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No. L-37750. May 19, 1978. SECOND DIVISION.

SWEET LINES, INC., petitioner vs. HON. BERNARDO


TEVES, Presiding Judge, CFI of Misamis Oriental, Branch
VII, LEOVIGILDO TANDOG, JR., and ROGELIO TIRO,
respondents.
Civil Law; Common carriers; Contracts of adhesion, concept
of.It should be borne in mind, however, that with respect to the
fourteen (14) conditionsone of which is Condition No. 14 which
is in issue in this caseprinted at the back of the passage tickets,
there 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 other party is the
signing of his signature or his adhesion thereto. Insurance
contracts, bills of lading, contracts of sale of lots on the
installment plan fall into this category. 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
hereto on the take it or leave it basiscertain guidelines in the
determination of their validity and/or enforceability have been
formulated in order to insure that justice and fair play
characterize the relationship of the contracting parties.
_______________
* SECOND DIVISION.

Same; Same; Acute shortage of interisland vessels taken

judicial notice of by courts; Passengers of interisland vessels not


expected to examine their ticket for printed conditions therein;
Reason.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 countrys 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 secure whatever accommodations
may be availed of, even through circuitous routes, and/or at the
risk of their safetytheir immediate concern, for the moment,
being to be able to board vessels with the hope of reaching their
destinations. The schedules areas 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 allegedly exposed to the scorching
heat of the sun and the dust coming from the ships cargo of corn
grits, because even the latter vessel was filled 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 thereon, much less
charge them with having consented to the conditions, so printed,
especially if there are a number of such conditions in fine print, as
in this case.
Same; Same; Condition 14 of shipping ticket which provides
that all actions arising out of conditions and provisions of the
ticket irrespective of where issued shall be filed in the City of Cebu
is void as it was prepared solely at petitioners instance without
participation of respondents; Courts take judicial notice of fact
that passengers availing of shipping facilities come from low
income and less literate groups.Again, it should be noted that
Condition No. 14 was prepared solely at the instance of the
petitioner; respondents had no say in its preparation. Neither did
the latter have the opportunity to take the same into account
prior to the purchase of their tickets. For, unlike the small print
provisions of insurance contractsthe common example of
contracts of adherencewhich are entered into by the insured in
full awareness of said conditions, since the insured is afforded the
opportunity to examine and consider the same, passengers of
inter-island vessels do not have the same chance, since their
alleged adhesion is presumed only from the fact that they
purchased the passage tickets. It should also be stressed that
shipping

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363

Sweet Lines, Inc. vs. Teves

companies are franchise holders of certificates of public


convenience and, therefore, possess 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 vessels come from the low-income groups
and are less literate, and who have little or no choice but to avail
of petitioners vessels.
Same; Same; Condition 14 subversive of public policy on
transfers of venue of actions; Philosophy behind transfers of venue
of actions; Public policy, concept of.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 pursuant 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 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 had 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. . .. Under this principle . . . freedom of contract or private
dealing is restricted by law for the good of the public. 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 claimants 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 policyto make the courts accessible to all who may have
need of their services.
364

364

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Sweet Lines, Inc. vs. Teves

Barredo, J., Concurring


Remedial Law; Venue; Civil Law; Common Carriers; Tickets
issued by interisland vessel show that actually no written
agreement as to venue between the parties as contemplated by Sec.
3, Rule 4 of Rules of Court; Where case already in respondent court
and no showing that petitioner with its resources would not suffer
inconvenience, trial court can continue proceedings started in said
court.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 the 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. x x x 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 interisland 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.

ORIGINAL ACTION in the Supreme Court. Prohibition


with preliminary injunction.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
Filiberto Leonardo, Abelardo C. Almario & Samuel B.
Abadiano for petitioner.
Leovigildo Vallar for private respondents.
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Sweet Lines, Inc. vs. Teves

SANTOS, J.:
This is an original action for Prohibition with
Preliminary 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 petitioners
Motion to Dismiss the complaint, and the Motion for
Reconsideration of said order.1Rollo, p. 2.
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 petitioners 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 ships 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 P110,000.00


before respondents Court of First Instance of Misamis
Oriental.2Id., p. 12, Annex B...
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:
_______________
1 Rollo, p. 2.
2 Id., p. 12, Annex B.
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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Sweet Lines, Inc. vs. Teves

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.3Id., p. 18, Annex C...

