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FIRST DIVISION [G.R. No. 141910. August 6, 2002] FGU INSURANCE CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. G.P.

SARMIENTO TRUCKING CORPORATION !" #AM$ERT M. ERO#ES, respondents. %ECISION &ITUG, J.' G.P. Sarmiento Trucking Corporation (GPS) undertook to deli er on !" #une !$$% t&irt' (()) unit* o+ Condura S.D. ,&ite re+rigerator* a-oard one o+ it* I*u.u truck/ dri en -' 0am-ert 1role*/ +rom t&e plant *ite o+ Concepcion Indu*trie*/ Inc./ along Sout& Super&ig&,a' in 2la-ang/ 3etro 3anila/ to t&e Central 0u.on 2ppliance* in Dagupan Cit'. 4&ile t&e truck ,a* tra er*ing t&e nort& di er*ion road along 3c2rt&ur &ig&,a' in 5aranga' 2nupol/ 5am-an/ Tarlac/ it collided ,it& an unidenti+ied truck/ cau*ing it to +all into a deep canal/ re*ulting in damage to t&e cargoe*. FG6 In*urance Corporation (FG6)/ an in*urer o+ t&e *&ipment/ paid to Concepcion Indu*trie*/ Inc./ t&e alue o+ t&e co ered cargoe* in t&e *um o+ P7)%/%8).)). FG6/ in turn/ -eing t&e *u-rogee o+ t&e rig&t* and intere*t* o+ Concepcion Indu*trie*/ Inc./ *oug&t reim-ur*ement o+ t&e amount it &ad paid to t&e latter +rom GPS. Since t&e trucking compan' +ailed to &eed t&e claim/ FG6 +iled a complaint +or damage* and -reac& o+ contract o+ carriage again*t GPS and it* dri er 0am-ert 1role* ,it& t&e Regional Trial Court/ 5ranc& 99/ o+ 3akati Cit'. In it* an*,er/ re*pondent* a**erted t&at GPS ,a* t&e e:clu*i e &auler onl' o+ Concepcion Indu*trie*/ Inc./ *ince !$""/ and it ,a* not *o engaged in -u*ine** a* a common carrier. Re*pondent* +urt&er claimed t&at t&e cau*e o+ damage ,a* purel' accidental. T&e i**ue* &a ing t&u* -een ;oined/ FG6 pre*ented it* e idence/ e*ta-li*&ing t&e e:tent o+ damage to t&e cargoe* and t&e amount it &ad paid to t&e a**ured. GPS/ in*tead o+ *u-mitting it* e idence/ +iled ,it& lea e o+ court a motion to di*mi** t&e complaint -' ,a' o+ demurrer to e idence on t&e ground t&at petitioner &ad +ailed to pro e t&at it ,a* a common carrier. T&e trial court/ in it* order o+ () 2pril !$$9/<!= granted t&e motion to di*mi**/ e:plaining t&u*l'> ?6nder Section ! o+ Rule !(! o+ t&e Rule* o+ Court/ it i* pro ided t&at @1ac& part' mu*t pro e &i* o,n a++irmati e allegation/ :::.A ?In t&e in*tant ca*e/ plainti++ did not pre*ent an' *ingle e idence t&at ,ould pro e t&at de+endant i* a common carrier. ?: : : : : : :::

?2ccordingl'/ t&e application o+ t&e la, on common carrier* i* not ,arranted and t&e pre*umption o+ +ault or negligence on t&e part o+ a common carrier in ca*e o+ lo**/ damage or deterioration o+ good* during tran*port under !B(8 o+ t&e Ci il Code i* not a ailing. ?T&u*/ t&e la,* go erning t&e contract -et,een t&e o,ner o+ t&e cargo to ,&om t&e plainti++ ,a* *u-rogated and t&e o,ner o+ t&e e&icle ,&ic& tran*port* t&e cargo are t&e la,* on o-ligation and contract o+ t&e Ci il Code a* ,ell a* t&e la, on Cua*i delict*. ?6nder t&e la, on o-ligation and contract/ negligence or +ault i* not pre*umed. T&e la, on Cua*i delict pro ide* +or *ome pre*umption o+ negligence -ut onl' upon t&e attendance o+ *ome circum*tance*. T&u*/ 2rticle 7!"8 pro ide*> @2rt. 7!"8. 