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TOPIC: Art. 12 Exempting Circumstances (Accident)
PETITIONER: Leonardo Kong, Jose Tiope & Elsa Panelo, being the branch manager, operations
manager & supervisor, respectively, under Jarco Marketing
RESPONDENT: Criselda & Conrado Aguilar (Parents of Zhienith)
NATURE OF PETITION: Complaint for Damages
PREVIOUS DECISIONS: Petitioners was ordered by the respondents, the reimbursement of the
hospitalization, medical bills, and wake and funeral expenses used for the deceased, Zheinith
FACTS: Zheinith, a 6 year old child, died due to multiple injuries she sustained during the
collapse of the counter at the business establishment owned by the petitioners. That in the
afternoon of May 9, 1983, Criselda and Zheinith was at the 2
floor of the Syvels Department
Store in Makati City, Criselda was signing her credit card slip at the payment and verification
counter when she felt a loud thud. And when she looked behind her, beheld her daughter on
the floor, pinned by bulk of the stores gift-wrapping counter/structure.
CONTENTION OF THE PETITIONER: They should not be held liable for the death of Zheinith, as
the counter that befell her was caused by the negligence of both Criselda and Zheinith. Being
the mother, she must assure the safety of her child. Criselda attributed negligence when she let
go of Zheinith which allowed her to come near the counter.
CONTENTION OF THE RESPONDENT: The fall of the counter being the proximate cause of death
of Zheinith was because of negligence of the owner of the establishment as it was not nailed
and shaky, which was then also corroborated by the witnesses who used to work at the
establishment. That negligence being imputed to the mother was not reasonable for she was at
that moment was signing the credit card slip.
SUPREME COURT DECISION: Petition for DISMISSAL was DENIED. And the previous judgment
was AFFIRMED, imposing penalty, viz:
P50, 000.00 compensatory damage for the death of Zhienith, with legal interest of
6% per annum from April 27, 1984
P99,420.86 as reimbursement for hospitalization expenses incurred, with legal
interest of 6% per annum from April 27, 1984
P100, 000.00 as moral and exemplary damages
P20, 000.00 in the concept of attorneys fees
REASONS: Petitioner Panelo and other store supervisor were personally informed by the
witnesses while they were still working at the said establishment that the counter was unstable
for the reason that it was not nailed on the floor. Yet, neither initiated any concrete action to
remedy the situation.
Even if the court attributes contributory negligence to ZHIENETH and assume that she climbed
over the counter, no injury should have occurred if the counter was stable and sturdy.

OTHER LEGAL CONCEPTS DISCUSSED: A child under nine (9) years of age must be conclusively
incapable of contributory negligence, provided under Article 12, par. 2-3 of the Revised Penal