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G.R. No.

173988 October 8, 2014

FELINA ROSALDES, Petitioner, vs.



Petitioner Felina Rosaldes is a public school teacher in Grade 1 of Pughanan Elementary School. Michael Ryan
Gonzales, then a Grade 1 pupil, was hurriedly entering his classroom when he accidentally bumped the knee of
his teacher who was then asleep on a bamboo sofa. Petitioner asked Michael Ryan to apologize to her. When
he did not obey, petitioner went to Michael and pinched him on his thigh. Then, she held him up by his armpits
and pushed him to the floor. As he fell, Michael Ryan’s body hit a desk. As a result, he lost consciousness.
Petitioner proceeded to pick Michael Ryan up by his ears and repeatedly slammed him down on the floor.

Michael Ryan, accompanied by two of his classmates, went home crying and told his mother about the incident.
His mother and his Aunt reported the incident to their Barangay Captain who advised them to have Michael
Ryan examined by a doctor. Results of medico-legal examination show severe effects of the petitioner’s physical
maltreatment of Michael Ryan; hence, the petitioner was criminally charged with child abuse in the Regional
Trial Court in Iloilo City (RTC).

ISSUE: Whether the acts of the petitioner constitute child abuse.


Yes. Although the petitioner, as a school teacher, could duly discipline Michael Ryan as her pupil, her infliction
of the physical injuries on him was unnecessary, violent and excessive. The boy even fainted from the violence
suffered at her hands.13 She could not justifiably claim that she acted only for the sake of disciplining him. Her
physical maltreatment of him was precisely prohibited by no less than the Family Code, which has expressly
banned the infliction of corporal punishment by a school administrator, teacher or individual engaged in child
care exercising special parental authority (i.e., in loco parentis), viz:

Article 233. The person exercising substitute parental authority shall have the same authority over the person of
the child as the parents.

In no case shall the school administrator, teacher or individual engaged in child care exercising special parental
authority inflict corporal punishment upon the child. (n)

In the crime charged against the petitioner, therefore, the maltreatment may consist of an act by deeds or by
words that debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being. The act
need not be habitual. It was also shown that Michael Ryan’s physical maltreatment by the petitioner was neither
her first nor only maltreatment of a child.

G.R. No. 174156 June 20, 2012

FILCAR TRANSPORT SERVICES, Petitioner, - versus - JOSE A. ESPINAS, Respondent.


Respondent Jose A. Espinas was driving his car along Leon Guinto Street in Manila. Upon reaching the
intersection of Leon Guinto and President Quirino Streets, Espinas stopped his car. When the signal light turned
green, he proceeded to cross the intersection. He was already in the middle of the intersection when another car,
traversing President Quirino Street and going to Roxas Boulevard, suddenly hit and bumped his car. As a result
of the impact, Espinas car turned clockwise. The other car escaped from the scene of the incident, but Espinas
was able to get its plate number. After verifying with the LTO, Espinas learned that the owner of the other car,
with plate number UCF-545, is Filcar.

Espinas sent several letters to Filcar and to its President and General Manager Carmen Flor, demanding
payment for the damages sustained by his car. When he had not received any response, Espinas filed a
complaint for damages against Filcar MTC of Manila. In the complaint, Espinas demanded that Filcar pay the
amount of P97,910.00, representing actual damages sustained by his car.

Filcar argued that while it is the registered owner of the car that hit and bumped Espinas car, the car
was assigned to its Corporate Secretary Atty. Candido Flor and at the time of the incident, the car was being
driven by Atty. Flor’s personal driver, Timoteo Floresca. Filcar denied any liability to Espinas and claimed that
the incident was not due to its fault or negligence since Floresca was not its employee.

Both the MTC and the RTC ruled in favor of Espinas. The CA affirmed the liability of Filcar to pay
Espinas damages. According to the CA, even assuming that there had been no employer-employee relationship
between Filcar and the driver of the vehicle, Floresca, the former can be held liable under the registered owner

ISSUE: Whether Filcar, as registered owner of the motor vehicle which figured in an accident, may be held liable
for the damages caused to Espinas.


