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Concept, Test and Degrees

(DEL MUNDO, Romualdo U.)

Picart v. Smith
Plaintiff Amado Picart was riding on his pony on the Carlatan Bridge in San Fernando, La Union when the defendant, riding on
his car, approached. Defendant blew his horn to give warning. Plaintiff moved the horse to the right instead of moving to the
left, reasoning that he had no sufficient time to move to the right direction. Defendant continued to approach, and when he had
gotten quite near, he quickly turned to the left. The horse was frightened that it turned his body across the bridge. His limb was
broken and the rider was thrown off and got injured. The horse died. An action for damages was filed against the defendant.

Whether or not the defendant in maneuvering his car in the manner above described was guilty of negligence such as gives rise
to a civil obligation to repair the damage done

As the defendant started across the bridge, he had the right to assume that the horse and rider would pass over to the proper
side; but as he moved toward the center of the bridge it was demonstrated to his eyes that this would not be done; and he must
in a moment have perceived that it was too late for the horse to cross with safety in front of the moving vehicle. In the nature of
things this change of situation occurred while the automobile was yet some distance away; and from this moment it was not
longer within the power of the plaintiff to escape being run down by going to a place of greater safety. The control of the
situation had then passed entirely to the defendant.
The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case may be stated as follows: Did the defendant in
doing the alleged negligent act use that reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person would have used in the
same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. Conduct is said to be negligent when a prudent man in the position of the
tortfeasor would have foreseen that an effect harmful to another was sufficiently probable to warrant his foregoing the conduct
or guarding against its consequences.
It goes without saying that the plaintiff himself was not free from fault, for he was guilty of antecedent negligence in planting
himself on the wrong side of the road. But as we have already stated, the defendant was also negligent; and in such case the
problem always is to discover which agent is immediately and directly responsible. It will be noted that the negligent acts of the
two parties were not contemporaneous, since the negligence of the defendant succeeded the negligence of the plaintiff by an
appreciable interval. Under these circumstances the law is that the person who has the last fair chance to avoid the impending
harm and fails to do so is chargeable with the consequences, without reference to the prior negligence of the other party.


Petitioner’s vessel was carrying a chemical cargo – alkyl benzene and methyl methacrylate monomer. While knowing that their
vessel was carrying dangerous inflammable chemicals, its officers and crew failed to take all the necessary precautions to
prevent an accident. Petitioner was therefore negligent.


Smith Bell (petitioner) filed a written request with the Bureau of Customs for the attendance of the Latter’s inspection
team on vessel M/T king family which was due to arrive at the port of manila. Said vessel contained 750 metric tons of alkyl
benzene and methyl methacrylate monomer. On the same day, supervising customs Inspector Manuel Nalgan instructed
respondent Catalino Borja to board said vessel and perform his duties as inspector upon the vessel’s arrival until its departure.
While M/T king family was unloading chemical unto 2 barges, a sudden explosion occurred setting the vessels afire. Upon
hearing this, Borja who was inside the cabin preparing reports, ran outside to check. Another explosion was again heard. Fearing
for his life, Borja jumped overboard to save himself. The water however was likewise on fire because of the chemicals. Despite
this he mange to swam his way for an hour until he was rescued and sent to the hospital. He was diagnosed to be permanently
disabled due to the incident.

Whether or not Smith bell is not liable as it claims that the explosion occurred outside of its vessel?


No. Smith Bell is liable. The lower court and CA ruled that the fire and explosion had originated from the petitioner’s
vessel. Knowing fully well that it was carrying dangerous chemicals, petitioner was negligent in not taking all the necessary
precautions in transporting the cargo. Respondent Borja suffered the following damage and injuries: (1) chemical burns of the
face and arm; (2) inhalation of fumes from burning chemicals; (3) exposure to the elements while floating in sea water for about
three hours; (4) homonymous hemianopsia or blurring of the right eye; and (5) cerebral infract with neo-vascularization, left
occipital region with right sided headache and the blurring of the vision of right eye. The owner or the person in possession and
control of a vessel and the vessel are liable for all natural and proximate damage caused to persons and property by reason of
negligent navigation or management.

(DE GUZMAN, Ma. Sybbles P.)

Delsan Transport Lines vs. C&A Construction

Facts: C&A Construction, Inc. was engaged by NHA to construct a deflector wall at the Vitas Reclamation Area in Vitas, Tondo,
Manila. On October 9, 1994, M/V Delsan Express, operated by petitioner anchored at the Navotas Fish Port. At around 12:00
midnight of October 20, 1994, Capt. Demetrio T. Jusep of M/V Delsan Express received a report from that a typhoon was going
to hit Manila. At 8:35 AM of October 21, 1994, Capt. Jusep tried to seek shelter at the North Harbor but could not enter the area
due to congestion. At 10:00 a.m., Capt. Jusep decided to drop anchor at the vicinity of Vitas mouth. At that time, the waves
were already reaching 8 to 10 feet high. Capt. Jusep ordered his crew to go full ahead to counter the wind which was dragging
the ship towards the Napocor power barge. To avoid collision, Capt. Jusep ordered a full stop of the vessel. He succeeded in
avoiding the power barge, but when the engine was re-started and the ship was maneuvered full astern, it hit the deflector wall
constructed by respondent. The damage caused by the incident amounted to P456,198.24. A complaint filed by respondent but
was dismissed. Applying the emergency rule, it absolved petitioner of liability because the latter had no opportunity to
adequately weigh the best solution to a threatening situation. On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the decision of the trial court
was reversed and set aside.

Issues: Whether or not Capt. Jusep was negligent; (2) If yes, whether or not petitioner is solidarily liable under Article 2180 of
the Civil Code for the quasi-delict committed by Capt. Jusep.

Held: In the case at bar, the Court of Appeals was correct in holding that Capt. Jusep was negligent in deciding to transfer the
vessel only at 8:35 in the morning of October 21, 1994. This, notwithstanding, he did nothing, until 8:35 in the morning of
October 21, 1994, when he decided to seek shelter at the North Harbor, which unfortunately was already congested. The finding
of negligence cannot be rebutted upon proof that the ship could not have sought refuge at the North Harbor even if the transfer
was done earlier. It is not the speculative success or failure of a decision that determines the existence of negligence in the
present case, but the failure to take immediate and appropriate action under the circumstances. When he ignored the weather
report notwithstanding reasonable foresight of harm, Capt. Jusep showed an inexcusable lack of care and caution which an
ordinary prudent person would have observed in the same situation. Had he moved the vessel earlier, he could have had greater
chances of finding a space at the North Harbor considering that the Navotas Port where they docked was very near North
Harbor. The trial court erred in applying the emergency rule. Under this rule, one who suddenly finds himself in a place of
danger, and is required to act without time to consider the best means that may be adopted to avoid the impending danger, is
not guilty of negligence, if he fails to adopt what subsequently and upon reflection may appear to have been a better method,
unless the danger in which he finds himself is brought about by his own negligence. Clearly not applicable in this case, as Capt.
Jusep has been negligent. The petitioner is vicariously liable for the negligent act of Capt. Jusep. Under Article 2180 of the Civil
Code an employer may be held solidarily liable for the negligent act of his employee. Whenever an employee’s negligence
causes damage or injury to another, there instantly arises a presumption juris tantum that the employer failed to exercise
diligentissimi patris families in the selection (culpa in eligiendo) or supervision (culpa in vigilando) of its employees. To avoid
liability for a quasi-delict committed by his employee, an employer must overcome the presumption by presenting convincing
proof that he exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his employee.
There is no question that petitioner, who is the owner/operator of M/V Delsan Express, is also the employer of Capt. Jusep who
at the time of the incident acted within the scope of his duty. The defense raised by petitioner was that it exercised due
diligence in the selection of Capt. Jusep because the latter is a licensed and competent Master Mariner. It should be stressed,
however, that the required diligence of a good father of a family pertains not only to the selection, but also to the supervision of
employees. It is not enough that the employees chosen be competent and qualified, inasmuch as the employer is still required
to exercise due diligence in supervising its employees. In Fabre, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, it was held that due diligence in
supervision requires the formulation of rules and regulations for the guidance of employees and the issuance of proper
instructions as well as actual implementation and monitoring of consistent compliance with the rules. In the case at bar,
however, petitioner presented no evidence that it formulated rules/guidelines for the proper performance of functions of its
employees and that it strictly implemented and monitored compliance therewith. Failing to discharge the burden, petitioner
should therefore be held liable for the negligent act of Capt. Jusep.

