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PROXIMATE OR LEGAL CAUSE (Cause and effect) C.



Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to (Teague vs. Fernandez)
another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the
damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre- FACTS: The Realistic Institute, admittedly owned and operated
existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a by defendant-appellee Mercedes M. Teague was a vocational
quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. school for hair and beauty culture situated on the second floor
(1902a) of the Gil-Armi Building. At about four o'clock in the afternoon of
October 24, 1955, a fire broke out in a store for surplus materials
Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, wilfully or negligently located about ten meters away from the institute. Soler Street
causes damage to another, shall indemnify the latter for the lay between that store and the institute. Upon seeing the fire,
same. some of the students in the Realistic Institute shouted 'Fire! Fire!'
and thereafter, a panic ensued. Indeed, no part of the Gil-Armi
Art. 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another Building caught fire. But, after the panic was over, four students,
in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public including Lourdes Fernandez, a sister of plaintiffs-appellants,
policy shall compensate the latter for the damage. were found dead and several others injured on account of the
stampede. The deceased's five brothers and sisters filed an
Art. 2179. When the plaintiff's own negligence was the action for damages against Mercedes M. Teague as owner and
immediate and proximate cause of his injury, he cannot recover operator of Realistic Institute. The Court of First Instance of
damages. But if his negligence was only contributory, the Manila found for the defendant and dismissed the case. CA
immediate and proximate cause of the injury being the reversed.
defendant's lack of due care, the plaintiff may recover damages,
but the courts shall mitigate the damages to be awarded. ISSUE: Whether petitioner is liable.

B. Proximate Cause Defined RULING: Decision affirmed.

Proximate cause, which is determined by a mixed consideration Petitioner was negligent and that such negligence was the
of logic, common sense, policy and precedent, is "that cause, proximate cause of the death of Lourdes Fernandez. This
which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any finding of negligence is based primarily on the fact that the
efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without provision of Section 491 of the Revised Ordinances of the City
which the result would not have occurred.” of Manila had not been complied with in connection with the
construction and use of the Gil-Armi building where the
And more comprehensively, 'the proximate legal cause is that petitioner's vocational school was housed. The mere fact of
acting first and producing the injury, either immediately or by violation of a statute is not sufficient basis for an inference that
setting other events in motion, all constituting a natural and such violation was the proximate cause of the injury complained.
continuous chain of events, each having a close causal However, if the very injury has happened which was intended to
connection with its immediate predecessor, the final event in the be prevented by the statute, it has been held that violation of the
chain immediately effecting the injury as a natural and probable statute will be deemed to be proximate cause of the injury.
result of the cause which first acted, under such circumstances
that the person responsible for the first event should, as an 2. FORESEEABILITY (to relieve the original tortfeasor
ordinary prudent and intelligent person, have reasonable ground from liability)
to expect at the moment of his act or default that an injury to
some person might probably result therefrom. (Bernal vs J.V. House)

Articles 2179 and 2185 of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts apply FACTS:
in this case, viz:
During a procession, the little girl was allowed to get a short
Article 2179. When the plaintiffs own negligence was the distance in advance of her mother and her friends. When in front
immediate and proximate cause of his injury, he cannot of the offices of the Tacloban Electric & Ice Plant, Ltd., and
recover damages. But if his negligence was only automobile appeared from the opposite direction which so
contributory, the immediate and proximate cause of the frightened the child that she turned to run, with the result that
injury being the defendants lack of due care, the plaintiff she fell into the street gutter. At that time there was hot water in
may recover damages, but the courts shall mitigate the this gutter or ditch coming from the Electric Ice Plant of J.V.
damages to be awarded. House. When the mother and her companions reached the
child, they found her face downward in the hot water. Her clothes
Article 2185. Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is were immediately removed and, then covered with a garment,
presumed that a person driving a motor vehicle has been the girl was taken to the provincial hospital. There she was
negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was violating any attended by the resident physician, Dr. Victoriano A. Benitez.
traffic regulation. Despite his efforts, the child died that same night at 11:40
If the master is injured by the negligence of a third person and
by the concurring contributory negligence of his own servant or The defense was that the hot water was permitted to flow down
agent, the latters negligence is imputed to his superior and will the side of the street Gran Captain with the knowledge and
defeat the superiors action against the third person, assuming consent of the authorities; that the cause of death was other than
of course that the contributory negligence was the proximate the hot water; and that in the death the plaintiffs contributed by
cause of the injury of which complaint is made. their own fault and negligence.
ISSUE: wires and appliances in places where there is probable
Whether there is contributory fault and negligence on the part of likelihood of human contact therewith.
the plaintiffs.
We cannot agree with the defense of the Manila Electric
HELD: Company in the lower court to the effect that the death of Juan
We are shown no good reason for the departing from the Diaz Astudillo was due exclusively to his negligence. He only did
conclusion of the trial judge to the effect that the sudden death the natural thing to be expected of one not familiar with the
of the child Purification Bernal was due principally to the nervous danger arising from touching an electric wire, and was wholly
shock and organic calefaction produced by the extensive burns unconscious of his peril. Had not the wire caused the death of
from the hot water. "The danger from burns is proportional rather this young man, it would undoubtedly have been only a question
to the extent of surface involved than to the depth of the burn". of time when someone else, like a playful boy, would have been
The same authority continues. "Burns of the first degree, induced to take hold of the wire, with fatal results. The cause of
covering two-thirds of the body surface, are rarely recovered the injury was one which could have been foreseen and guarded
from. . . . Children seem especially susceptible to the effect of against. The negligence came from the act of the Manila Electric
burns." Company in so placing its pole and wires as to be within
proximity to a place frequented by many people, with the
The mother and her child had a perfect right to be on the possibility ever present of one of them losing his life by coming
principal street of Tacloban, Leyte, on the evening when the in contact with a highly charged and defectively insulated wire.
religious procession was held. There was nothing abnormal in
allowing the child to run along a few paces in advance of the As we understand the position of the Manila Electric Company
mother. No one could foresee the coincidence of an automobile on appeal, its principal defense now is that it has fully complied
appearing and of a frightened child running and falling into a with the provisions of its franchise and of the ordinances of the
ditch filled with hot water. The contributory negligence of the City of Manila. It is undeniable that the violation of franchise, an
child and her mother, if any, does not operate as a bar to ordinance, or a statute might constitute negligence. But the
recovery, but in its strictest sense could only result in reduction converse is not necessarily true, and compliance with a
of the damages. franchise, an ordinance, or a statute is not conclusive proof that
there was no negligence. The franchise, ordinance, or statute
Having reached the conclusion that liability exists, we next turn merely states the minimum conditions. The fulfillment of these
to discover who can recover damages for the obligation, and conditions does not render unnecessary other precautions
against whom the action will lie. The plaintiffs are Tomas Bernal required by ordinary care.
and Fortunata Enverso. The latter was the mother of
Purificacion Bernal and the former was the natural father, who D. PROXIMATE CAUSE: WHEN APPLICABLE
had never legally recognized his child. The daughter lived with
the mother, and presumably was supported by her. Under these (Calalas v. CA)
facts, recovery should be permitted the mother but not the
father. Facts:

