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TORST & DAMAGES WHEREFORE, the Order of this Court on December 8, 1964 is hereby

reconsidered by ordering the dismissal of the above entitled case.


G.R. No. L-24803 May 26, 1977
SO ORDERED.
PEDRO ELCANO and PATRICIA ELCANO, in their capacity as Ascendants of Agapito
Elcano, deceased, plaintiffs-appellants, Quezon City, Philippines, January 29, 1965. (p. 40, Record [p. 21, Record on
vs. Appeal.)
REGINALD HILL, minor, and MARVIN HILL, as father and Natural Guardian of said
minor, defendants-appellees. Hence, this appeal where plaintiffs-appellants, the spouses Elcano, are presenting for Our
resolution the following assignment of errors:
Cruz & Avecilla for appellants.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE CASE BY UPHOLDING THE
Marvin R. Hill & Associates for appellees. CLAIM OF DEFENDANTS THAT -
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BARREDO, J. THE PRESENT ACTION IS NOT ONLY AGAINST BUT ALSO A VIOLATION OF
SECTION 1, RULE 107, NOW RULE 111, OF THE REVISED RULES OF
COURT, AND THAT SECTION 3(c) OF RULE 111, RULES OF COURT IS
Appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of Quezon City dated January 29, 1965 APPLICABLE;
in Civil Case No. Q-8102, Pedro Elcano et al. vs. Reginald Hill et al. dismissing, upon motion II
to dismiss of defendants, the complaint of plaintiffs for recovery of damages from defendant THE ACTION IS BARRED BY A PRIOR JUDGMENT WHICH IS NOW FINAL OR
Reginald Hill, a minor, married at the time of the occurrence, and his father, the defendant RES-ADJUDICTA;
Marvin Hill, with whom he was living and getting subsistence, for the killing by Reginald of III
the son of the plaintiffs, named Agapito Elcano, of which, when criminally prosecuted, the THE PRINCIPLES OF QUASI-DELICTS, ARTICLES 2176 TO 2194 OF THE
said accused was acquitted on the ground that his act was not criminal, because of "lack of CIVIL CODE, ARE INAPPLICABLE IN THE INSTANT CASE; and
intent to kill, coupled with mistake." IV
THAT THE COMPLAINT STATES NO CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST
Actually, the motion to dismiss based on the following grounds: DEFENDANT MARVIN HILL BECAUSE HE WAS RELIEVED AS GUARDIAN OF
THE OTHER DEFENDANT THROUGH EMANCIPATION BY MARRIAGE. (page
1. The present action is not only against but a violation of section 1, Rule 107, 4, Record.)
which is now Rule III, of the Revised Rules of Court;
2. The action is barred by a prior judgment which is now final and or in res- It appears that for the killing of the son, Agapito, of plaintiffs-appellants, defendant- appellee
adjudicata; Reginald Hill was prosecuted criminally in Criminal Case No. 5102 of the Court of First
3. The complaint had no cause of action against defendant Marvin Hill, because Instance of Quezon City. After due trial, he was acquitted on the ground that his act was not
he was relieved as guardian of the other defendant through emancipation by criminal because of "lack of intent to kill, coupled with mistake." Parenthetically, none of the
marriage. parties has favored Us with a copy of the decision of acquittal, presumably because
(P. 23, Record [p. 4, Record on Appeal.]) appellants do not dispute that such indeed was the basis stated in the court's decision. And
so, when appellants filed their complaint against appellees Reginald and his father, Atty.
was first denied by the trial court. It was only upon motion for reconsideration of the Marvin Hill, on account of the death of their son, the appellees filed the motion to dismiss
defendants of such denial, reiterating the above grounds that the following order was issued: above-referred to.

Considering the motion for reconsideration filed by the defendants on January 14, As We view the foregoing background of this case, the two decisive issues presented for Our
1965 and after thoroughly examining the arguments therein contained, the Court resolution are:
finds the same to be meritorious and well-founded.
1. Is the present civil action for damages barred by the acquittal of Reginald in the criminal
case wherein the action for civil liability, was not reversed?

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2. May Article 2180 (2nd and last paragraphs) of the Civil Code he applied against Atty. Hill, Firstly, the Revised Penal Code in articles 365 punishes not only reckless but also
notwithstanding the undisputed fact that at the time of the occurrence complained of. simple negligence. If we were to hold that articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code refer
Reginald, though a minor, living with and getting subsistenee from his father, was already only to fault or negligence not punished by law, accordingly to the literal import of
legally married? article 1093 of the Civil Code, the legal institution of culpa aquiliana would have very
little scope and application in actual life. Death or injury to persons and damage to
The first issue presents no more problem than the need for a reiteration and further property- through any degree of negligence - even the slightest - would have to be
clarification of the dual character, criminal and civil, of fault or negligence as a source of Idemnified only through the principle of civil liability arising from a crime. In such a
obligation which was firmly established in this jurisdiction in Barredo vs. Garcia, 73 Phil. 607. state of affairs, what sphere would remain for cuasi-delito or culpa aquiliana? We are
In that case, this Court postulated, on the basis of a scholarly dissertation by Justice Bocobo loath to impute to the lawmaker any intention to bring about a situation so absurd and
on the nature of culpa aquiliana in relation to culpa criminal or delito and mere culpa or fault, anomalous. Nor are we, in the interpretation of the laws, disposed to uphold the letter
with pertinent citation of decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain, the works of recognized that killeth rather than the spirit that giveth life. We will not use the literal meaning of
civilians, and earlier jurisprudence of our own, that the same given act can result in civil the law to smother and render almost lifeless a principle of such ancient origin and
liability not only under the Penal Code but also under the Civil Code. Thus, the opinion holds: such full-grown development as culpa aquiliana or cuasi-delito, which is conserved
and made enduring in articles 1902 to 1910 of the Spanish Civil Code.
The, above case is pertinent because it shows that the same act machinist. come
under both the Penal Code and the Civil Code. In that case, the action of the agent Secondary, to find the accused guilty in a criminal case, proof of guilt beyond
killeth unjustified and fraudulent and therefore could have been the subject of a reasonable doubt is required, while in a civil case, preponderance of evidence is
criminal action. And yet, it was held to be also a proper subject of a civil action under sufficient to make the defendant pay in damages. There are numerous cases of
article 1902 of the Civil Code. It is also to be noted that it was the employer and not criminal negligence which can not be shown beyond reasonable doubt, but can be
the employee who was being sued. (pp. 615-616, 73 Phil.). 1 proved by a preponderance of evidence. In such cases, the defendant can and
should be made responsible in a civil action under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil
Code. Otherwise. there would be many instances of unvindicated civil wrongs. "Ubi
It will be noticed that the defendant in the above case could have been prosecuted in jus Idemnified remedium." (p. 620,73 Phil.)
a criminal case because his negligence causing the death of the child was punishable
by the Penal Code. Here is therefore a clear instance of the same act of negligence
being a proper subject matter either of a criminal action with its consequent civil Fourthly, because of the broad sweep of the provisions of both the Penal Code and
liability arising from a crime or of an entirely separate and independent civil action for the Civil Code on this subject, which has given rise to the overlapping or concurrence
fault or negligence under article 1902 of the Civil Code. Thus, in this jurisdiction, the of spheres already discussed, and for lack of understanding of the character and
separate individuality of a cuasi-delito or culpa aquiliana, under the Civil Code has efficacy of the action for culpa aquiliana, there has grown up a common practice to
been fully and clearly recognized, even with regard to a negligent act for which the seek damages only by virtue of the civil responsibility arising from a crime, forgetting
wrongdoer could have been prosecuted and convicted in a criminal case and for that there is another remedy, which is by invoking articles 1902-1910 of the Civil
which, after such a conviction, he could have been sued for this civil liability arising Code. Although this habitual method is allowed by, our laws, it has nevertheless
from his crime. (p. 617, 73 Phil.) 2 rendered practically useless and nugatory the more expeditious and effective remedy
based on culpa aquiliana or culpa extra-contractual. In the present case, we are
asked to help perpetuate this usual course. But we believe it is high time we pointed
It is most significant that in the case just cited, this Court specifically applied article out to the harms done by such practice and to restore the principle of responsibility for
1902 of the Civil Code. It is thus that although J. V. House could have been criminally fault or negligence under articles 1902 et seq. of the Civil Code to its full rigor. It is
prosecuted for reckless or simple negligence and not only punished but also made high time we caused the stream of quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana to flow on its own
civilly liable because of his criminal negligence, nevertheless this Court awarded natural channel, so that its waters may no longer be diverted into that of a crime
damages in an independent civil action for fault or negligence under article 1902 of under the Penal Code. This will, it is believed, make for the better safeguarding or
the Civil Code. (p. 618, 73 Phil.) 3 private rights because it realtor, an ancient and additional remedy, and for the further
reason that an independent civil action, not depending on the issues, limitations and
The legal provisions, authors, and cases already invoked should ordinarily be results of a criminal prosecution, and entirely directed by the party wronged or his
sufficient to dispose of this case. But inasmuch as we are announcing doctrines that counsel, is more likely to secure adequate and efficacious redress. (p. 621, 73 Phil.)
have been little understood, in the past, it might not he inappropriate to indicate their
foundations. Contrary to an immediate impression one might get upon a reading of the foregoing excerpts
from the opinion in Garcia that the concurrence of the Penal Code and the Civil Code therein
referred to contemplate only acts of negligence and not intentional voluntary acts - deeper

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reflection would reveal that the thrust of the pronouncements therein is not so limited, but arising from crime fixed by Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and, in a sense, the Rules
that in fact it actually extends to fault or culpa. This can be seen in the reference made of Court, under Sections 2 and 3 (c), Rule 111, contemplate also the same separability, it is
therein to the Sentence of the Supreme Court of Spain of February 14, 1919, supra, which "more congruent with the spirit of law, equity and justice, and more in harmony with modern
involved a case of fraud or estafa, not a negligent act. Indeed, Article 1093 of the Civil Code progress"- to borrow the felicitous relevant language in Rakes vs. Atlantic. Gulf and Pacific
of Spain, in force here at the time of Garcia, provided textually that obligations "which are Co., 7 Phil. 359, to hold, as We do hold, that Article 2176, where it refers to "fault or
derived from acts or omissions in which fault or negligence, not punishable by law, intervene negligencia covers not only acts "not punishable by law" but also acts criminal in character,
shall be the subject of Chapter II, Title XV of this book (which refers to quasi-delicts.)" And it whether intentional and voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a separate civil action lies
is precisely the underline qualification, "not punishable by law", that Justice Bocobo against the offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found
emphasized could lead to an ultimo construction or interpretation of the letter of the law that guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed, if he is actually charged
"killeth, rather than the spirit that giveth lift- hence, the ruling that "(W)e will not use the literal also criminally, to recover damages on both scores, and would be entitled in such eventuality
meaning of the law to smother and render almost lifeless a principle of such ancient origin only to the bigger award of the two, assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. In
and such full-grown development as culpa aquiliana or quasi-delito, which is conserved and other words, the extinction of civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111, refers
made enduring in articles 1902 to 1910 of the Spanish Civil Code." And so, because Justice exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the
Bacobo was Chairman of the Code Commission that drafted the original text of the new Civil civil liability for the same act considered as a quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not
Code, it is to be noted that the said Code, which was enacted after the Garcia doctrine, no estinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case that the criminal act charged has not
longer uses the term, 11 not punishable by law," thereby making it clear that the concept happened or has not been committed by the accused. Briefly stated, We here hold, in
of culpa aquiliana includes acts which are criminal in character or in violation of the penal reiteration of Garcia, that culpa aquiliana includes voluntary and negligent acts which may be
law, whether voluntary or matter. Thus, the corresponding provisions to said Article 1093 in punishable by law.4
the new code, which is Article 1162, simply says, "Obligations derived from quasi-
delicto shall be governed by the provisions of Chapter 2, Title XVII of this Book, (on quasi- It results, therefore, that the acquittal of Reginal Hill in the criminal case has not extinguished
delicts) and by special laws." More precisely, a new provision, Article 2177 of the new code his liability for quasi-delict, hence that acquittal is not a bar to the instant action against him.
provides:
Coming now to the second issue about the effect of Reginald's emancipation by marriage on
ART. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is the possible civil liability of Atty. Hill, his father, it is also Our considered opinion that the
entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under conclusion of appellees that Atty. Hill is already free from responsibility cannot be upheld.
the Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act
or omission of the defendant.
While it is true that parental authority is terminated upon emancipation of the child (Article
327, Civil Code), and under Article 397, emancipation takes place "by the marriage of the
According to the Code Commission: "The foregoing provision (Article 2177) through at first minor (child)", it is, however, also clear that pursuant to Article 399, emancipation by
sight startling, is not so novel or extraordinary when we consider the exact nature of criminal marriage of the minor is not really full or absolute. Thus "(E)mancipation by marriage or by
and civil negligence. The former is a violation of the criminal law, while the latter is a "culpa voluntary concession shall terminate parental authority over the child's person. It shall enable
aquiliana" or quasi-delict, of ancient origin, having always had its own foundation and the minor to administer his property as though he were of age, but he cannot borrow money
individuality, separate from criminal negligence. Such distinction between criminal or alienate or encumber real property without the consent of his father or mother, or
negligence and "culpa extracontractual" or "cuasi-delito" has been sustained by decision of guardian. He can sue and be sued in court only with the assistance of his father, mother or
the Supreme Court of Spain and maintained as clear, sound and perfectly tenable by Maura, guardian."
an outstanding Spanish jurist. Therefore, under the proposed Article 2177, acquittal from an
accusation of criminal negligence, whether on reasonable doubt or not, shall not be a bar to
a subsequent civil action, not for civil liability arising from criminal negligence, but for Now under Article 2180, "(T)he obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for
damages due to a quasi-delict or 'culpa aquiliana'. But said article forestalls a double one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. The
recovery.", (Report of the Code) Commission, p. 162.) father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible. The father and, in
case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible for the damages caused by the
minor children who live in their company." In the instant case, it is not controverted that
Although, again, this Article 2177 does seem to literally refer to only acts of negligence, the Reginald, although married, was living with his father and getting subsistence from him at the
same argument of Justice Bacobo about construction that upholds "the spirit that giveth lift- time of the occurrence in question. Factually, therefore, Reginald was still subservient to and
rather than that which is literal that killeth the intent of the lawmaker should be observed in dependent on his father, a situation which is not unusual.
applying the same. And considering that the preliminary chapter on human relations of the
new Civil Code definitely establishes the separability and independence of liability in a civil
action for acts criminal in character (under Articles 29 to 32) from the civil responsibility

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It must be borne in mind that, according to Manresa, the reason behind the joint and solidary EN BANC
liability of presuncion with their offending child under Article 2180 is that is the obligation of
the parent to supervise their minor children in order to prevent them from causing damage to G.R. No. L-48006 July 8, 1942
third persons. 5 On the other hand, the clear implication of Article 399, in providing that a
minor emancipated by marriage may not, nevertheless, sue or be sued without the
assistance of the parents, is that such emancipation does not carry with it freedom to enter FAUSTO BARREDO, petitioner,
into transactions or do any act that can give rise to judicial litigation. (See Manresa, Id., Vol. vs.
II, pp. 766-767, 776.) And surely, killing someone else invites judicial action. Otherwise SEVERINO GARCIA and TIMOTEA ALMARIO, respondents.
stated, the marriage of a minor child does not relieve the parents of the duty to see to it that
the child, while still a minor, does not give answerable for the borrowings of money and BOCOBO, J.:
alienation or encumbering of real property which cannot be done by their minor married child
without their consent. (Art. 399; Manresa, supra.)
This case comes up from the Court of Appeals which held the petitioner herein, Fausto
Barredo, liable in damages for the death of Faustino Garcia caused by the negligence of
Accordingly, in Our considered view, Article 2180 applies to Atty. Hill notwithstanding the Pedro Fontanilla, a taxi driver employed by said Fausto Barredo.
emancipation by marriage of Reginald. However, inasmuch as it is evident that Reginald is
now of age, as a matter of equity, the liability of Atty. Hill has become milling, subsidiary to At about half past one in the morning of May 3, 1936, on the road between Malabon and
that of his son. Navotas, Province of Rizal, there was a head-on collision between a taxi of the Malate
Taxicab driven by Pedro Fontanilla and a carretela guided by Pedro Dimapalis. The carretela
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is reversed and the trial court is ordered to proceed was overturned, and one of its passengers, 16-year-old boy Faustino Garcia, suffered
in accordance with the foregoing opinion. Costs against appellees. injuries from which he died two days later. A criminal action was filed against Fontanilla in
the Court of First Instance of Rizal, and he was convicted and sentenced to an indeterminate
Separate Opinions sentence of one year and one day to two years of prision correccional. The court in the
criminal case granted the petition that the right to bring a separate civil action be reserved.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the sentence of the lower court in the criminal case. Severino
AQUINO, J, concurring: Garcia and Timotea Almario, parents of the deceased on March 7, 1939, brought an action in
the Court of First Instance of Manila against Fausto Barredo as the sole proprietor of the
Article 2176 of the Civil Code comprehends any culpable act, which is blameworthy, when Malate Taxicab and employer of Pedro Fontanilla. On July 8, 1939, the Court of First
judged by accepted legal standards. "The Idea thus expressed is undoubtedly board enough Instance of Manila awarded damages in favor of the plaintiffs for P2,000 plus legal interest
to include any rational conception of liability for the tortious acts likely to be developed in any from the date of the complaint. This decision was modified by the Court of Appeals by
society." (Street, J. in Daywalt vs. Corporacion de PP. Agustinos Recoletos, 39 Phil. 587, reducing the damages to P1,000 with legal interest from the time the action was instituted. It
600). See article 38, Civil Code and the ruling that "the infant tortfeasor is liable in a civil is undisputed that Fontanilla 's negligence was the cause of the mishap, as he was driving
action to the injured person in the same manner and to the same extent as an adult" (27 Am. on the wrong side of the road, and at high speed. As to Barredo's responsibility, the Court of
Jur. 812 cited by Bocobo, J., in Magtibay vs. Tiangco, 74 Phil. 576, 579). Appeals found:

Separate Opinions ... It is admitted that defendant is Fontanilla's employer. There is proof that he
exercised the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage. (See p. 22,
AQUINO, J, concurring: appellant's brief.) In fact it is shown he was careless in employing Fontanilla who
had been caught several times for violation of the Automobile Law and speeding
(Exhibit A) — violation which appeared in the records of the Bureau of Public Works
Article 2176 of the Civil Code comprehends any culpable act, which is blameworthy, when available to be public and to himself. Therefore, he must indemnify plaintiffs under
judged by accepted legal standards. "The Idea thus expressed is undoubtedly board enough the provisions of article 1903 of the Civil Code.
to include any rational conception of liability for the tortious acts likely to be developed in any
society." (Street, J. in Daywalt vs. Corporacion de PP. Agustinos Recoletos, 39 Phil. 587,
600). See article 38, Civil Code and the ruling that "the infant tortfeasor is liable in a civil The main theory of the defense is that the liability of Fausto Barredo is governed by the
action to the injured person in the same manner and to the same extent as an adult" (27 Am. Revised Penal Code; hence, his liability is only subsidiary, and as there has been no civil
Jur. 812 cited by Bocobo, J., in Magtibay vs. Tiangco, 74 Phil. 576, 579). action against Pedro Fontanilla, the person criminally liable, Barredo cannot be held
responsible in the case. The petitioner's brief states on page 10:

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... The Court of Appeals holds that the petitioner is being sued for his failure to xxx xxx xxx
exercise all the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and
supervision of Pedro Fontanilla to prevent damages suffered by the respondents. In ART. 1092. Civil obligations arising from felonies or misdemeanors shall be governed
other words, The Court of Appeals insists on applying in the case article 1903 of the by the provisions of the Penal Code.
Civil Code. Article 1903 of the Civil Code is found in Chapter II, Title 16, Book IV of
the Civil Code. This fact makes said article to a civil liability arising from a crime as
in the case at bar simply because Chapter II of Title 16 of Book IV of the Civil Code, ART. 1093. Those which are derived from acts or omissions in which fault or
in the precise words of article 1903 of the Civil Code itself, is applicable only to negligence, not punishable by law, intervenes shall be subject to the provisions of
"those (obligations) arising from wrongful or negligent acts or commission Chapter II, Title XVI of this book.
not punishable by law.
xxx xxx xxx
The gist of the decision of the Court of Appeals is expressed thus:
ART 1902. Any person who by an act or omission causes damage to another by his
... We cannot agree to the defendant's contention. The liability sought to be fault or negligence shall be liable for the damage so done.
imposed upon him in this action is not a civil obligation arising from a felony or a
misdemeanor (the crime of Pedro Fontanilla,), but an obligation imposed in article ART. 1903. The obligation imposed by the next preceding article is enforcible, not only
1903 of the Civil Code by reason of his negligence in the selection or supervision of for personal acts and omissions, but also for those of persons for whom another is
his servant or employee. responsible.

The pivotal question in this case is whether the plaintiffs may bring this separate civil action The father and in, case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are liable for any
against Fausto Barredo, thus making him primarily and directly, responsible under article damages caused by the minor children who live with them.
1903 of the Civil Code as an employer of Pedro Fontanilla. The defendant maintains that
Fontanilla's negligence being punishable by the Penal Code, his (defendant's) liability as an Guardians are liable for damages done by minors or incapacitated persons subject to
employer is only subsidiary, according to said Penal code, but Fontanilla has not been sued their authority and living with them.
in a civil action and his property has not been exhausted. To decide the main issue, we must
cut through the tangle that has, in the minds of many confused and jumbled
together delitos and cuasi delitos, or crimes under the Penal Code and fault or negligence Owners or directors of an establishment or business are equally liable for any damages
under articles 1902-1910 of the Civil Code. This should be done, because justice may be lost caused by their employees while engaged in the branch of the service in which
in a labyrinth, unless principles and remedies are distinctly envisaged. Fortunately, we are employed, or on occasion of the performance of their duties.
aided in our inquiry by the luminous presentation of the perplexing subject by renown jurists
and we are likewise guided by the decisions of this Court in previous cases as well as by the The State is subject to the same liability when it acts through a special agent, but not if
solemn clarity of the consideration in several sentences of the Supreme Tribunal of Spain. the damage shall have been caused by the official upon whom properly devolved the
duty of doing the act performed, in which case the provisions of the next preceding
Authorities support the proposition that a quasi-delict or "culpa aquiliana " is a separate legal article shall be applicable.
institution under the Civil Code with a substantivity all its own, and individuality that is entirely
apart and independent from delict or crime. Upon this principle and on the wording and spirit Finally, teachers or directors of arts trades are liable for any damages caused by their
article 1903 of the Civil Code, the primary and direct responsibility of employers may be pupils or apprentices while they are under their custody.
safely anchored.
The liability imposed by this article shall cease in case the persons mentioned therein
The pertinent provisions of the Civil Code and Revised Penal Code are as follows: prove that they are exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the
damage.
CIVIL CODE
ART. 1904. Any person who pays for damage caused by his employees may recover
ART. 1089 Obligations arise from law, from contracts and quasi-contracts, and from from the latter what he may have paid.
acts and omissions which are unlawful or in which any kind of fault or negligence
intervenes.
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REVISED PENAL CODE Innkeepers are also subsidiarily liable for the restitution of goods taken by robbery or
theft within their houses lodging therein, or the person, or for the payment of the value
ART. 100. Civil liability of a person guilty of felony. — Every person criminally liable for thereof, provided that such guests shall have notified in advance the innkeeper himself,
a felony is also civilly liable. or the person representing him, of the deposit of such goods within the inn; and shall
furthermore have followed the directions which such innkeeper or his representative
may have given them with respect to the care of and vigilance over such goods. No
ART. 101. Rules regarding civil liability in certain cases. — The exemption from criminal liability shall attach in case of robbery with violence against or intimidation against or
liability established in subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 of article 12 and in subdivision 4 of intimidation of persons unless committed by the innkeeper's employees.
article 11 of this Code does not include exemption from civil liability, which shall be
enforced to the following rules:
ART. 103. Subsidiary civil liability of other persons. — The subsidiary liability
established in the next preceding article shall also apply to employers, teachers,
First. In cases of subdivision, 1, 2 and 3 of article 12 the civil liability for acts committed persons, and corporations engaged in any kind of industry for felonies committed by
by any imbecile or insane person, and by a person under nine years of age, or by one their servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or employees in the discharge of their
over nine but under fifteen years of age, who has acted without discernment shall duties.
devolve upon those having such person under their legal authority or control, unless it
appears that there was no fault or negligence on their part.
xxx xxx xxx
Should there be no person having such insane, imbecile or minor under his authority,
legal guardianship, or control, or if such person be insolvent, said insane, imbecile, or ART. 365. Imprudence and negligence. — Any person who, by reckless imprudence,
minor shall respond with their own property, excepting property exempt from execution, shall commit any act which, had it been intentional, would constitute a grave felony,
in accordance with the civil law. shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in
its minimum period; if it would have constituted a less grave felony, the penalty of
arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods shall be imposed.
Second. In cases falling within subdivision 4 of article 11, the person for whose benefit
the harm has been prevented shall be civilly liable in proportion to the benefit which
they may have received. Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall commit an act which would
otherwise constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its
medium and maximum periods; if it would have constituted a less serious felony, the
The courts shall determine, in their sound discretion, the proportionate amount for which penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period shall be imposed."
each one shall be liable.
It will thus be seen that while the terms of articles 1902 of the Civil Code seem to be broad
When the respective shares can not be equitably determined, even approximately, or when enough to cover the driver's negligence in the instant case, nevertheless article 1093
the liability also attaches to the Government, or to the majority of the inhabitants of the town, limits cuasi-delitos to acts or omissions "not punishable by law." But inasmuch as article 365
and, in all events, whenever the damage has been caused with the consent of the authorities of the Revised Penal Code punishes not only reckless but even simple imprudence or
or their agents, indemnification shall be made in the manner prescribed by special laws or negligence, the fault or negligence under article 1902 of the Civil Code has apparently been
regulations. crowded out. It is this overlapping that makes the "confusion worse confounded." However, a
closer study shows that such a concurrence of scope in regard to negligent acts does not
Third. In cases falling within subdivisions 5 and 6 of article 12, the persons using violence or destroy the distinction between the civil liability arising from a crime and the responsibility for
causing the fear shall be primarily liable and secondarily, or, if there be no such persons, cuasi-delitos or culpa extra-contractual. The same negligent act causing damages may
those doing the act shall be liable, saving always to the latter that part of their property produce civil liability arising from a crime under article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, or
exempt from execution. create an action for cuasi-delito or culpa extra-contractual under articles 1902-1910 of the
Civil Code.
ART. 102. Subsidiary civil liability of innkeepers, tavern keepers and proprietors of
establishment. — In default of persons criminally liable, innkeepers, tavern keepers, The individuality of cuasi-delito or culpa extra-contractual looms clear and unmistakable. This
and any other persons or corporation shall be civilly liable for crimes committed in their legal institution is of ancient lineage, one of its early ancestors being the Lex Aquilia in the
establishments, in all cases where a violation of municipal ordinances or some general Roman Law. In fact, in Spanish legal terminology, this responsibility is often referred to as
or special police regulation shall have been committed by them or their employees. culpa aquiliana. The Partidas also contributed to the genealogy of the present fault or
negligence under the Civil Code; for instance, Law 6, Title 15, of Partida 7, says: "Tenudo es
6
de fazer emienda, porque, como quier que el non fizo a sabiendas en daño al otro, pero As things are, apropos of the reality pure and simple of the facts, it seems less
acaescio por su culpa." tenable that there should be res judicata with regard to the civil obligation for
damages on account of the losses caused by the collision of the trains. The title
The distinctive nature of cuasi-delitos survives in the Civil Code. According to article 1089, upon which the action for reparation is based cannot be confused with the civil
one of the five sources of obligations is this legal institution of cuasi-delito or culpa extra- responsibilities born of a crime, because there exists in the latter, whatever each
contractual: "los actos . . . en que intervenga cualquier genero de culpa o negligencia." Then nature, a culpa surrounded with aggravating aspects which give rise to penal
article 1093 provides that this kind of obligation shall be governed by Chapter II of Title XVI measures that are more or less severe. The injury caused by a felony or
of Book IV, meaning articles 1902-0910. This portion of the Civil Code is exclusively devoted misdemeanor upon civil rights requires restitutions, reparations, or indemnifications
to the legal institution of culpa aquiliana. which, like the penalty itself, affect public order; for this reason, they are ordinarily
entrusted to the office of the prosecuting attorney; and it is clear that if by this
means the losses and damages are repaired, the injured party no longer desires to
Some of the differences between crimes under the Penal Code and the culpa seek another relief; but this coincidence of effects does not eliminate the peculiar
aquiliana or cuasi-delito under the Civil Code are: nature of civil actions to ask for indemnity.

1. That crimes affect the public interest, while cuasi-delitos are only of private concern. Such civil actions in the present case (without referring to contractual faults which
are not pertinent and belong to another scope) are derived, according to article
2. That, consequently, the Penal Code punishes or corrects the criminal act, while the Civil 1902 of the Civil Code, from every act or omission causing losses and damages in
Code, by means of indemnification, merely repairs the damage. which culpa or negligence intervenes. It is unimportant that such actions are every
day filed before the civil courts without the criminal courts interfering therewith.
3. That delicts are not as broad as quasi-delicts, because the former are punished only if Articles 18 to 21 and 121 to 128 of the Penal Code, bearing in mind the spirit and
there is a penal law clearly covering them, while the latter, cuasi-delitos, include all acts in the social and political purposes of that Code, develop and regulate the matter of
which "any king of fault or negligence intervenes." However, it should be noted that not all civil responsibilities arising from a crime, separately from the regime under common
violations of the penal law produce civil responsibility, such as begging in contravention of law, of culpa which is known as aquiliana, in accordance with legislative precedent
ordinances, violation of the game laws, infraction of the rules of traffic when nobody is hurt. of the Corpus Juris. It would be unwarranted to make a detailed comparison
(See Colin and Capitant, "Curso Elemental de Derecho Civil," Vol. 3, p. 728.) between the former provisions and that regarding the obligation to indemnify on
account of civil culpa; but it is pertinent and necessary to point out to one of such
differences.
Let us now ascertain what some jurists say on the separate existence of quasi-delicts and
the employer's primary and direct liability under article 1903 of the Civil Code.
Articles 20 and 21 of the Penal Code, after distriburing in their own way the civil
responsibilities among those who, for different reasons, are guilty of felony or
Dorado Montero in his essay on "Responsibilidad" in the "Enciclopedia Juridica Española" misdemeanor, make such civil responsibilities applicable to enterprises and
(Vol. XXVII, p. 414) says: establishments for which the guilty parties render service, but with subsidiary
character, that is to say, according to the wording of the Penal Code, in default of
The juridical concept of civil responsibility has various aspects and comprises different those who are criminally responsible. In this regard, the Civil Code does not
persons. Thus, there is a civil responsibility, properly speaking, which in no case carries coincide because article 1903 says: "The obligation imposed by the next preceding
with it any criminal responsibility, and another which is a necessary consequence of the article is demandable, not only for personal acts and omissions, but also for those
penal liability as a result of every felony or misdemeanor." of persons for whom another is responsible." Among the persons enumerated are
the subordinates and employees of establishments or enterprises, either for acts
during their service or on the occasion of their functions. It is for this reason that it
Maura, an outstanding authority, was consulted on the following case: There had been a
happens, and it is so observed in judicial decisions, that the companies or
collision between two trains belonging respectively to the Ferrocarril Cantabrico and the
enterprises, after taking part in the criminal cases because of their subsidiary civil
Ferrocarril del Norte. An employee of the latter had been prosecuted in a criminal case, in
responsibility by reason of the crime, are sued and
which the company had been made a party as subsidiarily responsible in civil damages. The
sentenced directly and separately with regard to the obligation, before the civil
employee had been acquitted in the criminal case, and the employer, the Ferrocarril del
courts.
Norte, had also been exonerated. The question asked was whether the Ferrocarril
Cantabrico could still bring a civil action for damages against the Ferrocarril del Norte.
Maura's opinion was in the affirmative, stating in part (Maura, Dictamenes, Vol. 6, pp. 511- Seeing that the title of this obligation is different, and the separation between
513): punitive justice and the civil courts being a true postulate of our judicial system, so

7
that they have different fundamental norms in different codes, as well as different responsibility exacted is for one's own act. The idea that such responsibility is
modes of procedure, and inasmuch as the Compaña del Ferrocarril Cantabrico has subsidiary is, therefore, completely inadmissible.
abstained from taking part in the criminal case and has reserved the right to
exercise its actions, it seems undeniable that the action for indemnification for the Oyuelos, in his "Digesto: Principios, Doctrina y Jurisprudencia, Referentes al Codigo Civil
losses and damages caused to it by the collision was not sub judice before Español," says in Vol. VII, p. 743:
the Tribunal del Jurado, nor was it the subject of a sentence, but it remained intact
when the decision of March 21 was rendered. Even if the verdict had not been that
of acquittal, it has already been shown that such action had been legitimately That is to say, one is not responsible for the acts of others, because one is liable
reserved till after the criminal prosecution; but because of the declaration of the only for his own faults, this being the doctrine of article 1902; but, by exception, one
non-existence of the felony and the non-existence of the responsibility arising from is liable for the acts of those persons with whom there is a bond or tie which gives
the crime, which was the sole subject matter upon which the Tribunal del rise to the responsibility. Is this responsibility direct or subsidiary? In the order of the
Jurado had jurisdiction, there is greater reason for the civil obligation ex lege, and it penal law, the Penal Code distinguishes between minors and incapacitated persons
becomes clearer that the action for its enforcement remain intact and is not res on the one hand, and other persons on the other, declaring that the responsibility
judicata. for the former is direct (article 19), and for the latter, subsidiary (articles 20 and 21);
but in the scheme of the civil law, in the case of article 1903, the responsibility
should be understood as direct, according to the tenor of that articles, for precisely it
Laurent, a jurist who has written a monumental work on the French Civil Code, on which the imposes responsibility "for the acts of those persons for whom one should be
Spanish Civil Code is largely based and whose provisions on cuasi-delito or culpa extra- responsible."
contractual are similar to those of the Spanish Civil Code, says, referring to article 1384 of
the French Civil Code which corresponds to article 1903, Spanish Civil Code:
Coming now to the sentences of the Supreme Tribunal of Spain, that court has upheld the
principles above set forth: that a quasi-delict or culpa extra-contractual is a separate and
The action can be brought directly against the person responsible (for another), distinct legal institution, independent from the civil responsibility arising from criminal liability,
without including the author of the act. The action against the principal is accessory and that an employer is, under article 1903 of the Civil Code, primarily and directly
in the sense that it implies the existence of a prejudicial act committed by the responsible for the negligent acts of his employee.
employee, but it is not subsidiary in the sense that it can not be instituted till after
the judgment against the author of the act or at least, that it is subsidiary to the
principal action; the action for responsibility (of the employer) is in itself a principal One of the most important of those Spanish decisions is that of October 21, 1910. In that
action. (Laurent, Principles of French Civil Law, Spanish translation, Vol. 20, pp. case, Ramon Lafuente died as the result of having been run over by a street car owned by
734-735.) the "compañia Electric Madrileña de Traccion." The conductor was prosecuted in a criminal
case but he was acquitted. Thereupon, the widow filed a civil action against the street car
company, paying for damages in the amount of 15,000 pesetas. The lower court awarded
Amandi, in his "Cuestionario del Codigo Civil Reformado" (Vol. 4, pp. 429, 430), declares damages; so the company appealed to the Supreme Tribunal, alleging violation of articles
that the responsibility of the employer is principal and not subsidiary. He writes: 1902 and 1903 of the Civil Code because by final judgment the non-existence of fault or
negligence had been declared. The Supreme Court of Spain dismissed the appeal, saying:
Question No. 1. Is the responsibility declared in article 1903 for the acts or
omissions of those persons for who one is responsible, subsidiary or principal? In Considering that the first ground of the appeal is based on the mistaken supposition
order to answer this question it is necessary to know, in the first place, on what the that the trial court, in sentencing the Compañia Madrileña to the payment of the
legal provision is based. Is it true that there is a responsibility for the fault of another damage caused by the death of Ramon Lafuente Izquierdo, disregards the value
person? It seems so at first sight; but such assertion would be contrary to justice and juridical effects of the sentence of acquittal rendered in the criminal case
and to the universal maxim that all faults are personal, and that everyone is liable instituted on account of the same act, when it is a fact that the two jurisdictions had
for those faults that can be imputed to him. The responsibility in question is imposed taken cognizance of the same act in its different aspects, and as the criminal
on the occasion of a crime or fault, but not because of the same, but because of jurisdiction declared within the limits of its authority that the act in question did not
the cuasi-delito, that is to say, the imprudence or negligence of the father, guardian, constitute a felony because there was no grave carelessness or negligence, and
proprietor or manager of the establishment, of the teacher, etc. Whenever anyone this being the only basis of acquittal, it does no exclude the co-existence of fault or
of the persons enumerated in the article referred to (minors, incapacitated persons, negligence which is not qualified, and is a source of civil obligations according to
employees, apprentices) causes any damage, the law presumes that the father, article 1902 of the Civil Code, affecting, in accordance with article 1903, among
guardian, teacher, etc. have committed an act of negligence in not preventing or other persons, the managers of establishments or enterprises by reason of the
avoiding the damage. It is this fault that is condemned by the law. It is, therefore, damages caused by employees under certain conditions, it is manifest that the civil
only apparent that there is a responsibility for the act of another; in reality the
8
jurisdiccion in taking cognizance of the same act in this latter aspect and in ordering Considering that the sentence, in question recognizes, in virtue of the facts which it
the company, appellant herein, to pay an indemnity for the damage caused by one declares, in relation to the evidence in the case: (1) that the invoice issued by the
of its employees, far from violating said legal provisions, in relation with article 116 railroad company in favor of the plaintiff contemplated that the empty receptacles
of the Law of Criminal Procedure, strictly followed the same, without invading referred to in the complaint should be returned to the consignors with wines and
attributes which are beyond its own jurisdiction, and without in any way liquors; (2) that when the said merchandise reached their destination, their delivery
contradicting the decision in that cause. (Emphasis supplied.) to the consignee was refused by the station agent without justification and
with fraudulent intent, and (3) that the lack of delivery of these goods when they
It will be noted, as to the case just cited: were demanded by the plaintiff caused him losses and damages of considerable
importance, as he was a wholesale vendor of wines and liquors and he failed to
realize the profits when he was unable to fill the orders sent to him by the
First. That the conductor was not sued in a civil case, either separately or with the street car consignors of the receptacles:
company. This is precisely what happens in the present case: the driver, Fontanilla, has not
been sued in a civil action, either alone or with his employer.
Considering that upon this basis there is need of upholding the four assignments of
error, as the original complaint did not contain any cause of action arising from non-
Second. That the conductor had been acquitted of grave criminal negligence, but the fulfillment of a contract of transportation, because the action was not based on the
Supreme Tribunal of Spain said that this did not exclude the co-existence of fault or delay of the goods nor on any contractual relation between the parties litigant and,
negligence, which is not qualified, on the part of the conductor, under article 1902 of the Civil therefore, article 371 of the Code of Commerce, on which the decision appealed
Code. In the present case, the taxi driver was found guilty of criminal negligence, so that if he from is based, is not applicable; but it limits to asking for reparation for losses and
had even sued for his civil responsibility arising from the crime, he would have been held damages produced on the patrimony of the plaintiff on account of the unjustified
primarily liable for civil damages, and Barredo would have been held subsidiarily liable for and fraudulent refusal of the carrier to deliver the goods consigned to the plaintiff as
the same. But the plaintiffs are directly suing Barredo, on his primary responsibility because stated by the sentence, and the carrier's responsibility is clearly laid down in article
of his own presumed negligence — which he did not overcome — under article 1903. Thus, 1902 of the Civil Code which binds, in virtue of the next article, the defendant
there were two liabilities of Barredo: first, the subsidiary one because of the civil liability of company, because the latter is connected with the person who caused the damage
the taxi driver arising from the latter's criminal negligence; and, second, Barredo's primary by relations of economic character and by administrative hierarchy. (Emphasis
liability as an employer under article 1903. The plaintiffs were free to choose which course to supplied.)
take, and they preferred the second remedy. In so doing, they were acting within their rights.
It might be observed in passing, that the plaintiff choose the more expeditious and effective
method of relief, because Fontanilla was either in prison, or had just been released, and The above case is pertinent because it shows that the same act may come under both the
besides, he was probably without property which might be seized in enforcing any judgment Penal Code and the Civil Code. In that case, the action of the agent was unjustified
against him for damages. and fraudulent and therefore could have been the subject of a criminal action. And yet, it was
held to be also a proper subject of a civil action under article 1902 of the Civil Code. It is also
to be noted that it was the employer and not the employee who was being sued.
Third. That inasmuch as in the above sentence of October 21, 1910, the employer was held
liable civilly, notwithstanding the acquittal of the employee (the conductor) in a previous
criminal case, with greater reason should Barredo, the employer in the case at bar, be held Let us now examine the cases previously decided by this Court.
liable for damages in a civil suit filed against him because his taxi driver had been convicted.
The degree of negligence of the conductor in the Spanish case cited was less than that of In the leading case of Rakes vs. Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co. (7 Phil., 359, 362-365 [year
the taxi driver, Fontanilla, because the former was acquitted in the previous criminal case 1907]), the trial court awarded damages to the plaintiff, a laborer of the defendant, because
while the latter was found guilty of criminal negligence and was sentenced to an the latter had negligently failed to repair a tramway in consequence of which the rails slid off
indeterminate sentence of one year and one day to two years of prision correccional. while iron was being transported, and caught the plaintiff whose leg was broken. This Court
held:
(See also Sentence of February 19, 1902, which is similar to the one above quoted.)
It is contended by the defendant, as its first defense to the action that the necessary
In the Sentence of the Supreme Court of Spain, dated February 14, 1919, an action was conclusion from these collated laws is that the remedy for injuries through
brought against a railroad company for damages because the station agent, employed by the negligence lies only in a criminal action in which the official criminally responsible
company, had unjustly and fraudulently, refused to deliver certain articles consigned to the must be made primarily liable and his employer held only subsidiarily to him.
plaintiff. The Supreme Court of Spain held that this action was properly under article 1902 of According to this theory the plaintiff should have procured the arrest of the
the Civil Code, the court saying: representative of the company accountable for not repairing the track, and on his

9
prosecution a suitable fine should have been imposed, payable primarily by him and action, civil and criminal, might be prosecuted jointly or separately, but while the
secondarily by his employer. penal action was pending the civil was suspended. According to article 112, the
penal action once started, the civil remedy should be sought therewith, unless it had
This reasoning misconceived the plan of the Spanish codes upon this subject. been waived by the party injured or been expressly reserved by him for civil
Article 1093 of the Civil Code makes obligations arising from faults or proceedings for the future. If the civil action alone was prosecuted, arising out of a
negligence not punished by the law, subject to the provisions of Chapter II of Title crime that could be enforced only on private complaint, the penal action thereunder
XVI. Section 1902 of that chapter reads: should be extinguished. These provisions are in harmony with those of articles 23
and 133 of our Penal Code on the same subject.
"A person who by an act or omission causes damage to another when
there is fault or negligence shall be obliged to repair the damage so done. An examination of this topic might be carried much further, but the citation of these
articles suffices to show that the civil liability was not intended to be merged in the
criminal nor even to be suspended thereby, except as expressly provided in the law.
"SEC. 1903. The obligation imposed by the preceeding article is Where an individual is civilly liable for a negligent act or omission, it is not required
demandable, not only for personal acts and omissions, but also for those that the injured party should seek out a third person criminally liable whose
of the persons for whom they should be responsible. prosecution must be a condition precedent to the enforcement of the civil right.

"The father, and on his death or incapacity, the mother, is liable for the Under article 20 of the Penal Code the responsibility of an employer may be
damages caused by the minors who live with them. regarded as subsidiary in respect of criminal actions against his employees only
while they are in process of prosecution, or in so far as they determine the
xxx xxx xxx existence of the criminal act from which liability arises, and his obligation under the
civil law and its enforcement in the civil courts is not barred thereby unless by the
"Owners or directors of an establishment or enterprise are equally liable for election of the injured person. Inasmuch as no criminal proceeding had been
the damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in instituted, growing our of the accident in question, the provisions of the Penal Code
which the latter may be employed or in the performance of their duties. can not affect this action. This construction renders it unnecessary to finally
determine here whether this subsidiary civil liability in penal actions has survived
the laws that fully regulated it or has been abrogated by the American civil and
xxx xxx xxx criminal procedure now in force in the Philippines.

"The liability referred to in this article shall cease when the persons The difficulty in construing the articles of the code above cited in this case appears
mentioned therein prove that they employed all the diligence of a good from the briefs before us to have arisen from the interpretation of the words of
father of a family to avoid the damage." article 1093, "fault or negligence not punished by law," as applied to the
comprehensive definition of offenses in articles 568 and 590 of the Penal Code. It
As an answer to the argument urged in this particular action it may be sufficient to has been shown that the liability of an employer arising out of his relation to his
point out that nowhere in our general statutes is the employer penalized for failure employee who is the offender is not to be regarded as derived from negligence
to provide or maintain safe appliances for his workmen. His obligation therefore is punished by the law, within the meaning of articles 1902 and 1093. More than this,
one 'not punished by the laws' and falls under civil rather than criminal however, it cannot be said to fall within the class of acts unpunished by the law, the
jurisprudence. But the answer may be a broader one. We should be reluctant, consequence of which are regulated by articles 1902 and 1903 of the Civil Code.
under any conditions, to adopt a forced construction of these scientific codes, such The acts to which these articles are applicable are understood to be those not
as is proposed by the defendant, that would rob some of these articles of effect, growing out of pre-existing duties of the parties to one another. But where relations
would shut out litigants against their will from the civil courts, would make the already formed give rise to duties, whether springing from contract or quasi
assertion of their rights dependent upon the selection for prosecution of the proper contract, then breaches of those duties are subject to articles 1101, 1103, and 1104
criminal offender, and render recovery doubtful by reason of the strict rules of proof of the same code. A typical application of this distinction may be found in the
prevailing in criminal actions. Even if these articles had always stood alone, such a consequences of a railway accident due to defective machinery supplied by the
construction would be unnecessary, but clear light is thrown upon their meaning by employer. His liability to his employee would arise out of the contract of
the provisions of the Law of Criminal Procedure of Spain (Ley de Enjuiciamiento employment, that to the passengers out of the contract for passage, while that to
Criminal), which, though never in actual force in these Islands, was formerly given a the injured bystander would originate in the negligent act itself.
suppletory or explanatory effect. Under article 111 of this law, both classes of
10
In Manzanares vs. Moreta, 38 Phil., 821 (year 1918), the mother of the 8 of 9-year-old child automobile that she turned to run, but unfortunately she fell into the street gutter where hot
Salvador Bona brought a civil action against Moreta to recover damages resulting from the water from the electric plant was flowing. The child died that same night from the burns. The
death of the child, who had been run over by an automobile driven and managed by the trial courts dismissed the action because of the contributory negligence of the plaintiffs. But
defendant. The trial court rendered judgment requiring the defendant to pay the plaintiff the this Court held, on appeal, that there was no contributory negligence, and allowed the
sum of P1,000 as indemnity: This Court in affirming the judgment, said in part: parents P1,000 in damages from J. V. House who at the time of the tragic occurrence was
the holder of the franchise for the electric plant. This Court said in part:
If it were true that the defendant, in coming from the southern part of Solana Street,
had to stop his auto before crossing Real Street, because he had met vehicles Although the trial judge made the findings of fact hereinbefore outlined, he
which were going along the latter street or were coming from the opposite direction nevertheless was led to order the dismissal of the action because of the
along Solana Street, it is to be believed that, when he again started to run his auto contributory negligence of the plaintiffs. It is from this point that a majority of the
across said Real Street and to continue its way along Solana Street northward, he court depart from the stand taken by the trial judge. The mother and her child had a
should have adjusted the speed of the auto which he was operating until he had perfect right to be on the principal street of Tacloban, Leyte, on the evening when
fully crossed Real Street and had completely reached a clear way on Solana Street. the religious procession was held. There was nothing abnormal in allowing the child
But, as the child was run over by the auto precisely at the entrance of Solana to run along a few paces in advance of the mother. No one could foresee the
Street, this accident could not have occurred if the auto had been running at a slow coincidence of an automobile appearing and of a frightened child running and falling
speed, aside from the fact that the defendant, at the moment of crossing Real into a ditch filled with hot water. The doctrine announced in the much debated case
Street and entering Solana Street, in a northward direction, could have seen the of Rakes vs. Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co. ([1907]), 7 Phil., 359), still rule. Article
child in the act of crossing the latter street from the sidewalk on the right to that on 1902 of the Civil Code must again be enforced. The contributory negligence of the
the left, and if the accident had occurred in such a way that after the automobile had child and her mother, if any, does not operate as a bar to recovery, but in its
run over the body of the child, and the child's body had already been stretched out strictest sense could only result in reduction of the damages.
on the ground, the automobile still moved along a distance of about 2 meters, this
circumstance shows the fact that the automobile entered Solana Street from Real It is most significant that in the case just cited, this Court specifically applied article 1902 of
Street, at a high speed without the defendant having blown the horn. If these the Civil Code. It is thus that although J. V. House could have been criminally prosecuted for
precautions had been taken by the defendant, the deplorable accident which reckless or simple negligence and not only punished but also made civilly liable because of
caused the death of the child would not have occurred. his criminal negligence, nevertheless this Court awarded damages in an independent civil
action for fault or negligence under article 1902 of the Civil Code.
It will be noticed that the defendant in the above case could have been prosecuted in a
criminal case because his negligence causing the death of the child was punishable by the In Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes (30 Phil., 624 [year 1915), the action was for damages for
Penal Code. Here is therefore a clear instance of the same act of negligence being a proper the death of the plaintiff's daughter alleged to have been caused by the negligence of the
subject-matter either of a criminal action with its consequent civil liability arising from a crime servant in driving an automobile over the child. It appeared that the cause of the mishap was
or of an entirely separate and independent civil action for fault or negligence under article a defect in the steering gear. The defendant Leynes had rented the automobile from the
1902 of the Civil Code. Thus, in this jurisdiction, the separate individually of a cuasi- International Garage of Manila, to be used by him in carrying passengers during the fiesta of
delito or culpa aquiliana under the Civil Code has been fully and clearly recognized, even Tuy, Batangas. Leynes was ordered by the lower court to pay P1,000 as damages to the
with regard to a negligent act for which the wrongdoer could have been prosecuted and plaintiff. On appeal this Court reversed the judgment as to Leynes on the ground that he had
convicted in a criminal case and for which, after such a conviction, he could have been sued shown that the exercised the care of a good father of a family, thus overcoming the
for this civil liability arising from his crime. presumption of negligence under article 1903. This Court said:

Years later (in 1930) this Court had another occasion to apply the same doctrine. In Bernal As to selection, the defendant has clearly shown that he exercised the care and
and Enverso vs. House and Tacloban Electric & Ice Plant, Ltd., 54 Phil., 327, the parents of diligence of a good father of a family. He obtained the machine from a reputable
the five-year-old child, Purificacion Bernal, brought a civil action to recover damages for the garage and it was, so far as appeared, in good condition. The workmen were
child's death as a result of burns caused by the fault and negligence of the defendants. On likewise selected from a standard garage, were duly licensed by the Government in
the evening of April 10, 1925, the Good Friday procession was held in Tacloban, Leyte. their particular calling, and apparently thoroughly competent. The machine had
Fortunata Enverso with her daughter Purificacion Bernal had come from another municipality been used but a few hours when the accident occurred and it is clear from the
to attend the same. After the procession the mother and the daughter with two others were evidence that the defendant had no notice, either actual or constructive, of the
passing along Gran Capitan Street in front of the offices of the Tacloban Electric & Ice Plant, defective condition of the steering gear.
Ltd., owned by defendants J. V. House, when an automobile appeared from the opposite
direction. The little girl, who was slightly ahead of the rest, was so frightened by the

11
The legal aspect of the case was discussed by this Court thus: In Walter A. Smith & Co. vs. Cadwallader Gibson Lumber Co., 55 Phil., 517 (year 1930) the
plaintiff brought an action for damages for the demolition of its wharf, which had been struck
Article 1903 of the Civil Code not only establishes liability in cases of negligence, by the steamer Helen C belonging to the defendant. This Court held (p. 526):
but also provides when the liability shall cease. It says:
The evidence shows that Captain Lasa at the time the plaintiff's wharf collapsed
"The liability referred to in this article shall cease when the persons was a duly licensed captain, authorized to navigate and direct a vessel of any
mentioned therein prove that they employed all the diligence of a good tonnage, and that the appellee contracted his services because of his reputation as
father of a family to avoid the damage." a captain, according to F. C. Cadwallader. This being so, we are of the opinion that
the presumption of liability against the defendant has been overcome by the
exercise of the care and diligence of a good father of a family in selecting Captain
From this article two things are apparent: (1) That when an injury is caused by the Lasa, in accordance with the doctrines laid down by this court in the cases cited
negligence of a servant or employee there instantly arises a presumption of law that above, and the defendant is therefore absolved from all liability.
there was negligence on the part of the matter or employer either in the selection of
the servant or employee, or in supervision over him after the selection, or both; and
(2) that presumption is juris tantum and not juris et de jure, and consequently, may It is, therefore, seen that the defendant's theory about his secondary liability is negatived by
be rebutted. It follows necessarily that if the employer shows to the satisfaction of the six cases above set forth. He is, on the authority of these cases, primarily and directly
the court that in selection and supervision he has exercised the care and diligence responsible in damages under article 1903, in relation to article 1902, of the Civil Code.
of a good father of a family, the presumption is overcome and he is relieve from
liability. Let us now take up the Philippine decisions relied upon by the defendant. We study first, City
of Manila vs. Manila Electric Co., 52 Phil., 586 (year 1928). A collision between a truck of the
This theory bases the responsibility of the master ultimately on his own negligence City of Manila and a street car of the Manila Electric Co. took place on June 8, 1925. The
and not on that of his servant. truck was damaged in the amount of P1,788.27. Sixto Eustaquio, the motorman, was
prosecuted for the crime of damage to property and slight injuries through reckless
imprudence. He was found guilty and sentenced to pay a fine of P900, to indemnify the City
The doctrine of the case just cited was followed by this Court in Cerf vs. Medel (33 Phil., 37 of Manila for P1,788.27, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. Unable to
[year 1915]). In the latter case, the complaint alleged that the defendant's servant had so collect the indemnity from Eustaquio, the City of Manila filed an action against the Manila
negligently driven an automobile, which was operated by defendant as a public vehicle, that Electric Company to obtain payment, claiming that the defendant was subsidiarily liable. The
said automobile struck and damaged the plaintiff's motorcycle. This Court, applying article main defense was that the defendant had exercised the diligence of a good father of a family
1903 and following the rule in Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes, said in part (p. 41) that: to prevent the damage. The lower court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiff. This Court
held, in part, that this case was governed by the Penal Code, saying:
The master is liable for the negligent acts of his servant where he is the owner or
director of a business or enterprise and the negligent acts are committed while the With this preliminary point out of the way, there is no escaping the conclusion that
servant is engaged in his master's employment as such owner. the provisions of the Penal Code govern. The Penal Code in easily understandable
language authorizes the determination of subsidiary liability. The Civil Code
Another case which followed the decision in Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes was Cuison vs. negatives its application by providing that civil obligations arising from crimes or
Norton & Harrison Co., 55 Phil., 18 (year 1930). The latter case was an action for damages misdemeanors shall be governed by the provisions of the Penal Code. The
brought by Cuison for the death of his seven-year-old son Moises. The little boy was on his conviction of the motorman was a misdemeanor falling under article 604 of the
way to school with his sister Marciana. Some large pieces of lumber fell from a truck and Penal Code. The act of the motorman was not a wrongful or negligent act or
pinned the boy underneath, instantly killing him. Two youths, Telesforo Binoya and Francisco omission not punishable by law. Accordingly, the civil obligation connected up with
Bautista, who were working for Ora, an employee of defendant Norton & Harrison Co., the Penal Code and not with article 1903 of the Civil Code. In other words, the
pleaded guilty to the crime of homicide through reckless negligence and were sentenced Penal Code affirms its jurisdiction while the Civil Code negatives its jurisdiction. This
accordingly. This Court, applying articles 1902 and 1903, held: is a case of criminal negligence out of which civil liability arises and not a case of
civil negligence.
The basis of civil law liability is not respondent superior but the relationship of pater
familias. This theory bases the liability of the master ultimately on his own xxx xxx xxx
negligence and not on that of his servant. (Bahia vs.Litonjua and Leynes [1915], 30
Phil., 624; Cangco vs. Manila Railroad Co. [1918], 38 Phil., 768.)