6nle** t&ere i* proo+ to t&e contrar'/ it i* pre*umed t&at a per*on dri ing a motor e&icle &a* -een negligent i+ at t&e time o+ t&e mi*&ap/ &e ,a* iolating an' tra++ic regulation.A ?1 idence +or t&e plainti++ *&o,* no proo+ t&at de+endant ,a* iolating an' tra++ic regulation. Dence/ t&e pre*umption o+ negligence i* not o-taining. ?Con*idering t&at plainti++ +ailed to adduce e idence t&at de+endant i* a common carrier and de+endantA* dri er ,a* t&e one negligent/ de+endant cannot -e made lia-le +or t&e damage* o+ t&e *u-;ect cargoe*.E<7= T&e *u-*eCuent motion +or recon*ideration &a ing -een denied/ <(= plainti++ interpo*ed an appeal to t&e Court o+ 2ppeal*/ contending t&at t&e trial court &ad erred (a) in &olding t&at t&e appellee corporation ,a* not a common carrier de+ined under t&e la, and e:i*ting ;uri*prudenceF and (-) in di*mi**ing t&e complaint on a demurrer to e idence. T&e Court o+ 2ppeal* re;ected t&e appeal o+ petitioner and ruled in +a or o+ GPS. T&e appellate court/ in it* deci*ion o+ !) #une !$$$/ <%=di*cour*ed/ among ot&er t&ing*/ t&at G H: : : in order +or t&e pre*umption o+ negligence pro ided +or under t&e la, go erning common carrier (2rticle !B(8/ Ci il Code) to ari*e/ t&e appellant mu*t +ir*t pro e t&at t&e appellee i* a common carrier. S&ould t&e appellant +ail to pro e t&at t&e appellee i* a common carrier/ t&e pre*umption ,ould not ari*eF con*eCuentl'/ t&e appellant ,ould &a e to pro e t&at t&e carrier ,a* negligent. H: : : : : : :::

H5ecau*e it i* t&e appellant ,&o in*i*t* t&at t&e appellee* can *till -e con*idered a* a common carrier/ de*pite it* Ilimited clientele/A (a**uming it ,a* reall' a common carrier)/ it +ollo,* t&at it (appellant) &a* t&e -urden o+ pro ing t&e *ame. It (plainti++Gappellant) Imu*t e*ta-li*& &i* ca*e -' a preponderance o+ e idence/ ,&ic& mean* t&at t&e e idence a* a ,&ole adduced -' one *ide i* *uperior to t&at o+ t&e ot&er.A (Summa In*urance Corporation *. Court o+ 2ppeal*/ 7%( SCR2 !B8). T&i*/ un+ortunatel'/ t&e appellant +ailed to do GG &ence/ t&e di*mi**al o+ t&e plainti++A* complaint -' t&e trial court i* ;u*ti+ied. H: : : : : : :::

H5a*ed on t&e +oregoing di*Cui*ition* and con*idering t&e circum*tance* t&at t&e appellee trucking corporation &a* -een Iit* e:clu*i e contractor/ &auler *ince !$B)/ de+endant &a* no c&oice -ut to compl' ,it& t&e directi e o+ it* principal/A t&e ine ita-le conclu*ion i* t&at t&e appellee i* a pri ate carrier. H: : : : : : :::

H: : : t&e lo,er court correctl' ruled t&at Jt&e application o+ t&e la, on common carrier* i* not ,arranted and t&e pre*umption o+ +ault or negligence on t&e part o+ a common carrier in ca*e o+ lo**/ damage or deterioration o+ good<*= during tran*port under <article= !B(8 o+ t&e Ci il Code i* not a ailing.J : : :. HFinall'/ 4e ad ert to t&e long e*ta-li*&ed rule t&at conclu*ion* and +inding* o+ +act o+ a trial court are entitled to great ,eig&t on appeal and *&ould not -e di*tur-ed unle** +or *trong and alid rea*on*.H<8= PetitionerJ* motion +or