Standard of Care and

Burden of Proof

Ong vs Metropolitan Water District

Facts: Defendant owns and operates three recreational swimming pools at Balara, Quezon City. In the afternoon of July 5, 1952,
at about 1:00 o'clock, Dominador Ong, a 14-year old high school student and Boy Scout, and his brothers Ruben and Eusebio,
went to defendant's swimming pools. At about 4:35 p.m., Dominador Ong told his brothers that he was going to the locker room
to drink a bottle of coke. Upon hearing this, Ruben and Eusebio went to the bigger pool leaving Dominador in the small pool and
so they did not see the latter when he left the pool to get a bottle of coke. Between 4:40 to 4:45 p.m., some boys who were in
the pool area informed a bather by the name of Andres Hagad, Jr., that somebody was swimming under water for quite a long
time. Another boy informed lifeguard Manuel Abaño of the same happening and Abaño immediately jumped into the big
swimming pool and retrieved the apparently lifeless body of Dominador Ong from the bottom. Abaño immediately applied
manual artificial respiration. Soon after, male nurse Armando Rule came to render assistance, followed by sanitary inspector
Iluminado Vicente who, after being called by phone from the clinic by one of the security guards, boarded a jeep carrying with
him the resuscitator and a medicine kit, and upon arriving he injected the boy with camphorated oil. After the injection, Vicente
left on a jeep in order to fetch Dr. Ayuyao from the University of the Philippines. Meanwhile, Abaño continued the artificial
manual respiration, and when this failed to revive him, they applied the resuscitator until the two oxygen tanks were exhausted.
Not long thereafter, Dr. Ayuyao arrived with another resuscitator, but the same became of no use because he found the boy
already dead. The doctor ordered that the body be taken to the clinic. In the evening of the same day, July 5, 1952, the incident
was investigated by the Police Department of Quezon City and in the investigation boys Ruben Ong and Andres Hagad, Jr. gave
written statements. On the following day, July 6, 1952, an autopsy was performed by Dr. Enrique V. de los Santos, Chief, Medico
Legal Division, NBI, pronounced that the death was due to asphyxia by submersion in water.

Issue: Whether or not the appellants have established by sufficient evidence the existence of fault or negligence on the part of
the appellee so as to render it liable for damages for the death of Dominador Ong?

Held: The Court held in the negative. Since the present action is one for damages founded on culpable negligence, the principle
to be observed is that the person claiming damages has the burden of proving that the damage is caused by the fault or
negligence of the person from whom the damage is claimed, or of one of his employees. The 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 the bottom of the big swimming pool and shouted to the lifeguard for help, lifeguard Manuel Abaño did not
immediately respond to the alarm and it was only upon the third call that he threw away the magazine he was reading and
allowed three or four minutes to elapse before retrieving the body from the water. But the claim of these two witnesses is
belied by the written statements given by them in the investigation conducted by the Police Department of Quezon City
approximately three hours after the happening of the accident. Thus, these two boys admitted in the investigation that they
narrated in their statements everything 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 to immediately respond to the alarm. On the other hand, there
is sufficient evidence to show that appellee has taken all necessary precautions to avoid danger to the lives of its patrons or
prevent accident which may cause their death. Thus, it has been shown that the swimming pools of appellee are provided with
a ring buoy, toy roof, towing line, oxygen resuscitator and a first aid medicine kit. The bottom of the pools is painted with black
colors so as to insure clear visibility. There is on display in a conspicuous place within the area certain rules and regulations
governing the use of the pools. Appellee employs six lifeguards who are all trained as they had taken a course for that purpose
and were issued certificates of proficiency. The record also shows that when the body of minor Ong was retrieved from the
bottom of the pool, the employees of appellee did everything possible to bring him back to life. Thus, after he was placed at the
edge of the pool, lifeguard Abaño immediately gave him manual artificial respiration. Soon thereafter, Nurse Armando Rule
arrived, followed by sanitary inspector Iluminado Vicente who brought with him an oxygen resuscitator. When they found that
the pulse of the boy was abnormal, the inspector immediately injected him with camphorated oil. When the manual artificial
respiration proved ineffective they applied the oxygen resuscitator until its contents were exhausted. Sensing that their former
theory as regards the liability of appellee may not be of much help, appellants now switch to the theory that even if it be
assumed that the deceased is partly to be blamed for the unfortunate incident, still appellee may be held liable under the
doctrine of "last clear chance" for the reason that, having the last opportunity to save the victim, it failed to do so. The doctrine
of last clear chance simply means that the negligence of a claimant does not preclude a recovery for the negligence of
defendant where it appears that the latter, by exercising reasonable care and prudence, might have avoided injurious
consequences to claimant notwithstanding his negligence. "As the doctrine usually is stated, a person who has t

he last clear chance or 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." The last clear chance doctrine can never apply where the party charged is required to act instantaneously, and if
the injury cannot be avoided by the application of all means at hand after the peril is or should have been discovered; at least in
cases in which any previous negligence of the party charged cannot be said to have contributed to the injury.

(LIM, Anton Kristoffer M.)



The Marikina Auto Line Transport Corporation (MALTC) is the owner-operator of a passenger bus.
Suelto was driving passenger bus along Kamias going towards (EDSA). The bus suddenly swerved to the right and struck the
terrace of the commercial apartment owned by Valdellon. City Engineer’s Office submitted a report recommending the terrace
would have to be demolished to insure the stability of the building.
Valdellon demanded payment. The bus company and Suelto offered a P30,000.00 settlement which Valdellon refused.
Valdellon filed a criminal complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property against Suelto.
Valdellon also filed a separate civil complaint against Suelto and the bus company for damages.
Defendants offered to have it repaired and restored to its original state. Valdellon disagreed because she wanted the building
demolished to give way for the construction of a new one.
Trial court rendered judgment finding Suelto guilty beyond reasonable doubt of reckless imprudence resulting in damage to
property, and ordered MALTC and Suelto to pay, jointly and severally, P150,000.00 to Valdellon.
MALTC and Suelto appealed to the CA, alleging that the prosecution failed to prove Suelto’s guilt beyond reasonable
doubt. Appellate court affirmed his conviction.
MALTC and Suelto filed the instant petition.
Petitioners aver that the prosecution failed to prove that petitioner Sueltoacted with recklessness in swerving the bus to the
right thereby hitting the terrace of private respondent’s apartment. On the other hand, petitioner Suelto was able to prove that
he acted in an emergency when a passenger jeepney coming from EDSA towards the direction of the bus overtook
another vehicle and, in the process, intruded into the lane of the bus.
The OSG averred that the prosecution was able to prove that Suelto’s act of swerving the bus to the right was the cause of
damage to the terrace of Valdellon’s apartment.
Whether or not the prosecution failed to prove the crime charged against petitioner Suelto?