12
Our deduction, therefore, is that the case relates to the Penal Code and not to the The defendant-petitioner also cites Francisco vs. Onrubia (46 Phil., 327). That case need not
Civil Code. Indeed, as pointed out by the trial judge, any different ruling would be set forth. Suffice it to say that the question involved was also civil liability arising from a
permit the master to escape scot-free by simply alleging and proving that the crime. Hence, it is as inapplicable as the two cases above discussed.
master had exercised all diligence in the selection and training of its servants to
prevent the damage. That would be a good defense to a strictly civil action, but The foregoing authorities clearly demonstrate the separate individuality of cuasi-
might or might not be to a civil action either as a part of or predicated on conviction delitos or culpa aquiliana under the Civil Code. Specifically they show that there is a
for a crime or misdemeanor. (By way of parenthesis, it may be said further that the distinction between civil liability arising from criminal negligence (governed by the Penal
statements here made are offered to meet the argument advanced during our Code) and responsibility for fault or negligence under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code,
deliberations to the effect that article 0902 of the Civil Code should be disregarded and that the same negligent act may produce either a civil liability arising from a crime under
and codal articles 1093 and 1903 applied.) the Penal Code, or a separate responsibility for fault or negligence under articles 1902 to
1910 of the Civil Code. Still more concretely, the authorities above cited render it
It is not clear how the above case could support the defendant's proposition, because the inescapable to conclude that the employer — in this case the defendant-petitioner — is
Court of Appeals based its decision in the present case on the defendant's primary primarily and directly liable under article 1903 of the Civil Code.
responsibility under article 1903 of the Civil Code and not on his subsidiary liability arising
from Fontanilla's criminal negligence. In other words, the case of City of Manila vs. Manila The legal provisions, authors, and cases already invoked should ordinarily be sufficient to
Electric Co., supra, is predicated on an entirely different theory, which is the subsidiary dispose of this case. But inasmuch as we are announcing doctrines that have been little
liability of an employer arising from a criminal act of his employee, whereas the foundation of understood in the past, it might not be inappropriate to indicate their foundations.
the decision of the Court of Appeals in the present case is the employer's primary liability
under article 1903 of the Civil Code. We have already seen that this is a proper and
independent remedy. Firstly, the Revised Penal Code in article 365 punishes not only reckless but also simple
negligence. If we were to hold that articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code refer only to fault
or negligence not punished by law, according to the literal import of article 1093 of the Civil
Arambulo vs. Manila Electric Co. (55 Phil., 75), is another case invoked by the defendant. A Code, the legal institution of culpa aquiliana would have very little scope and application in
motorman in the employ of the Manila Electric Company had been convicted o homicide by actual life. Death or injury to persons and damage to property through any degree of
simple negligence and sentenced, among other things, to pay the heirs of the deceased the negligence — even the slightest — would have to be indemnified only through the principle
sum of P1,000. An action was then brought to enforce the subsidiary liability of the defendant of civil liability arising from a crime. In such a state of affairs, what sphere would remain
as employer under the Penal Code. The defendant attempted to show that it had exercised for cuasi-delito or culpa aquiliana? We are loath to impute to the lawmaker any intention to
the diligence of a good father of a family in selecting the motorman, and therefore claimed bring about a situation so absurd and anomalous. Nor are we, in the interpretation of the
exemption from civil liability. But this Court held: laws, disposed to uphold the letter that killeth rather than the spirit that giveth life. We will not
use the literal meaning of the law to smother and render almost lifeless a principle of such
In view of the foregoing considerations, we are of opinion and so hold, (1) that the ancient origin and such full-grown development as culpa aquiliana or cuasi-delito, which is
exemption from civil liability established in article 1903 of the Civil Code for all who conserved and made enduring in articles 1902 to 1910 of the Spanish Civil Code.
have acted with the diligence of a good father of a family, is not applicable to the
subsidiary civil liability provided in article 20 of the Penal Code. Secondly, to find the accused guilty in a criminal case, proof of guilt beyond reasonable
doubt is required, while in a civil case, preponderance of evidence is sufficient to make the
The above case is also extraneous to the theory of the defendant in the instant case, defendant pay in damages. There are numerous cases of criminal negligence which can not
because the action there had for its purpose the enforcement of the defendant's subsidiary be shown beyond reasonable doubt, but can be proved by a preponderance of evidence. In
liability under the Penal Code, while in the case at bar, the plaintiff's cause of action is based such cases, the defendant can and should be made responsible in a civil action under
on the defendant's primary and direct responsibility under article 1903 of the Civil Code. In articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code. Otherwise, there would be many instances of
fact, the above case destroys the defendant's contention because that decision illustrates the unvindicated civil wrongs. Ubi jus ibi remedium.
principle that the employer's primary responsibility under article 1903 of the Civil Code is
different in character from his subsidiary liability under the Penal Code. Thirdly, to hold that there is only one way to make defendant's liability effective, and that is,
to sue the driver and exhaust his (the latter's) property first, would be tantamount to
In trying to apply the two cases just referred to, counsel for the defendant has failed to compelling the plaintiff to follow a devious and cumbersome method of obtaining relief. True,
recognize the distinction between civil liability arising from a crime, which is governed by the there is such a remedy under our laws, but there is also a more expeditious way, which is
Penal Code, and the responsibility for cuasi-delito or culpa aquiliana under the Civil Code, based on the primary and direct responsibility of the defendant under article 1903 of the Civil
and has likewise failed to give the importance to the latter type of civil action. Code. Our view of the law is more likely to facilitate remedy for civil wrongs, because the

13
procedure indicated by the defendant is wasteful and productive of delay, it being a matter of In view of the foregoing, the judgment of the Court of Appeals should be and is hereby
common knowledge that professional drivers of taxis and similar public conveyance usually affirmed, with costs against the defendant-petitioner.
do not have sufficient means with which to pay damages. Why, then, should the plaintiff be
required in all cases to go through this roundabout, unnecessary, and probably useless
G.R. No. 204866 January 21, 2015
procedure? In construing the laws, courts have endeavored to shorten and facilitate the
pathways of right and justice.
RUKS KONSULT AND CONSTRUCTION, Petitioner,
At this juncture, it should be said that the primary and direct responsibility of employers and vs.
their presumed negligence are principles calculated to protect society. Workmen and ADWORLD SIGN AND ADVERTISING CORPORATION* and TRANSWORLD MEDIA
ADS, INC., Respondents.
employees should be carefully chosen and supervised in order to avoid injury to the public. It
is the masters or employers who principally reap the profits resulting from the services of
these servants and employees. It is but right that they should guarantee the latter's careful DECISION
conduct for the personnel and patrimonial safety of others. As Theilhard has said, "they
should reproach themselves, at least, some for their weakness, others for their poor PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
selection and all for their negligence." And according to Manresa, "It is much more equitable
and just that such responsibility should fall upon the principal or director who could have
chosen a careful and prudent employee, and not upon the injured person who could not Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari1 are the Decision2 dated November 16, 2011
exercise such selection and who used such employee because of his confidence in the and the Resolution3dated December 10, 2012 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV
principal or director." (Vol. 12, p. 622, 2nd Ed.) Many jurists also base this primary No. 94693 which affirmed the Decision4dated August 25, 2009 of the Regional Trial Court of
responsibility of the employer on the principle of representation of the principal by the agent. Makati City, Branch 142 (RTC) in Civil Case No. 03-1452 holding, inter alia, petitioner Ruks
Thus, Oyuelos says in the work already cited (Vol. 7, p. 747) that before third persons the Konsult and Construction (Ruks) and respondent Transworld Media Ads, Inc. (Transworld)
employer and employee "vienen a ser como una sola personalidad, por refundicion de la del jointly and severally liable to respondent Adworld Sign and Advertising Corporation (Adworld)
dependiente en la de quien le emplea y utiliza." ("become as one personality by the merging for damages.
of the person of the employee in that of him who employs and utilizes him.") All these
observations acquire a peculiar force and significance when it comes to motor accidents, and The Facts
there is need of stressing and accentuating the responsibility of owners of motor vehicles.
The instant case arose from a complaint for damages filed by Adworld against Transworld
Fourthly, because of the broad sweep of the provisions of both the Penal Code and the Civil and Comark International Corporation (Comark) before the RTC.5 In the complaint, Adworld
Code on this subject, which has given rise to the overlapping or concurrence of spheres alleged that it is the owner of a 75 ft. x 60 ft. billboard structure located at EDSA Tulay,
already discussed, and for lack of understanding of the character and efficacy of the action Guadalupe, Barangka Mandaluyong, which was misaligned and its foundation impaired
for culpa aquiliana, there has grown up a common practice to seek damages only by virtue of when, on August 11, 2003, the adjacent billboard structure owned by Transworld and used
the civil responsibility arising from a crime, forgetting that there is another remedy, which is by Comark collapsed and crashed against it. Resultantly, on August 19, 2003, Adworld sent
by invoking articles 1902-1910 of the Civil Code. Although this habitual method is allowed by Transworld and Comark a letter demanding payment for the repairs of its billboard as well
our laws, it has nevertheless rendered practically useless and nugatory the more expeditious asloss of rental income. On August 29, 2003, Transworld sent its reply, admitting the
and effective remedy based on culpa aquiliana or culpa extra-contractual. In the present damage caused by its billboard structure on Adworld’s billboard, but nevertheless, refused
case, we are asked to help perpetuate this usual course. But we believe it is high time we and failed to pay the amounts demanded by Adworld. As Adworld’s final demand letter also
pointed out to the harm done by such practice and to restore the principle of responsibility for went unheeded, it was constrained to file the instant complaint, praying for damages in the
fault or negligence under articles 1902 et seq. of the Civil Code to its full rigor. It is high time aggregate amount of ₱474,204.00, comprised of ₱281,204.00 for materials, ₱72,000.00 for
we caused the stream of quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana to flow on its own natural channel, so labor, and ₱121,000.00 for indemnity for loss of income.6
that its waters may no longer be diverted into that of a crime under the Penal Code. This will,
it is believed, make for the better safeguarding of private rights because it re-establishes an In its Answer with Counterclaim, Transworld averred that the collapse of its billboard
ancient and additional remedy, and for the further reason that an independent civil action, not structure was due to extraordinarily strong winds that occurred instantly and unexpectedly,
depending on the issues, limitations and results of a criminal prosecution, and entirely and maintained that the damage caused to Adworld’s billboard structure was hardly
directed by the party wronged or his counsel, is more likely to secure adequate and noticeable. Transworld likewise filed a Third-Party Complaint against Ruks, the company
efficacious redress. which built the collapsed billboard structure in the former’s favor.1âwphi1 It was alleged
therein that the structure constructed by Ruks had a weak and poor foundation not suited for

14
billboards, thus, prone to collapse, and as such, Ruks should ultimately be held liable for the and Ruks which brought about the damage to Adworld’s billboard. It found that Transworld
damages caused to Adworld’s billboard structure.7 failed to ensure that Ruks will comply with the approved plans and specifications of the
structure, and that Ruks continued to install and finish the billboard structure despite the
For its part, Comark denied liability for the damages caused to Adworld’s billboard structure, knowledge that there were no adequate columns to support the same.20
maintaining that it does not have any interest on Transworld’s collapsed billboard structure
as it only contracted the use of the same. In this relation, Comark prayed for exemplary Dissatisfied, Ruks moved for reconsideration,21 which was, however, denied in a
damages from Transworld for unreasonably includingit as a party-defendant in the Resolution22 dated December 10, 2012,hence, this petition.
complaint.8
On the other hand, Transworld filed another appeal before the Court, docketed as G.R. No.
Lastly, Ruks admitted that it entered into a contract with Transworld for the construction of 205120.23 However, the Court denied outright Transworld’s petition in a Resolution 24 dated
the latter’s billboard structure, but denied liability for the damages caused by its collapse. It April 15, 2013, holding that the same was already bound by the dismissal of its petition filed
contended that when Transworld hired its services, there was already an existing foundation in G.R. No. 197601.
for the billboard and that it merely finished the structure according to the terms and
conditions of its contract with the latter.9 The Issue Before the Court

The RTC Ruling The primordial issue for the Court’s resolution is whether or not the CA correctly affirmed the
ruling of the RTC declaring Ruks jointly and severally liable with Transworld for damages
In a Decision10 dated August 25, 2009, the RTC ultimately ruled in Adworld’s favor, and sustained by Adworld.
accordingly, declared, inter alia, Transworld and Ruks jointly and severally liable to Adworld
in the amount of ₱474,204.00 as actual damages, with legal interest from the date of the The Court’s Ruling
filing of the complaint until full payment thereof, plus attorney’s fees in the amount of
₱50,000.00.11 The RTC found both Transworld and Ruks negligent in the construction of the
collapsed billboard as they knew that the foundation supporting the same was weak and The petition is without merit.
would pose danger to the safety of the motorists and the other adjacent properties, such as
Adworld’s billboard, and yet, they did not do anything to remedy the situation. 12 In particular, At the outset, it must be stressed that factual findings of the RTC, when affirmed by the CA,
the RTC explained that Transworld was made aware by Ruks that the initial construction of are entitled to great weight by the Court and are deemed final and conclusive when
the lower structure of its billboard did not have the proper foundation and would require supported by the evidence on record.25 Absent any exceptions to this rule – such as when it
additional columns and pedestals to support the structure. Notwithstanding, however, Ruks is established that the trial court ignored, overlooked, misconstrued, or misinterpreted cogent
proceeded with the construction of the billboard’s upper structure and merely assumed that facts and circumstances that, if considered, would change the outcome of the case 26 – such
Transworld would reinforce its lower structure.13 The RTC then concluded that these findings must stand.
negligent acts were the direct and proximate cause of the damages suffered by Adworld’s
billboard.14 After a judicious perusal of the records, the Court sees no cogent reason to deviate from the
findings of the RTC and the CA and their uniform conclusion that both Transworld and Ruks
Aggrieved, both Transworld and Ruks appealed to the CA. In a Resolution dated February 3, committed acts resulting in the collapse of the former’s billboard, which in turn, caused
2011, the CA dismissed Transworld’s appeal for its failure to file an appellant’s brief on damage to the adjacent billboard of Adworld.
time.15 Transworld elevated its case before the Court, docketed as G.R. No.
197601.16 However, in a Resolution17 dated November 23, 2011, the Court declared the Jurisprudence defines negligence as the omission to do something which a reasonable man,
case closed and terminated for failure of Transworld to file the intended petition for review on guided by those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would
certiorariwithin the extended reglementary period. Subsequently, the Court issued an Entry do, or the doing of something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do. 27 It is the
of Judgment18 dated February 22, 2012 in G.R. No. 197601 declaring the Court’s November failure to observe for the protection of the interest of another person that degree of care,
23, 2011 Resolution final and executory. precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand, whereby such other
person suffers injury.28
The CA Ruling
In this case, the CA correctly affirmed the RTC’s finding that Transworld’s initial construction
In a Decision19 dated November 16, 2011, the CA denied Ruks’s appeal and affirmed the of its billboard’s lower structure without the proper foundation, and that of Ruks’s finishing its
ruling of the RTC. It adhered to the RTC’s finding of negligence on the part of Transworld upper structure and just merely assuming that Transworld would reinforce the weak
15
foundation are the two (2) successive acts which were the direct and proximate cause of the Heirs of PURISIMA NALA, represented by their attorney-in-fact EFEGENIA DIGNA
damages sustained by Adworld. Worse, both Transworld and Ruks were fully aware that the DUYAN, petitioners,
foundation for the former’s billboard was weak; yet, neither of them took any positive step to vs.
reinforce the same. They merely relied on each other’s word that repairs would be done to ARTEMIO CABANSAG, respondent.
such foundation, but none was done at all. Clearly, the foregoing circumstances show that
both Transworld and Ruks are guilty of negligence in the construction of the former’s DECISION
billboard, and perforce, should be held liable for its collapse and the resulting damage to
Adworld’s billboard structure. As joint tortfeasors, therefore, they are solidarily liable to
Adworld. Verily, "[j]oint tortfeasors are those who command, instigate, promote, encourage, AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
advise, countenance, cooperate in, aid or abet the commission of a tort, or approve of it after
it is done, if done for their benefit. They are also referred to as those who act together in This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Court of
committing wrong or whose acts, if independent of each other, unite in causing a single Appeals (CA) Decision1 dated December 19, 2002 and Resolution2 dated October 28, 2003,
injury. Under Article 219429 of the Civil Code, joint tortfeasors are solidarily liable for the dismissing petitioners' appeal and affirming with modification the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
resulting damage. In other words, joint tortfeasors are each liable as principals, to the same Decision dated August 10, 1994 rendered in Civil Case No. Q-91-10541.
extent and in the same manner as if they had performed the wrongful act themselves." 30 The
Court’s pronouncement in People v. Velasco31 is instructive on this matter, to wit:32 The facts of the case are as follows:

Where several causes producing an injury are concurrent and each is an efficient cause Artemio Cabansag (respondent) filed Civil Case No. Q-91-10541 for damages in October
without which the injury would not have happened, the injury may be attributed to all or any 1991. According to respondent, he bought a 50-square meter property from spouses
of the causes and recovery may be had against any or all of the responsible persons Eugenio Gomez, Jr. and Felisa Duyan Gomez on July 23, 1990. Said property is part of a
although under the circumstances of the case, it may appear that one of them was more 400-square meter lot registered in the name of the Gomez spouses. In October 1991, he
culpable, and that the duty owed by them to the injured person was not same. No actor's received a demand letter from Atty. Alexander del Prado (Atty. Del Prado), in behalf of
negligence ceases to be a proximate cause merely because it does not exceed the Purisima Nala (Nala), asking for the payment of rentals from 1987 to 1991 until he leaves the
negligence of other actors. Each wrongdoer is responsible for the entire result and is liable premises, as said property is owned by Nala, failing which criminal and civil actions will be
as though his acts were the sole cause of the injury. filed against him. Another demand letter was sent on May 14, 1991. Because of such
demands, respondent suffered damages and was constrained to file the case against Nala
There is no contribution between joint [tortfeasors] whose liability is solidary since both of and Atty. Del Prado.3
them are liable for the total damage.1âwphi1 Where the concurrent or successive negligent
acts or omissions of two or more persons, although acting independently, are in combination Atty. Del Prado claimed that he sent the demand letters in good faith and that he was merely
the direct and proximate cause of a single injury to a third person, it is impossible to acting in behalf of his client, Nala, who disputed respondent's claim of ownership. Nala
determine in what proportion each contributed to the injury and either of them is responsible alleged that said property is part of an 800-square meter property owned by her late
for the whole injury. x x x. (Emphases and underscoring supplied) husband, Eulogio Duyan, which was subsequently divided into two parts. The 400-square
meter property was conveyed to spouses Gomez in a fictitious deed of sale, with the
In conclusion, the CA correctly affirmed the ruling of the RTC declaring Ruks jointly and agreement that it will be merely held by them in trust for the Duyan's children. Said property
severally liable with Transworld for damages sustained by Adworld. is covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 281115 in the name of spouses Gomez.
Nala also claimed that respondent is only renting the property which he occupies. 4
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated November 16, 2011 and the
Resolution dated December 10, 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 94693 are After trial, the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 93, rendered its Decision on August 10, 1994, in
hereby AFFIRMED. favor of respondent. The dispositive portion of the Decision provides:

SO ORDERED. WHEREFORE, premises considered, by preponderance of evidence, the Court


finds in favor of the plaintiff and hereby orders the defendants, jointly and severally,
to pay plaintiff the following:
G.R. No. 161188 June 13, 2008

1. P150,000.00 by way of moral damages;

16
2. P30,000.00 by way of exemplary damages; Petitioners argue that their predecessor-in-interest had every right to protect and assert her
interests over the property. Nala had no knowledge that the property was sold by spouses
3. P20,000.00 as and for reasonable attorney's fees and other litigation Gomez to respondent when the demand letters were sent. What she was aware of was the
expenses; and fact that spouses Gomez were managing the rentals on the property by virtue of the implied
trust created between them and Eulogio Duyan. When spouses Gomez failed to remit the
rentals and claimed ownership of the property, it was then that Nala decided to procure the
4. to pay the costs. services of legal counsel to protect their rights over the property.

SO ORDERED.5 Petitioners also contend that it was error for the CA to take note of the RTC Decision in Civil
Case No. 91-8821 without further noting that the CA had already reversed and set aside said
Nala and Atty. Del Prado appealed to the CA. The herein assailed CA Decision dated RTC Decision and ordered reconveyance of the property to Nala and her children in a
December 19, 2002 affirmed the RTC Decision with modification, thus: Decision dated March 8, 2000 rendered in CA-G.R. CV No. 49163. Petitioners also argue
that respondent did not substantiate his claim for damages.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is hereby DISMISSED. The
assailed decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 93, Quezon City, in Civil Case Preliminarily, the Court notes that both the RTC and the CA failed to indicate the particular
No. Q-91-10541 is heretofore AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Defendants- provision of law under which it held petitioners liable for damages. Nevertheless, based on
appellants are ordered to pay, jointly and severally, plaintiff-appellee the amount the allegations in respondent's complaint, it may be gathered that the basis for his claim for
of P30,000.00 by way of moral damages. It is further ordered to pay him exemplary damages is Article 19 of the Civil Code, which provides:
damages in the amount of P10,000.00 and P10,000.00, attorney's fees.
Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of
SO ORDERED.6 his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good
faith.
In affirming the RTC Decision, the CA took note of the Decision dated September 5, 1994
rendered by the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 80, dismissing Civil Case No. 91-8821, an The foregoing provision sets the standards which may be observed not only in the exercise
action for reconveyance of real property and cancellation of TCT No. 281115 with damages, of one's rights but also in the performance of one's duties. When a right is exercised in a
filed by Nala against spouses Gomez.7 manner which does not conform with the norms enshrined in Article 19 and results in
damage to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for which the wrongdoer must be
Hence, herein petition by the heirs of Nala (petitioners) 8 with the following assignment of held responsible. But a right, though by itself legal because recognized or granted by law as
errors: such, may nevertheless become the source of some illegality. A person should be protected
only when he acts in the legitimate exercise of his right; that is, when he acts with prudence
and in good faith, but not when he acts with negligence or abuse. There is an abuse of right
a) Respondent Court of Appeals erred in not considering the right of Purisima Nala when it is exercised only for the purpose of prejudicing or injuring another. The exercise of a
to assert her rights and interest over the property. right must be in accordance with the purpose for which it was established, and must not be
excessive or unduly harsh; there must be no intention to injure another. [10]
b) Respondent Court of Appeals erred in not considering the Decision rendered by
the Court of Appeals in the case for reconveyance which upheld the rights and In order to be liable for damages under the abuse of rights principle, the following requisites
interest of Purisima Nala and her children over a certain parcel of land, a portion of must concur: (a) the existence of a legal right or duty; (b) which is exercised in bad faith; and
which is subject of the present case. (c) for the sole intent of prejudicing or injuring another. 11

c) Respondent Court of Appeals erred in awarding damages and attorney's fees It should be stressed that malice or bad faith is at the core of Article 19 of the Civil Code.
without any basis.9 Good faith is presumed, and he who alleges bad faith has the duty to prove the same. 12 Bad
faith, on the other hand, does not simply connote bad judgment to simple negligence,
Atty. Del Prado filed a motion for extension of time to file his separate petition but it was dishonest purpose or some moral obloquy and conscious doing of a wrong, or a breach of
denied by the Court per its Resolution dated January 19, 2004 issued in G.R. No. 160829. known duty due to some motives or interest or ill will that partakes of the nature of fraud.
Malice connotes ill will or spite and speaks not in response to duty. It implies an intention to
do ulterior and unjustifiable harm.13
17
In the present case, there is nothing on record which will prove that Nala and her counsel, THE SPOUSES BERNABE AFRICA and SOLEDAD C. AFRICA, and the HEIRS OF
Atty. Del Prado, acted in bad faith or malice in sending the demand letters to respondent. In DOMINGA ONG, petitioners-appellants,
the first place, there was ground for Nala's actions since she believed that the property was vs.
owned by her husband Eulogio Duyan and that respondent was illegally occupying the same. CALTEX (PHIL.), INC., MATEO BOQUIREN and THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents-
She had no knowledge that spouses Gomez violated the trust imposed on them by Eulogio appellees.
and surreptitiously sold a portion of the property to respondent. It was only after
respondent filed the case for damages against Nala that she learned of such sale. The Ross, Selph, Carrascoso and Janda for the respondents.
bare fact that respondent claims ownership over the property does not give rise to the Bernabe Africa, etc. for the petitioners.
conclusion that the sending of the demand letters by Nala was done in bad faith. Absent any
evidence presented by respondent, bad faith or malice could not be attributed to petitioner
since Nala was only trying to protect their interests over the property. MAKALINTAL., J.:

Moreover, respondent failed to show that Nala and Atty. Del Prado's acts were done with the This case is before us on a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals, which
sole intention of prejudicing and injuring him. It may be true that respondent suffered mental affirmed that of the Court of First Instance of Manila dismissing petitioners' second amended
anguish, serious anxiety and sleepless nights when he received the demand letters; complaint against respondents.
however, there is a material distinction between damages and injury. Injury is the legal
invasion of a legal right while damage is the hurt, loss or harm which results from the The action is for damages under Articles 1902 and 1903 of the old Civil Code. It appears that
injury.14Thus, there can be damage without injury in those instances in which the loss or in the afternoon of March 18, 1948 a fire broke out at the Caltex service station at the corner
harm was not the result of a violation of a legal duty. In such cases, the consequences must of Antipolo street and Rizal Avenue, Manila. It started while gasoline was being hosed from a
be borne by the injured person alone; the law affords no remedy for damages resulting from tank truck into the underground storage, right at the opening of the receiving tank where the
an act which does not amount to a legal injury or wrong. These situations are often nozzle of the hose was inserted. The fire spread to and burned several neighboring houses,
called damnum absque injuria.15 including the personal properties and effects inside them. Their owners, among them
petitioners here, sued respondents Caltex (Phil.), Inc. and Mateo Boquiren, the first as
Nala was acting well within her rights when she instructed Atty. Del Prado to send the alleged owner of the station and the second as its agent in charge of operation. Negligence
demand letters. She had to take all the necessary legal steps to enforce her legal/equitable on the part of both of them was attributed as the cause of the fire.
rights over the property occupied by respondent. One who makes use of his own legal right
does no injury.16 Thus, whatever damages are suffered by respondent should be borne The trial court and the Court of Appeals found that petitioners failed to prove negligence and
solely by him. that respondents had exercised due care in the premises and with respect to the supervision
of their employees.
Nala's acts in protecting her rights over the property find further solid ground in the fact that
the property has already been ordered reconveyed to her and her heirs. In its Decision dated The first question before Us refers to the admissibility of certain reports on the fire prepared
March 8, 2000 in CA-G.R. CV No. 49163, the CA reversed and set aside the RTC's Decision by the Manila Police and Fire Departments and by a certain Captain Tinio of the Armed
and ordered the reconveyance of the property to petitioners, and TCT No. 281115 was Forces of the Philippines. Portions of the first two reports are as follows:
declared canceled. Said CA Decision was affirmed by this Court in its Decision dated March
18, 2005 in G.R. No. 144148, which became final and executory on July 27, 2005. 1. Police Department report: —

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated December 19, 2002 and Investigation disclosed that at about 4:00 P.M. March 18, 1948, while Leandro
Resolution dated October 28, 2003 rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. Flores was transferring gasoline from a tank truck, plate No. T-5292 into the
48580 are NULLIFIED. Civil Case No. Q-91-10541 is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
underground tank of the Caltex Gasoline Station located at the corner of Rizal
Avenue and Antipolo Street, this City, an unknown Filipino lighted a cigarette and
Costs against respondent. threw the burning match stick near the main valve of the said underground tank.
Due to the gasoline fumes, fire suddenly blazed. Quick action of Leandro Flores in
SO ORDERED. pulling off the gasoline hose connecting the truck with the underground tank
prevented a terrific explosion. However, the flames scattered due to the hose from
which the gasoline was spouting. It burned the truck and the following accessorias
G.R. No. L-12986 March 31, 1966 and residences.

18
2. The Fire Department report: — There are three requisites for admissibility under the rule just mentioned: (a) that the entry
was made by a public officer, or by another person specially enjoined by law to do so; (b)
In connection with their allegation that the premises was (sic) subleased for the that it was made by the public officer in the performance of his duties, or by such other
installation of a coca-cola and cigarette stand, the complainants furnished this person in the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law; and (c) that the public officer
Office a copy of a photograph taken during the fire and which is submitted herewith. or other person had sufficient knowledge of the facts by him stated, which must have been
it appears in this picture that there are in the premises a coca-cola cooler and a acquired by him personally or through official information (Moran, Comments on the Rules of
rack which according to information gathered in the neighborhood contained Court, Vol. 3 [1957] p. 398).
cigarettes and matches, installed between the gasoline pumps and the underground
tanks. Of the three requisites just stated, only the last need be considered here. Obviously the
material facts recited in the reports as to the cause and circumstances of the fire were not
The report of Captain Tinio reproduced information given by a certain Benito Morales within the personal knowledge of the officers who conducted the investigation. Was
regarding the history of the gasoline station and what the chief of the fire department had told knowledge of such facts, however, acquired by them through official information? As to some
him on the same subject. facts the sources thereof are not even identified. Others are attributed to Leopoldo Medina,
referred to as an employee at the gas station were the fire occurred; to Leandro Flores,
driver of the tank truck from which gasoline was being transferred at the time to the
The foregoing reports were ruled out as "double hearsay" by the Court of Appeals and hence underground tank of the station; and to respondent Mateo Boquiren, who could not,
inadmissible. This ruling is now assigned as error. It is contended: first, that said reports according to Exhibit V-Africa, give any reason as to the origin of the fire. To qualify their
were admitted by the trial court without objection on the part of respondents; secondly, that statements as "official information" acquired by the officers who prepared the reports, the
with respect to the police report (Exhibit V-Africa) which appears signed by a Detective persons who made the statements not only must have personal knowledge of the facts
Zapanta allegedly "for Salvador Capacillo," the latter was presented as witness but stated but must have the duty to give such statements for record. 1
respondents waived their right to cross-examine him although they had the opportunity to do
so; and thirdly, that in any event the said reports are admissible as an exception to the
hearsay rule under section 35 of Rule 123, now Rule 130. The reports in question do not constitute an exception to the hearsay rule; the facts stated
therein were not acquired by the reporting officers through official information, not having
been given by the informants pursuant to any duty to do so.
The first contention is not borne out by the record. The transcript of the hearing of September
17, 1953 (pp. 167-170) shows that the reports in question, when offered as evidence, were
objected to by counsel for each of respondents on the ground that they were hearsay and The next question is whether or not, without proof as to the cause and origin of the fire, the
that they were "irrelevant, immaterial and impertinent." Indeed, in the court's resolution only doctrine of res ipsa loquitur should apply so as to presume negligence on the part of
Exhibits J, K, K-5 and X-6 were admitted without objection; the admission of the others, appellees. Both the trial court and the appellate court refused to apply the doctrine in the
including the disputed ones, carried no such explanation. instant case on the grounds that "as to (its) applicability ... in the Philippines, there seems to
he nothing definite," and that while the rules do not prohibit its adoption in appropriate cases,
"in the case at bar, however, we find no practical use for such doctrine." The question
On the second point, although Detective Capacillo did take the witness stand, he was not deserves more than such summary dismissal. The doctrine has actually been applied in this
examined and he did not testify as to the facts mentioned in his alleged report (signed by jurisdiction, in the case of Espiritu vs. Philippine Power and Development Co. (CA-G.R. No.
Detective Zapanta). All he said was that he was one of those who investigated "the location 3240-R, September 20, 1949), wherein the decision of the Court of Appeals was penned by
of the fire and, if possible, gather witnesses as to the occurrence, and that he brought the Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes now a member of the Supreme Court.
report with him. There was nothing, therefore, on which he need be cross-examined; and the
contents of the report, as to which he did not testify, did not thereby become competent
evidence. And even if he had testified, his testimony would still have been objectionable as The facts of that case are stated in the decision as follows:
far as information gathered by him from third persons was concerned.
In the afternoon of May 5, 1946, while the plaintiff-appellee and other companions were
Petitioners maintain, however, that the reports in themselves, that is, without further loading grass between the municipalities of Bay and Calauan, in the province of
testimonial evidence on their contents, fall within the scope of section 35, Rule 123, which Laguna, with clear weather and without any wind blowing, an electric transmission wire,
provides that "entries in official records made in the performance of his duty by a public installed and maintained by the defendant Philippine Power and Development Co., Inc.
officer of the Philippines, or by a person in the performance of a duty specially enjoined by alongside the road, suddenly parted, and one of the broken ends hit the head of the
law, are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated." plaintiff as he was about to board the truck. As a result, plaintiff received the full shock
of 4,400 volts carried by the wire and was knocked unconscious to the ground. The
electric charge coursed through his body and caused extensive and serious multiple

19
burns from skull to legs, leaving the bone exposed in some parts and causing intense underground tank of the station, a fire started with resulting damages to the building
pain and wounds that were not completely healed when the case was tried on June 18, owned by Jones. Alleging that the damages to his building amounted to $516.95,
1947, over one year after the mishap. Jones sued the Shell Petroleum Corporation for the recovery of that amount. The
judge of the district court, after hearing the testimony, concluded that plaintiff was
The defendant therein disclaimed liability on the ground that the plaintiff had failed to show entitled to a recovery and rendered judgment in his favor for $427.82. The Court of
any specific act of negligence, but the appellate court overruled the defense under the Appeals for the First Circuit reversed this judgment, on the ground the testimony
doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. The court said: failed to show with reasonable certainty any negligence on the part of the Shell
Petroleum Corporation or any of its agents or employees. Plaintiff applied to this
Court for a Writ of Review which was granted, and the case is now before us for
The first point is directed against the sufficiency of plaintiff's evidence to place appellant decision.1äwphï1.ñët
on its defense. While it is the rule, as contended by the appellant, that in case of
noncontractual negligence, or culpa aquiliana, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to
establish that the proximate cause of his injury was the negligence of the defendant, it In resolving the issue of negligence, the Supreme Court of Louisiana held:
is also a recognized principal that "where the thing which caused injury, without fault of
the injured person, is under the exclusive control of the defendant and the injury is such Plaintiff's petition contains two distinct charges of negligence — one relating to the
as in the ordinary course of things does not occur if he having such control use proper cause of the fire and the other relating to the spreading of the gasoline about the
care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of the explanation, that the injury filling station.
arose from defendant's want of care."
Other than an expert to assess the damages caused plaintiff's building by the fire,
And the burden of evidence is shifted to him to establish that he has observed due care no witnesses were placed on the stand by the defendant.
and diligence. (San Juan Light & Transit Co. v. Requena, 244, U.S. 89, 56 L. ed. 680.)
This rule is known by the name of res ipsa loquitur (the transaction speaks for itself), Taking up plaintiff's charge of negligence relating to the cause of the fire, we find it
and is peculiarly applicable to the case at bar, where it is unquestioned that the plaintiff established by the record that the filling station and the tank truck were under the
had every right to be on the highway, and the electric wire was under the sole control of control of the defendant and operated by its agents or employees. We further find
defendant company. In the ordinary course of events, electric wires do not part from the uncontradicted testimony of plaintiff's witnesses that fire started in the
suddenly in fair weather and injure people, unless they are subjected to unusual strain underground tank attached to the filling station while it was being filled from the tank
and stress or there are defects in their installation, maintenance and supervision; just truck and while both the tank and the truck were in charge of and being operated by
as barrels do not ordinarily roll out of the warehouse windows to injure passersby, the agents or employees of the defendant, extended to the hose and tank truck, and
unless some one was negligent. (Byrne v. Boadle, 2 H & Co. 722; 159 Eng. Reprint was communicated from the burning hose, tank truck, and escaping gasoline to the
299, the leading case that established that rule). Consequently, in the absence of building owned by the plaintiff.
contributory negligence (which is admittedly not present), the fact that the wire snapped
suffices to raise a reasonable presumption of negligence in its installation, care and
maintenance. Thereafter, as observed by Chief Baron Pollock, "if there are any facts Predicated on these circumstances and the further circumstance of defendant's
inconsistent with negligence, it is for the defendant to prove." failure to explain the cause of the fire or to show its lack of knowledge of the cause,
plaintiff has evoked the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. There are many cases in which
the doctrine may be successfully invoked and this, we think, is one of them.
It is true of course that decisions of the Court of Appeals do not lay down doctrines binding
on the Supreme Court, but we do not consider this a reason for not applying the particular
doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in the case at bar. Gasoline is a highly combustible material, in Where the thing which caused the injury complained of is shown to be under the
the storage and sale of which extreme care must be taken. On the other hand, fire is not management of defendant or his servants and the accident is such as in the
considered a fortuitous event, as it arises almost invariably from some act of man. A case ordinary course of things does not happen if those who have its management or
strikingly similar to the one before Us is Jones vs. Shell Petroleum Corporation, et al., 171 control use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in absence of explanation
So. 447: by defendant, that the accident arose from want of care. (45 C.J. #768, p. 1193).

Arthur O. Jones is the owner of a building in the city of Hammon which in the year This statement of the rule of res ipsa loquitur has been widely approved and
1934 was leased to the Shell Petroleum Corporation for a gasoline filling station. On adopted by the courts of last resort. Some of the cases in this jurisdiction in which
October 8, 1934, during the term of the lease, while gasoline was being transferred the doctrine has been applied are the following, viz.: Maus v. Broderick, 51 La. Ann.
from the tank wagon, also operated by the Shell Petroleum Corporation, to the 1153, 25 So. 977; Hebert v. Lake Charles Ice, etc., Co., 111 La. 522, 35 So. 731,

20
64 L.R.A. 101, 100 Am. St. Rep. 505; Willis v. Vicksburg, etc., R. Co., 115 La. 63, the standard of due diligence under ordinary circumstances. There is no more eloquent
38 So. 892; Bents v. Page, 115 La. 560, 39 So. 599. demonstration of this than the statement of Leandro Flores before the police investigator.
Flores was the driver of the gasoline tank wagon who, alone and without assistance, was
The principle enunciated in the aforequoted case applies with equal force here. The gasoline transferring the contents thereof into the underground storage when the fire broke out. He
station, with all its appliances, equipment and employees, was under the control of said: "Before loading the underground tank there were no people, but while the loading was
appellees. A fire occurred therein and spread to and burned the neighboring houses. The going on, there were people who went to drink coca-cola (at the coca-cola stand) which is
persons who knew or could have known how the fire started were appellees and their about a meter from the hole leading to the underground tank." He added that when the tank
employees, but they gave no explanation thereof whatsoever. It is a fair and reasonable was almost filled he went to the tank truck to close the valve, and while he had his back
inference that the incident happened because of want of care. turned to the "manhole" he, heard someone shout "fire."

In the report submitted by Captain Leoncio Mariano of the Manila Police Department (Exh. X- Even then the fire possibly would not have spread to the neighboring houses were it not for
1 Africa) the following appears: another negligent omission on the part of defendants, namely, their failure to provide a
concrete wall high enough to prevent the flames from leaping over it. As it was the concrete
wall was only 2-1/2 meters high, and beyond that height it consisted merely of galvanized
Investigation of the basic complaint disclosed that the Caltex Gasoline Station iron sheets, which would predictably crumple and melt when subjected to intense heat.
complained of occupies a lot approximately 10 m x 10 m at the southwest corner of Defendants' negligence, therefore, was not only with respect to the cause of the fire but also
Rizal Avenue and Antipolo. The location is within a very busy business district near the with respect to the spread thereof to the neighboring houses.
Obrero Market, a railroad crossing and very thickly populated neighborhood where a
great number of people mill around t
There is an admission on the part of Boquiren in his amended answer to the second
amended complaint that "the fire was caused through the acts of a stranger who, without
until authority, or permission of answering defendant, passed through the gasoline station and
negligently threw a lighted match in the premises." No evidence on this point was adduced,
gasoline but assuming the allegation to be true — certainly any unfavorable inference from the
admission may be taken against Boquiren — it does not extenuate his negligence. A
tever be theWactjvities of these peopleor lighting a cigarette cannot be excluded and decision of the Supreme Court of Texas, upon facts analogous to those of the present case,
this constitute a secondary hazard to its operation which in turn endangers the entire states the rule which we find acceptable here. "It is the rule that those who distribute a
neighborhood to conflagration. dangerous article or agent, owe a degree of protection to the public proportionate to and
commensurate with a danger involved ... we think it is the generally accepted rule as applied
to torts that 'if the effects of the actor's negligent conduct actively and continuously operate to
Furthermore, aside from precautions already taken by its operator the concrete walls bring about harm to another, the fact that the active and substantially simultaneous operation
south and west adjoining the neighborhood are only 2-1/2 meters high at most and of the effects of a third person's innocent, tortious or criminal act is also a substantial factor
cannot avoid the flames from leaping over it in case of fire. in bringing about the harm, does not protect the actor from liability.' (Restatement of the Law
of Torts, vol. 2, p. 1184, #439). Stated in another way, "The intention of an unforeseen and
Records show that there have been two cases of fire which caused not only material unexpected cause, is not sufficient to relieve a wrongdoer from consequences of negligence,
damages but desperation and also panic in the neighborhood. if such negligence directly and proximately cooperates with the independent cause in the
resulting injury." (MacAfee, et al. vs. Traver's Gas Corporation, 153 S.W. 2nd 442.)
Although the soft drinks stand had been eliminated, this gasoline service station is also
used by its operator as a garage and repair shop for his fleet of taxicabs numbering ten The next issue is whether Caltex should be held liable for the damages caused to appellants.
or more, adding another risk to the possible outbreak of fire at this already small but This issue depends on whether Boquiren was an independent contractor, as held by the
crowded gasoline station. Court of Appeals, or an agent of Caltex. This question, in the light of the facts not
controverted, is one of law and hence may be passed upon by this Court. These facts are:
(1) Boquiren made an admission that he was an agent of Caltex; (2) at the time of the fire
The foregoing report, having been submitted by a police officer in the performance of his
Caltex owned the gasoline station and all the equipment therein; (3) Caltex exercised control
duties on the basis of his own personal observation of the facts reported, may properly be
over Boquiren in the management of the state; (4) the delivery truck used in delivering
considered as an exception to the hearsay rule. These facts, descriptive of the location and
gasoline to the station had the name of CALTEX painted on it; and (5) the license to store
objective circumstances surrounding the operation of the gasoline station in question,
gasoline at the station was in the name of Caltex, which paid the license fees. (Exhibit T-
strengthen the presumption of negligence under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, since on
Africa; Exhibit U-Africa; Exhibit X-5 Africa; Exhibit X-6 Africa; Exhibit Y-Africa).
their face they called for more stringent measures of caution than those which would satisfy
21
In Boquiren's amended answer to the second amended complaint, he denied that he fixed by the company and not by the operator; and that the receipts signed by the
directed one of his drivers to remove gasoline from the truck into the tank and alleged that operator indicated that he was a mere agent, the finding of the Court of Appeals
the "alleged driver, if one there was, was not in his employ, the driver being an employee of that the operator was an agent of the company and not an independent contractor
the Caltex (Phil.) Inc. and/or the owners of the gasoline station." It is true that Boquiren later should not be disturbed.
on amended his answer, and that among the changes was one to the effect that he was not
acting as agent of Caltex. But then again, in his motion to dismiss appellants' second To determine the nature of a contract courts do not have or are not bound to rely
amended complaint the ground alleged was that it stated no cause of action since under the upon the name or title given it by the contracting parties, should thereby a
allegations thereof he was merely acting as agent of Caltex, such that he could not have controversy as to what they really had intended to enter into, but the way the
incurred personal liability. A motion to dismiss on this ground is deemed to be an admission contracting parties do or perform their respective obligations stipulated or agreed
of the facts alleged in the complaint. upon may be shown and inquired into, and should such performance conflict with
the name or title given the contract by the parties, the former must prevail over the
Caltex admits that it owned the gasoline station as well as the equipment therein, but claims latter. (Shell Company of the Philippines, Ltd. vs. Firemens' Insurance Company of
that the business conducted at the service station in question was owned and operated by Newark, New Jersey, 100 Phil. 757).
Boquiren. But Caltex did not present any contract with Boquiren that would reveal the nature
of their relationship at the time of the fire. There must have been one in existence at that The written contract was apparently drawn for the purpose of creating the apparent
time. Instead, what was presented was a license agreement manifestly tailored for purposes relationship of employer and independent contractor, and of avoiding liability for the
of this case, since it was entered into shortly before the expiration of the one-year period it negligence of the employees about the station; but the company was not satisfied to
was intended to operate. This so-called license agreement (Exhibit 5-Caltex) was executed allow such relationship to exist. The evidence shows that it immediately assumed
on November 29, 1948, but made effective as of January 1, 1948 so as to cover the date of control, and proceeded to direct the method by which the work contracted for
the fire, namely, March 18, 1948. This retroactivity provision is quite significant, and gives should be performed. By reserving the right to terminate the contract at will, it
rise to the conclusion that it was designed precisely to free Caltex from any responsibility retained the means of compelling submission to its orders. Having elected to
with respect to the fire, as shown by the clause that Caltex "shall not be liable for any injury assume control and to direct the means and methods by which the work has to be
to person or property while in the property herein licensed, it being understood and agreed performed, it must be held liable for the negligence of those performing service
that LICENSEE (Boquiren) is not an employee, representative or agent of LICENSOR under its direction. We think the evidence was sufficient to sustain the verdict of the
(Caltex)." jury. (Gulf Refining Company v. Rogers, 57 S.W. 2d, 183).

But even if the license agreement were to govern, Boquiren can hardly be considered an Caltex further argues that the gasoline stored in the station belonged to Boquiren. But no
independent contractor. Under that agreement Boquiren would pay Caltex the purely nominal cash invoices were presented to show that Boquiren had bought said gasoline from Caltex.
sum of P1.00 for the use of the premises and all the equipment therein. He could sell only Neither was there a sales contract to prove the same.
Caltex Products. Maintenance of the station and its equipment was subject to the approval,
in other words control, of Caltex. Boquiren could not assign or transfer his rights as licensee
without the consent of Caltex. The license agreement was supposed to be from January 1, As found by the trial court the Africas sustained a loss of P9,005.80, after deducting the
1948 to December 31, 1948, and thereafter until terminated by Caltex upon two days prior amount of P2,000.00 collected by them on the insurance of the house. The deduction is now
written notice. Caltex could at any time cancel and terminate the agreement in case Boquiren challenged as erroneous on the ground that Article 2207 of the New Civil Code, which
ceased to sell Caltex products, or did not conduct the business with due diligence, in the provides for the subrogation of the insurer to the rights of the insured, was not yet in effect
judgment of Caltex. Termination of the contract was therefore a right granted only to Caltex when the loss took place. However, regardless of the silence of the law on this point at that
but not to Boquiren. These provisions of the contract show the extent of the control of Caltex time, the amount that should be recovered be measured by the damages actually suffered,
over Boquiren. The control was such that the latter was virtually an employee of the former. otherwise the principle prohibiting unjust enrichment would be violated. With respect to the
claim of the heirs of Ong P7,500.00 was adjudged by the lower court on the basis of the
assessed value of the property destroyed, namely, P1,500.00, disregarding the testimony of
Taking into consideration the fact that the operator owed his position to the one of the Ong children that said property was worth P4,000.00. We agree that the court
company and the latter could remove him or terminate his services at will; that the erred, since it is of common knowledge that the assessment for taxation purposes is not an
service station belonged to the company and bore its tradename and the operator accurate gauge of fair market value, and in this case should not prevail over positive
sold only the products of the company; that the equipment used by the operator evidence of such value. The heirs of Ong are therefore entitled to P10,000.00.
belonged to the company and were just loaned to the operator and the company
took charge of their repair and maintenance; that an employee of the company
supervised the operator and conducted periodic inspection of the company's
gasoline and service station; that the price of the products sold by the operator was

22
Wherefore, the decision appealed from is reversed and respondents-appellees are held In defense, Josefa denied thatManoco was his employee when the accident occurred. He
liable solidarily to appellants, and ordered to pay them the aforesaid sum of P9,005.80 and also maintained that he exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection
P10,000.00, respectively, with interest from the filing of the complaint, and costs. and supervision of all his employees. As a counterclaim, he sought the payment of attorney’s
fees for Meralco’s filing of a baseless complaint.10
Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Regala, Bengzon, J.P.,
Zaldivar and Sanchez, JJ., concur. On January 11, 1994, Meralco amended its complaint to correct the name "Pablo Manoco"
Dizon, J., took no part. toPablo Manojo Bautista (Bautista),11 but soon dropped him as a party defendant in the case
for failure to serve him summons.12
G.R. No. 182705 July 18, 2014
A. Evidence for Meralco
VICENTE JOSEFA, Petitioner,
vs. During trial, Meralco offered the testimonies of six witnesses as well as documentary
MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, Respondent. evidence to substantiate its claim for damages against Josefa:

DECISION Juan Fernandez, Meralco’s senior legal investigator, testified that he arrived at the scene of
the accident at around 2:30 p.m. on that fateful day and saw Meralco employees installing a
new electricity post. He interviewed the people in the vicinity who told him that it was the
BRION, J.:
truck that rammed the electricity post.13 He thus proceeded to the police station at Caruncho
Complex, Pasig City and talked toSPO2 Alexander Galang who informed him that the owner
We resolve the petition for review on certiorari1 filed by petitioner Vicente Josefa, doing of the offending vehicle was Josefa.14 Fernandez also identified and authenticated the
business under the name and style of 747 Lumber and Construction Supply, to challenge the investigation report dated April 21, 199115 (Exhibit "A") summarizing the result of his
January 31, 2008 decision2 and the April 29, 2008 resolution3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in investigation.16 Elmer Albio identified himself as the driver of the jeepney that was involved in
CA-G.R. CV No. 87512. the accident. He testified thata truck suddenly hit the rear of his jeepney while he was driving
along OrtigasAvenue, Pasig City; he thus lost control of the jeepney and hit a Nissan car on
The Factual Antecedents the other lane of the road. Thereafter, the truck hit the electricity post.

At around 1 :45 p.m. on April 21, 1991, a dump truck, a j eepney and a car figured in a SPO2 Manuel Valiente testified that he immediately went to the scene of the accident after a
vehicular accident along Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City.4 As a result of the accident, a 45-foot concerned citizen went to the police station and informed him about the accident. 17 However,
wooden electricity post, three 75 KVA transformers, and other electrical line attachments he could no longer recall the truck’s exact position with reference to the electricity post at the
were damaged.5 Upon investigation, respondent Manila Electric Company (Meralco) time of his arrival at the scene of the accident.18
discovered that it was the truck with plate number PAK-874 and registered in Josefa’s name
that hit the electricity post.6 SPO2 Galang stated that one of his functions as a traffic accident investigator was to record
vehicular accidents in the police blotter book. He identified and authenticated a certified true
In a letter dated April 19, 1993, Meralco demanded from Josefa reimbursement for the copy of the police blotter dated January 7, 1994 (Exhibit "B") but admitted that he neither
replacement cost of the electricity post and its attachments, but Josefa refused to saw nor investigated the accident.19
pay.7 Thus, on September 28, 1993, Meralco sued Josefa and Pablo Manoco, the truck
driver, for damages before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City.8 Vitaliano Espiritu, Meralco’s foreman,testified that he replaced the damaged electricity post,
transformers, and other electrical line attachments after receiving an emergency radio call
Proceedings before the RTC from a Meralco personnel.20

In its complaint, Meralco alleged that Manoco’s reckless driving resulted in damage to Carlos Zapanta, Meralco’s supervising accountant, affirmed that Meralco incurred actual
itsproperties. It also imputed primary liability on Josefa for his alleged negligence in the damages totaling ₱384,846.00. To support his finding, he identified and authenticated two
selection and supervision of Manoco. It thus prayed for the indemnification of the amount of pieces ofevidence, the memorandum dated October 7, 1992 (Exhibit "C") and the document
₱384,846.00 as actual damages, ₱50,000.00 as attorney’s fees, ₱10,000.00 as litigation dated March 29, 1993 (Exhibit "D"). Exhibit "C" is a letter from Meralco’s legal department
expenses, and the costs of the suit.9 requesting the accounting department for a computation of actual damages.21 On the other

23
hand, Exhibit "D" provides a detailed computation of actual damages that Meralco allegedly its driver at the time of the accident. It thus ordered Josefa to pay Meralco: (1) ₱384,846.00
suffered.22 On cross-examination, Zapanta stated that the computation was based on as actual damages; (2) ₱50,000.00 as attorney’s fees; (3) ₱10,000.00 as expenses of
"supplementary time sheets," "trip tickets," and other documents provided by Meralco’s litigation; and (4) double the costs of the suit.
distribution office;23 however, Meralco did not present these documents during trial.
Josefa filed the present petition after the CA denied31 his motion for reconsideration.32
In an order dated January 15, 1997, the RTC admitted all documentary evidence that
Meralco offered after its presentation of testimonial evidence. 24 The Petition

B. Evidence for Josefa Josefa argues that the CA gravely erred in reversing the RTC’s factual findings. He insists
that the finding that it was the truck that hit the electricity post lacks evidentiary support.
Upon Meralco’s presentment of evidence, Josefa filed a demurrer to Evidence 25 , but was Furthermore, Meralco failed to substantiate its claim for actual damages by competent
denied by the RTC.26Josefa assailed the denial of his demurrer in a petition for certiorari testimonial and documentary evidence. Josefa likewise asserts that Meralco is not entitled to
before the CA which, however, affirmed the RTC rulings.27 Thereafter, Josefa filed a motion attorney’s fees since it also contributedto the delay in the proceedings. He points out that
for extension to file a petition for review on certiorari before the Court. After we denied the Meralco sought for postponements of hearings during trial and failed to assist the sheriff in
motion for its procedural infirmities,28 the RTC ordered Josefa to present his evidence-in- serving the summons to Bautista.33
chief. The RTC eventually declared the case as submitted for decision without Josefa’s
evidence-in-chief due to the numerous and unreasonable delays that he incurred in the The Respondent’s Position
presentation of evidence.29
In its Comment, Meralco takes the opposite view that it is the RTC ruling that is unsupported
The RTC Ruling by evidence. Meralco maintains that the RTC erroneously ruled in favor of Josefawho did not
present his evidence-inchief during trial. Meralco also posits that Josefa’s vicariously liability
In a decision dated April 10, 2006,the RTC dismissed the complaint for insufficiency of finds support in Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code which hold the employer primarily
evidence. The RTC held that Meralco failed to establish that it was the truck that hit the liable for damages caused by the employee who acted within the scope of his assigned
electricity post. The RTC ruled that SPO2 Galang’s account of the accident was merely tasks. It also asserts that Josefa’s unjustified refusal to pay its just and valid claim for actual
hearsay since he did not personally witness the incident. It alsodid not give probative value damages warrants the award of attorney’s fees.34
to the police blotter entry dated January 7, 1994 since the accident had long occurred in
1991. The RTC likewise denied Meralco’s claim for actual damages for lack of evidentiary The Issues
support.30
This case presents to us the following issues:
The CA Ruling
(1) Whether the truck with plate number PAK-874 hit the electricity post;
The CA reversed the RTC ruling and held that the RTC erred in disregarding the parties’
stipulation at the pre-trial that it was the truck that hit the electricity post. The CA also found
that Bautista was Josefa’s employee when the accident occurred since Josefa did not (2) Whether Bautista exercised due diligence in driving when the truck hit the
specifically deny this material allegation in the amended complaint. It likewise noted that the electricity post;
sheriff’s return stated that Bautista was under Josefa’s employ until 1993.
(3) Whether Josefa is vicariously liable for Bautista’s negligence under paragraph 5,
The CA concluded that the fact thatthe truck hit the electricity post was sufficient to hold Article 2180 of the Civil Code;
Josefa vicariously liable regardless of whether Bautista was negligent in driving the truck. In
the same breath, the CA also stated that the employer’s presumptive liability in quasi-delicts (a) Whether there is an employer-employee relationship between Bautista and
was anchored on injuries caused by the employee’s negligence. It further ruled that Josefa Josefa;
failed to rebut the presumption that he negligently selected and supervised Bautista in
employment since he did not present his evidence-inchief during trial. Even assuming (b) Whether Josefa exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the
thatBautista was not Josefa’s employee, the CA maintained that Josefa would still be liable selection and supervision of Bautista; and
for damages since the law presumes that the registered owner has control of his vehicle and

24
(4) Whether Meralco is entitled to actual damages, attorney’s fees, and expenses of because it is merely the witness’ recitation of what someone else has told him, whether orally
litigation. or in writing. A witness can testify only to those facts which are derived from his own
perception.39
Our Ruling
Nonetheless, Meralco has sufficiently established the direct causal link between the truck
We partially affirm the CA’s ruling. and the electricity post through Abio’s testimony. Abio categorically stated during trial that he
saw the truck hit the electricity post. We find his first-hand account of the incident during the
directexamination frank and straightforward. More importantly, Josefa failed to impeach the
I. The Court may review factual veracity of Abio’s testimony during the cross-examination. Abio even reiterated that it was
questions in a petition for review on Josefa’s truck that rammed the electricity post.40 We thus give full faith and credence to his
certiorari when a conflict exists in positive, unrebutted, and categorical declaration on the witness stand, made under solemn
findings of the lower courts oath, that it was the truck that caused damage to Meralco’s property.

We are aware that the issues beforeus involve factual questions which require us to review Even without Abio’s testimony, it does not escape this Court’s attention that Josefa judicially
the presented pieces of evidence before the trial court. While a petition for review on admittedin his motions and pleading that his truck hit the electricity post. In a motion to
certiorariprecludes this Court from entertaining factual issues, we can review the pieces of dismiss dated March 17, 1997, Josefa stated:
evidence, by way of exception, when a conflict exists in the findings of the RTC and the
CA.35 We see this exceptional situation here and thus examine the relevant pieces of
evidence presented before the trial court. "1. This action was commenced by plaintiff to recover from defendant the sum of
₱384,846.00 as actual damages resulting from the vehicular mishap which occurred on April
21, 1991 along Ortigas Avenue, Rosario, Pasig City, Metro Manila, whereby defendant’s
II. Bautista’s negligence was the dump truck with plate No. PAK 874 hit and bumped plaintiff’s 45-foot wooden pole;41 "
proximate cause of the property (emphasis and underline ours)
damage caused to Meralco
Josefa further declared in his motion for reconsideration dated February 22, 2008:
A. The truck hit the electricity post
[T]he manner who and why the accident occurred was not explained. In the absence of any
Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is description on such important aspect, fault or negligence cannot be properly imputed to
obliged to pay for the damage done. This fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing Pablo Manojo Bautista simply because the truck he was then driving bumped to electric post.
contractual relation between the parties, is called quasi-delict.36 Thus, for a quasi-delict case The causal connection between the fault or negligence and the damage must be shown. x x
to prosper, the complainant must establish: (1) damages to the complainant; (2) negligence, x Analyzing the testimony of Elmer Abio, what was established is the following:
by act or omission, of the defendant or by some person for whose acts the defendant must
respond, was guilty; and (3) the connection of cause and effect between such negligence
and the damages.37With respect to the third element, the negligent act or omission must be a) Somebodybumped the back of the jeepney he was driving on April 21, 1991;
the proximate cause of the injury.
b) When his back was bumped, he had no control because it was so sudden;
Contrary to the CA’s finding, the parties did not stipulate that the truck hit the electricity post.
The pre-trial order shows that the parties merely agreed that the truck "was involvedin an c) He bumped the approaching car, while the truck bumped into the Meralco post
accident on April 21, 1991 at around 1:45 o’clock in the afternoon along Ortigas Avenue, that three (3) transformers;
Rosario, Pasig City." The parties in fact posed the issue of whether the truck rammed the
electricity post as one of the factual questions to be resolved by the trial court during the pre- d) The pole with 3 transformers fell on the truck.
trial conference.38
It may be asked: "Who was that somebody that bumped the back of Abio" "What was the
We also agree with Josefa that Fernandez and SPO2 Galang’s testimonies regarding the reason why the truck bumped the post?""What happened to the car that was bumped by
truck hitting the electricity post are hearsay and should not be given credence. Fernandez Abio because he had no control?" "Which happened first, the bumping of the back of Abio or
and SPO2 Galang merely testified and conveyed to the court matters only narrated to them the bumping of the post by the truck?" "Was the bumping of the back of Abio and the
by other people who were not presented in court. Hearsay evidence has no probative value
25
bumping of the car the proximate cause why the truck hit the Meralco post?" 42 (Emphases care exercised by him to prevent the injury.51 For this doctrine to apply, the complainant must
and underlines ours) Lastly, Josefa pleaded in his petition before this Court: show that: (1) the accident is of such character as to warrant an inference that it would not
have happened except for the defendant’s negligence; (2) the accident must have been
Nowhere in the records was it shown how and why the accident occurred on April 21, 1991. caused by an agency or instrumentality within the exclusive management or control of the
person charged with the negligence complained of; and (3) the accident must not have been
due to any voluntary action or contribution on the part of the person injured.
In the absence of any description on such important aspect, fault or negligence cannot be
properly imputed to petitioner, simply because his truck bumped into Meralco’s electricity
post. The causal connection between the petitioner’s supposed negligence and the damage The present case satisfiesall the elements of res ipsa loquitur. It is very unusual and
was not shown. Neither was it proved tobe the proximate cause of the damage.43 (Emphases extraordinary for the truck to hit an electricity post, an immovable and stationary object,
and underlines ours) unless Bautista, who had the exclusive management and control of the truck, acted with fault
or negligence. We cannot also conclude that Meralco contributed to the injury since it safely
and permanently installed the electricity post beside the street. Thus, in Republic v. Luzon
These statements constitute deliberate, clear and unequivocal admissions of the causation in Stevedoring Corp.,52 we imputed vicarious responsibility to Luzon Stevedoring Corp. whose
fact between the truck and the electricity post.Judicial admissions made by the parties in the barge rammed the bridge, also an immovable and stationary object. In that case, we found it
pleadings or in the course of the trial or other proceedingsin the same case are conclusive highly unusual for the barge to hit the bridge which had adequate openings for the passage
and do not require further evidence to prove them. These admissions cannot be contradicted of water craft unless Luzon Stevedoring Corp.’s employee had acted with negligence.
unless previously shown to have been made through palpable mistake or that no such
admission was made.44 A party who judicially admits a fact cannot later challenge this fact for
the reason that judicial admissions remove an admitted fact from the field of controversy. 45 In his pleadings, Josefa raises the possibility that the fault or negligence of the jeepney
and/or the car drivers may have been the proximate cause of the damage. As a matter of
defense, Josefa should have substantiated this theory considering that the burden of
B. Bautista is presumed to be evidence has shifted against him after Meralco had established that it was the truck that hit
negligent in driving the truck the electricity post. However, Josefa did not adduce any evidence in support of his defense
under the doctrine of res ipsa during trial. Consequently, we sustain the CA’s finding that there is a direct and proximate
loquitur causal link between the truck and the injury that Meralco suffered.

Contrary to the CA’s opinion, the finding that it was the truck that hit the electricity post would III. Josefa is vicariously liable under
not immediately result in Josefa’s liability. It is a basic rule that it is essentially the wrongful or paragraph 5, Article 2180 of the
negligent act or omission that creates the vinculum jurisin extra-contractual obligations.46 In Civil Code
turn, the employee’s negligence established to bethe proximate cause of the damage would
give rise to the disputable presumption that the employer did not exercise the diligence of a
good father of a family in the selection and supervision of the erring employee.47 A. There is an employer-
employee relations between
Bautista and Josefa
Nonetheless, in some cases where negligence is difficult to prove, the doctrine of res ipsa
loquitur permits an inference of negligence on the part of the defendant or some other
person who is charged with negligence where the thing or transaction speaks for itself. 48 This The finding that Bautista acted withnegligence in driving the truck gives rise to the application
doctrine postulates that, as a matter of common knowledge and experience and in the of paragraph 5, Article 2180 of the Civil Code which holds the employer vicariouslyliable for
absence of some explanation by the defendant who is charged with negligence, the very damages caused by his employees within the scope of their assigned tasks. In the present
nature of occurrences may justify an inference of negligence on the part of the person who case, Josefa avoids the application of this provision by denying that Bautista was his
controls the instrumentality causing the injury. In other words, res ipsa loquitur is grounded employee at the time of the incident.
on the superior logic of ordinary human experience that negligence may be deduced from
the mere occurrence of the accident itself.49 Josefa cannot evade his responsibility by mere denial of his employment relations with
Bautista in the absence of proof that his truck was used without authorization or that it was
The procedural effect of res ipsa loquiturin quasi-delict cases is that the defendant’s stolen when the accident occurred.53 In quasi-delict cases, the registered owner of a motor
negligence is presumed.1awp++i1 In other words, the burden of evidence shifts to the vehicle is the employer of its driver in contemplation of law. 54 The registered owner of any
defendant to prove that he did not act with negligence. 50 This doctrine thus effectively vehicle, even if not used for public service, would primarily be responsible to the public or to
furnishes a bridge by which the complainant, without knowledge of the cause of the injury, third persons for injuries caused while the vehicle was being driven on highways or streets.
reaches over to the defendant, who knows or should know the cause, for any explanation of
26
The purpose of motor vehicle registration is precisely to identify the owner so that if any Nonetheless, Meralco is entitled totemperate damages because there is no doubt that it
injury is caused by the vehicle, responsibility canbe imputed to the registered owner. 55 suffered pecuniary loss as a result of Bautista and Josefa’s negligence. 60 When the court
finds that some pecuniary loss has been suffered but the amount cannot, from the nature of
B. Josefa failed to show that he the case, be proven with certainty, the court may award temperate damages in the exercise
exercised the diligence of a of its sound discretion.61 Considering the attendant circumstances of this case, we find the
good father of a family in the amount of ₱200,000.00 to be a fair and sufficient award by way of temperate damages.
selection and supervision of
Bautista C. Meralco is not entitled to
attorney’s fees and expenses
In order for Josefa to be relieved of his vicarious liability, he must show that he exercised due of litigation
diligence in the selection and supervision of Bautista. In concrete terms, Josefa should show
by competent object or documentary evidence that he examined Bautista as to the latter’s The CA likewise erred in awarding Meralco attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation without
qualifications, experience and service records prior to employment. He should likewise prove explaining its basis.1âwphi1 In Buan v. Camaganacan,62 we held that the text of the decision
by competent objector documentary evidence that he formulated standard operating should state the reason why attorney's fees are being awarded; otherwise, the award should
procedures, monitored their implementation and imposed disciplinary measures for breach of be disallowed. Besides, no bad faith has been imputed to Josefa that would warrant the
these procedures.56 However, Josefa failed to overcome the presumption of negligence award of attorney’s fees under Article 2208 (5) of the Civil Code. It is a settled rule that
against him since he waived his right to present evidence during trial. We are thus left with attorney'sfees shall not be recovered as cost where the party’s persistence in litigation is
no other conclusion other than to rule that Josefa is primarily liable for all natural and based on his mistaken belief in he righteousness of his cause. 63 There is also no factual,
probable consequences of Bautista’s negligence.57 legal, or equitable justification that would justify the Court's award of attorney's fees under
Article 2208 (11) of the Civil Code.
IV. Meralco is only entitled to
temperate damages with interest at D. The award of temperate
legal rate damages is subject to 6% per
annum reckoned from the
A. Meralco failed to prove its promulgation of the decision
entitlement to actual damages until fully paid

Despite Josefa’s vicarious liability inthis case, Meralco failed to point out the specific facts Finally, we impose an interest rate of 6% per annum on temperate damages pursuant to the
that afforda basis for its claim for actual damages.58 Actual damages cannot be presumed; guidelines enunciated in Eastern Shipping Lines v. CA,64 as modified by Nacar v. Gallery
they must be pleaded and proven in court in order to be recoverable. One is entitled to an Frames.65 The interest rate shall commence to run from the promulgation of this decision, the
adequate compensation only for the pecuniary loss that he has adequately proved based date when the amount of temperate damages has been determined with certainty.
upon competent proof and on the best evidence obtainable by him. 59 WHEREFORE, premises considered, we PARTIALLY GRANT the petition. The January 31,
2008 decision and the April 29, 2008 resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV. No.
87512 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Petitioner Vicente Josefa is ordered to pay
We cannot give weight to Exhibit "D" as to the amount of actual damages for being respondent Manila Electric Company the amount of ₱200,000.00 as temperate damages
hearsay.Exhibit "D" constitutes hearsay evidence since it was derived on alleged pieces of with legal interest at 6% per annum from the promulgation of this decision until full payment
documentary evidence that were not identified and authenticated in court during trial. The has been effected. Costs against petitioner Vicente Josefa.
trial court thus erred in even admitting Exhibit "D" in evidence whose contents were offered
without any other competent evidence to corroborate them. Consequently, we delete the
CA’s award of actual damages for lack of evidentiary support. SO ORDERED.

B. Meralco is entitled to NEGLIGENCE BASED QUASI DELICTS


temperate damages because it
clearly suffered pecuniary loss G.R. No. 175540 April 7, 2014
as a result of Bautista and
Josefa’s negligence

27
DR. FILOTEO A. ALANO, Petitioner, care and management and he would be found to be a suitable organ donor and his family
vs. would consent to organ donation, the organs thus donated could be detached and
ZENAIDA MAGUD-LOGMAO, Respondent. transplanted promptly to any compatible beneficiary.

DECISION Jennifer Misa verified on the same day, March 2, 1988, from EAMC the identity of Lugmoso
and, upon her request, she was furnished by EAMC a copy of the patient’s date sheet which
PERALTA, J.: bears the name Angelito Lugmoso, with address at Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong. She then
contacted several radio and television stations to request for air time for the purpose of
locating the family of Angelito Lugmoso of Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong, who was confined at
This deals with the Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court NKI for severe head injury after allegedly falling from the Cubao overpass, as well as Police
praying that the Decision1of the Court of Appeals (CA), dated March 31, 2006, adjudging Station No. 5, Eastern Police District, whose area of jurisdiction includes Boni Avenue,
petitioner liable for damages, and the Resolution2dated November 22, 2006, denying Mandaluyong, for assistance in locating the relatives of Angelito Lugmoso. Certifications
petitioner's motion for reconsideration thereof, be reversed and set aside. were issued by Channel 4, ABS-CBN and GMA attesting that the request made by the NKI
on March 2, 1988 to air its appeal to locate the family and relatives of Angelito Lugmoso of
The CA's narration of facts is accurate, to wit: Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong was accommodated. A Certification was likewise issued by
Police Station No. 5, Eastern Police District, Mandaluyong attesting to the fact that on March
Plaintiff-appellee Zenaida Magud-Logmao is the mother of deceased Arnelito Logmao. 2, 1988, at about 6:00 p.m., Jennifer Misa requested for assistance to immediately locate the
Defendant-appellant Dr. Filoteo Alano is the Executive Director of the National Kidney family and relatives of Angelito Lugmoso and that she followed up her request until March 9,
Institute (NKI). 1988.

At around 9:50 in the evening of March 1, 1988, Arnelito Logmao, then eighteen (18) years On March 3, 1988, at about 7:00 o’clock in the morning, Dr. Ona was informed that Lugmoso
old, was brought to the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City by two sidewalk had been pronounced brain dead by Dr. Abdias V. Aquino, a neurologist, and by Dr. Antonio
vendors, who allegedly saw the former fall from the overpass near the Farmers’ Market in Rafael, a neurosurgeon and attending physician of Lugmoso, and that a repeat
Cubao, Quezon City. The patient’s data sheet identified the patient as Angelito Lugmoso of electroencephalogram (EEG) was in progress to confirm the diagnosis of brain death. Two
Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong. However, the clinical abstract prepared by Dr. Paterno F. hours later, Dr. Ona was informed that the EEG recording exhibited a flat tracing, thereby
Cabrera, the surgical resident on-duty at the Emergency Room of EAMC, stated that the confirming that Lugmoso was brain dead. Upon learning that Lugmoso was a suitable organ
patient is Angelito [Logmao]. donor and that some NKI patients awaiting organ donation had blood and tissue types
compatible with Lugmoso, Dr. Ona inquired from Jennifer Misa whether the relatives of
Lugmoso had been located so that the necessary consent for organ donation could be
Dr. Cabrera reported that [Logmao] was drowsy with alcoholic breath, was conscious and obtained. As the extensive search for the relatives of Lugmoso yielded no positive result and
coherent; that the skull x-ray showed no fracture; that at around 4:00 o’clock in the morning time being of the essence in the success of organ transplantation, Dr. Ona requested Dr.
of March 2, 1988, [Logmao] developed generalized seizures and was managed by the Filoteo A. Alano, Executive Director of NKI, to authorize the removal of specific organs from
neuro-surgery resident on-duty; that the condition of [Logmao] progressively deteriorated and the body of Lugmoso for transplantation purposes. Dr. Ona likewise instructed Dr. Rose
he was intubated and ambu-bagging support was provided; that admission to the Intensive Marie Rosete-Liquete to secure permission for the planned organ retrieval and
Care Unit (ICU) and mechanical ventilator support became necessary, but there was no transplantation from the Medico-Legal Office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI),
vacancy at the ICU and all the ventilator units were being used by other patients; that a on the assumption that the incident which lead to the brain injury and death of Lugmoso was
resident physician of NKI, who was rotating at EAMC, suggested that [Logmao] be a medico legal case.
transferred to NKI; and that after arrangements were made, [Logmao] was transferred to NKI
at 10:10 in the morning.
On March 3, 1988, Dr. Alano issued to Dr. Ona a Memorandum, which reads as follows:

At the NKI, the name Angelito [Logmao] was recorded as Angelito Lugmoso. Lugmoso was
immediately attended to and given the necessary medical treatment. As Lugmoso had no This is in connection with the use of the human organs or any portion or portions of the
relatives around, Jennifer B. Misa, Transplant Coordinator, was asked to locate his family by human body of the deceased patient, identified as a certain Mr. Angelito Lugmoso who was
enlisting police and media assistance. Dr. Enrique T. Ona, Chairman of the Department of brought to the National Kidney Institute on March 2, 1988 from the East Avenue Medical
Surgery, observed that the severity of the brain injury of Lugmoso manifested symptoms of Center.
brain death. He requested the Laboratory Section to conduct a tissue typing and tissue
cross-matching examination, so that should Lugmoso expire despite the necessary medical

28
As shown by the medical records, the said patient died on March 3, 1988 at 9:10 in the relatives of Arnelito were likewise informed that the latter was missing. Upon receiving the
morning due to craniocerebral injury. Please make certain that your Department has exerted news from Aida, plaintiff and her other children went to La Funeraria Oro, where they saw
all reasonable efforts to locate the relatives or next of kin of the said deceased patient such Arnelito inside a cheap casket.
as appeal through the radios and television as well as through police and other government
agencies and that the NBI [Medico-Legal] Section has been notified and is aware of the On April 29, 1988, plaintiff filed with the court a quo a complaint for damages against Dr.
case. Emmanuel Lenon, Taurean Protectors Agency, represented by its Proprietor, Celso
Santiago, National Kidney Institute, represented by its Director, Dr. Filoteo A. Alano, Jennifer
If all the above has been complied with, in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act Misa, Dr. Maximo Reyes, Dr. Enrique T. Ona, Dr. Manuel Chua-Chiaco, Jr., Dr. Rose Marie
No. 349 as amended and P.D. 856, permission and/or authority is hereby given to the O. Rosete-Liquete, Dr. Aurea Z. Ambrosio, Dr. Ludivino de Guzman, Dr. Mary Litonjua, Dr.
Department of Surgery to retrieve and remove the kidneys, pancreas, liver and heart of the Jaime Velasquez, Dr. Ricardo Fernando, Dr. Myrna Mendoza, Lee Tan Koc, Alexis
said deceased patient and to transplant the said organs to any compatible patient who Ambustan, Dr. Antonio R. Paraiso, La Funeraria Oro, Inc., represented by its President,
maybe in need of said organs to live and survive. German E. Ortega, Roberto Ortega alias Bobby Ortega, Dr. Mariano B. Cueva, Jr., John
Doe, Peter Doe, and Alex Doe in connection with the death of her son Arnelito. Plaintiff
A Certification dated March 10, 1988 was issued by Dr. Maximo Reyes, Medico-Legal Officer alleged that defendants conspired to remove the organs of Arnelito while the latter was still
of the NBI, stating that he received a telephone call from Dr. Liquete on March 3, 1988 at alive and that they concealed his true identity.
9:15 a.m. regarding the case of Lugmoso, who was declared brain dead; that despite efforts
to locate the latter’s relatives, no one responded; that Dr. Liquete sought from him a second On January 17, 2000, the court a quo rendered judgment finding only Dr. Filoteo Alano liable
opinion for organ retrieval for donation purposes even in the absence of consent from the for damages to plaintiff and dismissing the complaint against the other defendants for lack of
family of the deceased; and that he verbally agreed to organ retrieval. legal basis.3

At 3:45 in the afternoon of March 3, 1988, a medical team, composed of Dr. Enrique Ona, as After finding petitioner liable for a quasi-delict, the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City (RTC)
principal surgeon, Drs. Manuel Chua-Chiaco, Jr., Rose Marie Rosete-Liquete, Aurea ordered petitioner to pay respondent ₱188,740.90 as actual damages; ₱500,000.00 as moral
Ambrosio, Ludivino de Guzman, Mary Litonjua, Jaime Velasquez, Ricardo Fernando, and damages; ₱500,000.00 as exemplary damages; ₱300,000.00 as attorney's fees; and costs
Myrna Mendoza, removed the heart, kidneys, pancreas, liver and spleen of Lugmoso. The of suit. Petitioner appealed to the CA.
medical team then transplanted a kidney and the pancreas of Lugmoso to Lee Tan Hoc and
the other kidney of Lugmoso to Alexis Ambustan. The transplant operation was completed at On March 31, 2006, the CA issued its Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads as
around 11:00 o’clock in the evening of March 3, 1988. follows:

On March 4, 1988, Dr. Antonio R. Paraiso, Head of the Cadaver Organ Retrieval Effort WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is AFFIRMED, with MODIFICATION by
(CORE) program of NKI, made arrangements with La Funeraria Oro for the embalmment of DELETING the award of ₱188,740.90 as actual damages and REDUCING the award of
the cadaver of Lugmoso good for a period of fifteen (15) days to afford NKI more time to moral damages to ₱250,000.00, the award of exemplary damages to ₱200,000.00 and the
continue searching for the relatives of the latter. On the same day, Roberto Ortega, Funeral award of attorney's fees to ₱100,000.00.
Consultant of La Funeraria Oro, sent a request for autopsy to the NBI. The Autopsy Report
and Certification of Post-Mortem Examination issued by the NBI stated that the cause of
death of Lugmoso was intracranial hemorrhage secondary to skull fracture. SO ORDERED.4

On March 11, 1988, the NKI issued a press release announcing its successful double organ Petitioner then elevated the matter to this Court via a petition for review on certiorari, where
transplantation. Aida Doromal, a cousin of plaintiff, heard the news aired on television that the following issues are presented for resolution:
the donor was an eighteen (18) year old boy whose remains were at La Funeraria Oro in
Quezon City. As the name of the donor sounded like Arnelito Logmao, Aida informed plaintiff A. WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS DISREGARDED EXISTING
of the news report. JURISPRUDENCE PRONOUNCED BY THIS HONORABLE SUPREME COURT IN
HOLDING PETITIONER DR. FILOTEO ALANO LIABLE FOR MORAL AND
It appears that on March 3, 1988, Arlen Logmao, a brother of Arnelito, who was then a EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY'S FEES DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE
resident of 17-C San Pedro Street, Mandaluyong, reported to Police Station No. 5, Eastern ACT OF THE PETITIONER IS NOT THE PROXIMATE CAUSE NOR IS THERE ANY
Police District, Mandaluyong that the latter did not return home after seeing a movie in FINDING THAT THE ACT OF THE PETITIONER WAS THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF
Cubao, Quezon City, as evidenced by a Certification issued by said Station; and that the
29
THE INJURY OR DAMAGE ALLEGEDLY SUSTAINED BY RESPONDENT ZENAIDA agencies and that the NBI [Medico-Legal] Section has been notified and is aware of the
MAGUD-LOGMAO. case.

B. WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN REFUSING AND/OR If all the above has been complied with, in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act
FAILING TO DECLARE THAT PETITIONER DR. ALANO ACTED IN GOOD FAITH No. 349 as amended and P.D. 856, permission and/or authority is hereby given to the
AND PURSUANT TO LAW WHEN HE ISSUED THE AUTHORIZATION TO REMOVE Department of Surgery to retrieve and remove the kidneys, pancreas, liver and heart of the
AND RETRIEVE THE ORGANS OF ANGELITO LUGMOSO (LATER IDENTIFIED TO said deceased patient and to transplant the said organs to any compatible patient who
BE IN FACT ARNELITO LOGMAO) CONSIDERING THAT NO NEGLIGENCE CAN BE maybe in need of said organs to live and survive.7
ATTRIBUTED OR IMPUTED ON HIM IN HIS PERFORMANCE OF AN ACT
MANDATED BY LAW. A careful reading of the above shows that petitioner instructed his subordinates to "make
certain" that "all reasonable efforts" are exerted to locate the patient's next of kin, even
C. WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN AWARDING enumerating ways in which to ensure that notices of the death of the patient would reach
RESPONDENT ZENAIDA MAGUD-LOGMAO MORAL AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES said relatives. It also clearly stated that permission or authorization to retrieve and remove
AND ATTORNEY'S FEES THAT ARE NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH AND ARE the internal organs of the deceased was being given ONLY IF the provisions of the
CONTRARY TO ESTABLISHED JURISPRUDENCE.5 applicable law had been complied with. Such instructions reveal that petitioner acted
prudently by directing his subordinates to exhaust all reasonable means of locating the
The first two issues boil down to the question of whether respondent's sufferings were relatives of the deceased. He could not have made his directives any clearer. He even
brought about by petitioner's alleged negligence in granting authorization for the removal or specifically mentioned that permission is only being granted IF the Department of Surgery
retrieval of the internal organs of respondent's son who had been declared brain dead. has complied with all the requirements of the law. Verily, petitioner could not have been
faulted for having full confidence in the ability of the doctors in the Department of Surgery to
comprehend the instructions, obeying all his directives, and acting only in accordance with
Petitioner maintains that when he gave authorization for the removal of some of the internal the requirements of the law.
organs to be transplanted to other patients, he did so in accordance with the letter of the law,
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 349, as amended by Presidential Decree (P.D.) 856, i.e., giving his
subordinates instructions to exert all reasonable efforts to locate the relatives or next of kin of Furthermore, as found by the lower courts from the records of the case, the doctors and
respondent's son. In fact, announcements were made through radio and television, the personnel of NKI disseminated notices of the death of respondent's son to the media and
assistance of police authorities was sought, and the NBI Medico-Legal Section was notified. sought the assistance of the appropriate police authorities as early as March 2, 1988, even
Thus, petitioner insists that he should not be held responsible for any damage allegedly before petitioner issued the Memorandum. Prior to performing the procedure for retrieval of
suffered by respondent due to the death of her son and the removal of her son’s internal the deceased's internal organs, the doctors concerned also the sought the opinion and
organs for transplant purposes. approval of the Medico-Legal Officer of the NBI.

The appellate court affirmed the trial court's finding that there was negligence on petitioner's Thus, there can be no cavil that petitioner employed reasonable means to disseminate
part when he failed to ensure that reasonable time had elapsed to locate the relatives of the notifications intended to reach the relatives of the deceased. The only question that remains
deceased before giving the authorization to remove said deceased's internal organs for pertains to the sufficiency of time allowed for notices to reach the relatives of the deceased.
transplant purposes. However, a close examination of the records of this case would reveal
that this case falls under one of the exceptions to the general rule that factual findings of the If respondent failed to immediately receive notice of her son's death because the notices did
trial court, when affirmed by the appellate court, are binding on this Court. There are some not properly state the name or identity of the deceased, fault cannot be laid at petitioner's
important circumstances that the lower courts failed to consider in ascertaining whether it door. The trial and appellate courts found that it was the EAMC, who had the opportunity to
was the actions of petitioner that brought about the sufferings of respondent. 6 ascertain the name of the deceased, who recorded the wrong information regarding the
deceased's identity to NKI. The NKI could not have obtained the information about his name
The Memorandum dated March 3, 1988 issued by petitioner, stated thus: from the patient, because as found by the lower courts, the deceased was already
unconscious by the time he was brought to the NKI.
As shown by the medical records, the said patient died on March 3, 1988 at 9:10 in the
morning due to craniocerebral injury. Please make certain that your Department has exerted Ultimately, it is respondent's failure to adduce adequate evidence that doomed this
all reasonable efforts to locate the relatives or next-of-kin of the said deceased patient, such case.1âwphi1 As stated in Otero v. Tan,8"[i]n civil cases, it is a basic rule that the party
as appeal through the radios and television, as well as through police and other government making allegations has the burden of proving them by a preponderance of evidence. The
parties must rely on the strength of their own evidence and not upon the weakness of the
30
defense offered by their opponent."9 Here, there is to proof that, indeed, the period of around zig-zag until it fell into a canal or ditch on the right side of the road and turned turtle. Some of
24 hours from the time notices were disseminated, cannot be considered as reasonable the passengers managed to leave the bus the best way they could, others had to be helped
under the circumstances. They failed to present any expert witness to prove that given the or pulled out, while the three passengers seated beside the driver, named Bataclan, Lara
medical technology and knowledge at that time in the 1980's, the doctors could or should and the Visayan and the woman behind them named Natalia Villanueva, could not get out of
have waited longer before harvesting the internal organs for transplantation. the overturned bus. Some of the passengers, after they had clambered up to the road, heard
groans and moans from inside the bus, particularly, shouts for help from Bataclan and Lara,
Verily, the Court cannot, in conscience, agree with the lower court. Finding petitioner liable who said they could not get out of the bus. There is nothing in the evidence to show whether
for damages is improper. It should be emphasized that the internal organs of the deceased or not the passengers already free from the wreck, including the driver and the conductor,
were removed only after he had been declared brain dead; thus, the emotional pain suffered made any attempt to pull out or extricate and rescue the four passengers trapped inside the
by respondent due to the death of her son cannot in any way be attributed to petitioner. vehicle, but calls or shouts for help were made to the houses in the neighborhood. After half
Neither can the Court find evidence on record to show that respondent's emotional suffering an hour, came about ten men, one of them carrying a lighted torch made of bamboo with a
at the sight of the pitiful state in which she found her son's lifeless body be categorically wick on one end, evidently fueled with petroleum. These men presumably approach the
attributed to petitioner's conduct. overturned bus, and almost immediately, a fierce fire started, burning and all but consuming
the bus, including the four passengers trapped inside it. It would appear that as the bus
overturned, gasoline began to leak and escape from the gasoline tank on the side of the
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated March chassis, spreading over and permeating the body of the bus and the ground under and
31, 2006, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The complaint against petitioner is hereby around it, and that the lighted torch brought by one of the men who answered the call for
DISMISSED. help set it on fire.

SO ORDERED. That same day, the charred bodies of the four deemed passengers inside the bus were
removed and duly identified that of Juan Bataclan. By reason of his death, his widow, Salud
EN BANC Villanueva, in her name and in behalf of her five minor children, brought the present suit to
recover from Mariano Medina compensatory, moral, and exemplary damages and attorney's
fees in the total amount of P87,150. After trial, the Court of First Instance of Cavite awarded
G.R. No. L-10126 October 22, 1957 P1,000 to the plaintiffs plus P600 as attorney's fee, plus P100, the value of the merchandise
being carried by Bataclan to Pasay City for sale and which was lost in the fire. The plaintiffs
SALUD VILLANUEVA VDA. DE BATACLAN and the minors NORMA, LUZVIMINDA, and the defendants appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals, but the latter endorsed
ELENITA, OSCAR and ALFREDO BATACLAN, represented by their Natural guardian, the appeal to us because of the value involved in the claim in the complaint.
SALUD VILLANUEVA VDA. DE BATACLAN, plaintiffs-appellants,
vs. Our new Civil Code amply provides for the responsibility of common carrier to its passengers
MARIANO MEDINA, defendant-appellant. and their goods. For purposes of reference, we are reproducing the pertinent codal
provisions:
Lope E. Adriano, Emmanuel Andamo and Jose R. Francisco for plaintiffs-appellants.
Fortunato Jose for defendant and appellant. ART. 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for reasons of
public policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the
MONTEMAYOR, J.: goods and for the safety of the passengers transported by them, according to all the
circumstances of each case.
Shortly after midnight, on September 13, 1952 bus no. 30 of the Medina Transportation,
operated by its owner defendant Mariano Medina under a certificate of public convenience, Such extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods is further expressed in
left the town of Amadeo, Cavite, on its way to Pasay City, driven by its regular chauffeur, articles 1734, 1735, and 1745, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, while the extra ordinary diligence for
Conrado Saylon. There were about eighteen passengers, including the driver and conductor. the safety of the passengers is further set forth in articles 1755 and 1756.
Among the passengers were Juan Bataclan, seated beside and to the right of the driver,
Felipe Lara, sated to the right of Bataclan, another passenger apparently from the Visayan ART. 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human
Islands whom the witnesses just called Visaya, apparently not knowing his name, seated in care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons,
the left side of the driver, and a woman named Natalia Villanueva, seated just behind the with a due regard for all the circumstances.
four last mentioned. At about 2:00 o'clock that same morning, while the bus was running
within the jurisdiction of Imus, Cavite, one of the front tires burst and the vehicle began to
31
ART. 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers are effecting the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, under
presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that such circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should, as an
they observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed in articles 1733 and 1755 ordinary 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
ART. 1759. Common carriers are liable for the death of or injuries to passengers therefrom.
through the negligence or willful acts of the former's employees, although such
employees may have acted beyond the scope of their authority or in violation of the It may be that ordinarily, when a passenger bus overturns, and pins down a passenger,
order of the common carriers. merely causing him physical injuries, if through some event, unexpected and extraordinary,
the overturned bus is set on fire, say, by lightning, or if some highwaymen after looting the
This liability of the common carriers does not cease upon proof that they exercised all vehicle sets it on fire, and the passenger is burned to death, one might still contend that the
the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of their proximate cause of his death was the fire and not the overturning of the vehicle. But in the
employees. present case under the circumstances obtaining in the same, we do not hesitate to hold that
the proximate cause was the overturning of the bus, this for the reason that when the vehicle
turned not only on its side but completely on its back, the leaking of the gasoline from the
ART. 1763. A common carrier responsible for injuries suffered by a passenger on tank was not unnatural or unexpected; that the coming of the men with a lighted torch was in
account of the willful acts or negligence of other passengers or of strangers, if the response to the call for help, made not only by the passengers, but most probably, by the
common carrier's employees through the exercise of the diligence of a good father of a driver and the conductor themselves, and that because it was dark (about 2:30 in the
family could have prevented or stopped the act or omission. morning), the rescuers had to carry a light with them, and coming as they did from a rural
area where lanterns and flashlights were not available; and what was more natural than that
We agree with the trial court that the case involves a breach of contract of transportation for said rescuers should innocently approach the vehicle to extend the aid and effect the rescue
hire, the Medina Transportation having undertaken to carry Bataclan safely to his destination, requested from them. In other words, the coming of the men with a torch was to be expected
Pasay City. We also agree with the trial court that there was negligence on the part of the and was a natural sequence of the overturning of the bus, the trapping of some of its
defendant, through his agent, the driver Saylon. There is evidence to show that at the time of passengers and the call for outside help. What is more, the burning of the bus can also in
the blow out, the bus was speeding, as testified to by one of the passengers, and as shown part be attributed to the negligence of the carrier, through is driver and its conductor.
by the fact that according to the testimony of the witnesses, including that of the defense, According to the witness, the driver and the conductor were on the road walking back and
from the point where one of the front tires burst up to the canal where the bus overturned forth. They, or at least, the driver should and must have known that in the position in which
after zig-zaging, there was a distance of about 150 meters. The chauffeur, after the blow-out, the overturned bus was, gasoline could and must have leaked from the gasoline tank and
must have applied the brakes in order to stop the bus, but because of the velocity at which soaked the area in and around the bus, this aside from the fact that gasoline when spilled,
the bus must have been running, its momentum carried it over a distance of 150 meters specially over a large area, can be smelt and directed even from a distance, and yet neither
before it fell into the canal and turned turtle. the driver nor the conductor would appear to have cautioned or taken steps to warn the
rescuers not to bring the lighted torch too near the bus. Said negligence on the part of the
There is no question that under the circumstances, the defendant carrier is liable. The only agents of the carrier come under the codal provisions above-reproduced, particularly,
question is to what degree. The trial court was of the opinion that the proximate cause of the Articles 1733, 1759 and 1763.
death of Bataclan was not the overturning of the bus, but rather, the fire that burned the bus,
including himself and his co-passengers who were unable to leave it; that at the time the fire As regard the damages to which plaintiffs are entitled, considering the earning capacity of
started, Bataclan, though he must have suffered physical injuries, perhaps serious, was still the deceased, as well as the other elements entering into a damage award, we are satisfied
alive, and so damages were awarded, not for his death, but for the physical injuries suffered that the amount of SIX THOUSAND (P6,000) PESOS would constitute satisfactory
by him. We disagree. A satisfactory definition of proximate cause is found in Volume 38, compensation, this to include compensatory, moral, and other damages. We also believe
pages 695-696 of American jurisprudence, cited by plaintiffs-appellants in their brief. It is as that plaintiffs are entitled to attorney's fees, and assessing the legal services rendered by
follows: plaintiffs' attorneys not only in the trial court, but also in the course of the appeal, and not
losing sight of the able briefs prepared by them, the attorney's fees may well be fixed at
. . . 'that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient EIGHT HUNDRED (P800) PESOS for the loss of merchandise carried by the deceased in
intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have the bus, is adequate and will not be disturbed.
occurred.' And more comprehensively, 'the proximate legal cause is that acting first and
producing the injury, either immediately or by setting other events in motion, all There is one phase of this case which disturbs if it does not shock us. According to the
constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, each having a close causal evidence, one of the passengers who, because of the injuries suffered by her, was
connection with its immediate predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately hospitalized, and while in the hospital, she was visited by the defendant Mariano Medina,

32
and in the course of his visit, she overheard him speaking to one of his bus inspectors, telling imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and reckless imprudence resulting in physical
said inspector to have the tires of the bus changed immediately because they were already injuries.
old, and that as a matter of fact, he had been telling the driver to change the said tires, but
that the driver did not follow his instructions. If this be true, it goes to prove that the driver The Facts:
had not been diligent and had not taken the necessary precautions to insure the safety of his
passengers. Had he changed the tires, specially those in front, with new ones, as he had
been instructed to do, probably, despite his speeding, as we have already stated, the blow On July 6, 1995, at around 11:30 o’clock in the morning, along the national highway in
out would not have occurred. All in all, there is reason to believe that the driver operated and Magtalisay, Sangat, San Fernando, Cebu, a passenger bus of Petrus Bus Liner (passenger
drove his vehicle negligently, resulting in the death of four of his passengers, physical bus), driven by petitioner, collided with a tricycle driven by Elsie Genayas (Genayas),
injuries to others, and the complete loss and destruction of their goods, and yet the criminal resulting in the death of four (4) persons and causing physical injuries to five (5) others, who
case against him, on motion of the fiscal and with his consent, was provisionally dismissed, were all passengers of the tricycle.5 The passenger bus was bound for Dalaguete, Cebu,
because according to the fiscal, the witnesses on whose testimony he was banking to while the tricycle came from the opposite direction, going towards Cebu City. At the time of
support the complaint, either failed or appear or were reluctant to testify. But the record of the mishap, the tricycle was overtaking a Mitsubishi pick-up when it collided with a
the case before us shows the several witnesses, passengers, in that bus, willingly and passenger bus coming from the opposite direction.6
unhesitatingly testified in court to the effect of the said driver was negligent. In the public
interest the prosecution of said erring driver should be pursued, this, not only as a matter of Petitioner was charged before the MTC with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple
justice, but for the promotion of the safety of passengers on public utility buses. Let a copy of homicide for the deaths of Genayas, Orlando Alfanta (Alfanta), Grace Israel (Israel), and
this decision be furnished the Department of Justice and the Provincial Fiscal of Cavite. Julius Amante (Amante); and with reckless imprudence resulting in serious physical injuries
sustained by Crispin Cañeda, Jannette Bacalso, Carmela Lariosa, Fediliza Basco (Basco),
In view of the foregoing, with the modification that the damages awarded by the trial court and Nelfe Agad (Agad) and damage to property.7
are increased from ONE THOUSAND (P1,000) PESOS TO SIX THOUSAND (P6,000)
PESOS, and from SIX HUNDRED PESOS TO EIGHT HUNDRED (P800) PESOS, for the During the trial, one of the witnesses presented by the prosecution was Rogelio Cagakit
death of Bataclan and for the attorney's fees, respectively, the decision appealed is from (Cagakit), a driver of Badian Island Resort. He testified that on July 6, 1995, at around 11:30
hereby affirmed, with costs. o’clock in the morning, he was driving a Mitsubishi Pajero with tourist passengers bound for
Cebu City; that along the national highway somewhere in Barangay Magtalisay, Balud, San
Paras, C. J., Bengzon, Padilla, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J. Fernando, Cebu, he was trailing a tricycle bearing a total of 8 passengers; that upon
B. L., Endencia, and Felix, JJ., concur. reaching the first blind curve of the road, he noticed the tricycle following a Mitsubishi pick-
up; that when the Mitsubishi pick-up slowed down upon reaching the second blind curve, the
tricycle tried to overtake the pick up and, while overtaking, a fast moving vehicle from the
G.R. No. 172778 November 26, 2012 opposite direction hit the tricycle which was thrown towards his direction; and that two
passengers of the tricycle died on the spot.8
SABINIANO DUMAYAG, Petitioner,
vs. Senior Police Officer 3 Gregorio Patalinghug (SPO3 Patalinghug) was also presented as a
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. witness and he narrated that on the said date and time he and Senior Police Officer 2 Felipe
Yap (SPO2 Yap) responded to a report about a traffic accident somewhere in Magtalisay,
DECISION Balud, San Fernando, Cebu. When they arrived at the place, SPO2 Yap immediately
boarded the injured victims in a vehicle and brought them to the hospital. He noticed two
lifeless bodies lying on the road, later identified as those of Alfanta and Genayas. He then
MENDOZA, J.:
inspected the place of the incident; measured the relative positions of the tricycle, the
Mitsubishi Pajero and passenger bus; and drew a sketch. From the sketch, he identified the
Before the Court is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking the point of impact, which was one (1) foot away from the centerline of the road, crossing the
reversal of the November 26, 2004 Decision1 and the May 10, 2006 Resolution2 of the Court lane occupied by the passenger bus. He also pointed to the skid mark, about sixty (60) feet
of Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. CR No. 26513, which affirmed the June 24, 2002 Decision 3 of in length, produced by the bus when its driver stepped on the brake pedal. Based on his
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 21, Cebu City (RTC). The RTC decision upheld with observation from the point of impact and on the information he gathered from several
modification the Decision4 of the Municipal Trial Court of San Fernando, Cebu City (MTC), persons present at the time of the accident, he was of the opinion that the driver of the
finding accused Sabiniano Dumayag (petitioner) guilty of the complex crime of reckless tricycle was at fault.9

33
The prosecution also presented Cañeda, Agad and Basco, who related the collision they a. P50,000.00 death Indemnity;
witnessed. The parents of the victims and the owner of the tricycle, meanwhile, both testified
on their respective claims for damages; while Dr. Rolando Anzano, reported his findings on b. P50,000.00 for wake, funeral, burial and other related miscellaneous
the injuries sustained by the victims. expenses; and

In his defense, petitioner testified that he was a professional driver for 26 years and worked c. P20,000.00 moral damages for the agony, mental anguish and sorrow
for five (5) different employers, the fifth of which was the Petrus Bus Liner; that his everyday suffered by the surviving heirs;
route was from Dalaguete, Cebu to Cebu City and back, with two (2) round trips a day; that
he was familiar with the road since he had been traversing it for around 20 years; that the
road where the accident happened had two (2) blind curves and upon approaching the first 2. To the surviving heirs of deceased Julius Amante;
blind curve, he slowed down by stepping on the brakes; that while negotiating the second
blind curve, he noticed that his lane was clear and so he stepped on the accelerator in order a. P50,000.00 death Indemnity;
to gain momentum; that it was at this moment that the tricycle while in the process of
overtaking a vehicle ahead of it, suddenly occupied his lane; that he tried to avoid hitting the b. P50,000.00 for wake, funeral, burial and other related miscellaneous
tricycle but to no avail; that he could not swerve the bus to the left because there was expenses; and
another vehicle occupying the same; and he could not also swerve the bus to the road
shoulder on the right side of the lane because it was sloping down and there was a canal. He
posited that the accident would not have taken place at all if the tricycle driver had not c. P20,000.00 moral damages for the agony, mental anguish and sorrow
attempted to overtake another vehicle and occupied his lane.10 suffered by the surviving heirs;

On March 18, 1999, the MTC found petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of 3. To the surviving heirs of deceased Grace Israel:
reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide.11 It explained:
a. P50,000.00 death Indemnity;
Taking into account the circumstances and condition of the road there being two (2) blind
curves involved, the length of the skidmark produced at sixty (60) feet in length clearly b. P50,000.00 for wake, funeral, burial and other related miscellaneous
speaks for itself that the accused drove and operated the passenger bus negligently without expenses; and
taking the necessary precautions and without due regard to the road condition.
c. P20,000.00 moral damages for the agony, mental anguish and sorrow
Simply stated, if in the exercise of reasonable care as contended by the accused, the speed suffered by the surviving heirs;
of the passenger bus at that time was commensurate and corresponds with the demands of
the circumstances and conditions of the road where as is obtaining, the conditions are such
plus P50,000.00 by way of attorney’s fees and P20,000.00 exemplary
as to increase the danger of accident, no matter how sudden the tricycle appeared at the
damages.
bus’ front, indisputably, the skid mark produced would not have reached that much or the
accident may have been avoided and if not, the damage or injuries caused could only be
slight and manageable.12 With costs against the accused.

The dispositive portion reads: SO ORDERED.13

WHEREFORE, finding the accused, Sabiniano Dumayag, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of On appeal, the RTC affirmed with modification the decision of the MTC. 14 The modified
the crime of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, he is sentenced to suffer the judgment reads:
penalty of imprisonment of two (2) years and one (1) day minimum to three (3) years, six (6)
months and twenty (20) days maximum and to pay the following civil liabilities: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the appealed decision is hereby
AFFIRMED but modified as follows:
1. To the surviving heirs of deceased Orlando Alfanta:

34
1. For the complex crime of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide of The CA affirmed in toto the decision of the RTC. It found the petitioner and the tricycle driver
Alfante, Israel and Amante, accused is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate equally guilty of negligence, the former for failing to observe the precautionary measure
penalty of TWO (2) YEARS and FOUR (4) MONTHS (of arresto mayor in its when approaching a blind curve and the latter for unsuccessfully overtaking a vehicle. The
maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period), as minimum, to SIX CA stated that the petitioner should have been more careful considering that the area had
(6) YEARS (of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods), as the blind curves and there could be oncoming vehicles from the other side. The fact that
maximum thereof, with all the accessory penalties thereto. petitioner was driving on the right side of the road did not relieve him of the obligation of
exercising due and ordinary care to prevent collision and avoid injury to persons or property,
2. For reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries accused is sentenced including others who may be on the wrong side of the road.16
to PUBLIC CENSURE for the injuries sustained by each of the private
complainants, to wit, Canieda, Bacalso, Lariosa, Bascon and Agad. In other words, Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied in a Resolution, dated May 10,
accused is sentenced to said penalty for as many private complainants as were 2006.
injured.
Hence, this petition raising the following issues:
3. For his civil liabilities, accused is directed –
WHETHER OR NOT NEGLIGENCE, IMPRUDENCE AND RECKLESSNESS WAS
3.1 To pay the surviving heirs of each of the deceased tricycle passengers, CORRECTLY ATTRIBUTED TO PETITIONER BY THE COURTS BELOW WHEN THE
namely, Alfante, Amante and Israel the following: VEHICULAR MISHAP COMPLAINED OF IN THIS PROCEEDING OCCURRED LAST 6
JULY 1995;
3.1.1 Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) for the death each of
the defendant; IF INDEED PETITIONER WAS NEGLIGENT, RECKLESS AND IMPRUDENT WHEN THE
MISHAP LITIGATED IN THIS PROCEEDING OCCURRED LAST 6 JULY 1995, WHETHER
3.1.2 Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) for the wake, funeral, OR NOT SAID NEGLIGENCE, RECKLESSNESS AND IMPRUDENCE, WAS THE
burial and other related expenses in connection with the said PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE SAME;
death;
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER’S CONVICTION, AS SUSTAINED BY THE COURT OF
3.1.3 Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) pesos for moral damages APPEALS, IS VIOLATIVE OF HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO DUE PROCESS OF
LAW AND TO BE PRESUMED INNOCENT OF THE CRIME CHARGED AT BAR.17
3.1.4 Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) for exemplary damages;
Petitioner argues that his guilt was not proven beyond reasonable doubt, claiming that the
vehicular mishap was purely an accident. He insists that he was not negligent, reckless and
3.1.5 Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) pesos as attorney’s fees. imprudent in the operation of the motor vehicle at the time of the accident and that he was
driving the bus on the lane properly belonging to him at a moderate speed.
3.2 To pay Beethoven Bernabe, the owner of the damaged tricycle,
EIGHTY He asserts that the proximate cause of the accident was the negligent, reckless and
imprudent act of the tricycle driver, who suddenly overtook another vehicle while
THOUSANDS PESOS (P80,000.00) as compensatory damage approaching a blind curve. He stresses that had the tricycle driver not attempted to suddenly
representing the value of the said property after deducting therefrom its overtake another vehicle while approaching a blind curve, the accident would not have taken
salvage value and allowance for depreciation; and place.

3.3 The costs. Petitioner further avers that, at the time of the accident, the tricycle was overloaded with
eight passengers, in addition to the driver; that the driver of the tricycle was operating along
SO ORDERED.15 the national highway, a route specifically prohibited under the franchise; and that the tricycle
driver also violated Section 41 (a) and (b) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 4136, 18 as amended,
otherwise known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code of the Philippines when he
tried to overtake another vehicle while approaching a blind curve of the highway. Therefore,

35
due to serious violations committed by the tricycle driver, the resulting deaths and injuries would not have occurred. And more comprehensively, the proximate legal cause is that
arising from the 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
vehicular accident should be his sole responsibility.19 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 ordinary prudent
The Court finds merit in the petition. 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. 25
Well-settled is the rule that findings of fact of the trial court, especially when affirmed by the
CA, are binding and conclusive upon this Court.20 The Court, however, recognizes several The evidence indubitably shows that before the collision, the passenger bus was cruising
exceptions to this rule, to wit: (1) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or along its rightful lane when the tricycle coming from the opposite direction suddenly swerved
impossible; (2) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (3) when the findings are grounded and encroached on its lane. The accident would not have happened had Genayas, the
entirely on speculations, surmises or conjectures; (4) when the judgment of the CA is based tricycle driver, stayed on his lane and did not recklessly try to overtake another vehicle while
on misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when the CA, in approaching a blind curve. Section 37 of R.A. No. 4136, as amended, mandates all motorists
making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the to drive and operate vehicles on the right side of the road or highway. When overtaking
admissions of both appellant and appellee; (7) when the findings of fact are conclusions another, it should be made only if the highway is clearly visible and is free from oncoming
without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (8) when the CA manifestly vehicle. Overtaking while approaching a curve in the highway, where the driver’s view is
overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties and which, if properly obstructed, is not allowed.26 Corollarily, drivers of automobiles, when overtaking another
considered, would justify a different conclusion; and (9) when the findings of fact of the CA vehicle, are charged with a high degree of care and diligence to avoid collision. The
are premised on the absence of evidence and are contradicted by the evidence on obligation rests upon him to see to it that vehicles coming from the opposite direction are not
record.21 Several exceptions obtain in this case; hence, a departure from the general rule is taken unaware by his presence on the side of the road upon which they have the right to
warranted. pass.27

The MTC, the RTC and the CA found petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of reckless The MTC opined that the accident could have been avoided or damage or injuries could only
imprudence resulting in homicide and physical injuries and damage to property. They all be slight and manageable, if the speed of the passenger bus was commensurate with the
concluded that petitioner was guilty because he was driving fast at the time of the collision. demands of the circumstances and the condition of the road. The Court, however, cannot
Consequently, he was sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment and ordered to pay subscribe to the conclusion that petitioner was driving fast and without regard to the
the victims civil indemnity. condition of the road at the time of the collision.

Reckless imprudence, as defined by our penal law, consists in voluntarily, but without malice, The testimony of Cagakit that the passenger bus was running fast at the time of the collision
doing or failing to do an act from which material damage results by reason of inexcusable lacks probative value. The actual speed of the bus was not established because he merely
lack of precaution on the part of the person performing or failing to perform such act, taking stated that when the tricycle was trying to overtake the Mitsubishi pick-up, a fast moving
into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition vehicle hit it. Also, it was not indubitably shown that petitioner was driving at a speed beyond
and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place. 22 In order to establish a the rate allowed by law.28 In a similar case, Vallacar Transit, Inc. v. Catubig,29 the Court, in
motorist’s liability for the negligent operation of a vehicle, it must be shown that there was a adopting the conclusion of the RTC, wrote:
direct causal connection between such negligence and the injuries or damages complained
of.23 Thus, to constitute the offense of reckless driving, the act must be something more than
a mere negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle, and a willful and wanton disregard of Based on the evidence on record, it is crystal clear that the immediate and proximate cause
the consequences is required.24 of the collision is the reckless and negligent act of Quintin Catubig, Jr. and not because the
Ceres Bus was running very fast. Even if Ceres Bus is running very fast on its lane, it could
not have caused the collision if not for the fact that Quintin Catubig, Jr. tried to overtake a
After going over the records of this case, the Court is unable to sustain the findings of fact cargo truck and encroached on the lane traversed by the Ceres Bus while approaching a
and conclusion reached by the courts below. The totality of the evidence shows that the curve. As the driver of the motorcycle, Quintin Catubig, Jr. has not observed reasonable care
proximate cause of the collision was the reckless negligence of the tricycle driver, who and caution in driving his motorcycle which an ordinary prudent driver would have done
hastily overtook another vehicle while approaching a blind curve, in violation of traffic laws. under the circumstances. Recklessness on the part of Quintin Catubig, Jr. is evident when
he tried to overtake a cargo truck while approaching a curve in Barangay Donggo-an,
Proximate cause is defined as that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, Bolisong, Manjuyod, Negros Oriental.
unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result
36
x x x. 1 P25,000.00 as civil indemnity; and

Furthermore, it was undisputed that the tricycle was overloaded, with a total of eight (8) 2 Pl5,000.00 for funeral expenses.
passengers (excluding the driver), which is a clear violation of traffic rules and regulation. It
was likewise admitted by the owner of the tricycle, Beethoven Bernabe (Bernabe), that his The award of damages to Beethoven Bernabe, the owner of the tricycle, is DELETED.
driver violated the conditions specified in the tricycle franchise which prohibited all tricycles to
travel along the national highway. In fact, he admitted that Genayas was only the alternate
driver of his son and that he did not interview him anymore when he applied as a company SO ORDERED.
driver because he was a neighbor and a nephew of his wife. For said reason, the award of
damages to Bernabe by the courts below has no justifiable basis. EN BANC

The immediate and proximate cause being the reckless and imprudent act of the tricycle G.R. No. L-15674 October 17, 1921
driver, petitioner should be acquitted. Nevertheless, he is civilly liable. The rule is that an
"acquittal of the accused, even if based on a finding that he is not guilty, does not carry with
it the extinction of the civil liability based on quasi delict." 30 CONSOLACION GABETO, in her own right and as guardian ad litem of her three
children, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
Under the proven circumstances, there was contributory negligence on the part of AGATON ARANETA, defendant-appellant.
petitioner.1âwphi1 It is to be noted that there were two blind curves along the national
highway. Having travelled along it for the past 20 years, he was aware of the blind curves
and should have taken precaution in operating the passenger bus as it approached them. In STREET, J.:
the situation at hand, he did not exercise the necessary precaution. After negotiating the first
curve, he claimed to have stepped on the accelerator pedal because his lane was clear. This action was instituted in the Court of First Instance of Iloilo by Consolacion Gabeto, in
According to SPO2 Patalinghug, he found skid marks produced by the passenger bus. It her own right as widow of Proceso Gayetano, and as guardian ad litem of the three children,
could only mean that petitioner had slammed on the brake brought about by the sudden Conchita Gayetano, Rosita Gayetano, and Fermin Gayetano, for the purpose of recovering
emergence of the tricycle in front of him. Notwithstanding, it was still short of reckless or damages incurred by the plaintiff as a result of the death of the said Proceso Gayetano,
criminal negligence as he was driving along his rightful lane. supposedly cause by the wrongful act of the defendant Agaton Araneta. Upon hearing the
evidence, his Honor, Judge L. M. Southworth, awarded damages to the plaintiff in the
Considering that the proximate cause was the negligence of the tricycle driver and that amount of P3,000, from which judgment the defendant appealed.
negligence on the part of petitioner was only contributory, there is a need to mitigate the
amounts of the civil liability imposed on the latter. The determination of the mitigation of the It appears in evidence that on August 4, 1918. Basilio Ilano and Proceso Gayetano took a
civil liability varies depending on the circumstances of each case. 31 The Court allowed the carromata near Plaza Gay, in the City of Iloilo, with a view to going to a cockpit on Calle
reduction of 50% in Rakes v. Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Co.,32 20% in Phoenix Construction, Inc. Ledesma in the same City. When the driver of the carromata had turned his horse and
v. IAC33 and LBC Air Cargo, Inc. v. CA, 34 and 40% in Bank of the Philippine Islands v. started in the direction indicated, the defendant, Agaton Araneta, stepped out into the street,
CA 35 and Philippine Bank of Commerce v. CA.36 and laying his hands on the reins, stopped the horse, at the same time protesting to the
driver that he himself had called this carromata first. The driver, one Julio Pagnaya, replied to
In this case, a reduction of 50% of the actual damages is deemed equitable considering that the effect that he had not heard or seen the call of Araneta, and that he had taken up the two
the negligence of the tricycle driver was the proximate cause of the accident and that of passengers then in the carromata as the first who had offered employment. At or about the
petitioner was merely contributory. Moreover, under the circumstances, petitioner cannot be same time Pagnaya pulled on the reins of the bridle to free the horse from the control of
made liable for moral and exemplary damages for lack of basis. The award of attorney's fees Agaton Araneta, in order that the vehicle might pass on. Owing, however, to the looseness of
is not warranted either. the bridle on the horse's head or to the rottenness of the material of which it was made, the
bit came out of the horse's mouth; and it became necessary for the driver to get out, which
he did, in order to find the bridle. The horse was then pulled over to near the curb, by one or
WHEREFORE, the petition 1s PARTLY GRANTED. Petitioner Sabiniano Dumayag is hereby the other — it makes no difference which — and Pagnaya tried to fix the bridle.
ACQUITTED of the crime of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and damage to
property. He is, however, civilly liable and, accordingly, ORDERED to pay each of the
surviving heirs of Orlando Alfanta, Grace Israel and Julius Amante the following: While he was thus engaged, the horse, being free from the control of the bit, became
disturbed and moved forward, in doing which he pulled one of the wheels of the carromata

37
up on the sidewalk and pushed Julio Pagnaya over. After going a few years further the side that Julio, after alighting, led the horse over to the curb, and proceeded to fix the bridle; and
of the carromata struck a police telephone box which was fixed to a post on the sidewalk, that in so doing the bridle was slipped entirely off, when the horse, feeling himself free from
upon which the box came down with a crash and frightened the horse to such an extent that control, started to go away as previously stated.
he set out at full speed up the street.
Upon the whole we are constrained to hold that the defendant is not legally responsible for
Meanwhile one of the passengers, to wit. Basilio Ilano, had alighted while the carromata was the death of Proceso Gayetano; and though reluctant to interfere with the findings of fact of a
as yet alongside the sidewalk; but the other, Proceso Gayetano, had unfortunately retained trial court when there is a conflict of testimony, the evidence in this case so clearly
his seat, and after the runaway horse had proceeded up the street to a point in front of the preponderates in favor of the defendant, that we have no recourse but to reverse the
Mission Hospital, the said Gayetano jumped or fell from the rig, and in so doing received judgment.
injuries from which he soon died.
The judgment will therefore be reversed, and the defendant will be absolved from the
As to the facts above stated the evidence cannot be said to be materially in conflict; but there complaint; and it is so ordered, without express finding as to costs of either instance. So
is decided conflict upon the point of the exact relation of the defendant Agaton Araneta, to ordered.
the runaway. The evidence for the plaintiff on this point consists chiefly of the testimony of
Julio Pagnaya and of Basilio Ilano. They both say that while yet in the middle of the street, Johnson, Araullo, Avanceña and Villamor, JJ., concur.
the defendant jerked the bridle, which caused the bit to come out of the horse's mouth, and
Julio says that at that juncture the throat latch of the bridle was broken. Be this as it may, we
are of the opinion that the mere fact that the defendant interfered with the carromata by G.R. No. 143363 February 6, 2002
stopping the horse in the manner stated would not make him liable for the death of Proceso
Gayetano; because it is admitted by Julio Pagnaya that he afterwards got out of the ST. MARY'S ACADEMY, petitioner,
carromata and went to the horse's head to fix the bridle. The evidence is furthermore vs.
convincing to the effect that, after Julio Pagnaya alighted, the horse was conducted to the WILLIAM CARPITANOS and LUCIA S. CARPITANOS, GUADA DANIEL, JAMES DANIEL
curb and that an appreciable interval of time elapsed — same witnesses say several minutes II, JAMES DANIEL, SR., and VIVENCIO VILLANUEVA, respondents.
— before the horse started on his career up the street. 1awph!l.net
DECISION
It is therefore evident that the stopping of the rig by Agaton Araneta in the middle of the
street was too remote from the accident that presently ensued to be considered the legal or
proximate cause thereof. Moreover, by getting out and taking his post at the head of the PARDO, J.:
horse, the driver was the person primarily responsible for the control of the animal, and the
defendant cannot be charged with liability for the accident resulting from the action of the The Case
horse thereafter.
The case is an appeal via certiorari from the decision1 of the Court of Appeals as well as the
Julio Pagnaya testifies to one fact which, if it were fully accredited, would possibly put a resolution denying reconsideration, holding petitioner liable for damages arising from an
different complexion on the case; for he says that when the horse was pulled over to the accident that resulted in the death of a student who had joined a campaign to visit the public
curb, the defendant, by way of emphasizing his verbal denunciation of Pagnaya, gesticulated schools in Dipolog City to solicit enrollment.
with one of his arms and incidentally brought his hand down on the horse's nose. This,
according to Pagnaya, is what made the horse run away. There is no other witness who The Facts
testifies to this; and it is noteworthy that Basilio Ilano does not mention it. A decided
preponderance of the evidence in our opinion is against it.
The facts, as found by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:
The evidence indicates that the bridle was old, and the leather of which it was made was
probably so weak as to be easily broken. Julio Pagnaya had a natural interest in refuting this "Claiming damages for the death of their only son, Sherwin Carpitanos, spouses William
fact, as well as in exculpating himself in other respects; and we are of the opinion that the Carpitanos and Lucia Carpitanos filed on June 9, 1995 a case against James Daniel II and
several witnesses who testified for the defendant gave a more credible account of the affair his parents, James Daniel Sr. and Guada Daniel, the vehicle owner, Vivencio Villanueva and
than the witnesses for the plaintiff. According to the witnesses for the defendant, it was Julio St. Mary’s Academy before the Regional Trial Court of Dipolog City.
who jerked the rein, thereby causing the bit it come out of the horse's mouth; and they say

38
"On 20 February 1997, Branch 6 of the Regional Trial Court of Dipolog City rendered its "Sherwin Carpitanos died as a result of the injuries he sustained from the accident." 2
decision the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
In due time, petitioner St. Mary’s academy appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals. 3
"‘WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered in the following
manner: On February 29, 2000, the Court of Appeals promulgated a decision reducing the actual
damages to P25,000.00 but otherwise affirming the decision a quo, in toto.4
1. Defendant St. Mary’s Academy of Dipolog City, is hereby ordered to pay plaintiffs William
Carpitanos and Luisa Carpitanos, the following sums of money: On February 29, 2000, petitioner St. Mary’s Academy filed a motion for reconsideration of
the decision. However, on May 22, 2000, the Court of Appeals denied the motion. 5
a. FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) indemnity for the loss of life of Sherwin S.
Carpitanos; Hence, this appeal.6

b. FORTY THOUSAND PESOS (P40,000.00) actual damages incurred by plaintiffs for burial The Issues
and related expenses;
1) Whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding the petitioner liable for damages for
c. TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10,000.00) for attorney’s fees; the death of Sherwin Carpitanos.
2) Whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the award of moral damages against
d. FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P500,000.00) for moral damages; and to pay the petitioner.
costs.
The Court’s Ruling
2. Their liability being only subsidiary, defendants James Daniel, Sr. and Guada Daniel are
hereby ordered to pay herein plaintiffs the amount of damages above-stated in the event of We reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals.
insolvency of principal obligor St. Mary’s Academy of Dipolog City;
The Court of Appeals held petitioner St. Mary’s Academy liable for the death of Sherwin
3. Defendant James Daniel II, being a minor at the time of the commission of the tort and Carpitanos under Articles 2187 and 2198 of the Family Code, pointing out that petitioner was
who was under special parental authority of defendant St. Mary’s Academy, is ABSOLVED negligent in allowing a minor to drive and in not having a teacher accompany the minor
from paying the above-stated damages, same being adjudged against defendants St. Mary’s students in the jeep.
Academy, and subsidiarily, against his parents;
Under Article 218 of the Family Code, the following shall have special parental authority over
4. Defendant Vivencio Villanueva is hereby ABSOLVED of any liability. His counterclaim not a minor child while under their supervision, instruction or custody: (1) the school, its
being in order as earlier discussed in this decision, is hereby DISMISSED. administrators and teachers; or (2) the individual, entity or institution engaged in child care.
This special parental authority and responsibility applies to all authorized activities, whether
IT IS SO ORDERED."’ (Decision, pp. 32-33; Records, pp. 205-206)." inside or outside the premises of the school, entity or institution. Thus, such authority and
responsibility applies to field trips, excursions and other affairs of the pupils and students
"From the records it appears that from 13 to 20 February 1995, defendant-appellant St. outside the school premises whenever authorized by the school or its teachers. 9
Mary’s Academy of Dipolog City conducted an enrollment drive for the school year 1995-
1996. A facet of the enrollment campaign was the visitation of schools from where Under Article 219 of the Family Code, if the person under custody is a minor, those
prospective enrollees were studying. As a student of St. Mary’s Academy, Sherwin exercising special parental authority are principally and solidarily liable for damages caused
Carpitanos was part of the campaigning group. Accordingly, on the fateful day, Sherwin, by the acts or omissions of the unemancipated minor while under their supervision,
along with other high school students were riding in a Mitsubishi jeep owned by defendant instruction, or custody.10
Vivencio Villanueva on their way to Larayan Elementary School, Larayan, Dapitan City. The
jeep was driven by James Daniel II then 15 years old and a student of the same school. However, for petitioner to be liable, there must be a finding that the act or omission
Allegedly, the latter drove the jeep in a reckless manner and as a result the jeep turned considered as negligent was the proximate cause of the injury caused because the
turtle. negligence must have a causal connection to the accident. 11
39
"In order that there may be a recovery for an injury, however, it must be shown that the "The proximate cause of an injury is that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence,
‘injury for which recovery is sought must be the legitimate consequence of the wrong done; unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result
the connection between the negligence and the injury must be a direct and natural sequence would not have occurred."13
of events, unbroken by intervening efficient causes.’ In other words, the negligence must be
the proximate cause of the injury. For, ‘negligence, no matter in what it consists, cannot Considering that the negligence of the minor driver or the detachment of the steering wheel
create a right of action unless it is the proximate cause of the injury complained of.’ And ‘the guide of the jeep owned by respondent Villanueva was an event over which petitioner St.
proximate cause of an injury is that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, Mary’s Academy had no control, and which was the proximate cause of the accident,
unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result petitioner may not be held liable for the death resulting from such accident.
would not have occurred.’"12
Consequently, we find that petitioner likewise cannot be held liable for moral damages in the
In this case, the respondents failed to show that the negligence of petitioner was the amount of P500,000.00 awarded by the trial court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
proximate cause of the death of the victim.
Though incapable of pecuniary computation, moral damages may be recovered if they are
Respondents Daniel spouses and Villanueva admitted that the immediate cause of the the proximate result of the defendant’s wrongful act or omission. 14 In this case, the proximate
accident was not the negligence of petitioner or the reckless driving of James Daniel II, but cause of the accident was not attributable to petitioner.
the detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep.
For the reason that petitioner was not directly liable for the accident, the decision of the Court
In their comment to the petition, respondents Daniel spouses and Villanueva admitted the of Appeals ordering petitioner to pay death indemnity to respondent Carpitanos must be
documentary exhibits establishing that the cause of the accident was the detachment of the deleted. Moreover, the grant of attorney’s fees as part of damages is the exception rather
steering wheel guide of the jeep. Hence, the cause of the accident was not the recklessness than the rule.15 The power of the court to award attorney’s fees under Article 2208 of the Civil
of James Daniel II but the mechanical defect in the jeep of Vivencio Villanueva. Code demands factual, legal and equitable justification.16 Thus, the grant of attorney’s fees
Respondents, including the spouses Carpitanos, parents of the deceased Sherwin against the petitioner is likewise deleted.
Carpitanos, did not dispute the report and testimony of the traffic investigator who stated that
the cause of the accident was the detachment of the steering wheel guide that caused the
jeep to turn turtle. Incidentally, there was no question that the registered owner of the vehicle was respondent
Villanueva. He never denied and in fact admitted this fact.1âwphi1 We have held that the
registered owner of any vehicle, even if not used for public service, would primarily be
Significantly, respondents did not present any evidence to show that the proximate cause of responsible to the public or to third persons for injuries caused the latter while the vehicle
the accident was the negligence of the school authorities, or the reckless driving of James was being driven on the highways or streets."17 Hence, with the overwhelming evidence
Daniel II. Hence, the respondents’ reliance on Article 219 of the Family Code that "those presented by petitioner and the respondent Daniel spouses that the accident occurred
given the authority and responsibility under the preceding Article shall be principally and because of the detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep, it is not the school, but
solidarily liable for damages caused by acts or omissions of the unemancipated minor" was the registered owner of the vehicle who shall be held responsible for damages for the death
unfounded. of Sherwin Carpitanos.

Further, there was no evidence that petitioner school allowed the minor James Daniel II to The Fallo
drive the jeep of respondent Vivencio Villanueva. It was Ched Villanueva, grandson of
respondent Vivencio Villanueva, who had possession and control of the jeep. He was driving
the vehicle and he allowed James Daniel II, a minor, to drive the jeep at the time of the WHEREFORE, the Court REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the decision of the Court of
accident. Appeals18 and that of the trial court.19 The Court remands the case to the trial court for
determination of the liability of defendants, excluding petitioner St. Mary’s Academy, Dipolog
City.
Hence, liability for the accident, whether caused by the negligence of the minor driver or
mechanical detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep, must be pinned on the
minor’s parents primarily. The negligence of petitioner St. Mary’s Academy was only a No costs.
remote cause of the accident. Between the remote cause and the injury, there intervened the
negligence of the minor’s parents or the detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep. SO ORDERED.

40
G.R. No. L-12219 March 15, 1918 The question presented for decision is whether or not the defendant in maneuvering his car
in the manner above described was guilty of negligence such as gives rise to a civil
AMADO PICART, plaintiff-appellant, obligation to repair the damage done; and we are of the opinion that he is so liable. As the
vs. defendant started across the bridge, he had the right to assume that the horse and the rider
FRANK SMITH, JR., defendant-appellee. would pass over to the proper side; but as he moved toward the center of the bridge it was
demonstrated to his eyes that this would not be done; and he must in a moment have
perceived that it was too late for the horse to cross with safety in front of the moving vehicle.
STREET, J.: In the nature of things this change of situation occurred while the automobile was yet some
distance away; and from this moment it was not longer within the power of the plaintiff to
In this action the plaintiff, Amado Picart, seeks to recover of the defendant, Frank Smith, jr., escape being run down by going to a place of greater safety. The control of the situation had
the sum of P31,000, as damages alleged to have been caused by an automobile driven by then passed entirely to the defendant; and it was his duty either to bring his car to an
the defendant. From a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the Province of La Union immediate stop or, seeing that there were no other persons on the bridge, to take the other
absolving the defendant from liability the plaintiff has appealed. side and pass sufficiently far away from the horse to avoid the danger of collision. Instead of
doing this, the defendant ran straight on until he was almost upon the horse. He was, we
The occurrence which gave rise to the institution of this action took place on December 12, think, deceived into doing this by the fact that the horse had not yet exhibited fright. But in
1912, on the Carlatan Bridge, at San Fernando, La Union. It appears that upon the occasion view of the known nature of horses, there was an appreciable risk that, if the animal in
in question the plaintiff was riding on his pony over said bridge. Before he had gotten half question was unacquainted with automobiles, he might get exited and jump under the
way across, the defendant approached from the opposite direction in an automobile, going at conditions which here confronted him. When the defendant exposed the horse and rider to
the rate of about ten or twelve miles per hour. As the defendant neared the bridge he saw a this danger he was, in our opinion, negligent in the eye of the law.
horseman on it and blew his horn to give warning of his approach. He continued his course
and after he had taken the bridge he gave two more successive blasts, as it appeared to him The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case may be
that the man on horseback before him was not observing the rule of the road. stated as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that person would
have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. The law here in effect
The plaintiff, it appears, saw the automobile coming and heard the warning signals. adopts the standard supposed to be supplied by the imaginary conduct of the discreet
However, being perturbed by the novelty of the apparition or the rapidity of the approach, he paterfamilias of the Roman law. The existence of negligence in a given case is not
pulled the pony closely up against the railing on the right side of the bridge instead of going determined by reference to the personal judgment of the actor in the situation before him.
to the left. He says that the reason he did this was that he thought he did not have sufficient The law considers what would be reckless, blameworthy, or negligent in the man of ordinary
time to get over to the other side. The bridge is shown to have a length of about 75 meters intelligence and prudence and determines liability by that.
and a width of 4.80 meters. As the automobile approached, the defendant guided it toward
his left, that being the proper side of the road for the machine. In so doing the defendant The question as to what would constitute the conduct of a prudent man in a given situation
assumed that the horseman would move to the other side. The pony had not as yet exhibited must of course be always determined in the light of human experience and in view of the
fright, and the rider had made no sign for the automobile to stop. Seeing that the pony was facts involved in the particular case. Abstract speculations cannot here be of much value but
apparently quiet, the defendant, instead of veering to the right while yet some distance away this much can be profitably said: Reasonable men govern their conduct by the circumstances
or slowing down, continued to approach directly toward the horse without diminution of which are before them or known to them. They are not, and are not supposed to be,
speed. When he had gotten quite near, there being then no possibility of the horse getting omniscient of the future. Hence they can be expected to take care only when there is
across to the other side, the defendant quickly turned his car sufficiently to the right to something before them to suggest or warn of danger. Could a prudent man, in the case
escape hitting the horse alongside of the railing where it as then standing; but in so doing the under consideration, foresee harm as a result of the course actually pursued? If so, it was
automobile passed in such close proximity to the animal that it became frightened and turned the duty of the actor to take precautions to guard against that harm. Reasonable foresight of
its body across the bridge with its head toward the railing. In so doing, it as struck on the harm, followed by ignoring of the suggestion born of this prevision, is always necessary
hock of the left hind leg by the flange of the car and the limb was broken. The horse fell and before negligence can be held to exist. Stated in these terms, the proper criterion for
its rider was thrown off with some violence. From the evidence adduced in the case we determining the existence of negligence in a given case is this: Conduct is said to be
believe that when the accident occurred the free space where the pony stood between the negligent when a prudent man in the position of the tortfeasor would have foreseen that an
automobile and the railing of the bridge was probably less than one and one half meters. As effect harmful to another was sufficiently probable to warrant his foregoing conduct or
a result of its injuries the horse died. The plaintiff received contusions which caused guarding against its consequences.
temporary unconsciousness and required medical attention for several days.
Applying this test to the conduct of the defendant in the present case we think that
negligence is clearly established. A prudent man, placed in the position of the defendant,

41
would in our opinion, have recognized that the course which he was pursuing was fraught (lesiones graves). At the preliminary investigation the defendant was discharged by the
with risk, and would therefore have foreseen harm to the horse and the rider as reasonable magistrate and the proceedings were dismissed. Conceding that the acquittal of the
consequence of that course. Under these circumstances the law imposed on the defendant defendant at the trial upon the merits in a criminal prosecution for the offense mentioned
the duty to guard against the threatened harm. would be res adjudicata upon the question of his civil liability arising from negligence -- a
point upon which it is unnecessary to express an opinion -- the action of the justice of the
It goes without saying that the plaintiff himself was not free from fault, for he was guilty of peace in dismissing the criminal proceeding upon the preliminary hearing can have no effect.
antecedent negligence in planting himself on the wrong side of the road. But as we have (See U. S. vs. Banzuela and Banzuela, 31 Phil. Rep., 564.)
already stated, the defendant was also negligent; and in such case the problem always is to
discover which agent is immediately and directly responsible. It will be noted that the From what has been said it results that the judgment of the lower court must be reversed,
negligent acts of the two parties were not contemporaneous, since the negligence of the and judgment is her rendered that the plaintiff recover of the defendant the sum of two
defendant succeeded the negligence of the plaintiff by an appreciable interval. Under these hundred pesos (P200), with costs of other instances. The sum here awarded is estimated to
circumstances the law is that the person who has the last fair chance to avoid the impending include the value of the horse, medical expenses of the plaintiff, the loss or damage
harm and fails to do so is chargeable with the consequences, without reference to the prior occasioned to articles of his apparel, and lawful interest on the whole to the date of this
negligence of the other party. recovery. The other damages claimed by the plaintiff are remote or otherwise of such
character as not to be recoverable. So ordered.
The decision in the case of Rkes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Co. (7 Phil. Rep., 359) should
perhaps be mentioned in this connection. This Court there held that while contributory Arellano, C.J., Torres, Carson, Araullo, Avanceña, and Fisher, JJ., concur.
negligence on the part of the person injured did not constitute a bar to recovery, it could be Johnson, J., reserves his vote.
received in evidence to reduce the damages which would otherwise have been assessed
wholly against the other party. The defendant company had there employed the plaintiff, as a Separate Opinions
laborer, to assist in transporting iron rails from a barge in Manila harbor to the company's
yards located not far away. The rails were conveyed upon cars which were hauled along a
narrow track. At certain spot near the water's edge the track gave way by reason of the MALCOLM, J., concurring:
combined effect of the weight of the car and the insecurity of the road bed. The car was in
consequence upset; the rails slid off; and the plaintiff's leg was caught and broken. It After mature deliberation, I have finally decided to concur with the judgment in this case. I do
appeared in evidence that the accident was due to the effects of the typhoon which had so because of my understanding of the "last clear chance" rule of the law of negligence as
dislodged one of the supports of the track. The court found that the defendant company was particularly applied to automobile accidents. This rule cannot be invoked where the
negligent in having failed to repair the bed of the track and also that the plaintiff was, at the negligence of the plaintiff is concurrent with that of the defendant. Again, if a traveler when
moment of the accident, guilty of contributory negligence in walking at the side of the car he reaches the point of collision is in a situation to extricate himself and avoid injury, his
instead of being in front or behind. It was held that while the defendant was liable to the negligence at that point will prevent a recovery. But Justice Street finds as a fact that the
plaintiff by reason of its negligence in having failed to keep the track in proper repair negligent act of the interval of time, and that at the moment the plaintiff had no opportunity to
nevertheless the amount of the damages should be reduced on account of the contributory avoid the accident. Consequently, the "last clear chance" rule is applicable. In other words,
negligence in the plaintiff. As will be seen the defendant's negligence in that case consisted when a traveler has reached a point where he cannot extricate himself and vigilance on his
in an omission only. The liability of the company arose from its responsibility for the part will not avert the injury, his negligence in reaching that position becomes the condition
dangerous condition of its track. In a case like the one now before us, where the defendant and not the proximate cause of the injury and will not preclude a recovery. (Note especially
was actually present and operating the automobile which caused the damage, we do not feel Aiken vs. Metcalf [1917], 102 Atl., 330.)
constrained to attempt to weigh the negligence of the respective parties in order to apportion
the damage according to the degree of their relative fault. It is enough to say that the
negligence of the defendant was in this case the immediate and determining cause of the G.R. No. L-51806 November 8, 1988
accident and that the antecedent negligence of the plaintiff was a more remote factor in the
case. CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION, petitioner,
vs.
A point of minor importance in the case is indicated in the special defense pleaded in the COURT OF APPEALS and ERNEST E. SIMKE, respondents
defendant's answer, to the effect that the subject matter of the action had been previously
adjudicated in the court of a justice of the peace. In this connection it appears that soon after CORTES, J.:
the accident in question occurred, the plaintiff caused criminal proceedings to be instituted
before a justice of the peace charging the defendant with the infliction of serious injuries

42
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari is the decision of the Court of Appeals 1. The Court of Appeals gravely erred in not holding that the present the CAA is really
affirming the trial court decision which reads as follows: a suit against the Republic of the Philippines which cannot be sued without its
consent, which was not given in this case.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering defendant to pay plaintiff the
amount of P15,589.55 as full reimbursement of his actual medical and hospital 2. The Court of Appeals gravely erred in finding that the injuries of respondent Ernest
expenses, with interest at the legal rate from the commencement of the suit; the E. Simke were due to petitioner's negligence — although there was no substantial
amount of P20,200.00 as consequential damages; the amount of P30,000.00 as evidence to support such finding; and that the inference that the hump or elevation
moral damages; the amount of P40,000.00 as exemplary damages; the further the surface of the floor area of the terrace of the fold) MIA building is dangerous just
amount of P20,000.00 as attorney's fees and the costs [Rollo, p. 24]. because said respondent tripped over it is manifestly mistaken — circumstances that
justify a review by this Honorable Court of the said finding of fact of respondent
The facts of the case are as follows: appellate court (Garcia v. Court of Appeals, 33 SCRA 622; Ramos v. CA, 63 SCRA
331.)
Private respondent is a naturalized Filipino citizen and at the time of the incident was the
Honorary Consul Geileral of Israel in the Philippines. 3. The Court of Appeals gravely erred in ordering petitioner to pay actual,
consequential, moral and exemplary damages, as well as attorney's fees to
respondent Simke — although there was no substantial and competent proof to
In the afternoon of December 13, 1968, private respondent with several other persons went support said awards I Rollo, pp. 93-94 1.
to the Manila International Airport to meet his future son-in-law. In order to get a better view
of the incoming passengers, he and his group proceeded to the viewing deck or terrace of
the airport. I

While walking on the terrace, then filled with other people, private respondent slipped over Invoking the rule that the State cannot be sued without its consent, petitioner contends that
an elevation about four (4) inches high at the far end of the terrace. As a result, private being an agency of the government, it cannot be made a party-defendant in this case.
respondent fell on his back and broke his thigh bone.
This Court has already held otherwise in the case of National Airports Corporation v.
The next day, December 14, 1968, private respondent was operated on for about three Teodoro, Sr. [91 Phil. 203 (1952)]. Petitioner contends that the said ruling does not apply in
hours. this case because: First, in the Teodoro case, the CAA was sued only in a substituted
capacity, the National Airports Corporation being the original party. Second, in the Teodoro
case, the cause of action was contractual in nature while here, the cause of action is based
Private respondent then filed an action for damages based on quasi-delict with the Court of on a quasi-delict. Third, there is no specific provision in Republic Act No. 776, the law
First Instance of Rizal, Branch VII against petitioner Civil Aeronautics Administration or CAA governing the CAA, which would justify the conclusion that petitioner was organized for
as the entity empowered "to administer, operate, manage, control, maintain and develop the business and not for governmental purposes. [Rollo, pp. 94-97].
Manila International Airport ... ." [Sec. 32 (24), R.A. 776].
Such arguments are untenable.
Said claim for damages included, aside from the medical and hospital bills, consequential
damages for the expenses of two lawyers who had to go abroad in private respondent's
stead to finalize certain business transactions and for the publication of notices announcing First, the Teodoro case, far from stressing the point that the CAA was only substituted for the
the postponement of private respondent's daughter's wedding which had to be cancelled National Airports Corporation, in fact treated the CAA as the real party in interest when it
because of his accident [Record on Appeal, p. 5]. stated that:

Judgment was rendered in private respondent's favor prompting petitioner to appeal to the xxx xxx xxx
Court of Appeals. The latter affirmed the trial court's decision. Petitioner then filed with the
same court a Motion for, Reconsideration but this was denied. ... To all legal intents and practical purposes, the National Airports Corporation is
dead and the Civil Aeronautics Administration is its heir or legal representative,
Petitioner now comes before this Court raising the following assignment of errors: acting by the law of its creation upon its own rights and in its own name. The better
practice there should have been to make the Civil Aeronautics Administration the

43
third party defendant instead of the National Airports Corporation. [National Airports (24) To administer, operate, manage, control, maintain and develop the Manila
Corp. v. Teodoro, supra, p. 208.] International Airport and all government-owned aerodromes except those controlled
or operated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines including such powers and
xxx xxx xxx duties as: (a) to plan, design, construct, equip, expand, improve, repair or alter
aerodromes or such structures, improvement or air navigation facilities; (b) to enter
into, make and execute contracts of any kind with any person, firm, or public or
Second, the Teodoro case did not make any qualification or limitation as to whether or not private corporation or entity; ... .
the CAA's power to sue and be sued applies only to contractual obligations. The Court in the
Teodoro case ruled that Sections 3 and 4 of Executive Order 365 confer upon the CAA,
without any qualification, the power to sue and be sued, albeit only by implication. (25) To determine, fix, impose, collect and receive landing fees, parking space fees,
Accordingly, this Court's pronouncement that where such power to sue and be sued has royalties on sales or deliveries, direct or indirect, to any aircraft for its use of aviation
been granted without any qualification, it can include a claim based on tort or quasi-delict gasoline, oil and lubricants, spare parts, accessories and supplies, tools, other
[Rayo v. Court of First Instance of Bulacan, G.R. Nos. 55273-83, December 19,1981, 1 1 0 royalties, fees or rentals for the use of any of the property under its management
SCRA 4561 finds relevance and applicability to the present case. and control.

