You are on page 1of 66

TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D.

SALTO

NEGLIGENCE AMADO PICART, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
A. CONCEPT FRANK SMITH, JR., defendant-appellee.

Article 1172. Responsibility arising from negligence in the performance of every kind of
obligation is also demandable, but such liability may be regulated by the courts, according In this action the plaintiff, Amado Picart, seeks to recover of the defendant, Frank Smith, jr.,
to the circumstances. (1103) the sum of P31,000, as damages alleged to have been caused by an automobile driven by
the defendant. From a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the Province of La Union
Article 1173. The fault or negligence of the obligor consists in the omission of that diligence absolving the defendant from liability the plaintiff has appealed.
which is required by the nature of the obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of
the persons, of the time and of the place. When negligence shows bad faith, the provisions
of articles 1171 and 2201, paragraph 2, shall apply. The occurrence which gave rise to the institution of this action took place on December 12,
1912, on the Carlatan Bridge, at San Fernando, La Union. It appears that upon the occasion
If the law or contract does not state the diligence which is to be observed in the in question the plaintiff was riding on his pony over said bridge. Before he had gotten half
performance, that which is expected of a good father of a family shall be required. (1104a) way across, the defendant approached from the opposite direction in an automobile, going
at the rate of about ten or twelve miles per hour. As the defendant neared the bridge he
Article 1174. Except in cases expressly specified by the law, or when it is otherwise declared saw a horseman on it and blew his horn to give warning of his approach. He continued his
by stipulation, or when the nature of the obligation requires the assumption of risk, no course and after he had taken the bridge he gave two more successive blasts, as it appeared
person shall be responsible for those events which could not be foreseen, or which, though to him that the man on horseback before him was not observing the rule of the road.
foreseen, were inevitable. (1105a)

Article 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for reasons of public The plaintiff, it appears, saw the automobile coming and heard the warning signals.
policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods and for However, being perturbed by the novelty of the apparition or the rapidity of the approach,
the safety of the passengers transported by them, according to all the circumstances of he pulled the pony closely up against the railing on the right side of the bridge instead of
each case. going to the left. He says that the reason he did this was that he thought he did not have
sufficient time to get over to the other side. The bridge is shown to have a length of about
Such extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods is further expressed in articles 75 meters and a width of 4.80 meters. As the automobile approached, the defendant
1734, 1735, and 1745, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, while the extraordinary diligence for the safety of guided it toward his left, that being the proper side of the road for the machine. In so doing
the passengers is further set forth in articles 1755 and 1756. the defendant assumed that the horseman would move to the other side. The pony had not
as yet exhibited fright, and the rider had made no sign for the automobile to stop. Seeing
Article 2178. The provisions of articles 1172 to 1174 are also applicable to a quasi-delict. (n) that the pony was apparently quiet, the defendant, instead of veering to the right while yet
some distance away or slowing down, continued to approach directly toward the horse
without diminution of speed. When he had gotten quite near, there being then no
possibility of the horse getting across to the other side, the defendant quickly turned his car
sufficiently to the right to escape hitting the horse alongside of the railing where it as then
G.R. No. L-12219 March 15, 1918 standing; but in so doing the automobile passed in such close proximity to the animal that it
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

became frightened and turned its body across the bridge with its head toward the railing. In determined by reference to the personal judgment of the actor in the situation before him.
so doing, it as struck on the hock of the left hind leg by the flange of the car and the limb The law considers what would be reckless, blameworthy, or negligent in the man of
was broken. The horse fell and its rider was thrown off with some violence. From the ordinary intelligence and prudence and determines liability by that.
evidence adduced in the case we believe that when the accident occurred the free space
where the pony stood between the automobile and the railing of the bridge was probably
less than one and one half meters. As a result of its injuries the horse died. The plaintiff The question as to what would constitute the conduct of a prudent man in a given situation
received contusions which caused temporary unconsciousness and required medical must of course be always determined in the light of human experience and in view of the
attention for several days. facts involved in the particular case. Abstract speculations cannot here be of much value
but this much can be profitably said: Reasonable men govern their conduct by the
circumstances which are before them or known to them. They are not, and are not
The question presented for decision is whether or not the defendant in maneuvering his car supposed to be, omniscient of the future. Hence they can be expected to take care only
in the manner above described was guilty of negligence such as gives rise to a civil when there is something before them to suggest or warn of danger. Could a prudent man,
obligation to repair the damage done; and we are of the opinion that he is so liable. As the in the case under consideration, foresee harm as a result of the course actually pursued? If
defendant started across the bridge, he had the right to assume that the horse and the so, it was the duty of the actor to take precautions to guard against that harm. Reasonable
rider would pass over to the proper side; but as he moved toward the center of the bridge it foresight of harm, followed by ignoring of the suggestion born of this prevision, is always
was demonstrated to his eyes that this would not be done; and he must in a moment have necessary before negligence can be held to exist. Stated in these terms, the proper criterion
perceived that it was too late for the horse to cross with safety in front of the moving for determining the existence of negligence in a given case is this: Conduct is said to be
vehicle. In the nature of things this change of situation occurred while the automobile was negligent when a prudent man in the position of the tortfeasor would have foreseen that
yet some distance away; and from this moment it was not longer within the power of the an effect harmful to another was sufficiently probable to warrant his foregoing conduct or
plaintiff to escape being run down by going to a place of greater safety. The control of the guarding against its consequences.
situation had then passed entirely to the defendant; and it was his duty either to bring his
car to an immediate stop or, seeing that there were no other persons on the bridge, to take
the other side and pass sufficiently far away from the horse to avoid the danger of collision. Applying this test to the conduct of the defendant in the present case we think that
Instead of doing this, the defendant ran straight on until he was almost upon the horse. He negligence is clearly established. A prudent man, placed in the position of the defendant,
was, we think, deceived into doing this by the fact that the horse had not yet exhibited would in our opinion, have recognized that the course which he was pursuing was fraught
fright. But in view of the known nature of horses, there was an appreciable risk that, if the with risk, and would therefore have foreseen harm to the horse and the rider as reasonable
animal in question was unacquainted with automobiles, he might get exited and jump consequence of that course. Under these circumstances the law imposed on the defendant
under the conditions which here confronted him. When the defendant exposed the horse the duty to guard against the threatened harm.
and rider to this danger he was, in our opinion, negligent in the eye of the law.

It goes without saying that the plaintiff himself was not free from fault, for he was guilty of
The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case may be antecedent negligence in planting himself on the wrong side of the road. But as we have
stated as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that person already stated, the defendant was also negligent; and in such case the problem always is to
would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. The law here discover which agent is immediately and directly responsible. It will be noted that the
in effect adopts the standard supposed to be supplied by the imaginary conduct of the negligent acts of the two parties were not contemporaneous, since the negligence of the
discreet paterfamilias of the Roman law. The existence of negligence in a given case is not defendant succeeded the negligence of the plaintiff by an appreciable interval. Under these
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

circumstances the law is that the person who has the last fair chance to avoid the after the accident in question occurred, the plaintiff caused criminal proceedings to be
impending harm and fails to do so is chargeable with the consequences, without reference instituted before a justice of the peace charging the defendant with the infliction of serious
to the prior negligence of the other party. injuries (lesiones graves). At the preliminary investigation the defendant was discharged by
the magistrate and the proceedings were dismissed. Conceding that the acquittal of the
defendant at the trial upon the merits in a criminal prosecution for the offense mentioned
The decision in the case of Rkes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Co. (7 Phil. Rep., 359) should would be res adjudicata upon the question of his civil liability arising from negligence -- a
perhaps be mentioned in this connection. This Court there held that while contributory point upon which it is unnecessary to express an opinion -- the action of the justice of the
negligence on the part of the person injured did not constitute a bar to recovery, it could be peace in dismissing the criminal proceeding upon the preliminary hearing can have no
received in evidence to reduce the damages which would otherwise have been assessed effect. (See U. S. vs. Banzuela and Banzuela, 31 Phil. Rep., 564.)
wholly against the other party. The defendant company had there employed the plaintiff, as
a laborer, to assist in transporting iron rails from a barge in Manila harbor to the company's
yards located not far away. The rails were conveyed upon cars which were hauled along a From what has been said it results that the judgment of the lower court must be reversed,
narrow track. At certain spot near the water's edge the track gave way by reason of the and judgment is her rendered that the plaintiff recover of the defendant the sum of two
combined effect of the weight of the car and the insecurity of the road bed. The car was in hundred pesos (P200), with costs of other instances. The sum here awarded is estimated to
consequence upset; the rails slid off; and the plaintiff's leg was caught and broken. It include the value of the horse, medical expenses of the plaintiff, the loss or damage
appeared in evidence that the accident was due to the effects of the typhoon which had occasioned to articles of his apparel, and lawful interest on the whole to the date of this
dislodged one of the supports of the track. The court found that the defendant company recovery. The other damages claimed by the plaintiff are remote or otherwise of such
was negligent in having failed to repair the bed of the track and also that the plaintiff was, character as not to be recoverable. So ordered.
at the moment of the accident, guilty of contributory negligence in walking at the side of
the car instead of being in front or behind. It was held that while the defendant was liable
to the plaintiff by reason of its negligence in having failed to keep the track in proper repair Separate Opinions
nevertheless the amount of the damages should be reduced on account of the contributory
negligence in the plaintiff. As will be seen the defendant's negligence in that case consisted MALCOLM, J., concurring:
in an omission only. The liability of the company arose from its responsibility for the
After mature deliberation, I have finally decided to concur with the judgment in this case. I
dangerous condition of its track. In a case like the one now before us, where the defendant
do so because of my understanding of the "last clear chance" rule of the law of negligence
was actually present and operating the automobile which caused the damage, we do not
as particularly applied to automobile accidents. This rule cannot be invoked where the
feel constrained to attempt to weigh the negligence of the respective parties in order to
negligence of the plaintiff is concurrent with that of the defendant. Again, if a traveler when
apportion the damage according to the degree of their relative fault. It is enough to say that
he reaches the point of collision is in a situation to extricate himself and avoid injury, his
the negligence of the defendant was in this case the immediate and determining cause of
negligence at that point will prevent a recovery. But Justice Street finds as a fact that the
the accident and that the antecedent negligence of the plaintiff was a more remote factor
negligent act of the interval of time, and that at the moment the plaintiff had no
in the case.
opportunity to avoid the accident. Consequently, the "last clear chance" rule is applicable.
In other words, when a traveler has reached a point where he cannot extricate himself and
vigilance on his part will not avert the injury, his negligence in reaching that position
A point of minor importance in the case is indicated in the special defense pleaded in the becomes the condition and not the proximate cause of the injury and will not preclude a
defendant's answer, to the effect that the subject matter of the action had been previously recovery. (Note especially Aiken vs. Metcalf [1917],
adjudicated in the court of a justice of the peace. In this connection it appears that soon
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

Held: ACQUITTED. The mere statement of facts, as disclosed by the undisputed evidence of
record, sufficiently and conclusively demonstrates that the death of the deaf-mute was the
result of a regrettable accident, which was unavoidable so far as this accused was
United States v. Bonifacio, G.R. No. 10563, March 2, 1916 concerned.

On October 1913, Eligio Castillo, a deaf-mute, was run down and killed, while attempting to It has been suggested that, had the accused applied his brakes when he first saw the man
cross the railroad track in the barrio of Santa Rita, Batangas, by an engine on which the walking near the track, after his engine rounded the curve, he might have stopped the train
Bonifacio was employed as engineer. The deaf-mute stepped out on the track from an in time to have avoided the accident, as it is admitted that the distance from the curve to
adjoining field shortly before the accident, walked along one side of the track for some little the point where the accident occurred was about 175 meters. But there is no obligation on
distance and was killed as he attempted, for some unknown reason, to cross over to the an engine driver to stop. or even to slow down his engine, when he sees an adult
other side. pedestrian standing or walking on or near the track, unless there is something in the
appearance or conduct of the person on foot which would cause a prudent man to
anticipate the possibility that such person could not, or would not avoid the possibility of
danger by stepping aside. Ordinarily, all that may properly be required of an engine driver
When the Bonifacio first saw the Castillo, he was walking near the track, in the same
under such circumstances is that he give warning of his approach, by blowing his whistle or
direction as that in which the train was running. The train, a heavy freight train, had just
ringing his bell until he is assured that the attention of the pedestrian has been attracted to
rounded a curve, and the man in front was about 175 meters ahead of the engine. The
the oncoming train.
Bonifacio immediately blew his whistle twice, and noticing, a few moments afterwards, that
the man in front did not respond to the warning by stepping aside from the track, he tried
to slow down the engine, but did not succeed in stopping in time to avoid running down the
pedestrian. He did not attempt to stop his engine when he first saw the man walking along An engine driver may fairly assume that all persons walking or standing on or near the
the side of the track; but he claims that he did all in his power to slow down a few moments railroad track, except children of tender years, are aware of the danger to which they are
afterwards, that is to say after he had blown his whistle without apparently attracting the exposed; and that they will take reasonable precautions to avoid accident, by looking and
attention of the pedestrian, who, about that time, turned and attempted to cross the track. listening for the approach of trains, and stepping out of the way of danger when their
attention is directed to an oncoming train. Any other rule would render it impracticable to
The only evidence as to the rate of speed at which the train was running at the time of the operate railroads so as to secure the expeditious transportation of passengers and freight,
accident was the testimony of the accused himself, who said that his indicator showed that which the public interest demands. There was nothing in the appearance or conduct of the
he was travelling at the rate of 35 km/hour, the maximum speed permitted under the victim which would have warned the accused that the man walking along the side of the
railroad regulations. The undisputed evidence discloses that a heavy freight train running at track was a deaf-mute. It was only when the pedestrian attempted to cross the track, just
the rate of 35 miles an hour could not be brought to a stop on that decline in much less in front of the train, that the accused had any reason to believe that his warning signals had
than one 150 meters. not been heard, and by that time it was too late to avoid the accident.

Issue: Whether or not Bonifacio is guilty of homicide committed with simple negligence.
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

The accused was without fault; and the accident must be attributed wholly to the reckless flashing red light, and hearing no whistle from any coming train, Cusi merely slackened his
negligence of the deaf-mute, in walking on the track without taking the necessary speed and proceeded to cross the tracks. At the same time, a train bound for Lucena
precautions to avoid danger from a train approaching him from behind. traversed the crossing, resulting in a collision between the two. The impact threw the Sps
out of their car which was smashed.

Mrs Cusi suffered many fractures and underwent a total of four surgical operations . As a
Even if it were true that the train was running at a speed slightly in excess of the limit
result of the fracture on her right arm, there was a shortening of about 1 cm. of that arm.
prescribed by regulations, just before the accident took place, that fact would not justify or
She lost the flexibility of her wrist, elbow and shoulder. She was forced to quit her
require the imposition of the penalty prescribed in article 568 of the Criminal Code, it
profession of teaching music and piano. She also bore ugly scars on several parts of her
affirmatively appearing that the slight excess of speed had no possible causal relation to
body, and she suffered anxiety of a possible miscarriage being then 5 months pregnant at
the accident. Under all the circumstances, the accident must have taken place whether the
the time of the accident. Similarly, Victorino suffered a number of injuries, including brain
speed had been slightly under rather than slightly over the limit prescribed by regulation,
injuries which affected his speech, memory, sense of hearing and neck movement. As a
and that it was due wholly to the negligent conduct of the deceased.
result of his injuries, Victorino was unable to properly attend to his various business
undertakings after the accident.

This does NOT mean that in every case in which one accidentally injures or kills another
he is criminally liable therefor, if at the moment he happens to be guilty of a violation of
Defendant PNR raises the defense that there was contributory negligence on the part of
some petty regulation. Injury or death must have resulted from some "imprudence or
Cusi, and that had he made a full stop before traversing the crossing as required by section
negligence" on his part. It is true that it only needs to be slight negligence, if accompanied
56(a) of Act 3992 (Motor Vehicle Law), he could have seen and heard the approach of the
by a violation of the regulations, but the relation of cause and effect must exist between
train, and thus, there would have been no collision.
the negligence or imprudence of the accused and the injury inflicted. If it appears that the
injury in no wise resulted from the violation of the regulations, or the negligent conduct
of the accused, he incurs no criminal liability under the provisions of this article.
Issue: Whether or not PNR is guilty of negligence.
Conviction thereunder cannot be maintained, unless there was culpable negligence in the
violation of a duly prescribed regulation; and unless, further, the latter was the proximate
and immediate cause of the injury inflicted.
Held: YES.

(1) The question of negligence is a question of fact: The question of negligence being one
Cusi v. Philippine National Railways, G.R. No. L-29889, May 31, 1979 of fact, the lower court's finding of negligence on the part of the PNR deserves serious
consideration by the Court. Thus, it has been the standing practice of appellate courts to
accord lower court's judgments the presumption of correctness. And unless it can be shown
Facts: On the night of October 5, 1963, Victorino Cusi and his wife Pilar attended a birthday that error or errors, substantial in character, be shown in the conclusion arrived at, or that
party inside a subdivision in Paranaque. After the party, at around 11pm, the Sps Cusi there was abuse in judicial scrutiny, the SC is bound by their judgments.
proceeded home in their Vauxhall car with Victorino at the wheel. Upon reaching the
railroad tracks, finding that the level crossing bar was raised and seeing that there was no
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

(2) Definition of negligence: Negligence has been defined by as the failure to observe for to a full stop before traversing any railroad crossing. The defense presupposes that the
the protection of the interests of another person that degree of care, precaution, and failure of Cusi to stop before proceeding to traverse the crossing constitutes contributory
vigilance which the circumstances justly demand, whereby such other person suffers negligence, thereby precluding them from recovering indemnity for their injuries and
injury. By such a test, it can readily be seen that there is no hard and fast rule whereby such damages. However, the same law states in its proviso that instead of coming to a full stop, it
degree of care and vigilance is measured, it is dependent upon the circumstances in which a may slow down to not more than 10 kph when it is apparent that no hazard exists.
person finds himself so situated. All that the law requires is that it is always incumbent
upon a person to use that care and diligence expected of reasonable men under similar
circumstances. G.R. No. L-7760 October 1, 1914

E. M. WRIGHT, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
The gross negligence of PNR was the proximate cause of the collision. Undisputedly, the
MANILA ELECTRIC R.R. & LIGHT CO., defendant-appellant.
warning devices installed at the railroad crossing were manually operated. On the night of
the accident, the train for Lucena was on an unscheduled trip after 11:00 P.M. During that
precise hour, the warning devices were not operating for no one attended to them. Also,
the locomotive driver did not blow his whistle. He simply sped on without taking an extra This is an action brought to recover damages for injuries sustained in an accident which
precaution of blowing his whistle. That the train was running at full speed is attested to by occurred in Caloocan on the night of August 8, 1909.
the fact that notwithstanding the application of the emergency brakes, the train did not
stop until it reached a distance of around 100 meters. These facts assessed together show
the the absence of precautions taken by the PNR to warn the travelling public of the The defendant is a corporation engaged in operating an electric street railway in the city of
impending danger. Manila and its suburbs, including the municipality of Caloocan. The plaintiff's residence in
Caloocan fronts on the street along which defendant's tracks run, so that to enter his
premises from the street plaintiff is obliged to cross defendant's tracks. On the night
Jurisprudence recognizes that if warning devices are installed in railroad crossings, the mentioned plaintiff drove home in a calesa and in crossing the tracks to enter his premises
travelling public has the right to rely on such warning devices to put them on their guard the horse stumbled, leaped forward, and fell, causing the vehicle with the rails, resulting in
and take the necessary precautions before crossing the tracks. A need, therefore, exists for a sudden stop, threw plaintiff from the vehicle and caused the injuries complained of.
the railroad company to use reasonable care to keep such devices in good condition and in
working order, or to give notice that they are not operating, since if such a signal is
misunderstood it is a menace. Thus, it has been held that if a railroad company maintains a It is undisputed that at the point where plaintiff crossed the tracks on the night in question
signalling device at a crossing to give warning of the approach of a train, the failure of the not only the rails were above-ground, but that the ties upon which the rails rested
device to operate is generally held to be evidence of negligence, which may be considered projected from one-third to one-half of their depth out of the ground, thus making the tops
with all the circumstances of the case in determining whether the railroad company was of the rails some 5 or 6 inches or more above the level of the street.
negligent as a matter of fact.

It is admitted that the defendant was negligent in maintaining its tracks as described, but it
As to the defense of Contributory negligence: PNR rests its defense mainly on Section 56(a) is contended that the plaintiff was also negligent in that he was intoxicated to such an
of the Motor Vehicle Law. It states that vehicles moving on public highways shall be brought
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

extent at the time of the accident that he was unable to take care of himself properly and have been two hearings, one on the 31st of August and the other on the 28th of September.
that such intoxication was the primary cause of the accident. The evidence taken on the first hearing is here; that taken on the second is not. Not all the
evidence taken on the hearings being before the court, we must refuse, under our rules, to
consider even that evidence which is here; and, in the decision of this case, we are,
The trial court held that both parties were negligent, but that the plaintiff's negligence was therefore, relegated to the facts stated in the opinion of the court and the pleadings filed.
not as great as defendant's and under the authority of the case of Rakes vs. A. G. & P. Co. (7
Phil. Rep., 359) apportioned the damages and awarded plaintiff a judgment of P1,000.
A careful reading of the decision of the trial court leads us to the conclusion that there is
The question before us is stated by the defendant thus: "Accepting the findings of the trial
nothing in the opinion which sustains the conclusion of the court that the plaintiff was
court that both plaintiff and defendant were guilty of negligence, the only question to be
negligent with reference to the accident which is the basis of this action. Mere intoxication
considered is whether the negligence of plaintiff contributed t the 'principal occurrence' or
establish a want of ordinary care. It is but a circumstance to be considered with the other
'only to his own injury.' If the former, he cannot recover; if the latter, the trial court was
evidence tending to prove negligence. It is the general rule that it is immaterial whether a
correct in apportioning the damages."
man is drunk or sober if no want of ordinary care or prudence can be imputed to him, and
no greater degree of care is required than by a sober one. If one's conduct is characterized
by a proper degree of care and prudence, it is immaterial whether he is drunk or sober.
The questioned as stated by plaintiff is as follows: "The main question at issue is whether or (Ward vs. Chicago etc., R. R. Co., 85 Wis., 601; H & T. C. R. Co. vs. Reason, 61 Tex., 613;
not the plaintiff was negligent, and, if so, to what extent. If the negligence of the plaintiff Alger vs. Lowell, 3 Allen, Mass., 402; Central R. R. Co. vs. Phinazee, 93 Ga., 488; Maguire vs.
was the primary cause of the accident then, of course, he cannot recover; if his negligence Middlesex R. R. Co., 115 Mass., 239; Meyer vs. Pacific R. R. Co., 40 Mo., 151., Chicago & N.
had nothing to do with the accident but contributed to his injury, then the court was right W. R. R. Co. vs. Drake, 33 Ill. App., 114.)
in apportioning the damages, but if there was no negligence on the part of the plaintiff,
then he should be awarded damages adequates to the injury sustained."
If intoxication is not in itself negligence, what are the facts found by the trial court and
stated in its opinion upon which may be predicated the finding that the plaintiff did not use
In support of the defendant's contention counsel says: "Defendant's negligence was its ordinary care and prudence and that the intoxication contributed to the injury complained
failure properly to maintain the track; plaintiff's negligence was his intoxication; the of? After showing clearly and forcibly the negligence of the defendant in leaving its tracks in
'principal occurrence' was plaintiff's fall from his calesa. It seems clear that plaintiff's the condition in which they were on the night of the injury, the court has the following to
intoxication contributed to the fall; if he had been sober, it can hardly be doubted that he say, and it is all that can be found in its opinion, with reference to the negligence of the
would have crossed the track safely, as he had done a hundred times before." plaintiff: "With respect to the condition in which Mr. Wright was on returning to his house
on the night in question, the testimony of Doctor Kneedler, who was the physician who
attended him an hour after the accident, demonstrates that he was intoxicated. . . . .
While both parties appealed from the decision, the defendant on the ground that it was not
liable and the plaintiff on the ground that the damages were insufficient according to the
evidence, and while the plaintiff made a motion for a new trial upon the statutory grounds If the defendant or its employees were negligent by reason of having left the rails and a part
and took proper exception to the denial thereof, thus conferring upon this court jurisdiction of the ties uncovered in a street where there is a large amount of travel, the plaintiff was no
to determine the question of fact, nevertheless, not all of the testimony taken on the trial, less negligent, he not having abstained from his custom of taking more wine than he could
so far as can be gathered from the record, has been brought to this court. There seems to carry without disturbing his judgment and his self-control, he knowing that he had to drive
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

a horse and wagon and to cross railroad tracks which were to a certain extent dangerous by People v. De Los Santos, G.R. No. 131588, March 27, 2001
reason of the rails being elevated above the level of the street.

Facts: The last phase of the Special Counter Insurgency Operation Unit training was
If the plaintiff had been prudent on the night in question and had not attempted to drive his the endurance run. Since the jogging trainees were occupying the right lane of the
conveyance while in a drunken condition, he would certainly have avoided the damages highway, 2 rear security guards were assigned to each rear column (there were 3 columns
which he received, although the company, on its part, was negligent in maintaining its of joggers). Their duty was to jog backwards facing the oncoming vehicles and give hand
tracks in a bad condition for travel. signals for other vehicles to take the left lane.

Both parties, therefore, were negligent and both contributed to the damages resulting to They saw an Isuzu Elf truck coming at high speed towards them. The vehicle lights were in
the plaintiff, although the plaintiff, in the judgment of the court, contributed in greater the high beam. At a distance of 100 meters, the rear security guards started waving their
proportion to the damages that did the defendant. hands for the vehicle to take the other side of the road, but the vehicle just kept its speed,
apparently ignoring their signals and coming closer and closer to them. Realizing that the
vehicle would hit them, the rear guards told their co- trainees to retract. The guards
As is clear from reading the opinion, no facts are stated therein which warrant the forthwith jumped in different directions. Some were thrown, and others were overrun by
conclusion that the plaintiff was negligent. The conclusion that if he had been sober he the vehicle. The driver did not reduce his speed even after hitting the first and second
would not have been injured is not warranted by the facts as found. It is impossible to say columns. Immediately after receiving the report, policemen proceeded to the traffic scene
that a sober man would not have fallen from the vehicle under the conditions described. A to conduct an ocular inspection. They did not see any brake marks on the highway, which
horse crossing the railroad tracks with not only the rails but a portion of the ties themselves led him to conclude that the brakes of the vehicle had not been applied.
aboveground, stumbling by reason of the unsure footing and falling, the vehicle crashing
against the rails with such force as to break a wheel, this might be sufficient to throw a
person from the vehicle no matter what his condition; and to conclude that, under such Accused Glenns version: At about 10:30 p.m. of 4 October 1995, he was asked by his friend
circumstances, a sober man would not have fallen while a drunken man did, is to draw a Enting Galindez and the latters fellow band members to provide them with transpo that
conclusion which enters the realm of speculation and guesswork. would bring their band instruments, band utilities and band members from CDO to
Balingoan. They were supposed to be taken to Camiguin, to participate in the Lanzones
Festival.
It having been found that the plaintiff was not negligent, it is unnecessary to discuss the
question presented by the appellant company with reference to the applicability of the case
of Rakes vs. A. G. & P. Co., above; and we do not find facts in the opinion of the court below As the Elf was negotiating a left curve going slightly downward, GLENN saw a very bright
which justify a larger verdict than the one found. and glaring light coming from the opposite direction of the highway. GLENN blinked his
headlights as a signal for the other driver. GLENN switched his own lights from bright to dim
Arellano, C.J., Torres and Araullo, JJ., concur.
and reduced his speed from 80 to 60 KPH. It was only when the vehicles were at a distance
of 10-15 m from each other that the other cars headlights were dimmed. As a result,
GLENN found it extremely hard to adjust from high brightness to sudden darkness.
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

The incident was an accident and not an intentional felony. There is no shred of evidence
that GLENN had an axe to grind against the police trainees that would drive him into
This happened while the truck was still cruising at a speed of 60 kph and immediately after
deliberately hitting them with intent to kill. The existence of a motive on the part of the
passing the oncoming vehicle, that GLENN suddenly heard and felt bumping thuds. At the
accused becomes decisive in determining the probability or credibility of his version that
sound of the first bumping thuds, GLENN put his right foot on the brake pedal. But the
the incident was purely accidental. GLENNs offense is in failing to apply the brakes, or to
impact was so sudden that he was astonished and afraid. He was trembling and could not
swerve his vehicle to the left or to a safe place the moment he heard and felt the first
see what were being bumped. At the succeeding bumping thuds, he was not able to pump
bumping thuds. Had he done so, many trainees would have been spared.
the brake, nor did he notice that his foot was pushing the pedal.

