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DUTY TO EXERCISE NEGLIGENCE

THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF JARO vs. GREGORIO DE LA


PEÑA
G.R. No. L-17585 June 5, 1922
Moreland, J.

FACTS:

In 1898 Fr. De la Peña assigned as trustee of the sum of P6,641, collected


by him for the charitable purposes he deposited in his personal account
P19,000 in the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank at Iloilo. During the war of
the revolution, Father De la Peña was arrested by the military authorities as
a political prisoner. The arrest of Father De la Peña and the confiscation of
the funds in the bank were the result of the claim of the military authorities
that he was an insurgent and that the funds deposited had been collected
by him is for revolutionary purposes. The money was taken from the bank
by the military authorities by virtue of such order, was confiscated and
turned over to the Government.

ISSUES: Whether or not Father De la Peña is liable for the loss of the
funds?

RULLING:

No, he is not liable because there is no negligent act on the part of Fr. De
la Peña. It was so happened that during that time the money was taken
from him by the U.S. military forces which is unforeseen event. Although
the Civil Code states that “a person obliged to give something is also bound
to preserve it with the diligence pertaining to a good father of a family”, it
also provides, following the principle of the Roman law that “no one shall be
liable for events which could not be foreseen, or which having been
foreseen were inevitable, with the exception of the cases expressly
mentioned in the law or those in which the obligation so declares.”
Africa vs. Caltex
G.R. No. L-12986 March 31, 1966
Makalintal, J.

Facts:

In the afternoon of March 18, 1948, a fire broke out at the Caltex service
station at the corner of Antipolo St. and Rizal Avenue, Manila. It started
while gasoline was being hosed from a tank truck into the underground
storage, right at the opening of the receiving tank where the nozzle of the
hose was inserted. The fire spread to and burned several houses. The
owners, among them petitioner spouses Africa and heirs of Ong, sued
respondents Caltex Phil., Inc., the alleged owner of the station, and Mateo
Boquiren, the agent in charge of its operation, for damages. The CFI and
CA found that the petitioners failed to prove negligence of the respondents,
and that there was due care in the premises and with respect to the
supervision of their employees.

Issue: Whether or not, without proof as to the cause and origin of the fire,
the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur should apply so as to presume negligence
on the part of the respondents.

Held:

Yes. Res ipsa loquitur literally means “the thing or transaction speaks for
itself.” For the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur to apply, the following requisites
should be present: (a) the accident is of a kind which ordinarily does not
occur in the absence of someone’s negligence; (b) it is caused by an
instrumentality within the exclusive control of the defendant or defendants;
and (c) the possibility of contributing conduct which would make the plaintiff
responsible is eliminated. In the case at bar, the gasoline station, with all its
appliances, equipment and employees, was under the control of
respondents. A fire occurred therein and spread to and burned the
neighboring houses. The persons who knew or could have known how the
fire started were respondents and their employees, but they gave no
explanation thereof whatsoever. It is a fair and reasonable inference that
the incident happened because of want of care. The negligence of the
employees was the proximate cause of the fire, which in the ordinary
course of things does not happen. Therefore, the petitioners are entitled to
the award for damages.

Placido C. Ramos and Augusto L. Ramos vs.PEPSI-COLA Bottling Co.


of the P.I. and Andres Bonifacio
G.R. No. L-22533 February 9, 1967
BENGZON, J.P., J.

FACTS:

The car driven by Augusto Ramos (son of co-plaintiff Placido Ramos)


collided with the truck of PEPSI, driven by the driver and co-defendant
Andres Bonifacio. As a result, the Ramoses sued Bonifacio and Pepsi.

The trial court found Bonifacio negligent and declared that PEPSI-COLA
had not sufficiently proved that it exercised the due diligence of a good
father of a family to prevent the damage. PEPSI-COLA and Bonifacio,
solidarily, were ordered to pay the plaintiffs damages.

The defendants appealed to the Court of Appeals. CA affirmed the decision


of the trial court, but absolved PEPSI-COLA from liability, finding that it
sufficiently proved due diligence in the selection of its driver Bonifacio. In its
decision, CA stated the basis for its decision:

“The uncontradicted testimony of Juan T. Anasco, personnel manager of


defendant company, was to the effect that defendant driver was first hired
as a member of the bottle crop in the production department; that when he
was hired as a driver, 'we had size [sic] him by looking into his background,
asking him to submit clearances, previous experience, physical
examination and later on, he was sent to the pool house to take the usual
driver's examination, consisting of: first, theoretical examination and
second, the practical driving examination, all of which he had undergone,
and that the defendant company was a member of the Safety Council. Our
Supreme Court had put it down as a rule that ‘In order that the defendant
may be considered as having exercised all the diligence of a good father of
a family, he should not have been satisfied with the mere possession of a
professional driver's license; he should have carefully examined the
applicant for employment as to his qualifications, his experiences and
record of service.’ Defendant Company has taken all these steps.”

ISSUE:

Whether PEPSI-COLA exercised due diligence in the selection of its


employee.

HELD:

The appellants contended that Añasco, being PEPSI-COLA's employee, is


a biased and an interested witness. This is a question of fact, and the SC
would not disturb the findings of CA.

