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C. CAUSATION being carried by Bataclan to Pasay City for sale and which was lost in the fire.

say City for sale and which was lost in the fire. The plaintiffs
and the defendants appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals, but the latter endorsed the
EN BANC appeal to us because of the value involved in the claim in the complaint.
G.R. No. L-10126 October 22, 1957
SALUD VILLANUEVA VDA. DE BATACLAN and the minors NORMA, LUZVIMINDA, Our new Civil Code amply provides for the responsibility of common carrier to its passengers
ELENITA, OSCAR and ALFREDO BATACLAN, represented by their Natural guardian, and their goods. For purposes of reference, we are reproducing the pertinent codal provisions:
SALUD VILLANUEVA VDA. DE BATACLAN, plaintiffs-appellants, ART. 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for reasons of public
vs. policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods and for
MARIANO MEDINA, defendant-appellant. the safety of the passengers transported by them, according to all the circumstances of each
Lope E. Adriano, Emmanuel Andamo and Jose R. Francisco for plaintiffs-appellants. case.
Fortunato Jose for defendant and appellant.
Such extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods is further expressed in articles
MONTEMAYOR, J.: 1734, 1735, and 1745, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, while the extra ordinary diligence for the safety of the
Shortly after midnight, on September 13, 1952 bus no. 30 of the Medina Transportation, passengers is further set forth in articles 1755 and 1756.
operated by its owner defendant Mariano Medina under a certificate of public convenience,
left the town of Amadeo, Cavite, on its way to Pasay City, driven by its regular chauffeur, ART. 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human care
Conrado Saylon. There were about eighteen passengers, including the driver and conductor. and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due
Among the passengers were Juan Bataclan, seated beside and to the right of the driver, regard for all the circumstances.
Felipe Lara, sated to the right of Bataclan, another passenger apparently from the Visayan
Islands whom the witnesses just called Visaya, apparently not knowing his name, seated in ART. 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers are presumed to
the left side of the driver, and a woman named Natalia Villanueva, seated just behind the four have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they observed
last mentioned. At about 2:00 o'clock that same morning, while the bus was running within the extraordinary diligence as prescribed in articles 1733 and 1755
jurisdiction of Imus, Cavite, one of the front tires burst and the vehicle began to zig-zag until it
fell into a canal or ditch on the right side of the road and turned turtle. Some of the passengers ART. 1759. Common carriers are liable for the death of or injuries to passengers through the
managed to leave the bus the best way they could, others had to be helped or pulled out, negligence or willful acts of the former's employees, although such employees may have
while the three passengers seated beside the driver, named Bataclan, Lara and the Visayan acted beyond the scope of their authority or in violation of the order of the common carriers.
and the woman behind them named Natalia Villanueva, could not get out of the overturned This liability of the common carriers does not cease upon proof that they exercised all the
bus. Some of the passengers, after they had clambered up to the road, heard groans and diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of their employees.
moans from inside the bus, particularly, shouts for help from Bataclan and Lara, who said they
could not get out of the bus. There is nothing in the evidence to show whether or not the ART. 1763. A common carrier responsible for injuries suffered by a passenger on account of
passengers already free from the wreck, including the driver and the conductor, made any the willful acts or negligence of other passengers or of strangers, if the common carrier's
attempt to pull out or extricate and rescue the four passengers trapped inside the vehicle, but employees through the exercise of the diligence of a good father of a family could have
calls or shouts for help were made to the houses in the neighborhood. After half an hour, prevented or stopped the act or omission.
came about ten men, one of them carrying a lighted torch made of bamboo with a wick on one
end, evidently fueled with petroleum. These men presumably approach the overturned bus, We agree with the trial court that the case involves a breach of contract of transportation for
and almost immediately, a fierce fire started, burning and all but consuming the bus, including hire, the Medina Transportation having undertaken to carry Bataclan safely to his destination,
the four passengers trapped inside it. It would appear that as the bus overturned, gasoline Pasay City. We also agree with the trial court that there was negligence on the part of the
began to leak and escape from the gasoline tank on the side of the chassis, spreading over defendant, through his agent, the driver Saylon. There is evidence to show that at the time of
and permeating the body of the bus and the ground under and around it, and that the lighted the blow out, the bus was speeding, as testified to by one of the passengers, and as shown by
torch brought by one of the men who answered the call for help set it on fire. the fact that according to the testimony of the witnesses, including that of the defense, from
the point where one of the front tires burst up to the canal where the bus overturned after zig-
That same day, the charred bodies of the four deemed passengers inside the bus were zaging, there was a distance of about 150 meters. The chauffeur, after the blow-out, must
removed and duly identified that of Juan Bataclan. By reason of his death, his widow, Salud have applied the brakes in order to stop the bus, but because of the velocity at which the bus
Villanueva, in her name and in behalf of her five minor children, brought the present suit to must have been running, its momentum carried it over a distance of 150 meters before it fell
recover from Mariano Medina compensatory, moral, and exemplary damages and attorney's into the canal and turned turtle.
fees in the total amount of P87,150. After trial, the Court of First Instance of Cavite awarded
P1,000 to the plaintiffs plus P600 as attorney's fee, plus P100, the value of the merchandise
There is no question that under the circumstances, the defendant carrier is liable. The only As regard the damages to which plaintiffs are entitled, considering the earning capacity of the
question is to what degree. The trial court was of the opinion that the proximate cause of the deceased, as well as the other elements entering into a damage award, we are satisfied that
death of Bataclan was not the overturning of the bus, but rather, the fire that burned the bus, the amount of SIX THOUSAND (P6,000) PESOS would constitute satisfactory compensation,
including himself and his co-passengers who were unable to leave it; that at the time the fire this to include compensatory, moral, and other damages. We also believe that plaintiffs are
started, Bataclan, though he must have suffered physical injuries, perhaps serious, was still entitled to attorney's fees, and assessing the legal services rendered by plaintiffs' attorneys
alive, and so damages were awarded, not for his death, but for the physical injuries suffered not only in the trial court, but also in the course of the appeal, and not losing sight of the able
by him. We disagree. A satisfactory definition of proximate cause is found in Volume 38, briefs prepared by them, the attorney's fees may well be fixed at EIGHT HUNDRED (P800)
pages 695-696 of American jurisprudence, cited by plaintiffs-appellants in their brief. It is as PESOS for the loss of merchandise carried by the deceased in the bus, is adequate and will
follows: not be disturbed.
. . . '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.' There is one phase of this case which disturbs if it does not shock us. According to the
And more comprehensively, 'the proximate legal cause is that acting first and producing the evidence, one of the passengers who, because of the injuries suffered by her, was
injury, either immediately or by setting other events in motion, all constituting a natural and hospitalized, and while in the hospital, she was visited by the defendant Mariano Medina, and
continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection with its immediate in the course of his visit, she overheard him speaking to one of his bus inspectors, telling said
predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately effecting the injury as a natural and inspector to have the tires of the bus changed immediately because they were already old,
probable result of the cause which first acted, under such circumstances that the person and that as a matter of fact, he had been telling the driver to change the said tires, but that the
responsible for the first event should, as an ordinary prudent and intelligent person, have driver did not follow his instructions. If this be true, it goes to prove that the driver had not
reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his act or default that an injury to some person been diligent and had not taken the necessary precautions to insure the safety of his
might probably result therefrom. 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 out
It may be that ordinarily, when a passenger bus overturns, and pins down a passenger, would not have occurred. All in all, there is reason to believe that the driver operated and
merely causing him physical injuries, if through some event, unexpected and extraordinary, drove his vehicle negligently, resulting in the death of four of his passengers, physical injuries
the overturned bus is set on fire, say, by lightning, or if some highwaymen after looting the to others, and the complete loss and destruction of their goods, and yet the criminal case
vehicle sets it on fire, and the passenger is burned to death, one might still contend that the against him, on motion of the fiscal and with his consent, was provisionally dismissed,
proximate cause of his death was the fire and not the overturning of the vehicle. But in the because according to the fiscal, the witnesses on whose testimony he was banking to support
present case under the circumstances obtaining in the same, we do not hesitate to hold that the complaint, either failed or appear or were reluctant to testify. But the record of the case
the proximate cause was the overturning of the bus, this for the reason that when the vehicle before us shows the several witnesses, passengers, in that bus, willingly and unhesitatingly
turned not only on its side but completely on its back, the leaking of the gasoline from the tank testified in court to the effect of the said driver was negligent. In the public interest the
was not unnatural or unexpected; that the coming of the men with a lighted torch was in prosecution of said erring driver should be pursued, this, not only as a matter of justice, but for
response to the call for help, made not only by the passengers, but most probably, by the the promotion of the safety of passengers on public utility buses. Let a copy of this decision be
driver and the conductor themselves, and that because it was dark (about 2:30 in the furnished the Department of Justice and the Provincial Fiscal of Cavite.
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 said In view of the foregoing, with the modification that the damages awarded by the trial court are
rescuers should innocently approach the vehicle to extend the aid and effect the rescue increased from ONE THOUSAND (P1,000) PESOS TO SIX THOUSAND (P6,000) PESOS,
requested from them. In other words, the coming of the men with a torch was to be expected and from SIX HUNDRED PESOS TO EIGHT HUNDRED (P800) PESOS, for the death of
and was a natural sequence of the overturning of the bus, the trapping of some of its Bataclan and for the attorney's fees, respectively, the decision appealed is from hereby
passengers and the call for outside help. What is more, the burning of the bus can also in part affirmed, with costs.
be attributed to the negligence of the carrier, through is driver and its conductor. According to
the witness, the driver and the conductor were on the road walking back and forth. They, or at
least, the driver should and must have known that in the position in which the overturned bus
was, gasoline could and must have leaked from the gasoline tank and soaked the area in and
around the bus, this aside from the fact that gasoline when spilled, specially over a large area,
can be smelt and directed even from a distance, and yet neither 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 agents of the carrier come under the
codal provisions above-reproduced, particularly, Articles 1733, 1759 and 1763.
FIRST DIVISION the untold sorrows and frustration in life experienced by plaintiff and his family since the accident in
G.R. No. L-65295 March 10, 1987 controversy up to the present time;
PHOENIX CONSTRUCTION, INC. and ARMANDO U. CARBONEL, petitioners, (4) To pay plaintiff jointly and severally the sum of P 10,000.00 as damages for the wanton disregard of
vs. defendants to settle amicably this case with the plaintiff before the filing of this case in court for a smaller
amount.
THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and LEONARDO DIONISIO, respondents.
(5) To pay the plaintiff jointly and severally the sum of P 4,500.00 due as and for attorney's fees; and
(6) The cost of suit. (Emphasis supplied)
FELICIANO, J:
In the early morning of 15 November 1975 at about 1:30 a.m. private respondent Phoenix and Carbonel appealed to the Intermediate Appellate Court. That court in CA-G.R.
Leonardo Dionisio was on his way home he lived in 1214-B Zamora Street, Bangkal, No. 65476 affirmed the decision of the trial court but modified the award of damages to the
Makati from a cocktails-and-dinner meeting with his boss, the general manager of a following extent:
marketing corporation. During the cocktails phase of the evening, Dionisio had taken "a shot
or two" of liquor. Dionisio was driving his Volkswagen car and had just crossed the 1. The award of P15,000.00 as compensatory damages was reduced to P6,460.71, the latter
intersection of General Lacuna and General Santos Streets at Bangkal, Makati, not far from being the only amount that the appellate court found the plaintiff to have proved as actually sustained by
his home, and was proceeding down General Lacuna Street, when his car headlights (in his him;
allegation) suddenly failed. He switched his headlights on "bright" and thereupon he saw a 2. The award of P150,000.00 as loss of expected income was reduced to P100,000.00, basically
Ford dump truck looming some 2-1/2 meters away from his car. The dump truck, owned by because Dionisio had voluntarily resigned his job such that, in the opinion of the appellate court, his loss
and registered in the name of petitioner Phoenix Construction Inc. ("Phoenix"), was parked on of income "was not solely attributable to the accident in question;" and
the right hand side of General Lacuna Street (i.e., on the right hand side of a person facing in 3. The award of P100,000.00 as moral damages was held by the appellate court as excessive and
unconscionable and hence reduced to P50,000.00.
the same direction toward which Dionisio's car was proceeding), facing the oncoming traffic.
The award of P10,000.00 as exemplary damages and P4,500.00 as attorney's fees and costs remained
The dump truck was parked askew (not parallel to the street curb) in such a manner as to untouched.
stick out onto the street, partly blocking the way of oncoming traffic. There were no lights nor
any so-called "early warning" reflector devices set anywhere near the dump truck, front or This decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court is now before us on a petition for review.
rear. The dump truck had earlier that evening been driven home by petitioner Armando U. Both the trial court and the appellate court had made fairly explicit findings of fact relating to
Carbonel, its regular driver, with the permission of his employer Phoenix, in view of work the manner in which the dump truck was parked along General Lacuna Street on the basis of
scheduled to be carried out early the following morning, Dionisio claimed that he tried to avoid which both courts drew the inference that there was negligence on the part of Carbonel, the
a collision by swerving his car to the left but it was too late and his car smashed into the dump dump truck driver, and that this negligence was the proximate cause of the accident and
truck. As a result of the collision, Dionisio suffered some physical injuries including some Dionisio's injuries. We note, however, that both courts failed to pass upon the defense raised
permanent facial scars, a "nervous breakdown" and loss of two gold bridge dentures. by Carbonel and Phoenix that the true legal and proximate cause of the accident was not the
Dionisio commenced an action for damages in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga way in which the dump truck had been parked but rather the reckless way in which Dionisio
basically claiming that the legal and proximate cause of his injuries was the negligent manner had driven his car that night when he smashed into the dump truck. The Intermediate
in which Carbonel had parked the dump truck entrusted to him by his employer Phoenix. Appellate Court in its questioned decision casually conceded that Dionisio was "in some way,
Phoenix and Carbonel, on the other hand, countered that the proximate cause of Dionisio's negligent" but apparently failed to see the relevance of Dionisio's negligence and made no
injuries was his own recklessness in driving fast at the time of the accident, while under the further mention of it. We have examined the record both before the trial court and the
influence of liquor, without his headlights on and without a curfew pass. Phoenix also sought Intermediate Appellate Court and we find that both parties had placed into the record sufficient
to establish that it had exercised due rare in the selection and supervision of the dump truck evidence on the basis of which the trial court and the appellate court could have and should
driver. have made findings of fact relating to the alleged reckless manner in which Dionisio drove his
car that night. The petitioners Phoenix and Carbonel contend that if there was negligence in
The trial court rendered judgment in favor of Dionisio and against Phoenix and Carbonel and the manner in which the dump truck was parked, that negligence was merely a "passive and
ordered the latter: static condition" and that private respondent Dionisio's recklessness constituted an
(1) To pay plaintiff jointly and severally the sum of P 15,000.00 for hospital bills and the replacement of intervening, efficient cause determinative of the accident and the injuries he sustained. The
the lost dentures of plaintiff; need to administer substantial justice as between the parties in this case, without having to
(2) To pay plaintiff jointly and severally the sum of P 1,50,000.-00 as loss of expected income for plaintiff
remand it back to the trial court after eleven years, compels us to address directly the
brought about the accident in controversy and which is the result of the negligence of the defendants;
(3) To pay the plaintiff jointly and severally the sum of P 10,000. as moral damages for the unexpected contention put forward by the petitioners and to examine for ourselves the record pertaining to
and sudden withdrawal of plaintiff from his lifetime career as a marketing man; mental anguish, wounded Dionisio's alleged negligence which must bear upon the liability, or extent of liability, of
feeling, serious anxiety, social humiliation, besmirched reputation, feeling of economic insecurity, and Phoenix and Carbonel.
There are four factual issues that need to be looked into: (a) whether or not private We think that an automobile speeding down a street and suddenly smashing into a stationary
respondent Dionisio had a curfew pass valid and effective for that eventful night; (b) whether object in the dead of night is a sufficiently startling event as to evoke spontaneous, rather than
Dionisio was driving fast or speeding just before the collision with the dump truck; (c) whether reflective, reactions from observers who happened to be around at that time. The testimony of
Dionisio had purposely turned off his car's headlights before contact with the dump truck or Patrolman Cuyno was therefore admissible as part of the res gestae and should have been
whether those headlights accidentally malfunctioned moments before the collision; and (d) considered by the trial court. Clearly, substantial weight should have been ascribed to such
whether Dionisio was intoxicated at the time of the accident. testimony, even though it did not, as it could not, have purported to describe quantitatively the
As to the first issue relating to the curfew pass, it is clear that no curfew pass was found on precise velocity at winch Dionisio was travelling just before impact with the Phoenix dump
the person of Dionisio immediately after the accident nor was any found in his car. Phoenix's truck.
evidence here consisted of the testimony of Patrolman Cuyno who had taken Dionisio, A third related issue is whether Dionisio purposely turned off his headlights, or whether his
unconscious, to the Makati Medical Center for emergency treatment immediately after the headlights accidentally malfunctioned, just moments before the accident. The Intermediate
accident. At the Makati Medical Center, a nurse took off Dionisio's clothes and examined them Appellate Court expressly found that the headlights of Dionisio's car went off as he crossed
along with the contents of pockets together with Patrolman Cuyno. 1 Private respondent the intersection but was non-committal as to why they did so. It is the petitioners' contention
Dionisio was not able to produce any curfew pass during the trial. Instead, he offered the that Dionisio purposely shut off his headlights even before he reached the intersection so as
explanation that his family may have misplaced his curfew pass. He also offered a certification not to be detected by the police in the police precinct which he (being a resident in the area)
(dated two years after the accident) issued by one Major Benjamin N. Libarnes of the Zone knew was not far away from the intersection. We believe that the petitioners' theory is a more
Integrated Police Intelligence Unit of Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga, which was said credible explanation than that offered by private respondent Dionisio i.e., that he had his
to have authority to issue curfew passes for Pampanga and Metro Manila. This certification headlights on but that, at the crucial moment, these had in some mysterious if convenient way
was to the effect that private respondent Dionisio had a valid curfew pass. This certification malfunctioned and gone off, although he succeeded in switching his lights on again at "bright"
did not, however, specify any pass serial number or date or period of effectivity of the split seconds before contact with the dump truck.
supposed curfew pass. We find that private respondent Dionisio was unable to prove A fourth and final issue relates to whether Dionisio was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
possession of a valid curfew pass during the night of the accident and that the preponderance The evidence here consisted of the testimony of Patrolman Cuyno to the effect that private
of evidence shows that he did not have such a pass during that night. The relevance of respondent Dionisio smelled of liquor at the time he was taken from his smashed car and
possession or non-possession of a curfew pass that night lies in the light it tends to shed on brought to the Makati Medical Center in an unconscious condition. 7This testimony has to be
the other related issues: whether Dionisio was speeding home and whether he had indeed taken in conjunction with the admission of Dionisio that he had taken "a shot or two" of liquor
purposely put out his headlights before the accident, in order to avoid detection and possibly before dinner with his boss that night. We do not believe that this evidence is sufficient to
arrest by the police in the nearby police station for travelling after the onset of curfew without a show that Dionisio was so heavily under the influence of liquor as to constitute his driving a
valid curfew pass. motor vehicle per se an act of reckless imprudence. 8 There simply is not enough evidence to
On the second issue whether or not Dionisio was speeding home that night both the trial show how much liquor he had in fact taken and the effects of that upon his physical faculties
court and the appellate court were completely silent. or upon his judgment or mental alertness. We are also aware that "one shot or two" of hard
The defendants in the trial court introduced the testimony of Patrolman Cuyno who was at the liquor may affect different people differently.
scene of the accident almost immediately after it occurred, the police station where he was The conclusion we draw from the factual circumstances outlined above is that private
based being barely 200 meters away. Patrolman Cuyno testified that people who had respondent Dionisio was negligent the night of the accident. He was hurrying home that night
gathered at the scene of the accident told him that Dionisio's car was "moving fast" and did and driving faster than he should have been. Worse, he extinguished his headlights at or near
not have its headlights on. 2 Dionisio, on the other hand, claimed that he was travelling at a the intersection of General Lacuna and General Santos Streets and thus did not see the dump
moderate speed at 30 kilometers per hour and had just crossed the intersection of General truck that was parked askew and sticking out onto the road lane.
Santos and General Lacuna Streets and had started to accelerate when his headlights failed Nonetheless, we agree with the Court of First Instance and the Intermediate Appellate Court
just before the collision took place. 3 that the legal and proximate cause of the accident and of Dionisio's injuries was the wrongful
Private respondent Dionisio asserts that Patrolman Cuyno's testimony was hearsay and did or negligent manner in which the dump truck was parked in other words, the negligence of
not fag within any of the recognized exceptions to the hearsay rule since the facts he testified petitioner Carbonel. That there was a reasonable relationship between petitioner Carbonel's
to were not acquired by him through official information and had not been given by the negligence on the one hand and the accident and respondent's injuries on the other hand, is
informants pursuant to any duty to do so. Private respondent's objection fails to take account quite clear. Put in a slightly different manner, the collision of Dionisio's car with the dump truck
of the fact that the testimony of Patrolman Cuyno is admissible not under the official records was a natural and foreseeable consequence of the truck driver's negligence.
exception to the hearsay rule 4 but rather as part of the res gestae. 5 Testimonial evidence The petitioners, however, urge that the truck driver's negligence was merely a "passive and
under this exception to the hearsay rule consists of excited utterances made on the occasion static condition" and that private respondent Dionisio's negligence was an "efficient
of an occurrence or event sufficiently startling in nature so as to render inoperative the normal intervening cause and that consequently Dionisio's negligence must be regarded as the legal
reflective thought processes of the observer and hence made as a spontaneous reaction to and proximate cause of the accident rather than the earlier negligence of Carbonel. We note
the occurrence or event, and not the result of reflective thought. 6 that the petitioners' arguments are drawn from a reading of some of the older cases in various
jurisdictions in the United States but we are unable to persuade ourselves that these ... In all of these cases there is an intervening cause combining with the defendant's conduct
arguments have any validity for our jurisdiction. We note, firstly, that even in the United States, to produce the result and in each case the defendant's negligence consists in failure to protect
the distinctions between "cause" and "condition" which the 'petitioners would have us adopt the plaintiff against that very risk.
have already been "almost entirely discredited." Professors and Keeton make this quite clear:
Cause and condition. Many courts have sought to distinguish between the active "cause" of Obviously the defendant cannot be relieved from liability by the fact that the risk or a
the harm and the existing "conditions" upon which that cause operated. If the defendant has substantial and important part of the risk, to which the defendant has subjected the plaintiff
created only a passive static condition which made the damage possible, the defendant is has indeed come to pass. Foreseeable intervening forces are within the scope original risk,
said not to be liable. But so far as the fact of causation is concerned, in the sense of and hence of the defendant's negligence. The courts are quite generally agreed that
necessary antecedents which have played an important part in producing the result it is quite intervening causes which fall fairly in this category will not supersede the defendant's
impossible to distinguish between active forces and passive situations, particularly since, as is responsibility.
invariably the case, the latter are the result of other active forces which have gone before. The
defendant who spills gasoline about the premises creates a "condition," but the act may be Thus it has been held that a defendant will be required to anticipate the usual weather of the
culpable because of the danger of fire. When a spark ignites the gasoline, the condition has vicinity, including all ordinary forces of nature such as usual wind or rain, or snow or frost or
done quite as much to bring about the fire as the spark; and since that is the very risk which fog or even lightning; that one who leaves an obstruction on the road or a railroad track should
the defendant has created, the defendant will not escape responsibility. Even the lapse of a foresee that a vehicle or a train will run into it; ...
considerable time during which the "condition" remains static will not necessarily affect
liability; one who digs a trench in the highway may still be liable to another who fans into it a The risk created by the defendant may include the intervention of the foreseeable negligence
month afterward. "Cause" and "condition" still find occasional mention in the decisions; but the of others. ... [The standard of reasonable conduct may require the defendant to protect the
distinction is now almost entirely discredited. So far as it has any validity at all, it must refer to plaintiff against 'that occasional negligence which is one of the ordinary incidents of human
the type of case where the forces set in operation by the defendant have come to rest in a life, and therefore to be anticipated.' Thus, a defendant who blocks the sidewalk and forces
position of apparent safety, and some new force intervenes. But even in such cases, it is not the plaintiff to walk in a street where the plaintiff will be exposed to the risks of heavy traffic
the distinction between "cause" and "condition" which is important but the nature of the risk becomes liable when the plaintiff is run down by a car, even though the car is negligently
and the character of the intervening cause. 9 driven; and one who parks an automobile on the highway without lights at night is not relieved
of responsibility when another negligently drives into it. --- 10
We believe, secondly, that the truck driver's negligence far from being a "passive and static We hold that private respondent Dionisio's negligence was "only contributory," that the
condition" was rather an indispensable and efficient cause. The collision between the dump "immediate and proximate cause" of the injury remained the truck driver's "lack of due care"
truck and the private respondent's car would in an probability not have occurred had the dump and that consequently respondent Dionisio may recover damages though such damages are
truck not been parked askew without any warning lights or reflector devices. The improper subject to mitigation by the courts (Article 2179, Civil Code of the Philippines).
parking of the dump truck created an unreasonable risk of injury for anyone driving down Petitioners also ask us to apply what they refer to as the "last clear chance" doctrine. The
General Lacuna Street and for having so created this risk, the truck driver must be held theory here of petitioners is that while the petitioner truck driver was negligent, private
responsible. In our view, Dionisio's negligence, although later in point of time than the truck respondent Dionisio had the "last clear chance" of avoiding the accident and hence his
driver's negligence and therefore closer to the accident, was not an efficient intervening or injuries, and that Dionisio having failed to take that "last clear chance" must bear his own
independent cause. What the Petitioners describe as an "intervening cause" was no more injuries alone. The last clear chance doctrine of the common law was imported into our
than a foreseeable consequent manner which the truck driver had parked the dump truck. In jurisdiction by Picart vs. Smith 11 but it is a matter for debate whether, or to what extent, it has
other words, the petitioner truck driver owed a duty to private respondent Dionisio and others found its way into the Civil Code of the Philippines. The historical function of that doctrine in
similarly situated not to impose upon them the very risk the truck driver had created. Dionisio's the common law was to mitigate the harshness of another common law doctrine or rule that of
negligence was not of an independent and overpowering nature as to cut, as it were, the chain contributory negligence. 12 The common law rule of contributory negligence prevented any
of causation in fact between the improper parking of the dump truck and the accident, nor to recovery at all by a plaintiff who was also negligent, even if the plaintiff's negligence was
sever the juris vinculum of liability. It is helpful to quote once more from Professor and Keeton: relatively minor as compared with the wrongful act or omission of the defendant. 13 The
Foreseeable Intervening Causes. If the intervening cause is one which in ordinary human common law notion of last clear chance permitted courts to grant recovery to a plaintiff who
experience is reasonably to be anticipated or one which the defendant has reason to had also been negligent provided that the defendant had the last clear chance to avoid the
anticipate under the particular circumstances, the defendant may be negligence among other casualty and failed to do so. 14 Accordingly, it is difficult to see what role, if any, the common
reasons, because of failure to guard against it; or the defendant may be negligent only for that law last clear chance doctrine has to play in a jurisdiction where the common law concept of
reason. Thus one who sets a fire may be required to foresee that an ordinary, usual and contributory negligence as an absolute bar to recovery by the plaintiff, has itself been rejected,
customary wind arising later wig spread it beyond the defendant's own property, and therefore as it has been in Article 2179 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. 15
to take precautions to prevent that event. The person who leaves the combustible or explosive Is there perhaps a general concept of "last clear chance" that may be extracted from its
material exposed in a public place may foresee the risk of fire from some independent source. common law matrix and utilized as a general rule in negligence cases in a civil law jurisdiction
like ours? We do not believe so. Under Article 2179, the task of a court, in technical terms, is LAMBERT S. RAMOS, G.R. No. 184905 August 28, 2009
to determine whose negligence the plaintiff's or the defendant's was the legal or Petitioner,
proximate cause of the injury. That task is not simply or even primarily an exercise in Present:
chronology or physics, as the petitioners seem to imply by the use of terms like "last" or Ynares-Santiago, J. (Chairperson),
"intervening" or "immediate." The relative location in the continuum of time of the plaintiff's and - versus - Chico-Nazario,
the defendant's negligent acts or omissions, is only one of the relevant factors that may be Velasco, Jr.,
taken into account. Of more fundamental importance are the nature of the negligent act or Nachura, and
omission of each party and the character and gravity of the risks created by such act or Peralta, JJ.
omission for the rest of the community. The petitioners urge that the truck driver (and C.O.L. REALTY CORPORATION,
therefore his employer) should be absolved from responsibility for his own prior negligence Respondent. Promulgated:
because the unfortunate plaintiff failed to act with that increased diligence which had become
necessary to avoid the peril precisely created by the truck driver's own wrongful act or YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
omission. To accept this proposition is to come too close to wiping out the fundamental
principle of law that a man must respond for the forseeable consequences of his own The issue for resolution is whether petitioner can be held solidarily liable with his driver, Rodel
negligent act or omission. Our law on quasi-delicts seeks to reduce the risks and burdens of Ilustrisimo, to pay respondent C.O.L. Realty the amount of P51,994.80 as actual damages
living in society and to allocate them among the members of society. To accept the petitioners' suffered in a vehicular collision.
pro-position must tend to weaken the very bonds of society.
Petitioner Carbonel's proven negligence creates a presumption of negligence on the part of The facts, as found by the appellate court, are as follows:
his employer Phoenix 16 in supervising its employees properly and adequately. The
respondent appellate court in effect found, correctly in our opinion, that Phoenix was not able On or about 10:40 oclock in the morning of 8 March 2004, along Katipunan (Avenue), corner
to overcome this presumption of negligence. The circumstance that Phoenix had allowed its Rajah Matanda (Street), Quezon City, a vehicular accident took place between a Toyota Altis
truck driver to bring the dump truck to his home whenever there was work to be done early the Sedan bearing Plate Number XDN 210, owned by petitioner C.O.L. Realty Corporation, and
following morning, when coupled with the failure to show any effort on the part of Phoenix to driven by Aquilino Larin (Aquilino), and a Ford Expedition, owned by x x x Lambert Ramos
supervise the manner in which the dump truck is parked when away from company premises, (Ramos) and driven by Rodel Ilustrisimo (Rodel), with Plate Number LSR 917. A passenger of
is an affirmative showing of culpa in vigilando on the part of Phoenix. the sedan, one Estela Maliwat (Estela) sustained injuries. She was immediately rushed to the
Turning to the award of damages and taking into account the comparative negligence of hospital for treatment.
private respondent Dionisio on one hand and petitioners Carbonel and Phoenix upon the other
hand, 17 we believe that the demands of substantial justice are satisfied by allocating most of (C.O.L. Realty) averred that its driver, Aquilino, was slowly driving the Toyota Altis car at a
the damages on a 20-80 ratio. Thus, 20% of the damages awarded by the respondent speed of five to ten kilometers per hour along Rajah Matanda Street and has just crossed the
appellate court, except the award of P10,000.00 as exemplary damages and P4,500.00 as center lane of Katipunan Avenue when (Ramos) Ford Espedition violently rammed against the
attorney's fees and costs, shall be borne by private respondent Dionisio; only the balance of cars right rear door and fender. With the force of the impact, the sedan turned 180 degrees
80% needs to be paid by petitioners Carbonel and Phoenix who shall be solidarity liable towards the direction where it came from.
therefor to the former. The award of exemplary damages and attorney's fees and costs shall
be borne exclusively by the petitioners. Phoenix is of course entitled to reimbursement from Upon investigation, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City found probable cause to
Carbonel. 18 We see no sufficient reason for disturbing the reduced award of damages made indict Rodel, the driver of the Ford Expedition, for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage
by the respondent appellate court. to Property. In the meantime, petitioner demanded from respondent reimbursement for the
WHEREFORE, the decision of the respondent appellate court is modified by reducing the expenses incurred in the repair of its car and the hospitalization of Estela in the aggregate
aggregate amount of compensatory damages, loss of expected income and moral damages amount of P103,989.60. The demand fell on deaf ears prompting (C.O.L. Realty) to file a
private respondent Dionisio is entitled to by 20% of such amount. Costs against the Complaint for Damages based on quasi-delict before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Metro
petitioners. Manila (MeTC), Quezon City, docketed as Civil Case No. 33277, and subsequently raffled to
SO ORDERED. Branch 42.

As could well be expected, (Ramos) denied liability for damages insisting that it was the
negligence of Aquilino, (C.O.L. Realtys) driver, which was the proximate cause of the
accident. (Ramos) maintained that the sedan car crossed Katipunan Avenue from Rajah
Matanda Street despite the concrete barriers placed thereon prohibiting vehicles to pass
through the intersection.
liable with Rodel Ilustrisimo to pay petitioner C.O.L. Realty Corporation the amount of
(Ramos) further claimed that he was not in the vehicle when the mishap occurred. He P51,994.80 as actual damages. Petitioner C.O.L. Realty Corporations claim for exemplary
asserted that he exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and damages, attorneys fees and cost of suit are DISMISSED for lack of merit.
supervision of his driver, Rodel.
SO ORDERED.
Weighing the respective evidence of the parties, the MeTC rendered the Decision dated 1
March 2006 exculpating (Ramos) from liability, thus: Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration but it was denied. Hence, the instant petition,
which raises the following sole issue:
WHEREFORE, the instant case is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The Counterclaims of the
defendant are likewise DISMISSED for lack of sufficient factual and legal basis. THE COURT OF APPEALS DECISION IS CONTRARY TO LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE,
AND THE EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT AND JUSTIFY THE SAME IS INSUFFICIENT.
SO ORDERED.
We resolve to GRANT the petition.
The aforesaid judgment did not sit well with (C.O.L. Realty) so that he (sic) appealed the same
before the RTC of Quezon City, raffled to Branch 215, which rendered the assailed Decision There is no doubt in the appellate courts mind that Aquilinos violation of the MMDA prohibition
dated 5 September 2006, affirming the MeTCs Decision. (C.O.L. Realtys) Motion for against crossing Katipunan Avenue from Rajah Matanda Street was the proximate cause of
Reconsideration met the same fate as it was denied by the RTC in its Order dated 5 June the accident. Respondent does not dispute this; in its Comment to the instant petition, it even
2007.[1] conceded that petitioner was guilty of mere contributory negligence.[6]

C.O.L. Realty appealed to the Court of Appeals which affirmed the view that Aquilino was Thus, the Court of Appeals acknowledged that:
negligent in crossing Katipunan Avenue from Rajah Matanda Street since, as per Certification
of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) dated November 30, 2004, such The Certification dated 30 November 2004 of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority
act is specifically prohibited. Thus: (MMDA) evidently disproved (C.O.L. Realtys) barefaced assertion that its driver, Aquilino, was
not to be blamed for the accident
This is to certify that as per records found and available in this office the crossing of
vehicles at Katipunan Avenue from Rajah Matanda Street to Blue Ridge TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
Subdivision, Quezon City has (sic) not allowed since January 2004 up to the present in
view of the ongoing road construction at the area.[2] (Emphasis supplied) This is to certify that as per records found and available in this office the crossing of vehicles
at Katipunan Avenue from Rajah Matanda Street to Blue Ridge Subdivision, Quezon City has
(sic) not allowed since January 2004 up to the present in view of the ongoing road
Barricades were precisely placed along the intersection of Katipunan Avenue and Rajah construction at the area.
Matanda Street in order to prevent motorists from crossing Katipunan Avenue. Nonetheless,
Aquilino crossed Katipunan Avenue through certain portions of the barricade which were This certification is issued upon request of the interested parties for whatever legal purpose it
broken, thus violating the MMDA rule.[3] may serve.

However, the Court of Appeals likewise noted that at the time of the collision, Ramos vehicle (C.O.L. Realty) admitted that there were barricades along the intersection of Katipunan
was moving at high speed in a busy area that was then the subject of an ongoing construction Avenue and Rajah Matanda Street. The barricades were placed thereon to caution drivers not
(the Katipunan Avenue-Boni Serrano Avenue underpass), then smashed into the rear door to pass through the intersecting roads. This prohibition stands even if, as (C.O.L. Realty)
and fender of the passengers side of Aquilinos car, sending it spinning in a 180-degree claimed, the barriers were broken at that point creating a small gap through which any vehicle
turn.[4] It therefore found the driver Rodel guilty of contributory negligence for driving the Ford could pass. What is clear to Us is that Aquilino recklessly ignored these barricades and drove
Expedition at high speed along a busy intersection. through it. Without doubt, his negligence is established by the fact that he violated a traffic
regulation. This finds support in Article 2185 of the Civil Code
Thus, on May 28, 2008, the appellate court rendered the assailed Decision,[5] the dispositive
portion of which reads, as follows: Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person driving a motor vehicle has
been negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was violating any traffic regulation.
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated 5 September 2006 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City, Branch 215 is hereby MODIFIED in that respondent Lambert Ramos is held solidarily
Accordingly, there ought to be no question on (C.O.L. Realtys) negligence which resulted in Petitioner disagrees, arguing that since Aquilinos willful disregard of the MMDA prohibition
the vehicular mishap.[7] was the sole proximate cause of the accident, then respondent alone should suffer the
consequences of the accident and the damages it incurred. He argues:
However, it also declared Ramos liable vicariously for Rodels contributory negligence in
driving the Ford Expedition at high speed along a busy intersection. On this score, the 20. It becomes apparent therefore that the only time a plaintiff, the respondent herein, can
appellate court made the following pronouncement: recover damages is if its negligence was only contributory, and such contributory negligence
was the proximate cause of the accident. It has been clearly established in this case,
As a professional driver, Rodel should have known that driving his vehicle at a high speed in a however, that respondents negligence was not merely contributory, but the sole proximate
major thoroughfare which was then subject of an on-going construction was a perilous act. He cause of the accident.
had no regard to (sic) the safety of other vehicles on the road. Because of the impact of the
collision, (Aquilinos) sedan made a 180-degree turn as (Ramos) Ford Expedition careened xxxx
and smashed into its rear door and fender. We cannot exculpate Rodel from liability.
22. As culled from the foregoing, respondent was the sole proximate cause of the accident.
Having thus settled the contributory negligence of Rodel, this created a presumption of Respondents vehicle should not have been in that position since crossing the said intersection
negligence on the part of his employer, (Ramos). For the employer to avoid the solidary was prohibited. Were it not for the obvious negligence of respondents driver in crossing the
liability for a tort committed by his employee, an employer must rebut the presumption by intersection that was prohibited, the accident would not have happened. The crossing of
presenting adequate and convincing proof that in the selection and supervision of his respondents vehicle in a prohibited intersection unquestionably produced the injury, and
employee, he or she exercises the care and diligence of a good father of a family. Employers without which the accident would not have occurred. On the other hand, petitioners driver had
must submit concrete proof, including documentary evidence, that they complied with the right to be where he was at the time of the mishap. As correctly concluded by the RTC, the
everything that was incumbent on them. petitioners driver could not be expected to slacken his speed while travelling along said
intersection since nobody, in his right mind, would do the same. Assuming, however, that
(Ramos) feebly attempts to escape vicarious liability by averring that Rodel was highly petitioners driver was indeed guilty of any contributory negligence, such was not the proximate
recommended when he applied for the position of family driver by the Social Service cause of the accident considering that again, if respondents driver did not cross the prohibited
Committee of his parish. A certain Ramon Gomez, a member of the churchs livelihood intersection, no accident would have happened. No imputation of any lack of care on
program, testified that a background investigation would have to be made before an applicant Ilustrisimos could thus be concluded. It is obvious then that petitioners driver was not guilty of
is recommended to the parishioners for employment. (Ramos) supposedly tested Rodels any negligence that would make petitioner vicariously liable for damages.
driving skills before accepting him for the job. Rodel has been his driver since 2001, and
except for the mishap in 2004, he has not been involved in any road accident. 23. As the sole proximate cause of the accident was respondents own driver, respondent
cannot claim damages from petitioner.[9]
Regrettably, (Ramos) evidence which consisted mainly of testimonial evidence remained
unsubstantiated and are thus, barren of significant weight. There is nothing on the records
which would support (Ramos) bare allegation of Rodels 10-year unblemished driving record. On the other hand, respondent in its Comment merely reiterated the appellate courts findings
He failed to present convincing proof that he went to the extent of verifying Rodels and pronouncements, conceding that petitioner is guilty of mere contributory negligence, and
qualifications, safety record, and driving history. insisted on his vicarious liability as Rodels employer under Article 2184 of the Civil Code.

So too, (Ramos) did not bother to refute (C.O.L. Realtys) stance that his driver was texting Articles 2179 and 2185 of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts apply in this case, viz:
with his cellphone while running at a high speed and that the latter did not slow down albeit he
knew that Katipunan Avenue was then undergoing repairs and that the road was barricaded Article 2179. When the plaintiffs own negligence was the immediate and proximate cause of
with barriers. The presumption juris tantum that there was negligence in the selection of driver his injury, he cannot recover damages. But if his negligence was only contributory, the
remains unrebutted. As the employer of Rodel, (Ramos) is solidarily liable for the quasi-delict immediate and proximate cause of the injury being the defendants lack of due care, the
committed by the former. plaintiff may recover damages, but the courts shall mitigate the damages to be awarded.

Certainly, in the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to examine them Article 2185. Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person driving a motor
as to their qualifications, experience and service records. In the supervision of employees, the vehicle has been negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was violating any traffic regulation.
employer must formulate standard operating procedures, monitor their implementation and
impose disciplinary measures for the breach thereof. These, (Ramos) failed to do.[8] If the master is injured by the negligence of a third person and by the concurring contributory
negligence of his own servant or agent, the latters negligence is imputed to his superior
and will defeat the superiors action against the third person, assuming of course that the G.R. No. 90204 May 11, 1990
contributory negligence was the proximate cause of the injury of which complaint is made.[10] MANUEL BELARMINO, petitioner,
vs.
Applying the foregoing principles of law to the instant case, Aquilinos act of EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION and GOVERNMENT SERVICE
crossing Katipunan Avenue via Rajah Matanda constitutes negligence because it was INSURANCE SYSTEM, respondents.
prohibited by law. Moreover, it was the proximate cause of the accident, and thus precludes
any recovery for any damages suffered by respondent from the accident. GRIO-AQUINO, J.:
This seven-year-old case involves a claim for benefits for the death of a lady school teacher
Proximate cause is defined as that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, which the public respondents disallowed on the ground that the cause of death was not work-
unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result connected.
would not have 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 Before her death on February 19, 1982, petitioner's wife, Oania Belarmino, was a classroom
constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection teacher of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports assigned at the Buracan
with its immediate predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately effecting the injury as Elementary School in Dimasalang, Masbate (p. 13, Rollo). She had been a classroom teacher
a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, under such circumstances that the since October 18, 1971, or for eleven (11) years. Her husband, the petitioner, is also a public
person responsible for the first event should, as an ordinary prudent and intelligent person, school teacher.
have reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his act or default that an injury to some
person might probably result therefrom.[11] On January 14, 1982, at nine o'clock in the morning, while performing her duties as a
classroom teacher, Mrs. Belarmino who was in her 8th month of pregnancy, accidentally
If Aquilino heeded the MMDA prohibition against crossing Katipunan Avenue from Rajah slipped and fell on the classroom floor. Moments later, she complained of abdominal pain and
Matanda, the accident would not have happened. This specific untoward event is exactly what stomach cramps. For several days, she continued to suffer from recurrent abdominal pain and
the MMDA prohibition was intended for. Thus, a prudent and intelligent person who resides a feeling of heaviness in her stomach, but, heedless of the advice of her female co-teachers to
within the vicinity where the accident occurred, Aquilino had reasonable ground to expect that take a leave of absence, she continued to report to the school because there was much work
the accident would be a natural and probable result if he crossed Katipunan Avenue since to do. On January 25, 1982, eleven (11) days after her accident, she went into labor and
such crossing is considered dangerous on account of the busy nature of the thoroughfare and prematurely delivered a baby girl at home (p. 8, Rollo).
the ongoing construction of the Katipunan-Boni Avenue underpass. It was manifest error for
the Court of Appeals to have overlooked the principle embodied in Article 2179 of the Civil Her abdominal pains persisted even after the delivery, accompanied by high fever and
Code, that when the plaintiffs own negligence was the immediate and proximate cause of his headache. She was brought to the Alino Hospital in Dimasalang, Masbate on February 11,
injury, he cannot recover damages. 1982. Dr. Alfonso Alino found that she was suffering from septicemia post partum due to
infected lacerations of the vagina. She was discharged from the hospital after five (5) days on
Hence, we find it unnecessary to delve into the issue of Rodels contributory negligence, since February 16, 1982, apparently recovered but she died three (3) days later. The cause of death
it cannot overcome or defeat Aquilinos recklessness which is the immediate and proximate was septicemia post partum. She was 33 years old, survived by her husband and four (4)
cause of the accident. Rodels contributory negligence has relevance only in the event that children, the oldest of whom was 11 years old and the youngest, her newborn infant (p.
Ramos seeks to recover from respondent whatever damages or injuries he may have suffered 9, Rollo).
as a result; it will have the effect of mitigating the award of damages in his favor. In other
words, an assertion of contributory negligence in this case would benefit only the petitioner; it On April 21, 1983, a claim for death benefits was filed by her husband. On February 14, 1984,
could not eliminate respondents liability for Aquilinos negligence which is the proximate result it was denied by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) which held that
of the accident. 'septicemia post partum the cause of death, is not an occupational disease, and neither was
there any showing that aforesaid ailment was contracted by reason of her employment. . . .
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated May 28, The alleged accident mentioned could not have precipitated the death of the wife but rather
2008 in CA-G.R. SP No. 99614 and its Resolution of October 13, 2008 are the result of the infection of her lacerated wounds as a result of her delivery at home" (p.
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon 14 Rollo).
City, Branch 215 dated September 5, 2006 dismissing for lack of merit respondents complaint
for damages is hereby REINSTATED. On appeal to the Employees Compensation Commission, the latter issued Resolution No.
3913 dated July 8, 1988 holding:
SO ORDERED.
We agree with the decision of the system, hence we dismiss this appeal. Postpartum damage without the intervention of an independent cause. (Atlantic Gulf vs. Insular
septicemia is an acute infectious disease of the puerperium resulting from the entrance into Government, 10 Phil. 166,171.)
the blood of bacteria usually streptococci and their toxins which cause dissolution of the blood,
degenerative changes in the organs and the symptoms of intoxication. The cause of this The proximate legal cause is that acting first and producing the injury, either immediately or by
condition in the instant case was the infected vaginal lacerations resulting from the decedent's setting other events in motion, all constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, each
delivery of her child which took place at home. The alleged accident in school could not have having a close causal connection with its immediate predecessor the final event in the chain
been the cause of septicemia, which in this case is clearly caused by factors not inherent in immediately effecting the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted,
employment or in the working conditions of the deceased. (pp. 14-15, Rollo.) under such circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should, as an
ordinarily prudent and intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect at the moment of
Hence, this petition for review. his act or default that an injury to some person might probably result therefrom. (Bataclan v.
Medina, 102 Phil. 181.)
After a careful consideration of the petition and the annexes thereof, as well as the comments
of the public respondents, we are persuaded that the public respondents' peremptory denial of Thus in Enriquez v. WCC, 93 SCRA 366, 372, this Court ruled:
the petitioner's claim constitutes a grave abuse of discretion. . . . Verily, the right to compensation extends to disability due to disease supervening upon
and proximately and naturally resulting from a compensable injury (82 Am. Jur. 132). Where
Rule III, Section 1 of the Amended Rules on Employees' Compensation enumerates the the primary injury is shown to have arisen in the course of employment, every natural
grounds for compensability of injury resulting in disability or death of an employee, as follows: consequence that flows from the injury likewise arises out of the employment, unless it is the
Sec. 1. Grounds (a) For the injury and the resulting disability or death to be compensable, result of an independent intervening cause attributable to complainants own negligence or
the injury must be the result of an employment accident satisfying all of the following misconduct ( I Larson Workmen's Compensation Law 3-279 [1972]). Simply stated, all the
conditions: medical consequences and sequels that flow from the primary injury are compensable. (Ibid.)
(1) The employee must have been injured at the place where his work requires him to be; Mrs. Belarmino's fall was the primary injury that arose in the course of her employment as a
(2) The employee must have been performing his official functions; and classroom teacher, hence, all the medical consequences flowing from it: her recurrent
(3) If the injury is sustained elsewhere, the employee must have been executing an order for abdominal pains, the premature delivery of her baby, her septicemia post partum and death,
the employer. are compensable.
(b) For the sickness and the resulting disability or death to be compensable, the sickness
must be the result of an occupational disease listed under Annex "A" of these Rules with the There is no merit in the public respondents' argument that the cause of the decedent's post
conditions set therein satisfied; otherwise, proof must be shown that the risk of contracting the partum septicemia "was the infected vaginal lacerations resulting from the decedent's delivery
disease is increased by the working conditions. of her child at home" for the incident in school could not have caused septicemia post partum,
(c) Only injury or sickness that occurred on or after January 1, 1975 and the resulting disability . . . the necessary precautions to avoid infection during or after labor were (not) taken" (p.
or death shall be compensable under these Rules. 29, Rollo).

