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G.R. No.

L-46179 January 31, 1978 CANDIDA VIRATA, TOMAS VIRATA, MANOLITO VIRATA, EDERLINDA VIRATA, NAPOLEON VIRATA, ARACELY VIRATA, ZENAIDA VIRATA, LUZMINDA VIRATA, PACITA VIRATA, and EVANGELINA VIRATA, petitioners, vs. VICTORIO OCHOA, MAXIMO BORILLA and THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF CAVITE, 7th JUDICIAL DISTRICT, BRANCH V, stationed at BACOOR, CAVITE, respondents. Remulla, Estrella & Associates for petitioners Exequil C. Masangkay for respondents. FERNANDEZ, J.: This is an appeal by certiorari, from the order of the Court of First Instance of Cavite, Branch V, in Civil Case No. B134 granting the motion of the defendants to dismiss the complaint on the ground that there is another action pending between the same parties for the same cause. 1 The record shows that on September 24, 1975 one Arsenio Virata died as a result of having been bumped while walking along Taft Avenue, Pasay City by a passenger jeepney driven by Maximo Borilla and registered in the name Of Victoria Ochoa; that Borilla is the employer of Ochoa; that for the death of Arsenio Virata, a action for homicide through reckless imprudence was instituted on September 25, 1975 against Maximo Borilla in the Court of First Instance of Rizal at Pasay City, docketed as C Case No. 3162-P of said court; that at the hearing of the said criminal case on December 12, 1975, Atty. Julio Francisco, the private prosecutor, made a reservation to file a separate civil action for damages against the driver on his criminal liability; that on February 19, 1976 Atty. Julio Francisco filed a motion in said c case to withdraw the reservation to file a separate civil action; that thereafter, the private prosecutor actively participated in the trial and presented evidence on the damages; that on June 29, 1976 the heirs of Arsenio Virata again reserved their right to institute a separate civil action; that on July 19, 1977 the heirs of Arsenio Virata, petitioners herein, commenced Civil No. B-134 in the Court of First Instance of Cavite at Bacoor, Branch V, for damages based on quasi-delict against the driver Maximo Borilla and the registered owner of the jeepney, Victorio Ochoa; that on August 13, 1976 the defendants, private respondents filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that there is another action, Criminal Case No. 3162-P, pending between the same parties for the same cause; that on September 8, 1976 the Court of First Instance of Rizal at Pasay City a decision in Criminal Case No. 3612-P acquitting the accused Maximo Borilla on the ground that he caused an injury by name accident; and that on January 31, 1977, the Court of First Instance of Cavite at Bacoor granted the motion to Civil Case No. B-134 for damages. 2 The principal issue is weather or not the of the Arsenio Virata, can prosecute an action for the damages based on quasi-delict against Maximo Borilla and Victoria Ochoa, driver and owner, respectively on the passenger jeepney that bumped Arsenio Virata. It is settled that in negligence cases the aggrieved parties may choose between an action under the Revised Penal Code or of quasi-delict under Article 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. What is prohibited by Article 2177 of the Civil Code of the Philippines is to recover twice for the same negligent act. The Supreme Court has held that: According to the Code Commission: 'The foregoing provision (Article 2177) though at first sight startling, is not so novel or extraordinary when we consider the exact nature of criminal and civil negligence. The former is a violation of the criminal law, while the latter is a 'culpa aquiliana' or quasi-delict, of ancient origin, having always had its own

foundation and individuality, separate from criminal negligence. Such distinction between criminal negligence and 'culpa extra-contractual' or quasi-delito has been sustained by decision of the Supreme Court of Spain and maintained as clear, sound and perfectly tenable by Maura, an outstanding Spanish jurist. Therefore, under the proposed Article 2177, acquittal from an accusation of criminal negligence, whether on reasonable doubt or not, shall not be a bar to a subsequent civil action, not for civil liability arising from criminal negligence, but for damages due to a quasi-delict or 'culpa aquiliana'. But said article forestalls a double recovery. (Report of the Code Commission, p. 162.) Although, again, this Article 2177 does seem to literally refer to only acts of negligence, the same argument of Justice Bocobo about construction that upholds 'the spirit that given life' rather than that which is literal that killeth the intent of the lawmaker should be observed in applying the same. And considering that the preliminary chapter on human relations of the new Civil Code definitely establishes the separability and independence of liability in a civil action for acts criminal in character (under Articles 29 to 32) from the civil responsibility arising from crime fixed by Article 100 of the Penal Code, and, in a sense, the Rules of Court, under Sections 2 and 3(c), Rule 111, contemplate also the same separability, it is 'more congruent' with the spirit of law, equity and justice, and more in harmony with modern progress', to borrow the felicitous language in Rakes vs. Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co., 7 Phil. to 359, to hod as We do hold, that Article 2176, where it refers to 'fault covers not only acts 'not punishable by law' but also criminal in character, whether intentional and voluntary or consequently, a separate civil action lies against the in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty and acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed, if he is actually charged also criminally, to recover damages on both scores, and would be entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the, two assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. In other words the extinction of civil liability refereed to in Par. (c) of Section 13, Rule 111, refers exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act considered as a quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case that the criminal act charged has not happened or has not been committed by the accused. Brief stated, We hold, in reitration of Garcia, that culpa aquilina includes voluntary and negligent acts which may be punishable by law. 3 The petitioners are not seeking to recover twice for the same negligent act. Before Criminal Case No. 3162-P was decided, they manifested in said criminal case that they were filing a separate civil action for damages against the owner and driver of the passenger jeepney based on quasi-delict. The acquittal of the driver, Maximo Borilla, of the crime charged in Criminal Case No. 3162-P is not a bar to the prosecution of Civil Case No. B-134 for damages based on quasi-delict The source of the obligation sought to be enforced in Civil Case No. B-134 is quasi-delict, not an act or omission punishable by law. Under Article 1157 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, quasi-delict and an act or omission punishable by law are two different sources of obligation. Moreover, for the petitioners to prevail in the action for damages, Civil Case No. B-134, they have only to establish their cause of action by preponderance of the evidence. WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal appealed from is hereby set aside and Civil Case No. B-134 is reinstated and remanded to the lower court for further proceedings, with costs against the private respondents. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 91856 October 5, 1990 YAKULT PHILIPPINES AND LARRY SALVADO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, WENCESLAO M. POLO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Br. 19 of the RTC of Manila, and ROY CAMASO, respondents.

Tomas R. Leonidas for petitioners. David B. Agoncillo for private respondent.

In no case may the offended party recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the accused. When the offended party seeks to enforce civil liability against the accused by way of moral, nominal, temperate or exemplary damages, the filing fees for such civil action as provided in these Rules shall constitute a first lien on the judgment except in an award for actual damages. In cases wherein the amount of damages, other than actual, is alleged in the complaint or information, the corresponding filing fees shall be paid by the offended party upon the filing thereof in court for trial. (1a) Although the incident in question and the actions arising therefrom were instituted before the promulgation of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, its provisions which are procedural may apply retrospectively to the present case. 2 Under the aforecited provisions of the rule, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves his right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same act or omission of the accused. It is also provided that the reservation of the right to institute the separate civil action shall be made before the prosecution starts to present its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation. In this case, the offended party has not waived the civil action, nor reserved the right to institute it separately. Neither has the offended party instituted the civil action prior to the criminal action. However, the civil action in this case was filed in court before the presentation of the evidence for the prosecution in the criminal action of which the judge presiding on the criminal case was duly informed, so that in the disposition of the criminal action no damages was awarded. The civil liability sought arising from the act or omission of the accused in this case is a quasi delict as defined under Article 2176 of the Civil Code as follows: ART. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. The aforecited revised rule requiring such previous reservation also covers quasi-delict as defined under Article 2176 of the Civil Code arising from the same act or omission of the accused. Although the separate civil action filed in this case was without previous reservation in the criminal case, nevertheless since it was instituted before the prosecution presented evidence in the criminal action, and the judge handling the criminal case was informed thereof, then the actual filing of the civil action is even far better than a compliance with the requirement of an express reservation that should be made by the offended party before the prosecution presents its evidence. The purpose of this rule requiring reservation is to prevent the offended party from recovering damages twice for the same act or omission.