No. Respondent People of the Philippines was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that petitioner Suelto swerved the bus to
the right with recklessness, thereby causing damage to the terrace of private respondent’s apartment.
Article 2185 of the Civil Code provides that "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 mishap, he was violating any traffic regulation."
Petitioner Suelto violated the Land Transportation and Traffic Code when he suddenly swerved the bus to the right, thereby
causing damage to the property of private respondent.
Also, the bus was traveling at a high speed when Suelto tried to avoid the passenger jeepney. The damages could not have been
caused except by a speeding bus. Had the accused not been speeding, he could have easily reduced his speed and come to a full
stop when he noticed the jeep.
Petitioners failed to prove that petitioner acted on an emergency caused by the sudden intrusion of a passenger jeepney into
the lane of the bus he was driving.
It was the burden of petitioners herein to prove petitioner Suelto’s defense that he acted on an emergency, that is, he had to
swerve the bus to the right to avoid colliding with a passenger jeep coming from EDSA that had overtaken another vehicle and
intruded into the lane of the bus.

Whether or not the prosecution failed to adduce evidence to prove that respondent suffered actual damages in the amount
of P100,000.00?
Petitioners insist that private respondent was able to prove only the amount of P35,000.00 by way of actual damages; hence,
the award of P100,000.00 is barren of factual basis.

Yes. Respondents failed to prove that the damages to the terrace caused by the incident amounted to P100,000.00.
The appellate court failed to explain how it arrived at the amount of P100,000.00.
To enable an injured party to recover actual or compensatory damages, he is required to prove the actual amount of loss. The
burden of proof is on the party who would be defeated if no evidence would be presented on either side. He must establish his
case by a preponderance of evidence. In other words, damages cannot be presumed and courts, in making an award, must point
out specific facts that could afford a basis for measuring whatever compensatory or actual damages are borne.
We note, however, that petitioners adduced evidence that the cost of the damage to the terrace of private respondent would
amount to P55,000.00.Accordingly, private respondent is entitled to P55,000..00 actual damages


A fire broke out at the Caltex service station at the corner of Antipolostreet and Rizal Avenue, Manila. It started while gasoline
was being hosed from a tank truck 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. Their owners sued respondents
Caltex and Boquiren, owner of the station.
The trial court and the Court of Appeals found that petitioners failed to prove negligence and that respondents had exercised
due care in the premises.
SC decided that reports on the fire prepared by Manila Police and Fire Department and Captain Tinio of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines were all inadmissible.
Both the trial court and the appellate court refused to apply the doctrine in the instant case on the grounds that they found no
practical use for such doctrine.
Whether or not, without proof as to the cause and origin of the fire, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur should apply so as to
presume negligence on the part of appellees?
Jurisprudence provides that in case of culpa aquiliana, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to establish that the proximate
cause of his injury was the negligence of the defendant.
However in res ipsa loquitur (the transaction speaks for itself), which is applicable to the case at bar, the burden of evidence is
shifted to him(defendant) to establish that he has observed due care and diligence.

Where the thing which caused injury, without fault of the injured person, is under the exclusive control of the defendant and the
injury is such as in the ordinary course of things does not occur if he having such control use proper care, it affords reasonable
evidence, in the absence of the explanation, that the injury arose from defendant's want of care.
Gasoline is a highly combustible material, in the storage and sale of which extreme care must be taken. On the other hand, fire
is not considered a fortuitous event, as it arises almost invariably from some act of man.
The filling station and the tank truck were under the control of the defendant and operated by its agents or employees. The fire
started in the underground tank attached to the filling station while it was being filled from the tank truck and while both the
tank and the truck were in charge of and being operated by the agents or employees of the defendant, extended to the hose
and tank truck, and was communicated from the burning hose, tank truck, and escaping gasoline to the building owned by the
Defendant's failure to explain the cause of the fire or to show its lack of knowledge of the cause, plaintiff has evoked the
doctrine of res ipsaloquitur.
Where the thing which caused the injury complained of is shown to be under the management of defendant or his servants and
the accident is such as in the ordinary course of things does not happen if those who have its management or control use
proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in absence of explanation by defendant, that the accident arose from want of care.
The principle enunciated in the aforequoted case applies with equal force here. The gasoline station, with all its appliances,
equipment and employees, was under the control of appellees. A fire occurred therein and spread to and burned the
neighboring houses. The persons who knew or could have known how the fire started were appellees and their employees, but
they gave no explanation thereof whatsoever. It is a fair and reasonable inference that the incident happened because of want
of care.
The decision appealed from is reversed and respondent are held liable solidarily to appellants.

(MATIAS, Michelle Dulce C.)




G.R. No. 121964 June 17, 1997


A fire broke out which razed two apartment buildings, owned by Abdulia Rodriguez, Leonora Rodriguez Nolasco and Juanita
Rodriguez, and partially destroying a commercial building.
Leonora Prietos and Luzviminda Antig who were lessees of the apartment units, filed a case for damages against Harry John
Viloria, Margarita Milagros Viloria, and John P. Young (building contractor).

The complaint alleged that by reason of the gross negligence and want of care of the construction workers and employees of
the respondents, the bunkhouse or workers' quarters in the construction site caught fire spreading rapidly, burning the adjacent
buildings owned by petitioners. Due to the negligence of respondents which resulted in the fire, respondents suffered actual
damages representing the value of the buildings and other personal properties.

John Young, contended that he cannot be held responsible even if there was negligence on the part of the employees for he had
exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his workers. Petitioners had no cause of
action against him.

Harry and Margarita Viloria also alleged that petitioners had no cause of action against them. The fire court not have been
caused by gross negligence of their workers for they did not have any worker in the construction of their building. The said
construction was being undertaken by the independent contractor, John Young, who hired and supervised his own workers. T

After trial and reception of evidence, the trial court resolved that the fire was not caused by an instrumentality within the
exclusive control of the defendants-appellants. The decision stated that plaintiffs-appellants failed to establish that the fire was
the result of respondents' or their workers' negligence.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court. The award of damages in favor of respondents including the award of attorney's
fees are hereby DELETED and SET ASIDE.

Issue: Whether or not the Doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitor is applicable in the instant case


No, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor is not applicable on the instant case.

The doctrine of res ipsa loquitor in negligent cases can be invoked when and only when, under the circumstances involved,
direct evidence is absent or not readily available.

For res ipsa loquitor to be applicable, the following requisites must concur:

It is a rule of evidence whereby negligence of the alleged wrongdoing may be inferred from the mere fact that the accident
happened, provided that: (1) the occurrence is the kind of thing that does not ordinarily happen without negligence; (2) the
occurrence must have been caused by an agency or instrumentality within the exclusive control of the defendant; (3) the
occurrence was not due to contribution or voluntary action by the plaintiff (Gifi’s Law Dictionary); it is used to state the fact that
the situation itself implies negligence or a duty to compensate whether negligence is in fact proved or not (Radin’s Law
Dictionary); it is [a] rebuttable presumption that defendant was negligent, which arises upon proof that [the] instrumentality
causinginjury was in defendant’s exclusive control, and that the accident was one which ordinarily does not happen in absence
of negligence (Black’s Law Dictionary

In the case at bench, it then declared that the fire was not caused by an instrumentality within the exclusive control of
defendants, which is one of the requisites for the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in the law of negligence. It may
further be emphasized that this doctrine is not intended to and does not dispense with the requirement of proof of culpable
negligence on the party charged.
It merely determines and regulates what shall be prima facie evidence thereof and facilitates the burden of plaintiff of proving a
breach of the duty of due care. More damaging to petitioners, which could have been enough reason for them to desist from
insisting that the Report of Major Enriquez be admitted as an exception to the hearsay rule, are the officer's conclusion and
recommendation in his report that the fire was ACCIDENTAL in nature.

FGU Insurance Corporation vs G.P. Sarmiento Trucking Corporation (GPS), and Lambert M. Eroles

G.R. No. 141910, August 6, 2002


GPS is an exclusive contractor and hauler of Concepcion Industries, Inc.

One day, it was tasked to deliver 30 units of refrigerators of Concepcion Industries Inc. aboard one of its trucks from Alabang
enroute to Dagupan City. On its way, the truck collided with an identified truck, resulting in damage to the cargoes. FGU, insurer
of the shipment paid to Concepcion Industries, Inc. the amount of the damage and filed a suit against GPS. GPS filed a motion to
dismiss for failure to prove that it was a common carrier.


