustment Co., Inc., states: CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ATTY. DONN LEE:31 xxx q xxx xxx

Can you tell us what else transpired after that incident?

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a After the first accident, through the initiative of the barge owners, they tried to pull out the barge from the place of the accident, and bring it to the anchor terminal for safety, then after deciding if the vessel is stabilized, they tried to pull it to the consignee's warehouse, now while on route another accident occurred, now this time the barge totally hitting something in the course. q - You said there was another accident, can you tell the court the nature of the second accident? a The sinking, sir.

q Can you tell the nature . . . can you tell the court, if you know what caused the sinking? a Mostly it was related to the first accident because there was already a whole (sic) on the bottom part of the barge. xxx xxx xxx

This is not all. Petitioner still headed to the consignee's wharf despite knowledge of an incoming typhoon. During the time that the barge was heading towards the consignee's wharf on September 5, 1990, typhoon "Loleng" has already entered the Philippine area of responsibility.32 A part of the testimony of Robert Boyd, Cargo Operations Supervisor of the petitioner, reveals: DIRECT-EXAMINATION BY ATTY. LEE:33 xxx xxx xxx

q Now, Mr. Witness, did it not occur to you it might be safer to just allow the Barge to lie where she was instead of towing it? a Since that time that the Barge was refloated, GMC (General Milling Corporation, the consignee) as I have said was in a hurry for their goods to be delivered at their Wharf since they needed badly the wheat that was loaded in PSTSI-3. It was needed badly by the consignee. q a And this is the reason why you towed the Barge as you did? Yes, sir. xxx xxx

xxx

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ATTY. IGNACIO:34 xxx xxx xxx
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q And then from ISLOFF Terminal you proceeded to the premises of the GMC? Am I correct? a - The next day, in the morning, we hired for additional two (2) tugboats as I have stated. q ago? Despite of the threats of an incoming typhoon as you testified a while

a It is already in an inner portion of Pasig River. The typhoon would be coming and it would be dangerous if we are in the vicinity of Manila Bay. q a But the fact is, the typhoon was incoming? Yes or no? Yes.

q And yet as a standard operating procedure of your Company, you have to secure a sort of Certification to determine the weather condition, am I correct? a q a q Yes, sir. So, more or less, you had the knowledge of the incoming typhoon, right? Yes, sir. And yet you proceeded to the premises of the GMC?

a ISLOFF Terminal is far from Manila Bay and anytime even with the typhoon if you are already inside the vicinity or inside Pasig entrance, it is a safe place to tow upstream. Accordingly, the petitioner cannot invoke the occurrence of the typhoon as force majeure to escape liability for the loss sustained by the private respondent. Surely, meeting a typhoon head-on falls short of due diligence required from a common carrier. More importantly, the officers/employees themselves of petitioner admitted that when the towing bits of the vessel broke that caused its sinking and the total loss of the cargo upon reaching the Pasig River, it was no longer affected by the typhoon. The typhoon then is not the proximate cause of the loss of the cargo; a human factor, i.e., negligence had intervened. IN VIEW THEREOF, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 49195 dated May 11, 2000 and its Resolution dated February 21, 2001 are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED.

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G.R. No. 148496

March 19, 2002

VIRGINES CALVO doing business under the name and style TRANSORIENT CONTAINER TERMINAL SERVICES, INC., petitioner, vs. UCPB GENERAL INSURANCE CO., INC. (formerly Allied Guarantee Ins. Co., Inc.) respondent. MENDOZA, J.: This is a petition for review of the decision,1 dated May 31, 2001, of the Court of Appeals, affirming the decision2 of the Regional Trial Court, Makati City, Branch 148, which ordered petitioner to pay respondent, as subrogee, the amount of P93,112.00 with legal interest, representing the value of damaged cargo handled by petitioner, 25% thereof as attorney's fees, and the cost of the suit.1âwphi1.nêt The facts are as follows: Petitioner Virgines Calvo is the owner of Transorient Container Terminal Services, Inc. (TCTSI), a sole proprietorship customs broker. At the time material to this case, petitioner entered into a contract with San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for the transfer of 114 reels of semi-chemical fluting paper and 124 reels of kraft liner board from the Port Area in Manila to SMC's warehouse at the Tabacalera Compound, Romualdez St., Ermita, Manila. The cargo was insured by respondent UCPB General Insurance Co., Inc. On July 14, 1990, the shipment in question, contained in 30 metal vans, arrived in Manila on board "M/V Hayakawa Maru" and, after 24 hours, were unloaded from the vessel to the custody of the arrastre operator, Manila Port Services, Inc. From July 23 to July 25, 1990, petitioner, pursuant to her contract with SMC, withdrew the cargo from the arrastre operator and delivered it to SMC's warehouse in Ermita, Manila. On July 25, 1990, the goods were inspected by Marine Cargo Surveyors, who found that 15 reels of the semi-chemical fluting paper were "wet/stained/torn" and 3 reels of kraft liner board were likewise torn. The damage was placed at P93,112.00. SMC collected payment from respondent UCPB under its insurance contract for the aforementioned amount. In turn, respondent, as subrogee of SMC, brought suit against petitioner in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 148, Makati City, which, on December 20, 1995, rendered judgment finding petitioner liable to respondent for the damage to the shipment. The trial court held: It cannot be denied . . . that the subject cargoes sustained damage while in the custody of defendants. Evidence such as the Warehouse Entry Slip (Exh. "E"); the Damage Report (Exh. "F") with entries appearing therein, classified as "TED"
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and "TSN", which the claims processor, Ms. Agrifina De Luna, claimed to be tearrage at the end and tearrage at the middle of the subject damaged cargoes respectively, coupled with the Marine Cargo Survey Report (Exh. "H" - "H-4-A") confirms the fact of the damaged condition of the subject cargoes. The surveyor[s'] report (Exh. "H-4-A") in particular, which provides among others that: " . . . we opine that damages sustained by shipment is attributable to improper handling in transit presumably whilst in the custody of the broker . . . ." is a finding which cannot be traversed and overturned. The evidence adduced by the defendants is not enough to sustain [her] defense that [she is] are not liable. Defendant by reason of the nature of [her] business should have devised ways and means in order to prevent the damage to the cargoes which it is under obligation to take custody of and to forthwith deliver to the consignee. Defendant did not present any evidence on what precaution [she] performed to prevent [the] said incident, hence the presumption is that the moment the defendant accepts the cargo [she] shall perform such extraordinary diligence because of the nature of the cargo. .... Generally speaking under Article 1735 of the Civil Code, if the goods are proved to have been lost, destroyed or deteriorated, common carriers are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they have observed the extraordinary diligence required by law. The burden of the plaintiff, therefore, is to prove merely that the goods he transported have been lost, destroyed or deteriorated. Thereafter, the burden is shifted to the carrier to prove that he has exercised the extraordinary diligence required by law. Thus, it has been held that the mere proof of delivery of goods in good order to a carrier, and of their arrival at the place of destination in bad order, makes out a prima facie case against the carrier, so that if no explanation is given as to how the injury occurred, the carrier must be held responsible. It is incumbent upon the carrier to prove that the loss was due to accident or some other circumstances inconsistent with its liability." (cited in Commercial Laws of the Philippines by Agbayani, p. 31, Vol. IV, 1989 Ed.) Defendant, being a customs brother, warehouseman and at the same time a common carrier is supposed [to] exercise [the] extraordinary diligence required by law, hence the extraordinary responsibility lasts from the time the goods are unconditionally placed in the possession of and received by the carrier for transportation until the same are delivered actually or constructively by the carrier to the consignee or to the person who has the right to receive the same.3 Accordingly, the trial court ordered petitioner to pay the following amounts -16