GANCAYCO, J.: Can a civil action instituted after the criminal action was filed prosper even if there was no reservation to file a separate civil action? This is the issue in this petition. On December 24, 1982, a five-year old boy, Roy Camaso, while standing on the sidewalk of M. de la Fuente Street, Sampaloc, Manila, was sideswiped by a Yamaha motorcycle owned by Yakult Philippines and driven by its employee, Larry Salvado. Salvado was charged with the crime of reckless imprudence resulting to slight physical injuries in an information that was filed on January 6, 1983 with the then City Court of Manila, docketed as Criminal Case No. 027184. On October 19, 1984 a complaint for damages was filed by Roy Camaso represented by his father, David Camaso, against Yakult Philippines and Larry Salvado in the Regional Trial Court of Manila docketed as Civil Case No. 84-27317. In due course a decision was rendered in the civil case on May 26, 1989 ordering defendants to pay jointly and severally the plaintiff the sum of P13,006.30 for actual expenses for medical services and hospital bills; P3,000.00 attorney's fees and the costs of the suit. Although said defendants appealed the judgment, they nevertheless filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals challenging the jurisdiction of the trial court over said civil case. Petitioners' thesis is that the civil action for damages for injuries arising from alleged criminal negligence of Salvado, being without malice, cannot be filed independently of the criminal action under Article 33 of the Civil Code. Further, it is contended that under Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure such a separate civil action may not be filed unless reservation thereof is expressly made. In a decision dated November 3, 1989, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition. 1 A motion for reconsideration thereof filed by petitioners was denied on January 30, 1990. Hence this petition. The petition is devoid of merit. Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure provides as follows: SEC. 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves his right to institute it separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same act or omission of the accused. A waiver of any of the civil actions extinguishes the others. The institution of, or the reservation of the right to file, any of said civil actions separately waives the others. The reservation of the right to institute the separate civil actions shall be made before the prosecution starts to present its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation.

Thus, the Court finds and so holds that the trial court had jurisdiction over the separate civil action brought before it. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The questioned decision of the Court of Appeals dated November 3, 1989 and its resolution dated January 30, 1990 are hereby AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-37750 May 19, 1978 SWEET LINES, INC., petitioner, vs. HON. BERNARDO TEVES, Presiding Judge, CFI of Misamis Oriental Branch VII, LEOVIGILDO TANDOG, JR., and ROGELIO TIRO, respondents. Filiberto Leonardo, Abelardo C. Almario & Samuel B. Abadiano for petitioner. Leovigildo Vallar for private respondents.

Presented thus for Our resolution is a question is aquestion which, to all appearances, is one of first impression, to wit Is Condition No. 14 printed at the back of the petitioner's passage tickets purchased by private respondents, which limits the venue of actions arising from the contract of carriage to theCourt of First Instance of Cebu, valid and enforceable? Otherwise stated, may a common carrier engaged in inter-island shipping stipulate thru condition printed at the back of passage tickets to its vessels that any and all actions arising out of the ocntract of carriage should be filed only in a particular province or city, in this case the City of Cebu, to the exclusion of all others? Petitioner contends thaty Condition No. 14 is valid and enforceable, since private respndents acceded to tit when they purchased passage tickets at its Cagayan de Oro branch office and took its vessel M/S "Sweet Town" for passage to Tagbilaran, Bohol that the condition of the venue of actions in the City of Cebu is proper since venue may be validly waived, citing cases; 10 that is an effective waiver of venue, valid and binding as such, since it is printed in bold and capital letters and not in fine print and merely assigns the place where the action sing from the contract is institution likewise citing cases; 11 and that condition No. 14 is unequivocal and mandatory, the words and phrases "any and all", "irrespective of where it is issued," and "shag" leave no doubt that the intention of Condition No. 14 is to fix the venue in the City of Cebu, to the exclusion of other places; that the orders of the respondent Judge are an unwarranted departure from established jurisprudence governing the case; and that he acted without or in excess of his jurisdiction in is the orders complained of. 12 On the other hand, private respondents claim that Condition No. 14 is not valid, that the same is not an essential element of the contract of carriage, being in itself a different agreement which requires the mutual consent of the parties to it; that they had no say in its preparation, the existence of which they could not refuse, hence, they had no choice but to pay for the tickets and to avail of petitioner's shipping facilities out of necessity; that the carrier "has been exacting too much from the public by inserting impositions in the passage tickets too burdensome to bear," that the condition which was printed in fine letters is an imposition on the riding public and does not bind respondents, citing cases; 13 that while venue 6f actions may be transferred from one province to another, such arrangement requires the "written agreement of the parties", not to be imposed unilaterally; and that assuming that the condition is valid, it is not exclusive and does not, therefore, exclude the filing of the action in Misamis Oriental, 14 There is no question that there was a valid contract of carriage entered into by petitioner and private respondents and that the passage tickets, upon which the latter based their complaint, are the best evidence thereof. All the essential elements of a valid contract, i.e., consent, cause or consideration and object, are present. As held in Peralta de Guerrero, et al. v. Madrigal Shipping Co., Inc., 15 It is a matter of common knowledge that whenever a passenger boards a ship for transportation from one place to another he is issued a ticket by the shipper which has all the elements of a written contract, Namely: (1) the consent of the contracting parties manifested by the fact that the passenger boards the ship and the shipper consents or accepts him in the ship for transportation; (2) cause or consideration which is the fare paid by the passenger as stated in the ticket; (3) object, which is the transportation of the passenger from the place of departure to the place of destination which are stated in the ticket. It should be borne in mind, however, that with respect to the fourteen (14) conditions one of which is "Condition No. 14" which is in issue in this case printed at the back of the passage tickets, these are commonly known as "contracts of adhesion," the validity and/or enforceability of which will have to be determined by the peculiar circumstances obtaining in each case and the nature of the conditions or terms sought to be enforced. For, "(W)hile generally, stipulations in a contract come about after deliberate drafting by the parties thereto, ... there are certain contracts almost all the provisions of which have been drafted only by one party, usually a corporation. Such contracts are called contracts of adhesion, because the only participation of the party is the signing of his signature or his 'adhesion' thereto. Insurance contracts, bills of lading, contracts of make of lots on the installment plan fall into this category" 16

SANTOS, J.: This is an original action for Prohibition with Pre Injunction filed October 3, 1973 to restrain respondent Judge from proceeding further with Civil Case No. 4091, entitled Leovigildo D. Tandog, Jr. and Rogelio Tiro v. Sweet Lines, Inc."after he denied petitioner's Motion to Dismiss the complaint, and the Motion for Reconsideration of said order. 1 Briefly, the facts of record follow. Private respondents Atty. Leovigildo Tandog and Rogelio Tiro, a contractor by professions, bought tickets Nos. 0011736 and 011737 for Voyage 90 on December 31, 1971 at the branch office of petitioner, a shipping company transporting inter-island passengers and cargoes, at Cagayan de Oro City. Respondents were to board petitioner's vessel, M/S "Sweet Hope" bound for Tagbilaran City via the port of Cebu. Upon learning that the vessel was not proceeding to Bohol, since many passengers were bound for Surigao, private respondents per advice, went to the branch office for proper relocation to M/S "Sweet Town". Because the said vessel was already filled to capacity, they were forced to agree "to hide at the cargo section to avoid inspection of the officers of the Philippine Coastguard." Private respondents alleged that they were, during the trip," "exposed to the scorching heat of the sun and the dust coming from the ship's cargo of corn grits," and that the tickets they bought at Cagayan de Oro City for Tagbilaran were not honored and they were constrained to pay for other tickets. In view thereof, private respondents sued petitioner for damages and for breach of contract of carriage in the alleged sum of P10,000.00 before respondents Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental. 2 Petitioner moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground of improper venue. This motion was premised on the condition printed at the back of the tickets, i.e., Condition No. 14, which reads: 14. It is hereby agreed and understood that any and all actions arising out of the conditions and provisions of this ticket, irrespective of where it is issued, shall be filed in the competent courts in the City of Cebu. 3 The motion was denied by the trial court. 4 Petitioner moved to reconnsider the order of denial, but no avail. 5 Hence, this instant petition for prohibition for preliminary injunction, 'alleging that the respondent judge has departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial preoceeding" and "had acted without or in excess or in error of his jurisdicton or in gross abuse of discretion. 6 In Our resolution of November 20, 1973, We restrained respondent Judge from proceeding further with the case and required respondent to comment. 7 On January 18, 1974, We gave due course to the petition and required respondent to answer. 8 Thereafter, the parties submitted their respesctive memoranda in support of their respective contentions.9