Whether GPS, either as a Common Carrier or a Private Carrier, may be presumed to have been negligent when the goods it
undertook to transport safely were subsequently damaged while in its protective custody and possession


Yes, GPS is presumed negligent as a common carrier. The failure of GPS to deliver the goods in good condition to the place of
destination gives rise to a presumption of lack of care and diligence.

The doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitor holds GPS liable were the thing which caused the injury complained of is shown to be under
GPS management and the accident is such that, in the ordinary course of things, cannot be expected to happen if those who
have its management or control use proper care.

Res Ipsa Loquitor generally finds relevance whether or not a contractual relationship exists between the plaintiff and defendant,
for the inference of negligence arises from the circumstances and nature of the occurrence and not from the nature of the
relation of parties.

In culpa contractual, upon which the action of FGU Insurance rests as being the subrogee of Concepcion Industries, the mere
proof of the existence of the contract and the failure of its compliance justify, prima facie, a corresponding right of relief. Thus,
FGU has a claim for the amount paid out to Concepcion Industries.

(JAYME, Jomarniño P.)

Batiquin vs Court of Appeals


Mrs. Villegas is the private patient of Dr. Batiquin who submitted for prenatal care sometime before September 21, 1988. On
September 21, 1988, Dr. Batiquin along with other physicians and nurses, performed a caesarean operation on Mrs. Villegas and
successfully delivered the latter’s baby. After leaving the hospital, Mrs. Villegas began to suffer abdominal pains and complained
of being feverish. She also gradually lost her appetite, so she consulted Dr. Batiquin at the latter’s polyclinic who prescribed for
her certain medicines. However, the pains still keep recurring. She then consulted Dr. Ma. Salud Kho. After examining her, Dr.
Kho suggested that Mrs.Villegas submit to another surgery. When Dr. Kho opened the abdomen of Mrs. Villegas she found
whitish yellow discharge inside, an ovarian cyst on each of the left and right ovaries which gave out pus, dirt and pus behind the
uterus, and a piece of rubber material on the right side of the uterus, embedded on the ovarian cyst. The piece of rubber
appeared to be a part of a rubber glove. This was cause of all the infection of the ovaries and consequently of all the discomfort
suffered by Mrs. Villegas. The piece of rubber allegedly found was not presented in court and Dr. Kho testified that she sent it to
a pathologist in Cebu City for examination.

Aside from Dr. Kho’s testimony, the evidence which mentioned the piece rubber are a medical record, a progress record, an
anaesthesia record, a nurse’s record and a physician’s discharge summary. The trial court regarded these documentary evidence
as mere hearsay, “there being no showing that the person or persons who prepared them are deceased or unable to testify on
the facts therein stated- There was also doubts as to the whereabouts of the piece of rubber, as 2 versions arose from Dr. Kho’s
testimony: 1. That it was sent to the pathologist in cebu as testified to in court by Dr. Kho and 2. That Dr. Kho threw it away as
told by her defendant. The failure of the plaintiffs to reconcile these two different versions served only to weaken their claim
against defendant Batiquin. The Trial court ruledin favour of defendants. The CA reversed the decision.


WON Dr. Batiquin is liable?


The focal point of the appeal is Dr. Kho’s testimony. There were inconsistencies within her own testimony, which led to the
different decision of the RTC and CA. the CA was correct in saying that the trial court erred when it isolated the disputed portion
of Dr. Kho’s testimony and did not consider it with other portions of Dr. Kho’s testimony. Also, the phrase relied upon by the trial
court does not negate the fact that Dr. Kho saw a piece of rubber in private respondent Villegas abdomen and that she sent it to
the laboratory and then to cebu city for examination by a pathologist. Furthermore, Dr, Kho’s knowledge of the piece of rubber
could not be based on other than first hand knowledge for, as she asserted before the trial court.

Garcia Rueda vs Pascasio


Florencio Rueda, husband of Leonila Garcia-Rueda, petitioner, underwent surgical operation at the UST hospital for the removal
of a stone blocking his ureter. He was attended by Dr. Domingo Antonio Jr. who was the anaesthesiologist. Six hours after the
surgery, however, florencio, died of complications of “unknown cause”, according to officials of the UST Hospital.

Not satisfied with the findings of the hospital, petitioner requested the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct an
autopsy on her husband’s body consequently, the nbi ruled that florencio’s death was due to lack of care by the attending
physician in administering anaesthesia. Pursuant to its findings, the NBI recommended that Dr. Domingo Antonio and Dr. Erlinda
Balatbat Reyes be charged for homicide through reckless imprudence before the office of the city prosecutor.
During the preliminary investigation, what transpired was a confounding series of events which we shall try to disentangle. The
case was initially assigned to prosecutor Antonio Israel, who had to inhibit himself because he was related to the counsel of one
of the doctors. As a result,the case was re-raffled to prosecutor Norberto G. Leono who was, however, disqualified on motion of
the petitioner since he disregarded prevailing laws and jurisprudence regarding preliminary investigation. The case was then
referred to prosecutor Ramon O. Carisma, who issued a resolution recommending that only Dr. Reyes be held criminally liable
and that the complaint against Dr. Antonio be dismissed.

The case took another perplexing turn when assistant city prosecutor Josefia Santos SIoson, in the “interest of justice and peace
of mind of the parties”, recommended that the case be re-raffled on the ground that prosecutor Carisma was partial to the
petitioner. Thus, the case was transferred to prosecutor Leoncia R. Dimagiba, where a volte face occurred again with the
endorsement that the complaint against dr. reyes be dismissed and instead, a corresponding information be filed against Dr.
Antonio. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, questioning the findings of Prosecutor Dimagiba.

Pending the resolution of petitioner’s motion for reconsideration regarding prosecutor Dimagiba’s resolution, the investigative
“pingpong” continued when the case was again assigned to another prosecutor, Eudoxia T. Gualberto, who recommended that
Dr. Reyes be included in the criminal information of Homicide through reckless imprudence. While the recommendation of
prosecutor Gualberto was pending, the case was transferred to senior state prosecutor Gregorio A. Arizala, who resolved to
exonerate Dr. Reyes from any wrongdoing, a resolution which was approved by both city prosecutor Porfirio G. Macaraeg and
city prosecutor Jesus F. Guerrero.

Aggrieve petitioner filed graft charges specifically for violation of section 3€ of Republic Act No. 3019 against Prosecutors
Guerrero, Macaraeg and Arizala for Manifest Partiality in favour of Dr. Reyes before the Office of Ombudsman. However, on July
11, 1994, the Ombudsman issued the assailed resolution dismissing the complaint for lack of evidence.

In fine, petitioner assails the exercise of the discretionary power of the Ombudsman to review the recommendations of the
Government Prosecutors and to approve and disapprove the same. Petitioner faults the ombudsman for, allegedly in grave
abuse of discretion, refusing to find that there exists probable cause to hold public respondent City Prosecutors liable for
Violations of Section 3€ of RA No. 3019.


Whether or not expert testimony is necessary to prove the negligent act of the respondent?


In accepting a case, a doctor in effect represents that, having the needed training and skills possessed by physicians and
surgeons practicing in the same field, he will employ such training, care and skill in the treatment of his patients. He therefore
has a duty to use at least the same level of care that any other reasonably competent doctor would use to treat a condition
under the same circumstances. It is in this aspect of medical practice that expert testimony is essential to establish not only the
standard of care of the profession but also that the physician’s conduct in the treatment and care falls below such standard.
Further, in as much as the causes of the injuries involved in malpractice actions are determinable only in the light of scientific
knowledge, it has been recognize that expert testimony is usually necessary to support the conclusion as to causation.