The test for determining whether a person is negligent in doing an act whereby injury or
Due to its momentum, the Elf continued on its track and was able to stop only when it was
damage results to the person or property of another is this: Could a prudent man, in the
already very near the next curve. GLENN could not distinguish in the darkness what he had
position of the person to whom negligence is attributed, foresee harm to the person injured
hit, especially since the right headlights of the truck had been busted upon the first
as a reasonable consequence of the course actually pursued? If so, the law imposes a duty
bumping thuds. In his confusion and fear, he immediately proceeded home. GLENN did not
on the actor to refrain from that course or to take precautions to guard against its
report the incident to the Puerto Police Station because he was not aware of what exactly
mischievous results, and the failure to do so constitutes negligence. Reasonable foresight
he had hit. It was only when he reached his house that he noticed that the grill of the truck
of harm, followed by the ignoring of the admonition born of this prevision, is always
was broken; the side mirror and round mirror, missing; and the windshield, splintered. 2
necessary before negligence can be held to exist.
hours later, he heard that an accident had occurred, and he realized that it was the PNP
group that he had hit. GLENN surrendered that same day to Governor Emano.

GLENN showed an inexcusable lack of precaution. Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code
states that reckless imprudence consists in voluntarily, but without malice, doing or failing
RTC convicted GLENN of the complex crime of multiple murder, multiple frustrated murder,
to do an act from which material damage results by reason of inexcusable lack of
and multiple attempted murder, with the use of motor vehicle as the qualifying
precaution on the part of the person performing or failing to perform such act, taking into
circumstance. (12 dead, 11 seriously injured, 10 minor)
consideration (1) his employment or occupation; (2) his degree of intelligence; (4) his
physical condition; and (3) other circumstances regarding persons, time and place.

Issue: Was there intent to kill or was he guilty of reckless imprudence?


GLENN, being then a young college graduate and an experienced driver, should have known
to apply the brakes or swerve to a safe place immediately upon hearing the first bumping
Held: NO INTENT TO KILL. The tragic event was more a product of reckless imprudence than thuds to avoid further hitting the other trainees. By his own testimony, it was established
of a malicious intent on GLENNs part. Glenn should be held guilty of the complex crime of that the road was slippery and slightly going downward; and, worse, the place of the
reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide with serious physical injuries and less incident was foggy and dark. He should have observed due care in accordance with the
serious physical injuries. conduct of a reasonably prudent man, such as by slackening his speed, applying his brakes,
or turning to the left side even if it would mean entering the opposite lane (there being no
evidence that a vehicle was coming from the opposite direction). Even if he was driving
within the speed limits, this did not mean that he was exercising due care under the existing
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

circumstances and conditions at the time. Furthermore, his failure to render assistance to
the victim, therefore, constitutes a qualifying circumstance because the presence thereof Alleging that the dentist told him that the operation conducted on his mandible was
raises the penalty by one degree. improperly done, Rosit went back to Dr. Gestuvo to demand a loan to defray the cost of the
additional operation as well as the expenses of the trip to Cebu. Dr. Gestuvo gave Rosit
P4,500.
[ GR No. 210445, Dec 07, 2015 ]
Rosit went to Cebu on February 19, 1999, still suffering from pain and could hardly open his
NILO B. ROSIT v. DAVAO DOCTORS HOSPITAL + mouth.
DECISION
In Cebu, Dr. Pangan removed the plate and screws thus installed by Dr. Gestuvo and
replaced them with smaller titanium plate and screws. Dr. Pangan also extracted Rosit's
This is a petition filed under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Decision and molar that was hit with a screw and some bone fragments. Three days after the operation,
Resolution dated January 22, 2013[1] and November 7, 2013,[2] respectively, of the Court Rosit was able to eat and speak well and could open and close his mouth normally.[7]
of Appeals, Cagayan De Oro City (CA), in CA-G.R. CV No. 00911-MIN. The CA Decision
reversed the Decision dated September 14, 2004[3] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 33 in On his return to Davao, Rosit demanded that Dr. Gestuvo reimburse him for the cost of the
Davao City-(RTC) in Civil Case No. 27,354-99, a suit for damages thereat which Nilo B. Rosit operation and the expenses he incurred in Cebu amounting to P140,000, as well as for the
(Rosit) commenced against Dr. Rolando Gestuvo (Dr. Gestuvo). P50,000 that Rosit would have to spend for the removal of the plate and screws that Dr.
Pangan installed. Dr. Gestuvo refused to pay.[8]
Factual Antecedents
Thus, Rosit filed a civil case for damages and attorney's fees with the RTC against Dr.
On January 15, 1999, Rosit figured in a motorcycle accident. The X-ray soon taken the next Gestuvo and DDH, the suit docketed as Civil Case No. 27,354-99.
day at the Davao Doctors Hospital (DDH) showed that he fractured his jaw. Rosit was then The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
referred to Dr. Gestuvo, a specialist in mandibular injuries,[4] who, on January 19, 1999,
operated on Rosit.
The RTC freed DDH from liability on the ground that it exercised the proper diligence in the
During the operation, Dr. Gestuvo used a metal plate fastened to the jaw with metal screws selection and supervision of Dr. Gestuvo, but adjudged Dr. Gestuvo negligent and ruled,
to immobilize the mandible. As the operation required the smallest screws available, Dr. thus:
Gestuvo cut the screws on hand to make them smaller. Dr. Gestuvo knew that there were
FOR ALL THE FOREGOING, finding the plaintiff Nilo B. Rosit to have preponderantly
smaller titanium screws available in Manila, but did not so inform Rosit supposing that the
established his cause of action in the complaint against defendant Dr. Rolando G. Gestuvo
latter would not be able to afford the same.[5]
only, judgment is hereby rendered for the plaintiff and against said defendant, ordering the
defendant DR. ROLANDO G. GESTUVO to pay unto plaintiff NILO B. ROSIT the following:
Following the procedure, Rosit could not properly open and close his mouth and was in pain.
X-rays done on Rosit two (2) days after the operation showed that the fracture in his jaw
was aligned but the screws used on him touched his molar. Given the X-ray results, Dr.
Gestuvo referred Rosit to a dentist. The dentist who checked Rosit, Dr. Pangan, opined that
another operation is necessary and that it is to be performed in Cebu.[6]
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

For lack of merit, the complaint against defendant DAVAO DOCTORS HOSPITAL and the the sum of ONE HUNDRED FORTY THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED NINETY NINE PESOS and
defendants' counterclaims are hereby ordered DISMISSED. a) 13/100 (P140,199.13) representing reimbursement of actual expenses incurred by
plaintiff in the operation and re-operation of his mandible;
Cost against Dr. Rolando G. Gestuvo.

SO ORDERED. the sum of TWENTY NINE THOUSAND AND SIXTY EIGHT PESOS (P29,068.00)
b)
representing reimbursement of the filing fees and appearance fees;
In so ruling, the trial court applied the res ipsa loquitur principle holding that "the need for
expert, medical testimony may be dispensed with because the injury itself provides the
proof of negligence."
the sum of ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P150,000.00) as and for attorney's
c)
fees;
Therefrom, both parties appealed to the CA.

The Ruling of the Court of Appeals


d) the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as moral damages;
In its January 22, 2013 Decision, the CA modified the appealed judgment by deleting the
awards made by the trial court, disposing as follows:
e) the amount of TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10,000.00) as exemplary damages; and
WHEREFORE, the appeal filed by Gestuvo is GRANTED. The Decision dated September 14,
2004 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 33, Davao City, rendered in Civil Case No.
27,354-99 is hereby MODIFIED. The monetary awards adjudged in favor of Nilo B. Rosit are
f) the costs of the suit.
hereby DELETED for lack of basis.

SO ORDERED. The ultimate issue for our resolution is whether the appellate court correctly absolved Dr.
Gestuvo from liability.
Unlike the RTC, the CA ruled that the res ipsa loquitur principle is not applicable and that
the testimony of an expert witness is necessary for a finding of negligence. The appellate The Court's Ruling
court also gave credence to Dr. Pangan's letter stating the opinion that Dr. Gestuvo did not
commit gross negligence in his emergency management of Rosit's fractured mandible.
The petition is impressed with merit.
Rosit's motion for reconsideration was denied in the CA's November 7, 2013 Resolution.
In Flores v. Pineda,[9] the Court explained the concept of a medical negligence case and the
elements required for its prosecution, viz:
Hence, the instant appeal.

The Issue A medical negligence case is a type of claim to redress a wrong committed by a medical
professional, that has caused bodily harm to or the death of a patient. There are four
elements involved in a medical negligence case, namely: duty, breach, injury, and proximate
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

causation. the patient plaintiff was under the influence of anesthetic, during or following an operation
for appendicitis, among others.
Duty refers to the standard of behavior which imposes restrictions on one's conduct. The
We have further held that resort to the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur as an exception to the
standard in turn refers to the amount of competence associated with the proper discharge
requirement of an expert testimony in medical negligence cases may be availed of if the
of the profession. A physician is expected to use at least the same level of care that any
following essential requisites are satisfied: (1) the accident was of a kind that does not
other reasonably competent doctor would use under the same circumstances. Breach of
ordinarily occur unless someone is negligent; (2) the instrumentality or agency that caused
duty occurs when the physician fails to comply with these professional standards. If injury
the injury was under the exclusive control of the person charged; and (3) the injury suffered
results to the patient as a result of this breach, the physician is answerable for negligence.
must not have been due to any voluntary action or contribution of the person injured.[12]
(emphasis supplied)

In its assailed Decision, the CA refused to acknowledge the application of the res ipsa
loquitur doctrine on the ground that the foregoing elements are absent. In particular, the
An expert witness is not necessary as the res ipsa loquitur doctrine is applicable
appellate court is of the position that post-operative pain is not unusual after surgery and
that there is no proof that the molar Dr. Pangan removed is the same molar that was hit by
To establish medical negligence, this Court has held that an expert testimony is generally
the screw installed by Dr. Gestuvo in Rosit's mandible. Further, a second operation was
required to define the standard of behavior by which the court may determine whether the
conducted within the 5-week usual healing period of the mandibular fracture so that the
physician has properly performed the requisite duty toward the patient. This is so
second element cannot be considered present. Lastly, the CA pointed out that the X-ray
considering that the requisite degree of skill and care in the treatment of a patient is usually
examination conducted on Rosit prior to his first surgery suggests that he had "chronic
a matter of expert opinion.[10]
inflammatory lung disease compatible," implying that the injury may have been due to
Rosit's peculiar condition, thus effectively negating the presence of the third element.[13]
Solidum v. People of the Philippines[11] provides an exception. There, the Court explained
that where the application of the principle of res ipsa loquitur is warranted, an expert
After careful consideration, this Court cannot accede to the CA's findings as it is at once
testimony may be dispensed with in medical negligence cases:
apparent from the records that the essential requisites for the application of the doctrine
Although generally, expert medical testimony is relied upon in malpractice suits to prove of res ipsa loquitur are present.
that a physician has done a negligent act or that he has deviated from the standard medical
procedure, when the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is availed by the plaintiff, the need for The first element was sufficiently established when Rosit proved that one of the screws
expert medical testimony is dispensed with because the injury itself provides the proof of installed by Dr. Gestuvo struck his molar. It was for this issue that Dr. Gestuvo himself
negligence. The reason is that the general rule on the necessity of expert testimony applies referred Rosit to Dr. Pangan. In fact, the affidavit of Dr. Pangan presented by Dr. Gestuvo
only to such matters clearly within the domain of medical science, and not to matters that himself before the trial court narrated that the same molar struck with the screw installed
are within the common knowledge of mankind which may be testified to by anyone familiar by Dr. Gestuvo was examined and eventually operated on by Dr. Pangan. Dr. Gestuvo
with the facts. x x x cannot now go back and say that Dr. Pangan treated a molar different from that which was
affected by the first operation.
Thus, courts of other jurisdictions have applied the doctrine in the following situations:
leaving of a foreign object in the body of the patient after an operation, injuries sustained Clearly, had Dr. Gestuvo used the proper size and length of screws and placed the same in
on a healthy part of the body which was not under, or in the area, of treatment, removal of the proper locations, these would not have struck Rosit's teeth causing him pain and
the wrong part of the body when another part was intended, knocking out a tooth while a requiring him to undergo a corrective surgery.
patient's jaw was under anesthetic for the removal of his tonsils, and loss of an eye while
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

Dr. Gestuvo knew that the screws he used on Rosit were too large as, in fact, he cut the
same with a saw.[14] He also stated during trial that common sense dictated that the Court This titanium materials according to you were already available in the Philippines
smallest screws available should be used. More importantly, he also knew that these screws Alright. since the time of Rosit's accident?
were available locally at the time of the operation.[15] Yet, he did not avail of such items
and went ahead with the larger screws and merely sawed them off. Even assuming that the
screws were already at the proper length after Dr. Gestuvo cut the same, it is apparent that
Witness Yes, your Honor.
he negligently placed one of the screws in the wrong area thereby striking one of Rosit's
teeth.

In any event, whether the screw hit Rosit's molar because it was too long or improperly xxxx
placed, both facts are the product of Dr. Gestuvo's negligence. An average man of common
intelligence would know that striking a tooth with any foreign object much less a screw
would cause severe pain. Thus, the first essential requisite is present in this case. Did you inform Rosit about the existence of titanium screws and plates which
Court
according to you is the screws and plates of choice?
Anent the second element for the res ipsa loquitur doctrine application, it is sufficient that
the operation which resulted in the screw hitting Rosit's molar was, indeed, performed by
Dr. Gestuvo. No other doctor caused such fact. Witness No, your Honor.

The CA finds that Rosit is guilty of contributory negligence in having Dr. Pangan operate on
him during the healing period of his fractured mandible. What the CA overlooked is that it
xxxx
was Dr. Gestuvo himself who referred Rosit to Dr. Pangan. Nevertheless, Dr. Pangan's
participation could not have contributed to the reality that the screw that Dr. Gestuvo
installed hit Rosit's molar.
The reason I did not inform him anymore Judge because what I thought he was
Witness already hard up with the down payment. And if I will further introduce him this
Lastly, the third element that the injury suffered must not have been due to any voluntary
screws, the more he will not be able to afford the operation.
action or contribution of the person injured was satisfied in this case. It was not shown that
Rosit's lung disease could have contributed to the pain. What is clear is that he suffered
because one of the screws that Dr. Gestuvo installed hit Rosit's molar.
xxxx
Clearly then, the res ipsa loquitur doctrine finds application in the instant case and no
expert testimony is required to establish the negligence of defendant Dr. Gestuvo.
This titanium screws and plates were available then it is up to Rosit to decide
Petitioner was deprived of the opportunity to make an "informed consent" Court whether to use it or not because after all the material you are using is paid by the
patient himscll, is it not?
What is more damning for Dr. Gestuvo is his failure to inform Rosit that such smaller screws
were available in Manila, albeit at a higher price.[16] As testified to by Dr. Gestuvo himself:
Witness Yes, that is true.
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

Li v. Soliman[17] made the following disquisition on the relevant Doctrine of Informed agreed to the operation. It bears pointing out that Rosit was, in fact, able to afford the use
of the smaller titanium screws that were later used by Dr. Pangan to replace the screws that
were used by Dr. Gestuvo.
Consent in relation to medical negligence cases, to wit:
Fourth, as a result of using the larger screws, Rosit experienced pain and could not heal
The doctrine of informed consent within the context of physician-patient relationships goes properly because one of the screws hit his molar. This was evident from the fact that just
far back into English common law. x x x From a purely ethical norm, informed consent three (3) days after Dr. Pangan repeated the operation conducted by Dr. Gestuvo, Rosit was
evolved into a general principle of law that a physician has a duty to disclose what a pain-free and could already speak. This is compared to the one (1) month that Rosit
reasonably prudent physician in the medical community in the exercise of reasonable care suffered pain and could not use his mouth after the operation conducted by Dr. Gestuvo
would disclose to his patient as to whatever grave risks of injury might be incurred from a until the operation of Dr. Pangan.
proposed course of treatment, so that a patient, exercising ordinary care for his own
welfare, and faced with a choice of undergoing the proposed treatment, or alternative Without a doubt, Dr. Gestuvo is guilty of withholding material information which would
treatment, or none at all, may intelligently exercise his judgment by reasonably balancing have been vital in the decision of Rosit in going through with the operation with the
the probable risks against the probable benefits. materials at hand. Thus, Dr. Gestuvo is also guilty of negligence on this ground.

xxxx Dr. Pangan's Affidavit is not admissible

There are four essential elements a plaintiff must prove in a malpractice action based upon The appellate court's Decision absolving Dr. Gestuvo of negligence was also anchored on a
the doctrine of informed consent: "(1) the physician had a duty to disclose material risks; (2) letter signed by Dr. Pangan who stated the opinion that Dr. Gestuvo did not commit gross
he failed to disclose or inadequately disclosed those risks; (3) as a direct and proximate negligence in his emergency management of Mr. Rosit's fractured mandible.[18] Clearly,
result of the failure to disclose, the patient consented to treatment she otherwise would the appellate court overlooked the elementary principle against hearsay evidence.
not have consented to; and (4) plaintiff was injured by the proposed treatment."The
gravamen in an informed consent case requires the plaintiff to "point to significant In Dantis v. Maghinang, Jr.,[19] the Court reiterated the oft-repeated rule that "an affidavit
undisclosed information relating to the treatment which would have altered her decision to is merely hearsay evidence where its affiant/maker did not take the witness stand." Here,
undergo it." (emphasis supplied) Dr. Pangan never took the witness stand to affirm the contents of his affidavit. Thus, the
affidavit is inadmissible and cannot be given any weight. The CA, therefore, erred when it
The four adverted essential elements above are present here.
considered the affidavit of Dr. Pangan, mpreso for considering the same as expert
testimony.
First, Dr. Gestuvo clearly had the duty of disclosing to Rosit the risks of using the larger
screws for the operation. This was his obligation as the physician undertaking the operation.
Moreover, even if such affidavit is considered as admissible and the testimony of an expert
witness, the Court is not bound by such testimony. As ruled in Ilao-Quianay v. Mapile:[20]
Second, Dr. Gestuvo failed to disclose these risks to Rosit, deciding by himself that Rosit
could not afford to get the more expensive titanium screws. Indeed, courts are not bound by expert testimonies. They may place whatever weight they
choose upon such testimonies in accordance with the facts of the case. The relative weight
Third, had Rosit been informed that there was a risk that the larger screws are not and sufficiency of expert testimony is peculiarly within the province of the trial court to
appropriate for the operation and that an additional operation replacing the screws might decide, considering the ability and character of the witness, his actions upon the witness
be required to replace the same, as what happened in this case, Rosit would not have stand, the weight and process of the reasoning by which he has supported his opinion, his
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

possible bias in favor of the side for whom he testifies, and any other matters which serve Our jurisprudence sets certain conditions when exemplary damages may be awarded: First,
to illuminate his statements. The opinion of an expert should be considered by the court in they may be imposed by way of example or correction only in addition, among others, to
view of all the facts and circumstances of the case. The problem of the evaluation of expert compensatory damages, and cannot be recovered as a matter of right, their determination
testimony is left to the discretion of the trial court whose ruling thereupon is not revicwable depending upon the amount of compensatory damages that may be awarded to the
in the absence of an abuse of that discretion. claimant. Second, the claimant must first establish his right to moral, temperate, liquidated
or compensatory damages. Third, the wrongful act must be accompanied by bad faith, and
Thus, the belief of Dr. Pangan whether Dr. Gestuvo is guilty of negligence or not will not
the award would be allowed only if the guilty party acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless,
bind the Court. The Court must weigh and examine such testimony and decide for itself the
oppressive or malevolent manner.
merits thereof.
The three (3) requisites are met. Dr. Gestuvo's actions are clearly negligent. Likewise, Dr.
As discussed above, Dr. Gestuvo's negligence is clearly demonstrable by the doctrines of res Gestuvo acted in bad faith or in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive manner when he
ipsa loquitur and informed consent. was in breach of the doctrine of informed consent. Dr. Gestuvo had the duty to fully explain
to Rosit the risks of using large screws for the operation. More importantly, he concealed
Damages the correct medical procedure of using the smaller titanium screws mainly because of his
erroneous belief that Rosit cannot afford to buy the expensive titanium screws. Such
For the foregoing, the trial court properly awarded Rosit actual damages after he was able concealment is clearly a valid basis for an award of exemplary damages.
to prove the actual expenses that he incurred due to the negligence of Dr. Gestuvo.
In Mendoza v. Spouses Gomez,[21] the Court explained that a claimant is entitled to actual WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The CA Decision dated January 22, 2013 and
damages when the damage he sustained is the natural and probable consequences of the Resolution dated November 7, 2013 in CA-G.R. CV No. 00911-MIN are
negligent act and he adequately proved the amount of such damage. hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Further, the Decision dated September 14, 2004 of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 33 in Davao City in Civil Case No. 27,345-99 is
Rosit is also entitled to moral damages as provided under Article 2217 of the Civil hereby REINSTATED and AFFIRMED.
Code,[22] given the unnecessary physical suffering he endured as a consequence of
defendant's negligence. SO ORDERED.

To recall, from the time he was negligently operated upon by Dr. Gestuvo until three (3)
days from the corrective surgery performed by Dr. Pangan, or for a period of one (1) month,
Rosit suffered pain and could not properly use his jaw to speak or eat.
A.M. No. 801 June 27, 1978
The trial court also properly awarded attorney's fees and costs of suit under Article 2208 of
CESARIO ADARNE, complainant,
the Civil Code,[23] since Rosit was compelled to litigate due to Dr. Gestuvo's refusal to pay
vs.
for Rosit's damages.
ATTY. DAMIAN V. ALDABA, respondent.

As to the award of exemplary damages, the same too has to be affirmed.


In Mendoza,[24] the Court enumerated the requisites for the award of exemplary damages:
Administrative action against the respondent attorney for gross negligence and misconduct,
for failure to give his entire devotion to the interest of his client, warm zeal in the .
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

maintenance and defense of his rights, and exertion of his utmost learning and ability in the for quieting of title and the case heard jointly with the pending action for forcible entry.
prosecution and defense of his client, and for not taking steps to protect the interests of his Finding merit in the argument, the court ordered the defendant Cesario Adarne to file an
client in the face of an adverse decision. action for quieting of title within one (1) week and the plaintiffs to answer the same within
the reglementary period, after which both cases would be tried jointly. The hearing was
The record shows that sometime in 1958, Raymunda Cumpio and her husband, Rufo
deferred until after the filing of the action for quieting of title. 5
Cumpio, filed an action for forcible entry against herein complaint Cesario Adarne, Aning
Arante, and Miguel Inokando with the Justice of the Peace of Alang-alang Leyte. The case On June 17, 1965, the court declared the defendants in default for their failure to appeal at
was docketed in the said court as Civil Case No. 96. Atty. Isauro Marmita represented the the hearing set for that day and directed the plaintiffs to present evidence to support their
defendants who raised the issue of ownership of the land in question. After hearing the claim. 6 On September 17, 1965, the court rendered a decision and a writ of execution was
parties, the Justice of the Peace dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. issued thereafter. 7
Consequently, the plaintiffs therein appealed to the Court of First Instance of Leyte and the
Because of this, Cesario Adarne filed the present complaint against the respondent Atty.
case was assigned to Branch VI of Carigara, where it was docketed as Civil Case No. 556.
Damian V. Aldaba on August 3, 1967, praying:
Resolving the issue interposed by the appellants, the Judge of the Court of First Instance
found that the Justice of the Peace Court has jurisdiction over the case and returned the Dahil dito, isinusumbong ko po ang aking Abogado ng "Mal practice" pabaya at pahamak sa
same to the lower court for trial on the merits. After trial on the merits, the Justice of the kliente at sinisingil ko po siya ng pinsala katumbas sa sinisingil sa kin ng akin kalaban. O kaya
Peace again dismissed the case and the plaintiffs again appealed to the Court of First lakarin niya na mapigil and decision ng Hukom sa C.F.I. at ulitin and hearing sa Forcible
Instance of Leyte where the case was docketed anew as Civil Case No, 632. Attys. Arturo Entry. Kung hindi niya magagawa ito, ipinauubaya ko na po sa kataas taasan Hukoman and
Mirales and Generoso Casimpan filed the answer for the defendants. 1 paglapat ng parusa. Sapagkat kung hindi p susugpo-in and masamang gawa naito ng mga
ibang abogado na nabibili, lalala and sakit naito sa profession ng mga abogado, at lilikha
At the hearing of the case on August 7, 1961, the herein complainant Cesario Adarne, one
ng maraming api, at habang naghahari and pang-aapi, lalaganap and kriminalidad ng walang
of the defendants in the aforementioned Civil Case No. 632, noting that his attorneys had
tigil, at walang katahimikan ang ating Demukrasya, at kung magkakagayon ang mga
not yet arrived, prevailed upon the respondent Atty. Damian Aldaba, who was then present
mamamayan at sapilitan sa kumunista sasamba.
in court to attend the trial of an electoral case, to appear as counsel for them and ask for
the Postponement of the trial. The respondent, who is a third degree cousin of the The respondent denied that he ever had any agreement with the complainant with respect
complainant, agreed, and entered a special appearance. Upon noticing that the plaintiffs to the handling of the latter's case in the Court of First Instance of Leyte, Carigara Branch,
and their counsel were not also present in court, the respondent, instead of asking for a except for the "special appearance" that he entered for the complainant on August 7, 1961
postponement, moved for the dismissal of the case. "is motion was granted and the case and October 23, 1964, in view of the non-availability of the complainant's lawyers on said
was again dismissed. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a motion for the reconsideration of the dates.
order, 2 to which the respondent filed an opposition in behalf of the defendants, 3 and the
motion was denied. 4Whereupon, the plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Appeals. After The case referred to the Solicitor General for investigation, report and
appropriate. proceedings, the appellee court set aside the order of dismissal and remanded recommendation, 8 after which a complaint for the disbarment of the respondent attorney
the case to the lower court for further proceedings. was filed. 9