By the peculiar circumstances under which contracts of adhesion are entered into namely, that it is drafted only by one party, usually the corporation, and is sought to be accepted or adhered to by the other party, in this instance the passengers, private respondents, who cannot change the same and who are thus made to adhere thereto on the "take it or leave it" basis certain guidelines in the determination of their validity and/or enforceability have been formulated in order to that justice and fan play characterize the relationship of the contracting parties. Thus, this Court speaking through Justice J.B.L. Reyes in Qua Chee Gan v. Law Union and Rock Insurance Co., 17 and later through Justice Fernando in Fieldman Insurance v. Vargas, 18 held The courts cannot ignore that nowadays, monopolies, cartels and concentration of capital endowed with overwhelm economic power, manage to impose upon parties d with them y prepared 'agreements' that the weaker party may not change one whit his participation in the 'agreement' being reduced to the alternative 'to take it or leave it,' labelled since Raymond Saleilles 'contracts by adherence' (contracts d' adhesion) in contrast to those entered into by parties bargaining on an equal footing. Such contracts (of which policies of insurance and international bill of lading are prime examples) obviously cap for greater strictness and vigilance on the part of the courts of justice with a view to protecting the weaker party from abuses and imposition, and prevent their becoming traps for the unwary. To the same effect and import, and, in recognition of the character of contracts of this kind, the protection of the disadvantaged is expressly enjoined by the New Civil Code In all contractual property or other relations, when one of the parties is at a disadvantage on account of his moral dependence, ignorance indigence, mental weakness, tender age and other handicap, the courts must be vigilant for his protection. 19 Considered in the light Of the foregoing norms and in the context Of circumstances Prevailing in the inter-island ship. ping industry in the country today, We find and hold that Condition No. 14 printed at the back of the passage tickets should be held as void and unenforceable for the following reasons first, under circumstances obligation in the inter-island ship. ping industry, it is not just and fair to bind passengers to the terms of the conditions printed at the back of the passage tickets, on which Condition No. 14 is Printed in fine letters, and second, Condition No. 14 subverts the public policy on transfer of venue of proceedings of this nature, since the same will prejudice rights and interests of innumerable passengers in different s of the country who, under Condition No. 14, will have to file suits against petitioner only in the City of Cebu. 1. It is a matter of public knowledge, of which We can take judicial notice, that there is a dearth of and acute shortage in inter- island vessels plying between the country's several islands, and the facilities they offer leave much to be desired. Thus, even under ordinary circumstances, the piers are congested with passengers and their cargo waiting to be transported. The conditions are even worse at peak and/or the rainy seasons, when Passengers literally scramble to whatever accommodations may be availed of, even through circuitous routes, and/or at the risk of their safety their immediate concern, for the moment, being to be able to board vessels with the hope of reaching their destinations. The schedules are as often as not if not more so delayed or altered. This was precisely the experience of private respondents when they were relocated to M/S "Sweet Town" from M/S "Sweet Hope" and then any to the scorching heat of the sun and the dust coming from the ship's cargo of corn grits, " because even the latter was filed to capacity. Under these circumstances, it is hardly just and proper to expect the passengers to examine their tickets received from crowded/congested counters, more often than not during rush hours, for conditions that may be printed much charge them with having consented to the conditions, so printed, especially if there are a number of such conditions m fine print, as in this case. 20

Again, it should be noted that Condition No. 14 was prepared solely at the ms of the petitioner, respondents had no say in its preparation. Neither did the latter have the opportunity to take the into account prior to the purpose chase of their tickets. For, unlike the small print provisions of contracts the common example of contracts of adherence which are entered into by the insured in his awareness of said conditions, since the insured is afforded the op to and co the same, passengers of inter-island v do not have the same chance, since their alleged adhesion is presumed only from the fact that they purpose chased the tickets. It should also be stressed that slapping companies are franchise holders of certificates of public convenience and therefore, posses a virtual monopoly over the business of transporting passengers between the ports covered by their franchise. This being so, shipping companies, like petitioner, engaged in inter-island shipping, have a virtual monopoly of the business of transporting passengers and may thus dictate their terms of passage, leaving passengers with no choice but to buy their tickets and avail of their vessels and facilities. Finally, judicial notice may be taken of the fact that the bulk of those who board these inter-island vested come from the low-income groups and are less literate, and who have little or no choice but to avail of petitioner's vessels. 2. Condition No. 14 is subversive of public policy on transfers of venue of actions. For, although venue may be changed or transferred from one province to another by agreement of the parties in writing t to Rule 4, Section 3, of the Rules of Court, such an agreement will not be held valid where it practically negates the action of the claimants, such as the private respondents herein. The philosophy underlying the provisions on transfer of venue of actions is the convenience of the plaintiffs as well as his witnesses and to promote 21 the ends of justice. Considering the expense and trouble a passenger residing outside of Cebu City would incur to prosecute a claim in the City of Cebu, he would most probably decide not to file the action at all. The condition will thus defeat, instead of enhance, the ends of justice. Upon the other hand, petitioner has branches or offices in the respective ports of call of its vessels and can afford to litigate in any of these places. Hence, the filing of the suit in the CFI of Misamis Oriental, as was done in the instant case, will not cause inconvenience to, much less prejudice, petitioner. Public policy is ". . . that principle of the law which holds that no subject or citizen can lawfully do that which has a tendency to be injurious to the public or against the public good ... 22 Under this principle" ... freedom of contract or private dealing is restricted by law for the good of the public. 23 Clearly, Condition No. 14, if enforced, will be subversive of the public good or interest, since it will frustrate in meritorious cases, actions of passenger cants outside of Cebu City, thus placing petitioner company at a decided advantage over said persons, who may have perfectly legitimate claims against it. The said condition should, therefore, be declared void and unenforceable, as contrary to public policy to make the courts accessible to all who may have need of their services. WHEREFORE, the petition for prohibition is DISMISS. ED. The restraining order issued on November 20, 1973, is hereby LIFTED and SET ASIDE. Costs against petitioner. Fernando (Chairman), Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., JJ., concur. Antonio, J., reserves his vote.

Separate Opinions

BARREDO, J., concurring:

I concur in the dismissal of the instant petition. Only a few days ago, in Hoechst Philippines, Inc. vs. Francisco Torres, et al., G. R. No. L-44351, promulgated May 18, 1978, We made it clear that although generally, agreements regarding change of venue are enforceable, there may be instances where for equitable considerations and in the better interest of justice, a court may justify the laying of, the venue in the place fixed by the rules instead of following written stipulation of the parties. In the particular case at bar, there is actually no written agreement as to venue between the parties in the sense contemplated in Section 3 of Rule 4, which governs the matter. I take it that the importance that a stipulation regarding change of the venue fixed by law entails is such that nothing less than mutually conscious agreement as to it must be what the rule means. In the instant case, as well pointed out in the main opinion, the ticket issued to private respondents by petitioner constitutes at best a "contract of adhesion". In other words, it is not that kind of a contract where the parties sit down to deliberate, discuss and agree specifically on all its terms, but rather, one which respondents took no part at all in preparing, since it was just imposed upon them when they paid for the fare for the freight they wanted to ship. It is common knowledge that individuals who avail of common carriers hardly read the fine prints on such tickets to note anything more than the price thereof and the destination designated therein. Under these circumstances, it would seem that, since this case is already in respondent court and there is no showing that, with its more or less known resources as owner of several inter-island vessels plying between the different ports of the Philippines for sometime already, petitioner would be greatly inconvenienced by submitting to the jurisdiction of said respondent court, it is best to allow the proceedings therein to continue. I cannot conceive of any juridical injury such a step can cause to anyone concerned. I vote to dismiss the petition.

Under these circumstances, it would seem that, since this case is already in respondent court and there is no showing that, with its more or less known resources as owner of several inter-island vessels plying between the different ports of the Philippines for sometime already, petitioner would be greatly inconvenienced by submitting to the jurisdiction of said respondent court, it is best to allow the proceedings therein to continue. I cannot conceive of any juridical injury such a step can cause to anyone concerned. I vote to dismiss the petition.

Separate Opinions BARREDO, J., concurring: I concur in the dismissal of the instant petition. Only a few days ago, in Hoechst Philippines, Inc. vs. Francisco Torres, et al., G. R. No. L-44351, promulgated May 18, 1978, We made it clear that although generally, agreements regarding change of venue are enforceable, there may be instances where for equitable considerations and in the better interest of justice, a court may justify the laying of, the venue in the place fixed by the rules instead of following written stipulation of the parties. In the particular case at bar, there is actually no written agreement as to venue between the parties in the sense contemplated in Section 3 of Rule 4, which governs the matter. I take it that the importance that a stipulation regarding change of the venue fixed by law entails is such that nothing less than mutually conscious agreement as to it must be what the rule means. In the instant case, as well pointed out in the main opinion, the ticket issued to private respondents by petitioner constitutes at best a "contract of adhesion". In other words, it is not that kind of a contract where the parties sit down to deliberate, discuss and agree specifically on all its terms, but rather, one which respondents took no part at all in preparing, since it was just imposed upon them when they paid for the fare for the freight they wanted to ship. It is common knowledge that individuals who avail of common carriers hardly read the fine prints on such tickets to note anything more than the price thereof and the destination designated therein.