(Astudillo vs Manila Electric Company) Private respondent Eliza Jujeurche G. Sunga took a passenger
jeepney owned and operated by petitioner Vicente Calalas. As
FACTS: the jeepney was already full, Calalas gave Sunga an stool at the
back of the door at the rear end of the vehicle. Along the way,
Juan Diaz Astudillo met his death through electrocution, when the jeepney stopped to let a passenger off. Sunga stepped down
he placed his right hand on a wire connected with an electric to give way when an Isuzu truck owned by Francisco Salva and
light pole situated near Santa Lucia Gate, Intramuros, in the City driven by Iglecerio Verena bumped the jeepney. As a result,
of Manila. Shortly thereafter, the mother of the deceased Sunga was injured. Sunga filed a complaint against Calalas for
instituted an action in the Court of First Instance of Manila to violation of contract of carriage. Calalas filed a third party
secure from the Manila Electric Company damages in the complaint against Salva. The trial court held Salva liable and
amount of P30,000. The answer of the company set up as absolved Calalas, taking cognisance of another civil case for
special defenses that the death of Juan Diaz Astudillo was due quasi-delict wherein Salva and Verena were held liable to
solely to his negligence and lack of care, and that the company Calalas. The Court of Appeals reversed the decision and found
had employed the diligence of a good father of a family to Calalas liable to Sunga for violation of contract of carriage.
prevent the injury. After trial, which included an ocular inspection
of the place where the fatality occurred, judgment was rendered Issues:
in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant.
(1) Whether the decision in the case for quasi delict between
ISSUE: Whether the defendant shall be liable. Calalas on one hand and Salva and Verena on the other hand,
is res judicata to the issue in this case
It is well established that the liability of electric light companies (2) Whether Calalas exercised the extraordinary diligence
for damages for personal injuries is governed by the rules of required in the contract of carriage
negligence. Such companies are, however, not insurers of the
safety of the public. But considering that electricity is an agency, (3) Whether moral damages should be awarded
subtle and deadly, the measure of care required of electric
companies must be commensurate with or proportionate to the Held:
danger. The duty of exercising this high degree of diligence and
care extends to every place where persons have a right to be. (1) The argument that Sunga is bound by the ruling in Civil Case
The poles must be so erected and the wires and appliances No. 3490 finding the driver and the owner of the truck liable for
must be so located the persons rightfully near the place will not quasi-delict ignores the fact that she was never a party to that
be injured. Particularly must there be proper insulation of the case and, therefore, the principle of res judicata does not apply.
Nor are the issues in Civil Case No. 3490 and in the present legal basis for awarding moral damages since there was no
case the same. The issue in Civil Case No. 3490 was whether factual finding by the appellate court that petitioner acted in bad
Salva and his driver Verena were liable for quasi-delict for the faith in the performance of the contract of carriage.
damage caused to petitioner's jeepney. On the other hand, the
issue in this case is whether petitioner is liable on his contract of E. PROXIMATE CAUSE vs. INTERVENING CAUSE
carriage. The first, quasi-delict, also known as culpa aquiliana or
culpa extra contractual, has as its source the negligence of the “INTERVENING CAUSE” – is an event that occurs after a
tortfeasor. The second, breach of contract or culpa contractual, tortfeasor's initial act of negligence and causes injury/harm to a
is premised upon the negligence in the performance of a victim. An intervening cause will generally absolve the
contractual obligation. Consequently, in quasi-delict, the tortfeasor of liability for the victim's injury only if the event is
negligence or fault should be clearly established because it is deemed a superseding cause. A superseding cause is
the basis of the action, whereas in breach of contract, the action an unforeseeable intervening cause. By contrast,
can be prosecuted merely by proving the existence of the a foreseeable intervening cause typically does not break the
contract and the fact that the obligor, in this case the common chain of causality, meaning that the tortfeasor is still responsible
carrier, failed to transport his passenger safely to his destination. for the victim's injury—unless the event leads to an
In case of death or injuries to passengers, Art. 1756 of the Civil unforeseeable result.
Code provides that common carriers are presumed to have
been at fault or to have acted negligently unless they prove that FACTS: In 1918, Basilio Ilano and Proceso Gayetano took a
they observed extraordinary diligence as defined in Arts. 1733 carromata with a view to going to a cockpit. When the driver of
and 1755 of the Code. This provision necessarily shifts to the the carromata had started in the direction indicated, the
common carrier the burden of proof. It is immaterial that the defendant, Agaton Araneta, stopped the horse, at the same time
proximate cause of the collision between the jeepney and the protesting to the driver that he himself had called this carromata
truck was the negligence of the truck driver. The doctrine of first. The driver, Julio Pagnaya, replied that he had not heard or
proximate cause is applicable only in actions for quasi-delict, not seen the call of Araneta. Pagnaya pulled on the reins of the
in actions involving breach of contract. The doctrine is a device bridle to free the horse from the control of Araneta, in order that
for imputing liability to a person where there is no relation the vehicle might pass on. Owing to the looseness of the bridle
between him and another party. In such a case, the obligation is on the horse's head or to the rottenness of the material of which
created by law itself. But, where there is a pre-existing it was made, the bit came out of the horse's mouth; and it
contractual relation between the parties, it is the parties became necessary for the driver to get out in order to find the
themselves who create the obligation, and the function of the bridle. Meanwhile one of the passengers, Ilano, had alighted but
law is merely to regulate the relation thus created. the other, Gayetano, had unfortunately retained his seat, and
after the runaway horse had proceeded up the street Gayetano
(2) We do not think so. First, the jeepney was not properly jumped or fell from the rig, and in so doing received injuries from
parked, its rear portion being exposed about two meters from which he soon died.
the broad shoulders of the highway, and facing the middle of the
highway in a diagonal angle. Second, it is undisputed that ISSUE: Whether the proximate cause of the accident was the
petitioner's driver took in more passengers than the allowed stopping of the horse by Araneta.
seating capacity of the jeepney. The fact that Sunga was seated
in an "extension seat" placed her in a peril greater than that to HELD: NO. The stopping of the rig by Araneta was too remote
which the other passengers were exposed. Therefore, not only from the accident that presently ensued to be considered the
was petitioner unable to overcome the presumption of legal or proximate cause thereof. Moreover, by getting out and
negligence imposed on him for the injury sustained by Sunga, taking his post at the head of the horse, the driver was the
but also, the evidence shows he was actually negligent in person primarily responsible for the control of the animal, and
transporting passengers. We find it hard to give serious thought the defendant cannot be charged with liability for the accident
to petitioner's contention that Sunga's taking an "extension seat" resulting from the action of the horse thereafter. The evidence
amounted to an implied assumption of risk. It is akin to arguing indicates that the bridle was old, and the leather of which it was
that the injuries to the many victims of the tragedies in our seas made was probably so weak as to be easily broken. According
should not be compensated merely because those passengers to the witnesses for the defendant, it was Julio who jerked the
assumed a greater risk of drowning by boarding an overloaded rein, thereby causing the bit to come out of the horse's mouth;
ferry. This is also true of petitioner's contention that the jeepney and that after alighting, led the horse over to the curb, and
being bumped while it was improperly parked constitutes caso proceeded to fix the bridle; and that in so doing the bridle was
fortuito. A caso fortuito is an event which could not be foreseen, slipped entirely off, when the horse, feeling himself free from
or which, though foreseen, was inevitable. This requires that the control, started to go away as previously stated.
following requirements be present: (a) the cause of the breach
is independent of the debtor's will; (b) the event is unforeseeable (Manila Electric Co. vs. Remoquillo)
or unavoidable; (c) the event is such as to render it impossible
for the debtor to fulfill his obligation in a normal manner, and (d) Facts: Efren Magno went to repair a ¨media agua¨ of the house
the debtor did not take part in causing the injury to the creditor. of his brother-in-law. While making the repair, a galvanized iron
Petitioner should have foreseen the danger of parking his roofing which was holding came into contact with the electric
jeepney with its body protruding two meters into the highway. wire of the petitioner Manila Electric Co. strung parallel to the
edge of the ¨media agua¨ and 2 1/2 feet from it. He was
(3) As a general rule, moral damages are not recoverable in electrocuted and died as a result thereof. In an action for
actions for damages predicated on a breach of contract for it is damages brought by the heirs of Magno against manila Electric
not one of the items enumerated under Art. 2219 of the Civil Co. the CA awarded damages to the heirs of Magno and that
Code. As an exception, such damages are recoverable: (1) in the company was at fault and guilty of negligence because
cases in which the mishap results in the death of a passenger, although the electric wire had been installed long before the
as provided in Art. 1764, in relation to Art. 2206(3) of the Civil construction of the house the electric company did not exercise
Code; and (2) in the cases in which the carrier is guilty of fraud due diligence. Hence, this petition.
or bad faith, as provided in Art. 2220. In this case, there is no
Issue: Whether Manila Electric Co., is guilty of negligence. from creating or entering into the cause of the mischief. When
the effect, the cause of which is to be considered, is found to be
Held: NO. Death of Magno was primarily caused by his own in part the result of the participation of man, whether it be from
negligence and in some measure by the too close proximity of active intervention or neglect, or failure to act, the whole
the “media agua” or rather its edge to the electric wire of the occurrence is thereby HUMANIZED, as it were, and removed
company by reason of the violation of the original permit given from the rules applicable to the acts of God.
by the city and the subsequent approval of said illegal
construction of the “media agua”. We fail to see how the United was found to have made substantial deviations from the
Company could be held guilty of negligence or as lacking in due plans and specifications and to have failed to observe the
diligence. requisite workmanship in the construction as well as to exercise
the requisite degree of supervision. And the Nakpins were found
Although the city ordinance called for a distance of 3 feet of its to have inadequacies or defects in the plans and specifications
wires from any building, only a distance of 2 1/2 feet between prepared by them. The deviations made by United caused
the “Media agua” as illegally constructed and the electric wires indirectly the damage sustained and that those deviations not
was left. only added but also aggravated the damage caused by the
defects made by the Nakpins.
A prior and remote cause cannot be made the basis of an action
if such remote cause did nothing more than furnish the condition Thus, one who negligently creates a dangerous condition
or give rise to the occasion by which the injury was made cannot escape liability for the natural and probably
possible, if there intervened between such prior or remote cause consequences thereof, although the act of a third person, or an
and the injury a distinct, successive, unrelated, and efficient act of God for which he is not responsible, intervenes to
cause of the injury, even though such injury would not have precipitate the loss. The destruction was not purely an act of
happened but for such condition or occasion. God. Truth to tell hundreds of ancient buildings in the vicinity
were hardly affected by the earthquake. Only one thing spells
(Nakpil & Sons vs. CA) out the fatal difference; gross negligence and evident bad faith,
without which the damage would not have occurred.
Art. 1723 dictates that the engineer/architect and contractor are
Private respondents – Philippine Bar Association (PBA) – a non- liable for damages should the building collapse within 15 years
profit organization formed under the corporation law decided to from completion.
put up a building in Intramuros, Manila. Hired to plan the
specifications of the building were Juan Nakpil & Sons, while On the other hand, the general rule is that no person shall be
United Construction was hired to construct it. The proposal was responsible for events which could not be foreseen or which
approved by the Board of Directors and signed by the President, though foreseen, were inevitable (Article 1174, New Civil Code).
Ramon Ozaeta. The building was completed in 1966.
An act of God has been defined as an accident, due directly and
In 1968, there was an unusually strong earthquake which exclusively to natural causes without human intervention, which
caused the building heavy damage, which led the building to tilt by no amount of foresight, pains or care, reasonably to have
forward, leading the tenants to vacate the premises. United been expected, could have been prevented.
Construction took remedial measures to sustain the building.
There is no dispute that the earthquake of August 2, 1968 is a
PBA filed a suit for damages against United Construction, but fortuitous event or an act of God.
United Construction subsequently filed a suit against Nakpil and
Sons, alleging defects in the plans and specifications. To exempt the obligor from liability under Article 1174 of the Civil
Code, for a breach of an obligation due to an "act of God," the
Technical Issues in the case were referred to Mr. Hizon, as a following must concur: (a) the cause of the breach of the
court appointed Commissioner. PBA moved for the demolition obligation must be independent of the will of the debtor; (b) the
of the building, but was opposed. PBA eventually paid for the event must be either unforseeable or unavoidable; (c) the event
demolition after the building suffered more damages in 1970 due must be such as to render it impossible for the debtor to fulfill his
to previous earthquakes. The Commissioner found that there obligation in a normal manner; and (d) the debtor must be free
were deviations in the specifications and plans, as well as from any participation in, or aggravation of the injury to the
defects in the construction of the building. creditor.