Immediately apparent from a review of the records of this case is the absence of any expert testimony on the matter of the
standard of care employed by other physicians of good standing in the conduct of similar operations. The prosecution’s expert
witnesses in the persons of Dr. Floresto Airzala and Dr. Nieto Salvador of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) only testified
as to the possible cause of death but did not venture to illuminate the court on the matter of the standard of care that petition
here should have exercised.

The better and more logical remedy under the circumstances would have been to appeal the resolution of the city prosecutors
dismissing complaint to the secretary of justice under the department of justice’s order no. 223, otherwise known as the 1993
Revised rules on Appeals from resolutions in preliminary investigations/reinvestigations, as amended by Department order no.
359, section 1.

(PEÑARANDA, Brennin Mark O.)

Ramos vs. Court of Appeals
GR No. 124354 December 29, 1999

Facts: Plaintiff Erlinda Ramos was, until the afternoon of June 17, 1985 a 47-year old robust woman. Except for occasional
complaints of discomfort due to pains allegedly caused by presence of a stone in her gall bladder, she was as normal as any
other woman. Married to Rogelio Ramos, an executive of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), she has three
children whose names are Rommel, Roy Roderick, and Ron Raymond. Because of the discomforts somehow interfered with her
normal ways, she sough professional advice. She was told to undergo an operation for the removal of a stone in her gall bladder.
She underwent series of examination which revealed that she was fit for the said surgery. Through the intercession of a mutual
friend, she and her husband met Dr. Osaka for the first time and she was advised by Dr. Osaka to go under the operation called
cholecystectomy and the same was agreed to be scheduled on June 17,1985 at 9:00am at the Delos Santos Medical Center.
Rogelio asked Dr. Osaka to look for a good anesthesiologist to which the latter agreed to. A day before the scheduled operation,
she was admitted at the hospital and on the day of the operation, Erlinda’s sister was with her insider the operating room. Dr.
Osaka arrived at the hospital late, Dr. Guttierez, the anesthesiologist, started to intubate Erlina when Herminda heard her say
that intubating Erlinda is quite difficult and there were complications. This prompt Dr. Osaka to order a call to another
anesthesiologist, Dr. Caldron who successfully intubated Erlina. The patient’s nails became bluish and the patient was placed in a
trendelenburg position. After the operation, Erlina was diagnosed to be suffering from diffuse cerebral parenchymal damage
and that the petitioner alleged that this was due to lack of oxygen supply to Erlinda’s brain which resulted from the intubation.

Issue: Whether or not the doctors and the hospital are liable for damages against petitioner for the result to Erlinda of the said

Held: Yes. The private respondents were unable to disprove the presumption of negligence on their part in the care of Erlinda
and their negligence was the proximate case of her piteous condition.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that the scope of res ipsa liquitor has been measurably enlarged, it does not automatically follow
that it apply to all cases of medical negligence as to mechanically shift the burden of proof to the defendant to show that he is
not guilty of the ascribed negligence. Res ipsa liquitor is not a rigid or ordinary doctrine to be perfunctorily used but a rule to be
cautiously applied, depending upon the circumstances of each case. 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 exercised. A distinction must be made between the
failure to secure results, and the occurrence of something more unusual and not ordinarily found if the service or treatment
rendered followed the usual procedure of those skilled in that particular practice. It must be conceded that the doctrine of res
ipsa liquitor can have no application in a suit against a physician or surgeon which involves the merits of a diagnosis or of a
scientific treatment.

Scientific studies point out that intubation problems are responsible for 1/3 of deaths and serious injuries associated with
anesthesia. Nevertheless, 98% or the vast majority of difficult intubation may be anticipated by performing a thorough
evaluation of the patient’s airway prior to the operation. As stated beforehand, respondent, Dra. Guttierez failed to observe the
proper pre-operative protocol which could have prevented this unfortunate incident. Had appropriate diligence and reasonable
care been used in the pre-operative evaluation, respondent physician could have been more prepared to meet the contingency
brought about by the perceived atomic variations in the patient’s neck and oral area; defects which could have been easily
overcome by a prior knowledge of those variations together with a change in technique. In other words, an experienced
anesthesiologist, adequately alerted by a thorough pre-operative evaluation, would have had little difficulty going around the
short neck and potruding teeth. Having failed to observe common medical standards in pre-operative management and
intubation, respondent Dra. Guttierez negligence resulted in cerebral anoxia and eventual coma of Erlinda.
Nogales vs Capitol Medical Center
GR No. 142625 December 19, 2006

Facts: Pregnant with her fourth child, Corazon Nogales, who was then 37 y/o was under the exclusive prenatal care of Dr. Oscar
Estrada beginning on her fourth month of pregnancy or as early as December 1975. While Corazon was on her last trimester of
pregnancy, Dr. Estrada noted an increase in her blood pressure and development of leg edemas indicating preeclampsia which is
a dangerous complication of pregnancy. Around midnight of May 26, 1976, Corazon started to experience mild labor pains
prompting Corazon and Rogelio Nogales to see Dr. Estrada at his home. After examining Corazon, Dr. Estrada advised her
immediate admission to Capitol Medical Center (CMC). Upon her admission, an internal examination was conducted upon her
by a resident-physician. Based on the doctor’s sheet, around 3am, Dr. Estrada advised for 10mg valium to be administered
immediately by intramuscular injection, he later ordered the start of intravenous administration of syntociron admixed with
dextrose, 5% in lactated ringer’s solution, at the rate of 8-10 micro-drops per minute. When asked if he needed the services of
anesthesiologist, he refused. Corazon’s bag of water ruptured spontaneously and her cervix was fully dilated and she
experienced convulsions. Dr. Estrada ordered the injection of 10g of magnesium sulfate but his assisting Doctor, Dr. Villaflor, only
administered 2.5g. She also applied low forceps to extract Corazon’s baby. In the process, a 10 x 2.5cm piece of cervical tissue
was allegedly torn. The baby came out in an apric, cyanatic weak and injured condition. Consequently the baby had to be
intubated and resuscitated. Corazon had professed vaginal bleeding where a blood typing was ordered and she was supposed to
undergo hysterectomy, however, upon the arrival of the doctor, she was already pronounced dead due to hemorrhage.

Issue: Whether or not in the conduct of child delivery, the doctors and the respondent hospital is liable for negligence.

Held: Yes. In general, a hospital is not liable for the negligence of an independent contractor-physician. There is, however an
exception to this principle. The hospital may be liable if the physician is the ostensible agent of the hospital. This exception is
also known as the doctrine of apparent authority.

Under the doctrine of apparent authority a hospital can be held vicariously liable for the negligent acts of a physician providing
care at the hospital, regardless of whether the physician is an independent contractor, unless the patient knows, or should have
known, that the physician is an independent contractor.

For a hospital to be liable under the doctrine of apparent authority, a plaintiff must show that 1.) the hospital, or its agent, acted
in a manner that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the individual who was alleged to be negligent was an
employee or agent of the hospital; 2.) Where the acts of the agent create the appearance of authority, the plaintiff must also
prove that the hospital had knowledge of and acquired in them; and 3.) the plaintiff acted in reliance upon the conduct of the
hospital or its agent, consistent with ordinary care and prudence.

Borrowed servant doctrine provides that once a surgeon enters the operating room and takes charge of the acts or omissions of
operating room personnel and any negligence associated with each acts or omissions are imputable to the surgeon, while the
assisting physicians and nurses may be employed by the hospital, or engaged by the patient, they normally become the
temporary servants or agents of the surgeon in charge while the operation is in progress, and liability may be imposed upon the
surgeon for their negligent acts under the doctrine of respondeat superior.


(PIO, Francis John P.)

Robert Del Mar vs CA and Norma del Mar

GR No. 139008, March 13, 2002

Norma del Mar, acting as an attorney-in-fact of Florence Finch, executed Deeds of Absolute Sale for three parcels of
land in favor of Robert del Mar. Thereafter, Florence executed a Deed of Confirmation in New York, USA, confirming and ratifying
all the acts and deeds executed by Norma in conveying such properties to Robert.

