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De Guzman vs.

CA
GR No. L-47822, Dec. 22, 1988

Doctrine: Common carriers are not made absolute insurers against all risks of travel
and of transport of goods and are not liable for fortuitous events.

Parties: Petitioner de Guzman - shipper; Respondent Cendaña - carrier.

Summary: Petitioner contracted with respondent for the hauling of 750 cartons of
milk from Makati to Pangasinan. Respondent then loaded 150 cartons on a truck
driven by himself while 600 cartons were loaded on a truck driven by Estrada,
respondent’s driver and employee. Only 150 boxes of milk were delivered to
petitioner and the other 600 boxes never reached him because the truck which
carried these boxes was hijacked by armed men who took with them the truck.
Petitioner filed a case against respondent arguing that respondent, being a
common carrier, failed to exercise the extraordinary diligence required of him by the
law. Respondent denied that he was a common carrier. Held: 1. The Civil Code
makes no distinction between one whose principal business activity is the carrying
of persons or goods or both and one who does such carrying only as an ancillary
activity (in local idiom, as “a sideline”). It also avoids making any distinction
between a person or enterprise offering transportation service on a regular or
scheduled basis and one offering such service on an occasional, episodic or
unscheduled basis. Hence, it appears to the Court that respondent is properly
characterized as a common carrier even though he merely “backhauled” goods for
other merchants and although such backhauling was done on a periodic or
occasional rather than regular or scheduled manner, and even though respondent’s
principal occupation was not the carriage of goods for others. 2. Common carriers,
by the nature of their business and for reasons of public policy, are held to a very
high degree of care and diligence (“extraordinary diligence”) in the carriage of
goods and passengers. Under Art. 1745 (6) of the Civil Code, a common carrier is
held responsible and will not be allowed to divest or to diminish such responsibility
even for acts of strangers like thieves or robbers, except where such thieves or
robbers in fact acted “with grave or irresistible threat, violence or force.” In the
instant case, armed men held up the second truck owned by respondent which
carried petitioner’s cargo. The occurrence of the loss was beyond the control of
respondent, hence, regarded as fortuitous event. As such, respondent is not liable
for the value of the undelivered merchandise.

Facts: Respondent is a junk dealer who was engaged in buying up used bottles and
scrap metal in Pangasinan. Upon gathering sufficient quantities of such crap
material, respondent would bring such to Manila, for resale. He owned 2 trucks
which he used for hauling the materials to Manila. On the return trip to Pangasinan,
respondent would load his vehicles with cargo which various merchants wanted

1732 - Coomon carriers are persons. it appears to the Court that respondent is properly characterized as a common carrier even though he merely “backhauled” goods for other merchants and although such backhauling was done on a periodic or occasional rather than regular or scheduled manner. W/N respondent is a common carrier? 2. Respondent denied that he was a common carrier. failed to exercise the extraordinary diligence required of him by the law. Respondent then loaded 150 cartons on a truck driven by himself while 600 cartons were loaded on a truck driven by Estrada. W/N respondent is liable for the hijacked goods? Held: 1. respondent’s driver and employee. corporations. RTC: found respondent to be a common carrier and held him liable for the value of the undelivered goods. It also avoids making any distinction between a person or enterprise offering transportation service on a regular or scheduled basis and one offering such service on an occasional. Issues: 1. water. Petitioner filed a case against respondent arguing that respondent. offering their services to the public.a sideline to his scrap iron business” and not as common carrier. as “a sideline”). The Civil Code defines “common carriers” in the following terms: “Art. . episodic or unscheduled basis. Only 150 boxes of milk were delivered to petitioner and the other 600 boxes never reached him because the truck which carried these boxes was hijacked by armed men who took with them the truck. or air for compensation.delivered to different establishments in Pangasinan. Hence. Petitioner contracted with respondent for the hauling of 750 cartons of milk from Makati to Pangasinan. CA: reversed the RTC and held that respondent had been engaged in transporting return loads of freight “as a casual occupation . firms or associations engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or both by land. being a common carrier.” This provision makes no distinction between one whose principal business activity is the carrying of persons or goods or both and one who does such carrying only as an ancillary activity (in local idiom. and even though respondent’s principal occupation was not the carriage of goods for others. For that. respondent charged freight rates.

2. regarded as fortuitous event.: In the event of loss of goods. Philamgen sought recourse against respondent which disclaimed any liability for the loss. Felman .carrier. Common carriers. from the nature of their business and for reasons of public policy. June 11.500 cases of 1-liter Coca-Cola softdrink bottles.” In the instant case. violence or force. 1997 Doctrine: In the event of loss of goods. Parties: Coca-Cola Bottlers Inc.insurer. _______________ The Philippine American General Insurance Co vs. respondent is not liable for the value of the undelivered merchandise. Cebu. the shipowner was not able to rebut this presumption. are held to a very high degree of care and diligence (“extraordinary diligence”) in the carriage of goods and passengers.shipper. to be transported from Zamboanga to Cebu for consignee Coca-Cola Bottlers Inc. armed men held up the second truck owned by respondent which carried petitioner’s cargo. Facts: . Felman.500 cases of 1-liter Coca-Cola softdrink bottles on board MV Asilda (a vessel owned & operated by respondent Felman). Cebu filed a claim with respondent which denied such claim. . Under Art. Cebu . common carriers are presumed to have acted negligently. Coca-Cola Bottlers Inc. 1733 of the Civil Code. a common carrier is held responsible and will not be allowed to divest or to diminish such responsibility even for acts of strangers like thieves or robbers. The consignee Coca-Cola Bottlers Inc.consignee. by the nature of their business and for reasons of public policy. are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods and for the safety of the passengers transported by them . As such. according to all the circumstance of each case.. except where such thieves or robbers in fact acted “with grave or irresistible threat. 1745 (6) of the Civil Code. Philamgen . CA GR No. Summary: Coca-Cola Bottlers Inc. loaded 7. hence. MV Asilda sank in the waters of Zamboanga del Norte bringing down the entire cargo including 7... “common carriers. 116940. Claiming its right of subrogation. The occurrence of the loss was beyond the control of respondent. common carriers are presumed to have acted negligently. Held: Under Art. thus prompting the consignee to file an insurance claim with Philamgen.

it held that MV Asilda was unseaworthy for being top heavy as 2. Cebu. common carriers are presumed to have acted negligently. Felman. to be transported from Zamboanga to Cebu for consignee Coca-Cola Bottlers Inc. are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods and for the safety of the passengers transported by them. 1733 of the Civil Code. . “common carriers. in which case. thus prompting the consignee to file an insurance claim with Philamgen. from the nature of their business and for reasons of public policy. the shipowner was not able to rebut this presumption. it held that MV Asilda was seaworthy when it left the port of Zamboanga.500 cases of softdrink bottles were improperly stowed on deck.. Claiming its right of subrogation. no liability should attach. The consignee Coca-Cola Bottlers Inc.500 cases of 1-liter Coca-Cola softdrink bottles on board MV Asilda (a vessel owned & operated by respondent Felman). MV Asilda sank in the waters of Zamboanga del Norte bringing down the entire cargo including 7. according to all the circumstance of each case.Coca-Cola Bottlers Inc. Trial Court: dismissed the complaint of Philamgen. Thus. Cebu filed a claim with respondent which denied such claim. loaded 7. Philamgen sought recourse against respondent which disclaimed any liability for the loss.. Issue: W/N Felman is negligent? SC: Under Art. the loss could only be attributable to a fortuitous event. CA: reversed the decision of Trial Court.500 cases of 1-liter Coca-Cola softdrink bottles.” In the event of loss of goods.