1. The sum of P93,112.00 plus interest; 2. 25% thereof as lawyer's fee; 3. Costs of suit.4 The decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals on appeal. Hence this petition for review on certiorari. Petitioner contends that: I. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS AND REVERSIBLE ERROR [IN] DECIDING THE CASE NOT ON THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED BUT ON PURE SURMISES, SPECULATIONS AND MANIFESTLY MISTAKEN INFERENCE. II. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS AND REVERSIBLE ERROR IN CLASSIFYING THE PETITIONER AS A COMMON CARRIER AND NOT AS PRIVATE OR SPECIAL CARRIER WHO DID NOT HOLD ITS SERVICES TO THE PUBLIC.5 It will be convenient to deal with these contentions in the inverse order, for if petitioner is not a common carrier, although both the trial court and the Court of Appeals held otherwise, then she is indeed not liable beyond what ordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods transported by her, would require.6 Consequently, any damage to the cargo she agrees to transport cannot be presumed to have been due to her fault or negligence. Petitioner contends that contrary to the findings of the trial court and the Court of Appeals, she is not a common carrier but a private carrier because, as a customs broker and warehouseman, she does not indiscriminately hold her services out to the public but only offers the same to select parties with whom she may contract in the conduct of her business. The contention has no merit. In De Guzman v. Court of Appeals,7 the Court dismissed a similar contention and held the party to be a common carrier, thus The Civil Code defines "common carriers" in the following terms: "Article 1732. Common carriers are persons, corporations, firms or associations engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or both, by land, water, or air for compensation, offering their services to the public." The above article makes no distinction between one whose principal business activity is the carrying of persons or goods or both, and one who does such carrying only as an ancillary activity . . . Article 1732 also carefully avoids making
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any distinction between a person or enterprise offering transportation service on a regular or scheduled basis and one offering such service on an occasional, episodic or unscheduled basis. Neither does Article 1732 distinguish between a carrier offering its services to the "general public," i.e., the general community or population, and one who offers services or solicits business only from a narrow segment of the general population. We think that Article 1732 deliberately refrained from making such distinctions. So understood, the concept of "common carrier" under Article 1732 may be seen to coincide neatly with the notion of "public service," under the Public Service Act (Commonwealth Act No. 1416, as amended) which at least partially supplements the law on common carriers set forth in the Civil Code. Under Section 13, paragraph (b) of the Public Service Act, "public service" includes: " x x x every person that now or hereafter may own, operate, manage, or control in the Philippines, for hire or compensation, with general or limited clientele, whether permanent, occasional or accidental, and done for general business purposes, any common carrier, railroad, street railway, traction railway, subway motor vehicle, either for freight or passenger, or both, with or without fixed route and whatever may be its classification, freight or carrier service of any class, express service, steamboat, or steamship line, pontines, ferries and water craft, engaged in the transportation of passengers or freight or both, shipyard, marine repair shop, wharf or dock, ice plant, ice-refrigeration plant, canal, irrigation system, gas, electric light, heat and power, water supply and power petroleum, sewerage system, wire or wireless communications systems, wire or wireless broadcasting stations and other similar public services. x x x" 8 There is greater reason for holding petitioner to be a common carrier because the transportation of goods is an integral part of her business. To uphold petitioner's contention would be to deprive those with whom she contracts the protection which the law affords them notwithstanding the fact that the obligation to carry goods for her customers, as already noted, is part and parcel of petitioner's business. Now, as to petitioner's liability, Art. 1733 of the Civil Code provides: Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for reasons of public policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods and for the safety of the passengers transported by them, according to all the circumstances of each case. . . . In Compania Maritima v. Court of Appeals,9 the meaning of "extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over goods" was explained thus:

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The extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods tendered for shipment requires the common carrier to know and to follow the required precaution for avoiding damage to, or destruction of the goods entrusted to it for sale, carriage and delivery. It requires common carriers to render service with the greatest skill and foresight and "to use all reasonable means to ascertain the nature and characteristic of goods tendered for shipment, and to exercise due care in the handling and stowage, including such methods as their nature requires." In the case at bar, petitioner denies liability for the damage to the cargo. She claims that the "spoilage or wettage" took place while the goods were in the custody of either the carrying vessel "M/V Hayakawa Maru," which transported the cargo to Manila, or the arrastre operator, to whom the goods were unloaded and who allegedly kept them in open air for nine days from July 14 to July 23, 1998 notwithstanding the fact that some of the containers were deformed, cracked, or otherwise damaged, as noted in the Marine Survey Report (Exh. H), to wit: MAXU-2062880 ICSU-363461-3 PERU-204209-4 TOLU-213674-3 MAXU-201406-0 ICSU-412105-0 loosened.10 rain gutter deformed/cracked left side rubber gasket on door distorted/partly loose with pinholes on roof panel right portion wood flooring we[t] and/or with signs of water soaked with dent/crack on roof panel rubber gasket on left side/door panel partly detached

In addition, petitioner claims that Marine Cargo Surveyor Ernesto Tolentino testified that he has no personal knowledge on whether the container vans were first stored in petitioner's warehouse prior to their delivery to the consignee. She likewise claims that after withdrawing the container vans from the arrastre operator, her driver, Ricardo Nazarro, immediately delivered the cargo to SMC's warehouse in Ermita, Manila, which is a mere thirty-minute drive from the Port Area where the cargo came from. Thus, the damage to the cargo could not have taken place while these were in her custody.11 Contrary to petitioner's assertion, the Survey Report (Exh. H) of the Marine Cargo Surveyors indicates that when the shipper transferred the cargo in question to the arrastre operator, these were covered by clean Equipment Interchange Report (EIR) and, when petitioner's employees withdrew the cargo from the arrastre operator, they did so without exception or protest either with regard to the condition of container vans or their contents. The Survey Report pertinently reads -Details of Discharge:

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Shipment, provided with our protective supervision was noted discharged ex vessel to dock of Pier #13 South Harbor, Manila on 14 July 1990, containerized onto 30' x 20' secure metal vans, covered by clean EIRs. Except for slight dents and paint scratches on side and roof panels, these containers were deemed to have [been] received in good condition. .... Transfer/Delivery: On July 23, 1990, shipment housed onto 30' x 20' cargo containers was [withdrawn] by Transorient Container Services, Inc. . . . without exception. [The cargo] was finally delivered to the consignee's storage warehouse located at Tabacalera Compound, Romualdez Street, Ermita, Manila from July 23/25, 1990.12 As found by the Court of Appeals: From the [Survey Report], it [is] clear that the shipment was discharged from the vessel to the arrastre, Marina Port Services Inc., in good order and condition as evidenced by clean Equipment Interchange Reports (EIRs). Had there been any damage to the shipment, there would have been a report to that effect made by the arrastre operator. The cargoes were withdrawn by the defendant-appellant from the arrastre still in good order and condition as the same were received by the former without exception, that is, without any report of damage or loss. Surely, if the container vans were deformed, cracked, distorted or dented, the defendant-appellant would report it immediately to the consignee or make an exception on the delivery receipt or note the same in the Warehouse Entry Slip (WES). None of these took place. To put it simply, the defendant-appellant received the shipment in good order and condition and delivered the same to the consignee damaged. We can only conclude that the damages to the cargo occurred while it was in the possession of the defendant-appellant. Whenever the thing is lost (or damaged) in the possession of the debtor (or obligor), it shall be presumed that the loss (or damage) was due to his fault, unless there is proof to the contrary. No proof was proffered to rebut this legal presumption and the presumption of negligence attached to a common carrier in case of loss or damage to the goods.13 Anent petitioner's insistence that the cargo could not have been damaged while in her custody as she immediately delivered the containers to SMC's compound, suffice it to say that to prove the exercise of extraordinary diligence, petitioner must do more than merely show the possibility that some other party could be responsible for the damage. It must prove that it used "all reasonable means to ascertain the nature and characteristic of goods tendered for [transport] and that [it] exercise[d] due care in the handling [thereof]." Petitioner failed to do this.
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Nor is there basis to exempt petitioner from liability under Art. 1734(4), which provides -Common carriers are responsible for the loss, destruction, or deterioration of the goods, unless the same is due to any of the following causes only: .... (4) The character of the goods or defects in the packing or in the containers. .... For this provision to apply, the rule is that if the improper packing or, in this case, the defect/s in the container, is/are known to the carrier or his employees or apparent upon ordinary observation, but he nevertheless accepts the same without protest or exception notwithstanding such condition, he is not relieved of liability for damage resulting therefrom.14 In this case, petitioner accepted the cargo without exception despite the apparent defects in some of the container vans. Hence, for failure of petitioner to prove that she exercised extraordinary diligence in the carriage of goods in this case or that she is exempt from liability, the presumption of negligence as provided under Art. 173515 holds. WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals, dated May 31, 2001, is AFFIRMED.1âwphi1.nêt SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 141910 August 6, 2002

FGU INSURANCE CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. G.P. SARMIENTO TRUCKING CORPORATION and LAMBERT M. EROLES, respondents. VITUG, J.: G.P. Sarmiento Trucking Corporation (GPS) undertook to deliver on 18 June 1994 thirty (30) units of Condura S.D. white refrigerators aboard one of its Isuzu truck, driven by Lambert Eroles, from the plant site of Concepcion Industries, Inc., along South Superhighway in Alabang, Metro Manila, to the Central Luzon Appliances in Dagupan City. While the truck was traversing the north diversion road along McArthur highway in Barangay Anupol, Bamban, Tarlac, it collided with an unidentified truck, causing it to fall into a deep canal, resulting in damage to the cargoes. FGU Insurance Corporation (FGU), an insurer of the shipment, paid to Concepcion Industries, Inc., the value of the covered cargoes in the sum of P204,450.00. FGU, in turn, being the subrogee of the rights and interests of Concepcion Industries, Inc.,
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sought reimbursement of the amount it had paid to the latter from GPS. Since the trucking company failed to heed the claim, FGU filed a complaint for damages and breach of contract of carriage against GPS and its driver Lambert Eroles with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, of Makati City. In its answer, respondents asserted that GPS was the exclusive hauler only of Concepcion Industries, Inc., since 1988, and it was not so engaged in business as a common carrier. Respondents further claimed that the cause of damage was purely accidental.1âwphi1.nêt The issues having thus been joined, FGU presented its evidence, establishing the extent of damage to the cargoes and the amount it had paid to the assured. GPS, instead of submitting its evidence, filed with leave of court a motion to dismiss the complaint by way of demurrer to evidence on the ground that petitioner had failed to prove that it was a common carrier. The trial court, in its order of 30 April 1996,1 granted the motion to dismiss, explaining thusly: "Under Section 1 of Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, it is provided that ‘Each party must prove his own affirmative allegation, xxx.’ "In the instant case, plaintiff did not present any single evidence that would prove that defendant is a common carrier. "x x x xxx xxx

"Accordingly, the application of the law on common carriers is not warranted and the presumption of fault or negligence on the part of a common carrier in case of loss, damage or deterioration of goods during transport under 1735 of the Civil Code is not availing. "Thus, the laws governing the contract between the owner of the cargo to whom the plaintiff was subrogated and the owner of the vehicle which transports the cargo are the laws on obligation and contract of the Civil Code as well as the law on quasi delicts. "Under the law on obligation and contract, negligence or fault is not presumed. The law on quasi delict provides for some presumption of negligence but only upon the attendance of some circumstances. Thus, Article 2185 provides: ‘Art. 2185. Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person driving a motor vehicle has been negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was violating any traffic regulation.’ "Evidence for the plaintiff shows no proof that defendant was violating any traffic regulation. Hence, the presumption of negligence is not obtaining.