After 22 years of peaceful possession by Robert of such lands, a petition for reconveyance was filed by Norma alleging
that the titles to such lands were derived by Robert through fraud and deceit as such lands were left by her to Robert for
administration but the latter caused the issuance of titles in his name without her knowledge and consent. In his answer, Robert
alleged that the conveyance was valid as it was founded on a valuable consideration.

Lower Court’s Decision

The trial court ruled in favor of Norma because nor Robert or his counsel appeared during the pretrial. Robert hence
was declared in default and evidence ex-parte was received by the court for Norma.

Appellate court’s decision

Robert filed a Notice of Appeal but he failed to submit the required appellant’s brief within the reglementary period
prompting the CA to dismiss the appeal.

Issues Submitted to the Supreme Court

Whether or not Robert is bound by the negligence of his counsel.

Supreme Court’ Ruling

Yes, it is well-settled that the negligence of counsel binds the client. Exceptions to this rule arise when (1) such
negligence is so gross, palpable, reckless and inexcusable that the client is deprived of the due process of law; and (2) the
application of such due process results in the outright deprivation of one’s property through a technicality.

The negligence of his counsel does not fall under these exceptions. His negligence in this case was his inexcusable
failure to file the required appellant’s brief causing the dismissal of the appeal of petitioner yet, he retained his counsel’s
services for the appeal. One is bound by the decisions of one’s counsel regarding the conduct of the case, especially where the
former does not complain against the manner in which the latter handled the case.

Clients should suffer the consequences of the negligence, mistake or lack of competence of the counsel whom they
themselves hired, and whom they had full authority to fire at any time and replace with another.
(MEJICA, John Paolo A.)
Vda. De Bataclan vs. Medina

Facts: Bus no. 30 of the Medina Transportation, operated by its owner defendant Mariano Medina, left the town of Amadeo,
Cavite, on its way to Pasay City, driven by its regular chauffeur, Conrado Saylon. There were about eighteen passengers,
including the driver and conductor. At about 2:00 o'clock, while the bus was running 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, others had to be helped or pulled out, while the three passengers
seated beside the driver, named Bataclan, 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 Bataclan and Lara, who said they could not get out of the bus. There is
nothing in the evidence to show whether or not the passengers already free from the wreck, including the driver and the
conductor, made any attempt to pull out or extricate and rescue the four 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
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 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 the men who answered the call for help set it on fire. That same day, the charred bodies
of the four deemed passengers inside the bus were removed and duly identified that of Juan Bataclan.

Issue: Whether or not the proximate cause is the overturning of the bus.

Held: Yes. 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 the death of Bataclan was not the overturning of the bus,
but rather, the fire that burned the bus, including himself and his co-passengers who were unable to leave it; that at the 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 in Volume 38, pages 695-696 of American jurisprudence, cited by plaintiffs-appellants in their brief. It is as

. . . '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 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 constituting a
natural and continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection with its immediate predecessor, the
final event in the chain immediately effecting the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted,
under such circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should, as an ordinary 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.

It may be that ordinarily, when a passenger bus overturns, and pins down a passenger, merely causing him physical injuries, if
through some event, unexpected and extraordinary, 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 present case under the circumstances obtaining in the
same, we do not hesitate to hold that the proximate cause was the overturning of the bus, this for the reason that when the
vehicle turned not only on its side but completely on its back, the leaking of the gasoline from the tank was not unnatural or
unexpected; that the coming of the men with a lighted torch was in response to the call for help, made not only by the
passengers, but most probably, by the driver and the conductor themselves, and that because it was dark (about 2:30 in the
morning), the rescuers had to carry a light with them, and coming as they did from a rural area where lanterns and flashlights
were not available; and what was more natural than that said rescuers should innocently approach the vehicle to extend the aid
and effect the rescue requested from them. In other words, the coming of the men with a torch was to be expected and was a
natural sequence of the overturning of the bus, the trapping of some of its passengers and the call for outside help. What is
more, the burning of the bus can also in part be attributed to the negligence of the carrier, through is driver and its conductor.
According to the witness, the driver and the conductor were on the road walking back and forth. They, or at least, the driver
should and must have known that in the position in which the overturned bus was, gasoline could and must have leaked from
the gasoline tank and soaked the area in and around the bus, this aside from the fact that gasoline when spilled, specially over a
large area, can be smelt and directed even from a distance, and yet neither the driver nor the conductor would appear to have
cautioned or taken steps to warn the rescuers not to bring the lighted torch too near the bus. Said negligence on the part of the
agents of the carrier come under Articles 1733, 1759 and 1763.

Phoenix Construction vs. IAC

Facts: At about 1:30 a.m., private respondent Leonardo Dionisio was on his way home from a cocktails-and-dinner meeting
with his boss. During the cocktails phase of the evening, Dionisio had taken "a shot or two" of liquor. Dionisio was driving his
Volkswagen car and had just crossed the intersection of General Lacuna and General Santos Streets at Bangkal, Makati, not far
from his home, and was proceeding down General Lacuna Street, when his car headlights (in his allegation) suddenly failed. He
switched his headlights on "bright" and thereupon he saw a Ford dump truck looming some 2-1/2 meters away from his car. The
dump truck was parked on the right hand side of General Lacuna Street, facing the oncoming traffic. The dump truck was parked
askew in such a manner as to stick out onto the street, partly blocking the way of oncoming traffic. There were no lights nor any
so-called "early warning" reflector devices set anywhere near the dump truck. The dump truck had earlier that evening been
driven home by petitioner Armando U. Carbonel, its regular driver, with the permission of his employer Phoenix, in view of work
scheduled to be carried out early the following morning, Dionisio claimed that he tried to avoid a collision by swerving his car to
the left but it was too late and his car smashed into the dump truck. As a result of the collision, Dionisio suffered some physical
injuries including some permanent facial scars, a "nervous breakdown" and loss of two gold bridge dentures.

Dionisio commenced an action for damages in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga claiming that the legal and proximate
cause of his injuries was the negligent manner in which Carbonel had parked the dump truck entrusted to him by his employer
Phoenix. Phoenix and Carbonel, on the other hand, countered that the proximate cause of Dionisio's injuries was his own
recklessness in driving fast at the time of the accident, while under the influence of liquor, without his headlights on and
without a curfew pass. Phoenix also sought to establish that it had exercised due rare in the selection and supervision of the
dump truck driver.

The trial court rendered judgment in favor of Dionisio and against Phoenix and Carbonel that court affirmed the decision of the
trial court but modified the award of damages

Issue: Whether or not the proximate cause of the accident is the parking of the dump truck.

Held: Yes. The conclusion we draw from the factual circumstances outlined above is that private respondent Dionisio was
negligent the night of the accident. He was hurrying home that night and driving faster than he should have been. Worse, he
extinguished his headlights at or near the intersection of General Lacuna and General Santos Streets and thus did not see the
dump truck that was parked askew and sticking out onto the road lane. Nonetheless, we agree with the Court of First Instance
and the Intermediate Appellate Court that the legal and proximate cause of the accident and of Dionisio's injuries was the
wrongful — or negligent manner in which the dump truck was parked in other words, the negligence of petitioner Carbonel.
That there was a reasonable relationship between petitioner Carbonel's negligence on the one hand and the accident and
respondent's injuries on the other hand, is quite clear. Put in a slightly different manner, the collision of Dionisio's car with the
dump truck was a natural and foreseeable consequence of the truck driver's negligence.