Filcar, as registered owner, is deemed the employer of the driver, Floresca, and is thus vicariously liable under
Article 2176 in relation with Article 2180 of the Civil Code

It is undisputed that Filcar is the registered owner of the motor vehicle which hit and caused damage to
Espinas car; and it is on the basis of this fact that we hold Filcar primarily and directly liable to Espinas for
damages. The obligation to indemnify another for damage caused by ones act or omission is imposed upon the
tortfeasor himself, i.e., the person who committed the negligent act or omission. The law, however, provides for
exceptions when it makes certain persons liable for the act or omission of another. One exception is an
employer who is made vicariously liable for the tort committed by his employee (Article 2180 of the Civil Code)

Although the employer is not the actual tortfeasor, the law makes him vicariously liable on the basis of
the civil law principle of pater familias for failure to exercise due care and vigilance over the acts of ones
subordinates to prevent damage to another.[10] In the last paragraph of Article 2180 of the Civil Code, the
employer may invoke the defense that he observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent

It is well settled that in case of motor vehicle mishaps, the registered owner of the motor vehicle is
considered as the employer of the tortfeasor-driver, and is made primarily liable for the tort committed by the
latter under Article 2176, in relation with Article 2180, of the Civil Code. In Equitable Leasing Corporation v.
Suyom,[11] we ruled that in so far as third persons are concerned, the registered owner of the motor vehicle is
the employer of the negligent driver, and the actual employer is considered merely as an agent of such
[G.R. No. 149149. October 23, 2003]

ERNESTO SYKI, petitioner, vs. SALVADOR BEGASA, respondent.


On June 22, 1992, near the corner of Araneta and Magsaysay Streets, Bacolod City, respondent Salvador
Begasa and his three companions flagged down a passenger jeepney driven by Joaquin Espina and owned by
Aurora Pisuena.
While respondent was boarding the passenger jeepney (his right foot already inside while his left foot still
on the boarding step of the passenger jeepney), a truck driven by Elizalde Sablayan and owned by petitioner
Ernesto Syki bumped the rear end of the passenger jeepney. Respondent fell and fractured his left thigh bone
(femur). He also suffered lacerations and abrasions in his left leg.
On October 29, 1992, respondent Begasa filed a complaint for damages for breach of common carriers
contractual obligations and quasi-delict against Aurora Pisuena, the owner of the passenger jeepney;, herein
petitioner Ernesto Syki, the owner of the truck;, and Elizalde Sablayan, the driver of the truck.
Trial court dismissed the complaint against Aurora Pisuena, the owner and operator of the passenger
jeepney, but ordered petitioner Ernesto Syki and his truck driver, Elizalde Sablayan, to pay respondent Salvador
Begasa, jointly and severally, actual and moral damages plus attorneys fees. Court of Appeals affirmed the
same in toto.[4] The appellate court also denied their motion for reconsideration.[5]
ISSUE: (1) Whether petitioner Ernest Syki, jeepney owner and operator, had indeed exercised the diligence of a
good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his employee, Sablayan.

Article 2180 of the Civil Code provides: “Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their
employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are
not engaged in any business or industry.” The responsibility treated in this article shall cease when the persons
herein mentioned prove they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.
From the above provision, when an injury is caused by the negligence of an employee, a legal presumption
instantly arises that the employer was negligent, either or both, in the selection and/or supervision of his said
employeeduties. The said presumption may be rebutted only by a clear showing on the part of the employer that
he had exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his employee. If
the employer successfully overcomes the legal presumption of negligence, he is relieved of liability. [6]
The 1993 ruling in Metro Manila Transit Corporation vs. Court of Appeals was reiterated in a recent case
again involving the Metro Manila Transit Corporation,[8] thus:

In the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to examine them as to their qualifications,
experience, and service records. On the other hand, with respect to the supervision of employees, employers
should formulate standard operating procedures, monitor their implementation, and impose disciplinary
measures for breaches thereof. To establish these factors in a trial involving the issue of vicarious liability,
employers must submit concrete proof, including documentary evidence.