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"Considering that plaintiff failed to adduce evidence that defendant is a common carrier and defendant’s driver was the one negligent, defendant cannot be made liable for the damages of the subject cargoes."2 The subsequent motion for reconsideration having been denied, 3 plaintiff interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals, contending that the trial court had erred (a) in holding that the appellee corporation was not a common carrier defined under the law and existing jurisprudence; and (b) in dismissing the complaint on a demurrer to evidence. The Court of Appeals rejected the appeal of petitioner and ruled in favor of GPS. The appellate court, in its decision of 10 June 1999,4 discoursed, among other things, that "x x x in order for the presumption of negligence provided for under the law governing common carrier (Article 1735, Civil Code) to arise, the appellant must first prove that the appellee is a common carrier. Should the appellant fail to prove that the appellee is a common carrier, the presumption would not arise; consequently, the appellant would have to prove that the carrier was negligent. "x x x xxx xxx

"Because it is the appellant who insists that the appellees can still be considered as a common carrier, despite its `limited clientele,’ (assuming it was really a common carrier), it follows that it (appellant) has the burden of proving the same. It (plaintiff-appellant) `must establish his case by a preponderance of evidence, which means that the evidence as a whole adduced by one side is superior to that of the other.’ (Summa Insurance Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 243 SCRA 175). This, unfortunately, the appellant failed to do -- hence, the dismissal of the plaintiff’s complaint by the trial court is justified. "x x x xxx xxx

"Based on the foregoing disquisitions and considering the circumstances that the appellee trucking corporation has been `its exclusive contractor, hauler since 1970, defendant has no choice but to comply with the directive of its principal,’ the inevitable conclusion is that the appellee is a private carrier. "x x x xxx xxx

"x x x the lower court correctly ruled that 'the application of the law on common carriers is not warranted and the presumption of fault or negligence on the part of a common carrier in case of loss, damage or deterioration of good[s] during transport under [article] 1735 of the Civil Code is not availing.' x x x. "Finally, We advert to the long established rule that conclusions and findings of fact of a trial court are entitled to great weight on appeal and should not be disturbed unless for strong and valid reasons."5
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Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was likewise denied; 6 hence, the instant petition,7 raising the following issues: I WHETHER RESPONDENT GPS MAY BE CONSIDERED AS A COMMON CARRIER AS DEFINED UNDER THE LAW AND EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE. II WHETHER RESPONDENT GPS, EITHER AS A COMMON CARRIER OR A PRIVATE CARRIER, MAY BE PRESUMED TO HAVE BEEN NEGLIGENT WHEN THE GOODS IT UNDERTOOK TO TRANSPORT SAFELY WERE SUBSEQUENTLY DAMAGED WHILE IN ITS PROTECTIVE CUSTODY AND POSSESSION. III WHETHER THE DOCTRINE OF RES IPSA LOQUITUR IS APPLICABLE IN THE INSTANT CASE. On the first issue, the Court finds the conclusion of the trial court and the Court of Appeals to be amply justified. GPS, being an exclusive contractor and hauler of Concepcion Industries, Inc., rendering or offering its services to no other individual or entity, cannot be considered a common carrier. Common carriers are persons, corporations, firms or associations engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or both, by land, water, or air, for hire or compensation, offering their services to the public,8 whether to the public in general or to a limited clientele in particular, but never on an exclusive basis.9 The true test of a common carrier is the carriage of passengers or goods, providing space for those who opt to avail themselves of its transportation service for a fee.10 Given accepted standards, GPS scarcely falls within the term "common carrier." The above conclusion nothwithstanding, GPS cannot escape from liability. In culpa contractual, upon which the action of petitioner rests as being the subrogee of Concepcion Industries, Inc., the mere proof of the existence of the contract and the failure of its compliance justify, prima facie, a corresponding right of relief.11 The law, recognizing the obligatory force of contracts,12 will not permit a party to be set free from liability for any kind of misperformance of the contractual undertaking or a contravention of the tenor thereof.13 A breach upon the contract confers upon the injured party a valid cause for recovering that which may have been lost or suffered. The remedy serves to preserve the interests of the promisee that may include his "expectation interest," which is his interest in having the benefit of his bargain by being put in as good a position as he would have been in had the contract been performed, or his "reliance interest," which is his interest in being reimbursed for loss caused by reliance on the contract by being
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put in as good a position as he would have been in had the contract not been made; or his "restitution interest," which is his interest in having restored to him any benefit that he has conferred on the other party.14 Indeed, agreements can accomplish little, either for their makers or for society, unless they are made the basis for action. 15 The effect of every infraction is to create a new duty, that is, to make recompense to the one who has been injured by the failure of another to observe his contractual obligation 16 unless he can show extenuating circumstances, like proof of his exercise of due diligence (normally that of the diligence of a good father of a family or, exceptionally by stipulation or by law such as in the case of common carriers, that of extraordinary diligence) or of the attendance of fortuitous event, to excuse him from his ensuing liability. Respondent trucking corporation recognizes the existence of a contract of carriage between it and petitioner’s assured, and admits that the cargoes it has assumed to deliver have been lost or damaged while in its custody. In such a situation, a default on, or failure of compliance with, the obligation – in this case, the delivery of the goods in its custody to the place of destination - gives rise to a presumption of lack of care and corresponding liability on the part of the contractual obligor the burden being on him to establish otherwise. GPS has failed to do so. Respondent driver, on the other hand, without concrete proof of his negligence or fault, may not himself be ordered to pay petitioner. The driver, not being a party to the contract of carriage between petitioner’s principal and defendant, may not be held liable under the agreement. A contract can only bind the parties who have entered into it or their successors who have assumed their personality or their juridical position. 17 Consonantly with the axiom res inter alios acta aliis neque nocet prodest, such contract can neither favor nor prejudice a third person. Petitioner’s civil action against the driver can only be based on culpa aquiliana, which, unlike culpa contractual, would require the claimant for damages to prove negligence or fault on the part of the defendant. 18 A word in passing. Res ipsa loquitur, a doctrine being invoked by petitioner, holds a defendant liable where the thing which caused the injury complained of is shown to be under the latter’s management and the accident is such that, in the ordinary course of things, cannot be expected to happen if those who have its management or control use proper care. It affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation by the defendant, that the accident arose from want of care. 19 It is not a rule of substantive law and, as such, it does not create an independent ground of liability. Instead, it is regarded as a mode of proof, or a mere procedural convenience since it furnishes a substitute for, and relieves the plaintiff of, the burden of producing specific proof of negligence. The maxim simply places on the defendant the burden of going forward with the proof.20 Resort to the doctrine, however, may be allowed only when (a) the event is of a kind which does not ordinarily occur in the absence of negligence; (b) other responsible causes, including the conduct of the plaintiff and third persons, are sufficiently eliminated by the evidence; and (c) the indicated negligence is within the scope of the defendant's duty to the plaintiff.21 Thus, it is not applicable when an unexplained accident may be attributable to one of several causes, for some of which the defendant could not be responsible.22
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Res ipsa loquitur generally finds relevance whether or not a contractual relationship exists between the plaintiff and the defendant, for the inference of negligence arises from the circumstances and nature of the occurrence and not from the nature of the relation of the parties.23 Nevertheless, the requirement that responsible causes other than those due to defendant’s conduct must first be eliminated, for the doctrine to apply, should be understood as being confined only to cases of pure (non-contractual) tort since obviously the presumption of negligence in culpa contractual, as previously so pointed out, immediately attaches by a failure of the covenant or its tenor. In the case of the truck driver, whose liability in a civil action is predicated on culpa acquiliana, while he admittedly can be said to have been in control and management of the vehicle which figured in the accident, it is not equally shown, however, that the accident could have been exclusively due to his negligence, a matter that can allow, forthwith, res ipsa loquitur to work against him. If a demurrer to evidence is granted but on appeal the order of dismissal is reversed, the movant shall be deemed to have waived the right to present evidence. 24 Thus, respondent corporation may no longer offer proof to establish that it has exercised due care in transporting the cargoes of the assured so as to still warrant a remand of the case to the trial court.1âwphi1.nêt WHEREFORE, the order, dated 30 April 1996, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, of Makati City, and the decision, dated 10 June 1999, of the Court of Appeals, are AFFIRMED only insofar as respondent Lambert M. Eroles is concerned, but said assailed order of the trial court and decision of the appellate court are REVERSED as regards G.P. Sarmiento Trucking Corporation which, instead, is hereby ordered to pay FGU Insurance Corporation the value of the damaged and lost cargoes in the amount of P204,450.00. No costs. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. L-25599 April 4, 1968