Third, it has already been settled in the Teodoro case that the CAA as an agency is not xxx xxx xxx
immune from suit, it being engaged in functions pertaining to a private entity.
From the foregoing, it can be seen that the CAA is tasked with private or non-governmental
xxx xxx xxx functions which operate to remove it from the purview of the rule on State immunity from suit.
For the correct rule as set forth in the Tedoro case states:
The Civil Aeronautics Administration comes under the category of a private entity.
Although not a body corporate it was created, like the National Airports Corporation, xxx xxx xxx
not to maintain a necessary function of government, but to run what is essentially a
business, even if revenues be not its prime objective but rather the promotion of Not all government entities, whether corporate or non-corporate, are immune from
travel and the convenience of the travelling public. It is engaged in an enterprise suits. Immunity functions suits is determined by the character of the objects for which
which, far from being the exclusive prerogative of state, may, more than the the entity was organized. The rule is thus stated in Corpus Juris:
construction of public roads, be undertaken by private concerns. [National Airports
Corp. v. Teodoro, supra, p. 207.] Suits against State agencies with relation to matters in which they have
assumed to act in private or non-governmental capacity, and various suits
xxx xxx xxx against certain corporations created by the state for public purposes, but to
engage in matters partaking more of the nature of ordinary business rather
True, the law prevailing in 1952 when the Teodoro case was promulgated was Exec. Order than functions of a governmental or political character, are not regarded as
365 (Reorganizing the Civil Aeronautics Administration and Abolishing the National Airports suits against the state. The latter is true, although the state may own stock or
Corporation). Republic Act No. 776 (Civil Aeronautics Act of the Philippines), subsequently property of such a corporation for by engaging in business operations through
enacted on June 20, 1952, did not alter the character of the CAA's objectives under Exec, a corporation, the state divests itself so far of its sovereign character, and by
Order 365. The pertinent provisions cited in the Teodoro case, particularly Secs. 3 and 4 of implication consents to suits against the corporation. (59 C.J., 313) [National
Exec. Order 365, which led the Court to consider the CAA in the category of a private entity Airport Corporation v. Teodoro, supra, pp. 206-207; Emphasis supplied.]
were retained substantially in Republic Act 776, Sec. 32 (24) and (25).<äre||anº•1àw> Said
Act provides: This doctrine has been reaffirmed in the recent case of Malong v. Philippine National
Railways [G.R. No. L-49930, August 7, 1985, 138 SCRA 631, where it was held that the
Sec. 32. Powers and Duties of the Administrator. Subject to the general — control Philippine National Railways, although owned and operated by the government, was not
and supervision of the Department Head, the Administrator shall have among immune from suit as it does not exercise sovereign but purely proprietary and business
others, the following powers and duties: functions. Accordingly, as the CAA was created to undertake the management of airport
operations which primarily involve proprietary functions, it cannot avail of the immunity from
suit accorded to government agencies performing strictly governmental functions.
xxx xxx xxx

44
II It must be borne in mind that pursuant to Article 1173 of the Civil Code, "(t)he fault or
negligence of the obligor consists in the omission of that diligence which is required by the
Petitioner tries to escape liability on the ground that there was no basis for a finding of nature of the obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of the person, of the time
negligence. There can be no negligence on its part, it alleged, because the elevation in and of the place." Here, the obligation of the CAA in maintaining the viewing deck, a facility
question "had a legitimate purpose for being on the terrace and was never intended to trip open to the public, requires that CAA insure the safety of the viewers using it. As these
down people and injure them. It was there for no other purpose but to drain water on the floor people come to the viewing deck to watch the planes and passengers, their tendency would
area of the terrace" [Rollo, P. 99]. be to look to where the planes and the incoming passengers are and not to look down on the
floor or pavement of the viewing deck. The CAA should have thus made sure that no
dangerous obstructions or elevations exist on the floor of the deck to prevent any undue
To determine whether or not the construction of the elevation was done in a negligent harm to the public.
manner, the trial court conducted an ocular inspection of the premises.
The legal foundation of CAA's liability for quasi-delict can be found in Article 2176 of the Civil
xxx xxx xxx Code which provides that "(w)hoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there
being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done... As the CAA knew of the
... This Court after its ocular inspection found the elevation shown in Exhs. A or 6-A existence of the dangerous elevation which it claims though, was made precisely in
where plaintiff slipped to be a step, a dangerous sliding step, and the proximate cause accordance with the plans and specifications of the building for proper drainage of the open
of plaintiffs injury... terrace [See Record on Appeal, pp. 13 and 57; Rollo, p. 391, its failure to have it repaired or
altered in order to eliminate the existing hazard constitutes such negligence as to warrant a
xxx xxx xxx finding of liability based on quasi-delict upon CAA.

This Court during its ocular inspection also observed the dangerous and defective The Court finds the contention that private respondent was, at the very least, guilty of
condition of the open terrace which has remained unrepaired through the years. It has contributory negligence, thus reducing the damages that plaintiff may recover, unmeritorious.
observed the lack of maintenance and upkeep of the MIA terrace, typical of many Contributory negligence under Article 2179 of the Civil Code contemplates a negligent act or
government buildings and offices. Aside from the litter allowed to accumulate in the omission on the part of the plaintiff, which although not the proximate cause of his
terrace, pot holes cause by missing tiles remained unrepaired and unattented. The injury, contributed to his own damage, the proximate cause of the plaintiffs own injury being
several elevations shown in the exhibits presented were verified by this Court during the defendant's lack of due care. In the instant case, no contributory negligence can be
the ocular inspection it undertook. Among these elevations is the one (Exh. A) where imputed to the private respondent, considering the following test formulated in the early case
plaintiff slipped. This Court also observed the other hazard, the slanting or sliding step of Picart v. Smith, 37 Phil. 809 (1918):
(Exh. B) as one passes the entrance door leading to the terrace [Record on Appeal,
U.S., pp. 56 and 59; Emphasis supplied.] The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case may
be stated as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that
The Court of Appeals further noted that: reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent man would have used in the
same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. The law here in effect adopts
the standard supposed to be supplied by the imaginary conduct of the
The inclination itself is an architectural anomaly for as stated by the said witness, it is discreet paterfamilias of the Roman law. The existence of the negligence in a given
neither a ramp because a ramp is an inclined surface in such a way that it will prevent case is not determined by reference to the personal judgment of the actor in the
people or pedestrians from sliding. But if, it is a step then it will not serve its purpose, situation before him. The law considers what would be reckless, blameworthy, or
for pedestrian purposes. (tsn, p. 35, Id.) [rollo, p. 29.] negligent in the man of ordinary intelligence and prudence and determines liability by
that.
These factual findings are binding and conclusive upon this Court. Hence, the CAA cannot
disclaim its liability for the negligent construction of the elevation since under Republic Act The question as to what would constitute the conduct of a prudent man in a given
No. 776, it was charged with the duty of planning, designing, constructing, equipping, situation must of course be always determined in the light of human experience and
expanding, improving, repairing or altering aerodromes or such structures, improvements or in view of the facts involved in the particular case. Abstract speculations cannot be
air navigation facilities [Section 32, supra, R.A. 776]. In the discharge of this obligation, the here of much value but this much can be profitably said: Reasonable men-overn their
CAA is duty-bound to exercise due diligence in overseeing the construction and maintenance conduct by the circumstances which are before them or known to them. They are not,
of the viewing deck or terrace of the airport. and are not supposed to be omniscient of the future. Hence they can be expected to
take care only when there is something before them to suggest or warn of danger.
45
Could a prudent man, in the case under consideration, foresee harm as a result of the Private respondent claims P15,589.55 representing medical and hospitalization bills. This
course actually pursued' If so, it was the duty of the actor to take precautions to guard Court finds the same to have been duly proven through the testimony of Dr. Ambrosio
against that harm. Reasonable foresight of harm, followed by the ignoring of the Tangco, the physician who attended to private respondent (Rollo, p. 26) and who Identified
suggestion born of this prevision, is always necessary before negligence can be held Exh. "H" which was his bill for professional services [Rollo, p. 31].
to exist.... [Picart v. Smith, supra, p. 813; Emphasis supplied.]
Concerning the P20,200.00 alleged to have been spent for other expenses such as the
The private respondent, who was the plaintiff in the case before the lower court, could not transportation of the two lawyers who had to represent private respondent abroad and the
have reasonably foreseen the harm that would befall him, considering the attendant factual publication of the postponement notices of the wedding, the Court holds that the same had
circumstances. Even if the private respondent had been looking where he was going, the also been duly proven. Private respondent had adequately shown the existence of such
step in question could not easily be noticed because of its construction. As the trial court losses and the amount thereof in the testimonies before the trial court [CA decision, p. 81. At
found: any rate, the findings of the Court of Appeals with respect to this are findings of facts [One
Heart Sporting Club, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 5379053972, Oct. 23, 1981, 108
In connection with the incident testified to, a sketch, Exhibit O, shows a section of the SCRA 4161 which, as had been held time and again, are, as a general rule, conclusive
floorings oil which plaintiff had tripped, This sketch reveals two pavements adjoining before this Court [Sese v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 66186, July 31, 1987,152
each other, one being elevated by four and one-fourth inches than the other. From SCRA 585].
the architectural standpoint the higher, pavement is a step. However, unlike a step
commonly seen around, the edge of the elevated pavement slanted outward as one With respect to the P30,000.00 awarded as moral damages, the Court holds private
walks to one interior of the terrace. The length of the inclination between the edges of respondent entitled thereto because of the physical suffering and physical injuries caused by
the two pavements is three inches. Obviously, plaintiff had stepped on the inclination the negligence of the CAA [Arts. 2217 and 2219 (2), New Civil Code].
because had his foot landed on the lower pavement he would not have lost his
balance. The same sketch shows that both pavements including the inclined portion With respect to the award of exemplary damages, the Civil Code explicitly, states:
are tiled in red cement, and as shown by the photograph Exhibit A, the lines of the
tilings are continuous. It would therefore be difficult for a pedestrian to see the
inclination especially where there are plenty of persons in the terrace as was the Art. 2229. Exemplary or corrective damages, are imposed, by way of example or
situation when plaintiff fell down. There was no warning sign to direct one's attention correction for the public good, in addition to the moral, liquidated or compensatory
to the change in the elevation of the floorings. [Rollo, pp. 2829.]
Art. 2231. In quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be granted if the defendant acted
III with gross negligence.

Finally, petitioner appeals to this Court the award of damages to private respondent. The Gross negligence which, according to the Court, is equivalent to the term "notorious
liability of CAA to answer for damages, whether actual, moral or exemplary, cannot be negligence" and consists in the failure to exercise even slight care [Caunan v. Compania
seriously doubted in view of one conferment of the power to sue and be sued upon it, which, General de Tabacos, 56 Phil. 542 (1932)] can be attributed to the CAA for its failure to
as held in the case of Rayo v. Court of First Instance, supra, includes liability on a claim for remedy the dangerous condition of the questioned elevation or to even post a warning sign
quasi-dilict. In the aforestated case, the liability of the National Power Corporation to answer directing the attention of the viewers to the change in the elevation of the floorings
for damages resulting from its act of sudden, precipitate and simultaneous opening of the notwithstanding its knowledge of the hazard posed by such elevation [Rollo, pp. 28-29;
Angat Dam, which caused the death of several residents of the area and the destruction of Record oil Appeal, p. 57]. The wanton disregard by the CAA of the safety of the people using
properties, was upheld since the o,rant of the power to sue and be sued upon it necessarily the viewing deck, who are charged an admission fee, including the petitioner who paid the
implies that it can be held answerable for its tortious acts or any wrongful act for that matter. entrance fees to get inside the vantage place [CA decision, p. 2; Rollo, p. 25] and are,
therefore, entitled to expect a facility that is properly and safely maintained — justifies the
award of exemplary damages against the CAA, as a deterrent and by way of example or
With respect to actual or compensatory damages, the law mandates that the same be correction for the public good. The award of P40,000.00 by the trial court as exemplary
proven. damages appropriately underscores the point that as an entity changed with providing
service to the public, the CAA. like all other entities serving the public. has the obligation to
Art. 2199. Except as provided by law or by stipulation, one are entitled to an adequate provide the public with reasonably safe service.
compensation only for such pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has duly proved.
Such compensation is referred to as actual on compensatory damages [New Civil Finally, the award of attorney's fees is also upheld considering that under Art. 2208 (1) of the
Code]. Civil Code, the same may be awarded whenever exemplary damages are awarded, as in this
46
case, and,at any rate, under Art. 2208 (11), the Court has the discretion to grant the same at the time, telling them not to be afraid because the Gil-Armi Building would not get
when it is just and equitable. burned as it is made of concrete, and that the fire was anyway, across the street.
They told the students not to rush out but just to go down the stairway two by two, or
However, since the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has taken over the to use the fire-escapes. Mrs. Justitia Prieto, one of the instructresses, took to the
management and operations of the Manila International Airport [renamed Ninoy Aquino microphone so as to convey to the students the above admonitions more effectively,
International Airport under Republic Act No. 6639] pursuant to Executive Order No. 778 as and she even slapped three students in order to quiet them down. Miss Frino Meliton,
amended by executive Orders Nos. 903 (1983), 909 (1983) and 298 (1987) and under the registrar, whose desk was near the stairway, stood up and tried with outstretched
Section 24 of the said Exec. Order 778, the MIAA has assumed all the debts, liabilities and arms to stop the students from rushing and pushing their way to the stairs. The panic,
obligations of the now defunct Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), the liabilities of the however, could not be subdued and the students, with the exception of the few who
CAA have now been transferred to the MIAA. made use of fire-escapes kept on rushing and pushing their way through the stairs,
thereby causing stampede therein.
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error, the Petition for review on certiorari is DENIED and
the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 51172-R is AFFIRMED. Indeed, no part of the Gil-Armi Building caught fire. But, after the panic was over, four
students, including Lourdes Fernandez, a sister of plaintiffs-appellants, were found
dead and several others injured on account of the stampede.
SO ORDERED.
xxx xxx xxx
EN BANC
The injuries sustained by Lourdes Fernandez consisted of lacerations in both eyes and on
G.R. No. L-29745 June 4, 1973 the upper lip, contused abrasions in different parts of the body, internal hemorrhage and
fractures in the second and third right ribs. The cause of death, according to the autopsy
MERCEDES M. TEAGUE, petitioner, report, was "Shock due to traumatic fractures of the ribs with perinephric hematoma and
vs. lacerations of the conjunctiva of both eyes."
ELENA FERNANDEZ, et al., respondent.
The deceased's five brothers and sisters filed an action for damages against Mercedes M.
MAKALINTAL, J.: Teague as owner and operator of Realistic Institute. The Court of First Instance of Manila
found for the defendant and dismissed the case. The plaintiffs thereupon appealed to the
Court of Appeals, which by a divided vote of 3 to 2 (a special division of five members having
The facts are stated in the decision of the Court of Appeals as follows: been constituted) rendered a judgment of reversal and sentenced the defendant to pay
damages to the plaintiffs in the sum of P11,000.00, plus interest at the legal rate from the
The Realistic Institute, admittedly owned and operated by defendant-appellee date the complaint was filed.
Mercedes M. Teague was a vocational school for hair and beauty culture situated on
the second floor of the Gil-Armi Building, a two-storey, semi-concrete edifice (Exhs. The case came up to this Court on a petition for review filed by the defendant below.
"C", "C-1" to "C-5" and "4") located at the corner of Quezon Boulevard and Soler
Street, Quiapo, Manila. The said second floor was unpartitioned, had a total area of
about 400 square meters, and although it had only one stairway, of about 1.50 meters The decision of the appellate court declared that the defendant, hereinafter to be referred to
in width, it had eight windows, each of which was provided with two fire-escape as the petitioner, was negligent and that such negligence was the proximate cause of the
ladders (Exh. "4"), and the presence of each of said fire-exits was indicated on the death of Lourdes Fernandez. This finding of negligence is based primarily on the fact that the
wall (Exh. "5"). provision of Section 491 Of the Revised Ordinances of the City of Manila had not been
complied with in connection with the construction and use of the Gil-Armi building where the
petitioner's vocational school was housed. This provision reads as follows:
At about four o'clock in the afternoon of October 24, 1955, a fire broke out in a store
for surplus materials located about ten meters away from the institute. Soler Street lay
between that store and the institute. Upon seeing the fire, some of the students in the Sec. 491. Firepro of partitions, exits and stairways. — ... All buildings and separate
Realistic Institute shouted 'Fire! Fire!' and thereafter, a panic ensued. Four sections of buildings or buildings otherwise known as accessorias having less than
instructresses and six assistant instructress of the Institute were present and they, three stories, having one or more persons domiciled therein either temporarily or
together with the registrar, tried to calm down the students, who numbered about 180 permanently, and all public or quasi-public buildings having less than three stories,
such as hospitals, sanitarium, schools, reformatories, places of human detention,
47
assembly halls, clubs, restaurants or panciterias, and the like, shall be provided with applied these principles to speed limits and other regulations of the manner of driving.
at least two unobstructed stairways of not less than one meter and twenty centimeters (Ross vs. Hartman, 139 Fed. 2d 14 at 15).
in width and an inclination of not less than forty degrees from the perpendicular, in
case of large buildings more than two stairways shall likewise be provided when ... However, the fact that other happenings causing or contributing toward an injury
required by the chief of the fire department, said stairways shall be placed as far apart intervened between the violation of a statute or ordinance and the injury does not
as possible. necessarily make the result so remote that no action can be maintained. The test is to
be found not in the number of intervening events or agents, but in their character and
The alleged violation of the ordinance above-quoted consisted in the fact that the second in the natural and probable connection between the wrong done and the injurious
storey of the Gil-Armi building had only one stairway, 1.5 meters wide, instead of two of at consequence. The general principle is that the violation of a statute or ordinance is
least 1.2 meters each, although at the time of the fire the owner of the building had a second not rendered remote as the cause of an injury by the intervention of another agency if
stairway under construction. the occurrence of the accident, in the manner in which it happened, was the very
thing which the statute or ordinance was intended to Prevent. (38 Am Jur 841).
In ruling that such non-compliance with the City Ordinances was an act of negligence and
that such negligence was the proximate cause of the death of Lourdes Fernandez, reliance The petitioner has raised a number of issues. The first is that Section 491 of the Revised
is based on a number of authorities in the American jurisdiction, thus: . Ordinances of the City of Manila refers to public buildings and hence did not apply to the Gil-
Armi building which was of private ownership. It will be noted from the text of the ordinance,
The mere fact of violation of a statute is not sufficient basis for an inference that such however, that it is not ownership which determines the character of buildings subject to its
violation was the proximate cause of the injury complained. However, if the very injury requirements, but rather the use or the purpose for which a particular building is utilized.
has happened which was intended to be prevented by the statute, it has been held Thus the same may be privately owned, but if it is devoted to any one of the purposes
that violation of the statute will be deemed to be proximate cause of the injury. (65 mentioned in the ordinance — for instance as a school, which the Realistic Institute precisely
C.J.S. 1156). was — then the building is within the coverage of the ordinance. Indeed the requirement that
such a building should have two (2) separate stairways instead of only one (1) has no
relevance or reasonable relation to the fact of ownership, but does have such relation to the
The generally accepted view is that violation of a statutory duty constitutes use or purpose for which the building is devoted.
negligence, negligence as a matter or law, or, according to the decisions on the
question, negligence per se for the reason that non-observance of what the
legislature has prescribed as a suitable precaution is failure to observe that care It is next contended that the obligation to comply with the ordinance devolved upon the
which an ordinarily prudent man would observe, and, when the state regards certain owners of the building and therefore it is they and not the petitioner herein, who is a mere
acts as so liable to injure others as to justify their absolute prohibition, doing the lessee, who should be liable for the violation. The contention ignores the fact that it was the
forbidden act is a breach of duty with respect to those who may be injured thereby; or, use of the building for school purposes which brought the same within the coverage of the
as it has been otherwise expressed, when the standard of care is fixed by law, failure ordinance; and it was the petitioner and not the owners who was responsible for such use.
to conform to such standard is negligence, negligence per se or negligence in and of
itself, in the absence of a legal excuse. According to this view it is immaterial, where a The next issue, indeed the basic one, raised by the petitioner is whether or not the failure to
statute has been violated, whether the act or omission constituting such violation comply with the requirement of the ordinance was the proximate cause of the death of
would have been regarded as negligence in the absence of any statute on the subject Lourdes Fernandez. The case of Villanueva Vda. de Bataclan, et al. vs. Medina, G. R. No. L-
or whether there was, as a matter of fact, any reason to anticipate that injury would 10126, October 22, 1957, is cited in support of the contention that such failure was not the
result from such violation. .... (65 C.J.S. pp. 623-628). proximate cause. It is there stated by this Court:

But the existence of an ordinance changes the situation. If a driver causes an The proximate legal cause is that acting first and producing the injury, either
accident by exceeding the speed limit, for example, do not inquire whether his immediately or by settling other events in motion, all constituting a natural and
prohibited conduct was unreasonably dangerous. It is enough that it was prohibited. continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection with its immediate
Violation of an ordinance intended to promote safety is negligence. If by creating the predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately affecting the injury as a natural
hazard which the ordinance was intended to avoid it brings about the harm which the and probable result of the cause which first acted, under such circumstances that the
ordinance was intended to prevent, it is a legal cause of the harm. This comes only to person responsible for the first event should, as an ordinarily prudent and intelligent
saying that in such circumstances the law has no reason to ignore the causal relation person, have reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his act or default that an
which obviously exists in fact. The law has excellent reason to recognize it, since it is injury to some person might probably result therefrom.
the very relation which the makers of the ordinance anticipated. This court has

48
Having in view the decision just quoted, the petitioner relates the chain of events that A procedural point mentioned by the petitioner is that the complaint did not specifically allege
resulted in the death of Lourdes Fernandez as follows: (1) violation of ordinance; (2) fire at a that the ordinance in question had been violated. The violation, however, as an act of
neighboring place; (3) shouts of "Fire!, Fire!"; (4) panic in the Institute; (5) stampede; and (6) negligence which gave rise to liability, was sufficiently comprehended within paragraph 7 of
injuries and death. the complaint, which reads: .

As thus projected the violation of the ordinance, it is argued, was only a remote cause, if at Par. 7. That the death of Lourdes Fernandez was due to the gross negligence of the
all, and cannot be the basis of liability since there intervened a number of independent defendant who failed to exercise due care and diligence for the safety of its students
causes which produced the injury complained of. A statement of the doctrine relied upon is in not providing the building with adequate fire exits and in not practicing fire drill
found in Manila Electric Co. vs. Remoquillo, L-8328, May 18, 1956, wherein this Court, exercises to avoid the stampede, aside from the fact that the defendant did not have
citing Corpus Juris said: a permit to use the building as a school-house.

A prior and remote cause cannot be made the basis of an action if such remote cause The decision appealed from is affirmed, with costs.
did nothing more than furnish the condition or give rise to the occasion by which the
injury was made possible, if there intervened between such prior or remote cause and
G.R. No. 79578 March 13, 1991
the injury a distinct, successive unrelated, and efficient cause of the injury, even
though such injury would not have happened but for such condition or occasion. If no
danger existed in the condition except because of the independent cause, such RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (RCPI), petitioner,
condition was not the proximate cause. And if an independent negligent act or vs.
defective condition sets into operation the circumstances which result in injury HON. COURT OF APPEALS, and SPOUSES MINERVA TIMAN and FLORES
because of the prior defective condition, such subsequent act or condition is the TIMAN, respondents.
proximate cause. (45 C.J. p. 931.)
Salalima, Trenas, Pagaoa & Associates for petitioner.
According to the petitioner "the events of fire, panic and stampede were independent causes Paul P. Lentejas for private respondents.
with no causal connection at all with the violation of the ordinance." The weakness in the
argument springs from a faulty juxtaposition of the events which formed a chain and resulted SARMIENTO, J.:
in the injury. It is true that the petitioner's non-compliance with the ordinance in question was
ahead of and prior to the other events in point of time, in the sense that it was coetaneous
with its occupancy of the building. But the violation was a continuing one, since the A social condolence telegram sent through the facilities of the petitioner gave rise to the
ordinance was a measure of safety designed to prevent a specific situation which would present petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision1 of the respondent Court of
pose a danger to the occupants of the building. That situation was undue overcrowding in Appeals which affirmed in toto the judgment2 of the trial court, dated February 14, 1985, the
case it should become necessary to evacuate the building, which, it could be reasonably dispositive portion of which reads:
foreseen, was bound to happen under emergency conditions if there was only one stairway
available. It is true that in this particular case there would have been no overcrowding in the WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered:
single stairway if there had not been a fire in the neighborhood which caused the students to
panic and rush headlong for the stairs in order to go down. But it was precisely such 1. Ordering the defendant RCPI to pay plaintiff the amount of P30,848.05
contingencies or event that the authors of the ordinance had in mind, for under normal representing actual and compensatory damages; P10,000.00 as moral damages
conditions one stairway would be adequate for the occupants of the building. Thus, as stated and P5,000.00 as exemplary damages.
in 38 American Jurisprudence, page 841: "The general principle is that the violation of a
statute or ordinance is not rendered remote as the cause of an injury by the intervention of
another agency if the occurrence of the accident, in the manner in which it happened, was 2. Awarding of attorney's fees in the sum of P5,000.00. Costs against the
the very thing which the statute or ordinance was intended to prevent." To consider the defendant.
violation of the ordinance as the proximate cause of the injury does not portray the situation
in its true perspective; it would be more accurate to say that the overcrowding at the stairway SO ORDERED.3
was the proximate cause and that it was precisely what the ordinance intended to prevent by
requiring that there be two stairways instead of only one. Under the doctrine of the cases The facts as gleaned from the records of the case are as follows:
cited by the respondents, the principle of proximate cause applies to such violation.

49
On January 24, 1983, private respondents-spouses Minerva Timan and Flores Timan sent a THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN CONDEMNING PETITIONER TO PAY
telegram of condolence to their cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Hilario Midoranda, at Trinidad, ATTORNEYS FEES IN THE AMOUNT OF P5,000.00 PLUS COSTS OF SUIT.8
Calbayog City, through petitioner Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc. (RCPI,
hereinafter) at Cubao, Quezon City, to convey their deepest sympathy for the recent death of The four assigned errors are going to be discussed jointly because they are all based on the
the mother-in-law of Hilario Midoranda4 to wit: same findings of fact.

MR. & MRS. HILARIO MIDORANDA We fully agree with the appellate court's endorsement of the trial court's conclusion that
TRINIDAD, CALBAYOG CITY RCPI, a corporation dealing in telecommunications and offering its services to the public, is
engaged in a business affected with public interest. As such, it is bound to exercise that
MAY GOD GIVE YOU COURAGE AND STRENGTH TO BEAR YOUR LOSS. OUR degree of diligence expected of it in the performance of its obligation.9
DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO YOU AND MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY.
One of RCPI's main arguments is that it still correctly transmitted the text of the telegram and
MINER & FLORY.5 was received by the addressees on time despite the fact that there was "error" in the social
form and envelope used.10 RCPI asserts that there was no showing that it has any motive to
The condolence telegram was correctly transmitted as far as the written text was concerned. cause harm or damage on private respondents:
However, the condolence message as communicated and delivered to the addressees was
typewritten on a "Happy Birthday" card and placed inside a "Christmasgram" envelope. Petitioner humbly submits that the "error" in the social form used does not come
Believing that the transmittal to the addressees of the aforesaid telegram in that nonsuch within the ambit of fraud, malice or bad faith as understood/defined under the law.11
manner was done intentionally and with gross breach of contract resulting to ridicule,
contempt, and humiliation of the private respondents and the addressees, including their We do not agree.
friends and relatives, the spouses Timan demanded an explanation. Unsatisfied with RCPI's
explanations in its letters, dated March 9 and April 20, 1983, the Timans filed a complaint for
damages.6 In a distinctly similar case,12 and oddly also involving the herein petitioner as the same
culprit, we held:
The parties stipulated at the pre-trial that the issue to be resolved by the trial court was:
Petitioner is a domestic corporation engaged in the business of receiving and
transmitting messages. Everytime a person transmits a message through the facilities
WHETHER or not the act of delivering the condolence message in a Happy of the petitioner, a contract is entered into. Upon receipt of the rate or fee fixed, the
Birthday" card with a "Christmasgram" envelope constitutes a breach of contract on petitioner undertakes to transmit the message accurately . . . As a corporation, the
the part of the defendant. If in the affirmative, whether or not plaintiff is entitled to petitioner can act only through its employees. Hence the acts of its employees in
damages.7 receiving and transmitting messages are the acts of the petitioner. To hold that the
petitioner is not liable directly for the acts of its employees in the pursuit of petitioner's
The trial court rendered judgment in favor of the respondents Timans which was affirmed in business is to deprive the general public availing of the services of the petitioner of an
toto by the Court of Appeals. RCPI now submits the following assignment of errors: effective and adequate remedy.13

I Now, in the present case, it is self-evident that a telegram of condolence is intended and
THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN CONDEMNING PETITIONER TO PAY meant to convey a message of sorrow and sympathy. Precisely, it is denominated "telegram
ACTUAL AND COMPENSATORY DAMAGES IN THE AMOUNT OF P30,848.05. of condolence" because it tenders sympathy and offers to share another's grief. It seems out
II of this world, therefore, to place that message of condolence in a birthday card and deliver
THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN CONDEMNING PETITIONER TO PAY the same in a Christmas envelope for such acts of carelessness and incompetence not only
MORAL DAMAGES IN THE AMOUNT OF P10,000.00. render violence to good taste and common sense, they depict a bizarre presentation of the
III sender's feelings. They ridicule the deceased's loved ones and destroy the atmosphere of
THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN CONDEMNING PETITIONER TO PAY grief and respect for the departed.
EXEMPLARY DAMAGES IN THE AMOUNT OF P5,000.00.
IV Anyone who avails of the facilities of a telegram company like RCPI can choose to send his
message in the ordinary form or in a social form. In the ordinary form, the text of the
50
message is typed on plain newsprint paper. On the other hand, a social telegram is placed in negligence or carelessness can be attributed to defendant-appellant in not supplying
a special form with the proper decorations and embellishments to suit the occasion and the its various stations with such sufficient and adequate social condolence forms when it
message and delivered in an envelope matching the purpose of the occasion and the words held out to the public sometime in January, 1983, the availability of such social
and intent of the message. The sender pays a higher amount for the social telegram than for condolence forms and accepted for a fee the transmission of messages on said
one in the ordinary form. It is clear, therefore, that when RCPI typed the private respondents' forms. Knowing that there are no such forms as testified to by its Material Control
message of condolence in a birthday card and delivered the same in a colorful Manager Mateo Atienza, and entering into a contract for the transmission of
Christmasgram envelope, it committed a breach of contract as well as gross negligence. Its messages in such forms, defendant-appellant committed acts of bad faith, fraud or
excuse that it had run out of social condolence cards and envelopes 14 is flimsy and malice. . . .17
unacceptable. It could not have been faulted had it delivered the message in the ordinary
form and reimbursed the difference in the cost to the private respondents. But by transmitting RCPI's argument that it can not be held liable for exemplary damages, being penal or
it unfittingly—through other special forms clearly, albeit outwardly, portraying the opposite punitive in character,18 is without merit. We have so held in many cases, and oddly, quite a
feelings of joy and happiness and thanksgiving—RCPI only exacerbated the sorrowful number of them likewise involved the herein petitioner as the transgressor.
situation of the addressees and the senders. It bears stress that this botchery exposed not
only the petitioner's gross negligence but also its callousness and disregard for the
sentiments of its clientele, which tantamount to wanton misconduct, for which it must be held xxx xxx xxx
liable for damages.
. . . In contracts and quasi-contracts, exemplary damages may be awarded if the
It is not surprising that when the Timans' telegraphic message reached their cousin, it defendant acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent
became the joke of the Midorandas' friends, relatives, and associates who thought, and manner.1âwphi1 There was gross negligence on the part of RCPI personnel in
rightly so, that the unpardonable mix-up was a mockery of the death of the mother-in-law of transmitting the wrong telegram, of which RCPI must be held liable. Gross
the senders' cousin. Thus it was not unexpected that because of this unusual incident, which carelessness or negligence constitutes wanton misconduct.
caused much embarrassment and distress to respondent Minerva Timan, he suffered
nervousness and hypertension resulting in his confinement for three days starting from April xxx xxx xxx
4, 1983 at the Capitol Medical Center in Quezon City. 15
. . . punitive damages may be recovered for wilful or wantonly negligent acts in
The petitioner argues that "a court cannot rely on speculation, conjectures or guess work as respect of messages, even though those acts are neither authorized nor ratified
to the fact and amount of damages, but must depend on the actual proof that damages had (Arkansas & L.R. Co. vs. Stroude 91 SW 18; West vs. Western U. Tel. Co., 17 P807;
been suffered and evidence of the actual amount.16 In other words, RCPI insists that there is Peterson vs. Western U. Tel. Co., 77 NW 985; Brown vs. Western U. Tel. Co., 6 SE
no causal relation of the illness suffered by Mr. Timan with the foul-up caused by the 146). Thus, punitive damages have been recovered for mistakes in the transmission
petitioner. But that is a question of fact. The findings of fact of the trial court and the of telegrams (Pittman vs. Western Union Tel. Co., 66 SO 977; Painter vs. Western
respondent court concur in favor of the private respondents. We are bound by such Union Tel. Co., 84 SE 293) (emphasis supplied).19
findings—that is the general rule well-established by a long line of cases. Nothing has been
shown to convince us to justify the relaxation of this rule in the petitioner's favor. On the We wish to add a little footnote to this Decision. By merely reviewing the number of cases
contrary, these factual findings are supported by substantial evidence on record. that has reached this Court in which the petitioner was time and again held liable for the
same causes as in the present case breach of contract and gross negligence—the
Anent the award of moral and exemplary damages assigned as errors, the findings of the ineluctable conclusion is that it has not in any way reformed nor improved its services to the
respondent court are persuasive.1âwphi1 public. It must do so now or else next time the Court may be constrained to adjudge stricter
sanctions.
. . . When plaintiffs placed an order for transmission of their social condolence
telegram, defendant did not inform the plaintiff of the exhaustion of such social WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED in toto.
condolence forms. Defendant-appellant accepted through its authorized agent or
agency the order and received the corresponding compensation therefor. Defendant Costs against the petitioner.
did not comply with its contract as intended by the parties and instead of transmitting
the condolence message in an ordinary form, in accordance with its guidelines,
placed the condolence message expressing sadness and sorrow in forms conveying SO ORDERED.
joy and happiness. Under the circumstances, We cannot accept the defendant's plea
of good faith predicated on such exhaustion of social condolence forms. Gross
51
G.R. No. 168512 March 20, 2007 CDC, issued a Certification correcting the initial result and explaining that the examining
medical technologist (Garcia) interpreted the delayed reaction as positive or reactive. 12
ORLANDO D. GARCIA, JR., doing business under the name and style COMMUNITY
DIAGNOSTIC CENTER and BU CASTRO,1 Petitioners, Thereafter, the Company rehired Ranida.
vs.
RANIDA D. SALVADOR and RAMON SALVADOR, Respondents. On July 25, 1994, Ranida and Ramon filed a complaint13 for damages against petitioner
Garcia and a purportedly unknown pathologist of CDC, claiming that, by reason of the
DECISION erroneous interpretation of the results of Ranida’s examination, she lost her job and suffered
serious mental anxiety, trauma and sleepless nights, while Ramon was hospitalized and lost
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: business opportunities.

This is a petition for review2 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the February 27, On September 26, 1994, respondents amended their complaint14 by naming Castro as the
2004 Decision3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 58668 finding petitioner Orlando "unknown pathologist."
D. Garcia liable for gross negligence; and its June 16, 2005 Resolution 4 denying petitioner’s
motion for reconsideration. Garcia denied the allegations of gross negligence and incompetence and reiterated the
scientific explanation for the "false positive" result of the first HBs Ag test in his December 7,
On October 1, 1993, respondent Ranida D. Salvador started working as a trainee in the 1993 letter to the respondents.15
Accounting Department of Limay Bulk Handling Terminal, Inc. (the Company). As a
prerequisite for regular employment, she underwent a medical examination at the For his part, Castro claimed that as pathologist, he rarely went to CDC and only when a case
Community Diagnostic Center (CDC). Garcia who is a medical technologist, conducted the was referred to him; that he did not examine Ranida; and that the test results bore only his
HBs Ag (Hepatitis B Surface Antigen) test and on October 22, 1993, CDC issued the test rubber-stamp signature.
result5 indicating that Ranida was "HBs Ag: Reactive." The result bore the name and
signature of Garcia as examiner and the rubber stamp signature of Castro as pathologist. On September 1, 1997,16 the trial court dismissed the complaint for failure of the respondents
to present sufficient evidence to prove the liability of Garcia and Castro. It held that
When Ranida submitted the test result to Dr. Sto. Domingo, the Company physician, the respondents should have presented Sto. Domingo because he was the one who interpreted
latter apprised her that the findings indicated that she is suffering from Hepatitis B, a liver the test result issued by CDC. Likewise, respondents should have presented a medical
disease. Thus, based on the medical report6submitted by Sto. Domingo, the Company expert to refute the testimonies of Garcia and Castro regarding the medical explanation
terminated Ranida’s employment for failing the physical examination. 7 behind the conflicting test results on Ranida.17

When Ranida informed her father, Ramon, about her ailment, the latter suffered a heart Respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals which reversed the trial court’s findings, the
attack and was confined at the Bataan Doctors Hospital. During Ramon’s confinement, dispositive portion of which states:
Ranida underwent another HBs Ag test at the said hospital and the result8 indicated that she
is non-reactive. She informed Sto. Domingo of this development but was told that the test WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and another one
conducted by CDC was more reliable because it used the Micro-Elisa Method. entered ORDERING defendant-appellee Orlando D. Garcia, Jr. to pay plaintiff-appellant
Ranida D. Salvador moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00, exemplary damages in the
Thus, Ranida went back to CDC for confirmatory testing, and this time, the Anti-HBs test amount of P50,000.00 and attorney’s fees in the amount of P25,000.00.
conducted on her indicated a "Negative" result.9
SO ORDERED.18
Ranida also underwent another HBs Ag test at the Bataan Doctors Hospital using the Micro-
Elisa Method. The result indicated that she was non-reactive.10 The appellate court found Garcia liable for damages for negligently issuing an erroneous
HBs Ag result. On the other hand, it exonerated Castro for lack of participation in the
Ranida submitted the test results from Bataan Doctors Hospital and CDC to the Executive issuance of the results.
Officer of the Company who requested her to undergo another similar test before her re-
employment would be considered. Thus, CDC conducted another HBs Ag test on Ranida After the denial of his motion for reconsideration, Garcia filed the instant petition.
which indicated a "Negative" result.11 Ma. Ruby G. Calderon, Med-Tech Officer-in-Charge of
52
The main issue for resolution is whether the Court of Appeals, in reversing the decision of Section 2 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 4688, otherwise known as The Clinical Laboratory Law,
the trial court, correctly found petitioner liable for damages to the respondents for issuing an provides:
incorrect HBsAG test result.
Sec. 2. It shall be unlawful for any person to be professionally in-charge of a registered
Garcia maintains he is not negligent, thus not liable for damages, because he followed the clinical laboratory unless he is a licensed physician duly qualified in laboratory medicine and
appropriate laboratory measures and procedures as dictated by his training and experience; authorized by the Secretary of Health, such authorization to be renewed annually.
and that he did everything within his professional competence to arrive at an objective,
impartial and impersonal result. No license shall be granted or renewed by the Secretary of Health for the operation and
maintenance of a clinical laboratory unless such laboratory is under the administration,
At the outset, we note that the issues raised are factual in nature. Whether a person is direction and supervision of an authorized physician, as provided for in the preceding
negligent or not is a question of fact which we cannot pass upon in a petition for review paragraph.
on certiorari which is limited to reviewing errors of law.19
Corollarily, Sections 9(9.1)(1), 11 and 25(25.1)(1) of the DOH Administrative Order No. 49-B
Negligence is the failure to observe for the protection of the interest of another person that Series of 1988, otherwise known as the Revised Rules and Regulations Governing the
degree of care, precaution and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand, 20 whereby Registration, Operation and Maintenance of Clinical Laboratories in the Philippines, read:
such other person suffers injury. For health care providers, the test of the existence of
negligence is: did the health care provider either fail to do something which a reasonably Sec. 9. Management of the Clinical Laboratory:
prudent health care provider would have done, or that he or she did something that a
reasonably prudent health care provider would not have done; and that failure or action
caused injury to the patient;21 if yes, then he is guilty of negligence. 9.1 Head of the Clinical Laboratory: The head is that person who assumes technical and
administrative supervision and control of the activities in the laboratory.
Thus, the elements of an actionable conduct are: 1) duty, 2) breach, 3) injury, and 4)
proximate causation. For all categories of clinical laboratories, the head shall be a licensed physician certified by
the Philippine Board of Pathology in either Anatomic or Clinical Pathology or both provided
that:
All the elements are present in the case at bar.
(1) This shall be mandatory for all categories of free-standing clinical laboratories; all tertiary
Owners and operators of clinical laboratories have the duty to comply with statutes, as well category hospital laboratories and for all secondary category hospital laboratories located in
as rules and regulations, purposely promulgated to protect and promote the health of the areas with sufficient available pathologist.
people by preventing the operation of substandard, improperly managed and inadequately
supported clinical laboratories and by improving the quality of performance of clinical
laboratory examinations.22 Their business is impressed with public interest, as such, high xxxx
standards of performance are expected from them.
Sec. 11. Reporting: All laboratory requests shall be considered as consultations between the
In F.F. Cruz and Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals, we found the owner of a furniture shop liable requesting physician and pathologist of the laboratory. As such all laboratory reports on
for the destruction of the plaintiff’s house in a fire which started in his establishment in view various examinations of human specimens shall be construed as consultation report and
of his failure to comply with an ordinance which required the construction of a firewall. shall bear the name of the pathologist or his associate. No person in clinical laboratory shall
In Teague v. Fernandez, we stated that where the very injury which was intended to be issue a report, orally or in writing, whole portions thereof without a directive from the
prevented by the ordinance has happened, non-compliance with the ordinance was not only pathologist or his authorized associate and only to the requesting physician or his authorized
an act of negligence, but also the proximate cause of the death.23 representative except in emergencies when the results may be released as authorized by the
pathologist.
In fine, violation of a statutory duty is negligence. Where the law imposes upon a person the
duty to do something, his omission or non-performance will render him liable to whoever may xxxx
be injured thereby.
Sec. 25. Violations:

53
25.1 The license to operate a clinical laboratory may be suspended or revoked by the 3. By way of affirmative and special defenses, defendant pathologist further avers and plead
Undersecretary of Health for Standards and Regulation upon violation of R.A. 4688 or the as follows:
rules and regulations issued in pursuance thereto or the commission of the following acts by
the persons owning or operating a clinical laboratory and the persons under their authority. Defendant pathologist is not the owner of the Community Diagnostic Center nor an employee
of the same nor the employer of its employees. Defendant pathologist comes to the
(1) Operation of a Clinical Laboratory without a certified pathologist or qualified licensed Community Diagnostic Center when and where a problem is referred to him. Its employees
physician authorized by the Undersecretary of Health or without employing a registered are licensed under the Medical Technology Law (Republic Act No. 5527) and are certified by,
medical technologist or a person not registered as a medical technologist in such a position. and registered with, the Professional Regulation Commission after having passed their
Board Examinations. They are competent within the sphere of their own profession in so far
And Section 29(b) of R.A. No. 5527, otherwise known as The Philippine Medical Technology as conducting laboratory examinations and are allowed to sign for and in behalf of the clinical
Act of 1969, reads: laboratory. The defendant pathologist, and all pathologists in general, are hired by
laboratories for purposes of complying with the rules and regulations and orders issued by
the Department of Health through the Bureau of Research and Laboratories. Defendant
Section 29. Penal Provisions.- Without prejudice to the provision of the Medical Act of 1959, pathologist does not stay that long period of time at the Community Diagnostic Center but
as amended relating to illegal practice of Medicine, the following shall be punished by a fine only periodically or whenever a case is referred to him by the laboratory. Defendant
of not less than two thousand pesos nor more than five thousand pesos, or imprisonment for pathologist does not appoint or select the employees of the laboratory nor does he arrange
not less than six months nor more than two years, or both, in the discretion of the court: or approve their schedules of duty.26

xxxx Castro’s infrequent visit to the clinical laboratory barely qualifies as an effective
administrative supervision and control over the activities in the laboratory. "Supervision and
(b) Any medical technologist, even if duly registered, who shall practice medical technology control" means the authority to act directly whenever a specific function is entrusted by law or
in the Philippines without the necessary supervision of a qualified pathologist or physician regulation to a subordinate; direct the performance of duty; restrain the commission of acts;
authorized by the Department of Health; review, approve, revise or modify acts and decisions of subordinate officials or units.27

From the foregoing laws and rules, it is clear that a clinical laboratory must be administered, Second, Garcia conducted the HBsAG test of respondent Ranida without the supervision of
directed and supervised by a licensed physician authorized by the Secretary of Health, like a defendant-appellee Castro, who admitted that:
pathologist who is specially trained in methods of laboratory medicine; that the medical
technologist must be under the supervision of the pathologist or a licensed physician; and [He] does not know, and has never known or met, the plaintiff-patient even up to this time nor
that the results of any examination may be released only to the requesting physician or his has he personally examined any specimen, blood, urine or any other tissue, from the
authorized representative upon the direction of the laboratory pathologist. plaintiff-patient otherwise his own handwritten signature would have appeared in the result
and not merely stamped as shown in Annex "B" of the Amended Complaint. 28
These rules are intended for the protection of the public by preventing performance of
substandard clinical examinations by laboratories whose personnel are not properly Last, the disputed HBsAG test result was released to respondent Ranida without the
supervised. The public demands no less than an effective and efficient performance of authorization of defendant-appellee Castro.29
clinical laboratory examinations through compliance with the quality standards set by laws
and regulations.
Garcia may not have intended to cause the consequences which followed after the release
of the HBsAG test result. However, his failure to comply with the laws and rules promulgated
We find that petitioner Garcia failed to comply with these standards. and issued for the protection of public safety and interest is failure to observe that care which
a reasonably prudent health care provider would observe. Thus, his act or omission
First, CDC is not administered, directed and supervised by a licensed physician as required constitutes a breach of duty.
by law, but by Ma. Ruby C. Calderon, a licensed Medical Technologist. 24 In the License to
Open and Operate a Clinical Laboratory for the years 1993 and 1996 issued by Dr. Juan R. Indubitably, Ranida suffered injury as a direct consequence of Garcia’s failure to comply with
Nañagas, M.D., Undersecretary for Health Facilities, Standards and Regulation, defendant- the mandate of the laws and rules aforequoted. She was terminated from the service for
appellee Castro was named as the head of CDC.25 However, in his Answer with failing the physical examination; suffered anxiety because of the diagnosis; and was
Counterclaim, he stated: compelled to undergo several more tests. All these could have been avoided had the proper

54
safeguards been scrupulously followed in conducting the clinical examination and releasing The Antecedent Facts
the clinical report.
On May 14, 2004, at about three o’clock in the morning, Reynaldo Vizcara (Reynaldo) was
Article 20 of the New Civil Code provides: driving a passenger jeepney headed towards Bicol to deliver onion crops, with his
companions, namely, Cresencio Vizcara (Cresencio), Crispin Natividad (Crispin), Samuel
Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, willfully or negligently causes damage to another, Natividad (Samuel), Dominador Antonio (Dominador) and Joel Vizcara (Joel). While crossing
shall indemnify the latter for the same. the railroad track in Tiaong, Quezon, a Philippine National Railways (PNR) train, then being
operated by respondent Japhet Estranas (Estranas), suddenly turned up and rammed the
passenger jeepney. The collision resulted to the instantaneous death of Reynaldo,
The foregoing provision provides the legal basis for the award of damages to a party who Cresencio, Crispin, and Samuel. On the other hand, Dominador and Joel, sustained serious
suffers damage whenever one commits an act in violation of some legal provision.30 This physical injuries.4
was incorporated by the Code Commission to provide relief to a person who suffers damage
because another has violated some legal provision.31
At the time of the accident, there was no level crossing installed at the railroad crossing.
Additionally, the "Stop, Look and Listen" signage was poorly maintained. The "Stop" signage
We find the Court of Appeals’ award of moral damages reasonable under the circumstances was already faded while the "Listen" signage was partly blocked by another signboard.5
bearing in mind the mental trauma suffered by respondent Ranida who thought she was
afflicted by Hepatitis B, making her "unfit or unsafe for any type of employment." 32 Having
established her right to moral damages, we see no reason to disturb the award of exemplary On September 15, 2004, the survivors of the mishap, Joel and Dominador, together with the
damages and attorney’s fees. Exemplary damages are imposed, by way of example or heirs of the deceased victims, namely, Purificacion Vizcara, Marivic Vizcara, Cresencia
correction for the public good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory Natividad and Hector Vizcara, filed an action for damages against PNR, Estranas and Ben
damages,33 and attorney’s fees may be recovered when, as in the instant case, exemplary Saga, the alternate driver of the train, before the RTC of Palayan City. The case was raffled
damages are awarded.34 to Branch 40 and was docketed as Civil Case No. 0365-P. In their complaint, the
respondents alleged that the proximate cause of the fatalities and serious physical injuries
sustained by the victims of the accident was the petitioners’ gross negligence in not providing
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 58668 dated adequate safety measures to prevent injury to persons and properties. They pointed out that
February 27, 2004 finding petitioner Orlando D. Garcia, Jr. guilty of gross negligence and in the railroad track of Tiaong, Quezon where the accident happened, there was no level
liable to pay to respondents ₱50,000.00 as moral damages, ₱50,000.00 as exemplary crossing bar, lighting equipment or bell installed to warn motorists of the existence of the
damages, and ₱25,000.00 as attorney’s fees, is AFFIRMED. track and of the approaching train. They concluded their complaint with a prayer for actual,
moral and compensatory damages, as well as attorney’s fees. 6
SO ORDERED.
For their part, the petitioners claimed that they exercised due diligence in operating the train
G.R. No. 190022 February 15, 2012 and monitoring its roadworthiness. They asseverate that right before the collision, Estranas
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL RAILWAYS CORPORATION, JAPHET ESTRANAS and BEN was driving the train at a moderate speed. Four hundred (400) meters away from the railroad
SAGA, Petitioners, crossing, he started blowing his horn to warn motorists of the approaching train. When the
vs. train was only fifty (50) meters away from the intersection, respondent Estranas noticed that
PURIFICACION VIZCARA, MARIVIC VIZCARA, CRESENCIA A. NATIVIDAD, HECTOR all vehicles on both sides of the track were already at a full stop. Thus, he carefully
VIZCARA, JOEL VIZCARA and DOMINADOR ANTONIO, Respondents. proceeded at a speed of twenty-five (25) kilometers per hour, still blowing the train’s horn.
DECISION However, when the train was already ten (10) meters away from the intersection, the
REYES, J.: passenger jeepney being driven by Reynaldo suddenly crossed the tracks. Estranas
immediately stepped on the brakes to avoid hitting the jeepney but due to the sheer weight of
the train, it did not instantly come to a complete stop until the jeepney was dragged 20 to 30
Nature of the Petition meters away from the point of collision.7

Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil The Ruling of the Trial Court
Procedure, seeking to annul and set aside the Decision 1 dated July 21, 2009 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 90021, which affirmed with modification the Decision 2 dated
March 20, 2007 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 40, Palayan City, and After trial on the merits, the RTC rendered its Decision8 dated March 20, 2007, ruling in favor
Resolution3 dated October 26, 2009, which denied the petitioners’ motion for reconsideration. of the respondents, the dispositive portion of which reads:
55
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered ordering defendants Unyielding, the petitioners appealed the RTC decision to the CA. Subsequently, on July 21,
Philippine National Railways Corporation (PNR), Japhet Estranas and Ben Saga to, jointly 2009, the CA rendered the assailed decision, affirming the RTC decision with modification
and severally pay the following amounts to: with respect to the amount of damages awarded to the respondents. The CA disposed, thus:

1. a) PURIFICACION VIZCARA: WHEREFORE, instant appeal is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The assailed Decision is
1) P50,000.00, as indemnity for the death of Reynaldo Vizcara; AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION, as follows:
2) P35,000.00, for funeral expenses;
3) P5,000.00 for re-embalming expenses; (1) The award of P5,000.00 for re-embalming expenses and P40,000.00 for
4) P40,000.00 for wake/interment expenses; wake/interment expenses to PURIFICACION VIZCARA is deleted. In lieu thereof,
5) P300,000.00 as reimbursement for the value of the jeepney P25,000.00 as temperate damages is awarded;
with license plate no. DTW-387;
6) P200,000.00 as moral damages;
7) P100,000.00 as exemplary damages; and (2) The award of moral damages to PURIFICACION VIZCARA, MARIVIC
8) P20,000.00 for Attorney’s fees. VIZCARA, HECTOR VIZCARA and CRESENCIA NATIVIDAD is hereby reduced
b) MARIVIC VIZCARA: from P200,000.00 to P100,000.00 each while moral damages awarded to JOEL
1) P50,000.00, as indemnity for the death of Cresencio Vizcara; VIZCARA and DOMINADOR ANTONIO are likewise reduced from P50,000.00 to
2) P200,000.00 as moral damages; P25,000.00;
3) P100,000.00 as exemplary damages; and
4) P20,000.00 for Attorney’s fees. (3) The award of exemplary damages to PURIFICACION VIZCARA, MARIVIC
c) HECTOR VIZCARA: VIZCARA, HECTOR VIZCARA and CRESENCIA NATIVIDAD is hereby reduced
1) P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of Samuel Vizcara; from P100,000.00 to P50,000.00 each while exemplary damages awarded to JOEL
2) P200,000.00 as moral damages; VIZCARA and DOMINADOR ANTONIO are likewise reduced from P25,000.00 to
3) P100,000.00 as exemplary damages; and P12,500.00; and
4) P20,000.00 for Attorney’s fees.
d) CRESENCIA NATIVIDAD: (4) The award for attorney’s fees in favor of the Appellees as well as the award of
1) P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of Crispin Natividad; P300,000.00 to Appellee PURIFICACION as reimbursement for the value of the
2) P200,000.00 as moral damages; jeepney is DELETED.
3) P100,000.00 as exemplary damages; and
4) P20,000.00 for Attorney’s fees.
e) JOEL VIZCARA SO ORDERED.10
1) P9,870.00 as reimbursement for his actual expenses;
2) P50,000.00 as moral damages; In the assailed decision, the CA affirmed the RTC’s finding of negligence on the part of the
3) P25,000.00 as exemplary damages; and petitioners. It concurred with the trial court's conclusion that petitioner PNR's failure to install
4) P10,000.00 for Attorney’s fees. sufficient safety devices in the area, such as flagbars or safety railroad bars and signage,
f) DOMINADOR ANTONIO was the proximate cause of the accident. Nonetheless, in order to conform with established
1) P63,427.00 as reimbursement for his actual expenses; jurisprudence, it modified the monetary awards to the victims and the heirs of those who
2) P50,000.00 as moral damages; perished due to the collision.
3) P25,000.00 as exemplary damages; and
4) P10,000.00 for Attorney’s fees.
The petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration11 of the decision of the CA. However, in a
and
Resolution12 dated October 26, 2009, the CA denied the same.
2. Costs of suit.

Aggrieved, the petitioners filed the present petition for review on certiorari, raising the
SO ORDERED.9
following grounds:

The Ruling of the CA


I

56
THE CA ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called quasi-delict and is governed by
ACCIDENT WAS THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE PETITIONERS; the provisions of this chapter.

II In Layugan v. Intermediate Appellate Court,17 negligence was defined as the omission to do


something which a reasonable man, guided by considerations which ordinarily regulate the
THE CA ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE DOCTRINE OF LAST CLEAR CHANCE conduct of human affairs, would do, or the doing of something which a prudent and
FINDS NO APPLICATION IN THE INSTANT CASE; reasonable man would not do. It is the failure to observe for the protection of the interests of
another person, that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly
demand, whereby such other person suffers injury.18 To determine the existence of
III negligence, the time-honored test was: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act
use that reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person would have used in
THE CA ERRED IN FINDING NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. The law here in effect adopts the
PETITIONERS OR ERRED IN NOT FINDING AT THE LEAST, CONTRIBUTORY standard supposed to be supplied by the imaginary conduct of the discreet paterfamilias of
NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE RESPONDENTS.13 the Roman law. The existence of negligence in a given case is not determined by reference
to the personal judgment of the actor in the situation before him. The law considers what
The petitioners maintain that the proximate cause of the collision was the negligence and would be reckless, blameworthy, or negligent in the man of ordinary intelligence and
recklessness of the driver of the jeepney. They argue that as a professional driver, Reynaldo prudence and determines liability by that. 19
is presumed to be familiar with traffic rules and regulations, including the right of way
accorded to trains at railroad crossing and the precautionary measures to observe in In the instant petition, this Court is called upon to determine whose negligence occasioned
traversing the same. However, in utter disregard of the right of way enjoyed by PNR trains, the ill-fated incident. The records however reveal that this issue had been rigorously
he failed to bring his jeepney to a full stop before crossing the railroad track and discussed by both the RTC and the CA. To emphasize, the RTC ruled that it was the
thoughtlessly followed the ten-wheeler truck ahead of them. His failure to maintain a safe petitioners’ failure to install adequate safety devices at the railroad crossing which
distance between the jeepney he was driving and the truck ahead of the same prevented him proximately caused the collision. This finding was affirmed by the CA in its July 21, 2009
from seeing the PNR signage displayed along the crossing. 14 Decision. It is a well-established rule that factual findings by the CA are conclusive on the
parties and are not reviewable by this Court. They are entitled to great weight and respect,
In their Comment,15 the respondents reiterate the findings of the RTC and the CA that the even finality, especially when, as in this case, the CA affirmed the factual findings arrived at
petitioners' negligence in maintaining adequate and necessary public safety devices in the by the trial court.20
area of the accident was the proximate cause of the mishap. They asseverate that if there
was only a level crossing bar, warning light or sound, or flagman in the intersection, the Furthermore, in petitions for review on certiorari, only questions of law may be put into issue.
accident would not have happened. Thus, there is no other party to blame but the petitioners Questions of fact cannot be entertained.21 To distinguish one from the other, a question of
for their failure to ensure that adequate warning devices are installed along the railroad law exists when the doubt or difference centers on what the law is on a certain state of facts.
crossing.16 A question of fact, on the other hand, exists if the doubt centers on the truth or falsity of the
alleged facts.22 Certainly, the finding of negligence by the RTC, which was affirmed by the
This Court’s Ruling CA, is a question of fact which this Court cannot pass upon as this would entail going into the
factual matters on which the negligence was based.23 Moreover, it was not shown that the
present case falls under any of the recognized exceptions 24 to the oft repeated principle
The petition lacks merit. according great weight and respect to the factual findings of the trial court and the CA.

The petitioners’ negligence was the proximate cause of the accident. At any rate, the records bear out that the factual circumstances of the case were
meticulously scrutinized by both the RTC and the CA before arriving at the same finding of
Article 2176 of the New Civil Code prescribes a civil liability for damages caused by a negligence on the part of the petitioners, and we found no compelling reason to disturb the
person's act or omission constituting fault or negligence. It states: same. Both courts ruled that the petitioners fell short of the diligence expected of it, taking
into consideration the nature of its business, to forestall any untoward incident. In particular,
the petitioners failed to install safety railroad bars to prevent motorists from crossing the
Article 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or
tracks in order to give way to an approaching train. Aside from the absence of a crossing bar,
negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there was no
the "Stop, Look and Listen" signage installed in the area was poorly maintained, hence,
inadequate to alert the public of the impending danger. A reliable signaling device in good
57
condition, not just a dilapidated "Stop, Look and Listen" signage, is needed to give notice to The exacting nature of the responsibility of railroad companies to secure public safety by the
the public. It is the responsibility of the railroad company to use reasonable care to keep the installation of warning devices was emphasized in Philippine National Railways v. Court of
signal devices in working order. Failure to do so would be an indication of Appeals,28 thus:
negligence.25 Having established the fact of negligence on the part of the petitioners, they
were rightfully held liable for damages. [I]t may broadly be stated that railroad companies owe to the public a duty of exercising a
reasonable degree of care to avoid injury to persons and property at railroad crossings,
There was no contributory negligence on the part of the respondents. which duties pertain both to the operation of trains and to the maintenance of the crossings.
Moreover, every corporation constructing or operating a railway shall make and construct at
As to whether there was contributory negligence on the part of the respondents, this court all points where such railway crosses any public road, good, sufficient, and safe crossings,
rule in the negative. Contributory negligence is conduct on the part of the injured party, and erect at such points, at sufficient elevation from such road as to admit a free passage of
contributing as a legal cause to the harm he has suffered, which falls below the standard vehicles of every kind, a sign with large and distinct letters placed thereon, to give notice of
which he is required to conform for his own protection. It is an act or omission amounting to the proximity of the railway, and warn persons of the necessity of looking out for trains. The
want of ordinary care on the part of the person injured which, concurring with the defendant’s failure of the PNR to put a cross bar, or signal light, flagman or switchman, or semaphore is
negligence, is the proximate cause of the injury.26 Here, we cannot see how the respondents evidence of negligence and disregard of the safety of the public, even if there is no law or
could have contributed to their injury when they were not even aware of the forthcoming ordinance requiring it, because public safety demands that said device or equipment be
danger. It was established during the trial that the jeepney carrying the respondents was installed.29
following a ten-wheeler truck which was only about three to five meters ahead. When the
truck proceeded to traverse the railroad track, Reynaldo, the driver of the jeepney, simply The responsibility of the PNR to secure public safety does not end with the installation of
followed through. He did so under the impression that it was safe to proceed. It bears noting safety equipment and signages but, with equal measure of accountability, with the upkeep
that the prevailing circumstances immediately before the collision did not manifest even the and repair of the same. Thus, in Cusi v. Philippine National Railways,30 we held:
slightest indication of an imminent harm. To begin with, the truck they were trailing was able
to safely cross the track. Likewise, there was no crossing bar to prevent them from Jurisprudence recognizes that if warning devices are installed in railroad crossings, the
proceeding or, at least, a stoplight or signage to forewarn them of the approaching peril. travelling public has the right to rely on such warning devices to put them on their guard and
Thus, relying on his faculties of sight and hearing, Reynaldo had no reason to anticipate the take the necessary precautions before crossing the tracks. A need, therefore, exists for the
impending danger.27 He proceeded to cross the track and, all of a sudden, his jeepney was railroad company to use reasonable care to keep such devices in good condition and in
rammed by the train being operated by the petitioners. Even then, the circumstances before working order, or to give notice that they are not operating, since if such a signal is
the collision negate the imputation of contributory negligence on the part of the respondents. misunderstood it is a menace. Thus, it has been held that if a railroad company maintains a
What clearly appears is that the accident would not have happened had the petitioners signalling device at a crossing to give warning of the approach of a train, the failure of the
installed reliable and adequate safety devices along the crossing to ensure the safety of all device to operate is generally held to be evidence of negligence, which maybe considered
those who may utilize the same. with all the circumstances of the case in determining whether the railroad company was
negligent as a matter of fact. 31
At this age of modern transportation, it behooves the PNR to exert serious efforts to catch up
with the trend, including the contemporary standards in railroad safety. As an institution The maintenance of safety equipment and warning signals at railroad crossings is equally
established to alleviate public transportation, it is the duty of the PNR to promote the safety important as their installation since poorly maintained safety warning devices court as much
and security of the general riding public and provide for their convenience, which to a danger as when none was installed at all. The presence of safety warning signals at railroad
considerable degree may be accomplished by the installation of precautionary warning crossing carries with it the presumption that they are in good working condition and that the
devices. Every railroad crossing must be installed with barriers on each side of the track to public may depend on them for assistance. If they happen to be neglected and inoperative,
block the full width of the road until after the train runs past the crossing. To even draw closer the public may be misled into relying on the impression of safety they normally convey and
attention, the railroad crossing may be equipped with a device which rings a bell or turns on eventually bring injury to themselves in doing so.
a signal light to signify the danger or risk of crossing. It is similarly beneficial to mount
advance warning signs at the railroad crossing, such as a reflectorized crossbuck sign to
inform motorists of the existence of the track, and a stop, look and listen signage to prompt The doctrine of last clear chance is not applicable.
the public to take caution. These warning signs must be erected in a place where they will
have ample lighting and unobstructed visibility both day and night. If only these safety Finally, the CA correctly ruled that the doctrine of last clear chance is not applicable in the
devices were installed at the Tiaong railroad crossing and the accident nevertheless instant case. The doctrine of last clear chance provides that where both parties are negligent
occurred, we could have reached a different disposition in the extent of the petitioner’s but the negligent act of one is appreciably later in point of time than that of the other, or
liability. where it is impossible to determine whose fault or negligence brought about the occurrence
58
of the incident, the one who had the last clear opportunity to avoid the impending harm but Distressed, respondent filed a complaint against petitioner with the National Labor Relations
failed to do so, is chargeable with the consequences arising therefrom. Stated differently, the Commission (NLRC), San Fernando, Pampanga, for alleged illegal dismissal and for the
rule is that the antecedent negligence of a person does not preclude recovery of damages payment of backwages, separation pay, actual damages and attorney’s fees. The said case,
caused by the supervening negligence of the latter, who had the last fair chance to prevent docketed as NLRC Case No. RAB-III-05-5834-03, is still pending resolution with the NLRC at
the impending harm by the exercise of due diligence.32 To reiterate, the proximate cause of the time the instant petition was filed.8
the collision was the petitioners’ negligence in ensuring that motorists and pedestrians alike
may safely cross the railroad track. The unsuspecting driver and passengers of the jeepney Subsequently, respondent filed another Complaint9 with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
did not have any participation in the occurrence of the unfortunate incident which befell them. Aparri, Cagayan, alleging that he contracted such occupational disease by reason of the
Likewise, they did not exhibit any overt act manifesting disregard for their own safety. Thus, gross negligence of petitioner to provide him with a safe, healthy and workable environment.
absent preceding negligence on the part of the respondents, the doctrine of last clear chance
cannot be applied.
In his Complaint, respondent alleged that as part of his job description, he conductsregular
maintenance check on petitioner’s facilities including its dye house area, which is very hot
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of and emits foul chemical odor with no adequate safety measures introduced by
Appeals dated July 21, 2009 in CA-G.R. CV No. 90021 is hereby AFFIRMED. petitioner.10 According to respondent, the air washer dampers and all roof exhaust vests are
blown into open air, carrying dust thereto.11 Concerned, respondent recommended to
SO ORDERED. management to place roof insulation to minimize, if not, eradicate the health hazards
attendant in the work place.12 However, said recommendation was turned down by
management due to high cost.13 Respondent further suggested to petitioner’s management
G.R. No. 171212 August 4, 2014
that the engineering office be relocated because ofits dent prone location, such that even if
the door of the office is sealed, accumulated dust creeps in outside the office. 14 This was
INDOPHIL TEXTILE MILLS, INC., Petitioner, further aggravated by the installation of new filters fronting the office.15 However, no action
vs. was taken by management.16 According to respondent, these healthhazards have been the
ENGR. SALVADOR ADVIENTO, Respondents. persistent complaints of most, if not all, workers of petitioner.17 Nevertheless, said complaints
fell on deaf ears as petitioner callously ignored the health problems of its workers and even
DECISION tended to be apathetic to their plight, including respondent. 18

PERALTA, J.: Respondent averred that, being the only breadwinner in the family, he made several
attempts to apply for a new job, but to his dismay and frustration, employers who knew ofhis
present health condition discriminated against him and turned down his application. 19 By
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of reason thereof, respondent suffered intense moral suffering, mental anguish, serious anxiety
Court which seeks to review, reverse and set-aside the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals and wounded feelings, praying for the recovery of the following: (1) Five Million Pesos
(CA), dated May 30, 2005, and its Resolution2dated January 10, 2006 in the case entitled (₱5,000,000.00) asmoral damages; (2) Two Million Pesos (₱2,000,000.00) as exemplary
Jndophil Textile Mills, Inc. v. Hon. Rolando R. Velasco and Engr. Salvador Adviento, damages; and (3) Seven Million Three Thousand and Eight Pesos (₱7,003,008.00) as
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 83099. compensatory damages.20 Claiming to be a pauper litigant, respondent was not required to
pay any filing fee.21
The facts are not disputed.
In reply, petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss22 on the ground that: (1) the RTC has no
Petitioner Indophil Textile Mills, Inc. is a domestic corporation engaged in the business of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint because the same falls under the original
manufacturing thread for weaving.3 On August 21, 1990, petitioner hired respondent Engr. and exclusive jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter (LA) under Article 217(a)(4) of the Labor Code;
Salvador Adviento as Civil Engineer to maintain its facilities in Lambakin, Marilao, and (2) there is another action pending with the Regional Arbitration Branch III of the NLRC
Bulacan.4 On August 7, 2002, respondent consulted a physician due to recurring weakness in San Fernando City, Pampanga, involving the same parties for the same cause.
and dizziness.5 Few days later, he was diagnosed with Chronic Poly Sinusitis, and
thereafter, with moderate, severe and persistent Allergic Rhinitis.6 Accordingly, respondent On December 29, 2003, the RTC issued a Resolution23 denying the aforesaid Motion and
was advised by his doctor to totally avoid house dust mite and textile dust as it will transmute sustaining its jurisdiction over the instant case. It held that petitioner’s alleged failure to
into health problems.7 provide its employees with a safe, healthy and workable environment is an act of negligence,
a case of quasi-delict. As such, it is not within the jurisdiction of the LA under Article 217 of

59
the Labor Code. On the matter of dismissal based on lis pendencia, the RTC ruled that the healthy and workable environment; hence, it arose from an employer-employee
complaint before the NLRC has a different cause of action which is for illegal dismissal and relationship.32 The fact of respondent’s employment withpetitioner as a civil engineer is a
prayer for backwages, actual damages, attorney’s fees and separation pay due to illegal necessary element of his cause ofaction because without the same, respondent cannot claim
dismissal while in the present case, the cause of action is for quasi-delict.24 The falloof the to have a rightto a safe, healthy and workable environment.33 Thus, exclusive jurisdiction
Resolution is quoted below: over the same should be vested in the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC pursuant to Article
217(a)(4) of the Labor Code of the Philippines (Labor Code), as amended.34
WHEREFORE, finding the motion to dismiss to be without merit, the Court deniesthe motion
to dismiss. We are not convinced.