G.R. No. 145804

February 6, 2003

"The compulsory counterclaim of LRTA and Roman are likewise dismissed."1 Prudent appealed to the Court of Appeals. On 27 August 2000, the appellate court promulgated its now assailed decision exonerating Prudent from any liability for the death of Nicanor Navidad and, instead, holding the LRTA and Roman jointly and severally liable thusly: "WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment is hereby MODIFIED, by exonerating the appellants from any liability for the death of Nicanor Navidad, Jr. Instead, appellees Rodolfo Roman and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) are held liable for his death and are hereby directed to pay jointly and severally to the plaintiffs-appellees, the following amounts: a) P44,830.00 as actual damages; b) P50,000.00 as nominal damages; c) P50,000.00 as moral damages;

LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT AUTHORITY & RODOLFO ROMAN, petitioners, vs. MARJORIE NAVIDAD, Heirs of the Late NICANOR NAVIDAD & PRUDENT SECURITY AGENCY, respondents. DECISION VITUG, J.: The case before the Court is an appeal from the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals, promulgated on 27 April 2000 and 10 October 2000, respectively, in CA-G.R. CV No. 60720, entitled "Marjorie Navidad and Heirs of the Late Nicanor Navidad vs. Rodolfo Roman, et. al.," which has modified the decision of 11 August 1998 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 266, Pasig City, exonerating Prudent Security Agency (Prudent) from liability and finding Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and Rodolfo Roman liable for damages on account of the death of Nicanor Navidad. On 14 October 1993, about half an hour past seven oclock in the evening, Nicanor Navidad, then drunk, entered the EDSA LRT station after purchasing a "token" (representing payment of the fare). While Navidad was standing on the platform near the LRT tracks, Junelito Escartin, the security guard assigned to the area approached Navidad. A misunderstanding or an altercation between the two apparently ensued that led to a fist fight. No evidence, however, was adduced to indicate how the fight started or who, between the two, delivered the first blow or how Navidad later fell on the LRT tracks. At the exact moment that Navidad fell, an LRT train, operated by petitioner Rodolfo Roman, was coming in. Navidad was struck by the moving train, and he was killed instantaneously. On 08 December 1994, the widow of Nicanor, herein respondent Marjorie Navidad, along with her children, filed a complaint for damages against Junelito Escartin, Rodolfo Roman, the LRTA, the Metro Transit Organization, Inc. (Metro Transit), and Prudent for the death of her husband. LRTA and Roman filed a counterclaim against Navidad and a cross-claim against Escartin and Prudent. Prudent, in its answer, denied liability and averred that it had exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of its security guards. The LRTA and Roman presented their evidence while Prudent and Escartin, instead of presenting evidence, filed a demurrer contending that Navidad had failed to prove that Escartin was negligent in his assigned task. On 11 August 1998, the trial court rendered its decision; it adjudged: "WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants Prudent Security and Junelito Escartin ordering the latter to pay jointly and severally the plaintiffs the following: "a) 1) Actual damages of P44,830.00; 2) Compensatory damages of P443,520.00; 3) Indemnity for the death of Nicanor Navidad in the sum of P50,000.00; "b) Moral damages of P50,000.00;

d) P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of the deceased; and e) P20,000.00 as and for attorneys fees."2 The appellate court ratiocinated that while the deceased might not have then as yet boarded the train, a contract of carriage theretofore had already existed when the victim entered the place where passengers were supposed to be after paying the fare and getting the corresponding token therefor. In exempting Prudent from liability, the court stressed that there was nothing to link the security agency to the death of Navidad. It said that Navidad failed to show that Escartin inflicted fist blows upon the victim and the evidence merely established the fact of death of Navidad by reason of his having been hit by the train owned and managed by the LRTA and operated at the time by Roman. The appellate court faulted petitioners for their failure to present expert evidence to establish the fact that the application of emergency brakes could not have stopped the train. The appellate court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration in its resolution of 10 October 2000. In their present recourse, petitioners recite alleged errors on the part of the appellate court; viz: "I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED BY DISREGARDING THE FINDINGS OF FACTS BY THE TRIAL COURT "II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT PETITIONERS ARE LIABLE FOR THE DEATH OF NICANOR NAVIDAD, JR. "III.

"c) Attorneys fees of P20,000; "d) Costs of suit. "The complaint against defendants LRTA and Rodolfo Roman are dismissed for lack of merit. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT RODOLFO ROMAN IS AN EMPLOYEE OF LRTA."3

Petitioners would contend that the appellate court ignored the evidence and the factual findings of the trial court by holding them liable on the basis of a sweeping conclusion that the presumption of negligence on the part of a common carrier was not overcome. Petitioners would insist that Escartins assault upon Navidad, which caused the latter to fall on the tracks, was an act of a stranger that could not have been foreseen or prevented. The LRTA would add that the appellate courts conclusion on the existence of an employer-employee relationship between Roman and LRTA lacked basis because Roman himself had testified being an employee of Metro Transit and not of the LRTA. Respondents, supporting the decision of the appellate court, contended that a contract of carriage was deemed created from the moment Navidad paid the fare at the LRT station and entered the premises of the latter, entitling Navidad to all the rights and protection under a contractual relation, and that the appellate court had correctly held LRTA and Roman liable for the death of Navidad in failing to exercise extraordinary diligence imposed upon a common carrier. Law and jurisprudence dictate that a common carrier, both from the nature of its business and for reasons of public policy, is burdened with the duty of exercising utmost diligence in ensuring the safety of passengers.4 The Civil Code, governing the liability of a common carrier for death of or injury to its passengers, provides: "Article 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances. "Article 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed in articles 1733 and 1755." "Article 1759. Common carriers are liable for the death of or injuries to passengers through the negligence or willful acts of the formers employees, although such employees may have acted beyond the scope of their authority or in violation of the orders of the common carriers. "This liability of the common carriers does not cease upon proof that they exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of their employees." "Article 1763. A common carrier is responsible for injuries suffered by a passenger on account of the willful acts or negligence of other passengers or of strangers, if the common carriers employees through the exercise of the diligence of a good father of a family could have prevented or stopped the act or omission." The law requires common carriers to carry passengers safely using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons with due regard for all circumstances.5 Such duty of a common carrier to provide safety to its passengers so obligates it not only during the course of the trip but for so long as the passengers are within its premises and where they ought to be in pursuance to the contract of carriage.6 The statutory provisions render a common carrier liable for death of or injury to passengers (a) through the negligence or wilful acts of its employees or b) on account of wilful acts or negligence of other passengers or of strangers if the common carriers employees through the exercise of due diligence could have prevented or stopped the act or omission.7 In case of such death or injury, a carrier is presumed to have been at fault or been negligent, and8 by simple proof of injury, the passenger is relieved of the duty to still establish the fault or negligence of the carrier or of its employees and the burden shifts upon the carrier to prove that the injury is due to an unforeseen event or to force majeure.9 In the absence of satisfactory explanation by the carrier on how the accident occurred, which petitioners, according to the appellate court, have failed to show, the presumption would be that it has been at fault,10 an exception from the general rule that negligence must be proved.11

The foundation of LRTAs liability is the contract of carriage and its obligation to indemnify the victim arises from the breach of that contract by reason of its failure to exercise the high diligence required of the common carrier. In the discharge of its commitment to ensure the safety of passengers, a carrier may choose to hire its own employees or avail itself of the services of an outsider or an independent firm to undertake the task. In either case, the common carrier is not relieved of its responsibilities under the contract of carriage. Should Prudent be made likewise liable? If at all, that liability could only be for tort under the provisions of Article 217612 and related provisions, in conjunction with Article 2180,13 of the Civil Code. The premise, however, for the employers liability is negligence or fault on the part of the employee. Once such fault is established, the employer can then be made liable on the basis of the presumption juris tantum that the employer failed to exercise diligentissimi patris families in the selection and supervision of its employees. The liability is primary and can only be negated by showing due diligence in the selection and supervision of the employee, a factual matter that has not been shown. Absent such a showing, one might ask further, how then must the liability of the common carrier, on the one hand, and an independent contractor, on the other hand, be described? It would be solidary. A contractual obligation can be breached by tort and when the same act or omission causes the injury, one resulting in culpa contractual and the other in culpa aquiliana, Article 219414 of the Civil Code can well apply.15 In fine, a liability for tort may arise even under a contract, where tort is that which breaches the contract.16 Stated differently, when an act which constitutes a breach of contract would have itself constituted the source of a quasi-delictual liability had no contract existed between the parties, the contract can be said to have been breached by tort, thereby allowing the rules on tort to apply.17 Regrettably for LRT, as well as perhaps the surviving spouse and heirs of the late Nicanor Navidad, this Court is concluded by the factual finding of the Court of Appeals that "there is nothing to link (Prudent) to the death of Nicanor (Navidad), for the reason that the negligence of its employee, Escartin, has not been duly proven x x x." This finding of the appellate court is not without substantial justification in our own review of the records of the case. There being, similarly, no showing that petitioner Rodolfo Roman himself is guilty of any culpable act or omission, he must also be absolved from liability. Needless to say, the contractual tie between the LRT and Navidad is not itself a juridical relation between the latter and Roman; thus, Roman can be made liable only for his own fault or negligence. The award of nominal damages in addition to actual damages is untenable. Nominal damages are adjudicated in order that a right of the plaintiff, which has been violated or invaded by the defendant, may be vindicated or recognized, and not for the purpose of indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered by him.18 It is an established rule that nominal damages cannot co-exist with compensatory damages.19 WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the appellate court is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION but only in that (a) the award of nominal damages is DELETED and (b) petitioner Rodolfo Roman is absolved from liability. No costs. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-20761