ISSUE: Whether an act of God-an unusually strong earthquake- Thus, if upon the happening of a fortuitous event or an act of
which caused the failure of the building, exempts from liability, God, there concurs a corresponding fraud, negligence, delay or
parties who are otherwise liable because of their negligence. violation or contravention in any manner of the tenor of the
obligation as provided for in Article 1170 of the Civil Code, which
HELD: results in loss or damage, the obligor cannot escape liability.

No, they are not exempted from liability. There is no dispute that (Urbano vs. IAC)
the earthquake is a fortuitous event or an act of god. But, if upon
the happening of a fortuitous event or an act of God, here FACTS:
concurs a corresponding fraud, negligence, delay or violation or
contravention in any manner of the tenor of the obligation, which On October 23, 1980, petitioner Filomeno Urbano was on his
results in loss or damage, the obligor cannot escape liability. way to his ricefield. He found the place where he stored palay
flooded with water coming from the irrigation canal. Urbano went
The principle embodied in the act of God doctrine strictly to the elevated portion to see what happened, and there he saw
requires that the act must be one occasioned exclusively by the Marcelino Javier and Emilio Efre cutting grass. Javier admitted
violence of nature and all human agencies are to be excluded that he was the one who opened the canal. A quarrel ensued,
and Urbano hit Javier on the right palm with his bolo, and again or give rise to the occasion by which the injury was made
on the leg with the back of the bolo. On October 27, 1980, possible, if there intervened between such prior or remote cause
Urbano and Javier had an amicable settlement. Urbano paid and the injury a distinct, successive, unrelated, and efficient
P700 for the medical expenses of Javier. On November 14, cause of the injury, even though such injury would not have
1980, Urbano was rushed to the hospital where he had lockjaw happened but for such condition or occasion. If no danger
and convulsions. The doctor found the condition to be caused existed in the condition except because of the independent
by tetanus toxin which infected the healing wound in his palm. cause, such condition was not the proximate cause. And if an
He died the following day. Urbano was charged with homicide independent negligent act or defective condition sets into
and was found guilty both by the trial court and on appeal by the operation the instances which result in injury because of the
Court of Appeals. Urbano filed a motion for new trial based on prior defective condition, such subsequent act or condition is the
the affidavit of the Barangay Captain who stated that he saw the proximate cause."
deceased catching fish in the shallow irrigation canals on
November 5. The motion was denied; hence, this petition. (National Power Corporation vs. CA)