HOME INSURANCE COMPANY, plaintiff-appellee, vs. AMERICAN STEAMSHIP AGENCIES, INC. and LUZON STEVEDORING CORPORATION, defendants, AMERICAN STEAMSHIP AGENCIES, INC., defendant-appellant. William H. Quasha and Associates for plaintiff-appellee. Ross, Selph, Salcedo and Associates for defendant-appellant. BENGZON, J.P., J.: "Consorcio Pesquero del Peru of South America" shipped freight pre-paid at Chimbate, Peru, 21,740 jute bags of Peruvian fish meal through SS Crowborough, covered by clean bills of lading Numbers 1 and 2, both dated January 17, 1963. The cargo,
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consigned to San Miguel Brewery, Inc., now San Miguel Corporation, and insured by Home Insurance Company for $202,505, arrived in Manila on March 7, 1963 and was discharged into the lighters of Luzon Stevedoring Company. When the cargo was delivered to consignee San Miguel Brewery Inc., there were shortages amounting to P12,033.85, causing the latter to lay claims against Luzon Stevedoring Corporation, Home Insurance Company and the American Steamship Agencies, owner and operator of SS Crowborough. Because the others denied liability, Home Insurance Company paid the consignee P14,870.71 — the insurance value of the loss, as full settlement of the claim. Having been refused reimbursement by both the Luzon Stevedoring Corporation and American Steamship Agencies, Home Insurance Company, as subrogee to the consignee, filed against them on March 6, 1964 before the Court of First Instance of Manila a complaint for recovery of P14,870.71 with legal interest, plus attorney's fees. In answer, Luzon Stevedoring Corporation alleged that it delivered with due diligence the goods in the same quantity and quality that it had received the same from the carrier. It also claimed that plaintiff's claim had prescribed under Article 366 of the Code of Commerce stating that the claim must be made within 24 hours from receipt of the cargo. American Steamship Agencies denied liability by alleging that under the provisions of the Charter party referred to in the bills of lading, the charterer, not the shipowner, was responsible for any loss or damage of the cargo. Furthermore, it claimed to have exercised due diligence in stowing the goods and that as a mere forwarding agent, it was not responsible for losses or damages to the cargo. On November 17, 1965, the Court of First Instance, after trial, absolved Luzon Stevedoring Corporation, having found the latter to have merely delivered what it received from the carrier in the same condition and quality, and ordered American Steamship Agencies to pay plaintiff P14,870.71 with legal interest plus P1,000 attorney's fees. Said court cited the following grounds: (a) The non-liability claim of American Steamship Agencies under the charter party contract is not tenable because Article 587 of the Code of Commerce makes the ship agent also civilly liable for damages in favor of third persons due to the conduct of the captain of the carrier; (b) The stipulation in the charter party contract exempting the owner from liability is against public policy under Article 1744 of the Civil Code; (c) In case of loss, destruction or deterioration of goods, common carriers are presumed at fault or negligent under Article 1735 of the Civil Code unless they prove extraordinary diligence, and they cannot by contract exempt themselves from liability resulting from their negligence or that of their servants; and

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(d) When goods are delivered to the carrier in good order and the same are in bad order at the place of destination, the carrier is prima facie liable. Disagreeing with such judgment, American Steamship Agencies appealed directly to Us. The appeal brings forth for determination this legal issue: Is the stipulation in the charter party of the owner's non-liability valid so as to absolve the American Steamship Agencies from liability for loss? The bills of lading,1 covering the shipment of Peruvian fish meal provide at the back thereof that the bills of lading shall be governed by and subject to the terms and conditions of the charter party, if any, otherwise, the bills of lading prevail over all the agreements.2 On the of the bills are stamped "Freight prepaid as per charter party. Subject to all terms, conditions and exceptions of charter party dated London, Dec. 13, 1962." A perusal of the charter party3 referred to shows that while the possession and control of the ship were not entirely transferred to the charterer, 4 the vessel was chartered to its full and complete capacity (Exh. 3). Furthermore, the, charter had the option to go north or south or vice-versa,5 loading, stowing and discharging at its risk and expense. 6 Accordingly, the charter party contract is one of affreightment over the whole vessel rather than a demise. As such, the liability of the shipowner for acts or negligence of its captain and crew, would remain in the absence of stipulation. Section 2, paragraph 2 of the charter party, provides that the owner is liable for loss or damage to the goods caused by personal want of due diligence on its part or its manager to make the vessel in all respects seaworthy and to secure that she be properly manned, equipped and supplied or by the personal act or default of the owner or its manager. Said paragraph, however, exempts the owner of the vessel from any loss or damage or delay arising from any other source, even from the neglect or fault of the captain or crew or some other person employed by the owner on board, for whose acts the owner would ordinarily be liable except for said paragraph.. Regarding the stipulation, the Court of First Instance declared the contract as contrary to Article 587 of the Code of Commerce making the ship agent civilly liable for indemnities suffered by third persons arising from acts or omissions of the captain in the care of the goods and Article 1744 of the Civil Code under which a stipulation between the common carrier and the shipper or owner limiting the liability of the former for loss or destruction of the goods to a degree less than extraordinary diligence is valid provided it be reasonable, just and not contrary to public policy. The release from liability in this case was held unreasonable and contrary to the public policy on common carriers. The provisions of our Civil Code on common carriers were taken from Anglo-American law.7 Under American jurisprudence, a common carrier undertaking to carry a special cargo or chartered to a special person only, becomes a private carrier. 8 As a private carrier, a stipulation exempting the owner from liability for the negligence of its agent is not against public policy,9 and is deemed valid.
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Such doctrine We find reasonable. The Civil Code provisions on common carriers should not be applied where the carrier is not acting as such but as a private carrier. The stipulation in the charter party absolving the owner from liability for loss due to the negligence of its agent would be void only if the strict public policy governing common carriers is applied. Such policy has no force where the public at large is not involved, as in the case of a ship totally chartered for the use of a single party. And furthermore, in a charter of the entire vessel, the bill of lading issued by the master to the charterer, as shipper, is in fact and legal contemplation merely a receipt and a document of title not a contract, for the contract is the charter party.10 The consignee may not claim ignorance of said charter party because the bills of lading expressly referred to the same. Accordingly, the consignees under the bills of lading must likewise abide by the terms of the charter party. And as stated, recovery cannot be had thereunder, for loss or damage to the cargo, against the shipowners, unless the same is due to personal acts or negligence of said owner or its manager, as distinguished from its other agents or employees. In this case, no such personal act or negligence has been proved. WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby reversed and appellant is absolved from liability to plaintiff. No costs. So ordered. G.R. No. L-3678 February 29, 1952