July 27, 1966

LA MALLORCA, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, MARIANO BELTRAN, ET AL., respondents. G. E. Yabut, R. Monterey and M.C. Lagman for petitioner. Ahmed Garcia for respondents. BARRERA, J.: La Mallorca seeks the review of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 23267-R, holding it liable for quasi-delict and ordering it to pay to respondents Mariano Beltran, et al., P6,000.00 for the death of his minor daughter Raquel Beltran, plus P400.00 as actual damages. The facts of the case as found by the Court of Appeals, briefly are: On December 20, 1953, at about noontime, plaintiffs, husband and wife, together with their minor daughters, namely, Milagros, 13 years old, Raquel, about 4 years old, and Fe, over 2 years old, boarded the Pambusco Bus No. 352, bearing plate TPU No. 757 (1953 Pampanga), owned and operated by the defendant, at San Fernando, Pampanga, bound for Anao, Mexico, Pampanga. At the time, they were carrying with them four pieces of baggages containing their personal belonging. The conductor of the bus, who happened to be a half-brother of plaintiff Mariano Beltran, issued three tickets (Exhs. A, B, & C) covering the full fares of the plaintiff and their eldest child, Milagros. No fare was charged on Raquel and Fe, since both were below the height at which fare is charged in accordance with the appellant's rules and regulations. After about an hour's trip, the bus reached Anao whereat it stopped to allow the passengers bound therefor, among whom were the plaintiffs and their children to get off. With respect to the group of the plaintiffs, Mariano Beltran, then carrying some of their baggages, was the first to get down the bus, followed by his wife and his children. Mariano led his companions to a shaded spot on the left pedestrians side of the road about four or five meters away from the vehicle. Afterwards, he returned to the bus in controversy to get his other bayong, which he had left behind, but in so doing, his daughter Raquel followed him, unnoticed by her father. While said Mariano Beltran was on the running board of the bus waiting for the conductor to hand him his bayong which he left under one of its seats near the door, the bus, whose motor was not shut off while unloading, suddenly started moving forward, evidently to resume its trip, notwithstanding the fact that the conductor has not given the driver the customary signal to start, since said conductor was still attending to the baggage left behind by Mariano Beltran. Incidentally, when the bus was again placed into a complete stop, it had travelled about ten meters from the point where the plaintiffs had gotten off. Sensing that the bus was again in motion, Mariano Beltran immediately jumped from the running board without getting his bayong from the conductor. He landed on the side of the road almost in front of the shaded place where he left his wife and children. At that precise time, he saw people beginning to gather around the body of a child lying prostrate on the ground, her skull crushed, and without life. The child was none other than his daughter Raquel, who was run over by the bus in which she rode earlier together with her parents. For the death of their said child, the plaintiffs commenced the present suit against the defendant seeking to recover from the latter an aggregate amount of P16,000 to cover moral damages and actual damages sustained as a result thereof and attorney's fees. After trial on the merits, the court below rendered the judgment in question.

On the basis of these facts, the trial court found defendant liable for breach of contract of carriage and sentenced it to pay P3,000.00 for the death of the child and P400.00 as compensatory damages representing burial expenses and costs. On appeal to the Court of Appeals, La Mallorca claimed that there could not be a breach of contract in the case, for the reason that when the child met her death, she was no longer a passenger of the bus involved in the incident and, therefore, the contract of carriage had already terminated. Although the Court of Appeals sustained this theory, it nevertheless found the defendant-appellant guilty of quasi-delict and held the latter liable for damages, for the negligence of its driver, in accordance with Article 2180 of the Civil Code. And, the Court of Appeals did not only find the petitioner liable, but increased the damages awarded the plaintiffs-appellees to P6,000.00, instead of P3,000.00 granted by the trial court. In its brief before us, La Mallorca contends that the Court of Appeals erred (1) in holding it liable for quasi-delict, considering that respondents complaint was one for breach of contract, and (2) in raising the award of damages from P3,000.00 to P6,000.00 although respondents did not appeal from the decision of the lower court. Under the facts as found by the Court of Appeals, we have to sustain the judgement holding petitioner liable for damages for the death of the child, Raquel Beltran. It may be pointed out that although it is true that respondent Mariano Beltran, his wife, and their children (including the deceased child) had alighted from the bus at a place designated for disembarking or unloading of passengers, it was also established that the father had to return to the vehicle (which was still at a stop) to get one of his bags or bayong that was left under one of the seats of the bus. There can be no controversy that as far as the father is concerned, when he returned to the bus for his bayong which was not unloaded, the relation of passenger and carrier between him and the petitioner remained subsisting. For, the relation of carrier and passenger does not necessarily cease where the latter, after alighting from the car, aids the carrier's servant or employee in removing his baggage from the car.1 The issue to be determined here is whether as to the child, who was already led by the father to a place about 5 meters away from the bus, the liability of the carrier for her safety under the contract of carriage also persisted. It has been recognized as a rule that the relation of carrier and passenger does not cease at the moment the passenger alights from the carrier's vehicle at a place selected by the carrier at the point of destination, but continues until the passenger has had a reasonable time or a reasonable opportunity to leave the carrier's premises. And, what is a reasonable time or a reasonable delay within this rule is to be determined from all the circumstances. Thus, a person who, after alighting from a train, walks along the station platform is considered still a passenger.2 So also, where a passenger has alighted at his destination and is proceeding by the usual way to leave the company's premises, but before actually doing so is halted by the report that his brother, a fellow passenger, has been shot, and he in good faith and without intent of engaging in the difficulty, returns to relieve his brother, he is deemed reasonably and necessarily delayed and thus continues to be a passenger entitled as such to the protection of the railroad and company and its agents.3 In the present case, the father returned to the bus to get one of his baggages which was not unloaded when they alighted from the bus. Raquel, the child that she was, must have followed the father. However, although the father was still on the running board of the bus awaiting for the conductor to hand him the bag or bayong, the bus started to run, so that even he (the father) had to jump down from the moving vehicle. It was at this instance that the child, who must be near the bus, was run over and killed. In the circumstances, it cannot be claimed that the carrier's agent had exercised the "utmost diligence" of a "very cautions person" required by Article 1755 of the Civil Code to be observed by a common carrier in the discharge of its obligation to transport safely its passengers. In the first place, the driver, although stopping the bus, nevertheless did not put off the engine. Secondly, he started to run the bus even before the bus conductor gave him the signal to go and while the latter was still unloading part of the baggages of the passengers Mariano Beltran and family. The presence of said passengers near the bus was not

unreasonable and they are, therefore, to be considered still as passengers of the carrier, entitled to the protection under their contract of carriage. But even assuming arguendo that the contract of carriage has already terminated, herein petitioner can be held liable for the negligence of its driver, as ruled by the Court of Appeals, pursuant to Article 2180 of the Civil Code. Paragraph 7 of the complaint, which reads That aside from the aforesaid breach of contract, the death of Raquel Beltran, plaintiffs' daughter, was caused by the negligence and want of exercise of the utmost diligence of a very cautious person on the part of the defendants and their agent, necessary to transport plaintiffs and their daughter safely as far as human care and foresight can provide in the operation of their vehicle. is clearly an allegation for quasi-delict. The inclusion of this averment for quasi-delict, while incompatible with the other claim under the contract of carriage, is permissible under Section 2 of Rule 8 of the New Rules of Court, which allows a plaintiff to allege causes of action in the alternative, be they compatible with each other or not, to the end that the real matter in controversy may be resolved and determined.4 The plaintiffs sufficiently pleaded the culpa or negligence upon which the claim was predicated when it was alleged in the complaint that "the death of Raquel Beltran, plaintiffs' daughter, was caused by the negligence and want of exercise of the utmost diligence of a very cautious person on the part of the defendants and their agent." This allegation was also proved when it was established during the trial that the driver, even before receiving the proper signal from the conductor, and while there were still persons on the running board of the bus and near it, started to run off the vehicle. The presentation of proof of the negligence of its employee gave rise to the presumption that the defendant employer did not exercise the diligence of a good father of the family in the selection and supervision of its employees. And this presumption, as the Court of Appeals found, petitioner had failed to overcome. Consequently, petitioner must be adjudged peculiarily liable for the death of the child Raquel Beltran. The increase of the award of damages from P3,000.00 to P6,000.00 by the Court of Appeals, however, cannot be sustained. Generally, the appellate court can only pass upon and consider questions or issues raised and argued in appellant's brief. Plaintiffs did not appeal from that portion of the judgment of the trial court awarding them on P3,000.00 damages for the death of their daughter. Neither does it appear that, as appellees in the Court of Appeals, plaintiffs have pointed out in their brief the inadequacy of the award, or that the inclusion of the figure P3,000.00 was merely a clerical error, in order that the matter may be treated as an exception to the general rule.5 Herein petitioner's contention, therefore, that the Court of Appeals committed error in raising the amount of the award for damages is, evidently, meritorious.1wph1.t Wherefore, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby modified by sentencing, the petitioner to pay to the respondents Mariano Beltran, et al., the sum of P3,000.00 for the death of the child, Raquel Beltran, and the amount of P400.00 as actual damages. No costs in this instance. So ordered.