Issue: Facts:

Whether the wound inflicted by Urbano to Javier was the Engineering Construction, Inc., being a successful bidder,
proximate cause of the latter’s death executed a contract in Manila with the National Waterworks and
Sewerage Authority (NAWASA), whereby the former undertook
Held: to furnish all tools, labor, equipment, and materials (not
furnished by Owner), and to construct the proposed 2nd lpo-Bicti
A satisfactory definition of proximate cause is... "that cause, Tunnel, Intake and Outlet Structures, and Appurtenant
which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any Structures, and Appurtenant Features, at Norzagaray, Bulacan,
efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without and to complete said works within eight hundred (800) calendar
which the result would not have occurred."And more days from the date the Contractor receives the formal notice to
comprehensively, "the proximate legal cause is that acting first proceed.
and producing the injury, either immediately or by setting other
events in motion, all constituting a natural and continuous chain The project involved two (2) major phases: the tunnel work and
of events, each having a close causal connection with its the outworks at both ends of the tunnel. Plaintiff corporation
immediate predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately already had completed the first major phase of the work, namely,
effecting the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause the tunnel excavation work. Some portions of the outworks at
which first acted, under such circumstances that the person the Bicti site were still under construction. As soon as the plaintiff
responsible for the first event should, as an ordinarily prudent corporation had finished the tunnel excavation work at the Bicti
and intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect at the site, all the equipment no longer needed there were transferred
moment of his act or default that an injury to some person might to the Ipo site where some projects were yet to be completed.
probably result therefrom."
On November 4,1967, typhoon 'Welming' hit Central Luzon,
If the wound of Javier inflicted by the appellant was already passing through defendant's Angat Hydro-electric Project and
infected by tetanus germs at the time, it is more medically Dam at lpo, Norzagaray, Bulacan. Strong winds struck the
probable that Javier should have been infected with only a mild project area, and heavy rains intermittently fell. Due to the heavy
cause of tetanus because the symptoms of tetanus appeared on downpour, the water in the reservoir of the Angat Dam was rising
the 22nd day after the hacking incident or more than 14 days perilously at the rate of sixty (60) centimeters per hour. To
after the infliction of the wound. Therefore, the onset time should prevent an overflow of water from the dam, since the water level
have been more than six days. Javier, however, died on the had reached the danger height of 212 meters above sea level,
second day from the onset time. The more credible conclusion the defendant corporation caused the opening of the spillway
is that at the time Javier's wound was inflicted by the appellant, gates.
the severe form of tetanus that killed him was not yet present.
Consequently, Javier's wound could have been infected with The appellate court sustained the findings of the trial court that
tetanus after the hacking incident. Considering the circumstance the evidence preponderantly established the fact that due to the
surrounding Javier's death, his wound could have been infected negligent manner with which the spillway gates of the Angat
by tetanus 2 or 3 or a few but not 20 to 22 days before he died. Dam were opened, an extraordinary large volume of water
rushed out of the gates, and hit the installations and construction
The rule is that the death of the victim must be the direct, natural, works of ECI at the lpo site with terrific impact, as a result of
and logical consequence of the wounds inflicted upon him by the which the latter's stockpile of materials and supplies, camp
accused. And since we are dealing with a criminal conviction, facilities and permanent structures and accessories either
the proof that the accused caused the victim's death must washed away, lost or destroyed.
convince a rational mind beyond reasonable doubt. The medical
findings, however, lead us to a distinct possibility that the ISSUE: Whether the destruction and loss of ECI’s equipment
infection of the wound by tetanus was an efficient intervening and facilities were due to force majeure, which will exempt NPC
cause later or between the time Javier was wounded to the time from liability.
of his death. The infection was, therefore, distinct and foreign to
the crime. HELD: YES.

There is a likelihood that the wound was but the remote cause NPC was undoubtedly negligent because it opened the spillway
and its subsequent infection, for failure to take necessary gates of the Angat Dam only at the height of typhoon "Welming"
precautions, with tetanus may have been the proximate cause when it knew very well that it was safer to have opened the same
of Javier's death with which the petitioner had nothing to do. "A gradually and earlier, as it was also undeniable that NPC knew
prior and remote cause cannot be made the be of an action if of the coming typhoon at least four days before it actually struck.
such remote cause did nothing more than furnish the condition And even though the typhoon was an act of God or what we may
call force majeure, NPC cannot escape liability because its 1. CIVIL LIABILITY FOR DAMAGES. — In order to enforce the
negligence was the proximate cause of the loss and damage. liability of an employer for injuries to his employee, it is not
necessary that a criminal action be first prosecuted against the
1. SUBSTANTIAL FACTOR TEST employer or his representative primarily chargeable with the
accident. No criminal proceeding having been taken, the civil
(Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf & Pacific Co.) action may proceed to judgment.