JOSE MENDOZA, plaintiff-appellant, vs. PHILIPPINE AIR LINES, INC., defendant-appellee. Manuel O. Chan, Reyes and Dy-Liaco for appellant. Daniel Me. Gomez and Emigdio Tanjuatco for appellee. MONTEMAYOR, J.: The present appeal by plaintiff Jose Mendoza from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur, has come directly to this Tribunal for the reason that both parties, appellant and appellee, accepted the findings of fact made by the trial court and here raise only questions of law. On our part, we must also accept said findings of fact of the lower court. In the year 1948, appellant Jose Mendoza was the owner of the Cita Theater located in the City of Naga, Camarines Sur, where he used to exhibit movie pictures booked from movie producers or film owners in Manila. The fiesta or town holiday of the City of Naga, held on September 17 and 18, yearly, was usually attended by a great many people, mostly from the Bicol region, especially since the Patron Saint Virgin of Peña Francia was believed by many to be miraculous. As a good businessman, appellant, taking advantage of these circumstances, decided to exhibit a film which would fit the occasion and have a special attraction and significance to the people attending said fiesta. A
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month before the holiday, that is to say, August 1948, he contracted with the LVN pictures, Inc., a movie producer in Manila for him to show during the town fiesta the Tagalog film entitled "Himala ng Birhen" or Miracle of the Virgin. He made extensive preparations; he had two thousand posters printed and later distributed not only in the City of Naga but also in the neighboring towns. He also advertised in a weekly of general circulation in the province. The posters and advertisement stated that the film would be shown in the Cita theater on the 17th and 18th of September, corresponding to the eve and day of the fiesta itself. In pursuance of the agreement between the LVN Pictures Inc. and Mendoza, the former on September 17th, 1948, delivered to the defendant Philippine Airlines (PAL) whose planes carried passengers and cargo and made regular trips from Manila to the Pili Air Port near Naga, Camarines Sur, a can containing the film "Himala ng Birhen" consigned to the Cita Theater. For this shipment the defendant issued its Air Way Bill No. 317133 marked Exhibit "1". This can of films was loaded on flight 113 of the defendant, the plane arriving at the Air Port at Pili a little after four o'clock in the afternoon of the same day, September 17th. For reasons not explained by the defendant, but which would appear to be the fault of its employees or agents, this can of film was not unloaded at Pili Air Port and it was brought ba to Manila. Mendoza who had completed all arrangements for the exhibition of the film beginning in the evening of September 17th, to exploit the presence of the big crowd that came to attend the town fiesta, went to the Air Port and inquired from the defendant's station master there about the can of film. Said station master could not explain why the film was not unloaded and sent several radiograms to his principal in Manila making inquiries and asking that the film be sent to Naga immediately. After investigation and search in the Manila office, the film was finally located the following day, September 18th, and then shipped to the Pili Air Port on September 20th. Mendoza received it and exhibited the film but he had missed his opportunity to realize a large profit as he expected for the people after the fiesta had already left for their towns. To recoup his losses, Mendoza brought this action against the PAL. After trial, the lower court found that because of his failure to exhibit the film "Himala ng Birhen" during the town fiesta, Mendoza suffered damages or rather failed to earn profits in the amount of P3,000.00, but finding the PAL not liable for said damages, dismissed the complaint. To avoid liability, defendant-appellee, called the attention of the trial court to the terms and conditions of paragraph 6 of the Way Bill printed on the back thereof which paragraph reads as follows: 6. The Carrier does not obligate itself to carry the Goods by any specified aircraft or on a specified time. Said Carrier being hereby authorized to deviate from the route of the shipment without any liability therefor. It claimed that since there was no obligation on its part to carry the film in question on any specified time, it could not be held accountable for the delay of about three days. The trial court, however, found and held that although the defendant was not obligated to load the film on any specified plane or on any particular day, once said can film was
30

loaded and shipped on one of its planes making trip to Camarines, then it assumed the obligation to unload it at its point of destination and deliver it to the consignee, and its unexplained failure to comply with this duty constituted negligence. If however found that fraud was not involved and that the defendant was a debtor in good faith. The trial court presided over by Judge Jose N. Leuterio in a well-considered decision citing authorities, particularly the case of Daywalt vs. Corporacion de PP. Agustinos Recoletos, 39 Phil. 587, held that not because plaintiff failed to realize profits in the sum of P3,000.00 due to the negligence of the defendant, should the latter be made to reimburse him said sum. Applying provisions of Art. 1107 of the Civil Code which provides that losses and those foreseen, or which might have been foreseen, at the time of constituting the obligation, and which are a necessary consequence of the failure to perform it, the trial court held that inasmuch as these damages suffered by Mendoza were not foreseen or could not have been foreseen at the time that the defendant accepted the can of film for shipment, for the reason that neither the shipper LVN Pictures Inc. nor the consignee Mendoza had called its attention to the special circumstances attending the shipment and the showing of the film during the town fiesta of Naga, plaintiff may not recover the damages sought. Counsel for appellant insists that the articles of the Code of Commerce rather than those of the Civil Code should have been applied in deciding this case for the reason that the shipment of the can of film is an act of commerce; that the contract of transportation in this case should be considered commercial under Art. 349 of the Code of Commerce because it only involves merchandise or an object of commerce but also the transportation company, the defendant herein, was a common carrier, that is to say, customarily engaged in transportation for the public, and that although the contract of transportation was not by land or waterways as defined in said Art. 349, nevertheless, air transportation being analogous to land and water transportation, should be considered as included, especially in view of the second paragraph of Art. 2 of the same Code which says that transactions covered by the Code of Commerce and all others of analogous character shall be deemed acts of commerce. The trial court, however, disagreed to this contention and opined that air transportation not being expressly covered by the Code of Commerce, cannot be governed by its provisions. We believe that whether or not transportation by air should be regarded as a commercial contract under Art. 349, would be immaterial in the present case, as will be explained later. Without making a definite ruling on the civil or commercial nature of transportation by air, it being unnecessary, we are inclined to believe and to hold that a contract of transportation by air may be regarded as commercial. The reason is that at least in the present case the transportation company (PAL) is a common carrier; besides, air transportation is clearly similar or analogous to land and water transportation. The obvious reason for its non-inclusion in the Code of Commerce was that at the time of its promulgation, transportation by air on a commercial basis was not yet known. In the United Sates where air transportation has reached its highest development, an airline company engaged in the transportation business is regarded as a common carrier.
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The principles which govern carriers by other means, such as by railroad or motor bus, govern carriers by aircraft. 6 Am. Jur., Aviation, Sec. 56, p. 33. When Aircraft Operator is Common Carrier. — That aircraft and the industry of carriage by aircraft are new is no reason why one in fact employing aircraft as common-carrier vehicles should not be classified as a common carrier and charged with liability as such. There can be no doubt, under the general law of common carriers, that those air lines and aircraft owners engaged in the passenger service on regular schedules on definite routes, who solicit the patronage of the traveling public, advertise schedules for routes, time of leaving, and rates of fare, and make the usual stipulation as to baggage, are common carriers by air. A flying service company which, according to its printed advertising, will take anyone anywhere at any time, though not operating on regular routes or schedules, and basing its charges not on the number of passengers, but on the operating cost of the plane per mile, has been held to be a common carrier. It is not necessary, in order to make one carrying passengers by aircraft a common carrier of passengers that the passengers can be carried from one point to another; the status and the liability as a common carrier may exist notwithstanding the passenger's ticket issued by an airplane carrier of passengers for hire contains a statement that it is not a common carrier, etc., or a stipulation that it is to be held only for its proven negligence. But an airplane owner cannot be classed as a common carrier of passengers unless he undertakes, for hire, to carry all persons who apply for passage indiscriminately as long as there is room and no legal excuse for refusing. . . . 6 Am. Jur., Aviation, Sec. 58, pp. 34-35. The rules governing the business of a common carrier by airship or flying machine may be readily assimilated to those applied to other common carriers. 2 C.J.S., 1951, Cumulative Pocket Part, Aerial Navigation, Sec. 38, p. 99. The test of whether one is a common carrier by air is whether he holds out that he will carry for hire, so long as he has room, goods for everyone bringing goods to him for carriage, not whether he is carrying as a public employment or whether he carries to a fixed place. (Ibid., Sec. 39, p. 99.) Appellant contends that Art. 358 of the Code of Commerce should govern the award of the damages in his favor. Said article provides that if there is no period fixed for the delivery of the goods, the carrier shall be bound to forward them in the first shipment of the same or similar merchandise which he may make to the point of delivery, and that upon failure to do so, the damages caused by the delay should be suffered by the carrier. This is a general provision for ordinary damages and is no different from the provisions of the Civil Code, particularly Art. 1101 thereof, providing for the payment of damages caused by the negligence or delay in the fulfillment of one's obligation. Even applying the provisions of the Code of Commerce, as already stated, the pertinent provisions regarding damages only treats of ordinary damages or damages in general, not special damages like those suffered by the plaintiff herein. Article 2 of the Code of
32

Commerce provides that commercial transactions are to be governed by the provisions of the Code of Commerce, but in the absence of applicable provisions, they will be governed by the usages of commerce generally observed in each place; and in default of both, by those of the Civil Law. So that assuming that the present case involved a commercial transaction, still inasmuch as the special damages herein claimed finds no applicable provision in the Code of Commerce, neither has it been shown that there are any commercial usages applicable thereto, then in the last analysis, the rules of the civil law would have to come into play. Under Art. 1107 of the Civil Code, a debtor in good faith like the defendant herein, may be held liable only for damages that were foreseen or might have been foreseen at the time the contract of the transportation was entered into. The trial court correctly found that the defendant company could not have foreseen the damages that would be suffered by Mendoza upon failure to deliver the can of film on the 17th of September, 1948 for the reason that the plans of Mendoza to exhibit that film during the town fiesta and his preparations, specially the announcement of said exhibition by posters and advertisement in the newspaper, were not called to the defendant's attention. In our research for authorities we have found a case very similar to the one under consideration. In the case of Chapman vs. Fargo, L.R.A. (1918 F) p. 1049, the plaintiff in Troy, New York, delivered picture films to the defendant Fargo, an express company, consigned and to be delivered to him in Utica. At the time of the shipment the attention of the express company was called to the fact that the shipment involved motion picture films to be exhibited in Utica, and that they should be sent to their destination, rush. There was delay in their delivery and it was found that the plaintiff because of his failure to exhibit the film in Utica due to the delay suffered damages or loss of profits. But the highest court in the State of New York refused to award him special damages. Said appellate court observed: But before defendant could be held to special damages, such as the present alleged loss of profits on account of delay or failure of delivery, it must have appeared that he had notice at the time of delivery to him of the particular circumstances attending the shipment, and which probably would lead to such special loss if he defaulted. Or, as the rule has been stated in another form, in order to impose on the defaulting party further liability than for damages naturally and directly, i.e., in the ordinary course of things, arising from a breach of contract, such unusual or extraordinary damages must have been brought within the contemplation of the parties as the probable result of a breach at the time of or prior to contracting. Generally, notice then of any special circumstances which will show that the damages to be anticipated from a breach would be enhanced has been held sufficient for this effect. As may be seen, that New York case is a stronger one than the present case for the reason that the attention of the common carrier in said case was called to the nature of the articles shipped, the purpose of shipment, and the desire to rush the shipment, circumstances and facts absent in the present case.