The illness, septicemia post partum which resulted in the death of Oania Belarmino, is The argument is unconvincing. It overlooks the fact that septicemia post partum is a disease
admittedly not listed as an occupational disease in her particular line of work as a classroom of childbirth, and premature childbirth would not have occurred if she did not accidentally fall in
teacher. However, as pointed out in the petition, her death from that ailment is compensable the classroom.
because an employment accident and the conditions of her employment contributed to its
development. The condition of the classroom floor caused Mrs. Belarmino to slip and fall and It is true that if she had delivered her baby under sterile conditions in a hospital operating
suffer injury as a result. The fall precipitated the onset of recurrent abdominal pains which room instead of in the unsterile environment of her humble home, and if she had been
culminated in the premature termination of her pregnancy with tragic consequences to her. attended by specially trained doctors and nurses, she probably would not have suffered
Her fall on the classroom floor brought about her premature delivery which caused the lacerations of the vagina and she probably would not have contracted the fatal infection.
development of post partum septicemia which resulted in death. Her fall therefore was the Furthermore, if she had remained longer than five (5) days in the hospital to complete the
proximate or responsible cause that set in motion an unbroken chain of events, leading to her treatment of the infection, she probably would not have died. But who is to blame for her
demise. inability to afford a hospital delivery and the services of trained doctors and nurses? The court
. . . what is termed in American cases the proximate cause, not implying however, as might be may take judicial notice of the meager salaries that the Government pays its public school
inferred from the word itself, the nearest in point of time or relation, but rather, [is] the efficient teachers. Forced to live on the margin of poverty, they are unable to afford expensive hospital
cause, which may be the most remote of an operative chain. It must be that which sets the care, nor the services of trained doctors and nurses when they or members of their families
others in motion and is to be distinguished from a mere preexisting condition upon which the are in. Penury compelled the deceased to scrimp by delivering her baby at home instead of in
effective cause operates, and must have been adequate to produce the resultant a hospital.
The Government is not entirely blameless for her death for it is not entirely blameless for her G.R. No. 92087 May 8, 1992
poverty. Government has yet to perform its declared policy "to free the people from poverty, SOFIA FERNANDO, in her behalf and as the legal guardian of her minor children,
provide adequate social services, extend to them a decent standard of living, and improve the namely: ALBERTO & ROBERTO, all surnamed FERNANDO, ANITA GARCIA, NICOLAS
quality of life for all (Sec. 7, Art. II, 1973 Constitution and Sec. 9, Art. II, 1987 Constitution). LIAGOSO, ROSALIA BERTULANO, in her behalf and as the legal guardian of her minor
Social justice for the lowly and underpaid public school teachers will only be an empty children, namely: EDUARDO, ROLANDO, DANIEL, AND JOCELYN, all surnamed
shibboleth until Government adopts measures to ameliorate their economic condition and BERTULANO, PRIMITIVA FAJARDO in her behalf and as legal guardian of her minor
provides them with adequate medical care or the means to afford it. "Compassion for the poor children, namely: GILBERT, GLEN, JOCELYN AND JOSELITO, all surnamed FAJARDO,
is an imperative of every humane society" (PLDT v. Bucay and NLRC, 164 SCRA 671, 673). and EMETERIA LIAGOSO, in her behalf and as guardian ad litem, of her minor
By their denial of the petitioner's claim for benefits arising from the death of his wife, the public grandchildren, namely: NOEL, WILLIAM, GENEVIEVE and GERRY, all surnamed
respondents ignored this imperative of Government, and thereby committed a grave abuse of LIAGOSO, petitioners,
discretion. vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND CITY OF DAVAO, respondents.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is granted. The respondents Employees
Compensation Commission and the Government Service Insurance System are ordered to MEDIALDEA, J.:
pay death benefits to the petitioner and/or the dependents of the late Oania Belarmino, with This is a petition for review on certiorari praying that the amended decision of the Court of
legal rate of interest from the filing of the claim until it is fully paid, plus attorney's fees Appeals dated January 11, 1990 in CA-G.R. No. C.V. 04846, entitled "Sofia Fernando, etc., et
equivalent to ten (10%) percent of the award, and costs of suit. al. v. The City of Davao," be reversed and that its original decision dated January 31, 1986 be
reinstated subject to the modification sought by the petitioners in their motion for partial
SO ORDERED. reconsideration dated March 6, 1986.
The antecedent facts are briefly narrated by the trial court, as follows:
From the evidence presented we see the following facts: On November 7, 1975, Bibiano
Morta, market master of the Agdao Public Market filed a requisition request with the Chief of
Property of the City Treasurer's Office for the re-emptying of the septic tank in Agdao. An
invitation to bid was issued to Aurelio Bertulano, Lito Catarsa, Feliciano Bascon, Federico
Bolo and Antonio Suer, Jr. Bascon won the bid. On November 26, 1975 Bascon was notified
and he signed the purchase order. However, before such date, specifically on November 22,
1975, bidder Bertulano with four other companions namely Joselito Garcia, William Liagoso,
Alberto Fernando and Jose Fajardo, Jr. were found dead inside the septic tank. The bodies
were removed by a fireman. One body, that of Joselito Garcia, was taken out by his uncle,
Danilo Garcia and taken to the Regional Hospital but he expired there. The City Engineer's
office investigated the case and learned that the five victims entered the septic tank without
clearance from it nor with the knowledge and consent of the market master. In fact, the septic
tank was found to be almost empty and the victims were presumed to be the ones who did the
re-emptying. Dr. Juan Abear of the City Health Office autopsied the bodies and in his reports,
put the cause of death of all five victims as "asphyxia" caused by the diminution of oxygen
supply in the body working below normal conditions. The lungs of the five victims burst,
swelled in hemmorrhagic areas and this was due to their intake of toxic gas, which, in this
case, was sulfide gas produced from the waste matter inside the septic tank. (p. 177,
Records)
On August 28, 1984, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this case is hereby DISMISSED without pronouncement as
to costs.
SO ORDERED. (Records, p. 181)
From the said decision, the petitioners appealed to the then Intermediate Appellate Court
(now Court of Appeals). On January 3, 1986, the appellate court issued a decision, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the facts fully established and in the liberal interpretation of what the 21291, March 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 674, 680). Under the law, a person who by his omission
Constitution and the law intended to protect the plight of the poor and the needy, the ignorant causes damage to another, there being negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done
and the (Article 2176, New Civil Code). As to what would constitute a negligent act in a given situation,
indigent more entitled to social justice for having, in the unforgettable words of Magsaysay, the case of Picart v. Smith (37 Phil. 809, 813) provides Us the answer, to wit:
"less in life," We hereby reverse and set aside the appealed judgment and render another The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case may be stated
one: as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that reasonable care and
1. Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiffs Dionisio Fernando, Sofia Fernando and her caution which an ordinarily prudent person would have used in the same situation? If not, then
minor children the following sums of money: he is guilty of negligence. The law here in effect adopts the standard supposed to be supplied
a) Compensatory damages for his death P30,000.00 by the imaginary conduct of the discreet pater familias of the Roman law. The existence of
b) Moral damages P20,000.00 negligence in a given case is not determined by reference to the personal judgment of the
2. Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiffs David Garcia and Anita Garcia the following actor in the situation before him. The law considers what would be reckless, blameworthy, or
sums of money: negligent in the man of ordinary intelligence and prudence and determines liability by that.
a) Compensatory damages for his death P30,000.00 The question as to what would constitute the conduct of a prudent man in a given situation
b) Moral damages P20,000.00 must of course be always determined in the light of human experience and in view of the facts
3. Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiff Rosalia Bertulano (sic) and her minor children involved in the particular case. Abstract speculation cannot here be of much value but this
the following sums of money much can be profitably said: Reasonable men govern their conduct by the circumstances
a) Compensatory damages for his death P30,000.00 which are before them or known to them. They are not, and are not supposed to be,
b) Moral damages P20,000.00 omniscient of the future. Hence they can be expected to take care only when there is
4. Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiff Primitiva Fajardo and her minor children the something before them to suggest or warn of danger. Could a prudent man, in the case under
following sums of money: consideration, foresee harm as a result of the course actually pursued? If so, it was the duty of
a) Compensatory damages for his death P30,000.00 the actor to take precautions to guard against that harm. Reasonable foresight of harm,
b) Moral damages P20,000.00 followed by the ignoring of the suggestion born of this provision, is always necessary before
5. Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiffs Norma Liagoso, Nicolas Liagoso and negligence can be held to exist. Stated in these terms, the proper criterion for determining the
Emeteria Liagoso and her minor grandchildren the following sums of money: existence of negligence in a given case is this: Conduct is said to be negligent when a prudent
a) Compensatory damages for his death P30,000.00 man in the position of the tortfeasor would have foreseen that an effect harmful to another was
b) Moral damages P20,000.00 sufficiently probable warrant his foregoing the conduct or guarding against its consequences.
The death compensation is fixed at P30,000.00 in accordance with the rulings of the Supreme (emphasis supplied)
Court starting with People vs. De la Fuente, Nos. L-63251-52, December 29, 1983, 126 SCRA To be entitled to damages for an injury resulting from the negligence of another, a claimant
518 reiterated in the recent case of People vs. Nepomuceno, No. L-41412, May 27, 1985. must establish the relation between the omission and the damage. He must prove under
Attorney's fees in the amount of P10,000.00 for the handling of the case for the 5 victims is Article 2179 of the New Civil Code that the defendant's negligence was the immediate and
also awarded. proximate cause of his injury. Proximate cause has been defined as that cause, which, in
No pronouncement as to costs. natural and continuous sequence unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, pp. 33-34) injury, and without which the result would not have occurred (Vda. de Bataclan, et al. v.
Both parties filed their separate motions for reconsideration. On January 11, 1990, the Court Medina, 102 Phil. 181, 186). Proof of such relation of cause and effect is not an arduous one if
of Appeals rendered an Amended Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: the claimant did not in any way contribute to the negligence of the defendant. However, where
WHEREFORE, finding merit in the motion for reconsideration of the defendant-appellee the resulting injury was the product of the negligence of both parties, there exists a difficulty to
Davao City, the same is hereby GRANTED. The decision of this Court dated January 31, discern which acts shall be considered the proximate cause of the accident. In Taylor
1986 is reversed and set aside and another one is hereby rendered dismissing the case. No v. Manila Electric Railroad and Light Co. (16 Phil. 8, 29-30), this Court set a guideline for a
pronouncement as to costs. judicious assessment of the situation:
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 25) Difficulty seems to be apprehended in deciding which acts of the injured party shall be
Hence, this petition raising the following issues for resolution: considered immediate causes of the accident. The test is simple. Distinction must be made
1. Is the respondent Davao City guilty of negligence in the case at bar? between the accident and the injury, between the event itself, without which there could have
2. If so, is such negligence the immediate and proximate cause of deaths of the victims been no accident, and those acts of the victim not entering into it, independent of it, but
hereof? (p. 72, Rollo) contributing to his own proper hurt. For instance, the cause of the accident under review was
Negligence has been defined as the failure to observe for the protection of the interests of the displacement of the crosspiece or the failure to replace it. This produced the event giving
another person that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly occasion for damages that is, the sinking of the track and the sliding of the iron rails. To this
demand, whereby such other person suffers injury (Corliss v. Manila Railroad Company, L- event, the act of the plaintiff in walking by the side of the car did not contribute, although it was
an element of the damage which came to himself. Had the crosspiece been out of place A Yes, sir.
wholly or partly through his act or omission of duty, that would have been one of the Q How long have you been a resident of Agdao?
determining causes of the event or accident, for which he would have been responsible. A Since 1953.
Where he contributes to the principal occurrence, as one of its determining factors, he can not Q Where specifically in Agdao are you residing?
recover. Where, in conjunction with the occurrence, he contributes only to his own injury, he A At the Public Market.
may recover the amount that the defendant responsible for the event should pay for such Q Which part of the Agdao Public Market is your house located?
injury, less a sum deemed a suitable equivalent for his own imprudence. (emphasis Ours) A Inside the market in front of the fish section.
Applying all these established doctrines in the case at bar and after a careful scrutiny of the Q Do you know where the Agdao septic tank is located?
records, We find no compelling reason to grant the petition. We affirm. A Yes, sir.
Petitioners fault the city government of Davao for failing to clean a septic tank for the period of Q How far is that septic tank located from your house?
19 years resulting in an accumulation of hydrogen sulfide gas which killed the laborers. They A Around thirty (30) meters.
contend that such failure was compounded by the fact that there was no warning sign of the Q Have you ever had a chance to use that septic tank (public toilet)?
existing danger and no efforts exerted by the public respondent to neutralize or render A Yes, sir.
harmless the effects of the toxic gas. They submit that the public respondent's gross Q How many times, if you could remember?
negligence was the proximate cause of the fatal incident. A Many times, maybe more than 1,000 times.
We do not subscribe to this view. While it may be true that the public respondent has been Q Prior to November 22, 1975, have you ever used that septic tank (public toilet)?
remiss in its duty to re-empty the septic tank annually, such negligence was not a continuing A Yes, sir.
one. Upon learning from the report of the market master about the need to clean the septic Q How many times have you gone to that septic tank (public toilet) prior to that date,
tank of the public toilet in Agdao Public Market, the public respondent immediately responded November 22, 1975?
by issuing invitations to bid for such service. Thereafter, it awarded the bid to the lowest A Almost 1,000 times. (TSN, February 9, 1983, pp. 1-2)
bidder, Mr. Feliciano Bascon (TSN, May 24, 1983, pp. 22-25). The public respondent, The absence of any accident was due to the public respondent's compliance with the sanitary
therefore, lost no time in taking up remedial measures to meet the situation. It is likewise an and plumbing specifications in constructing the toilet and the septic tank (TSN, November 4,
undisputed fact that despite the public respondent's failure to re-empty the septic tank since 1983, p. 51). Hence, the toxic gas from the waste matter could not have leaked out because
1956, people in the market have been using the public toilet for their personal necessities but the septic tank was air-tight (TSN, ibid, p. 49). The only indication that the septic tank in the
have remained unscathed. The testimonies of Messrs. Danilo Garcia and David Secoja case at bar was full and needed emptying was when water came out from it (TSN, September
(plaintiffs'-petitioners' witnesses) on this point are relevant, to wit: 13, 1983, p. 41). Yet, even when the septic tank was full, there was no report of any casualty
Atty. Mojica, counsel for defendant Davao City: of gas poisoning despite the presence of people living near it or passing on top of it or using
xxx xxx xxx the public toilet for their personal necessities.
The place where you live is right along the Agdao creek, is that correct? Petitioners made a lot of fuss over the lack of any ventilation pipe in the toilet to emphasize
DANILO GARCIA: the negligence of the city government and presented witnesses to attest on this lack.
A Yes, sir. However, this strategy backfired on their faces. Their witnesses were not expert witnesses.
Q And to be able to go to the market place, where you claim you have a stall,, you have to On the other hand, Engineer Demetrio Alindada of the city government testified and
pass on the septic tank? demonstrated by drawings how the safety requirements like emission of gases in the
A Yes, sir. construction of both toilet and septic tank have been complied with. He stated that the
Q Day in and day out, you pass on top of the septic tank? ventilation pipe need not be constructed outside the building as it could also be embodied in
A Yes, sir. the hollow blocks as is usually done in residential buildings (TSN, November 4, 1983, pp. 50-
Q Is it not a fact that everybody living along the creek passes on top of this septic tank as they 51). The petitioners submitted no competent evidence to corroborate their oral testimonies or
go out from the place and return to their place of residence, is that correct? rebut the testimony given by Engr. Alindada.
And this septic tank, rather the whole of the septic tank, is covered by lead . . .? We also do not agree with the petitioner's submission that warning signs of noxious gas
A Yes, sir. there is cover. should have been put up in the toilet in addition to the signs of "MEN" and "WOMEN" already
Q And there were three (3) of these lead covering the septic tank? in place in that area. Toilets and septic tanks are not nuisances per se as defined in Article
A Yes, sir. 694 of the New Civil Code which would necessitate warning signs for the protection of the
Q And this has always been closed? public. While the construction of these public facilities demands utmost compliance with safety
A Yes, sir. (TSN, November 26, 1979, pp. 21-23, emphasis supplied) and sanitary requirements, the putting up of warning signs is not one of those requirements.
ATTY. JOVER, counsel for the plaintiffs: The testimony of Engr. Alindada on this matter is elucidative:
Q You said you are residing at Davao City, is it not? ATTY. ALBAY:
DAVID SEJOYA:
Q Mr. Witness, you mentioned the several aspects of the approval of the building permit which fails to exhibit the care and skill of one ordinarily skilled in the particular work which he
include the plans of an architect, senitary engineer and electrical plans. All of these still pass attempts to do (emphasis Ours). The fatal accident in this case would not have happened but
your approval as building official, is that correct? for the victims' negligence. Thus, the appellate court was correct to observe that:
DEMETRIO ALINDADA: . . . Could the victims have died if they did not open the septic tank which they were not in the
A Yes. first place authorized to open? Who between the passive object (septic tank) and the active
Q So there is the sanitary plan submitted to and will not be approved by you unless the same subject (the victims herein) who, having no authority therefore, arrogated unto themselves, the
is in conformance with the provisions of the building code or sanitary requirements? task of opening the septic tank which caused their own deaths should be responsible for such
A Yes, for private building constructions. deaths. How could the septic tank which has been in existence since the 1950's be the
Q How about public buildings? proximate cause of an accident that occurred only on November 22, 1975? The stubborn fact
A For public buildings, they are exempted for payment of building permits but still they have to remains that since 1956 up to occurrence of the accident in 1975 no injury nor death was
have a building permit. caused by the septic tank. The only reasonable conclusion that could be drawn from the
Q But just the same, including the sanitary plans, it require your approval? above is that the victims' death was caused by their own negligence in opening the septic
A Yes, it requires also. tank. . . . (Rollo, p. 23)
Q Therefore, under the National Building Code, you are empowered not to approve sanitary Petitioners further contend that the failure of the market master to supervise the area where
plans if they are not in conformity with the sanitary requirements? the septic tank is located is a reflection of the negligence of the public respondent.
A Yes. We do not think so. The market master knew that work on the septic tank was still
Q Now, in private or public buildings, do you see any warning signs in the vicinity of septic forthcoming. It must be remembered that the bidding had just been conducted. Although the
tanks? winning bidder was already known, the award to him was still to be made by the Committee
A There is no warning sign. on Awards. Upon the other hand, the accident which befell the victims who are not in any way
Q In residential buildings do you see any warning sign? connected with the winning bidder happened before the award could be given. Considering
A There is none. that the case was yet no award to commence work on the septic tank, the duty of the market
ATTY. AMPIG: master or his security guards to supervise the work could not have started (TSN, September
We submit that the matter is irrelevant and immaterial, Your Honor. 13, 1983, p. 40). Also, the victims could not have been seen working in the area because the
ATTY. ALBAY: septic tank was hidden by a garbage storage which is more or less ten (10) meters away from
But that is in consonance with their cross-examination, your Honor. the comfort room itself (TSN, ibid, pp. 38-39). The surreptitious way in which the victims did
COURT: their job without clearance from the market master or any of the security guards goes against
Anyway it is already answered. their good faith. Even their relatives or family members did not know of their plan to clean the
ATTY. ALBAY: septic tank.
Q These warning signs, are these required under the preparation of the plans? Finally, petitioners' insistence on the applicability of Article 24 of the New Civil Code cannot be
A It is not required. sustained. Said law states:
Q I will just reiterate, Mr. Witness. In residences, for example like the residence of Atty. Ampig Art. 24. In all contractual, property or other relations, when one of the parties is at a
or the residence of the honorable Judge, would you say that the same principle of the septic disadvantage on account of his moral dependence, ignorance, indigence, mental weakness,
tank, from the water closet to the vault, is being followed? tender age or other handicap, the courts must be vigilant for his protection.
A Yes. We approve of the appellate court's ruling that "(w)hile one of the victims was invited to bid for
ATTY. ALBAY: said project, he did not win the bid, therefore, there is a total absence of contractual relations
That will be all, Your Honor. (TSN, December 6, 1983, pp. 62-63) between the victims and the City Government of Davao City that could give rise to any
In view of this factual milieu, it would appear that an accident such as toxic gas leakage from contractual obligation, much less, any liability on the part of Davao City." (Rollo, p. 24) The
the septic tank is unlikely to happen unless one removes its covers. The accident in the case accident was indeed tragic and We empathize with the petitioners. However, the herein
at bar occurred because the victims on their own and without authority from the public circumstances lead Us to no other conclusion than that the proximate and immediate cause of
respondent opened the septic tank. Considering the nature of the task of emptying a septic the death of the victims was due to their own negligence. Consequently, the petitioners cannot
tank especially one which has not been cleaned for years, an ordinarily prudent person should demand damages from the public respondent.
undoubtedly be aware of the attendant risks. The victims are no exception; more so with Mr. ACCORDINGLY, the amended decision of the Court of Appeals dated January 11, 1990 is
Bertulano, an old hand in this kind of service, who is presumed to know the hazards of the job. AFFIRMED. No costs.
His failure, therefore, and that of his men to take precautionary measures for their safety was SO ORDERED.
the proximate cause of the accident. In Culion Ice, Fish and Elect. Co., v. Phil. Motors
Corporation (55 Phil. 129, 133), We held that when a person holds himself out as being
competent to do things requiring professional skill, he will be held liable for negligence if he
G.R. No. L-40570 January 30, 1976 of Manuel Saynes that the broken wire was fixed at about 10:00 o'clock on the same morning
TEODORO C. UMALI, petitioner, by the lineman of the electric plant.
vs.
HON. ANGEL BACANI, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch IX of the Court of Petitioner claims that he could not be liable under the concept of quasi-delict or tort as owner
First Instance of Pangasinan and FIDEL H. SAYNES, respondents. and manager of the Alcala Electric Plant because the proximate cause of the boy's death
Julia M. Armas for petitioner. electrocution could not be due to any negligence on his part, but rather to a fortuitous event-
Antonio de los Reyes for private respondent. the storm that caused the banana plants to fall and cut the electric line-pointing out the
absence of negligence on the part of his employee Cipriano Baldomero who tried to have the
ESGUERRA, J.: line repaired and the presence of negligence of the parents of the child in allowing him to
Petition for certiorari to review the decision of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan leave his house during that time.
Branch IX, in Civil Case No. U2412, entitled, "Fidel H. Saynes, plaintiff-appellee versus
Teodoro C. Umali, defendant-appellant", which found the death by electrocution of Manuel A careful examination of the record convinces Us that a series of negligence on the part of
Saynes, a boy of 3 years and 8 months, as "due to the fault or negligence of the defendant defendants' employees in the Alcala Electric Plant resulted in the death of the victim by
(Umali) as owner and manager of the Alcala Electric Plant", although the liability of defendant electrocution. First, by the very evidence of the defendant, there were big and tall banana
is mitigated by the contributory negligence of the parents of the boy "in not providing for the plants at the place of the incident standing on an elevated ground which were about 30 feet
proper and delegate supervision and control over their son The dispositive part of the decision high and which were higher than the electric post supporting the electric line, and yet the
reads as follows: employees of the defendant who, with ordinary foresight, could have easily seen that even in
case of moderate winds the electric line would be endangered by banana plants being blown
Wherefore, the Court hereby renders judgment in favor of the plaintiff by ordering the down, did not even take the necessary precaution to eliminate that source of danger to the
defendant to pay to the plaintiff the sum of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) for the death of electric line. Second, even after the employees of the Alcala Electric Plant were already aware
his son, Manuel Saynes; the sum of One Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P1,200.00) for of the possible damage the storm of May 14, 1972, could have caused their electric lines, thus
actual expenses for and in connection with the burial of said deceased child, and the further becoming a possible threat to life and property, they did not cut off from the plant the flow of
sum of Three Thousand Pesos (P3,000.00) for moral damages and Five Hundred (P500.00) electricity along the lines, an act they could have easily done pending inspection of the wires
Pesos as reasonable attorney's fee, or a total of Nine Thousand Seven Hundred (P9,700.00) to see if they had been cut. Third, employee Cipriano Baldomero was negligent on the
Pesos, and to pay the costs of this suit. It Is So Ordered. morning of the incident because even if he was already made aware of the live cut wire, he
Undisputed facts appearing of record are: did not have the foresight to realize that the same posed a danger to life and property, and
that he should have taken the necessary precaution to prevent anybody from approaching the
On May 14, 1972, a storm with strong rain hit the Municipality of Alcala Pangasinan, which live wire; instead Baldomero left the premises because what was foremost in his mind was the
started from 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon and lasted up to about midnight of the same day. repair of the line, obviously forgetting that if left unattended to it could endanger life and
During the storm, the banana plants standing on an elevated ground along the barrio road in property.
San Pedro Ili of 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 On defendants' argument that the proximate cause of the victim's death could be attributed to
end of which was left hanging on the electric post and the other fell to the ground under the the parents' negligence in allowing a child of tender age to go out of the house alone, We
fallen banana plants. 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 Bueno of San Pedro Iii warning of its lethal character, anybody, even a responsible grown up or not necessarily an
who was passing by saw the broken electric wire and so he warned the people in the place innocent child, could have met the same fate that befell the victim. It may be true, as the lower
not to go near the wire for they might get hurt. He also saw Cipriano Baldomero, a laborer of Court found out, that the contributory negligence of the victim's parents in not properly taking
the Alcala Electric Plant near the place and notified him right then and there of the broken line care of the child, which enabled him to leave the house alone on the morning of the incident
and asked him to fix it, but the latter told the barrio captain that he could not do it but that he and go to a nearby place cut wire was very near the house (where victim was living) where the
was going to look for the lineman to fix it. fatal fallen wire electrocuted him, might mitigate respondent's liability, but we cannot agree
with petitioner's theory that the parents' negligence constituted the proximate cause of the
Sometime after the barrio captain and Cipriano Baldomero had left the place, a small boy of 3 victim's death because the real proximate cause was the fallen live wire which posed a threat
years and 8 months old by the name of Manuel P. Saynes, whose house is just on the to life and property on that morning due to the series of negligence adverted to above
opposite side of the road, went to the place where the broken line wire was and got in contact committed by defendants' employees and which could have killed any other person who might
with it. The boy was electrocuted and he subsequently died. It was only after the electrocution 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 morning where G.R. No. 1719 January 23, 1907
it not for the cut live wire he accidentally touched. M. H., RAKES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
Art. 2179 of the Civil Code provides that if the negligence of the plaintiff (parents of the victim THE ATLANTIC, GULF AND PACIFIC COMPANY, defendant-appellant.
in this case) was only contributory, the immediate and proximate cause of the injury being the A. D. Gibbs for appellant.
defendants' lack of due care, the plaintiff may recover damages, but the courts shall mitigate F. G. Waite, & Thimas Kepner for appellee.
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 TRACEY, J.:
defined in par. 4, of Article 2180 of the Civil Code, which states: This is an action for damages. The plaintiff, one of a gang of eight negro laborers in the
The owner and manager of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible for employment of the defendant, was at work transporting iron rails from a barge in the harbor to
damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter are the company's yard near the malecon in Manila. Plaintiff claims that but one hand car was
employed or on tile occasion of their functions. used in this work. The defendant has proved that there were two immediately following one
another, upon which were piled lengthwise seven rails, each weighing 560 pounds, so that the
The negligence of the employee is presumed to be the negligence of the employer because ends of the rails lay upon two crosspieces or sills secured to the cars, but without side pieces
the employer is supposed to exercise supervision over the work of the employees. This or guards to prevent them from slipping off. According to the testimony of the plaintiff, the men
liability of the employer is primary and direct (Standard Vacuum Oil Co. vs. Tan and Court of were either in the rear of the car or at its sides. According to that defendant, some of them
Appeals, 107 Phil. 109). In fact the proper defense for the employer to raise so that he may were also in front, hauling by a rope. At a certain spot at or near the water's edge the track
escape liability is to prove that he exercised, the diligence of the good father of the family to sagged, the tie broke, the car either canted or upset, the rails slid off and caught the plaintiff,
prevent damage not only in the selection of his employees but also in adequately supervising breaking his leg, which was afterwards amputated at about the knee.
them over their work. This defense was not adequately proven as found by the trial Court, and This first point for the plaintiff to establish was that the accident happened through the
We do not find any sufficient reason to deviate from its finding. negligence of the defendant. The detailed description by the defendant's witnesses of the
construction and quality of the track proves that if was up to the general stranded of tramways
Notwithstanding diligent efforts, we fail to fired any reversible error committed by the trial of that character, the foundation consisting on land of blocks or crosspieces of wood, by 8
Court in this case, either in its appreciation of the evidence on questions of facts or on the inches thick and from 8 to 10 feet long laid, on the surface of the ground, upon which at a right
interpretation and application of laws government quasi-delicts and liabilities emanating angle rested stringers of the same thickness, but from 24 to 30 feet in length. On the across
therefrom. The inevitable conclusion is that no error amounting to grave abuse of discretion the stringers the parallel with the blocks were the ties to which the tracks were fastened. After
was committed and the decision must be left untouched. the road reached the water's edge, the blocks or crosspieces were replaced with pilling,
capped by timbers extending from one side to the other. The tracks were each about 2 feet
WHEREFORE, the decision of respondent Court dated June 27, 1974 is affirmed. wide and the two inside rails of the parallel tracks about 18 inches apart. It was admitted that
Costs against petitioner. there were no side pieces or guards on the car; that where no ends of the rails of the track
met each other and also where the stringers joined, there were no fish plates. the defendant
SO ORDERED. has not effectually overcome the plaintiff's proof that the joints between the rails were
immediately above the joints between the underlying stringers.
The cause of the sagging of the tracks and the breaking of the tie, which was the immediate
occasion of the accident, is not clear in the evidence, but is found by the trial court and is
admitted in the briefs and in the argument to have been the dislodging of the crosspiece or
piling under the stringer by the water of the bay raised by a recent typhoon. The
superintendent of the company attributed it to the giving way of the block laid in the sand. No
effort was made to repair the injury at the time of the occurrence. According to plaintiffs
witnesses, a depression of the track, varying from one half inch to one inch and a half, was
therafter apparent to the eye, and a fellow workman of the plaintiff swears that the day before
the accident he called the attention of McKenna, the foreman, to it and asked by simply
straightening out the crosspiece, resetting the block under the stringer and renewing the tie,
but otherwise leaving the very same timbers as before. It has not proven that the company
inspected the track after the typhoon or had any proper system of inspection.
In order to charge the defendant with negligence, it was necessary to show a breach of duty
on its part in failing either to properly secure the load on iron to vehicles transporting it, or to
skillfully build the tramway or to maintain it in proper condition, or to vigilantly inspect and As an answer to the argument urged in this particular action it may be sufficient to point out
repair the roadway as soon as the depression in it became visible. It is upon the failure of the that nowhere in our general statutes is the employer penalized for failure to provide or
defendant to repair the weakened track, after notice of its condition, that the judge below maintain safe appliances for his workmen. His obligation therefore is one "not punished by the
based his judgment. law " and falls under civil rather than criminal jurisprudence. But the answer may be a broader
This case presents many important matters for our decision, and first among them is the one. We should be reluctant, under any conditions, to adopt a forced construction of these
standard of duty which we shall establish in our jurisprudence on the part of employees scientific codes, such as is proposed by the defendant, that would rob some of these articles
toward employees. of effect, would shut out litigants their will from the civil courts, would make the assertion of
The lack or the harshness of legal rules on this subject has led many countries to enact their rights dependent upon the selection for prosecution of the proper criminal offender, and
designed to put these relations on a fair basis in the form of compensation or liability laws or render recovery doubtful by reason of the strict rules of proof prevailing in criminal actions.
the institution of insurance. In the absence of special legislation we find no difficulty in so Even if these articles had always stood alone, such a construction would be unnecessary, but
applying the general principles of our law as to work out a just result. clear light is thrown upon their meaning by the provisions of the Law of Criminal Procedure of
Article 1092 of the Civil Code provides: Spain (Ley de Enjuiciamiento Criminal), which, though n ever in actual force in these Islands,
Civil obligations, arising from crimes or misdemeanors, shall be governed by the provisions of was formerly given a suppletory or explanatory effect. Under article 111 of this law, both
the Penal Code. classes of action, civil and criminal, might be prosecuted jointly or separately, but while the
And article 568 of the latter code provides: penal action was pending the civil was suspended. According to article 112, the penal action
He who shall execute through reckless negligence an act that if done with malice would once started, the civil remedy should be sought therewith, unless it had been waived by the
constitute a grave crime, shall be punished. party injured or been expressly reserved by him for civil proceedings for the future. If the civil
And article 590 provides that the following shall be punished: action alone was prosecuted, arising out of a crime that could be enforced by only on private
4. Those who by simple imprudence or negligence, without committing any infraction of complaint, the penal action thereunder should be extinguished. These provisions are in
regulations, shall cause an injury which, had malice intervened, would have constituted a harmony with those of articles 23 and 133 of our Penal Code on the same subject.
crime or misdemeanor. An examination of this topic might be carried much further, but the citations of these articles
And finally by articles 19 and 20, the liability of owners and employers for the faults of their suffices to show that the civil liability was not intended to be merged in the criminal nor even to
servants and representatives is declared to be civil and subsidiary in its character. be suspended thereby, except as expressly provided by law. Where an individual is civilly
It is contented by the defendant, as its first defense to the action, that the necessary liable for a negligent act or omission, it is not required that the inured party should seek out a
conclusion from these collated laws is that the remedy for injuries through negligence lies only third person criminally liable whose prosecution must be a condition precedent to the
in a criminal action in which the official criminally responsible must be made primarily liable enforcement of the civil right.
and his employer held only subsidiarily to him. According to this theory the plaintiff should Under article 20 of the Penal Code the responsibility of an employer may be regarded as
have procured the arrest of the representative of the company accountable for not repairing subsidiary in respect of criminal actions against his employees only while they are process of
the tract, and on his prosecution a suitable fine should have been imposed, payable primarily prosecution, or in so far as they determinate the existence of the criminal act from which
by him and secondarily by his employer. liability arises, and his obligation under the civil law and its enforcement in the civil courts is
This reasoning misconceived the plan of the Spanish codes upon this subject. Article 1093 of not barred thereby unless by election of the injured person. Inasmuch as no criminal in
the Civil Code makes obligations arising from faults or negligence not punished by the law, question, the provisions of the Penal Code can not affect this action. This construction renders
subject to the provisions of Chapter 11 of Title XVI. Section 1902 of that chapter reads: it unnecessary to finally determine here whether this subsidiary civil liability in penal actions
A person who by an act or omission causes damage to another when there is fault or survived the laws that fully regulated it or has been abrogated by the American civil and
negligence shall be obliged to repair the damage so done. criminal procedure now in force in the Philippines.
SEC. 1903. The obligation imposed by the preceding article is demandable, not only for The difficulty in construing the articles of the code above cited in this case appears from the
personal acts and omissions, but also for those of the persons for whom they should be briefs before us to have arisen from the interpretation of the words of article 1093, "fault or
responsible. negligence not punished by law," as applied to the comprehensive definition of offenses in
The father, and on his death or incapacity, the mother, is liable for the damages caused by the articles 568 and 590 of the Penal Code. It has been shown that the liability of an employer
minors who live with them. arising out of his relation to his employee who is the offender is not to be regarded as derived
xxx xxx xxx from negligence punished by the law, within the meaning of articles 1092 and 1093. More than
Owners or directors of an establishment or enterprise are equally liable for the damages this, however, it can not be said to fall within the class of acts unpunished by the law, the
caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter may be employed consequences of which are regulated by articles 1902 and 1903 of the Civil Code. The acts to
or in the performance of their duties. which these articles are applicable are understood to be those and growing out of preexisting
xxx xxx xxx duties of the parties to one another. But were relations already formed give rise to duties,
The liability referred to in this article shall cease when the persons mentioned therein prove whether springing from contract or quasi contract, then breaches of those duties are subject to
that they employed all the diligence of a good father of a family to avoid the damages. articles 1101, 1103, and 1104, of the same code. A typical application of the distinction may
be found in the consequences of a railway accident due to defective machinery supplied by the accident could not have occurred; consequently the negligence of the defendant is
the employer. His liability to his employee would arise out of the contract of employment, that established.
to the passengers out of the contract for passage. while that to that injured bystander would Another contention of the defense is that the injury resulted to the plaintiff as a risk incident to
originate in the negligent act itself. This distinction is thus clearly set forth by Manresa in his his employment and, as such, one assumed by him. It is evident that this can not be the case
commentary on article 1093. if the occurrence was due to the failure to repair the track or to duly inspect, it for the
We are with reference to such obligations, that culpa, or negligence, may be understood in employee is not presumed to have stipulated that the employer might neglect his legal duty.
two difference senses; either as culpa, substantive and independent, which on account of its Nor may it be excused upon the ground that the negligence leading to the accident was that of
origin arises in an obligation between two persons not formerly bound by any other obligation; a fellow-servant of the injured man. It is not apparent to us that the intervention of a third
or as an incident in the performance of an obligation; or as already existed, which can not be person can relieve the defendant from the performance of its duty nor impose upon the
presumed to exist without the other, and which increases the liability arising from the already plaintiff the consequences of an act or omission not his own. Sua cuique culpa nocet. This
exiting obligation. doctrine, known as "the fellow-servant, rule," we are not disposed to introduce into our
Of these two species of culpa the first one mentioned, existing by itself, may be also jurisprudence. Adopted in England by Lord Abinger in the case of Prescott vs. Fowler (3
considered as a real source of an independent obligation, and, as chapter 2, title 16 of this Meeson & Welsby, 1) in 1837, it has since been effectually abrogated by "the Employers'
book of the code is devoted to it, it is logical to presume that the reference contained in article Liability Acts" and the "Compensation Law." The American States which applied it appear to
1093 is limited thereto and that it does not extend to those provisions relating to the other be gradually getting rid of it; for instance, the New York State legislature of 1906 did away with
species of culpa (negligence), the nature of which we will discuss later. (Vol. 8, p. 29.) it in respect to railroad companies, and had in hand a scheme for its total abolition. It has
And in his commentary on articles 1102 and 1104 he says that these two species of never found place in the civil law of continental Europe. (Dalloz, vol. 39, 1858, Title
negligence may be somewhat inexactly described as contractual and extra-contractual, the Responsibilite, 630, and vol. 15, 1895, same title, 804. Also more recent instances in Fuzier-
letter being the culpa aquiliana of the Roman law and not entailing so strict an obligation as Herman, Title Responsibilite Civile, 710.)
the former. This terminology is unreservedly accepted by Sanchez-Roman (Derecho Civil, The French Cour de Cassation clearly laid down the contrary principle in its judgment of June
fourth section, Chapter XI, Article II, No. 12), and the principle stated is supported be 28, 1841, in the case of Reygasse, and has since adhered to it.
decisions of the supreme court of Spain, among them those of November 20, 1896 (80 The most controverted question in the case is that of the negligence of the plaintiff,
Jurisprudencia Civil, No. 151), and June 27, 1894 (75 Jurisprudencia Civil, No. 182). The contributing to the accident, to what extent it existed in fact and what legal effect is to be given
contract is one for hire and not one of mandate. (March 10, 1897, 81 Jurisprudencia Civil, No. it. In two particulars is he charged with carelessness:
107.) First. That having noticed the depression in the track he continued his work; and
Spanish Jurisprudencia prior to the adoption of the Working Men's Accident Law of January Second. That he walked on the ends of the ties at the side of the car instead of along the
30, 1900, throws uncertain light on the relation between master and workman. Moved by the boards, either before or behind it.
quick industrial development of their people, the courts of France early applied to the subject As to the first point, the depression in the track night indicate either a serious or a rival
the principles common to the law of both countries, which are lucidly discussed by the leading difficulty. There is nothing in the evidence to show that the plaintiff did or could see the
French commentators. displaced timber underneath the sleeper. The claim that he must have done so is a conclusion
The original French theory, resting the responsibility of owners of industrial enterprises upon drawn from what is assumed to have been a probable condition of things not before us, rather
articles 1382, 1383, and 1384 of the Code Napoleon, corresponding in scope to articles 1902 than a fair inference from the testimony. While the method of construction may have been
and 1903 of the Spanish Code, soon yielded to the principle that the true basis is the known to the men who had helped build the road, it was otherwise with the plaintiff who had
contractual obligation of the employer and employee. (See 18 Dalloz, 196, Title Travail, 331.) worked at this job less than two days. A man may easily walk along a railway without
Later the hardships resulting from special exemptions inserted in contracts for employment led perceiving a displacement of the underlying timbers. The foreman testified that he knew the
to the discovery of a third basis for liability in an article of he French Code making the state of the track on the day of the accident and that it was then in good condition, and one
possessor of any object answerable for damage done by it while in his charge. Our law having Danridge, a witness for the defendant, working on the same job, swore that he never noticed
no counterpart of this article, applicable to every kind of object, we need consider neither the the depression in the track and never saw any bad place in it. The sagging of the track this
theory growing out of it nor that of "professional risk" more recently imposed by express plaintiff did perceive, but that was reported in his hearing to the foreman who neither promised
legislation, but rather adopting the interpretation of our Civil Code above given, find a rule for nor refused to repair it. His lack of caution in continuing at his work after noticing the slight
this case in the contractual obligation. This contractual obligation, implied from the relation depression of the rail was not of so gross a nature as to constitute negligence, barring his
and perhaps so inherent in its nature to be invariable by the parties, binds the employer to recovery under the severe American rule. On this point we accept the conclusion of the trial
provide safe appliances for the use of the employee, thus closely corresponding to English judge who found as facts that "the plaintiff did not know the cause of the one rail being lower
and American Law. On these principles it was the duty of the defendant to build and to than then other" and "it does not appear in this case that the plaintiff knew before the accident
maintain its track in reasonably sound condition, so as to protect its workingmen from occurred that the stringers and rails joined in the same place."
unnecessary danger. It is plain that in one respect or the other it failed in its duty, otherwise Were we not disposed to agree with these findings they would, nevertheless, be binding upon
us, because not "plainly and manifestly against the weight of evidence," as those words of
section 497, paragraph 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure were interpreted by the Supreme (38 Jurisprudencia Criminal, No. 70), in which a railway employee, standing on a car, was
Court of the United States in the De la Rama case (201 U. S., 303). thrown therefrom and killed by the shock following the backing up of the engine. It was held
In respect of the second charge of negligence against the plaintiff, the judgment below is not that the management of the train and engine being in conformity with proper rules of the
so specific. While the judge remarks that the evidence does not justify the finding that the car company, showed no fault on its part.
was pulled by means of a rope attached to the front end or to the rails upon it, and further that Of the second class are the decision of the 15th of January, the 19th of February, and the 7th
the circumstances in evidence make it clear that the persons necessary to operate the car of March, 1902, stated in Alcubilla's Index of that year; and of the third class the decision of
could not walk upon the plank between the rails and that, therefore, it was necessary for the the 4th of June, 1888 (64 Jurisprudencia Civil, No. 1), in which the breaking down of plaintiff's
employees moving it to get hold upon it as best they could, there is no specific finding upon dam by the logs of the defendant impelled against it by the Tajo River, was held due to a
the instruction given by the defendant to its employees to walk only upon the planks, nor upon freshet as a fortuitous cause.
the necessity of the plaintiff putting himself upon the ties at the side in order to get hold upon The decision of the 7th of March, 1902, on which stress has been laid, rested on two bases,
the car. Therefore the findings of the judge below leave the conduct of the plaintiff in walking one, that the defendant was not negligent, because expressly relieved by royal order from the
along the side of the loaded car, upon the open ties, over the depressed track, free to our common obligation imposed by the police law of maintaining a guard at the road crossing; the
inquiry. other, because the act of the deceased in driving over level ground with unobstructed view in
While the plaintiff and his witnesses swear that not only were they not forbidden to proceed in front of a train running at speed, with the engine whistle blowing was the determining cause of
this way, but were expressly directed by the foreman to do so, both the officers of the the accident. It is plain that the train was doing nothing but what it had a right to do and that
company and three of the workmen testify that there was a general prohibition frequently the only fault lay with the injured man. His negligence was not contributory, it was sole, and
made known to all the gang against walking by the side of the car, and the foreman swears was of such an efficient nature that without it no catastrophe could have happened.
that he repeated the prohibition before the starting of this particular load. On this contradiction On the other hand, there are many cases reported in which it seems plain that the plaintiff
of proof we think that the preponderance is in favor of the defendant's contention to the extent sustaining damages was not free from contributory negligence; for instance, the decision of
of the general order being made known to the workmen. If so, the disobedience of the plaintiff the 14th of December, 1894 (76 Jurisprudencia Civil, No. 134), in which the owner of a
in placing himself in danger contributed in some degree to the injury as a proximate, although building was held liable for not furnishing protection to workmen engaged in hanging out flags,
not as its primary cause. This conclusion presents sharply the question, What effect is to be when the latter must have perceived beforehand the danger attending the work.
given such an act of contributory negligence? Does it defeat a recovery, according to the None of those cases define the effect to be given the negligence of a plaintiff which
American rule, or is it to be taken only in reduction of damages? contributed to his injury as one of its causes, though not the principal one, and we are left to
While a few of the American States have adopted to a greater or less extent the doctrine of seek the theory of the civil law in the practice of other countries.
comparative negligence, allowing a recovery by a plaintiff whose own act contributed to his In France in the case of Marquant, August 20, 1879, the cour de cassation held that the
injury, provided his negligence was slight as compared with that of the defendant, and some carelessness of the victim did not civilly relieve the person without whose fault the accident
others have accepted the theory of proportional damages, reducing the award to a plaintiff in could not have happened, but that the contributory negligence of the injured man had the
proportion to his responsibility for the accident, yet the overwhelming weight of adjudication effect only of reducing the damages. The same principle was applied in the case of Recullet,
establishes the principle in American jurisprudence that any negligence, however slight, on November 10, 1888. and that of Laugier of the 11th of November, 1896. (Fuzier-Herman,
the part of the person injured which is one of the causes proximately contributing to his injury, Title Responsibilite Cirile, 411, 412.) Of like tenor are citations in Dalloz (vol. 18, 1806, Title
bars his recovery. (English and American Encyclopedia of law, Titles "Comparative Trail, 363, 364, and vol. 15, 1895, Title Responsibilite, 193, 198).
Negligence" and Contributory Negligence.") In the Canadian Province of Quebee, which has retained for the most part the French Civil
In Grant Trunk Railway Company vs. Ives (144 U. S., 408, at page 429) the Supreme Court of Law, now embodied in a code following the Code Napoleon, a practice in accord with that of
the United States thus authoritatively states the present rule of law: France is laid down in many cases collected in the annotations to article 1053 of the code
Although the defendant's' negligence may have been the primary cause of the injury edited by Beauchamps, 1904. One of these is Luttrell vs. Trottier, reported in La Revue de
complained of, yet an action for such injury can not be maintained if the proximate and Jurisprudence, volume 6, page 90, in which the court of Kings bench, otherwise known as the
immediate cause of the injury can be traced to the want of ordinary care and caution in the court of appeals, the highest authority in the Dominion of Canada on points of French law,
person injured; subject to this qualification, which has grown up in recent years (having been held that contributory negligence did not exonerate the defendants whose fault had been the
first enunciated in Davies vs. Mann, 10 M. & W., 546) that the contributory negligence of the immediate cause of the accident, but entitled him to a reduction of damages. Other similar
party injured will not defeat the action if it be shown that the defendant might, by the exercise cases in the provincial courts have been overruled by appellate tribunals made up of common
of reasonable care and prudence, have avoided the consequences of the injured party's law judges drawn from other provinces, who have preferred to impose uniformally throughout
negligence. the Dominion the English theory of contributory negligence. Such decisions throw no light
There are may cases in the supreme court of Spain in which the defendant was exonerated, upon the doctrines of the civil law. Elsewhere we find this practice embodied in legislation; for
but when analyzed they prove to have been decided either upon the point that he was not instance, section 2 of article 2398 of the Code of Portugal reads as follows:
negligent or that the negligence of the plaintiff was the immediate cause of the casualty or that If in the case of damage there was fault or negligence on the part of the person injured or in
the accident was due to casus fortuitus. Of the first class in the decision of January 26, 1887 the part of some one else, the indemnification shall be reduced in the first case, and in the
second case it shall be appropriated in proportion to such fault or negligence as provided in Difficulty seems to be apprehended in deciding which acts of the injured party shall be
paragraphs 1 and 2 of section 2372. considered immediate causes of the accident. The test is simple. Distinction must be between
And in article 1304 of the Austrian Code provides that the victim who is partly changeable with the accident and the injury, between the event itself, without which there could have been no
the accident shall stand his damages in proportion to his fault, but when that proportion is accident, and those acts of the victim not entering into it, independent of it, but contributing
incapable of ascertainment, he shall share the liability equally with the person principally under review was the displacement of the crosspiece or the failure to replace it. this produced
responsible. The principle of proportional damages appears to be also adopted in article 51 of the event giving occasion for damages that is, the shinking of the track and the sliding of
the Swiss Code. Even in the United States in admirality jurisdictions, whose principles are the iron rails. To this event, the act of the plaintiff in walking by the side of the car did not
derived from the civil law, common fault in cases of collision have been disposed of not on the contribute, although it was an element of the damage which came to himself. Had the
ground of contradictor negligence, but on that of equal loss, the fault of the one part being crosspiece been out of place wholly or partly thorough his act of omission of duty, the last
offset against that of the other. (Ralli vs. Troop, 157 U. S. 386; 97.) would have been one of the determining causes of the event or accident, for which he would
The damage of both being added together and the sum equally divided, a decree is entered in have been responsible. Where he contributes to the principal occurrence, as one of its
favor of the vessel sustaining the greater loss against the other for the excess of her damages determining factors, he can not recover. Where, in conjunction with the occurrence, he
over one-half of the aggregate sum. (The Manitoba, 122 U. S., 97) contributes only to his own injury, he may recover the amount that the defendant responsible
Exceptional practice appears to prevail in maritime law in other jurisdictions. The Spanish for the event should pay for such injury, less a sum deemed a suitable equivalent for his own
Code of Commerce, article 827, makes each vessel for its own damage when both are the imprudence.
fault; this provision restricted to a single class of the maritime accidents, falls for short of a Accepting, though with some hesitation, the judgment of the trial court, fixing the damage
recognition of the principle of contributory negligence as understood in American Law, with incurred by the plaintiff at 5,000 pesos, the equivalent of 2,500 dollars, United States money,
which, indeed, it has little in common. This is a plain from other articles of the same code; for we deduct therefrom 2,500 pesos, the amount fairly attributable to his negligence, and direct
instance, article 829, referring to articles 826, 827, and 828, which provides: "In the cases judgment to be entered in favor of the plaintiff for the resulting sum of 2,500 pesos, with cost
above mentioned the civil action of the owner against the person liable for the damage is of both instances, and ten days hereafter let the case be remanded to the court below for