The plaintiff, one of a gang of eight negro laborers in the 2. LIABILITY OF EMPLOYER TO WORKMEN. — The
employment of the defendant, was at work transporting iron rails responsibility of an employer to his employee of a fellow-servant
from a barge in the harbor to the company's yard near the of the employee injured, is not adopted in Philippine
malecon in Manila. Plaintiff claims that but one hand car was jurisprudence.
used in this work. The defendant has proved that there were two
immediately following one another, upon which were piled 3. FELLOW-SERVANT RULE. — Sua cuique culpa nocet. The
lengthwise seven rails, each weighing 560 pounds, so that the doctrine known as the "Fellow-servant rule," exonerating the
ends of the rails lay upon two crosspieces or sills secured to the employer where the injury was incurred through the negligence
cars, but without side pieces or guards to prevent them from of a fellow-servant of the employee injured, is not adopted in
slipping off. According to the testimony of the plaintiff, the men Philippine jurisprudence.
were either in the rear of the car or at its sides. According to that
defendant, some of them were also in front, hauling by a rope. 2. CONCURRENT CAUSES
At a certain spot at or near the water's edge the track sagged,
the tie broke, the car either canted or upset, the rails slid off and (SABIDO vs. CUSTODIO)
caught the plaintiff, breaking his leg, which was afterwards
amputated at about the knee. FACTS: This case involves an accident between a truck [or bus]
belonging to Laguna Tayabas Bus Company (LTB) and driven
ISSUE: by Mudales and a truck owned by Sabido and driven by
Whether the company is liable Lagunda. The two vehicles were going in opposite directions
when they met at a curve in the road. Custodio, a passenger
RULING: ofLTB was hanging [sabit] on the left side of the vehicle. He died
Yes. The negligence of the plaintiff, contributing to the accident, after being sideswiped by Sabido’s truck.The CFI held the
to what extent it existed in fact and what legal effect is to be vehicle owners and the drivers solidarily liable. LTB and its driver
given it. In two particulars is he charged with carelessness: were liable for violating the contract of carriage; Sabido and his
driver were liable for quasi-delict.
First. That having noticed the depression in the track he
continued his work; and ISSUE: Whether Sabido and his driver were guilty of negligence;
whether they should be held solidarily liable with LTB.
Second.That he walked on the ends of the ties at the side of the
car instead of along the boards, either before or behind it. HELD: They are both guilty of contributory negligence. Though
LTB and its driver were guilty of negligence for allowing Custodio
The Court ruled that His lack of caution in continuing at his work to hang from the left side of the bus, Sabido and his driver were
after noticing the slight depression of the rail was not of so gross guilty of contributory negligence because the truck was running
a nature as to constitute negligence, barring his recovery under at a considerable speed, despite the fact that it was negotiating
the severe American rule. While the plaintiff and his witnesses a sharp curve, and, instead of being close to its right side of the
swear that not only were they not forbidden to proceed in this road, said truck was driven on its middle portion and so near the
way, but were expressly directed by the foreman to do so, both passenger bus coming from the opposite direction as to
the officers of the company and three of the workmen testify that sideswipe a passenger riding on its running board.
there was a general prohibition frequently made known to all the
gang against walking by the side of the car, and the foreman Though the negligence of LTB and its driver are independent
swears that he repeated the prohibition before the starting of this from the negligence of Sabido and his driver, both acts of
particular load. On this contradiction of proof we think that the negligence are the proximate cause of the death of Custodio. In
preponderance is in favor of the defendant's contention to the fact, the negligence of the first two would not have produced this
extent of the general order being made known to the workmen. result without the negligence of Sabido and his driver. What is
If so, the disobedience of the plaintiff in placing himself in danger more, Sabido’s driver’s negligence was the last, in point of time,
contributed in some degree to the injury as a proximate, for Custodio was on the running board of the carrier's bus
although not as its primary cause. sometime before petitioners' truck came from the opposite
direction, so that, in this sense, Sabido’s truck had the last clear
Distinction must be between the accident and the injury, chance.
between the event itself, without which there could have been
no accident, and those acts of the victim not entering into it, Even though LTB’s liability arises from breach of contract and
independent of it, but contributing under review was the Sabido’s arises from quasi-delict, they are solidarily liable
displacement of the crosspiece or the failure to replace it. this because the rule is that, where the CONCURRENT OR
produced the event giving occasion for damages — that is, the SUCCESSIVE NEGLIGENT ACTS OR OMISSION of two or
sinking of the track and the sliding of the iron rails. Where he more persons, although acting independently of each other,
contributes to the principal occurrence, as one of its determining are, in combination, the direct and proximate cause of a single
factors, he can not recover. Where, in conjunction with the injury to a third person, and it is impossible to determine in what
occurrence, he contributes only to his own injury, he may proportion each contributed to the injury, either is responsible for
recover the amount that the defendant responsible for the event the whole injury, even though his act alone might not have
should pay for such injury, less a sum deemed a suitable caused the entire injury, or the same damage might have
equivalent for his own imprudence. resulted from the acts of the other tort-feasor.
3. NATURAL AND PROBABLE CAUSE and the death certificate indicates that the victim died of “ shock
and massive cerebral hemorrhages due to vehicular accident.”
ISSUE: Whether Iligan’s hacking of Quiñones, Jr.’s head is the
Facts: On May 14, 1972, a storm with strong rain hit the direct cause of the latter’s death.
Municipality of Alcala Pangasinan. During the storm, the banana
plants standing near the transmission line of the Alcala Electric HELD: NO. It is the proximate cause of Quinones, Jr.’s death.
Plant (AEP) were blown down and fell on the electric wire. The
live electric wire was cut, one end of which was left hanging on The intentional felony committed was the hacking of the head of
the electric post and the other fell to the ground. The following Quiñones, Jr. by Iligan. That it was considered as superficial by
morning, barrio captain saw Cipriano Baldomero, a laborer of the physician who autopsied Quiñones is beside the point. What
the AEP, asked him to fix it, but the latter told the barrio captain is material is that by the instrument used in hacking Quiñones,
that he could not do it but that he was going to look for the Jr. and the location of the wound, the assault was meant not only
lineman to fix it. Sometime thereafter, a small boy of 3 years and to immobilize the victim but to do away with him as it was
8 months old by the name of Manuel P. Saynes, whose house directed at a vital and delicate part of the body: the head. The
is just on the opposite side of the road, went to the place where hacking incident happened on the national highway where
the broken line wire was and got in contact with it. The boy was vehicles are expected to pass any moment. One such vehicle
electrocuted and he subsequently died. It was only after the passed seconds later when Lukban and Zaldy Asis, running
electrocution that the broken wire was fixed. scared and having barely negotiated the distance of around 200
meters, heard shouts of people. Quiñones, Jr., weakened by the
Issues: (1) WON the proximate cause of the boy's death is due hacking blow which sent him to the cemented highway, was run
to a fortuitous event- storm; (2) WON boy’s parents’ negligence over by a vehicle. Under these circumstances, we hold that while
exempts petitioner from liability. Iligan’s hacking of Quiñones, Jr.’s head might not have been the
direct cause, it was the proximate cause of the latter’s death.
(1) A careful examination of the records convinces the SC that Proximate legal cause is defined as "that acting first and
a series of negligence on the part of defendants' employees in producing the injury, either immediately or by setting other
the AEP resulted in the death of the victim by electrocution. With events in motion, all constituting a natural and continuous chain
ordinary foresight, the employees of the petitioner could have of events, each having a close causal connection with its
easily seen that even in case of moderate winds the electric line immediate predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately
would be endangered by banana plants being blown down. effecting the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause
which first acted, under such circumstances that the person
(2) Art. 2179 CC provides that if the negligence of the plaintiff responsible for the first event should, as an ordinarily prudent
(parents of the victim in this case) was only contributory, the and intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect at the
immediate and proximate cause of the injury being the moment of his act or default that an injury to some person might
defendants' (petitioners’) lack of due care, the plaintiff may probably result therefrom.
recover damages, but the courts shall mitigate the damages to
be awarded. This law may be availed of by the petitioner but In other words, the sequence of events from Iligan’s assault on
does not exempt him from liability. Petitioner's liability for injury him to the time Quiñones, Jr. was run over by a vehicle is,
caused by his employees negligence is well defined in par. 4, of considering the very short span of time between them, one
Article 2180 of the Civil Code. unbroken chain of events. Having triggered such events, Iligan
cannot escape liability.