At the hearing of the case on October 23, 1964 before the Court of First Instance of Leyte, The judgment by default rendered against the complainant cannot be attributed to the
the respondent was again prevailed upon by the complainant to appear in his behalf. The respondent attorney. The blame lies with the complainant for having engaged the services
respondent entered a "special appearance" for the complainant and thereafter argued that of several lawyers to handle his case without formally withdrawing the authority he had
the interest of justice would best be served of the defendants were allowed to file an action given to them to appear in his behalf as to place the responsibility upon the respondent. To
add to the confusion, the complainant had also requested the clerk of court of the Court of
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

First Instance of Leyte that he (complainant) be furnished with summons and subpoena SO ORDERED.
accorded to him. 10 He also filed a motion by himself, 11 thus implying that he was
handling his case personally.
G.R. No. L-9671 August 23, 1957
It appears that there have been three changes made of the attorneys for the complainant in
the forcible entry case. The complainant was originally represented by Atty. Isauro Marmita CESAR L. ISAAC, plaintiff-appellant,
who, upon his appointment to the Department of Labor, engaged Atty. de Veyra to take his vs.
place. 12 Then came Atty. Arturo Mirales and later, Atty. Generoso Casimpan. However, no A. L. AMMEN TRANSPORTATION CO., INC., defendant-appellee.
formalities whatever were observed in those changes such that the respondent entered a
"special appearance" for the complainant in order that he could ask for the dismissal of the
case for the failure of the adverse party to prosecute. The rule followed on matters of
A. L. Ammen Transportation Co., Inc., hereinafter referred to as defendant, is a corporation
substitution of attorneys as laid down by this Court is that no substitution of attorneys will
engaged in the business of transporting passengers by land for compensation in the Bicol
be allowed unless there be filed: (1) a written application for such substitution; (2) the
provinces and one of the lines it operates is the one connecting Legaspi City, Albay with
written consent of the client; (3) the written consent of the attorney substituted; and (4) in
Naga City, Camarines Sur. One of the buses which defendant was operating is Bus No. 31.
case such written consent can not be secured, there must be filed with the application
On May 31, 1951, plaintiff boarded said bus as a passenger paying the required fare from
proof of service of notice of such motion upon the attorney to be substituted, in the
Ligao, Albay bound for Pili, Camarines Sur, but before reaching his destination, the bus
manner prescribed by the rules. Unless the foregoing formalities are complied with,
collided with a motor vehicle of the pick-up type coming from the opposite direction, as a
substitution will not be permitted, and the attorney who properly appeared last in the
result of which plaintiff's left arm was completely severed and the severed portion fell
cause, before such application for substitution, will be regarded as the attorney of record
inside the bus. Plaintiff was rushed to a hospital in Iriga, Camarines Sur where he was given
and will be held responsible for the proper conduct of the cause. 13
blood transfusion to save his life. After four days, he was transferred to another hospital in
Besides, the respondent honestly believed that he had appeared for the complainant only Tabaco, Albay, where he under went treatment for three months. He was moved later to
for a special purpose and that the complainant had agreed to contact his attorney of record the Orthopedic Hospital where he was operated on and stayed there for another two
to handle his case after the hearing of October 23, 1964, so that he did nothing more about months. For these services, he incurred expenses amounting to P623.40, excluding medical
it. 14 It was neither gross negligence nor omission to have entertained such belief. An fees which were paid by defendant.
attorney is not bound to exercise extraordinary diligence, but only a reasonable degree of
B.
care and skill, having reference to the character of the business he undertakes to do. Prone
to err like any other human being, he is not answerable for every error or mistake, and will As an aftermath, plaintiff brought this action against defendants for damages alleging that
be protected as long as he acts honestly and in good faith to the best of his skill and the collision which resulted in the loss of his left arm was mainly due to the gross
knowledge. incompetence and recklessness of the driver of the bus operated by defendant and that
defendant incurred in culpa contractual arising from its non-compliance with its obligation
It is well settled that in disbarment proceedings, the burden of proof rests upon the
to transport plaintiff safely to his, destination. Plaintiff prays for judgment against
complainant and for the Court to exercise its disciplinary powers, the case against the
defendant as follows: (1) P5,000 as expenses for his medical treatment, and P3,000 as the
respondent attorney must be established by convincing proof. In the instant case, there is
cost of an artificial arm, or a total of P8,000; (2) P6,000 representing loss of earning; (3)
no sufficient proof to warrant the disbarment of the respondent attorney. Neither is there
P75,000 for diminution of his earning capacity; (4) P50,000 as moral damages; and (5)
culpable malpractice to justify his suspension.
P10,000 as attorneys' fees and costs of suit.
WHEREFORE, the present administrative complaint is hereby DISMISSED.
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

but upon the finding that its negligence was found to be the direct or proximate cause of
the injury complained of. Thus, appellee contends that "if there is no negligence on the part
Defendant set up as special defense that the injury suffered by plaintiff was due entirely to
of the common carrier but that the accident resulting in injuries is due to causes which are
the fault or negligence of the driver of the pick-up car which collided with the bus driven by
inevitable and which could not have been avoided or anticipated notwithstanding the
its driver and to the contributory negligence of plaintiff himself. Defendant further claims
exercise of that high degree of care and skill which the carrier is bound to exercise for the
that the accident which resulted in the injury of plaintiff is one which defendant could not
safety of his passengers", neither the common carrier nor the driver is liable therefor.
foresee or, though foreseen, was inevitable.

We believe that the law concerning the liability of a common carrier has now suffered a
The after trial found that the collision occurred due to the negligence of the driver of the
substantial modification in view of the innovations introduced by the new Civil Code. These
pick-up car and not to that of the driver of the bus it appearing that the latter did
innovations are the ones embodied in Articles 1733, 1755 and 1756 in so far as the relation
everything he could to avoid the same but that notwithstanding his efforts, he was not able
between a common carrier and its passengers is concerned, which, for ready reference, we
to avoid it. As a consequence, the court dismissed complaint, with costs against plaintiff.
quote hereunder:
This is an appeal from said decision.

ART. 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for reasons of public
It appears that plaintiff boarded a bus of defendant as paying passenger from Ligao, Albay,
policy, are bound to observe extra ordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods and for
bound for Pili, Camarines Sur, but before reaching his destination, the bus collided with a
the safety of the passengers transported by them according to all the circumstances of each
pick-up car which was coming from the opposite direction and, as a, result, his left arm was
case.
completely severed and fell inside the back part of the bus. Having this background in view,
and considering that plaintiff chose to hold defendant liable on its contractual obligation to
carry him safely to his place of destination, it becomes important to determine the nature
Such extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods is further expressed in articles
and extent of the liability of a common carrier to a passenger in the light of the law
1734, 1735, and 1745, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, while the extraordinary diligence for the safety of
applicable in this jurisdiction.
the passengers is further set forth in articles 1755 and 1756.

In this connection, appellant invokes the rule that, "when an action is based on a contract
ART. 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human care
of carriage, as in this case, all that is necessary to sustain recovery is proof of the existence
and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due
of the contract of the breach thereof by act or omission", and in support thereof, he cites
regard for all the circumstances.
several Philippine cases.1 With the ruling in mind, appellant seems to imply that once the
contract of carriage is established and there is proof that the same was broken by failure of
the carrier to transport the passenger safely to his destination, the liability of the former
attaches. On the other hand, appellee claims that is a wrong presentation of the rule. It ART. 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers are presumed to
claims that the decisions of this Court in the cases cited do not warrant the construction have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they observed
sought to be placed upon, them by appellant for a mere perusal thereof would show that extraordinary diligence as prescribed in articles 1733 and 1755.
the liability of the carrier was predicated not upon mere breach of its contract of carriage
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

The Code Commission, in justifying this extraordinary diligence required of a common demandado ha hecho, todo cuanto estuviere de su parte para evitar el accidente, pero sin
carrier, says the following: embargo, no ha podido evitarlo.

A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human care and EI hecho de que el demandado, antes del choque, tuvo que hacer pasar su truck encima de
foresight can provide, using the utmost deligence of very cautions persons, with due regard los montones de grava que estaban depositados en la orilla del camino, sin que haya ido
for all circumstances. This extraordinary diligence required of common carriers is calculated mas alla, por el grave riesgo que corrian las vidas de sus pasajeros, es prueba concluyente
to protect the passengers from the tragic mishaps that frequently occur in connection with de lo que tenemos dicho, a saber: que el cuanto esuba de su parte, para evitar el
rapid modern transportation. This high standard of care is imperatively demanded by the accidente, sin que haya podidoevitardo, por estar fuera de su control.
precariousness of human life and by the consideration that every person must in every way
be safeguarded against all injury. (Report of the Code Commission, pp. 35-36)" (Padilla, Civil
Code of the Philippines, Vol. IV, 1956 ed., p. 197). The evidence would appear to support the above finding. Thus, it appears that Bus No. 31,
immediately prior to the collision, was running at a moderate speed because it had just
stopped at the school zone of Matacong, Polangui, Albay. The pick-up car was at full speed
From the above legal provisions, we can make the following restatement of the principles and was running outside of its proper lane. The driver of the bus, upon seeing the manner
governing the liability of a common carrier: (1) the liability of a carrier is contractual and in which the pick-up was then running, swerved the bus to the very extreme right of the
arises upon breach of its obligation. There is breach if it fails to exert extraordinary diligence road until its front and rear wheels have gone over the pile of stones or gravel situated on
according to all circumstances of each case; (2) a carrier is obliged to carry its passenger the rampart of the road. Said driver could not move the bus farther right and run over a
with the utmost diligence of a very cautious person, having due regard for all the greater portion of the pile, the peak of which was about 3 feet high, without endangering
circumstances; (3) a carrier is presumed to be at fault or to have acted negligently in case of the safety of his passengers. And notwithstanding all these efforts, the rear left side of the
death of, or injury to, passengers, it being its duty to prove that it exercised extraordinary bus was hit by the pick-up car.
diligence; and (4) the carrier is not an insurer against all risks of travel.

Of course, this finding is disputed by appellant who cannot see eye to eye with the evidence
The question that now arises is: Has defendant observed extraordinary diligence or the for the appellee and insists that the collision took place because the driver of the bus was
utmost diligence of every cautious person, having due regard for all circumstances, in going at a fast speed. He contends that, having seen that a car was coming from the
avoiding the collision which resulted in the injury caused to the plaintiff? opposite direction at a distance which allows the use of moderate care and prudence to
avoid an accident, and knowing that on the side of the road along which he was going there
was a pile of gravel, the driver of the bus should have stopped and waited for the vehicle
After examining the evidence in connection with how the collision occurred, the lower from the opposite direction to pass, and should have proceeded only after the other vehicle
court made the following finding: had passed. In other words, according to appellant, the act of the driver of the bus in
squeezing his way through of the bus in squeezing his way through between the oncoming
pick-up and the pile of gravel under the circumstances was considered negligent.
Hemos examinado muy detenidamente las pruebas presentadas en la vista, principalmente, But this matter is one of credibility and evaluation of the evidence. This is evidence. This is
las declaraciones que hemos acotado arriba, y hernos Ilegado a la conclusion de que el the function of the trial court. The trial court has already spoken on this matter as we have
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

pointed out above. This is also a matter of appreciation of the situation on the part of the It is true that such contributory negligence cannot relieve appellee of its liability but will
driver. While the position taken by appellant appeals more to the sense of caution that one only entitle it to a reduction of the amount of damage caused (Article 1762, new Civil Code),
should observe in a given situation to avoid an accident or mishap, such however can not but this is a circumstance which further militates against the position taken by appellant in
always be expected from one who is placed suddenly in a predicament where he is not this case.
given enough time to take the course of action as he should under ordinary circumstances.
One who is placed in such a predicament cannot exercise such coolness or accuracy of
judgment as is required of him under ordinary circumstances and he cannot therefore be It is the prevailing rule that it is negligence per se for a passenger on a railroad voluntarily or
expected to observe the same judgment, care and precaution as in the latter. For this inadvertently to protrude his arm, hand, elbow, or any other part of his body through the
reason, authorities abound where failure to observe the same degree of care that as window of a moving car beyond the outer edge of the window or outer surface of the car,
ordinary prudent man would exercise under ordinary circumstances when confronted with so as to come in contact with objects or obstacles near the track, and that no recovery can
a sadden emergency was held to be warranted and a justification to exempt the carrier be had for an injury which but for such negligence would not have been sustained. (10 C. J.
from liability. Thus, it was held that "where a carrier's employee is confronted with a 1139)
sudden emergency, the fact that he is obliged to act quickly and without a chance for
deliberation must be taken into account, and he is held to the some degree of care that he
would otherwise be required to exercise in the absence of such emergency but must
Plaintiff, (passenger) while riding on an interurban car, to flick the ashes, from his cigar,
exercise only such care as any ordinary prudent person would exercise under like
thrust his hand over the guard rail a sufficient distance beyond the side line of the car to
circumstances and conditions, and the failure on his part to exercise the best judgement the
bring it in contact with the trunk of a tree standing beside the track; the force of the blow
case renders possible does not establish lack of care and skill on his part which renders the
breaking his wrist. Held, that he was guilty of contributory negligence as a matter of law.
company, liable. . . . (13 C. J. S., 1412; 10 C. J.,970). Considering all the circumstances, we
(Malakia vs. Rhode Island Co., 89 A., 337.)
are persuaded to conclude that the driver of the bus has done what a prudent man could
have done to avoid the collision and in our opinion this relieves appellee from legibility
under our law.
[G.R. No. 126074. February 24, 1998]

RIDJO TAPE & CHEMICAL CORP. and RIDJO PAPER CORPORATION, petitioners, vs. HON.
A circumstances which miliates against the stand of appellant is the fact borne out by the COURT OF APPEALS, MANILA ELECTRIC CO.,HON. PRESIDING JUDGE, Branch
evidence that when he boarded the bus in question, he seated himself on the left side 104-REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY, respondents.
thereof resting his left arm on the window sill but with his left elbow outside the window,
this being his position in the bus when the collision took place. It is for this reason that the
collision resulted in the severance of said left arm from the body of appellant thus doing Before us is a petition to review the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals which reversed that
him a great damage. It is therefore apparent that appellant is guilty of contributory of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 104 in Civil Case Nos. Q-92-13845 and
negligence. Had he not placed his left arm on the window sill with a portion thereof Q-92-13879 ordering petitioners to pay private respondent Manila Electric Co. (MERALCO)
protruding outside, perhaps the injury would have been avoided as is the case with the the amount of P415,317.66 and P89,710.58 plus the costs of suit. This petition involves the
other passenger. It is to be noted that appellant was the only victim of the collision. two cases filed by petitioners which were eventually consolidated.

Civil Case No. Q-92-13845:


TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

On November 16, 1990, petitioners applied for and was granted electric service by
MERALCO. Ten months later, however, or on September 4, 1991, petitioners received a
On November 27, 1992, the trial court issued the corresponding preliminary injunction.
letter from MERALCO demanding payment of P415,317.66, allegedly representing
unregistered electric consumption for the period November 7, 1990, to February 13, After due trial, the lower court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
1991.MERALCO justified its demand on the ground that the unregistered electric
consumption was due to the defects of the electric meter located in the premises of WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in this case in favor of the plaintiff(s) and
petitioners. against the defendants:

Since petitioners refused to pay the amount, MERALCO notified them that in the event the 1. Making the Injunction permanent, enjoining the defendants in both cases, and all their
overdue account remained unpaid, it would be forced to disconnect their subordinates, legal representatives, electric meter readers and technicians from committing
electricity. Alarmed by this development, petitioners, instead of settling the amount, filed acts of dispossession/disruption of electric power on the subject premises located at the
on October 29, 1992 a case before Branch 98 of the Quezon City RTC for the issuance of a compound of Ridjo Tape and Chemical Corporation and Ridjo Paper Corporation located at
writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order to forestall any planned 64 and 68 Judge Juan Luna St., San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City.
disconnection by MERALCO.

2. Ordering defendants to pay the cost of suit.


On November 19, 1992, the trial court granted the prayer for preliminary injunction.

Civil Case No. 13879:


Defendants counterclaim on (the) two cases are (sic) denied for lack of merit.

MERALCO appealed to the Court of Appeals which, on January 22, 1996, reversed the trial
On July 30, 1992, petitioners received another demand letter from MERALCO, this time courts finding, to wit:
requiring them to pay the amount of P89,710.58 representing the unregistered electric
consumption for the period July 15, 1991 to April 13, 1992, the deficiency again due to the
defective meter installed in petitioners compound. WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is REVERSED; and appellees Ridjo Tape and Chemical
Corporation and Ridjo Paper Corporation are hereby ordered to pay subject differential
billings of P415,317.66 and P89,710.58, respectively. Costs against the appellees.[2]
MERALCOs demand having remained unheeded, petitioners were advised that their electric
service would be disconnected without further notice. Hence, on November 5, 1992,
petitioners filed a case before Branch 104 of the Quezon City RTC, seeking to enjoin Aggrieved, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied by the Court of
MERALCO from implementing the suspension of electric service. Appeals in a resolution dated August 14, 1996.[3] Hence, this petition.

Thereafter, on November 9, 1992, petitioners filed a motion for the consolidation of the
two cases, which was granted, resulting in the joint trial of said cases before Branch 104 of
the Quezon City RTC.
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

From the pleadings filed by the parties, it can be deduced that the only issue to be resolved
is whether petitioners, despite the absence of evidence of tampering, are liable to pay for
Being an ordinary contract, therefore, the principle that contracting parties can make
the unregistered electrical service.
stipulations in their contract provided they are not contrary to law, morals, good customs,
public order or public policy, stands strong and true.[9] To be sure, contracts are respected
as laws between the contracting parties, and they may establish such stipulations, clauses,
For a better understanding of the two cases, the terms and conditions of the Service
terms and conditions as they may want to include.[10] Since both parties offered conflicting
Agreement regarding payments are reproduced:
interpretations of the stipulation, however, then judicial determination of the parties
intention is mandated.[11] In this regard, it must be stressed that in construing a written
contract, the reason behind and the circumstances surrounding its execution are of
PAYMENTS paramount importance to place the interpreter in the situation occupied by the parties
concerned at the time the writing was executed.[12]
Bills will be rendered by the Company to the Customer monthly in accordance with the
applicable rate schedule. Said Bills are payable to collectors or at the main or branch offices
of the Company or at its authorized banks within ten (10) days after the regular reading
date of the electric meters. The word month as used herein and in the rate schedule is With these pronouncement as parameters, and considering the circumstances of the
hereby defined to be the elapsed time between two succeeding meter readings parties, we are constrained to uphold MERALCOs interpretation.
approximately thirty (30) days apart. In the event of the stoppage or the failure by any
meter to register the full amount of energy consumed, the Customer shall be billed for such
period on an estimated consumption based upon his use of energy in a similar period of like At this juncture, we hasten to point out that the production and distribution of electricity is
use. (Underscoring supplied) a highly technical business undertaking,[13] and in conducting its operation, it is only logical
for public utilities, such as MERALCO, to employ mechanical devices and equipment for the
orderly pursuit of its business.
In disclaiming any liability, petitioners assert that the phrase stoppage or failure by any
meter to register the full amount of energy consumed can only refer to tampering on the
part of the customer and not mechanical failure or defects.[4] MERALCO, on the other hand, It is to be expected that the parties were consciously aware that these devices or
argues that to follow the interpretation advanced by petitioners would constitute an equipment are susceptible to defects and mechanical failure. Hence, we are not prepared
unjust enrichment in favor of its customers.[5] to believe that petitioners were ignorant of the fact that stoppages in electric meters can
also result from inherent defects or flaws and not only from tampering or intentional
mishandling.
Evidently, the Service Contract between petitioners and MERALCO partakes of the nature of
a contract of adhesion as it was prepared solely by the latter, the only participation of the
former being that they affixed or adhered their signature thereto,[6] thus, leaving no room Clearly, therefore, the rationale of the provision in the Service Agreement was primarily to
for negotiation and depriving petitioners of the opportunity to bargain on equal cover situations similar to the instant case, for there are instances when electric meters do
footing.[7] Nevertheless, these types of contracts have been declared to be binding as fail to record the quantity of the current used for whatever reason.[14] It is precisely this
ordinary contracts because the party adhering thereto is free to reject it in its entirety.[8] kind of predicament that MERALCO seeks to protect itself from so as to avert business
losses or reverses. It must be borne in mind that construction of the terms of a contract
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

which would amount to impairment or loss of right is not favored; conservation and
preservation, not waiver, abandonment or forfeiture of a right, is the rule.[15] Since
Indeed, if an unusual electric consumption was not reflected in the statements of account
MERALCO supplied electricity to petitioners for a fee, no intent to donate the same can be
of petitioners, MERALCO, considering its technical knowledge and vast experience in
gleaned from the terms of the Agreement. Hence, the stipulation must be upheld.
providing electric service, could have easily verified any possible error in the meter
Corollarily, it must be underscored that MERALCO has the imperative duty to make a reading. In the absence of such a mistake, the electric meters themselves should be
reasonable and proper inspection of its apparatus and equipment to ensure that they do inspected for possible defects or breakdowns and forthwith repaired and, if necessary,
not malfunction,[16] and the due diligence to discover and repair defects therein. Failure to replaced. Furthermore, if MERALCO discovered that contraptions or illegal devices were
perform such duties constitutes negligence.[17] installed which would alter the result of the meter reading, then it should have filed the
appropriate criminal complaint against petitioners under Presidential Decree No. 401.[20]

A review of the records, however, discloses that the unpaid charges covered the periods
from November 7, 1990 to February 13, 1991 for Civil Case No. Q-92-13045 and from July The rationale behind this ruling is that public utilities should be put on notice, as a deterrent,
15, 1991 to April 13, 1992 for Civil Case No. 13879, approximately three months and nine that if they completely disregard their duty of keeping their electric meters in serviceable
months, respectively. On such basis, we take judicial notice that during those periods, condition, they run the risk of forfeiting, by reason of their negligence, amounts originally
personnel representing MERALCO inspected and examined the electric meters of due from their customers. Certainly, we cannot sanction a situation wherein the defects in
petitioners regularly for the purpose of determining the monthly dues payable.So, why the electric meter are allowed to continue indefinitely until suddenly the public utilities
were these defects not detected and reported on time? concerned demand payment for the unrecorded electricity utilized when, in the first place,
they should have remedied the situation immediately. If we turn a blind eye on MERALCOs
omission, it may encourage negligence on the part of public utilities, to the detriment of the
It has been held that notice of a defect need not be direct and express; it is enough that the consuming public.
same had existed for such a length of time that it is reasonable to presume that it had been
detected,[18] and the presence of a conspicuous defect which has existed for a
considerable length of time will create a presumption of constructive notice In view of the foregoing discussion, the liability of petitioners for consumed but unrecorded
thereof.[19]Hence, MERALCOs failure to discover the defect, if any, considering the length electricity must be limited by reason of MERALCOs negligence. Hence, an equitable solution
of time, amounts to inexcusable negligence. Furthermore, we need not belabor the point would be for petitioners to pay only the estimated consumption on a three-month average
that as a public utility, MERALCO has the obligation to discharge its functions with utmost before the period in controversy. To hold otherwise would unjustly enrich petitioners who
care and diligence. would be allowed to utilize additional electricity, albeit unrecorded, at no extra cost.

Accordingly, we are left with no recourse but to conclude that this is a case of negligence on To summarize, it is worth emphasizing that it is not our intention to impede or diminish the
the part of MERALCO for which it must bear the consequences. Its failure to make the business viability of MERALCO, or any public utility company for that matter. On the
necessary repairs and replacement of the defective electric meter installed within the contrary, we would like to stress that, being a public utility vested with vital public interest,
premises of petitioners was obviously the proximate cause of the instant dispute between MERALCO is impressed with certain obligations towards its customers and any omission on
the parties. its part to perform such duties would be prejudicial to its interest. For in the final analysis,
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

the bottom line is that those who do not exercise such prudence in the discharge of their helped or pulled out, while the three passengers seated beside the driver, named Bataclan,
duties shall be made to bear the consequences of such oversight. Lara and the Visayan and the woman behind them named Natalia Villanueva, could not get
out of the overturned bus. Some of the passengers, after they had clambered up to the
road, heard groans and moans from inside the bus, particularly, shouts for help from
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. Bataclan and Lara, who said they could not get out of the bus. There is nothing in the
44010 is hereby MODIFIED. Petitioners are ordered to pay MERALCO the evidence to show whether or not the passengers already free from the wreck, including the
amount P168,342.75, representing its average electric consumption three months prior to driver and the conductor, made any attempt to pull out or extricate and rescue the four
the period in controversy.[21] No costs. passengers trapped inside the vehicle, but calls or shouts for help were made to the houses
in the neighborhood. After half an hour, came about ten men, one of them carrying a
SO ORDERED. lighted torch made of bamboo with a wick on one end, evidently fueled with petroleum.
These men presumably approach the overturned bus, and almost immediately, a fierce fire
started, burning and all but consuming the bus, including the four passengers trapped
B. NEGLIGENCE AS PROXIMATE CAUSE inside it. It would appear that as the bus overturned, gasoline began to leak and escape
from the gasoline tank on the side of the chassis, spreading over and permeating the body
of the bus and the ground under and around it, and that the lighted torch brought by one of
G.R. No. L-10126 October 22, 1957 the men who answered the call for help set it on fire.