reserved, as well as the criminal liability which may appear." proper action. So ordered.
The rule of the common law, a hard and fast one, not adjustable with respects of the faults of
the parties, appears to have grown out the original method of trial by jury, which rendered
difficult a nice balancing of responsibilities and which demanded an inflexible standard as a
safeguard against too ready symphaty for the injured. It was assumed that an exact measure
of several concurring faults was unattainable.
The reason why, in cases of mutual concurring negligence, neither party can maintain an
action against the other, is, not the wrong of the one is set off against the wrong of the other; it
that the law can not measure how much of the damage suffered is attributable to the plaintiff's
own fault. If he were allowed to recover, it might be that he would obtain from the other party
compensation for hiss own misconduct. (Heil vs. Glanding, 42 Penn. St. Rep., 493, 499.)
The parties being mutually in fault, there can be no appointment of damages. The law has no
scales to determine in such cases whose wrongdoing weighed most in the compound that
occasioned the mischief. (Railroad vs. Norton, 24 Penn. St. 565, 469.)
Experience with jury trials in negligence cases has brought American courts to review to relax
the vigor of the rule by freely exercising the power of setting aside verdicts deemed excessive,
through the device of granting new trials, unless reduced damages are stipulated for,
amounting to a partial revision of damages by the courts. It appears to us that the control by
the court of the subject matter may be secured on a moral logical basis and its judgment
adjusted with greater nicety to the merits of the litigants through the practice of offsetting their
respective responsibilities. In the civil law system the desirable end is not deemed beyond the
capacity of its tribunals.
Whatever may prove to be the doctrine finally adopted in Spain or in other countries under the
stress and counter stress of novel schemers of legislation, we find the theory of damages laid
down in the judgment the most consistent with the history and the principals of our law in
these Islands and with its logical development.
G.R. No. L-4977 March 22, 1910 The evidence does definitely and conclusively disclose how the caps came to be on the
DAVID TAYLOR, plaintiff-appellee, defendant's premises, nor how long they had been there when the boys found them. It
vs. appears, however, that some months before the accident, during the construction of the
THE MANILA ELECTRIC RAILROAD AND LIGHT COMPANY, defendant-appellant. defendant's plant, detonating caps of the same size and kind as those found by the boys were
W. H. Lawrence, for appellant. used in sinking a well at the power plant near the place where the caps were found; and it also
W. L. Wright, for appellee. appears that at or about the time when these caps were found, similarly caps were in use in
the construction of an extension of defendant's street car line to Fort William McKinley. The
CARSON, J.: caps when found appeared to the boys who picked them up to have been lying for a
An action to recover damages for the loss of an eye and other injuries, instituted by David considerable time, and from the place where they were found would seem to have been
Taylor, a minor, by his father, his nearest relative. discarded as detective or worthless and fit only to be thrown upon the rubbish heap.
The defendant is a foreign corporation engaged in the operation of a street railway and an No measures seems to have been adopted by the defendant company to prohibit or prevent
electric light system in the city of Manila. Its power plant is situated at the eastern end of a visitors from entering and walking about its premises unattended, when they felt disposed so
small island in the Pasig River within the city of Manila, known as the Isla del Provisor. The to do. As admitted in defendant counsel's brief, "it is undoubtedly true that children in their
power plant may be reached by boat or by crossing a footbridge, impassable for vehicles, at play sometimes crossed the foot bridge to the islands;" and, we may add, roamed about at will
the westerly end of the island. on the uninclosed premises of the defendant, in the neighborhood of the place where the caps
The plaintiff, David Taylor, was at the time when he received the injuries complained of, 15 were found. There is evidence that any effort ever was made to forbid these children from
years of age, the son of a mechanical engineer, more mature than the average boy of his age, visiting the defendant company's premises, although it must be assumed that the company or
and having considerable aptitude and training in mechanics. its employees were aware of the fact that they not infrequently did so.
On the 30th of September, 1905, plaintiff, with a boy named Manuel Claparols, about 12 years Two years before the accident, plaintiff spent four months at sea, as a cabin boy on one of the
of age, crossed the footbridge to the Isla del Provisor, for the purpose of visiting one Murphy, interisland transports. Later he took up work in his father's office, learning mechanical drawing
an employee of the defendant, who and promised to make them a cylinder for a miniature and mechanical engineering. About a month after his accident he obtained employment as a
engine. Finding on inquiry that Mr. Murphy was not in his quarters, the boys, impelled mechanical draftsman and continued in that employment for six months at a salary of P2.50 a
apparently by youthful curiosity and perhaps by the unusual interest which both seem to have day; and it appears that he was a boy of more than average intelligence, taller and more
taken in machinery, spent some time in wandering about the company's premises. The visit mature both mentally and physically than most boys of fifteen.
was made on a Sunday afternoon, and it does not appear that they saw or spoke to anyone The facts set out in the foregoing statement are to our mind fully and conclusively established
after leaving the power house where they had asked for Mr. Murphy. by the evidence of record, and are substantially admitted by counsel. The only questions of
After watching the operation of the travelling crane used in handling the defendant's coal, they fact which are seriously disputed are plaintiff's allegations that the caps which were found by
walked across the open space in the neighborhood of the place where the company dumped plaintiff on defendant company's premises were the property of the defendant, or that they
in the cinders and ashes from its furnaces. Here they found some twenty or thirty brass had come from its possession and control, and that the company or some of its employees left
fulminating caps scattered on the ground. These caps are approximately of the size and them exposed on its premises at the point where they were found.
appearance of small pistol cartridges and each has attached to it two long thin wires by means The evidence in support of these allegations is meager, and the defendant company,
of which it may be discharged by the use of electricity. They are intended for use in the apparently relying on the rule of law which places the burden of proof of such allegations upon
explosion of blasting charges of dynamite, and have in themselves a considerable explosive the plaintiff, offered no evidence in rebuttal, and insists that plaintiff failed in his proof. We
power. After some discussion as to the ownership of the caps, and their right to take them, the think, however, that plaintiff's evidence is sufficient to sustain a finding in accord with his
boys picked up all they could find, hung them on stick, of which each took end, and carried allegations in this regard.
them home. After crossing the footbridge, they met a little girl named Jessie Adrian, less than It was proven that caps, similar to those found by plaintiff, were used, more or less
9 years old, and all three went to the home of the boy Manuel. The boys then made a series of extensively, on the McKinley extension of the defendant company's track; that some of these
experiments with the caps. They trust the ends of the wires into an electric light socket and caps were used in blasting a well on the company's premises a few months before the
obtained no result. They next tried to break the cap with a stone and failed. Manuel looked for accident; that not far from the place where the caps were found the company has a
a hammer, but could not find one. Then they opened one of the caps with a knife, and finding storehouse for the materials, supplies and so forth, used by it in its operations as a street
that it was filled with a yellowish substance they got matches, and David held the cap while railway and a purveyor of electric light; and that the place, in the neighborhood of which the
Manuel applied a lighted match to the contents. An explosion followed, causing more or less caps were found, was being used by the company as a sort of dumping ground for ashes and
serious injuries to all three. Jessie, who when the boys proposed putting a match to the cinders. Fulminating caps or detonators for the discharge by electricity of blasting charges by
contents of the cap, became frightened and started to run away, received a slight cut in the dynamite are not articles in common use by the average citizen, and under all the
neck. Manuel had his hand burned and wounded, and David was struck in the face by several circumstances, and in the absence of all evidence to the contrary, we think that the discovery
particles of the metal capsule, one of which injured his right eye to such an extent as to the of twenty or thirty of these caps at the place where they were found by the plaintiff on
necessitate its removal by the surgeons who were called in to care for his wounds. defendant's premises fairly justifies the inference that the defendant company was either the
owner of the caps in question or had the caps under its possession and control. We think also Owners or directors of an establishment or enterprise are equally liable for damages caused
that the evidence tends to disclose that these caps or detonators were willfully and knowingly by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter may be employed or on
thrown by the company or its employees at the spot where they were found, with the account of their duties.
expectation that they would be buried out of the sight by the ashes which it was engaged in xxx xxx xxx
dumping in that neighborhood, they being old and perhaps defective; and, however this may The liability referred to in this article shall cease when the persons mentioned therein prove
be, we are satisfied that the evidence is sufficient to sustain a finding that the company or that they employed all the diligence of a good father of a family to avoid the damage.
some of its employees either willfully or through an oversight left them exposed at a point on ART. 1908 The owners shall also be liable for the damage caused
its premises which the general public, including children at play, where not prohibited from 1 By the explosion of machines which may not have been cared for with due diligence, and for
visiting, and over which the company knew or ought to have known that young boys were kindling of explosive substances which may not have been placed in a safe and proper place.
likely to roam about in pastime or in play. Counsel for the defendant and appellant rests his appeal strictly upon his contention that the
Counsel for appellant endeavors to weaken or destroy the probative value of the facts on facts proven at the trial do not established the liability of the defendant company under the
which these conclusions are based by intimidating or rather assuming that the blasting work provisions of these articles, and since we agree with this view of the case, it is not necessary
on the company's well and on its McKinley extension was done by contractors. It was for us to consider the various questions as to form and the right of action (analogous to those
conclusively proven, however, that while the workman employed in blasting the well was raised in the case of Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Co., 7 Phil. Rep., 359), which would,
regularly employed by J. G. White and Co., a firm of contractors, he did the work on the well perhaps, be involved in a decision affirming the judgment of the court below.
directly and immediately under the supervision and control of one of defendant company's We agree with counsel for appellant that under the Civil Code, as under the generally
foremen, and there is no proof whatever in the record that the blasting on the McKinley accepted doctrine in the United States, the plaintiff in an action such as that under
extension was done by independent contractors. Only one witness testified upon this point, consideration, in order to establish his right to a recovery, must establish by competent
and while he stated that he understood that a part of this work was done by contract, he could evidence:
not say so of his own knowledge, and knew nothing of the terms and conditions of the alleged (1) Damages to the plaintiff.
contract, or of the relations of the alleged contractor to the defendant company. The fact (2) Negligence by act or omission of which defendant personally, or some person for whose
having been proven that detonating caps were more or less extensively employed on work acts it must respond, was guilty.
done by the defendant company's directions and on its behalf, we think that the company (3) The connection of cause and effect between the negligence and the damage.
should have introduced the necessary evidence to support its contention if it wished to avoid These proposition are, of course, elementary, and do not admit of discussion, the real difficulty
the not unreasonable inference that it was the owner of the material used in these operations arising in the application of these principles to the particular facts developed in the case under
and that it was responsible for tortious or negligent acts of the agents employed therein, on consideration.
the ground that this work had been intrusted to independent contractors as to whose acts the It is clear that the accident could not have happened and not the fulminating caps been left
maxim respondent superior should not be applied. If the company did not in fact own or make exposed at the point where they were found, or if their owner had exercised due care in
use of caps such as those found on its premises, as intimated by counsel, it was a very simple keeping them in an appropriate place; but it is equally clear that plaintiff would not have been
matter for it to prove that fact, and in the absence of such proof we think that the other injured had he not, for his own pleasure and convenience, entered upon the defendant's
evidence in the record sufficiently establishes the contrary, and justifies the court in drawing premises, and strolled around thereon without the express permission of the defendant, and
the reasonable inference that the caps found on its premises were its property, and were left had he not picked up and carried away the property of the defendant which he found on its
where they were found by the company or some of its employees. premises, and had he not thereafter deliberately cut open one of the caps and applied a
Plaintiff appears to have rested his case, as did the trial judge his decision in plaintiff's favor, match to its contents.
upon the provisions of article 1089 of the Civil Code read together with articles 1902, 1903, But counsel for plaintiff contends that because of plaintiff's youth and inexperience, his entry
and 1908 of that code. upon defendant company's premises, and the intervention of his action between the negligent
ART. 1089 Obligations are created by law, by contracts, by quasi-contracts, and illicit acts and act of defendant in leaving the caps exposed on its premises and the accident which resulted
omissions or by those in which any kind of fault or negligence occurs. in his injury should not be held to have contributed in any wise to the accident, which should
ART. 1902 A person who by an act or omission causes damage to another when there is fault be deemed to be the direct result of defendant's negligence in leaving the caps exposed at the
or negligence shall be obliged to repair the damage so done. place where they were found by the plaintiff, and this latter the proximate cause of the
ART. 1903 The obligation imposed by the preceding article is demandable, not only for accident which occasioned the injuries sustained by him.
personal acts and omissions, but also for those of the persons for whom they should be In support of his contention, counsel for plaintiff relies on the doctrine laid down in many of the
responsible. courts of last resort in the United States in the cases known as the "Torpedo" and "Turntable"
The father, and on his death or incapacity the mother, is liable for the damages caused by the cases, and the cases based thereon.
minors who live with them. In a typical cases, the question involved has been whether a railroad company is liable for an
xxx xxx xxx injury received by an infant of tender years, who from mere idle curiosity, or for the purposes
of amusement, enters upon the railroad company's premises, at a place where the railroad
company knew, or had good reason to suppose, children would be likely to come, and there In the case of Union Pacific Railway Co. vs. MacDonald (supra) the facts were as follows: The
found explosive signal torpedoes left unexposed by the railroad company's employees, one of plaintiff, a boy 12 years of age, out of curiosity and for his own pleasure, entered upon and
which when carried away by the visitor, exploded and injured him; or where such infant found visited the defendant's premises, without defendant's express permission or invitation, and
upon the premises a dangerous machine, such as a turntable, left in such condition as to while there, was by accident injured by falling into a burning slack pile of whose existence he
make it probable that children in playing with it would be exposed to accident or injury had no knowledge, but which had been left by defendant on its premises without any fence
therefrom and where the infant did in fact suffer injury in playing with such machine. around it or anything to give warning of its dangerous condition, although defendant knew or
In these, and in great variety of similar cases, the great weight of authority holds the owner of had reason the interest or curiosity of passers-by. On these facts the court held that the
the premises liable. plaintiff could not be regarded as a mere trespasser, for whose safety and protection while on
As laid down in Railroad Co. vs. Stout (17 Wall. (84 U. S.), 657), wherein the principal the premises in question, against the unseen danger referred to, the defendant was under no
question was whether a railroad company was liable for in injury received by an infant while obligation to make provision.
upon its premises, from idle curiosity, or for purposes of amusement, if such injury was, under We quote at length from the discussion by the court of the application of the principles
circumstances, attributable to the negligence of the company), the principles on which these involved to the facts in that case, because what is said there is strikingly applicable in the case
cases turn are that "while a railroad company is not bound to the same degree of care in at bar, and would seem to dispose of defendant's contention that, the plaintiff in this case
regard to mere strangers who are unlawfully upon its premises that it owes to passengers being a trespasser, the defendant company owed him no duty, and in no case could be held
conveyed by it, it is not exempt from responsibility to such strangers for injuries arising from its liable for injuries which would not have resulted but for the entry of plaintiff on defendant's
negligence or from its tortious acts;" and that "the conduct of an infant of tender years is not to premises.
be judged by the same rule which governs that of adult. While it is the general rule in regard to We adhere to the principles announced in Railroad Co. vs. Stout (supra). Applied to the case
an adult that to entitle him to recover damages for an injury resulting from the fault or now before us, they require us to hold that the defendant was guilty of negligence in leaving
negligence of another he must himself have been free from fault, such is not the rule in regard unguarded the slack pile, made by it in the vicinity of its depot building. It could have forbidden
to an infant of tender years. The care and caution required of a child is according to his all persons from coming to its coal mine for purposes merely of curiosity and pleasure. But it
maturity and capacity only, and this is to be determined in each case by the circumstances of did not do so. On the contrary, it permitted all, without regard to age, to visit its mine, and
the case." witness its operation. It knew that the usual approach to the mine was by a narrow path
The doctrine of the case of Railroad Company vs. Stout was vigorously controverted and skirting its slack pit, close to its depot building, at which the people of the village, old and
sharply criticized in several state courts, and the supreme court of Michigan in the case young, would often assemble. It knew that children were in the habit of frequenting that locality
of Ryan vs. Towar (128 Mich., 463) formally repudiated and disapproved the doctrine of the and playing around the shaft house in the immediate vicinity of the slack pit. The slightest
Turntable cases, especially that laid down in Railroad Company vs. Stout, in a very able regard for the safety of these children would have suggested that they were in danger from
decision wherein it held, in the language of the syllabus: (1) That the owner of the land is not being so near a pit, beneath the surface of which was concealed (except when snow, wind, or
liable to trespassers thereon for injuries sustained by them, not due to his wanton or willful rain prevailed) a mass of burning coals into which a child might accidentally fall and be burned
acts; (2) that no exception to this rule exists in favor of children who are injured by dangerous to death. Under all the circumstances, the railroad company ought not to be heard to say that
machinery naturally calculated to attract them to the premises; (3) that an invitation or license the plaintiff, a mere lad, moved by curiosity to see the mine, in the vicinity of the slack pit, was
to cross the premises of another can not be predicated on the mere fact that no steps have a trespasser, to whom it owed no duty, or for whose protection it was under no obligation to
been taken to interfere with such practice; (4) that there is no difference between children and make provisions.
adults as to the circumstances that will warrant the inference of an invitation or a license to In Townsend vs. Wathen (9 East, 277, 281) it was held that if a man dangerous traps, baited
enter upon another's premises. with flesh, in his own ground, so near to a highway, or to the premises of another, that dogs
Similar criticisms of the opinion in the case of Railroad Company vs. Stout were indulged in by passing along the highway, or kept in his neighbors premises, would probably be attracted by
the courts in Connecticut and Massachusetts. (Nolan vs. Railroad Co., 53 Conn., 461; 154 their instinct into the traps, and in consequence of such act his neighbor's dogs be so
Mass., 349). And the doctrine has been questioned in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New attracted and thereby injured, an action on the case would lie. "What difference," said Lord
Hampshire, and perhaps in other States. Ellenborough, C.J., "is there in reason between drawing the animal into the trap by means of
On the other hand, many if not most of the courts of last resort in the United States, citing and his instinct which he can not resist, and putting him there by manual force?" What difference,
approving the doctrine laid down in England in the leading case of Lynch vs. Nurding (1 Q. B., in reason we may observe in this case, is there between an express license to the children of
29, 35, 36), lay down the rule in these cases in accord with that announced in the Railroad this village to visit the defendant's coal mine, in the vicinity of its slack pile, and an implied
Company vs. Stout (supra), and the Supreme Court of the United States, in a unanimous license, resulting from the habit of the defendant to permit them, without objection or warning,
opinion delivered by Justice Harlan in the case of Union Pacific Railway Co. vs. McDonal and to do so at will, for purposes of curiosity or pleasure? Referring it the case of Townsend vs.
reconsidered the doctrine laid down in Railroad Co. vs. Stout, and after an exhaustive and Wathen, Judge Thompson, in his work on the Law of Negligence, volume 1, page 305, note,
critical analysis and review of many of the adjudged cases, both English and American, well says: "It would be a barbarous rule of law that would make the owner of land liable for
formally declared that it adhered "to the principles announced in the case of Railroad Co. vs. setting a trap thereon, baited with stinking meat, so that his neighbor's dog attracted by his
Stout." natural instinct, might run into it and be killed, and which would exempt him from liability for
the consequence of leaving exposed and unguarded on his land a dangerous machine, so of sufficient weight to put in doubt. In this jurisdiction as well as in the United States all private
that his neighbor's child attracted to it and tempted to intermeddle with it by instincts equally property is acquired and held under the tacit condition that it shall not be so used as to injure
strong, might thereby be killed or maimed for life." the equal rights and interests of the community (see U. S. vs. Toribio,1 No. 5060, decided
Chief Justice Cooley, voicing the opinion of the supreme court of Michigan, in the case January 26, 1910), and except as to infants of very tender years it would be absurd and
of Powers vs. Harlow (53 Mich., 507), said that (p. 515): unreasonable in a community organized as is that in which we lived to hold that parents or
Children, wherever they go, must be expected to act upon childlike instincts and impulses; guardian are guilty of negligence or imprudence in every case wherein they permit growing
and others who are chargeable with a duty of care and caution toward them must calculate boys and girls to leave the parental roof unattended, even if in the event of accident to the
upon this, and take precautions accordingly. If they leave exposed to the observation of child the negligence of the parent could in any event be imputed to the child so as to deprive it
children anything which would be tempting to them, and which they in their immature a right to recover in such cases a point which we neither discuss nor decide.
judgment might naturally suppose they were at liberty to handle or play with, they should But while we hold that the entry of the plaintiff upon defendant's property without defendant's
expect that liberty to be taken. express invitation or permission would not have relieved defendant from responsibility for
And the same eminent jurist in his treatise or torts, alluding to the doctrine of implied invitation injuries incurred there by plaintiff, without other fault on his part, if such injury were attributable
to visit the premises of another, says: to the negligence of the defendant, we are of opinion that under all the circumstances of this
In the case of young children, and other persons not fully sui juris, an implied license might case the negligence of the defendant in leaving the caps exposed on its premises was not the
sometimes arise when it would not on behalf of others. Thus leaving a tempting thing for proximate cause of the injury received by the plaintiff, which therefore was not, properly
children to play with exposed, where they would be likely to gather for that purpose, may be speaking, "attributable to the negligence of the defendant," and, on the other hand, we are
equivalent to an invitation to them to make use of it; and, perhaps, if one were to throw away satisfied that plaintiffs action in cutting open the detonating cap and putting match to its
upon his premises, near the common way, things tempting to children, the same implication contents was the proximate cause of the explosion and of the resultant injuries inflicted upon
should arise. (Chap. 10, p. 303.) the plaintiff, and that the defendant, therefore is not civilly responsible for the injuries thus
The reasoning which led the Supreme Court of the United States to its conclusion in the cases incurred.
of Railroad Co. vs. Stout (supra) and Union Pacific Railroad Co. vs. McDonald (supra) is not Plaintiff contends, upon the authority of the Turntable and Torpedo cases, that because of
less cogent and convincing in this jurisdiction than in that wherein those cases originated. plaintiff's youth the intervention of his action between the negligent act of the defendant in
Children here are actuated by similar childish instincts and impulses. Drawn by curiosity and leaving the caps exposed on its premises and the explosion which resulted in his injury should
impelled by the restless spirit of youth, boys here as well as there will usually be found not be held to have contributed in any wise to the accident; and it is because we can not
whenever the public is permitted to congregate. The movement of machinery, and indeed agree with this proposition, although we accept the doctrine of the Turntable and Torpedo
anything which arouses the attention of the young and inquiring mind, will draw them to the cases, that we have thought proper to discuss and to consider that doctrine at length in this
neighborhood as inevitably as does the magnet draw the iron which comes within the range of decision. As was said in case of Railroad Co. vs. Stout (supra), "While it is the general rule in
its magnetic influence. The owners of premises, therefore, whereon things attractive to regard to an adult that to entitle him to recover damages for an injury resulting from the fault or
children are exposed, or upon which the public are expressly or impliedly permitted to enter or negligence of another he must himself have been free from fault, such is not the rule in regard
upon which the owner knows or ought to know children are likely to roam about for pastime to an infant of tender years. The care and caution required of a child is according to his
and in play, " must calculate upon this, and take precautions accordingly." In such cases the maturity and capacity only, and this is to be determined in each case by the circumstances of
owner of the premises can not be heard to say that because the child has entered upon his the case." As we think we have shown, under the reasoning on which rests the doctrine of the
premises without his express permission he is a trespasser to whom the owner owes no duty Turntable and Torpedo cases, no fault which would relieve defendant of responsibility for
or obligation whatever. The owner's failure to take reasonable precautions to prevent the child injuries resulting from its negligence can be attributed to the plaintiff, a well-grown boy of 15
from entering his premises at a place where he knows or ought to know that children are years of age, because of his entry upon defendant's uninclosed premises without express
accustomed to roam about of to which their childish instincts and impulses are likely to attract permission or invitation' but it is wholly different question whether such youth can be said to
them is at least equivalent to an implied license to enter, and where the child does enter under have been free from fault when he willfully and deliberately cut open the detonating cap, and
such conditions the owner's failure to take reasonable precautions to guard the child against placed a match to the contents, knowing, as he undoubtedly did, that his action would result in
injury from unknown or unseen dangers, placed upon such premises by the owner, is clearly a an explosion. On this point, which must be determined by "the particular circumstances of this
breach of duty, responsible, if the child is actually injured, without other fault on its part than case," the doctrine laid down in the Turntable and Torpedo cases lends us no direct aid,
that it had entered on the premises of a stranger without his express invitation or permission. although it is worthy of observation that in all of the "Torpedo" and analogous cases which our
To hold otherwise would be expose all the children in the community to unknown perils and attention has been directed, the record discloses that the plaintiffs, in whose favor judgments
unnecessary danger at the whim of the owners or occupants of land upon which they might have been affirmed, were of such tender years that they were held not to have the capacity to
naturally and reasonably be expected to enter. understand the nature or character of the explosive instruments which fell into their hands.
This conclusion is founded on reason, justice, and necessity, and neither is contention that a In the case at bar, plaintiff at the time of the accident was a well-grown youth of 15, more
man has a right to do what will with his own property or that children should be kept under the mature both mentally and physically than the average boy of his age; he had been to sea as a
care of their parents or guardians, so as to prevent their entering on the premises of others is cabin boy; was able to earn P2.50 a day as a mechanical draftsman thirty days after the injury
was incurred; and the record discloses throughout that he was exceptionally well qualified to would have avoided the injury which resulted from his own deliberate act; and that the injury
take care of himself. The evidence of record leaves no room for doubt that, despite his denials incurred by him must be held to have been the direct and immediate result of his own willful
on the witness stand, he well knew the explosive character of the cap with which he was and reckless act, so that while it may be true that these injuries would not have been incurred
amusing himself. The series of experiments made by him in his attempt to produce an but for the negligence act of the defendant in leaving the caps exposed on its premises,
explosion, as described by the little girl who was present, admit of no other explanation. His nevertheless plaintiff's own act was the proximate and principal cause of the accident which
attempt to discharge the cap by the use of electricity, followed by his efforts to explode it with inflicted the injury.
a stone or a hammer, and the final success of his endeavors brought about by the application The rule of the Roman law was: Quod quis ex culpa sua damnum sentit, non intelligitur
of a match to the contents of the caps, show clearly that he knew what he was about. Nor can sentire. (Digest, book 50, tit. 17 rule 203.)
there be any reasonable doubt that he had reason to anticipate that the explosion might be The Patidas contain the following provisions:
dangerous, in view of the fact that the little girl, 9 years of age, who was within him at the time The just thing is that a man should suffer the damage which comes to him through his own
when he put the match to the contents of the cap, became frightened and ran away. fault, and that he can not demand reparation therefor from another. (Law 25, tit. 5, Partida 3.)
True, he may not have known and probably did not know the precise nature of the explosion And they even said that when a man received an injury through his own acts the grievance
which might be expected from the ignition of the contents of the cap, and of course he did not should be against himself and not against another. (Law 2, tit. 7, Partida 2.)
anticipate the resultant injuries which he incurred; but he well knew that a more or less According to ancient sages, when a man received an injury through his own acts the
dangerous explosion might be expected from his act, and yet he willfully, recklessly, and grievance should be against himself and not against another. (Law 2, tit. 7 Partida 2.)
knowingly produced the explosion. It would be going far to say that "according to his maturity And while there does not appear to be anything in the Civil Code which expressly lays down
and capacity" he exercised such and "care and caution" as might reasonably be required of the law touching contributory negligence in this jurisdiction, nevertheless, the interpretation
him, or that defendant or anyone else should be held civilly responsible for injuries incurred by placed upon its provisions by the supreme court of Spain, and by this court in the case
him under such circumstances. of Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Co. (7 Phil. Rep., 359), clearly deny to the plaintiff in the
The law fixes no arbitrary age at which a minor can be said to have the necessary capacity to case at bar the right to recover damages from the defendant, in whole or in part, for the
understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of his own acts, so as to make it injuries sustained by him.
negligence on his part to fail to exercise due care and precaution in the commission of such The judgment of the supreme court of Spain of the 7th of March, 1902 (93 Jurisprudencia
acts; and indeed it would be impracticable and perhaps impossible so to do, for in the very Civil, 391), is directly in point. In that case the court said:
nature of things the question of negligence necessarily depends on the ability of the minor to According to the doctrine expressed in article 1902 of the Civil Code, fault or negligence is a
understand the character of his own acts and their consequences; and the age at which a source of obligation when between such negligence and the injury there exists the relation of
minor can be said to have such ability will necessarily depends of his own acts and their cause and effect; but if the injury produced should not be the result of acts or omissions of a
consequences; and at the age at which a minor can be said to have such ability will third party, the latter has no obligation to repair the same, although such acts or omission
necessarily vary in accordance with the varying nature of the infinite variety of acts which may were imprudent or unlawful, and much less when it is shown that the immediate cause of the
be done by him. But some idea of the presumed capacity of infants under the laws in force in injury was the negligence of the injured party himself.
these Islands may be gathered from an examination of the varying ages fixed by our laws at The same court, in its decision of June 12, 1900, said that "the existence of the alleged fault
which minors are conclusively presumed to be capable of exercising certain rights and or negligence is not sufficient without proof that it, and no other cause, gave rise to the
incurring certain responsibilities, though it can not be said that these provisions of law are of damage."
much practical assistance in cases such as that at bar, except so far as they illustrate the rule See also judgment of October 21, 1903.
that the capacity of a minor to become responsible for his own acts varies with the varying To similar effect Scaevola, the learned Spanish writer, writing under that title in
circumstances of each case. Under the provisions of the Penal Code a minor over fifteen his Jurisprudencia del Codigo Civil (1902 Anuario, p. 455), commenting on the decision of
years of age is presumed to be capable of committing a crime and is to held criminally March 7, 1902 of the Civil Code, fault or negligence gives rise to an obligation when between
responsible therefore, although the fact that he is less than eighteen years of age will be taken it and the damage there exists the relation of cause and effect; but if the damage caused does
into consideration as an extenuating circumstance (Penal Code, arts. 8 and 9). At 10 years of not arise from the acts or omissions of a third person, there is no obligation to make good
age a child may, under certain circumstances, choose which parent it prefers to live with upon the latter, even though such acts or omissions be imprudent or illegal, and much less so
(Code of Civil Procedure, sec. 771). At 14 may petition for the appointment of a guardian (Id., when it is shown that the immediate cause of the damage has been the recklessness of the
sec. 551), and may consent or refuse to be adopted (Id., sec. 765). And males of 14 and injured party himself.
females of 12 are capable of contracting a legal marriage (Civil Code, art. 83; G. O., No. 68, And again
sec. 1). In accordance with the fundamental principle of proof, that the burden thereof is upon the
We are satisfied that the plaintiff in this case had sufficient capacity and understanding to be plaintiff, it is apparent that it is duty of him who shall claim damages to establish their
sensible of the danger to which he exposed himself when he put the match to the contents of existence. The decisions of April 9, 1896, and March 18, July, and September 27, 1898, have
the cap; that he was sui juris in the sense that his age and his experience qualified him to especially supported the principle, the first setting forth in detail the necessary points of the
understand and appreciate the necessity for the exercise of that degree of caution which
proof, which are two: An act or omission on the part of the person who is to be charged with view of the well-known fact admitted in defendant's brief that "boys are snappers-up of
the liability, and the production of the damage by said act or omission. unconsidered trifles," a youth of the age and maturity of plaintiff should be deemed without
This includes, by inference, the establishment of a relation of cause or effect between the act fault in picking up the caps in question under all the circumstances of this case, we neither
or omission and the damage; the latter must be the direct result of one of the first two. As the discuss nor decide.
decision of March 22, 1881, said, it is necessary that the damages result immediately and Twenty days after the date of this decision let judgment be entered reversing the judgment of
directly from an act performed culpably and wrongfully; "necessarily presupposing a legal the court below, without costs to either party in this instance, and ten days thereafter let the
ground for imputability." (Decision of October 29, 1887.) record be returned to the court wherein it originated, where the judgment will be entered in
Negligence is not presumed, but must be proven by him who alleges it. favor of the defendant for the costs in first instance and the complaint dismissed without day.
(Scavoela, Jurisprudencia del Codigo Civil, vol. 6, pp. 551-552.) So ordered.
(Cf. decisions of supreme court of Spain of June 12, 1900, and June 23, 1900.)
Finally we think the doctrine in this jurisdiction applicable to the case at bar was definitely
settled in this court in the maturely considered case of Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific
Co. (supra), wherein we held that while "There are many cases (personal injury cases) was
exonerated," on the ground that "the negligence of the plaintiff was the immediate cause of
the casualty" (decisions of the 15th of January, the 19th of February, and the 7th of March,
1902, stated in Alcubilla's Index of that year); none of the cases decided by the supreme court
of Spain "define the effect to be given the negligence of its causes, though not the principal
one, and we are left to seek the theory of the civil law in the practice of other countries;" and in
such cases we declared that law in this jurisdiction to require the application of "the principle
of proportional damages," but expressly and definitely denied the right of recovery when the
acts of the injured party were the immediate causes of the accident.
The doctrine as laid down in that case is as follows:
Difficulty seems to be apprehended in deciding which acts of the injured party shall be
considered immediate causes of the accident. The test is simple. Distinction must be made
between the accident and the injury, between the event itself, without which there could have
been no accident, and those acts of the victim not entering into it, independent of it, but
contributing to his own proper hurt. For instance, the cause of the accident under review was
the displacement of the crosspiece or the failure to replace it. This produces the event giving
occasion for damagesthat is, the sinking of the track and the sliding of the iron rails. To this
event, the act of the plaintiff in walking by the side of the car did not contribute, although it was
an element of the damage which came to himself. Had the crosspiece been out of place
wholly or partly through his act or omission of duty, that would have been one of the
determining causes of the event or accident, for which he would have been responsible.
Where he contributes to the principal occurrence, as one of its determining factors, he can not
recover. Where, in conjunction with the occurrence, he contributes only to his own injury, he
may recover the amount that the defendant responsible for the event should pay for such
injury, less a sum deemed a suitable equivalent for his own imprudence.
We think it is quite clear that under the doctrine thus stated, the immediate cause of the
explosion, the accident which resulted in plaintiff's injury, was in his own act in putting a match
to the contents of the cap, and that having "contributed to the principal occurrence, as one of
its determining factors, he can not recover."
We have not deemed it necessary to examine the effect of plaintiff's action in picking up upon
defendant's premises the detonating caps, the property of defendant, and carrying the relation
of cause and effect between the negligent act or omission of the defendant in leaving the caps
exposed on its premises and the injuries inflicted upon the plaintiff by the explosion of one of
these caps. Under the doctrine of the Torpedo cases, such action on the part of an infant of
very tender years would have no effect in relieving defendant of responsibility, but whether in
G.R. No. L-29745 June 4, 1973 The case came up to this Court on a petition for review filed by the defendant below.
MERCEDES M. TEAGUE, petitioner, vs. ELENA FERNANDEZ, et al., respondent. The decision of the appellate court declared that the defendant, hereinafter to be referred to
Jose W. Diokno for petitioner. as the petitioner, was negligent and that such negligence was the proximate cause of the
Jose G. Gatchalian for respondents. death of Lourdes Fernandez. This finding of negligence is based primarily on the fact that the
provision of Section 491 Of the Revised Ordinances of the City of Manila had not been
MAKALINTAL, J.: complied with in connection with the construction and use of the Gil-Armi building where the
The facts are stated in the decision of the Court of Appeals as follows: petitioner's vocational school was housed. This provision reads as follows:
The Realistic Institute, admittedly owned and operated by defendant-appellee Mercedes M. Sec. 491. Firepro of partitions, exits and stairways. ... All buildings and separate sections of
Teague was a vocational school for hair and beauty culture situated on the second floor of the buildings or buildings otherwise known as accessorias having less than three stories, having
Gil-Armi Building, a two-storey, semi-concrete edifice (Exhs. "C", "C-1" to "C-5" and "4") one or more persons domiciled therein either temporarily or permanently, and all public or
located at the corner of Quezon Boulevard and Soler Street, Quiapo, Manila. The said second quasi-public buildings having less than three stories, such as hospitals, sanitarium, schools,
floor was unpartitioned, had a total area of about 400 square meters, and although it had only reformatories, places of human detention, assembly halls, clubs, restaurants or panciterias,
one stairway, of about 1.50 meters in width, it had eight windows, each of which was provided and the like, shall be provided with at least two unobstructed stairways of not less than one
with two fire-escape ladders (Exh. "4"), and the presence of each of said fire-exits was meter and twenty centimeters in width and an inclination of not less than forty degrees from
indicated on the wall (Exh. "5"). the perpendicular, in case of large buildings more than two stairways shall likewise be
At about four o'clock in the afternoon of October 24, 1955, a fire broke out in a store for provided when required by the chief of the fire department, said stairways shall be placed as
surplus materials located about ten meters away from the institute. Soler Street lay between far apart as possible.
that store and the institute. Upon seeing the fire, some of the students in the Realistic Institute The alleged violation of the ordinance above-quoted consisted in the fact that the second
shouted 'Fire! Fire!' and thereafter, a panic ensued. Four instructresses and six assistant storey of the Gil-Armi building had only one stairway, 1.5 meters wide, instead of two of at
instructress of the Institute were present and they, together with the registrar, tried to calm least 1.2 meters each, although at the time of the fire the owner of the building had a second
down the students, who numbered about 180 at the time, telling them not to be afraid because stairway under construction.
the Gil-Armi Building would not get burned as it is made of concrete, and that the fire was In ruling that such non-compliance with the City Ordinances was an act of negligence and that
anyway, across the street. They told the students not to rush out but just to go down the such negligence was the proximate cause of the death of Lourdes Fernandez, reliance is
stairway two by two, or to use the fire-escapes. Mrs. Justitia Prieto, one of the instructresses, based on a number of authorities in the American jurisdiction, thus: .
took to the microphone so as to convey to the students the above admonitions more The mere fact of violation of a statute is not sufficient basis for an inference that such violation
effectively, and she even slapped three students in order to quiet them down. Miss Frino was the proximate cause of the injury complained. However, if the very injury has happened
Meliton, the registrar, whose desk was near the stairway, stood up and tried with outstretched which was intended to be prevented by the statute, it has been held that violation of the
arms to stop the students from rushing and pushing their way to the stairs. The panic, statute will be deemed to be proximate cause of the injury. (65 C.J.S. 1156).
however, could not be subdued and the students, with the exception of the few who made use The generally accepted view is that violation of a statutory duty constitutes negligence,
of fire-escapes kept on rushing and pushing their way through the stairs, thereby causing negligence as a matter or law, or, according to the decisions on the question, negligence per
stampede therein. se for the reason that non-observance of what the legislature has prescribed as a suitable
Indeed, no part of the Gil-Armi Building caught fire. But, after the panic was over, four precaution is failure to observe that care which an ordinarily prudent man would observe, and,
students, including Lourdes Fernandez, a sister of plaintiffs-appellants, were found dead and when the state regards certain acts as so liable to injure others as to justify their absolute
several others injured on account of the stampede. prohibition, doing the forbidden act is a breach of duty with respect to those who may be
xxx xxx xxx injured thereby; or, as it has been otherwise expressed, when the standard of care is fixed by
The injuries sustained by Lourdes Fernandez consisted of lacerations in both eyes and on the law, failure to conform to such standard is negligence, negligence per se or negligence in and
upper lip, contused abrasions in different parts of the body, internal hemorrhage and fractures of itself, in the absence of a legal excuse. According to this view it is immaterial, where a
in the second and third right ribs. The cause of death, according to the autopsy report, was statute has been violated, whether the act or omission constituting such violation would have
"Shock due to traumatic fractures of the ribs with perinephric hematoma and lacerations of the been regarded as negligence in the absence of any statute on the subject or whether there
conjunctiva of both eyes." was, as a matter of fact, any reason to anticipate that injury would result from such violation.
The deceased's five brothers and sisters filed an action for damages against Mercedes M. .... (65 C.J.S. pp. 623-628).
Teague as owner and operator of Realistic Institute. The Court of First Instance of Manila But the existence of an ordinance changes the situation. If a driver causes an accident by
found for the defendant and dismissed the case. The plaintiffs thereupon appealed to the exceeding the speed limit, for example, do not inquire whether his prohibited conduct was
Court of Appeals, which by a divided vote of 3 to 2 (a special division of five members having unreasonably dangerous. It is enough that it was prohibited. Violation of an ordinance
been constituted) rendered a judgment of reversal and sentenced the defendant to pay intended to promote safety is negligence. If by creating the hazard which the ordinance was
damages to the plaintiffs in the sum of P11,000.00, plus interest at the legal rate from the date intended to avoid it brings about the harm which the ordinance was intended to prevent, it is a
the complaint was filed. legal cause of the harm. This comes only to saying that in such circumstances the law has no
reason to ignore the causal relation which obviously exists in fact. The law has excellent which produced the injury complained of. A statement of the doctrine relied upon is found
reason to recognize it, since it is the very relation which the makers of the ordinance in Manila Electric Co. vs. Remoquillo, L-8328, May 18, 1956, wherein this Court, citing Corpus
anticipated. This court has applied these principles to speed limits and other regulations of the Juris said:
manner of driving. (Ross vs. Hartman, 139 Fed. 2d 14 at 15). A prior and remote cause cannot be made the basis of an action if such remote cause did
... However, the fact that other happenings causing or contributing toward an injury intervened nothing more than furnish the condition or give rise to the occasion by which the injury was
between the violation of a statute or ordinance and the injury does not necessarily make the made possible, if there intervened between such prior or remote cause and the injury a
result so remote that no action can be maintained. The test is to be found not in the number of distinct, successive unrelated, and efficient cause of the injury, even though such injury would
intervening events or agents, but in their character and in the natural and probable connection not have happened but for such condition or occasion. If no danger existed in the condition
between the wrong done and the injurious consequence. The general principle is that the except because of the independent cause, such condition was not the proximate cause. And if
violation of a statute or ordinance is not rendered remote as the cause of an injury by the an independent negligent act or defective condition sets into operation the circumstances
intervention of another agency if the occurrence of the accident, in the manner in which it which result in injury because of the prior defective condition, such subsequent act or
happened, was the very thing which the statute or ordinance was intended to Prevent. (38 Am condition is the proximate cause. (45 C.J. p. 931.)
Jur 841). According to the petitioner "the events of fire, panic and stampede were independent causes
The petitioner has raised a number of issues. The first is that Section 491 of the Revised with no causal connection at all with the violation of the ordinance." The weakness in the
Ordinances of the City of Manila refers to public buildings and hence did not apply to the Gil- argument springs from a faulty juxtaposition of the events which formed a chain and resulted
Armi building which was of private ownership. It will be noted from the text of the ordinance, in the injury. It is true that the petitioner's non-compliance with the ordinance in question was
however, that it is not ownership which determines the character of buildings subject to its ahead of and prior to the other events in point of time, in the sense that it was coetaneous with
requirements, but rather the use or the purpose for which a particular building is utilized. Thus its occupancy of the building. But the violation was a continuing one, since the ordinance was
the same may be privately owned, but if it is devoted to any one of the purposes mentioned in a measure of safety designed to prevent a specific situation which would pose a danger to the
the ordinance for instance as a school, which the Realistic Institute precisely was then occupants of the building. That situation was undue overcrowding in case it should become
the building is within the coverage of the ordinance. Indeed the requirement that such a necessary to evacuate the building, which, it could be reasonably foreseen, was bound to
building should have two (2) separate stairways instead of only one (1) has no relevance or happen under emergency conditions if there was only one stairway available. It is true that in
reasonable relation to the fact of ownership, but does have such relation to the use or purpose this particular case there would have been no overcrowding in the single stairway if there had
for which the building is devoted. not been a fire in the neighborhood which caused the students to panic and rush headlong for
It is next contended that the obligation to comply with the ordinance devolved upon the the stairs in order to go down. But it was precisely such contingencies or event that the
owners of the building and therefore it is they and not the petitioner herein, who is a mere authors of the ordinance had in mind, for under normal conditions one stairway would be
lessee, who should be liable for the violation. The contention ignores the fact that it was the adequate for the occupants of the building. Thus, as stated in 38 American Jurisprudence,
use of the building for school purposes which brought the same within the coverage of the page 841: "The general principle is that the violation of a statute or ordinance is not rendered
ordinance; and it was the petitioner and not the owners who was responsible for such use. remote as the cause of an injury by the intervention of another agency if the occurrence of the
The next issue, indeed the basic one, raised by the petitioner is whether or not the failure to accident, in the manner in which it happened, was the very thing which the statute or
comply with the requirement of the ordinance was the proximate cause of the death of ordinance was intended to prevent." To consider the violation of the ordinance as the
Lourdes Fernandez. The case of Villanueva Vda. de Bataclan, et al. vs. Medina, G. R. No. L- proximate cause of the injury does not portray the situation in its true perspective; it would be
10126, October 22, 1957, is cited in support of the contention that such failure was not the more accurate to say that the overcrowding at the stairway was the proximate cause and that
proximate cause. It is there stated by this Court: it was precisely what the ordinance intended to prevent by requiring that there be two
The proximate legal cause is that acting first and producing the injury, either immediately or by stairways instead of only one. Under the doctrine of the cases cited by the respondents, the
settling other events in motion, all constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, each principle of proximate cause applies to such violation.
having a close causal connection with its immediate predecessor, the final event in the chain A procedural point mentioned by the petitioner is that the complaint did not specifically allege
immediately affecting the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, that the ordinance in question had been violated. The violation, however, as an act of
under such circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should, as an negligence which gave rise to liability, was sufficiently comprehended within paragraph 7 of
ordinarily prudent and intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect at the moment of the complaint, which reads: .
his act or default that an injury to some person might probably result therefrom. Par. 7. That the death of Lourdes Fernandez was due to the gross negligence of the
Having in view the decision just quoted, the petitioner relates the chain of events that resulted defendant who failed to exercise due care and diligence for the safety of its students in not
in the death of Lourdes Fernandez as follows: (1) violation of ordinance; (2) fire at a providing the building with adequate fire exits and in not practicing fire drill exercises to avoid
neighboring place; (3) shouts of "Fire!, Fire!"; (4) panic in the Institute; (5) stampede; and (6) the stampede, aside from the fact that the defendant did not have a permit to use the building
injuries and death. as a school-house.
As thus projected the violation of the ordinance, it is argued, was only a remote cause, if at all, The decision appealed from is affirmed, with costs.
and cannot be the basis of liability since there intervened a number of independent causes
G.R. No. L-68102 July 16, 1992 Immediately before the collision, the cargo truck, which was loaded with two hundred (200)
GEORGE MCKEE and ARACELI KOH MCKEE, petitioners, cavans of rice weighing about 10,000 kilos, was traveling southward from Angeles City to San
vs. Fernando Pampanga, and was bound for Manila. The Ford Escort, on the other hand, was on
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, JAIME TAYAG and ROSALINDA its way to Angeles City from San Fernando. When the northbound car was about (10) meters
MANALO, respondents. away from the southern approach of the bridge, two (2) boys suddenly darted from the right
G.R. No. L-68103 July 16, 1992 side of the road and into the lane of the car. The boys were moving back and forth, unsure of
CARMEN DAYRIT KOH, LETICIA KOH, JULIETA KOH TUQUERO, ARACELI KOH whether to cross all the way to the other side or turn back. Jose Koh blew the horn of the car,
MCKEE, ANTONIO KOH and ELIZABETH KOH TURLA, petitioners, swerved to the left and entered the lane of the truck; he then switched on the headlights of the
vs. car, applied the brakes and thereafter attempted to return to his lane. Before he could do so,
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, JAIME TAYAG and ROSALINDA his car collided with the truck. The collision occurred in the lane of the truck, which was the
MANALO, respondents. opposite lane, on the said bridge.
The incident was immediately reported to the police station in Angeles City; consequently, a
DAVIDE, JR., J.: team of police officers was forthwith dispatched to conduct an on the spot investigation. In the
Petitioners urge this Court to review and reverse the Resolution of the Court of Appeals in sketch 1 prepared by the investigating officers, the bridge is described to be sixty (60)
C.A.-G.R. CV Nos. 69040-41, promulgated on 3 April 1984, which set aside its previous "footsteps" long and fourteen (14) "footsteps" wide seven (7) "footsteps" from the center
Decision dated 29 November 1983 reversing the Decision of the trial court which dismissed line to the inner edge of the side walk on both sides. 2 Pulong Pulo Bridge, which spans a dry
petitioners' complaints in Civil Case No. 4477 and Civil Case No. 4478 of the then Court of brook, is made of concrete with soft shoulders and concrete railings on both sides about three
First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Pampanga entitled "Carmen Dayrit Koh, Leticia (3) feet high.
Koh, Julieta Koh Tuquero, Araceli Koh McKee and Elizabeth Koh Turla vs. Jaime Tayag and The sketch of the investigating officer discloses that the right rear portion of the cargo truck
Rosalinda Manalo," and "George McKee and Araceli Koh McKee vs. Jaime Tayag and was two (2) "footsteps" from the edge of the right sidewalk, while its left front portion was
Rosalinda Manalo," respectively, and granted the private respondents' counterclaim for moral touching the center line of the bridge, with the smashed front side of the car resting on its front
damages, attorney's fees and litigation expenses. bumper. The truck was about sixteen (16) "footsteps" away from the northern end of the
The said civil cases for damages based on quasi-delict were filed as a result of a vehicular bridge while the car was about thirty-six (36) "footsteps" from the opposite end. Skid marks
accident which led to the deaths of Jose Koh, Kim Koh McKee and Loida Bondoc and caused produced by the right front tire of the truck measured nine (9) "footsteps", while skid marks
physical injuries to George Koh McKee, Christopher Koh McKee and petitioner Araceli Koh produced by the left front tire measured five (5) "footsteps." The two (2) rear tires of the truck,
McKee. however, produced no skid marks.
Petitioners in G.R. No. 68102, parents of the minors George Koh McKee, Christopher Koh In his statement to the investigating police officers immediately after the accident, Galang
McKee and the deceased Kim Koh McKee, were the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 4478, while admitted that he was traveling at thirty (30) miles (48 kilometers) per hour.
petitioner Carmen Dayrit Koh and her co-petitioners in G.R. No. 68103, who are the wife and As a consequence of the collision, two (2) cases, Civil Case No. 4477 and No. 4478, were
