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Roberto Juntilla, Petitioner, vs.

Clement Fontanar, Fernando Banzon and Berfol Camoro,

G.R. No. L-45637
May 31, 1985

The petitioner was a passenger of a public vehicle jeepney, heading from Danao City to
Cebu City. The vehicle was driven by defendant Befrol Camoro and registered under the
franchise of Clemente Fontanar but was actually owned by defendant Fernando Bazon. When
the jeepney arrived at Mandaue City, the right rear tire exploded causing the vehicle to turn
turtle. In the process, the plaintiff who was sitting at the front seat was thrown out of the
vehicle. The petitioner suffered a lacerated wound on his right palm aside from the injuries he
suffered on his left arm, right thigh, and on his back. Because of his shock and injuries, he went
back to Danao City to treat his wounds and injuries. However, on his way back, he discovered
that his Omega wrist watch was lost. Upon his arrival in the city, he immediately entered the
Danao City Hospital to attend to his injuries. The plaintiff also requested his father-in-law to go
to the place of the accident and look for the watch. Unfortunately, the wrist watch was no
longer found.
Because of this happening, the plaintiff filed a case for breach of contract with damages
before the City Court of Cebu City against Fernando Bazon, Clement Fontanar, and Berfol
Camoro. The defendants, in their answers, alleged that in the event when the tire blows out was
beyond their control, taking into account that the tire that exploded was newly bought and was
only slightly used at the time it blew up.

Issue: In the event that the tire blows out, is it considered a fortuitous event or not?

Held: No.
The court laid down all the essential characteristics of a fortuitous event:
The cause of the unforeseen and unexpected occurrence, or of the failure of the
debtor to comply with his obligation, must be independent of the human will.
It must be impossible to foresee the event which constitutes the caso fortuito, or
if it can be foreseen, it must be impossible to avoid.
The occurrence must be such as to render it impossible for the debtor to fulfil
his obligation in a normal manner.
The obligor must be free from any participation in the aggravation of the injury
resulting to the creditor.
In this case, the cause of the unforeseen and unexpected occurrence was not
independent of the human will. The accident was caused either through negligence of the
driver or because of mechanical defects in the tire. Since the jeepney turned turtle and jumped
into a ditch immediately after its right rear tire exploded, this would be an evidence that can
prove that the jeep was running at a very fast speed before the accident happened. Had the
jeep runs at a regular and safe speed, it will not jump into a ditch when its right rear tire blows
up. Evidence also shows that the public utility jeepney was overloaded at the time of the event
happened. While it may be true that the tire blew-up was in good condition because it was
newly bought, this fact alone cant prove that the explosion of the tire is due to a fortuitous
event. There were no evidences presented showing that the accident was due to a road
conditions or that precautions were taken by the jeepney driver for such accident to be avoided.
The sudden blowing-up of the tire, therefore, could have been caused by too much air pressure
injected into the tire coupled by the fact that the vehicle was overloaded and speeding beyond
It is sufficient to reiterate that the source of a common carriers legal liability is the
contract of carriage, and by entering into this contract, it binds itself to carry the passengers
safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of a very
cautious person, with a due regard for all the circumstances. However in this case, the
respondents were not able to meet this obligation. Hence, we can conclude that there are
specific acts of negligence on the part of the respondents.
Thus, the court decided that such event was not fortuitous in nature. The respondents
shall be responsible for the breach of contract and shall pay damages that shall earn interest at
12% per annum starting from January 27, 1975 and the attorneys fees of six hundred pesos.