Based therefore on jurisprudential law, the employer must not merely present testimonial evidence to prove
that he had observed the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his employee,
but he must also support such testimonial evidence with concrete or documentary evidence. The reason for this
is to obviate the biased nature of the employers testimony or that of his witnesses. [9]
In this case, petitioners evidence consisted entirely of testimonial evidence. He testified that before he hired
Elizalde Sablayan, he required him to submit a police clearance in order to determine if he was ever involved in
any vehicular accident. He also required Sablayan to undergo a driving test with conducted by his mechanic,
Esteban Jaca. Petitioner claimed that he, in fact, accompanied Sablayan during the driving test. Petitioners
mechanic, Esteban Jaca, on the other hand, testified that Sablayan passed the driving test and had never
figured in any vehicular accident.
Petitioner, however, never presented the alleged police clearance given to him by Sablayan, nor the results
of Sablayans driving test. Petitioner also did not present records of the regular inspections that his mechanic
allegedly conducted. The unsubstantiated and self-serving testimonies of petitioner and his mechanic arewere,
without doubt, insufficient to overcome the legal presumption that petitioner was negligent in the selection and
supervision of his driver. Accordingly, we affirm the ruling of the Court of Appeals that petitioner is liable for the
injuries suffered by respondent.
(2) Whether respondent Begasa is partly negligent and thus, should not recover the full amount of the
damages awarded by the trial court
The underlying precept of Article 2179 on contributory negligence is that a plaintiff who is partly responsible
for his own injury should not be and is not entitled to recover damages in full but must bear the consequences of
his own negligence. Inferrably, tThe defendant must thus be held liable only for the damages actually caused by
his negligence.[13]
There was no evidence that respondent Begasa and his three companions flagged down the passenger
jeepney at in a prohibited area. All Tthe facts only showed was that the passenger jeepney was near the corner
of Araneta and Magsaysay Streets, Bacolod City when petitioners driver bumped it from the rear. No city
resolution, traffic regulation or DPWH memorandum were was presented to show that the passenger jeepney
picked up respondent and his three companions at in a prohibited area. In fact, the trial court dismissed the case
against the driver and/or owner of the passenger jeepney on the ground that they were not
liable, which meansing,that no negligence could be attributed to them. The trial court also found no negligence
on the part of respondent Begasa. This factual finding was affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals.[14]

G.R. No. 171050 July 4, 2012

FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST COMPANY (now Bank of the Philippine Islands), Petitioner, - versus -


Gregoria Pilares Santos (Gregoria), President, and Rhoel P. Santos (Rhoel), Treasurer of respondent
Tentmakers Group, Inc. (TGI) , signed three (3) promissory notes with amount ₱255,000.00, ₱155,000.00, and
₱140,000.00 respectively, for loans contracted with petitioner Far East Bank and Trust Company (FEBTC), now
known as BPI. The sixty (60)-day notes became due and demandable on September 3, 1996. The thirty (30)-
day note became due and demandable on August 7, 1996.

After a futile demand, FEBTC filed a Complaint[6] before the RTC for the payment of the principal of the
promissory notes which amounted to a total of ₱887,613.37 inclusive of interest, penalty charges and attorneys
fees. In the said complaint, Gregoria and Rhoel were impleaded to be jointly and severally liable with TGI for the
unpaid promissory notes.

