PHILIPPINE AIRLINES vs. COURT OF APPEALS and LEOVIGILDO A.

PANTEJO 275 SCRA 621 July 17, 1997 FACTS: On October 23, 1988, Leovegildo Pantejo, then City Fiscal of Surigao City, boarded a PAL plane in Manila and disembarked in Cebu City where he was supposed to take his connecting flight to Surigao City. However, due to typhoon Osang, the connecting flight to Surigao City was cancelled. PAL initially gave out cash assistance of P100 and, the next day, P200 for their expected stay of two days in Cebu. Pantejo requested instead that he be accommodated in a hotel at the expense of PAL as he did not have cash with him at that time but PAL refused. Fortunately, Pantejo was accommodated by Andoni Dumlao and he shared a room with the latter at Sky View Hotel with the promise to pay his share of the expenses upon reaching Surigao. When the flight for Surigao was resumed, Pantejo was informed that the hotel expenses of his co-passengers were reimbursed by PAL. At this point, Pantejo informed the Manager for Departure Services of PAL at Mactan Airport that he was going to sue the airline for discriminating against him. The manager offered to pay Pantejo P300 which the latter declined. Pantejo filed a suit for damages against PAL in the Regional Trial Court of Surigao City. Said court rendered judgment in favor of Pantejo, ordering PAL to pay Pantejo P300 for actual damages, P150,000 as moral damages, P100,000 as exemplary damages, P15,000 as attorney's fees, and 6% interest from the time of the filing of the complaint until said amounts shall have been fully paid, plus costs of suit. On appeal, CA affirmed the decision, but with the exclusion of the award of attorney's fees and litigation expenses. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether or not PAL was liable for damages. HELD: Yes. A contract to transport passengers is quite different in kind and degree from any other contractual relation because of the relation which an air carrier sustains with the public. Its business is mainly with the travelling public. It invites people to avail of the comforts and advantages it offers. The contract of air carriage, therefore, generates a relation attended with a public duty. Neglect or malfeasance of the carrier's employees naturally could give ground for an action for damages. In this case, there was bad faith on the part of PAL. Contrary to the claim of PAL that cash assistance was given instead because of non-availability of rooms in hotels, the evidence showed that Sky View Hotel, where respondent Pantejo was billeted, had plenty of rooms available. Pantejo only came to know about the reimbursements when other passengers informed him that they were able to obtain the refund for their own hotel expenses. PAL offered to pay P300.00 to Pantejo only after the latter had confronted the manager of PAL about the discrimination committed against Pantejo, which the manager realized was an actionable wrong. The hotel accommodation was not a mere amenity or privilege. It was a company policy whenever a flight is cancelled as testified by several witnesses. And even if it was a mere privilege, PAL was still liable for damages for its blatant refusal to accord the so-called amenities equally to all its stranded passengers. No compelling or justifying reason was advanced for such discriminatory and prejudicial conduct. It was not also true that Pantejo was not listening to the announcements. In fact, Pantejo immediately proceeded to the office of PAL and requested for hotel accommodations. He was not only refused accommodations, but he was not even informed that he may G.R. No. 120262

The refund of hotel expenses was surreptitiously and discriminatorily made by PAL as only handful of passengers knew about it. The judgment of Court of Appeals was AFFIRMED. . such inattention to and lack of care by petitioner airline for the interest of its passengers who were entitled to its utmost consideration. But the interest of 6% imposed should be computed from the date of rendition of judgment and not from the filing of the complaint. As held in Alitalia Airways vs. The discriminatory act of PAL against Pantejo made PAL liable for moral damages under Article 21 in relation to Article 2219 (10) of the Civil Code.later on be reimbursed for his hotel expenses. particularly as to their convenience. moral and exemplary damages granted in the judgment of CA were just and equitable. amounted to bad faith which entitled the passenger to the award of moral damages. subject to the MODIFICATION regarding the computation of the 6% legal rate of interest on the monetary awards granted therein to private respondent. Under the peculiar circumstances of this case. Pantejo was exposed to humiliation and embarrassment especially because of his government position and social prominence. CA. the awards for actual.