recon*ideration ,a* like,i*e deniedF<9= &ence/ t&e in*tant petition/<B= rai*ing t&e +ollo,ing i**ue*> I 4D1TD1R R1SPOND1NT GPS 32K 51 CONSID1R1D 2S 2 CO33ON C2RRI1R 2S D1FIN1D 6ND1R TD1 024 2ND 1LISTING #6RISPR6D1NC1. II 4D1TD1R R1SPOND1NT GPS/ 1ITD1R 2S 2 CO33ON C2RRI1R OR 2 PRIV2T1 C2RRI1R/ 32K 51 PR1S631D TO D2V1 511N N1G0IG1NT 4D1N TD1 GOODS IT 6ND1RTOOM TO TR2NSPORT S2F10K 41R1 S65S1N61NT0K D232G1D 4DI01 IN ITS PROT1CTIV1 C6STODK 2ND POSS1SSION. III 4D1TD1R TD1 DOCTRIN1 OF RES IPSA LOQUITUR IS 2PP0IC2501 IN TD1 INST2NT C2S1. On t&e +ir*t i**ue/ t&e Court +ind* t&e conclu*ion o+ t&e trial court and t&e Court o+ 2ppeal* to -e ampl' ;u*ti+ied. GPS/ -eing an e:clu*i e contractor and &auler o+ Concepcion Indu*trie*/ Inc./ rendering or o++ering it* *er ice* to no ot&er indi idual or entit'/ cannot -e con*idered a common carrier. Common carrier* are per*on*/ corporation*/ +irm* or a**ociation* engaged in t&e -u*ine** o+ carr'ing or tran*porting pa**enger* or good* or -ot&/ -' land/ ,ater/ or air/ +or &ire or compen*ation/ o++ering t&eir *er ice* to t&e (u)*+,/<"= ,&et&er to t&e pu-lic in general or to a limited clientele in particular/ -ut ne er on an e:clu*i e -a*i*. <$= T&e true te*t o+ a common carrier i* t&e carriage o+ pa**enger* or good*/ pro iding *pace +or t&o*e ,&o opt to a ail t&em*el e* o+ it* tran*portation *er ice +or a +ee.<!)= Gi en accepted *tandard*/ GPS *carcel' +all* ,it&in t&e term ?common carrier.E T&e a-o e conclu*ion not&,it&*tanding/ GPS cannot e*cape +rom lia-ilit'. In culpa contractual/ upon ,&ic& t&e action o+ petitioner re*t* a* -eing t&e *u-rogee o+ Concepcion Indu*trie*/ Inc./ t&e mere proo+ o+ t&e e:i*tence o+ t&e contract and t&e +ailure o+ it* compliance ;u*ti+'/ prima facie/ a corre*ponding rig&t o+ relie+.<!!= T&e la,/ t&e o-ligator' +orce o+ contract*/<!7= ,ill not permit a part' to -e *et +ree +rom lia-ilit' +or an' kind o+ mi*per+ormance o+ t&e contractual undertaking or a contra ention o+ t&e tenor t&ereo+.<!(= 2 -reac& upon t&e contract con+er* upon t&e in;ured part' a alid cau*e +or reco ering t&at ,&ic& ma' &a e -een lo*t or *u++ered. T&e remed' *er e* to pre*er e t&e intere*t* o+ t&e promi*ee t&at ma' include &i* ?e:pectation intere*t/E ,&ic& i* &i* intere*t in &a ing t&e -ene+it o+ &i* -argain -' -eing put in a* good a po*ition a* &e ,ould &a e -een in &ad t&e contract -een per+ormed/ or &i* ?reliance intere*t/E ,&ic& i* &i* intere*t in -eing reim-ur*ed +or lo** cau*ed -' reliance on t&e contract -' -eing put in a* good a po*ition a* &e ,ould &a e -een in &ad t&e contract not -een madeF or &i* ?re*titution intere*t/E ,&ic& i* &i* intere*t in &a ing re*tored to &im an' -ene+it t&at &e &a* con+erred on t&e ot&er part'. <!