In defense, the respondents alleged that FEBTC had no right at all to demand from them the amount
being claimed; that records would show the absence of any resolution coming from the Board of Directors of TGI,
authorizing the signatories to receive the proceeds and the FEBTC to release any loan; that FEBTC violated the
rules and regulations of the Central Bank as well as its own policy when it failed to require the respondents to
submit the said board resolution, it allegedly being a condition sine qua non before granting a loan to a
corporate entity, for the protection of the depositors/borrowers; that it was FEBTCs branch manager, a certain
Liza Liwanag, who represented to Gregoria and Rhoel that they could avail of additional working capital for TGI
by having them sign the promissory notes in advance, which were blank at the time, so they would be ready for
future use; that Liza Liwanags act of not requiring the aforesaid board resolution was against bank policy; that
this irregularity caused damage to FEBTC with its own employee defrauding the bank; that the respondents had
no knowledge that a loan had been taken out in its name; and that FEBTC could not present any proof that the
respondents duly received the various amounts reflected in the three (3) promissory notes. [7]
In the Answer with Counterclaim and Cross-claim,[8] the respondents alleged that Salvador Bernardo, Jr.
and Luisa Bernardo of Eliezer Crafts, who were erroneously impleaded as cross-defendants,[9]were the ones
who received the proceeds of the promissory notes.

The RTC rendered its decision holding Tentmakers Group, Inc., Gregoria P. Santos and Rhoel P.
Santos are held jointly and severally liable to pay plaintiff Far East Bank and Trust Co. in the amount
of ₱1,181,764.68 plus attorneys fees equivalent to 10% of the total amount claimed. It ruled that the liability of
the individual respondents, Gregoria and Rhoel, was based on their having assumed personal and solidary
liability for the amounts represented under the promissory notes as shown by their respective signatures
appearing in the aforesaid documents. It upheld the validity and binding effect of the said promissory notes as
the respondents did not deny the due execution thereof or their signatures appearing therein.

The CA reversed and set aside the RTC judgment. The CA, taking judicial notice of the usual banking
practice involving loan agreements, held that although there were promissory notes, there was no board
resolution/corporate secretarys certificate designating the signatories for the corporation, and there was no
disclosure that the signatories acted as agents thereof. There were no collaterals either to ensure the payment
of the loan. The CA held that [b]anks should always have adequate audit mechanisms to make sure that their
employees follow accepted banking rules and practices to safeguard the interest of the investing public and
preserve the public confidence on banks.[16] Further, the CA found that there was no evidence presented to
prove that Gregoria and Rhoel or TGI received the proceeds of the three (3) promissory notes.

ISSUE: Whether petitioner did not comply with the guidelines under the manual of regulation for banks involving
loan agreements.


There was no evidence adduced to prove that the respondents received the amount demanded in its
complaint. Contrary to the claim of FEBTC, nowhere in the records of this case can one find a document
evidencing that Gregoria and Rhoel, or TGI for that matter, received the proceeds of the three (3) promissory
notes. Moreover, FEBTC violated the rules and regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) by its
failure to strictly follow the guidelines in the conferment of unsecured loans set forth under the Manual of
Regulations for Banks (MORB).

Time and again, the Supreme Court has stressed that banking business is so
impressed with public interest where the trust and confidence of the public in general is of
paramount importance such that the appropriate standard of diligence must be very high, if not
the highest degree of diligence. A banks liability as obligor is not merely vicarious but primary,
wherein the defense of exercise of due diligence in the selection and supervision of its
employees is of no moment.

The laxity of the bank cannot be allowed to prejudice the clients of the bank who may
unsuspectingly become victims of fraud most likely perpetrated by insiders or employees of the
bank, which is made possible when the bank did not follow accepted banking rules and
practices and prescribed requirements by the Bangko Sentral in dealing with loan

FEBTC should have been more circumspect in dealing with its clients. It cannot be over emphasized that the
banking business is impressed with public interest. Of paramount importance is the trust and confidence of the
public in general in the banking industry. Consequently, the diligence required of banks is more than that of a
Roman pater familias or a good father of a family. The highest degree of diligence is expected. [27] In handling
loan transactions, banks are under obligation to ensure compliance by the clients with all the documentary
requirements pertaining to the approval and release of the loan applications. For failure of its branch manager to
exercise the requisite diligence in abiding by the MORB and the banking rules and practices, FEBTC was
negligent in the selection and supervision of its employees.