SO ORDERED.25 The jurisdiction of the LA and the NLRC is outlined in Article 217 of the Labor Code, as
amended by Section 9 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6715, to wit:
On February 9, 2004, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration thereto, which was likewise
denied in an Order issued on even date. ART. 217. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission-- (a) Except as otherwise
provided under this Code the Labor Arbiter shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to
Expectedly, petitioner then filed a Petition for Certiorariwith the CA on the ground that the hear and decide, within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of the case by the
RTC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in parties for decision without extension, even in the absence of stenographic notes, the
upholding that it has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint despite the broad following cases involving all workers, whether agricultural or nonagricultural:
and clear terms of Article 217 of the Labor Code, as amended. 26
1. Unfair labor practice cases;
After the submission by the parties of their respective Memoranda, the CA rendered a
Decision27 dated May 30, 2005 dismissing petitioner’s Petition for lack of merit, the 2. Termination disputes;
dispositive portion of which states:
3. If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement, those cases that workers may file
WHEREFORE, premises considered, petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSEDfor lack of involvingwages, rates of pay, hours of work and other terms and conditions of
merit. SO ORDERED.28 employment;

From the aforesaid Decision, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was 4. Claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages arising from
nevertheless denied for lack of merit in the CA’s Resolution 29 dated January 10, 2006. employer-employee relations;
Hence, petitioner interposed the instant petition upon the solitary ground that "THE
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS HAS DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE IN A 5. Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this Code including questions
WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THE involving the legality of strikes and lockouts; and
HONORABLE SUPREME COURT."30 Simply, the issue presented before us is whether or
not the RTC has jurisdiction over the subject matter of respondent’s complaint praying for
moral damages,exemplary damages, compensatory damages, anchored on petitioner’s 6. Except claims for Employees Compensation, Social Security, Medicare and
alleged gross negligence in failing to provide a safe and healthy working environment for maternity benefits, all other claims, arising from employer-employee relations,
respondent. including those of persons in domestic or household service,involving an amount
exceeding five thousand pesos (₱5,000.00) regardless of whether accompanied
with a claim for reinstatement.
The delineation between the jurisdiction of regular courts and labor courts over cases
involving workers and their employers has always been a matter of dispute. 31 It is up to the
Courts to lay the line after careful scrutiny of the factual milieu of each case. Here, we find x x x.35
that jurisdiction rests on the regular courts.
While we have upheld the present trend to refer worker-employer controversies to labor
In its attempt to overturn the assailed Decision and Resolution of the CA, petitioner argues courts in light of the aforequoted provision, we have also recognized that not all claims
that respondent’sclaim for damages is anchored on the alleged gross negligence of involving employees can be resolved solely by our labor courts, specifically when the law
petitioner as an employer to provide its employees, including herein respondent, with a safe, provides otherwise.36 For this reason, we have formulated the "reasonable causal connection

60
rule," wherein if there is a reasonable causal connection between the claim asserted and the the present controversy from the coverage of the Labor Code and brings it within the purview
employer-employee relations, then the case is within the jurisdiction of the labor courts; and of Civil Law.
in the absence thereof, it is the regular courts that have jurisdiction. 37 Such distinction is apt
since it cannot be presumed that money claims of workers which do not arise out of or in Clearly, the complaint was anchored not on the abandonment per seby private respondent
connection with their employer-employee relationship, and which would therefore fall within Cruz of his job—as the latter was not required in the Complaint to report back to work—but
the general jurisdiction of the regular courts of justice, were intended by the legislative on the manner and consequent effects of such abandonmentof work translated in terms of
authority to be taken away from the jurisdiction of the courts and lodged with Labor Arbiters the damages which petitioner had to suffer. x x x.42
on an exclusive basis.38
Indeed, jurisprudence has evolved the rule that claims for damages under Article 217(a)(4) of
In fact, as early as Medina vs. Hon. Castro-Bartolome,39 in negating the jurisdiction of the LA, the Labor Code, to be cognizable by the LA, must have a reasonable causal connection
although the parties involved were an employer and two employees, the Court succinctly withany of the claims provided for in that article.43Only if there is such a connection with the
held that: other claims can a claim for damages be considered as arising from employer-employee
relations.44
The pivotal question to Our mind iswhether or not the Labor Code has any relevance to the
reliefs sought by the plaintiffs. For if the Labor Code has no relevance, any discussion In the case at bench, we find that such connection is nil.
concerning the statutes amending it and whether or not they have retroactive effect is
unnecessary.
True, the maintenance of a safe and healthy workplace is ordinarily a subject of labor cases.
More, the acts complained of appear to constitute matters involving employee-employer
It is obvious from the complaint that the plaintiffs have not alleged any unfair labor practice. relations since respondent used to be the Civil Engineer of petitioner. However, it should be
Theirs is a simple action for damages for tortious acts allegedly committed by the stressed that respondent’s claim for damages is specifically grounded on petitioner’s gross
defendants. Such being the case, the governing statute is the Civil Code and not the Labor negligenceto provide a safe, healthy and workable environment for its employees −a case of
Code. It results that the orders under revieware based on a wrong premise.40 quasi-delict. This is easily ascertained from a plain and cursory reading of the
Complaint,45 which enumerates the acts and/or omissions of petitioner relative to the
Similarly, we ruled in the recent case of Portillo v. Rudolf Lietz, Inc. 41 that not all disputes conditions in the workplace, to wit:
between an employer and his employees fall within the jurisdiction of the labor tribunals
suchthat when the claim for damages is grounded on the "wanton failure and refusal" without 1. Petitioner’s textile mills have excessive flying textile dust and waste in its
just cause of an employee to report for duty despite repeated notices served upon him of the operations and no effort was exerted by petitioner to minimize or totally eradicate it;
disapproval of his application for leave ofabsence, the same falls within the purview of Civil
Law, to wit:
2. Petitioner failed to provide adequate and sufficient dust suction facilities;
As early as Singapore Airlines Limited v. Paño, we established that not all disputes between
an employer and his employee(s) fall within the jurisdiction of the labor tribunals. We 3. Textile machines are cleaned with air compressors aggravating the dusty work
differentiated between abandonment per seand the manner and consequent effects of such place;
abandonment and ruled that the first, is a labor case, while the second, is a civil law case.
4. Petitioner has no physician specializing in respiratoryrelated illness considering it
Upon the facts and issues involved, jurisdiction over the present controversy must be held to is a textile company;
belong to the civil Courts. While seemingly petitioner's claim for damages arises from
employer-employee relations, and the latest amendment to Article 217 of the Labor Code 5. Petitioner has no device to detectthe presence or density of dust which is
under PD No. 1691 and BP Blg. 130 provides that all other claimsarising from employer- airborne;
employee relationship are cognizable by Labor Arbiters [citation omitted], in essence,
petitioner's claim for damages is grounded on the "wanton failure and refusal"without just 6. The chemical and color room are not equipped with proper safety chemical nose
cause of private respondent Cruz to report for duty despite repeated notices served upon mask; and
him of the disapproval of his application for leave of absence without pay. This, coupled with
the further averment that Cruz "maliciously and with bad faith" violated the terms and
conditions of the conversion training course agreement to the damage of petitioner removes

61
7. The power and boiler plant emit too much smoke with solid particles blown to the harm or damage to his person. Such cause of action is within the realm of Civil Law, and
air from the smoke stack of the power plant emitting a brown rust color which jurisdiction over the controversy belongs to the regular courts. 56
engulfs the entire compound.46
Our ruling in Portillo, is instructive, thus:
In addition, respondent alleged that despite his earnest efforts to suggest to management to
place roof insulation to minimize, if not, eradicate the health hazards attendant in the There is no causal connection between private respondent’s claim for damages and the
workplace, the same was not heeded.47 respondent employers’ claim for damages for the alleged "Goodwill Clause" violation.
Portillo’s claim for unpaid salaries did not have anything to do with her alleged violation of the
It is a basic tenet that jurisdiction over the subject matter is determined upon the allegations employment contract as, in fact, her separation from employmentis not "rooted" in the
made in the complaint, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon alleged contractual violation. She resigned from her employment. She was not dismissed.
the claim asserted therein, which is a matter resolved only after and as a result of a Portillo’s entitlementto the unpaid salaries is not even contested. Indeed, Lietz Inc.’s
trial.48 Neither can jurisdiction of a court bemade to depend upon the defenses made by a argument about legal compensation necessarily admits that it owesthe money claimed by
defendant in his answer or motion to dismiss.49 In this case, a perusal of the complaint would Portillo.57
reveal that the subject matter is one of claim for damages arising from quasi-delict, which is
within the ambit of the regular court's jurisdiction. Further, it cannot be gainsaid that the claim for damages occurred afterthe employer-
employee relationship of petitioner and respondent has ceased. Given that respondent no
The pertinent provision of Article 2176 of the Civil Code which governs quasi-delictprovides longer demands for any relief under the Labor Code as well as the rules and regulations
that: Whoever by act or omissioncauses damageto another, there being fault or negligence, pertinent thereto, Article 217(a)(4) of the Labor Code is inapplicable to the instant case, as
is obliged to pay for the damagedone. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing emphatically held in Portillo, to wit:
contractual relation between the parties, is called quasi-delict.50
It is clear, therefore, that while Portillo’s claim for unpaid salaries is a money claim that arises
Thus, to sustain a claim liability under quasi-delict, the following requisites must concur: (a) out ofor in connection with an employeremployee relationship, Lietz Inc.’s claim against
damages suffered by the plaintiff; (b) fault or negligence of the defendant, or someother Portillo for violation of the goodwill clause is a money claim based on an act done after the
person for whose acts he must respond; and (c) the connection of causeand effect between cessation of the employment relationship. And, while the jurisdiction over Portillo’s claim is
the fault or negligence of the defendant and the damages incurred by the plaintiff.51 vested in the labor arbiter, the jurisdiction over Lietz Inc.’s claim rests on the regular courts.
Thus:
In the case at bar, respondent alleges that due to the continued and prolonged exposure to
textile dust seriously inimical to his health, he suffered work-contracted disease which is now As it is, petitioner does not ask for any relief under the Labor Code. It merely seeks to
irreversible and incurable, and deprived him of job opportunities. 52 Clearly, injury and recover damages based on the parties' contract of employment as redress for respondent's
damages were allegedly suffered by respondent, an element of quasi-delict. Secondly, the breach thereof. Such cause of action is within the realm of Civil Law, and jurisdiction over the
previous contract of employment between petitioner and respondent cannot be used to controversy belongs to the regular courts. More so must this be in the present case, what
counter the element of "no pre-existing contractual relation" since petitioner’s alleged gross with the reality that the stipulation refers to the post-employment relations of the parties.58
negligence in maintaining a hazardous work environment cannot be considered a mere
breach of such contract of employment, but falls squarely within the elements of quasi- Where the resolution of the dispute requires expertise, not in labor management relations nor
delictunder Article 2176 of the Civil Code since the negligence is direct, substantive and in wage structures and other terms and conditions of employment, but rather in the
independent.53 Hence, we ruled in Yusen Air and Sea Services Phils., Inc. v. Villamor 54 that: application of the general civil law, such claim falls outside the area of competence of
expertise ordinarily ascribed to the LA and the NLRC.59
When, as here, the cause of action is based on a quasi-delictor tort, which has no
reasonable causal connection with any of the claims provided for in Article 217, jurisdiction Guided by the aforequoted doctrines, we find no reason to reverse the findings of the
over the action is with the regular courts.55 CA.1âwphi1 The RTC has jurisdiction over the subject matter of respondent's complaint
praying for moral damages, exemplary damages, compensatory damages, anchored on
It also bears stressing that respondent is not praying for any relief under the Labor Code of petitioner's alleged gross negligence in failing to provide a safe and healthy working
the Philippines. He neither claims for reinstatement nor backwages or separation pay environment for respondent. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the
resulting from an illegal termination. The cause of action herein pertains to the consequence Court of Appeals, dated May 30, 2005, and its Resolution dated January 10, 2006 in CA-
of petitioner’s omission which led to a work-related disease suffered by respondent, causing G.R. SP No. 83099 are hereby AFFIRMED.

62
SO ORDERED. victim of a tort to look beyond the certificate of registration and prove who the actual owner is
in order to enforce a right of action. Thus, the trial court ordered the payment of damages in
its Decision6 dated June 3, 2004, the dispositive portion of which reads:
G.R. No. 174161 February 18, 2015

WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered ordering


R TRANSPORT CORPORATION, Petitioner, defendants Rizal Transport and Metro Manila Transport Corporation to be primarily and
vs. solidarily liable and defendant Antonio Parraba Gimena subsidiarily liable to plaintiff Luisito
LUISITO G. YU, Respondent. Yu as follows:

DECISION 1. Actual damages in the amount of Php78,357.00 subject to interest at the legal
rate from the filing of the complaint until fully paid;
PERALTA, J.: 2. Loss of income in the amount of Php500,000.00;
3. Moral damages in the amount of ₱150,000.00;
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court 4. Exemplary damages in the amount of ₱20,000.00;
seeking to reverse and set aside the Decision1 and Resolution,2 dated September 9, 2005 5. Attorney’s fees in the amount of ₱10,000.00; and
and August 8, 2006, respectively, of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 84175. 6. Costs of suit.7

The antecedent facts are as follows: On September 9, 2005, the CA affirmed the Decision of the RTC with modification that
defendant Antonio Gimena is made solidarily liable for the damages caused to respondent.
According to the appellate court, considering that the negligence of Antonio Gimena was
At around 8:45 in the morning of December 12, 1993, Loreta J. Yu, after having alighted from sufficiently proven by the records of the case, and that no evidence of whatever nature was
a passenger bus in front of Robinson's Galleria along the north-bound lane of Epifanio de los presented by petitioner to support its defense of due diligence in the selection and
Santos Avenue (EDSA), was hit and run over by a bus driven by Antonio P. Gimena, who supervision of its employees, petitioner, as the employer of Gimena, may be held liable for
was then employed by petitioner R Transport Corporation. Loreta was immediately rushed to the damage caused. The CA noted that the fact that petitioner is not the registered owner of
Medical City Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival. 3 the bus which caused the death of the victim does not exculpate it from liability. 8 Thereafter,
petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration was further denied by the CA in its Resolution9dated
On February 3, 1994, the husband of the deceased, respondent Luisito G. Yu, filed a August 8, 2006.
Complaint for damages before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City against
petitioner R Transport, Antonio Gimena, and Metro Manila Transport Corporation (MMTC) for Hence, the present petition.
the death of his wife. MMTC denied its liability reasoning that it is merely the registered
owner of the bus involved in the incident, the actual owner, being petitioner R Transport. 4 It
explained that under the Bus Installment Purchase Program of the government, MMTC Petitioner essentially invokes the following ground to support its petition:
merely purchased the subject bus, among several others, for resale to petitioner R
Transport, which will in turn operate the same within Metro Manila. Since it was not actually I.
operating the bus which killed respondent’s wife, nor was it the employer of the driver
thereof, MMTC alleged that the complaint against it should be dismissed. 5 For its part, THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE RULING OF THE REGIONAL
petitioner R Transport alleged that respondent had no cause of action against it for it had TRIAL COURT FINDING PETITIONER LIABLE FOR THE DAMAGES CAUSED BY THE
exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees and drivers and NEGLIGENCE OF ITS EMPLOYEE, WHICH WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY THE EVIDENCE
that its buses are in good condition. Meanwhile, the driver Antonio Gimena was declared in ON RECORD.
default for his failure to file an answer to the complaint.

Petitioner insists that the CA and the RTC were incorrect in ruling that its driver was
After trial on the merits, wherein the parties presented their respective witnesses and negligent for aside from the mere speculations and uncorroborated testimonies of the police
documentary evidence, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of respondent Yu ruling officers on duty at the time of the accident, no other evidence had been adduced to prove
that petitioner R Transport failed to prove that it exercised the diligence required of a good that its driver was driving in a reckless and imprudent manner. It asserts that contrary to the
father of a family in the selection and supervision of its driver, who, by its negligence, ran findings of the courts below, the bus from which the victim alighted is actually the proximate
over the deceased resulting in her death. It also held that MMTC should be held solidarily cause of the victim’s death for having unloaded its passengers on the lane where the subject
liable with petitioner R Transport because it would unduly prejudice a third person who is a
63
bus was traversing. Moreover, petitioner reiterates its argument that since it is not the possibility that said bus was unloading its passengers in the area. Unfortunately, he did not
registered owner of the bus which bumped the victim, it cannot be held liable for the damage take the necessary precaution and instead, drove on and bumped the deceased despite
caused by the same. being aware that he was traversing a commercial center where pedestrians were crossing
the street. Ultimately, Gimena should have observed due diligence of a reasonably prudent
We disagree. man by slackening his speed and proceeding cautiously while passing the area.

Time and again, it has been ruled that whether a person is negligent or not is a question of Under Article 218018 of the New Civil Code, employers are liable for the damages caused by
fact which this Court cannot pass upon in a petition for review on certiorari, as its jurisdiction their employees acting within the scope of their assigned tasks. Once negligence on the part
is limited to reviewing errors of law.10 This Court is not bound to weigh all over again the of the employee is established, a presumption instantly arises that the employer was remiss
evidence adduced by the parties, particularly where the findings of both the trial and the in the selection and/or supervision of the negligent employee. To avoid liability for the quasi-
appellate courts on the matter of petitioners’ negligence coincide. As a general rule, delict committed by its employee, it is incumbent upon the employer to rebut this
therefore, the resolution off actual issues is a function of the trial court, whose findings on presumption by presenting adequate and convincing proof that it exercised the care and
these matters are binding on this Court, more so where these have been affirmed by the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its employees.19
Court of Appeals,11 save for the following exceptional and meritorious circumstances: (1)
when the factual findings of the appellate court and the trial court are contradictory; (2) when Unfortunately, however, the records of this case are bereft of any proof showing the exercise
the findings of the trial court are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures; by petitioner of the required diligence. As aptly observed by the CA, no evidence of whatever
(3) when the lower court’s inference from its factual findings is manifestly mistaken, absurd nature was ever presented depicting petitioner’s due diligence in the selection and
or impossible; (4) when there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts; (5) supervision of its driver, Gimena, despite several opportunities to do so. In fact, in its petition,
when the findings of the appellate court go beyond the issues of the case, or fail to notice apart from denying the negligence of its employee and imputing the same to the bus from
certain relevant facts which, if properly considered, will justify a different conclusion; (6) when which the victim alighted, petitioner merely reiterates its argument that since it is not the
there is a misappreciation of facts; (7) when the findings of fact are themselves conflicting; registered owner of the bus which bumped the victim, it cannot be held liable for the damage
and (8) when the findings of fact are conclusions without mention of the specific evidence on caused by the same. Nowhere was it even remotely alleged that petitioner had exercised the
which they are based, are premised on the absence of evidence, or are contradicted by required diligence in the selection and supervision of its employee. Because of this failure,
evidence on record.12 petitioner cannot now avoid liability for the quasi-delict committed by its negligent employee.

After a review of the records of the case, we find no cogent reason to reverse the rulings of At this point, it must be noted that petitioner, in its relentless attempt to evade liability, cites
the courts below for none of the aforementioned exceptions are present herein. Both the trial our rulings in Vargas v. Langcay20 and Tamayo v. Aquino21 insisting that it should not be held
and appellate courts found driver Gimena negligent in hitting and running over the victim and solidarily liable with MMTC for it is not the registered owner of the bus which killed the
ruled that his negligence was the proximate cause of her death. Negligence has been deceased. However, this Court, in Jereos v. Court of Appeals, et al.,22rejected such
defined as "the failure to observe for the protection of the interests of another person that contention in the following wise:
degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand, whereby
such other person suffers injury."13 Verily, foreseeability is the fundamental test of Finally, the petitioner, citing the case of Vargas vs. Langcay, contends that it is the registered
negligence.14 It is the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided by those owner of the vehicle, rather than the actual owner, who must be jointly and severally liable
considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or the doing with the driver of the passenger vehicle for damages incurred by third persons as a
of something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do. 15 consequence of injuries or death sustained in the operation of said vehicle.

In this case, the records show that driver Gimena was clearly running at a reckless speed. The contention is devoid of merit. While the Court therein ruled that the registered owner or
As testified by the police officer on duty at the time of the incident 16 and indicated in the operator of a passenger vehicle is jointly and severally liable with the driver of the said
Autopsy Report,17 not only were the deceased’s clothes ripped off from her body, her brain vehicle for damages incurred by passengers or third persons as a consequence of injuries or
even spewed out from her skull and spilled over the road. Indeed, this Court is not prepared death sustained in the operation of the said vehicle, the Court did so to correct the erroneous
to believe petitioner’s contention that its bus was travelling at a "normal speed" in preparation findings of the Court of Appeals that the liability of the registered owner or operator of a
for a full stop in view of the fatal injuries sustained by the deceased. Moreover, the location passenger vehicle is merely subsidiary, as contemplated in Art. 103 of the Revised Penal
wherein the deceased was hit and run over further indicates Gimena’s negligence. As borne Code. In no case did the Court exempt the actual owner of the passenger vehicle from
by the records, the bus driven by Gimena bumped the deceased in a loading and unloading liability. On the contrary, it adhered to the rule followed in the cases of Erezo vs. Jepte,
area of a commercial center. The fact that he was approaching such a busy part of EDSA Tamayo vs. Aquino, and De Peralta vs. Mangusang, among others, that the registered owner
should have already cautioned the driver of the bus. In fact, upon seeing that a bus has
stopped beside his lane should have signalled him to step on his brakes to slow down for the
64
or operator has the right to be indemnified by the real or actual owner of the amount that he of the employer for the negligent conduct of its subordinate is direct and primary, subject only
may be required to pay as damage for the injury caused. to the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision of the employee.27

The right to be indemnified being recognized, recovery by the registered owner or operator Indeed, this Court has consistently been of the view that it is for the better protection of the
may be made in any form-either by a cross-claim, third-party complaint, or an independent public for both the owner of record and the actual operator to be adjudged jointly and
action. The result is the same.23 severally liable with the driver.28 As aptly stated by the appellate court, "the principle of
holding the registered owner liable for damages notwithstanding that ownership of the
Moreover, while We held in Tamayo that the responsibility of the registered owner and actual offending vehicle has already been transferred to another is designed to protect the public
operator of a truck which caused the death of its passenger is not solidary, We noted therein and not as a shield on the part of unscrupulous transferees of the vehicle to take refuge in, in
that the same is due to the fact that the action instituted was one for breach of contract, to order to free itself from liability arising from its own negligent act. " 29
wit:
Hence, considering that the negligence of driver Gimena was sufficiently proven by the
The decision of the Court of Appeals is also attacked insofar as it holds that inasmuch as the records of the case, and that no evidence of whatever nature was presented by petitioner to
third-party defendant had used the truck on a route not covered by the registered owner's support its defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees,
franchise, both the registered owner and the actual owner and operator should be petitioner, as the employer of Gimena, may be held liable for damages arising from the death
considered as joint tortfeasors and should be made liable in accordance with Article 2194 of of respondent Yu's wife.
the Civil Code. This Article is as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is DENIED. The Decision and
Art. 2194. The responsibility of two or more persons who are liable for a quasi-delict is Resolution, dated September 9, 2005 and August 8, 2006, respectively, of the Court of
solidary.1âwphi1 But the action instituted in the case at bar is one for breach of contract, for Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 84175 are hereby AFFIRMED.
failure of the defendant to carry safely the deceased for her destination. The liability for which
he is made responsible, i.e., for the death of the passenger, may not be considered as SO ORDERED.
arising from a quasi-delict. As the registered owner Tamayo and his transferee Rayos may
not be held guilty of tort or a quasi-delict; their responsibility is not solidary as held by the
Court of Appeals. March 11, 2015
G.R. No. 195661
UNKNOWN OWNER OF THE VESSEL MN CHINA JOY, SAMSUN SHIPPING LTD., and
The question that poses, therefore, is how should the holder of the certificate of public INTER-ASIA MARINE TRANSPORT, INC., Petitioners,
convenience, Tamayo, participate with his transferee, operator Rayos, in the damages vs.
recoverable by the heirs of the deceased passenger, if their liability is not that of Joint ASIAN TERMINALS, INC., Respondent.
tortfeasors in accordance with Article 2194 of the Civil Code. The following considerations RESOLUTION
must be borne in mind in determining this question. As Tamayo is the registered owner of the REYES, J.:
truck, his responsibility to the public orto any passenger riding in the vehicle or truck must be
direct, for the reasons given in our decision in the case of Erezo vs. Jepte, supra, as quoted
above. But as the transferee, who operated the vehicle when the passenger died, is the one The instant petition for review on certiorari1 assails the Decision2 dated November 10, 2010
directly responsible for the accident and death he should in turn be made responsible to the and Resolution3 dated February 14, 2011 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No.
registered owner for what the latter may have been adjudged to pay. In operating the truck 93164. The CA reversed and set aside the Decision4 dated January 30, 2009 of the Regional
without transfer thereof having been approved by the Public Service Commission, the Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 51, in Civil Case No. 99-93067, which dismissed for
transferee acted merely as agent of the registered owner and should be responsible to him insufficiency of evidence the complaint for damages5 filed by herein respondent Asian
(the registered owner), for any damages that he may cause the latter by his negligence.24 Terminals, Inc. (ATI) against Unknown Owner of the Vessel MJV China Joy
(shipowner),6 Samsun Shipping Ltd. (Samsun) and Inter-Asia Marine Transport, Inc. (Inter-
Asia) (petitioners).
However, it must be noted that the case at hand does not involve a breach of contract of
carriage, as in Tamayo, but a tort or quasi-delict under Article 2176,25 in relation to Article
218026 of the New Civil Code. As such, the liability for which petitioner is being made The CA aptly summed up the facts of the case as follows:
responsible actually arises not from a pre-existing contractual relation between petitioner and
the deceased, but from a damage caused by the negligence of its employee. Petitioner On 25 January 1997, the cargo ship M/V "China Joy" (the Vessel) arrived at the Mariveles
cannot, therefore, rely on our ruling in Tamayo and escape its solidary liability for the liability Grain Terminal Wharf, operated by plaintiff [ATI].

65
According to the Berth Term Grain Bills of Lading, the Vessel carried soybean meal that had When negotiations for settlement failed, ATI filed the instant Complaint for Damages against
been shipped by ContiQuincyBunge L.L.C[.] (ContiQuincyBunge), an exporter of soybean Samsun, Inter-Asia and the "Unknown Owner of the Vessel M/V ‘China Joy’" on 9 March
meal and related products, in favor of several consignees in the Philippines. 1999.

Under the Charter Party Agreement over M/V "China Joy," ContiQuincyBunge represented In the joint Answer, Inter-Asia reiterated that it is not the Agent of the Shipowners.
itself as the Charterer of the Vessel, with San Miguel Foods, Inc. as Co-Charterer, and
defendant [Samsun] represented itself as the Agent of the Shipowners. Samsun is a foreign Defendants further averred that the soybean meal was shipped on board the M/V "China
corporation not doing business in the Philippines. Joy" under a Free-In-and-Out-Stowed-and-Trimmed (FIOST) Clause, which supposedly
means that the Shipper/Charterer itself (ContiQuincyBunge LLC) loaded the cargo on board
On 3 February 1997[,] ATI used its Siwertell Unloader No. 2 to unload the soybean meal the Vessel, and the latter and her complement had no participation therein except to provide
from the Vessel’s Hold No. 2. The Siwertell Unloader is a pneumatic vacubator that uses the use of the Vessel’s gear. Similarly, under the FIOST clause, the discharge of the cargo
compressed gas to vertically move heavy bulk grain from within the hatch of the ship in order was to be done by the consignees’ designated personnel without any participation of the
to unload it off the ship. Vessel and her complement.

The unloading operations were suddenly halted when the head of Unloader No. 2 hit a flat Defendants argued that since the metal foreign object was found in the middle of the cargo, it
low-carbon or "mild" steel bar measuring around 8 to 10 inches in length, 4 inches in width, could not have come from the bottom of the hatch because the hatch had been inspected
and 1 ¼ inch in thickness that was in the middle of the mass of soybean meal. The flat steel and found clean prior to loading. Defendants further averred that neither could the metal bar
bar lodged itself between the vertical screws of Unloader No. 2, causing portions of screw have been part of the Vessel that had broken off and fallen into the hatch because tests
numbers 2 and 3 to crack and be sheared off under the torsional load. conducted on the metal piece revealed that said metal bar was not part of the Vessel.

According to the quotation of BMH Marine AB Sweden, the sole manufacturer of Siwertell Defendants concluded that the metal bar could only have been already co-mingled with the
unloaders, the replacement cost of each screw is US$12,395.00 or US$24,790.00 for the 2 soybean meal upon loading by ContiQuincyBunge at loadport, and, therefore, defendants
screws plus freight. The labor cost to remove and re-assemble the screws is estimated at are not liable for the damages sustained by the unloader of ATI.7 (Citations omitted)
US$2,000.00.
Rulings of the RTC and CA
On 4 February 1997, ATI sent a Note of Protest to the Master of the Vessel for the damages
sustained by its unloading equipment as a result of encountering the flat steel bar among the On January 30, 2009, the RTC rendered a Decision8 dismissing ATI’s complaint for
soybean meal. However, the Vessel’s Master wrote a note on the Protest stating that it is not insufficiency of evidence. The RTC explained that while the damage to ATI’s Siwertell
responsible for the damage because the metal piece came from the cargo and not from the Unloader No. 2 was proven, "[t]he Court is at a quandary as to who caused the piece of
vessel itself. metal to [co-mingle] with the shipment."9

On 5 March 1997, ATI sent a claim to defendant [Inter-Asia] for the amount of US$37,185.00 ATI thereafter filed an appeal,10 which the CA granted through the herein assailed decision,
plus US$2,000.00 labor cost representing the damages sustained by its unloading the dispositive portion of which partially states:
equipment.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is GRANTED, x x x. Defendants- appellees are found jointly and
Inter-Asia rejected ATI’s claim for the alleged reason that it is not the Shipowner’s Agent. severally liable to [ATI] for the amount of US$30,300.00 with interest thereon at 6% per
Inter-Asia informed ATI that its principal is Samsun. Moreover, according to Inter-Asia, the annum from the filing of the Complaint on 9 March 1999 until the judgment becomes final
owner of the Vessel is Trans-Pacific Shipping Co., c/o Lasco Shipping Company. Inter-Asia, and executory. Thereafter, an interest rate of 12% per annum shall be imposed until the
however, offered to relay ATI’s claim to Trans-Pacific through Samsun. amount is fully and actually paid.

As previously noted, the Charter Party Agreement states Samsun to be the Agent of the SO ORDERED.11
Shipowners, but since Samsun is a foreign corporation not licensed to do business in the
Philippines, it transacted its business through Inter-Asia. Hence, Inter-Asia is the Agent of
the Agent of the Shipowners. The CA explained its ruling, viz:

66
As a rule of evidence, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is peculiar to the law of negligence While there are instances where a Charter Party Agreement clearly states that the Charterer
which recognizes that prima facie negligence may be established without direct proof and will be liable to third parties for damages caused by its cargo (as in the case of spills of
furnishes a substitute for specific proof of negligence. petroleum oil cargo, or of damage to third parties caused by toxic cargo), there is no such
provision in this case. Therefore, liability or non-liability for such damage cannot be
xxxx presumed from the FIOST clause alone, and the Charter Party Agreement must be closely
scrutinized for the parties’ intention on liability.
We find the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur to be appropriate in the case at
bar. Clause 22 of the Charter Party Agreement states:

First. Since the cargo to be unloaded was free-flowing soybean meal in bulk, ATI correctly "At loadport, the stevedores[,] although arranged by charterers, shippers, or their agents[,
used a pneumatic vacubator unloader to extract the soybean meal from the holds. Under are] to be under the direction and control of the Master. All claims for damage allegedly
normal unloading procedures of bulk grain, it is not expected that a metal foreign object caused by stevedores [are] to be settled between stevedores and Owners. Charterers shall
would be among the grain to be unloaded. x x x. render assistance to Owners to settle such damage in case of need."

Such an accident does not occur in the ordinary course of things, unless the loading of the x x x Clause 22 clearly states that loading shall be done under the direction and control of
soybean meal at loadport was mismanaged in some way that allowed a metal foreign object the Master. Hence, if the metal bar that damaged ATI’s unloader was inadvertently mixed
to be co-mingled with the soybean meal cargo. into the soybean meal during loading, by express provision of the Charter Party Agreement,
the cost of the damage should be borne by the shipowner because the loading was done
under the supervision and control of the Master of the Vessel.
Second. The damage to the vertical screws of ATI’s unloader was caused by the presence of
the metal bar among the soybean meal in Hold No. 2 of the ship: an instrumentality within
the exclusive control of the shipowner. Hence, not only did defendants have presumed exclusive control of the Vessel during the
loading of the soybean meal by reason of them being the owners or agents of the owners
thereof, they also had actual exclusive control thereof by express stipulation in the Charter
x x x According to defendants, "the vessel and her complement had no participation in the Party Agreement that the loading of the cargo shall be under the direction and control of the
loading and discharge of said bulk cargo except to provide use of the vessel’s gear." Master of the Vessel.

Defendants’argument is neither accurate nor meritorious. In This is as it should be, considering that the charter in this case is a contract of affreightment
by which the owner of a ship lets the whole or part of her to a merchant or other person for
the first place, the terms of the Charter Party in this case was not Free-In-and-Out-Stowed- the conveyance of goods, on a particular voyage, in consideration of the payment of freight.
and-Trimmed [FIOST] but Free-In-and-Spout- Trimmed-and-Free-Out [FISTFO]. The Supreme Court has held that if the charter is a contract of affreightment, the rights and
the responsibilities of ownership rest on the owner. The charterer is free from liability to third
xxxx persons in respect of the ship.

x x x [I]t appears that the FIOST clause in a Charter Party Agreement speaks of who is to Third. There is neither allegation nor evidence in the record that ATI’s negligence contributed
bear the cost or expense of loading, spout trimming and unloading the cargo. "Free In and to the damage of its unloader.
Out" means that the shipowner is free from such expenses. This becomes clearer when the
All 3 requisites of res ipsa loquitur being present, the presumption or inference arises that
FIOST clause is stipulated as an adjunct to the terms of payment of the freight rate. defendants’ negligence was the proximate cause of the damage to ATI’s unloader. The
burden of evidence shifted to defendants to prove otherwise. Th[e] defendants failed to do
so.
xxxx
Defendants’ testimonial evidence consisted of the sole testimony of the former Operations
Being a provision for the apportionment of expense (as an exclusion from the rate of freight Manager of Inter-Asia, who x x x on cross-examination, x x x admitted that he was not
to be paid), the interpretation of the FIOST clause should not be extended to mean an present at the loading of the cargo and, therefore, did not actually see that the soybean meal
apportionment of liability, unless specified in clear and unambiguous terms. was free of any foreign metal object.

67
Defendants’ evidence, which heavily relies on (1) their erroneous interpretation of the FIOST manufacturer of Siwertell unloaders indicated that (a) the replacement cost for the two
clause in the Charter Party Agreement; (2) the Master’s unsupported allegation written on damaged screws is US$24,790.00,
the Note of Protest that the metal bar did not come from the vessel; and (3) their witness’
dubious interpretation that the notation "loaded clean" on the Berth Term[ ]Grain Bills of (b) freight cost is US$3,510.00, and (c) labor cost in removing and re-assembling the screws
Lading means that the soybean meal had no foreign material included therein, does not is US$2,000.00.13
present a satisfactory answer to the question:
The CA, however, found no grounds to award attorney’s fees in ATI’s favor lest it be
How did the metal bar get co-mingled with the soybean meal, and what did the Master of the "tantamount to imposing a premium on one’s right to litigate."14
Vessel do to prevent such an occurrence? x x x.
The herein petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration before the CA, which denied the
By their failure to explain the circumstances that attended the accident, when knowledge of same through the Resolution issued on February 14, 2011.
such circumstances is accessible only to them, defendants failed to overcome the prima
facie presumption that the accident arose from or was caused by their negligence or want of
care. Issues

The res ipsa loquitur doctrine is based in part upon the theory that the defendant in charge of The instant petition raises the questions of whether or not the CA erred in (a) applying the
the instrumentality which causes the injury either knows the cause of the accident or has the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, and (b) rejecting the argument that "the petitioners had no
best opportunity of ascertaining it and that the plaintiff has no such knowledge, and therefore participation in the loading and discharge of the bulk cargo except to provide use of the
is compelled to allege negligence in general terms and to rely upon the proof of the vessel’s gear."15
happening of the accident in order to establish negligence. x x x.
In support thereof, the petitioners emphasize that the foreign metal object was found in the
xxxx middle of the cargo. Hence, it is logical to conclude that the metal came in with the cargo and
could not have fallen off from some appurtenance of the vessel before or after loading.16 The
petitioners likewise claim that because of the Free-In-and-Out Clause under which the cargo
The prima facie evidence of defendants’ negligence, being unexplained and uncontroverted, was carried, the charterer chose who were to effect the loading, unloading and discharge of
is sufficient to maintain the proposition affirmed. Hence, the negligence of the Master of the the goods, which tasks were performed without the participation of the vessel and its
Vessel is conclusively presumed to be the proximate cause of the damage sustained by complement.17Besides, notwithstanding Clause 22 of the Charter Party Agreement, the
ATI’s unloader. Moreover, since the Master’s liability is ultimately that of the shipowner Master of the Vessel’s control is figurative and pertains merely to the maintenance of the
because he is the representative of the shipowner, the shipowner and its agents are vessel’s seaworthiness, and not to acts of covert negligence which could have been
solidarily liable to pay ATI the amount of damages actually proved. committed without even the charterer’s own knowledge.18 Further, while it is true that in a
contract of affreightment, the charterer is free from liability to third persons in respect of the
Articles 587 and 590 under Book III of the Code of Commerce provide for the liability of the ship, in the instant petition, the offending factor which caused the damage was not the
shipowner and its agents for acts of the Master or Captain, as follows: vessel, but the cargo itself, thus, the liability should instead rest upon the cargo owner, who
was not even impleaded as a party to the case.19 The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur hence
Art. 587. The ship agent shall also be civilly liable for the indemnities in favor of third persons finds application herein but in support of the petitioners’ lack of culpability since they
which may arise from the conduct of the captain in the care of the goods which he loaded on possessed neither the knowledge nor the opportunity of ascertaining the presence of the
the vessel; but he may exempt himself therefrom by abandoning the vessel with all her foreign metal object lodged in the middle of the soybean meal cargo. 20
equipment and the freight it may have earned during the voyage.
In its Comment,21 ATI contends that "the law does not distinguish between ‘covert’ and
Art. 590. The co-owners of the vessel shall be civilly liable in the proportion of their interests ‘evident’ negligence in determining whether the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applies." 22 An
in the common fund for the results of the acts of the captain referred to in Art. unusual event occurred because proper care was not observed. The event took place in
587.12 (Citations omitted, italics and emphasis in the original, and underscoring ours) Hold No. 2 of M/V China Joy, which was within the shipowner’s exclusive control. There is
likewise no evidence of ATI’s negligence, which could have contributed to the damage of its
own unloader. Besides, ATI did not witness the loading of the soybean meal cargo into M/V
Anent the amount of the herein petitioners’ solidary liability, the CA found that only China Joy at the Port of New Orleans, United States of America. Hence, ATI cannot furnish
US$30,300.00 of ATI’s claim is supported by evidence. The quotation submitted by the direct evidence on whether or not the hold or hatch containing the cargo was inspected and
found clean prior to loading, and sealed thereafter.
68
ATI also asserts that the petitioners presented no evidence conclusively proving that the The Court agrees with the CA anent ATI’s entitlement to the payment of damages from the
foreign metal object was indeed in the middle and not at the top or bottom of the soybean petitioners and the applicability of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. However, the Court finds
meal cargo. Moreover, the petitioners’ only witness, Alejandro Gilhang, the former as misplaced the CA’s application of the laws on maritime commerce and contracts of
Operations Manager of Inter-Asia, admitted that he was not present during the loading, thus, carriage for reasons discussed below.
he could not have seen if the cargo was free of any foreign metal object. 23
There is no contract of carriage between the petitioners and ATI.
ATI likewise points out that the petitioners have not explicitly quoted in verbatim any
provision in the Charter Party Agreement, which the latter invoke to vaguely argue that the There is no contract of carriage between ATI, on one hand, and the shipowner, Samsun,
loading of the cargo pertains exclusively to the charterer. Therefore, the petitioners have ContiQuincyBunge L.L.C., and Inter-Asia, on the other. It likewise bears stressing that the
nary a legal basis for their assertion that the shipowner has no liability insofar as the loading subject of the complaint, from which the instant petition arose, is not the damage caused to
operations are concerned. Besides, even if such provision in fact exists, ATI is not privy to the cargo, but to the equipment of an arrastre operator. Further, ATI’s contractual relation is
the Charter Party Agreement.24 not with the petitioners, but with the consignee and with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

Ruling of the Court In Delgado Brothers, Inc. v. Home Insurance Company and Court of Appeals,26 the Court
discusses the functions of an arrastre operator, viz:
The Court agrees with the CA that the petitioners are liable to ATI for the damage sustained
by the latter’s unloader. However, the Court finds the petitioners’ liability to be based on Under this provision, petitioner’s functions as arrastre operator are (1) to receive, handle,
quasi-delict and not on a contract of carriage. The Court likewise deems it proper to modify care for, and deliver all merchandise imported and exported, upon or passing over
the rate of interests on the amount of damages imposed by the CA upon the petitioners. Government-owned wharves and piers in the Port of Manila, (2) as well as to record or cheek
all merchandise which may be delivered to said port at shipside, and in general[,] (3) to
The Court notes that the shipowner and shipowner’s agent, Samsun, are all juridical entities furnish light and water services and other incidental services in order to undertake its
not registered and not doing business in the Philippines. It was the charterer’s agent, Inter- arrastre service. Note that there is nothing in those functions which relate to the trade and
Asia, a duly-registered domestic corporation, which had filed the instant petition for itself and business of navigation x x x, nor to the use or operation of vessels x x x. Both as to the
on behalf of the shipowner and Samsun.25 In the course of the proceedings too, none of the nature of the functions and the place of their performance (upon wharves and piers
parties had raised issues anent the validity of the service of summons and the courts’ shipside), petitioner’s services are clearly not maritime. As we held in the Macondray case,
acquisition of jurisdiction over the persons of the petitioners. they are no different from those of a depositary or warehouseman. Granting, arguendo, that
petitioner’s arrastre service depends on, assists, or furthers maritime transportation x x x, it
The petitioners present two issues for the Court’s resolution, to wit: may be deemed merely incidental to its aforementioned functions as arrastre operator and
does not, thereby, make petitioner’s arrastre service maritime in character.27 (Citations
omitted, italics in the original, emphasis and underscoring ours)
(a)the applicability of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in the case at bar; and
"The functions of an arrastre operator involve the handling of cargo deposited on the wharf
(b)who participated and should thus assume liability for the loading of the soybean or between the establishment of the consignee or shipper and the ship’s tackle. Being the
meal cargo. custodian of the goods discharged from a vessel, an arrastre operator’s duty is to take good
care of the goods and to turn them over to the party entitled to their possession." 28
In its Decision dated January 30, 2009, the RTC declared that while ATI indeed sustained
damages to its unloader, liability therefor cannot, however, be established with certainty. "The legal relationship between an arrastre operator and a consignee is akin to that between
a warehouseman and a depositor. As to both the nature of the functions and the place of
In the assailed decision, the CA, on the other hand, discussed in detail why and how the their performance, an arrastre operator’s services are clearly not maritime in character." 29
three requisites to the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur are found to be
attendant in the case at bar. First, the co-mingling of the two foreign metal objects with the In Insurance Company of North America v. Asian Terminals, Inc., 30 the Court explained that
soybean meal cargo and the consequent damage to ATI’s unloader is an accident which the liabilities of the arrastre operator for losses and damages are set forth in the contract for
ordinarily does not occur in the absence of someone’s negligence. Second, the foreign metal cargo handling services it had executed with the PPA. Corollarily then, the rights of an
objects were found in the vessel’s Hold No. 2, which is within the exclusive control of the arrastre operator to be paid for damages it sustains from handling cargoes do not likewise
petitioners. Third, records do not show that ATI’s negligence had in any way contributed to spring from contracts of carriage.
the damage caused to its unloader.
69
However, in the instant petition, the contending parties make no references at all to any To recapitulate and for future guidance, the guidelines laid down in the case of Eastern
provisions in the contract for cargo handling services ATI had executed with the PPA. Shipping Lines are accordingly modified to embody BSP-MB Circular No. 799, as follows:

Article 2176 of the New Civil Code and the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur apply. I. When an obligation, regardless of its source, i.e., law, contracts, quasi-contracts,
delicts or quasi-delicts is breached, the contravenor can be held liable for
Notwithstanding the above, the petitioners cannot evade liability for the damage caused to damages.1âwphi1 The provisions under Title XVIII on "Damages" of the Civil Code
ATI’s unloader in view of Article 2176 of the New Civil Code, which pertinently provides as govern in determining the measure of recoverable damages.
follows:
II. With regard particularly to an award of interest in the concept of actual and
Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or compensatory damages, the rate of interest, as well as the accrual thereof, is
negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no imposed, as follows:
pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed
by the provisions of this Chapter. 1.When the obligation is breached, and it consists in the payment of a sum
of money, i.e., a loan or forbearance of money, the interest due should be
In Taylor v. Manila Electric Railroad and Light Co.,31 the Court explained that to establish a that which may have been stipulated in writing. Furthermore, the interest
plaintiff’s right to recovery for quasi-delicts, three elements must exist, to wit: (a) damages to due shall itself earn legal interest from the time it is judicially demanded. In
the plaintiff; (b) negligence by act or omission of which defendant personally, or some person the absence of stipulation, the rate of interest shall be 6% per annum to be
for whose acts it must respond, was guilty; and (c) the connection of cause and effect computed from default, i.e., from judicial or extrajudicial demand under and
between the negligence and the damage.32 subject to the provisions of Article 1169 of the Civil Code.

Negligence, on the other hand, is defined as the failure to observe that degree of care, 2.When an obligation, not constituting a loan or forbearance of money, is
precaution and vigilance that the circumstances justly demand, whereby another suffers breached, an interest on the amount of damages awarded may be
injury.33 imposed at the discretion of the court at the rate of 6% per annum. No
interest, however, shall be adjudged on unliquidated claims or damages,
except when or until the demand can be established with reasonable
In the case under consideration, the parties do not dispute the facts of damage upon ATI’s certainty. Accordingly, where the demand is established with reasonable
unloader, and of such damage being the consequence of someone’s negligence. However, certainty, the interest shall begin to run from the time the claim is made
the petitioners deny liability claiming that it was not established with reasonable certainty judicially or extrajudicially (Art. 1169, Civil Code), but when such certainty
whose negligence had caused the co-mingling of the metal bars with the soybean meal cannot be so reasonably established at the time the demand is made, the
cargo. The Court, on this matter, agrees with the CA’s disquisition that the petitioners should interest shall begin to run only from the date the judgment of the court is
be held jointly and severally liable to ATI. ATI cannot be faulted for its lack of direct access to made (at which time the quantification of damages may be deemed to
evidence determinative as to who among the shipowner, Samsun, ContiQuincyBunge and have been reasonably ascertained). The actual base for the computation
Inter-Asia should assume liability. The CA had exhaustively discussed why the doctrine of of legal interest shall, in any case, be on the amount finally adjudged.
res ipsa loquitur applies. The metal bars which caused damage to ATI’s unloader was found
co-mingled with the cargo inside Hold No. 2 of the ship, which was then within the exclusive
control of the petitioners. Thus, the presumption that it was the petitioners’ collective 3.When the judgment of the court awarding a sum of money becomes final
negligence, which caused the damage, stands. This is, however, without prejudice to the and executory, the rate of legal interest, whether the case falls under
petitioners’ rights to seek reimbursements among themselves from the party whose paragraph 1 or paragraph 2, above, shall be 6% per annum from such
negligence primarily caused the damage. finality until its satisfaction, this interim period being deemed to be by then
an equivalent to a forbearance of credit.
A modification of the interests imposed on the damages awarded is in order.
x x x x.35 (Citation omitted, emphasis and italics in the original, and underscoring
ours)
Anent the interests imposed by the CA upon the damages to be paid to ATI, modification of
the same is in order.
The Court agrees with the CA that as regards ATI’s claim, only the amount of US$30,300.00
is duly supported by evidence. However, in view of Nacar, the said amount shall be subject
In Nacar v. Gallery Frames,34 the Court declared: to legal interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum reckoned from the finality of this
70
Resolution, the date when the quantification of damages may be deemed to have been also left. As she labored in pain, she felt the movement of her baby inside her womb and the
reasonably ascertained, until full satisfaction thereof. intermittent stiffening of her abdomen.

WHEREFORE, the Decision dated November 10, 2010 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. At about 4:00 in the afternoon, petitioner returned to the delivery room and asked her, "Hindi
CV No. 93164 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION.1âwphi1 The petitioners, Unknown Owner ka pa nanganganak?" Since she could no longer bear the pain, she requested petitioner to
of the Vessel M/V China Joy, Samsun Shipping Ltd. and Inter-Asia Marine Transport, Inc., perform a cesarean section but this was not done. The midwife arrived and berated her for
are hereby ordered to pay the respondent, Asian Terminals, Inc., actual and compensatory not yet sleeping and holding on to the steelbar. The midwife and the younger assistants
damages in the amount of US$30,300.00, plus legal interest at the rate of six percent (6%) again pressed down on her abdomen causing excruciating pain on her ribs and made her
per annum reckoned from the finality of this Resolution until full satisfaction thereof. very weak. They repeatedly did this pressing until the baby and placenta came out. When
she regained consciousness, she was already at the recovery room. She learned that an
SO ORDERED. operation was performed on her by petitioner to removeher ruptured uterus but what
depressed her most was her stillborn baby and the loss of her reproductive capacity. The
next day, she was transferred to a ward. She noticedher very swollen vulva and her surgical
G.R. No. 203080 November 12, 2014 wound open with liquid squirting from it. Her wound was regularly cleaned by a nurse. On
April 9, 2009, she was discharged notwithstanding that the suture on her wound needs to be
DR. IDOL L. BONDOC, Petitioner, fixed and she still has a cough. At home, she took the antibiotics, cough medicine and
vs. multivitamins prescribed by petitioner.
MARILOU R. MANTALA, Respondent.
After two days, the opening in her wound widened.Her husband brought her to the Bongabon
DECISION Community Hospital but they were advised to have her wound re-stitched by the
samesurgeon (petitioner) who operated on her. Thus, on April 14, 2009, theywent back to
OMPH. She was attended to by a certain Dr. Gonzales who cleaned her wound which now
VILLARAMA, JR., J.: has a lot of pus, and the said doctor commented that "problema ito ni Bondoc." On April 18,
2009, after she was given blood transfusion, petitioner re-stitched her wound. Thereafter, it
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Decision 1 dated May 24, 2012 was Dr. Gonzales who regularly checked on her condition.
and Resolution2 dated August 14, 2012 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No.
120563. The CA affirmed the Decision3 dated August 12, 2010 and Order4 dated February On April 27, 2009, petitioner removed the sutures but still left open three of them. She
28, 2011 of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon in OMB-L-A-09-0681-K. wondered then why petitioner suddenly showed kindness towards her. In the evening of April
28, 2009, petitioner talked to her and said in a threatening tone "Ikaw ang sadyang ayaw
The Facts magpa-cs" and also told her that he just came from Pinamalayan and Bansud and already
talked to Dr. Atienza and Dr. Sales. Petitioner then told the nurse on duty, "Papirmahin mo si
On November 6, 2009, Marilou R. Mantala (respondent) filed a complaint for grave Mantala, pauuwiin ko na ‘yan bukas. Tanggalin mo na rin ang tahi." He further said, "huwag
misconduct against Dr. Idol L. Bondoc (petitioner), Medical Officer III at the Oriental Mindoro sana akong idemanda ni Mantala kasi kaya ko siyang baligtarin." The following day, she was
Provincial Hospital (OMPH). discharged after the nurse had removed the remaining sutures. At home, it was her sister
who cleaned the still open wound. Joel F. Mantala, respondent’s husband, and her sisters
Mylen R. Amistad and Lucia Rala, executed their respective affidavits 7 to corroborate her
Respondent was admitted at the OMPH on April 3, 2009, at around 11 :00 in the morning, story. In addition, respondent submitted the affidavit of Dr. Rosinico F. Fabon, the
with referral5 from the Bansud Municipal Health Office (BMHO). She was due to deliver her anesthesiologist on duty during the operation performed by petitioner on April 3, 2009.
fifth child and was advised by the BMHO for a cesarean section because her baby was big
and there was excessive amniotic fluid in her womb. She started to labor at 7:00 in the
morning and was initially brought tothe Bongabon Health Center. However, said health Joel Mantala claimed that at the OMPH at around 2:30 in the afternoon when her wife was
center also told her to proceed directly to the hospital. still laboring, petitioner talked to him and told her that the baby is too big and if it comes out
alive it will probably be abnormal so that it would be better ifthe baby is stillborn. He further
averred that despite the pleas of her wife for a cesarean operation, petitioner insisted on a
In her complaint-affidavit,6 respondent alleged that inside the delivery room of OMPH, she normal delivery during which she almost died.8
was attended toby petitioner who instructed the midwife and two younger assistants topress
down on respondent’s abdomen and even demonstrated to them how to insert their fingers
into her vagina. Thereafter, petitioner went out of the delivery room and later, his assistants
71
On the other hand, Dr. Fabon narrated that in the afternoon of April 3, 2009, he was That the operation performed was Subtotal Hysterectomy with Unilateral
attending to a patient being operated on by petitioner when he heard the latter saying that Salpingooophorectomy. I noticed that the operation technique was different from that which
"meron pa nga kami sa DR macrosomia, polyhydramnios pa, pero paanakin na lang ‘yon, Dr. Bondoc had written in the Surgical Memo and that the patient did nottolerate the
abnormal din naman ang bata kahit mabuhay, kawawa lang siya." After the operation, procedure well.
petitioner went out of the Operating Room (OR)and proceeded towards the direction of the
OB ward. At 5:35 in the afternoon, a Request for Surgery9 was forwarded to the OR for That the patient was very pale after the procedure with low blood pressure due to massive
Emergency Pelvic Laparotomy of respondent with a diagnosis of T/C Ruptured Uterus. blood loss. That her blood pressure started to improve at the Recovery Room but the pulse
rate remained considerably high for several hours. Her urine outputwas inadequate and that
When respondent was brought to the OR at 8:15 p.m., Dr. Fabon found her conscious but it had to be maintained using Dopamine.
very weak and pale, with abdominal pain and tenderness on very slight palpation. He then
heard from petitioner himself that it was the same patient he was referring to earlier with a That when Leo Reyes, the Recovery Room nurse, referred the patient to me and I checked
diagnosis of macrosomia, polyhydramnios. Petitioner volunteered that respondent had just the urinary catheter, I noticed her vagina to be massively swollen with hematomas all over.
delivered her baby but that her uterus probably ruptured in the process of childbirth. "Pinilit
no’ng tatlong ungas, ayon lumusot pero patay ang bata, tapos ito, mukhang pumutok,"
petitioner said. That the patient had to be referred to Internal Medicine for comanagement[.]

Dr. Fabon immediately prepared respondent for General Anesthesia; respondent was That Marilou Mantala stayed in the Recovery Room for almost eleven (11) hours. She was
inducted at 8:35 p.m. while surgery began at 8:45 p.m. He continued to narrate what transferred to Gyne Ward at 9:20 AM the following day.10
transpired next and his observations, as follows:
In his counter-affidavit,11 petitioner averred thatwhen respondent was brought to OMPH with
That right after induction – when patient was asleep already and don’t feel any pain at all – referral form from BMHO, she had been in labor for more than twelve (12) hours at home. He
her blood pressure suddenly dropped to 70/40 mmHg; submitted his admitting diagnosis of the patient, "Gravida 5 Parity 4 (4004) Pregnancy
Uterine 38 to 39 Weeks Age of Gestation by Last Menstrual Period Cephalic in Labor;
Macrosomia; Fetal Death in Utero."
That after opening the abdomen, I saw massive hemoperitonium and the ruptured uterus
with bleeding from various directions. I immediately requested for additional blood to be used
intra-operatively while at the same time I established another intravenous lineso as to cope Petitioner alleged that during his interview with respondent, the latter admitted to him that
with on-going surgical blood loss. I had now three big-bore fast-dripping IV lines. she doesn’t want tobe confined at any hospital because she was afraid to be handled by
medical doctors. Instead, she went to a traditional birth attendant (TBA) or "hilot" which she
voluntarily named as Apolonia Salcedo, residing at Dalapian, Labasan, Bongabon, Oriental
That in spite of this measure,blood pressure dropped to 50/30 mmHg. There was an instance Mindoro. Respondent clearly defied the advice of Drs. Theresa Atienza and Mario Sales not
wherein I cannot even appreciate the blood pressure of the patient, her pulse hardly to give birth at home. As to her swollen vulvar hematoma which was noticed by Dr. Fabon, it
noticeable on palpation and she was very pale that necessitates turning the anesthetic gas was the result of prolonged labor.
off so as to keep her alive. She was given a dose of Atropine after patientdid not respond to
two 10mg doses of Ephedrine. I prescribed Dobutamine and Dopamine drips to help improve
her blood pressure and maintain adequate urine output. Unfortunately, only Dopamine was As to the charge that he abandoned the respondent to his assistants, petitioner claimed that
available. I had to use 100% Oxygen at 3L/minute without mixture ofvolatile gas for several between 12 noonand 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon, he was busy checking on pregnant
minutes. She was maintained using musclerelaxants alone on controlled ventilation. patients at the out-patient department (OPD) of OMPH until he was called for his first
cesarean section (CS). Later at 4:00 o’clock, without resting and having lunch, he visited
respondent and other admitted patients atthe delivery room. Together with the nurse on duty,
That Dr. Bondoc operated on the patient all by himself without the help of a consultant or an Mrs. Evelyn D. Morales, petitioner said he explained to respondent her and her baby’s
assistant surgeon. Nowhere in the patient chart will show that he referred this case tohis condition based on the referral from BMHO (polyhydramnios)and initial findings that her
consultant; one thing that I was wondering why he was doing the surgery alone. He utilized abdomen and baby were big and the baby’s heartbeat is not appreciated. He presented the
the scrub nurse to assist him making a delicate and bloody surgery more bloody and difficult. respondent with two options: have a normal delivery or undergo cesarean section, and the
consequences of each choice. Respondent chose the former believing that she can handle
That after Dr. Bondoc had removed the ruptured uterus and the bleeding was controlled, he this childbirth at home, and petitioner respected her decision.
made intra-operative referral to Dr. Ariel Tria, a resident surgeon, to check on the urinary
bladder and the ureters.

72
After seeing other patients at the delivery room, petitioner was called for his second CS that The Honorable Governor of the Province of Oriental Mindoro, is hereby directed to
day. Thus, he was obliged to proceed to the OR and left the respondent under the care of implement this DECISION immediately upon receipt thereof pursuant to Section 7, Rule III of
three assistants, one of whom is an experienced midwife. That he was not the one who Administrative Order No. 7, as amended by Administrative Order No. 17 (Ombudsman Rules
attended to the respondent during her delivery is confirmed by the statements of respondent of Procedure) in relation to Memorandum Circular No. 1, series of 2006 dated 11 April 2006
herself, Dr. Fabon and Mrs. Morales. Further, petitioner claimed it has been a long-time and to promptly inform this Office of the action taken hereon.
practice at OMPH that whenever the doctor is at the OR, the experienced midwives will take
over the delivery of laboring patients. SO DECIDED.12

Petitioner blamed respondent for risking her own life in not seeking immediately a higher The foregoing ruling was affirmedby the CA and petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was
level of medical care and instead preferring a TBA who is prohibited under a 2006 provincial denied.
circular tohandle deliveries at home. He emphasized that upon admission the fetal heart tone
is no longer appreciated and maintained that diligent care was extended to respondent
during her stay at OMPH. As to the complications like cough and wound dehiscence, he The CA concurred that petitioner should have chosen to stay in the delivery room and
explained that these were the effects of anesthesia and surgery (loss of blood, massive personally attend to the patient as he is the most competent person to render medical
bloodtransfusion and intravenous fluid infusion), and also poor compliance withprescribed service in view of respondent’s critical condition. It likewise faulted the petitioner for
medication. He further asserted that he had referred the patient to other co-doctors on duty deliberately leaving the laboring and unstable respondent tothe care of his inexperienced
like Dr. Romy Lomio (Internal Medicine) for co-management. subordinates at the time she was about to give birth. As to petitioner’s excuse that he had to
attend to an equally important cesarean operation, the CA said there was no sufficient
showing of the latter’s urgency and assuming it to be true, still, petitioner should have
On April 23, 2010, petitioner submitted a manifestation that he had resigned as Medical exerted efforts to refer respondent’s case to another competent doctor or one of his
Officer of OMPH effective March 5, 2010. He thus posited that the administrative case isnow consultants.
rendered moot and academic.
Petitioner is now before this Court arguing that the CA erred in affirming the Ombudsman’s
On August 12, 2010, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon rendered a Decision ruling that he is guilty of grave misconduct and imposing on him the penalty of dismissal from
finding the petitioner administratively liable. It held that by fully entrusting to his subordinates the service. He reiterates that his failure to attend to respondent was not without justification
the task of handling respondent’s complicated delivery, petitioner exhibited an improper or and that in the seven years he had been a medical officer of OMPH, he has dutifully
wrongful conduct and dereliction of duty as medical practitioner. Being the most competent observed the sworn duties of the medical profession and would not neglect his
person who should have rendered the appropriate medical service to respondent, petitioner responsibilities nor commit misconductat the risk of his medical career which he had nurtured
should have personally attended to the latter. Such action or inaction of his part amounts through the years.
tointentional or willful neglect in discharging his sworn duty as a government physician which
is also equivalent to misconduct in office. The administrative case filed against the
respondent is also not rendered moot by his subsequent resignation in office. The petition has no merit.

The Decision of the OMB thus decreed: Misconduct is defined as a transgression of some established and definite rule of action,
more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by a public officer, 13 a forbidden act,
a dereliction of duty, willful in character, and implies wrongful intent and not mere error in
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding respondent Medical Officer Idol L. judgment.14 It generally means wrongful, improper or unlawful conduct motivated by a
Bondoc of Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital (OMPH), Barangay Ilaya, Calapan City, premeditated, obstinate or intentional purpose. The term, however, does not necessarily
Oriental Mindoro, guilty of Grave Misconduct. imply corruption or criminal intent. To constitute an administrative offense,misconduct should
relate to or be connected with the performance of the official functions and duties of a public
Respondent Idol L. Bondocis hereby meted the penalty of DISMISSALin the Government officer. On the other hand, whenthe elements of corruption, clear intent to violate the law or
Service pursuant to Section 10, Rule III, Administrative Order No. 07, as amended by flagrant disregard of established rule are manifest, the public officer shall be liable for grave
Administrative Order No. 17, in relation to Section 25 of Republic Act No. 6770. The penalty misconduct.15
of dismissal shall carry with it that of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of the retirement
benefits, and the perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service In this case, both the Ombudsman and CA found the petitioner guilty of grave misconduct in
pursuant to Section 58, Rule IV of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil failing to attend to respondent when she was having prolonged difficult labor and vaginal
Service. delivery after being diagnosed with macrosamiaand polyhydramnios.