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But appellants now contends that he is not suing on a breach of contract but on a tort as provided for in Art. 1902 of the Civil Code. We are a little perplexed as to this new theory of the appellant. First, he insists that the articles of the Code of Commerce should be applied; that he invokes the provisions of said Code governing the obligations of a common carrier to make prompt delivery of goods given to it under a contract of transportation. Later, as already said, he says that he was never a party to the contract of transportation and was a complete stranger to it, and that he is now suing on a tort or violation of his rights as a stranger (culpa aquiliana). If he does not invoke the contract of carriage entered into with the defendant company, then he would hardly have any leg to stand on. His right to prompt delivery of the can of film at the Pili Air Port stems and is derived from the contract of carriage under which contract, the PAL undertook to carry the can of film safely and to deliver it to him promptly. Take away or ignore that contract and the obligation to carry and to deliver and the right to prompt delivery disappear. Common carriers are not obligated by law to carry and to deliver merchandise, and persons are not vested with the right of prompt delivery, unless such common carriers previously assume the obligation. Said rights and obligations are created by a specific contract entered into by the parties. In the present case, the findings of the trial court which as already stated, are accepted by the parties and which we must accept are to the effect that the LVN Pictures Inc. and Jose Mendoza on one side, and the defendant company on the other, entered into a contract of transportation. (p. 29, Rec. on Appeal). One interpretation of said finding is that the LVN Pictures Inc. through previous agreement with Mendoza acted as the latter's agent. When he negotiated with the LVN Pictures Inc. to rent the film "Himala ng Birhen" and show it during the Naga town fiesta, he most probably authorized and enjoined the Picture Company to ship the film for him on the PAL on September 17th. Another interpretation is that even if the LVN Pictures Inc. as consignor of its own initiative, and acting independently of Mendoza for the time being, made Mendoza as consignee, a stranger to the contract if that is possible, nevertheless when he, Mendoza, appeared at the Pili Air Port armed with the copy of the Air Way Bill (Exh. 1) demanding the delivery of the shipment to him, he thereby made himself a party to the contract of the transportation. The very citation made by appellant in his memorandum supports this view. Speaking of the possibility of a conflict between the order of the shipper on the one hand and the order of the consignee on the other, as when the shipper orders the shipping company to return or retain the goods shipped while the consignee demands their delivery, Malagarriga in his book Codigo de Comercio Comentado, Vol. I, p. 400, citing a decision of Argentina Court of Appeals on commercial matters, cited by Tolentino in Vol. II of his book entitled "Commentaries and Jurisprudence on the Commercial Laws of the Philippines" p. 209, says that the right of the shipper to countermand the shipment terminates when the consignee or legitimate holder of the bill of lading appears with such bill of lading before the carrier and makes himself a party to the contract. Prior to that time, he is stranger to the contract. Still another view of this phase of the case is that contemplated in Art. 1257, paragraph 2, of the old Civil Code which reads thus:

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Should the contract contain any stipulation in favor of a third person, he may demand its fulfillment, provided he has given notice of his acceptance to the person bound before the stipulation has been revoked. Here, the contract of carriage between the LVN Pictures Inc. and the defendant carrier contains the stipulations of the delivery to Mendoza as consignee. His demand for the delivery of the can of film to him at the Pili Air Port may be regarded as a notice of his acceptance of the stipulation of the delivery in his favor contained in the contract of carriage, such demand being one of the fulfillment of the contract of carriage and delivery. In this case he also made himself a party to the contract, or at least has come to court to enforce it. His cause of action must necessarily be founded on its breach. One can readily sympathize with the appellant herein for his loss of profits which he expected to realize. But he overlooked the legal angle. In situations like the present where failure to exhibit films on a certain day would spell substantial damages or considerable loss of profits, including waste of efforts on preparations and expenses incurred in advertisements, exhibitors, for their security, may either get hold of the films well ahead of the time of exhibition in order to make allowance for any hitch in the delivery, or else enter into a special contract or make a suitable arrangement with the common carrier for the prompt delivery of the films, calling the attention of the carrier to the circumstances surrounding the case and the approximate amount of damages to be suffered in case of delay. Finding no reversible error in the decision appealed from, the same is hereby affirmed. No pronouncement as to costs. So ordered. G.R. No. L-47822 December 22, 1988 PEDRO DE GUZMAN, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and ERNESTO CENDANA, respondents. Vicente D. Millora for petitioner. Jacinto Callanta for private respondent.

FELICIANO, J.: Respondent Ernesto Cendana, a junk dealer, was engaged in buying up used bottles and scrap metal in Pangasinan. Upon gathering sufficient quantities of such scrap material, respondent would bring such material to Manila for resale. He utilized two (2) six-wheeler trucks which he owned for hauling the material to Manila. On the return trip to Pangasinan, respondent would load his vehicles with cargo which various merchants wanted delivered to differing establishments in Pangasinan. For that service,
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respondent charged freight rates which were commonly lower than regular commercial rates. Sometime in November 1970, petitioner Pedro de Guzman a merchant and authorized dealer of General Milk Company (Philippines), Inc. in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, contracted with respondent for the hauling of 750 cartons of Liberty filled milk from a warehouse of General Milk in Makati, Rizal, to petitioner's establishment in Urdaneta on or before 4 December 1970. Accordingly, on 1 December 1970, respondent loaded in Makati the merchandise on to his trucks: 150 cartons were loaded on a truck driven by respondent himself, while 600 cartons were placed on board the other truck which was driven by Manuel Estrada, respondent's driver and employee. Only 150 boxes of Liberty filled milk were delivered to petitioner. The other 600 boxes never reached petitioner, since the truck which carried these boxes was hijacked somewhere along the MacArthur Highway in Paniqui, Tarlac, by armed men who took with them the truck, its driver, his helper and the cargo. On 6 January 1971, petitioner commenced action against private respondent in the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, demanding payment of P 22,150.00, the claimed value of the lost merchandise, plus damages and attorney's fees. Petitioner argued that private respondent, being a common carrier, and having failed to exercise the extraordinary diligence required of him by the law, should be held liable for the value of the undelivered goods. In his Answer, private respondent denied that he was a common carrier and argued that he could not be held responsible for the value of the lost goods, such loss having been due to force majeure. On 10 December 1975, the trial court rendered a Decision 1 finding private respondent to be a common carrier and holding him liable for the value of the undelivered goods (P 22,150.00) as well as for P 4,000.00 as damages and P 2,000.00 as attorney's fees. On appeal before the Court of Appeals, respondent urged that the trial court had erred in considering him a common carrier; in finding that he had habitually offered trucking services to the public; in not exempting him from liability on the ground of force majeure; and in ordering him to pay damages and attorney's fees. The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the trial court and held that respondent had been engaged in transporting return loads of freight "as a casual occupation — a sideline to his scrap iron business" and not as a common carrier. Petitioner came to this Court by way of a Petition for Review assigning as errors the following conclusions of the Court of Appeals: 1. that private respondent was not a common carrier; 2. that the hijacking of respondent's truck was force majeure; and
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3. that respondent was not liable for the value of the undelivered cargo. (Rollo, p. 111) We consider first the issue of whether or not private respondent Ernesto Cendana may, under the facts earlier set forth, be properly characterized as a common carrier. The Civil Code defines "common carriers" in the following terms: Article 1732. Common carriers are persons, corporations, firms or associations engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or both, by land, water, or air for compensation, offering their services to the public. The above article makes no distinction between one whose principal business activity is the carrying of persons or goods or both, and one who does such carrying only as an ancillary activity (in local Idiom as "a sideline"). Article 1732 also carefully avoids making any distinction between a person or enterprise offering transportation service on a regular or scheduled basis and one offering such service on an occasional, episodic or unscheduled basis. Neither does Article 1732 distinguish between a carrier offering its services to the "general public," i.e., the general community or population, and one who offers services or solicits business only from a narrow segment of the general population. We think that Article 1733 deliberaom making such distinctions. So understood, the concept of "common carrier" under Article 1732 may be seen to coincide neatly with the notion of "public service," under the Public Service Act (Commonwealth Act No. 1416, as amended) which at least partially supplements the law on common carriers set forth in the Civil Code. Under Section 13, paragraph (b) of the Public Service Act, "public service" includes: ... every person that now or hereafter may own, operate, manage, or control in the Philippines, for hire or compensation, with general or limited clientele, whether permanent, occasional or accidental, and done for general business purposes, any common carrier, railroad, street railway, traction railway, subway motor vehicle, either for freight or passenger, or both, with or without fixed route and whatever may be its classification, freight or carrier service of any class, express service, steamboat, or steamship line, pontines, ferries and water craft, engaged in the transportation of passengers or freight or both, shipyard, marine repair shop, wharf or dock, ice plant, ice-refrigeration plant, canal, irrigation system, gas, electric light, heat and power, water supply and power petroleum, sewerage system, wire or wireless communications systems, wire or wireless broadcasting stations and other similar public services. ... (Emphasis supplied) It appears to the Court that private respondent is properly characterized as a common carrier even though he merely "back-hauled" goods for other merchants from Manila to
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Pangasinan, although such back-hauling was done on a periodic or occasional rather than regular or scheduled manner, and even though private respondent's principal occupation was not the carriage of goods for others. There is no dispute that private respondent charged his customers a fee for hauling their goods; that fee frequently fell below commercial freight rates is not relevant here. The Court of Appeals referred to the fact that private respondent held no certificate of public convenience, and concluded he was not a common carrier. This is palpable error. A certificate of public convenience is not a requisite for the incurring of liability under the Civil Code provisions governing common carriers. That liability arises the moment a person or firm acts as a common carrier, without regard to whether or not such carrier has also complied with the requirements of the applicable regulatory statute and implementing regulations and has been granted a certificate of public convenience or other franchise. To exempt private respondent from the liabilities of a common carrier because he has not secured the necessary certificate of public convenience, would be offensive to sound public policy; that would be to reward private respondent precisely for failing to comply with applicable statutory requirements. The business of a common carrier impinges directly and intimately upon the safety and well being and property of those members of the general community who happen to deal with such carrier. The law imposes duties and liabilities upon common carriers for the safety and protection of those who utilize their services and the law cannot allow a common carrier to render such duties and liabilities merely facultative by simply failing to obtain the necessary permits and authorizations. We turn then to the liability of private respondent as a common carrier. Common carriers, "by the nature of their business and for reasons of public policy" 2 are held to a very high degree of care and diligence ("extraordinary diligence") in the carriage of goods as well as of passengers. The specific import of extraordinary diligence in the care of goods transported by a common carrier is, according to Article 1733, "further expressed in Articles 1734,1735 and 1745, numbers 5, 6 and 7" of the Civil Code. Article 1734 establishes the general rule that common carriers are responsible for the loss, destruction or deterioration of the goods which they carry, "unless the same is due to any of the following causes only: (1) Flood, storm, earthquake, lightning or other natural disaster or calamity; (2) Act of the public enemy in war, whether international or civil; (3) Act or omission of the shipper or owner of the goods; (4) The character-of the goods or defects in the packing or-in the containers; and (5) Order or act of competent public authority.