SALUD VILLANUEVA VDA. DE BATACLAN and the minors NORMA, LUZVIMINDA, ELENITA,
OSCAR and ALFREDO BATACLAN, represented by their Natural guardian, SALUD That same day, the charred bodies of the four deemed passengers inside the bus were
VILLANUEVA VDA. DE BATACLAN, plaintiffs-appellants, removed and duly identified that of Juan Bataclan. By reason of his death, his widow, Salud
vs. Villanueva, in her name and in behalf of her five minor children, brought the present suit to
MARIANO MEDINA, defendant-appellant. recover from Mariano Medina compensatory, moral, and exemplary damages and
attorney's fees in the total amount of P87,150. After trial, the Court of First Instance of
Cavite awarded P1,000 to the plaintiffs plus P600 as attorney's fee, plus P100, the value of
Shortly after midnight, on September 13, 1952 bus no. 30 of the Medina Transportation, the merchandise being carried by Bataclan to Pasay City for sale and which was lost in the
operated by its owner defendant Mariano Medina under a certificate of public convenience, fire. The plaintiffs and the defendants appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals, but
left the town of Amadeo, Cavite, on its way to Pasay City, driven by its regular chauffeur, the latter endorsed the appeal to us because of the value involved in the claim in the
Conrado Saylon. There were about eighteen passengers, including the driver and conductor. complaint.
Among the passengers were Juan Bataclan, seated beside and to the right of the driver,
Felipe Lara, sated to the right of Bataclan, another passenger apparently from the Visayan
Islands whom the witnesses just called Visaya, apparently not knowing his name, seated in Our new Civil Code amply provides for the responsibility of common carrier to its
the left side of the driver, and a woman named Natalia Villanueva, seated just behind the passengers and their goods. For purposes of reference, we are reproducing the pertinent
four last mentioned. At about 2:00 o'clock that same morning, while the bus was running codal provisions:
within the jurisdiction of Imus, Cavite, one of the front tires burst and the vehicle began to
zig-zag until it fell into a canal or ditch on the right side of the road and turned turtle. Some
of the passengers managed to leave the bus the best way they could, others had to be
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

ART. 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for reasons of public We agree with the trial court that the case involves a breach of contract of transportation
policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods and for for hire, the Medina Transportation having undertaken to carry Bataclan safely to his
the safety of the passengers transported by them, according to all the circumstances of destination, Pasay City. We also agree with the trial court that there was negligence on the
each case. part of the defendant, through his agent, the driver Saylon. There is evidence to show that
at the time of the blow out, the bus was speeding, as testified to by one of the passengers,
and as shown by the fact that according to the testimony of the witnesses, including that of
Such extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods is further expressed in articles the defense, from the point where one of the front tires burst up to the canal where the
1734, 1735, and 1745, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, while the extra ordinary diligence for the safety of bus overturned after zig-zaging, there was a distance of about 150 meters. The chauffeur,
the passengers is further set forth in articles 1755 and 1756. after the blow-out, must have applied the brakes in order to stop the bus, but because of
the velocity at which the bus must have been running, its momentum carried it over a
ART. 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human care distance of 150 meters before it fell into the canal and turned turtle.
and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due
regard for all the circumstances.
There is no question that under the circumstances, the defendant carrier is liable. The only
question is to what degree. The trial court was of the opinion that the proximate cause of
ART. 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers are presumed to the death of Bataclan was not the overturning of the bus, but rather, the fire that burned
have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they observed the bus, including himself and his co-passengers who were unable to leave it; that at the
extraordinary diligence as prescribed in articles 1733 and 1755 time the fire started, Bataclan, though he must have suffered physical injuries, perhaps
serious, was still alive, and so damages were awarded, not for his death, but for the physical
injuries suffered by him. We disagree. A satisfactory definition of proximate cause is found
ART. 1759. Common carriers are liable for the death of or injuries to passengers through the in Volume 38, pages 695-696 of American jurisprudence, cited by plaintiffs-appellants in
negligence or willful acts of the former's employees, although such employees may have their brief. It is as follows:
acted beyond the scope of their authority or in violation of the order of the common
carriers.
. . . 'that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient
intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have
This liability of the common carriers does not cease upon proof that they exercised all the occurred.' And more comprehensively, 'the proximate legal cause is that acting first and
diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of their employees. producing the injury, either immediately or by setting other events in motion, all
constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, each having a close causal
ART. 1763. A common carrier responsible for injuries suffered by a passenger on account of connection with its immediate predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately
the willful acts or negligence of other passengers or of strangers, if the common carrier's effecting the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, under
employees through the exercise of the diligence of a good father of a family could have such circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should, as an ordinary
prevented or stopped the act or omission. prudent and intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his act
or default that an injury to some person might probably result therefrom.
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

It may be that ordinarily, when a passenger bus overturns, and pins down a passenger, EIGHT HUNDRED (P800) PESOS for the loss of merchandise carried by the deceased in the
merely causing him physical injuries, if through some event, unexpected and extraordinary, bus, is adequate and will not be disturbed.
the overturned bus is set on fire, say, by lightning, or if some highwaymen after looting the
vehicle sets it on fire, and the passenger is burned to death, one might still contend that the
proximate cause of his death was the fire and not the overturning of the vehicle. But in the There is one phase of this case which disturbs if it does not shock us. According to the
present case under the circumstances obtaining in the same, we do not hesitate to hold evidence, one of the passengers who, because of the injuries suffered by her, was
that the proximate cause was the overturning of the bus, this for the reason that when the hospitalized, and while in the hospital, she was visited by the defendant Mariano Medina,
vehicle turned not only on its side but completely on its back, the leaking of the gasoline and in the course of his visit, she overheard him speaking to one of his bus inspectors,
from the tank was not unnatural or unexpected; that the coming of the men with a lighted telling said inspector to have the tires of the bus changed immediately because they were
torch was in response to the call for help, made not only by the passengers, but most already old, and that as a matter of fact, he had been telling the driver to change the said
probably, by the driver and the conductor themselves, and that because it was dark (about tires, but that the driver did not follow his instructions. If this be true, it goes to prove that
2:30 in the morning), the rescuers had to carry a light with them, and coming as they did the driver had not been diligent and had not taken the necessary precautions to insure the
from a rural area where lanterns and flashlights were not available; and what was more safety of his passengers. Had he changed the tires, specially those in front, with new ones,
natural than that said rescuers should innocently approach the vehicle to extend the aid as he had been instructed to do, probably, despite his speeding, as we have already stated,
and effect the rescue requested from them. In other words, the coming of the men with a the blow out would not have occurred. All in all, there is reason to believe that the driver
torch was to be expected and was a natural sequence of the overturning of the bus, the operated and drove his vehicle negligently, resulting in the death of four of his passengers,
trapping of some of its passengers and the call for outside help. What is more, the burning physical injuries to others, and the complete loss and destruction of their goods, and yet
of the bus can also in part be attributed to the negligence of the carrier, through is driver the criminal case against him, on motion of the fiscal and with his consent, was
and its conductor. According to the witness, the driver and the conductor were on the road provisionally dismissed, because according to the fiscal, the witnesses on whose testimony
walking back and forth. They, or at least, the driver should and must have known that in the he was banking to support the complaint, either failed or appear or were reluctant to testify.
position in which the overturned bus was, gasoline could and must have leaked from the But the record of the case before us shows the several witnesses, passengers, in that bus,
gasoline tank and soaked the area in and around the bus, this aside from the fact that willingly and unhesitatingly testified in court to the effect of the said driver was negligent.
gasoline when spilled, specially over a large area, can be smelt and directed even from a In the public interest the prosecution of said erring driver should be pursued, this, not only
distance, and yet neither the driver nor the conductor would appear to have cautioned or as a matter of justice, but for the promotion of the safety of passengers on public utility
taken steps to warn the rescuers not to bring the lighted torch too near the bus. Said buses. Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Department of Justice and the Provincial
negligence on the part of the agents of the carrier come under the codal provisions Fiscal of Cavite.
above-reproduced, particularly, Articles 1733, 1759 and 1763.

In view of the foregoing, with the modification that the damages awarded by the trial court
As regard the damages to which plaintiffs are entitled, considering the earning capacity of are increased from ONE THOUSAND (P1,000) PESOS TO SIX THOUSAND (P6,000) PESOS, and
the deceased, as well as the other elements entering into a damage award, we are satisfied from SIX HUNDRED PESOS TO EIGHT HUNDRED (P800) PESOS, for the death of Bataclan and
that the amount of SIX THOUSAND (P6,000) PESOS would constitute satisfactory for the attorney's fees, respectively, the decision appealed is from hereby affirmed, with
compensation, this to include compensatory, moral, and other damages. We also believe costs.
that plaintiffs are entitled to attorney's fees, and assessing the legal services rendered by
plaintiffs' attorneys not only in the trial court, but also in the course of the appeal, and not
losing sight of the able briefs prepared by them, the attorney's fees may well be fixed at
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

Urbano v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 157 SCRA 1 (1988)

Held: YES. ACQUITTED. The case involves the application of Article 4 RPC which provides
that "Criminal liability shall be incurred: (1) By any person committing a felony (delito)
Facts: On October 1980, Filomeno Urbano was on his way to his rice field. He found the
although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended ..." Pursuant to
place where he stored palay flooded with water coming from the irrigation canal. Urbano
this provision "an accused is criminally responsible for acts committed by him in violation of
went to the elevated portion to see what happened and there he saw Marcelino Javier and
law and for all the natural and logical consequences resulting therefrom."
Emilio Erfe cutting grass. Javier admitted that he was the one who opened the canal A
quarrel ensued and Urbano hit Javier on the right palm with his bolo causing an incised
wound and again on the leg. When Urbano tried to hack and inflict further injury, his
The evidence on record does not clearly show that the wound inflicted by Urbano was
daughter embraced and prevented him from hacking Javier.
infected with tetanus at the time of the infliction of the wound. The evidence merely
confirms that the wound, which was already healing at the time Javier suffered the
symptoms of the fatal ailment, somehow got infected with tetanus. However, as to when
On Oct 27, Urbano and Javier had an amicable settlement. Urbano paid P700 for medical
the wound was infected is not clear from the record.
expenses of Javier. On Nov. 1980, Javier was rushed to the hospital where he had lockjaw
and convulsions. The doctor found the condition to be caused by tetanus toxin which
infected the healing wound in his palm. He died the following day. Urbano was charged
Proximate cause is that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any
with homicide and was found guilty both by the trial court and the CA.
efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not
have occurred." And more comprehensively, "the proximate legal cause is that acting first
and producing the injury, either immediately or by setting other events in motion, all
Under these circumstances, the lower courts ruled that Javier's death was the natural and
constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, each having a close causal
logical consequence of Urbano's unlawful act. Hence, he was declared responsible for
connection with its immediate predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately
Javier's death. Later, however, Urbano filed a motion for new trial based on the affidavit of
effecting the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, under
the Brgy Captain who stated that he saw the deceased catching fish in the shallow irrigation
such circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should, as an ordinarily
canals on Nov. 5. The motion was denied. Hence, this petition.
prudent and intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his
act or default that an injury to some person might probably result therefrom."

The Urbano reiterates his position that the proximate cause of the death of Marcelo Javier The incubation period of tetanus or the time between injury and the appearance of
was due to his own negligence, that Dr. Mario Meneses found no tetanus in the injury, and unmistakable symptoms, ranges from 2 to 56 days. However, over 80% of patients become
that Javier got infected with tetanus when after 2 weeks he returned to his farm and symptomatic within 14 days. A short incubation period indicates severe disease, and when
tended his tobacco plants with his bare hands exposing the wound to harmful elements like symptoms occur within 2 or 3 days of injury the mortality rate approaches 100%. Reflex
tetanus germs. spasms usually occur within 24 to 72 hours of the first symptom, an interval referred to as
the onset time. Mild tetanus is characterized by an incubation period of at least 14 days and
an onset time of more than 6 days. As such, medically speaking, the reaction to tetanus
found inside a man's body depends on the incubation period of the disease.
Issue: Whether or not there was an efficient intervening cause from the time Javier was
wounded until his death which would exculpate Urbano from any liability for Javier's death.
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

Skimming through the facts, the Court found that based on the nature of the tetanus have happened but for such condition or occasion. If no danger existed in the condition
vis--vis the facts of the case, Urbanos hacking was not probably the proximate cause of except because of the independent cause, such condition was not the proximate cause.
the death. Here, Javier suffered a 2-inch incised wound on his right palm when he parried And if an independent negligent act or defective condition sets into operation the
the bolo which Urbano used in hacking him. This incident took place on October 23, 1980. instances which result in injury because of the prior defective condition, such subsequent
After 22 days, he suffered the symptoms of tetanus, like lockjaw and muscle spasms. The act or condition is the proximate cause.
following day, November 15, 1980, he died.

We must stress, however, that our discussion of proximate cause and remote cause is
If, therefore, the wound of Javier inflicted by the Urbano was already infected by tetanus limited to the criminal aspects of this rather unusual case. It does not necessarily follow
germs at the time, it is more medically probable that Javier should have been infected with that the Urbano is also free of civil liability. The well-settled doctrine is that a person, while
only a mild cause of tetanus because the symptoms of tetanus appeared on the 22nd day not criminally liable, may still be civilly liable. While the guilt of the accused in a criminal
after the hacking incident or more than 14 days after the infliction of the wound. Therefore, prosecution must be established beyond reasonable doubt, only a preponderance of
the onset time should have been more than 6 days. Javier, however, died on the second day evidence is required in a civil action for damages. The judgment of acquittal extinguishes
from the onset time. The more credible conclusion is that at the time Javier's wound was the civil liability of the accused only when it includes a declaration that the facts from which
inflicted by the Urbano, the severe form of tetanus that killed him was not yet present. the civil liability might arise did not exist.
Consequently, Javier's wound could have been infected with tetanus after the hacking
incident. Considering the circumstance surrounding Javier's death, his wound could have
been infected by tetanus 2 or 3 or a few but not 20 to 22 days before he died.

Phoenix Construction, Inc., v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 65295, March 10,
1987 (WTF)
The rule is that the death of the victim must be the direct, natural, and logical
consequence of the wounds inflicted upon him by the accused. And since we are dealing
with a criminal conviction, the proof that the accused caused the victim's death must
convince a rational mind beyond reasonable doubt. The medical findings, however, lead us Facts: At about 1:30 a.m., private respondent Leonardo Dionisio was on his way home from
to a distinct possibility that the infection of the wound by tetanus was an efficient a cocktails-and-dinner meeting with his boss where Dionisio had taken a shot or two of
intervening cause later or between the time Javier was wounded to the time of his death. liquor. Dionisio was driving his Volkswagen car and proceeding down General Lacuna Street,
The infection was, therefore, distinct and foreign to the crime. when his car headlights suddenly failed. He switched his headlights on bright and
thereupon he saw a Ford dump truck looming some 2.5 meters away from his car.

Doubts are present. There is a likelihood that the wound was but the remote cause and its
subsequent infection, for failure to take necessary precautions, with tetanus may have been The dump truck, owned and registered in the name of Phoenix Construction, was parked on
the proximate cause of Javier's death with which the petitioner had nothing to do. A prior the right hand side of General Lacuna Street (i.e., on the right hand side of a person facing
and remote cause cannot be made the basis of an action if such remote cause did nothing in the same direction toward which Dionisio's car was proceeding), facing the oncoming
more than furnish the condition or give rise to the occasion by which the injury was made traffic. The dump truck was parked askew in such a manner as to stick out onto the street,
possible, if there intervened between such prior or remote cause and the injury a distinct, partly blocking the way of oncoming traffic. There were neither lights nor reflector devices
successive, unrelated, and efficient cause of the injury, even though such injury would not set anywhere near the dump truck. The dump truck had earlier that evening been driven
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

home by Carbonel, its regular driver, with the permission of his employer Phoenix, in view any curfew pass during the trial. Instead, he offered the explanation that his family may
of work scheduled to be carried out early the following morning. have misplaced his curfew pass. He also offered a certification issued by one Major Libarnes
who was said to have authority to issue curfew passes for Pampanga and Metro Manila.
This certification was to the effect that Dionisio had a valid curfew pass. This certification
Dionisio claimed that he tried to avoid a collision by swerving his car to the left but it was did not, however, specify any pass serial number or date or period of effectivity of the
too late and his car smashed into the dump truck. As a result of the collision, Dionisio supposed curfew pass.
suffered some physical injuries including some permanent facial scars, a nervous
breakdown and loss of 2 gold bridge dentures.
Second: Patrolman Cuyno testified that people who had gathered at the scene of the
accident told him that Dionisio's car was "moving fast" and did not have its headlights on.
Dionisio commenced an action for damages in the CFI Pampanga basically claiming that the Dionisio, on the other hand, claimed that he was travelling at a moderate speed at 30 KPH
legal and proximate cause of his injuries was the negligent manner in which Carbonel had and had just crossed the intersection of General Santos and General Lacuna Streets and had
parked the dump truck. Phoenix and Carbonel countered that the proximate cause of started to accelerate when his headlights failed just before the collision took place. An
Dionisio's injuries was his own recklessness in driving fast at the time of the accident, while automobile speeding down a street and suddenly smashing into a stationary object in the
under the influence of liquor, without his headlights on and without a curfew pass. Phoenix dead of night is a sufficiently startling event as to evoke spontaneous, rather than reflective,
also sought to establish that it had exercised due care in the selection and supervision of reactions from observers who happened to be around at that time. The testimony of Cuyno
the dump truck driver. was therefore admissible.

Issue: Whether the proximate cause was trucks parking position. Third: Dionisio purposely shut off his headlights even before he reached the intersection so
as not to be detected by the police in the police precinct which he (being a resident in the
area) knew was not far away from the intersection.
Held: YES. DIONISIOS WAS ONLY CONTRIBUTORY. Before resolving such, there are four
factual issues that need to be looked into: (a) whether or not private respondent Dionisio
had a curfew pass valid and effective for that eventful night; (b) whether Dionisio was Fourth: There is the testimony of Patrolman Cuyno to the effect that Dionisio smelled of
driving fast or speeding just before the collision with the dump truck; (c) whether Dionisio liquor at the time he was taken from his smashed car and brought to the Makati Medical
had purposely turned off his car's headlights before contact with the dump truck or Center in an unconscious condition. This testimony has to be taken in conjunction with the
whether those headlights accidentally malfunctioned moments before the collision; and (d) admission of Dionisio that he had taken "a shot or two" of liquor before dinner with his
whether Dionisio was intoxicated at the time of the accident. boss that night.

First: No curfew pass was found on the person of Dionisio immediately after the accident We do not believe that this evidence is sufficient to show that Dionisio was so heavily under
nor was any found in his car according to the patrol man who took the unconscious Dionisio the influence of liquor as to constitute his driving a motor vehicle per se an act of reckless
to Makati Med, and to the nurse who took off Dionisio's clothes and examined them along imprudence.
with the contents of pockets together with the patrolman. Dionisio was not able to produce
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

In summary: Dionisio was negligent the night of the accident. He was hurrying home that We hold that Dionisio's negligence was only contributory, that the immediate and
night and driving faster than he should have been. Worse, he extinguished his headlights at proximate cause of the injury remained the truck driver's lack of due care and that
or near the intersection of General Lacuna and General Santos Streets and thus did not see consequently Dionisio may recover damages though such damages are subject to mitigation
the dump truck that was parked askew and sticking out onto the road lane. by the courts.

Last Clear Chance Doctrine: The theory here of petitioners is that while the truck driver was
negligent, Dionisio had the "last clear chance" of avoiding the accident and hence his
HOWEVER the legal and proximate cause of the accident and of Dionisio's injuries was the
injuries, and that Dionisio having failed to take that last clear chance must bear his own
wrongful or negligent manner in which the dump truck was parked in other words, the
injuries alone.
negligence of Carbonel.

The historical function of that doctrine in the common law was to mitigate the harshness of
The collision of Dionisio's car with the dump truck was a natural and foreseeable
another common law doctrine or rule that of contributory negligence. The common law
consequence of the truck driver's negligence. The truck driver's negligence far from being a
rule of contributory negligence prevented any recovery at all by a plaintiff who was also
"passive and static condition" was rather an indispensable and efficient cause. The collision
negligent, even if the plaintiffs negligence was relatively minor as compared with the
between the dump truck and the Dionisios car would in all probability not have occurred
wrongful act or omission of the defendant. The common law notion of last clear chance
had the dump truck not been parked askew without any warning lights or reflector
permitted courts to grant recovery to a plaintiff who had also been negligent provided that
devices. The improper parking of the dump truck created an unreasonable risk of injury for
the defendant had the last clear chance to avoid the casualty and failed to do so.
anyone driving down General Lacuna Street and for having so created this risk, the truck
driver must be held responsible.

It is difficult to see what role, if any, the common law last clear chance doctrine has to play
in a jurisdiction where the common law concept of contributory negligence as an absolute
Dionisio's negligence, although later in point of time than the truck driver's negligence and
bar to recovery by the plaintiff, has itself been rejected, as it has been in Article 2179 of the
therefore closer to the accident, was not an efficient intervening or independent cause.
CC. Is there perhaps a general concept of "last clear chance" that may be extracted from its
Dionisio's negligence was not of an independent and overpowering nature as to cut, as it
common law matrix and utilized as a general rule in negligence cases in a civil law
were, the chain of causation in fact between the improper parking of the dump truck and
jurisdiction like ours?
the accident, nor to sever the juris vinculum of liability.

We do not believe so. Under Article 2179, the task of a court, in technical terms, is to
Foreseeable Intervening Causes. If the intervening cause is one which in ordinary human
determine whose negligence the plaintiff s or the defendant's was the legal or
experience is reasonably to be anticipated, or one which the defendant has reason to
proximate cause of the injury. That task is not simply or even primarily an exercise in
anticipate under the particular circumstances, the defendant may be negligent, among
chronology or physics, as the petitioners seem to imply by the use of terms like "last" or
other reasons, because of failure to guard against it; or the defendant may be negligent
"intervening" or "immediate." The relative location in the continuum of time of the
only for that reason.
plaintiffs and the defendant's negligent acts or omissions, is only one of the relevant
factors that may be taken into account. Of more fundamental importance is the nature of
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

the negligent act or omission of each party and the character and gravity of the risks
created by such act or omission for the rest of the community.
"AMENDED INFORMATION

Carbonel's proven negligence creates a presumption of negligence on the part of his


The undersigned Provincial Prosecutor and Assistant Provincial Prosecutor accuse ALBERTO
employer Phoenix in supervising its employees properly and adequately. The circumstance
AUSTRIA y PENAFLOR and ROLANDO M. FLORES of the crime of Reckless Imprudence
that Phoenix had allowed its truck driver to bring the dump truck to his home whenever
resulting in Homicide and Multiple Physical Injuries, committed as follows:
there was work to be done early the following morning, when coupled with the failure to
show any effort on the part of Phoenix to supervise the manner in which the dump truck is
parked when away from company premises, is an affirmative showing of culpa in vigilando
on the part of Phoenix. That on or about the 9th day of July 1989, in barangay Cabetican, municipality of Bacolor,
province of Pampanga, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, Alberto Austria y Peaflor, being then the driver and
person-in-charge of a Ford Fiera Crew Cab bearing Plate No. DEB 558 UV Pil. '88 and
registered under the name of Geronimo Noceda, without due regard to traffic laws, rules
and regulations, without taking the necessary precaution to avoid accident to persons and
by giving said vehicle a speed far greater than is allowed by law, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfullly and feloniously drive, manage and operate said vehicle in a careless, reckless
and imprudent manner, causing as a result of his carelessness, recklessness and
imprudence to bump and hit a cargo trailer truck bearing Plate No. CES 518 which was
[G.R. No. 133323. March 9, 2000] improperly and carelessly parked along the right shoulder of the road by accused
Rolando M. Flores, driver of said cargo trailer truck, thereby causing fatal injuries upon
ALBERTO AUSTRIA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND THE PEOPLE OF THE
Virginia Lapid Vda. de Diwa, occupant of said Ford Fiera Crew Cab, which directly caused
PHILIPPINES, respondents. Mis-edp
her death shortly thereafter, and inflicted physical injuries upon the following occupants of
said Ford Fiera Crew Cab, to Wit: Sdjad

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari, seeking to set aside (1) the decision dated
August 13, 1997, of the respondent Court of Appeals in CA G.R. CR No. 16889, affirming
Armin Q. Manalansan - which required and did require medical attendance for a period of
with modification the March 21, 1994, judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 43, of
more than thirty (30) days and incapacitated and did incapacitate said victim from
San Fernando, Pampanga, in Criminal Case No. 5784, which convicted the petitioner of
performing her customary labor for the same period of time;
reckless imprudence resulting in serious physical injuries, and (2) the resolution of said
respondent court dated March 25, 1998 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. Mylene S. Gigante - which required and did require medical attendance for a period o five
(5) to seven (7) days and incapacitated and did incapacitate from performing her customary
The original Information dated August 27, 1990, charging petitioner Alberto Austria and his
labor for the same period of time;
co-accused was amended as to correctly state the name of co-accused Rolando M. Flores,
which was Rolando Torres in the original Information. Consequently, the Amended
Information reads:
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

Luzviminda S. Diwa - which required and did require medical attendance for less than two "WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt hereby
(2) weeks and incapacitated and did incapacitate her from performing her customary labor sentences him to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of two (2) months and
for the same period of time; one (1) day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to two (2) years, ten (10) months and twenty (20)
days of Prision Correccional, as maximum.

Mark S. Diwa - which required and did require medical attendance for an unknown duration
an incapacitated and did incapacitate him from performing his customary labor for the The accused is likewise ordered to: Jjjuris
same period of time.

1) Pay the heirs of Virginia Lapid Vda. de Diwa the amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity;
All contrary to law."[1]
2) P6,320.00 as and for actual expenses incurred by Luzviminda Diwa, representing medical
and funeral expenses; and

The facts of the case as summarized by the respondent court are as follows: 3) Cost of suit.

SO ORDERED."

"On July 9, 1989 at around 7:00 P.M. along the Olongapo-Gapan Road in the vicinity of Subsequently, on June 10, 1994, the court modified its decision after the accused filed his
barangay Cabetican, Bacolor, Pampanga, the appellant was driving his Ford Fiera with ten motion for reconsideration dated April 4, 1994. The modified judgment reads:
(10) passengers. They came from the Manila International Airport bound to Dinalupihan,
Bataan.
"WHEREFORE, the Decision promulgated on March 21, 1994 is hereby modified as follows:

The Court, finding accuse Alberto Austria guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
One of the vehicles tire suddenly hit a stone lying in the road, while thus cruising, which
Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Serious Physical Injuries (Art. 365 in relation to Art. 263
caused the appellant to lose control and collide with the rear of an improperly parked cargo
(3), Revised Penal Code), hereby sentences the said accused to suffer a[n] indeterminate
truck trailer driven by accused Rolando M. Flores. As a result of the collision, five (5)
penalty of imprisonment of one (1) month and one (1) day to four (4) months of arresto
passengers suffered varying degrees of injuries."[2]
mayor.