The petitioners, however, urge that the truck driver's negligence was merely a "passive and static condition" and that private
respondent Dionisio's negligence was an "efficient intervening cause and that consequently Dionisio's negligence must be
regarded as the legal and proximate cause of the accident rather than the earlier negligence of Carbonel. We note, firstly, that
even in the United States, the distinctions between "cause" and "condition" which the 'petitioners would have us adopt have
already been "almost entirely discredited." Professors and Keeton make this quite clear:

Cause and condition. Many courts have sought to distinguish between the active "cause" of the harm and the existing
"conditions" upon which that cause operated. If the defendant has created only a passive static condition which made the
damage possible, the defendant is said not to be liable. But so far as the fact of causation is concerned, in the sense of necessary
antecedents which have played an important part in producing the result it is quite impossible to distinguish between active
forces and passive situations, particularly since, as is invariably the case, the latter are the result of other active forces which
have gone before. The defendant who spills gasoline about the premises creates a "condition," but the act may be culpable
because of the danger of fire. When a spark ignites the gasoline, the condition has done quite as much to bring about the fire as
the spark; and since that is the very risk which the defendant has created, the defendant will not escape responsibility. Even the
lapse of a considerable time during which the "condition" remains static will not necessarily affect liability; one who digs a
trench in the highway may still be liable to another who fans into it a month afterward. "Cause" and "condition" still find
occasional mention in the decisions; but the distinction is now almost entirely discredited. So far as it has any validity at all, it
must refer to the type of case where the forces set in operation by the defendant have come to rest in a position of apparent
safety, and some new force intervenes. But even in such cases, it is not the distinction between "cause" and "condition" which is
important but the nature of the risk and the character of the intervening cause.

We believe, secondly, that the truck driver's negligence far from being a "passive and static condition" was rather an
indispensable and efficient cause. The collision between the dump truck and the private respondent's car would in a probability
not have occurred had the dump truck not been parked askew without any warning lights or reflector devices. The improper
parking of the dump truck created an unreasonable risk of injury for anyone driving down General Lacuna Street and for having
so created this risk, the truck driver must be held responsible. In our view, Dionisio's negligence, although later in point of time
than the truck driver's negligence and therefore closer to the accident, was not an efficient intervening or independent cause.
What the Petitioners describe as an "intervening cause" was no more than a foreseeable consequent manner which the truck
driver had parked the dump truck. In other words, the petitioner truck driver owed a duty to private respondent Dionisio and
others similarly situated not to impose upon them the very risk the truck driver had created. Dionisio's negligence was not of an
independent and overpowering nature as to cut, as it were, the chain of causation in fact between the improper parking of the
dump truck and the accident, nor to sever the juris vinculum of liability. It is helpful to quote once more from Professor and

Foreseeable Intervening Causes. If the intervening cause is one which in ordinary human experience is reasonably to be
anticipated or one which the defendant has reason to anticipate under the particular circumstances, the defendant may be
negligence among other reasons, because of failure to guard against it; or the defendant may be negligent only for that
reason. Thus one who sets a fire may be required to foresee that an ordinary, usual and customary wind arising later wig spread
it beyond the defendant's own property, and therefore to take precautions to prevent that event. The person who leaves the
combustible or explosive material exposed in a public place may foresee the risk of fire from some independent source. ... In all
of these cases there is an intervening cause combining with the defendant's conduct to produce the result and in each case the
defendant's negligence consists in failure to protect the plaintiff against that very risk.

Obviously the defendant cannot be relieved from liability by the fact that the risk or a substantial and important part of the risk,
to which the defendant has subjected the plaintiff has indeed come to pass. Foreseeable intervening forces are within the scope
original risk, and hence of the defendant's negligence. The courts are quite generally agreed that intervening causes which fall
fairly in this category will not supersede the defendant's responsibility.

Thus it has been held that a defendant will be required to anticipate the usual weather of the vicinity, including all ordinary
forces of nature such as usual wind or rain, or snow or frost or fog or even lightning; that one who leaves an obstruction on the
road or a railroad track should foresee that a vehicle or a train will run into it;

The risk created by the defendant may include the intervention of the foreseeable negligence of others. ... [The standard of
reasonable conduct may require the defendant to protect the plaintiff against 'that occasional negligence which is one of the
ordinary incidents of human life, and therefore to be anticipated.' Thus, a defendant who blocks the sidewalk and forces the
plaintiff to walk in a street where the plaintiff will be exposed to the risks of heavy traffic becomes liable when the plaintiff is run
down by a car, even though the car is negligently driven; and one who parks an automobile on the highway without lights at
night is not relieved of responsibility when another negligently drives into it. ---
We hold that private respondent Dionisio's negligence was "only contributory," that the "immediate and proximate cause" of
the injury remained the truck driver's "lack of due care" and that consequently respondent Dionisio may recover damages
though such damages are subject to mitigation by the courts (Article 2179, Civil Code of the Philippines).

(LANSANG, Julius Ace C.)


G.R. No 184905, August 28, 2009

Petitioner Ramos is the employer of Rodel Ilustrisimo. While Rodel was driving the Ford Expedition of petitioner an accident
ensued, wherein it bumped with a Corrolla Altis driven by Aquilino Larin and owned by Respondent COL Realty. Due to the
impact of the vehicular mishap, the passenger of the sedan was injured.

A case was filed against Ramos making him solidarily liable with his driver. Ramos in his opposition argued that he cannot be
held solidarily liable since it is Aquilino’s negligence that is the proximate cause of the accident. He further argued that when the
accident happened, Aquilino violated an MMDA order, i.e. prohibiting the crossing is the place where the accident happened.

Whether or not Ramos may be held liable since the proximate cause of the accident is his employee's negligence.

No. There is no doubt that Aquilino’s violation of the MMDA prohibition against crossing Katipunan Avenue from Rajah
Matanda Street was the proximate cause of the accident.

Proximate cause is defined as 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 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 constituting a
natural and continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection with its immediate predecessor, the final event in
the chain immediately effecting the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, under such
circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should, as an ordinary 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.

If Aquilino heeded the MMDA prohibition against crossing Katipunan Avenue from Rajah Matanda, the accident would not
have happened. This specific untoward event is exactly what the MMDA prohibition was intended for. Thus, a prudent and
intelligent person who resides within the vicinity where the accident occurred, Aquilino had reasonable ground to expect that
the accident would be a natural and probable result if he crossed Katipunan Avenue since such crossing is considered dangerous
on account of the busy nature of the thoroughfare and the ongoing construction of the Katipunan-Boni Avenue underpass. It
was manifest error for the Court of Appeals to have overlooked the principle embodied in Article 2179 of the Civil Code, that
when the plaintiff’s own negligence was the immediate and proximate cause of his injury, he cannot recover damages.

As to the alleged Rodel's contributory negligence- the court finds it unnecessary to delve into it, since it cannot overcome or
defeat Aquilino’s recklessness which is the immediate and proximate cause of the accident. Rodel’s contributory negligence has
relevance only in the event that Ramos seeks to recover from respondent whatever damages or injuries he may have suffered as
a result; it will have the effect of mitigating the award of damages in his favor.


185 SCRA 304

Oania Belarmino was a classroom teacher of DECS assigned at the Burucan Elemetary School in Dimasalang, Masbate for 11
years. On January 14, 1982, Mrs. Belarmino who was in her 8th month of pregnancy, accidentally slipped and fell on the
classroom floor. She complained of abdominal pain and stomach cramps, but she continued reporting for work because there
was much work to do. On January 25, 1982, she went into labor and prematurely delivered a baby girl at home. Her abdominal
pain persisted even after delivery.
When she was brought to the hospital, her physician informed her that she was suffering from septicemia post-partum (severe
bacterial infection) due to infected lacerations of the vagina. After she was discharged from the hospital, she died three days
The GSIS denied the claim on the ground that septicemia post-partum, the cause of death is an occupation disease, and neither
was there any showing that the ailment was contracted by reason of her employment.
On appeal to the Employees Compensation Commission, latter also denied the claim affirming the denial of the claim by GSIS.
Whether or not the cause of death of Mrs. Belarmino is now work related and therefore not compensable.
No, the death of Mrs. Belarmino from Septicemia post-partum is compensable because an employment accident and the
conditions of her employment contributed to its development. The condition of the classroom floor caused Mrs. Belarmino to
slip and fall and suffer injury as a result. The fall precipitated the onset of recurrent abdominal pains which culminated in the
premature termination of her pregnancy with tragic consequences to her. Her fall on the classroom floor brought about her
premature delivery which caused the development of postpartum septicemia which resulted to death. Therefore, her fall was
that set-in motion an unbroken chain of events, leading to her demise. The right to compensation the proximate cause extends
to disability due to disease supervening upon and proximately and naturally resulting from a compensable injury.
(ALVARADO, Judith Lou D.)