G.R. No. 84458 November 6, 1989 ABOITIZ SHIPPING CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ELEVENTH DIVISION, LUCILA C. VIANA, SPS. ANTONIO VIANA and GORGONIA VIANA, and PIONEER STEVEDORING CORPORATION, respondents. Herenio E. Martinez for petitioner. M.R. Villaluz Law Office for private respondent. REGALADO, J.: In this appeal by certiorari, petitioner Aboitiz Shipping Corporation seeks a review of the decision 1 of respondent Court of Appeals, dated July 29, 1988, the decretal portion of which reads: WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from as modified by the order of October 27, 1982, is hereby affirmed with the modification that appellant Aboitiz Shipping is hereby ordered to pay plaintiff-appellees the amount of P30,000.00 for the death of Anacleto Viana; actual damages of P9,800.00; P150,000.00 for unearned income; P7,200.00 as support for deceased's parents; P20,000.00 as moral damages; P10,000.00 as attorney's fees; and to pay the costs. The undisputed facts of the case, as found by the court a quo and adopted by respondent court, are as follows: . The evidence disclosed that on May 11, 1975, Anacleto Viana boarded the vessel M/V Antonia, owned by defendant, at the port at San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, bound for Manila, having purchased a ticket (No. 117392) in the sum of P23.10 (Exh. 'B'). On May 12, 1975, said vessel arrived at Pier 4, North Harbor, Manila, and the passengers therein disembarked, a gangplank having been provided connecting the side of the vessel to the pier. Instead of using said gangplank Anacleto Viana disembarked on the third deck which was on the level with the pier. After said vessel had landed, the Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation took over the exclusive control of the cargoes loaded on said vessel pursuant to the Memorandum of Agreement dated July 26, 1975 (Exh. '2') between the third party defendant Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation and defendant Aboitiz Shipping Corporation. The crane owned by the third party defendant and operated by its crane operator Alejo Figueroa was placed alongside the vessel and one (1) hour after the passengers of said vessel had disembarked, it started operation by unloading the cargoes from said vessel. While the crane was being operated, Anacleto Viana who had already disembarked from said vessel obviously remembering that some of his cargoes were still loaded in the vessel, went back to the vessel, and it was while he was pointing to the crew of the said vessel to the place where his cargoes were loaded that the crane hit him, pinning him between the side of the vessel and the crane. He was thereafter brought to the hospital where he later expired three (3) days thereafter, on May 15, 1975, the cause of his death according to the Death Certificate (Exh. "C") being "hypostatic pneumonia secondary to traumatic fracture of the pubic bone lacerating the urinary bladder" (See also Exh. "B"). For his hospitalization, medical, burial and other miscellaneous expenses, Anacleto's wife, herein plaintiff, spent a total of P9,800.00 (Exhibits "E", "E-1", to "E-5"). Anacleto Viana who was only forty (40) years old when he met said fateful accident (Exh. 'E') was in good health. His average annual income as a farmer or a farm supervisor was 400 cavans of palay annually. His parents, herein plaintiffs Antonio and Gorgonia Viana, prior to his death had been recipient of twenty (20) cavans of palay as support or P120.00 monthly. Because of Anacleto's death, plaintiffs suffered mental anguish and extreme worry or moral damages. For the filing of the instant case, they had to hire a lawyer for an agreed fee of ten thousand (P10,000.00) pesos. 2

Private respondents Vianas filed a complaint 3 for damages against petitioner corporation (Aboitiz, for brevity) for breach of contract of carriage. In its answer. 4 Aboitiz denied responsibility contending that at the time of the accident, the vessel was completely under the control of respondent Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation (Pioneer, for short) as the exclusive stevedoring contractor of Aboitiz, which handled the unloading of cargoes from the vessel of Aboitiz. It is also averred that since the crane operator was not an employee of Aboitiz, the latter cannot be held liable under the fellow-servant rule. Thereafter, Aboitiz, as third-party plaintiff, filed a third-party complaint 5 against Pioneer imputing liability thereto for Anacleto Viana's death as having been allegedly caused by the negligence of the crane operator who was an employee of Pioneer under its exclusive control and supervision. Pioneer, in its answer to the third-party complaint, 6 raised the defenses that Aboitiz had no cause of action against Pioneer considering that Aboitiz is being sued by the Vianas for breach of contract of carriage to which Pioneer is not a party; that Pioneer had observed the diligence of a good father of a family both in the selection and supervision of its employees as well as in the prevention of damage or injury to anyone including the victim Anacleto Viana; that Anacleto Viana's gross negligence was the direct and proximate cause of his death; and that the filing of the third-party complaint was premature by reason of the pendency of the criminal case for homicide through reckless imprudence filed against the crane operator, Alejo Figueroa. In a decision rendered on April 17, 1980 by the trial court, 7 Aboitiz was ordered to pay the Vianas for damages incurred, and Pioneer was ordered to reimburse Aboitiz for whatever amount the latter paid the Vianas. The dispositive portion of said decision provides: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plantiffs: (1) ordering defendant Aboitiz Shipping Corporation to pay to plaintiffs the sum of P12,000.00 for the death of Anacleto Viana P9,800.00 as actual damages; P533,200.00 value of the 10,664 cavans of palay computed at P50.00 per cavan; P10,000.00 as attorney's fees; F 5,000.00, value of the 100 cavans of palay as support for five (5) years for deceased (sic) parents, herein plaintiffs Antonio and Gorgonia Viana computed at P50.00 per cavan; P7,200.00 as support for deceased's parents computed at P120.00 a month for five years pursuant to Art. 2206, Par. 2, of the Civil Code; P20,000.00 as moral damages, and costs; and (2) ordering the third party defendant Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation to reimburse defendant and third party plaintiff Aboitiz Shipping Corporation the said amounts that it is ordered to pay to herein plaintiffs. Both Aboitiz and Pioneer filed separate motions for reconsideration wherein they similarly raised the trial court's failure to declare that Anacleto Viana acted with gross negligence despite the overwhelming evidence presented in support thereof. In addition, Aboitiz alleged, in opposition to Pioneer's motion, that under the memorandum of agreement the liability of Pioneer as contractor is automatic for any damages or losses whatsoever occasioned by and arising from the operation of its arrastre and stevedoring service. In an order dated October 27, 1982, 8 the trial court absolved Pioneer from liability for failure of the Vianas and Aboitiz to preponderantly establish a case of negligence against the crane operator which the court a quo ruled is never presumed, aside from the fact that the memorandum of agreement supposedly refers only to Pioneer's liability in case of loss or damage to goods handled by it but not in the case of personal injuries, and, finally that Aboitiz cannot properly invoke the fellow-servant rule simply because its liability stems from a breach of contract of carriage. The dispositive portion of said order reads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby modified insofar as third party defendant Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation is concerned rendered in favor of the plaintiffs-,: (1) Ordering defendant Aboitiz Shipping Corporation to pay the plaintiffs the sum of P12,000.00 for the death of Anacleto Viana; P9,000.00 (sic) as actual damages; P533,200.00 value of the 10,664 cavans of palay computed at P50.00 per cavan; P10,000.00 as attorney's fees; P5,000.00 value of the 100 cavans of palay as support for five (5) years for deceased's parents, herein plaintiffs Antonio and Gorgonia Viana,computed at P50.00 per cavan; P7,200.00 as support for deceased's parents computed at P120.00 a month for five years pursuant to Art. 2206, Par. 2, of the Civil Code; P20,000.00 as moral damages, and costs; and (2) Absolving third-party defendant Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation for (sic) any liability for the death of Anacleto Viana the passenger of M/V Antonia owned by defendant third party plaintiff Aboitiz Shipping Corporation it appearing that the negligence of its crane operator has not been established therein. Not satisfied with the modified judgment of the trial court, Aboitiz appealed the same to respondent Court of Appeals which affirmed the findings of of the trial court except as to the amount of damages awarded to the Vianas. Hence, this petition wherein petitioner Aboitiz postulates that respondent court erred: (A) In holding that the doctrine laid down by this honorable Court in La Mallorca vs. Court of Appeals, et al. (17 SCRA 739, July 27, 1966) is applicable to the case in the face of the undisputable fact that the factual situation under the La Mallorca case is radically different from the facts obtaining in this case; (B) In holding petitioner liable for damages in the face of the finding of the court a quo and confirmed by the Honorable respondent court of Appeals that the deceased, Anacleto Viana was guilty of contributory negligence, which, We respectfully submit contributory negligence was the proximate cause of his death; specifically the honorable respondent Court of Appeals failed to apply Art. 1762 of the New Civil Code; (C) In the alternative assuming the holding of the Honorable respondent Court of Appears that petitioner may be legally condemned to pay damages to the private respondents we respectfully submit that it committed a reversible error when it dismissed petitioner's third party complaint against private respondent Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation instead of compelling the latter to reimburse the petitioner for whatever damages it may be compelled to pay to the private respondents Vianas. 9 At threshold, it is to be observed that both the trial court and respondent Court of Appeals found the victim Anacleto Viana guilty of contributory negligence, but holding that it was the negligence of Aboitiz in prematurely turning over the vessel to the arrastre operator for the unloading of cargoes which was the direct, immediate and proximate cause of the victim's death. I. Petitioner contends that since one (1) hour had already elapsed from the time Anacleto Viana disembarked from the vessel and that he was given more than ample opportunity to unload his cargoes prior to the operation of the crane, his presence on the vessel was no longer reasonable e and he consequently ceased to be a passenger. Corollarily, it insists that the doctrine in La Mallorca vs. Court of Appeals, et al. 10 is not applicable to the case at bar. The rule is that the relation of carrier and passenger continues until the passenger has been landed at the port of destination and has left the vessel owner's dock or premises. 11 Once created, the relationship will not ordinarily terminate until the passenger has, after reaching his destination, safely alighted from the carrier's conveyance or had a reasonable opportunity to leave the carrier's premises. All persons who remain on the premises a reasonable time after leaving the conveyance are to be deemed passengers, and what is a reasonable time or a reasonable delay within this rule is to be determined from all the circumstances, and includes a reasonable time to see after his