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It is important to point out that the above list of causes of loss, destruction or deterioration which exempt the common carrier for responsibility therefor, is a closed list. Causes falling outside the foregoing list, even if they appear to constitute a species of force majeure fall within the scope of Article 1735, which provides as follows: In all cases other than those mentioned in numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the preceding article, if the goods are lost, destroyed or deteriorated, common carriers are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they observed extraordinary diligence as required in Article 1733. (Emphasis supplied) Applying the above-quoted Articles 1734 and 1735, we note firstly that the specific cause alleged in the instant case — the hijacking of the carrier's truck — does not fall within any of the five (5) categories of exempting causes listed in Article 1734. It would follow, therefore, that the hijacking of the carrier's vehicle must be dealt with under the provisions of Article 1735, in other words, that the private respondent as common carrier is presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently. This presumption, however, may be overthrown by proof of extraordinary diligence on the part of private respondent. Petitioner insists that private respondent had not observed extraordinary diligence in the care of petitioner's goods. Petitioner argues that in the circumstances of this case, private respondent should have hired a security guard presumably to ride with the truck carrying the 600 cartons of Liberty filled milk. We do not believe, however, that in the instant case, the standard of extraordinary diligence required private respondent to retain a security guard to ride with the truck and to engage brigands in a firelight at the risk of his own life and the lives of the driver and his helper. The precise issue that we address here relates to the specific requirements of the duty of extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods carried in the specific context of hijacking or armed robbery. As noted earlier, the duty of extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over goods is, under Article 1733, given additional specification not only by Articles 1734 and 1735 but also by Article 1745, numbers 4, 5 and 6, Article 1745 provides in relevant part: Any of the following or similar stipulations shall be considered unreasonable, unjust and contrary to public policy: xxx xxx xxx (5) that the common carrier shall not be responsible for the acts or omissions of his or its employees; (6) that the common carrier's liability for acts committed by thieves, or of robbers who do not act with grave or irresistible
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threat, violence or force, is dispensed with or diminished; and (7) that the common carrier shall not responsible for the loss, destruction or deterioration of goods on account of the defective condition of the car vehicle, ship, airplane or other equipment used in the contract of carriage. (Emphasis supplied) Under Article 1745 (6) above, a common carrier is held responsible — and will not be allowed to divest or to diminish such responsibility — even for acts of strangers like thieves or robbers, except where such thieves or robbers in fact acted "with grave or irresistible threat, violence or force." We believe and so hold that the limits of the duty of extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods carried are reached where the goods are lost as a result of a robbery which is attended by "grave or irresistible threat, violence or force." In the instant case, armed men held up the second truck owned by private respondent which carried petitioner's cargo. The record shows that an information for robbery in band was filed in the Court of First Instance of Tarlac, Branch 2, in Criminal Case No. 198 entitled "People of the Philippines v. Felipe Boncorno, Napoleon Presno, Armando Mesina, Oscar Oria and one John Doe." There, the accused were charged with willfully and unlawfully taking and carrying away with them the second truck, driven by Manuel Estrada and loaded with the 600 cartons of Liberty filled milk destined for delivery at petitioner's store in Urdaneta, Pangasinan. The decision of the trial court shows that the accused acted with grave, if not irresistible, threat, violence or force. 3 Three (3) of the five (5) hold-uppers were armed with firearms. The robbers not only took away the truck and its cargo but also kidnapped the driver and his helper, detaining them for several days and later releasing them in another province (in Zambales). The hijacked truck was subsequently found by the police in Quezon City. The Court of First Instance convicted all the accused of robbery, though not of robbery in band. 4 In these circumstances, we hold that the occurrence of the loss must reasonably be regarded as quite beyond the control of the common carrier and properly regarded as a fortuitous event. It is necessary to recall that even common carriers are not made absolute insurers against all risks of travel and of transport of goods, and are not held liable for acts or events which cannot be foreseen or are inevitable, provided that they shall have complied with the rigorous standard of extraordinary diligence. We, therefore, agree with the result reached by the Court of Appeals that private respondent Cendana is not liable for the value of the undelivered merchandise which was lost because of an event entirely beyond private respondent's control. ACCORDINGLY, the Petition for Review on certiorari is hereby DENIED and the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 3 August 1977 is AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs
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G.R. No. 83551 July 11, 1989 RODOLFO B. ALBANO, petitioner, vs. HON. RAINERIO O. REYES, PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY, INTERNATIONAL CONTAINER TERMINAL SERVICES, INC., E. RAZON, INC., ANSCOR CONTAINER CORPORATION, and SEALAND SERVICES. LTD., respondents. Vicente Abad Santos for petitioner. Bautista, Picazo, Buyco & Tan for private respondents.

PARAS, J.: This is a Petition for Prohibition with prayer for Preliminary Injunction or Restraining Order seeking to restrain the respondents Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications Rainerio O. Reyes from awarding to the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) the contract for the development, management and operation of the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT). On April 20, 1987, the PPA Board adopted its Resolution No. 850 directing PPA management to prepare the Invitation to Bid and all relevant bidding documents and technical requirements necessary for the public bidding of the development, management and operation of the MICT at the Port of Manila, and authorizing the Board Chairman, Secretary Rainerio O. Reyes, to oversee the preparation of the technical and the documentation requirements for the MICT leasing as well as to implement this project. Accordingly, respondent Secretary Reyes, by DOTC Special Order 87-346, created a seven (7) man "Special MICT Bidding Committee" charged with evaluating all bid proposals, recommending to the Board the best bid, and preparing the corresponding contract between the PPA and the winning bidder or contractor. The Bidding Committee consisted of three (3) PPA representatives, two (2) Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) representatives, one (1) Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) representative and one (1) private sector representative. The PPA management prepared the terms of reference, bid documents and draft contract which materials were approved by the PPA Board. The PPA published the Invitation to Bid several times in a newspaper of general circulation which publication included the reservation by the PPA of "the right to reject any or all bids and to waive any informality in the bids or to accept such bids which may be considered most advantageous to the government."