G.R. No. 92087

May 8, 1992

FACTS: On November 7, 1975, Bibiano Morta, market master of the Agdao Public Market filed a requisition request with the
Chief of Property of the City Treasurer's Office for the re-emptying of the septic tank in Agdao wherein Bascon won the bid.

^ On November 22, 1975, bidder Bertulano with four other companions namely Joselito Garcia, William
Liagoso, Alberto Fernando and Jose Fajardo, Jr. were found dead inside the septic tank. The bodies were removed by a fireman.
^ The body of Joselito Garcia, was taken out by his uncle, Danilo Garcia and taken to the Regional Hospital but he
expired there.
^ The City Engineer's office investigated the case and learned they entered the septic tank without clearance
from it nor with the knowledge and consent of the market master.
^ Since the septic tank was found to be almost empty, they were presumed to be the ones who did the re-
^ Dr. Juan Abear of the City Health Office found them to have died from "asphyxia" or the diminution of
oxygen supply in the body and intake of toxic gas.
^ On November 26, 1975, Bascon signed the purchase order.
^ The RTC dismissed the case. The CA reversed, as the law was intended to protect the plight of the poor and
the needy, the ignorant and the indigent.

ISSUE: Whether or not Davao City is negligent; and its negligence is the proximate cause therefore can be liable for damages.

^ The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case:
^ Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent
person would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence.
^ Conduct is said to be negligent when a prudent man in the position of the tortfeasor would have foreseen
that an effect harmful to another was sufficiently probable to warrant his foregoing conduct of guarding against its
^ The question as to what would constitute the conduct of a prudent man in a given situation must of course
be always determined in the light of human experience and in view of the facts involved in the particular case. Reasonable
foresight of harm, followed by the ignoring of the suggestion born of this provision, is always necessary before negligence can
be held to exist.
^ Distinction must be made between the accident and the injury.
^ Where the plaintiff contributes to the principal occurrence, as one of its determining factors, he can not recover.
Where, in conjunction with the occurrence, the plaintiff contributes only to his own injury, he may recover the amount that the
defendant responsible for the event should pay for such injury, less a sum deemed a suitable equivalent for his own
^ Toilets and septic tanks are not nuisances per se as defined in Article 694 of the New Civil Code which would
necessitate warning signs for the protection of the public. While the construction of these public facilities demands utmost
compliance with safety and sanitary requirements, the putting up of warning signs is not one of those requirements. Accidents
such as toxic gas leakage from the septic tank is unlikely to happen unless one removes its covers. Considering the nature of the
task of emptying a septic tank especially one which has not been cleaned for years, an ordinarily prudent person should
undoubtedly be aware of the attendant risks. The victims are no exception; more so with Mr. Bertulano, an old hand in this kind
of service, who is presumed to know the hazards of the job. His failure, therefore, and that of his men to take precautionary
measures for their safety was the proximate cause of the accident.

The proximate and immediate cause of the death of the victims was due to their own negligence. Consequently, the
petitioners cannot demand damages from the public respondent.


G.R. No. L-40570

January 30, 1976

FACTS: A storm with strong rain hit the Municipality of Alcala Pangasinan. During the storm, the banana plants standing on an
elevated ground along the barrio of said municipality and near the transmission line of the Alcala Electric Plant were blown
down and fell on the electric wire. As a result, the live electric wire was cut, one end of which was left hanging on the electric
post and the other fell to the ground under the fallen banana plants.

On the following morning, the barrio captain who was passing by saw the broken electric wire and so he warned the
people in the place not to go near the wire for they might get hurt. He also saw Baldomero, a laborer of the Alcala Electric Plant
near the place and notified him right then and there of the broken line and asked him to fix it, but the latter told the barrio
captain that he could not do it but that he was going to look for the lineman to fix it.

Sometime after the barrio captain and Baldomero had left the place, a small boy of 3 years and 8 months old whose
house is just on the opposite side of the road, went to the place where the broken line wire was and got in contact with it. The
boy was electrocuted and he subsequently died. It was only after the electrocution of the child that the broken wire was fixed
on the same morning by the lineman of the electric plant.

Petitioner claims that he could not be liable under the concept of quasi-delict or tort as owner and manager of the
Alcala Electric Plant because the proximate cause of the boy’s death electrocution could not be due to any negligence on his
part, but rather to a fortuitous event—the storm that caused the banana plants to fall and cut the electric line—pointing out the
absence of negligence on the part of his employee Baldomero who tried to have the line repaired and the presence of
negligence of the parents of the child in allowing him to leave his house during that time.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Umali, as owner and manager of the Alcala Electric Plant, is guilty of negligence for the death of the

HELD: Yes. A careful examination of the record convinces the Court that a series of negligence on the part of the employees in
the Alcala Electric Plant resulted in the death of the victim by electrocution.

First, according to the evidence, there were big and tall banana plants at the place of the incident standing on an
elevated ground and which were higher than the electric post supporting the electric line, and yet the employees of the electric
plant who, with ordinary foresight, could have easily seen that even in case of moderate winds the electric line would be
endangered by banana plants being blown down, did not even take the necessary precaution to eliminate that source of danger
to the electric line. Second, even after the employees of the Alcala Electric Plant were already aware of the possible damage the
storm could have caused their electric lines, thus becoming a possible threat to life and property, they did not cut off from the
plant the flow of electricity along the lines, an act they could have easily done pending inspection of the wires to see if they had
been cut. Third, employee Baldomero was negligent on the morning of the incident because even if he was already made aware
of the live cut wire, he did not have the foresight to realize that the same posed a danger to life and property, and that he
should have taken the necessary precaution to prevent anybody from approaching the live wire.

On Umali’s argument that the proximate cause of the victim’s death could be attributed to the parents’ negligence in
allowing a child of tender age to go out of the house alone, the Court could readily see that because of the aforementioned
series of negligence on the part of Umali’s employees resulting in a live wire lying on the premises without any visible warning
of its lethal character, anybody, even a responsible grown up or not necessarily an innocent child, could have met the same fate
that befell the victim. Stated otherwise, even if the child was allowed to leave the house unattended due to the parents’
negligence, he would not have died that morning where it not for the cut live wire he accidentally touched.

Art. 2179 of the Civil Code provides that if the negligence of the plaintiff (parents of the victim in this case) was only
contributory, the immediate and proximate cause of the injury being the defendants’ lack of due care, the plaintiff may recover
damages, but the courts shall mitigate the damages to be awarded. This law may be availed of by the petitioner but does not
exempt him from liability. Petitioner’s liability for injury caused by his employees negligence is well defined in par. 4, of Article
2180 of the Civil Code, which states: The owner and manager of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible for
damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter are employed or on tile occasion of their

The negligence of the employee is presumed to be the negligence of the employer because the employer is supposed
to exercise supervision over the work of the employees. This liability of the employer is primary and direct. In fact the proper
defense for the employer to raise so that he may escape liability is to prove that he exercised, the diligence of the good father of
the family to prevent damage not only in the selection of his employees but also in adequately supervising them over their
work. This defense was not adequately proven as found by the trial court.