children, respectively, of the late Jose Koh, were the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 4477. Upon filed on 31 January 1977 before the then Court of First Instance of Pampanga and were
the other hand, private respondents are the owners of the cargo truck which figured in the raffled to Branch III and Branch V of the said court, respectively. In the first, herein petitioners
mishap; a certain Ruben Galang was the driver of the truck at the time of the accident. in G.R. No. 68103 prayed for the award of P12,000.00 as indemnity for the death of Jose Koh,
The antecedent facts are not disputed. P150,000.00 as moral damages, P60,000.00 as exemplary damages, P10,000.00 for litigation
Between nine and ten o'clock in the morning of 8 January 1977, in Pulong Pulo Bridge along expenses, P6,000.00 for burial expenses, P3,650.00 for the burial lot and P9,500.00 for the
MacArthur Highway, between Angeles City and San Fernando, Pampanga, a head-on- tomb, plus attorney's fees. 3 In the second case, petitioners in G.R. No. 68102 prayed for the
collision took place between an International cargo truck, Loadstar, with Plate No. RF912-T following: (a) in connection with the death of Kim McKee, the sum of P12,000.00 as death
Philippines '76 owned by private respondents, and driven by Ruben Galang, and a Ford benefit, P3,150.00 for funeral services, P3,650.00 for the cemetery lot, P3,000.00 for the
Escort car bearing Plate No. S2-850 Pampanga '76 driven by Jose Koh. The collision resulted tomb, P50,000.00 as moral damages, P10,000.00 as exemplary damages and P2,000.00 as
in the deaths of Jose Koh, Kim Koh McKee and Loida Bondoc, and physical injuries to George miscellaneous damages; (b) in the case of Araceli Koh McKee, in connection with the serious
Koh McKee, Christopher Koh McKee and Araceli Koh McKee, all passengers of the Ford physical injuries suffered, the sum of P100,000.00 as moral damages, P20,000.00 as
Escort. exemplary damages, P12,000.00 for loss of earnings, P5,000.00 for the hospitalization
Jose Koh was the father of petitioner Araceli Koh McKee, the mother of minors George, expenses up to the date of the filing of the complaint; and (c) with respect to George McKee,
Christopher and Kim Koh McKee. Loida Bondoc, on the other hand, was the baby sitter of one Jr., in connection with the serious physical injuries suffered, the sum of P50,000.00 as moral
and a half year old Kim. At the time of the collision, Kim was seated on the lap of Loida damages, P20,000.00 as exemplary damages and the following medical expenses: P3,400
Bondoc who was at the front passenger's seat of the car while Araceli and her two (2) sons payable to the Medical Center, P3,500.00 payable to the St. Francis Medical Center,
were seated at the car's back seat. P5,175.00 payable to the Clark Air Base Hospital, and miscellaneous expenses amounting to
P5,000.00. They also sought an award of attorney's fees amounting to 25% of the total award months of arresto mayor as minimum to two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day
plus traveling and hotel expenses, with costs. 4 of prision correccional as maximum; the accused is further sentenced to pay and indemnify
On 1 March 1977, an Information charging Ruben Galang with the crime of "Reckless the heirs of Loida Bondoc the amount of P12,000.00 as indemnity for her death; to reimburse
Imprudence Resulting to (sic) Multiple Homicide and Physical Injuries and Damage to the heirs of Loida Bondoc the amount of P2,000.00 representing the funeral expenses; to pay
Property" was filed with the trial court. It was docketed as Criminal Case No. 3751 and was the heirs of Loida Bondoc the amount of P20,000.00 representing her loss of income; to
raffled to Branch V of the court, the same Branch where Civil Case No. 4478 was assigned. 5 indemnify and pay the heirs of the deceased Jose Koh the value of the car in the amount of
In their Answer with Counterclaim in Civil Case No. 4477, private respondents asserted that it P53,910.95, and to pay the costs. 15
was the Ford Escort car which "invaded and bumped (sic) the lane of the truck driven by The aforecited decision was promulgated only on 17 November 1980; on the same day,
Ruben Galang and, as counterclaim, prayed for the award of P15,000.00 as attorney's fees, counsel for petitioners filed with Branch III of the court where the two (2) civil cases were
P20,000.00 as actual and liquidated damages, P100,000.00 as moral damages and pending a manifestation to that effect and attached thereto a copy of the decision. 16
P30,000.00 as business losses. 6 In Civil Case No. 4478, private respondents first filed a Upon the other hand, Judge Mario Castaeda, Jr. dismissed the two (2) civil cases on 12
motion to dismiss on grounds of pendency of another action (Civil Case No. 4477) and failure November 1980 and awarded the private respondents moral damages, exemplary damages
to implead an indispensable party, Ruben Galang, the truck driver; they also filed a motion to and attorney's fees. 17 The dispositive portion of the said decision reads as follows:
consolidate the case with Civil Case No. 4477 pending before Branch III of the same court, WHEREFORE, finding the preponderance of evidence to be in favor of the defendants and
which was opposed by the plaintiffs. 7 Both motions were denied by Branch V, then presided against the plaintiffs, these cases are hereby ordered DISMISSED with costs against the
over by Judge Ignacio Capulong. Thereupon, private respondents filed their Answer with plaintiffs. The defendants had proven their counter-claim, thru evidences (sic) presented and
Counter-claim 8 wherein they alleged that Jose Koh was the person "at fault having unrebutted. Hence, they are hereby awarded moral and exemplary damages in the amount of
approached the lane of the truck driven by Ruben Galang, . . . which was on the right lane P100,000.00 plus attorney's fee of P15,000.00 and litigation expenses for (sic) P2,000.00.
going towards Manila and at a moderate speed observing all traffic rules and regulations The actual damages claimed for (sic) by the defendants is (sic) hereby dismissing for lack of
applicable under the circumstances then prevailing;" in their counterclaim, they prayed for an proof to that effect (sic). 18
award of damages as may be determined by the court after due hearing, and the sums of A copy of the decision was sent by registered mail to the petitioners on 28 November 1980
P10,000.00 as attorney's fees and P5,000.00 as expenses of litigation. and was received on 2 December 1980. 19
Petitioners filed their Answers to the Counterclaims in both cases. Accused Ruben Galang appealed the judgment of conviction to the Court of Appeals. The
To expedite the proceedings, the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 4478 filed on 27 March 1978 a appeal was docketed as C.A.-G.R. Blg. 24764-CR and was assigned to the court's Third
motion to adopt the testimonies of witnesses taken during the hearing of Criminal Case No. Division. Plaintiffs in Civil Cases Nos. 4477 and 4478 likewise separately appealed the 12
3751, which private respondents opposed and which the court denied. 9 Petitioners November 1980 decision to the appellate court. The appeals were docketed as C.A.-G.R. No.
subsequently moved to reconsider the order denying the motion for consolidation, 10 which 69041-R and C.A.-G.R. No. 69040-R, respectively, and were assigned to the Fourth Civil
Judge Capulong granted in the Order of 5 September 1978; he then directed that Civil Case Cases Division.
No. 4478 be consolidated with Civil Case No. 4477 in Branch III of the court then presided On 4 October 1982, the respondent Court promulgated its decision 20 in C.A.-G.R. Blg. 24764-
over by Judge Mario Castaeda, Jr. CR affirming the conviction of Galang. 21 The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
Left then with Branch V of the trial court was Criminal Case No. 3751. DAHIL DITO, ang hatol na paksa ng naritong paghahabol ay Aming pinagtitibay sa kanyang
In the civil cases, the plaintiffs presented as witnesses Araceli Koh McKee, Fernando Nuag, kabuuan. Ang naghahabol pa rin ang pinagbabayad ng gugol ng paghahabol.
Col. Robert Fitzgerald, Primitivo Parel, Eugenio Tanhueco, Carmen Koh and Antonio A motion for reconsideration of the decision was denied by the respondent Court in
Koh, 11 and offered several documentary exhibits. Upon the other hand, private respondents its Kapasiyahan promulgated on 25 November 1982. 22 A petition for its review 23 was filed
presented as witnesses Ruben Galang, Zenaida Soliman, Jaime Tayag and Roman Dayrit. 12 with this Court; said petition was subsequently denied. A motion for its reconsideration was
In the criminal case, the prosecution presented as witnesses Mrs. Araceli McKee, Salud denied with finality in the Resolution of 20 April 1983. 24
Samia, Pfc. Fernando Nuag, Dr. Ramon Panlilio, Dr. Robert Fitzgerald, Dr. Roberto Yuson, On 29 November 1983, respondent Court, by then known as the Intermediate Appellate Court,
Dr. Hector, Ulanday, Pfc. Benigno de Leon, Marina Bolos, Primitivo Parel, Rogelio Pineda, promulgated its consolidated decision in A.C.-G.R. CV Nos. 69040 and 69041, 25 the
Benito Caraan and Eugenio Tanhueco, and offered several documentary exhibits. 13 Upon the dispositive portion of which reads:
other hand, the defense presented the accused Ruben Galang, Luciano Punzalan, Zenaida WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from it hereby reversed and set aside and another one
Soliman and Roman Dayrit, and offered documentary exhibits. 14 is rendered, ordering defendants-appellees to pay plaintiffs-appellants as follows:
On 1 October 1980, Judge Capulong rendered a decision against the accused Ruben Galang For the death of Jose Koh:
in the aforesaid criminal case. The dispositive portion of the decision reads as follows: P 50,000.00 as moral damages
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused P 12,000.00 as death indemnity
Ruben Galang guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged in the information and P 16,000.00 for the lot and tomb (Exhs. U and U-1)
after applying the provisions of Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code and indeterminate P 4,000.00 expenses for holding a wake (p. 9, tsn April 19, 1979)
sentence law, this Court, imposes upon said accused Ruben Galang the penalty of six (6)
P 950.00 for the casket (Exh. M) hitting the two (2) boys. We noticed the truck, he switched on the headlights to warn the truck
P 375.00 for the vault services (Exhs. V and V-1) driver, to slow down to give us the right of way to come back to our right lane.
For the death of Kim Koh McKee: Q Did the truck slow down?
P 50,000.00 as moral damages A No, sir, it did not, just (sic) continued on its way.
P 12,000.00 as death indemnity Q What happened after that?
P 1,000.00 for the purchase of the burial lot (Exh. M) A After avoiding the two (2) boys, the car tried to go back to the right lane since the truck is
P 950.00 for funeral services (Exh. M-1) (sic) coming, my father stepped on the brakes and all what (sic) I heard is the sound of impact
P 375.00 for vault services (Exhs. V and V-1) (sic), sir. (tsn, pp. 5-6, July 22, 1977); or (Exhibit "O" in these Civil Cases).
For the physical injuries suffered by George Koh McKee: xxx xxx xxx
P 25,000.00 as moral damages Q Mrs. how did you know that the truck driven by the herein accused, Ruben Galang did not
P 672.00 for Clark Field Hospital (Exh. E) reduce its speed before the actual impact of collision (sic) as you narrated in this Exhibit "1,"
P 4,384.00 paid to Angeles Medical Clinic (Exhs. D, D-1 and how did you know (sic)?
D-2) A It just kept on coming, sir. If only he reduced his speed, we could have got (sic) back to our
P 1,555.00 paid to St. Francis Medical Center (Exhs. B and B-1) right lane on side (sic) of the highway, sir. (tsn. pp. 33-34 July 22, 1977) or (Exhibit "O" in
For the physical injuries suffered by Araceli Koh McKee: these Civil Cases) (pp. 30-31, Appellants' Brief).
P 25,000.00 as moral damages Plaintiffs' version was successfully corroborated to Our satisfaction by the following facts and
P 1,055.00 paid to St. Francis Medical Center (Exhs. G and circumstances:
G-1) 1. An impartial eye-witness to the mishap, Eugenio Tanhueco, declared that the truck stopped
P 75.00 paid to St. Francis Medical Center (Exhs. G-2 and G-3) only when it had already collided with the car:
P 428.00 to Carmelite General Hospital (Exh. F) xxx xxx xxx
P 114.20 to Muoz Clinic (Exh. MM) Tanhueco repeated the same testimony during the hearing in the criminal case:
For the physical injuries suffered by Christopher Koh McKee: xxx xxx xxx
P 10,000.00 as moral damages Tanhueco could (sic) not be tagged as an accommodation witness because he was one of the
P 1,231.10 to St. Francis Medical Center (Exhs. L and L-1) first to arrive at the scene of the accident. As a matter of fact, he brought one of the injured
P 321.95 to F.C.E.A. Hospital (Exhs. G and D-1) passengers to the hospital.
In addition, We award P10,000.00 as counsel (sic) fees in Civil Case No. 4477 and another We are not prepared to accord faith and credit to defendants' witnesses, Zenaida Soliman, a
P10,000.00; as counsel (sic) fees in Civil Case No. 4478. passenger of the truck, and Roman Dayrit, who supposedly lived across the street.
No pronouncement as to costs. Regarding Soliman, experience has shown that in the ordinary course of events people
SO ORDERED. 26 usually take the side of the person with whom they are associated at the time of the accident,
The decision is anchored principally on the respondent Court's findings that it was Ruben because, as a general rule, they do not wish to be identified with the person who was at fault.
Galang's inattentiveness or reckless imprudence which caused the accident. The appellate Thus an imaginary bond is unconsciously created among the several persons within the same
court further said that the law presumes negligence on the part of the defendants (private group (People vs. Vivencio, CA-G.R. No. 00310-CR, Jan. 31, 1962).
respondents), as employers of Galang, in the selection and supervision of the latter; it was With respect to Dayrit, We can not help suspecting (sic) that he is an accommodation witness.
further asserted that these defendants did not allege in their Answers the defense of having He did not go to the succor of the injured persons. He said he wanted to call the police
exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in selecting and supervising the said authorities about the mishap, but his phone had no dial tone. Be this (sic) as it may, the trial
employee. 27This conclusion of reckless imprudence is based on the following findings of fact: court in the criminal case acted correctly in refusing to believe Dayrit.
In the face of these diametrically opposed judicial positions, the determinative issue in this 2. Exhibit 2, the statement of Galang, does not include the claim that Galang stopped his truck
appeal is posited in the fourth assigned error as follows: at a safe distance from the car, according to plaintiffs (p. 25, Appellants' Brief). This contention
IV of appellants was completely passed sub-silencio or was not refuted by appellees in their
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT HELD THE (sic) DRIVER OF THE TRUCK STOPPED brief. Exhibit 2 is one of the exhibits not included in the record. According to the Table of
HIS TRUCK BLEW HIS HORN SWITCHED ON HIS HEADLIGHTS AND COULD NOT Contents submitted by the court below, said Exhibit 2 was not submitted by defendants-
SWERVE TO THE RIGHT. appellees. In this light, it is not far-fetched to surmise that Galang's claim that he stopped was
Supportive of plaintiffs' version, principal witness Araceli Koh McKee testified thus: an eleventh-hour desperate attempt to exculpate himself from imprisonment and damages.
Q What happened after that, as you approached the bridge? 3. Galang divulged that he stopped after seeing the car about 10 meters away:
A When we were approaching the bridge, two (2) boys tried to cross the right lane on the right ATTY. SOTTO:
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 were crossing, he blew his horn and swerved to the left to avoid
Q Do I understand from your testimony that inspite of the fact that you admitted that the road FOUND IN THE RECORDS; THEREFORE, RESPONDENT COURT'S RESOLUTIONS
is straight and you may be able to (sic) see 500-1000 meters away from you any vehicle, you (ANNEXES A and B, PETITION) ARE CLEARLY ERRONEOUS, PURELY BASED ON
first saw that car only about ten (10) meters away from you for the first time? SPECULATIONS, CONJECTURES AND WITHOUT SURE FOUNDATION IN THE
xxx xxx xxx EVIDENCE.
A I noticed it, sir, that it was about ten (10) meters away. II
ATTY. SOTTO: . . . GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AND ERRED WHEN IN EFFECT IT
Q So, for clarification, you clarify and state under your oath that you have (sic) not noticed it DISREGARDED A DOCTRINE LAID DOWN BY THIS HONORABLE COURT BY STATING
before that ten (10) meters? (Tsn. 3 to 5, Sept. 18, 1979). (p. 16, Appellants' Brief) AMONG OTHERS, "IT CANNOT CATEGORICALLY ADOPT THE FINDINGS OF GUILT IN
Galang's testimony substantiate (sic) Tanhueco's statement that Galang stopped only THE CRIMINAL CASE WHERE THE DRIVER OF THE TRUCK INVOLVED IN THE
because of the impact. At ten (10) meters away, with the truck running at 30 miles per hour, ACCIDENT WAS INDICTED.
as revealed in Galang's affidavit (Exh. 2; p. 25, Appellants' brief), it is well-nigh impossible to III
avoid a collision on a bridge. . . . PATENTLY COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND MADE A MISLEADING
5. Galang's truck stopped because of the collision, and not because he waited for Jose Koh to PRONOUNCEMENT, WHEN IT HELD: "IT IS THUS INCUMBENT UPON THE PLAINTIFFS-
return to his proper lane. The police investigator, Pfc. Fernando L. Nuag, stated that he APPELLANTS (APPELLEES WRONGLY MENTIONED IN THE RESOLUTION) TO PROVE
found skid marks under the truck but there were not (sic) skid marks behind the truck (pp. 19- THEIR ALLEGATIONS THAT THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT WAS THE
20, t.s.n., Nov. 3, 1978). The presence of skid marks show (sic) that the truck was speeding. NEGLIGENCE OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS' DRIVER.
Since the skid marks were found under the truck and none were found at the rear of the truck, IV
the reasonable conclusion is that the skid marks under the truck were caused by the truck's . . . COMMITTED ANOTHER GRIEVIOUS (sic) ERROR; COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
front wheels when the trucks (sic) suddenly stopped seconds before the mishap in an DISCRETION AND CITED ANOTHER CASE WHICH IS CLEARLY INAPPLICABLE TO
endeavor to avoid the same. But, as aforesaid, Galang saw the car at barely 10 meters away, THESE CASES.
a very short distance to avoid a collision, and in his futile endeavor to avoid the collision he V
abruptly stepped on his brakes but the smashup happened just the same. . . . COMMITTED A PATENT ERROR AND GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN
For the inattentiveness or reckless imprudence of Galang, the law presumes negligence on ADOPTING THE FINDINGS OF THE TRIAL COURT WHICH ARE CLEARLY ERRONEOUS
the part of the defendants in the selection of their driver or in the supervision over him. AND CONTRARY TO THE EVIDENCE FOUND IN THE RECORDS, SPECIALLY THEY (sic)
Appellees did not allege such defense of having exercised the duties of a good father of a ARE CONTRARY TO THE ADMITTED FACTS AND JUDICIAL ADMISSIONS MADE BY THE
family in the selection and supervision of their employees in their answers. They did not even PRIVATE RESPONDENTS' DRIVER.
adduce evidence that they did in fact have methods of selection and programs of supervision. VI
The inattentiveness or negligence of Galang was the proximate cause of the mishap. If . . . EXCEEDED ITS JURISDICTION, COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND
Galang's attention was on the highway, he would have sighted the car earlier or at a very safe GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT AWARDED DAMAGES TO THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS
distance than (sic) 10 meters. He proceeded to cross the bridge, and tried to stop when a WHEN SAID AWARD IS NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE, IN THE RECORDS, AND SAID
collision was already inevitable, because at the time that he entered the bridge his attention AWARD IS NOT ALLOWED BY LAW AND THE CONSISTENT DECISIONS OF THIS
was not riveted to the road in front of him. HONORABLE COURT.
On the question of damages, the claims of appellants were amply proven, but the items must VII
be reduced. 28 . . . EXCEEDED ITS JURISDICTION, COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND
A motion for reconsideration alleging improper appreciation of the facts was subsequently filed GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT ERRONEOUSLY SET ASIDE ITS DECISION AWARDING
by private respondents on the basis of which the respondent Court, in its Resolution of 3 April DAMAGES TO PETITIONERS WHICH IS CLEARLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE
1984, 29 reconsidered and set aside its 29 November 1983 decision and affirmed in toto the EVIDENCE, THE LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE RELATIVE TO THE AWARD OF
trial court's judgment of 12 November 1980. A motion to reconsider this Resolution was DAMAGES. 31
denied by the respondent Court on 4 July 1984. 30 In the Resolution of 12 September 1984, We required private respondents to Comment on the
Hence, this petition. petition. 32 After the said Comment 33 was filed, petitioners submitted a Reply 34 thereto; this
Petitioners allege that respondent Court: Court then gave due course to the instant petitions and required petitioners to file their
I Brief, 35 which they accordingly complied with.
. . . COMMITTED A VERY SERIOUS AND GRAVE ERROR WHEN IT TOTALLY REVERSED There is merit in the petition. Before We take on the main task of dissecting the arguments
ITS DECISION BY MERELY BASING IT FROM (sic) A MERE "PRESUMPTION," TOTALLY and counter-arguments, some observations on the procedural vicissitudes of these cases are
DISREGARDING THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS' DRIVER'S ADMISSIONS AND in order.
CONFESSIONS, WHO EXCLUSIVELY COMMITTED THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE Civil Cases Nos. 4477 and 4478, which were for the recovery of civil liability arising from
ACCIDENT (sic), FURTHER, IT ALSO DISREGARDED THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED AND a quasi-delict under Article 2176 in relation to Article 2180 of the Civil Code, were filed ahead
of Criminal Case No. 3751. Civil Case No. 4478 was eventually consolidated with Civil Case subsidiary pursuant to Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code. In the absence of any collusion,
No. 4477 for joint trial in Branch III of the trial court. The records do not indicate any attempt the judgment of conviction in the criminal case against Galang would have been conclusive in
on the part of the parties, and it may therefore be reasonably concluded that none was made, the civil cases for the subsidiary liability of the private respondents. 41
to consolidate Criminal Case No. 3751 with the civil cases, or vice-versa. The parties may And now to the merits of the petition.
have then believed, and understandably so, since by then no specific provision of law or ruling It is readily apparent from the pleadings that the principal issue raised in this petition is
of this Court expressly allowed such a consolidation, that an independent civil action, whether or not respondent Court's findings in its challenged resolution are supported by
authorized under Article 33 in relation to Article 2177 of the Civil Code, such as the civil cases evidence or are based on mere speculations, conjectures and presumptions.
in this case, cannot be consolidated with the criminal case. Indeed, such consolidation could The principle is well-established that this Court is not a trier of facts. Therefore, in an appeal
have been farthest from their minds as Article 33 itself expressly provides that the "civil action by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, only questions of law may be
shall proceed independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall require only a raised. The resolution of factual issues is the function of the lower courts whose findings on
preponderance of evidence." Be that as it may, there was then no legal impediment against these matters are received with respect and are, as a rule, binding on this Court. 42
such consolidation. Section 1, Rule 31 of the Rules of Court, which seeks to avoid a The foregoing rule, however, is not without exceptions. Findings of facts of the trial courts and
multiplicity of suits, guard against oppression and abuse, prevent delays, clear congested the Court of Appeals may be set aside when such findings are not supported by the evidence
dockets to simplify the work of the trial court, or in short, attain justice with the least expense or when the trial court failed to consider the material facts which would have led to a
to the parties litigants, 36 would have easily sustained a consolidation, thereby preventing the conclusion different from what was stated in its judgment. 43 The same is true where the
unseeming, if no ludicrous, spectacle of two (2) judges appreciating, according to their appellate court's conclusions are grounded entirely on conjectures, speculations and
respective orientation, perception and perhaps even prejudice, the same facts differently, and surmises 44 or where the conclusions of the lower courts are based on a misapprehension of
thereafter rendering conflicting decisions. Such was what happened in this case. It should not, facts. 45
hopefully, happen anymore. In the recent case of Cojuangco vs. Court or Appeals, 37 this It is at once obvious to this Court that the instant case qualifies as one of the aforementioned
Court held that the present provisions of Rule 111 of the Revised Rules of Court allow a exceptions as the findings and conclusions of the trial court and the respondent Court in its
consolidation of an independent civil action for the recovery of civil liability authorized under challenged resolution are not supported by the evidence, are based on an misapprehension of
Articles 32, 33, 34 or 2176 of the Civil Code with the criminal action subject, however, to the facts and the inferences made therefrom are manifestly mistaken. The respondent Court's
condition that no final judgment has been rendered in that criminal case. decision of 29 November 1983 makes the correct findings of fact.
Let it be stressed, however, that the judgment in Criminal Case No. 3751 finding Galang guilty In the assailed resolution, the respondent Court held that the fact that the car improperly
of reckless imprudence, although already final by virtue of the denial by no less than this Court invaded the lane of the truck and that the collision occurred in said lane gave rise to the
of his last attempt to set aside the respondent Court's affirmance of the verdict of conviction, presumption that the driver of the car, Jose Koh, was negligent. On the basis of this presumed
has no relevance or importance to this case. negligence, the appellate court immediately concluded that it was Jose Koh's negligence that
As We held in Dionisio vs. Alvendia, 38 the responsibility arising from fault or negligence in was the immediate and proximate cause of the collision. This is an unwarranted deduction as
a quasi-delict is entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence the evidence for the petitioners convincingly shows that the car swerved into the truck's lane
under the Penal Code. And, as more concretely stated in the concurring opinion of Justice because as it approached the southern end of the bridge, two (2) boys darted across the road
J.B.L. Reyes, "in the case of independent civil actions under the new Civil Code, the result of from the right sidewalk into the lane of the car. As testified to by petitioner Araceli Koh McKee:
the criminal case, whether acquittal or conviction, would be entirely irrelevant to the civil Q What happened after that, as you approached the bridge?
action." 39 In Salta vs. De Veyra and PNB vs. Purisima, 40 this Court stated: A When we were approaching the bridge, two (2) boys tried to cross the right lane on the right
. . . It seems perfectly reasonable to conclude that the civil actions mentioned in Article 33, side of the highway going to San Fernando. My father, who is (sic) the driver of the car tried to
permitted in the same manner to be filed separately from the criminal case, may proceed avoid the two (2) boys who were crossing, he blew his horn and swerved to the left to avoid
similarly regardless of the result of the criminal case. hitting the two (2) boys. We noticed the truck, he switched on the headlights to warn the truck
Indeed, when the law has allowed a civil case related to a criminal case, to be filed separately driver, to slow down to give us the right of way to come back to our right lane.
and to proceed independently even during the pendency of the latter case, the intention is Q Did the truck slow down?
patent to make the court's disposition of the criminal case of no effect whatsoever on the A No sir, it did not, just (sic) continued on its way.
separate civil case. This must be so because the offenses specified in Article 33 are of such a Q What happened after that?
nature, unlike other offenses not mentioned, that they may be made the subject of a separate A After avoiding the two (2) boys, the car tried to go back to the right lane since the truck is
civil action because of the distinct separability of their respective juridical cause or basis of (sic) coming, my father stepped on the brakes and all what (sic) I heard is the sound of impact
action . . . . (sic), sir. 46
What remains to be the most important consideration as to why the decision in the criminal Her credibility and testimony remained intact even during cross examination. Jose Koh's entry
case should not be considered in this appeal is the fact that private respondents were not into the lane of the truck was necessary in order to avoid what was, in his mind at that time, a
parties therein. It would have been entirely different if the petitioners' cause of action was for greater peril death or injury to the two (2) boys. Such act can hardly be classified as
damages arising from a delict, in which case private respondents' liability could only be negligent.
Negligence was defined and described by this Court in Layugan vs. Intermediate Appellate probable result of the cause which first acted, under such circumstances that the person
Court, 47 thus: responsible for the first event should, as an ordinary prudent and intelligent person, have
. . . Negligence is the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided by those reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his act or default that an injury to some person
considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or the doing might probably result therefrom. 50
of something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do (Black's Law Dictionary, Fifth Applying the above definition, although it may be said that the act of Jose Koh, if at all
Edition, 930), or as Judge Cooley defines it, "(T)he failure to observe for the protection of the negligent, was the initial act in the chain of events, it cannot be said that the same caused the
interests of another person, that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the eventual injuries and deaths because of the occurrence of a sufficient intervening event, the
circumstances justly demand, whereby such other person suffers injury." (Cooley on Torts, negligent act of the truck driver, which was the actual cause of the tragedy. The entry of the
Fourth Edition, vol. 3, 265) car into the lane of the truck would not have resulted in the collision had the latter heeded the
In Picart vs. Smith (37 Phil 809, 813), decided more than seventy years ago but still a sound emergency signals given by the former to slow down and give the car an opportunity to go
rule, (W)e held: back into its proper lane. Instead of slowing down and swerving to the far right of the road,
The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case may be stated which was the proper precautionary measure under the given circumstances, the truck driver
as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that (reasonable care and continued at full speed towards the car. The truck driver's negligence becomes more apparent
caution which an ordinarily prudent person would have used in the same situation?) If not, in view of the fact that the road is 7.50 meters wide while the car measures 1.598 meters and
then he is guilty of negligence. The law here in effect adopts the standard supposed to be the truck, 2.286 meters, in width. This would mean that both car and truck could pass side by
supplied by the imaginary conduct of the discreet paterfamilias of the Roman side with a clearance of 3.661 meters to spare. 51 Furthermore, the bridge has a level sidewalk
law. . . . which could have partially accommodated the truck. Any reasonable man finding himself in
In Corliss vs. Manila Railroad Company, 48 We held: the given situation would have tried to avoid the car instead of meeting it head-on.
. . . Negligence is want of the care required by the circumstances. It is a relative or The truck driver's negligence is apparent in the records. He himself said that his truck was
comparative, not an absolute, term and its application depends upon the situation of the running at 30 miles (48 kilometers) per hour along the bridge while the maximum speed
parties and the degree of care and vigilance which the circumstances reasonably require. allowed by law on a bridge 52 is only 30 kilometers per hour. Under Article 2185 of the Civil
Where the danger is great, a high degree of care is necessary, and the failure to observe it is Code, a person driving a vehicle is presumed negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was
a want of ordinary care under the circumstances. (citing Ahern v. Oregon Telephone Co., 35 violating any traffic regulation. We cannot give credence to private respondents' claim that
Pac. 549 (1894). there was an error in the translation by the investigating officer of the truck driver's response
On the basis of the foregoing definition, the test of negligence and the facts obtaining in this in Pampango as to whether the speed cited was in kilometers per hour or miles per hour. The
case, it is manifest that no negligence could be imputed to Jose Koh. Any reasonable and law presumes that official duty has been regularly performed; 53 unless there is proof to the
ordinary prudent man would have tried to avoid running over the two boys by swerving the car contrary, this presumption holds. In the instant case, private respondents' claim is based on
away from where they were even if this would mean entering the opposite lane. Avoiding such mere conjecture.
immediate peril would be the natural course to take particularly where the vehicle in the The truck driver's negligence was likewise duly established through the earlier quoted
opposite lane would be several meters away and could very well slow down, move to the side testimony of petitioner Araceli Koh McKee which was duly corroborated by the testimony of
of the road and give way to the oncoming car. Moreover, under what is known as the Eugenio Tanhueco, an impartial eyewitness to the mishap.
emergency rule, "one who suddenly finds himself in a place of danger, and is required to act Araceli Koh McKee testified further, thus:
without time to consider the best means that may be adopted to avoid the impending danger, xxx xxx xxx
is not guilty of negligence, if he fails to adopt what subsequently and upon reflection may Q Mrs. how did you know that the truck driven by the herein accused, Ruben Galang did not
appear to have been a better method, unless the emergency in which he finds himself is reduce its speed before the actual impact of collision as you narrated in this Exhibit "1," how
brought about by his own negligence." 49 did you know?
Considering the sudden intrusion of the two (2) boys into the lane of the car, We find that Jose A It just kept on coming, sir. If only he reduced his speed, we could have got (sic) back to our
Koh adopted the best means possible in the given situation to avoid hitting them. Applying the right lane on side (sic) of the highway, sir. (tsn, pp. 33-34, July 22, 1977) or (Exhibit; "O" in
above test, therefore, it is clear that he was not guilty of negligence. these Civil Cases) (pp. 30-31, Appellants' Brief) 54
In any case, assuming, arguendo that Jose Koh is negligent, it cannot be said that his while Eugenio Tanhueco testified thus:
negligence was the proximate cause of the collision. Proximate cause has been defined as: Q When you saw the truck, how was it moving?
. . . that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient A It was moving 50 to 60 kilometers per hour, sir.
intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred. Q Immediately after you saw this truck, do you know what happened?
And more comprehensively, the proximate legal cause is that acting first and producing the A I saw the truck and a car collided (sic), sir, and I went to the place to help the victims. (tsn.
injury, either immediately or by setting other events in motion, all constituting a natural and 28, April 19, 1979)
continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection with its immediate xxx xxx xxx
predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately effecting the injury as a natural and
Q From the time you saw the truck to the time of the impact, will you tell us if the said truck Generally, the last clear chance doctrine is invoked for the purpose of making a defendant
ever stopped? liable to a plaintiff who was guilty of prior or antecedent negligence, although it may also be
A I saw it stopped (sic) when it has (sic) already collided with the car and it was already raised as a defense to defeat claim (sic) for damages.
motionless. (tsn. 31, April 19, 1979; Emphasis Supplied). (p. 27, Appellants' Brief). 55 Applying the foregoing doctrine, it is not difficult to rule, as We now rule, that it was the truck
Clearly, therefore, it was the truck driver's subsequent negligence in failing to take the proper driver's negligence in failing to exert ordinary care to avoid the collision which was, in law, the
measures and degree of care necessary to avoid the collision which was the proximate cause proximate cause of the collision. As employers of the truck driver, the private respondents are,
of the resulting accident. under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, directly and primarily liable for the resulting damages.
Even if Jose Koh was indeed negligent, the doctrine of last clear chance finds application The presumption that they are negligent flows from the negligence of their employee. That
here. Last clear chance is a doctrine in the law of torts which states that the contributory presumption, however, is only juris tantum, not juris et de jure. 59 Their only possible defense
negligence of the party injured will not defeat the claim for damages if it is shown that the is that they exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage.
defendant might, by the exercise of reasonable care and prudence, have avoided the Article 2180 reads as follows:
consequences of the negligence of the injured party. In such cases, the person who had the The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or
last clear chance to avoid the mishap is considered in law solely responsible for the omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.
consequences thereof. 56 xxx xxx xxx
In Bustamante vs. Court of Appeals, 57 We held: Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers
The respondent court adopted the doctrine of "last clear chance." The doctrine, stated acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in
broadly, is that the negligence of the plaintiff does not preclude a recovery for the negligence any business or industry.
of the defendant where it appears that the defendant, by exercising reasonable care and xxx xxx xxx
prudence, might have avoided injurious consequences to the plaintiff notwithstanding the The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned
plaintiff's negligence. In other words, the doctrine of last clear chance means that even though prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.
a person's own acts may have placed him in a position of peril, and an injury results, the The diligence of a good father referred to means the diligence in the selection and supervision
injured person is entitled to recovery (sic). As the doctrine is usually stated, a person who has of employees. 60The answers of the private respondents in Civil Cases Nos. 4477 and 4478
the last clear chance or opportunity of avoiding an accident, notwithstanding the negligent acts did not interpose this defense. Neither did they attempt to prove it.
of his opponent or that of a third person imputed to the opponent is considered in law solely The respondent Court was then correct in its Decision of 29 November 1983 in reversing the
responsible for the consequences of the accident. (Sangco, Torts and Damages, 4th Ed., decision of the trial court which dismissed Civil Cases Nos. 4477 and 4478. Its assailed
1986, p. 165). Resolution of 3 April 1984 finds no sufficient legal and factual moorings.
The practical import of the doctrine is that a negligent defendant is held liable to a negligent In the light of recent decisions of this Court, 61 the indemnity for death must, however, be
plaintiff, or even to a plaintiff who has been grossly negligent in placing himself in peril, if he, increased from P12,000.00 to P50,000.00.
aware of the plaintiff's peril, or according to some authorities, should have been aware of it in WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolution of the respondent
the reasonable exercise of due care, had in fact an opportunity later than that of the plaintiff to Court of 3 April 1984 is SET ASIDE while its Decision of 29 November 1983 in C.A.-G.R. CV
avoid an accident (57 Am. Jur., 2d, pp. 798-799). Nos. 69040-41 is REINSTATED, subject to the modification that the indemnity for death is
In Pantranco North Express, Inc., vs. Baesa, 58 We ruled: increased from P12,000.00 to P50,000.00 each for the death of Jose Koh and Kim Koh
The doctrine of last clear chance was defined by this Court in the case of Ong v. Metropolitan McKee.
Water District, 104 Phil. 397 (1958), in this wise: Costs against private respondents.
The doctrine of the last clear chance simply, means that the negligence of a claimant does not SO ORDERED.
preclude a recovery for the negligence of defendant where it appears that the latter, by
exercising reasonable care and prudence, might have avoided injurious consequences to
claimant notwithstanding his negligence.
The doctrine applies only in a situation where the plaintiff was guilty of prior or antecedent
negligence but the defendant, who had the last fair chance to avoid the impending harm and
failed to do so, is made liable for all the consequences of the 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 Court, Cecilia Alferez Vda. de Calibo, et al.,
G.R. No. 70493, May, 18, 1989]. The subsequent negligence of the defendant in failing to
exercise ordinary care to avoid injury to plaintiff becomes the immediate or proximate cause of
the accident which intervenes between the accident and the more remote negligence of the
plaintiff, thus making the defendant liable to the plaintiff [Picart v. Smith, supra].
E. VICARIOUS LIABILITY Finally, teachers or directors of arts and trades are liable for any damages caused by their
pupils or apprentices while they are under their custody.
G.R. No. L-10134 June 29, 1957 Plaintiff contends that defendant Delfin Capuno is liable for the damages in question jointly
SABINA EXCONDE, plaintiff-appellant, and severally with his son Dante because at the time the latter committed the negligent act
vs. which resulted in the death of the victim, he was a minor and was then living with his father,
DELFIN CAPUNO and DANTE CAPUNO, defendants-appellees. and inasmuch as these facts are not disputed, the civil liability of the father is evident. And so,
Magno T. Bueser for appellant. plaintiff contends, the lower court erred in relieving the father from liability.
Alver Law Offices and Edon B. Brion and Vencedor A. Alimario for appellees. We find merit in this claim. It is true that under the law above quoted, "teachers or directors of
arts and trades are liable for any damages caused by their pupils or apprentices while they
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.: are under their custody", but this provision only applies to an institution of arts and trades and
Dante Capuno, son of Delfin Capuno, was accused of double homicide through reckless not to any academic educational institution (Padilla, Civil Law, 1953, Ed., Vol. IV, p. 841; See
imprudence for the death of Isidoro Caperina and Amado Ticzon on March 31, 1949 in the 12 Manresa, 4th Ed., p. 557). Here Dante capuno was then a student of the Balintawak
Court of First Instance of Laguna (Criminal Case No. 15001). During the trial, Sabina Elementary School and as part of his extra-curricular activity, he attended the parade in honor
Exconde, as mother of the deceased Isidoro Caperina, reserved her right to bring a separate of Dr. Jose Rizal upon instruction of the city school's supervisor. And it was in connection with
civil action for damages against the accused. After trial, Dante Capuno was found guilty of the that parade that Dante boarded a jeep with some companions and while driving it, the
crime charged and, on appeal, the Court Appeals affirmed the decision. Dante Capuno was accident occurred. In the circumstances, it is clear that neither the head of that school, nor the
only (15) years old when he committed the crime. city school's supervisor, could be held liable for the negligent act of Dante because he was not
In line with her reservation, Sabina Exconde filed the present action against Delfin Capuno then a student of an institute of arts and trades as provided by law.
and his son Dante Capuno asking for damages in the aggregate amount of P2,959.00 for the The civil liability which the law impose upon the father, and, in case of his death or incapacity,
death of her son Isidoro Caperia. Defendants set up the defense that if any one should be the mother, for any damages that may be caused by the minor children who live with them, is
held liable for the death of Isidoro Caperina, he is Dante Capuno and not his father Delfin obvious. This is necessary consequence of the parental authority they exercise over them
because at the time of the accident, the former was not under the control, supervision and which imposes upon the parents the "duty of supporting them, keeping them in their company,
custody, of the latter. This defense was sustained by the lower court and, as a consequence it educating them and instructing them in proportion to their means", while, on the other hand,
only convicted Dante Capuno to pay the damages claimed in the complaint. From decision, gives them the "right to correct and punish them in moderation" (Articles 154 and 155,
plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals but the case was certified to us on the ground that Spanish Civil Code). The only way by which they can relieve themselves of this liability is if
the appeal only involves questions of law. they prove that they exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the
It appears that Dante Capuno was a member of the Boy Scouts Organization and a student of damage(Article 1903, last paragraph, Spanish Civil Code). This defendants failed to prove.
the Bilintawak Elementary School situated in a barrio in the City of San Pablo and on March WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is modified in the sense that defendants Delfin
31, 1949 he attended a parade in honor of Dr. Jose Rizal in said city upon instruction of the Capuno and Dante Capuno shall pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the sum of P2,959.00 as
city school's supervisor. From the school Dante, with other students, boarded a jeep and damages, and the costs of action.
when the same started to run, he took hold of the wheel and drove it while the driver sat on his
left side. They have not gone far when the jeep turned turtle and two of its passengers,
Amado Ticzon and Isidore Caperia, died as a consequence. It further appears that Delfin
Capuno, father of Dante, was not with his son at the time of the accident, nor did he know that
his son was going to attend a parade. He only came to know it when his son told him after the
accident that he attended the parade upon instruction of his teacher.
The only issue involved in this appeal is whether defendant Delfin Capuno can be held civilly
liable, jointly and severally with his son Dante, for damages resulting from the death of Isidoro
Caperia caused by the negligent act of minor Dante Capuno.
The case comes under Article 1903 of the Spanish Civil Code, paragraph 1 and 5, which
provides:
ART. 1903. The obligation impossed by the next preceding articles is enforceable not only for
personal acts and omissions, but also for those of persons for whom another is responsible.
The father, and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are liable for any damages
caused by the minor children who live with them.
xxx xxx xxx
G.R. No. L-24101 September 30, 1970 therein, such as that of the father or the mother under the circumstances above quoted. The
MARIA TERESA Y. CUADRA, minor represented by her father ULISES P. CUADRA, ET basis of this vicarious, although primary, liability is, as in Article 2176, fault or negligence,
AL., plaintiffs-appellees, which is presumed from that which accompanied the causative act or omission. The
vs. presumption is merely prima facie and may therefore be rebutted. This is the clear and logical
ALFONSO MONFORT, defendant-appellant. inference that may be drawn from the last paragraph of Article 2180, which states "that the
Rodolfo J. Herman for plaintiffs-appellees. responsibility treated of in this Article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned prove
Luis G. Torres and Abraham E. Tionko for defendant-appellant. that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage."
Since the fact thus required to be proven is a matter of defense, the burden of proof
MAKALINTAL, J.: necessarily rests on the defendant. But what is the exact degree of diligence contemplated,
This is an action for damages based on quasi-delict, decided by the Court of First Instance of and how does a parent prove it in connection with a particular act or omission of a minor child,
Negros Occidental favorably to the plaintiffs and appealed by the defendant to the Court of especially when it takes place in his absence or outside his immediate company? Obviously
Appeals, which certified the same to us since the facts are not in issue. there can be no meticulously calibrated measure applicable; and when the law simply refers to
Maria Teresa Cuadra, 12, and Maria Teresa Monfort, 13, were classmates in Grade Six at the "all the diligence of a good father of the family to prevent damage," it implies a consideration
Mabini Elementary School in Bacolod City. On July 9, 1962 their teacher assigned them, of the attendant circumstances in every individual case, to determine whether or not by the
together with three other classmates, to weed the grass in the school premises. While thus exercise of such diligence the damage could have been prevented.
engaged Maria Teresa Monfort found a plastic headband, an ornamental object commonly In the present case there is nothing from which it may be inferred that the defendant could
worn by young girls over their hair. Jokingly she said aloud that she had found an earthworm have prevented the damage by the observance of due care, or that he was in any way remiss
and, evidently to frighten the Cuadra girl, tossed the object at her. At that precise moment the in the exercise of his parental authority in failing to foresee such damage, or the act which
latter turned around to face her friend, and the object hit her right eye. Smarting from the pain, caused it. On the contrary, his child was at school, where it was his duty to send her and
she rubbed the injured part and treated it with some powder. The next day, July 10, the eye where she was, as he had the right to expect her to be, under the care and supervision of the
became swollen and it was then that the girl related the incident to her parents, who teacher. And as far as the act which caused the injury was concerned, it was an innocent
thereupon took her to a doctor for treatment. She underwent surgical operation twice, first on prank not unusual among children at play and which no parent, however careful, would have
July 20 and again on August 4, 1962, and stayed in the hospital for a total of twenty-three any special reason to anticipate much less guard against. Nor did it reveal any mischievous
days, for all of which the parents spent the sum of P1,703.75. Despite the medical efforts, propensity, or indeed any trait in the child's character which would reflect unfavorably on her
however, Maria Teresa Cuadra completely lost the sight of her right eye. upbringing and for which the blame could be attributed to her parents.
In the civil suit subsequently instituted by the parents in behalf of their minor daughter against The victim, no doubt, deserves no little commiseration and sympathy for the tragedy that befell
Alfonso Monfort, Maria Teresa Monfort's father, the defendant was ordered to pay P1,703.00 her. But if the defendant is at all obligated to compensate her suffering, the obligation has no
as actual damages; P20,000.00 as moral damages; and P2,000.00 as attorney's fees, plus legal sanction enforceable in court, but only the moral compulsion of good conscience.
the costs of the suit. The decision appealed from is reversed, and the complaint is dismissed, without
The legal issue posed in this appeal is the liability of a parent for an act of his minor child pronouncement as to costs.
which causes damage to another under the specific facts related above and the applicable
provisions of the Civil Code, particularly Articles 2176 and 2180 thereof, which read:
ART. 2176. 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 a quasi-delict and is governed by
provisions of this Chapter.
ART 2180. 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.
The father and, in case of his death or incapacity are responsible for the damages caused by
the minor children who live in their company.
xxx xxx xxx
The responsibility treated of in this Article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned
prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.
The underlying basis of the liability imposed by Article 2176 is the fault or negligence
accompanying the act or the omission, there being no willfulness or intent to cause damage
thereby. When the act or omission is that of one person for whom another is responsible, the
latter then becomes himself liable under Article 2180, in the different cases enumerated
G.R. No. L-31611 November 29, 1976 of P12,000.00 for the mental anguish suffered by the plaintiffs by reason of the death of their
BENIGNO C. GUTIERREZ and DOMINGO N. BALISALISA, petitioners, daughter, and the sum of P6,000.00 for the physical pains suffered by the child Edna Baloyo
vs. before she died; and said defendants are also ordered to pay P10,000.00 each to the plaintiffs
COURT OF APPEALS *, ELISEO G. BALOYO and SOLEDAD RAMOS DE as exemplary damages, or in the aggregate sum of P61,000.00. The costs in this instance
BALOYO, respondents. shall be taxed against the defendants-appellants in equal shares.
Bengzon, Bengzon, Villaroman & De Vera for petitioners. In their petition, petitioners would assign as error the appellate court's rejection of their
Ruperto S. Gecale & Associates for private respondents. defense of the non-existence of employer-employee relationship between them and the crane
Manuel T. Molina for respondent Soledad Baloyo. operators.
The contention has no merit. Respondent court correctly held that the defense of alleged non-
TEEHANKEE, J.: existence of employer-employee relationship was never raised in the lower court and could
The Court affirms the appealed judgment of the Court of Appeals granting private respondent not be raised or entertained for the first time on appeal. 1 Withal, respondent court
a total award of P61,000.00 by way of actual, moral and exemplary damages and attorney's nevertheless found that the evidence sufficiently established the existence of such employer-
fees due to the tragic death in school of their nine-year old daughter as a result of the gross employee relationship between petitioners and the negligent crane operators, stressing that
negligence of petitioners and their crane operators. In view of the clear lack of merit of the "the contract Exhibit B-8 between the Republic of the Philippines and defendant (petitioner)
appeal, this decision is declared immediately executory upon its promulgation. Gutierrez specifically stipulated 'That the party of the second part (referring to Gutierrez)
Respondents-spouses Eliseo G. Baloyo and Soledad Ramos de Baloyo filed a suit for actual, hereby agrees to undertake complete construction of the N. Reyes-Severino Drainage Main,
moral and exemplary damages arising from the death on March 21, 1964 of their daughter Manila Flood Control and Drainage Project, Manila furnishing himself his own
Edna Baloyo inside the school grounds of the A. Mabini Elementary School on Severino funds, labor plant, equipments, materials and supplies needed therefor, ... (emphasis
Street, Manila. They named as defendants petitioners Benigno C. Gutierrez and Domingo N. supplied). The evidence indisputably shows that the crane operator was actually operating
Balisalisa as contractor and project engineer, respectively, of the contract executed by the and managing that heavy equipment in the construction site of the defendants in connection
former with the Bureau of Public Works, undertaking the construction of the N. Reyes- with their construction job. No amount of reasoning therefore can deny the naked truth that
Severino Drainage Main, Manila Flood Control and Drainage Project, Manila. said operator was necessarily and actually working for the defendants. This is not to mention
From the partial stipulation of facts at the pre-trial and evidence adduced at the trial, it is that under the contract it is the defendants who are supposed to supply themselves with
established that the workers of petitioner Gutierrez, under the supervision of co-petitioner labor."
Balisalisa whom he had engaged as project engineer of the construction job, started digging Prescinding therefrom, the Court finds that petitioners' "specific" denial in their answer "for
up Severino Street, at first by manual labor and later by means of a crane to speed up the want of sufficient knowledge or information" of respondents' specific allegations in their
excavation. The earth and mud dug up were scooped by the crane and dumped against the complaint of the existence of such relations 2was an evasive and ineffective denial of matters
exterior side of the adobe stone fence of the A. Mabini Elementary School along the street. plainly within their knowledge and as to which they could not logically or in good faith pretend
When the pile of earth and mud reached the height of the fence, the crane's steel scooper ignorance. How could they claim lack of sufficient knowledge or information as to the express
was used to press them down. Because of heavy stress thus placed on the fence, a portion of averment that the crane operators specifically named were "under their employ and/or
it gave way and collapsed on March 21, 1964 between 2:30 and 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon. direction, supervision and control" when these matters were peculiarly within their knowledge
Respondents' daughter Edna was then playing with other children inside the school grounds. as the job contractor? Their ineffective denial therefore failed to properly tender an issue and
When the adobe wall collapsed, she was hit and pinned down by the falling debris of the the averment of relationship was deemed judicially admitted by them.
adobe stone wall and was buried underneath the piled up earth and mud which caved in. This is but in consonance with the procedural doctrine long established that " 'An unexplained
While she was rushed to the hospital, it was in vain for she died moments after the tragic denial of information and belief of a matter of record, the means of information concerning
mishap. which are within the control of the pleader, or are readily accessible to him, is evasive and is
The trial court rendered judgment in favor of respondents as prayed for in their complaint insufficient to constitute an effective denial. ...' 3 and that 'the form of denial ... adopted by the
ordering petitioners jointly and severally to pay them P50,000.00 as moral and exemplary appellants, although allowed by the Rules of Court (referring to lack of sufficient knowledge or
damages, P6,000.00 as actual expenses, P5,000.00 for attorney's fees or a total sum of information) must be availed of with sincerity and in good neither for the purpose of confusing
P61,000.00 and the costs of suit. the adverse party as to what allegations of the complaint are really put in issue nor for the
On appeal, respondent appellate court in effect affirmed the appealed judgment, breaking purpose of delay." 4
down the damages award, as follows: The other alleged errors that petitioners would assign against respondent court's judgment
WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment, insofar as it orders the defendants to pay, jointly and pertain to the amount and character of the damages awarded. The Court finds the contention
severally to the plaintiffs the sum of P6,000.00 for actual damages and another P5,000.00 for to be equally without merit.
attorney's fees and expenses of litigation, apart from judicial costs, is hereby affirmed, but the Respondent court correctly quoted with approval the basis of the trial court's award for moral
said judgment is modified as follows: defendants are ordered to pay, jointly and severally, to and exemplary damages: "(T)hus, the negligence of the defendants has been clearly
the plaintiffs the sum of P12,000.00 as indemnity for the death of Edna Baloyo, another sum established by the evidence. Indeed, no evidence is necessary to show that the defendants
were negligent in the performance of their obligation. They ought to have known that it G.R. No. L-25142 March 25, 1975
was not the right thing to do to pile up the big volume of earth excavated against the wall, PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC. and FELIX PANGALANGAN, plaintiffs-appellants,
which was fragile, being made only of adobe stones held together by weak mortar and without vs.
reinforcements. The collapse, therefore, of the said wall could reasonably be expected by any PHIL-AMERICAN FORWARDERS, INC., ARCHIMEDES J. BALINGIT and FERNANDO
person of ordinary prudence, if not intelligence. The danger not only to the wall but also to PINEDA, defendants-appellees.
anybody on the other side of the wall, being a school ground, could have been anticipated by Angel A. Sison for plaintiffs-appellants.
the defendants herein and yet they failed to take the necessary precautions to avoid the Fidel Zosimo U. Canilao for defendants-appellees.
same, For this omission on their part, they should be held responsible
for moral and exemplary damages. This is more so with respect to the contractor, Benigno C. AQUINO, J.:+.wph!1
Gutierrez, in order that other contractors similarly situated should be more careful in the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. and Felix Pangalangan appealed on pure questions of law
performance of their contracts. It is a matter of public knowledge that there are important from the order of the Court of First Instance of Tarlac, dismissing their complaint against
public works projects of the government that have been awarded to contractors, who are not Archimedes J. Balingit.
reliable, if not irresponsible. To cite only a few, like the Nagtahan Bridge and the underpass The dismissal was based on the ground that Balingit as the manager of Phil-American
and overpass complex near the City Hall, which had been awarded to the same contractor, Forwarders, Inc., which together with Fernando Pineda and Balingit, was sued for damages in
but who abandoned the same. Unless something is done to prevent repetition of these acts of an action based on quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana, is not the manager of an establishment
negligence on the part of the contractors, public welfare will suffer". 5 contemplated in article 2180 of the Civil Code (Civil Case No. 3865).
Respondent court in effect merely affirmed the trial court's award of P50,000.00 for moral and In the complaint for damages filed by the bus company and Pangalangan against Phil-
exemplary damages (in addition to P6,000.00 actual damages or expenses found to be duly American Forwarders, Inc., Balingit and Pineda, it was alleged that on November 24, 1962,
proven and P5,000.00 attorney's fees) and under the undisputed facts of the case and the Pineda drove recklessly a freight truck, owned by Phil-American Forwarders, Inc., along the
need of imposing exemplary damages by way of example or correction for the public good, national highway at Sto. Tomas, Pampanga. The truck bumped the bus driven by
