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[6] Pantranco North Express, Inc. v. Baesa  The jeepney driver decided to take the highway
G.R. No. G.R. Nos. 79050-51; November 14, 1989 going to Malalam River. Upon reaching the
Topic: Doctrine of Last Clear Chance highway, the jeepney turned right and proceeded
Digested by: Diana de Leon to Malalam River at a speed of about 20 kph.
Doctrine: While they were proceeding towards Malalam
“The doctrine of last clear chance applies only in a River, a speeding PANTRANCO bus from Aparri,
situation where the defendant, having the last fair on its regular route to Manila, encroached on the
chance to avoid the impending harm and failed to do jeepney’s lane while negotiating a curve, and
so, becomes liable for all the consequences of the collided with it.
accident notwithstanding the prior negligence of the  As a result of the accident driver David Ico,
plaintiff. In order that the doctrine of last clear chance spouses Ceasar Baesa and Marilyn Baesa and
may be applied, it must be shown that the person who their children, Harold Jim and Marcelino Baesa,
allegedly had the last opportunity to avert the accident died while the rest of the passengers suffered
was aware of the existence of the peril or with exercise injuries. The jeepney was extensively damaged.
of due care should have been aware of it. This doctrine The bus driver fled and was never seen again.
of last chance has no application to a case where a  All the victims and/or their surviving heirs except
person is to act instantaneously, and if the injury herein private respondents settled the case
cannot be avoided by using all means available after the amicably under the "No Fault" insurance coverage
peril is or should have been discovered.” of PANTRANCO. Maricar Baesa through her
guardian Francisca O. Bascos and Fe O. Ico for
herself and for her minor children, filed separate
 This is a Petition for Review stemming from a actions for damages arising from quasi-delict
claim of Damages filed by Minor Maricar Baesa against PANTRANCO.
thru her guardian, and Fe Ico in her behalf and in  CFI Pangasinan: Ruled against PANTRANCO,
behalf of her minor children. awarding P2,304,647.00 as damages to Baesa
 On June 12, 1981, at around 7:00 in the morning, and P652,672.00 to Fe Ico and her children.
a passenger jeepney carrying 15 persons was on  CA: Modified the decision and awarded
its way to Malalam River in Isabela. The trip was P1,189,927.00 to Baesa, and P344,000.00 to Fe
was to celebrate Spouses Baesa’s fifth wedding Ico and her children.
anniversary. With them on the trip was their  PANTRANCO’s defense in this case was that it was
children and other guests. the jeepney driver who was negligent and that the
lower court failed to apply the doctrine of last
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clear chance. PANTRANCO argues that it was the failed to do so, is made liable for all the
driver of the passenger jeepney who had the last consequences of the accident notwithstanding the
clear chance to avoid the collision and was prior negligence of the plaintiff.
therefore negligent in failing to utilize with  For the doctrine to be applicable, it is necessary
reasonable care and competence his then existing to show that the person who allegedly had the
opportunity to avoid the harm. last opportunity to avert the accident was aware
 PANTRANCO posits that even assuming arguendo, of the existence of the peril or should, with
that the bus encroached into the lane of the exercise of due care, have been aware of it. One
jeepney, the driver of the latter could have cannot be expected to avoid an accident or injury
swerved the jeepney towards the spacious dirt if he does not know or could not have known the
shoulder on his right without danger to himself or existence of the peril.
his passengers.  In this case, there is nothing to show that the
jeepney driver David Ico knew of the impending
danger. When he saw at a distance that the
Whether or not the jeepney driver had the last clear approaching bus was encroaching on his lane, he
chance to avoid the harm did not immediately swerve the jeepney to the
dirt shoulder on his right since he must have
assumed that the bus driver will return the bus to
 No. The doctrine of last clear chance finds no its own lane upon seeing the jeepney approaching
application in this case. from the opposite direction.
 The Court first explained that the doctrine of the  In Vda. De Bonifacio v. BLTB, the court held that
last clear chance simply means that the a motorist who is properly proceeding on his own
negligence of a claimant does not preclude a side of the highway is generally entitled to
recovery for the negligence of defendant where it assume that an approaching vehicle coming
appears that the latter, by exercising reasonable towards him on the wrong side, will return to his
care and prudence, might have avoided injurious proper lane of traffic. There was nothing to
consequences to claimant notwithstanding his indicate to David Ico that the bus could not return
negligence. to its own lane or was prevented from returning
 The doctrine applies only in a situation where the to the proper lane by anything beyond the control
plaintiff was guilty of prior or antecedent of its driver. Leo Marantan, an alternate driver of
negligence but the defendant, who had the last the Pantranco bus who was seated beside the
fair chance to avoid the impending harm and driver Ramirez at the time of the accident,
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testified that Ramirez had no choice but to swerve
the steering wheel to the left and encroach on the
jeepney’s lane because there was a steep
precipice on the right. However, this is belied by
the evidence on record which clearly shows that
there was enough space to swerve the bus back
to its own lane without any danger.
 By the time David Ico must have realized that the
bus was not returning to its own lane, it was
already too late to swerve the jeepney to his right
to prevent an accident. The speed at which the
approaching bus was running prevented David Ico
from swerving the jeepney to the right shoulder
of the road in time to avoid the collision. Thus,
even assuming that the jeepney driver perceived
the danger a few seconds before the actual
collision, he had no opportunity to avoid it.
 The Court has held that the last clear chance
doctrine "can never apply where the party
charged is required to act instantaneously, and if
the injury cannot be avoided by the application of
all means at hand after the peril is or should have
been discovered."
 Petition was DENIED.

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