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Seven (7) consortia of companies actually submitted bids, which bids were opened on July 17, 1987 at the PPA Head Office. After evaluation of the several bids, the Bidding Committee recommended the award of the contract to develop, manage and operate the MICT to respondent International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) as having offered the best Technical and Financial Proposal. Accordingly, respondent Secretary declared the ICTSI consortium as the winning bidder. Before the corresponding MICT contract could be signed, two successive cases were filed against the respondents which assailed the legality or regularity of the MICT bidding. The first was Special Civil Action 55489 for "Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction" filed with the RTC of Pasig by Basilio H. Alo, an alleged "concerned taxpayer", and, the second was Civil Case 88-43616 for "Prohibition with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)" filed with the RTC of Manila by C.F. Sharp Co., Inc., a member of the nine (9) firm consortium — "Manila Container Terminals, Inc." which had actively participated in the MICT Bidding. Restraining Orders were issued in Civil Case 88-43616 but these were subsequently lifted by this Court in Resolutions dated March 17, 1988 (in G.R. No. 82218 captioned "Hon. Rainerio O. Reyes etc., et al. vs. Hon. Doroteo N. Caneba, etc., et al.) and April 14, 1988 (in G.R. No. 81947 captioned "Hon. Rainerio O. Reyes etc., et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al.") On May 18, 1988, the President of the Philippines approved the proposed MICT Contract, with directives that "the responsibility for planning, detailed engineering, construction, expansion, rehabilitation and capital dredging of the port, as well as the determination of how the revenues of the port system shall be allocated for future port works, shall remain with the PPA; and the contractor shall not collect taxes and duties except that in the case of wharfage or tonnage dues and harbor and berthing fees, payment to the Government may be made through the contractor who shall issue provisional receipts and turn over the payments to the Government which will issue the official receipts." (Annex "I"). The next day, the PPA and the ICTSI perfected the MICT Contract (Annex "3") incorporating therein by "clarificatory guidelines" the aforementioned presidential directives. (Annex "4"). Meanwhile, the petitioner, Rodolfo A. Albano filed the present petition as citizen and taxpayer and as a member of the House of Representatives, assailing the award of the MICT contract to the ICTSI by the PPA. The petitioner claims that since the MICT is a public utility, it needs a legislative franchise before it can legally operate as a public utility, pursuant to Article 12, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution. The petition is devoid of merit. A review of the applicable provisions of law indicates that a franchise specially granted by Congress is not necessary for the operation of the Manila International Container
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Port (MICP) by a private entity, a contract entered into by the PPA and such entity constituting substantial compliance with the law. 1. Executive Order No. 30, dated July 16, 1986, provides: WHEREFORE, I, CORAZON C. AQUINO, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution and the law, do hereby order the immediate recall of the franchise granted to the Manila International Port Terminals, Inc. (MIPTI) and authorize the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to take over, manage and operate the Manila International Port Complex at North Harbor, Manila and undertake the provision of cargo handling and port related services thereat, in accordance with P.D. 857 and other applicable laws and regulations. Section 6 of Presidential Decree No. 857 (the Revised Charter of the Philippine Ports Authority) states: a) The corporate duties of the Authority shall be: xxx xxx xxx (ii) To supervise, control, regulate, construct, maintain, operate, and provide such facilities or services as are necessary in the ports vested in, or belonging to the Authority. xxx xxx xxx (v) To provide services (whether on its own, by contract, or otherwise) within the Port Districts and the approaches thereof, including but not limited to — — berthing, towing, mooring, moving, slipping, or docking of any vessel; — loading or discharging any vessel; — sorting, weighing, measuring, storing, warehousing, or otherwise handling goods. xxx xxx xxx b) The corporate powers of the Authority shall be as follows: xxx xxx xxx

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(vi) To make or enter into contracts of any kind or nature to enable it to discharge its functions under this Decree. xxx xxx xxx [Emphasis supplied.] Thus, while the PPA has been tasked, under E.O. No. 30, with the management and operation of the Manila International Port Complex and to undertake the providing of cargo handling and port related services thereat, the law provides that such shall be "in accordance with P.D. 857 and other applicable laws and regulations." On the other hand, P.D. No. 857 expressly empowers the PPA to provide services within Port Districts "whether on its own, by contract, or otherwise" [See. 6(a) (v)]. Therefore, under the terms of E.O. No. 30 and P.D. No. 857, the PPA may contract with the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) for the management, operation and development of the MICP. 2. Even if the MICP be considered a public utility, 1 or a public service 2 on the theory that it is a "wharf' or a "dock" 3 as contemplated under the Public Service Act, its operation would not necessarily call for a franchise from the Legislative Branch. Franchises issued by Congress are not required before each and every public utility may operate. Thus, the law has granted certain administrative agencies the power to grant licenses for or to authorize the operation of certain public utilities. (See E.O. Nos. 172 and 202) That the Constitution provides in Art. XII, Sec. 11 that the issuance of a franchise, certificate or other form of authorization for the operation of a public utility shall be subject to amendment, alteration or repeal by Congress does not necessarily, imply, as petitioner posits that only Congress has the power to grant such authorization. Our statute books are replete with laws granting specified agencies in the Executive Branch the power to issue such authorization for certain classes of public utilities. 4 As stated earlier, E.O. No. 30 has tasked the PPA with the operation and management of the MICP, in accordance with P.D. 857 and other applicable laws and regulations. However, P.D. 857 itself authorizes the PPA to perform the service by itself, by contracting it out, or through other means. Reading E.O. No. 30 and P.D. No. 857 together, the inescapable conclusion is that the lawmaker has empowered the PPA to undertake by itself the operation and management of the MICP or to authorize its operation and management by another by contract or other means, at its option. The latter power having been delegated to the PPA, a franchise from Congress to authorize an entity other than the PPA to operate and manage the MICP becomes unnecessary. In the instant case, the PPA, in the exercise of the option granted it by P.D. No. 857, chose to contract out the operation and management of the MICP to a private corporation. This is clearly within its power to do. Thus, PPA's acts of privatizing the MICT and awarding the MICT contract to ICTSI are wholly within the jurisdiction of the
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PPA under its Charter which empowers the PPA to "supervise, control, regulate, construct, maintain, operate and provide such facilities or services as are necessary in the ports vested in, or belonging to the PPA." (Section 6(a) ii, P.D. 857) The contract between the PPA and ICTSI, coupled with the President's written approval, constitute the necessary authorization for ICTSI's operation and management of the MICP. The award of the MICT contract approved by no less than the President of the Philippines herself enjoys the legal presumption of validity and regularity of official action. In the case at bar, there is no evidence which clearly shows the constitutional infirmity of the questioned act of government. For these reasons the contention that the contract between the PPA and ICTSI is illegal in the absence of a franchise from Congress appears bereft of any legal basis. 3. On the peripheral issues raised by the party, the following observations may be made: A. That petitioner herein is suing as a citizen and taxpayer and as a Member of the House of Representatives, sufficiently clothes him with the standing to institute the instant suit questioning the validity of the assailed contract. While the expenditure of public funds may not be involved under the contract, public interest is definitely involved considering the important role of the MICP in the economic development of the country and the magnitude of the financial consideration involved. Consequently, the disclosure provision in the Constitution 5 would constitute sufficient authority for upholding petitioner's standing. [Cf. Tañada v. Tuvera, G.R. No. 63915, April 24, 1985,136 SCRA 27, citing Severino v. Governor General, 16 Phil. 366 (1910), where the Court considered the petitioners with sufficient standing to institute an action where a public right is sought to be enforced.] B. That certain committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives have, in their respective reports, and the latter in a resolution as well, declared their opinion that a franchise from Congress is necessary for the operation of the MICP by a private individual or entity, does not necessarily create a conflict between the Executive and the Legislative Branches needing the intervention of the Judicial Branch. The court is not faced with a situation where the Executive Branch has contravened an enactment of Congress. As discussed earlier, neither is the Court confronted with a case of one branch usurping a power pertaining to another. C. Petitioner's contention that what was bid out, i.e., the development, management and operation of the MICP, was not what was subsequently contracted, considering the conditions imposed by the President in her letter of approval, thus rendering the bids and projections immaterial and the procedure taken ineffectual, is not supported by the established facts. The conditions imposed by the President did not materially alter the substance of the contract, but merely dealt on the details of its implementation.

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D. The determination of whether or not the winning bidder is qualified to undertake the contracted service should be left to the sound judgment of the PPA. The PPA, having been tasked with the formulation of a plan for the development of port facilities and its implementation [Sec. 6(a) (i)], is the agency in the best position to evaluate the feasibility of the projections of the bidders and to decide which bid is compatible with the development plan. Neither the Court, nor Congress, has the time and the technical expertise to look into this matter. Thus, the Court in Manuel v. Villena (G.R. No. L-28218, February 27, 1971, 37 SCRA 745] stated: [C]ourts, as a rule, refuse to interfere with proceedings undertaken by administrative bodies or officials in the exercise of administrative functions. This is so because such bodies are generally better equipped technically to decide administrative questions and that non-legal factors, such as government policy on the matter, are usually involved in the decisions. [at p. 750.] In conclusion, it is evident that petitioner has failed to show a clear case of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction as to warrant the issuance of the writ of prohibition. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.

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