While trial ensued, accused truck driver Rolando M. Flores remained at-large.
The said accused is likewise ordered to indemnify Luzviminda Diwa the amount of
P1,345.75; Mark Diwa the amount of P4,716.31; and Mylene Gigante the amount of
P6,199.62 as and for actual damages incurred.
On March 21, 1994, the trial court promulgated its decision, disposing as follows:
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

No pronouncement as to the civil liability of the accused to private complainant Armin Further, he claims that the other driver's negligence in parking his vehicle caused the
Manalansan considering that the latter filed a separate civil action against accused Alberto collision.[6] He asserts that the truck driver, Rolando Flores, negligently parked his trailer
Austria before the Regional Trial Court of Bataan (TSN., p. 7, February 18, 1992). truck with the rear end protruding onto road, without any warning device. This being so, he
should not be held responsible for Flores' negligence.[7]Lexjuris
SO ORDERED."[3]

Worth noting, the first and second assigned errors are factual in nature. As a general rule,
Defendant Austria timely appealed his conviction before the Court of Appeals, which
findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are binding and conclusive upon this Court, and we
affirmed with modifications the lower court's decision. The appellate court's decision
will not normally disturb such factual findings unless the findings of the court are palpably
disposed as follows: Jurismis
unsupported by the evidence on record or unless the judgment itself is based on
misapprehension of facts.[8] We find no palpable factual error that would warrant a
reversal of the appellate courts factual determination in this wise:
"WHEREFORE, foregoing considered, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED with modification
that: 1) a straight penalty of one (1) month and one (1) day of arresto mayor for the
imprisonment of the accused is imposed; and 2) the award in favor of Mylene Gigante of
"In his direct examination, the appellant admitted that he saw the trailer at a distance of
P6,199.62 is deleted.
about six ( 6) meters but at the same time stated that the distance of the focus of the
SO ORDERED."[4] vehicle's headlight in dim position was twenty (20) meters. These inconsistent statements,
taken together with his claim on cross-examination that he saw the trailer only when he
bumped it, only show that he was driving much faster than thirty (30) kilometers per hour.
Assuming that he was driving his vehicle at that speed of thirty (30) kilometers per hour,
Petitioner now comes before the Court assigning the following errors:
appellant would have not lost control of the vehicle after it hit the stone before the collision.
1. THE RESPONDONT COURT ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE PETITIONER'S CONVICTION FOR THE Under these circumstances, the appellant did not exercise the necessary precaution
CRIME OF RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE; required of him. He was negligent."[9]

2. THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE PETITIONER NEGLIGENT ;

3. THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN AWARDING DAMAGES TO THE PRIVATE While we note similarities of the factual milieu of Phoenix to that of the present case, we
COMPLAINANTS; are unable to agree with petitioner that the truck driver should be held solely liable while
the petitioner should be exempted from liability. In Phoenix, we ruled that the driver of the
4. IF THE PETITIONER IS INDEED GUILTY OF SIMPLE NEGLIGENCE, THE RESPONDENT COURT improperly parked vehicle was liable and the driver of the colliding car contributorily liable.
ERRED IN IMPOSING A PENALTY OF ARRESTO MAYOR, INSTEAD OF DESTIERRO. We agree with the respondent court in its observation on the petitioners culpability: "That
Petitioner faults respondent court for its failure to appreciate and give credence to his he had no opportunity to avoid the collision is of his own making and [this] should not
testimony that when the accident occurred, the petitioner was driving along the relieve him of liability."[10] Patently, the negligence of the petitioner as driver of the Ford
Olongapo-Gapan road on the lane properly belonging to him and driving at a moderate Fiera is the immediate and proximate cause of the collision.
speed.[5] Petitioner cites the case of Phoenix Construction, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate On the third issue, petitioner argues that there is no basis for the award of damages since
Court, 148SCRA 353 (1987), which he alleges, contains a set of almost identical facts. the medical certificates and receipts presented did not directly reveal the relation of these
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

documents to the accident. Petitioner's argument is flawed. The materiality of these "Art. 365. Imprudence and negligence. - Any person who, by reckless imprudence, shall
documents is amply supported by evidence on record, and we are constrained to adhere to commit any act which, had it been intentional, would constitute a grave felony, shall suffer
these factual holding of the appellate court, thus: the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its medium
period; if it would have constituted a less grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its
minimum and medium periods shall be imposed; if it would have constituted a light felony,
"The award of liability by the trial court to Luzviminda Diwa and Mark Diwa was justified the penalty of arresto menor in its maximum period shall be imposed.
because the expenses for hospitalization and treatments were incurred as a direct result of
the collision caused by the appellant's negligence. The fact that the doctors did not testify
on the medical certificates is of no moment. Appellant's counsel admitted their due x x xCourt
execution and genuiness (sic) during the trial."[11]Jlexj

In the imposition of these penalties, the courts shall exercise their sound discretion, without
Anent the last issue, petitioner prays for the modification of the penalty. He avers that regard to the rules prescribed in article sixty-four." (Revised Penal Code)
respondent court erred when it found the petitioner guilty of simple negligence and
imposed a straight penalty of One (1) month and One (1) day of arresto mayor, invoking the
second paragraph of Art. 365 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to the sixth paragraph Since the determination of the minimum and maximum periods of the penalty as provided
of the same article. He submits that the correct and proper penalty to be imposed against by law is left entirely to the discretion of the respondent court, its exercise of that
him should be destierro. discretion will not be disturbed on appeal, unless there is a clear abuse.[13] And finding no
such clear abuse in this case, we are constrained to sustain the judgment of respondent
court.
It is not quite accurate, however, for the petitioner to state that the respondent court
found him guilty of simple negligence. The assailed decision reveals that the respondent
court AFFIRMED the findings of the trial court convicting the accused beyond reasonable WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED, and the assailed decision of the Court of
doubt for the crime of Reckless Imprudence resulting in Serious Physical Injuries. The Appeals is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
respondent court only MODIFIED the trial court's decision by imposing the straight penalty
of one (1) month and one (1) day of arresto mayor and deleted the award in favor of SO ORDERED
Mylene Gigante in he amount of P6,199.62.[12]

C. PROOF OF NEGLIGENCE
We find nothing objectionable legally in the imposition of a straight penalty of one (1)
month and one (1) day of arresto mayor by the respondent court against the petitioner. The
penalty imposed is well within the limits fixed by law and within the sound discretion of the RULE 131
respondent court as well. As Article 365 pertinently provides: Burden of Proof and Presumptions
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

Section 1. Burden of proof. Burden of proof is the duty of a party to present evidence on (i) That prior rents or installments had been paid when a receipt for the later one is
the facts in issue necessary to establish his claim or defense by the amount of evidence produced;
required by law. (1a, 2a)
(j) That a person found in possession of a thing taken in the doing of a recent wrongful act is
Section 2. Conclusive presumptions. The following are instances of conclusive the taker and the doer of the whole act; otherwise, that things which a person possess, or
presumptions: exercises acts of ownership over, are owned by him;

(a) Whenever a party has, by his own declaration, act, or omission, intentionally and (k) That a person in possession of an order on himself for the payment of the money, or the
deliberately led to another to believe a particular thing true, and to act upon such belief, he delivery of anything, has paid the money or delivered the thing accordingly;
cannot, in any litigation arising out of such declaration, act or omission, be permitted to
falsify it: (l) That a person acting in a public office was regularly appointed or elected to it;

(b) The tenant is not permitted to deny the title of his landlord at the time of (m) That official duty has been regularly performed;
commencement of the relation of landlord and tenant between them. (3a)
(n) That a court, or judge acting as such, whether in the Philippines or elsewhere, was acting
Section 3. Disputable presumptions. The following presumptions are satisfactory if in the lawful exercise of jurisdiction;
uncontradicted, but may be contradicted and overcome by other evidence:
(o) That all the matters within an issue raised in a case were laid before the court and
(a) That a person is innocent of crime or wrong; passed upon by it; and in like manner that all matters within an issue raised in a dispute
submitted for arbitration were laid before the arbitrators and passed upon by them;
(b) That an unlawful act was done with an unlawful intent;
(p) That private transactions have been fair and regular;
(c) That a person intends the ordinary consequences of his voluntary act;
(q) That the ordinary course of business has been followed;
(d) That a person takes ordinary care of his concerns;
(r) That there was a sufficient consideration for a contract;
(e) That evidence willfully suppressed would be adverse if produced;
(s) That a negotiable instrument was given or indorsed for a sufficient consideration;
(f) That money paid by one to another was due to the latter;
(t) That an endorsement of negotiable instrument was made before the instrument was
(g) That a thing delivered by one to another belonged to the latter; overdue and at the place where the instrument is dated;

(h) That an obligation delivered up to the debtor has been paid; (u) That a writing is truly dated;

(v) That a letter duly directed and mailed was received in the regular course of the mail;
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

(w) That after an absence of seven years, it being unknown whether or not the absentee (aa) That a man and woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a
still lives, he is considered dead for all purposes, except for those of succession. lawful contract of marriage;

The absentee shall not be considered dead for the purpose of opening his succession till (bb) That property acquired by a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each
after an absence of ten years. If he disappeared after the age of seventy-five years, an other and who live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of
absence of five years shall be sufficient in order that his succession may be opened. marriage or under void marriage, has been obtained by their joint efforts, work or industry.

The following shall be considered dead for all purposes including the division of the estate (cc) That in cases of cohabitation by a man and a woman who are not capacitated to marry
among the heirs: each other and who have acquire properly through their actual joint contribution of money,
property or industry, such contributions and their corresponding shares including joint
(1) A person on board a vessel lost during a sea voyage, or an aircraft with is missing, who deposits of money and evidences of credit are equal.
has not been heard of for four years since the loss of the vessel or aircraft;
(dd) That if the marriage is terminated and the mother contracted another marriage within
(2) A member of the armed forces who has taken part in armed hostilities, and has been three hundred days after such termination of the former marriage, these rules shall govern
missing for four years; in the absence of proof to the contrary:

(3) A person who has been in danger of death under other circumstances and whose (1) A child born before one hundred eighty days after the solemnization of the subsequent
existence has not been known for four years; marriage is considered to have been conceived during such marriage, even though it be
born within the three hundred days after the termination of the former marriage.
(4) If a married person has been absent for four consecutive years, the spouse present may
contract a subsequent marriage if he or she has well-founded belief that the absent spouse (2) A child born after one hundred eighty days following the celebration of the subsequent
is already death. In case of disappearance, where there is a danger of death the marriage is considered to have been conceived during such marriage, even though it be
circumstances hereinabove provided, an absence of only two years shall be sufficient for born within the three hundred days after the termination of the former marriage.
the purpose of contracting a subsequent marriage. However, in any case, before marrying
again, the spouse present must institute a summary proceedings as provided in the Family (ee) That a thing once proved to exist continues as long as is usual with things of the nature;
Code and in the rules for declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without
prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse. (ff) That the law has been obeyed;

(x) That acquiescence resulted from a belief that the thing acquiesced in was conformable (gg) That a printed or published book, purporting to be printed or published by public
to the law or fact; authority, was so printed or published;

(y) That things have happened according to the ordinary course of nature and ordinary (hh) That a printed or published book, purporting contain reports of cases adjudged in
nature habits of life; tribunals of the country where the book is published, contains correct reports of such cases;

(z) That persons acting as copartners have entered into a contract of copartneship;
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

(ii) That a trustee or other person whose duty it was to convey real property to a particular different parts are indicated by appropriate marks. The care and supervision of the pools
person has actually conveyed it to him when such presumption is necessary to perfect the are entrusted to Simeon Chongco as chief, Armando Rule, a male nurse, and 6 lifeguards
title of such person or his successor in interest; who had taken the life-saving course given by the Philippine Red Cross.

(jj) That except for purposes of succession, when two persons perish in the same calamity,
such as wreck, battle, or conflagration, and it is not shown who died first, and there are no Defendant has provided the pools with a ring buoy, toy roof, towing line, saving kit and a
particular circumstances from which it can be inferred, the survivorship is determined from resuscitator. There is also a sanitary inspector who is in charge of a clinic. Defendant has
the probabilities resulting from the strength and the age of the sexes, according to the also on display in a conspicuous place certain rules and regulations governing the use of the
following rules: pools, one of which prohibits the swimming in the pool alone or without any attendant.
Although defendant does not maintain a full-time physician in the swimming pool
1. If both were under the age of fifteen years, the older is deemed to have survived; compound, it has however a nurse and a sanitary inspector ready to administer injections
or operate the oxygen resuscitator if the need should arise.
2. If both were above the age sixty, the younger is deemed to have survived;

3. If one is under fifteen and the other above sixty, the former is deemed to have survived; At about 1pm Dominador Ong, a 14-year old boy, and his brothers Ruben and Eusebio,
went to defendant's swimming pools. This was not the first time that the 3 brothers had
4. If both be over fifteen and under sixty, and the sex be different, the male is deemed to gone to said natatorium. After paying the requisite admission fee, they immediately went
have survived, if the sex be the same, the older; to one of the small pools where the water was shallow. At about 4:35 p.m., Dominador told
his brothers that he was going to the locker room in an adjoining building to drink a bottle
5. If one be under fifteen or over sixty, and the other between those ages, the latter is of coke. Upon hearing this, Ruben and Eusebio went to the bigger pool leaving Dominador
deemed to have survived. in the small pool and so they did not see the latter when he left the pool to get a bottle of
coke.
(kk) That if there is a doubt, as between two or more persons who are called to succeed
each other, as to which of them died first, whoever alleges the death of one prior to the
other, shall prove the same; in the absence of proof, they shall be considered to have died There were 2 lifeguards on duty in the pool compound. Between 4:40 to 4:45 p.m., some
at the same time. (5a) boys who were in the pool area informed a bathe that somebody was swimming under
water for quite a long time. Another boy informed lifeguard Manuel Abano of the same
happening and Aban o immediately jumped into the big swimming pool and retrieved the
apparently lifeless body of Dominador from the bottom. Aban o immediately applied
Ong v. Metropolitan Water District, 104 Phil. 397 (1958)
manual artificial respiration. The male nurse Armando Rule came to render assistance,
followed by sanitary inspector who after being called by boarded a jeep carrying with him
the resuscitator and a medicine kit, and upon arriving he injected the boy with
Facts: Defendant owns and operates 3 recreational swimming pools to which people are camphorated oil. After the injection, Vicente left on a jeep in order to fetch Dr. Ayuyao from
invited and for which a fee of P0.50 for adults and P0.20 for children is charged. The main the University of the Philippines. Aban o continued the artificial manual respiration, and
pool is between two small pools of oval shape known as the "Wading pool" and the when this failed to revive him, they applied the resuscitator until the two oxygen tanks
"Beginners Pool." There are diving boards in the big pools and the depths of the water at were exhausted. Dr. Ayuyao arrived with another resuscitator, but the same became of no
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

use because he found the boy already dead. The doctor ordered that the body be taken to elapse before retrieving the body from the water. This negligence of Aban o, they contend,
the clinic. Upon autopsy, it was found that the death was due to asphyxia by submersion in is attributable to appellee.
water.

The claim of these two witnesses was vehemently denied by lifeguard Aban o. The 2
Issue: Whether the death of minor Dominador can be attributed to the negligence of witnesses admitted in the investigation that they narrated in their statements everything
defendant and/or its employees so as to entitle plaintiffs to recover damages. they knew of the accident, but, as found by the trial, nowhere in said statements do they
state that the lifeguard was chatting with the security guard at the gate of the swimming
pool or was reading a comic magazine when the alarm was given for which reason he failed
Held: NO. Owners of resorts to which people generally are expressly or by implication to immediately respond to the alarm. What Ruben Ong particularly emphasized therein was
invited are legally bound to exercise ordinary care and prudence in the management and that after the lifeguard heard the shouts for help, the latter immediately dived into the pool
maintenance of such resorts, to the end of making them reasonably safe for visitors. to retrieve the person under water. The testimony of Ruben Ong and Andres Hagad, Jr. as
to the alleged failure of the lifeguard Aban o to immediately respond to their call may
therefore be disregarded because they are belied by their written statements.
Although the proprietor of a natatorium is liable for injuries to a patron, resulting from lack
of ordinary care in providing for his safety, without the fault of the patron, he is not,
however, in any sense deemed to be the insurer of the safety of patrons. The death of a There is sufficient evidence to show that appellee has taken all necessary precautions to
patron within his premises does not cast upon him the burden of excusing himself from avoid danger to the lives of its patrons or prevent accident which may cause their death.
any presumption of negligence. The swimming pools of appellee are provided with a ring buoy, toy roof, towing line, oxygen
resuscitator and a first aid medicine kit. There is on display in a conspicuous place within
the area certain rules and regulations governing the use of the pools. The bottom of the
pools is painted with black colors so as to insure clear visibility. Appellee employs six
The present action is one for damages founded on culpable negligence. The person
lifeguards who are all trained as they had taken a course for that purpose and were issued
claiming damages has the burden of proving that the damage is caused by the fault or
certificates of proficiency. There is a male nurse and a sanitary inspector with a clinic
negligence of the person from whom the damage is claimed, or of one of his employees.
provided with oxygen resuscitator. And there are security guards who are available always
Appellants had striven to prove that appellee failed to take the necessary precaution to
in case of emergency. There are two guards at a time on duty to look after the safety of the
protect the lives of its patrons by not placing at the swimming pools efficient and
bathers. When the body of Ong was retrieved from the bottom of the pool, the employees
competent employees who may render help at a moment's notice. They ascribed such
of appellee did everything possible to bring him back to life.
negligence to appellee because the lifeguard it had on the occasion minor Ong was
drowning was not available or was attending to something else with the result that his help
came late. Appellants tried to prove through the testimony of Andres Hagad, Jr. and Ruben
Ong that when Eusebio Ong and Hagad, Jr. detected that there was a drowning person in Appellants now switch to the theory that even if it be assumed that the deceased is partly
the bottom of the big swimming pool and shouted to the lifeguard for help, lifeguard to be blamed for the unfortunate incident, still appellee may be held liable under the
Manuel Aban o did not immediately respond to the alarm and it was only upon the third call doctrine of "last clear chance" for the reason that, having the last opportunity to save the
that he threw away the magazine he was reading and allowed three or four minutes to victim, it failed to do so. We do not see how this doctrine may apply considering that the
record does not show how minor Ong came into the big swimming pool. The only thing
the record discloses is that Ong informed his elder brothers that he was going to the locker
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

room to drink a bottle of coke but that from that time on nobody knew what happened. not have been due to any voluntary action or contribution on the part of the person
The doctrine of last clear chance simply means a person who has the last clear chance or injured.
opportunity of avoiding an accident, notwithstanding the negligent acts of his opponent or
the negligence of a third person which is imputed to his opponent, is considered in law
solely responsible for the consequences of the accident. Since it is not known how minor
Ong came into the big swimming pool and it being apparent that he went there without any
companion in violation of one of the regulations of appellee and it appearing that lifeguard Africa v. Caltex, 16 SCRA 448 (1966)
responded to the call for help as soon as his attention was called to it and immediately after
retrieving the body all efforts at the disposal of appellee had been put into play in order to
bring him back to life, there is no room for the application of the doctrine now invoked by Facts: In the afternoon of March 18, 1948 a fire broke out at the Caltex service station. It
appellants to impute liability to appellee. started while gasoline was being hosed from a tank truck (driven by Flores) into the
underground storage, right at the opening of the receiving tank where the nozzle of the
hose was inserted. The fire spread to and burned several neighboring houses, including the
The last clear chance doctrine can NEVER apply where the party charged is required to act personal properties and effects inside them. Their owners, among them petitioners here,
instantaneously, and if the injury cannot be avoided by the application of all means at sued Caltex Philippines and Mateo Boquiren, the first as alleged owner of the station and
hand after the peril is or should have been discovered; at least in cases in which any the second as its agent in charge of operation.
previous negligence of the party charged cannot be said to have contributed to the injury.

Further, expert evidence showed that Dominador Ong might have dived where the water
Issue: Whether or not, without proof as to the cause and origin of the fire, the doctrine of
was only 5.5 feet deep, and in so doing he might have hit or bumped his forehead against
res ipsa loquitur should apply so as to presume negligence on the part of Caltex.
the bottom of the pool, as a consequence of which he was stunned, and which to his
drowning. As a boy scout he must have received instructions in swimming. He knew, or
should have known that it was dangerous for him to dive in that part of the pool.
Held: YES. In the case of Espiritu vs. Philippine Power and Development Co., the defendant
therein disclaimed liability on the ground that the plaintiff had failed to show any specific
act of negligence. The CA overruled the defense under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. The
D. PRESUMPTION OF NEGLIGENCE
court said:

In case of noncontractual negligence, or culpa aquiliana, the burden of proof is on the


(i) Res ipsa loquitur plaintiff to establish that the proximate cause of his injury was the negligence of the
defendant.

This applies where, (1) the accident was of such character as to warrant an inference that it
would not have happened except for the defendants negligence; (2) the accident must It is also a recognized principle that where the thing which caused injury, without fault of
have been caused by an agency or instrumentality within the exclusive management or the injured person, is under the exclusive control of the defendant and the injury is such
control of the person charged with the negligence complained of; and (3) the accident must as in the ordinary course of things does not occur if he having such control use proper
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of the explanation, that the injury arose The foregoing report, having been submitted by a police officer in the performance of his
from defendants want of care. duties on the basis of his own personal observation of the facts reported, may properly be
considered as an exception to the hearsay rule.

And the burden of evidence is shifted to him to establish that he has observed due care
and diligence. This rule is known by the name of res ipsa loquitur (the transaction speaks These facts, descriptive of the location and objective circumstances surrounding the
for itself). operation of the gasoline station in question, strengthen the presumption of negligence
under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, since on their face they called for more stringent
measures of caution than those which would satisfy the standard of due diligence under
Gasoline is a highly combustible material, in the storage and sale of which extreme care ordinary circumstances.
must be taken. On the other hand, fire is not considered a fortuitous event, as it arises
almost invariably from some act of man.
Flores was the driver of the gasoline tank wagon who, alone and without assistance, was
transferring the contents thereof into the underground storage when the fire broke out.
The gasoline station, with all its appliances, equipment and employees, was under the He said: Before loading the underground tank there were no people, but while the
control of appellees. A fire occurred therein and spread to and burned the neighboring loading was going on, there were people who went to drink coca-cola at the coca-cola stand
houses. The persons who knew or could have known how the fire started were appellees which is about a meter from the underground tank. He added that when the tank was
and their employees, but they gave no explanation thereof whatsoever. It is a fair and almost filled he went to the tank truck to close the valve, and while he had his back turned
reasonable inference that the incident happened because of want of care. to the manhole he heard someone shout fire.

In the report submitted by Captain Mariano of the Manila Police: The location is within a Even then the fire possibly would not have spread to the neighboring houses were it not
very busy business district near the Obrero Market, a railroad crossing and very thickly for another negligent omission on the part of defendants, namely, their failure to provide
populated neighborhood where a great number of people mill around throughout the day a concrete wall high enough to prevent the flames from leaping over it.
until late at night. The passersby, those waiting for buses or transportation, those waiting to
cross the streets and others loafing around have to occupy not only the sidewalks but also
portion of the gasoline station itself. Whatever be the activities of these people smoking
or lighting a cigarette cannot be excluded and this constitute a secondary hazard to its
DM Consunji v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 137873, April 20, 2001
operation which in turn endangers the entire neighborhood to conflagration. This gasoline
service station is also used by its operator as a garage and repair shop for his fleet of
taxicabs numbering ten or more, adding another risk to the possible outbreak of fire at this
already small but crowded gasoline station. Facts: Jose Juego, construction worker of D.M. Consunji, Inc., fell 14 floors from the
Renaissance Tower, Pasig City to his death. He pronounced DOA by the attending physician
of Rizal Medical Center.
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

Juego was crushed to death when the platform they were standing/sitting on fell. for specific proof of negligence. While negligence is not ordinarily inferred or presumed,
Investigation disclosed that at the given time, date ,and place, while Juego with 2 other and while the mere happening of an accident or injury will not generally give rise to an
workers were doing their work as carpenters at the elevator core of the 14th floor on board inference or presumption that it was due to negligence on defendants part, under res ipsa
a platform made of channel beam (steel) with pinulid plywood flooring and cable wires loquitur, which means, literally, the thing or transaction speaks for itself, the facts or
attached to its 4 corners and hooked at the 5 ton chain block, when suddenly, the bolt or circumstances accompanying an injury may be such as to raise a presumption, or at least
pin which was merely inserted to connect the chain block with the platform, got loose x x permit an inference of negligence on the part of the defendant, or some other person who
x causing the whole platform assembly and the victim to fall thereby crushing the victim to is charged with negligence.
death, save his two (2) companions who luckily jumped out for safety. According to the
report, the falling of the platform was due to the removal or loosening of the pin, which
was merely inserted, to the connecting points of the chain block and platform but without Where it is shown that the thing or instrumentality which caused the injury complained of
a safety lock. was under the control or management of the defendant, and that the occurrence resulting
in the injury was such as in the ordinary course of things would not happen if those who
had its control or management used proper care, there is sufficient evidence, or, as
His widow, Maria, filed complaint for damages against the employer, D.M. Consunji. RTC sometimes stated, reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation by the defendant,
rendered a decision in favor of the widow. CA affirmed. that the injury arose from or was caused by the defendants want of care.

Issue: Whether or not res ipsa loquitur is applicable to hold DM Consunji liable for One of the theoretical bases for the doctrine is its necessity, i.e., that necessary evidence is
negligence. absent or not available. The doctrine is based in part upon the theory that the defendant in
charge of the instrumentality which causes the injury either knows the cause of the
accident or has the best opportunity of ascertaining it and that the plaintiff has no such
Held: YES. What DM Consunji takes exception to is PO3 Villanuevas testimony that the knowledge, and therefore is compelled to allege negligence in general terms and to rely
cause of the fall of the platform was the loosening of the bolt from the chain block. It is upon the proof of the happening of the accident in order to establish negligence.
claimed that such portion of the testimony is mere opinion. Subject to certain exceptions,
the opinion of a witness is generally not admissible.
The inference which the doctrine permits is grounded upon the fact that the chief evidence
of the true cause, whether culpable or innocent, is practically accessible to the defendant
The companys contention, however, loses relevance in the face of the application of res but inaccessible to the injured person. It has been said that the doctrine furnishes a bridge
ipsa loquitur. The effect of the doctrine is to warrant a presumption or inference that the by which a plaintiff, without knowledge of the cause, reaches over to defendant who
mere fall of the elevator was a result of the person having charge of the instrumentality knows or should know the cause, for any explanation of care exercised by the defendant in
was negligent. respect of the matter of which the plaintiff complains. The doctrine, another court has said,
is a rule of necessity, in that it proceeds on the theory that under the peculiar
circumstances in which the doctrine is applicable, it is within the power of the defendant
to show that there was no negligence on his part, and direct proof of defendants
As a rule of evidence, the doctrine is peculiar to the law of negligence which recognizes that
negligence is beyond plaintiffs power. Another requirement for the res ipsa loquitur
prima facie negligence may be established without direct proof and furnishes a substitute
doctrine to apply is that it must appear that the injured party had no knowledge or means
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

of knowledge as to the cause of the accident, or that the party to be charged with company enacted rules and regulations for the safety and security of its workers. Moreover,
negligence had superior knowledge or opportunity for explanation of the accident. the leadman and the bodegero inspect the chain block before allowing its use.

Res ipsa loquitur is a rule of necessity and it applies where evidence is absent or not It is ironic that the company relies on Fabros sworn statement as proof of its due care but,
readily available, provided the following requisites are present: (1) the accident was of a in arguing that private respondent failed to prove negligence on the part of DM Consunjis
kind which does not ordinarily occur unless someone is negligent; (2) the instrumentality or employees, also assails the same statement for being hearsay. Fabros sworn statement is
agency which caused the injury was under the exclusive control of the person charged with hearsay and inadmissible. Affidavits are inadmissible as evidence under the hearsay rule,
negligence; and (3) the injury suffered must not have been due to any voluntary action or unless the affiant is placed on the witness stand to testify thereon. The inadmissibility of
contribution on the part of the person injured. this sort of evidence is based not only on the lack of opportunity on the part of the adverse
party to cross-examine the affiant, but also on the commonly known fact that, generally, an
affidavit is not prepared by the affiant himself but by another who uses his own language in
All the requisites are present in the case at bar. No worker is going to fall from the floor of writing the affiants statements which may either be omitted or misunderstood by the one
a building to the basement while performing work in a construction site unless someone writing them. DM Consunji, therefore, cannot use said statement as proof of its due care.
is negligent. Thus, the first requisite for the application of the rule is present. As explained The company does not cite any other evidence to rebut the inference or presumption of
earlier, the construction site with all its paraphernalia and human resources that likely negligence.
caused the injury is under the exclusive control and management of appellant. Thus, the
second requisite is also present. No contributory negligence was attributed to the
appellees deceased husband. Thus, the last requisite is also present.