73
Polyhydramniosis an abnormal condition occurring in pregnancy, characterized by excessive obstetrician on duty to personally attend to her and render appropriate management or
amniotic fluid (the fluid surrounding the baby in the uterus). Apart from protecting the baby treatment.
from any external impact by providing a cushioning effect, the clear or slightly yellowish fluid
plays a vital role in proper fetal development aswell. However, increased levels of the fluid In deliberately leaving the respondent to a midwife and two inexperienced assistants despite
can cause various complications during different stages of pregnancy and childbirth. 16Intra- knowing that she was under prolonged painful labor and about to give birth to a macrosomic
amniotic pressureis markedly elevated in most patients with severe hydramnios. The baby by vaginal delivery, petitioner clearly committed a dereliction of duty and a breach of his
incidence of cesarean section is also increased as a result of unstable lie and placental professional obligations. The gravity of respondent’s condition is highlighted by the expected
abruption, which may occur with the rapid decrease in intrauterine pressure that complications she suffered – her stillborn baby, a ruptured uterus that necessitated
accompanies membrane rupture.17 One of the known causes and risk factors of immediate surgery and blood transfusion, and vulvar hematomas.
polyhydramniosis fetal macrosomia (having a baby too large for the gestational age). 18
Article II, Section 1 of the Code of Medical Ethics of the Medical Profession in the Philippines
According to medical authorities,a macrosomic infant poses a different set of complications. states:
The incidences of shoulder dystocia,19 birth injuries, perinatal death, and low Apgar scores
are increased in macrosomic infants.20 In these cases, careful attention to the patient,
potential risk factors, clinical progress, and fetal size should allow obstetricians to reduce the A physician should attend to his patients faithfully and conscientiously. He should secure for
occurrence of maternaland neonatal morbidity.21 Vaginal delivery of the macrosomic infant is them all possible benefits that may depend upon his professional skill and care. As the sole
associated with anincreased incidence of birth trauma. The question whether to perform tribunal to adjudge the physician’s failure to fulfill his obligation to his patients is, in most
cesarean section thus arises.22 cases, his own conscience, violation of this rule on his part is discreditable and
inexcusable.26
If the estimated fetal weight is 4000 to 4500 g by ultrasonography and the patient has a
clinically adequate pelvis, labor may be allowed. If labor is protracted or the second stage is A doctor’s duty to his patient is not required to be extraordinary. The standard contemplated
prolonged, a cesarean section would avoid the possible trauma of a difficult vaginal delivery. for doctors issimply the reasonable average merit among ordinarily good physicians,
Because of the greater morbidity associated with infants who weigh more than 4500 g, i.e.reasonable skill and competence.27 Even by this standard, petitioner fell short when he
elective cesarean section is warranted.23 routinely delegated an important task that requires his professional skill and competence to
his subordinates who have no requisite training and capability to make crucial decisions in
difficult childbirths.
On the other hand, prolonged labormay culminate in obstructed labor, and is associated with
maternal infection, uterine rupture and postpartum hemorrhage.24
Petitioner’s proffered excuse that it was the practice in OMPH to allow midwives to
administer to patients during deliveries, is unacceptable. No proof of such alleged hospital
As per the admitting diagnosis25 submitted by petitioner, the latter was aware of macrosomia practice such as an official written directive was presented. Besides, it is doubtful whether
and the fetal heartbeat notappreciated. He also maintains that respondent’s baby was hospital administrators would remedy personnel shortage by permitting inexperienced staff,
already dead due to prolonged labor but she had insisted on having a normal delivery. by themselves, to handle laboring patients with high-risk pregnancies and maternal/fetal
However, this claim is belied by the sworn statements of respondent, her husband and her complications.
sisters, all of whom averred that they requested for a cesarean section as per the advice
given by Dr. Atienza who examined her in March 2009, and as confirmed at the Bansud
Health Center where she was told that it would be risky for her to have a normal As to the two other scheduled CS performed by petitioner on the same day, this will not
delivery.Moreover, Joel Mantala asserted that what petitioner said to him was that the baby exculpate him from administrative liability.1âwphi1 As correctly pointed out by the CA, there
was too big and if born alive it would probably have abnormalities so it would be better that was no showing of similar urgency in the said operations, and petitioner could have referred
the baby is stillborn. respondent to another competent physician. He could have likewise arranged for adjustment
in the operation schedules considering that his personal attention and management is
urgently needed in respondent’s difficult and complicated delivery. But there is no indication
The Court is more inclined to believe respondent’s version which was duly corroborated by in the records that petitioner duly informed or referred the matter to the other doctors or the
Dr. Fabon who heard petitioner saying that: "Meron pa nga kami sa DR macrosomnia, administrators of OMPH.
polyhydramnios pa, pero paanakin na lang ‘yon. Abnormal din namanang bata kahit
mabuhay." This puts into doubt petitioner’s supposed finding that the baby was already dead
upon respondent’s admission at OMPH and thatit was respondent who insisted on a normal We therefore hold that the CA correctly affirmed the Ombudsman in finding the petitioner
delivery. Even assuming that petitioner had actually confirmed intrauterine fetal death, this guilty of grave misconduct. His violation of the sworn duty to attend to his patients faithfully
only aggravates the patient’s condition and it was incumbent upon petitioner as the and conscientiously is inexcusable. Such flagrant disregard of established rule and improper
conduct were proven by substantial evidence.
74
Not only did petitioner routinely delegate his responsibility to his subordinates, he casually operators of DIVINE SPIRIT GENERAL HOSPITAL and/or DR. NESTOR
instructedthem to press down repeatedly on respondent’s abdomen, unmindful of her critical PASAMBA, Respondents.
condition as borne out by his very own findings. Worse, petitioner haughtily and callously
spoke of respondent’s case to the other doctors and medical staff while performing a CS RESOLUTION
after he had briefly attended to her at the delivery room "…paanakin na lang ‘yon, abnormal
din naman ang bata kahit mabuhay, kawawa lang siya." Such insensitive and derisive
language was again heard from the petitioner when he referred for the second time to REYES, J.:
respondent’s traumatic delivery, saying that: "Pinilit no’ng tatlong ungas,ayon lumusot pero
patay ang bata, tapos ito, mukhang pumutok." As a government physician, petitioner’s This resolves the petition for review on certiorari1 filed by petitioner Pedrito Dela Torre
demeanor is unbecoming and bespeaks of his indifference to the well-being of his patients. (Pedrito) assailing the Decision2 dated December 15, 2009 and Resolution3 dated July 27,
2010 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 78534.
Petitioner thus not only committed a dereliction of duty, but also transgressed the ethical
norms of his profession when he failed to render competent medical care with compassion The case stemmed from a complaint4 for damages filed by Pedrito against herein
and respect for his patient’s dignity. respondents Dr. ArturoImbuido and Dr. Norma Imbuido (Dr. Norma), in their capacity as the
ownersand operators of the Divine Spirit General Hospital in Olongapo City, and Dr. Nestor
A physician should be dedicated to provide competent medical care with full professional skill Pasamba (Dr. Nestor) (respondents). Pedrito alleged in his complaint that he was married to
in accordance with the current standards of care, compassion, independence and respect for one Carmen Castillo Dela Torre(Carmen), who died while admitted at the Divine Spirit
human dignity.28 (Italics supplied.) General Hospital on February 13, 1992. Carmen was due to give birth on February 2,1992
and was brought at around 11:30 p.m. on that day by Pedrito to the Divine Spirit General
Hospital. When Carmen still had not delivered her baby at the expected time, Dr. Norma
Finally, we find no merit in petitioner's argument that the CA should have at least considered discussed with Pedrito the possibility of a caesarean section operation.5
as mitigating circumstances his being a first offender,29 his 16 years in government service,
and that he had not acted in bad faith and with clear intent to violate the law and established
rules. Jurisprudence is replete with cases declaring that a grave offense cannot be mitigated At around 3:00 p.m. on February 3, 1992, Carmen was brought to the hospital’s operating
by the fact that the accused is a first time offender or by the length of service of the room for her caesarian section operation, which was to be performed by Dr. Nestor. By 5:30
accused.30 While in most cases, length of service is considered in favor of the respondent, it p.m. of the same day, Pedrito was informed of his wife’s delivery of a baby boy. In the early
is not considered where the offense committed is found to be serious or grave.31 In Medina v. morning of February 4, 1992, Carmen experienced abdominal pain and difficulty in urinating.
Commission on Audit,32 the Court stressed that dishonesty and grave misconduct have She was diagnosed to be suffering from urinary tract infection (UTI), and was prescribed
always been and should remain anathema in the civil service. They inevitably reflect on the medications by Dr. Norma. On February 10, 1992, Pedrito noticed that Carmen’s stomach
fitness of a civil servant to continue in office. When an officer or employee is disciplined, the was getting bigger, but Dr. Norma dismissed the patient’s condition as mere flatulence
object sought is not the punishment of such officer or employee but the improvement of the (kabag).6
public service and the preservation of the public's faith and confidence in the government.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision dated May 24, 2012 When Carmen’s stomach still grewbigger despite medications, Dr. Norma advised Pedrito of
and Resolution dated August 14, 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 120563 the possibility of a second operation on Carmen. Dr. Norma, however, provided no detailson
are AFFIRMED and UPHELD. its purpose and the doctor who would perform it. At around 3:00 p.m. on February 12, 1992,
Carmen had her second operation. Later in the evening, Dr. Norma informed Pedrito that
With costs against the petitioner. "everything was going on fine with [his] wife."7

SO ORDERED. The condition of Carmen, however, did not improve. It instead worsened that on February
13, 1992, she vomited dark red blood. At 9:30 p.m. on the same day, Carmen died.8 Per her
certificate of death upon information provided by the hospital,the immediate cause of
G.R. No. 192973 September 29, 2014 Carmen’s death was "cardio-respiratory arrest secondary to cerebro vascular accident,
hypertension and chronic nephritis induced by pregnancy."9 An autopsy Report10 prepared
PEDRITO DELA TORRE, Petitioner, by Dr. Richard Patilano(Dr. Patilano), Medico-Legal Officer-Designate of Olongapo City,
vs. however, provided that the cause of Carmen’s death was "shock due to peritonitis, severe,
DR. ARTURO IMBUIDO, DRA. NORMA IMBUIDO in their capacity as owners and with multiple intestinal adhesions; Status post C[a]esarian Section and Exploratory
Laparotomy."

75
Pedrito claimed in his complaint that the respondents "failed to exercise the degree of Among those who testified to refutePedrito’s claim was Dr. Nestor. He claimed that when
diligence required of them" as members of the medical profession, and were "negligent for Carmen was referred to him on February 3, 1992, she was in full term uterine pregnancy,
practicing surgery on [Carmen] in the most unskilled, ignorant and cruel manner, x x x[.]" 11 with pre-eclampsia, fetal distress and active labor pains. A caesarian section operation
became necessary to terminate the pregnancy for her safety. Carmen was ready to go home
In their answer12 to the complaint, the respondents argued that they "observed the required four days after giving birth, but was advised by the doctors to stay more because of her
standard of medical care in attending to the needs of Carmen." 13 The respondents explained persistent hypertension.19
that Carmen was admitted in Divine Spirit General Hospital for "pregnancy in labor and pre-
eclampsia." Her condition was closely monitored during her confinement. A caesarian The second surgery performed on Carmen was necessary after she showed symptoms of
section operation became necessary, as she manifested no significant progress for the intestinal obstruction, which happens as the intestines get twisted due to adhesions and the
spontaneous delivery of her baby.14 No unusual events were observed during the course of normal flow of intestinal contents are obstructed. For Dr. Nestor, this occurrence was not
Carmen’s caesarian section operation. The second surgery, however, became necessary preventable since any interference of the abdominal cavity would irritate the serosa of the
due to suspected intestinal obstruction and adhesions. This procedure was fully explained to intestines, inviting adhesions that could cause obstruction. Surgery could remedy the
Carmen and Pedrito prior to its conduct. During the second operation, the diagnosis of adhesions and obstruction.20 Both Carmen and Pedrito gave their written consent to this
intestinal obstruction and adhesion was confirmed but resolved by her doctors. Despite the second procedure.21
observance of due care by the doctors, however, Carmen died on February 13, 1992. 15
Dr. Bienvenido G. Torres (Dr. Torres), Chief of the Medico-Legal Division of the Philippine
The respondents included in their answer a counterclaim for ₱48,515.58 as unpaid hospital National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory Service,22 also testified for the respondents.He
charges, professional fees and medicines, ₱3,000,000.00 for moral damages, ₱1,500,000.00 claimed that based on Dr. Patilano’s report, vital internal organs of Carmen, such as her
for exemplary damages, and attorney’s fees.16 brain, lungs, kidneys, liver and adrenal glands, were not examined during the autopsy. 23

After the pre-trial conference, trial proper ensued. To support his claim, Pedrito presented On January 28, 2003, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Olongapo City, Branch 75, rendered
the testimony of Dr. Patilano, the medicolegal officer who conducted an autopsy on the body its Decision24 in favor of Pedrito. The trial court gave greater weight to the testimony of Dr.
of Carmen upon a telephone request made by the City Health Officer of Olongapo City, Dr. Patilano and thus disposed of the case as follows:
Generoso Espinosa. Among Dr. Patilano’s observations, as narrated in the lower court’s
decision, were as follows: WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff
and against the defendants, ordering the latter to pay jointly and severally, the former, the
In the intestines, [Dr. Patilano] found outthat it was more reddish than the normal condition following sums of money, to wit:
which is supposed to bepinkish. There was presence of adhesions, meaning, it sticks to each
other and these areas were dilated. There were constricted areas. He concluded that there 1.) the sum of Php 28,759.46 as actual damages;
might have been foreign organic matters in the intestines. He did not see any swelling but
assuming that there was, it would be concomitant to the enlargement. x x x He came to the
conclusion that the cause of death was peritonitis, with the multiple adhesions status in the 2.) the sum of Fifty Thousand (Php 50,000.00) Pesos as indemnity for the death of
post caesarian section. In connection with peritonitis, this is the inflammation of the Carmen dela Torre;
abdomen. This peritonitis in the abdominal cavity may be caused by several conditions which
are supposed to be infections, entrance of foreign bodies in the intestines in connection with 3.) the sum of Fifty Thousand (Php 50,000.00) Pesos as moral damages and the
ruptured peptic ulcer or [may be] somewhere in the spleen. The entrance of foreign object in further sum of Twenty Thousand (Php 20,000.00) Pesos as exemplary damages;
the abdominal cavities may cause severe infections of the intra-abdominal cavities resulting
[in] multiple adhesions of the intestines. In cases of surgical operation, it [may be] due to the 4.) the sum of Twenty Thousand (Php 20,000.00) Pesos as attorney’s fees; and
conditions of the instruments used, the materials used in the operating room being not
aseptic and the ladies assisting the operation were not in uniform. x x x. 17
5.) the costs of [suit].
Dr. Patilano claimed that peritonitis could have been prevented through proper medical
procedures and medicines. He also stated that if the cause of Carmen’s death was actually SO ORDERED.25
cerebro-vascular accident, there would have been ruptured blood vessels and blood clot in
her head; but there were none in Carmen’s case.18 Dissatisfied with the RTC ruling, the respondents appealed to the CA. On December 15,
2009, the CA rendered its Decision reversing and setting aside the decision of the RTC. For

76
the appellate court, it was not established that the respondents failed to exercisethe degree For the trial court to give weightto Dr. Patilano’s report, it was necessary to show first Dr.
of diligence required of them by their profession as doctors. The CA also granted the Patilano’s specialization and competence to testify on the degree of care, skill and diligence
respondents’ counterclaim for the amount of ₱48,515.58, as it held: needed for the treatment of Carmen’s case. Considering that it was not duly established that
Dr. Patilano practiced and was an expert inthe fields that involved Carmen’s condition, he
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City dated January 28, could not have accurately identified the said degree of care, skill, diligence and the medical
2003 in Civil Case No. 165-0-92 is hereby REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. procedures that should have been applied by her attending physicians.

Plaintiff-appellee is directed to pay the unpaid balance for hospital bills, professional fees Similarly, such duty, degree of care, skill and diligence were not sufficiently established in
and other expenses in the amount of [P]48,515.58. this case because the testimony of Dr. Patilano was based solely on the results of his
autopsy on the cadaver of Carmen. His study and assessment were restrictedby limitations
that denied his full evaluation of Carmen’s case. He could have only deduced from the
SO ORDERED.26 injuries apparent in Carmen’s body, and in the condition when the body was examined.
Judging from his testimony, Dr. Patilano did not even take full consideration of the medical
Hence, this petition for review on certiorariin which Pedrito insists that the respondents history of Carmen, her actual health condition at the time of hospital admission, and her
should be held liable for the death of Carmen. condition as it progressed while she was being monitored and treated by the respondents.
There was also no reference to the respondents’ defense that the emergency caesarian
The petition is denied. section operation had to be performed in order to protect the lives and safety of Carmen and
her then unborn child. For lack of sufficient information on Carmen’s health condition while
still alive, Dr. Patilano could not have fully evaluated the suitability of the respondents’
"[M]edical malpractice or, more appropriately, medical negligence, is that type of claim which decisions in handling Carmen’s medical condition as it turned critical.
a victim has available to him or her to redress a wrong committed by a medical
professionalwhich has caused bodily harm." In order to successfully pursue such a claim, a
patient, or his or her family as in this case, "must prove that a health care provider, in most On the other hand, the CA pointed out that Dr. Nestor, a surgeon, possessed the reasonable
cases a physician, either failed to do something which a reasonably prudent health care degree of learning, skill and experience required by his profession for the treatment
provider would have done, or that he or she did something that a reasonably prudent ofCarmen. The respondents also emphasized in their pleadings beforethe RTC that Dr.
provider would not have done; and that failure or action caused injury to the patient." 27 Nestor had his training and experience in surgery and obstetrics since 1970.1âwphi1Without
sufficient proof from the claimant on a different degree of care, skill and diligence that should
be expected from the respondents, it could not be said with certainty that a breachwas
The Court emphasized in Lucas, et al. v. Tuaño28 that in medical negligence cases, there is a actually committed.
physician-patient relationship between the doctor and the victim, but just like in any other
proceeding for damages, four essential elements must be established by the plaintiff,
namely: (1) duty; (2) breach; (3) injury; and (4) proximate causation. All four elements must Moreover, while Dr. Patilano opined that Carmen died of peritonitis which could be due to the
be present in order to find the physician negligent and, thus, liable for damages. 29 poor state of the hospital equipment and medical supplies used during her operation, there
was no sufficient proof that any such fault actually attended the surgery of Carmen, caused
her illness and resulted in her death. It is also significant that the Chief of the Medico-Legal
It is settled that a physician’s duty tohis patient relates to his exercise of the degree of care, Division of the PNP Crime Laboratory Service, Dr. Torres, testified before the trial court that
skill and diligence which physicians in the same general neighborhood, and in the same based on the autopsy report issued by Dr. Patilano, the latter did not comply with the basic
general line of practice, ordinarily possess and exercise in like cases. There is breach of this autopsy procedure when he examined the cadaver of Carmen. Dr. Patilano did not appear to
duty when the patient is injured in body or in health. Proof of this breach rests upon the have thoroughly examined Carmen’s vital organs such as her heart, lungs, uterus and brain
testimony of an expert witness that the treatment accorded to the patient failed to meet the during the autopsy. His findings were then inconclusive on the issue of the actual cause of
standard level of care, skill and diligence. To justify an award of damages, the negligence of Carmen's death, and the claim of negligence allegedly committed by the respondents.
the doctor must be established to be the proximate cause of the injury. 30
As the Court held in Spouses Flores v. Spouses Pineda, et al.,31 the critical and clinching
Through the instant petition, Pedritoseeks the reinstatement of the decision of the RTC factor in a medical negligence case is proof of the causal connection between the negligence
whose finding of the respondents’ medical negligence depended mainly on the testimony of and the injuries. The claimant must prove not only the injury but also the defendant's fault,
Dr. Patilano. Upon review, however, the Court agrees with the CA that the report and and that such fault caused the injury. A verdict in a malpractice action cannot be based on
testimony of Dr. Patilano failed to justify Pedrito’s entitlement to the damages awarded by the speculation or conjecture. Causation must be proven within a reasonable medical probability
RTC. based upon competent expert testimony,32 which the Court finds absent in the case at bar.

77
As regards the respondents' counterclaim, the CA's award of ₱48,515.58 is sustained, She was diagnosed to be suffering from urinary tract infection (UTI), and was prescribed
considering that among the parties' stipulations during the pre-trial indicated: medications by Dr. Norma. On February 10, 1992, Pedrito noticed that Carmen’s stomach
was getting bigger, but Dr. Norma dismissed the patient’s condition as mere flatulence
5. That at the time of the death of the patient Carmen C. dela Torrell there was an unpaid (kabag).6
balance for hospital bills, professional fees and other expenses in the amount of ₱48,515.58,
incurred by plaintiff when the patient was confined at said hospital from February 3 to 13, When Carmen’s stomach still grewbigger despite medications, Dr. Norma advised Pedrito of
1992.33 the possibility of a second operation on Carmen. Dr. Norma, however, provided no detailson
its purpose and the doctor who would perform it. At around 3:00 p.m. on February 12, 1992,
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated December 15, 2009 and Carmen had her second operation. Later in the evening, Dr. Norma informed Pedrito that
Resolution dated July 27, 2010 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 78534 are "everything was going on fine with [his] wife."7
AFFIRMED.
The condition of Carmen, however, did not improve. It instead worsened that on February
SO ORDERED. 13, 1992, she vomited dark red blood. At 9:30 p.m. on the same day, Carmen died.8 Per her
certificate of death upon information provided by the hospital,the immediate cause of
Carmen’s death was "cardio-respiratory arrest secondary to cerebro vascular accident,
G.R. No. 192973 September 29, 2014 hypertension and chronic nephritis induced by pregnancy."9 An autopsy Report10 prepared
by Dr. Richard Patilano(Dr. Patilano), Medico-Legal Officer-Designate of Olongapo City,
PEDRITO DELA TORRE, Petitioner, however, provided that the cause of Carmen’s death was "shock due to peritonitis, severe,
vs. with multiple intestinal adhesions; Status post C[a]esarian Section and Exploratory
DR. ARTURO IMBUIDO, DRA. NORMA IMBUIDO in their capacity as owners and Laparotomy."
operators of DIVINE SPIRIT GENERAL HOSPITAL and/or DR. NESTOR
PASAMBA, Respondents. Pedrito claimed in his complaint that the respondents "failed to exercise the degree of
diligence required of them" as members of the medical profession, and were "negligent for
RESOLUTION practicing surgery on [Carmen] in the most unskilled, ignorant and cruel manner, x x x[.]" 11

REYES, J.: In their answer12 to the complaint, the respondents argued that they "observed the required
standard of medical care in attending to the needs of Carmen." 13 The respondents explained
that Carmen was admitted in Divine Spirit General Hospital for "pregnancy in labor and pre-
This resolves the petition for review on certiorari1 filed by petitioner Pedrito Dela Torre eclampsia." Her condition was closely monitored during her confinement. A caesarian
(Pedrito) assailing the Decision2 dated December 15, 2009 and Resolution3 dated July 27, section operation became necessary, as she manifested no significant progress for the
2010 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 78534. spontaneous delivery of her baby.14 No unusual events were observed during the course of
Carmen’s caesarian section operation. The second surgery, however, became necessary
The case stemmed from a complaint4 for damages filed by Pedrito against herein due to suspected intestinal obstruction and adhesions. This procedure was fully explained to
respondents Dr. ArturoImbuido and Dr. Norma Imbuido (Dr. Norma), in their capacity as the Carmen and Pedrito prior to its conduct. During the second operation, the diagnosis of
ownersand operators of the Divine Spirit General Hospital in Olongapo City, and Dr. Nestor intestinal obstruction and adhesion was confirmed but resolved by her doctors. Despite the
Pasamba (Dr. Nestor) (respondents). Pedrito alleged in his complaint that he was married to observance of due care by the doctors, however, Carmen died on February 13, 1992. 15
one Carmen Castillo Dela Torre(Carmen), who died while admitted at the Divine Spirit
General Hospital on February 13, 1992. Carmen was due to give birth on February 2,1992 The respondents included in their answer a counterclaim for ₱48,515.58 as unpaid hospital
and was brought at around 11:30 p.m. on that day by Pedrito to the Divine Spirit General charges, professional fees and medicines, ₱3,000,000.00 for moral damages, ₱1,500,000.00
Hospital. When Carmen still had not delivered her baby at the expected time, Dr. Norma for exemplary damages, and attorney’s fees.16
discussed with Pedrito the possibility of a caesarean section operation.5
After the pre-trial conference, trial proper ensued. To support his claim, Pedrito presented
At around 3:00 p.m. on February 3, 1992, Carmen was brought to the hospital’s operating the testimony of Dr. Patilano, the medicolegal officer who conducted an autopsy on the body
room for her caesarian section operation, which was to be performed by Dr. Nestor. By 5:30 of Carmen upon a telephone request made by the City Health Officer of Olongapo City, Dr.
p.m. of the same day, Pedrito was informed of his wife’s delivery of a baby boy. In the early Generoso Espinosa. Among Dr. Patilano’s observations, as narrated in the lower court’s
morning of February 4, 1992, Carmen experienced abdominal pain and difficulty in urinating. decision, were as follows:
78
In the intestines, [Dr. Patilano] found outthat it was more reddish than the normal condition WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff
which is supposed to bepinkish. There was presence of adhesions, meaning, it sticks to each and against the defendants, ordering the latter to pay jointly and severally, the former, the
other and these areas were dilated. There were constricted areas. He concluded that there following sums of money, to wit:
might have been foreign organic matters in the intestines. He did not see any swelling but
assuming that there was, it would be concomitant to the enlargement. x x x He came to the 1.) the sum of Php 28,759.46 as actual damages;
conclusion that the cause of death was peritonitis, with the multiple adhesions status in the
post caesarian section. In connection with peritonitis, this is the inflammation of the
abdomen. This peritonitis in the abdominal cavity may be caused by several conditions which 2.) the sum of Fifty Thousand (Php 50,000.00) Pesos as indemnity for the death of
are supposed to be infections, entrance of foreign bodies in the intestines in connection with Carmen dela Torre;
ruptured peptic ulcer or [may be] somewhere in the spleen. The entrance of foreign object in
the abdominal cavities may cause severe infections of the intra-abdominal cavities resulting 3.) the sum of Fifty Thousand (Php 50,000.00) Pesos as moral damages and the
[in] multiple adhesions of the intestines. In cases of surgical operation, it [may be] due to the further sum of Twenty Thousand (Php 20,000.00) Pesos as exemplary damages;
conditions of the instruments used, the materials used in the operating room being not
aseptic and the ladies assisting the operation were not in uniform. x x x. 17 4.) the sum of Twenty Thousand (Php 20,000.00) Pesos as attorney’s fees; and

Dr. Patilano claimed that peritonitis could have been prevented through proper medical 5.) the costs of [suit].
procedures and medicines. He also stated that if the cause of Carmen’s death was actually
cerebro-vascular accident, there would have been ruptured blood vessels and blood clot in
her head; but there were none in Carmen’s case.18 SO ORDERED.25

Among those who testified to refutePedrito’s claim was Dr. Nestor. He claimed that when Dissatisfied with the RTC ruling, the respondents appealed to the CA. On December 15,
Carmen was referred to him on February 3, 1992, she was in full term uterine pregnancy, 2009, the CA rendered its Decision reversing and setting aside the decision of the RTC. For
with pre-eclampsia, fetal distress and active labor pains. A caesarian section operation the appellate court, it was not established that the respondents failed to exercisethe degree
became necessary to terminate the pregnancy for her safety. Carmen was ready to go home of diligence required of them by their profession as doctors. The CA also granted the
four days after giving birth, but was advised by the doctors to stay more because of her respondents’ counterclaim for the amount of ₱48,515.58, as it held:
persistent hypertension.19
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City dated January 28,
The second surgery performed on Carmen was necessary after she showed symptoms of 2003 in Civil Case No. 165-0-92 is hereby REVERSED AND SET ASIDE.
intestinal obstruction, which happens as the intestines get twisted due to adhesions and the
normal flow of intestinal contents are obstructed. For Dr. Nestor, this occurrence was not Plaintiff-appellee is directed to pay the unpaid balance for hospital bills, professional fees
preventable since any interference of the abdominal cavity would irritate the serosa of the and other expenses in the amount of [P]48,515.58.
intestines, inviting adhesions that could cause obstruction. Surgery could remedy the
adhesions and obstruction.20 Both Carmen and Pedrito gave their written consent to this
SO ORDERED.26
second procedure.21

Hence, this petition for review on certiorariin which Pedrito insists that the respondents
Dr. Bienvenido G. Torres (Dr. Torres), Chief of the Medico-Legal Division of the Philippine
should be held liable for the death of Carmen.
National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory Service,22 also testified for the respondents.He
claimed that based on Dr. Patilano’s report, vital internal organs of Carmen, such as her
brain, lungs, kidneys, liver and adrenal glands, were not examined during the autopsy. 23 The petition is denied.

On January 28, 2003, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Olongapo City, Branch 75, rendered "[M]edical malpractice or, more appropriately, medical negligence, is that type of claim which
its Decision24 in favor of Pedrito. The trial court gave greater weight to the testimony of Dr. a victim has available to him or her to redress a wrong committed by a medical
Patilano and thus disposed of the case as follows: professionalwhich has caused bodily harm." In order to successfully pursue such a claim, a
patient, or his or her family as in this case, "must prove that a health care provider, in most
cases a physician, either failed to do something which a reasonably prudent health care

79
provider would have done, or that he or she did something that a reasonably prudent ofCarmen. The respondents also emphasized in their pleadings beforethe RTC that Dr.
provider would not have done; and that failure or action caused injury to the patient." 27 Nestor had his training and experience in surgery and obstetrics since 1970.1âwphi1Without
sufficient proof from the claimant on a different degree of care, skill and diligence that should
The Court emphasized in Lucas, et al. v. Tuaño28 that in medical negligence cases, there is a be expected from the respondents, it could not be said with certainty that a breachwas
physician-patient relationship between the doctor and the victim, but just like in any other actually committed.
proceeding for damages, four essential elements must be established by the plaintiff,
namely: (1) duty; (2) breach; (3) injury; and (4) proximate causation. All four elements must Moreover, while Dr. Patilano opined that Carmen died of peritonitis which could be due to the
be present in order to find the physician negligent and, thus, liable for damages. 29 poor state of the hospital equipment and medical supplies used during her operation, there
was no sufficient proof that any such fault actually attended the surgery of Carmen, caused
It is settled that a physician’s duty tohis patient relates to his exercise of the degree of care, her illness and resulted in her death. It is also significant that the Chief of the Medico-Legal
skill and diligence which physicians in the same general neighborhood, and in the same Division of the PNP Crime Laboratory Service, Dr. Torres, testified before the trial court that
general line of practice, ordinarily possess and exercise in like cases. There is breach of this based on the autopsy report issued by Dr. Patilano, the latter did not comply with the basic
duty when the patient is injured in body or in health. Proof of this breach rests upon the autopsy procedure when he examined the cadaver of Carmen. Dr. Patilano did not appear to
testimony of an expert witness that the treatment accorded to the patient failed to meet the have thoroughly examined Carmen’s vital organs such as her heart, lungs, uterus and brain
standard level of care, skill and diligence. To justify an award of damages, the negligence of during the autopsy. His findings were then inconclusive on the issue of the actual cause of
the doctor must be established to be the proximate cause of the injury. 30 Carmen's death, and the claim of negligence allegedly committed by the respondents.

Through the instant petition, Pedritoseeks the reinstatement of the decision of the RTC As the Court held in Spouses Flores v. Spouses Pineda, et al.,31 the critical and clinching
whose finding of the respondents’ medical negligence depended mainly on the testimony of factor in a medical negligence case is proof of the causal connection between the negligence
Dr. Patilano. Upon review, however, the Court agrees with the CA that the report and and the injuries. The claimant must prove not only the injury but also the defendant's fault,
testimony of Dr. Patilano failed to justify Pedrito’s entitlement to the damages awarded by the and that such fault caused the injury. A verdict in a malpractice action cannot be based on
RTC. speculation or conjecture. Causation must be proven within a reasonable medical probability
based upon competent expert testimony,32 which the Court finds absent in the case at bar.
As regards the respondents' counterclaim, the CA's award of ₱48,515.58 is sustained,
For the trial court to give weightto Dr. Patilano’s report, it was necessary to show first Dr. considering that among the parties' stipulations during the pre-trial indicated:
Patilano’s specialization and competence to testify on the degree of care, skill and diligence
needed for the treatment of Carmen’s case. Considering that it was not duly established that
Dr. Patilano practiced and was an expert inthe fields that involved Carmen’s condition, he 5. That at the time of the death of the patient Carmen C. dela Torrell there was an unpaid
could not have accurately identified the said degree of care, skill, diligence and the medical balance for hospital bills, professional fees and other expenses in the amount of ₱48,515.58,
procedures that should have been applied by her attending physicians. incurred by plaintiff when the patient was confined at said hospital from February 3 to 13,
1992.33
Similarly, such duty, degree of care, skill and diligence were not sufficiently established in
this case because the testimony of Dr. Patilano was based solely on the results of his WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated December 15, 2009 and
autopsy on the cadaver of Carmen. His study and assessment were restrictedby limitations Resolution dated July 27, 2010 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 78534 are
that denied his full evaluation of Carmen’s case. He could have only deduced from the AFFIRMED.
injuries apparent in Carmen’s body, and in the condition when the body was examined.
Judging from his testimony, Dr. Patilano did not even take full consideration of the medical SO ORDERED.
history of Carmen, her actual health condition at the time of hospital admission, and her
condition as it progressed while she was being monitored and treated by the respondents.
DEFENSES TO NEGLIGENCE BASED LIABILITY
There was also no reference to the respondents’ defense that the emergency caesarian
section operation had to be performed in order to protect the lives and safety of Carmen and
her then unborn child. For lack of sufficient information on Carmen’s health condition while G.R. No. L-40570 January 30, 1976
still alive, Dr. Patilano could not have fully evaluated the suitability of the respondents’
decisions in handling Carmen’s medical condition as it turned critical. TEODORO C. UMALI, petitioner,
vs.
On the other hand, the CA pointed out that Dr. Nestor, a surgeon, possessed the reasonable HON. ANGEL BACANI, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch IX of the Court of
degree of learning, skill and experience required by his profession for the treatment First Instance of Pangasinan and FIDEL H. SAYNES, respondents.

80
Julia M. Armas for petitioner. Sometime after the barrio captain and Cipriano Baldomero had left the
place, a small boy of 3 years and 8 months old by the name of Manuel P.
Antonio de los Reyes for private respondent. Saynes, whose house is just on the opposite side of the road, went to the
place where the broken line wire was and got in contact with it. The boy
was electrocuted and he subsequently died. It was only after the
electrocution of Manuel Saynes that the broken wire was fixed at about
10:00 o'clock on the same morning by the lineman of the electric plant.
ESGUERRA, J.:
Petitioner claims that he could not be liable under the concept of quasi-delict or tort as owner
Petition for certiorari to review the decision of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan and manager of the Alcala Electric Plant because the proximate cause of the boy's death
Branch IX, in Civil Case No. U2412, entitled, "Fidel H. Saynes, plaintiff-appellee versus electrocution could not be due to any negligence on his part, but rather to a fortuitous event-
Teodoro C. Umali, defendant-appellant", which found the death by electrocution of Manuel the storm that caused the banana plants to fall and cut the electric line-pointing out the
Saynes, a boy of 3 years and 8 months, as "due to the fault or negligence of the defendant absence of negligence on the part of his employee Cipriano Baldomero who tried to have the
(Umali) as owner and manager of the Alcala Electric Plant", although the liability of defendant line repaired and the presence of negligence of the parents of the child in allowing him to
is mitigated by the contributory negligence of the parents of the boy "in not providing for the leave his house during that time.
proper and delegate supervision and control over their son The dispositive part of the
decision reads as follows: A careful examination of the record convinces Us that a series of negligence on the part of
defendants' employees in the Alcala Electric Plant resulted in the death of the victim by
Wherefore, the Court hereby renders judgment in favor of the plaintiff by electrocution. First, by the very evidence of the defendant, there were big and tall banana
ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiff the sum of Five Thousand plants at the place of the incident standing on an elevated ground which were about 30 feet
Pesos (P5,000.00) for the death of his son, Manuel Saynes; the sum of high and which were higher than the electric post supporting the electric line, and yet the
One Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P1,200.00) for actual expenses for employees of the defendant who, with ordinary foresight, could have easily seen that even in
and in connection with the burial of said deceased child, and the further case of moderate winds the electric line would be endangered by banana plants being blown
sum of Three Thousand Pesos (P3,000.00) for moral damages and Five down, did not even take the necessary precaution to eliminate that source of danger to the
Hundred (P500.00) Pesos as reasonable attorney's fee, or a total of Nine electric line. Second, even after the employees of the Alcala Electric Plant were already
Thousand Seven Hundred (P9,700.00) Pesos, and to pay the costs of this aware of the possible damage the storm of May 14, 1972, could have caused their electric
suit. It Is So Ordered. lines, thus becoming a possible threat to life and property, they did not cut off from the plant
the flow of electricity along the lines, an act they could have easily done pending inspection
Undisputed facts appearing of record are: of the wires to see if they had been cut. Third, employee Cipriano Baldomero was negligent
on the morning of the incident because even if he was already made aware of the live cut
wire, he did not have the foresight to realize that the same posed a danger to life and
On May 14, 1972, a storm with strong rain hit the Municipality of Alcala property, and that he should have taken the necessary precaution to prevent anybody from
Pangasinan, which started from 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon and lasted up approaching the live wire; instead Baldomero left the premises because what was foremost
to about midnight of the same day. During the storm, the banana plants in his mind was the repair of the line, obviously forgetting that if left unattended to it could
standing on an elevated ground along the barrio road in San Pedro Ili of endanger life and property.
said municipality and near the transmission line of the Alcala Electric Plant
were blown down and fell on the electric wire. As a result, the live electric
wire was cut, one end of which was left hanging on the electric post and On defendants' argument that the proximate cause of the victim's death could be attributed
the other fell to the ground under the fallen banana plants. to the parents' negligence in allowing a child of tender age to go out of the house alone, We
could readily see that because of the aforementioned series of negligence on the part of
defendants' employees resulting in a live wire lying on the premises without any visible
On the following morning, at about 9:00 o'clock barrio captain Luciano warning of its lethal character, anybody, even a responsible grown up or not necessarily an
Bueno of San Pedro Iii who was passing by saw the broken electric wire innocent child, could have met the same fate that befell the victim. It may be true, as the
and so he warned the people in the place not to go near the wire for they lower Court found out, that the contributory negligence of the victim's parents in not properly
might get hurt. He also saw Cipriano Baldomero, a laborer of the Alcala taking care of the child, which enabled him to leave the house alone on the morning of the
Electric Plant near the place and notified him right then and there of the incident and go to a nearby place cut wire was very near the house (where victim was living)
broken line and asked him to fix it, but the latter told the barrio captain that where the fatal fallen wire electrocuted him, might mitigate respondent's liability, but we
he could not do it but that he was going to look for the lineman to fix it. cannot agree with petitioner's theory that the parents' negligence constituted the proximate

81
cause of the victim's death because the real proximate cause was the fallen live wire which REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
posed a threat to life and property on that morning due to the series of negligence adverted vs.
to above committed by defendants' employees and which could have killed any other person LUZON STEVEDORING CORPORATION, defendant-appellant.
who might by accident get into contact with it. Stated otherwise, even if the child was allowed
to leave the house unattended due to the parents' negligence, he would not have died that Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
morning where it not for the cut live wire he accidentally touched. H. San Luis and L.V. Simbulan for defendant-appellant.

Art. 2179 of the Civil Code provides that if the negligence of the plaintiff (parents of the victim
in this case) was only contributory, the immediate and proximate cause of the injury being
the defendants' lack of due care, the plaintiff may recover damages, but the courts shall
mitigate the damages to be awarded. This law may be availed of by the petitioner but does
not exempt him from liability. Petitioner's liability for injury caused by his employees
negligence is well defined in par. 4, of Article 2180 of the Civil Code, which states: REYES, J.B.L., J.:

The owner and manager of an establishment or enterprise are likewise The present case comes by direct appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of
responsible for damages caused by their employees in the service of the Manila (Case No. 44572) adjudging the defendant-appellant, Luzon Stevedoring
branches in which the latter are employed or on tile occasion of their Corporation, liable in damages to the plaintiff-appellee Republic of the Philippines.
functions.
In the early afternoon of August 17, 1960, barge L-1892, owned by the Luzon Stevedoring
The negligence of the employee is presumed to be the negligence of the employer because Corporation was being towed down the Pasig river by tugboats "Bangus" and "Barbero"1 also
the employer is supposed to exercise supervision over the work of the employees. This belonging to the same corporation, when the barge rammed against one of the wooden piles
liability of the employer is primary and direct (Standard Vacuum Oil Co. vs. Tan and Court of of the Nagtahan bailey bridge, smashing the posts and causing the bridge to list. The river, at
Appeals, 107 Phil. 109). In fact the proper defense for the employer to raise so that he may the time, was swollen and the current swift, on account of the heavy downpour of Manila and
escape liability is to prove that he exercised, the diligence of the good father of the family to the surrounding provinces on August 15 and 16, 1960.
prevent damage not only in the selection of his employees but also in adequately supervising
them over their work. This defense was not adequately proven as found by the trial Court, Sued by the Republic of the Philippines for actual and consequential damage caused by its
and We do not find any sufficient reason to deviate from its finding. employees, amounting to P200,000 (Civil Case No. 44562, CFI of Manila), defendant Luzon
Stevedoring Corporation disclaimed liability therefor, on the grounds that it had exercised
Notwithstanding diligent efforts, we fail to fired any reversible error committed by the trial due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees; that the damages to the
Court in this case, either in its appreciation of the evidence on questions of facts or on the bridge were caused by force majeure; that plaintiff has no capacity to sue; and that the
interpretation and application of laws government quasi-delicts and liabilities emanating Nagtahan bailey bridge is an obstruction to navigation.
therefrom. The inevitable conclusion is that no error amounting to grave abuse of discretion
was committed and the decision must be left untouched. After due trial, the court rendered judgment on June 11, 1963, holding the defendant liable
for the damage caused by its employees and ordering it to pay to plaintiff the actual cost of
WHEREFORE, the decision of respondent Court dated June 27, 1974 is affirmed. the repair of the Nagtahan bailey bridge which amounted to P192,561.72, with legal interest
thereon from the date of the filing of the complaint.
Costs against petitioner.
Defendant appealed directly to this Court assigning the following errors allegedly committed
by the court a quo, to wit:
SO ORDERED.
I — The lower court erred in not holding that the herein defendant-appellant had
EN BANC exercised the diligence required of it in the selection and supervision of its
personnel to prevent damage or injury to others.1awphîl.nèt
G.R. No. L-21749 September 29, 1967
II — The lower court erred in not holding that the ramming of the Nagtahan bailey
bridge by barge L-1892 was caused by force majeure.
82
III — The lower court erred in not holding that the Nagtahan bailey bridge is an N.W. 299; Bryne vs. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., 269 Mass. 130; 168 N.E. 540; Gribsby
obstruction, if not a menace, to navigation in the Pasig river. vs. Smith, 146 S.W. 2d 719).

IV — The lower court erred in not blaming the damage sustained by the Nagtahan The appellant strongly stresses the precautions taken by it on the day in question: that it
bailey bridge to the improper placement of the dolphins. assigned two of its most powerful tugboats to tow down river its barge L-1892; that it
assigned to the task the more competent and experienced among its patrons, had the
V — The lower court erred in granting plaintiff's motion to adduce further evidence towlines, engines and equipment double-checked and inspected; that it instructed
in chief after it has rested its case. its patrons to take extra precautions; and concludes that it had done all it was called to do,
and that the accident, therefore, should be held due to force majeure or fortuitous event.
VI — The lower court erred in finding the plaintiff entitled to the amount of
P192,561.72 for damages which is clearly exorbitant and without any factual basis. These very precautions, however, completely destroy the appellant's defense. For caso
fortuito or force majeure(which in law are identical in so far as they exempt an obligor from
liability)2 by definition, are extraordinary events not foreseeable or avoidable, "events
However, it must be recalled that the established rule in this jurisdiction is that when a party that could not be foreseen, or which, though foreseen, were inevitable" (Art. 1174, Civ. Code
appeals directly to the Supreme Court, and submits his case there for decision, he is of the Philippines). It is, therefore, not enough that the event should not have been foreseen
deemed to have waived the right to dispute any finding of fact made by the trial Court. The or anticipated, as is commonly believed, but it must be one impossible to foresee or to avoid.
only questions that may be raised are those of law (Savellano vs. Diaz, L-17441, July 31, The mere difficulty to foresee the happening is not impossibility to foresee the same: "un
1963; Aballe vs. Santiago, L-16307, April 30, 1963; G.S.I.S. vs. Cloribel, L-22236, June 22, hecho no constituye caso fortuito por la sola circunstancia de que su existencia haga mas
1965). A converso, a party who resorts to the Court of Appeals, and submits his case for dificil o mas onerosa la accion diligente del presento ofensor" (Peirano
decision there, is barred from contending later that his claim was beyond the jurisdiction of Facio, Responsibilidad Extra-contractual, p. 465; Mazeaud Trait de la Responsibilite Civil,
the aforesaid Court. The reason is that a contrary rule would encourage the undesirable Vol. 2, sec. 1569). The very measures adopted by appellant prove that the possibility of
practice of appellants' submitting their cases for decision to either court in expectation of danger was not only foreseeable, but actually foreseen, and was not caso fortuito.
favorable judgment, but with intent of attacking its jurisdiction should the decision be
unfavorable (Tyson Tan, et al. vs. Filipinas Compañia de Seguros) et al., L-10096, Res. on
Motion to Reconsider, March 23, 1966). Consequently, we are limited in this appeal to the Otherwise stated, the appellant, Luzon Stevedoring Corporation, knowing and appreciating
issues of law raised in the appellant's brief. the perils posed by the swollen stream and its swift current, voluntarily entered into a
situation involving obvious danger; it therefore assured the risk, and can not shed
responsibility merely because the precautions it adopted turned out to be insufficient. Hence,
Taking the aforesaid rules into account, it can be seen that the only reviewable issues in this the lower Court committed no error in holding it negligent in not suspending operations and
appeal are reduced to two: in holding it liable for the damages caused.

1) Whether or not the collision of appellant's barge with the supports or piers of the It avails the appellant naught to argue that the dolphins, like the bridge, were improperly
Nagtahan bridge was in law caused by fortuitous event or force majeure, and located. Even if true, these circumstances would merely emphasize the need of even higher
degree of care on appellant's part in the situation involved in the present case. The
2) Whether or not it was error for the Court to have permitted the plaintiff-appellee appellant, whose barges and tugs travel up and down the river everyday, could not safely
to introduce additional evidence of damages after said party had rested its case. ignore the danger posed by these allegedly improper constructions that had been erected,
and in place, for years.
As to the first question, considering that the Nagtahan bridge was an immovable and
stationary object and uncontrovertedly provided with adequate openings for the passage of On the second point: appellant charges the lower court with having abused its discretion in
water craft, including barges like of appellant's, it is undeniable that the unusual event that the admission of plaintiff's additional evidence after the latter had rested its case. There is an
the barge, exclusively controlled by appellant, rammed the bridge supports raises a insinuation that the delay was deliberate to enable the manipulation of evidence to prejudice
presumption of negligence on the part of appellant or its employees manning the barge or defendant-appellant.
the tugs that towed it. For in the ordinary course of events, such a thing does not happen if
proper care is used. In Anglo American Jurisprudence, the inference arises by what is known We find no merit in the contention. Whether or not further evidence will be allowed after a
as the "res ipsa loquitur" rule (Scott vs. London Docks Co., 2 H & C 596; San Juan Light & party offering the evidence has rested his case, lies within the sound discretion of the trial
Transit Co. vs. Requena, 224 U.S. 89, 56 L. Ed., 680; Whitwell vs. Wolf, 127 Minn. 529, 149 Judge, and this discretion will not be reviewed except in clear case of abuse.3

83
In the present case, no abuse of that discretion is shown. What was allowed to be Petitioners in G.R. No. 68102, parents of the minors George Koh McKee, Christopher Koh
introduced, after plaintiff had rested its evidence in chief, were vouchers and papers to McKee and the deceased Kim Koh McKee, were the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 4478, while
support an item of P1,558.00 allegedly spent for the reinforcement of the panel of the bailey petitioner Carmen Dayrit Koh and her co-petitioners in G.R. No. 68103, who are the wife and
bridge, and which item already appeared in Exhibit GG. Appellant, in fact, has no reason to children, respectively, of the late Jose Koh, were the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 4477. Upon
charge the trial court of being unfair, because it was also able to secure, upon written motion, the other hand, private respondents are the owners of the cargo truck which figured in the
a similar order dated November 24, 1962, allowing reception of additional evidence for the mishap; a certain Ruben Galang was the driver of the truck at the time of the accident.
said defendant-appellant.4
The antecedent facts are not disputed.
WHEREFORE, finding no error in the decision of the lower Court appealed from, the same is
hereby affirmed. Costs against the defendant-appellant. Between nine and ten o'clock in the morning of 8 January 1977, in Pulong Pulo Bridge along
MacArthur Highway, between Angeles City and San Fernando, Pampanga, a head-on-
G.R. No. L-68102 July 16, 1992 collision took place between an International cargo truck, Loadstar, with Plate No. RF912-T
Philippines '76 owned by private respondents, and driven by Ruben Galang, and a Ford
Escort car bearing Plate No. S2-850 Pampanga '76 driven by Jose Koh. The collision
GEORGE MCKEE and ARACELI KOH MCKEE, petitioners, resulted in the deaths of Jose Koh, Kim Koh McKee and Loida Bondoc, and physical injuries
vs. to George Koh McKee, Christopher Koh McKee and Araceli Koh McKee, all passengers of
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, JAIME TAYAG and ROSALINDA the Ford Escort.
MANALO, respondents.

Jose Koh was the father of petitioner Araceli Koh McKee, the mother of minors George,
G.R. No. L-68103 July 16, 1992
Christopher and Kim Koh McKee. Loida Bondoc, on the other hand, was the baby sitter of
one and a half year old Kim. At the time of the collision, Kim was seated on the lap of Loida
CARMEN DAYRIT KOH, LETICIA KOH, JULIETA KOH TUQUERO, ARACELI KOH Bondoc who was at the front passenger's seat of the car while Araceli and her two (2) sons
MCKEE, ANTONIO KOH and ELIZABETH KOH TURLA, petitioners, were seated at the car's back seat.
vs.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, JAIME TAYAG and ROSALINDA Immediately before the collision, the cargo truck, which was loaded with two hundred (200)
MANALO, respondents.
cavans of rice weighing about 10,000 kilos, was traveling southward from Angeles City to
San Fernando Pampanga, and was bound for Manila. The Ford Escort, on the other hand,
was on its way to Angeles City from San Fernando. When the northbound car was about (10)
meters away from the southern approach of the bridge, two (2) boys suddenly darted from
DAVIDE, JR., J.: the right side of the road and into the lane of the car. The boys were moving back and forth,
unsure of whether to cross all the way to the other side or turn back. Jose Koh blew the horn
of the car, swerved to the left and entered the lane of the truck; he then switched on the
Petitioners urge this Court to review and reverse the Resolution of the Court of Appeals in headlights of the car, applied the brakes and thereafter attempted to return to his lane.
C.A.-G.R. CV Nos. 69040-41, promulgated on 3 April 1984, which set aside its previous Before he could do so, his car collided with the truck. The collision occurred in the lane of the
Decision dated 29 November 1983 reversing the Decision of the trial court which dismissed truck, which was the opposite lane, on the said bridge.
petitioners' complaints in Civil Case No. 4477 and Civil Case No. 4478 of the then Court of
First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Pampanga entitled "Carmen Dayrit Koh, Leticia
Koh, Julieta Koh Tuquero, Araceli Koh McKee and Elizabeth Koh Turla vs. Jaime Tayag and The incident was immediately reported to the police station in Angeles City; consequently, a
Rosalinda Manalo," and "George McKee and Araceli Koh McKee vs. Jaime Tayag and team of police officers was forthwith dispatched to conduct an on the spot investigation. In
Rosalinda Manalo," respectively, and granted the private respondents' counterclaim for the sketch 1 prepared by the investigating officers, the bridge is described to be sixty (60)
moral damages, attorney's fees and litigation expenses. "footsteps" long and fourteen (14) "footsteps" wide — seven (7) "footsteps" from the center
line to the inner edge of the side walk on both sides. 2 Pulong Pulo Bridge, which spans a dry
brook, is made of concrete with soft shoulders and concrete railings on both sides about
The said civil cases for damages based on quasi-delict were filed as a result of a vehicular three (3) feet high.
accident which led to the deaths of Jose Koh, Kim Koh McKee and Loida Bondoc and
caused physical injuries to George Koh McKee, Christopher Koh McKee and petitioner
Araceli Koh McKee. The sketch of the investigating officer discloses that the right rear portion of the cargo truck
was two (2) "footsteps" from the edge of the right sidewalk, while its left front portion was
84
touching the center line of the bridge, with the smashed front side of the car resting on its having approached the lane of the truck driven by Ruben Galang, . . . which was on the right
front bumper. The truck was about sixteen (16) "footsteps" away from the northern end of the lane going towards Manila and at a moderate speed observing all traffic rules and
bridge while the car was about thirty-six (36) "footsteps" from the opposite end. Skid marks regulations applicable under the circumstances then prevailing;" in their counterclaim, they
produced by the right front tire of the truck measured nine (9) "footsteps", while skid marks prayed for an award of damages as may be determined by the court after due hearing, and
produced by the left front tire measured five (5) "footsteps." The two (2) rear tires of the the sums of P10,000.00 as attorney's fees and P5,000.00 as expenses of litigation.
truck, however, produced no skid marks.
Petitioners filed their Answers to the Counterclaims in both cases.
In his statement to the investigating police officers immediately after the accident, Galang
admitted that he was traveling at thirty (30) miles (48 kilometers) per hour. To expedite the proceedings, the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 4478 filed on 27 March 1978 a
motion to adopt the testimonies of witnesses taken during the hearing of Criminal Case No.
As a consequence of the collision, two (2) cases, Civil Case No. 4477 and No. 4478, were 3751, which private respondents opposed and which the court denied. 9 Petitioners
filed on 31 January 1977 before the then Court of First Instance of Pampanga and were subsequently moved to reconsider the order denying the motion for consolidation, 10 which
raffled to Branch III and Branch V of the said court, respectively. In the first, herein Judge Capulong granted in the Order of 5 September 1978; he then directed that Civil Case
petitioners in G.R. No. 68103 prayed for the award of P12,000.00 as indemnity for the death No. 4478 be consolidated with Civil Case No. 4477 in Branch III of the court then presided
of Jose Koh, P150,000.00 as moral damages, P60,000.00 as exemplary damages, over by Judge Mario Castañeda, Jr.
P10,000.00 for litigation expenses, P6,000.00 for burial expenses, P3,650.00 for the burial
lot and P9,500.00 for the tomb, plus attorney's fees. 3 In the second case, petitioners in G.R. Left then with Branch V of the trial court was Criminal Case No. 3751.
No. 68102 prayed for the following: (a) in connection with the death of Kim McKee, the sum
of P12,000.00 as death benefit, P3,150.00 for funeral services, P3,650.00 for the cemetery
lot, P3,000.00 for the tomb, P50,000.00 as moral damages, P10,000.00 as exemplary In the civil cases, the plaintiffs presented as witnesses Araceli Koh McKee, Fernando Nuñag,
damages and P2,000.00 as miscellaneous damages; (b) in the case of Araceli Koh McKee, Col. Robert Fitzgerald, Primitivo Parel, Eugenio Tanhueco, Carmen Koh and Antonio
in connection with the serious physical injuries suffered, the sum of P100,000.00 as moral Koh, 11 and offered several documentary exhibits. Upon the other hand, private respondents
damages, P20,000.00 as exemplary damages, P12,000.00 for loss of earnings, P5,000.00 presented as witnesses Ruben Galang, Zenaida Soliman, Jaime Tayag and Roman Dayrit. 12
for the hospitalization expenses up to the date of the filing of the complaint; and (c) with
respect to George McKee, Jr., in connection with the serious physical injuries suffered, the In the criminal case, the prosecution presented as witnesses Mrs. Araceli McKee, Salud
sum of P50,000.00 as moral damages, P20,000.00 as exemplary damages and the following Samia, Pfc. Fernando Nuñag, Dr. Ramon Panlilio, Dr. Robert Fitzgerald, Dr. Roberto Yuson,
medical expenses: P3,400 payable to the Medical Center, P3,500.00 payable to the St. Dr. Hector, Ulanday, Pfc. Benigno de Leon, Marina Bolos, Primitivo Parel, Rogelio Pineda,
Francis Medical Center, P5,175.00 payable to the Clark Air Base Hospital, and Benito Caraan and Eugenio Tanhueco, and offered several documentary exhibits. 13 Upon
miscellaneous expenses amounting to P5,000.00. They also sought an award of attorney's the other hand, the defense presented the accused Ruben Galang, Luciano Punzalan,
fees amounting to 25% of the total award plus traveling and hotel expenses, with costs. 4 Zenaida Soliman and Roman Dayrit, and offered documentary exhibits. 14

On 1 March 1977, an Information charging Ruben Galang with the crime of "Reckless On 1 October 1980, Judge Capulong rendered a decision against the accused Ruben
Imprudence Resulting to (sic) Multiple Homicide and Physical Injuries and Damage to Galang in the aforesaid criminal case. The dispositive portion of the decision reads as
Property" was filed with the trial court. It was docketed as Criminal Case No. 3751 and was follows:
raffled to Branch V of the court, the same Branch where Civil Case No. 4478 was assigned. 5
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered
In their Answer with Counterclaim in Civil Case No. 4477, private respondents asserted that finding the accused Ruben Galang guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
it was the Ford Escort car which "invaded and bumped (sic) the lane of the truck driven by crime charged in the information and after applying the provisions of Article
Ruben Galang and, as counterclaim, prayed for the award of P15,000.00 as attorney's fees, 365 of the Revised Penal Code and indeterminate sentence law, this
P20,000.00 as actual and liquidated damages, P100,000.00 as moral damages and Court, imposes upon said accused Ruben Galang the penalty of six (6)
P30,000.00 as business losses. 6 In Civil Case No. 4478, private respondents first filed a months of arresto mayor as minimum to two (2) years, four (4) months and
motion to dismiss on grounds of pendency of another action (Civil Case No. 4477) and one (1) day of prision correccional as maximum; the accused is further
failure to implead an indispensable party, Ruben Galang, the truck driver; they also filed a sentenced to pay and indemnify the heirs of Loida Bondoc the amount of
motion to consolidate the case with Civil Case No. 4477 pending before Branch III of the P12,000.00 as indemnity for her death; to reimburse the heirs of Loida
same court, which was opposed by the plaintiffs. 7 Both motions were denied by Branch V, Bondoc the amount of P2,000.00 representing the funeral expenses; to
then presided over by Judge Ignacio Capulong. Thereupon, private respondents filed their pay the heirs of Loida Bondoc the amount of P20,000.00 representing her
Answer with Counter-claim 8 wherein they alleged that Jose Koh was the person "at fault
85
loss of income; to indemnify and pay the heirs of the deceased Jose Koh WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from it hereby reversed and set
the value of the car in the amount of P53,910.95, and to pay the costs. 15 aside and another one is rendered, ordering defendants-appellees to pay
plaintiffs-appellants as follows:
The aforecited decision was promulgated only on 17 November 1980; on the same day,
counsel for petitioners filed with Branch III of the court — where the two (2) civil cases were For the death of Jose Koh:
pending — a manifestation to that effect and attached thereto a copy of the decision. 16
P 50,000.00 as moral damages
Upon the other hand, Judge Mario Castañeda, Jr. dismissed the two (2) civil cases on 12 P 12,000.00 as death indemnity
November 1980 and awarded the private respondents moral damages, exemplary damages P 16,000.00 for the lot and tomb (Exhs. U and U-1)
and attorney's fees. 17 The dispositive portion of the said decision reads as follows: P 4,000.00 expenses for holding a wake (p. 9, tsn April
19, 1979)
WHEREFORE, finding the preponderance of evidence to be in favor of the P 950.00 for the casket (Exh. M)
defendants and against the plaintiffs, these cases are hereby ordered P 375.00 for the vault services (Exhs. V and V-1)
DISMISSED with costs against the plaintiffs. The defendants had proven
their counter-claim, thru evidences (sic) presented and unrebutted. Hence, For the death of Kim Koh McKee:
they are hereby awarded moral and exemplary damages in the amount of
P100,000.00 plus attorney's fee of P15,000.00 and litigation expenses for P 50,000.00 as moral damages
(sic) P2,000.00. The actual damages claimed for (sic) by the defendants is P 12,000.00 as death indemnity
(sic) hereby dismissing for lack of proof to that effect (sic). 18 P 1,000.00 for the purchase of the burial lot (Exh. M)
P 950.00 for funeral services (Exh. M-1)
A copy of the decision was sent by registered mail to the petitioners on 28 November 1980 P 375.00 for vault services (Exhs. V and V-1)
and was received on 2 December 1980. 19
For the physical injuries suffered by George Koh McKee:
Accused Ruben Galang appealed the judgment of conviction to the Court of Appeals. The
appeal was docketed as C.A.-G.R. Blg. 24764-CR and was assigned to the court's Third P 25,000.00 as moral damages
Division. Plaintiffs in Civil Cases Nos. 4477 and 4478 likewise separately appealed the 12 P 672.00 for Clark Field Hospital (Exh. E)
November 1980 decision to the appellate court. The appeals were docketed as C.A.-G.R. P 4,384.00 paid to Angeles Medical Clinic (Exhs. D, D-1
No. 69041-R and C.A.-G.R. No. 69040-R, respectively, and were assigned to the Fourth Civil and
Cases Division. D-2)
P 1,555.00 paid to St. Francis Medical Center (Exhs. B
On 4 October 1982, the respondent Court promulgated its decision 20 in C.A.-G.R. Blg. and B-1)
24764-CR affirming the conviction of Galang. 21 The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
For the physical injuries suffered by Araceli Koh McKee:
DAHIL DITO, ang hatol na paksa ng naritong paghahabol ay Aming
pinagtitibay sa kanyang kabuuan. Ang naghahabol pa rin ang P 25,000.00 as moral damages
pinagbabayad ng gugol ng paghahabol. P 1,055.00 paid to St. Francis Medical Center (Exhs. G
and
A motion for reconsideration of the decision was denied by the respondent Court in G-1)
its Kapasiyahan promulgated on 25 November 1982. 22 A petition for its review 23 was filed P 75.00 paid to St. Francis Medical Center (Exhs. G-2
with this Court; said petition was subsequently denied. A motion for its reconsideration was and G-3)
denied with finality in the Resolution of 20 April 1983. 24 P 428.00 to Carmelite General Hospital (Exh. F)
P 114.20 to Muñoz Clinic (Exh. MM)
On 29 November 1983, respondent Court, by then known as the Intermediate Appellate
Court, promulgated its consolidated decision in A.C.-G.R. CV Nos. 69040 and 69041, 25 the For the physical injuries suffered by Christopher Koh McKee:
dispositive portion of which reads:
86
P 10,000.00 as moral damages slow down to give us the right of way to come back to
P 1,231.10 to St. Francis Medical Center (Exhs. L and L- our right lane.
1)
P 321.95 to F.C.E.A. Hospital (Exhs. G and D-1) Q Did the truck slow down?

In addition, We award P10,000.00 as counsel (sic) fees in Civil Case No. A No, sir, it did not, just (sic) continued on its way.
4477 and another P10,000.00; as counsel (sic) fees in Civil Case No.
4478.
Q What happened after that?
No pronouncement as to costs.
A After avoiding the two (2) boys, the car tried to go
back to the right lane since the truck is (sic) coming, my
SO ORDERED. 26 father stepped on the brakes and all what (sic) I heard is
the sound of impact (sic), sir. (tsn, pp. 5-6, July 22,
The decision is anchored principally on the respondent Court's findings that it was Ruben 1977); or (Exhibit "O" in these Civil Cases).
Galang's inattentiveness or reckless imprudence which caused the accident. The appellate
court further said that the law presumes negligence on the part of the defendants (private xxx xxx xxx
respondents), as employers of Galang, in the selection and supervision of the latter; it was
further asserted that these defendants did not allege in their Answers the defense of having
exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in selecting and supervising the said Q Mrs. how did you know that the truck driven by the
employee.27 This conclusion of reckless imprudence is based on the following findings of herein accused, Ruben Galang did not reduce its speed
fact: before the actual impact of collision (sic) as you narrated
in this Exhibit "1," how did you know (sic)?
In the face of these diametrically opposed judicial positions, the
determinative issue in this appeal is posited in the fourth assigned error as A It just kept on coming, sir. If only he reduced his
follows: speed, we could have got (sic) back to our right lane on
side (sic) of the highway, sir. (tsn. pp. 33-34 July 22,
1977) or (Exhibit "O" in these Civil Cases) (pp. 30-31,
IV Appellants' Brief).