For the loss suffered by FEBTC due to its laxity and carelessness to police its own personnel, the bank
has no one to blame but itself. As correctly concluded by the CA, this situation partakes of the nature
of damnum absque injuria.
[G.R. No. 141910. August 6, 2002]

LAMBERT M. EROLES, respondents.

On 18 June 1994, G.P. Sarmiento Trucking Corporation (GPS) deliver thirty (30) units of Condura S.D.
white refrigerators aboard one of its Isuzu truck, driven by Lambert Eroles, from the plant site of Concepcion
Industries, Inc., along South Superhighway in Alabang, Metro Manila, to the Central Luzon Appliances in
Dagupan City. While the truck was traversing the north diversion road along McArthur highway in Barangay
Anupol, Bamban, Tarlac, it collided with an unidentified truck, causing it to fall into a deep canal, resulting in
damage to the cargoes.
FGU Insurance Corporation (FGU), an insurer of the shipment, paid to Concepcion Industries, Inc., the
value of the covered cargoes in the sum of P204,450.00. FGU, in turn, being the subrogee of the rights and
interests of Concepcion Industries, Inc., sought reimbursement of the amount it had paid to the latter from
GPS. Since the trucking company failed to heed the claim, FGU filed a complaint for damages and breach of
contract of carriage against GPS and its driver Lambert Eroles with the RTC of Makati City.
GPS, filed with leave of court a motion to dismiss the complaint by way of demurrer to evidence on the
ground that petitioner had failed to prove that it was a common carrier.
The trial court granted the motion to dismiss of GPS holding that plaintiff did not present any single
evidence that would prove that defendant is a common carrier. Hence, the application of the law on common
carriers is not warranted and the presumption of fault or negligence on the part of a common carrier in case of
loss, damage or deterioration of goods during transport under 1735 of the Civil Code is not availing. Thus, the
laws governing the contract between the owner of the cargo to whom the plaintiff was subrogated and the owner
of the vehicle which transports the cargo are the laws on obligation and contract of the Civil Code as well as the
law on quasi delicts.
The Court of Appeals rejected the appeal of petitioner and ruled in favor of GPS. The appellate court
discoursed that -

"x x x in order for the presumption of negligence provided for under the law governing common carrier (Article
1735, Civil Code) to arise, the appellant must first prove that the appellee is a common carrier. Should the
appellant fail to prove that the appellee is a common carrier, the presumption would not arise; consequently, the
appellant would have to prove that the carrier was negligent.

ISSUES: (1) Whether respondent GPS may be considered as a common carrier as defined under the law and
existing jurisprudence.
(2) Whether respondent 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.
(3) Whether the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is applicable in the instant case.