The motion was denied by the trial court.4Id., p. 20, Annex


D... Petitioner moved to reconsider the order of denial, but
to no avail.5Id., pp. 21 and 26, Annexes E and F... Hence, this instant
petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction,
alleging that the respondent judge had departed from the
accepted and usual course of judicial proceeding and had
acted without or in excess or in error of his jurisdiction or
in gross abuse of discretion.6Rollo, p. 5; Petition, pars. 8, 9 & 10.
In Our resolution of November 20, 1973, We restrained
respondent Judge from proceeding further with the case
and required respondents to comment.7Id., p. 30. On January
18, 1974, We gave due course to the petition and required
respondents to answer.8Id., p. 47. Therefter, the parties
submitted their respective memoranda in support of their
respective contentions.9Id., pp. 66 and 76.
Presented thus for Our resolution is a question which, to
all appearances, is one of first impression, to witIs
Condition No. 14 printed at the back of the petitioners
passage tickets purchased by private respondents, which
limits the venue of actions arising from the contract of
carriage to the Court of First Instance of Cebu, valid and
enforceable? Otherwise stated, may a common carrier

engaged in inter-island shipping stipulate thru a condition


printed at the back of passage tickets to its vessels that any
and all actions arising out of the contract 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 that Condition No. 14 is valid and
enforceable, since private respondents acceded to it when
they
_______________
3 Id., p. 18, Annex C.
4 Id., p. 20, Annex D.
5 Id., pp. 21 and 26, Annexes E and F
6 Rollo, p. 5; Petition, pars. 8, 9 & 10.
7 Id., p. 30.
8Id., p. 47.
9 Id., pp. 66 and 76.
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Sweet Lines, Inc. vs. Teves

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 fixing the venue of
actions in the City of Cebu is proper since venue may be
validly waived, citing cases;10Manila Railroad Company vs. Attorney
General, 20 Phil. 523; Central Azucarera de Tarlac vs. de Leon, 56 Phil. 129;
Marquez Lim Cay vs. Del Rosario, 55 Phil. 622; Abuton vs. Paler, 54 Phil. 519; De la
Rosa vs. De Borja, 53 Phil. 990; Samson vs. Carratela, 5...

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 arising from the
contract
is instituted, likewise citing cases;11Central Azucarera de
Tarlac vs. de Leon, supra; Air France vs. Carrascoso, 18 SCRA, (Sept. 28, 1966), p.
155, Id., pp. 77 and 80.

and that condition No. 14 is unequivocal


and mandatory, the words and phrases any and all,
irrespective of where it is issued, and shall leave no
doubt that the intention of Condition No. 14 is to fix the
venue in the City of Cebu, to the exclusion of all 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 issuing the orders complained of.12Rollo,

pp. 81-81, Memorandum of Petitioner.

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
petitioners 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; 13Shewaram vs. PAL, Inc., G.R.
No. L-20099, July 7, 1966, 17 SCRA 606-612; Mirasol vs. Robert Dollar and
Company, 53 Phil. 124, See Rollo, p. 79.

that while venue of actions

_______________
10 Manila Railroad Company vs. Attorney General, 20 Phil. 523;
Central Azucarera de Tarlac vs. de Leon, 56 Phil. 129; Marquez Lim Cay
vs. Del Rosario, 55 Phil. 622; Abuton vs. Paler, 54 Phil. 519; De la Rosa vs.
De Borja, 53 Phil. 990; Samson vs. Carratela, 50 Phil. 647, See Rollo, p.
77.
11Central Azucarera de Tarlac vs. de Leon, supra; Air France vs.
Carrascoso, 18 SCRA, (Sept. 28, 1966), p. 155, Id., pp. 77 and 80.
12 Rollo, pp. 81-81, Memorandum of Petitioner.
13 Shewaram vs. PAL, Inc., G.R. No. L-20099, July 7, 1966, 17 SCRA
606-612; Mirasol vs. Robert Dollar and Company, 53 Phil. 124, See Rollo,
p. 79.
368