National Power Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 124378, March 8, 2005

DM Consunji does not dispute the existence of the requisites for the application of res ipsa
loquitur, but argues that the presumption or inference that it was negligent did not arise
Facts: The Office of the President issued a memorandum entitled Prescribing Measures
since it proved that it exercised due care to avoid the accident which befell respondents
to Preserve the Lake Lanao Watershed, To Enforce the Reservation of Areas Around the
husband. The company apparently misapprehends the procedural effect of the doctrine.
Lake Below Seven Hundred And Two Meters Elevation, and for Other Purposes. It
Defendants negligence is presumed or inferred when the plaintiff establishes the
instructed the NPC to build the Agus Regulation Dam at the mouth of Agus River in Lanao
requisites for the application of res ipsa loquitur. Once the plaintiff makes out a prima
del Sur, at a normal maximum water level of Lake Lanao at 702 meters elevation.
facie case of all the elements, the burden then shifts to defendant to explain. The
Petitioners constructed the said dam in 1978.
presumption or inference may be rebutted or overcome by other evidence and, under
appropriate circumstances a disputable presumption, such as that of due care or
innocence, may outweigh the inference.
The Abdullahs (respondents) were owners of fishponds sitting along the Lake Lanao shore.
They spent substantial amounts to construct, maintain and stock their respective fishponds
with fish fingerlings. However in 1986, all these were washed away when the water level
DM Consunji cites the sworn statement of its leadman Ferdinand Fabro executed before the
of the lake escalated and the lake shore was flooded.
police investigator as evidence of its due care. According to Fabros sworn statement, the
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

They blamed the inundation on the Agus Regulation Dam, alleging that NPC failed to In the absence of any clear explanation on what other factors could have explained the
increase the outflow of water even as the water level of the lake rose past 702 meters due flooding in the neighboring properties of the dam, it is fair to reasonably infer that the
to heavy rains. They wrote letters to the NPC which was ignored, alleging that the water incident happened because of want of care on the part of NPC to maintain the water level
never rose beyond 702 meters. They were thus constrained to file a complaint for damages, of the dam within the benchmarks at the maximum normal lake elevation of 702 meters.
alleging that the negligence and inexperience of NPCs employees assigned to operate the An application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, the thing speaks for itself, comes to fore.
Agus Regulation Dam were the proximate causes of the damage caused to their properties Where the thing which causes injury is shown to be under the management of the
and livelihood. defendant, and the accident is such as in the ordinary course of things does not happen if
those who have the management use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the
absence of an explanation by the defendant, that the accident arose from want of care.
The trial court and the CA ruled in favor of the Abdullahs. Hence this appeal by NPC.

Additionally, despite the clear mandate of Memorandum Order No. 398, it was only after
Issue: Whether or not NPC is liable for the damages endured by the Abdullahs many years from the time the dam was built that NPC installed said benchmarks. At that
time, many farms and houses were already swamped and many fishponds, including those
of the Abdullahs, damaged.
Held: YES. In the case at bar, both the CA and the trial court uniformly found that it was
such negligence on the part of NPC which directly caused the damage to the fishponds of
private respondents. The fishponds of the Abdullahs were inundated and damaged when
the water level escalated in October 1986.
Cebu Shipyard and Engineering Works, Inc., v. William Lines, Inc., 306 SCRA 762 (1999)

When the water level rises due to the rainy season, the NPC ought to release more water
Facts: William Lines is the owner of M/V Manila City, a luxury passengercargo vessel insured
to the Agus River to avoid flooding and prevent the water from going over the maximum
with Prudential for P45M for hull and machinery. The Hull Policy included an Additional
level. And yet, NPC failed to do so, resulting in the inundation of the nearby estates.
Perils Clause covering loss of or damage to the vessel through the negligence of, among
others, ship repairmen.

The trial court and the CA held that the data contained in NPCs records collapse in the face
of the actual state of the affected areas. During the ocular inspection conducted by the
On February 5, 1991, William Lines brought M/V Manila City to the Cebu Shipyard for
lower court where representatives of both parties were present, it was established that in
annual drydocking and repair. An arrival conference was held between representatives of
the subject areas, the benchmarks as pointed out by the NPC representative, could not be
William Lines and CSEW to discuss the work to be undertaken on the vessel. The contracts
seen nor reached because they were totally covered with water. This fact, by itself,
were denominated as Work Orders. Pertinent stipulations therein are as follows:
constitutes an unyielding proof that the water level did rise above the benchmarks and
inundated the properties in the area.
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

10. Contractor shall replace at its own work and at its own cost any work or material which According to CSEW, while in the process of repairing the steel plate, smoke was just
can be shown to be defective and which is communicated in writing within one (1) month noticed gathering on the ceiling of the passageway along the crew cabins but did not see
of redelivery of the vessel any fire as the crew cabins on either side of the passageway were locked. When M/V
Manila City capsized, steel and angle bars were noticed to have been newly welded along
the port side of the hull of the vessel, at the level of the crew cabins. According to CSEW,
11. Save as provided in Clause 10, the Contractor shall not be under any liability to the William Lines did not previously apply for a permit to do hotworks on the said portion of
Customer either in contract or for delict or quasidelict or otherwise except for negligence the ship as it should have done pursuant to its work order with CSEW.
and such liability shall itself be subject to the following overriding limitations and
exceptions, namely to the sum of P1M only.
Insurer Prudential on the other hand, asserts that the fire was due to the negligence of the
CSEW workers who were cropping out steel plates on Tank Top No. 12 using acetylene,
20. The insurance on the vessel should be maintained by the customer and/or owner of the oxygen and welding torch as seen by the Chief Mate of M/V Manila City. The rubber
vessel during the period the contract is in effect. insulation wire coming out of the airconditioning unit was already burning, prompting him
to scold the workers. Witnesses also saw smoke coming from Tank No. 12. Crew members
were assembled to put out the fire. When it was too hot for them to stay on board and
seeing that the fire cannot be controlled, the vessels crew members were forced to
On February 16, 1991, after subject vessel was transferred to the docking quay, it caught
withdraw.
fire and sank the following day, resulting to its eventual total loss. William Lines filed a
complaint for damages against CSEW, alleging that the fire which broke out in M/V Manila
City was caused by CSEWs negligence and lack of care.
CSEW claims that contrary to what the CA found, CSEW maintains that it did not have
exclusive control over the M/V Manila City and the trial court and the Court of Appeals
erred in applying the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. They claim that they did not have
The Complaint was amended impleading Prudential as coplaintiff, after the latter had paid
management and control over M/V Manila City. William Lines retained control over the
William Lines the value of the hull and machinery insurance on the M/V Manila City.
vessel as the ship captain remained in command and the ships crew were still present. Also,
Prudential was subrogated to the claim of P45M representing the value of the said
while it imposed certain rules and regulations on William Lines, it was in the exercise of due
insurance it paid.
diligence and not an indication of CSEWs exclusive control over subject vessel.

Trial court ruled in favor of William Lines, and ordered CSEW to pay Prudential and William
Issue: Whether or not CSEW was correctly held liable under the res ipsa loquitur.
Lines. During the pendency of the appeal, CSEW and William Lines had an amicable
settlement. On the basis of which, the CA ordered a partial dismissal of the case insofar as
CSEW and William Lines are concerned. CA affirmed the appealed decision. MR was denied,
hence this petition. Held: YES. The finding that M/V Manila City caught fire and sank by reason of the negligence
of the workers of CSEW, when the said vessel was under the exclusive custody and control
of CSEW is accordingly upheld. Under the circumstances of the case, the doctrine of res ipsa
loquitur applies. For the doctrine to apply to a given situation, the following conditions
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

must concur: (1) the accident was of a kind which does not ordinarily occur unless someone Note: CSEW claims that their Work Order contains Clause 11 which limits their liability to
is negligent; and (2) that the instrumentality or agency which caused the injury was under P1M only. However, the Court did not uphold the validity of such provision because to
the exclusive control of the person charged with negligence. allow CSEW to limit its liability to P1M notwithstanding the fact that the total loss suffered
by the assured and paid for by Prudential amounted to P45M would sanction the exercise
of a degree of diligence short of what is ordinarily required.
The facts and evidence on record reveal the concurrence of said conditions in the case
under scrutiny. First, the fire that occurred and consumed M/V Manila City would not have
happened in the ordinary course of things if reasonable care and diligence had been
exercised. In other words, some negligence must have occurred. Second, the agency
charged with negligence is CSEW which had control over subject vessel when it was docked Perla Compania de Seguros, Inc., v. Spouses Sarangaya, G.R. No. 147746, October 25,
for annual repairs. 2005

Even without applying res ipsa loquitur, in light of the direct evidence on record, the Facts: Sps Sarangaya constructed and own a building in Isabela known as the Super A
ineluctable conclusion is that CSEW was negligent and consequently liable for damages to Building. It was a 1-storey commercial building subdivided into 3 doors. Each of which was
the Williams Lines. The trial court found direct evidence to prove that the workers and/or leased out. The 2-storey residence of the Spouses was behind said building.
employees of CSEW were remiss in their duty of exercising due diligence in the care of
subject vessel. The direct evidence substantiates the conclusion that CSEW was really
negligent. In 1988, Perla Inc., through its branch manager Pascual, leased the first door of the Super A
Building. Perla further subdivided the space into 2 wherein one part was used as an office
while the other side was used as a garage for a company-provided vehicle (Ford Cortina, 14
Neither is there tenability in the contention of CSEW that the CA erroneously ruled on the years old) used in covering different towns within his area of supervision.
inadmissibility of the fire experts testimonies CSEW introduced on the probable cause
and origin of the fire. Courts are not bound by the testimonies of expert witnesses.
Although they may have probative value, reception in evidence of expert testimonies is Pascual left for Pampanga without bringing the car. Three days later, he returned. Upon
within the discretion of the court. If from the facts and evidence on record, a conclusion is checking his schedule, he decided to warm-up the car. When he switched on the ignition
readily ascertainable, there is no need for the judge to resort to expert opinion evidence. In key, the engine made an odd sound and did not start. He did it again but to no avail. He
the case under consideration, the testimonies of the fire experts were not the only available then saw a small flame coming out of the engine. Startled, he turned it off, alighted, and
evidence on the probable cause and origin of the fire. There were witnesses who were started to push it out of the garage. Suddenly, fire spewed out of its rear compartment and
actually on board the vessel when the fire occurred. Between the testimonies of the fire engulfed the whole garage. Pascual was trapped inside and suffered burns on his face, legs,
experts who merely based their findings and opinions on interviews and the testimonies of and arms. Meanwhile, the Spouses were watching TV when they heard 2 explosions. The
those present during the fire, the latter are of more probative value. smell of gasoline permeated the air and, in no time, fire spread inside their house,
destroying all their belongings.
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

According to the city fire marshall, the incident was accidental. His report also disclosed occur unless someone is negligent; (2) the cause of the injury was under the exclusive
that Perla had no fire permit as required by law. Based on this report, Spouses filed a control of the person in charge; and (3) the injury suffered must not have been due to any
criminal complaint for Reckless Imprudence Resulting to Damage to Property against voluntary action or contribution on the part of the person injured.
Pascual but was eventually withdrawn by the prosecutor. Thereafter, complaint for
damages based on quasi-delict was filed against Perla alleging that Pascual acted with gross
negligence while Perla lacked the diligence in the selection and supervision of its employee. Under the FIRST, ordinary refers to the usual course of events. Flames spewing out of a
car engine, when it is switched on, is obviously not a normal event. Neither does an
explosion usually occur when a car engine is revved. Hence, in this case, without any direct
During trial Spouses presented a witness testifying that Pascual was seen buying gasoline evidence as to the cause of the accident, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur comes into play
and placed the container in the rear compartment of the car. In his defense, Pascual claims and, from it, we draw the inference that based on the evidence at hand, someone was in
fortuitous event. Trial court declared Perla solidarily liable with Pascual and that despite the fact negligent and responsible for the accident. The fact that Pascual, as the caretaker of
failure to prove the precise cause of the fire, Pascual was deemed negligent via res ipsa the car, failed to submit any proof that he had it periodically checked revealed his
loquitur. CA affirmed. negligence. A prudent man should have known that a 14-year-old car, constantly used in
provincial trips, was definitely prone to damage and other defects.

Issue: Whether Perla is liable for the alleged negligence of its employee (Pascual) based on
res ipsa loquitur. Under the SECOND, where the circumstances which caused the accident are shown to have
been under the management or control of a certain person and, in the normal course of
events, the incident would not have happened had that person used proper care, the
Held: YES. Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase which literally means the thing or the inference is that it occurred because of lack of such care. The car where the fire originated
transaction speaks for itself. It relates to the fact of an injury that sets out an inference to was under the control of Pascual. Being its caretaker, he alone had the responsibility to
the cause thereof or establishes the plaintiffs prima facie case. The doctrine rests on maintain it and ensure its proper functioning. No other person, not even the respondents,
inference and not on presumption. The facts of the occurrence warrant the supposition of was charged with that obligation except him. He failed to overcome the burden to prove
negligence and they furnish circumstantial evidence of negligence when direct evidence is that he observed all that was necessary to prevent the accident from happening.
lacking. The doctrine is based on the theory that the defendant either knows the cause of
the accident or has the best opportunity of ascertaining it and the plaintiff, having no
knowledge thereof, is compelled to allege negligence in general terms. In such instance, the Under the THIRD, there is nothing in the records to show that respondents contributed to
plaintiff relies on proof of the happening of the accident alone to establish negligence. It the incident. They had no access to the car and had no responsibility regarding its
provides a means by which a plaintiff can pin liability on a defendant who, if innocent, maintenance even if it was parked in a building they owned.
should be able to explain the care he exercised to prevent the incident complained of. Thus,
it is the defendants responsibility to show that there was no negligence on his part.
The exempting circumstance of caso fortuito may be availed only when: (a) the cause of the
unforeseen and unexpected occurrence was independent of the human will; (b) it was
To sustain the allegation of negligence based on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, the impossible to foresee the event which constituted the caso fortuito or, if it could be
following requisites must concur: (1) the accident is of a kind which does not ordinarily foreseen, it was impossible to avoid; (c) the occurrence must be such as to render it
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

impossible to perform an obligation in a normal manner and (d) the person tasked to head had she not lifted the same. Although the folding wooden counter top is within the
perform the obligation must not have participated in any course of conduct that aggravated exclusive management or control of respondents PHI and DTPCI, the falling of the same
the accident. and hitting the head of Huang was not due to the negligence of the former. As found by
both lower courts, the folding wooden counter top did not fall on Huangs head without
any human intervention. Records showed that she lifted the said folding wooden counter
While the Perla does not appear to have erred in considering Pascual for his position, its top that eventually fell and hit her head.
lack of supervision over him made it jointly and solidarily liable for the fire.

This Court is not unaware that in Huangs Complaint and in her open court testimony, her
assertion was, while she was passing through the counter door, she was suddenly
knocked out by a hard and heavy object, which turned out to be the folding wooden
Huang v. Philippine Hoteliers Inc., G.R. No. 180440, December 5, 2012
counter top.However, in her open court testimony, particularly during cross-examination,
she confirmed that she made such statement that she lifted the hinge massive wooden
Doctrine: Res Ipsa Loquitur is not applicable in this case. Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase section of the counter near the swimming pool.In view thereof, this Court cannot
which literally means he thing or the transaction speaks for itself.It relates to the fact of
acquiesce to her theory that her case is one of res ipsa loquitur as it was sufficiently
an injury that sets out an inference to the cause thereof or establishes the plaintiffs prima
facie case. The doctrine rests on inference and not on presumption. The facts of the established how she obtained that bukolor hematoma.
occurrence warrant the supposition of negligence and they furnish circumstantial evidence
of negligence when direct evidence is lacking. Simply stated, this doctrine finds no
application if there is direct proof of absence or presence of negligence. If there is
sufficient proof showing the conditions and circumstances under which the injury
occurred, then the creative reason for the said doctrine disappears. Ramos v. Court of Appeals, 321 SCRA 584 (1999)

Further, the doctrine applies where: (1) the accident was of such character as to warrant an Facts: Erlinda Ramos was experiencing discomfort due to pains allegedly caused by the
inference that it would not have happened except for the defendants negligence; (2) the presence of a stone in her gall bladder. She sought professional advice which recommended
accident must have been caused by an agency or instrumentality within the exclusive that she undergo an operation for the removal of a stone in her gall bladder. She
management or control of the person charged with the negligence complained of; and underwent a series of tests and was found fit for surgery. They eventually met with Dr.
Hozaka, wherein they agreed on the date of operation at the Delos Santos Medical Center.
(3) the accident must not have been due to any voluntary action or contribution on the part At the day of the operation, Erlinda was being prepared for the operation. Along with her is
of the person injured. her sister-in-law, Herminda Cruz for moral support. When Erlinda was taken to the
operating room, several nurses and Dr. Gutierrez attended to her. Herminda was allowed to
stay in the operating room.
In this case, even granting that respondents PHI and DTPCIs staff negligently turned off the
lights and locked the door, the folding wooden counter top would still not fall on Huangs
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

Dr. Gutierrez reached a phone to look for Dr. Hosaka who was not yet in. Erlinda became was caused by the defendant's want of care. It is simply a recognition of the postulate that,
irritable due to the delay. After 2-3 hours, Dr. Hosaka finally arrived. Eventually the as a matter of common knowledge and experience, the very nature of certain types of
operation started. According to Hermina (who was in the operating room), she saw Dr. occurrences may justify an inference of negligence on the part of the person who controls
Gutierrez intubating the hapless patient (Erlinda). She heard Erlinda say ang hirap the instrumentality causing the injury in the absence of some explanation by the defendant
ma-intubate nito, mali yata ang pagkakapasok. O lumalaki ang tiyan. Because of that, who is charged with negligence. It is grounded in the superior logic of ordinary human
Hermina focused on what Dr. Gutierrez was doing. She eventually noticed bluish experience and on the basis of such experience or common knowledge, negligence may be
discoloration of the nailbeds on the left hand of Erlinda. Dr. Hosaka approached Erlinda and deduced from the mere occurrence of the accident itself. Hence, res ipsa loquitur is applied
called for Dr. Calderon, another anaesthiologist. Thereafter, the patient was placed in a in conjunction with the doctrine of common knowledge.
trendelenburg position.

However, much has been said that res ipsa loquitur is not a rule of substantive law and, as
Eventually the patient was taken to the ICU wherein Erlinda stayed there for a month. After such, does not create or constitute an independent or separate ground of liability. Instead,
4 months, the patient was released from the hospital. However, she was in a comatose it is considered as merely evidentiary or in the nature of a procedural rule. It is regarded as
condition and suffered brain damage due to the lack of oxygen, and was in constant need of a mode of proof, or a mere procedural of convenience since it furnishes a substitute for,
medical attention. Because of these, they incurred medical expenses. Petitioners filed a and relieves a plaintiff of, the burden of producing specific proof of negligence. In other
complaint for damages against herein respondents alleging neglicence in the management words, mere invocation and application of the doctrine does not dispense with the
and care of Erlina Ramos. The RTC ruled in favor of herein petitioners. The CA however requirement of proof of negligence. It is simply a step in the process of such proof,
reversed and ruled in favor of private respondents. Petitioners appealed. permitting the plaintiff to present along with the proof of the accident, enough of the
attending circumstances to invoke the doctrine, creating an inference or presumption of
negligence, and to thereby place on the defendant the burden of going forward with the
Issue: proof. Still, before resort to the doctrine may be allowed, the following requisites must be
satisfactorily shown:
(1) Whether Drs. Hosaka & Gutierrez are liable for negligence.
(1) The accident is of a kind which ordinarily does not occur in the absence of someone's
(2) Whether res ipsa loquitur applies negligence;

(2) It is caused by an instrumentality within the exclusive control of the defendant or


defendants; and
Held: YES. Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase which literally means "the thing or the
transaction speaks for itself." The phrase "res ipsa loquitur'' is a maxim for the rule that the (3) The possibility of contributing conduct which would make the plaintiff responsible is
fact of the occurrence of an injury, taken with the surrounding circumstances, may permit eliminated.
an inference or raise a presumption of negligence, or make out a plaintiff's prima faciecase,
and present a question of fact for defendant to meet with an explanation. Where the thing
which caused the injury complained of is shown to be under the management of the
In the above requisites, the fundamental element is the "control of instrumentality" which
defendant or his servants and the accident is such as in ordinary course of things does not
caused the damage. Such element of control must be shown to be within the dominion of
happen if those who have its management or control use proper care, it affords reasonable
the defendant. In order to have the benefit of the rule, a plaintiff, in addition to proving
evidence, in the absence of explanation by the defendant, that the accident arose from or
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

injury or damage, must show a situation where it is applicable, and must establish that the Furthermore, the instruments used in the administration of anesthesia, including the
essential elements of the doctrine were present in a particular incident. endotracheal tube, were all under the exclusive control of private respondents, who are the
physicians-in-charge. Likewise, Erlinda could not have been guilty of contributory
negligence because she was under the influence of anesthetics which rendered her
Medical malpractice cases do not escape the application of this doctrine. Thus, res ipsa unconscious.
loquitur has been applied when the circumstances attendant upon the harm are themselves
of such a character as to justify an inference of negligence as the cause of that harm.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that the scope of res ipsa loquitur has been measurably Upon these facts and under these circumstances the Court would be able to say, as a
enlarged, it does not automatically apply to all cases of medical negligence as to matter of common knowledge and observation, if negligence attended the management
mechanically shift the burden of proof to the defendant to show that he is not guilty of and care of the patient. Moreover, the liability of the physicians and the hospital in this case
the ascribed negligence. The doctrine is not a rigid or ordinary doctrine to be perfunctorily is not predicated upon an alleged failure to secure the desired results of an operation nor
used but a rule to be cautiously applied, depending upon the circumstances of each case. on an alleged lack of skill in the diagnosis or treatment as in fact no operation or treatment
was ever performed on Erlinda. Thus, upon all these initial determination a case is made
out for the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.
It is generally restricted to situations in malpractice cases where a layman is able to say,
as a matter of common knowledge and observation, that the consequences of
professional care were not as such as would ordinarily have followed if due care had been The court holds that Dr. Hosaka & Gutierre were unable to disprove the presumption of
exercised. A distinction must be made between the failure to secure results, and the negligence on their part in the care of Erlinda and their negligence was the proximate
occurrence of something more unusual and not ordinarily found if the service or treatment cause of her piteous condition. The court is inclined to believe Ramos' stand and after the
rendered followed the usual procedure of those skilled in that particular practice. It must be evidence and testimony presented that it was the faulty intubation which was the
conceded that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur can have no application in a suit against a proximate cause of Erlinda's comatose condition.
physician or surgeon which involves the merits of a diagnosis or of a scientific treatment.
The physician or surgeon is not required at his peril to explain why any particular diagnosis
was not correct, or why any particular scientific treatment did not produce the desired Proximate cause has been defined as that which, in natural and continuous sequence,
result. Thus, res ipsa loquitur is not available in a malpractice suit if the only showing is that unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces injury, and without which the result
the desired result of an operation or treatment was not accomplished. would not have occurred. An injury or damage is proximately caused by an act or a failure
to act, whenever it appears from the evidence in the case, that the act or omission played a
substantial part in bringing about or actually causing the injury or damage; and that the
During the administration of anesthesia and prior to the performance of cholecystectomy injury or damage was either a direct result or a reasonably probable consequence of the act
she suffered irreparable damage to her brain. Thus, without undergoing surgery, she went or omission. It is the dominant, moving or producing cause.
out of the operating room already decerebrate and totally incapacitated. Obviously, brain
damage, which Erlinda sustained, is an injury which does not normally occur in the process
of a gall bladder operation. In fact, this kind of situation does not in the absence of Here, due to the faulty intubation conducted, the failure to observe proper medical
negligence of someone in the administration of anesthesia and in the use of endotracheal procedure, failure to verify and conduct an evaluation of the patient for the
tube. Normally, a person being put under anesthesia is not rendered decerebrate as a administration of the intubation (so as to determine the anatomic variations in patients
consequence of administering such anesthesia if the proper procedure was followed.
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

neck and oral area), the court holds Dr. Gutierrez liable. The same goes for Dr. Hozaka as remained bluish, thus, she was placed in a trendelenburg position a position where the
the head of the surgeon team (or as the court would call it, the captain of the ship) It is head of the patient is placed in a position lower than her feet.
the surgeons responsibility to see to it that those under him perform their task in the
proper manner. The same goes for the hospital. DLSMC, apart from a general denial of its
responsibility over the physicians, failed to adduce evidence showing that it exercised the She went out of the OR to inform the husband that the operation was not going well. At
diligence of a good father of a family in the hiring and supervision of the latter. It failed to almost 3:00 PM, she saw Erlinda being wheeled to ICU. The doctors explained to Rogelio
adduce evidence with regard to the degree of supervision which it exercised over its that his wife had bronchospasm. Erlinda stayed in the ICU for a month. She was released
physicians. from the hospital only 4 months later or on November 15, 1985. Since the ill-fated
operation, Erlinda remained in comatose condition until she died on August 3, 1999.

Ramos filed a complaint for damages due to negligence in the RTC. RTC found the doctors
and the DLSMC liable. On appeal, CA reversed. Upon petitioner for review before the SC,
doctors and hospital were held liable. They now seek reconsideration. The Philippine
College of Surgeons also filed a Petition-in-Intervention claiming that the SC erred in using
Ramos v. Court of Appeals, 380 SCRA 467 (2002)
the captain of the ship doctrine to hold Hosaka liable.

Facts: Sometime in 1985, Erlinda Ramos, after seeking professional medical help, was
On March 2001, oral arguments were heard. Also present were various doctors from public
advised have her gallstones removed. She was referred to Dr. Hosaka, a surgeon, who
and private institutions serving as amicii curiae.
agreed to perform the operation on her. The operation was scheduled for June 17, 1985 at
9:00 AM at De Los Santos Medical Center (DLSMC). Since neither Erlinda nor her husband Issue: (1) Was Dr. Gutierez negligent and whether it was the faulty intubation which was
Rogelio, knew of any anesthesiologist, Dr. Hosaka recommended to them the services of Dr. the proximate cause of Erlindas coma?
Gutierrez.
(2) Whether Dr. Hosaka can be held liable by virtue of the Captain of the Ship doctrine.

(3) Whether DLSMC is solidarily responsible with the doctors.


By 7:30 AM, Erlinda was already being prepared for operation. Upon the request of Erlinda,
her sister-in-law, Herminda Cruz, who was then Dean of the College of Nursing at the
Capitol Medical Center, was allowed to accompany her inside the operating room. Held: (1) YES. It has been sufficiently established that she failed to exercise the standards of
care in the administration of anesthesia on a patient. She did not perform a preoperative
evaluation of the patient before administering anaesthesia. Particularly, she did not check
Dr. Hosaka finally arrived at the hospital at around 12:10 in the afternoon, or more than 3 the patients airway. As she herself admitted, she saw Erlinda for the first time on the day
hours after the scheduled operation. As Dr. Gutierrez was having a hard time intubating of the operation itself, one hour before the scheduled operation.
Erlinda, Cruz noticed a bluish discoloration of Erlindas nailbeds on her left hand. Cruz then
heard Dr. Hosaka instruct someone to call Dr. Calderon, another anesthesiologist. When he
arrived, Dr. Calderon attempted to intubate the patient. The nailbeds of the patient
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

The injury incurred by Erlinda does not normally happen absent any negligence in the consultant; instead, the latter may lose his or her accreditation or privileges granted by the
administration of anesthesia and in the use of an endotracheal tube. Upon these facts and hospital. Fourth, when a doctor refers a patient for admission in a hospital, it is the doctor
under these circumstances, a layman would be able to say, as a matter of common who prescribes the treatment to be given to said patient. The hospitals obligation is limited
knowledge and observation, that the consequences of professional treatment were not as to providing the patient with the preferred room accommodation, the nutritional diet and
such as would ordinarily have followed if due care had been exercised. Thus, res ipsa medications prescribed by the doctor, the equipment and facilities necessary for the
loquitur is applicable. treatment of the patient, as well as the services of the hospital staff who perform the
ministerial tasks of ensuring that the doctors orders are carried out strictly.

