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G.R. No.

130003

October 20, 2004

Jonas Aonuevo, petitioner,


vs.
Hon. Court of Appeals and Jerome Villagracia, respondents.
TINGA, J.:

Facts:
Villagracia was traveling along Boni Ave. on his bicycle, while Aonuevo,traversing the opposite
lane was driving a Lancer car owned by Procter and Gamble Inc., the employer of Aonuevos
brother. Aonuevo was in the course of making a leftturn towards Libertad Street when the collision
occurred.
Villagracia sustained serious injuries and had to undergo four operations. Villagracia instituted an
action for damages against P&G Phils., Inc. and Aonuevo before the RTC. He had also filed a
criminal complaint against Aonuevobefore the Metropolitan Trial Court of Mandaluyong, but the
latter was subsequentlyacquitted of the criminal charge.
Aonuevo claims that Villagracia violated traffic regulations when he failed to register his bicycle or
install safety gadgets. He posits that Article 2185 of the Civil Code applies by analogy. Article 2185.
Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a persondriving a motor vehicle has been
negligent if at the time of the mishap he was violating any traffic regulation.
Issues:
A. Whether or not Art. 2185 of the New Civil Code should apply to non-motorized vehicles, making
Villagracia presumptively negligent.
B. Whether or not Villagracia was negligent for failure to comply with traffic regulations.
C. Whether or not Villagracia is guilty of contributory negligence
Held: No to all.
A. Application of Article 2185
Aonuevo claims that Villagracia violated traffic regulations when he failed to register his bicycle or install safety
gadgets thereon. He posits that Article 2185 of the New Civil Code applies by analogy. The provision reads:
Article 2185. Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person driving a motor vehicle has been
negligent if at the time of the mishap he was violating any traffic regulation.

Aonuevo hypothesizes that Article 2185 should apply by analogy to all types of vehicles [23]. He points out that
modern-day travel is more complex now than when the Code was enacted, the number and types of vehicles now in
use far more numerous than as of then. He even suggests that at the time of the enactment of the Code, the
legislators must have seen that only motor vehicles were of such public concern that they had to be specifically
mentioned, yet today, the interaction of vehicles of all types and nature has inescapably become matter of public
concern so as to expand the application of the law to be more responsive to the times. [24]
At the time Article 2185 was formulated, there existed a whole array of non-motorized vehicles ranging from humanpowered contraptions on wheels such as bicycles, scooters, and animal-drawn carts such
as calesas and carromata. These modes of transport were even more prevalent on the roads of the 1940s and
1950s than they are today, yet the framers of the New Civil Code chose then to exclude these alternative modes
from the scope of Article 2185 with the use of the term motorized vehicles. If Aonuevo seriously contends that the
application of Article 2185 be expanded due to the greater interaction today of all types of vehicles, such argument
contradicts historical experience. The ratio of motorized vehicles as to non-motorized vehicles, as it stood in 1950,
was significantly lower than as it stands today. This will be certainly affirmed by statistical data, assuming such has

been compiled, much less confirmed by persons over sixty. Aonuevos characterization of a vibrant intra-road
dynamic between motorized and non-motorized vehicles is more apropos to the past than to the present.
There is pertinent basis for segregating between motorized and non-motorized vehicles. A motorized
vehicle, unimpeded by the limitations in physical exertion. Is capable of greater speeds and
acceleration than non-motorized vehicles. At the sam etime, motorized vehicles are more capable in
inflicting greater injury or damage in the event of an accident or collision. This is due to
a combination of factors peculiar to themotor vehicle, such as the greater speed, its relative greater
bulk of mass, and greater combustibility due to the use of fuel.
B. Negligience on the part of Villagracia
The existence of negligence in a given case is not determined by the personal judgment of the actor in
a given situation, but rather, it is the law which determines what would be reckless or negligent. Aonuevo
asserts that Villagracia was negligent as the latter had transgressed traffic regulations. However,
Aonuevo was speeding as hemade the left turn, and by his own admission, he had seen Villagracia at a
good distance of ten (10) meters. Had he been decelerating, as he should, as he made the turn, Aonuevo would
have had ample opportunity to avoid hitting Villagracia, such negligent act was the proximate cause of the
accident.
Even assuming that Aonuevo had failed to see Villagracia because the bicycle was not equipped
with headlights, such lapse on the cyclists part would not have acquitted the driver of his duty to
slow down as he proceeded to make the left turn.
C. Contributory Negligience
To hold a person as having contributed to his injuries, it must be shown that he performed an act that brought about
his injuries in disregard of warnings or signs of an impending danger to health and body.[60] To prove contributory
negligence, it is still necessary to establish a causal link, although not proximate, between the negligence of the
party and the succeeding injury. In a legal sense, negligence is contributory only when it contributes proximately to
the injury, and not simply a condition for its occurrence.[61]
As between Aonuevo and Villagracia, the lower courts adjudged Aonuevo assolely responsible for the
accident. The petition does not demonstrate why this finding should be reversed. It is hard
to imagine that the same result would not have occurred even if Villagracias bicycle had been
equipped with safety equipment.