the Court finds no reason or basis to set aside or modify the totality of the award, regardless Pangalangan, which was owned by Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. As a result of the
of any question that may be raised as to respondent court's itemization (particularly as to the bumping, Pangalangan suffered injuries and the bus was damaged and could not be used for
item of P6,000.00 "for the physical pains suffered by the child Edna Baloyo before she died"). seventy-nine days, thus depriving the company of earnings amounting to P8,665.51. Balingit
ACCORDINGLY, respondent court's judgment under review is affirmed in toto, with double was the manager of Phil-American Forwarders, Inc.
costs against petitioners. In view of the clear lack of merit of the appeal, this decision is Among the defenses interposed by the defendants in their answer was that Balingit was not
declared immediately executory upon its promulgation and respondents may forthwith secure Pineda's employer.
from the court a quo the corresponding execution of judgment. Balingit moved that the complaint against him be dismissed on the ground that the bus
SO ORDERED. company and the bus driver had no cause of action against him. As already stated, the lower
court dismissed the action as to Balingit. The bus company and its driver appealed.
The Civil Code provides:t.hqw
ART. 2176. 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 a quasi-delict and is governed by
the provisions of this Chapter.
ART. 2180. 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.
xxx xxx xxx
The owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible for
damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter are
employed or on the occasion of their functions.
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 not engaged in
any business or industry.
xxx xxx xxx
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned
prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.
(1903a)
The novel and unprecedented legal issue in this appeal is whether the terms "employers" and [G.R. No. 148737. June 16, 2004]
"owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise" (dueos o directores de un ERNESTO PLEYTO and PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC., petitioners, vs. MARIA D.
establicimiento o empresa) used in article 2180 of the Civil Code, formerly article 1903 of the LOMBOY and CARMELA LOMBOY, respondents.
old Code, embrace the manager of a corporation owning a truck, the reckless operation of
which allegedly resulted in the vehicular accident from which the damage arose. DECISION
We are of the opinion that those terms do not include the manager of a corporation. It may be QUISUMBING, J.:
gathered from the context of article 2180 that the term "manager" ("director" in the Spanish For review on certiorari is the Decision[1] dated October 31, 2000 of the Court of Appeals in
version) is used in the sense of "employer". CA-G.R. CV No. 61300, which affirmed with modification the Decision[2] dated June 26, 1998
Hence, under the allegations of the complaint, no tortious or quasi-delictual liability can be of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City, Branch 42, in Civil Case No. 95-00724-D.
fastened on Balingit as manager of Phil-American Forwarders, Inc., in connection with the The RTC ordered herein petitioners to solidarily pay damages to respondents. Petitioners
vehicular accident already mentioned because he himself may be regarded as an employee likewise assail the Resolution[3] dated June 21, 2001 of the appellate court, which denied their
or dependiente of his employer, Phil-American Forwarders, Inc. Motion for Reconsideration.
Thus, it was held "que es dependiente, a los efectos de la responsabilidad subsidiaria Petitioner Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. (PRBL), with principal office at Tarlac City, Tarlac,
establecida en el num 3.0 del (art.) 1903, el director de un periodico explotado por una is a public carrier, engaged in carrying passengers and goods for a fare. It serviced various
sociedad, porque cualquiera que sea su jerarquia y aunque Ileve la direccion de routes in Central and Northern Luzon. Petitioner Ernesto Pleyto was a bus driver employed by
determinadas convicciones politicas no por eso deja de estar subordinado a la superior PRBL at the time of the incident in question.
autoridad de la Empresa" (Decision of Spanish Supreme Court dated December 6, 1912 cited Respondent Maria D. Lomboy of Calasiao, Pangasinan, is the surviving spouse of the late
in 12 Manresa, Codigo Civil Espaol 5th Ed. 662; 1913 Enciclopedia Juridica Espaola 992). Ricardo Lomboy, who died in Pasolingan, Gerona, Tarlac, in a vehicular accident at around
The bus company and its driver, in their appellants' brief, injected a new factual issue which 11:30 a.m. of May 16, 1995. The accident was a head-on collision between the PRBL bus
was not alleged in their complaint. They argue that Phil- American Forwarders, Inc. is merely driven by petitioner Pleyto and the car where Ricardo was a passenger. Respondent Carmela
a business conduit of Balingit because out of its capital stock with a par value of P41,200, Lomboy is the eldest daughter of Ricardo and Maria Lomboy. Carmela suffered injuries
Balingit and his wife had subscribed P40,000 and they paid P10,000 on their subscription, requiring hospitalization in the same accident which resulted in her fathers death.
while the other incorporators, namely, Rodolfo Limjuco, Ponciano Caparas and Rafael Suntay On November 29, 1995, herein respondents, as pauper-litigants, filed an action for damages
paid P250.25 and P25, respectively. against PRBL and its driver, Pleyto, with the RTC of Dagupan City. In their complaint, which
That argument implies that the veil of corporate fiction should be pierced and that Phil- was docketed as Civil Case No. 95-00724-D, the Lomboys prayed that they be indemnified for
American Forwarders, Inc. and Balingit and his wife should be treated as one and the same the untimely death of Ricardo Lomboy, his lost earnings, the medical and hospitalization
civil personality. expenses of Carmela, and moral damages.
We cannot countenance that argument in this appeal. It was not raised in the lower court. The The facts, established during trial and affirmed by the appellate court, are as follows:
case has to be decided on the basis of the pleadings filed in the trial court where it was At approximately 11:30 a.m. of May 16, 1995, PRBL Bus No. 1539, with Plate No. CVD 556,
assumed that Phil-American Forwarders, Inc. has a personality separate and distinct from that driven by petitioner Pleyto, was traveling along MacArthur Highway in Gerona, Tarlac bound
of the Balingit spouses. for Vigan, Ilocos Sur. It was drizzling that morning and the macadam road was wet. Right in
The legal issue, which the plaintiffs-appellants can ventilate in this appeal, is one which was front of the bus, headed north, was the tricycle with Plate No. CX 7844, owned and driven by
raised in the lower court and which is within the issues framed by the parties (Sec. 18, Rule one Rodolfo Esguerra.
46, Rules of Court). According to Rolly Orpilla, a witness and one of the bus passengers, Pleyto tried to overtake
When a party deliberately adopts a certain theory and the case is decided upon that theory in Esguerras tricycle but hit it instead. Pleyto then swerved into the left opposite lane. Coming
the court below, he will not be permitted to change his theory on appeal because, to permit down the lane, some fifty meters away, was a southbound Mitsubishi Lancer car, with Plate
him to do so, could be unfair to the adverse party (2 Moran's Comments on the Rules of No. PRS 941, driven by Arnulfo Asuncion. The car was headed for Manila with some
Court, 1970 Ed. p. 505). passengers. Seated beside Arnulfo was his brother-in-law, Ricardo Lomboy, while in the back
WHEREFORE, the lower court's order of dismissal is affirmed. Costs against the plaintiffs- seat were Ricardos 18-year old daughter Carmela and her friend, one Rhino Daba. PRBL Bus
appellants. No. 1539 smashed head-on the car, killing Arnulfo and Ricardo instantly. Carmela and Rhino
SO ORDERED. suffered injuries, but only Carmela required hospitalization.
In their Answer, petitioners PRBL and Ernesto Pleyto both claimed that the bus was running
slowly at the time of the accident. They pointed out that Bus No. 1539 had been inspected by
driver Pleyto and examined by a mechanic prior to the trip, in accordance with the companys
standard operating procedure. It was found in good working condition. Pleyto claimed that
while cruising along the highway at Gerona, Tarlac, he noticed Esguerras tricycle and followed
it at a safe distance after he was unable to overtake it. Suddenly and without warning, the
tricycle stopped in the middle of the road. Pleyto stepped on the brakes and the bus lost modifying the award of damages, the appellate court took note of the amounts that were duly
speed. But, since it skidded towards the direction of the tricycle, he swerved the bus to the supported by receipts only.
other lane to avoid hitting it, only to collide with the Manila-bound Mitsubishi car. Petitioners then moved for reconsideration, but the appellate court denied it.
On June 26, 1998, the trial court decided Civil Case No. 95-00724-D as follows: Hence, the instant petition, premised on the following grounds:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs A. THE SUPREME COURT MAY REVIEW THE CONCLUSION DRAWN BY THE COURT OF
and against the defendants ordering the defendants to pay solidarily the plaintiffs the following APPEALS, NAMELY, THAT THE PRBL BUS OVERTOOK A TRICYCLE THUS CAUSING
amounts: THE ACCIDENT, SINCE IT WAS MADE IN DISREGARD OF FACTS UNDISPUTED BY THE
1) P50,000.00 as indemnification for the death of Ricardo Lomboy; PARTIES.
2) P1,642,521.00 for lost earnings of Ricardo Lomboy; B. THE COURT OF APPEALS DISREGARDED THE DOCTRINE LAID DOWN IN VILLA REY
3) P59,550.00 as actual damages for the funeral, wake, religious services and prayer for the TRANSIT, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, G.R. NO. L-25499, FEBRUARY 18, 1970, 31
soul of the departed; SCRA 511, WHEN IT ARBITRARILY PEGGED THE MONTHLY LIVING EXPENSES AT 50%
4) P52,000.00 for the medical treatment and medicine of Carmela Lomboy; OF GROSS EARNINGS.[8]
5) P500,000.00 as moral damages for the wife and children excluding Carmela Lomboy; At the outset, it appears that petitioners call for this Court to review the factual findings and
6) P50,000.00 as moral damages for Carmela Lomboy; and conclusions of the Court of Appeals. Petitioners assail the appellate courts affirmance of the
7) To pay costs. finding by the trial court that Pleyto was negligent. The issue of negligence is factual and, in
The filing fee the plaintiffs should have paid is hereby ordered to be paid by the plaintiffs to the quasi-delicts, crucial in the award of damages.[9] But it is well established that under Rule 45
Clerk of Court of this Court upon satisfaction of the foregoing amounts to the plaintiffs by the of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, only questions of law, not of fact, may be raised before
defendants. the Supreme Court. It must be stressed that this Court is not a trier of facts, and it is not its
SO ORDERED.[4] function to re-examine and weigh anew the respective evidence of the parties.[10] Factual
In ruling for respondents, the RTC found Pleyto negligent and lacking in precaution when he findings of the trial court, especially those affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are conclusive on
overtook the tricycle with complete disregard of the approaching car in the other lane. It found this Court when supported by the evidence on record.[11] In the present petition, no compelling
the testimony of Rolly Orpilla credible and persuasive as against Pleytos self-serving and reason is shown by petitioners whatsoever for this Court to reverse those findings. Our
unbelievable testimony. The court found that Pleyto should have been more prudent in examination of the records shows that the evidence clearly supports the following findings of
overtaking a tricycle, considering that it was drizzling, the road was slippery, and another the appellate court:
vehicle was approaching from the opposite direction. The RTC found that Pleyto had clearly The negligence and fault of appellant driver is manifest. He overtook the tricycle despite the
violated traffic rules and regulations, and thus was negligent under Article 2185 [5] of the Civil oncoming car only fifty (50) meters away from him. Defendant-appellants claim that he was
Code of the Philippines because petitioner Pleyto failed to present any proof to rebut the driving at a mere 30 to 35 kilometers per hour does not deserve credence as it would have
presumption. The lower court likewise held co-petitioner PRBL equally liable under Article been easy to stop or properly maneuver the bus at this speed. The speed of the bus, the
2180[6] of the Civil Code for its failure to show that it had maintained proper supervision of its drizzle that made the road slippery, and the proximity of the car coming from the opposite
employees notwithstanding strict standards in employee selection. direction were duly established by the evidence. The speed at which the bus traveled,
Petitioners appealed the judgment of the trial court to the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. inappropriate in the light of the aforementioned circumstances, is evident from the fact despite
61300. The appellate court, however, affirmed the decision of the trial court, with modification the application of the brakes, the bus still bumped the tricycle, and then proceeded to collide
in the award of damages, thus: with the incoming car with such force that the car was pushed beyond the edge of the road to
Wherefore, with the MODIFICATION that the award for actual damages is reduced the ricefield (Paragraph 8, Affidavit of Rolly Orpilla marked Exh. D and Traffic Report marked
to P39,550.00 for funeral and religious services and P27,000.00 for medical expenses of Exh. E, Folder of Exhibits).[12]
Carmela Lomboy; and the award for loss of earning capacity is accordingly corrected Indeed, petitioner Pleyto violated traffic rules and regulations when he overtook the tricycle
to P1,152,000.00, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED. despite the presence of an oncoming car in the other lane. Article 2185 of the Civil Code lays
SO ORDERED.[7] down the presumption that a person driving a motor vehicle has been negligent if at the time
The Court of Appeals affirmed the findings of the RTC with respect to Pleytos fault and of the mishap, he was violating any traffic regulation. As found by both the Court of Appeals
negligence. The appellate court noted that this was evident in his overtaking Esguerras and the trial court, petitioners failed to present any convincing proof rebutting such
tricycle despite the drizzle, the slippery road, and an oncoming car a mere fifty meters away. presumption.
The court reasoned that the bus must have been speeding since despite braking, the bus still A driver abandoning his proper lane for the purpose of overtaking another vehicle in an
hit the tricycle, and then rammed the car in the opposite lane with such force as to throw the ordinary situation has the duty to see to it that the road is clear and not to proceed if he cannot
car off the road. The appellate court also found petitioner PRBL liable as owner of the bus and do so in safety. When a motor vehicle is approaching or rounding a curve, there is special
as employer of Pleyto pursuant to Article 2180 of the Civil Code, for its failure to observe the necessity for keeping to the right side of the road and the driver does not have the right to
required diligence in its supervision of its employees and the safe maintenance of its buses. In drive on the left hand side relying upon having time to turn to the right if a car approaching
from the opposite direction comes into view.[13]
The Court of Appeals found PRBL liable for Pleytos negligence pursuant to Article 2180 in Hence, the only remaining issue relevant for our resolution concerns the award to herein
relation to Article 2176[14] of the Civil Code. Under Article 2180, when an injury is caused by respondents for damages as well as the loss of earning capacity of the victim, Ricardo
the negligence of a servant or an employee, the master or employer is presumed to be Lomboy.
negligent either in the selection or in the supervision of that employee. This presumption may Petitioners argue that the award of loss of earning capacity to respondents is devoid of legal
be overcome only by satisfactorily showing that the employer exercised the care and the basis. They fault the appellate court for pegging the monthly living expenses at 50% of gross
diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and the supervision of its employee.[15] earnings since, they claim, this runs contrary to Villa Rey Transit, Inc. v. Court of
In fine, when the employee causes damage due to his own negligence while performing his Appeals,[20] which held that the amount recoverable is not loss of the entire earning, but rather
own duties, there arises the juris tantum presumption that the employer is negligent, the loss of that portion of the earnings which the beneficiary would have received. Petitioners
rebuttable only by proof of observance of the diligence of a good father of a family.[16] Thus, in also point out that respondents failed to prove the gross income of the deceased Ricardo
the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to examine them as to their Lomboy, thus, making the computations of the appellate court doubtful, to say the least.
qualifications, experience and service records. With respect to the supervision of employees, Respondents counter that the deduction of 50% of the gross income as reasonable and
employers must formulate standard operating procedures, monitor their implementation and necessary living expenses by the appellate court is in accord with established jurisprudence,
impose disciplinary measures for breaches thereof. These facts must be shown by concrete pointing to our decision in Negros Navigation Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals.[21]
proof, including documentary evidence.[17] Petitioners, in our view, misread the Villa Rey Transit case, where we emphasized that:
In the present case, petitioners presented several documents[18] in evidence to show the Thus, it has been consistently held that earning capacity, as an element of damages to ones
various tests and pre-qualification requirements imposed upon petitioner Pleyto before his estate for his death by wrongful act is necessarily his net earning capacity or his capacity to
hiring as a driver by PRBL. However, no documentary evidence was presented to prove that acquire money, less the necessary expense for his own living. Stated otherwise, the amount
petitioner PRBL exercised due diligence in the supervision of its employees, including Pleyto. recoverable is not loss of the entire earning, but rather the loss of that portion of the earnings
Citing precedents, the Court of Appeals opined, which the beneficiary would have received. In other words, only net earnings, not gross
in order that the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision of employees may earning, are to be considered that is, the total of the earnings less expenses necessary in the
be deemed sufficient and plausible, it is not enough for the employer to emptily invoke the creation of such earnings or income and less living and other incidental expenses.[22]
existence of company guidelines and policies on hiring and supervision. As the negligence of In considering the earning capacity of the victim as an element of damages, the net earnings,
the employee gives rise to the presumption of negligence on the part of the employer, the which is computed by deducting necessary expenses from the gross earnings, and not
latter has the burden of proving that it has been diligent not only in the selection of employees the gross earnings, is to be utilized in the computation. Note that in the present case, both the
but also in the actual supervision of their work. The mere allegation of the existence of hiring Court of Appeals and the trial court used net earnings, not gross earnings in computing loss of
procedures and supervisory policies without anything more is decidedly not sufficient to earning capacity. The amount of net earnings was arrived at after deducting the necessary
overcome such presumption. (Metro Manila Transit Corp. vs. CA (223 SCRA 521). The trial expenses (pegged at 50% of gross income) from the gross annual income. This computation
court ratiocinated: is in accord with settled jurisprudence, including the Villa Rey case.
... Petitioners claim that no substantial proof was presented to prove Ricardo Lomboys gross
Indeed, the testimony of the said two witnesses of the PRBL would impress one to believe income lacks merit. Failure to present documentary evidence to support a claim for loss of
that the PRBL has always exercised the strictest standard of selecting its employees and of earning capacity of the deceased need not be fatal to its cause. Testimonial evidence suffices
maintaining its vehicles to avoid injury or damage to the life and limb of people on the road to establish a basis for which the court can make a fair and reasonable estimate of the loss of
whether of its own passengers or pedestrians or occupants or other vehicles. It has not earning capacity.[23] Hence, the testimony of respondent Maria Lomboy, Ricardos widow, that
however, shown to the satisfaction of the Court that it has maintained proper supervision of its her husband was earning a monthly income of P8,000 is sufficient to establish a basis for an
employees, especially drivers while in the actual operation of its buses. While it has a list of estimate of damages for loss of earning capacity.
procedures and testing when it comes to recruitment and another list of what should be done It is well-settled in jurisprudence that the factors that should be taken into account in
with its buses before they are allowed to run on the road, it has no list of procedures and determining the compensable amount of lost earnings are: (1) the number of years for which
duties to be followed by a driver while he is operating a vehicle to prevent injury to persons the victim would otherwise have lived; and (2) the rate of loss sustained by the heirs of the
and damage to property. Neither has it proved to the Court that there are people employed by deceased. Jurisprudence provides that the first factor, i.e., life expectancy, is computed by
it to supervise its drivers so that it can be seen to it that all the safety procedures to prevent applying the formula (2/3 x [80 - age at death]) adopted in the American Expectancy Table of
accident or damage to property or injury to people on the road have been in place. It is in this Mortality or the Actuarial Combined Experience Table of Mortality. As to the second factor, it is
aspect of supervising its employees where this Court has found the defendant PRBL deficient. computed by multiplying the life expectancy by the net earnings of the deceased, i.e., the total
(Decision p. 29, Rollo)[19] earnings less expenses necessary in the creation of such earnings or income and less living
In our view, no reversible error was committed by the Court of Appeals when it sustained what and other incidental expenses. The net earning is ordinarily computed at fifty percent (50%) of
the trial court found after trial that PRBL had failed to rebut the presumption of negligence on the gross earnings.[24] Thus, the formula used by this Court in computing loss of earning
its part. Said finding binds us now in this review on certiorari. capacity is: Net Earning Capacity = [2/3 x (80 age at time of death) x (gross annual
income reasonable and necessary living expenses)].[25]
It was established that Ricardo Lomboy was 44 years old at the time of his death and is [G.R. No. 126780. February 17, 2005]
earning a monthly income of P8,000 or a gross annual income (GAI) of P96,000.[26] Using the YHT REALTY CORPORATION, ERLINDA LAINEZ and ANICIA PAYAM, petitioners,
cited formula, the Court of Appeals correctly computed the Loss of Net Earning Capacity vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS and MAURICE McLOUGHLIN, respondents.
as P1,152,000, net of and after considering a reasonable and necessary living expenses of
50% of the gross annual income or P48,000. A detailed computation is as follows: DECISION
NET = LIFE EXPECTANCY x GROSS LIVING TINGA, J.:
EARNING [2/3 (80-age at the time ANNUAL EXPENSES The primary question of interest before this Court is the only legal issue in the case: It is
CAPACITY (X) of death) INCOME (GAI) (50% OF GAI) whether a hotel may evade liability for the loss of items left with it for safekeeping by its
X = [2/3 (80-44)] x [P96,000 (50% x P96,000) guests, by having these guests execute written waivers holding the establishment or its
X = [2/3 (36)] x [P96,000 48,000] employees free from blame for such loss in light of Article 2003 of the Civil Code which voids
X = 24 x 48,000 such waivers.
X = P 1,152,000.00 Before this Court is a Rule 45 petition for review of the Decision[1] dated 19 October 1995 of
Thus, no reversible error may be attributed to the court a quo in fixing the loss of earning the Court of Appeals which affirmed the Decision[2] dated 16 December 1991 of the Regional
capacity at said amount. Trial Court (RTC), Branch 13, of Manila, finding YHT Realty Corporation, Brunhilda Mata-Tan
We likewise sustain the reduction of the award of actual damages from P59,550 for funeral (Tan), Erlinda Lainez (Lainez) and Anicia Payam (Payam) jointly and solidarily liable for
and burial expenses of Ricardo and P52,000 for medical expenses of Carmela Lomboy damages in an action filed by Maurice McLoughlin (McLoughlin) for the loss of his American
to P39,550[27] and P27,000, respectively, as only these latter amounts were duly supported by and Australian dollars deposited in the safety deposit box of Tropicana Copacabana
receipts.[28] To justify an award of actual damages, there must be competent proof of the Apartment Hotel, owned and operated by YHT Realty Corporation.
actual amount of loss, credence can be given only to claims which are duly supported by The factual backdrop of the case follow.
receipts.[29] Private respondent McLoughlin, an Australian businessman-philanthropist, used to stay at
However, while the award of P50,000 as moral damages to Carmela Lomboy is sustained, the Sheraton Hotel during his trips to the Philippines prior to 1984 when he met Tan. Tan
award for moral damages of P500,000 to the heirs of Ricardo Lomboy should be reduced for befriended McLoughlin by showing him around, introducing him to important people,
being excessive. accompanying him in visiting impoverished street children and assisting him in buying gifts for
Under Article 2206 of the Civil Code, the spouse, legitimate children and illegitimate the children and in distributing the same to charitable institutions for poor children. Tan
descendants and ascendants of the deceased may demand moral damages for mental convinced McLoughlin to transfer from Sheraton Hotel to Tropicana where Lainez, Payam and
anguish by reason of the death of the deceased.[30] However, we must stress that moral Danilo Lopez were employed. Lopez served as manager of the hotel while Lainez and Payam
damages, though incapable of pecuniary estimation, are in the category of an award designed had custody of the keys for the safety deposit boxes of Tropicana. Tan took care of
to compensate the claimant for actual injury and are not meant to enrich complainant at the McLoughlins booking at the Tropicana where he started staying during his trips to the
expense of defendant.[31] Moral damages are awarded to enable the injured party to obtain Philippines from December 1984 to September 1987.[3]
means, diversions or amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering he/she has On 30 October 1987, McLoughlin arrived from Australia and registered with Tropicana. He
undergone, by reason of the defendants culpable action. Its award is aimed at restoration, as rented a safety deposit box as it was his practice to rent a safety deposit box every time he
much as possible, of the spiritual status quo ante; thus it must be proportionate to the registered at Tropicana in previous trips. As a tourist, McLoughlin was aware of the procedure
suffering inflicted.[32] Under the circumstances of this case, an award of P100,000 to the heirs observed by Tropicana relative to its safety deposit boxes. The safety deposit box could only
of Ricardo Lomboy would be justified and in keeping with the purpose of the law and be opened through the use of two keys, one of which is given to the registered guest, and the
jurisprudence in allowing moral damages.[33] other remaining in the possession of the management of the hotel. When a registered guest
The indemnification award of P50,000 is also sustained. wished to open his safety deposit box, he alone could personally request the management
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 61300 is who then would assign one of its employees to accompany the guest and assist him in
AFFIRMED, with the sole MODIFICATION that the award of moral damages to the heirs of opening the safety deposit box with the two keys.[4]
Ricardo Lomboy is reduced from P500,000.00 to P100,000.00. No pronouncement as to McLoughlin allegedly placed the following in his safety deposit box: Fifteen Thousand US
costs. Dollars (US$15,000.00) which he placed in two envelopes, one envelope containing Ten
SO ORDERED. Thousand US Dollars (US$10,000.00) and the other envelope Five Thousand US Dollars
(US$5,000.00); Ten Thousand Australian Dollars (AUS$10,000.00) which he also placed in
another envelope; two (2) other envelopes containing letters and credit cards; two (2)
bankbooks; and a checkbook, arranged side by side inside the safety deposit box.[5]
On 12 December 1987, before leaving for a brief trip to Hongkong, McLoughlin opened his
safety deposit box with his key and with the key of the management and took therefrom the
envelope containing Five Thousand US Dollars (US$5,000.00), the envelope containing Ten
Thousand Australian Dollars (AUS$10,000.00), his passports and his credit whatsoever, including but not limited to the presentation or use thereof by any other person
cards.[6] McLoughlin left the other items in the box as he did not check out of his room at the should the key be lost;
Tropicana during his short visit to Hongkong. When he arrived in Hongkong, he opened the ...
envelope which contained Five Thousand US Dollars (US$5,000.00) and discovered upon 4. To return the key and execute the RELEASE in favor of TROPICANA APARTMENT
counting that only Three Thousand US Dollars (US$3,000.00) were enclosed therein.[7] Since HOTEL upon giving up the use of the box.[16]
he had no idea whether somebody else had tampered with his safety deposit box, he thought On 17 May 1988, McLoughlin went back to Australia and he consulted his lawyers as to the
that it was just a result of bad accounting since he did not spend anything from that validity of the abovementioned stipulations. They opined that the stipulations are void for
envelope.[8] being violative of universal hotel practices and customs. His lawyers prepared a letter dated
After returning to Manila, he checked out of Tropicana on 18 December 1987 and left for 30 May 1988 which was signed by McLoughlin and sent to President Corazon Aquino.[17] The
Australia. When he arrived in Australia, he discovered that the envelope with Ten Thousand Office of the President referred the letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) which forwarded
US Dollars (US$10,000.00) was short of Five Thousand US Dollars (US$5,000). He also the same to the Western Police District (WPD).[18]
noticed that the jewelry which he bought in Hongkong and stored in the safety deposit box After receiving a copy of the indorsement in Australia, McLoughlin came to the Philippines and
upon his return to Tropicana was likewise missing, except for a diamond bracelet.[9] registered again as a hotel guest of Tropicana. McLoughlin went to Malacaang to follow up
When McLoughlin came back to the Philippines on 4 April 1988, he asked Lainez if some on his letter but he was instructed to go to the DOJ. The DOJ directed him to proceed to the
money and/or jewelry which he had lost were found and returned to her or to the WPD for documentation. But McLoughlin went back to Australia as he had an urgent business
management. However, Lainez told him that no one in the hotel found such things and none matter to attend to.
were turned over to the management. He again registered at Tropicana and rented a safety For several times, McLoughlin left for Australia to attend to his business and came back to the
deposit box. He placed therein one (1) envelope containing Fifteen Thousand US Dollars Philippines to follow up on his letter to the President but he failed to obtain any concrete
(US$15,000.00), another envelope containing Ten Thousand Australian Dollars assistance.[19]
(AUS$10,000.00) and other envelopes containing his traveling papers/documents. On 16 April McLoughlin left again for Australia and upon his return to the Philippines on 25 August 1989 to
1988, McLoughlin requested Lainez and Payam to open his safety deposit box. He noticed pursue his claims against petitioners, the WPD conducted an investigation which resulted in
that in the envelope containing Fifteen Thousand US Dollars (US$15,000.00), Two Thousand the preparation of an affidavit which was forwarded to the Manila City Fiscals Office. Said
US Dollars (US$2,000.00) were missing and in the envelope previously containing Ten affidavit became the basis of preliminary investigation. However, McLoughlin left again for
Thousand Australian Dollars (AUS$10,000.00), Four Thousand Five Hundred Australian Australia without receiving the notice of the hearing on 24 November 1989. Thus, the case at
Dollars (AUS$4,500.00) were missing.[10] the Fiscals Office was dismissed for failure to prosecute. Mcloughlin requested the
When McLoughlin discovered the loss, he immediately confronted Lainez and Payam who reinstatement of the criminal charge for theft. In the meantime, McLoughlin and his lawyers
admitted that Tan opened the safety deposit box with the key assigned to him.[11] McLoughlin wrote letters of demand to those having responsibility to pay the damage. Then he left again
went up to his room where Tan was staying and confronted her. Tan admitted that she had for Australia.
stolen McLoughlins key and was able to open the safety deposit box with the assistance of Upon his return on 22 October 1990, he registered at the Echelon Towers at Malate, Manila.
Lopez, Payam and Lainez.[12] Lopez also told McLoughlin that Tan stole the key assigned to Meetings were held between McLoughlin and his lawyer which resulted to the filing of a
McLoughlin while the latter was asleep.[13] complaint for damages on 3 December 1990 against YHT Realty Corporation, Lopez, Lainez,
McLoughlin requested the management for an investigation of the incident. Lopez got in touch Payam and Tan (defendants) for the loss of McLoughlins money which was discovered on 16
with Tan and arranged for a meeting with the police and McLoughlin. When the police did not April 1988. After filing the complaint, McLoughlin left again for Australia to attend to an urgent
arrive, Lopez and Tan went to the room of McLoughlin at Tropicana and thereat, Lopez wrote business matter. Tan and Lopez, however, were not served with summons, and trial
on a piece of paper a promissory note dated 21 April 1988. The promissory note reads as proceeded with only Lainez, Payam and YHT Realty Corporation as defendants.
follows: After defendants had filed their Pre-Trial Brief admitting that they had previously allowed and
I promise to pay Mr. Maurice McLoughlin the amount of AUS$4,000.00 and US$2,000.00 or assisted Tan to open the safety deposit box, McLoughlin filed an Amended/Supplemental
its equivalent in Philippine currency on or before May 5, 1988.[14] Complaint[20] dated 10 June 1991 which included another incident of loss of money and
Lopez requested Tan to sign the promissory note which the latter did and Lopez also signed jewelry in the safety deposit box rented by McLoughlin in the same hotel which took place
as a witness. Despite the execution of promissory note by Tan, McLoughlin insisted that it prior to 16 April 1988.[21] The trial court admitted the Amended/Supplemental Complaint.
must be the hotel who must assume responsibility for the loss he suffered. However, Lopez During the trial of the case, McLoughlin had been in and out of the country to attend to urgent
refused to accept the responsibility relying on the conditions for renting the safety deposit box business in Australia, and while staying in the Philippines to attend the hearing, he incurred
entitled Undertaking For the Use Of Safety Deposit Box,[15] specifically paragraphs (2) and (4) expenses for hotel bills, airfare and other transportation expenses, long distance calls to
thereof, to wit: Australia, Meralco power expenses, and expenses for food and maintenance, among
2. To release and hold free and blameless TROPICANA APARTMENT HOTEL from any others.[22]
liability arising from any loss in the contents and/or use of the said deposit box for any cause After trial, the RTC of Manila rendered judgment in favor of McLoughlin, the dispositive portion
of which reads:
WHEREFORE, above premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered by this Court in the part of defendants, they should be responsible for all damages which may be attributed to
favor of plaintiff and against the defendants, to wit: the non-performance of their contractual obligations.[28]
1. Ordering defendants, jointly and severally, to pay plaintiff the sum of US$11,400.00 or its The Court of Appeals affirmed the disquisitions made by the lower court except as to the
equivalent in Philippine Currency of P342,000.00, more or less, and the sum of AUS$4,500.00 amount of damages awarded. The decretal text of the appellate courts decision reads:
or its equivalent in Philippine Currency of P99,000.00, or a total of P441,000.00, more or less, THE FOREGOING CONSIDERED, the appealed Decision is hereby AFFIRMED but modified
with 12% interest from April 16 1988 until said amount has been paid to plaintiff (Item 1, as follows:
Exhibit CC); The appellants are directed jointly and severally to pay the plaintiff/appellee the following
2. Ordering defendants, jointly and severally to pay plaintiff the sum of P3,674,238.00 as amounts:
actual and consequential damages arising from the loss of his Australian and American 1) P153,200.00 representing the peso equivalent of US$2,000.00 and AUS$4,500.00;
dollars and jewelries complained against and in prosecuting his claim and rights 2) P308,880.80, representing the peso value for the air fares from Sidney [sic] to Manila and
administratively and judicially (Items II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, and IX, Exh. CC); back for a total of eleven (11) trips;
3. Ordering defendants, jointly and severally, to pay plaintiff the sum of P500,000.00 as moral 3) One-half of P336,207.05 or P168,103.52 representing payment to Tropicana Apartment
damages (Item X, Exh. CC); Hotel;
4. Ordering defendants, jointly and severally, to pay plaintiff the sum of P350,000.00 as 4) One-half of P152,683.57 or P76,341.785 representing payment to Echelon Tower;
exemplary damages (Item XI, Exh. CC); 5) One-half of P179,863.20 or P89,931.60 for the taxi xxx transportation from the residence to
5. And ordering defendants, jointly and severally, to pay litigation expenses in the sum Sidney [sic] Airport and from MIA to the hotel here in Manila, for the eleven (11) trips;
of P200,000.00 (Item XII, Exh. CC); 6) One-half of P7,801.94 or P3,900.97 representing Meralco power expenses;
6. Ordering defendants, jointly and severally, to pay plaintiff the sum of P200,000.00 as 7) One-half of P356,400.00 or P178,000.00 representing expenses for food and maintenance;
attorneys fees, and a fee of P3,000.00 for every appearance; and 8) P50,000.00 for moral damages;
7. Plus costs of suit. 9) P10,000.00 as exemplary damages; and
SO ORDERED.[23] 10) P200,000 representing attorneys fees.
The trial court found that McLoughlins allegations as to the fact of loss and as to the amount With costs.
of money he lost were sufficiently shown by his direct and straightforward manner of testifying SO ORDERED.[29]
in court and found him to be credible and worthy of belief as it was established that Unperturbed, YHT Realty Corporation, Lainez and Payam went to this Court in this appeal
McLoughlins money, kept in Tropicanas safety deposit box, was taken by Tan without by certiorari.
McLoughlins consent. The taking was effected through the use of the master key which was in Petitioners submit for resolution by this Court the following issues: (a) whether the appellate
the possession of the management. Payam and Lainez allowed Tan to use the master key courts conclusion on the alleged prior existence and subsequent loss of the subject money
without authority from McLoughlin. The trial court added that if McLoughlin had not lost his and jewelry is supported by the evidence on record; (b) whether the finding of gross
dollars, he would not have gone through the trouble and personal inconvenience of seeking negligence on the part of petitioners in the performance of their duties as innkeepers is
aid and assistance from the Office of the President, DOJ, police authorities and the City supported by the evidence on record; (c) whether the Undertaking For The Use of Safety
Fiscals Office in his desire to recover his losses from the hotel management and Tan.[24] Deposit Box admittedly executed by private respondent is null and void; and (d) whether the
As regards the loss of Seven Thousand US Dollars (US$7,000.00) and jewelry worth damages awarded to private respondent, as well as the amounts thereof, are proper under the
approximately One Thousand Two Hundred US Dollars (US$1,200.00) which allegedly circumstances.[30]
occurred during his stay at Tropicana previous to 4 April 1988, no claim was made by The petition is devoid of merit.
McLoughlin for such losses in his complaint dated 21 November 1990 because he was not It is worthy of note that the thrust of Rule 45 is the resolution only of questions of law and any
sure how they were lost and who the responsible persons were. But considering the peripheral factual question addressed to this Court is beyond the bounds of this mode of
admission of the defendants in their pre-trial brief that on three previous occasions they review.
allowed Tan to open the box, the trial court opined that it was logical and reasonable to Petitioners point out that the evidence on record is insufficient to prove the fact of prior
presume that his personal assets consisting of Seven Thousand US Dollars (US$7,000.00) existence of the dollars and the jewelry which had been lost while deposited in the safety
and jewelry were taken by Tan from the safety deposit box without McLoughlins consent deposit boxes of Tropicana, the basis of the trial court and the appellate court being the sole
through the cooperation of Payam and Lainez.[25] testimony of McLoughlin as to the contents thereof. Likewise, petitioners dispute the finding of
The trial court also found that defendants acted with gross negligence in the performance and gross negligence on their part as not supported by the evidence on record.
exercise of their duties and obligations as innkeepers and were therefore liable to answer for We are not persuaded. We adhere to the findings of the trial court as affirmed by the appellate
the losses incurred by McLoughlin.[26] court that the fact of loss was established by the credible testimony in open court by
Moreover, the trial court ruled that paragraphs (2) and (4) of the Undertaking For The Use Of McLoughlin. Such findings are factual and therefore beyond the ambit of the present petition.
Safety Deposit Box are not valid for being contrary to the express mandate of Article 2003 of The trial court had the occasion to observe the demeanor of McLoughlin while testifying which
the New Civil Code and against public policy.[27] Thus, there being fraud or wanton conduct on reflected the veracity of the facts testified to by him. On this score, we give full credence to the
appreciation of testimonial evidence by the trial court especially if what is at issue is the Under Article 1170 of the New Civil Code, those who, in the performance of their obligations,
credibility of the witness. The oft-repeated principle is that where the credibility of a witness is are guilty of negligence, are liable for damages. As to who shall bear the burden of paying
an issue, the established rule is that great respect is accorded to the evaluation of the damages, Article 2180, paragraph (4) of the same Code provides that the owners and
credibility of witnesses by the trial court.[31] The trial court is in the best position to assess the managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible for damages caused by
credibility of witnesses and their testimonies because of its unique opportunity to observe the their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter are employed or on the
witnesses firsthand and note their demeanor, conduct and attitude under grilling occasion of their functions. Also, this Court has ruled that if an employee is found negligent, it
examination.[32] is presumed that the employer was negligent in selecting and/or supervising him for it is hard
We are also not impressed by petitioners argument that the finding of gross negligence by the for the victim to prove the negligence of such employer.[35] Thus, given the fact that the loss of
lower court as affirmed by the appellate court is not supported by evidence. The evidence McLoughlins money was consummated through the negligence of Tropicanas employees in
reveals that two keys are required to open the safety deposit boxes of Tropicana. One key is allowing Tan to open the safety deposit box without the guests consent, both the assisting
assigned to the guest while the other remains in the possession of the management. If the employees and YHT Realty Corporation itself, as owner and operator of Tropicana, should be
guest desires to open his safety deposit box, he must request the management for the other held solidarily liable pursuant to Article 2193.[36]
key to open the same. In other words, the guest alone cannot open the safety deposit box The issue of whether the Undertaking For The Use of Safety Deposit Box executed by
without the assistance of the management or its employees. With more reason that access to McLoughlin is tainted with nullity presents a legal question appropriate for resolution in this
the safety deposit box should be denied if the one requesting for the opening of the safety petition. Notably, both the trial court and the appellate court found the same to be null and
deposit box is a stranger. Thus, in case of loss of any item deposited in the safety deposit box, void. We find no reason to reverse their common conclusion. Article 2003 is controlling, thus:
it is inevitable to conclude that the management had at least a hand in the consummation of Art. 2003. The hotel-keeper cannot free himself from responsibility by posting notices to the
the taking, unless the reason for the loss is force majeure. effect that he is not liable for the articles brought by the guest. Any stipulation between the
Noteworthy is the fact that Payam and Lainez, who were employees of Tropicana, had hotel-keeper and the guest whereby the responsibility of the former as set forth in Articles
custody of the master key of the management when the loss took place. In fact, they even 1998 to 2001[37] is suppressed or diminished shall be void.
admitted that they assisted Tan on three separate occasions in opening McLoughlins safety Article 2003 was incorporated in the New Civil Code as an expression of public policy
deposit box.[33] This only proves that Tropicana had prior knowledge that a person aside from precisely to apply to situations such as that presented in this case. The hotel business like the
the registered guest had access to the safety deposit box. Yet the management failed to notify common carriers business is imbued with public interest. Catering to the public, hotelkeepers
McLoughlin of the incident and waited for him to discover the taking before it disclosed the are bound to provide not only lodging for hotel guests and security to their persons and
matter to him. Therefore, Tropicana should be held responsible for the damage suffered by belongings. The twin duty constitutes the essence of the business. The law in turn does not
McLoughlin by reason of the negligence of its employees. allow such duty to the public to be negated or diluted by any contrary stipulation in so-called
The management should have guarded against the occurrence of this incident considering undertakings that ordinarily appear in prepared forms imposed by hotel keepers on guests for
that Payam admitted in open court that she assisted Tan three times in opening the safety their signature.
deposit box of McLoughlin at around 6:30 A.M. to 7:30 A.M. while the latter was still In an early case,[38] the Court of Appeals through its then Presiding Justice (later Associate
asleep.[34] In light of the circumstances surrounding this case, it is undeniable that without the Justice of the Court) Jose P. Bengzon, ruled that to hold hotelkeepers or innkeeper liable for
acquiescence of the employees of Tropicana to the opening of the safety deposit box, the loss the effects of their guests, it is not necessary that they be actually delivered to the innkeepers
of McLoughlins money could and should have been avoided. or their employees. It is enough that such effects are within the hotel or inn.[39] With greater
The management contends, however, that McLoughlin, by his act, made its employees reason should the liability of the hotelkeeper be enforced when the missing items are taken
believe that Tan was his spouse for she was always with him most of the time. The evidence without the guests knowledge and consent from a safety deposit box provided by the hotel
on record, however, is bereft of any showing that McLoughlin introduced Tan to the itself, as in this case.
management as his wife. Such an inference from the act of McLoughlin will not exculpate the Paragraphs (2) and (4) of the undertaking manifestly contravene Article 2003 of the New Civil
petitioners from liability in the absence of any showing that he made the management believe Code for they allow Tropicana to be released from liability arising from any loss in the contents
that Tan was his wife or was duly authorized to have access to the safety deposit box. Mere and/or use of the safety deposit box for any cause whatsoever.[40] Evidently, the undertaking
close companionship and intimacy are not enough to warrant such conclusion considering that was intended to bar any claim against Tropicana for any loss of the contents of the safety
what is involved in the instant case is the very safety of McLoughlins deposit. If only deposit box whether or not negligence was incurred by Tropicana or its employees. The New
petitioners exercised due diligence in taking care of McLoughlins safety deposit box, they Civil Code is explicit that the responsibility of the hotel-keeper shall extend to loss of, or injury
should have confronted him as to his relationship with Tan considering that the latter had been to, the personal property of the guests even if caused by servants or employees of the
observed opening McLoughlins safety deposit box a number of times at the early hours of the keepers of hotels or inns as well as by strangers, except as it may proceed from any force
morning. Tans acts should have prompted the management to investigate her relationship majeure.[41] It is the loss through force majeure that may spare the hotel-keeper from liability.
with McLoughlin. Then, petitioners would have exercised due diligence required of them. In the case at bar, there is no showing that the act of the thief or robber was done with the use
Failure to do so warrants the conclusion that the management had been remiss in complying of arms or through an irresistible force to qualify the same as force majeure.[42]
with the obligations imposed upon hotel-keepers under the law.
Petitioners likewise anchor their defense on Article 2002[43] which exempts the hotel-keeper change the amount awarded when it is palpably and scandalously excessive. Moral damages
from liability if the loss is due to the acts of his guest, his family, or visitors. Even a cursory are not intended to enrich a complainant at the expense of a defendant. They are awarded
reading of the provision would lead us to reject petitioners contention. The justification they only to enable the injured party to obtain means, diversion or amusements that will serve to
raise would render nugatory the public interest sought to be protected by the provision. What if alleviate the moral suffering he has undergone, by reason of defendants culpable action. [55]
the negligence of the employer or its employees facilitated the consummation of a crime The awards of P10,000.00 as exemplary damages and P200,000.00 representing attorneys
committed by the registered guests relatives or visitor? Should the law exculpate the hotel fees are likewise sustained.
from liability since the loss was due to the act of the visitor of the registered guest of the hotel? WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 19
Hence, this provision presupposes that the hotel-keeper is not guilty of concurrent negligence October 1995 is hereby AFFIRMED. Petitioners are directed, jointly and severally, to pay
or has not contributed in any degree to the occurrence of the loss. A depositary is not private respondent the following amounts:
responsible for the loss of goods by theft, unless his actionable negligence contributes to the (1) US$2,000.00 and AUS$4,500.00 or their peso equivalent at the time of payment;
loss.[44] (2) P308,880.80, representing the peso value for the air fares from Sydney to Manila and back
In the case at bar, the responsibility of securing the safety deposit box was shared not only by for a total of eleven (11) trips;
the guest himself but also by the management since two keys are necessary to open the (3) One-half of P336,207.05 or P168,103.52 representing payment to Tropicana Copacabana
safety deposit box. Without the assistance of hotel employees, the loss would not have Apartment Hotel;
occurred. Thus, Tropicana was guilty of concurrent negligence in allowing Tan, who was not (4) One-half of P152,683.57 or P76,341.785 representing payment to Echelon Tower;
the registered guest, to open the safety deposit box of McLoughlin, even assuming that the (5) One-half of P179,863.20 or P89,931.60 for the taxi or transportation expense from
latter was also guilty of negligence in allowing another person to use his key. To rule McLoughlins residence to Sydney Airport and from MIA to the hotel here in Manila, for the
otherwise would result in undermining the safety of the safety deposit boxes in hotels for the eleven (11) trips;
management will be given imprimatur to allow any person, under the pretense of being a (6) One-half of P7,801.94 or P3,900.97 representing Meralco power expenses;
family member or a visitor of the guest, to have access to the safety deposit box without fear (7) One-half of P356,400.00 or P178,200.00 representing expenses for food and
of any liability that will attach thereafter in case such person turns out to be a complete maintenance;
stranger. This will allow the hotel to evade responsibility for any liability incurred by its (8) P50,000.00 for moral damages;
employees in conspiracy with the guests relatives and visitors. (9) P10,000.00 as exemplary damages; and
Petitioners contend that McLoughlins case was mounted on the theory of contract, but the trial (10) P200,000 representing attorneys fees.
court and the appellate court upheld the grant of the claims of the latter on the basis of With costs.
tort.[45] There is nothing anomalous in how the lower courts decided the controversy for this SO ORDERED.
Court has pronounced a jurisprudential rule that tort liability can exist even if there are already
contractual relations. The act that breaks the contract may also be tort.[46]
As to damages awarded to McLoughlin, we see no reason to modify the amounts awarded by
the appellate court for the same were based on facts and law. It is within the province of lower
courts to settle factual issues such as the proper amount of damages awarded and such
finding is binding upon this Court especially if sufficiently proven by evidence and not
unconscionable or excessive. Thus, the appellate court correctly awarded McLoughlin Two
Thousand US Dollars (US$2,000.00) and Four Thousand Five Hundred Australian dollars
(AUS$4,500.00) or their peso equivalent at the time of payment,[47] being the amounts duly
proven by evidence.[48] The alleged loss that took place prior to 16 April 1988 was not
considered since the amounts alleged to have been taken were not sufficiently established by
evidence. The appellate court also correctly awarded the sum of P308,880.80, representing
the peso value for the air fares from Sydney to Manila and back for a total of eleven (11)
trips;[49] one-half of P336,207.05 or P168,103.52 representing payment to Tropicana;[50] one-
half of P152,683.57 or P76,341.785 representing payment to Echelon Tower;[51] one-half
of P179,863.20 or P89,931.60 for the taxi or transportation expenses from McLoughlins
residence to Sydney Airport and from MIA to the hotel here in Manila, for the eleven (11)
trips;[52] one-half of P7,801.94 or P3,900.97 representing Meralco power expenses;[53] one-half
of P356,400.00 or P178,000.00 representing expenses for food and maintenance.[54]
The amount of P50,000.00 for moral damages is reasonable. Although trial courts are given
discretion to determine the amount of moral damages, the appellate court may modify or
MERCURY DRUG CORPORATION and G.R. No. 172122 In contrast, petitioners allege that the immediate and proximate cause of the accident was
ROLANDO J. DEL ROSARIO, respondent Stephen Huangs recklessness. According to petitioner Del Rosario, he was
Petitioners, Present: driving on the left innermost lane when the car bumped the trucks front right tire. The truck
PUNO, C.J., Chairperson, then swerved to the left, smashed into an electric post, crossed the center island, and stopped
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, on the other side of the highway. The car likewise crossed over the center island and landed
CORONA, on the same portion of C-5. Further, petitioner Mercury Drug claims that it exercised due
- versus - AZCUNA, and diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of all its employees.
GARCIA, JJ. The trial court, in its Decision dated September 29, 2004, found petitioners Mercury Drug and
Del Rosario jointly and severally liable to pay respondents actual, compensatory, moral and
Promulgated: exemplary damages, attorneys fees, and litigation expenses. The dispositive portion reads:
SPOUSES RICHARD HUANG and CARMEN WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered finding defendants Mercury Drug Corporation, Inc. and
HUANG, and STEPHEN HUANG, June 22, 2007 Rolando del Rosario, jointly and severally liable to pay plaintiffs Spouses Richard Y. Huang
Respondents. and Carmen G. Huang, and Stephen Huang the following amounts:
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x 1. Two Million Nine Hundred Seventy Three Thousand Pesos (P2,973,000.00) actual
DECISION damages;
PUNO, C.J.: 2. As compensatory damages:
On appeal are the Decision[1] and Resolution[2] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. a. Twenty Three Million Four Hundred Sixty One Thousand, and Sixty-Two Pesos
83981, dated February 16, 2006 and March 30, 2006, respectively which affirmed with (P23,461,062.00) for life care cost of Stephen;
modification the Decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, dated September b. Ten Million Pesos (P10,000,000.00) as and for lost or impaired earning capacity of
29, 2004. The trial court found petitioners jointly and severally liable to pay respondents Stephen;
damages for the injuries sustained by respondent Stephen Huang, son of respondent spouses 3. Four Million Pesos (P4,000,000.00) as moral damages;
Richard and Carmen Huang. 4. Two Million Pesos (P2,000,000.00) as exemplary damages; and
First, the facts: 5. One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) as attorneys fees and litigation expense.[4]
Petitioner Mercury Drug Corporation (Mercury Drug) is the registered owner of a six-wheeler On February 16, 2006, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court but reduced
1990 Mitsubishi Truck with plate number PRE 641 (truck). It has in its employ petitioner the award of moral damages to P1,000,000.00. The appellate court also denied the motion for
Rolando J. del Rosario as driver.Respondent spouses Richard and Carmen Huang are the reconsideration filed by petitioners.
parents of respondent Stephen Huang and own the red 1991 Toyota Corolla GLI Sedan with Hence, this appeal.
plate number PTT 775 (car). Petitioners cite the following grounds for their appeal:
These two vehicles figured in a road accident on December 20, 1996 at around 10:30 p.m. 1. That the subject Decision which dismissed the appeal of petitioners herein but AFFIRMED
within the municipality of Taguig, Metro Manila. Respondent Stephen Huang was driving the WITH MODIFICATION the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 64, Makati City, in that
car, weighing 1,450 kg., while petitioner Del Rosario was driving the truck, weighing 14,058 the award of moral damages was reduced to P1,000,000.00 and its Resolution dated March
kg. Both were traversing the C-5 Highway, north bound, coming from the general direction of 30, 2006, which dismissed outright the Motion for Reconsideration must be set aside because
Alabang going to Pasig City. The car was on the left innermost lane while the truck was on the the Honorable Court of Appeals committed reversible error:
next lane to its right, when the truck suddenly swerved to its left and slammed into the front A. IN DENYING OUTRIGHTLY THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION ON
right side of the car. The collision hurled the car over the island where it hit a lamppost, spun ALLEGEDLY BEING FILED OUT OF TIME FOR ONE DAY;
around and landed on the opposite lane. The truck also hit a lamppost, ran over the car and B. IN ACCORDING GREATER WEIGHT TO THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED BY THE
zigzagged towards, and finally stopped in front of Buellah Land Church. RESPONDENTS HEREIN AND COMPLETELY DISREGARDING THE DEFENSE
At the time of the accident, petitioner Del Rosario only had a Traffic Violation Receipt INTERPOSED BY THE PETITIONERS HEREIN;
(TVR). His drivers license had been confiscated because he had been previously C. IN DISREGARDING COMPLETELY ALL EVIDENCES PRESENTED BY THE
apprehended for reckless driving. PETITIONERS HEREIN AND PROCEEDED TO RENDER ITS DECISION BASED ON
The car, valued at P300,000.00, was a total wreck. Respondent Stephen Huang sustained PRESUMPTIONS AND PERSONAL OPINIONS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT WITNESSES
massive injuries to his spinal cord, head, face, and lung. Despite a series of operations, TO THE ACCIDENT;
respondent Stephen Huang is paralyzed for life from his chest down and requires continuous D. IN AWARDING DAMAGES IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENTS HEREIN;
medical and rehabilitation treatment. E. IN FINDING THAT MERCURY DRUG CORPORATION FAILED TO EXERCISE THE
Respondents fault petitioner Del Rosario for committing gross negligence and reckless DILIGENCE REQUIRED IN SUPERVISING ITS EMPLOYEES DESPITE OVERWHELMING
imprudence while driving, and petitioner Mercury Drug for failing to exercise the diligence of a EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY PETITIONER COMPANY;
good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its driver.
F. IN FINDING THAT PETITIONER ROLANDO DEL ROSARIO WAS NEGLIGENT IN possibly be so great to cause petitioner to lose all control that he failed to even step on the
DRIVING THE TRUCK AT THE TIME OF ACCIDENT AND TOTALLY DISREGARDING THE brakes. He testified, as follows:
EVIDENCES PRESENTED DURING THE TRIAL OF THE CASE. ATTY. DIAZ:
G. IN PRESENTING ONLY IN THE DECISION TESTIMONIES FAVORABLE TO THE May I proceed, Your Honor. You were able to apply the brakes, were you sir?
RESPONDENTS HEREIN AND COMPLETELY DISREGARDING THE EVIDENCES WITNESS:
PRESENTED BY THE PETITIONERS HEREIN WHICH CONTRADICTED SUCH No more, sir, because I went over the island.
TESTIMONIES NOT ONLY THROUGH ORAL TESTIMONIES BUT AS WELL AS ATTY. DIAZ:
DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCES.[5] Because as you said you lost control, correct sir?
We affirm the findings of the trial court and the appellate court that petitioner Del Rosario was WITNESS:
negligent. The evidence does not support petitioners claim that at the time of the accident, the Yes, sir.
truck was at the left inner lane and that it was respondent Stephen Huangs car, at its right, ATTY. DIAZ:
which bumped the right front side of the truck. Firstly, petitioner Del Rosario could not In other words, sir from the time your truck was hit according to you up to the time you rested
precisely tell which part of the truck was hit by the car,[6] despite the fact that the truck was on the shoulder, you traveled fifty meters?
snub-nosed and a lot higher than the car. Petitioner Del Rosario could not also explain why WITNESS:
the car landed on the opposite lane of C-5 which was on its left side. He said that the car did Yes, sir, about that distance.
