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US v PIACO

F: The appellants rented two automobile trucks and was using them upon highways
in Leyte to carry some passengers and freight. In each case, he would carry them
under a special contract, and did not hold himself out to all passengers and fr
eight. This was still the basis of the LC charging them with violation of the Pu
blic Utility Law for operating a public utility without permission from the comm
issioner.
I: Whether or not the rental service constitutes a public utility.
- A-Gen: Not a public utility. No evidence to show that they were for public use
. The evidence shows that these were special arrangements where the special arra
ngements control how the appellants would control their trip, etc.
- The case is similar to Terminal Taxi v Kutz where the a taxi company that refu
sed to hold itself out to accommodate any and all persons was deemed not a publi
c utility.
- Sec. 14 of the PUL states that: . The term 'public utility' is hereby dened to
include every individual,copartnership, association, corporation or joint stock
company, etc., etc., that now or hereafter may own, operate, manage, or control
any common carrier, railroad, street railway, etc., etc., engaged in the transpo
rtation of passengers, cargo, etc., etc., for public use.
- Elements: public utility/enterprise, for public use
- Here: Lacked public use. Public use means that the thing to be used is
not confined to privileged individuals, rather it is open to the general public
. Consider the character AND mode of business. If public benefit merely incident
al, not public use. If use not by right, also not public use. None of these The
were present.
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THE ILOILO ICE AND COLD STORAGE COMPANY
F: The Iloilo Ice and Storage Company has been maintaining and operating a plant
for the manufacture and sale of ice In Iloilo, and ships ice to several nearby
provinces. It produces its ice on contract with selected customers, and on a per
-order basis. The plant itself has a sign that says that no ice is sold to the p
ublic-- only private contracts are allowed. (asserts itself as a private enterpr
ise)
Francisco Villanueva, secretary of the Public Utility Comm., investigated the op
eration of the ice plants and recommended that it be considered a public utility
. They claim that the company sold ice to the public, and advertised its sale th
rough the papers. This was considered in the PUC decision declaring the company
a public utility.
I: Whether or not the Iloilo Ice and Cold Storage Co. is a public utility.
- The definition of public utility, prior to this 1917, did not include ice, ref
rigeration, and cold storage plants. At this point, public utilities include cor
porations that own, operate, manufacture, or control such kinds of plants FOR PU
BLIC USE.
- Certain cases from the US help in defining the concept of public use:
- US v Piaco and Terminal v Kutz, supra
- Thayer v CDC: public character taken from non-confinement to pvileged
individuals
- Fallbrook Irrigation v Bradley: not essential that the entire communit
y/a considerable portion thereof directly enjoy/participate in an improvement to
constitute public use -> it is the existence of rights to use the utility (here
, water) under the same circumstances.
- Transportation Co v Railroad Commission: ready admission and non-exclu
sion in carrying oil for producers seeking its service = public use
- Allen v Railroad Comm: t the devotion to
public use must be of such character that the public generally, or that partof i
t which has been served and which has accepted the service, has theright to dema
nd that service shall be conducted, so long as it is continued,with reasonable ec
iency under reasonable charges. Public use, then,means the use by the public and
by every individual member of it, as a legal right.
- Applying the cases mentioned: it is not a public utility [consider public use]
.
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ZAMBOANGA TRANSPO v PUC
F: The PUC approved a chattel mortgage executed by the petitioner in favor of Ba
chrach Motor, and the foreclosure of the said mortgage. ZTC assails the mortgage
and foreclosure, questioning the power of the PUC to approve the chattel mortga
ge and foreclosure.
I: Whether or not the PUC had the power to approve the chattel mortgage/foreclos
ure.
- Sec. 16 of Act 3108 requires sale/alientation/mortgage of public utilities wit
hout the approval of the PUC.
- As public utilities have for its object public service, the law, in order to p
revent the public from being unjustly exploited, requires that every enterprise
of such nature, before commencing operations, shall obtain a certificate of publ
ic convenience from the PUC.
- This also places the PUC under an obligation to see that the public utility co
mplies with its duty to the public and is not prejudicial to it. Mortgages may p
rejudice the public interests such that the law requires the PUC's approval in o
rder to determine if the mortgage would be injurious to the public interests.
- In the situation involving ZT: the former had difficulty in paying for its pur
chases with BM. The chattel mortgage was more convenient and beneficial to prev
ent the foreclosure of the original mortgage.
- The PUC's approval had the effect of making the contract effective assuming th
e contract was potentially valid to beign with.
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SANTOS v PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION *WARNING: CHANGE IN LAW*
F: The El Tren de Aguadas supplies water to ships in the Pasig River and Manila
Bay. When a complaint was filed for refusal to serve the motorship Andalucia, th
e PUC came to closer inspection by the PUC. The said PUC declared that El Tren w
as a public utility, and required that the business observe the PUC's regulation
s, render reports, and solicit the proper Certificate of Public Convenience.
I: Whether or not El Tren was a public utility.
H/R: YES!
- There was a change in the law, where instead of the US v Tan Piaco definition,
public utilities now require (1) public service, and (2) business for hire or c
ompensation. The change of terminology is outside the ambit of the Court, so the
SC merely applied the new definition in determining if El Tren was a public uti
lity.
- It was: certainly, it was for a public service [water to ships] and for hire/c
ompensation. Basis: Voluntary submission to jurisdiction of the PUC, holding out
to the public, and a letter evidencing additional tariffs on customers.