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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Sweet Lines, Inc. vs. Teves

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
14Rollo, pp. 66-70, Memorandum of Respondents, citing Polytrade
Oriental.
Corporation v. Blanco, 30 SCRA 187-191.
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.,15106 Phil. 485
(1959).
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) conditionsone of which is Condition No.
14 which is in issue in this caseprinted 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
_______________
14 Rollo, pp. 66-70, Memorandum of Respondents, citing Polytrade
Corporation v. Blanco, 30 SCRA 187-191.
15 106 Phil. 485 (1959).
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Sweet Lines, Inc. vs. Teves

the only participation of the party is the signing of his


signature or his adhesion thereto. Insurance contracts,
bills of lading, contracts of sale of lots on the installment
plan fall into this category.16Paras, Civil Code of the Philippines,

Seventh ed., Vol. I, p. 80.

By the peculiar circumstances under which contracts of


adhesion are entered intonamely, 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 basiscertain guidelines in the
determination of their validity and/or enforceability have
been formulated in order to insure that justice and fair 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.,1798
Phil. 95 (1955).
and later through Justice Fernando in
Fieldman Insurance v. Vargas,18L-24833. 25 SCRA 70 (1968). held

The courts cannot ignore that nowadays, monopolies, cartels


and concentration of capital, endowed with overwhelming
economic power, manage to impose upon parties dealing with
them cunningly 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 call 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


peculiar 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,
ig_______________
16 Paras, Civil Code of the Philippines, Seventh ed., Vol. I, p. 80.
17 98 Phil. 95 (1955).
18 L-24833. 25 SCRA 70 (1968).
370

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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Sweet Lines, Inc. vs. Teves

norance, indigence, mental weakness, tender age and other


handicap, the courts must be vigilant for his protection.19Civil Code,
Art. 24.

Considered in the light of the foregoing norms and in the


context of circumstances prevailing in the inter-island
shipping 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 reasonsfirst, under circumstances obtaining in
the inter-island shipping 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
parts 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
countrys 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 secure whatever
accommodations may be availed of, even through circuitous
routes, and/or at the risk of their safetytheir immediate
concern, for the moment, being to be able to board vessels
with the hope of reaching their destinations. The schedules
areas often as not if not more sodelayed 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 allegedly exposed to the scorching
heat of the sun and the dust coming from the ships cargo of
corn grits, because even the latter vessel was filled to
capacity.
_______________
19 Civil Code, Art. 24.

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Sweet Lines, Inc. vs. Teves

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
thereon, much less charge them with having consented to
the conditions, so printed, especially if there are a number
of
such conditions in fine print, as in this case.20Condition No.
14 is the last condition printed at the back of the 4 x 6 inches passage tickets.
Again, it should be noted that Condition No. 14 was
prepared solely at the instance of the petitioner;
respondents had no say in its preparation. Neither did the
latter have the opportunity to take the same into account
prior to the purchase of their tickets. For, unlike the small
print provisions of insurance contractsthe common
example of contracts of adherencewhich are entered into
by the insured in full awareness of said conditions, since
the insured is afforded the opportunity to examine and
consider the same, passengers of inter-island vessels do not
have the same chance, since their alleged adhesion is
presumed only from the fact that they purchased the
passage tickets.
It should also be stressed that shipping companies are
franchise holders of certificates of public convenience and,
therefore, possess 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 vessels come from the low-income groups and
are less literate, and who have little or no choice but to
avail of petitioners 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 pursuant to Rule 4,
Section 3, of

_______________
20 Condition No. 14 is the last condition printed at the back of the 4 x 6
inches passage tickets.
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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Sweet Lines, Inc. vs. Teves

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 the ends of justice.21See Nicolas v.
Reparations Commission, et al., G. R. No. L-28649 (21 May 1975), 64 SCRA 111, 116.
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
inconvience 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. . ..22Ferrazini v. Gsell, 34 Phil. 711-712 (1916). Under this
principle . . . freedom of contract or private dealing is
restricted by law for the good of the public.23Id., p. 712.
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 claimants 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 policyto make the courts accessible to all who
may have need of their services.
WHEREFORE, the petition for prohibition is
DISMISSED. The restraining order issued on November
20, 1973, is hereby LIFTED and SET ASIDE. Costs against

petitioner.
Fernando (Chairman), Aquino, Concepcion Jr., JJ.,
concur.
Barredo, J., concurs with a separate opinion.
Antonio, J., reserves his vote.
_______________
21 See Nicolas v. Reparations Commission, et al., G. R. No. L-28649 (21
May 1975), 64 SCRA 111, 116.
22 Ferrazini v. Gsell, 34 Phil. 711-712 (1916).
23 Id., p. 712.
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Petition dismissed Order lifted and set aside.