(1) GPS, being an exclusive contractor and hauler of Concepcion Industries, Inc., rendering or offering its
services to no other individual or entity, cannot be considered a common carrier. Common carriers are
persons, corporations, firms or associations engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers
or goods or both, by land, water, or air, for hire or compensation, offering their services to
the public,[8] whether to the public in general or to a limited clientele in particular, but never on an exclusive
basis.[9] The true test of a common carrier is the carriage of passengers or goods, providing space for those
who opt to avail themselves of its transportation service for a fee.[10] Given accepted standards, GPS
scarcely falls within the term common carrier.
(2) GPS cannot escape from liability.
In culpa contractual, upon which the action of petitioner rests as being the subrogee of Concepcion
Industries, Inc., the mere proof of the existence of the contract and the failure of its compliance justify, prima
facie, a corresponding right of relief.[11] The law, recognizing the obligatory force of contracts, [12] will not permit a
party to be set free from liability for any kind of misperformance of the contractual undertaking or a contravention
of the tenor thereof.[13] A breach upon the contract confers upon the injured party a valid cause for recovering
that which may have been lost or suffered. The remedy serves to preserve the interests of the promisee that
may include his expectation interest, which is his interest in having the benefit of his bargain by being put in as
good a position as he would have been in had the contract been performed, or his reliance interest, which is his
interest in being reimbursed for loss caused by reliance on the contract by being put in as good a position as he
would have been in had the contract not been made; or his restitution interest, which is his interest in having
restored to him any benefit that he has conferred on the other party. Respondent trucking corporation
recognizes the existence of a contract of carriage between it and petitioners assured, and admits that the
cargoes it has assumed to deliver have been lost or damaged while in its custody. In such a situation, a default
on, or failure of compliance with, the obligation in this case, the delivery of the goods in its custody to the place
of destination - gives rise to a presumption of lack of care and corresponding liability on the part of the
contractual obligor the burden being on him to establish otherwise. GPS has failed to do so.
Respondent driver, on the other hand, without concrete proof of his negligence or fault, may not himself be
ordered to pay petitioner. The driver, not being a party to the contract of carriage between petitioners principal
and defendant, may not be held liable under the agreement. A contract can only bind the parties who have
entered into it or their successors who have assumed their personality or their juridical position. [17] Consonantly
with the axiom res inter alios acta aliis neque nocet prodest, such contract can neither favor nor prejudice a third
person. Petitioners civil action against the driver can only be based on culpa aquiliana, which, unlike culpa
contractual, would require the claimant for damages to prove negligence or fault on the part of the defendant. [18]
(3) A word in passing. Res ipsa loquitur, a doctrine being invoked by petitioner, holds a defendant liable where
the thing which caused the injury complained of is shown to be under the latters 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. It affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation by
the defendant, that the accident arose from want of care.[19] It is not a rule of substantive law and, as such, it
does not create an independent ground of liability. Instead, it is regarded as a mode of proof, or a mere
procedural convenience since it furnishes a substitute for, and relieves the plaintiff of, the burden of
producing specific proof of negligence. The maxim simply places on the defendant the burden of going
forward with the proof.[20]Resort to the doctrine, however, may be allowed only when (a) the event is of a
kind which does not ordinarily occur in the absence of negligence; (b) other responsible causes, including
the conduct of the plaintiff and third persons, are sufficiently eliminated by the evidence; and (c) the
indicated negligence is within the scope of the defendant's duty to the plaintiff. [21] Thus, it is not applicable
when an unexplained accident may be attributable to one of several causes, for some of which the
defendant could not be responsible.[22]
Res ipsa loquitur generally finds relevance whether or not a contractual relationship exists between the
plaintiff and the defendant, for the inference of negligence arises from the circumstances and nature of the
occurrence and not from the nature of the relation of the parties. [23] Nevertheless, the requirement that
responsible causes other than those due to defendants conduct must first be eliminated, for the doctrine to
apply, should be understood as being confined only to cases of pure (non-contractual) tort since obviously the
presumption of negligence in culpa contractual, as previously so pointed out, immediately attaches by a failure
of the covenant or its tenor. In the case of the truck driver, whose liability in a civil action is predicated on culpa
acquiliana, while he admittedly can be said to have been in control and management of the vehicle which
figured in the accident, it is not equally shown, however, that the accident could have been exclusively due to his
negligence, a matter that can allow, forthwith, res ipsa loquitur to work against him.
G.R. No. 147746 October 25, 2005




In 1986, respondent spouses Gaudencio Sarangaya III and Primitiva Sarangaya owned a semi-concrete,
semi-narra, one-storey commercial building known as “Super A” Building. It was subdivided into three doors,
each of which was leased out. The two-storey residence of the Sarangayas was behind the second and third
doors of the building. On the left side of the commercial building stood the office of the Matsushita Electric
Philippine Corporation (Matsushita).

Petitioner Perla Compania de Seguros, Inc. (petitioner-corporation), through its branch manager and co-
petitioner Bienvenido Pascual, leased the first door of the Super A Building, abutting the office of Matsushita.
The left side was converted into an office while the right was used by Pascual as a garage for a company-
provided vehicle, 1981 model 4-door Ford Cortina,.