(ALLIED BANKING vs. LIM SIO WAN) PROCURING CAUSE refers to a cause which starts a series of
events and results, without break in their continuity, in the
5. PROXIMATE CAUSE IN A CRIMINAL CASE accomplishment of a broker’s prime objective of producing a
purchaser who is ready, willing, and able to buy on the owner’s
(PEOPLE vs. ILIGAN) terms.1 This is similar to the concept of proximate cause in
Torts, without which the injury would not have occurred. To be
FACTS: At around 2 in the morning Esmeraldo Quinones and regarded as the procuring cause of a sale, a broker’s efforts
his companions Zaldy Asis and Felix Lukban were walking home must have been the foundation of the negotiations which
from barangay Sto. Domingo after attending a barrio fiesta. On subsequently resulted in a sale.
the way they met the accused Fernando Iligan and his nephew
Edmundo Asis and Juan Macandog. Edmundo Asis pushed (ORIENTAL PETROLEUM AND MINERALS CORPORATION
them aside prompting Zaldy Asis to box him. Felix quickly said vs. TUSCAN REALTY, INC.)
that they had no desire to fight. Upon seeing his nephew fall
,Fernando Iligan drew from his back a bolo and hacked Zaldy FACTS: Tuscan realty was engaged by Oriental Petroleum to
but missed. Terrified the trio ran, pursued by the three accused. look for buyers for its condominium units in Corinthian Plaza.
They ran for a good while and even passed the house of Tuscan introduced gateway to oriental petroleum and a contract
Quinones, when they noticed that they were no longer being to sell was executed. However gateway assigned its right under
chased the three decided to head back to Quinones house. On the contract to sell in favor of Ancheta who ultimately bought the
the way back the three accused suddenly emerged from the property.
road side, Fernando Iligan then hacked Quinones Jr. on the
forehead with his bolo causing him to fall down. Felix and Zaldy ISSUE: Whether Tuscan entitled to broker’s commission.
ran. Upon returning they saw that Quinones Jr. was already
dead with his head busted. The postmortem examination report HELD: Yes. Because of the principle of “procuring cause”.
It was on account of Tuscan realty’s effort that Oriental school has no control hence they may not be held liable for the
Petroleum got connected to gateway, the prospective buyer, death resulting from such accident.
resulting in the latter two entering into a contract to sell involving
the two condominium units. Although gateway turned around The registered owner of any vehicle, even if not used for public
and sold the condominium units to Ancheta, the fact is that such service, would primarily be responsible to the public or to
ultimate sale could not have happened without gateway’s 3rd persons for injuries caused while it is being driven on the
indispensable intervention as intermediate buyer.
road. It is not the school, but the registered owner of the vehicle
F. OTHER ILLUSTRATIVE CASES who shall be held responsible for damages for the death of
Sherwin. Case was remanded to the trial court for determination
(PLDT vs. CA) of the liability of the defendants excluding herein petitioner.

Facts: On July, 30, 1968, respondent spouses Esteban had their (CALIMUTAN vs. PEOPLE)
jeep ran over a sand of earth and fell into an open trench, an
excavation allegedly undertaken by PLDT for the installation of FACTS:
its underground conduit system. Respondent Antonio Esteban
failed to notice the open trench which was left uncovered Victim Cantre crossed paths with petitioner Calimutan and a
because of the creeping darkness and the lack of warning light certain Michael Bulalacao. Victim Cantre was harboring a
or signs. Respondent spouses suffered physical injuries and grudge against Bulalacao, suspecting the latter as theculprit
their jeeps windshield was shattered. PLDT alleged that the responsible for throwing stones at the Cantre’s house on a
respondents were negligent and that it should be the previous night. Thus,upon seeing Bulalacao, victim Cantre
independent contractor L.R. Barte and Company which suddenly punched him. While Bulalacao ran away, petitioner
undertook said conduit system to be the one liable.The latter Calimutan dashed towards the back of victim Cantre. Petitioner
claimed to have complied with its contract and had installed Calimutan then picked up a stone which he threw at victim
necessary barricades. Cantre, hitting him at the left side of his back.

Issue: Whether the PLDT and L.R. Barte and Co. are liable. Victim Cantre complained of backache and also of
stomachache, and was unable to eat. By nighttime, victim
Ruling: No. Private Respondent´s negligence was not merely Cantre was alternately feeling cold and then warm. He was
contributory but goes to the very cause of the accident, hence sweating profusely and his entire body felt numb. For the last
he has no right to recover damages for the injuries which he and time, he complained of backache and stomachache, and shortly
his wife suffered. Private respondent cannot recover thereafter, he died.
notwithstanding the negligence he imputes on PLDT
considering that he had ¨the last clear chance¨, to avoid the Victim Cantre suffered from an internal hemorrhage and there
injury. One who claims damages for the negligence of another was massiveaccumulation of blood in his abdominal cavity due
has the burden of proof to show existence of such fault or to his lacerated spleen. Thelaceration of the spleen can be
negligence causative thereof. caused by any blunt instrument, such as a stone.Hence, Dr.
Mendez confirmed the possibility that the victim Cantre was
(ST. MARY’S ACADEMY vs. CARPITANOS) stoned to deathby petitioner Calimutan.

FACTS: Herein petitioner, conducted an enrollment drive for the ISSUE: Whether petitioner is liable for the death of Cantre.
school year 1995-1996 They visited schools from where
prospective enrollees were studying. Sherwin Carpitanos joined HELD: YES.
the campaign. Along with the other high school students, they
The act of throwing a stone from behind which hit the victim at
rode a Mitsubishi jeep owned by Vivencio Villanueva on their
his back on the left side was a treacherous one and the accused
way to Larayan Elementary School. Such jeep was driven by committed a felony causing physical injuries to the victim. The
James Daniel II, a 15 year old student of the same school. It physical injury of hematoma as a result of the impact of the stone
was alleged that he drove the jeep in a reckless manner which resulted in the laceration of the spleen causing the death of the
resulted for it to turned turtle. Sherwin died due to this accident. victim. The accused is criminally liable for all the direct and
natural consequences of this unlawful act even if the ultimate
ISSUE: WON petitioner should be held liable for the damages. result had not been intended.

HELD: CA held petitioner liable for the death of Sherwin under One is not relieved from criminal liability for the natural
Article 218 and 219 of the Family Code where it was pointed that consequences of one’s illegal acts merely because one does not
they were negligent in allowing a minor to drive and not having intend to produce such consequences.
a teacher accompany the minor students in the jeep. However,
for them to be held liable, the act or omission to be considered
negligent must be the proximate cause of the injury caused thus, FACTS: On 14 September 1984, at around 7:15 in the morning,
negligence needs to have a causal connection to the accident. It while an Isuzu KC-20 passenger jeep (KC-20), then being driven
must be direct and natural sequence of events, unbroken by any by Jimmy Basilio, was traversing the right side of the Roman
efficient intervening causes. The parents of the victim failed to Highway in Barangay Pias, Orion, Bataan, it collided with a
show such negligence on the part of the petitioner. The spouses tanker truck driven by Gerardo Lim, which was then moving from
Villanueva admitted that the immediate cause of the accident the right shoulder of the highway. As a result of the collision, the
was not the reckless driving of James but the detachment of the KC-20 was thrown towards the left lane of the highway where it
steering wheel guide of the jeep. Futhermore, there was no was bumped by a Mazda minibus (minibus) being driven by
evidence that petitioner allowed the minor to drive the jeep of herein petitioner Gonzales who was then trying to overtake the
Villanueva. The mechanical defect was an event over which the KC-20. At that point, the KC-20 spun and bumped a Transcon
service truck parked on the left side of the highway. As a result
of the impact, the KC-20 was thrown across the highway where
it was again hit by the minibus pushing the former towards a
deep portion on the left side of the road. As a consequence of
the accident, passengers of the KC-20, including respondent
Lugue, suffered physical injuries.