(2) YES. That there is a trend in American jurisprudence to do away with the
Captain-of-the-Ship doctrine does not mean that this Court will ipso facto follow said trend. (4) In line with this, no evidence was adduced to show that the injury suffered by petitioner
Due regard for the peculiar factual circumstances obtaining in this case justify the Erlinda was due to a failure on the part of respondent DLSMC to provide for hospital
application of the Captain-of-the-Ship doctrine. From the facts on record it can be logically facilities and staff necessary for her treatment.
inferred that Dr. Hosaka exercised a certain degree of, at the very least, supervision over
the procedure then being performed on Erlinda. (1) He recommended Gutierrez thereby
representing to Ramos that she possessed the necessary competence and skills. (2) He was
the attending physician of Erlinda and gave instructions to call another anaesthesiologist to
help Erlinda. (3) Drs. Hosaka and Gutierrez worked as a team. Their work cannot be placed Reyes v. Sisters of Mercy Hospital, 341 SCRA 760 (2000)
in separate watertight compartments because their duties intersect with each other.

Moreover, Dr. Hosakas irresponsible conduct of arriving very late for the scheduled
Facts: Five days before Jorge Reyes death on January 8, 1987, Jorge had been suffering
operation of petitioner Erlinda is violative, not only of his duty as a physician to serve the
from a recurring fever with chills. On that day, he was taken to the Mercy Community Clinic.
interest of his patients with the greatest solicitude, giving them always his best talent and
He was attended to by respondent Dr. Marlyn Rico, who gave Jorge a physical examination
skill, but also of Article 19 CC which requires a person, in the performance of his duties, to
and took his medical history. Believing that Jorge could be suffering from Typhoid fever, as
act with justice and give everyone his due.
this was then prevalent in their locality, Dr. Rico ordered a Widal Test a standard test for
typhoid fever. Other tests were made. From the test results, Dr. Rico concluded that Jorge
was positive for typhoid fever. As her shift was only up to 5:00 p.m., Dr. Rico indorsed Jorge
(3) NO. There is no employer-employee relationship (see 4 fold test in labor) between to respondent Dr. Marvie Blanes.
DLSMC and Drs. Gutierrez and Hosaka which would hold DLSMC solidarity liable under Art.
2180.
Dr. Marvie Blanes attended to Jorge at around 6PM. She also took Jorges history and gave
him a physical examination. Like Dr. Rico, her impression was that Jorge had typhoid fever.
First, a hospital does not hire or engage the services of a consultant, but rather, accredits Antibiotics being the accepted treatment for typhoid fever, she ordered that a compatibility
the latter and grants him or her the privilege of maintaining a clinic and/or admitting test with the antibiotic chloromycetin be done on Jorge. Said test was administered by
patients in the hospital upon a showing by the consultant that he or she possesses the nurse Josephine Pagent. As no adverse effects were observed, Dr. Blanes ordered the first
necessary qualifications. Second, it is not the hospital but the patient who pays the 500mg of said antibiotic to be administered on Jorge at around 9:00 p.m. A second dose
consultants fee for services rendered by the latter. Third, a hospital does not dismiss a was administered on Jorge about three hours later just before midnight.
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

testimony is dispensed with because the injury itself provides the proof of negligence. The
reason is that the general rule on the necessity of expert testimony applies only to such
At around 1:00 a.m the next day, Jorge Reyes condition worsened as he experienced
matters clearly within the domain of medical science, and not to matters that are within the
severe nausea and convulsions. When he regained consciousness, the patient was asked by
common knowledge of mankind which may be testified to by anyone familiar with the facts.
Dr. Blanes whether he had a previous heart ailment or had suffered from chest pains in the
past. Jorge replied he did not. A few minutes later, the convulsions came back and he died Hence, in cases where the res ipsa loquitur is applicable, the court is permitted to find a
at around 2:00am. The cause of his death was Ventricular Arrythemia Secondary to physician negligent upon proper proof of injury to the patient, without the aid of expert
Hyperpyrexia and typhoid fever. testimony, where the court from its fund of common knowledge can determine the proper
standard of care.

Reyes family thus filed a complaint for damages against Sisters of Mercy et al. They
basically claim that Jorge did not die of typhoid fever. Rather, they claim that it was due to When the doctrine is appropriate, all that the patient must do is prove a nexus between
the wrongful administration of chloromycetin. the particular act or omission complained of and the injury sustained while under the
custody and management of the defendant without need to produce expert medical
testimony to establish the standard of care. Resort to res ipsa loquitor is allowed because
The parties presented their own expert witnesses: for the Reyes, Dr. Apolinar Vacalares, there is no other way, under usual and ordinary conditions, by which the patient can obtain
while for the hospital, Dr. Gotiong and Dr. Panopio redress for injury suffered by him.

Issue: Whether or not the hospital and its physicians are liable for medical malpractice. Nonetheless, Res Ipsa Loquitur DOES NOT APPLY in this case; thus expert witness is
necessary. Petitioners asserts that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applies to the present
Held: NO. In the present case, there is no doubt that a physician-patient relationship existed case because Jorge Reyes was merely experiencing fever and chills for 5 days and was fully
between respondent doctors and Jorge Reyes. Respondents were thus duty-bound to use at conscious, coherent, and ambulant when he went to the hospital. Yet, he died after only
least the same level of care that any reasonably competent doctor would use to treat a ten hours from the time of his admission. Petitioners contend that all requisites for the
condition under the same circumstances. It is breach of this duty which constitutes application of res ipsa loquitur were present. However, respondents alleged failure to
actionable malpractice. As to this aspect of medical malpractice, the determination of the observe due care was not immediately apparent to a layman so as to justify application of
reasonable level of care and the breach thereof, expert testimony is essential. Inasmuch res ipsa loquitur. The question required expert opinion on the alleged breach by
as the causes of the injuries involved in malpractice actions are determinable only in the respondents of the standard of care required by the circumstances. Furthermore, on the
light of scientific knowledge, it has been recognized that expert testimony is usually issue of the correctness of her diagnosis, no presumption of negligence can be applied to Dr.
necessary to support the conclusion as to causation. Marlyn Rico. As held in Ramos, Res Ipsa Loquitur is generally restricted to situations in
malpractice cases where a layman is able to say, as a matter of common knowledge and
observation, that the consequences of professional care were not as such as would
However, there are some cases wherein there is no necessity for expert testimony: when ordinarily have followed if due care had been exercised. Thus, it DOES NOT APPLY when
Res Ipsa Loquitur applies. As held in Ramos: Although generally, expert medical testimony what is at issue is BEYOND AN ORDINARY PERSONS COMMON KNOWLEDGE: i.e. when
is relied upon in malpractice suits to prove that a physician has done a negligent act. But, the issue revolves around the merits of a diagnosis or of a scientific treatment.
when the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor is availed by the plaintiff, the need for expert medical
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

Petitioners contend that the doctors erroneously applied the Widal test and in patients, although he did not encourage its use. Basically, he corroborated all of Dr.
administering the antibiotic chloromycetin. Petitioners presented the testimony of Dr. Gotiongs statements.
Apolinar Vacalares, Chief Pathologist of the Northern Mindanao Training Hospital, Cagayan
de Oro City, who performed an autopsy on the body of Jorge Reyes. Dr. Vacalares testified
that, based on his findings during the autopsy, Jorge Reyes did not die of typhoid fever but Here, Dr. Marlyn Rico did not depart from the reasonable standard recommended by the
of something undetermined, which could be due to allergic reaction or chloromycetin experts as she in fact observed the due care required under the circumstances. Though
overdose. We are not persuaded. the Widal test is not conclusive, it remains a standard diagnostic test for typhoid fever and,
in the present case, greater accuracy through repeated testing was rendered unobtainable
by the early death of the patient. The results of the Widal test and the patients history of
First. While petitioners presented Dr. Apolinar Vacalares as an expert witness, we do not fever with chills for five days, taken with the fact that typhoid fever was then prevalent as
find him to be so as he is not a specialist on infectious diseases like typhoid fever. indicated by the fact that the clinic had been getting about 15 to 20 typhoid cases a month,
were sufficient to give upon any doctor of reasonable skill the impression that Jorge Reyes
had typhoid fever.
Second. On the other hand, the 2 doctors presented by respondents clearly were experts
on the subject. They vouched for the correctness of Dr. Marlyn Ricos diagnosis. Dr. Peter
Gotiong is a diplomate whose specialization is infectious diseases. Also, he had already The burden of proving that Jorge Reyes was suffering from any other illness rested with
treated over a thousand cases of typhoid fever. According to him, when a case of typhoid the petitioners. As they failed to present expert opinion on this, preponderant evidence to
fever is suspected, the Widal test is normally used, and if the 1:320 results of the Widal test support their contention is clearly absent.
on Jorge Reyes had been presented to him along with the patients history, his impression
would also be that the patient was suffering from typhoid fever. As to the treatment of the
disease, he stated that chloromycetin was the drug of choice. He also explained that despite Third. Petitioners contend that respondent Dr. Marvie Blanes, who took over from Dr. Rico,
the measures taken by respondent doctors and the intravenous administration of two was negligent in ordering the intravenous administration of two doses of 500 milligrams of
doses of chloromycetin, complications of the disease could not be discounted. Also, he chloromycetin at an interval of less than three hours. Petitioners claim that Jorge Reyes
noted that since the toxic effect of typhoid fever may lead to meningitis, Dr. died of anaphylactic shock or possibly from overdose as the second dose should have been
Vacalares autopsy should have included an examination of the brain. administered five to six hours after the first, per instruction of Dr. Marlyn Rico. However,
according to medical books: The dosage likewise including the first administration of five
hundred milligrams (500 mg.) at around nine oclock in the evening and the second dose at
As regards Dr. Vacalares finding during the autopsy that the deceaseds gastro-intestinal around 11:30 the same night was still within medically acceptable limits, since the
tract was normal, Dr. Rico explained that, while hyperplasia in the payers patches or layers recommended dose of chloromycetin is one (1) gram every six (6) hours.
of the small intestines is present in typhoid fever, the same may not always be grossly
visible as they may be microscopic.
Fourth. Petitioners correctly observe that the medical profession is one which, like the
business of a common carrier, is affected with public interest. Moreover, they assert that
Respondents also presented the testimony of Dr. Ibarra T. Panopio who is also a big time since the law imposes upon common carriers the duty of observing extraordinary diligence
doctor/ pathologist. He stated that, he recognized that the Widal test is used for typhoid
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

in the vigilance over the goods and for the safety of the passengers, physicians and REPUBLIC ACT No. 10586
surgeons should have the same duty toward their patients.
AN ACT PENALIZING PERSONS DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL, DANGEROUS DRUGS, AND
SIMILAR SUBSTANCES, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

The practice of medicine is a profession engaged in only by qualified individuals. It is a Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
right earned through years of education, training, and by first obtaining a license from the
state through professional board examinations. Such license may, at any time and for cause, Section 1. Short Title. This Act shall be known as the "Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013.
be revoked by the government. In addition to state regulation, the conduct of doctors is
also strictly governed by the Hippocratic Oath. Given these safeguards, there is no need to Section 2. Declaration of Policy. Pursuant to the Constitutional principle that recognizes the protection of life
expressly require of doctors the observance of extraordinary diligence. As it is now, the and property and the promotion of the general welfare as essential for the enjoyment of the blessing of
democracy, it is hereby declared the policy of the State to ensure road safety through the observance of the
practice of medicine is already conditioned upon the highest degree of diligence. And, as citizenry of responsible and ethical driving standards.
we have already noted, the standard contemplated for doctors is simply the reasonable
average merit among ordinarily good physicians. Towards this end, the State shall penalize the acts of driving under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs and
other intoxicating substances and shall inculcate the standards of safe driving and the benefits that may be derived
from it through institutional programs and appropriate public information strategies.

II. VIOLATION OF RULES AND STATUTES


Section 3. Definition of Terms. For purposes of this Act:

(a) Alcohol refers to alcoholic beverages classified into beer, wine and distilled spirits, the consumption of which
A. TRAFFIC RULES produces intoxication.

(b) Breath analyzer refers to the equipment which can determine the blood alcohol concentration level of a person
through testing of his breath.

(c) Chemical tests refer to breath, saliva, urine or blood tests to determine the blood alcohol concentration level
and/or positive indication of dangerous drugs and similar substances in a persons body.

Article 2184. In motor vehicle mishaps, the owner is solidarily liable with his driver, if the (d) Dangerous drugs and other similar substances refer to drugs listed in the schedules annexed to the 1961 Single
former, who was in the vehicle, could have, by the use of the due diligence, prevented the Convention on Narcotics Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and in the schedules annexed to the 1971 Single
misfortune. It is disputably presumed that a driver was negligent, if he had been found Convention of Psychotropic Substances as enumerated in its attachment which is an integral part of Republic Act
No. 9165, otherwise known as the "Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and those that the Board may
guilty of reckless driving or violating traffic regulations at least twice within the next reclassify, add to or remove from the list of dangerous drugs.
preceding two months.
(e) Driving under the influence of alcohol refers to the act of operating a motor vehicle while the drivers blood
If the owner was not in the motor vehicle, the provisions of article 2180 are applicable. (n) alcohol concentration level has, after being subjected to a breath analyzer test, reached the level of intoxication,
as established jointly by the Department of Health (DOH), the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) and the
Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
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. (n)
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

(f) Driving under the influence of dangerous drugs and other similar substances refers to the act of operating a If the law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a person is driving under the influence of
motor vehicle while the driver, after being subjected to a confirmatory test as mandated under Republic Act No. dangerous drugs and/or other similar substances, it shall be the duty of the law enforcement officer to bring the
9165, is found to be positive for use of any dangerous drug. driver to the nearest police station to be subjected to a drug screening test and, if necessary, a drug confirmatory
test as mandated under Republic Act No. 9165.
(g) Field sobriety tests refer to standardized tests to initially assess and determine intoxication, such as the
horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand, and other similar tests as determined jointly by Law enforcement officers and deputized local traffic enforcement officers shall be responsible in implementing this
the DOH, the NAPOLCOM and the DOTC. section.

(h) Motor vehicle refers to any land transportation vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power. Section 7. Mandatory Alcohol and Chemical Testing of Drivers Involved in Motor Vehicular Accidents. A driver of
a motor vehicle involved in a vehicular accident resulting in the loss of human life or physical injuries shall be
(i) Motor vehicles designed to carry hazardous materials refer to those designed to carry or transport materials subjected to chemical tests, including a drug screening test and, if necessary, a drug confirmatory test as mandated
which may endanger health and lives of the public. under Republic Act No. 9165, to determine the presence and/or concentration of alcohol, dangerous drugs and/or
similar substances in the bloodstream or body.

(j) Public utility vehicles refer to motor vehicles for hire and used to carry or transport passengers or goods.
Section 8. Refusal to Subject Oneself to Mandatory Tests. A driver of a motor vehicle who refuses to undergo the
mandatory field sobriety and drug tests under Sections 6, 7 and 15 of this Act shall be penalized by the confiscation
Section 4. Drivers Education. Every applicant for a motor vehicle drivers license shall complete a course of and automatic revocation of his or her drivers license, in addition to other penalties provided herein and/or other
instruction that provides information on safe driving including, but not limited to, the effects of the consumption pertinent laws.
of alcoholic beverages on the ability of a person to operate a motor vehicle, the hazards of driving under the
influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs and/or other similar substances, and the penalties attached for violation
thereof. Section 9. Acquisition of Equipment. Within four (4) months from the effectivity of this Act, the Land
Transportation Office (LTO) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall acquire sufficient breath analyzers and
drug-testing kits to be utilized by law enforcement officers and deputized local traffic enforcement officers
For professional drivers, every applicant for a drivers license or those applying for renewal thereof shall undergo nationwide giving priority to areas with high reported occurrences of accidents. For purposes of acquiring these
the drivers education herein stated. equipment and for the training seminars indicated in Section 10 hereof, the LTO shall utilize the Special Road
Safety Fund allotted for this purpose as provided under Section 7 of Republic Act No. 8794, entitled: "An Act
The drivers license written examination shall include questions concerning the effects of alcohol and drug Imposing a Motor Vehicle Users Charge on Owners of All Types of Motor Vehicles and for Other Purposes".
intoxication on the ability of a person to operate a motor vehicle and the legal and pecuniary consequences Additional yearly appropriations for the purchase of breath analyzers and drug-testing kits shall be provided
resulting from violation of the provisions of this Act. annually under the General Appropriations Act.

Section 5. Punishable Act. It shall be unlawful for any person to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence Section 10. Deputation. The LTO may deputize traffic enforcement officers of the PNP, the Metropolitan Manila
of alcohol, dangerous drugs and/or other similar substances. Development Authority (MMDA) and cities and municipalities in order to enforce the provisions of this Act.

Section 6. Conduct of Field Sobriety, Chemical and Confirmatory Tests. A law enforcement officer who has Section 11. Law Enforcement Officer Education. The LTO and the PNP shall conduct training seminars for their
probable cause to believe that a person is driving under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs and/or other law enforcers and deputies with regard to the proper conduct of field sobriety tests and breath analyzer tests
similar substances by apparent indications and manifestations, including overspeeding, weaving, lane straddling, every year. Within four (4) months from the effectivity of this Act, the LTO shall publish the guidelines and
sudden stops, swerving, poor coordination or the evident smell of alcohol in a persons breath or signs of use of procedures for the proper conduct of field sobriety tests, which guidelines shall be made available to the public
dangerous drugs and other similar substances, shall conduct field sobriety tests. and made available for download through the official LTO website.

If the driver fails in the sobriety tests, it shall be the duty of the law enforcement officer to implement the Section 12. Penalties. A driver found to have been driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol,
mandatory determination of the drivers blood alcohol concentration level through the use of a breath analyzer or dangerous drugs and/or other similar substances, as provided for under Section 5 of this Act, shall be penalized as
similar measuring instrument. follows:
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

(a) If the violation of Section 5 did not result in physical injuries or homicide, the penalty of three (3) months amendment and/or upgrade the same as may be necessary, subject to the approval of the Secretary of the
imprisonment, and a fine ranging from Twenty thousand pesos (Php20,000.00) to Eighty thousand pesos DOTC.1wphi1
(Php80,000.00) shall be imposed;
Section 17. Implementing Rules and Regulations. The DOTC, the DOH and the NAPOLCOM shall, within three (3)
(b) If the violation of Section 5 resulted in physical injuries, the penalty provided in Article 263 of the Revised Penal months from the effectivity of this Act, jointly promulgate the necessary implementing rules and regulations to
Code or the penalty provided in the next preceding subparagraph, whichever is higher, and a fine ranging from carry out the provisions of this Act.
One hundred thousand pesos (Php100,000.00) to Two hundred thousand pesos (Php200,000.00) shall be imposed;
Section 18. Separability Clause. If, for any reason, any part or provision of this Act is declared invalid, such
(c) If the violation of Section 5 resulted in homicide, the penalty provided in Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code declaration shall not affect the other provisions of this Act.
and a fine ranging from Three hundred thousand pesos (Php300,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos
(Php500,000.00) shall be imposed; and Section 19. Repealing Clause. Subparagraph (f), Section 56, Article 1 of Republic Act No. 4136, otherwise known
as the "Land Transportation and Traffic Code", as amended; subparagraph (f), Section 5 of Republic Act No. 7924,
(d) The nonprofessional drivers license of any person found to have violated Section 5 of this Act shall also be otherwise known as "An Act Creating the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Defining its Powers and
confiscated and suspended for a period of twelve (12) months for the first conviction and perpetually revoked for Functions, Providing Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes;" subparagraph (a), Section 36 of Republic Act No.
the second conviction. The professional drivers license of any person found to have violated Section 5 of this Act 9165; and all other laws, orders, issuances, circulars, rules and regulations or parts thereof which are inconsistent
shall also be confiscated and perpetually revoked for the first conviction. The perpetual revocation of a drivers with any provision of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
license shall disqualify the person from being granted any kind of drivers license thereafter.
Section 20. Effectivity. This Act shall take effect after fifteen (15) days from its publication in the Official
The prosecution for any violation of this Act shall be without prejudice to criminal prosecution for violation of the Gazette or in two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.
Revised Penal Code, Republic Act No. 9165 and other special laws and existing local ordinances, whenever
applicable.

Section 13. Direct Liability of Operator and/or Owner of the Offending Vehicle. The owner and/or operator of the United States v. Juanillo, 23 Phil. 212 (1912)
vehicle driven by the offender shall be directly and principally held liable together with the offender for the fine
and the award against the offender for civil damages unless he or she is able to convincingly prove that he or she
has exercised extraordinary diligence in the selection and supervision of his or her drivers in general and the
offending driver in particular. Facts: Ponciano Leal was killed on the public highway while going from the town of Pavia to
Santa Barbara, Iloilo by being struck by an automobile, of which the Juanillo was the
This section shall principally apply to the owners and/or operators of public utility vehicles and commercial
chauffeur. The prosecution contends that the death of the deceased was due to the
vehicles such as delivery vans, cargo trucks, container trucks, school and company buses, hotel transports, cars or
vans for rent, taxi cabs, and the like. reckless driving of the Juanillo while the defense insists that the unfortunate occurrence
was purely an accident.
Section 14. Nationwide Information Campaign. Within one (1) month from the promulgation of the
implementing rules and regulations as provided under Section 17 hereof, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA),
in coordination with the LTO, the local government units (LGUs) and other concerned agencies, shall conduct
information, education and communication (IEC) campaign for the attainment of the objectives of this Act.
The prosecution presented 4 witnesses and the defense 6, including the Juanillo. According
to the witnesses for the prosecution (Labrila, Latoja, Agraviado, and son of Leal), Labrila,
Section 15. Nationwide Random Terminal Inspection and Quick Random Drug Tests. The LTO shall conduct Leal, and Latoja were walking along the road toward Santa Barbara that afternoon. Latoja
random terminal inspections and quick random drug tests of public utility drivers. The cost of such tests shall be was in the middle of Labrila (left) and Leal (right). While they were walking and having a
defrayed by the LTO. conversation, Latoja heard a noise behind them and turning around he saw an automobile
approaching. He called out immediately that an automobile was coming and jumped to the
Section 16. Review of Penalties. The LTO shall, after five (5) years from the effectivity of this Act and every five (5)
years thereafter, review the applicability and enforcement of all foregoing pecuniary penalties and shall initiate
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

left, colliding with Labrila and knocking him into the ditch. Leal on the other hand, was seen was justified in accepting the testimony of Latoja, Labrila, and Agraviado as to how the
lying on the ground, having been knocked down by the automobile. collision took place. Neither Latoja nor Labrila heard the blowing of the horn or any other
warning until the machine was so close that Latoja and Labrila barely had time to make
their escape, while the deceased, being on the left, did not have sufficient time.
The defense introduced the testimony of the members of the party riding in the automobile,
(Becker, Dean, Rimmer, Hardwood, and Miller) and that of the chauffeur. All the witnesses It has been held, that courts will take judicial notice that an automobile makes an unusual
for the defense testified that the middle of the road was clear at that place and time and noise; that it can be driven at a great velocityat a speed many times greater than that of
that the deceased, as well as all others, were in perfectly safe places and that the deceased ordinary vehicles drawn by animals, and that it is highly dangerous when used on country
would not have been killed if he had not at tempted to cross from the right to the left side roads. Its use as a vehicle for traveling is comparatively recent. It makes an unusual noise.
of the road. It can be and usually is made to go on common roads at great velocity at a speed many
times greater than that of ordinary vehicles hauled by animals; and beyond doubt it is
According to Juanillo, he noticed up ahead about 80 or 100 brazas some men walking in the highly dangerous when used on country roads, putting to great hazard the safety and lives
road and that when he got up to within about 40 or 50 brazas of them he closed off his of the mass of the people who travel on such roads.
gasoline and kept blowing his horn. He also placed his foot on the exhaust so he could make
a noise. They were then going about 10 MPH. When they were within about 2 or 3 brazas of It is generally held that the rights and duties of pedestrians and vehicles are equal. Each
the men, the man on the right side started to run across the road. He put on his brakes but may use the highway, and each must exercise such care and prudence as the circumstances
could not stop right on the spot. Some part of the automobile hit him. At the time they hit demand. Owners of automobiles have the same rights in the streets and highways that
the man they were going about 6 or 8 MPH. They ran about 3 or 4 brazas more when the pedestrians and drivers of horses have. Automobile drivers or the drivers of animals are
automobile stopped. not to use the means of locomotion without regard to the rights of others having occasion
to travel on the highway.
Q. If you could stop going at 8 miles an hour within 2 brazas, why did you run 3 or 4?

A. I don't know, sir; I was going about 8 miles an hour, I should say.
While an automobile is a lawful means of conveyance and has equal rights upon the roads
with pedestrians, horses, and carriages, its use cannot be lawfully countenanced unless
accompanied with that degree of prudence in management and consideration for the
Issue: Whether Juanillo is liable for reckless imprudence. rights of others which is consistent with safety. Negligence is the failure to observe for the
protection of the interests of another person that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance
which the circumstances justly demand, whereby such other person suffers injury.
Held: YES. According to the witnesses for the defense, when they were about 25 feet away Negligence is want of care required by the circumstances. It is a relative or comparative, not
from the natives, the brakes were applied with such force that he and his companions were an absolute term, and its application depends upon the situation of the parties, and the
all thrown forward, yet the machine still continued running, hitting the deceased under its degree of care and vigilance which the circumstances reasonably impose. Where the danger
own momentum for about 150 or 200 yards. is great a high degree of care is necessary, and the failure to observe it is a want of ordinary
care under the circumstances.

In view of all the admitted facts and circumstances, and the unreasonableness of the stories The operator of an automobile is bound to exercise care in proportion to the varying
told by the defendant-appellant and his witnesses we are fully satisfied that the trial court danger and risks of the highway and commensurate with the dangers naturally incident to
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

the use of such vehicle. He is obliged to take notice of the conditions before him, and if it is and an accident occurs, that the automobile driver will be called upon to account for his
apparent that by any particular method of proceeding he is liable to work an injury, it is his acts. An automobile driver must at all times use all the care and caution which a careful
duty to adopt some other or safer method if within reasonable care and prudence he can and prudent driver would have exercised under the circumstances. Juanillo was aware of
do so. In determining the degree of care an operator of an automobile should use, when and is chargeable with the knowledge that the deceased and his companions were simple
on the highway, it is proper to take into consideration the place, presence or absence of country people and were lacking in the capacity to appreciate and to guard against the
other travelers, the speed of the automobile, its size, appearance, manner of movement, dangers of an automobile driven at a high rate of speed, and he was bound to enlarge to a
and the amount of noise it makes, and anything that indicates unusual or peculiar danger. commensurate extent the degree of vigilance and care necessary to avoid injuries which
the use of his machine made more imminent.
The quantum of care required is to be estimated by the exigencies of the particular
situation; that is, by the place, presence or absence of other vehicles and travelers; Also, The negligence of Juanillo in the case at bar consisted in his failure to recognize the great
the degree of care required to be exercised varies with the capacity of the person injury that would accrue to the deceased from the collision. He had no right, it seems to us,
endangered to care for himself. Thus, it has been held not to be negligence per se in a boy after he saw the deceased and his companions walking in the road ahead of him to
of 6 to play on the highway, where an auto mobile came up on him under circumstances continue at so great a speed, at the eminent hazard of colliding with the deceased. Great
which produced fright and terror, and thus caused an error of judgment by which the boy care was due from him by reason of the deadliness of the machine he was propelling
ran in front of the automobile. along the highway. When one comes through the highways with a machine of such power
as an automobile, it is incumbent upon the driver to use great care not to drive against or
over pedestrians. An automobile is much more dangerous than a street car or even a
The testimony of all the parties in the case at bar as to the surrounding conditions of this railway car. These are propelled along fixed rails and all the traveling public has to do to be
occurrence was to the effect that the road on which they were traveling was dotted with safe is to keep off the track. But the automobile can be turned as easily as an individual, and
simple rural folk. In his brief, counsel for the Juanillo says: Two native farmers who all for this reason is far more dangerous to the traveling public than either the street car or the
their lives have seen nothing that moves faster than a bull cart, except on the two or three railway train.
occasions on which they testify they have visited Iloilo, cannot be expected to give an
intelligent idea of speed of an automobile, train, or even a fast horse.
Chapman v. Underwood, G.R. No. 9010, March 28, 1914
Under such conditions Juanillo being in charge of the powerful machine, capable of doing
great damage if not skillfully manipulated, was bound to use a high degree of care to
avoid injuring these native farmers, who had a common right to the highway. A driver of
Facts: At the time the accident occurred, there was a single-track street-car line running
an automobile, under such circumstances, is required to use a greater degree of care than
along Calle Herran, with occasional switches to allow cars to meet and pass each other. One
drivers of animals, for the reason that the machine is capable of greater destruction, and
of these switches was located at the scene of the accident. Chapman had been visiting his
further- more, it is absolutely under the power and control of the driver; whereas, a horse
friend, Creveling, in front of whose house the accident happened.
or other animal can and does to some extent aid in averting an accident. It is not pleasant
to be obliged to slow down automobiles to accommodate persons riding, driving, or
walking.
He desired to board a certain "San Marcelino" car coming from Santa Ana and bound for
It is probably more agreeable to send the machine along and let the horse or person get out Manila. Being told by Creveling that the car was approaching, he immediately, and
of the way in the best manner possible; but it is well to understand, if this course is adopted somewhat hurriedly, passed from the gate into the street for the purpose of signaling and
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

boarding the car. The car was a closed one, the entrance being from the front or the rear Underwood, however, is not responsible for the negligence of his driver, under the facts
platform. and circumstances of this case.