It should perhaps be stated that in the instant case no question is raised as


to due diligence in the supervision by PEPSI-COLA of its driver. Article
2180 points out that the owners and managers of an establishment or
enterprise are likewise responsible for damages caused by their employees
in the service of the branches in which the latter are employed or on the
occasion of their functions. This responsibility shall cease when the
employers prove that they observed the diligence of a good father of a
family to prevent damage; hence, PEPSI-COLA shall be relieved from
liability (rebuttable presumption of negligence).

The decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby affirmed.

RESOLUTION ON MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

BENGZON, J.P., J.:

Petitioners impute to PEPSI-COLA the violation of subpars M.V.O.


Administrative Order No. 1 in that at the time of the collision, the trailer-
truck, which had a total weight of 30,000 kgms., was (a) being driven at a
speed of about 30 k.p.h. or beyond the 15 k.p.h. limit set and (b) was not
equipped with a rear-vision mirror nor provided with a helper for the driver.
There is no finding that the tractor-truck did not have a rear-vision mirror.

Petitioners also charge PEPSI-COLA with having violated par. (b) of Sec.
8-A of the Rev. Motor Vehicle Law, alleging that the truck exceeded the
dimensions allowed. It is not enough that the width of the tractor-truck
exceed the limit in Sec. 8-A; in addition, it must also appear that there was
no special permit granted under Sec. 9. Unfortunately for petitioners, that
vital factual link is missing. There was no proof much less any finding to
that effect.

We are urged to apply the Anglo-American doctrine of respondent superior.


We cannot however, abandon the Bahia ruling without going against the
explicit mandate of the law. A motor vehicle owner is not an absolute
insurer against all damages caused by its driver. Article 2180 of our Civil
Code is very explicit that the owner's responsibility shall cease once it
proves that it has observed the diligence of a good father of a family to
prevent damage. The Bahia case merely clarified what that diligence
consists of, namely, diligence in the selection and supervision of the driver-
employee.

Under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, the basis of an employer's liability is
his own negligence, not that of his employees. The former is made
responsible for failing to properly and diligently select and supervise his
erring employees. We do not — and have never — followed the respondent
superior rule.8 So, the American rulings cited by petitioners, based as they
are on said doctrine, are not authoritative here.

In view of the foregoing, the motion for reconsideration is hereby denied.


Equitable Leasing vs. Suyom
G.R. No. 143360. September 5, 2002
Panganiban, J.
Facts:

A Fuso Road tractor driven by Tutor rammed into the house cum of
Tamayo which resulted in the death of Tamayo’s son and Oledan’s
daughter. Failure to claim from a criminal case finding Tutor guilty of
reckless imprudence, respondents filed a civil case based on quasi delict
against Equitable Leasing Corp, the registered owner of the tractor, among
others. Equitable contends that it should not be held liable for such
damages which arose from the negligence of the driver Fuso Road. That
such tractor was already sold to the owner of Fuso Road at the time of the
accident. Thus, not having employed driver Tutor, it could not have
controlled or supervised him.

Issue:

WON Equitable should be held liable for damages in an action based on


quasi delict for the negligent acts of a driver who was not its employee.

Held:

Yes, Equitable should be held liable because it was the registered owner at
the time of the accident.

The Court has consistently ruled that, regardless of sales made of a motor
vehicle, the registered owner is the lawful operator insofar as the public and
third persons are concerned; consequently, it is directly and primarily
responsible for the consequences of its operation. In contemplation of law,
the owner/operator of record is the employer of the driver, the actual
operator and employer being considered as merely its agent. The same
principle applies even if the registered owner of any vehicle does not use it
for public service.

The main aim of motor vehicle registration is to identify the owner so that if
any accident happens, or that any damage or injury is caused by the
vehicle on the public highways, responsibility therefor can be fixed on a
definite individual, the registered owner.

BA Finance Corp vs. CA


G.R. No. 98275 November 13, 1992
Vitug, J.

Facts:

Amare, the driver of an Isuzu truck was involved in an accident which


caused the death of three persons. Amare was found guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of reckless imprudence. BA Finance was found liable for
damages since the truck was registered in its name. BA Finance contends
that it should not be held liable since it was not Amare’s employer at the
time of the accident. It also contends that the Isuzu truck was in the
possession of Rock Component Phil, by virtue of a lease agreement.
Hence, BA Finance wants to prove who the actual/real owner is at the time
of the accident, and in accordance with such proof, evade liability and lay
the same on the person actually owning the vehicle.

Issues:

1 WON BA Finance should be held liable.

2 WON BA Finance can escape liability by proving the actual/real owner of


the truck.

Held:

1 Yes, BA Finance is liable.

The registered owner of a certificate of public convenience is liable to the


public for the injuries or damages suffered by passengers or third persons
caused by the operation of said vehicle, even though the same had been
transferred to a third person. Under the same principle the registered owner
of any vehicle, even if not used for a public service, should primarily be
responsible to the public or to the third persons for injuries caused the latter
while the vehicle is being driven on the highways or streets.

2 No, the law does not allow him. The law, with its aim and policy in mind,
does not relieve him directly of the responsibility that the law fixes and
places upon him as an incident or consequence of registration. This may
appear harsh but nevertheless, a registered owner who has already sold or
transferred a vehicle has the recourse to a third-party complaint, in the
same action brought against him to recover for the damage or injury done,
against the vendee or transferee of the vehicle.

While the registered owner is primarily responsible for the damage caused,
he has a right to be indemnified by the real or actual owner of the amount
that he may be required to pay as damage for the injury caused.