To summarize, the parties involved in the vehicular accident are

as follows:


Isuzu KC-20 Ricardo Santiago Jimmy Basilio

Tanker truck Oscar Jaring Gerardo Lim

Mazda minibus Amador Corpuz Romeo Gonzales

Respondent Lugue then filed an action for damages arising from

the vehicular incident before the Balanga, Bataan RTC, Branch
2, against herein petitioners Amador Corpuz and Romeo
Gonzales, owner and driver of the minibus, respectively, and
Oscar Jaring and Gerardo Lim, owner and driver of the tanker
truck, respectively. Therein defendants filed a third-party
complaint against Ricardo Santiago and Jimmy Basilio,
owner/operator and driver of the KC-20, respectively.

After trial, the lower court rendered a decision holding jointly and
severally liable Ricardo Santiago, Jimmy Basilio, Oscar Jaring,
Gerardo Lim, Amador Corpuz, and Romeo Gonzales. The Court
of Appeals granted the appeal of Oscar Jaring and Gerardo Lim,
while it dismissed that of plaintiffs Santiago and Basilio.

ISSUE: Whether the appellate court erred in holding them liable

for damages based on the findings of facts adduced by the trial

HELD: From the foregoing testimonies, as well as the

discussion of the trial court earlier quoted, it is clear that the
proximate cause of the injuries suffered by respondent Lugue
was the collision between the KC-20 and the tanker truck. As
correctly pointed out by the lower court, 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
ordinarily 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.
LEGAL INJURY In the situation in which respondent finds himself, his is a case
of damnum absque injuria.
On the same breath, however, we have equally ruled that the a
(Equitable Bank vs. Calderon) contract of adhesion is as binding as ordinary contracts, the
reason being that the party who adheres to the contract is free
FACTS: to reject it entirely.
Moreover, the provision on automatic suspension without notice
Respondent Calderon, a businessman and a seasoned traveller embodied in the same Credit Card Agreement is couched in
in US, Europe and Asia, applied and was issued an Equitable clear and unambiguous term, not to say that the agreement itself
International Visa card. While in Hong Kong with his reputable was entered into by respondent who, by his own account, is a
friends, went to Gucci Department Store, he was informed by reputable businessman engaged in business activities here and
the saleslady that his card was blacklisted. Calderon sought the abroad.
reconfirmation of the status of his Visa card from the saleslady,
but the latter simply did not honor it and even threatened to cut On a final note, we emphasize that moral damages are in the
it into pieces with the use of a pair of scissors. Deeply category of an award designed to compensate the claim for
embarrassed and humiliated, and in order to avoid further actual injury suffered and not to impose a penalty on the
indignities, Calderon paid cash for the Gucci goods and items wrongdoer.
that he bought.
(Aznar vs. Citibank)
Upon his return to the Philippines, and claiming that he suffered FACTS:
much torment and embarrassment on account of EBCs wrongful
act of blacklisting/suspending his VISA credit card while at the
Gucci store in Hongkong, Calderon filed with the Regional Trial The herein petitioner, Emmanuel B. Aznar, is a prominent
Court at Makati City a complaint for damages[2] against EBC. businessman and entrepreneur in Cebu. He decided to treat his
EBC denied any liability to Calderon, alleging that the latters wife together with their grandchildren for an Asian Tour using his
credit card privileges for dollar transactions were earlier placed Citibank credit card. He deposited P485,000 to his account to
under suspension on account of Calderons prior use of the same increase his ordinary credit limit from P150,000 to P635,000. He
card in excess of his credit limit, adding that Calderon failed to bought tickets to Kuala Lumpur amounting to P235,000. When
settle said prior credit purchase on due date, thereby causing they were in Kuala Lumpur, they decided to purchases things to
his obligation to become past due. Corollarily, EBC asserts that which the credit card was dishonoured for over the limit.
Calderon also failed to maintain the required minimum deposit. Eventually the agency further dishonoured the card and even
mentioned that the petitioner be a swindler. In that note, they
decided to go back Philippines and instantly filed a complaint for
ISSUE: Whether Calderon has established his claim against damages. The lower court initially dismissed the complaint on
EBC. the ground that their was no proper authentication as to the print
HELD: out of the computer generated document presented as evidence
before the court. The petitioner filed a motion for the re-raffle of
Even on the aspect of negligence, therefore, petitioner could not the case, raising the contention that the judge was also a holder
have been properly adjudged liable for moral damages. of Citibank credit card. The judge later acceded with the
Unquestionably, respondent suffered damages as a result of the contention of petitioner and ordered for the company to pay
dishonor of his card. There is, however, a material distinction enormous amount of damages to the plaintiff. When the case
between damages and injury. To quote from our decision in BPI was elevated before the CA the latter denied such.
Express Card Corporation vs. Court of Appeals:
ISSUE: Whether Aznar has established his claim against
Injury is the illegal invasion of a legal right; damage is the loss, Citibank.
hurt or harm which results from the injury; and damages are the
recompense or compensation awarded for the damage HELD: NO.
suffered. Thus, there can be damage without injury in those
instances in which the loss or harm was not the result of a In the complaint Aznar filed before the RTC, he claimed that
violation of a legal duty. In such cases the consequences must Citibank blacklisted his Mastercard which caused its dishonor in
be borne by the injured person alone, the law affords no remedy several establishments in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia,
for damages resulting from an act which does not amount to a particularly in Ingtan Agency in Indonesia where he was
legal injury or wrong. These situations are often called damnum humiliated when its staff insinuated that he could be a swindler
absque injuria. trying to use a blacklisted card.