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT HELD THE (sic) DRIVER OF THE Plaintiffs' version was successfully corroborated to Our satisfaction by the following facts and
TRUCK STOPPED HIS TRUCK BLEW HIS HORN SWITCHED ON HIS circumstances:
HEADLIGHTS AND COULD NOT SWERVE TO THE RIGHT.
1. An impartial eye-witness to the mishap, Eugenio Tanhueco, declared
Supportive of plaintiffs' version, principal witness Araceli Koh McKee testified thus: that the truck stopped only when it had already collided with the car:

Q What happened after that, as you approached the xxx xxx xxx
bridge?
Tanhueco repeated the same testimony during the hearing in the criminal
A When we were approaching the bridge, two (2) boys case:
tried to cross the right lane on the right side of the
highway going to San Fernando. My father, who is (sic)
the driver of the car tried to avoid the two (2) boys who xxx xxx xxx
were crossing, he blew his horn and swerved to the left
to avoid hitting the two (2) boys. We noticed the truck,
he switched on the headlights to warn the truck driver, to

87
Tanhueco could (sic) not be tagged as an accommodation witness A I noticed it, sir, that it was about ten (10) meters away.
because he was one of the first to arrive at the scene of the accident. As a
matter of fact, he brought one of the injured passengers to the hospital. ATTY. SOTTO:

We are not prepared to accord faith and credit to defendants' witnesses, Q So, for clarification, you clarify and state under your
Zenaida Soliman, a passenger of the truck, and Roman Dayrit, who oath that you have (sic) not noticed it before that ten (10)
supposedly lived across the street. meters? (Tsn. 3 to 5, Sept. 18, 1979). (p. 16, Appellants'
Brief)
Regarding Soliman, experience has shown that in the ordinary course of
events people usually take the side of the person with whom they are Galang's testimony substantiate (sic) Tanhueco's statement that Galang
associated at the time of the accident, because, as a general rule, they do stopped only because of the impact. At ten (10) meters away, with the
not wish to be identified with the person who was at fault. Thus an truck running at 30 miles per hour, as revealed in Galang's affidavit (Exh.
imaginary bond is unconsciously created among the several persons 2; p. 25, Appellants' brief), it is well-nigh impossible to avoid a collision on
within the same group (People vs. Vivencio, CA-G.R. No. 00310-CR, Jan. a bridge.
31, 1962).
5. Galang's truck stopped because of the collision, and not because he
With respect to Dayrit, We can not help suspecting (sic) that he is an waited for Jose Koh to return to his proper lane. The police investigator,
accommodation witness. He did not go to the succor of the injured Pfc. Fernando L. Nuñag, stated that he found skid marks under the truck
persons. He said he wanted to call the police authorities about the mishap, but there were not (sic) skid marks behind the truck (pp. 19-20, t.s.n., Nov.
but his phone had no dial tone. Be this (sic) as it may, the trial court in the 3, 1978). The presence of skid marks show (sic) that the truck was
criminal case acted correctly in refusing to believe Dayrit. speeding. Since the skid marks were found under the truck and none were
found at the rear of the truck, the reasonable conclusion is that the skid
2. Exhibit 2, the statement of Galang, does not include the claim that marks under the truck were caused by the truck's front wheels when the
Galang stopped his truck at a safe distance from the car, according to trucks (sic) suddenly stopped seconds before the mishap in an endeavor
plaintiffs (p. 25, Appellants' Brief). This contention of appellants was to avoid the same. But, as aforesaid, Galang saw the car at barely 10
completely passed sub-silencio or was not refuted by appellees in their meters away, a very short distance to avoid a collision, and in his futile
brief. Exhibit 2 is one of the exhibits not included in the record. According endeavor to avoid the collision he abruptly stepped on his brakes but the
to the Table of Contents submitted by the court below, said Exhibit 2 was smashup happened just the same.
not submitted by defendants-appellees. In this light, it is not far-fetched to
surmise that Galang's claim that he stopped was an eleventh-hour For the inattentiveness or reckless imprudence of Galang, the law
desperate attempt to exculpate himself from imprisonment and damages. presumes negligence on the part of the defendants in the selection of their
driver or in the supervision over him. Appellees did not allege such
3. Galang divulged that he stopped after seeing the car about 10 meters defense of having exercised the duties of a good father of a family in the
away: selection and supervision of their employees in their answers. They did not
even adduce evidence that they did in fact have methods of selection and
ATTY. SOTTO: programs of supervision. The inattentiveness or negligence of Galang was
the proximate cause of the mishap. If Galang's attention was on the
highway, he would have sighted the car earlier or at a very safe distance
Q Do I understand from your testimony that inspite of the than (sic) 10 meters. He proceeded to cross the bridge, and tried to stop
fact that you admitted that the road is straight and you when a collision was already inevitable, because at the time that he
may be able to (sic) see 500-1000 meters away from entered the bridge his attention was not riveted to the road in front of him.
you any vehicle, you first saw that car only about ten
(10) meters away from you for the first time?
On the question of damages, the claims of appellants were amply proven,
but the items must be reduced. 28
xxx xxx xxx

88
A motion for reconsideration alleging improper appreciation of the facts was subsequently V
filed by private respondents on the basis of which the respondent Court, in its Resolution of 3
April 1984, 29 reconsidered and set aside its 29 November 1983 decision and affirmed in . . . COMMITTED A PATENT ERROR AND GRAVELY ABUSED ITS
toto the trial court's judgment of 12 November 1980. A motion to reconsider this Resolution DISCRETION IN ADOPTING THE FINDINGS OF THE TRIAL COURT WHICH ARE
was denied by the respondent Court on 4 July 1984. 30 CLEARLY ERRONEOUS AND CONTRARY TO THE EVIDENCE FOUND IN THE
RECORDS, SPECIALLY THEY (sic) ARE CONTRARY TO THE ADMITTED FACTS
Hence, this petition. AND JUDICIAL ADMISSIONS MADE BY THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS' DRIVER.

Petitioners allege that respondent Court: VI

I . . . EXCEEDED ITS JURISDICTION, COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF


DISCRETION AND GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT AWARDED DAMAGES TO THE
. . . COMMITTED A VERY SERIOUS AND GRAVE ERROR WHEN IT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS WHEN SAID AWARD IS NOT SUPPORTED BY
TOTALLY REVERSED ITS DECISION BY MERELY BASING IT FROM (sic) A MERE EVIDENCE, IN THE RECORDS, AND SAID AWARD IS NOT ALLOWED BY LAW
"PRESUMPTION," TOTALLY DISREGARDING THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS' AND THE CONSISTENT DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT.
DRIVER'S ADMISSIONS AND CONFESSIONS, WHO EXCLUSIVELY COMMITTED
THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT (sic), FURTHER, IT ALSO VII
DISREGARDED THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED AND FOUND IN THE RECORDS;
THEREFORE, RESPONDENT COURT'S RESOLUTIONS (ANNEXES A and B, . . . EXCEEDED ITS JURISDICTION, COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
PETITION) ARE CLEARLY ERRONEOUS, PURELY BASED ON SPECULATIONS, DISCRETION AND GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT ERRONEOUSLY SET ASIDE ITS
CONJECTURES AND WITHOUT SURE FOUNDATION IN THE EVIDENCE. DECISION AWARDING DAMAGES TO PETITIONERS WHICH IS CLEARLY IN
ACCORDANCE WITH THE EVIDENCE, THE LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE
II RELATIVE TO THE AWARD OF DAMAGES. 31

. . . GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AND ERRED WHEN IN In the Resolution of 12 September 1984, We required private respondents to Comment on
EFFECT IT DISREGARDED A DOCTRINE LAID DOWN BY THIS HONORABLE the petition. 32 After the said Comment 33 was filed, petitioners submitted a Reply 34 thereto;
COURT BY STATING AMONG OTHERS, "IT CANNOT CATEGORICALLY ADOPT this Court then gave due course to the instant petitions and required petitioners to file their
THE FINDINGS OF GUILT IN THE CRIMINAL CASE WHERE THE DRIVER OF THE Brief, 35 which they accordingly complied with.
TRUCK INVOLVED IN THE ACCIDENT WAS INDICTED.
There is merit in the petition. Before We take on the main task of dissecting the arguments
III and counter-arguments, some observations on the procedural vicissitudes of these cases
are in order.
. . . PATENTLY COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND
MADE A MISLEADING PRONOUNCEMENT, WHEN IT HELD: "IT IS THUS Civil Cases Nos. 4477 and 4478, which were for the recovery of civil liability arising from
INCUMBENT UPON THE PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS (APPELLEES WRONGLY a quasi-delict under Article 2176 in relation to Article 2180 of the Civil Code, were filed ahead
MENTIONED IN THE RESOLUTION) TO PROVE THEIR ALLEGATIONS THAT THE of Criminal Case No. 3751. Civil Case No. 4478 was eventually consolidated with Civil Case
PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT WAS THE NEGLIGENCE OF PRIVATE No. 4477 for joint trial in Branch III of the trial court. The records do not indicate any attempt
RESPONDENTS' DRIVER. on the part of the parties, and it may therefore be reasonably concluded that none was
made, to consolidate Criminal Case No. 3751 with the civil cases, or vice-versa. The parties
IV may have then believed, and understandably so, since by then no specific provision of law or
ruling of this Court expressly allowed such a consolidation, that an independent civil action,
authorized under Article 33 in relation to Article 2177 of the Civil Code, such as the civil
. . . COMMITTED ANOTHER GRIEVIOUS (sic) ERROR; COMMITTED cases in this case, cannot be consolidated with the criminal case. Indeed, such consolidation
GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND CITED ANOTHER CASE WHICH IS could have been farthest from their minds as Article 33 itself expressly provides that the "civil
CLEARLY INAPPLICABLE TO THESE CASES. action shall proceed independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall require only a

89
preponderance of evidence." Be that as it may, there was then no legal impediment against And now to the merits of the petition.
such consolidation. Section 1, Rule 31 of the Rules of Court, which seeks to avoid a
multiplicity of suits, guard against oppression and abuse, prevent delays, clear congested It is readily apparent from the pleadings that the principal issue raised in this petition is
dockets to simplify the work of the trial court, or in short, attain justice with the least expense whether or not respondent Court's findings in its challenged resolution are supported by
to the parties litigants, 36 would have easily sustained a consolidation, thereby preventing the evidence or are based on mere speculations, conjectures and presumptions.
unseeming, if no ludicrous, spectacle of two (2) judges appreciating, according to their
respective orientation, perception and perhaps even prejudice, the same
facts differently, and thereafter rendering conflicting decisions. Such was what happened in The principle is well-established that this Court is not a trier of facts. Therefore, in an appeal
this case. It should not, hopefully, happen anymore. In the recent case of Cojuangco vs. by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, only questions of law may be
Court or Appeals, 37 this Court held that the present provisions of Rule 111 of the Revised raised. The resolution of factual issues is the function of the lower courts whose findings on
Rules of Court allow a consolidation of an independent civil action for the recovery of civil these matters are received with respect and are, as a rule, binding on this Court. 42
liability authorized under Articles 32, 33, 34 or 2176 of the Civil Code with the criminal action
subject, however, to the condition that no final judgment has been rendered in that criminal The foregoing rule, however, is not without exceptions. Findings of facts of the trial courts
case. and the Court of Appeals may be set aside when such findings are not supported by the
evidence or when the trial court failed to consider the material facts which would have led to
Let it be stressed, however, that the judgment in Criminal Case No. 3751 finding Galang a conclusion different from what was stated in its judgment. 43 The same is true where the
guilty of reckless imprudence, although already final by virtue of the denial by no less than appellate court's conclusions are grounded entirely on conjectures, speculations and
this Court of his last attempt to set aside the respondent Court's affirmance of the verdict of surmises 44 or where the conclusions of the lower courts are based on a misapprehension of
conviction, has no relevance or importance to this case. facts. 45

As We held in Dionisio vs. Alvendia, 38 the responsibility arising from fault or negligence in It is at once obvious to this Court that the instant case qualifies as one of the aforementioned
a quasi-delict is entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence exceptions as the findings and conclusions of the trial court and the respondent Court in its
under the Penal Code. And, as more concretely stated in the concurring opinion of Justice challenged resolution are not supported by the evidence, are based on an misapprehension
J.B.L. Reyes, "in the case of independent civil actions under the new Civil Code, the result of of facts and the inferences made therefrom are manifestly mistaken. The respondent Court's
the criminal case, whether acquittal or conviction, would be entirely irrelevant to the civil decision of 29 November 1983 makes the correct findings of fact.
action." 39 In Salta vs. De Veyra and PNB vs. Purisima, 40 this Court stated:
In the assailed resolution, the respondent Court held that the fact that the car improperly
. . . It seems perfectly reasonable to conclude that the civil actions mentioned in invaded the lane of the truck and that the collision occurred in said lane gave rise to the
Article 33, permitted in the same manner to be filed separately from the criminal case, presumption that the driver of the car, Jose Koh, was negligent. On the basis of this
may proceed similarly regardless of the result of the criminal case. presumed negligence, the appellate court immediately concluded that it was Jose Koh's
negligence that was the immediate and proximate cause of the collision. This is an
unwarranted deduction as the evidence for the petitioners convincingly shows that the car
Indeed, when the law has allowed a civil case related to a criminal case, to be filed swerved into the truck's lane because as it approached the southern end of the bridge, two
separately and to proceed independently even during the pendency of the latter case, (2) boys darted across the road from the right sidewalk into the lane of the car. As testified to
the intention is patent to make the court's disposition of the criminal case of no effect by petitioner Araceli Koh McKee:
whatsoever on the separate civil case. This must be so because the offenses
specified in Article 33 are of such a nature, unlike other offenses not mentioned, that
they may be made the subject of a separate civil action because of the distinct Q What happened after that, as you approached the bridge?
separability of their respective juridical cause or basis of action . . . .
A When we were approaching the bridge, two (2) boys tried to cross the right
What remains to be the most important consideration as to why the decision in the criminal lane on the right side of the highway going to San Fernando. My father, who is
case should not be considered in this appeal is the fact that private respondents were not (sic) the driver of the car tried to avoid the two (2) boys who were crossing, he
parties therein. It would have been entirely different if the petitioners' cause of action was for blew his horn and swerved to the left to avoid hitting the two (2) boys. We
damages arising from a delict, in which case private respondents' liability could only be noticed the truck, he switched on the headlights to warn the truck driver, to
subsidiary pursuant to Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code. In the absence of any slow down to give us the right of way to come back to our right lane.
collusion, the judgment of conviction in the criminal case against Galang would have been
conclusive in the civil cases for the subsidiary liability of the private respondents. 41 Q Did the truck slow down?

90
A No sir, it did not, just (sic) continued on its way. On the basis of the foregoing definition, the test of negligence and the facts obtaining in this
case, it is manifest that no negligence could be imputed to Jose Koh. Any reasonable and
Q What happened after that? ordinary prudent man would have tried to avoid running over the two boys by swerving the
car away from where they were even if this would mean entering the opposite lane. Avoiding
such immediate peril would be the natural course to take particularly where the vehicle in the
A After avoiding the two (2) boys, the car tried to go back to the right lane opposite lane would be several meters away and could very well slow down, move to the
since the truck is (sic) coming, my father stepped on the brakes and all what side of the road and give way to the oncoming car. Moreover, under what is known as the
(sic) I heard is the sound of impact (sic), sir. 46 emergency rule, "one who suddenly finds himself in a place of danger, and is required to act
without time to consider the best means that may be adopted to avoid the impending danger,
Her credibility and testimony remained intact even during cross examination. Jose Koh's is not guilty of negligence, if he fails to adopt what subsequently and upon reflection may
entry into the lane of the truck was necessary in order to avoid what was, in his mind at that appear to have been a better method, unless the emergency in which he finds himself is
time, a greater peril — death or injury to the two (2) boys. Such act can hardly be classified brought about by his own negligence." 49
as negligent.
Considering the sudden intrusion of the two (2) boys into the lane of the car, We find that
Negligence was defined and described by this Court in Layugan vs. Intermediate Appellate Jose Koh adopted the best means possible in the given situation to avoid hitting them.
Court, 47 thus: Applying the above test, therefore, it is clear that he was not guilty of negligence.

. . . Negligence is the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided by In any case, assuming, arguendo that Jose Koh is negligent, it cannot be said that his
those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, negligence was the proximate cause of the collision. Proximate cause has been defined as:
or the doing of something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do (Black's
Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, 930), or as Judge Cooley defines it, "(T)he failure to . . . that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient
observe for the protection of the interests of another person, that degree of care, intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have
precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand, whereby such other occurred. And more comprehensively, the proximate legal cause is that acting first
person suffers injury." (Cooley on Torts, Fourth Edition, vol. 3, 265) 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
In Picart vs. Smith (37 Phil 809, 813), decided more than seventy years ago but still a connection with its immediate predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately
sound rule, (W)e held: 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
The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case ordinary prudent and intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect at the
may be stated as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act moment of his act or default that an injury to some person might probably result
use that (reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person would therefrom. 50
have used in the same situation?) If not, then he is guilty of negligence. The law
here in effect adopts the standard supposed to be supplied by the imaginary Applying the above definition, although it may be said that the act of Jose Koh, if at all
conduct of the discreet paterfamiliasof the Roman negligent, was the initial act in the chain of events, it cannot be said that the same caused
law. . . . the eventual injuries and deaths because of the occurrence of a sufficient intervening event,
the negligent act of the truck driver, which was the actual cause of the tragedy. The entry of
In Corliss vs. Manila Railroad Company, 48 We held: the car into the lane of the truck would not have resulted in the collision had the latter heeded
the emergency signals given by the former to slow down and give the car an opportunity to
go back into its proper lane. Instead of slowing down and swerving to the far right of the
. . . Negligence is want of the care required by the circumstances. It is a relative road, which was the proper precautionary measure under the given circumstances, the truck
or comparative, not an absolute, term and its application depends upon the driver continued at full speed towards the car. The truck driver's negligence becomes more
situation of the parties and the degree of care and vigilance which the apparent in view of the fact that the road is 7.50 meters wide while the car measures 1.598
circumstances reasonably require. Where the danger is great, a high degree of meters and the truck, 2.286 meters, in width. This would mean that both car and truck could
care is necessary, and the failure to observe it is a want of ordinary care under pass side by side with a clearance of 3.661 meters to spare. 51 Furthermore, the bridge has a
the circumstances. (citing Ahern v. Oregon Telephone Co., 35 Pac. 549 (1894). level sidewalk which could have partially accommodated the truck. Any reasonable man
finding himself in the given situation would have tried to avoid the car instead of meeting it
head-on.
91
The truck driver's negligence is apparent in the records. He himself said that his truck was A I saw it stopped (sic) when it has (sic) already collided with the car and it was
running at 30 miles (48 kilometers) per hour along the bridge while the maximum speed already motionless. (tsn. 31, April 19, 1979; Emphasis Supplied). (p. 27, Appellants'
allowed by law on a bridge 52 is only 30 kilometers per hour. Under Article 2185 of the Civil Brief). 55
Code, a person driving a vehicle is presumed negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was
violating any traffic regulation. We cannot give credence to private respondents' claim that Clearly, therefore, it was the truck driver's subsequent negligence in failing to take the proper
there was an error in the translation by the investigating officer of the truck driver's response measures and degree of care necessary to avoid the collision which was the proximate
in Pampango as to whether the speed cited was in kilometers per hour or miles per hour. cause of the resulting accident.
The law presumes that official duty has been regularly performed; 53 unless there is proof to
the contrary, this presumption holds. In the instant case, private respondents' claim is based
on mere conjecture. Even if Jose Koh was indeed negligent, the doctrine of last clear chance finds application
here. Last clear chance is a doctrine in the law of torts which states that the contributory
negligence of the party injured will not defeat the claim for damages if it is shown that the
The truck driver's negligence was likewise duly established through the earlier quoted defendant might, by the exercise of reasonable care and prudence, have avoided the
testimony of petitioner Araceli Koh McKee which was duly corroborated by the testimony of consequences of the negligence of the injured party. In such cases, the person who had the
Eugenio Tanhueco, an impartial eyewitness to the mishap. last clear chance to avoid the mishap is considered in law solely responsible for the
consequences thereof.56
Araceli Koh McKee testified further, thus:
In Bustamante vs. Court of Appeals, 57 We held:
xxx xxx xxx
The respondent court adopted the doctrine of "last clear chance." The doctrine, stated
Q Mrs. how did you know that the truck driven by the herein accused, Ruben Galang broadly, is that the negligence of the plaintiff does not preclude a recovery for the
did not reduce its speed before the actual impact of collision as you narrated in this negligence of the defendant where it appears that the defendant, by exercising
Exhibit "1," how did you know? reasonable care and prudence, might have avoided injurious consequences to the
plaintiff notwithstanding the plaintiff's negligence. In other words, the doctrine of last
A It just kept on coming, sir. If only he reduced his speed, we could have got (sic) clear chance means that even though a person's own acts may have placed him in a
back to our right lane on side (sic) of the highway, sir. (tsn, pp. 33-34, July 22, 1977) position of peril, and an injury results, the injured person is entitled to recovery (sic).
or (Exhibit; "O" in these Civil Cases) (pp. 30-31, Appellants' Brief)54 As the doctrine is usually stated, a person who has the last clear chance or
opportunity of avoiding an accident, notwithstanding the negligent acts of his
opponent or that of a third person imputed to the opponent is considered in law solely
while Eugenio Tanhueco testified thus: responsible for the consequences of the accident. (Sangco, Torts and Damages, 4th
Ed., 1986, p. 165).
Q When you saw the truck, how was it moving?
The practical import of the doctrine is that a negligent defendant is held liable to a
A It was moving 50 to 60 kilometers per hour, sir. negligent plaintiff, or even to a plaintiff who has been grossly negligent in placing
himself in peril, if he, aware of the plaintiff's peril, or according to some authorities,
Q Immediately after you saw this truck, do you know what happened? should have been aware of it in the reasonable exercise of due care, had in fact an
opportunity later than that of the plaintiff to avoid an accident (57 Am. Jur., 2d, pp.
798-799).
A I saw the truck and a car collided (sic), sir, and I went to the place to help the
victims. (tsn. 28, April 19, 1979) 58
In Pantranco North Express, Inc., vs. Baesa, We ruled:

xxx xxx xxx


The doctrine of last clear chance was defined by this Court in the case of Ong v.
Metropolitan Water District, 104 Phil. 397 (1958), in this wise:
Q From the time you saw the truck to the time of the impact, will you tell us if the said
truck ever stopped?
The doctrine of the last clear chance simply, means that the negligence of a
claimant does not preclude a recovery for the negligence of defendant where it

92
appears that the latter, by exercising reasonable care and prudence, might have The respondent Court was then correct in its Decision of 29 November 1983 in reversing the
avoided injurious consequences to claimant notwithstanding his negligence. decision of the trial court which dismissed Civil Cases Nos. 4477 and 4478. Its assailed
Resolution of 3 April 1984 finds no sufficient legal and factual moorings.
The doctrine applies only in a situation where the plaintiff was guilty of prior or
61
antecedent negligence but the defendant, who had the last fair chance to avoid the In the light of recent decisions of this Court, the indemnity for death must, however, be
impending harm and failed to do so, is made liable for all the consequences of the increased from P12,000.00 to P50,000.00.
accident notwithstanding the prior negligence of the plaintiff [Picart v. Smith, 37 Phil.
809 (1918); Glan People's Lumber and Hardware, et al. vs. Intermediate Appellate WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolution of the respondent
Court, Cecilia Alferez Vda. de Calibo, et al., G.R. No. 70493, May, 18, 1989]. The Court of 3 April 1984 is SET ASIDE while its Decision of 29 November 1983 in C.A.-G.R. CV
subsequent negligence of the defendant in failing to exercise ordinary care to avoid Nos. 69040-41 is REINSTATED, subject to the modification that the indemnity for death is
injury to plaintiff becomes the immediate or proximate cause of the accident which increased from P12,000.00 to P50,000.00 each for the death of Jose Koh and Kim Koh
intervenes between the accident and the more remote negligence of the plaintiff, thus McKee.
making the defendant liable to the plaintiff [Picart v. Smith, supra].
Costs against private respondents.
Generally, the last clear chance doctrine is invoked for the purpose of making a
defendant liable to a plaintiff who was guilty of prior or antecedent negligence,
although it may also be raised as a defense to defeat claim (sic) for damages. SO ORDERED.

Applying the foregoing doctrine, it is not difficult to rule, as We now rule, that it was the truck EN BANC
driver's negligence in failing to exert ordinary care to avoid the collision which was, in law,
the proximate cause of the collision. As employers of the truck driver, the private G.R. No. L-21512 August 31, 1966
respondents are, under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, directly and primarily liable for the
resulting damages. The presumption that they are negligent flows from the negligence of
their employee. That presumption, however, is only juris tantum, not juris et de PROSPERO SABIDO and ASER LAGUNDA, petitioners,
jure. 59 Their only possible defense is that they exercised all the diligence of a good father of vs.
a family to prevent the damage. Article 2180 reads as follows: CARLOS CUSTODIO, BELEN MAKABUHAY CUSTODIO and THE HONORABLE COURT
OF APPEALS,respondents.

The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or
omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. Sabido, Sabido and Associates for petitioners.
Ernesto S. Tengco for respondents.
xxx xxx xxx
CONCEPCION, C.J.:

Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household
helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are Prospero Sabido and Aser Lagunda seek the review by certiorari of a decision of the Court of
not engaged in any business or industry. Appeals, affirming that of the Court of First Instance of Laguna, sentencing the Laguna-
Tayabas Bus Co., Nicasio Mudales, and herein petitioners. Prospero Sabido and Aser
Lagunda, to jointly and severally indemnify Belen Makabuhay Custodio and her son, Agripino
xxx xxx xxx Custodio Jr., in the sum of P6,000 and to pay the costs of the suit.

The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein The facts are set forth in the decision of the Court of Appeals from which we quote:
mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to
prevent damage.
Upon a careful study and judicious examining of the evidence on record, we are
inclined to concur in the findings made by the trial court. Here is how the Court a
The diligence of a good father referred to means the diligence in the selection and quo analyzed the facts of this case:
supervision of employees. 60 The answers of the private respondents in Civil Cases Nos.
4477 and 4478 did not interpose this defense. Neither did they attempt to prove it.
93
"In Barrio Halang, Municipality of Lumban, Province of Laguna, two trucks, which he could pass over with ease, Lagunda did not care to exercise prudence to
one driven by Nicasio Mudales and belonging to Laguna-Tayabas Bus avert the accident simply because to use his own language the canal "is not a
Company, and the other driven by Aser Lagunda and owned by Prospero passage of trucks."
Sabido, going in opposite directions met each other in a road curve.
Agripino Custodia a passenger of LTB bus, who was hanging on the left Based upon these facts, the Court of First Instance of Laguna and the Court of Appeals
side as truck was full of passengers was sideswiped by the track driven by concluded that the Laguna-Tayabas Bus Co. — hereinafter referred to as the carrier — and
Aser Lagunda. As a result, Agripino Custodio was injured and died (Exhibit its driver Nicasio Mudales (none of whom has appealed), had violated the contract of
A). carriage with Agripino Custodio, whereas petitioners Sabido and Lagunda were guilty of
a quasi delict, by reason of which all of them were held solidarity liable in the manner above
"It appears clear from the evidence that Agripino Custodio was hanging on indicated.
the left side of the LTB bus. Otherwise, were he sitting inside the truck, he
could not have been struck by the six by six truck driven by Aser Lagunda. Petitioners now maintain: (1) that the death of Agripino Custodio was due exclusively to the
This fact alone, of allowing Agripino Custodio to hang on the side of the negligence of the carrier and its driver; (2) that petitioners were not guilty of negligence in
truck, makes the defendant Laguna Tayabas Bus Company liable for connection with the matter under consideration; (3) that petitioners cannot be held solidarily
damages. For certainly its employees, who are the driver and conductor liable with the carrier and its driver; and (4) that the complaint against petitioners herein
were negligent. They should not have allowed Agripino Custodio to ride should be dismissed.
their truck in that manner.
With respect to the first two (2) points, which are interrelated, it is urged that the carrier and
"To avoid any liability, Aser Lagunda and Prospero Sabido throw all the its driver were clearly guilty of negligence for having allowed Agripino Custodio to ride on the
blame on Nicasio Mudales. From the testimony, however, of Belen running board of the bus, in violation of Section 42 of Act No. 3992, and that this negligence
Makabuhay, Agripino Custodio's widow, we can deduce that Aser Lagunda was the proximate cause of Agripino's death. It should be noted, however, that the lower
was equally negligent as Nicasio Mudales. Belen testified that the 6 x 6 court had, likewise, found the petitioners guilty of contributory negligence, which was as
truck was running fast when it met the LTB Bus. And Aser Lagunda had much a proximate cause of the accident as the carrier's negligence, for petitioners' truck was
time and opportunity to avoid the mishap if he had been sufficiently careful running at a considerable speed, despite the fact that it was negotiating a sharp curve, and,
and cautious because the two trucks never collided with each other. By instead of being close to its right side of the road, said truck was driven on its middle portion
simply swerving to the right side of the road, the 6 x 6 truck could have and so near the passenger bus coming from the opposite direction as to sideswipe a
avoided hitting Agripino Custodio. It is incredible that the LTB was running passenger riding on its running board.1äwphï1.ñët
on the middle of the road when passing a curve. He knows it is dangerous
to do so. We are rather of the belief that both trucks did not keep close to
the right side of the road so they sideswiped each other and thus Agripino The views of the Court of Appeals on the speed of the truck and its location at the time of the
Custodio was injured and died. In other words, both drivers must have accident are in the nature of findings of fact, which we cannot disturb in a petition for review
drive in their trucks not in the proper lane and are, therefore, both reckless by certiorari, such as the one at bar. At any rate, the correctness of said findings is borne out
and negligent. by the very testimony of petitioner Lagunda to the effect that he saw the passengers riding
on the running board of the bus while the same was still five (5) or seven (7) meters away
from the truck driven by him. Indeed, the distance between the two (2) vehicles was such
"We might state by way of additional observations that the sideswiping of the that he could have avoided sideswiping said passengers if his truck were not running at a
deceased and his two fellow passengers took place on broad daylight at about 9:30 great speed.
in the morning of June 9, 1955 when the LTB bus with full load to passengers was
negotiating a sharp curve of a bumpy and sliding downward a slope, whereas the
six by six truck was climbing up with no cargoes or passengers on board but for Although the negligence of the carrier and its driver is independent, in its execution, of the
three helpers, owner Sabido and driver Lagunda (tsn. 308-309, Mendoza). Under negligence of the truck driver and its owner, both acts of negligence are the proximate cause
the above-stated condition, there exists strong persuasion to accept what Belen of the death of Agripino Custodio. In fact, the negligence of the first two (2) would not have
Makabuhay and Sofia Mesina, LTB passengers, had testified to the effect that the 6 produced this result without the negligence of petitioners' herein. What is more, petitioners'
x 6 cargo truck was running at a fast rate of speed (tsn. 15, 74, 175 Mendoza). negligence was the last, in point of time, for Custodio was on the running board of the
From the lips of no less than driver Lagunda himself come the testimonial carrier's bus sometime before petitioners' truck came from the opposite direction, so that, in
admission that the presence of three hanging passengers located at the left side of this sense, petitioners' truck had the last clear chance.
the bus was noted when his vehicle was still at a distance of 5 or 7 meters from the
bus, and yet despite the existence of a shallow canal on the right side of the road

94
Petitioners contend that they should not be held solidarily liable with the carrier and its driver, . . . On June 20, 1980, the M/V PAVLODAR, flying under the flagship of the USSR,
because the latter's liability arises from a breach of contract, whereas that of the former owned and operated by the Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESC for brevity's sake),
springs from a quasi delict. The rule is, however, that arrived at the Port of Manila from Vancouver, British Columbia at about 7:00 o'clock in
the morning. The vessel was assigned Berth 4 of the Manila International Port, as its
According to the great weight of authority, where the concurrent or successive berthing space. Captain Roberto Abellana was tasked by the Philippine Port Authority
negligent acts or omission of two or more persons, although acting independently of to supervise the berthing of the vessel. Appellant Senen Gavino was assigned by the
each other, are, in combination, the direct and proximate cause of a single injury to Appellant Manila Pilots' Association (MPA for brevity's sake) to conduct docking
a third person, and it is impossible to determine in what proportion each contributed maneuvers for the safe berthing of the vessel to Berth No. 4.
to the injury, either is responsible for the whole injury, even though his act alone
might not have caused the entire injury, or the same damage might have resulted Gavino boarded the vessel at the quarantine anchorage and stationed himself in the
from the acts of the other tort-feasor ... . (38 Am. Jur. 946, 947.) bridge, with the master of the vessel, Victor Kavankov, beside him. After a briefing of
Gavino by Kavankov of the particulars of the vessel and its cargo, the vessel lifted
Wherefore, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against the petitioners anchor from the quarantine anchorage and proceeded to the Manila International Port.
herein. It is so ordered. The sea was calm and the wind was ideal for docking maneuvers.

When the vessel reached the landmark (the big church by the Tondo North Harbor)
EN BANC one-half mile from the pier, Gavino ordered the engine stopped. When the vessel was
already about 2,000 feet from the pier, Gavino ordered the anchor dropped. Kavankov
G.R. No. 130068 October 1, 1998 relayed the orders to the crew of the vessel on the bow. The left anchor, with two (2)
shackles, were dropped. However, the anchor did not take hold as expected. The
FAR EASTERN SHIPPING COMPANY, petitioner, speed of the vessel did not slacken. A commotion ensued between the crew members.
vs. A brief conference ensued between Kavankov and the crew members. When Gavino
COURT OF APPEALS and PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY, respondents. inquired what was all the commotion about, Kavankov assured Gavino that there was
nothing to it.
G.R. No. 130150 October, 1998
After Gavino noticed that the anchor did not take hold, he ordered the engines half-
astern. Abellana, who was then on the pier apron, noticed that the vessel was
MANILA PILOTS ASSOCIATION, petitioner, approaching the pier fast. Kavankov likewise noticed that the anchor did not take hold.
vs. Gavino thereafter gave the "full-astern" code. Before the right anchor and additional
PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY and FAR EASTERN SHIPPING shackles could be dropped, the bow of the vessel rammed into the apron of the pier
COMPANY, respondents. causing considerable damage to the pier. The vessel sustained damage too, (Exhibit
"7-Far Eastern Shipping). Kavankov filed his sea protest (Exhibit "1-Vessel"). Gavino
REGALADO, J.: submitted his report to the Chief Pilot (Exhibit "1-Pilot") who referred the report to the
Philippine Ports Authority (Exhibit 2-Pilot"). Abellana likewise submitted his report of the
These consolidated petitions for review on certiorari seek in unison to annul and set aside incident (Exhibit "B").
the decision1 of respondent Court of Appeals of November 15, 1996 and its
resolution 2 dated July 31, 1997 in CA-G.R. CV No. 24072, entitled "Philippine Ports Per contract and supplemental contract of the Philippine Ports Authority and the
Authority, Plaintiff-Appellee vs. Far Eastern Shipping Company, Senen C. Gavino and Manila contractor for the rehabilitation of the damaged pier, the same cost the Philippine Ports
Pilots' Association, Defendants-Appellants," which affirmed with modification the judgment of Authority the amount of P1,126,132.25 (Exhibits "D" and "E").3
the trial court holding the defendants-appellants therein solidarily liable for damages in favor
of herein private respondent. On January 10, 1983, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA, for brevity), through the Solicitor
General, filed before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 39, a complaint for a sum of
There is no dispute about the facts as found by the appellate court, money against Far Eastern Shipping Co., Capt. Senen C. Gavino and the Manila Pilots'
thus — Association, docketed as Civil Case No. 83-14958,4 praying that the defendants therein be
held jointly and severally liable to pay the plaintiff actual and exemplary damages plus costs
of suit. In a decision dated August 1, 1985, the trial court ordered the defendants therein

95
jointly and severally to pay the PPA the amount of P1,053,300.00 representing actual Petitioner asserts that since the MV PAVLODAR was under compulsory pilotage at the time
damages and the costs of suit.5 of the incident, it was the compulsory pilot, Capt. Gavino, who was in command and had
complete control in the navigation and docking of the vessel. It is the pilot who supersedes
The defendants appealed to the Court of Appeals and raised the following issues: (1) Is the the master for the time being in the command and navigation of a ship and his orders must
pilot of a commercial vessel, under compulsory pilotage, solely liable for the damage caused be obeyed in all respects connected with her navigation. Consequently, he was solely
by the vessel to the pier, at the port of destination, for his negligence? and (2) Would the responsible for the damage caused upon the pier apron, and not the owners of the vessel. It
owner of the vessel be liable likewise if the damage is caused by the concurrent negligence claims that the master of the boat did not commit any act of negligence when he failed to
of the master of the vessel and the pilot under a compulsory pilotage? countermand or overrule the orders of the pilot because he did not see any justifiable reason
to do so. In other words, the master cannot be faulted for relying absolutely on the
competence of the compulsory pilot. If the master does not observe that a compulsory pilot is
As stated at the outset, respondent appellate court affirmed the findings of the court a incompetent or physically incapacitated, the master is justified in relying on the pilot. 10
quo except that if found no employer-employee relationship existing between herein private
respondents Manila Pilots' Association (MPA, for short) and Capt. Gavino.6 This being so, it
ruled instead that the liability of MPA is anchored, not on Article 2180 of the Civil Code, but Respondent PPA, in its comment, predictably in full agreement with the ruling of respondent
on the provisions of Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65, 7 and accordingly modified court on the solidary liability of FESC, MPA and Capt. Gavino, stresses the concurrent
said decision of the trial court by holding MPA, along with its co-defendants therein, still negligence of Capt. Gavino, the harbor pilot, and Capt. Viktor Kabankov, * shipmaster of MV
solidarily liable to PPA but entitled MPA to reimbursement from Capt. Gavino for such Pavlodar, as the basis of their solidary liability for damages sustained by PPA. It posits that
amount of the adjudged pecuniary liability in excess of the amount equivalent to seventy-five the vessel was being piloted by Capt. Gavino with Capt. Kabankov beside him all the while
percent (75%) of its prescribed reserve on the bridge of the vessel, as the former took over the helm of MV Pavlodar when it
fund. 8 rammed and damaged the apron of the pier of Berth No. 4 of the Manila International Port.
Their concurrent negligence was the immediate and proximate cause of the collision
between the vessel and the pier — Capt. Gavino, for his negligence in the conduct of
Neither Far Eastern Shipping Co. (briefly, FESC) nor MPA was happy with the decision of docking maneuvers for the safe berthing of the vessel; and Capt. Kabankov, for failing to
the Court of Appeals and both of them elevated their respective plaints to us via separate countermand the orders of the harbor pilot and to take over and steer the vessel himself in
petitions for review oncertiorari. the face of imminent danger, as well as for merely relying on Capt. Gavino during the
berthing procedure. 11
In G. R. No. 130068, which was assigned to the Second Division of this Court, FESC
imputed that the Court of Appeals seriously erred: On the other hand, in G.R. No. 130150, originally assigned to the Court's First Division and
later transferred to the Third Division. MPA, now as petitioner in this case, avers that
1. in not holding Senen C. Gavino and the Manila Pilots' Association as the parties respondent court's errors consisted in disregarding and misinterpreting Customs
solely responsible for the resulting damages sustained by the pier deliberately Administrative Order No. 15-65 which limits the liability of MPA. Said pilots' association
ignoring the established jurisprudence on the matter; asseverates that it should not be held solidarily liable with Capt. Gavino who, as held by
respondent court is only a member, not an employee, thereof. There being no employer-
2. in holding that the master had not exercised the required diligence demanded from employee relationship, neither can MPA be held liable for any vicarious liability for the
him by the circumstances at the time the incident happened; respective exercise of profession by its members nor be considered a joint tortfeasor as to
be held jointly and severally liable. 12 It further argues that there was erroneous reliance on
Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 and the constitution and by-laws of MPA, instead of
3. in affirming the amount of damages sustained by the respondent Philippine Ports the provisions of the Civil Code on damages which, being a substantive law, is higher in
Authority despite a strong and convincing evidence that the amount is clearly category than the aforesaid constitution and by-laws of a professional organization or an
exorbitant and unreasonable; administrative order which bears no provision classifying the nature of the liability of MPA for
the negligence its member pilots. 13
4. in not awarding any amount of counterclaim prayed for by the petitioner in its
answer; and As for Capt. Gavino, counsel for MPA states that the former had retired from active pilotage
services since July 28, 1994 and has ceased to be a member of petitioner pilots' association.
5. in not granting herein petitioner's claim against pilot Senen C. Gavino and Manila He is not joined as a petitioner in this case since his whereabouts are unknown. 14
Pilots' Association in the event that it be held
liable. 9 FESC's comment thereto relied on the competence of the Court of Appeals in construing
provisions of law or administrative orders as bases for ascertaining the liability of MPA, and
96
expressed full accord with the appellate court's holding of solidary liability among itself, MPA For petitions for review filed before the Supreme Court, Section 4(e), Rule 45
and Capt. Gavino. It further avers that the disputed provisions of Customs Administrative specifically requires that such petition shall contain a sworn certification against forum
Order No. 15-65 clearly established MPA's solidary liability. 15 shopping as provided in the last paragraph of Section 2, Rule 42.

On the other hand, public respondent PPA, likewise through representations by the Solicitor The records show that the law firm of Del Rosario and Del Rosario through its associate,
General, assumes the same supportive stance it took in G.R. No. 130068 in declaring its Atty. Herbert A. Tria, is the counsel of record for FESC in both G.R. No. 130068 and G.R.
total accord with the ruling of the Court of Appeals that MPA is solidarily liable with Capt. No. 130150.
Gavino and FESC for damages, and in its application to the fullest extent of the provisions of
Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 in relation to MPA's constitution and by-laws which G.R. No. 130068, which is assigned to the Court's Second Division, commenced with the
spell out the conditions of and govern their respective liabilities. These provisions are clear filing by FESC through counsel on August 22, 1997 of a verified motion for extension of time
and unambiguous as regards MPA's liability without need for interpretation or construction. to file its petition for thirty (30) days from August 28, 1997 or until September 27,
Although Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 is a mere regulation issued by an 1997. 20 Said motion contained the following certification against forum shopping 21 signed by
administrative agency pursuant to delegated legislative authority to fix details to implement Atty. Herbert A. Tria as affiant:
the law, it is legally binding and has the same statutory force as any valid statute. 16
CERTIFICATION
Upon motion 17 by FESC dated April 24, 1998 in G.R. No. 130150, said case was
consolidated with G.R. No. 130068. 18
AGAINST FORUM SHOPPING
Prefatorily, on matters of compliance with procedural requirements, it must be mentioned
that the conduct of the respective counsel for FESC and PPA leaves much to be desired, to I/we hereby certify that I/we have not commenced any other action or proceeding
the displeasure and disappointment of this Court. involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any
other tribunal or agency; that to the best of my own knowledge, no such action or
proceeding is pending in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other
Sec. 2, Rule 42 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure 19 incorporates the former Circular No. tribunal or agency; that if I/we should thereafter learn that a similar action or
28-91 which provided for what has come to be known as the certification against forum proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of
shopping as an additional requisite for petitions filed with the Supreme Court and the Court Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency, I/we undertake to report that fact within
of Appeals, aside from the other requirements contained in pertinent provisions of the Rules five (5) days therefrom to this Honorable Court.
of Court therefor, with the end in view of preventing the filing of multiple complaints involving
the same issues in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals or different divisions thereof or any
other tribunal or agency. This motion having been granted, FESC subsequently filed its petition on September
26, 1997, this time bearing a "verification and certification against forum-shopping"
executed by one Teodoro P. Lopez on September 24, 1997, 22 to wit:
More particularly, the second paragraph of Section 2, Rule 42 provides:
VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION
xxx xxx xxx
AGAINST FORUM SHOPPING
The petitioner shall also submit together with the petition a certification under oath
that he has not theretofore commenced any other action involving the same
issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or different divisions thereof, or in compliance with Section 4(e), Rule 45 in relation
any other tribunal or agency; if there is such other action or proceeding, he must
state the status of the same; and if he should thereafter learn that a similar action to Section 2, Rule 42 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure
or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of
Appeals or different divisions thereof, or any other tribunal or agency, he I, Teodoro P. Lopez, of legal age, after being duly sworn, depose and
undertakes to promptly inform the aforesaid courts and other tribunal or agency state:
thereof within five (5) days therefrom. (Emphasis ours.)

1. That I am the Manager, Claims Department of Filsov Shipping


Company, the local agent of petitioner in this case.
97
2. That I have caused the preparation of this Petition for Review Even assuming that FESC had not yet received its copy of MPA's petition at the time it filed
on Certiorari. its own petition and executed said certification, its signatory did state "that if I should
thereafter learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the
3. That I have read the same and the allegations therein contained are true Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or agency, I undertake to report
and correct based on the records of this case. the fact within five (5) days therefrom to this Honorable Court." 25Scouring the records page
by page in this case, we find that no manifestation concordant with such undertaking was
then or at any other time thereafter ever filed by FESC nor was there any attempt to bring
4. That I certify that petitioner has not commenced any other action or such matter to the attention of the Court. Moreover, it cannot feign non-knowledge of the
proceeding involving the same issues in the Supreme Court or Court of existence of such other petition because FESC itself filed the motion for consolidation in G.R.
Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency, that to the best of my own No. 130150 of these two cases on April 24, 1998.
knowledge, no such action or proceeding is pending in the Supreme Court,
the Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or agency, that if I should
thereafter learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or is It is disturbing to note that counsel for FESC, the law firm of Del Rosario and Del Rosario,
pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other displays an unprofessional tendency of taking the Rules for granted, in this instance
tribunal or agency, I undertake to report the fact within five (5) days exemplified by its pro forma compliance therewith but apparently without full comprehension
therefrom to this Honorable Court. (Italics supplied for emphasis.) of and with less than faithful commitment to its undertakings to this Court in the interest of
just, speedy and orderly administration of court proceedings.
Reviewing the records, we find that the petition filed by MPA in G.R. No. 130150 then
pending with the Third Division was duly filed on August 29, 1997 with a copy thereof As between the lawyer and the courts, a lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the
furnished on the same date by registered mail to counsel for FESC. 23 Counsel of record for court. 26 He is an officer of the court exercising a privilege which is indispensable in the
MPA. Atty. Jesus P. Amparo, in his verification accompanying said petition dutifully revealed administration of justice. 27Candidness, especially towards the courts, is essential for the
to the Court that — expeditious administration of justice. Courts are entitled to expect only complete honesty
from lawyers appearing and pleading before them. 28 Candor in all dealings is the very
essence of honorable membership in the legal profession. 29 More specifically, a lawyer is
xxx xxx xxx obliged to observe the rules of procedure and not to misuse them to defeat the ends of
justice. 30 It behooves a lawyer, therefore, to exert every effort and consider it his duty to
3. Petitioner has not commenced any other action or proceeding involving assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. 31 Being an officer of the court, a
the same issues in this Honorable Court, the Court of Appeals or different lawyer has a responsibility in the proper administration of justice. Like the court itself, he is
Divisions thereof, or any other tribunal or agency, but to the best of his an instrument to advance its ends — the speedy, efficient, impartial, correct and inexpensive
knowledge, there is an action or proceeding pending in this Honorable adjudication of cases and the prompt satisfaction of final judgments. A lawyer should not only
Court, entitled Far Eastern Shipping Co., Petitioner, vs. Philippine Ports help attain these objectives but should likewise avoid any unethical or improper practices
Authority and Court of Appeals with a Motion for Extension of time to file that impede, obstruct or prevent their realization, charged as he is with the primary task of
Petition For Review by Certiorari filed sometime on August 18, 1987. If assisting in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.32
undersigned counsel will come to know of any other pending action or
claim filed or pending he undertakes to report such fact within five (5) days Sad to say, the members of said law firm sorely failed to observe their duties as responsible
to this Honorable Court.24 (Emphasis supplied.) members of the Bar. Their actuations are indicative of their predisposition to take lightly the
avowed duties of officers of the Court to promote respect for law and for legal
Inasmuch as MPA's petition in G.R. No. 130150 was posted by registered mail on August 29, processes. 33 We cannot allow this state of things to pass judicial muster.
1997 and taking judicial notice of the average period of time it takes local mail to reach its
destination, by reasonable estimation it would be fair to conclude that when FESC filed its In view of the fact that at around the time these petitions were commenced, the 1997 Rules
petition in G.R. No. 130068 on September 26, 1997, it would already have received a copy of of Civil Procedure had just taken effect, the Court treated infractions of the new Rules then
the former and would then have knowledge of the pendency of the other petition initially filed with relative liberality in evaluating full compliance therewith. Nevertheless, it would do well
with the First Division. It was therefore incumbent upon FESC to inform the Court of that fact to remind all concerned that the penal provisions of Circular No. 28-91 which remain
through its certification against forum shopping. For failure to make such disclosure, it would operative provides, inter alia:
appear that the aforequoted certification accompanying the petition in G.R. No. 130068 is
defective and could have been a ground for dismissal thereof.
3. Penalties. —

98
xxx xxx xxx scrutiny of the records likewise indicates that petitoner FESC was not even furnished a copy
of said comment as required by Section 5, Rule 42. Instead, a copy thereof was inadvertently
(c) The submission of a false certification under Par. 2 of the Circular shall furnished to MPA which, from the point of view of G.R. No. 130068, was a non-party. 37 The
likewise constitute contempt of court, without prejudice to the filing of OSG fared slightly better in G.R. No. 130150 in that it took only six (6) extensions, or a total
criminal action against the guilty party. The lawyer may also be subjected of 180 days, before the comment was finally filed. 38 And while it properly furnished petitioner
to disciplinary proceedings. MPA with a copy of its comment, it would have been more desirable and expedient in this
case to have furnished its therein co-respondent FESC with a copy thereof, if only as a
matter of professional courtesy. 39
It must be stressed that the certification against forum shopping ordained under the Rules is
to be executed by the petitioner, and not by counsel. Obviously it is the petitioner, and not
always the counsel whose professional services have been retained for a particular case, This undeniably dilatory disinclination of the OSG to seasonably file required pleadings
who is in the best position to know whether he or it actually filed or caused the filing of a constitutes deplorable disservice to the tax-paying public and can only be categorized as
petition in that case. Hence, a certification against forum shopping by counsel is a defective censurable inefficiency on the part of the government law office. This is most certainly
certification. It is clearly equivalent to non-compliance with the requirement under Section 2, professionally unbecoming of the OSG.
Rule 42 in relation to Section 4, Rule 45, and constitutes a valid cause for dismissal of the
petition. Another thing that baffles the Court is why the OSG did not take the inititive of filing a motion
for consolidation in either G.R. No. 130068 or G.R. No. 130150, considering its familiarity
Hence, the initial certification appended to the motion for extension of time to file petition in with the background of the case and if only to make its job easier by having to prepare and
G.R. No. 130068 executed in behalf of FESC by Atty. Tria is procedurally deficient. But file only one comment. It could not have been unaware of the pendency of one or the other
considering that it was a superfluity at that stage of the proceeding, it being unnecessary to petition because, being counsel for respondent in both cases, petitioner is required to furnish
file such a certification with a mere motion for extension, we shall disregard such error. it with a copy of the petition under pain of dismissal of the petition for failure otherwise. 40
Besides, the certification subsequently executed by Teodoro P. Lopez in behalf of FESC
cures that defect to a certain extent, despite the inaccuracies earlier pointed out. In the same Besides, in G.R. 130068, it prefaces its discussions thus —
vein, we shall consider the verification signed in behalf of MPA by its counsel, Atty. Amparo,
in G.R. No. 130150 as substantial compliance inasmuch as it served the purpose of the Incidentally, the Manila Pilots' Association (MPA), one of the defendants-
Rules of informing the Court of the pendency of another action or proceeding involving the appellants in the case before the respondent Court of Appeals, has taken
same issues. a separate appeal from the said decision to this Honorable Court, which
was docketed as G.R. No. 130150 and entitled "Manila Pilots' Association,
It bears stressing that procedural rules are instruments in the speedy and efficient Petitioner, versus Philippine Ports Authority and Far Eastern Shipping Co.,
34
administration of justice. They should be used to achieve such end and not to derail it. Respondents." 41

Counsel for PPA did not make matters any better. Despite the fact that, save for the Solicitor Similarly, in G.R. No. 130150, it states —
General at the time, the same legal team of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG, for
short) composed of Assistant Solicitor General Roman G. Del Rosario and Solicitor Luis F. Incidentally, respondent Far Eastern Shipping Co. (FESC) had also taken
Simon, with the addition of Assistant Solicitor General Pio C. Guerrero very much later in the an appeal from the said decision to this Honorable Court, docketed as
proceedings, represented PPA throughout the appellate proceedings in both G.R. No. G.R. No. 130068, entitled "Far Eastern Shipping Co. vs. Court of Appeals
130068 and G.R. No. 130150 and was presumably fully acquainted with the facts and issues and Philippine Ports Authority." 42
of the case, it took the OSG an inordinately and almost unreasonably long period of time to
file its comment, thus unduly delaying the resolution of these cases. It took several changes
of leadership in the OSG — from Silvestre H. Bello III to Romeo C. dela Cruz and, finally, We find here a lackadaisical attitude and complacency on the part of the OSG in the
Ricardo P. Galvez — before the comment in behalf of PPA was finally filed. handling of its cases and an almost reflexive propensity to move for countless extensions, as
if to test the patience of the Court, before favoring it with the timely submission of required
pleadings.
In G.R. No. 130068, it took eight (8) motions for extension of time totaling 210 days, a
warning that no further extensions shall be granted, and personal service on the Solicitor
General himself of the resolution requiring the filing of such comment before the OSG It must be emphasized that the Court can resolve cases only as fast as the respective parties
indulged the Court with the long required comment on July 10, 1998. 35 This, despite the fact in a case file the necessary pleadings. The OSG, by needlessly extending the pendency of
that said office was required to file its comment way back on November 12, 1997. 36 A closer
99
these cases through its numerous motions for extension, came very close to exhausting this of the Master shall be the responsibility and liability of the registered owner
Court's forbearance and has regrettably fallen short of its duties as the People's Tribune. of the vessel concerned without prejudice to recourse against said Master.

The OSG is reminded that just like other members of the Bar, the canons under the Code of Such liability of the owner or Master of the vessel or its pilots shall be
Professional Responsibility apply with equal force on lawyers in government service in the determined by competent authority in appropriate proceedings in the light
discharge of their official tasks. 43 These ethical duties are rendered even more exacting as of the facts and circumstances of each particular case.
to them because, as government counsel, they have the added duty to abide by the policy of
the State to promote a high standard of ethics in public service. 44 Furthermore, it is Sec. 32. Duties and responsibilities of the Pilot or Pilots' Association. —
incumbent upon the OSG, as part of the government bureaucracy, to perform and discharge The duties and responsibilities of the Harbor Pilot shall be as follows:
its duties with the highest degree of professionalism, intelligence and skill 45 and to extend
prompt, courteous and adequate service to the public. 46
xxx xxx xxx
Now, on the merits of the case. After a judicious examination of the records of this case, the
pleadings filed, and the evidence presented by the parties in the two petitions, we find no f) a pilot shall be held responsible for the direction of a vessel from the
cogent reason to reverse and set aside the questioned decision. While not entirely a case of time he assumes his work as a pilot thereof until he leaves it anchored or
first impression, we shall discuss the issues seriatim and, correlatively by way of a judicial berthed safely; Provided, however, that his responsibility shall cease at the
once-over, inasmuch as the matters raised in both petitions beg for validation and updating moment the Master neglects or refuses to carry out hisorder.
of well-worn maritime jurisprudence. Thereby, we shall write finis to the endless finger-
pointing in this shipping mishap which has been stretched beyond the limits of judicial Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 issued twenty years earlier likewise provided in
tolerance. Chapter I thereof for the responsibilities of pilots:

The Port of Manila is within the Manila Pilotage District which is under compulsory pilotage Par. XXXIX. — A Pilot shall be held responsible for the direction of a
pursuant to Section 8, Article III of Philippine Ports Authority Administrative Order No. 03- vessel from the time he assumes control thereof until he leaves it
85, 47 which provides that: anchored free from shoal: Provided, That his responsibility shall cease at
the moment the master neglects or refuses to carry out his instructions.
Sec. 8. Compulsor Pilotage Service. — For entering a harbor and
anchoring thereat, or passing through rivers or straits within a pilotage xxx xxx xxx
district, as well as docking and undocking at any pier/wharf, or shifting
from one berth or another, every vessel engaged in coastwise and foreign Par. XLIV. — Pilots shall properly and safely secure or anchor vessels
trade shall be under compulsory pilotage. . . . under their control when requested to do so by the master of such vessels.

In case of compulsory pilotage, the respective duties and responsibilities of the compulsory I. G.R. No. 130068
pilot and the master have been specified by the same regulation in this wise:

Petitioner FESC faults the respondent court with serious error in not holding MPA and Capt.
Sec. 11. Control of vessels and liability for damage. — On compulsory Gavino solely responsible for the damages cause to the pier. It avers that since the vessel
pilotage grounds, the Harbor Pilot providing the service to a vessel shall be was under compulsory pilotage at the time with Capt. Gavino in command and having
responsible for the damage caused to a vessel or to life and property at exclusive control of the vessel during the docking maneuvers, then the latter should be
ports due to his negligence or fault. He can only be absolved from liability if responsible for damages caused to the pier. 48 It likewise holds the appellate court in error for
the accident is caused by force majeure or natural calamities provided he holding that the master of the ship, Capt. Kabankov, did not exercise the required diligence
has exercised prudence and extra diligence to prevent or minimize demanded by the circumstances. 49
damage.

We start our discussion of the successive issues bearing in mind the evidentiary rule in
The Master shall retain overall command of the vessel even on pilotage American jurisprudence that there is a presumption of fault against a moving vessel that
grounds whereby he can countermand or overrule the order or command strikes a stationary object such as a dock or navigational aid. In admiralty, this presumption
of the Harbor Pilot on beard. In such event, any damage caused to a does more than merely require the ship to go forward and produce some evidence on the
vessel or to life and property at ports by reason of the fault or negligence
100
presumptive matter. The moving vessel must show that it was without fault or that the the Manila Pilotage District,
collision was occasioned by the fault of the stationary object or was the result of inevitable viz. —
accident. It has been held that such vessel must exhaust every reasonable possibility which
the circumstances admit and show that in each, they did all that reasonable care PARAGRAPH I. — Pilotage for entering a harbor and anchoring thereat,
required. 50 In the absence of sufficient proof in rebuttal, the presumption of fault attaches to as well as docking and undocking in any pier or shifting from one berth to
a moving vessel which collides with a fixed object and makes a prima facie case of fault another shall be compulsory, except Government vessels and vessels of
against the vessel. 51 Logic and experience support this presumption: foreign governments entitled to courtesy, and other vessels engaged
solely in river or harbor work, or in a daily ferry service between ports
The common sense behind the rule makes the burden a heavy one. Such which shall be exempt from compulsory pilotage provisions of these
accidents simply do not occur in the ordinary course of things unless the regulations: provided, however, that compulsory pilotage shall not apply in
vessel has been mismanaged in some way. It is nor sufficient for the pilotage districts whose optional pilotage is allowed under these
respondent to produce witnesses who testify that as soon as the danger regulations.
became apparent everything possible was done to avoid an accident. The
question remains, How then did the collision occur? The answer must be Pursuant thereto, Capt. Gavino was assigned to pilot MV Pavlodar into Berth 4 of the Manila
either that, in spite of the testimony of the witnesses, what was done was International Port. Upon assuming such office as compulsory pilot, Capt. Gavino is held to
too little or too late or, if not, then the vessel was at fault for being in a the universally accepted high standards of care and diligence required of a pilot, whereby he
position in which an unavoidable collision would occur. 52 assumes to have skill and knowledge in respect to navigation in the particular waters over
which his license extends superior to and more to be trusted than that of the master. 57 A
The task, therefore, in these cases is to pinpoint who was negligent — the master of pilot 57 should have a thorough knowledge of general and local regulations and physical
the ship, the harbor pilot or both. conditions affecting the vessel in his charge and the waters for which he is licensed, such as
a particular harbor or river.
A pilot, in maritime law, is a person duly qualified, and licensed, to conduct a vessel into or
out of ports, or in certain waters. In a broad sense, the term "pilot" includes both (1) those He is not held to the highest possible degree of skill and care, but must have and exercise
whose duty it is to guide vessels into or out of ports, or in particular waters and (2) those the ordinary skill and care demanded by the circumstances, and usually shown by an expert
entrusted with the navigation of vessels on the high seas. 53 However, the term "pilot" is in his profession. Under extraordinary circumstancesm, a pilot must exercise extraordinary
more generally understood as a person taken on board at a particular place for the purpose care. 58
of conducting a ship through a river, road or channel, or from a port. 54
In Atlee vs. The Northwesrern Union Packet Company. 59 Mr. Justice Miller spelled out in
Under English and American authorities, generally speaking, the pilot supersedes the master great detail the duties of a pilot:
for the time being in the command and navigation of the ship, and his orders must be obeyed
in all matters connected with her navigation. He becomes the master pro hac vice and . . . (T)he pilot of a river steamer, like the harbor pilot, is selected for his
should give all directions as to speed, course, stopping and reversing anchoring, towing and personal knowledge of the topography through which he steers his vessel.
the like. And when a licensed pilot is employed in a place where pilotage is compulsory, it is In the long course of a thousand miles in one of these rivers, he must be
his duty to insist on having effective control of the vessel, or to decline to act as pilot. Under familiar with the appearance of the shore on each side of the river as he
certain systems of foreign law, the pilot does not take entire charge of the vessel, but is goes along. Its banks, towns, its landings, its houses and trees, are all
deemed merely the adviser of the master, who retains command and control of the landmarks by which he steers his vessel. The compass is of little use to
navigation even in localities where pilotage is compulsory. 55 him. He must know where the navigable channel is, in its relation to all
these external objects, especially in the night. He must also be familiar
It is quite common for states and localities to provide for compulsory pilotage, and safety with all dangers that are permanently located in the course of the river, as
laws have been enacted requiring vessels approaching their ports, with certain exceptions, to sand-bars, snags, sunken rocks or trees or abandoned vessels orbarges.
take on board pilots duly licensed under local law. The purpose of these laws is to create a All this he must know and remember and avoid. To do this, he must be
body of seamen thoroughly acquainted with the harbor, to pilot vessels seeking to enter or constantly informed of the changes in the current of the river, of the sand-
depart, and thus protect life and property from the dangers of navigation. 56 bars newly made,of logs or snags, or other objects newly presented,
against which his vessel might be injured.
In line with such established doctrines, Chapter II of Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65
prescribes the rules for compulsory pilotage in the covered pilotage districts, among which is xxx xxx xxx
101
It may be said that this is exacting a very high order of ability in a pilot. But A Well, in this case now, because either the anchor was
when we consider the value of the lives and property committed to their not dropped on time or the anchor did not hold, that was
control, for in this they are absolute masters, the high compensation they the cause of the incident, your Honor. 60
receive, the care which Congress has taken to secure by rigid and
frequent examinations and renewal of licenses, this very class of skill, we It is disconcertingly riddled with too much incertitude and manifests a seeming indifference
do not think we fix the standard too high. for the possibly injurious consequences his commands as pilot may have. Prudence required
that he, as pilot, should have made sure that his directions were promptly and strictly
Tested thereby, we affirm respondent court's finding that Capt. Gavino failed to measure up followed. As correctly noted by the trial court —
to such strict standard of care and diligence required of pilots in the performance of their
duties. Witness this testimony of Capt. Gavino: Moreover, assuming that he did indeed give the command to drop the
anchor on time, as pilot he should have seen to it that the order was
Court: You have testified before that the reason why the carried out, and he could have done this in a number of ways, one of
vessel bumped the pier was because the anchor was which was to inspect the bow of the vessel where the anchor mechanism
not released immediately or as soon as you have given was installed. Of course, Captain Gavino makes reference to a commotion
the order. Do you remember having srated that? among the crew members which supposedly caused the delay in the
execution of the command. This account was reflected in the pilot's report
A Yes, your Honor. prepared four hours later, but Capt. Kavankov, while not admitting whether
or not such a commotion occurred, maintained that the command to drop
anchor was followed "immediately and precisely." Hence, the Court cannot
Q And you gave this order to the captain of the vessel? give much weight or consideration to this portion of Gavino's testimony." 61

A Yes, your Honor. An act may be negligent if it is done without the competence that a reasonable person in the
position of the actor would recognize as necessary to prevent it from creating an
Q By that testimony, you are leading the Court to unreasonable risk of harm to another. 62Those who undertake any work calling for special
understand that if that anchor was released immediately skills are required not only to exercise reasonable care in what they do but also possess a
at the time you gave the order, the incident would not standard minimum of special knowledge and ability. 63
have happened. Is that correct?
Every man who offers his services to another, and is employed, assumes to exercise in the
A Yes, sir, but actually it was only a presumption on my employment such skills he possesses, with a reasonable degree of diligence. In all these
part because there was a commotion between the employments where peculiar skill is requisite, if one offers his services he is understood as
officers who are in charge of the dropping of the anchor holding himself out to the public as possessing the degree of skill commonly possessed by
and the captain. I could not understand their language, it others in the same employment, and if his pretensions are unfounded he commits a species
was in Russian, so I presumed the anchor was not of fraud on every man who employs him in reliance on his public profession. 64
dropped on time.
Furthermore, there is an obligation on all persons to take the care which, under ordinary
Q So, you are not sure whether it was really dropped on circumstances of the case, a reasonable and prudent man would take, and the omission of
time or not? that care constitutes negligence. 65Generally, the degree of care required is graduated
according to the danger a person or property attendant upon the activity which the actor
A I am not sure, your Honor. pursues or the instrumentality which he uses. The greater the danger the greater the degree
of care required. What is ordinary under extraordinary of conditions is dictated by those
conditions; extraordinary risk demands extraordinary care. Similarly, the more imminent the
xxx xxx xxx danger, the higher the degree of care. 66

Q You are not even sure what could have caused the We give our imprimatur to the bases for the conclusion of the Court of Appeals that Capt.
incident. What factor could have caused the incident? Gavino was indeed negligent in the performance of his duties:

102
xxx xxx xxx exigencies of the occasion. Failure on his part to exercise the degree of
care demanded by the circumstances is negligence (Reese versus
. . . As can be gleaned from the logbook, Gavino ordered the left anchor Philadelphia & RR Co. 239 US 363, 60 L ed. 384, 57 Am Jur, 2d page
and two (2) shackles dropped at 8:30 o'clock in the morning. He ordered 418). 67
the engines of the vessel stopped at 8:31 o'clock. By then,Gavino must
have realized that the anchor did not hit a hard object and was not clawed This affirms the findings of the trial court regarding Capt. Gavino's negligence:
so as to reduce the momentum of the vessel. In point of fact, the vessel
continued travelling towards the pier at the same speed. Gavino failed to This discussion should not however, divert the court from the fact that
react, At 8:32 o'clock, the two (2) tugboats began to push the stern part of negligence in manuevering the vessel must be attributed to Capt. Senen
the vessel from the port side bur the momentum of the vessel was not Gavino. He was an experienced pilot and by this time should have long
contained. Still, Gavino did not react. He did not even order the other familiarized himself with the depth of the port and the distance he could
anchor and two (2) more shackles dropped to arrest the momentum of the keep between the vessel and port in order to berth safely. 68
vessel. Neither did he order full-astern. It was only at 8:34 o'clock, or four
(4) minutes, after the anchor was dropped that Gavino reacted. But his
reaction was even (haphazard) because instead of arresting fully the The negligence on the part of Capt. Gavino is evident; but Capt. Kabancov is no less
momentum of the vessel with the help of the tugboats, Gavino ordered responsible for the allision. His unconcerned lethargy as master of the ship in the face of
merely "half-astern". It took Gavino another minute to order a "full-astern". troublous exigence constitutes negligence.
By then, it was too late. The vessel's momentum could no longer be
arrested and, barely a minute thereafter, the bow of the vessel hit the While it is indubitable that in exercising his functions a pilot is in sole command of the
apron of the pier. Patently, Gavino miscalculated. He failed to react and ship 69 and supersedes the master for the time being in the command and navigation of a
undertake adequate measures to arrest fully the momentum of the vessel ship and that he becomes master pro hac vice of a vessel piloted by him, 70 there is
after the anchor failed to claw to the seabed. When he reacted, the same overwhelming authority to the effect that the master does not surrender his vessel to the pilot
was even (haphazard). Gavino failed to reckon the bulk of the vessel, its and the pilot is not the master. The master is still in command of the vessel notwithstanding
size and its cargo. He erroneously believed that only one (1) anchor would the presence of a pilot. There are occasions when the master may and should interfere and
suffice and even when the anchor failed to claw into the seabed or against even displace the pilot, as when the pilot is obviously incompetent or intoxicated and the
a hard object in the seabed, Gavino failed to order the other anchor circumstances may require the master to displace a compulsory pilot because of
dropped immediately. His claim that the anchor was dropped when the incompetency or physical incapacity. If, however, the master does nor observe that a
vessel was only 1,000 feet from the pier is but a belated attempt to compulsory pilot is incompetent or physically incapacitated, the master is justified in relying
extricate himself from the quagmire of his own insouciance and on the pilot, but not blindly. 71
negligence. In sum, then, Appellants' claim that the incident was caused by
"force majeure" is barren of factual basis. The master is not wholly absolved from his duties while a pilot is on board his vessel, and
may advise with or offer suggestions to him. He is still in command of the vessel, except so
xxx xxx xxx far as her navigation is concerned, and must cause the ordinary work of the vessel to be
properly carried on and the usual precaution taken. Thus, in particular, he is bound to see
The harbor pilots are especially trained for this job. In the Philippines, one that there is sufficient watch on deck, and that the men are attentive to their duties, also that
may not be a harbor pilot unless he passed the required examination and engines are stopped, towlines cast off, and the anchors clear and ready to go at the pilot's
training conducted then by the Bureau of Custom, under Customs order. 72
Administrative Order No. 15-65, now under the Philippine Ports Authority
under PPA Administrative Order 63-85, Paragraph XXXIX of the Customs A perusal of Capt. Kabankov's testimony makes it apparent that he was remiss in the
Administrative Order No. 15-65 provides that "the pilot shall be held discharge of his duties as master of the ship, leaving the entire docking procedure up to the
responsible for the direction of the vessel from the time he assumes pilot, instead of maintaining watchful vigilance over this risky maneuver:
control thereof, until he leaves it anchored free from shoal: Provided, that
his responsibility shall cease at the.moment the master neglects or Q Will you please tell us whether you have the right to
refuse(s) to carry out his instructions." The overall direction regarding the intervene in docking of your ship in the harbor?
procedure for docking and undocking the vessel emanates from the harbor
pilot. In the present recourse, Gavino failed to live up to his responsibilities
and exercise reasonable care or that degree of care required by the

103
A No sir, I have no right to intervene in time of docking, observe anything irregular in the maneuvering by Capt.
only in case there is imminent danger to the vessel and Gavino at the time he was trying to cause the vessel to
to the pier. be docked at the pier?