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 interisland 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
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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Sweet Lines, Inc. vs. Teves

can cause to anyone concerned.


I vote to dismiss the petition.
Petition dismissed Order lifted and set aside.
Notes.The contract of air carriage generates a
relation attended with a public duty. Neglect or
malfeasance of the carriers employees could give ground
for an action for damages. (Zulueta vs. Pan American
World Airways, Inc., 43 SCRA 397).
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
1744 of the New Civil Code. (Davila vs. Philippine Air
Lines, 49 SCRA 497).
The registered owner of a common carrier is liable for
damages resulting from a breach of contract of carriage.
The transferee is, however, liable to the registered owner of
the vehicle for the damages cause to passengers. (Perez vs.
Gutier-rez, 53 SCRA 149).
A provisional claim filed before the delivery of the cargo,
in anticipation of any possible loss or damage while the
cargo is in the arrastre operators custody is premature and
specualtive. (American Insurance Company of Newark vs.
Manila Port Service, 72 SCRA 18; Manila Port Service vs.

Fortune Insurance & Surety Co., Inc., 45 SCRA 65).


The 15-day notice to the arrastre operator of any
damage or loss of cargo is reckoned from the date the
consignee or claimant learns of the loss or damage or from
the date when with the exercise of due diligence,
information regarding the loss or damage could have been
obtained. (New Zealand Insurance Co., Ltd. vs. Manila Port
Service, 19 SCRA 801) The reason for this rule is that
before the claimant or consignee learns of the shortage or
damage he is in no position to make a claim since the goods
are in the arrastre contractors custody; otherwise the
arrastre operator may escape liability by simply
withholding knowledge as to the loss or damage until after
the
375

VOL. 83, May 19, 1978

375

Sweet Lines, Inc. vs. Teves

expiration of the 15-day period from the discharge of the


last package from the carrying vessel (Yu Kimteng
Construction Corporation vs. Manila Railroad Company, 15
SCRA 292).
1. Statutory Construction: General terras may be
restricted by specific words, with the result that the
general language will be limited by specific language which
indicates the statutes object and purpose. (Colgate
Palmolive Philippines, Inc. vs. Gimenez, 1 SCRA 267.)
2. Contracts: Where the provisions of a contract are
ambiguous, such ambiguity must be construed against the
party who drafted the same; and it appearing that the
contract in question must be construed against appellant.
(Coscolluela vs. Valderrama, 2 SCRA 1095.)
A written document speaks a uniform language; the
spoken word could be notoriously unreliable. If only to
achieve stability in the relations between passenger and air
carrier, adherence to the terms of a ticket is desirable. (Air
France vs. Carrascoso, 18 SCRA 155.)
A contract between two persons cannot bind another not
a party thereto, merely because he is aiyare of such
contract and fcog acted with knowledge thereof. (Manila
Port Service vs. Court of Appeals, 20 SCRA 1214.)
3. Venue: The venue of civil actions in the Court of First
Instance is where the plaintiff resides or where the

defendant resides or found (Section 1, Rule 5, Rules of


Court), but the latter phrase (may be found) applies only to
cases where the defendant has no residence in the
Philippines. (Portillo vs. Reyes, 3 SCRA 311.)
The stipulation that the parties agree to sue and be
sued in the courts of Manila, does not preclude the filing of
suits in the residence of plaintiff or defendant under
Section 2(b), Rule 4, Rules of Court, in the absence of
qualifying or restrictive words in the agreement which
would indicate that Manila alone is the venue agreed upon
by the parties (Polytrade Corporation vs. Blanco, 30 SCRA
187.)
o0o

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