%= Indeed/ agreement* can accompli*& little/ eit&er +or t&eir maker* or +or *ociet'/ unle** t&e' are made t&e -a*i* +or action. <!8= T&e e++ect o+ e er' in+raction i* to create a ne, dut'/ t&at i*/ to make recompen*e to t&e one ,&o &a* -een in;ured -' t&e +ailure o+ anot&er to o-*er e &i* contractual o-ligation <!9= unle** &e can *&o, e:tenuating circum*tance*/ like proo+ o+ &i* e:erci*e o+ due diligence (normall' t&at o+ t&e diligence o+ a good +at&er o+ a +amil' or/ e:ceptionall' -' *tipulation or -' la, *uc& a* in t&e ca*e o+ common carrier*/ t&at o+ e:traordinar' diligence) or o+ t&e attendance o+ +ortuitou* e ent/ to e:cu*e &im +rom &i* en*uing lia-ilit'. Re*pondent trucking corporation recogni.e* t&e e:i*tence o+ a contract o+ carriage -et,een it and petitionerA* a**ured/ and admit* t&at t&e cargoe* it &a* a**umed to deli er &a e -een lo*t or damaged ,&ile in it* cu*tod'. In *uc& a *ituation/ a de+ault on/ or +ailure o+ compliance ,it&/ t&e o-ligation O in t&i* ca*e/ t&e deli er' o+ t&e good* in it* cu*tod' to t&e place o+ de*tination G gi e* ri*e to a pre*umption o+ lack o+ care and corre*ponding lia-ilit' on t&e part o+ t&e contractual o-ligor t&e -urden -eing on &im to e*ta-li*& ot&er,i*e. GPS &a* +ailed to do *o. Re*pondent dri er/ on t&e ot&er &and/ ,it&out concrete proo+ o+ &i* negligence or +ault/ ma' not &im*el+ -e ordered to pa' petitioner. T&e dri er/ not -eing a part' to t&e contract o+ carriage -et,een petitionerA* principal and de+endant/ ma' not -e &eld lia-le under t&e agreement. 2 contract can onl' -ind t&e partie* ,&o &a e entered into it or t&eir *ucce**or* ,&o &a e a**umed t&eir per*onalit' or t&eir ;uridical po*ition. <!B=Con*onantl' ,it& t&e a:iom res inter alios acta aliis neque nocet prodest / *uc& contract can neit&er +a or nor pre;udice a t&ird per*on. PetitionerA* ci il action again*t t&e dri er can onl' -e -a*ed on culpa aquiliana, ,&ic&/ unlike culpa contractual, ,ould reCuire t&e claimant +or damage* to pro e negligence or +ault on t&e part o+ t&e de+endant.<!"= 2 ,ord in pa**ing. Res ipsa loquitur, a doctrine -eing in oked -' petitioner/ &old* a de+endant lia-le ,&ere t&e t&ing ,&ic& cau*ed t&e in;ur' complained o+ i* *&o,n to -e under t&e latterA* management and t&e accident i* *uc& t&at/ in t&e ordinar' cour*e o+ t&ing*/ cannot -e e:pected to &appen i+ t&o*e ,&o &a e it* management or control u*e proper care. It a++ord* rea*ona-le e idence/ in t&e a-*ence o+ e:planation -' t&e de+endant/ t&at t&e accident aro*e +rom ,ant o+ care.<!$= It i* not a rule o+ *u-*tanti e la, and/ a* *uc&/ it doe* not create an independent ground o+ lia-ilit'. In*tead/ it i* regarded a* a mode o+ proo+/ or a mere procedural con enience *ince it +urni*&e* a *u-*titute +or/ and relie e* t&e plainti++ o+/ t&e -urden o+ producing *peci+ic proo+ o+ negligence. T&e ma:im *impl' place* on t&e de+endant t&e -urden o+ going +or,ard ,it& t&e proo+. <7)= Re*ort to t&e doctrine/ &o,e er/ ma' -e allo,ed onl' ,&en (a) t&e e ent i* o+ a kind ,&ic& doe* not ordinaril' occur in t&e a-*ence o+ negligenceF (-) ot&er re*pon*i-le cau*e*/ including t&e conduct o+ t&e plainti++ and t&ird per*on*/ are *u++icientl' eliminated -' t&e e idenceF and (c) t&e indicated negligence i* ,it&in t&e *cope o+ t&e de+endantJ* dut' to t&e plainti++.<7!= T&u*/ it i* not applica-le ,&en an une:plained accident ma' -e attri-uta-le to one o+ *e eral cau*e*/ +or *ome o+ ,&ic& t&e de+endant could not -e re*pon*i-le.<77=