baggage and prepare for his departure. 12 The carrier-passenger relationship is not terminated merely by the fact that the person transported has been carried to his destination if, for example, such person remains in the carrier's premises to claim his baggage. 13 It was in accordance with this rationale that the doctrine in the aforesaid case of La Mallorca was enunciated, to wit: It has been recognized as a rule that the relation of carrier and passenger does not cease at the moment the passenger alights from the carrier's vehicle at a place selected by the carrier at the point of destination, but continues until the passenger has had a reasonable time or a reasonable opportunity to leave the carrier's premises. And, what is a reasonable time or a reasonable delay within this rule is to be determined from all the circumstances. Thus, a person who, after alighting from a train, walks along the station platform is considered still a passenger. So also, where a passenger has alighted at his destination and is proceeding by the usual way to leave the company's premises, but before actually doing so is halted by the report that his brother, a fellow passenger, has been shot, and he in good faith and without intent of engaging in the difficulty, returns to relieve his brother, he is deemed reasonably and necessarily delayed and thus continues to be a passenger entitled as such to the protection of the railroad company and its agents. In the present case, the father returned to the bus to get one of his baggages which was not unloaded when they alighted from the bus. Racquel, the child that she was, must have followed the father. However, although the father was still on the running board of the bus waiting for the conductor to hand him the bag or bayong, the bus started to run, so that even he (the father) had to jump down from the moving vehicle. It was at this instance that the child, who must be near the bus, was run over and killed. In the circumstances, it cannot be claimed that the carrier's agent had exercised the 'utmost diligence' of a 'very cautious person' required by Article 1755 of the Civil Code to be observed by a common carrier in the discharge of its obligation to transport safely its passengers. ... The presence of said passengers near the bus was not unreasonable and they are, therefore, to be considered still as passengers of the carrier, entitled to the protection under their contract of carriage. 14 It is apparent from the foregoing that what prompted the Court to rule as it did in said case is the fact of the passenger's reasonable presence within the carrier's premises. That reasonableness of time should be made to depend on the attending circumstances of the case, such as the kind of common carrier, the nature of its business, the customs of the place, and so forth, and therefore precludes a consideration of the time element per se without taking into account such other factors. It is thus of no moment whether in the cited case of La Mallorca there was no appreciable interregnum for the passenger therein to leave the carrier's premises whereas in the case at bar, an interval of one (1) hour had elapsed before the victim met the accident. The primary factor to be considered is the existence of a reasonable cause as will justify the presence of the victim on or near the petitioner's vessel. We believe there exists such a justifiable cause. It is of common knowledge that, by the very nature of petitioner's business as a shipper, the passengers of vessels are allotted a longer period of time to disembark from the ship than other common carriers such as a passenger bus. With respect to the bulk of cargoes and the number of passengers it can load, such vessels are capable of accommodating a bigger volume of both as compared to the capacity of a regular commuter bus. Consequently, a ship passenger will need at least an hour as is the usual practice, to disembark from the vessel and claim his baggage whereas a bus passenger can easily get off the bus and retrieve his luggage in a very short period of time. Verily, petitioner cannot categorically claim, through the bare expedient of comparing the period of time entailed in getting the passenger's cargoes, that the ruling in La Mallorca is inapplicable to the case at bar. On the contrary, if we are to apply the doctrine enunciated therein to the instant petition, we cannot in reason doubt that the victim Anacleto Viana was still a passenger at the time of the incident. When the accident occurred, the victim was in the act of unloading his cargoes, which he had every right to do, from petitioner's vessel. As earlier stated, a carrier is duty bound not only to bring its passengers safely to their destination but also to afford them a reasonable time to claim their baggage.

It is not definitely shown that one (1) hour prior to the incident, the victim had already disembarked from the vessel. Petitioner failed to prove this. What is clear to us is that at the time the victim was taking his cargoes, the vessel had already docked an hour earlier. In consonance with common shipping procedure as to the minimum time of one (1) hour allowed for the passengers to disembark, it may be presumed that the victim had just gotten off the vessel when he went to retrieve his baggage. Yet, even if he had already disembarked an hour earlier, his presence in petitioner's premises was not without cause. The victim had to claim his baggage which was possible only one (1) hour after the vessel arrived since it was admittedly standard procedure in the case of petitioner's vessels that the unloading operations shall start only after that time. Consequently, under the foregoing circumstances, the victim Anacleto Viana is still deemed a passenger of said carrier at the time of his tragic death. II. Under the law, common carriers are, from the nature of their business and for reasons of public policy, 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. 15 More particularly, a common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances. 16 Thus, where a passenger dies or is injured, the common carrier is presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently. 17 This gives rise to an action for breach of contract of carriage where all that is required of plaintiff is to prove the existence of the contract of carriage and its non-performance by the carrier, that is, the failure of the carrier to carry the passenger safely to his destination, 18which, in the instant case, necessarily includes its failure to safeguard its passenger with extraordinary diligence while such relation subsists. The presumption is, therefore, established by law that in case of a passenger's death or injury the operator of the vessel was at fault or negligent, having failed to exercise extraordinary diligence, and it is incumbent upon it to rebut the same. This is in consonance with the avowed policy of the State to afford full protection to the passengers of common carriers which can be carried out only by imposing a stringent statutory obligation upon the latter. Concomitantly, this Court has likewise adopted a rigid posture in the application of the law by exacting the highest degree of care and diligence from common carriers, bearing utmost in mind the welfare of the passengers who often become hapless victims of indifferent and profit-oriented carriers. We cannot in reason deny that petitioner failed to rebut the presumption against it. Under the facts obtaining in the present case, it cannot be gainsaid that petitioner had inadequately complied with the required degree of diligence to prevent the accident from happening. As found by the Court of Appeals, the evidence does not show that there was a cordon of drums around the perimeter of the crane, as claimed by petitioner. It also adverted to the fact that the alleged presence of visible warning signs in the vicinity was disputable and not indubitably established. Thus, we are not inclined to accept petitioner's explanation that the victim and other passengers were sufficiently warned that merely venturing into the area in question was fraught with serious peril. Definitely, even assuming the existence of the supposed cordon of drums loosely placed around the unloading area and the guard's admonitions against entry therein, these were at most insufficient precautions which pale into insignificance if considered vis-a-vis the gravity of the danger to which the deceased was exposed. There is no showing that petitioner was extraordinarily diligent in requiring or seeing to it that said precautionary measures were strictly and actually enforced to subserve their purpose of preventing entry into the forbidden area. By no stretch of liberal evaluation can such perfunctory acts approximate the "utmost diligence of very cautious persons" to be exercised "as far as human care and foresight can provide" which is required by law of common carriers with respect to their passengers. While the victim was admittedly contributorily negligent, still petitioner's aforesaid failure to exercise extraordinary diligence was the proximate and direct cause of, because it could definitely have prevented, the former's death. Moreover, in paragraph 5.6 of its petition, at bar, 19 petitioner has expressly conceded the factual finding of respondent Court of Appeals that petitioner did not present sufficient evidence in support of its submission that the deceased Anacleto Viana was guilty of gross negligence. Petitioner cannot now be heard to claim otherwise.