not pass in front of him after it hit him or under him or over him or behind him. [7] If the truck ATTY. DIAZ:
were really at the left lane and the car were at its right, and the car hit the truck at its front right And this was despite the fact that you were only traveling at the speed of seventy five
side, the car would not have landed on the opposite side, but would have been thrown to the kilometers per hour, jumped over the island, hit the lamppost, and traveled the three lanes of
right side of the C-5 Highway. Noteworthy on this issue is the testimony of Dr. Marlon the opposite lane of C-5 highway, is that what you want to impress upon this court?
Rosendo H. Daza, an expert in the field of physics. He conducted a study based on the WITNESS:
following assumptions provided by respondents: Yes, sir.[10]
1. Two vehicles collided; We therefore find no cogent reason to disturb the findings of the RTC and the Court of
2. One vehicle is ten times heavier, more massive than the other; Appeals. The evidence proves petitioner Del Rosarios negligence as the direct and proximate
3. Both vehicles were moving in the same direction and at the same speed of about 85 to cause of the injuries suffered by respondent Stephen Huang. Petitioner Del Rosario failed to
90 kilometers per hour; do what a reasonable and prudent man would have done under the circumstances.
4. The heavier vehicle was driving at the innermost left lane, while the lighter vehicle was We now come to the liability of petitioner Mercury Drug as employer of Del Rosario. Articles
at its right. 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code provide:
Dr. Daza testified that given the foregoing assumptions, if the lighter vehicle hits the right front Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or
portion of the heavier vehicle, the general direction of the light vehicle after the impact would negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-
be to the right side of the heavy vehicle, not the other way around. The truck, he opined, is existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by
more difficult to move as it is heavier. It is the car, the lighter vehicle, which would move to the the provisions of this Chapter.
right of, and away from the truck. Thus, there is very little chance that the car will move Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for ones own acts or
towards the opposite side, i.e., to the left of the truck. omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.
Dr. Daza also gave a further study on the basis of the same assumptions except that the car xxx
is on the left side of the truck, in accordance with the testimony of respondent Stephen The owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible for
Huang. Dr. Daza concluded that the general direction of the car after impact would be to the damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter are
left of the truck. In this situation, the middle island against which the car was pinned would employed or on the occasion of their functions.
slow down the car, and enable the truck to catch up and hit the car again, before running over xxx
it.[8] The liability of the employer under Art. 2180 of the Civil Code is direct or immediate. It is not
To support their thesis, petitioners tried to show the damages that the truck sustained at its conditioned on a prior recourse against the negligent employee, or a prior showing of
front right side. The attempt does not impress. The photographs presented were taken a insolvency of such employee. It is also joint and solidary with the employee.[11]
month after the accident, and Rogelio Pantua, the automechanic who repaired the truck and To be relieved of liability, petitioner Mercury Drug should show that it exercised the diligence
authenticated the photographs, admitted that there were damages also on the left side of the of a good father of a family, both in the selection of the employee and in the supervision of the
truck.[9] performance of his duties. Thus, in the selection of its prospective employees, the employer is
Worse still, petitioner Del Rosario further admitted that after the impact, he lost control of the required to examine them as to their qualifications, experience, and service records.[12] With
truck and failed to apply his brakes. Considering that the car was smaller and lighter than the respect to the supervision of its employees, the employer should formulate standard operating
six-wheeler truck, the impact allegedly caused by the car when it hit the truck could not procedures, monitor their implementation, and impose disciplinary measures for their
breach. To establish compliance with these requirements, employers must submit concrete of P2,973,000.00 represented cost of hospital expenses, medicines, medical services and
proof, including documentary evidence.[13] supplies, and nursing care services provided respondent Stephen from December 20, 1996,
In the instant case, petitioner Mercury Drug presented testimonial evidence on its hiring the day of the accident, until December 1998.
procedure. According to Mrs. Merlie Caamic, the Recruitment and Training Manager of Petitioners are also liable for all damages which are the natural and probable consequences
petitioner Mercury Drug, applicants are required to take theoretical and actual driving tests, of the act or omission complained of.[16] The doctors who attended to respondent Stephen are
and psychological examination. In the case of petitioner Del Rosario, however, one in their prognosis that his chances of walking again and performing basic body functions
Mrs. Caamic admitted that he took the driving tests and psychological examination when he are nil. For the rest of his life, he will need continuous rehabilitation and therapy to prevent
applied for the position of Delivery Man, but not when he applied for the position further complications such as pneumonia, bladder and rectum
of Truck Man. Mrs. Caamic also admitted that petitioner Del Rosario used a Galant which is a infection, renal failure, sepsis and severe bed sores, osteoporosis and fractures, and other
light vehicle, instead of a truck during the driving tests. Further, no tests were conducted on spinal cord injury-related conditions. He will be completely dependent on the care and support
the motor skills development, perceptual speed, visual attention, depth visualization, eye and of his family. We thus affirm the award of P23,461,062.00 for the life care cost of respondent
hand coordination and steadiness of petitioner Del Rosario. No NBI and police clearances Stephen Huang, based on his average monthly expense and the actuarial computation of the
were also presented.Lastly, petitioner Del Rosario attended only three driving seminars remaining years that he is expected to live; and the conservative amount of P10,000,000.00,
on June 30, 2001, February 5, 2000 and July 7, 1984. In effect, the only seminar he attended as reduced by the trial court, for the loss or impairment of his earning capacity,[17] considering
before the accident which occurred in 1996 was held twelve years ago in 1984. his age, probable life expectancy, the state of his health, and his mental and physical
It also appears that petitioner Mercury Drug does not provide for a back-up driver for long condition before the accident. He was only seventeen years old, nearly six feet tall and
trips. At the time of the accident, petitioner Del Rosario has been out on the road for more weighed 175 pounds. He was in fourth year high school, and a member of the school varsity
than thirteen hours, without any alternate.Mrs. Caamic testified that she does not know of any basketball team. He was also class president and editor-in-chief of the school annual.He had
company policy requiring back-up drivers for long trips.[14] shown very good leadership qualities. He was looking forward to his college life, having just
Petitioner Mercury Drug likewise failed to show that it exercised due diligence on the passed the entrance examinations of the University of the Philippines, De La Salle University,
supervision and discipline over its employees. In fact, on the day of the accident, petitioner and the University of Asia and the Pacific. The University of Sto. Tomas even offered him a
Del Rosario was driving without a license. He was holding a TVR for reckless driving. He chance to obtain an athletic scholarship, but the accident prevented him from attending the
testified that he reported the incident to his superior, but nothing was done about it. He was basketball try-outs. Without doubt, he was an exceptional student. He excelled both in his
not suspended or reprimanded.[15] No disciplinary action whatsoever was taken against academics and extracurricular undertakings. He is intelligent and motivated, a go-getter, as
petitioner Del Rosario. We therefore affirm the finding that petitioner Mercury Drug has failed testified by Francisco Lopez, respondent Stephen Huangs godfather and a bank
to discharge its burden of proving that it exercised due diligence in the selection and executive.[18] Had the accident not happened, he had a rosy future ahead of him. He wanted
supervision of its employee, petitioner Del Rosario. to embark on a banking career, get married and raise children. Taking into account his
We now consider the damages which respondents should recover from the petitioners. outstanding abilities, he would have enjoyed a successful professional career in banking. But,
The trial court awarded the following amounts: as Mr. Lopez stated, it is highly unlikely for someone like respondent to ever secure a job in a
1. Two Million Nine Hundred Seventy-Three Thousand Pesos (P2,973,000.00) actual bank. To his knowledge, no bank has ever hired a person suffering with
damages; the kind of disability as Stephen Huangs.[19]
We likewise uphold the award of moral and exemplary damages and attorneys fees.
The award of moral damages is aimed at a restoration, within the limits of the possible, of the
2. As compensatory damages: spiritual status quo ante.[20] Moral damages are designed to compensate and alleviate in
a. Twenty-Three Million Four Hundred Sixty One Thousand, and Sixty-Two Pesos some way the physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched
(P23,461,062.00) for life care cost of Stephen; reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury unjustly
b. Ten Million Pesos (P10,000,000.00) as and for lost or impaired earning capacity of caused a person. Although incapable of pecuniary computation, they must be proportionate to
Stephen; the suffering inflicted.[21] The amount of the award bears no relation whatsoever with the
3. Four Million Pesos (P4,000,000.00) as moral damages; wealth or means of the offender.
4. Two Million Pesos (P2,000,000.00) as exemplary damages; and In the instant case, respondent Stephen Huang and respondent spouses Richard and Carmen
5. One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) as attorneys fees and litigation expense. Huang testified to the intense suffering they continue to experience as a result of the
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court but reduced the award of moral accident. Stephen recounted the nightmares and traumas he suffers almost every night when
damages to P1,000,000.00. he relives the accident. He also gets depression when he thinks of his bleak future. He feels
With regard to actual damages, Art. 2199 of the Civil Code provides that [E]xcept as provided frustration and embarrassment in needing to be helped with almost everything and in his
by law or by stipulation one is entitled to an adequate compensation only for such pecuniary inability to do simple things he used to do. Similarly, respondent spouses and the rest of the
loss suffered by him as he has duly proved x x x. In the instant case, we uphold the finding family undergo their own private suffering. They live with the day-to-day uncertainty of
that the actual damages claimed by respondents were supported by receipts. The amount respondent Stephen Huangs condition. They know that the chance of full recovery is
nil. Moreover, respondent Stephen Huangs paralysis has made him prone to many other G.R. No. L-11154 March 21, 1916
illnesses. His family, especially respondent spouses, have to make themselves available for E. MERRITT, plaintiff-appellant,
Stephen twenty-four hours a day. They have patterned their daily life around taking care of vs.
him, ministering to his daily needs, altering the lifestyle to which they had been accustomed. GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, defendant-appellant.
Respondent Carmen Huangs brother testified on the insensitivity of petitioner Mercury Drug Crossfield and O'Brien for plaintiff.
towards the plight of respondent. Stephen, viz.: Attorney-General Avancea for defendant..
Maybe words cannot describe the anger that we feel towards the defendants. All the time that TRENT, J.:
we were going through the crisis, there was none (sic) a single sign of nor offer of help, any This is an appeal by both parties from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the city of
consolation or anything whatsoever. It is funny because, you know, I have many colleagues, Manila in favor of the plaintiff for the sum of P14,741, together with the costs of the cause.
business associates, people even as far as United States, Japan, that I probably met only Counsel for the plaintiff insist that the trial court erred (1) "in limiting the general damages
once, when they found out, they make a call, they sent card, they write small notes, but from which the plaintiff suffered to P5,000, instead of P25,000 as claimed in the complaint," and (2)
the defendant, absolute silence. They didnt care, and worst, you know, this is a company that "in limiting the time when plaintiff was entirely disabled to two months and twenty-one days
have (sic) all the resources to help us. They were (sic) on our part, it was doubly painful and fixing the damage accordingly in the sum of P2,666, instead of P6,000 as claimed by
because we have no choice but to go back to them and buy the medicines that we need for plaintiff in his complaint."
Stephen. So, I dont know how someone will really have no sense of decency at all to at least The Attorney-General on behalf of the defendant urges that the trial court erred: (a) in finding
find out what happened to my son, what is his condition, or if there is anything that they can that the collision between the plaintiff's motorcycle and the ambulance of the General Hospital
do to help us.[22] was due to the negligence of the chauffeur; (b) in holding that the Government of the
On the matter of exemplary damages, Art. 2231 of the Civil Code provides that in cases of Philippine Islands is liable for the damages sustained by the plaintiff as a result of the collision,
quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be granted if the defendant acted with gross even if it be true that the collision was due to the negligence of the chauffeur; and (c) in
negligence. The records show that at the time of the accident, petitioner Del Rosario was rendering judgment against the defendant for the sum of P14,741.
driving without a license because he was previously ticketed for reckless driving. The The trial court's findings of fact, which are fully supported by the record, are as follows:
evidence also shows that he failed to step on his brakes immediately after the impact. Had It is a fact not disputed by counsel for the defendant that when the plaintiff, riding on a
petitioner Del Rosario done so, the injuries which respondent Stephen sustained could have motorcycle, was going toward the western part of Calle Padre Faura, passing along the west
been greatly reduced. Wanton acts such as that committed by petitioner Del Rosario need be side thereof at a speed of ten to twelve miles an hour, upon crossing Taft Avenue and when
suppressed; and employers like petitioner Mercury Drug should be more circumspect in the he was ten feet from the southwestern intersection of said streets, the General Hospital
observance of due diligence in the selection and supervision of their employees. The award of ambulance, upon reaching said avenue, instead of turning toward the south, after passing the
exemplary damages in favor of the respondents is therefore justified. center thereof, so that it would be on the left side of said avenue, as is prescribed by the
With the award of exemplary damages, we also affirm the grant of attorneys fees to ordinance and the Motor Vehicle Act, turned suddenly and unexpectedly and long before
respondents.[23] In addition, attorneys fees may be granted when a party is compelled to reaching the center of the street, into the right side of Taft Avenue, without having sounded
litigate or incur expenses to protect his interest by reason of an unjustified act of the other any whistle or horn, by which movement it struck the plaintiff, who was already six feet from
party.[24] the southwestern point or from the post place there.
Cost against petitioners. By reason of the resulting collision, the plaintiff was so severely injured that, according to Dr.
IN VIEW THEREOF, the petition is DENIED. The Decision and Resolution of the Court of Saleeby, who examined him on the very same day that he was taken to the General Hospital,
Appeals dated February 16, 2006 and March 30, 2006, respectively, in CA-G.R. CV No. he was suffering from a depression in the left parietal region, a would in the same place and in
83981, are AFFIRMED. the back part of his head, while blood issued from his nose and he was entirely unconscious.
SO ORDERED. The marks revealed that he had one or more fractures of the skull and that the grey matter
and brain was had suffered material injury. At ten o'clock of the night in question, which was
the time set for performing the operation, his pulse was so weak and so irregular that, in his
opinion, there was little hope that he would live. His right leg was broken in such a way that
the fracture extended to the outer skin in such manner that it might be regarded as double and
the would be exposed to infection, for which reason it was of the most serious nature.
At another examination six days before the day of the trial, Dr. Saleeby noticed that the
plaintiff's leg showed a contraction of an inch and a half and a curvature that made his leg
very weak and painful at the point of the fracture. Examination of his head revealed a notable
readjustment of the functions of the brain and nerves. The patient apparently was slightly
deaf, had a light weakness in his eyes and in his mental condition. This latter weakness was
always noticed when the plaintiff had to do any difficult mental labor, especially when he for the collision between his motorcycle and the ambulance of the General Hospital, and to
attempted to use his money for mathematical calculations. determine the amount of the damages, if any, to which Mr. E. Merritt is entitled on account of
According to the various merchants who testified as witnesses, the plaintiff's mental and said collision, and the Attorney-General of the Philippine Islands is hereby authorized and
physical condition prior to the accident was excellent, and that after having received the directed to appear at the trial on the behalf of the Government of said Islands, to defendant
injuries that have been discussed, his physical condition had undergone a noticeable said Government at the same.
depreciation, for he had lost the agility, energy, and ability that he had constantly displayed SEC. 2. This Act shall take effect on its passage.
before the accident as one of the best constructors of wooden buildings and he could not now Enacted, February 3, 1915.
earn even a half of the income that he had secured for his work because he had lost 50 per Did the defendant, in enacting the above quoted Act, simply waive its immunity from suit or did
cent of his efficiency. As a contractor, he could no longer, as he had before done, climb up it also concede its liability to the plaintiff? If only the former, then it cannot be held that the Act
ladders and scaffoldings to reach the highest parts of the building. created any new cause of action in favor of the plaintiff or extended the defendant's liability to
As a consequence of the loss the plaintiff suffered in the efficiency of his work as a contractor, any case not previously recognized.
he had to dissolved the partnership he had formed with the engineer. Wilson, because he was All admit that the Insular Government (the defendant) cannot be sued by an individual without
incapacitated from making mathematical calculations on account of the condition of his leg its consent. It is also admitted that the instant case is one against the Government. As the
and of his mental faculties, and he had to give up a contract he had for the construction of the consent of the Government to be sued by the plaintiff was entirely voluntary on its part, it is
Uy Chaco building." our duty to look carefully into the terms of the consent, and render judgment accordingly.
We may say at the outset that we are in full accord with the trial court to the effect that the The plaintiff was authorized to bring this action against the Government "in order to fix the
collision between the plaintiff's motorcycle and the ambulance of the General Hospital was responsibility for the collision between his motorcycle and the ambulance of the General
due solely to the negligence of the chauffeur. Hospital and to determine the amount of the damages, if any, to which Mr. E. Merritt is entitled
The two items which constitute a part of the P14,741 and which are drawn in question by the on account of said collision, . . . ." These were the two questions submitted to the court for
plaintiff are (a) P5,000, the award awarded for permanent injuries, and (b) the P2,666, the determination. The Act was passed "in order that said questions may be decided." We have
amount allowed for the loss of wages during the time the plaintiff was incapacitated from "decided" that the accident was due solely to the negligence of the chauffeur, who was at the
pursuing his occupation. We find nothing in the record which would justify us in increasing the time an employee of the defendant, and we have also fixed the amount of damages sustained
amount of the first. As to the second, the record shows, and the trial court so found, that the by the plaintiff as a result of the collision. Does the Act authorize us to hold that the
plaintiff's services as a contractor were worth P1,000 per month. The court, however, limited Government is legally liable for that amount? If not, we must look elsewhere for such
the time to two months and twenty-one days, which the plaintiff was actually confined in the authority, if it exists.
hospital. In this we think there was error, because it was clearly established that the plaintiff The Government of the Philippine Islands having been "modeled after the Federal and State
was wholly incapacitated for a period of six months. The mere fact that he remained in the Governments in the United States," we may look to the decisions of the high courts of that
hospital only two months and twenty-one days while the remainder of the six months was country for aid in determining the purpose and scope of Act No. 2457.
spent in his home, would not prevent recovery for the whole time. We, therefore, find that the In the United States the rule that the state is not liable for the torts committed by its officers or
amount of damages sustained by the plaintiff, without any fault on his part, is P18,075. agents whom it employs, except when expressly made so by legislative enactment, is well
As the negligence which caused the collision is a tort committed by an agent or employee of settled. "The Government," says Justice Story, "does not undertake to guarantee to any
the Government, the inquiry at once arises whether the Government is legally-liable for the person the fidelity of the officers or agents whom it employs, since that would involve it in all
damages resulting therefrom. its operations in endless embarrassments, difficulties and losses, which would be subversive
Act No. 2457, effective February 3, 1915, reads: of the public interest." (Claussen vs. City of Luverne, 103 Minn., 491, citing U. S. vs.
An Act authorizing E. Merritt to bring suit against the Government of the Philippine Islands and Kirkpatrick, 9 Wheat, 720; 6 L. Ed., 199; and Beers vs. States, 20 How., 527; 15 L. Ed., 991.)
authorizing the Attorney-General of said Islands to appear in said suit. In the case of Melvin vs. State (121 Cal., 16), the plaintiff sought to recover damages from the
Whereas a claim has been filed against the Government of the Philippine Islands by Mr. E. state for personal injuries received on account of the negligence of the state officers at the
Merritt, of Manila, for damages resulting from a collision between his motorcycle and the state fair, a state institution created by the legislature for the purpose of improving agricultural
ambulance of the General Hospital on March twenty-fifth, nineteen hundred and thirteen; and kindred industries; to disseminate information calculated to educate and benefit the
Whereas it is not known who is responsible for the accident nor is it possible to determine the industrial classes; and to advance by such means the material interests of the state, being
amount of damages, if any, to which the claimant is entitled; and objects similar to those sought by the public school system. In passing upon the question of
Whereas the Director of Public Works and the Attorney-General recommended that an Act be the state's liability for the negligent acts of its officers or agents, the court said:
passed by the Legislature authorizing Mr. E. Merritt to bring suit in the courts against the No claim arises against any government is favor of an individual, by reason of the
Government, in order that said questions may be decided: Now, therefore, misfeasance, laches, or unauthorized exercise of powers by its officers or agents. (Citing
By authority of the United States, be it enacted by the Philippine Legislature, that: Gibbons vs. U. S., 8 Wall., 269; Clodfelter vs. State, 86 N. C., 51, 53; 41 Am. Rep., 440;
SECTION 1. E. Merritt is hereby authorized to bring suit in the Court of First Instance of the Chapman vs. State, 104 Cal., 690; 43 Am. St. Rep., 158; Green vs. State, 73 Cal., 29; Bourn
city of Manila against the Government of the Philippine Islands in order to fix the responsibility vs. Hart, 93 Cal., 321; 27 Am. St. Rep., 203; Story on Agency, sec. 319.)
As to the scope of legislative enactments permitting individuals to sue the state where the necessary to be here mentioned. In construing this statute the court, in Murdock Grate Co. vs.
cause of action arises out of either fort or contract, the rule is stated in 36 Cyc., 915, thus: Commonwealth (152 Mass., 28), said:
By consenting to be sued a state simply waives its immunity from suit. It does not thereby The statute we are discussing disclose no intention to create against the state a new and
concede its liability to plaintiff, or create any cause of action in his favor, or extend its liability heretofore unrecognized class of liabilities, but only an intention to provide a judicial tribunal
to any cause not previously recognized. It merely gives a remedy to enforce a preexisting where well recognized existing liabilities can be adjudicated.
liability and submits itself to the jurisdiction of the court, subject to its right to interpose any In Sipple vs. State (99 N. Y., 284), where the board of the canal claims had, by the terms of
lawful defense. the statute of New York, jurisdiction of claims for damages for injuries in the management of
In Apfelbacher vs. State (152 N. W., 144, advanced sheets), decided April 16, 1915, the Act of the canals such as the plaintiff had sustained, Chief Justice Ruger remarks: "It must be
1913, which authorized the bringing of this suit, read: conceded that the state can be made liable for injuries arising from the negligence of its
SECTION 1. Authority is hereby given to George Apfelbacher, of the town of Summit, agents or servants, only by force of some positive statute assuming such liability."
Waukesha County, Wisconsin, to bring suit in such court or courts and in such form or forms It being quite clear that Act No. 2457 does not operate to extend the Government's liability to
as he may be advised for the purpose of settling and determining all controversies which he any cause not previously recognized, we will now examine the substantive law touching the
may now have with the State of Wisconsin, or its duly authorized officers and agents, relative defendant's liability for the negligent acts of its officers, agents, and employees. Paragraph 5
to the mill property of said George Apfelbacher, the fish hatchery of the State of Wisconsin on of article 1903 of the Civil Code reads:
the Bark River, and the mill property of Evan Humphrey at the lower end of Nagawicka Lake, The state is liable in this sense when it acts through a special agent, but not when the damage
and relative to the use of the waters of said Bark River and Nagawicka Lake, all in the county should have been caused by the official to whom properly it pertained to do the act performed,
of Waukesha, Wisconsin. in which case the provisions of the preceding article shall be applicable.
In determining the scope of this act, the court said: The supreme court of Spain in defining the scope of this paragraph said:
Plaintiff claims that by the enactment of this law the legislature admitted liability on the part of That the obligation to indemnify for damages which a third person causes to another by his
the state for the acts of its officers, and that the suit now stands just as it would stand between fault or negligence is based, as is evidenced by the same Law 3, Title 15, Partida 7, on that
private parties. It is difficult to see how the act does, or was intended to do, more than remove the person obligated, by his own fault or negligence, takes part in the act or omission of the
the state's immunity from suit. It simply gives authority to commence suit for the purpose of third party who caused the damage. It follows therefrom that the state, by virtue of such
settling plaintiff's controversies with the estate. Nowhere in the act is there a whisper or provisions of law, is not responsible for the damages suffered by private individuals in
suggestion that the court or courts in the disposition of the suit shall depart from well consequence of acts performed by its employees in the discharge of the functions pertaining
established principles of law, or that the amount of damages is the only question to be settled. to their office, because neither fault nor even negligence can be presumed on the part of the
The act opened the door of the court to the plaintiff. It did not pass upon the question of state in the organization of branches of public service and in the appointment of its agents; on
liability, but left the suit just where it would be in the absence of the state's immunity from suit. the contrary, we must presuppose all foresight humanly possible on its part in order that each
If the Legislature had intended to change the rule that obtained in this state so long and to branch of service serves the general weal an that of private persons interested in its
declare liability on the part of the state, it would not have left so important a matter to mere operation. Between these latter and the state, therefore, no relations of a private nature
inference, but would have done so in express terms. (Murdock Grate Co. vs. Commonwealth, governed by the civil law can arise except in a case where the state acts as a judicial person
152 Mass., 28; 24 N.E., 854; 8 L. R. A., 399.) capable of acquiring rights and contracting obligations. (Supreme Court of Spain, January 7,
In Denning vs. State (123 Cal., 316), the provisions of the Act of 1893, relied upon and 1898; 83 Jur. Civ., 24.)
considered, are as follows: That the Civil Code in chapter 2, title 16, book 4, regulates the obligations which arise out of
All persons who have, or shall hereafter have, claims on contract or for negligence against the fault or negligence; and whereas in the first article thereof. No. 1902, where the general
state not allowed by the state board of examiners, are hereby authorized, on the terms and principle is laid down that where a person who by an act or omission causes damage to
conditions herein contained, to bring suit thereon against the state in any of the courts of this another through fault or negligence, shall be obliged to repair the damage so done, reference
state of competent jurisdiction, and prosecute the same to final judgment. The rules of is made to acts or omissions of the persons who directly or indirectly cause the damage, the
practice in civil cases shall apply to such suits, except as herein otherwise provided. following articles refers to this persons and imposes an identical obligation upon those who
And the court said: maintain fixed relations of authority and superiority over the authors of the damage, because
This statute has been considered by this court in at least two cases, arising under different the law presumes that in consequence of such relations the evil caused by their own fault or
facts, and in both it was held that said statute did not create any liability or cause of action negligence is imputable to them. This legal presumption gives way to proof, however,
against the state where none existed before, but merely gave an additional remedy to enforce because, as held in the last paragraph of article 1903, responsibility for acts of third persons
such liability as would have existed if the statute had not been enacted. (Chapman vs. State, ceases when the persons mentioned in said article prove that they employed all the diligence
104 Cal., 690; 43 Am. St. Rep., 158; Melvin vs. State, 121 Cal., 16.) of a good father of a family to avoid the damage, and among these persons, called upon to
A statute of Massachusetts enacted in 1887 gave to the superior court "jurisdiction of all answer in a direct and not a subsidiary manner, are found, in addition to the mother or the
claims against the commonwealth, whether at law or in equity," with an exception not father in a proper case, guardians and owners or directors of an establishment or enterprise,
the state, but not always, except when it acts through the agency of a special agent, doubtless
because and only in this case, the fault or negligence, which is the original basis of this kind of G.R. No. L-20322 May 29, 1968
objections, must be presumed to lie with the state. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
That although in some cases the state might by virtue of the general principle set forth in vs.
article 1902 respond for all the damage that is occasioned to private parties by orders or HON. PERFECTO R. PALACIO, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Camarines
resolutions which by fault or negligence are made by branches of the central administration Sur,
acting in the name and representation of the state itself and as an external expression of its MACARIO M. OFILADA, as ex-officio Sheriff of Manila, and ILDEFONSO
sovereignty in the exercise of its executive powers, yet said article is not applicable in the ORTIZ, respondents.
case of damages said to have been occasioned to the petitioners by an executive official, Office of the Solicitor General for petitioner.
acting in the exercise of his powers, in proceedings to enforce the collections of certain Luis Contreras for respondents.
property taxes owing by the owner of the property which they hold in sublease. REYES, J.B.L., J.:
That the responsibility of the state is limited by article 1903 to the case wherein it acts through This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals (in CA-G.R. No. 30915),
a special agent (and a special agent, in the sense in which these words are employed, is one dismissing the original action for certiorari and prohibition filed with said Court by herein
who receives a definite and fixed order or commission, foreign to the exercise of the duties of petitioner Republic of the Philippines, to restrain the enforcement of a writ of execution (issued
his office if he is a special official) so that in representation of the state and being bound to act by the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur in its Civil Case No. 4886) on the trust fund in
as an agent thereof, he executes the trust confided to him. This concept does not apply to any the account of the Irrigation Service Unit with the Philippine National Bank.
executive agent who is an employee of the acting administration and who on his own There is no controversy as to the following facts:
responsibility performs the functions which are inherent in and naturally pertain to his office On April 2, 1960, Ildefonso Ortiz instituted in the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur Civil
and which are regulated by law and the regulations." (Supreme Court of Spain, May 18, 1904; Case No. 4886, against the Handong Irrigation Association, Inc., a corporation with principal
98 Jur. Civ., 389, 390.) place of business in Libmanan, Camarines Sur, and the Irrigation Service Unit, an office or
That according to paragraph 5 of article 1903 of the Civil Code and the principle laid down in a agency under the Department of Public Works and Communications, to recover possession,
decision, among others, of the 18th of May, 1904, in a damage case, the responsibility of the with damages, of a 958 square meter-lot located in Handong, San Juan, Libmanan,
state is limited to that which it contracts through a special agent, duly empowered by a definite Camarines Sur, which the Irrigation Association allegedly entered and occupied, at the
order or commission to perform some act or charged with some definite purpose which gives instance of its co-defendant. For failure to appear and answer the complaint, therein
rise to the claim, and not where the claim is based on acts or omissions imputable to a public defendant Irrigation Service Unit was declared in default.
official charged with some administrative or technical office who can be held to the proper On June 3, 1960, the Republic of the Philippines, through the Solicitor General, moved for the
responsibility in the manner laid down by the law of civil responsibility. Consequently, the trial dismissal of the complaint, claiming that defendant Irrigation Service Unit has no juridical
court in not so deciding and in sentencing the said entity to the payment of damages, caused personality to sue and be sued. By order of June 11, 1960, this motion was denied, on the
by an official of the second class referred to, has by erroneous interpretation infringed the ground that the said defendant although a mere agency of the Republic of the Philippines, is
provisions of articles 1902 and 1903 of the Civil Code. (Supreme Court of Spain, July 30, engaged in the private business of selling irrigation pumps and construction materials on
1911; 122 Jur. Civ., 146.) installment plan. The Solicitor General's motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid order was
It is, therefore, evidence that the State (the Government of the Philippine Islands) is only also denied on July 19, 1960. No appeal appears to have been taken.
liable, according to the above quoted decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain, for the acts of On January 29, 1962, the Solicitor General was served with copy of the writ of execution
its agents, officers and employees when they act as special agents within the meaning of issued by the court against the defendants in the above-mentioned civil case; and, on
paragraph 5 of article 1903, supra, and that the chauffeur of the ambulance of the General February 16, 1962, an order of garnishment was served by the Sheriff of Manila against the
Hospital was not such an agent. deposits and/or pump irrigation trust fund in the account of the Irrigation Service Unit at the
For the foregoing reasons, the judgment appealed from must be reversed, without costs in this Philippine National Bank, Manila, to cover the sum of P14,874.40.1
instance. Whether the Government intends to make itself legally liable for the amount of On March 8, 1962, the Solicitor General, on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, filed with
damages above set forth, which the plaintiff has sustained by reason of the negligent acts of the lower court an urgent motion to lift the order of garnishment, for the reason that the funds
one of its employees, by legislative enactment and by appropriating sufficient funds therefor, subject matter thereof are public funds and exempt from attachment or execution. Upon denial
we are not called upon to determine. This matter rests solely with the Legislature and not with of this motion, as well as of the motion for reconsideration of said denial, the Solicitor General
the courts. commenced the present certiorari and prohibition proceeding in the Court of
Appeals.1vvphi1.nt
In its decision of August 21, 1962, the appellate court sustained the propriety of the disputed
garnishment-order, and dismissed the Government's petition, on the basis of the finding by
the trial court that the Irrigation Service Unit, "formerly an office under the Department of
Agriculture and Natural Resources created by virtue of a 'Memorandum of Agreement on the
Irrigation Pump Program of the Philippines', signed by the Chairman of the PHILCUSA (now
NEC), Chief of the MSA Mission (now AID) and the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural are required. The total payment required under the contract is stated in the contract and is
Resources, and presently under the Department of Public Works and Communications to equal to the sum of (a) the landed cost of equipment at the installation site, (b) the cost of
which it was transferred", is engaged in a private business of purchase and sale of irrigation installation and construction including survey and design, (c) the cost of fuel and oil financed
pumps and systems. Consequently, according to the Court of Appeals, and following the for the first crop season, if any, (d) ten per cent of the total of a and b to cover the cost of
ruling in the case of National Airports Corporation vs. Teodoro, et al., L-5122, April 30, 1952 administration, technical assistance furnished by the ISU, inspection and collection, and (e)
(91 Phil. 203), by thus engaging in private business, the Government, through the Irrigation the compensating use tax to the Philippine Government. Interest is also payable under each
Service Unit, had actually consented to the suit. Hence, the present petition for review filed by contract at the rate of six percent per annum on any unpaid balance of the total amount of the
the Republic of the Philippines. contract.
The issue presented by this case is whether or not the pump irrigation trust fund, deposited 2. All principal and interest payments received by the ISU from farmers' associations shall be
with the Philippine National Bank in the account of the Irrigation Service Unit, may be deposited immediately in the Trust Fund. The separate account established by the project
garnished to satisfy a money-judgment against the latter. This issue in turn calls for a agreement for Counterpart Project 409, entitled "Irrigation Pump Sales Proceeds Account" is
determination of the nature of said trust fund, i.e., whether it is a fund belonging to the hereby abolished and any deposits therein will be immediately transferred to the Trust Fund.
National Government (which was not a party to Civil Case No. 4886), as maintained by herein 3. Whenever the total value of all deposits made to the Trust Fund from contract principal and
petitioner, or purely the proceeds of a private venture by the government, as claimed by the interest payments exceeds the value of total releases made to the Trust Fund from the
respondents. Counterpart Fund-Special Account, these excess deposits shall be transferred from the Trust
For a better understanding of the nature, function and operation of the Irrigation Service Unit Fund to the Counter Fund-Special Account. Such transfers shall be considered as "proceeds
(ISU) which is necessary for the proper resolution of the issue herein involved, it is worthwhile of sale" and "advance deposits" as provided in Annex Section 1, (b) and (c) of the Bilateral
to recall that this office was originally created under the Department of Agriculture and Natural Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America.
Resources by virtue of a Memorandum Agreement between the governments of the It was also provided therein that the payments by the farmers' associations on conditional
Philippines and the United States, dated August 13, 1952. It was later transferred to the sales agreements specified in paragraph C-2, above, will be considered in the preparation,
Department of Public Works and Communications as an office directly under the Office of the and shall form part, of the ISU annual budget, which will finance the costs of supply and
Secretary, "to prosecute to completion the rehabilitation of pump systems transferred from the equipment purchases, the installation and construction of pump units, and the operating
former Irrigation Pump Administration of the Department of Agriculture and Natural expenses of ISU for which appropriated funds are not available. (Para. B-1).
Resources,2 including the settlement of the obligations of said administration." The budgetary It is clear from the foregoing that the ISU is not only an office in the Government of the
requirements to carry out the objectives of the project were to be financed by withdrawals from Republic of the Philippines, created to promote a specific economic policy of said government,
the Counterpart Fund-Special Account. (Memorandum Agreement of June, 1954.) but also that its activity (of selling irrigation pumps to farmers on installment basis) is not
This Counterpart Fund-Special Account referred to above was established in the Central Bank intended to earn profit or financial gain to its operator. The mere fact that interests are being
by the Government of the Philippines and made up of deposits in pesos commensurate with collected on the balance of the unpaid cost of the purchased pumps does not convert this
the indicated dollar cost to the Government of the United States of economic and technical economic project of the government into a corporate activity. As previously pointed out, the
assistance made available to the Philippines, pursuant to the Bilateral Agreement between the installment payments and interests receivable from the farmers are to be used to replenish the
Philippines and the United States of April 27, 1951; of deposits accruing to it (Philippine counterpart funds utilized in furtherance of the operation of the project.
government) from the sale of commodities or services supplied under the Agreement or Although evidently acknowledging the nature of the Pump Irrigation Trust Fund as a public
otherwise accruing to it as a result of the import of such commodities or service; and of any fund, the Court of Appeals nevertheless sustained the garnishment order, on the ground that
advance deposits which the Philippine government may make in the Special Account (Sec. 1, the ISU, by engaging in the private business of purchasing and selling irrigation pumps on
paragraphs 2[a], [b] and [c], Annex to Memo. Agreement of April 27, 1951). Later, on the basis installment basis, has waived its governmental immunity and, by implication, consented to the
of a supplemental agreement (No. 2, Counterpart Project No. 409 Pump Irrigation), the suit.
Pump Irrigation Trust Fund was established in the Philippine National Bank, to which all It is apparent that this decision of the Court of Appeals suffers from the erroneous assumption
authorized releases to the ISU3 from the Counterpart Fund Special Account, to finance the that because the State has waived its immunity, its property and funds become liable to
peso-cost of the Irrigation Pump Project, were transferred. This is the fund on which the seizure under the legal process. This emphatically is not the law (Merritt vs. Insular
disputed writ of execution for money judgment rendered against the ISU, is being enforced. Government, 34 Phil. 311).
A reading of the records and documents submitted to the Court of Appeals will readily show Even though the rule as to immunity of a state from suit is relaxed, the power of the courts
that the sales of irrigation pumps to farmers by ISU are governed by the terms of the ends when the judgment is rendered. Although the liability of the state has been judicially
Supplemental Agreement No. 2 to Counterpart Project No. 409 (signed by representatives of ascertained, the state is at liberty to determine for itself whether to pay the judgment or not,
the Philippine and U. S. governments) hereunder copied in full: and execution can not issue on a judgment against the state. Such statutes do not authorize a
C. Disposition of Proceeds from Payments under Contracts of Sale seizure of state property to satisfy judgments recovered, and only convey implication that the
1. Under the Guiding Principles of the Irrigation Pump Project, pumps are sold to farmers' legislature will recognize such judgment as final and make provision for the satisfaction
associations under conditional sales contracts. Periodic payments to ISU by each association thereof. (49 Am. Jur., Sec. 104, pp. 312-320.)
Judgments against a state, in cases where it has consented to be sued, generally operate G.R. Nos. L-55963 & 61045 February 27, 1991
merely to liquidate and establish plaintiff's claim in the absence of express provision; SPOUSES JOSE FONTANILLA and VIRGINIA FONTANILLA, petitioners,
otherwise they can not be enforced by processes of law; and it is for the legislature to provide vs.
for their payment in such manner as it sees fit. (59 C.J. sec. 501, p. 331; 81 C.J.S., sec. 232, HONORABLE INOCENCIO D. MALIAMAN and NATIONAL IRRIGATION
p. 1343.) ADMINISTRATION, respondents.
It needs no stressing that to allow the levying under execution of the ISU funds would amount
to diverting them from the purpose originally contemplated by the P.I.U.S. Bilateral
Agreement, and would amount to a disbursement without any proper appropriation as NATIONAL IRRIGATION ADMINISTRATION, appellant,
required by law. vs.
A second infirmity of the decision under appeal originates from its ignoring the fact that the SPOUSES JOSE FONTANILLA and VIRGINIA FONTANILLA, appellees.
initial complaint against the Irrigation Service Unit was that it had induced the Handong RESOLUTION
Irrigation Association, Inc., to invade and occupy the land of the plaintiff Ildefonso Ortiz. The
ISU liability thus arose from tort and not from contract; and it is a well-entrenched rule in this PARAS, J.:
jurisdiction, embodied in Article 2180 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, that the State is In its Motion for Reconsideration 1 of the Court's Second Division decision in G.R. No. 55963
liable only for torts caused by its special agents, specially commissioned to carry out the acts and G.R. No. 61045, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA, for brevity), through the
complained of outside of such agent's regular duties (Merritt vs. Insular Government, supra; Solicitor General, maintains that, on the strength of Presidential Decree No. 552 (which
Rosete vs. Auditor General, 81 Phil. 453). There being no proof that the making of the tortious amended certain provisions of Republic Act 3601, the law creating the NIA) and the case of
inducement was authorized, neither the State nor its funds can be made liable therefor. Angat River Irrigation System, et al. vs. Angat River Workers' Union, et al., 102 Phil. 790 "the
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals under review is reversed and set aside, NIA does not perform solely and primarily proprietary functions but is an agency of the
and the order of garnishment issued by the Sheriff of Manila on the Pump Irrigation Trust government tasked with governmental functions, and is therefore not liable for the tortious act
Fund in the account of the Irrigation Service Unit, with the Philippine National Bank, is hereby of its driver Hugo Garcia, who was not its special agent."
declared null and void. The writ of preliminary injunction heretofore issued is made Although the majority opinion in the cited case of Angat System declares that the Angat
permanent. No costs. System (like the NIA) exercised a governmental function because the nature of the powers
and functions of said agency does not show that it was intended to "bring to the Government
any special corporate benefit or pecuniary profit," there is a strong dissenting opinion penned
by then Associate Justice and later Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion and concurred in by
then Associate Justice J.B.L. Reyes which held the contrary view that the Angat River System
is a government entity exercising proprietary functions. To buttress said stand, the former
Chief Justice cited some authorities which will be useful in the proper resolution of this case.
Quoting from said dissenting opinion which cited McQuillin's The Law of Municipal
Corporations, 3rd ed., Vol. 18, pp. 423424:
In undertaking to supply water at price, municipality is not performing governmental function
but is engaged in trade, and is liable first as private company would be for any negligence in
laying out of its pipes, in keeping them in repair, or in furnishing potable water through them.
Harvard Furniture Co., Inc. vs. City of Cambridge, 320 Mass. 227, 68 N.E. (2d) 684.
Municipality in contracting to provide water supply acts under its proprietary power and not
under its legislative, public or governmental powers. Farmers' State Bank vs. Conrad, 100
Mont. 415,47 P. (2d) 853.
In this connection, the opinion is that irrigation districts in the United States are basically
identical to our irrigation systems under Act No. 2152. Because of such similarity, it is found
appropriate to consider certain doctrines from American jurisprudence, which are as follows,
to wit:
An irrigation district is a public quasi corporation, organized, however, to conduct a business
for the private benefit of the owners of land within its limits. They are members of the
corporation, control its affairs, and alone are benefited by its operations. It is, in the
administration of its business, the owner of its system in a proprietary rather than a public
capacity, and must assume and bear the burdens of proprietary ownership. (Nampa vs. Of equal importance is the case of National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA)
Nampa & M. Irrig. Dist. 19 Idaho, 779,115 Pac. 979) vs. NWSA Consolidated Unions, 11 SCRA 766, which propounds the thesis that "the
. . . the plaintiff sought damages for injuries to crops on his land during 1923, 1924, 1925, and NAWASA is not an agency performing governmental functions; rather it performs proprietary
1926, caused by water seeping, percolating, and escaping from the defendant's canal. The functions . . . ." The functions of providing water supply and sewerage service are regarded as
defendant contended that irrigation districts were agencies of the state, and were, therefore, mere optional functions of government even though the service rendered caters to the
not liable for the negligent construction or operation of their canals or ditches. The court, after community as a whole and the goal is for the general interest of society. The business of
a careful review of the authorities defining an irrigation district, conceded that such a quasi furnishing water supply and sewerage service, as held in the case of Metropolitan Water
public corporation possessed some governmental powers and exercised some governmental District vs. Court of Industrial Relations, et al., 91 Phil. 840, "may for all practical purposes be
functions, but held that the construction and operation of its irrigation canals and ditches was likened to an industry engaged in by coal companies, gas companies, power plants, ice
a proprietary rather than a governmental function, and hence the district was responsible in plants, and the like." Withal, it has been enunciated that "although the State may regulate the
damages for the negligent construction or operation of its canal system. (69 A.L.R., p. 1233) service and rates of water plants owned and operated by municipalities, such property is not
It may not be amiss to state at this point that the functions of government have been classified employed for governmental purposes and in the ownership and operation thereof the
into governmental or constituent and proprietary or ministrant. The former involves the municipality acts in its proprietary capacity, free from legislative interference." (1 McQuillin, p.
exercise of sovereignty and considered as compulsory; the latter connotes merely the 683)
exercise of proprietary functions and thus considered as optional. The Solicitor General Like the NAWASA, the National Irrigation Administration was not created for purposes of local
argues that the reasons presented by P.D. 552 for the existence of the NIA (the WHEREAS government. While it may be true that the NIA was essentially a service agency of the
clauses of said decree) indubitably reveal that the responsibility vested in said agency government aimed at promoting public interest and public welfare, such fact does not make
concerns public welfare and public benefit, and is therefore an exercise of sovereignty. On the the NIA essentially and purely a "government-function" corporation. NIA was created for the
contrary, We agree with the former Chief Justice Concepcion in saying that the same purpose purpose of "constructing, improving, rehabilitating, and administering all national irrigation
such as public benefit and public welfare may be found in the operation of certain enterprises systems in the Philippines, including all communal and pump irrigation projects." Certainly, the
(those engaged in the supply of electric power, or in supplying telegraphic, telephonic, and state and the community as a whole are largely benefited by the services the agency renders,
radio communication, or in the production and distribution of prime necessities, etc.) yet it is but these functions are only incidental to the principal aim of the agency, which is the irrigation
certain that the functions performed by such enterprises are basically proprietary in nature. of lands.
Thus, as held in Holderbaum vs. Hidalgo County Water Improvement District (297 S.W. 865, We must not lose sight of the fact that the NIA is a government agency invested with a
aff'd in 11 S.W. [2d] 506) cited in the dissenting opinion by Justice Concepcion: corporate personality separate and distinct from the government, thus is governed by the
. . . Primarily, a water improvement district is in no better position than a city is when Corporation Law. Section 1 of Republic Act No. 3601 provides:
exercising its purely local powers and duties. Its general purposes are not essentially public in Sec. 1. Name and Domicile A body corporate is hereby created which shall be known as
their nature, but are only incidentally so; those purposes may be likened to those of a city the National Irrigation Administration. . . . which shall be organized immediately after the
which is operating a waterworks system, or an irrigation system. . . . A water improvement approval of this Act. It shall have its principal seat of business in the City of Manila and shall
district can do nothing, it has and furnishes no facilities, for the administration of the sovereign have representatives in all provinces, for the proper conduct of its business. (Emphasis for
government. Its officers have no power or authority to exercise any of the functions of the emphasis).
general government, or to enforce any of the laws of the state or any of its other subdivisions, Besides, Section 2, subsection b of P.D. 552 provides that:
or collect taxes other than those assessed by the district. They have no more power or (b) To charge and collect from the beneficiaries of the water from all irrigation systems
authority than that of the officers of a private corporation organized for like purposes. As a constructed by or under its administration, such fees or administration charges as may be
practical matter, the primary objects and purposes of such district are of a purely local nature, necessary to cover the cost of operation, maintenance and insurance, and to recover the cost
for the district is created and operated for the sole benefit of its own members, and an of construction within a reasonable period of time to the extent consistent with government
analysis of those objects and purposes discloses that they directly benefit only the landowners policy; to recover funds or portions thereof expended for the construction and/or rehabilitation
who reside within and whose lands form a part of the district, to the exclusion of all other of communal irrigation systems which funds shall accrue to a special fund for irrigation
residents therein. It is true, of course, that the state and the general public are greatly development under section 2 hereof;
benefited by the proper operation of the district, and to that extent its objects and Unpaid irrigation fees or administration charges shall be preferred liens first, upon the land
accomplishments are public in their nature, but this characteristic is only incidental to the benefited, and then on the crops raised thereon, which liens shall have preference over all
primary and chief object of the corporation, which is the irrigation of lands forming a part of the other liens except for taxes on the land, and such preferred liens shall not be removed until all
district. It is obvious, then, that the purposes and duties of such districts do not come within fees or administration charges are paid or the property is levied upon and sold by the National
the definition of public rights, purposes, and duties which would entitle the district to the Irrigation Administration for the satisfaction thereof. . . .
exemption raised by the common law as a protection to corporations having a purely public The same section also provides that NIA may sue and be sued in court. Thus,
purpose and performing essentially public duties. b) . . . Judicial actions for the collection of unpaid irrigation fees or charges, drainage fees or
other charges which the National Irrigation Administration is authorized to impose and collect,
shall henceforth be governed by the provisions of the Rules of Court of the Philippines for QUEZON CITY GOVERNMENT G.R. No. 150304
similar actions, the provisions of other laws to the contrary notwithstanding. and Engineer RAMIR J. TIAMZON,
xxx xxx xxx Petitioners, Present:
(e) . . . . Panganiban, J.,
xxx xxx xxx Chairman,
All actions for the recovery of compensation and damages against the National Irrigation Sandoval-Gutierrez,
Administration under paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) hereof, shall be filed with a competent court - versus - Corona,
within five (5) years from the date of entry of the land or destruction of the improvements or Carpio Morales, and
crops, after which period, the right of possession and/or ownership of the National Irrigation Garcia, JJ
Administration shall be considered vested and absolute. All other actions for the recovery of Promulgated:
compensation and damages to private property and improvements occasioned by the FULGENCIO DACARA,*
construction, operation and maintenance of irrigation facilities and other hydraulic structures Respondent. June 15, 2005
under the administration of the National Irrigation Administration, which have accrued ten (10) x -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- x
or more years prior to the approval of this decree are deemed to have prescribed and are
barred forever.
It has its own assets and liabilities. It also has corporate powers to be exercised by a Board of DECISION
Directors. To quote Section 2, subsection (f):
(f) . . . and to transact such business, as are directly or indirectly necessary, incidental or
conducive to the attainment of the above powers and objectives, including the power to PANGANIBAN, J.:
establish and maintain subsidiaries, and in general, to exercise all the powers of a corporation
under the Corporation Law, insofar as they are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act.
(Emphasis supplied). T he review of cases under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is limited to errors of law. Unless
On the basis of the foregoing considerations, We conclude that the National Irrigation there is a showing that the findings of the lower court are totally devoid of support or are
Administration is a government agency with a juridical personality separate and distinct from glaringly erroneous, this Court will not analyze or weigh evidence all over again. Under the
the government. It is not a mere agency of the government but a corporate body performing circumstance, the factual findings and
proprietary functions. Therefore, it may be held liable for the damages caused by the negligent conclusions of the Court of Appeals affirming those of the trial courts will be conclusive upon
act of its driver who was not its special agent. the Supreme Court. Furthermore, well-entrenched is the rule that points of law, theories,
ACCORDINGLY, the Motion for Reconsideration dated January 26, 1990 is DENIED WITH issues and arguments not brought to the attention of the trial court cannot be raised for the
FINALITY. The decision of this Court in G.R. No. 55963 and G.R. No. 61045 dated December first time on appeal or certiorari. Finally, this Court reiterates the principle that moral damages
1, 1989 is hereby AFFIRMED. are designed to compensate the claimant for actual injury suffered, not to impose a penalty on
the wrongdoer. Hence, absent any definite finding as to what they consist of, the alleged
moral damages suffered would become a penalty rather than a compensation for actual injury
suffered.

