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GR No. 161946, 2008-11-14


Eyewitness Rosalinda Palero testified that on July 19, 1994, at about 4:00 p.m., at the intersection of
Buhangin and San Vicente Streets in Davao City, 15-year old high school student Bithuel Macas, herein
respondent, was standing on the shoulder of the road. She was about two... and a half meters away from
the respondent when he was bumped and run over by a Ford Fiera, driven by Chona C. Cimafranca.
Rosalinda and another unidentified person immediately came to the respondent's rescue and told
Cimafranca to take the victim to the hospital. Cimafranca... rushed the respondent to the Davao Medical

Cimafranca had since absconded and disappeared. Records showed that the Ford Fiera was registered in
the name of herein petitioner, Atty. Medardo Ag. Cadiente. However, Cadiente claimed that when the
accident happened, he was no longer the owner of the Ford Fiera. He alleged... that he sold the vehicle to
Engr. Rogelio Jalipa on March 28, 1994,[5] and turned over the Certificate of Registration and Official
Receipt to Jalipa, with the understanding that the latter would be the one to cause the transfer of the


(1) Whether there was contributory negligence on the part of the victim; and (2) whether the petitioner
and third-party defendant Jalipa are jointly and severally liable to the victim.


The petitioner contends that the victim's negligence contributed to his own mishap. The petitioner
theorizes that if witness Rosalinda Palero, who was only two and a half meters away from the victim, was
not hit by the Ford Fiera, then the victim must have been so negligent as... to be bumped and run over by
the said vehicle.

In this case, records show that when the accident happened, the victim was standing on the shoulder,
which was the uncemented portion of the highway.

The victim was just where he should be when the unfortunate event transpired. The registered owner of
any vehicle, even if he had already sold it to someone else, is primarily responsible to the public for
whatever damage or injury the vehicle may cause.

The policy behind vehicle registration is the easy identification of the owner who can be held responsible
in case of accident, damage or injury caused by the vehicle. This is so as not to... inconvenience or
prejudice a third party injured by one whose identity cannot be secured.


The underlying precept on contributory negligence is that a plaintiff who is partly responsible for his own
injury should not be entitled to recover damages in full, but must proportionately bear the consequences
of his own negligence. The defendant is thus held liable only for the damages actually caused by his
Cuadra v. Monfort
G.R. L-24101 Sept. 30, 1970


Maria Teresa Cuadra, 12, and Maria Teresa Monfort, 13, were classmates in Grade Six. Their
teacher assigned them, together with three other classmates, to weed the grass in the school
premises. Maria Teresa Monfort found a plastic headband. Jokingly she said aloud that she
had found an earthworm and, to frighten the Cuadra girl, tossed the object at her. At that precise
moment the latter turned around to face her friend, and the object hit her right eye. Smarting from the
pain, she rubbed the injured part and treated it with some powder. The next day, the eye became swollen
and it was then that the girl related the incident to her parents, who thereupon took her to a doctor for
treatment. She underwent surgical operation twice, first on July 20 and again on August 4, 1962, and
stayed in the hospital for a total of twenty-three days, for all of which the parents spent the sum of
P1,703.75. Despite the medical efforts, however, Maria Teresa Cuadra completely lost the sight of
her right eye. In the civil suit subsequently instituted by the parents in behalf of their minor
daughter against Alfonso Monfort, Maria Teresa Monfort's father, the defendant was ordered to pay
P1,703.00 as actual damages; P20,000.00 as moral damages; and P2,000.00as attorney's fees, plus the
costs of the suit.

ISSUE: Whether or not the parents are liable for the acts of their minor child when the act or omission of
the child is committed in the absence of the parents

RULING: NO. There is no meticulously calibrated measure applicable; and when the law simply
refers to "all the diligence of a good father of the family to prevent damage," it implies a
consideration of the attendant circumstances in every individual case, to determine whether or not by the
exercise of such diligence the damage could have been prevented.

There is nothing from which it may be inferred that the defendant could have prevented the damage
by the observance of due care, or that he was in any way remiss in the exercise of his parental
authority in failing to foresee such damage, or the act which caused it.

On the contrary, his child was at school, where it was his duty to send her and where she was, as he had
the right to expect her to be, under the care and supervision of the teacher. The act which
caused the injury was concerned, it was an innocent prank not unusual among children at play and which
no parent, however careful, would have any special reason to anticipate much less guard against. Nor did
it reveal any mischievous propensity, or indeed any trait in the child's character which would reflect
unfavorably on her upbringing and for which the blame could be attributed to her parents.

The victim, no doubt, deserves no little commiseration and sympathy for the tragedy that befell her. But if
the defendant is at all obligated to compensate her suffering, the obligation has no legal
sanction enforceable in court, but only the moral compulsion of good conscience.