No excepting circumstance being present, we are likewise bound by respondent court's declaration that there was no negligence on the part of Pioneer Stevedoring Corporation, a confirmation of the trial court's finding to that effect, hence our conformity to Pioneer's being absolved of any liability. As correctly observed by both courts, Aboitiz joined Pioneer in proving the alleged gross negligence of the victim, hence its present contention that the death of the passenger was due to the negligence of the crane operator cannot be sustained both on grounds, of estoppel and for lack of evidence on its present theory. Even in its answer filed in the court below it readily alleged that Pioneer had taken the necessary safeguards insofar as its unloading operations were concerned, a fact which appears to have been accepted by the plaintiff therein by not impleading Pioneer as a defendant, and likewise inceptively by Aboitiz by filing its third-party complaint only after ten (10) months from the institution of the suit against it. Parenthetically, Pioneer is not within the ambit of the rule on extraordinary diligence required of, and the corresponding presumption of negligence foisted on, common carriers like Aboitiz. This, of course, does not detract from what we have said that no negligence can be imputed to Pioneer but, that on the contrary, the failure of Aboitiz to exercise extraordinary diligence for the safety of its passenger is the rationale for our finding on its liability. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-31733 September 20, 1985 COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS, petitioner, vs. COURT OF TAX APPEALS and JOSE PASCUAL, respondents,

modified the decision of the Commissioner of Customs and ordered private respondent to pay a fine of P5,000.00 instead of the forfeiture of the vessel. Respondent Court stated that there is no question that the vessel was used in the illegal importation of blue seal cigarettes; hence, subject to penalty imposed by Section 2530 of the Tariff and Customs Code. However, the penalty of forfeiture appears to be excessive since herein private respondent took all the necessary action to prevent the vessel from being used illegally by notifying the Philippine Navy of the disappearance of the vessel. From the aforesaid decision, petitioner instituted the present petition. The imperative question presented to Us in this appeal is whether or not the motor boat M/B "Maria Victoria-P" is subject to forfeiture under the Tariff and Customs Code, particularly paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 2530. After the petition was given due course, private respondent in his answer stated that during the pendency of the case before the Court of Appeals, the vessel M/B "Maria Victoria-P" was sold at public auction by the Auction and Sales Division of the Bureau of Customs. WE find merit in the petition. M/B "Maria Victoria-P" was a vessel duly authorized to engage in coastwise trade. It is undisputed and, in fact, established that it was used in the illegal importation of blue seal cigarettes. Thus, the law applicable is paragraphs (a) and (b), Section 2530 of the Tariff and Customs Code which states: SEC. 2530. Property Subject to Forfeiture Under Tariff and Customs Law.- Any vehicle, vessel or aircraft, cargo, article and other objects shall under the following conditions be subject to forfeiture a. Any vehicle, vessel or aircraft, including cargo, which shall be used unlawfully in the importation or exportation of articles or in conveying and or transporting contraband, or smuggled article in commercial quantities into or from any Philippine port or place, and any vessel which, being of less than thirty tons capacity shall be used in the importation of articles into any Philippine Port or place. The mere carrying or holding on board of contraband or smuggled articles in commercial quantities shall subject such vessel vehicle, aircraft or any other craft to forfeiture: Provided, That the vessel, vehicle, aircraft or any other craft is not used as a duly authorized common carrier and as such a carrier it is not chartered or leased; b. Any vessel engaging in the coastwise trade which shall have on board any article of foreign growth, produce, or manufacture in excess of the amount necessary for sea stores, without such article having been properly entered or legally imported. Pursuant to the aforesaid provision, the vessel is clearly subject to forfeiture in favor of the Government. Forfeiture proceedings are in the nature of proceedings in rem (Vierneza vs. Commissioner of Customs, 24 SCRA 394) and are directed against the res. The fact that private respondent has allegedly no actual knowledge that M/B "Maria Victoria-P" was used illegally does not render the vessel immune from forfeiture. This is so because the forfeiture proceedings in this case was instituted against the vessel itself. Private respondent's defense that he has no actual knowledge that the vessel was used illegally is personal to him but cannot absolve the vessel from liability of forfeiture. Moreover, the aforequoted provision prescribes in an unequivocal term the imposition of the penalty of forfeiture in cases of unlawful importation of foreign articles regardless of whether such importation occurred with or without the knowledge of the owner of the vessel.

MAKASIAR, J.: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision dated September 30, 1969 of respondent Court of Tax Appeals which modified the decision of petitioner Commissioner of Customs by ordering only the payment of a fire in lieu of the forfeiture of private respondent Jose Pascual's vessel M/B "Maria Victoria-P", used in the illegal importation of blue seal cigarettes. Private respondent Jose Pascual is the registered owner of the M/B "Maria Victoria-P", a motor boat of 63.25 gross tonnage duly licensed by the Bureau of Customs to engage in coastwise trade. On December 16, 1963, the said vessel was apprehended by the elements of the Philippine Navy five miles off the coast of Naic, Cavite for carrying untaxed 105 cases and 90 parks of Salem cigarettes and 414 cases of Union cigarettes. The authorities turned over the vessel, its crew and its cargo of blue seal cigarettes to the Small Craft Unit of the Philippine Navy for disposition. Thereafter, Seizure Identification Case Nos. 8006 and 8006-A against the vessel and the cargo of blue seal cigarettes, respectively, were instituted before the Collector of Customs. For failure of anybody to claim ownership over the cigarettes, the same were forfeited in favor of the Government. On the other hand, during the forfeiture proceedings against the vessel private respondent claimed that on December 4, 1963, his vessel with fourteen (14) crew and a captain went to Bulalakao, Mindoro to catch fish; that after three days of fishing, all the fishing nets were destroyed; that Jose Joloc captain of the boat, notified private respondent in Manila about the nets and the latter ordered the former to bring the boat back to Manila; that for failure of the boat to arrive in Manila on the date expected by private respondent, he sent a telegram addressed to the captain reiterating his previous order, but no answer was received; that private respondent sent a certain Artemio Buenvenuto to Mindoro on December 13, 1963 to fetch the boat; that on even date Buenvenuto sent a telegram to private respondent that the boat had left Mindoro; that after receiving the telegram on the same date, private respondent notified the Philippine Navy that his boat was missing and expressed fear that it might be used illegally. Jose Joloc captain of the vessel claimed that he was not able to bring the boat back to Manila due to bad weather; that while in Mindoro, Fructuoso Maniego, whom he knew since 1962 approached and asked him if he could load the former's fishes on board M/B "Maria Victoria-P" for a fee of P20,000.00; that the fishes were out in the sea aboard a disabled boat; that he agreed and upon reaching the place where the boatload of fishes is located, they found akumpit with seven armed Muslims on board and that the kumpit was loaded with blue seal cigarettes; that at gun points, he was forced to load the blue seal cigarettes which allegedly belong to one Datu Jacob of Jolo, Sulo. On July 3, 1964, the Collector of Customs rendered a decision declaring the vessel forfeited in favor of the Government. The Collector of Customs ruled that since it was established that the vessel was hired for a fee of P20,000.00 thru its captain, to ferry the untaxed cigarettes, there was a contract of carriage entered into between Jose Joloc and the owner of the cigarettes; that Jose Pascual, owner of the vessel is bound by the acts of his agent, On appeal by herein private respondent, the decision was affirmed by the Commissioner of Customs. Private respondent appealed before the Court of Tax Appeals and on September 30, 1969, the said Court, as already stated,

In United States vs. Steamship "Rubi" (32 Phil. 239), this Court, in resolving the question of whether or not the innocence of the owner in the illegal importation of foreign articles can withdraw the ship from the penalty of confiscation, said: The vessel which commits the aggression is treated as the offender, without any reference whatsoever to the character or conduct of the owner. ... This is done from the necessity of the case, as the only adequate means of suppressing the offense or wrong. ... The doctrine also is familiarly applied to cases of smuggling and other misconduct under our revenue laws; and ... embargo and non-intercourse acts. ... The same thing applies to proceeding in rem or seizures in admiralty ... The acts of the master and crew, in cases of this sort, bind the interest of the owner of the ship, whether he be innocent or guilty. The claim of private respondent that while the crew members of the vessel were fishing, all the fishing nets were destroyed and that he was even notified in this regard is hardly convincing. It may be possible that while in the course of catching fish, one or two fishing nets may be destroyed. But the destruction of all the fishing nets at the same time is highly improbable. Furthermore, private respondent reported to the Philippine Navy instead of the Coast Guard that his vessel was missing, only after a lapse of six (6) days from the time he was informed of the alleged destruction of all the fishing nets. Could it be that all those notification of destruction of fishing nets and eventually of the loss of vessel are just a part of a scheme to prevent the vessel from any liability should, as it happened in this case, it be intercepted by the authorities? The insistence of Jose Joloc captain of the vessel that the boat could not be brought back to Manila due to bad weather is not supported by evidence. No weather report in Mindoro was ever presented during the hearing of the case. His insistence becomes even more dubious by the fact that he agreed with Fructuoso Maniego to load the latter's fishes on board M/B "Maria Victoria-P" when the alleged fishes were even out at sea aboard an alleged disabled boat. It is unbelievable that he could risk going out to sea to load the fish cargo of Maniego in the midst of the storm, but could not sail back to Manila. Taking all these circumstances, the conclusion is inevitable that the vessel was not used in catching fish but was used in the smuggling of blue seal cigarettes. WHEREFORE, THE QUESTIONED DECISION DATED SEPTEMBER 30, 1969 OF RESPONDENT COURT OF TAX APPEALS IS HEREBY SET ASIDE; AND THE VESSEL M/B "MARIA VICTORIA-P" IS HEREBY ORDERED FORFEITED IN FAVOR OF THE GOVERNMENT. COSTS AGAINST PRIVATE RESPONDENT. SO ORDERED.