Pascual left for San Fernando, Pampanga but did not bring the car with him. Three days later, he
returned to Santiago and, after checking his appointments the next day, decided to warm up the car. When he
pulled up the handbrake and switched on the ignition key, the engine made an odd sound and did not start.
Thinking it was just the gasoline percolating into the engine, he again stepped on the accelerator and started the
car. This revved the engine but petitioner again heard an unusual sound. He then saw a small flame coming out
of the engine. Startled, he turned it off, alighted from the vehicle and started to push it out of the garage when
suddenly, fire spewed out of its rear compartment and engulfed the whole garage. Pascual was trapped inside
and suffered burns on his face, legs and arms.

Meanwhile, respondents were busy watching television when they heard two loud explosions. The smell
of gasoline permeated the air and, in no time, fire spread inside their house, destroying all their belongings,
furniture and appliances.

The city fire marshall conducted an investigation and thereafter submitted a report to the provincial fire
marshall. He concluded that the fire was accidental. The report also disclosed that petitioner-corporation had no
fire permit as required by law.

Based on the same report, a criminal complaint for Reckless Imprudence Resulting to (sic) Damage in
(sic) Property[1] was filed against petitioner Pascual. On the other hand, petitioner-corporation was asked to pay
the amount of P7,992,350, inclusive of the value of the commercial building. At the prosecutors office, petitioner
Pascual moved for the withdrawal of the complaint, which was granted.

Respondents later on filed a civil complaint based on quasi-delict against petitioners for a sum of money
and damages, alleging that Pascual acted with gross negligence while petitioner-corporation lacked the required
diligence in the selection and supervision of Pascual as its employee.

During the trial, respondents presented witnesses who testified that a few days before the incident,
Pascual was seen buying gasoline in a container from a nearby gas station. He then placed the container in the
rear compartment of the car.

In his answer, Pascual insisted that the fire was purely an accident, a caso fortuito, hence, he was not
liable for damages. He also denied putting a container of gasoline in the cars rear compartment. For its part,
petitioner-corporation refused liability for the accident on the ground that it exercised due diligence of a good
father of a family in the selection and supervision of Pascual as its branch manager.

The trial court ruled in favor of respondents and ordered Bienvenido Pascual and Perla Compania de
Seguros, Inc. to pay jointly and solidarily to the plaintiffs spouses Gaudencio and Primitiva Sarangaya the total
sum of Two Million Nine Hundred Four Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Pesos ([P]2,904,880.00) as actual
damages. The court a quo declared that, although the respondents failed to prove the precise cause of the fire
that engulfed the garage, Pascual was nevertheless negligent based on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.[4] It did
not, however, categorically rule that the gasoline container allegedly placed in the rear compartment of the car
caused the fire. The trial court instead declared that both petitioners failed to adduce sufficient evidence to prove
that they employed the necessary care and diligence in the upkeep of the car. [5] Contrary to the claims of
petitioner-corporation, the trial court also found that it failed to employ the diligence of a good father of a family,
as required by law, in the selection and supervision of Pascual.

The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of respondents but modified the amount of damages awarded by the
trial court. The appellate court was in accord with the trial courts findings that the doctrine of res ipsa
loquitur was correctly applied in determining the liability of Pascual and that petitioner-corporation, as the
employer, was vicariously liable to respondents.

ISSUE: Whether the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in the present case;


Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase which literally means the thing or the transaction speaks for
itself.[10] 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.[14] In such instance, the plaintiff relies on proof of the happening of the accident
alone to establish negligence.[15]

The doctrine provides a means by which a plaintiff can pin liability on a defendant who, if innocent,
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. [16]

To sustain the allegation of negligence based on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, the following requisites
must concur:

1) the accident is of a kind which does not ordinarily occur unless someone is
2) the cause of the injury was under the exclusive control of the person in charge and
3) the injury suffered must not have been due to any voluntary action or contribution
on the part of the person injured.[17]

Under the first requisite, the occurrence must be one that does not ordinarily occur unless there is
negligence. Ordinary refers to the usual course of events.[18]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 evidence as to the cause of the accident, the doctrine of res ipsa
loquitur comes into play and, from it, we draw the inference that based on the evidence at hand, someone was
in fact negligent and responsible for the accident.