The Case

Before us is a Petition for Review[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the
February 21, 2001 Decision[2] and the October 9, 2001 Resolution[3] of the Court of Appeals
(CA) in CA-GR CV No. 29392. The challenged Decision disposed as follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision dated June 29, 1990 in Civil Case No. Q-
88-233 should be AFFIRMED, with costs against the appellants.[4]

The assailed Resolution denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.


The Facts In their appeal to the CA, petitioners maintained that they had observed due diligence and
care in installing preventive warning devices, and that it was in fact the plaintiff who had failed
The CA summarized the facts in this manner: to exercise prudence by driving too fast to avoid the diggings. Moreover, the lower court
allegedly erred in using Article 2189 of the Civil Code, which supposedly applied only to
liability for the death or injuries suffered by a person, not for damage to property.
Sometime on February 28, 1988 at about 1:00 A.M., Fulgencio Dacara, Jr., son of Fulgencio
P. Dacara, Sr. and owner of 87 Toyota Corolla 4-door Sedan with Plate No. 877 (sic), while Ruling of the Court of Appeals
driving the said vehicle, rammed into a pile of earth/street diggings found at Matahimik St.,
Quezon City, which was then being repaired by the Quezon City government. As a result, The CA agreed with the RTCs finding that petitioners negligence was the proximate cause of
Dacarra (sic), Jr. allegedly sustained bodily injuries and the vehicle suffered extensive the damage suffered by respondent.[9] Noting the failure of petitioners to present evidence to
damage for it turned turtle when it hit the pile of earth. support their contention that precautionary measures had indeed been observed, it ruled thus:

Indemnification was sought from the city government (Record, p. 22), which however, yielded x x x. Sadly, the evidence indicates that [petitioners] failed to show that they placed sufficient
negative results. Consequently, Fulgencio P. Dacara (hereinafter referred to as FULGENCIO), and adequate precautionary signs at Matahimik Street to minimize or prevent the dangers to
for and in behalf of his minor son, Jr., filed a Complaint (Record, p. 1) for damages against the life and limb under the circumstances. Contrary to the testimony of the witnesses for the
Quezon City and Engr. Ramir Tiamzon, as defendants, before the Regional Trial Court, [petitioners], namely Engr. Ramir Tiamzon, Ernesto Landrito and Eduardo Castillo, that there
National Capital Judicial Region, Branch 101, Quezon City, docketed as Civil Case No. Q-88- were signs, gasera which was buried so that its light could not be blown off by the wind and
233. FULGENCIO prayed that the amount of not less than P20,000.00 actual or barricade, none was ever presented to stress and prove the sufficiency and adequacy of said
compensatory damages, P150,000.00 moral damages, P30,000.00 exemplary damages, contention.[10]
and P20,000.00 attorneys fees and costs of the suit be awarded to him. Further upholding the trial courts finding of negligence on the part of herein petitioners, the CA
gave this opinion:
In an Answer with Affirmative and/or Special Defenses (Record, p. 11), defendants admitted
the occurrence of the incident but alleged that the subject diggings was provided with a x x x. As observed by the trial court, the negligence of [petitioners] was clear based on the
moun[d] of soil and barricaded with reflectorized traffic paint with sticks placed before or after investigation report of Pfc. William P. Villafranca stating to the effect that the subject vehicle
it which was visible during the incident on February 28, 1988 at 1:00 A.M. In short, defendants rammed into a pile of earth from a deep excavation thereat without any warning devi[c]e
claimed that they exercised due care by providing the area of the diggings all necessary whatsoever and as a consequence thereof, Dacara, Jr. lost control of his driven car and finally
measures to avoid accident. Hence, the reason why Fulgencio Dacara, Jr. fell into the turned-turtle causing substantial damage to the same. As a defense against liability on the
diggings was precisely because of the latters negligence and failure to exercise due care. [5] basis of quasi-delict, one must have exercised the diligence of a good father of a family which
[petitioners] failed to establish in the instant case.[11]

After trial on the merits, the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 101, Quezon City, rendered
its Decision[6] dated June 29, 1990. The evidence proffered by the complainant (herein Whether Article 2189 is applicable to cases in which there has been no death or physical
respondent) was found to be sufficient proof of the negligence of herein petitioners. Under injury, the CA ruled in the affirmative:
Article 2189 of the Civil Code,[7] the latter were held liable as follows:
x x x. More importantly, we find it illogical to limit the liability to death or personal injury only as
WHEREFORE, premises above considered, based on the quantum of evidence presented by argued by appellants in the case at bar applying the foregoing provisions. For, injury is an act
the plaintiff which tilts in their favor elucidating the negligent acts of the city government that damages, harms or hurts and mean in common as the act or result of inflicting on a
together with its employees when considered in the light of Article 2189, judgment is hereby person or thing something that causes loss, pain, distress, or impairment. Injury is the most
rendered ordering the defendants to indemnify the plaintiff the sum of twenty thousand pesos comprehensive, applying to an act or result involving an impairment or destruction of right,
as actual/compensatory damages, P10,000.00 as moral damages, P5,000.00 as exemplary health, freedom, soundness, or loss of something of value.[12]
damages, P10,000.00 as attorneys fees and other costs of suit.[8]

Hence, this Petition.[13]


Issues occurred otherwise.[15]Proximate cause is determined from the facts of each case, upon a
combined consideration of logic, common sense, policy and precedent.[16]
What really caused the subject vehicle to turn turtle is a factual issue that this Court cannot
pass upon, absent any whimsical or capricious exercise of judgment by the lower courts or an
Petitioners raise the following issues for our consideration: ample showing that they lacked any basis for their conclusions.[17] The unanimity of the CA
and the trial court in their factual ascertainment that petitioners negligence was the proximate
cause of the accident bars us from supplanting their findings and substituting these with our
1. The Honorable Court of Appeals decided a question of law/substance contrary to applicable own. The function of this Court is limited to the review of the appellate courts alleged errors of
law and jurisprudence when it affirmed the award of moral damage suit (sic) the amount law. It is not required to weigh all over again the factual evidence already considered in the
of P10,000.00. proceedings below.[18] Petitioners have not shown that they are entitled to an exception to this
rule.[19] They have not sufficiently demonstrated any special circumstances to justify a factual
2. The Honorable Court of Appeals decided a question of law/substance contrary to applicable review.
law and jurisprudence when it affirmed the award of exemplary damage sin (sic) the amount
of P5,000.00 and attorneys fee in the [a]mount of P10,000.00.
That the negligence of petitioners was the proximate cause of the accident was aptly
3. The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred and/;or (sic) had acted with grave abuse of discussed in the lower courts finding, which we quote:
discretion amounting to lack and/or excess of jurisdiction when it refused to hold that Facts obtaining in this case are crystal clear that the accident of February 28, 1988 which
respondents son in the person of Fulgencio Dacara, Jr. was negligent at the time of caused almost the life and limb of Fulgencio Dacara, Jr. when his car turned turtle was the
incident.[14] existence of a pile of earth from a digging done relative to the base failure at Matahimik
Street nary a lighting device or a reflectorized barricade or sign perhaps which could have
served as an adequate warning to motorist especially during the thick of the night where
darkness is pervasive.
Because the issues regarding the liability of petitioners for moral and exemplary damages
presuppose that their negligence caused the vehicular accident, we first resolve the question Contrary to the testimony of the witnesses for the defense that there were signs, gasera which
of negligence or the proximate cause of the incident. was buried so that its light could not be blown off by the wind and barricade, none was ever
presented to stress the point that sufficient and adequate precautionary signs were placed at
Matahimik Street. If indeed signs were placed thereat, how then could it be explained that
according to the report even of the policeman which for clarity is quoted again, none was
found at the scene of the accident.

