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G.R. No.

L-29356 December 29, 1928

THE CITY OF MANILA, plaintiff-appellee,

vs. THE MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, defendant-appellant.



On June 8, 1925, in the City of Manila, there occurred a collision between a street car of the Manila Electric Company, of which
Sixto Eustaquio was the motorman, and a truck belonging to the City of Manila. As a result of the collision, the truck was damaged in
the sum of P1,788.27. Sixto Eustaquio was prosecuted for the crime of damage to property and slight injuries through reckless
imprudence. He was convicted by final judgment and was sentenced to pay a fine P900, to indemnify the offended the City of Manila
with subsidary imprisonment.

Not being able to collect the indemnity from the accused, the City of Manila began an action to obtained payment from the Manila
Electric Company. An allegation of the complaint was "That the defendant Manila Electric Company as master of the said agent and
servant, Sixto Eustaquio, is subsidiarily liable. The principal special defense set up in the answer to the complaint was that the
defendant had used all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage suffered by plaintiff.

Issue: Whether or not Manila Electric Company should be absolved?

Held: NO.

The Penal Code authorizes the imposition of subsidiary liability in default of the persons criminally liable. Article 20 of the Penal
Code provides that this subsidiary liability shall "apply to masters, teachers, persons, and corporations engaged in any kind of
industry for felonies and misdemeanors committed by their servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or employees in the discharge of
their duties."

There is no escaping the conclusion that the provisions of the Penal Code govern. The Penal Code in easily understandable
language authorizes the determination of subsidiary liability. The Civil Code negatives its application by providing that civil
obligations arising from crimes or misdemeanors shall be governed by the provisions of the Penal Code. The conviction of the
motorman was a misdemeanor falling under article 604 of the Penal Code. Accordingly, the civil obligation connected up with Penal
Code and not with article 1903 of the Civil Code. In other words, the Penal Code affirms its jurisdiction while the Civil Code
negatives its jurisdiction. This is a case of criminal negligence out of which civil liability arises and not a case of civil negligence.

Indeed, as pointed out by the trial judge, any different ruling would permit the master to escape scot-free by alleging and proving
that the master had exercised all diligence in the selection and training of its servants to prevent the damage. That would be good
defense to a strictly civil action, but might or might not be to a civil action or misdemeanor.

G.R. Nos. 74387-90 November 14, 1988


SALES and NENA VDA. DE ROSALES, respondents.

The collision between Bus No. 1046 of the Batangas Laguna Tayabas Bus Company (BLTB) driven by Armando Pon and Bus No.
404 of Superlines Transportation Company (Superlines) driven by Ruben Dasco took place at the highway traversing Barangay
Isabong, Tayabas, Quezon in the afternoon of August 11, 1978, which collision resulted in the death of 3 passengers and in several
injuries to 2 passengers, all passengers of the BLTB.

The evidence shows that as BLTB Bus was negotiating the bend of the highway, it tried to overtake a Ford Fiera car just as Bus
Superlines was coming from the opposite direction. Seeing thus, Armando Pon (driver of the BLTB Bus) made a belated attempt to
slacken the speed of his bus and tried to return to his proper lane. It was an unsuccessful try as the two (2) buses collided with each

Passengers instituted separate cases in the Court of First Instance of Marinduque against BLTB and Superlines together with their
respective drivers praying for damages, attorney's fees and litigation expenses plus costs. Criminal cases against the drivers of the
two buses were filed in the Court of First Instance of Quezon.

Defendants BLTB and Superlines, together with their drivers Pon and Dasco, denied liability by claiming that they exercised due
care and diligence and shifted the fault, against each other. They all interposed counterclaims against the plaintiffs and crossclaims
against each other.

After trial on the merits, the lower court exonerated defendants Superlines and its driver Dasco from liability and attributed sole
responsibility to defendants BLTB and its driver Pon, and ordered them jointly and severally to pay damages to the plaintiffs.
Defendants BLTB and Armando Pon appealed from the decision of the lower court to respondent appellate court which affirmed with
modification the judgment of the lower court as earlier stated.

Issue: Won erred in ruling that the actions of private respondents are based on culpa contractual?

Held: NO.

It is settled that the proximate cause of the collision resulting in the death of three and injuries to two of the passengers of BLTB was
the sole negligence of the driver of the BLTB Bus, who recklessly operated and drove said bus in a lane where overtaking is not
allowed by Traffic Rules and Regulations. It is no surprise then that the driver of the Superlines bus was exonerated by the lower
court. He had a valid reason to presuppose that no one would overtake in such a dangerous situation. These facts show that patient
imprudence of the BLTB driver. For his own negligence in recklessly driving the truck owned by his employer, appellant Armando
Pon is primarily liable (Article 2176, Civil Code).

On the other hand the liability of Pon's employer, appellant BLTB, is also primary, direct and immediate in view of the fact that the
death of or injuries to its passengers was through the negligence of its employee. The common carrier's liability for the death of or
injuries to its passengers is based on its contractual obligation to carry its passengers safely to their destination. That obligation is
so serious that the Civil Code requires "utmost diligence of very cautious person (Article 1755, Civil Code).

The liability of BLTB is also solidarily with its driver even though the liability of the driver springs from quasi delict while that of the
bus company from contract.