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This arose after a hotel guest, and Pioneers insured, checked into the City Garden

hotel in Makati. The hotels parking attendant and co-defendant got the keys to the
guests vehicle and parked it an adjacent lot owned by a third party. The guest was
subsequently awakened so as to be advised that his car had been taken. The guest
made the necessary reports and thereafter filed a claim for insurance with Pioneer
which paid the same as indemnity for the vehicles loss. Pioneer alleged that the
loss was an offshoot of the hotels negligence and accordingly filed a claim by
means of subrogation, against the hotel and its parking valet. It was established
that there was a previous similar incident and yet no no necessary precautions
were taken to prevent its repetition xxx. Pioneer argued that the hotel was was
wanting in due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees
particularly its parking valet.
On a procedural note, Pioneer was allowed to present evidence ex parte in view of
the hotels failure to file a pre-trial brief and to appear at pre-trial.
The Hotel argued that the insured was not a guest of the hotel but a visitor therein,
that its valet did not get his keys but it was the insured who requested him to find a
space wherever one was available, that valet parking was provided for convenience
of its customers and that it was a special privilege that was given to the
insured. The vehicle was taken without using the key which was even turned over
to the owner. Its valet even tried to run after the carnappers to no avail.
The guest testified that he drove his vehicle in front of the hotel where the parking
attendant approached and asked him for his key, and issued a valet parking
customers claim stub. He then checked in at the hotel with a companion. At
around 1 a.m., he was advised of the carnapping incident. An adjuster testified
that based on his investigation, the hotel would assist guests in parking, and with
only 12 parking slots, entered into an agreement with an adjacent bank to use the
latters space at night. He discovered that a van had been carnapped from the same
lot barely a month before.
The lower court ruled in favor of Pioneer and ordered Durban to pay the sum of
P1,163,250.00 with legal interest thereon from July 22, 2003 until the obligation is
fully
paid
and
attorneys
fees
and
litigation
expenses
amounting
to P120,000.00. This was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
The High Court upheld the ruling that the hotel was in default for failure to appear
at the pre-trial conference and to file a pre-trial brief, and thus, correctly allowed
respondent to present evidence ex-parte. It also affirmed the finding that it was
liable for the loss of the vehicle. The procedural aspect will not be dealt with in
detail here.

Despite the finding of default, the Supreme Court emphasized that defendants
(petitioners) preclusion from presenting evidence during trial does not
automatically result in a judgment in favor of plaintiff (respondent). The plaintiff
must still substantiate the allegations in its complaint.
It found that the allegations of Pioneer in the complaint were substantiated, i.e., a
contract of necessary deposit existed between the insured xxx and petitioner. On
this score, we find no error in the following disquisition of the appellate court:
[The] records also reveal that upon arrival at the City Garden Hotel, See gave notice
to the doorman and parking attendant of the said hotel, x x x Justimbaste, about his
Vitara when he entrusted its ignition key to the latter. x x x Justimbaste issued a
valet parking customer claim stub to See, parked the Vitara at the Equitable PCI
Bank parking area, and placed the ignition key inside a safety key box while See
proceeded to the hotel lobby to check in. The Equitable PCI Bank parking area
became an annex of City Garden Hotel when the management of the said bank
allowed the parking of the vehicles of hotel guests thereat in the evening after
banking hours.
Interesting is the finding that the banks parking area was deemed an annex to
the hotel. A hotels use of an adjacent lot appears to subject the same to its
control.
The Court cited Article 1962, in relation to Article 1998, of the Civil Code:
Art. 1962. A deposit is constituted from the moment a person receives a thing
belonging to another, with the obligation of safely keeping it and returning the
same. If the safekeeping of the thing delivered is not the principal purpose of the
contract, there is no deposit but some other contract.
Art. 1998. The deposit of effects made by travelers in hotels or inns shall also be
regarded as necessary. The keepers of hotels or inns shall be responsible for them
as depositaries, provided that notice was given to them, or to their employees, of
the effects brought by the guests and that, on the part of the latter, they take the
precautions which said hotel-keepers or their substitutes advised relative to the
care and vigilance of their effects.
The insured deposited the vehicle for safekeeping with the hotel, through its
employee. This employee issued a claim stub to the insured. The contract of
deposit was perfected from the delivery of the vehicle, when the keys were handed

over to the hotels employee, and which he received with the obligation of safely
keeping and returning it.
This could conceivably be used as basis for users of mall and other public parking
lots to claim indemnity for loss or damage to their vehicles. It would be interesting
to see if the practice of placing disclaimers of liability in the parking stub, as well as
in signages, would be upheld by the courts as binding on the users. It does stand to
reason that when you are made to park and pay, parking lot providers owe a degree
of care to insure your vehicle is keptsafe and sound. And if they fail to adhere to
this standard, then they should be sorry they didnt, as in this case.