Res ipsa loquitur generall' +ind* rele ance ,&et&er or not a contractual relation*&ip e:i*t* -et,een t&e plainti++ and t&e de+endant/ +or t&e in+erence o+ negligence ari*e* +rom t&e circum*tance* and nature o+ t&e occurrence and not +rom t&e nature o+ t&e relation o+ t&e partie*. <7(=Ne ert&ele**/ t&e reCuirement t&at re*pon*i-le cau*e* ot&er t&an t&o*e due to de+endantA* conduct mu*t +ir*t -e eliminated/ +or t&e doctrine to appl'/ *&ould -e under*tood a* -eing con+ined onl' to ca*e* o+ pure (nonGcontractual) tort *ince o- iou*l' t&e pre*umption o+ negligence in culpa contractual/ a* pre iou*l' *o pointed out/ immediatel' attac&e* -' a +ailure o+ t&e co enant or it* tenor. In t&e ca*e o+ t&e truck dri er/ ,&o*e lia-ilit' in a ci il action i* predicated on culpa acquiliana/ ,&ile &e admittedl' can -e *aid to &a e -een in control and management o+ t&e e&icle ,&ic& +igured in t&e accident/ it i* not eCuall' *&o,n/ &o,e er/ t&at t&e accident could &a e -een e:clu*i el' due to &i* negligence/ a matter t&at can allo,/ +ort&,it&/ res ipsa loquitur to ,ork again*t &im. I+ a demurrer to e idence i* granted -ut on appeal t&e order o+ di*mi**al i* re er*ed/ t&e mo ant *&all -e deemed to &a e ,ai ed t&e rig&t to pre*ent e idence.<7%= T&u*/ re*pondent corporation ma' no longer o++er proo+ to e*ta-li*& t&at it &a* e:erci*ed due care in tran*porting t&e cargoe* o+ t&e a**ured *o a* to *till ,arrant a remand o+ t&e ca*e to t&e trial court. -.EREFORE/ t&e order/ dated () 2pril !$$9/ o+ t&e Regional Trial Court/ 5ranc& 99/ o+ 3akati Cit'/ and t&e deci*ion/ dated !) #une !$$$/ o+ t&e Court o+ 2ppeal*/ are 2FFIR31D onl' in*o+ar a* re*pondent 0am-ert 3. 1role* i* concerned/ -ut *aid a**ailed order o+ t&e trial court and deci*ion o+ t&e appellate court are R1V1RS1D a* regard* G.P. Sarmiento Trucking Corporation ,&ic&/ in*tead/ i* &ere-' ordered to pa' FG6 In*urance Corporation t&e alue o+ t&e damaged and lo*t cargoe* in t&e amount o+ P7)%/%8).)). No co*t*. SO OR%ERE%. Davide, r!, "! !, #"$airman%, &apunan, 'nares(Santia)o, and Austria(*artine+, !, concur.

Case digest F ,ts> GPS i* an e:clu*i e contractor and &auler o+ Concepcion Indu*trie*/ Inc. One da'/ it ,a* to deli er certain good* o+ Concepcion Indu*trie*/ Inc. a-oard one o+ it* truck*. On it* ,a'/ t&e truck collided ,it& an unidenti+ied truck/ re*ulting in damage to t&e cargoe*. FG6/ in*urer o+ t&e *&ipment paid to Concepcion Indu*trie*/ Inc. t&e amount o+ t&e damage and +iled a *uit again*t GPS. GPS +iled a motion to di*mi** +or +ailure to pro e t&at it ,a* a common carrier. Issu/> 4&et&er or not GPS +all* under t&e categor' o+ a common carrier. ./*"> Note t&at GPS i* an e:clu*i e contractor and &auler o+ Concepcion Indu*trie*/ Inc. o++ering it* *er ice to no ot&er indi idual or entit'. 2 common carrier i* one ,&ic& o++er* it* *er ice* ,&et&er to t&e pu-lic in general or to a limited clientele in particular -ut ne er on an e:clu*i e -a*i*. T&ere+ore/ GPS doe* not +it t&e categor' o+ a common carrier alt&oug& it i* not +reed +rom it* lia-ilit' -a*ed on culpa contractual.