The Courts Ruling xxxxxxxxx

The Petition is partly meritorious. Negligence of a person whether natural or juridical over a particular set of events is transfixed
by the attending circumstances so that the greater the danger known or reasonably
First Issue: anticipated, the greater is the degree of care required to be observed.
Negligence
xxxxxxxxx

The provisions of Article 2189 of the New Civil Code capsulizes the responsibility of the city
Maintaining that they were not negligent, petitioners insist that they placed all the necessary government relative to the maintenance of roads and bridges since it exercises the control
precautionary signs to alert the public of a roadside construction. They argue that the driver and supervision over the same. Failure of the defendant to comply with the statutory provision
(Fulgencio Dacara Jr.) of respondents car was overspeeding, and that his own negligence found in the subject-article is tantamount to negligence per se which renders the City
was therefore the sole cause of the incident. government liable. Harsh application of the law ensues as a result thereof but the state
assumed the responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the roads and bridges and
Proximate cause is defined as any cause that produces injury in a natural and continuous neither exception nor exculpation from liability would deem just and equitable.[20] (Emphasis
sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, such that the result would not have supplied)
x x x. Besides, Article 2219 specifically mentions quasi-delicts causing physical injuries, as an
instance when moral damages may be allowed, thereby implying that all other quasi-delicts
not resulting in physical injuries are excluded, excepting of course, the special torts referred to
in Art. 309 (par. 9, Art. 2219) and in Arts. 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34 and 35 on the chapter
Petitioners belatedly point out that Fulgencio Jr. was driving at the speed of 60 kilometers per on human relations (par. 10, Art. 2219).
hour (kph) when he met the accident. This speed was allegedly well above the maximum limit
of 30 kph allowed on city streets with light traffic, when not designated through streets, as
provided under the Land Transportation and Traffic Code (Republic Act 4136). Thus,
petitioners assert that Fulgencio Jr., having violated a traffic regulation, should be presumed In the present case, the Complaint alleged that respondents son Fulgencio Jr. sustained
negligent pursuant to Article 2185[21] of the Civil Code.[22] physical injuries. The son testified that he suffered a deep cut on his left arm when the car
overturned after hitting a pile of earth that had been left in the open without any warning
device whatsoever.
These matters were, however, not raised by petitioners at any time during the trial. It is
evident from the records that they brought up for the first time the matter of violation of RA It is apparent from the Decisions of the trial and the appellate courts, however, that no other
4136 in their Motion for Reconsideration[23] of the CA Decision dated February 21, 2001. It is evidence (such as a medical certificate or proof of medical expenses) was presented to prove
too late in the day for them to raise this new issue. It is well-settled that points of law, theories Fulgencio Jr.s bare assertion of physical injury. Thus, there was no credible proof that would
or arguments not brought out in the original proceedings cannot be considered on review or justify an award of moral damages based on Article 2219(2) of the Civil Code.
appeal.[24] To consider their belatedly raised arguments at this stage of the proceedings would Moreover, the Decisions are conspicuously silent with respect to the claim of respondent that
trample on the basic principles of fair play, justice, and due process.[25] his moral sufferings were due to the negligence of petitioners. The Decision of the trial court,
which summarizes the testimony of respondents four witnesses, makes no mention of any
Indeed, both the trial and the appellate courts findings, which are amply substantiated by the statement regarding moral suffering, such as mental anguish, besmirched reputation,
evidence on record, clearly point to petitioners negligence as the proximate cause of the wounded feelings, social humiliation and the like.
damages suffered by respondents car. No adequate reason has been given to overturn this
factual conclusion. Moral damages are not punitive in nature, but are designed to compensate and alleviate in
some way the physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched
reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury unjustly
Second Issue: inflicted on a person.[31] Intended for the restoration of the psychological or emotional status
Moral Damages quo ante, the award of moral damages is designed to compensate emotional injury suffered,
not to impose a penalty on the wrongdoer.

For the court to arrive upon a judicious approximation of emotional or moral injury, competent
Petitioners argue that moral damages are recoverable only in the instances specified in Article and substantial proof of the
2219[26] of the Civil Code. Although the instant case is an action for quasi-delict, petitioners suffering experienced must be laid before it. Essential to this approximation
contend that moral damages are not recoverable, because no evidence of physical injury were are definite findings as to what the supposed moral damages suffered consisted of; otherwise,
presented before the trial court.[27] such damages would become a penalty rather than a compensation for actual injury
suffered.[32]
To award moral damages, a court must be satisfied with proof of the following requisites: (1)
an injury -- whether physical, mental, or psychological -- clearly sustained by the claimant; (2) Furthermore, well-settled is the rule that moral damages cannot be awarded -- whether in a
a culpable act or omission factually established; (3) a wrongful act or omission of the civil[33] or a criminal case[34] -- in the absence of proof of physical suffering, mental anguish,
defendant as the proximate cause of the injury sustained by the claimant; and (4) the award of fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social
damages predicated on any of the cases stated in Article 2219.[28] humiliation, or similar injury.[35] The award of moral damages must be solidly anchored on a
definite showing that respondent actually experienced emotional and mental sufferings. Mere
Article 2219(2) specifically allows moral damages to be recovered for quasi- allegations do not suffice; they must be substantiated by clear and convincing proof.[36]
delicts, provided that the act or omission caused physical injuries. There can be no recovery
of moral damages unless the quasi-delict resulted in physical injury.[29] This rule was
enunciated in Malonzo v. Galang[30] as follows: Third Issue:
Exemplary Damages
Article 2229 of the Civil Code provides that exemplary damages may be imposed by way of
example or correction for the public good. The award of these damages is meant to be a
Petitioners argue that exemplary damages and attorneys fees are not recoverable. Allegedly, deterrent to socially deleterious actions.[45] Public policy requires such imposition to suppress
the RTC and the CA did not find that petitioners were guilty of gross negligence in the wanton acts of an offender.[46] It must be emphasized that local governments and their
performance of their duty and responsibilities.[37] employees should be responsible not only for the maintenance of roads and streets, but also
for the safety of the public. Thus, they must secure construction areas with adequate
Exemplary damages cannot be recovered as a matter of right.[38] While granting them is precautionary measures.
subject to the discretion of the court, they can be awarded only after claimants have shown
their entitlement to moral, temperate or compensatory damages.[39] In the case before us, Not only is the work of petitioners impressed with public interest; their very existence is
respondent sufficiently proved before the courts a quo that petitioners negligence was the justified only by public service. Hence, local governments have the paramount responsibility of
proximate cause of the incident, thereby establishing his right to actual or compensatory keeping the interests of the public foremost in their agenda. For these reasons, it is most
damages. He has adduced adequate proof to justify his claim for the damages caused his car. disturbing to note that the present petitioners are the very parties responsible for endangering
The question that remains, therefore, is whether exemplary damages may be awarded in the public through such a rash and reckless act.
addition to compensatory damages.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby PARTLY GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of
Appeals is AFFIRMED, with the MODIFICATION that the award of moral damages
Article 2231 of the Civil Code mandates that in cases of quasi-delicts, exemplary damages is DELETED. No costs.
may be recovered if the defendant acted with gross negligence. [40] Gross negligence means
such utter want of care as to raise a presumption that the persons at fault must have been
conscious of the probable consequences of their carelessness, and that they must have SO ORDERED.
nevertheless been indifferent (or worse) to the danger of injury to the person or property of
others.[41] The negligence must amount to a reckless disregard for the safety of persons or
property. Such a circumstance obtains in the instant case.

A finding of gross negligence can be discerned from the Decisions of both the CA and the trial
court. We quote from the RTC Decision:

Sad to state that the City Government through its instrumentalities have (sic) failed to show
the modicum of responsibility, much less, care expected of them (sic) by the constituents of
this City. It is even more deplorable that it was a case of a street digging in a side street which
caused the accident in the so-called premier city.[42]

The CA reiterated the finding of the trial court that petitioners negligence was clear,
considering that there was no warning device whatsoever[43] at the excavation site.

The facts of the case show a complete disregard by petitioners of any adverse consequence
of their failure to install even a single warning device at the area under renovation.
Considering further that the street was dimly lit,[44] the need for adequate precautionary
measures was even greater. By carrying on the road diggings without any warning or
barricade, petitioners demonstrated a wanton disregard for public safety. Indeed, the February
28, 1988 incident was bound to happen due to their gross negligence. It is clear that under the
circumstances, there is sufficient factual basis for a finding of gross negligence on their part.
[G.R. No. 125183. September 29, 1997] AND DECLARING THE LAND OPEN TO DISPOSITION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE
MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JUAN, METRO MANILA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, PUBLIC LAND ACT, AS AMENDED.
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CORAZON DE JESUS Upon recommendation of the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources and by virtue
HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., ADRIANO A. DELAMIDA, SR. CELSO T. TORRES, of the powers vested in me by law, I, CORAZON C. AQUINO, President of the Philippines, do
TARCILA V. ZATA, QUIRICO T. TORRES, CATALINA BONGAT, MILAGROS A. hereby amend Proclamation No. 1716, dated February 17, 1978, which established for
HERBOLARIO, ROSALINDA A. PIMENTAL, PURIFICACION MORELLA, FRANCISCO municipal government center site purposes certain parcels of land mentioned therein situated
RENION, SR., MARCELINA CORPUZ, BENEDICTO FALCON, MAXIMO FALCON, MARIO in the Municipality of San Juan, Metro Manila, by excluding from its operation the parcels of
BOLANOS, VICENTE T. SURIAO, ROSARIO GREGORIA G. DORADO, JEREMIAS Z. land not being utilized for government center site purposes but actually occupied for
PATRON, ALEX RODRIGUEZ, MARIA LUISA ALPAPARA, HERMINIA C. RODRIGUEZ, residential purposes and declaring the land so excluded, together with other parcels of land
VICTORIANO ESPANOL, MARIO L. AGUILAR, FREDDIE AMADOR, SILVERIO PURISIMA, not covered by Proclamation No. 1716 but nevertheless occupied for residential purposes,
JR., PROCOPIO B. PENARANDA, ELADIO MAGLUYAN, HELENITA GUEI, CELESTINO open to disposition under the provisions of the Public Land Act, as amended, subject to future
MONTANO, ROMEO GOMEZ, OFELIA LOGO, JIMMY MACION, DAISY A. MANGA, survey, which are hereunder particularly described as follows :
MAURO MANGA, ARTHUR HERBOLARIO, MANOLITO HERBOLARIO, ROSARIO Lot 1 (Port.) Psu-73270
ANCHETA, TERESITA A. VICTORIA, ROSALINA SAMPAGA, MARIQUITA RUADO, xxxxxxxxx
FELIPE ANCHETA, MAGDALENA CABREZA, MARIA BIANDILLA, NILDA ARENSOL, Lot 4 (Port.) Psd-740
LORENZO S. TOLEDO, and NAPOLEON D. VILORIA, SR., respondents. and Psd-810
DECISION xxxxxxxxx
MELO, J.: Lot 5 (Port.) Psu-73270
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing xxxxxxxxx
and seeking to reverse and set aside: a) the decision dated November 23, 1995 of the Court IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Republic
of Appeals reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila, Branch of the Philippines to be affixed.
159; and b) the resolution dated May 28, 1996 denying reconsideration of said decision. Done in the City of Manila, this 6th day of October in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred
The generative facts of the case are as follows: and eighty-seven.
On February 17, 1978, then President Ferdinand Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1716 (Sgd.) CORAZON C. AQUINO
reserving for Municipal Government Center Site Purposes certain parcels of land of the public By the President :
domain located in the Municipality of San Juan, Metro Manila. (Sgd.) CATALINO MACARAIG, JR.
Considering that the land covered by the above-mentioned proclamation was occupied by Acting Executive Secretary
squatters, the Municipality of San Juan purchased an 18-hectare land in Taytay, Rizal as (Rollo, pp. 148-151.)
resettlement center for the said squatters. Only after resettling these squatters would the On June 1, 1988, the Corazon de Jesus Homeowners Association, Inc., one of herein private
municipality be able to develop and construct its municipal government center on the subject respondents, filed with the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region (Pasig,
land. Branch 159) a petition for prohibition with urgent prayer for restraining order against the
After hundreds of squatter families were resettled, the Municipality of San Juan started to Municipal Mayor and Engineer of San Juan and the Curator of Pinaglabanan Shrine, to enjoin
develop its government center by constructing the INP Building, which now serves as the PNP them from either removing or demolishing the houses of the association members who were
Headquarters, the Fire Station Headquarters, and the site to house the two salas of the claiming that the lots they occupied have been awarded to them by Proclamation No. 164.
Municipal Trial Courts and the Office of the Municipal Prosecutors. Also constructed thereon On September 14, 1990, the regional trial court dismissed the petition, ruling that the property
are the Central Post Office Building and the Municipal High School Annex Building. in question is being utilized by the Municipality of San Juan for government purposes and
On October 6, 1987, after Congress had already convened on July 26, 1987, former President thus, the condition set forth in Proclamation No. 164 is absent.
Corazon Aquino issued Proclamation No. 164, amending Proclamation No. 1716. Said The appeal before the Court of Appeals was dismissed in a decision dated July 17, 1991. This
amendatory proclamation pertinently reads as follows: decision became final and the said judgment was duly entered on April 8, 1992.
PROCLAMATION NO. 164 Disregarding the ruling of the court in this final judgment, private respondents hired a private
AMENDING PROCLAMATION NO. 1716, DATED FEBRUARY 17, 1978, WHICH surveyor to make consolidation-subdivision plans of the land in question, submitting the same
RESERVED FOR MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT CENTER SITE PURPOSES CERTAIN to respondent Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in connection with
PARCELS OF LAND OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN SITUATED IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF SAN their application for a grant under Proclamation No. 164.
JUAN, METROPOLITAN MANILA, ISLAND OF LUZON, BY EXCLUDING FROM ITS To prevent DENR from issuing any grant to private respondents, petitioner municipality filed a
OPERATION THE PARCELS OF LAND NOT BEING UTILIZED FOR GOVERNMENT petition for prohibition with prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order and
CENTER SITES PURPOSES BUT ACTUALLY OCCUPIED FOR RESIDENTIAL PURPOSES preliminary injunction against respondent DENR and private respondent Corazon de Jesus
Homeowners Association.
The regional trial court sustained petitioner municipality, enjoining the DENR from disposing constitution, to be known later as the 1987 Constitution. When Congress was convened on
and awarding the parcels of land covered by Proclamation No. 164. July 26, 1987, President Aquino lost this legislative power under the Freedom
The Court of Appeals reversed, hence, the present recourse. Constitution. Proclamation No. 164, amending Proclamation No. 1716 was issued on October
Cutting through the other issues, it would appear that ultimately, the central question and bone 6, 1987 when legislative power was already solely on Congress.
of contention in the petition before us boils down to the correct interpretation of Proclamation Although quite lamentably, this matter has escaped the attention of petitioner as well as the
No. 164 in relation to Proclamation No. 1716. courts before which this case has already passed through, this Court cannot help noticing this
Petitioner municipality assails the decision of the Court of Appeals by hammering on the issue basic flaw in the issuance of Proclamation No. 164. Because this unauthorized act by the then
of res judicata in view of the fact that an earlier judgment, which had become final and president constitutes a direct derogation of the most basic principle in the separation of
executory, had already settled the respective rights of the parties under Proclamation No. powers between the three branches of government enshrined in our Constitution, we cannot
164. This notwithstanding, petitioner reiterates the reasons why the court had previously ruled simply close our eyes and rely upon the principle of the presumption of validity of a law.
in favor of petitioners rights over the subject property against the claims of private There is a long standing principle that every statute is presumed to be valid (Salas vs.
respondents. Jarencio, 46 SCRA 734 [1970]; Peralta vs. Comelec, 82 SCRA 30 [1978]). However, this rests
We find good legal basis to sustain petitioners position on the issue of res judicata insofar as upon the premise that the statute was duly enacted by legislature. This presumption cannot
the particular area covered by Proclamation No. 164, which was the subject matter of the apply when there is clear usurpation of legislative power by the executive branch. For this
earlier case, is concerned. Court to allow such disregard of the most basic of all constitutional principles by reason of the
The basic elements of res judicata are: (a) the former judgment must be final; (b) the court doctrine of presumption of validity of a law would be to turn its back to its sacred duty to
which rendered it had jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; (c) it must be a uphold and defend the Constitution. Thus, also, it is in the discharge of this task that we take
judgment on the merits; and (d) there must be between the first and second actions identity of this exception from the Courts usual practice of not entertaining constitutional questions
parties, subject matter, and cause of action (Mangoma vs. Court of Appeals, 241 SCRA 21 unless they are specifically raised, insisted upon, and adequately argued.
[1995]). We, therefore, hold that the issuance of Proclamation No. 164 was an invalid exercise of
The existence of the first three elements can not be disputed. As to identity of parties, we legislative power. Consequently, said Proclamation is hereby declared NULL and VOID.
have ruled that only substantial identity is required and not absolute identity of parties (Suarez WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby SET ASIDE. Public
vs. Municipality of Naujan, 18 SCRA 682 [1966]). The addition of public respondent DENR in respondent Department of Environment and Natural Resources is hereby permanently
the second case will thus be of no moment. Likewise, there is identity of cause of action since ENJOINED from enforcing Proclamation No. 164.
the right of the municipality over the subject property, the corresponding obligation of private SO ORDERED.
respondents to respect such right and the resulting violation of said right all remain to be the
same in both the first and the second actions despite the fact that in the first action, private
respondents were the plaintiff while in the second action, they were the respondents.
The last requisite is identity of subject matter. Res judicata only extends to such portion of
land covered by Proclamation No. 164 which the court ruled may not be automatically
segregated from the land covered by Proclamation No. 1716. It does not include those
portions which are outside the coverage of Proclamation No. 1716.
Withal, reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals would be justified upon the above
premise and our discussion may properly end here. However, there exists a more basic
reason for setting aside the appealed decision and this has reference to a fundamental and
gross error in the issuance of Proclamation No. 164 on October 16, 1987 by then President
Aquino.
Proclamation No. 1716 was issued by the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos on February 17,
1978 in the due exercise of legislative power vested upon him by Amendment No. 6
introduced in 1976. Being a valid act of legislation, said Proclamation may only be amended
by an equally valid act of legislation. Proclamation No. 164 is obviously not a valid act of
legislation. After the so-called bloodless revolution of February 1986, President Corazon
Aquino took the reigns of power under a revolutionary government. On March 24, 1986, she
issued her historic Proclamation No. 3, promulgating the Provisional Constitution, or more
popularly referred to as the Freedom Constitution. Under Article II, Section 1 of the Freedom
Constitution, the President shall continue to exercise legislative power until a legislature is
elected and convened under a new constitution. Then came the ratification of the draft
G.R. No. L-14342 May 30, 1960 As second cause of action, plaintiffs-appellants pray for P5,000.00 covering the moral
CIRIACO L. MERCADO, petitioner, damages they allegedly suffered due to their son's being wounded; and the sum of P3,000.00
vs. as attorney's fees. The facts of record do not warrant the granting of moral damages to
THE COURT OF APPEALS, MANUEL QUISUMBING, JR., ET AL., respondents. plaintiffs-appellants Manuel Quisumbing and Ana Pineda. "In law mental anguish is restricted,
Abad Santos and Pablo for petitioner. as a rule, to such mental pain or suffering as arises from an injury or wrong to the person
Sycip, Quisumbing, Salazar and Associates for respondents. himself, as distinguished from that form of mental suffering which is the accompaniment of
LABRADOR, J.: sympathy or sorrow for another's suffering of which arises from a contemplation of wrong
This is a petition to review a decision of the Court of Appeals, which condemned petitioner to committed on the person of another. Pursuant to the rule stated, a husband or wife cannot
pay P2,000 as moral damages and P50 for medical expenses, for a physical injury caused by recover for mental suffering caused by his or her sympathy for the other's suffering. Nor can a
the son of petitioner, Augusto Mercado, on a classmate, Manuel Quisumbing, Jr., both pupils parent recover for mental distress and anxiety on account of physical injury sustained by a
of the Lourdes Catholic School, Kanlaon, Quezon City. The case had originated in the Court child or for anxiety for the safety of his child placed in peril by the negligence of another." (15
of First Instance of Manila, Hon. Bienvenido A. Tan, presiding, which dismissed the complaint Am. Jur. 597). Plaintiffs-appellants are not entitled to attorney's fees, it not appearing that
filed by Manuel Quisumbing, Jr. and his father against petitioner, father of the above- defendant-appellee had wantonly disregarded their claim for damages.
mentioned Mercado. The facts found by the Court of Appeals are as follows: In the first, second and third assignments of error, counsel for petitioner argues that since the
Plaintiff-appellant Manuel Quisumbing, Jr. is the son of his co-plaintiff-appellants Ana Pineda incident of the inflicting of the wound on respondent occurred in a Catholic School (during
and Manuel L. Quisumbing, while Augusto Mercado is the son of defendant-appellee Ciriaco recess time), through no fault of the father, petitioner herein, the teacher or head of the school
L. Mercado, Manuel Quisumbing, Jr. and Augusto Mercado were classmates in the Lourdes should be held responsible instead of the latter. This precise question was brought before this
Catholic School on Kanlaon, Quezon City. A "pitogo", which figures prominently in this case, Court in Exconde vs. Capuno and Capuno, 101 Phil., 843, but we held, through Mr. Justice
may be described as an empty nutshell used by children as a piggy bank. On February 22, Bautista:
1956, Augusto Mercado and Manuel Quisumbing, Jr. quarrelled over a "pitogo". As a result, We find merit in this claim. It is true that under the law above-quoted, "teachers or directors of
Augusto wounded Manuel, Jr. on the right cheek with a piece of razor. arts and trades are liable for any damage caused by their pupils or apprentices while they are
xxx xxx xxx under their custody", but this provision only applies to an institution of arts and trades and not
The facts of record clearly show that it was Augusto Mercado who started the aggression. to any academic educational institution (Padilla, Civil Law, 1953 Ed., Vol. IV, p. 841; See 12
Undeniably, the "pitogo" belonged to Augusto Mercado but he lent it to Benedicto P. Lim and Manresa, 4th Ed., p. 557)
in turn Benedicto lent it to Renato Legaspi. Renato was not aware that the "pitogo" belonged The last paragraph of Article 2180 of the Civil Code, upon which petitioner rests his claim that
to Augusto, because right after Benedicto gave it to him, Benedicto ran away to get a basket the school where his son was studying should be made liable, is as follows:
ball with which they could play. Manuel Quisumbing, Jr. was likewise unaware that the ART. 2180. . . .
"pitogo" belonged to Augusto. He thought it was the "pitogo" of Benedicto P. Lim, so that Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be liable for damages
when Augusto attempted to get the "pitogo" from Renato, Manuel, Jr. told him not to do so caused by their pupils and students or apprentices, so long as they remain in their custody.
because Renato was better at putting the chain into the holes of the "pitogo". However, It would be seem that the clause "so long as they remain in their custody," contemplates a
Augusto resented Manuel, Jr.'s remark and he aggresively pushed the latter. The fight started situation where the pupil lives and boards with the teacher, such that the control, direction and
then. After Augusto gave successive blows to Manuel, Jr., and the latter was clutching his influence on the pupil supersedes those of the parents. In these circumstances the control or
stomach which bore the brunt of Augusto's anger, Augusto seeing that Manuel, Jr. was in a influence over the conduct and actions of the pupil would pass from the father and mother to
helpless position, cut him on the right check with a piece of razor. the teacher; and so would the responsibility for the torts of the pupil. Such a situation does not
xxx xxx xxx appear in the case at bar; the pupils appear to go to school during school hours and go back
Although the doctor who treated Manuel Quisumbing, Jr., Antonio B. Past, testified for to their homes with their parents after school is over. The situation contemplated in the last
plaintiffs-appellants, he did not declare as to the amount of fees he collected from plaintiff- paragraph of Article 2180 does not apply, nor does paragraph 2 of said article, which makes
appellants for the treatment of Manuel, Jr. the child was not even hospitalized for the wound. father or mother responsible for the damages caused by their minor children. The claim of
We believe that the sum of P50.00 is a fair approximation of the medical expenses incurred by petitioner that responsibility should pass to the school must, therefore, be held to be without
plaintiffs-appellants. merit.
xxx xxx xxx We next come to the claim of petitioner that the moral damages fixed at P2,000 are excessive.
The damages specified in paragraphs C and D of the aforequoted portion of plaintiffs- We note that the wound caused to respondent was inflicted in the course of an ordinary or
appellant's complaint come under the class of moral damages. The evidence of record shows common fight between boys in a grade school. The Court of Appeals fixed the medical
that the child suffered moral damages by reason of the wound inflicted by Augusto Mercado. expenses incurred in treating and curing the wound at P50. Said court stated that the wound
Though such kind of damages cannot be fully appreciated in terms of money, we believe that did not even require hospitalization. Neither was Mercado found guilty of any offense nor the
the sum of P2,000.00 would fully compensate the child. scar in Quisumbing's face pronounced to have caused a deformity, unlike the case of Araneta,
et al. vs. Arreglado, et al., 104 Phil., 529; 55 Off. Gaz. (9) 1561. Petitioner's counsel argues
that if death call for P3,000 to P6,000, certainly the incised wound could cause mental pain G.R. No. L-29025 October 4, 1971
and suffering to the tune of P2,000. Spouses MOISES P. PALISOC and BRIGIDA P. PALISOC, plaintiffs-appellants,
In the decision of the Court of Appeals, said court pronounces that the child Quisumbing vs.
suffered moral damages "by reason of the wound inflicted by Augusto Mercado." While moral ANTONIO C. BRILLANTES and TEODOSIO V. VALENTON, owner and President,
damages included physical suffering, which must have been caused to the wounded boy respectively, of a school of arts and trades, known under the name and style of "Manila
Quisumbing (Art. 2217, Civil Code), the decision of the court below does not declare that any Technical Institute" (M.I.T.), VIRGILIO L. DAFFON and SANTIAGO M.
of the cases specified in Article 2219 of the Civil Code in which moral damages may be QUIBULUE, defendants-appellees.
recovered, has attended or occasioned the physical injury. The only possible circumstance in Leovillo C. Agustin for plaintiffs-appellants. .
the case at bar in which moral damages are recoverable would be if a criminal offense or a Honorato S. Reyes for appellee Brillantes, et al. .
quasi-delict has been committed. Villareal, Almacen Navarra & Amores for appellee Daffon. .
It does not appear that a criminal action for physical injuries was ever presented. The
offender, Augusto Mercado, was nine years old and it does not appear that he had acted with TEEHANKEE, J.:
discernment when he inflicted the physical injuries on Manuel Quisumbing, Jr. An appeal in forma pauperis on pure questions of law from a decision of the Court of First
It is possible that the Court of Appeals may have considered Augusto Mercado responsible for Instance of Manila. .
or guilty, of a quasi-delict causing physical injuries, within the meaning of paragraph 2 of Plaintiffs-appellants as parents of their sixteen-year old son, Dominador Palisoc, and a
Article 2219. Even if we assume that said court considered Mercado guilty of a quasi-delict student in automotive mechanics at the Manila Technical Institute, Quezon Boulevard, Manila,
when it imposed the moral damages, yet the facts found by said court indicate that Augusto's had filed on May 19, 1966, the action below for damages arising from the death on March 10,
resentment, which motivated the assault, was occasioned by the fact that Manuel, Jr. had 1966 of their son at the hands of a fellow student, defendant Virgilio L. Daffon, at the
tried to intervene in or interfere with the attempt of Mercado to get "his pitogo from Renato." laboratory room of the said Institute. .
This is, according to the decision appealed from, the reason why Mercado was incensed and Defendants, per the trial court's decision, are: "(T)he defendant Antonio C. Brillantes, at the
pushed Quisumbing who, in turn, also pushed Mercado. It is, therefore, apparent that the time when the incident which gave rise to his action occurred was a member of the Board of
proximate cause of the injury caused to Quisumbing was Quisumbing's own fault or Directors of the institute; 1 the defendant Teodosio Valenton, the president thereof; the
negligence for having interfered with Mercado while trying to get the pitogo from another boy. defendant Santiago M. Quibulue, instructor of the class to which the deceased belonged; and
(Art. 2179, Civil Code.) the defendant Virgilio L. Daffon, a fellow student of the deceased. At the beginning the Manila
After considering all the facts as found by the Court of Appeals, we find that none of the cases Technical Institute was a single proprietorship, but lately on August 2, 1962, it was duly
mentioned in Article 2219 of the Civil Code, which authorizes the grant of moral damages, incorporated."
was shown to have existed. Consequently, the grant of moral damages is not justified. The facts that led to the tragic death of plaintiffs' son were thus narrated by the trial court:
For the foregoing considerations, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and the "(T)he deceased Dominador Palisoc and the defendant Virgilio L. Daffon were classmates,
petitioner is declared exempt or free from the payment of moral damages. The award of P50 and on the afternoon of March 10, 1966, between two and three o'clock, they, together with
for medical expenses, however, is hereby affirmed. Without costs. another classmate Desiderio Cruz were in the laboratory room located on the ground floor. At
that time the classes were in recess. Desiderio Cruz and Virgilio L. Daffon were working on a
machine while Dominador Palisoc was merely looking on at them. Daffon made a remark to
the effect that Palisoc was acting like a foreman. Because of this remark Palisoc slapped
slightly Daffon on the face. Daffon, in retaliation, gave Palisoc a strong flat blow on the face,
which was followed by other fist blows on the stomach. Palisoc retreated apparently to avoid
the fist blows, but Daffon followed him and both exchanged blows until Palisoc stumbled on an
engine block which caused him to fall face downward. Palisoc became pale and fainted. First
aid was administered to him but he was not revived, so he was immediately taken to a
hospital. He never regained consciousness; finally he died. The foregoing is the substance of
the testimony of Desiderio Cruz, the lone witness to the incident."
The trial court expressly gave credence to this version of the incident, as testified to by the
lone eyewitness, Desiderio Cruz, a classmate of the protagonists, as that of a disinterested
witness who "has no motive or reason to testify one way or another in favor of any party" and
rejected the self-exculpatory version of defendant Daffon denying that he had inflicted any fist
blows on the deceased. .
With the postmortem findings of Dr. Angelo Singian of the Manila Police Department who
\ performed the autopsy re "Cause of death: shock due to traumatic fracture of theribs (6th and
7th, left, contusion of the pancreas and stomach with intra-gastric hemorrhage and slight teacher or the other defendants-officials of the school. These defendants cannot therefore be
subarachnoid hemorrhage on the brain," and his testimony that these internal injuries of the made responsible for the tort of the defendant Daffon."
deceased were caused "probably by strong fist blows," the trial court found defendant Daffon The lower court based its legal conclusion expressly on the Court's dictum in Mercado vs.
liable for the quasi delict under Article 2176 of the Civil Code. 3 It held that "(T)he act, Court of Appeals, 7 that "(I)t would seem that the clause "so long as they remain in their
therefore, of the accused Daffon in giving the deceased strong fistblows in the stomach which custody," contemplates a situation where the pupil lives and boards with the teacher, such
ruptured his internal organs and caused his death falls within the purview of this article of the that the control, direction and influence on the pupil supersedes those of the parents. In these
Code." 4 circumstances the control or influence over the conduct and actions of the pupil would pass
The trial court, however, absolved from liability the three other defendants-officials of the from the father and mother to the teacher; and so would the responsibility for the torts of the
Manila Technical Institute, in this wise: pupil. Such a situation does not appear in the case at bar; the pupils appear to go to school
... Their liabilities are based on the provisions of Article 2180 of the New Civil Code which during school hours and go back to their homes with their parents after school is over." This
reads: dictum had been made in rejecting therein petitioner father's contention that his minor son's
Art. 2180. ... . school, Lourdes Catholic School at Kanlaon, Quezon City [which was not a party to the case]
Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be liable for damages should be held responsible, rather than him as father, for the moral damages of P2,000.00
caused by their pupils and students and apprentices, so long as they remain in their custody. adjudged against him for the physical injury inflicted by his son on a classmate. [A cut on the
In the opinion of the Court, this article of the Code is not applicable to the case at bar, since right cheek with a piece of razor which costs only P50.00 by way of medical expenses to treat
this contemplates the situation where the control or influence of the teachers and heads of and cure, since the wound left no scar.] The moral damages award was after all set aside by
school establishments over the conduct and actions by the pupil supersedes those of the the Court on the ground that none of the specific cases provided in Article 2219, Civil Code,
parents. for awarding moral damages had been established, petitioner's son being only nine years old
CIVIL LAW: DAMAGES ART 2180. NEW CIVIL CODE CONSTRUED: The clause "so long and not having been shown to have "acted with discernment" in inflicting the injuries on his
as they remain in their custody" contained in Article 2180 of the new civil code contemplated a classmate. .
situation where the pupil lives and boards with the teacher, such that the control or influence The dictum in Mercado was based in turn on another dictum in the earlier case of Exconde vs.
on the pupil supersedes those of the parents. In those circumstances the control or influence Capuno, 8 where the only issue involved as expressly stated in the decision, was whether the
over the conduct and actions of the pupil as well as the responsibilities for their sort would therein defendant-father could be civilly liable for damages resulting from a death caused in a
pass from the father and mother to the teachers. (Ciriaco L. Mercado, Petitioner vs. the Court motor vehicle accident driven unauthorizedly and negligently by his minor son, (which issue
of Appeals, Manuel Quisumbing, Jr., et al., respondents, G.R. No. L-14862, May 30, 1960). 5 was resolved adversely against the father). Nevertheless, the dictum in such earlier case that
There is no evidence that the accused Daffon lived and boarded with his teacher or the other "It is true that under the law abovequoted, teachers or directors of arts and trades are liable
defendant officials of the school. These defendants cannot therefore be made responsible for for any damage caused by their pupils or apprentices while they are under their custody, but
the tort of the defendant Daffon. this provision only applies to an institution of arts and trades and not to any academic
Judgment was therefore rendered by the trial court as follows: educational institution" was expressly cited and quoted in Mercado. .
1. Sentencing the defendant Virgilio L. Daffon to pay the plaintiffs as heirs of the deceased 2. The case at bar was instituted directly against the school officials and squarely raises the
Dominador Palisoc (a) P6,000.00 for the death of Dominador Palisoc; (b) P3,375.00 for actual issue of liability of teachers and heads of schools under Article 2180, Civil Code, for damages
and compensatory expenses; (c) P5,000.00 for moral damages; (d) P10,000.00 for loss of caused by their pupils and students against fellow students on the school premises. Here, the
earning power, considering that the deceased was only between sixteen and seventeen parents of the student at fault, defendant Daffon, are not involved, since Daffon was already of
years, and in good health when he died, and (e) P2,000.00 for attorney's fee, plus the costs of age at the time of the tragic incident. There is no question, either, that the school involved is a
this action. . non-academic school, 9 the Manila Technical Institute being admittedly a technical vocational
2. Absolving the other defendants. . and industrial school. .
3. Dismissing the defendants' counterclaim for lack of merit. The Court holds that under the cited codal article, defendants head and teacher of the Manila
Plaintiffs' appeal raises the principal legal question that under the factual findings of the trial Technical Institute (defendants Valenton and Quibulue, respectively) are liable jointly and
court, which are now beyond review, the trial court erred in absolving the defendants-school severally for damages to plaintiffs-appellants for the death of the latter's minor son at the
officials instead of holding them jointly and severally liable as tortfeasors, with defendant hands of defendant Daffon at the school's laboratory room. No liability attaches to defendant
Daffon, for the damages awarded them as a result of their son's death. The Court finds the Brillantes as a mere member of the school's board of directors. The school itself cannot be
appeal, in the main, to be meritorious. . held similarly liable, since it has not been properly impleaded as party defendant. While
1. The lower court absolved defendants-school officials on the ground that the provisions of plaintiffs sought to so implead it, by impleading improperly defendant Brillantes, its former
Article 2180, Civil Code, which expressly hold "teachers or heads of establishments of arts single proprietor, the lower court found that it had been incorporated since August 2, 1962,
and trades ... liable for damages caused by their pupils and students and apprentices, so long and therefore the school itself, as thus incorporated, should have been brought in as party
as they remain in their custody," are not applicable to to the case at bar, since "there is no defendant. Plaintiffs failed to do so, notwithstanding that Brillantes and his co-defendants in
evidence that the accused Daffon [who inflicted the fatal fistblows] 6 lived and boarded with his their reply to plaintiffs' request for admission had expressly manifested and made of record
that "defendant Antonio C. Brillantes is not the registered owner/head of the "Manila Technical observed in all death indemnity cases thereafter is well taken. The Court, in Pantoja, after
Institute" which is now a corporation and is not owned by any individual person." 10 noting the decline in the purchasing power of the Philippine peso, had expressed its
3. The rationale of such liability of school heads and teachers for the tortious acts of their "considered opinion that the amount of award of compensatory damages for death caused by
pupils and students, so long as they remain in their custody, is that they stand, to a certain a crime or quasi-delict should now be P12,000.00." The Court thereby adjusted the minimum
extent, as to their pupils and students, in loco parentis and are called upon to "exercise amount of "compensatory damages for death caused by a crime or quasi-delict" as per Article
reasonable supervision over the conduct of the child." 11 This is expressly provided for in 2206, Civil Code, from the old stated minimum of P3,000.00 to P12,000.00, which amount is
Articles 349, 350 and 352 of the Civil Code. 12 In the law of torts, the governing principle is that to be awarded "even though there may have been mitigating circumstances" pursuant to the
the protective custody of the school heads and teachers is mandatorily substituted for that of express provisions of said codal article. .
the parents, and hence, it becomes their obligation as well as that of the school itself to 8. Plaintiffs-appellees' other claims on appeal that the lower court should have awarded
provide proper supervision of the students' activities during the whole time that they are at exemplary damages and imposed legal interest on the total damages awarded, besides
attendance in the school, including recess time, as well as to take the necessary precautions increasing the award of attorney's fees all concern matters that are left by law to the discretion
to protect the students in their custody from dangers and hazards that would reasonably be of the trial court and the Court has not been shown any error or abuse in the exercise of such
anticipated, including injuries that some student themselves may inflict willfully or through discretion on the part of the trial court. 16 Decisive here is the touchstone provision of Article
negligence on their fellow students. . 2231, Civil Code, that "In quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be granted if the defendant
4. As tersely summarized by Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes in his dissenting opinion in Exconde, acted with gross negligence." No gross negligence on the part of defendants was found by the
"the basis of the presumption of negligence of Art. 1903 [now 2180] is some culpa in trial court to warrant the imposition of exemplary damages, as well as of interest and
vigilando that the parents, teachers, etc. are supposed to have incurred in the exercise of their increased attorney's fees, and the Court has not been shown in this appeal any compelling
authority" 13 and "where the parent places the child under the effective authority of the reason to disturb such finding. .
teacher, the latter, and not the parent, should be the one answerable for the torts committed ACCORDINGLY, the judgment appealed from is modified so as to provide as follows: .
while under his custody, for the very reason that the parent is not supposed to interfere with 1. Sentencing the defendants Virgilio L. Daffon, TeodosioV. Valenton and Santiago M.
the discipline of the school nor with the authority and supervision of the teacher while the child Quibulue jointly and severally to pay plaintiffs as heirs of the deceased Dominador Palisoc (a)
is under instruction." The school itself, likewise, has to respond for the fault or negligence of P12,000.00 for the death of Dominador Palisoc; (b) P3,375.00 for actual and compensatory
its school head and teachers under the same cited article. 14 expenses; (c) P5,000.00 for moral, damages; (d) P10,000.00 for loss of earning power and (e)
5. The lower court therefore erred in law in absolving defendants-school officials on the P2,000.00 for attorney's fee, plus the costs of this action in both instances; 2.
ground that they could be held liable under Article 2180, Civil Code, only if the student who absolving defendant Antonio C. Brillantes from the complaint; and 3. dismissing defendants'
inflicted the fatal fistblows on his classmate and victim "lived and boarded with his teacher or counterclaims. .
the other defendants officials of the school." As stated above, the phrase used in the cited Concepcion, C.J., Villamor and Makasiar, JJ., concur. .
article "so long as (the students) remain in their custody" means the protective and Dizon, J., took no part. .
supervisory custody that the school and its heads and teachers exercise over the pupils and REYES, J.B.L., J., concurring: .
students for as long as they are at attendance in the school, including recess time. There is I concur with the opinion of Mr. Justice Teehankee but would like to clarify that the argument
nothing in the law that requires that for such liability to attach the pupil or student who commits of the dissenting opinion of the effect that the responsibility of teachers and school officers
the tortious act must live and board in the school, as erroneously held by the lower court, and under Articles 2180 should be limited to pupils who are minors (below the age of majority) is
the dicta in Mercado (as well as in Exconde) on which it relied, must now be deemed to have not in accord with the plain text of the law. Article 2180 of the Civil Code of the Philippines is
been set aside by the present decision. . to the following effect: .
6. Defendants Valenton and Quibulue as president and teacher-in-charge of the school must The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or
therefore be held jointly and severally liable for the quasi-delict of their co-defendant Daffon in omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. .
the latter's having caused the death of his classmate, the deceased Dominador Palisoc. The The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible for the
unfortunate death resulting from the fight between the protagonists-students could have been damages caused by the minor children who live in their company. .
avoided, had said defendants but complied with their duty of providing adequate supervision Guardians are liable for damages caused by the minors or incapacitated persons who are
over the activities of the students in the school premises to protect their students from harm, under their authority and live in their company. .
whether at the hands of fellow students or other parties. At any rate, the law holds them liable The owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible for
unless they relieve themselves of such liability, in compliance with the last paragraph of Article damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter are
2180, Civil Code, by "(proving) that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family employed or on the occasion of their functions. .
to prevent damage." In the light of the factual findings of the lower court's decision, said Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers
defendants failed to prove such exemption from liability. . acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in
7. Plaintiffs-appellees' contention that the award of P6,000.00 as indemnity for the death of any business or industry. .
their son should be increased to P12,000.00 as set by the Court in People vs. Pantoja, 15 and
The State is responsible in like manner when it acts through a special agent; but not when the course, the teachers' control is not as plenary as when the student is a minor; but that
damage has been caused by the official to whom the task done properly pertains, in which circumstance can only affect the decree of the responsibility but cannot negate the existence
case what is provided in article 2176 shall be applicable. . thereof. It is only a factor to be appreciated in determining whether or not the defendant has
Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be liable for damages exercised due diligence in endeavoring to prevent the injury, as prescribed in the last
caused by their pupils and students or apprentices, so long as they remain in their custody. paragraph of Article 2180. .
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned
prove that they observe all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damages.
Examination of the article shows that where the responsibility prescribed therein is limited to
illegal acts during minority, the article expressly so provides, as in the case of the parents and
of the guardians. It is natural to expect that if the law had intended to similarly restrict the civil
responsibility of the other categories of persons enumerated in the article, it would have
expressly so stated. The fact that it has not done so indicates an intent that the liability be not
restricted to the case of persons under age. Further, it is not without significance that the
teachers and heads of scholarly establishments are not grouped with parents and guardians
but ranged with owners and managers of enterprises, employers and the state, as to whom no
reason is discernible to imply that they should answer only for minors. .
Giorgi, in his well-known "Teoria de las Obligaciones en el Derecho Moderno", Volume 5,
page 404, No. 272 (Sp. Ed.), after noting the split among commentators on the point it issue,
observes with considerable cogency that
272. Ante esta variedad de opiniones, ninguna de las cuales se funds en argumentos
merecedores de seria ponderacion, no es facil tomar un partido. Esto no obstante, debiendo
manisfestar nuestra opinion, nos acercamos a la de los que no estiman necesaria la menor
edad del discipulo o del aprendiz; porque si el aforismo ubi voluit dixit, ubi noluit tacuit, no es
siempre argumento seguro para interpreter la ley, es infalible cuanto se refiere a una misma
disposicion relative a varios casos. Y tal es el art. 1.153. Lo que haya establecido important
poco si, elevandones a los principios de razon, puede dudarse de la oportunidad de
semajante diferencia; porque la voluntad cierta del legislador prevalece in iure condito a
cualquier otra consideracion. Por otra parte, si bien se considera, no puede parecer extrano o
absurdo el suponer que un discipulo y un aprendiz, aunque mayores de edad, acepten
voluntariamente la entera vigilancia de su preceptor mientras dura la educacion. Ni parece
dudoso desde el momento que los artesanos y los preceptores deben, al par de los padres,
responder civilmente de los daos comitidos por sus discipulos, aun cuando estos esten
faltos de discernimiento.
Similarly, Planiol-Ripert, in their "Droit Civil Pratique," Volume VI, No. 635 (Spanish version),
say that
635. Personas de quien responde. Si bien la responsibilidad del maestro es originalmente
una estension de la de los padres (1), el art. 1384 no especifica que los alumnos y aprendices
han de ser menores de edad, por lo que la presuncion de culpa funcionara aun cuando sean
mayores (2); pero, la vigilancia no tendra que ser ejercida en iguales terminos. Aun respecto
a los menores variara segun la edad, extremo que tendra que ternese en ceunta a los fines
de apreciar si el maestro ha podido impedir el acto nocivo o no. .
I submit, finally, that while in the case of parents and guardians, their authority and
supervision over the children and wards end by law upon the latter reaching majority age, the
authority and custodial supervision over pupils exist regardless of the age of the latter. A
student over twenty-one, by enrolling and attending a school, places himself under the
custodial supervision and disciplinary authority of the school authorities, which is the basis of
the latter's correlative responsibility for his torts, committed while under such authority. Of