The test to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case may be stated as follows: did the
defendant in committing the alleged negligent act, use reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent
person in the same situation would have employed?[19] If not, then he is guilty of negligence.

Here, the fact that Pascual, as the caretaker of the car, failed to submit any proof that he had it
periodically checked (as its year-model and condition required) revealed his 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. For failing to prove care and diligence in the maintenance of the vehicle, the necessary inference was
that Pascual had been negligent in the upkeep of the car.

Pascual attempted to exculpate himself from liability by insisting that the incident was a caso
fortuito. We disagree.

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 impossible to foresee the event which
constituted the caso fortuito or, if it could be foreseen, it was impossible to avoid; (c) the occurrence must be
such as to render it impossible to perform an obligation in a normal manner and (d) the person tasked to perform
the obligation must not have participated in any course of conduct that aggravated the accident.[20]

In fine, human agency must be entirely excluded as the proximate cause or contributory cause of the
injury or loss.[21] In a vehicular accident, for example, a mechanical defect will not release the defendant from
liability if it is shown that the accident could have been prevented had he properly maintained and taken good
care of the vehicle.[22]

The circumstances on record do not support the defense of Pascual. Clearly, there was no caso
fortuito because of his want of care and prudence in maintaining the car.

Under the second requisite, the instrumentality or agency that triggered the occurrence must be one
that falls under the exclusive control of the person in charge thereof. In this case, the car where the fire
originated was under the control of Pascual. Being its caretaker, he alone had the responsibility to maintain it
and ensure its proper functioning. No other person, not even the respondents, was charged with that obligation
except him.

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 inference is that it occurred because of lack of such care. [23] The burden of
evidence is thus shifted to defendant to establish that he observed all that was necessary to prevent the
accident from happening. In this aspect, Pascual utterly failed.

Under the third requisite, there is nothing in the records to show that respondents contributed to the
incident. They had no access to the car and had no responsibility regarding its maintenance even if it was
parked in a building they owned.

On the second assigned error, we find no reason to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals. The
relationship between the two petitioners was based on the principle of pater familias according to which the
employer becomes liable to the party aggrieved by its employee if he fails to prove due diligence of a good
father of a family in the selection and supervision of his employees. [24] The burden of proof that such diligence
was observed devolves on the employer who formulated the rules and procedures for the selection and hiring of
his employees.

In the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to examine them as to their
qualifications, experience and service records.[25] While the petitioner-corporation does not appear to have erred
in considering Pascual for his position, its lack of supervision over him made it jointly and solidarily liable for the

In the supervision of employees, the employer must formulate standard operating procedures, monitor
their implementation and impose disciplinary measures for the breach thereof.[26] To fend off vicarious liability,
employers must submit concrete proof, including documentary evidence, that they complied with everything that
was incumbent on them.[27] Here, petitioner-corporations evidence hardly included any rule or regulation that
Pascual should have observed in performing his functions. It also did not have any guidelines for the
maintenance and upkeep of company property like the vehicle that caught fire. Petitioner-corporation did not
require periodic reports on or inventories of its properties either. Based on these circumstances, petitioner-
corporation clearly did not exert effort to be apprised of the condition of Pascuals car or its serviceability.

Petitioner-corporations argument that the liability attached to employers only applies in cases involving
the supervision of employees in the transportation business is incorrect. Article 2180 of the Civil Code states
that employers shall be liable for the damage caused by their employees. The liability is imposed on all those
who by their industry, profession or other enterprise have other persons in their service or
supervision.[28] Nowhere does it state that the liability is limited to employers in the transportation business.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the decision[29] of the Court of Appeals affirmed in
toto. Costs against petitioners. SO ORDERED.