Chapman attempted to board the front platform but, seeing that he could not reach it As we have said in the case of Johnson vs. David, the driver does not fall within the list of
without extra exertion, stopped beside the car, facing toward the rear platform, and waited persons in article 1903 of the CC for whose acts the defendant would be responsible.
for it to come abreast of him in order to board. While in this position he was struck from
Although in David the owner of the vehicle was not present at the time the alleged
behind and run over by the Underwoods automobile.
negligent acts were committed by the driver, the same rule applies where the owner is
present, unless the negligent acts of the driver are continued for such a length of time as to
give the owner a reasonable opportunity to observe them and to direct his driver to desist
Underwood entered Calle Herran at Calle Pen afrancia in his automobile driven by his
therefrom.
chauffeur. A street car bound from Manila to Santa Ana being immediately in front of him,
he followed along behind it. Just before reaching the scene of the accident, the street car
An owner who sits in his automobile, or other vehicle, and permits his driver to continue
which he was following took the switch that is, went off the main line to the left upon
in a violation of the law by the performance of negligent acts, after he has had a
the switch lying alongside of the main track. Thereupon the Underwood no longer followed
reasonable opportunity to observe them and to direct that the driver cease therefrom,
that street car nor went to the left, but either kept straight ahead on the main street-car
becomes himself responsible for such acts.
track or a bit to the right. The car which the Chapman intended to board was on the main
line and bound in an opposite direction to that in which Underwood was going.
The owner of an automobile who permits his chauffeur to drive up the Escolta, for example,
at a speed of 60 MPH, without any effort to stop him, although he has had a reasonable
When the front of the "San Marcelino" car, the one the Chapman attempted to board, was
opportunity to do so, becomes himself responsible, both criminally and civilly, for the
almost in front of Underwoods automobile, his driver suddenly went to the right and
results produced by the acts of his chauffeur.
struck and ran over the Chapman, as above described.
On the other hand, if the driver, by a SUDDEN act of negligence, and without the owner
Issue: Whether Underwood, as owner of the car, is liable. having a reasonable opportunity to prevent the act or its continuance, injures a person or
violates the criminal law, the owner of the automobile, although present therein at the time
the act was committed, is not responsible, either civilly or criminally, therefor.
Held: NO. Underwoods driver was guilty of negligence in running upon and over the
Chapman. He was passing an oncoming car upon the wrong side. Chapman, in coming out
to board the car, was not obliged, for his own protection, to observe whether a car was The act complained of must be continued in the presence of the owner for such a length
coming upon him from his left hand. He had only to guard against those coming from the of time that the owner, by his acquiescence, makes his driver's act his own. It does not
right. He knew that, according to the law of the road, no automobile or other vehicle appear from the record that, from the time the automobile took the wrong side of the road
coming from his left should pass upon his side of the car. He needed only to watch for cars to the commission of the injury, sufficient time intervened to give the defendant an
coming from his right, as they were the only ones under the law permitted to pass upon opportunity to correct the act of his driver. The interval between the turning out to meet
that side of the street car. and pass the street car and the happening of the accident was so small as not to be
sufficient to charge defendant with the negligence of the driver.
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

Whether or not the owner of an automobile driven by a competent driver, would be vertical post on the right side and held at the other end by Pedro's son, Julian Bautista.
responsible, whether present or not, for the negligent acts of his driver when the Bernardo testified that he was almost upon the rig when he saw it in front of him, only 8
automobile was a part of a business enterprise, and was being driven at the time of the meters away. This is the first clear indication of his negligence. The carretela was provided
accident in furtherance of the owner's business, we do not now decide. with two lights, one on each side, and they should have given him sufficient warning to take
the necessary precautions. And even if he did not notice the lights, as he claimed later on at
Caedo v. Yu Khe Thai, 26 SCRA 410 (1968) the trial, the carretela should anyway have been visible to him from afar.

In the meantime the Mercury was coming on its own lane from the opposite direction.
Facts: A vehicular accident occurred injuring Marcial Caedo and several members of this Bernardo, instead of slowing down or stopping altogether behind the carretela until that
family. The mishap occurred at about 530AM of March 24, 1958 on Highway 54. Marcial lane was clear, veered to the left in order to pass. As he did so the curved end of his ear's
was driving his Mercury car on his way from his home in QC to the airport where his son right rear bumper caught the forward rim of the rig's left wheel, obliquely to the other lane,
Ephraim was scheduled to take a plane for Mindoro. With them in the car were Mrs. Caedo where it collided with the oncoming vehicle.
and 3 daughters. Coming from the opposite direction was the Cadillac of Yu Khe Thai, with
his driver Rafael Bernardo at the wheel, taking the owner from his Paraaque home to
Wack Wack for his regular round of golf. On his part Caedo had seen the Cadillac on its own Lane; he slackened his speed, judged
the distances in relation to the carretela and concluded that the Cadillac would wait
behind. Bernardo, however, decided to take a gamble beat the Mercury to the point
Bernando tried to avoid a carretela (going in the same direction) in front of him by suddenly where it would be in line with the carretela, or else squeeze in between them in any case. It
swerving to the left lane where Caedo was driving in the opposite direction. Caedo tried to was a risky maneuver either way, and the risk should have been quite obvious. Caedo,
avoid the Cadillac but it was too late. confronted with the unexpected situation, tried to avoid the collision at the last moment by
going farther to the right, but was unsuccessful. The photographs taken at the scene show
that the right wheels of his car were on the unpaved shoulder of the road at the moment of
impact. Thus, there is no question as to Bernardos negligence.
Caedo et al filed the present complaint for damages against Yu Ke Thai and Bernando. The
CFI ruled that Bernando was negligent; and that he is solidarily liable with Yu Ke Thai.

As to Yu Ke Thais liability, under Art. 2184, if the causative factor was the driver's
negligence, the owner of the vehicle who was present is likewise held liable if he could have
Issue: Whether Bernardo was negligence and whether Yu Ke Thai can be held solidarily
prevented the mishap by the exercise of due diligence. An owner who sits in his automobile,
liable.
or other vehicle, and permits his driver to continue in a violation of the law, by the
performance of negligent acts, after he has had a reasonable opportunity to observe them
Held: YES & NO. Bernando was guilty of negligence. The 2 cars were traveling at fairly
and to direct that the driver cease therefrom, becomes himself responsible for such acts.
moderate speeds, considering the condition of the road and the absence oftraffic the
On the other hand, if the driver, by a sudden act of negligence, and without the owner
Mercury at 40 to 50 KPH, and the Cadillac at approximately 30 to 35 miles (48 to 56
having a reasonable opportunity to prevent the act or its continuance, injures a person or
kilometers). Their headlights were mutually noticeable from a distance. Ahead of the
violates the criminal law, the owner of the automobile, although present therein at the
Cadillac, going in the same direction, was a carretela owned by a certain Pedro Bautista.
time the act was committed, is not responsible, either civilly or criminally, therefor. The
The carretela was towing another horse by means of a short rope coiled around the rig's
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

act complained of must be continued in the presence of the owner for such a length of be a negligent omission under aforesaid Article on the part of a car owner who is in the
time that the owner, by his acquiescence, makes his driver's act his own. prime of age and knows how to handle a motor vehicle is not necessarily so on the part, say,
of an old and infirm person who is not similarly equipped. The law does not require that a
Bernardo is an experienced driver. He was Yu Ke thais driver since 1987, and before that person must possess a certain measure of skill or proficiency either in the mechanics of
served another master for 10 years as a driver. Thus the Court declared that no negligence driving or in the observance of traffic rules before he may own a motor vehicle. The test
for having employed him at all may be imputed to his master. Negligence on the part of of his negligence, within the meaning of Article 2184, is his omission to do that which the
the latter, if any, must be sought in the immediate setting and circumstances of the evidence of his own senses tells him he should do in order to avoid the accident.
accident, that is, in his failure to detain the driver from pursuing a course which not only
gave him clear notice of the danger but also sufficient time to act upon it.

Mallari v. Court of Appeals, 324 SCRA 147 (2000)


Thus, the basis of the master's liability in civil law is not respondeat superior but rather
the relationship of pater familias. The theory is that ultimately the negligence of the
servant, if known to the master and susceptible of timely correction by him, reflects his own
negligence if he fails to correct it in order to prevent injury or damage. Facts: At around 5AM, the passenger jeepney driven by Alfredo Mallari, Jr. and owned by
his co-petitioner Alfredo Mallari, Sr. collided with the delivery van of respondent Bulletin
Publishing Corp.
We do not see that such negligence may be imputed. The car was not running at an Mallari, Jr. testified that he went to the left lane of the highway and overtook a Fiera which
unreasonable speed. The road was wide and open, and devoid of traffic that early morning. had stopped on the right lane. Before he passed by the Fiera, he saw the van of BULLETIN
There was no reason for the car owner to be in any special state of alert. He had reason to coming from the opposite direction. It was driven by Felix Angeles. The sketch of the
rely on the skill and experience of his driver. He became aware of the presence of the accident showed that the collision occurred after Mallari, Jr. overtook the Fiera while
carretela when his car was only twelve meters behind it, but then his failure to see it earlier negotiating a curve in the highway. The points of collision were the left rear portion of the
did not constitute negligence, for he was not himself at the wheel. And even when he did passenger jeepney and the left front side of the delivery van of BULLETIN. The 2 right
see it at that distance, he could not have anticipated his driver's sudden decision to pass wheels of the delivery van were on the right shoulder of the road and pieces of debris from
the carretela on its left side in spite of the fact that another car was approaching from the the accident were found scattered along the shoulder of the road up to a certain portion of
opposite direction. The time element was such that there was no reasonable opportunity the lane travelled by the passenger jeepney. The impact caused the jeepney to turn around
for Yu Khe Thai to assess the risks involved and warn the driver accordingly. The thought and fall on its left side resulting in injuries to its passengers one of whom was Israel Reyes
that entered his mind, he said, was that if he sounded a sudden warning it might only make who eventually died due to the gravity of his injuries.
the other man nervous and make the situation worse. It was a thought that, wise or not,
connotes no absence of that due diligence required by law to prevent the misfortune.
Claudia G. Reyes, the widow, filed a complaint for damages against Mallari, Sr. and Mallari,
The test of imputed negligence under Article 2184 is, to a great degree, necessarily Jr., and also against BULLETIN, its driver Felix Angeles, and the N.V. Netherlands Insurance
subjective. Car owners are not held to a uniform and inflexible standard of diligence as are Company. The complaint alleged that the collision which resulted in the death of Israel
professional drivers. In many cases they refrain from driving their own cars and instead hire Reyes was caused by the fault and negligence of both drivers.
other persons to drive for them precisely because they are not trained or endowed with
sufficient discernment to know the rules of traffic or to appreciate the relative dangers The trial court found that the proximate cause of the collision was the negligence of the
posed by the different situations that are continually encountered on the road. What would driver of the Bulletin delivery van, considering the fact that the left front portion of the
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

delivery truck driven by Felix Angeles hit and bumped the left rear portion of the passenger was still dark at 5AM mindlessly occupied the left lane and overtook 2 vehicles in front of it
jeepney driven by Alfredo Mallari, Jr. Hence, the trial court ordered BULLETIN and Felix at a curve in the highway.
Angeles to pay jointly and severally the widow. It also dismissed the complaint against the
other defendants Alfredo Mallari, Sr. and Alfredo Mallari, Jr. The proximate cause of the collision resulting in the death of Israel Reyes, a passenger of
the jeepney, was the sole negligence of the driver of the passenger jeepney, Mallari, Jr.,
On appeal the CA modified the decision and found no negligence on the part of Angeles and who recklessly operated and drove his jeepney in a lane where overtaking was not allowed
consequently of his employer BULLETIN. CA ruled that the collision was caused by the sole by traffic rules.
negligence of Alfredo Mallari, Jr. It absolved from any liability respondent BULLETIN, Felix
Angeles and N.V. Netherlands Insurance Company. Under Art. 2185 CC, 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 a
traffic regulation. As found by CA, Mallari failed to present satisfactory evidence to
Issue: Is Mallari Jr. liable for the accident. overcome this legal presumption. The negligence and recklessness of the driver of the
passenger jeepney is binding against Mallari, Sr., who admittedly was the owner of the
passenger jeepney engaged as a common carrier, considering the fact that in an action
Held: YES. Contrary to their allegation that there was no evidence whatsoever that based on contract of carriage, the court need not make an express finding of fault or
petitioner Mallari, Jr. overtook a vehicle at a curve on the road at the time of or before the negligence on the part of the carrier in order to hold it responsible for the payment of
accident, the same petitioner himself testified that such fact indeed did occur. damages sought by the passenger.

The CA correctly found, based on the sketch and spot report of the police authorities Under Art. 1755, a common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human
which were not disputed, that the collision occurred immediately after Mallari, Jr. care and foresight can provide using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons with due
overtook a vehicle in front of it while traversing a curve on the highway. regard for all the circumstances. Under Art. 1756, in case of death or injuries to passengers,
a common carrier is presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless it
proves that it observed extraordinary diligence. Pursuant to Art. 1759, it is liable for the
death of or injuries to passengers through the negligence or willful acts of the formers
This act of overtaking was in clear violation of Sec. 41, pars, (a) and (b), of RA 4136 as
employees.
amended, otherwise known as The Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

A driver abandoning his proper lane for the purpose of overtaking another vehicle in an This liability of the common carrier does not cease upon proof that it exercised all the
ordinary situation has the duty to see to it that the road is clear and not to proceed if he diligence of a good father of a family in the selection of its employees by the contract of
cannot do so in safety. When a motor vehicle is approaching or rounding a curve, there is carriage, the carrier jeepney owned by Mallari, Sr. assumed the express obligation to
special necessity for keeping to the right side of the road and the driver does not have the transport the passengers to their destination safely and to observe extraordinary diligence
right to drive on the left hand side relying upon having time to turn to the right if a car with due regard for all the circumstances, and any injury or death that might be suffered by
approaching from the opposite direction comes into view. its passengers is right away attributable to the fault or negligence of the carrier.

In this case, by his own admission, Mallari, Jr. already saw that the BULLETIN delivery van
was coming from the opposite direction and failing to consider the speed thereof since it
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

FGU Insurance Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 118889, March 23, 1998 Held: NO. To prove quasi-delict under Art. 2176, the following are the requisites: (a)
damage suffered by the plaintiff; (b) fault or negligence of the defendant; and, (c)
connection of cause and damage. FGU failed to prove the existence of the 2nd requisite,
Facts: At 3AM, 2 vehicles (Lancers) cruising northward along EDSA figured in a traffic i.e., fault or negligence of FILCAR, because only the fault or negligence of Dahl-Jensen was
accident. The car owned by Lydia F. Soriano was being driven at the outer lane of the sufficiently established.
highway by Benjamin Jacildone. The other car, owned by respondent FILCAR Transport, Inc.
(FILCAR), and driven by Peter Dahl-Jensen as lessee, was at the center lane, left of the other
vehicle. The damage caused on the vehicle of Soriano was due to the fact that Dahl-Jensen
swerved to the right while the vehicle he was driving was at the center lane. Thus,
negligence was solely attributable to Dahl-Jensen and must be his personal liability .
Upon approaching the corner of Pioneer Street, the car owned by FILCAR swerved to the FILCAR did not have any participation.
right hitting the left side of the car of Soriano. Dahl-Jensen, a Danish tourist, did not
possess a Philippine drivers license. FGU Insurance, in view of its insurance contract with The liability under Art. 2180 arises by virtue of a presumption juris tantum of negligence
Soriano, paid the latter P25,382.20. By way of subrogation, FGU sued Dahl-Jensen and on the part of the persons made responsible thereunder for failure to exercise due care
FILCAR as well as respondent Fortune Insurance. The summons was not served on and vigilance over the acts of subordinates. Art. 2180 is not applicable. FILCAR being
Dahl-Jensen since he was no longer staying at his given address, he was later dropped from engaged in a rent-a-car business was only the owner of the car leased to Dahl-Jensen. There
the complaint. is no vinculum juris between them as employer and employee. FILCAR cannot in any way
be responsible for the negligent act of Dahl-Jensen, the former not being an employer of
the latter.
TC dismissed for failure of FGU to substantiate its claim of subrogation. CA affirmed but on
a different ground: only the fault or negligence of Dahl- Jensen was sufficiently proved but Correlating par. 5 of Art. 2180 with Art. 2184 which provides that in motor vehicle
not that of FILCAR. mishap, the owner is solidarily liable with his driver, if the former, who was in the vehicle,
could have by the use of due diligence, prevented the misfortune. If the owner was not in
the motor vehicle, the provisions of article 2180 are applicable.

FGU insists rely on the ruling in MYC-Agro-Industrial Corporation v. Vda. de Caldo that the
registered owner of a vehicle is liable for damages suffered by third persons although the
vehicle is leased to another. Such is neither applicable because of the absence of master-driver relationship between
FILCAR and Dahl-Jensen. FGU has no cause of action against respondent FILCAR on the
basis of quasi-delict. Likewise, its claim against FORTUNE can neither prosper.

Issue: May an action based on quasi-delict prosper against a rent-a-car company and,
FGUs insistence on MYC-Agro-Industrial Corporation is rooted in a misapprehension of our
consequently, its insurer for fault or negligence of the car lessee in driving the rented
ruling. In that case, the negligent and reckless operation of the truck owned by petitioner
vehicle?
corporation caused injuries to several persons and damage to property. Intending to
exculpate itself from liability, the corporation raised the defense that at the time of the
collision it had no more control over the vehicle as it was leased to another; and, that the
driver was not its employee but of the lessee. The court was not persuaded as it found that
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

the true nature of the alleged lease contract was nothing more than a disguise effected by
the corporation to relieve itself of the burdens and responsibilities of an employer.
Issue: Whether PCI Leasing, as registered owner of a motor vehicle that figured in a
quasi-delict may be held liable, jointly and severally, with the driver thereof, for the
damages caused to third parties.
PCI Leasing and Finance, Inc., v. UCPB General Insurance Co., Inc., 557 SCRA 141 (2008)

Held: YES. The registered owner of the vehicle driven by a negligent driver may still be
Facts: A Mitsubishi Lancer car owned by UCPB and insured by UCPB General Insurance Inc. held liable under applicable jurisprudence involving laws on compulsory motor vehicle
was traversing the Laurel Highway in Lipa City when the car, then driven by Flaviano Isaac registration and the liabilities of employers for quasi-delicts under the CC.
with Conrado Geronimo, the Asst. Manager of said bank, was hit and bumped by an
18-wheeler Fuso Tanker Truck owned by PCI Leasing allegedly leased to and operated by
Superior Gas & Equitable Co., Inc. (SUGECO), and driven by its employee, defendant The principle of holding the registered owner of a vehicle liable for quasi-delicts resulting
appellant Renato Gonzaga. from its use is well-established in jurisprudence. Registration is required not to make said
registration the operative act by which ownership in vehicles is transferred, as in land
registration cases, because the administrative proceeding of registration does not bear any
The impact caused heavy damage to the Mitsubishi Lancer car resulting in an explosion of essential relation to the contract of sale between the parties but to permit the use and
the rear part of the car. The driver and passenger suffered physical injuries as well. Worse, operation of the vehicle upon any public highway.
the driver Gonzaga continued on his way to his destination and did not bother to bring his
victims to the hospital. Plaintiff-appellee paid the assured UCPB representing the insurance
coverage of the damaged car. The main aim of motor vehicle registration is to identify the owner so that if any accident
happens, or that any damage or injury is caused by the vehicle on the public highways,
responsibility therefor can be fixed on a definite individual, the registered owner.
As the 18-wheeler truck is registered under the name of PCI Leasing, repeated demands
were made by UCPB for payment of the aforesaid amounts. No payment was made so UCPB
filed the present case. PRINCIPAL PURPOSE of motor vehicles regislation: (1) Identification of the vehicle and of
the operator, in case of accident; and (2) As a deterrent from lax observance of the law and
PCI Leasing, interposed the defense that it could not be held liable for the collision, since of the rules of conservative and safe operation.
the driver of the truck, Gonzaga, was not its employee, but that of its co-defendant SUGECO
since it was SUGECO, and not petitioner, that was the actual operator of the truck, pursuant Should not the registered owner be allowed at the trial to prove who the actual and real
to a Contract of Lease signed by PCI and SUGECO. Petitioner, however, admitted that it was owner is, and in accordance with such proof escape or evade responsibility and lay the
the owner of the truck in question. same on the person actually owning the vehicle? NO. a registered owner allowed to evade
responsibility by proving who the supposed transferee or owner is, it would be easy for him,
RTC ruled in favor of UCPB General Insurance. CA affirmed. MR was denied hence this by collusion with others or otherwise, to escape said responsibility and transfer the same to
petition. an indefinite person, or to one who possesses no property with which to respond financially
for the damage or injury done.
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

A registered owner who has already sold or transferred a vehicle has the recourse to a vehicular accidents. It is also important to emphasize that such principles apply to all
third-party complaint, in the same action brought against him to recover for the damage or vehicles in general, not just those offered for public service or utility.
injury done, against the vendee or transferee of the vehicle. The inconvenience of the suit is
no justification for relieving him of liability; said inconvenience is the price he pays for Court recognizes that the business of financing companies has a legitimate and
failure to comply with the registration that the law demands and requires. commendable purpose. In earlier cases, it considered a financial lease or financing lease a
legal contract though subject to the restrictions of the so-called Recto Law or Articles 1484
The registered owner, the PCI Leasing, is primarily responsible for the damage caused to
and 1485. PCI Leasing presented a lengthy discussion of the purported trend in other
the vehicle of UCPB, but he PCI Leasing has a right to be indemnified by the real or actual
jurisdictions, which apparently tends to favor absolving financing companies from liability
owner of the amount that he may be required to pay as damage for the injury caused to the
for the consequences of quasi-delictual acts or omissions involving financially leased
UCPB.
property and adds that these developments have been legislated in our jurisdiction

in RA 8556 which provides that Financing companies shall not be liable for loss, damage
For damage or injuries arising out of negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle, the or injury caused by a motor vehicle, aircraft, vessel, equipment, machinery or other
registered owner may be held civilly liable with the negligent driver either 1) subsidiarily, if property leased to a third person or entity except when the motor vehicle, aircraft, vessel,
the aggrieved party seeks relief based on a delict or crime under Articles 100 and 103 of the equipment or other property is operated by the financing company, its employees or agents
RPC; or 2) solidarily, if the complainant seeks relief based on a quasi-delict under Articles at the time of the loss, damage or injury.
2176 and 2180.

However, the new law, R.A. No. 8556, notwithstanding developments in foreign
In case a separate civil action is filed, the long-standing principle is that the registered jurisdictions, do not supersede or repeal the law on compulsory motor vehicle
owner of a motor vehicle is primarily and directly responsible for the consequences of its registration.
operation, including the negligence of the driver, with respect to the public and all third
persons. In contemplation of law, the registered owner of a motor vehicle is the employer No part of the law expressly repeals Section 5(a) and (e) of R.A. No. 4136, as amended,
of its driver, with the actual operator and employer, such as a lessee, being considered as otherwise known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, to wit:
merely the owners agent. This being the case, even if a sale has been executed before a
Sec. 5. Compulsory registration of motor vehicles.
tortious incident, the sale, if unregistered, has no effect as to the right of the public and
third persons to recover from the registered owner. The public has the right to
conclusively presume that the registered owner is the real owner, and may sue
accordingly. (a) All motor vehicles and trailer of any type used or operated on or upon any highway of
the Philippines must be registered with the Bureau of Land Transportation for the current
In this case, there is not even a sale of the vehicle involved, but a mere lease, which year in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
remained unregistered up to the time of the occurrence of the quasi- delict that gave rise
to the case. Since a lease, unlike a sale, does not even involve a transfer of title or
ownership, but the mere use or enjoyment of property, there is more reason, therefore, in (e) Encumbrances of motor vehicles.Mortgages, attachments, and other encumbrances
this instance to uphold the policy behind the law, which is to protect the unwitting public of motor vehicles, in order to be valid against third parties must be recorded in the Bureau
and provide it with a definite person to make accountable for losses or injuries suffered in (now the Land Transportation Office).
TORTS NOTES: DIANNE D. SALTO

Neither is there an implied repeal of R.A. No. 4136. Thus, the rule remains the same: a sale,
lease, or financial lease, for that matter, that is not registered with the Land Transportation
Office, still does not bind third persons who are aggrieved in tortious incidents, for the
latter need only to rely on the public registration of a motor vehicle as conclusive evidence
of ownership.

A lease such as the one involved in the instant case is an encumbrance in contemplation of
law, which needs to be registered in order for it to bind third parties. The non-registration
of the lease contract between petitioner and its lessee precludes the former from
enjoying the benefits under Section 12 of R.A. No. 8556. However they are not without
recourse. They may resort to third-party complaints against their lessees or whoever are
the actual operators of their vehicles. In the case at bar, there is, in fact, a provision in the
lease contract between petitioner and SUGECO to the effect that the latter shall indemnify
and hold the former free and harmless from any liabilities, damages, suits, claims or
judgments arising from the latters use of the motor vehicle. Whether petitioner would act
against SUGECO based on this provision is its own option.

The burden of registration of the lease contract is minuscule compared to the chaos that
may result if registered owners or operators of vehicles are freed from such responsibility.
PCI Leasing pays the price for its failure to obey the law on compulsory registration of
motor vehicles for registration is a pre-requisite for any person to even enjoy the privilege
of putting a vehicle on public roads.