Q Did you ever intervene during the time that your ship A You mean the action of Capt. Gavino or his condition?
was being docked by Capt. Gavino?
Court:
A No sir, I did not intervene at the time when the pilot
was docking my ship. Q Not the actuation that conform to the safety maneuver
of the ship to the harbor?
Q Up to the time it was actually docked at the pier, is
that correct? A No sir, it was a usual docking.

A No sir, I did not intervene up to the very moment when Q By that statement of yours, you are leading the court
the vessel was docked. to understand that there was nothing irregular in the
docking of the ship?
xxx xxx xxx
A Yes sir, during the initial period of the docking, there
Atty. Del Rosario (to the witness) was nothing unusual that happened.

Q Mr. Witness, what happened, if any, or was there Q What about in the last portion of the docking of the
anything unusual that happened during the docking? ship, was there anything unusual or abnormal that
happened?
A Yes sir, our ship touched ihe pier and the pier was
damaged. A None Your Honor, I believe that Capt. Gavino thought
that the anchor could keep or hold the vessel.
Court (to the witness)
Q You want us to understand, Mr. Witness, that the
Q When you said touched the pier, are you leading the dropping of the anchor of the vessel was nor timely?
court to understand that your ship bumped the pier?
A I don't know the depth of this port but I think, if the
A I believe that my vessel only touched the pier but the anchor was dropped earlier and with more shackles,
impact was very weak. there could not have been an incident.

Q Do you know whether the pier was damaged as a Q So you could not precisely tell the court that the
result of that slight or weak impact? dropping of the anchor was timery because you are not
well aware of the seabed, is that correct?
A Yes sir, after the pier was damaged.
A Yes sir, that is right.
xxx xxx xxx
xxx xxx xxx
Q Being most concerned with the safety of your vessel,
in the maneuvering of your vessel to the port, did you
104
Q Alright, Capt. Kavankov, did you come to know later Solicitor Abad (to the witness)
whether the anchor held its ground so much so that the
vessel could not travel? Q Now, you were standing with the pilot on the bridge of
the vessel before the inicident happened, were you not?
A It is difficult for me to say definitely. I believe that the
anchor did not hold the ship. A Yes sir, all the time, I was standing with the pilot.

Q You mean you don't know whether the anchor blades Q And so whatever the pilot saw, you could also see
stuck to the ground to stop the ship from further moving? from that point of view?

A Yes sir, it is possible. A That is right.

Q What is possible? Q Whatever the piler can read from the panel of the
bridge, you also could read, is that correct?
A I think, the 2 shackles were not enough to hold the
vessel. A What is the meaning of panel?

Q Did you know that the 2 shackles were dropped? Q All indications necessary for men on the bridge to be
informed of the movements of the ship?
A Yes sir, I knew that.
A That is right.
Q If you knew that the shackles were not enough to hold
the ship, did you not make any protest to the pilot? Q And whatever sound the captain . . . Capt. Gavino
would hear from the bridge, you could also hear?
A No sir, after the incident, that was my assumption.
A That is right.
Q Did you come to know later whether that presumption
is correct? Q Now, you said that when the command to lower the
anchor was given, it was obeyed, is that right?
A I still don't know the ground in the harbor or the
depths. A This command was executed by the third mate and
boatswain.
Q So from the beginning, you were not competent
whether the 2 shackles were also dropped to hold the Court (to the witness)
ship?
Q Mr. Witness, earlier in today's hearing, you said that
A No sir, at the beginning, I did not doubt it because I you did not intervene with the duties of the pilot and that,
believe Capt. Gavino to be an experienced pilot and he in your opinion, you can only intervene if the ship is
should be more aware as to the depths of the harbor placed in imminent danger, is that correct?
and the ground and I was confident in his actions.
A That is right, I did say that.
xxx xxx xxx

105
Q In your observation before the incident actually A Yes sir, that is right.
happened, did you observe whether or not the ship,
before the actual incident, the ship was placed in Q Since it affects not only the safety of the port or pier,
imminent danger? but also the safety of the vessel and the cargo, is it not?

A No sir, I did not observe. A That is right.

Q By that answer, are you leading the court to Q So that, I assume that you were watching Capt.
understand that because you did not intervene and Gavino very closely at the time he was making his
because you believed that it was your duty to intervene commands?
when the vessel is placed in imminent danger to which
you did not observe any imminent danger thereof, you
have not intervened in any manner to the command of A I was close to him, I was hearing his command and
the pilot? being executed.

A That is right, sir. Q And that you were also alert for any possible mistakes
he might commit in the maneuvering of the vessel?
xxx xxx xxx
A Yes sir, that is right.
Q Assuminp that you disagreed with the pilot regarding
the step being taken by the pilot in maneuvering the Q But at no time during the maneuver did you issue
vessel, whose command will prevail, in case of imminent order contrary to the orders Capt. Gavino made?
danger to the vessel?
A No sir.
A I did nor consider the situation as having an imminent
danger. I believed that the vessel will dock alongside the Q So that you were in full accord with all of Capt.
pier. Gavino's orders?

Q You want us to understand that you did not see an A Yes sir.
imminent danger to your ship, is that what you mean?
Q Because, otherwise, you would have issued order that
A Yes sir, up to the very last moment, I believed that would supersede his own order?
there was no imminent danger.
A In that case, I should t,ke him away from his command
Q Because of that, did you ever intervene in the or remove the command from him.
command of the pilot?
Court (to the witness)
A Yes sir, I did not intervene because I believed that the
command of the pilot to be correct. Q You were in full accord with the steps being taken by
Capt. Gavino because you relied on his knowledge, on
Solicitor Abad (to the witness) his familiarity of the seabed and shoals and other
surroundings or conditions under the sea, is that
Q As a captain of M/V Pavlodar, you consider docking correct?
maneuvers a serious matter, is it not?
106
A Yes sir, that is right. Q Since, as you said that you agreed all the while with
the orders of Capt. Gavino, you also therefore agreed
xxx xxx xxx with him in his failure to take necessary precaution
against the eventuality that the anchor will not hold as
expected?
Solicitor Abad (to the witness)
Atty. Del Rosario:
Q And so after the anchors were ordered dropped and
they did not take hold of the seabed, you were alerted
that there was danger already on hand? May I ask that the question . . .

A No sir, there was no imminent danger to the vessel. Solicitor Abad:

Q Do you mean to tell us that even if the anchor was Never mind, I will reform the question.
supposed to take hold of the bottom and it did not, there
was no danger to the ship? xxx xxx xxx

A Yes sir, because the anchor dragged on the ground Solicitor Abad (to the witness)
later.
Q Is it not a fact that the vessel bumped the pier?
Q And after a few moments when the anchor should
have taken hold the seabed bur not done (sic), as you A That is right, it bumped the pier.
expected, you already were alerted that there was
danger to the ship, is that correct?
Q For the main reason that the anchor of the vessel did
not hold the ground as expected?
A Yes sir, I was alerted but there was no danger.
A Yes sir, that is my opinion. 73
Q And you were alerted that somebody was wrong?
Further, on redirect examination, Capt. Kabankov fortified his apathetic assessment of the
A Yes sir, I was alerted. situation:

Q And this alert vou assumed was the ordinary alertness Q Now, after the anchor was dropped, was there any
that you have for normal docking? point in time that you felt that the vessel was in imminent
danger.
A Yes sir, I mean that it was usual condition of any man
in time of docking to be alert. A No, at that time, the vessel was not in imminent,
danger, sir. 74
Q And that is the same alertness when the anchor did
not hold onto the ground, is that correct? This cavalier appraisal of the event by Capt. Kabankov is disturbingly antipodal to Capt.
Gavino's anxious assessment of the situation:
A Yes sir, me and Capt. Gavino (thought) that the
anchor will hold the ground. Q When a pilot is on board a vessel, it is the piler's
command which should be followed at that moment until
the vessel is, or goes to port or reaches port?
107
A Yes, your Honor, but it does not take away from the Court:
Captain his prerogative to countermand the pilot.
Yes, he has just answered yes sir to the Court that there
Q In what way? was no disagreement insofar as the bringing of the
vessel safely to the port.
A In any case, which he thinks the pilot is not
maneuvering correctly, the Captain always has the Atty. Catris:
prerogative to countermand the pilot's order.
But in this instance of docking of the MV Pavlodar, do
Q But insofar as competence, efficiency and functional you remember of a time during the course of the docking
knowledee of the seabed which are vital or decisive in that the MV Pavlodar was in imminent danger of
the safety (sic) bringing of a vessel to the port, he is not bumping the pier?
competent?
A When we were about more than one thousand meters
A Yes, your Honor. That is why they hire a pilot in an from the pier, I think, the anchor was not holding, so I
advisory capacity, but still, the safety of the vessel immediately ordered to push the bow at a fourth quarter,
rest(s) upon the Captain, the Master of the vessel. at the back of the vessel in order to swing the bow away
from the pier and at the same time, I ordered for a full
Q In this case, there was not a disagreement between astern of the engine. 75
you and the Captain of the vessel in the bringing of the
vessel to port? These conflicting reactions can only imply, at the very least, unmindful disregard or,
worse, neglectful relinquishment of duty by the shipmaster, tantamount to
A No, your Honor. negligence.

Court: The findings of the trial court on this aspect is noteworthy:

May proceed. For, while the pilot Gavino may indeed have been charged with the task of
docking the vessel in the berthing space, it is undisputed that the master of
the vessel had the corresponding duty to countermand any of the orders
Atty. Catris: made by the pilot, and even maneuver the vessel himself, in case of
imminent danger to the vessel and the port.
In fact, the Master of the vessel testified here that he
was all along in conformity with the orders you, gave to In fact, in his testimony, Capt. Kavankov admitted that all throughour the
him, and, as matter of fact, as he said, he obeyed all man(eu)vering procedures he did not notice anything was going wrong,
your orders. Can you tell, if in the course of giving such and even observed that the order given to drop the anchor was done at the
normal orders for the saf(e) docking of the MV Pavlodar, proper time. He even ventured the opinion that the accident occurred
do you remember of any instance that the Master of the because the anchor failed to take hold but that this did not alarm him
vessel did not obey your command for the safety because.there was still time to drop a second anchor.
docking of the MV Pavlodar?
Under normal circumstances, the abovementioned facts would have
Atty. del Rosario: caused the master of a vessel to take charge of the situation and see to
the man(eu)vering of the vessel himself. Instead, Capt. Kavankov chose to
Already answered, he already said yes sir. rely blindly upon his pilot, who by this time was proven ill-equipped to cope
with the situation.

108
xxx xxx xxx unseaworthy (Tug Ocean Prince versus United States of America, 584 F.
2nd, page 1151). Hence, the Appellant FESC is likewise liable for the
It is apparent that Gavino was negligent but Far Eastern's employee Capt. damage sustained by the Appellee. 77
Kavankov was no lesss responsible for as master of the vessel he stood
by the pilot during the man(eu)vering procedures and was privy to every We find strong and well-reasoned support in time-tested American maritime jurisprudence,
move the latter made, as well as the vessel's response to each of the on which much of our laws and jurisprudence on the matter are based, for the conclusions of
commands. His choice to rely blindly upon the pilot's skills, to the point that the Court of Appeals adjudging both Capt. Gavino and Capt. Kabankov negligent.
despite being appraised of a notice of alert he continued to relinquish
control of the vessel to Gavino, shows indubitably that he was not As early as 1869, the U.S. Supreme Court declared, through Mr. Justice Swayne, in
performing his duties with the diligence required of him and therefore may The Steamship China vs. Walsh, 78 that it is the duty of the master to interfere in cases of the
be charged with negligence along with defend;int Gavino. 76 pilot's intoxication or manifest incapacity, in cases of danger which he does not foresee, and
in all cases of great necessity. The master has the same power to displace the pilot that he
As correctly affirmed by the Court of Appeals — has to remove any subordinate officer of the vessel, at his discretion.

We are in full accord with the findings and disquisitions of the Court a quo. In 1895, the U.S. Supreme Court, this time through Mr. Justice Brown, emphatically ruled
that:
In the present recourse, Captain Viktor Kavankov had been a mariner for
thirty-two years before the incident. When Gavino was (in) the command of Nor are rye satisfied with the conduct of the master in leaving the pilot in
the vessel, Kavankov was beside Gavino, relaying the commands or sole charge of the vessel. While the pilot doubtless supersedes the master
orders of Gavino to the crewmembers-officers of the vessel concerned. He for the time being in the command and navigation of the ship, and his
was thus fully aware of the docking maneuvers and procedure Gavino orders must be obeyed in all matters connected with her navigation, the
undertook to dock the vessel. Irrefragably, Kavankov was fully aware of master is not wholly absolved from his duties while the pilot is on board,
the bulk and size of the vessel and its cargo as well as the weight of the and may advise with him, and even displace him in case he is intoxicated
vessel. Kavankov categorically admitted that, when the anchor and two (2) or manifestly incompetent. He is still in command of the vessel, except so
shackles were dropped to the sea floor, the claws of the anchor did not far as her navigation is concerned, and bound to see that there is a
hitch on to any hard object in the seabed. The momentum of the vessel sufficient watch on deck, and that the men are attentive to their duties.
was not arrested. The use of the two (2) tugboats was insufficient. The
momentum of the vessel, although a little bit arrested, continued (sic) the . . . (N)orwithstanding the pilot has charge, it is the duty of the master to
vessel going straightforward with its bow towards the port (Exhibit "A-1 ). prevent accident, and not to abandon the vessel entirely to the pilot; but
There was thus a need for the vessel to move "full-astern" and to drop the that there are certain duties he has to discharge (notwithstanding there is a
other anchor with another shackle or two (2), for the vessel to avoid hitting pilot on board) for the benefit of the owners. . . . that in well conducted
the pier. Kavankov refused to act even as Gavino failed to act. Even as ships the master does not regard the presence of a duly licensed pilot in
Gavino gave mere "half-astern" order, Kavankov supinely stood by. The compulsory pilot waters as freeing him from every, obligation to attend to
vessel was already about twenty (20) meters away from the pier when the safety of the vessel; but that, while the master sees that his officers
Gavino gave the "full-astern" order. Even then, Kavankov did nothing to and crew duly attend to the pilot's orders, he himself is bound to keep a
prevent the vessel from hitting the pier simply because he relied on the vigilant eye on the navigation of the vessel, and, when exceptional
competence and plan of Gavino. While the "full-astern'' maneuver circumstances exist, not only to urge upon the pilot to use every
momentarily arrested the momentum of the vessel, it was, by then, too precaution, but to insist upon such being taken. 79 (Italics for emphasis.)
late. All along, Kavankov stood supinely beside Gavino, doing nothing but
relay the commands of Gavino. Inscrutably, then, Kavankov was negligent.
In Jure vs. United Fruit Co., 80 which, like the present petitions, involved compulsory pilotage,
with a similar scenario where at and prior to the time of injury, the vessel was in the charge
xxx xxx xxx of a pilot with the master on the bridge of the vessel beside said pilot, the court therein ruled:

The stark incompetence of Kavankov is competent evidence to prove the The authority of the master of a vessel is not in complete abeyance while a
unseaworthiness of the vessel. It has been held that the incompetence of pilot, who is required by law to be accepted, is in discharge of his
the navigator, the master of the vessel or its crew makes the vessel functions. . . . It is the duty of the master to interfere in cases of the pilot's
109
intoxication or manifest incapacity, in cases of danger which he does not master of the ship. In the face of imminent or actual danger, he did not have to wait for the
foresee, and in all cases of great necessity. The master has the same happenstance to occur before countermanding or overruling the pilot. By his own admission,
power to displace the pilot that he has to remove any subordinate officer of Capt. Kabankov concurred with Capt. Gavino's decisions, and this is precisely the reason
the vessel. He may exercise it, or not, according to his discretion. There why he decided not to countermand any of the latter's orders. Inasmuch as both lower courts
was evidence to support findings that piaintiff's injury was due to the found Capt. Gavino negligent, by expressing full agreement therewith Capt. Kabankov was
negligent operation of the Atenas, and that the master of that vessel was just as negligent as Capt. Gavino.
negligent in failing to take action to avoid endangering a vessel situated as
the City of Canton was and persons or property thereon. In general, a pilot is personally liable for damages caused by his own negligence or default to
the owners of the vessel, and to third parties for damages sustained in a collision. Such
A phase of the evidence furnished support for the inferences . . . that he negligence of the pilot in the performance of duty constitutes a maritime tort. 87 At common
negligently failed to suggest to the pilot the danger which was disclosed, law, a shipowner is not liable for injuries inflicted exclusively by the negligence of a pilot
and means of avoiding such danger; and that the master's negligence in accepted by a vessel compulsorily. 88 The exemption from liability for such negligence shall
failing to give timelt admonition to the pilot proximately contributed to the apply if the pilot is actually in charge and solely in fault. Since, a pilot is responsible only for
injury complained of. We are of opinion that the evidence mentioned his own personal negligence, he cannot be held accountable for damages proximately
tended to prove conduct of the pilot, known to the master, giving rise to a caused by the default of others, 89 or, if there be anything which concurred with the fault of
case of danger or great necessity, calling for the intervention of the the pilot in producing the accident, the vessel master and owners are liable.
master. A master of a vessel is not without fault in acquiescing in canduct
of a pilot which involves apparent and avoidable danger, whether such Since the colliding vessel is prima facie responsible, the burden of proof is upon the party
danger is to the vessel upon which the pilot is, or to another vessel, or claiming benefit of the exemption from liability. It must be shown affirmatively that the pilot
persons or property thereon or on shore. (Emphasis ours.) was at fault, and that there was no fault on the part of the officers or crew, which might have
been conducive to the damage. The fact that the law compelled the master to take the pilot
Still in another case involving a nearly identical setting, the captain of a vessel alongside the does not exonerate the vessel from liability. The parties who suffer are entitled to have their
compulsory pilot was deemed to be negligent, since, in the words of the court, "he was in a remedy against the vessel that occasioned the damage, and are not under necessity to look
position to exercise his superior authority if he had deemed the speed excessive on the to the pilot from whom redress is not always had for compensation. The owners of the vessel
occasion in question. I think it was clearly negligent of him not to have recognized the are responsible to the injured party for the acts of the pilot, and they must be left to recover
danger to any craft moored at Gravell Dock and that he should have directed the pilot to the amount as well as they can against him. It cannot be maintained that the circumstance of
reduce his speed as required by the local governmental regulations. His failure amounted to having a pilot on board, and acting in conformity to his directions operate as a discharge of
negligence and renders the respondent liable." 81 (Emphasis supplied.) Though a responsibility of the owners. 90Except insofar as their liability is limited or exempted by
compulsory pilot might be regarded as an independent contractor, he is at all times subject to statute, the vessel or her owner are liable for all damages caused by the negligence or other
the ultimate control of the ship's master. 82 wrongs of the owners or those in charge of the vessel. Where the pilot of a vessel is not a
compulsory one in the sense that the owner or master of the vessel are bound to accept him,
In sum, where a compulsory pilot is in charge of a ship, the master being required to permit but is employed voluntarily, the owners of the vessel are, all the more, liable for his negligent
him to navigate it, if the master observes that the pilot is incompetent or physically incapable, act. 91
then it is the dury of the master to refuse to permit the pilot to act. But if no such reasons are
present, then the master is justified in relying upon the pilot, but not blindly. Under the In the United States, the owners of a vessel are not personally liable for the negligent acts of
circumstances of this case, if a situation arose where the master, exercising that reasonable a compulsory pilot, but by admiralty law, the fault or negligence of a compulsory pilot is
vigilance which the master of a ship should exercise, observed, or should have observed, imputable to the vessel and it may be held liable therefor in rem. Where, however, by the
that the pilot was so navigating the vessel that she was going, or was likely to go, into provisions of the statute the pilot is compulsory only in the sense that his fee must be paid,
danger, and there was in the exercise of reasonable care and vigilance an opportunity for the and is not in compulsory charge of the vessel, there is no exemption from liability. Even
master to intervene so as to save the ship from danger, the master should have acted though the pilot is compulsory, if his negligence was not the sole cause of the injury, but the
accordingly. 83 The master of a vessel must exercise a degree of vigilance commensurate negligence of the master or crew contributed thereto, the owners are liable. 92 But the liability
with the circumstances. 84 of the ship in rem does not release the pilot from the consequences of his own
negligence. 93 The rationale for this rule is that the master is not entirely absolved of
Inasmuch as the matter of negligence is a question of fact, 85 we defer to the findings of the responsibility with respect to navigation when a compulsory pilot is in charge. 94
trial court, especially as this is affirmed by the Court of Appeals. 86 But even beyond that, our
own evaluation is that Capt. Kabankov's shared liability is due mainly to the fact that he failed By way of validation and in light of the aforecited guidepost rulings in American maritime
to act when the perilous situation should have spurred him into quick and decisive action as cases, we declare that our rulings during the early years of this century in City of Manila vs.
110
Gambe, 95 China Navigation Co., Ltd. vs. Vidal, 96 and Yap Tica & Co. vs. Anderson, et rortfeasor. 99 Where several causes producing an injury are concurrent and each is an
al. 97 have withstood the proverbial test of time and remain good and relevant case law to efficient cause without which the injury would not have happened, the injury may be
this day. attributed to all or any of the causes and recovery may be had against any or all of the
responsible persons although under the circumstances of the case, it may appear that one of
City of Manila stands for the doctrine that the pilot who was in command and complete them was more culpable, and that the duty owed by them to the injured person was not the
control of a vessel, and not the owners, must be held responsible for an accident which was same. No actor's negligence ceases to be a proximate cause merely because it does not
solely the result of the mistake of the pilot in not giving proper orders, and which did not exceed the negligence of other actors. Each wrongdoer is responsible for the entire result
result from the failure of the owners to equip the vessel with the most modern and improved and is liable as though his acts were the sole cause of the injury. 100
machinery. In China Navigation Co., the pilot deviated from the ordinary and safe course,
without heeding the warnings of the ship captain. It was this careless deviation that caused There is no contribution between joint tortfeasors whose liability is solidary since both of
the vessel to collide with a pinnacle rock which, though uncharted, was known to pilots and them are liable for the total damage. Where the concurrent or successive negligent acts or
local navigators. Obviously, the captain was blameless. It was the negligence of the pilot omissions of two or more persons, although acting independently, are in combination the
alone which was the proximate cause of the collision. The Court could not but then rule that direct and proximate cause of a single injury to a third person, it is impossible to determine in
— what proportion each contributed to the injury and either of them is responsible for the whole
injury. Where their concurring negligence resulted in injury or damage to a third party, they
The pilot in the case at bar having deviated from the usual and ordinary become joint tortfeasors and are solidarily liable for the resulting damage under Article
course followed by navigators in passing through the strait in question, 2194 101 of the Civil Code. 102
without a substantial reason, was guilty of negligence, and that negligence
having been the proximate cause of the damages, he is liable for such As for the amount of damages awarded by the trial court, we find the same to be reasonable.
damages as usually and naturally flow therefrom. . . . The testimony of Mr. Pascual Barral, witness for PPA, on cross and redirect examination,
appears to be grounded on practical considerations:
. . . (T)he defendant should have known of the existence and location of
the rock upon which the vessel struck while under his control and Q So that the cost of the two additional piles as well as
management. . . . . the (two) square meters is already included in this
P1,300,999.77.
Consistent with the pronouncements in these two earlier cases, but on a slightly different
tack, the Court in Yap Tico & Co. exonerated the pilot from liability for the accident where the A Yes sir, everything. It is (the) final cost already.
orders of the pilot in the handling of the ship were disregarded by the officers and crew of the
ship. According to the Court, a pilot is ". . . responsible for a full knowledge of the channel Q For the eight piles.
and the navigation only so far as he can accomplish it through the officers and crew of the
ship, and I don't see chat he can be held responsible for damage when the evidence shows,
as it does in this case, that the officers and crew of the ship failed to obey his orders." A Including the reduced areas and other reductions.
Nonetheless, it is possible for a compulsory pilot and the master of the vessel to
be concurrently negligent and thus share the blame for the resulting damage as joint Q (A)nd the two square meters.
tortfeasors, 98 but only under the circumstances obtaining in and demonstrated by the instant
petitions. A Yes sir.

It may be said, as a general rule, that negligence in order to render a person liable need not Q In other words, this P1,300,999.77 does not represent
be the sole cause of an injury. It is sufficient that his negligence, concurring with one or more only for the six piles that was damaged as well as the
efficient causes other than piaintiff's, is the proximate cause of the injury. Accordingly, where corresponding two piles.
several causes combine to produce injuries, a person is not relieved from liability because he
is responsible for only one of them, it being sufficient that the negligence of the person
charged with injury is an efficient cause without which the injury would not have resulted to A The area was corresponding, was increased by almost
as great an extent, and that such cause is not attributable to the person injured. It is no two in the actual payment. That was why the contract
defense to one of the concurrent tortfeasors that the injury would not have resulted from his was decreased, the real amount was P1,124,627.40 and
negligence alone, without the negligence or wrongful acts of the other concurrent the final one is P1,300,999.77.

111
Q Yes, but that P1,300,999.77 included the additional Q Why not, why could you not drive the same number of
two new posts. piles and on the same spot?

A It was increased. A The original location was already disturbed. We


cannot get required bearing capacity. The area is
Q Why was it increased? already disturbed.

A The original was 48 and the actual was 46. Q Nonetheless, if you drove the original number of piles,
six, on different places, would not that have sustained
the same load?
Q Now, the damage was somewhere in 1980. It took
place in 1980 and you started the repair and
reconstruction in 1982, that took almost two years? A It will not suffice, sir. 103

A Yes sir. We quote the findings of the lower court with approval.

Q May it not happen that by natural factors, the existing With regards to the amount of damages that is to be awarded to plaintiff,
damage in 1980 was aggravated for the 2 year period the Court finds that the amount of P1,053,300.00 is justified. Firstly, the
that the damage portion was not repaired? doctrine of res ipsa loquitur best expounded upon in the landmark case
of Republic vs. Luzon Stevedoring Corp. (21 SCRA 279) establishes the
presumption that in the ordinary course of events the ramming of the dock
A I don't think so because that area was at once marked would not have occurred if proper care was used.
and no vehicles can park, it was closed.
Secondly, the various estimates and plans justify the cost of the port
Q Even if or even natural elements cannot affect the construction price. The new structure constructed not only replaced the
damage? damaged one but was built of stronger materials to forestall the possibility
of any similar accidents in the future.
A Cannot, sir.
The Court inevitably finds that the plaintiff is entitled to an award of
xxx xxx xxx P1,053,300.00 which represents actual damages caused by the damage
to Berth 4 of the Manila International Port. Co-defendants Far Eastern
Q You said in the cross-examination that there were six Shipping, Capt. Senen Gavino and Manila Pilots Association are solidariiy
piles damaged by the accident, but that in the liable to pay this amount to plaintiff. 104
reconstruction of the pier, PPA drove and constructed 8
piles. Will you explain to us why there was change in the The Solicitor General rightly commented that the adjudicated amount of damages
number of piles from the original number? represents the proportional cost of repair and rehabilitation of the damaged section
of the pier. 105
A In piers where the piles are withdrawn or pulled out,
you cannot re-drive or drive piles at the same point. You Except insofar as their liability is limited or exempted by statute, the vessel or her owners are
have to redesign the driving of the piles. We cannot liable for all damages caused by the negligence or other wrongs of the owners or those in
drive the piles at the same point where the piles are charge of the vessel. As a general rule, the owners or those in possession and control of a
broken or damaged or pulled out. We have to redesign, vessel and the vessel are liable for all natural and proximate damages caused to persons or
and you will note that in the reconstruction, we property by reason of her negligent management or navigation. 106
redesigned such that it necessitated 8 plies.
FESC's imputation of PPA's failure to provide a safe and reliable berthing place is obtuse,
not only because it appears to be a mere afterthought, being tardily raised only in this
112
petition, but also because there is no allegation or evidence on record about Berth No. 4 Art. IV
being unsafe and unreliable, although perhaps it is a modest pier by international standards.
There was, therefore, no error on the part of the Court of Appeals in dismissing FESC's Sec. 17. Pilots' Association — The Pilots in a Pilotage District shall
counterclaim. organize themselves into a Pilots' Association or firm, the members of
which shall promulgate their own By-Laws not in conflict with the rules and
II. G.R. No. 130150 regulations promulgated by the Authority. These By-Laws shall be
submitted not later than one (1) month after the organization of the Pilots'
This consolidated case treats on whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding MPA jointly Association for approval by the General Manager of the Authority.
and solidarily liable with its member pilot. Capt. Gavino, in the absence of employer- Subsequent amendments thereto shall likewise be submitted for approval.
employee relationship and in applying Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65, as basis for
the adjudged solidary liability of MPA and Capt. Gavino. Sec. 25. Indemnity Insurance and Reserve Fund —

The pertinent provisions in Chapter I of Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 are: a) Each Pilots' Association shall
collectively insure its membership at
PAR. XXVII. — In all pilotage districts where pilotage is compulsory, there the rate of P50,000.00 each member
shall be created and maintained by the pilots or pilots' association, in the to cover in whole or in part any liability
manner hereinafter prescribed, a reserve fund equal to P1,000.00 for each arising from any accident resulting in
pilot thereof for the purpose of paying claims for damages to vessels or damage to vessel(s), port facilities and
property caused through acts or omissions of its members while rendered other properties and/or injury to
in compulsory pilotage service. In Manila, the reserve fund shall be persons or death which any member
P2,000.00 for each pilot. may have caused in the course of his
performance of pilotage duties. . . . .
PAR. XXVIII. — A pilots' association shall not be liable under these
regulations for damage to any vessel, or other property, resulting from acts b) The Pilotage Association shall
of a member of an association in the actual performance of his duty for a likewise set up and maintain a reserve
greater amount than seventy-five per centum (75%) of its prescribed fund which shall answer for any part of
reserve fund; it being understood that if the association is held liable for an the liability referred to in the
amount greater than the amount above-stated, the excess shall be paid by immediately preceding paragraph
the personal funds of the member concerned. which is left unsatisfied by the
insurance proceeds, in the following
manner:
PAR. XXXI. — If a payment is made from the reserve fund of an
association on account of damages caused by a member thereof, and he
shall have been found at fault, such member shall reimburse the 1) Each pilot in the
association in the amount so paid as soon as practicable; and for this Association shall
purpose, not less than twenty-five per centum of his dividends shall be contribute from his
retained each month until the full amount has been returned to the reserve own account an
fund. amount of
P4,000.00
(P6,000.00 in the
PAR. XXXIV. — Nothing in these regulations shall relieve any pilots' Manila Pilotage
association or members thereof, individually or collectively, from civil District) to the
responsibility for damages to life or property resulting from the acts of reserve fund. This
members in the performance of their duties. fund shall not be
considered part of
Correlatively, the relevant provisions of PPA Administrative Order No. 03-85, which timery the capital of the
amended this applicable maritime regulation, state: Association nor

113
charged as an 6) When the
expense thereof. reimbursement has
been completed as
2) Seventy-five prescribed in the
percent (75 %) of preceding
the reserve fund paragraph, the ten
shall be set aside percentum (10%)
for use in the and the interest
payment of withheld from the
damages referred to shares of the other
above incurred in pilots in accordance
the actual with paragraph (4)
performance of hereof shall be
pilots' duties and the returned to them.
excess shall be paid
from the personal c) Liability of Pilots' Association —
funds of the Nothing in these regulations shall
member concerned. relieve any Pilots' Association or
members thereof, individually or
xxx xxx xxx collectively, from any civil,
administrative and/or criminal
responsibility for damages to life or
5) If payment is property resulting from the individual
made from the acts of its members as well as those
reserve fund of an of the Association's employees and
Association on crew in the performance of their
account of damage duties.
caused by a
member thereof
who is found at The Court of Appeals, while affirming the trial court's finding of solidary liability on the part of
fault, he shall FESC, MPA and Capt. Gavino, correctly based MPA' s liability not on the concept of
reimburse the employer-employee relationship between Capt. Gavino and itself, but on the provisions of
Association in the Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65:
amount so paid as
soon as practicable; The Appellant MPA avers that, contrary to the findings and disquisitions of
and for this purpose, the Court a quo, the Appellant Gavino was not and has never been an
not less than employee of the MPA but was only a member thereof. The Court a quo, it
twenty-five is noteworthy, did not state the factual basis on which it anchored its
percentum (25 %) of finding that Gavino was the employee of MPA. We are in accord with
his dividend shall be MPA's pose. Case law teaches Us that, for an employer-employee
retained each month relationship to exist, the confluence of the following elements must be
until the full amount established: (1) selection and engagement of employees; (2) the payment
has been returned of wages; (3) the power of dismissal; (4) the employer's power to control
to the reserve fund. the employees with respect to the means and method by which the work is
Thereafter, the pilot to be performed (Ruga versus NLRC, 181 SCRA 266).
involved shall be
entitled to his full xxx xxx xxx
dividend.

114
The liability of MPA for damages is not anchored on Article 2180 of the . . . Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 may be a mere rule and
New Civil Code as erroneously found and declared by the Court a quo but regulation issued by an administrative agency pursuant to a delegated
under the provisions of Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65, supra, in authority to fix "the details" in the execution or enforcement of a policy set
tandem with the by-laws of the MPA. 107 out in the law itself. Nonetheless, said administrative order, which adds to
the procedural or enforcing provisions of substantive law, is legally binding
There being no employer-employee relationship, clearly Article 2180 108 of the Civil Code is and receives the same statutory force upon going into effect. In that sense,
inapplicable since there is no vicarious liability of an employer to speak of. It is so stated in it has equal, not lower, statutory force and effect as a regular statute
American law, as follows: passed by the legislature. 112

The well established rule is that pilot associations are immune to vicarious MPA's prayer for modification of the appellate court's decision under review by exculpating
liability for the tort of their members. They are not the employer of their petitioner MPA "from liability beyond seventy-five percent (75 %) of Reserve Fund" is
members and exercise no control over them once they take the helm of unnecessary because the liability of MPA under Par. XXVIII of Customs Administrative Order
the vessel. They are also not partnerships because the members do not No. 15-65 is in fact limited to seventy-five percent (75 %) of its prescribed reserve fund, any
function as agents for the association or for each other. Pilots' associations amount of liability beyond that being for the personal account of the erring pilot and subject
are also not liable for negligently assuring the competence of their to reimbursement in case of a finding of fault by the member concerned. This is clarified by
members because as professional associations they made no guarantee the Solicitor General:
of the professional conduct of their members to the general public. 109
Moreover, contrary to petitioner's pretensions, the provisions of Customs
Where under local statutes and regulations, pilot associations lack the necessary legal Administrative Order No. 15-65 do not limit the liability of petitioner as a
incidents of responsibility, they have been held not liable for damages caused by the default pilots' association to an absurdly small amount of seventy-five per centum
of a member pilot. 110 Whether or not the members of a pilots' association are in legal effect (75 %) of the member pilots' contribution of P2,000.00 to the reserve fund.
a copartnership depends wholly on the powers and duties of the members in relation to one The law speaks of the entire reserve fund required to be maintained by the
another under the provisions of the governing statutes and regulations. The relation of a pilot pilots' association to answer (for) whatever liability arising from the tortious
to his association is not that of a servant to the master, but of an associate assisting and act of its members. And even if the association is held liable for an amount
participating in a common purpose. Ultimately, the rights and liabilities between a pilots' greater than the reserve fund, the association may not resist the liability by
association and an individual member depend largely upon the constitution, articles or by- claiming to be liable only up to seventy-five per centum (75 %) of the
laws of the association, subject to appropriate government regulations. 111 reserve fund because in such instance it has the right to be reimbursed by
the offending member pilot for the excess. 113
No reliance can be placed by MPA on the cited American rulings as to immunity from liability
of a pilots' association in ljght of existing positive regulation under Philippine law. The Court WHEREFORE, in view of all of the foregoing, the consolidated petitions for review are
of Appeals properly applied the clear and unequivocal provisions of Customs Administrative DENIED and the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED in toto.
Order No. 15-65. In doing so, it was just being consistent with its finding of the non-existence
of employer-employee relationship between MPA and Capt. Gavino which precludes the Counsel for FESC, the law firm of Del Rosario and Del Rosario, specifically its associate,
application of Article 2180 of the Civil Code. Atty. Herbert A. Tria, is REPRIMANDED and WARNED that a repetition of the same or
similar acts of heedless disregard of its undertakings under the Rules shall be dealt with
True. Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65 does not categorically characterize or label more severely.
MPA's liability as solidary in nature. Nevertheless, a careful reading and proper analysis of
the correlated provisions lead to the conclusion that MPA is solidarily liable for the The original members of the legal team of the Office of the Solicitor General assigned to this
negligence of its member pilots, without prejudice to subsequent reimbursement from the case, namely, Assistant Solicitor General Roman G. Del Rosario and Solicitor Luis F. Simon,
pilot at fault. are ADMONISHED and WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar acts of unduly
delaying proceedings due to delayed filing of required pleadings shall also be dealt with more
Art. 1207 of the Civil Code provides that there is solidary liability only when the obligation stringently.
expressly so states, or when the law or the nature of the obligation requires solidarity.
Plainly, Customs Administrative Order No. 15-65, which as an implementing rule has the The Solicitor Genral is DIRECTED to look into the circumstances of this case and to adopt
force and effect of law, can validly provide for solidary liability.We note the Solicitor General's provident measures to avoid a repetition of this incident and which would ensure prompt
comment hereon, to wit:
115
compliance with orders of this Court regarding the timely filing of requisite pleadings, in the highway.4The prime mover was not equipped with triangular, collapsible reflectorized plates,
interest of just, speedy and orderly administration of justice. the early warning device required under Letter of Instruction No. 229. As substitute, Limbaga
placed a banana trunk with leaves on the front and the rear portion of the prime mover to
Let copies of this decision be spread upon the personal records of the lawyers named herein warn incoming motorists. It is alleged that Limbaga likewise placed kerosene lighted tin cans
in the Office of the Bar Confidant. on the front and rear of the trailer.5

SO ORDERED. To avoid hitting the parked prime mover occupying its lane, the incoming passenger bus
swerved to the right, onto the lane of the approaching Nissan van. Ortiz saw two bright and
glaring headlights and the approaching passenger bus. He pumped his break slowly,
G.R. No. 161803 February 4, 2008 swerved to the left to avoid the oncoming bus but the van hit the front of the stationary prime
mover. The passenger bus hit the rear of the prime mover.6
DY TEBAN TRADING, INC., petitioner,
vs. Ortiz and Catamora only suffered minor injuries. The Nissan van, however, became
JOSE CHING AND/OR LIBERTY FOREST, INC. and CRESILITO M. inoperable as a result of the incident. After the collision, SPO4 Teofilo Pame conducted an
LIMBAGA, respondents. investigation and submitted a police traffic incident investigation report. 7

DECISION On October 31, 1995, petitioner Nissan van owner filed a complaint for damages 8 against
private respondents prime mover owner and driver with the RTC in Butuan City. The Joana
REYES, R.T., J.: Paula passenger bus was not impleaded as defendant in the complaint.

THE vehicular collision resulting in damages and injuries in this case could have been RTC Disposition
avoided if the stalled prime mover with trailer were parked properly and equipped with an
early warning device. It is high time We sounded the call for strict enforcement of the law and On August 7, 2001, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of petitioner Dy Teban Trading,
regulation on traffic and vehicle registration. Panahon na para mahigpit na ipatupad ang Inc. with a fallo reading:
batas at regulasyon sa trapiko at pagpapatala ng sasakyan.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered directing, ordaining and ordering:
Before Us is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA)
modifying that2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Butuan City finding private respondents a) That defendants Liberty Forest, Inc. and Cresilito M. Limbaga pay, jointly and
Liberty Forest, Inc. and Cresilito Limbaga liable to petitioner Dy Teban Trading, Inc. for solidarily, plaintiff Dy Teban Trading, Inc. the amounts of P279,832.00 as actual and
damages. compensatory damages, P30,000.00 as attorney’s fees and P5,000.00 as expenses
of litigation;
Facts
b) That all money claims of plaintiff Rogelio C. Ortiz are dismissed;
On July 4, 1995, at around 4:45 a.m., Rogelio Ortiz, with helper Romeo Catamora, was
driving a Nissan van owned by petitioner Dy Teban Trading, Inc. along the National Highway c) That defendant Jose Ching is absolved from any civil liability or the case against
in Barangay Sumilihon, Butuan City, going to Surigao City. They were delivering commercial him dismissed;
ice to nearby barangays and municipalities. A Joana Paula passenger bus was cruising on
the opposite lane towards the van. In between the two vehicles was a parked prime mover
with a trailer, owned by private respondent Liberty Forest, Inc. 3 d) That the counterclaim of all the defendants is dismissed; and

The night before, at around 10:00 p.m., the prime mover with trailer suffered a tire blowout. e) That defendants Liberty Forest, Inc. and Cresilito M. Limbaga to pay, jointly and
The driver, private respondent Cresilito Limbaga, parked the prime mover askew occupying solidarily, the costs.
a substantial portion of the national highway, on the lane of the passenger bus. He parked
the prime mover with trailer at the shoulder of the road with the left wheels still on the SO ORDERED.9
cemented highway and the right wheels on the sand and gravel shoulder of the
116
The RTC held that the proximate cause of the three-way vehicular collision was improper xxxx
parking of the prime mover on the national highway and the absence of an early warning
device on the vehicle, thus: However, defendant Jose Ching should be absolved of any liability as there is no
showing that he is the manager or CEO of defendant Liberty Forest, Inc. Although
The court finds that the proximate cause of the incidents is the negligence and in the answer, it is admitted that he is an officer of the defendant corporation, but it
carelessness attributable to the defendants. When the trailer being pulled by the is not clarified what kind of position he is holding, as he could be an officer as one
prime mover suffered two (2) flat tires at Sumilihon, the prime mover and trailer of the members of the Board of Directors or a cashier and treasurer of the
were parked haphazardly, as the right tires of the prime mover were the only ones corporation. Witness Limbaga in his testimony mentioned a certain Boy Ching as
on the sand and gravel shoulder of the highway while the left tires and all the tires the Manager but it was never clarified whether or not Boy Ching and defendant
of the trailer were on the cemented pavement of the highway, occupying almost the Jose Ching is one and the same person.10
whole of the right lane on the direction the prime mover and trailer were traveling.
The statement of Limbaga that he could not park the prime mover and trailer deeper Private respondents appealed to the CA.
into the sand and gravel shoulder of the highway to his right because there were
banana plants is contradicted by the picture marked Exhibit "F." The picture shows
that there was ample space on the shoulder. If defendant Limbaga was careful and CA Disposition
prudent enough, he should have the prime mover and trailer traveled more distance
forward so that the bodies of the prime mover and trailer would be far more on the On August 28, 2003, the CA reversed the RTC decision, disposing as follows:
shoulder rather than on the cemented highway when they were parked. x x x The
court has some doubts on the statement of witness-driver Limbaga that there were WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision dated August 7, 2001 of the
banana trunks with leaves and lighted tin cans with crude oil placed 3 strides in Regional Trial Court, Branch 2, Butuan City in Civil Case No. 4360 is
front of the prime mover and behind the trailer because the testimonies of witnesses hereby PARTLY MODIFIED by absolving the defendants-appellants/appellees of
Rogelio C. Ortiz, driver of the ice van, Romeo D. Catamora, helper of the ice van, any liability to plaintiffs-appellants/appellees by reason of the incident on July 4,
and Police Traffic Investigator SPO3 Teofilo M. Pame show that there were no 1995.
banana trunks with leaves and lighted tin cans at the scene of the incident. But
even assuming that there were banana trunks with leaves but they were placed
close to the prime mover and trailer as they were placed 3 strides away which to the The dismissal of the case against Jose Ching, the counterclaim of defendants-
mind of the court is equivalent approximately to 3 meters and with this distance, appellants/appellees and the money claim of Rogelio Ortiz STANDS.
approaching vehicles would have no sufficient time and space to make a complete
stop, especially if the vehicles are heavy and loaded. If there were lighted tin cans, SO ORDERED.11
it was not explained by the defendants why the driver, especially driver witness
Ortiz, did not see them.
In partly reversing or partly modifying the RTC decision, the CA held that the proximate
cause of the vehicular collision was the failure of the Nissan van to give way or yield to the
xxxx right of way of the passenger bus, thus:

Defendant Liberty Forest, Inc. did not exercise the diligence of a good father of a It was stated that the Joana Paula bus in trying to avoid a head-on collision with the
family in managing and running its business. The evidence on record shows that it truck, sideswept the parked trailer loaded with bulldozer.
failed to provide its prime mover and trailer with the required "early warning
devices" with reflectors and it did not keep proper maintenance and condition of the
Evidently, the driver of the Joana Paula bus was aware of the presence on its lane
prime mover and the trailer. The circumstances show that the trailer were provided
of the parked trailer with bulldozer. For this reason, it proceeded to occupy what
with wornout tires and with only one (1) piece of spare tire. The pictures marked
was left of its lane and part of the opposite lane. The truck occupying the opposite
Exhibit "3" and "4" show that two (2) flat tires suffered by the trailer and these two
lane failed to give way or yield the right of way to the oncoming bus by proceeding
(2) tires were attached to one of the two (2) I-beams or axles attached to the rear of
with the same speed. The two vehicles were, in effect, trying to beat each other in
the trailer which axle is very near but behind the other axle and with the location of
occupying a single lane. The bus was the first to occupy the said lane but upon
the 2 I-beams, it would have the other I-beam that would have suffered the flat tires
realizing that the truck refused to give way or yield the right of way, the bus, as a
as it has to bear the brunt of weight of the D-8 bulldozer. The bulldozer was not
precaution, geared to its right where the trailer was parked. Unfortunately, the bus
loaded directly above the two (2) I-beams as 2 I-beams, as a pair, were attached at
miscalculated its distance from the parked trailer and its rear right side hit the
the far rear end of the trailer.
protruding blade of the bulldozer then on the top of the parked trailer. The impact of
117
the collision on its right rear side with the blade of the bulldozer threw the bus A pair of triangular reflectorized plates is not the only early warning device allowed
further to the opposite lane, landing its rear portion on the shoulder of the opposite by law. The Supreme Court (in Baliwag Transit, Inc. v. Court of Appeals) held that:
lane.
"x x x Col. Dela Cruz and Romano testified that they did not see any early
xxxx warning device at the scene of the accident. They were referring to the
triangular reflectorized plates in red and yellow issued by the Land
Facts of the case reveal that when Ortiz, the driver of the truck, failed to give the Transportation Office. However, the evidence shows that Recontique and
Joana Paula bus the space on the road it needed, the latter vehicle scraped its rear Ecala placed a kerosene lamp or torch at the edge of the road, near the
right side on the protruded bulldozer blade and the impact threw the bus directly on rear portion of the truck to serve as an early warning device. This
the path of the oncoming truck. This made plaintiffs-appellants/appellees conclude substantially complies with Section 34(g) of the Land Transportation and
that the Joana Paula bus occupied its lane which forced Ortiz, the driver of the Traffic Code x x x
truck, to swerve to its left and ram the front of the parked trailer.
Baliwag’s argument that the kerosene lamp or torch does not substantially
xxxx comply with the law is untenable. The aforequoted law clearly allows the
use not only of an early warning device of the triangular reflectorized
plates’ variety but also parking lights or flares visible one hundred meters
The trailer was parked because its two (2) rear-left tires were blown out. With a away. x x x."
bulldozer on top of the trailer and two (2) busted tires, it would be dangerous and
quite impossible for the trailer to further park on the graveled shoulder of the road.
To do so will cause the flat car to tilt and may cause the bulldozer to fall from where This Court holds that the defendants-appellants/appellees were not negligent in
it was mounted. In fact, it appeared that the driver of the trailer tried its best to park parking the trailer on the scene of the accident. It would have been different if there
on the graveled shoulder since the right-front tires were on the graveled shoulder of was only one flat tire and defendant-appellant/appellee Limbaga failed to change
the road. the same and left immediately.

The lower court erred in stating that the Joana Paula bus swerved to the left of the As such, defendants-appellants/appellees are not liable for the damages suffered
truck because it did not see the parked trailer due to lack of warning sign of danger by plaintiffs-appellants/appellees. Whatever damage plaintiffs-appellants/appellees
of any kind that can be seen from a distance. The damage suffered by the Joana suffered, they alone must bear them.14
Paula bus belied this assessment. As stated before, the Joana Paula bus, with the
intention of passing first which it did, first approached the space beside the parked Issues
trailer, veered too close to the parked trailer thereby hitting its rear right side on the
protruding bulldozer blade. Since the damage was on the rear right most of the bus, Petitioner raises two issues15 for Our consideration, to wit:
it was clearly on the space which was wide enough for a single passing vehicle but
not sufficient for two (2) passing vehicles. The bus was thrown right to the path of
the truck by the impact of the collision of its rear right side with the bulldozer I.
blade.12
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, WITHOUT ANY AVAILABLE
The CA disagreed with the RTC that the prime mover did not have an early warning device. CONCRETE EVIDENCE, ERRONEOUSLY DETERMINED THAT THERE WERE
The appellate court accepted the claim of private respondent that Limbaga placed kerosene EARLY WARNING DEVICES PLACED IN FRONT OF THE DEFENDANT-
lighted tin cans on the front and rear of the trailer which, in Baliwag Transit, Inc. v. Court of APPELLANTS/APPELLEES’ TRUCK AND FLAT CAR TO WARN PLAINTIFF-
Appeals,13 may act as substitute early warning device. The CA stated: APPELLANT/APPELLEE ROGELIO ORTIZ OF THEIR PRESENCE.

Likewise, it was incorrect for the lower court to state that there was no warning sign II.
of danger of any kind, most probably referring to the absence of the triangular
reflectorized plates. The police sketch clearly indicated the stack of banana leaves WITH DUE RESPECT, IT IS HIGH TIME TO ENFORCE THE LAW ON EARLY
placed at the rear of the parked trailer. The trailer’s driver testified that they placed WARNING DEVICES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.
kerosene lighted tin can at the back of the parked trailer.

118
Our Ruling The test of negligence is objective. We measure the act or omission of the tortfeasor with
that of an ordinary reasonable person in the same situation. The test, as applied to this case,
The petition is meritorious. is whether Limbaga, in parking the prime mover, used that reasonable care and caution
which an ordinary reasonable person would have used in the same situation.
The meat of the petition is whether or not the prime mover is liable for the damages suffered
by the Nissan van. The RTC ruled in the affirmative holding that the proximate cause of the We find that Limbaga was utterly negligent in parking the prime mover askew on the right
vehicular collision was the negligence of Limbaga in parking the prime mover on the national side of the national highway. The vehicle occupied a substantial portion of the national road
highway without an early warning device on the vehicle. The CA reversed the RTC decision, on the lane of the passenger bus. It was parked at the shoulder of the road with its left
holding that the proximate cause of the collision was the negligence of Ortiz in not yielding to wheels still on the cemented highway and the right wheels on the sand and gravel shoulder
the right of way of the passenger bus. of the highway. It is common sense that the skewed parking of the prime mover on the
national road posed a serious risk to oncoming motorists. It was incumbent upon Limbaga to
take some measures to prevent that risk, or at least minimize it.
Article 2176 of the Civil Code provides that whoever by act or omission causes damage to
another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or
negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called We are unable to agree with the CA conclusion "it would have been dangerous and quite
a quasi-delict. To sustain a claim based on quasi-delict, the following requisites must concur: impossible to further park the prime mover on the graveled shoulder of the road because the
(a) damage suffered by plaintiff; (b) fault or negligence of defendant; and (c) connection of prime mover may tilt and the bulldozer may fall off." The photographs taken after the incident
cause and effect between the fault or negligence of defendant and the damage incurred by show that it could have been possible for Limbaga to park the prime mover completely on the
plaintiff.16 shoulder of the national road without risk to oncoming motorists. We agree with the RTC
observation on this point, thus:
There is no dispute that the Nissan van suffered damage. That is borne by the records and
conceded by the parties. The outstanding issues are negligence and proximate cause. x x x The statement of Limbaga that he could not park the prime mover and trailer
Tersely put, the twin issues are: (a) whether or not prime mover driver Limbaga was deeper into the sand and gravel shoulder of the highway to his right because there
negligent in parking the vehicle; and (b) whether or not his negligence was the proximate were banana plants is contradicted by the picture marked Exhibit "F." The picture
cause of the damage to the Nissan van. shows that there was ample space on the shoulder. If defendant Limbaga was
careful and prudent enough, he should have the prime mover and trailer traveled
more distance forward so that the bodies of the prime mover and trailer would be far
Limbaga was negligent in parking the prime mover on the national highway; he failed more on the shoulder rather than on the cemented highway when they were parked.
to prevent or minimize the risk to oncoming motorists. Although at the time of the incident, it was about 4:45 in the morning and it was
drizzling but there is showing that it was pitch dark that whoever travels along the
Negligence is defined as the failure to observe for the protection of the interests of another highway must be extra careful. If the Joana Paula bus swerved to the lane on which
person that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly the "Nissan" ice van was properly traveling, as prescribed by Traffic Rules and
demand, whereby such other person suffers injury.17The Supreme Court stated the test of Regulations, it is because the driver of the bus did not see at a distance the parked
negligence in the landmark case Picart v. Smith18 as follows: prime mover and trailer on the bus’ proper lane because there was no warning
signs of danger of any kind that can be seen from a distance.19
The test by which to determine the existence or negligence in a particular case may
be stated as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that Limbaga also failed to take proper steps to minimize the risk posed by the improperly parked
reasonable care and caution which an ordinary person would have used in the prime mover. He did not immediately inform his employer, private respondent Liberty Forest,
same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. The law here in effect adopts Inc., that the prime mover suffered two tire blowouts and that he could not have them fixed
the standard supposed to be supplied by the imaginary conduct of the discreet because he had only one spare tire. Instead of calling for help, Limbaga took it upon himself
paterfamilias of the Roman law. The existence of negligence in a given case is not to simply place banana leaves on the front and rear of the prime mover to serve as warning
determined by reference to the personal judgment of the actor in the situation to oncoming motorists. Worse, Limbaga slept on the prime mover instead of standing guard
before him. The law considers what would be reckless, blameworthy, or negligent in beside the vehicle. By his own account, Limbaga was sleeping on the prime mover at the
the man of ordinary intelligence and prudence and determines liability by that. time of the collision and that he was only awakened by the impact of the Nissan van and the
(Underscoring supplied) passenger bus on the prime mover.20

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Limbaga also admitted on cross-examination that it was his first time to drive the prime Nissan Ice Van in evading, accidentally swerved to the left lane and accidentally
mover with trailer loaded with a D-8 caterpillar bulldozer.21 We find that private respondent bumped to the front bumper of the parked Prime Mover with Trailer loaded with
Liberty Forest, Inc. was utterly negligent in allowing a novice driver, like Limbaga, to operate Bulldozer. Thus, causing heavy damage to said Nissan Ice Van including the
a vehicle, such as a truck loaded with a bulldozer, which required highly specialized driving cargoes of the said van.23
skills. Respondent employer clearly failed to properly supervise Limbaga in driving the prime
mover. Second, SPO4 Pame, who investigated the collision, testified24 that only banana leaves
were placed on the front and rear of the prime mover. He did not see any lighted tin cans in
The RTC noted that private respondent Liberty Forest, Inc. also failed to keep the prime the immediate vicinity of the collision.
mover in proper condition at the time of the collision. The prime mover had worn out tires. It
was only equipped with one spare tire. It was for this reason that Limbaga was unable to Third, the claim of Limbaga that he placed lighted tin cans on the front and rear of the prime
change the two blown out tires because he had only one spare. The bulldozer was not even mover belatedly surfaced only during his direct examination. No allegation to this effect was
loaded properly on the prime mover, which caused the tire blowouts. made by private respondents in their Answer to the complaint for damages. Petitioner’s
counsel promptly objected to the testimony of Limbaga, thus:
All told, We agree with the RTC that private respondent Limbaga was negligent in parking
the prime mover on the national highway. Private respondent Liberty Forest, Inc. was also ATTY. ROSALES:
negligent in failing to supervise Limbaga and in ensuring that the prime mover was in proper
condition.
Q. Now you mentioned about placing some word signs in front and at the rear of
the prime mover with trailer, will you please describe to us what this word signs
The case of Baliwag Transit, Inc. v. Court of Appeals is inapplicable; Limbaga did not are?
put lighted kerosene tin cans on the front and rear of the prime mover.
A. We placed a piece of cloth on tin cans and filled them with crude oil. And these
Anent the absence of an early warning device on the prime mover, the CA erred in accepting tin cans were lighted and they are like torches. These two lights or torches were
the bare testimony of Limbaga that he placed kerosene lighted tin cans on the front and rear placed in front and at the rear side of the prime mover with trailer. After each torch,
of the prime mover. The evidence on records belies such claim. The CA reliance on Baliwag we placed banana trunk. The banana trunk is placed between the two (2) torches
Transit, Inc. v. Court of Appeals22 as authority for the proposition that kerosene lighted tin and the prime mover, both on the rear and on the front portion of the prime mover.
cans may act as substitute early warning device is misplaced.
Q. How far was the lighted tin cans with wick placed in front of the prime mover.
First, the traffic incident report did not mention any lighted tin cans on the prime mover or
within the immediate vicinity of the accident. Only banana leaves were placed on the prime
mover. The report reads: ATTY. ASIS:

VIII – RESULT OF INVESTIGATION: A Joana Pa_ula Bus, with Body No. 7788, At this point, we will be objecting to questions particularly referring to the alleged tin
with Plate No. LVA-137, driven by one Temestocles Relova v. Antero, of legal age, cans as some of the warning-sign devices, considering that there is no allegation to
married and a resident of San Roque, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte, while traveling that effect in the answer of the defendants. The answer was just limited to the
along the National Highway, coming from the east going to the west direction, as it numbers 4 & 5 of the answer. And, therefore, if we follow the rule of the binding
moves along the way and upon reaching Brgy. Sumilihon, Butuan City to evade effect of an allegation in the complaint, then the party will not be allowed to
bumping to the approaching Nissan Ice Van with Plate No. PNT-247, driven by one introduce evidence to attack jointly or rather the same, paragraph 5 states, warning
Rogelio Cortez y Ceneza. As the result, the Joana Paula Bus accidentally device consisting of 3 banana trunks, banana items and leaves were filed. He can
busideswept (sic) to the parked Prime Mover with Trailer loaded with be cross-examined in the point, Your Honor.
Bulldozer without early warning device, instead placing only dry banana leaves
three (3) meters at the rear portion of the Trailer, while failure to place at the front COURT:
portion, and the said vehicle occupied the whole lane. As the result, the Joana
Paula Bus hit to the left edge blade of the Bulldozer. Thus, causing the said bus Q. Put that on record that as far as this tin cans are concerned, the plaintiffs are
swept to the narrow shouldering, removing the rear four (4) wheels including the interposing continuing objections. But the Court will allow the question.25
differential and injuring the above-stated twelve (12) passengers and damaged to
the right side fender above the rear wheel. Thus, causing damage on it. While the
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We thus agree with the RTC that Limbaga did not place lighted tin cans on the front and rear The ruling in Bataclan has been repeatedly cited in subsequent cases as authority for the
of the prime mover. We give more credence to the traffic incident report and the testimony of proposition that the damage or injury must be a natural or probable result of the act or
SPO4 Pame that only banana leaves were placed on the vehicle. Baliwag Transit, Inc. v. omission. Here, We agree with the RTC that the damage caused to the Nissan van was a
Court of Appeals26 thus finds no application to the case at bar. natural and probable result of the improper parking of the prime mover with trailer. As
discussed, the skewed parking of the prime mover posed a serious risk to oncoming
The skewed parking of the prime mover was the proximate cause of the collision. motorists. Limbaga failed to prevent or minimize that risk. The skewed parking of the prime
mover triggered the series of events that led to the collision, particularly the swerving of the
passenger bus and the Nissan van.
Proximate cause is defined as that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence,
unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result
would not have occurred. More comprehensively, proximate cause is that cause acting first Private respondents Liberty Forest, Inc. and Limbaga are liable for all damages that resulted
and producing the injury, either immediately or by setting other events in motion, all from the skewed parking of the prime mover. Their liability includes those damages resulting
constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection from precautionary measures taken by other motorist in trying to avoid collision with the
with its immediate predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately effecting the injury parked prime mover. As We see it, the passenger bus swerved to the right, onto the lane of
as natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, under such circumstances that the Nissan van, to avoid colliding with the improperly parked prime mover. The driver of the
the person responsible for the first event should, as an ordinarily prudent and intelligent Nissan van, Ortiz, reacted swiftly by swerving to the left, onto the lane of the passenger bus,
person, have reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his act or default that an injury hitting the parked prime mover. Ortiz obviously would not have swerved if not for the
to some person might probably result therefrom.27 passenger bus abruptly occupying his van’s lane. The passenger bus, in turn, would not
have swerved to the lane of the Nissan van if not for the prime mover improperly parked on
its lane. The skewed parking is the proximate cause of the damage to the Nissan van.
There is no exact mathematical formula to determine proximate cause. It is based upon
mixed considerations of logic, common sense, policy and precedent. 28 Plaintiff must,
however, establish a sufficient link between the act or omission and the damage or injury. In Phoenix Construction, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court,30 this Court held that a similar
That link must not be remote or far-fetched; otherwise, no liability will attach. The damage or vehicular collision was caused by the skewed parking of a dump truck on the national road,
injury must be a natural and probable result of the act or omission. In the precedent- thus:
setting Vda. de Bataclan v. Medina,29 this Court discussed the necessary link that must be
established between the act or omission and the damage or injury, viz.: The conclusion we draw from the factual circumstances outlined above is that
private respondent Dionisio was negligent the night of the accident. He was
It may be that ordinarily, when a passenger bus overturns, and pins down a hurrying home that night and driving faster than he should have been. Worse, he
passenger, merely causing him physical injuries, if through some event, unexpected extinguished his headlights at or near the intersection of General Lacuna and
and extraordinary, the overturned bus is set on fire, say, by lightning, or if some General Santos Streets and thus did not see the dump truck that was parked askew
highwaymen after looting the vehicle sets it on fire, and the passenger is burned to and sticking out onto the road lane.
death, one might still contend that the proximate cause of his death was the fire and
not the overturning of the vehicle. But in the present case and under the Nonetheless, we agree with the Court of First Instance and the Intermediate
circumstances obtaining in the same, we do not hesitate to hold that the proximate Appellate Court that the legal and proximate cause of the accident and of Dionisio’s
cause of the death of Bataclan was the overturning of the bus, this for the reason injuries was the wrongful or negligent manner in which the dump truck was parked –
that when the vehicle turned not only on its side but completely on its back, the in other words, the negligence of petitioner Carbonel. That there was a reasonable
leaking of the gasoline from the tank was not unnatural or unexpected; that the relationship between petitioner Carbonel’s negligence on the one hand and the
coming of the men with a lighted torch was in response to the call for help, made accident and respondent’s injuries on the other hand, is quite clear. Put in a slightly
not only by the passengers, but most probably, by the driver and the conductor different manner, the collision of Dionisio’s car with the dump truck was a natural
themselves, and that because it was very dark (about 2:30 in the morning), the and foreseeable consequence of the truck driver’s negligence.
rescuers had to carry a light with them; and coming as they did from a rural area
where lanterns and flashlights were not available, they had to use a torch, the most xxxx
handy and available; and what was more natural than that said rescuers should
innocently approach the overturned vehicle to extend the aid and effect the rescue
requested from them. In other words, the coming of the men with the torch was to We believe, secondly, that the truck driver’s negligence far from being a