As correctly found by the RTC in its May 29, 1998 Decision,

In other words, in order that a plaintiff may maintain an action Aznar failed to prove with a preponderance of evidence that
for the injuries of which he complains, he must establish that Citibank blacklisted his Mastercard or placed the same on the
such injuries resulted from a breach of duty which the defendant "hot list."41
owed to the plaintiff- a concurrence of injury to the plaintiff and
legal responsibility by the person causing it. The underlying Aznar in his testimony admitted that he had no personal
basis for the award of tort damages is the premise that an knowledge that his Mastercard was blacklisted by Citibank and
individual was injured in contemplation of law. Thus, there only presumed such fact from the dishonor of his card.
must first be a breach of some duty and the imposition of
liability for that breach before damages may be awarded; and Court agrees with Aznar that the terms and conditions of
the breach of such duty should be the proximate cause of the Citibank’s Mastercard constitute a contract of adhesion. It is
injury. (Emphasis supplied). settled that contracts between cardholders and the credit card
companies are contracts of adhesion, so-called, because their
terms are prepared by only one party while the other merely FACTS:
affixes his signature signifying his adhesion thereto.
Mario is an electrician who worked in Saudi Arabia as an OCW
In this case, paragraph 7 of the terms and conditions states that from 1977 to 1981. In 1979, he met Zenaida Dapar who was
"[Citibank is] not responsible if the Card is not honored by any working as a domestic helper. The two became lovers and Mario
merchant affiliate for any reason x x x". While it is true that failed to give support to his wife and family in the Philippines.
Citibank may have no control of all the actions of its merchant
affiliates, and should not be held liable therefor, it is incorrect, Zenaida returned to the Philippines in 1981. When Mario also
however, to give it blanket freedom from liability if its card is returned, they lived together in a rented house in Valenzuela and
dishonored by any merchant affiliate for any reason. Such opened a joint account with PNB. Mario returned to Saudi Arabia
phrase renders the statement vague and as the said terms and in February 1984 while Zenaida stayed behind and worked in a
conditions constitute a contract of adhesion, any ambiguity in its garment factory. He remitted his earnings to Zenaida and the
provisions must be construed against the party who prepared latter deposited them in their joint savings account. These
the contract,55 in this case Citibank. remittances were credited in said account as well as others
coming from Zenaida’s relatives working abroad. It had a
Citibank also invokes paragraph 15 of its terms and conditions balance of P257,225.
which limits its liability to ₱1,000.00 or the actual damage
proven, whichever is lesser. A contract to sell was executed between State Land Investment
Corp. and Spouses Mario and Zenaida Biascan over a parcel of
Again, such stipulation cannot be considered as valid for being land with an area of 150 sq. m. in Novaliches for P177,189. A
unconscionable as it precludes payment of a larger amount Deed of Sale was executed in favor of Spouses Mario and
even though damage may be clearly proven. This Court is not Zenaida Biascan as vendees and A TCT was issued by the RD
precluded from ruling out blind adherence to the terms of a of Caloocan under their names.
contract if the attendant facts and circumstances show that they
should be ignored for being obviously too one-sided.56 Gloria Biascan filed a complaint against Zenaida for annulment
if title, reconveyance and damages in the RTC of Caloocan. She
The invalidity of the terms and conditions being invoked by alleged that Zenaida fraudulently misrepresented herself as
Citibank, notwithstanding, the Court still cannot award damages Mario’s legal wife and had no legal basis in having her name
in favor of petitioner. included in the TCT and tax declaration; and that Gloria, as legal
wife, is entitled to damages because of Zenaida’s use of the
It is settled that in order that a plaintiff may maintain an action surname Biascan which is a usurpation of surname under Article
for the injuries of which he complains, he must establish that 377 of the New Civil Code.
such injuries resulted from a breach of duty which the defendant
owed to the plaintiff – a concurrence of injury to the plaintiff and Zenaida filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that, under
legal responsibility by the person causing it. The underlying Article 113 of the Civil Code and Section 4, Rule 3 of the Rules
basis for the award of tort damages is the premise that an of Court, a married woman cannot sue or be sued alone without
individual was injured in contemplation of law; thus there must joining her husband, and that, as registered co-owner of the
first be a breach before damages may be awarded and the subject property, the latter was an indispensable party. She also
breach of such duty should be the proximate cause of the alleged that she had no idea that Mario was a married man; that
injury.57 she tried to leave him when such fact came to her knowledge;
and that Mario made repeated promises of marriage.
It is not enough that one merely suffered sleepless nights,
mental anguish or serious anxiety as a result of the actuations Zenaida had also previously instituted an action for Partition
of the other party. It is also required that a culpable act or when Mario and his family fraudulently and maliciously forced
omission was factually established, that proof that the wrongful her to vacate the house and lot of which the RTC declared her
act or omission of the defendant is shown as the proximate as a co-owner of the subject lot.
cause of the damage sustained by the claimant and that the
case is predicated on any of the instances expressed or Zenaida’s motion to dismiss was denied. In her counterclaim she
envisioned by Arts. 221958 and 222059 of the Civil Code.60 averred that most of the money used for the amortization and
purchase of the subject lot, as well as the construction of the
In culpa contractual or breach of contract, moral damages are improvements thereon, was sourced from her earnings and
recoverable only if the defendant has acted fraudulently or in income and not solely from Mario Biascan. She further alleged
bad faith, or is found guilty of gross negligence amounting to bad that Mario was, in fact, unemployed from the later part of 1985
faith, or in wanton disregard of his contractual obligations. The to the early part of 1988, and that they had to secure a loan in
breach must be wanton, reckless, malicious or in bad faith, the total amount of P80,000 from her mother, which was used
oppressive or abusive.61 to pay part of the amortization of the property and, which to date,
has remained unpaid.
While the Court commiserates with Aznar for whatever undue
embarrassment he suffered when his credit card was The court ruled in Zenaida’s favor. CA reversed and set aside
dishonored by Ingtan Agency, especially when the agency’s the lower court’s decision. Her motion for reconsideration was
personnel insinuated that he could be a swindler trying to use likewise denied.
blacklisted cards, the Court cannot grant his present petition as
he failed to show by preponderance of evidence that Citibank ISSUE: Whether Gloria Biascan is entitled to an award of
breached any obligation that would make it answerable for said damages.
RULING: NO. The action filed by Gloria is barred by the decision

(Dapar vs. Biascan)

Anent respondent Gloria Biascan’s claim for damages for the
petitioner’s alleged usurpation of her husband’s name, we rule
that she is not entitled to an award therefor.

The usurpation of name under Article 377 of the Civil Code

implies some injury to the interests of the owner of the name. It
consists in the possibility of confusion of identity between the
owner and the usurper, and exists when a person designates
himself by another name. The elements are as follows: (1) there
is an actual use of anothers name by the defendant; (2) the use
is unauthorized; and (3) the use of anothers name is to
designate personality or identify a person. None of the foregoing
exist in the case at bar. Respondent Gloria Biascan did not claim
that the petitioner ever attempted to impersonate her. In fact, the
trial court found that respondent Mario Biascan allowed the
petitioner to use his surname.

The very first time that Zenaida Dapar’s name had the surname
Biascan was when defendant Mario Biascan had executed the
affidavit of undertaking in connection with his employment in
Saudi Arabia, wherein he designated as his beneficiary Zenaida
Dapar Biascan. The undertaking was sworn to by the defendant
on April 7, 1982 and which also showed that his effective date
of employment in Saudi Arabia was April 1982 and to expire on
February 1984.

Zenaida appeared to have no participation in the preparation of

said document. Moreover, when the contract to sell and the
deed of sale of the property in question were executed, Zenaida
Dapar used the surname Biascan and defendant Mario Biascan
did not object to the use of such surname. Also, in the joint bank
account with the PNB Valenzuela, the name Zenaida Dapar
Biascan is described as a joint depositor.

Defendant Zenaida Dapar testified that she used the surname

Biascan because she was instructed by her co-defendant to do
so and she thought the latter was not married. She only became
aware of his civil status a few years later after their living
together in 1981.

The use by Zenaida Dapar of the surname of her co-defendant

Mario Biascan was allowed by the latter and in no case could it
be considered usurpation of surname. Accordingly, co-
defendant Zenaida Dapar can no longer be held liable for
damages for the use thereof.

The mere use of a surname cannot be enjoined; it is the use

thereof coupled with the representation that one is the lawful
wife, or the usurpation of the wife’s status, which gives rise to an
action for damages.