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G. R. No. 166876 March 24, 2006 for reconsideration.

Pertinent portions of the 21 January 2003


Order are reproduced hereunder:
ARTEMIO INIEGO,1Petitioner,
vs. What this court referred to in its Order sought to be reconsidered
The HONORABLE JUDGE GUILLERMO G. PURGANAN, in his as not capable of pecuniary estimation is the CAUSE OF ACTION,
official capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, which is quasi-delict and NOT the amount of damage prayed for.
Branch 42, City of Manila, and FOKKER C.
SANTOS, Respondents.
xxxx

The factual and procedural antecedents of this case are as


WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the motion for
follows:
reconsideration is DENIED.4

On 1 March 2002, private respondent Fokker Santos filed a


Petitioner elevated the 21 October 2002 and 21 January 2003
complaint for quasi-delict and damages against Jimmy T. Pinion,
Orders of the RTC to the Court of Appeals on petition for
the driver of a truck involved in a traffic accident, and against
certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. On 28 October
petitioner Artemio Iniego, as owner of the said truck and
2004, the Court of Appeals promulgated the assailed Decision, the
employer of Pinion. The complaint stemmed from a vehicular
dispositive portion thereof reads:
accident that happened on 11 December 1999, when a freight
truck allegedly being driven by Pinion hit private respondent’s
jitney which private respondent was driving at the time of the WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED DUE COURSE and
accident. dismissed for lack of merit.5

On 24 August 2002, private respondent filed a Motion to Declare On 22 November 2004, petitioner moved for reconsideration,
defendant in Default allegedly for failure of the latter to file his which was denied by the Court of Appeals on 26 January 2005.
answer within the final extended period. On 28 August 2002, Hence, this present petition.
petitioner filed a Motion to Admit and a Motion to Dismiss the
complaint on the ground, among other things, that the RTC has
no jurisdiction over the cause of action of the case. Petitioner claims that actions for damages based on quasi-delict
are actions that are capable of pecuniary estimation; hence, the
jurisdiction in such cases falls upon either the municipal courts
On 21 October 2002, public respondent Judge Guillermo G. (the Municipal Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal
Purganan, acting as presiding judge of the RTC, Branch 42, Trial Courts In Cities, And Municipal Circuit Trial Courts), or the
Manila, issued the assailed Omnibus Order denying the Motion to Regional Trial Courts, depending on the value of the damages
Dismiss of the petitioner and the Motion to Declare Defendant in claimed.
Default of the private respondent. Pertinent portions of the
Omnibus Order and the dispositive portion thereof read:
Petitioner argues further that should this Court find actions for
damages capable of pecuniary estimation, then the total amount
In his opposition to the motion to declare him in default and his of damages claimed by the private respondent must
Motion to Admit defendant IÑEGO alleged that he never received exceed P400,000.00 in order that it may fall under the jurisdiction
the Order dated 12 August 2002. But believing in good faith, of the RTC. Petitioner asserts, however, that the moral and
without being presumptuous, that his 3rd Motion for additional exemplary damages claimed by private respondent be excluded
Time to file or any appropriate [pleading] would be granted, he from the computation of the total amount of damages for
filed the aforesaid Motion received by the Court on 23 August jurisdictional purposes because the said moral and exemplary
2002. damages arose, not from the quasi-delict, but from the
petitioner’s refusal to pay the actual damages.
The explanation of defendant IÑEGO has merit. The order dated
12 August 2002 was sent to a wrong address, thus defendant I
IÑEGO did not receive it. Since it was not received, he was not
aware that the court would grant no further extension. The Motion
Actions for damages based on quasi-delicts are primarily and
to Admit Motion to Dismiss has to be granted and the Motion to
declare Defendant IÑEGO [in default] has to be DENIED. effectively actions for the recovery of a sum of money for the
damages suffered because of the defendant’s alleged tortious
acts, and are therefore capable of pecuniary estimation.
xxxx
In a recent case,6 we did affirm the jurisdiction of a Municipal
The plaintiff opines that this court has exclusive jurisdiction Circuit Trial Court in actions for damages based on quasi-delict,
because the cause of action is the claim for damages, which although the ground used to challenge said jurisdiction was an
exceeds P400,000.00. The complaint prays for actual damages in alleged forum shopping, and not the applicability of Section 19(1)
the amount of P40,000.00, moral damages in the amount of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
of P300,000.00, and exemplary damages in the amount
of P150,000.00. Excluding attorney’s fees in the amount
of P50,000.00, the total amount of damages being claimed According to respondent Judge, what he referred to in his
assailed Order as not capable of pecuniary estimation is the
is P490,000.00.
cause of action, which is a quasi-delict, and not the amount of
damage prayed for.7 From this, respondent Judge concluded that
Proceeding on the assumption that the cause of action is the since fault or negligence in quasi-delicts cannot be the subject of
claim of (sic) for damages in the total amount of P490,000.00, this pecuniary estimation, the RTC has jurisdiction. The Court of
court has jurisdiction. But is the main cause of action the claim Appeals affirmed respondent Judge in this respect.8
for damages?
Respondent Judge’s observation is erroneous. It is crystal clear
This court is of the view that the main cause of action is not the from B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by Republic Act No. 7691, that
claim for damages but quasi-delict. Damages are being claimed what must be determined to be capable or incapable of pecuniary
only as a result of the alleged fault or negligence of both estimation is not the cause of action, but the subject matter of the
defendants under Article 2176 of the Civil Code in the case of action.9 A cause of action is "the delict or wrongful act or
defendant Pinion and under Article 2180 also of the Civil Code in omission committed by the defendant in violation of the primary
the case of defendant Iniego. But since fault or negligence (quasi- rights of the plaintiff."10 On the other hand, the "subject matter of
delicts) could not be the subject of pecuniary estimation, this the action" is "the physical facts, the thing real or personal, the
court has exclusive jurisdiction. money, lands, chattels, and the like, in relation to which the suit is
prosecuted, and not the delict or wrong committed by the
defendant."11
xxxx

The case of Lapitan v. Scandia, Inc., et al.,12 has guided this Court
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the motion to declare
time and again in determining whether the subject matter of the
defendant Iniego in default and the said defendant’s motion to
action is capable of pecuniary estimation. In Lapitan, the Court
dismiss are denied.3
spoke through the eminent Mr. Justice Jose B.L. Reyes:

On 7 November 2002, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration


In determining whether an action is one the subject matter of
of the Omnibus Order of 21 October 2002. On 21 January 2003,
which is not capable of pecuniary estimation this Court has
public respondent issued an Order denying petitioner’s motion
adopted the criterion of first ascertaining the nature of the
principal action or remedy sought. If it is primarily for the
recovery of a sum of money, the claim is considered capable of may have against the opposing party. Subsection (d) of said
pecuniary estimation, and whether jurisdiction is in the municipal section provides that where the claims in all such joined causes
courts or in the courts of first instance [now Regional Trial of action are principally for recovery of money, the aggregate
Courts] would depend on the amount of the claim. However, amount claimed shall be the test of jurisdiction.15
where the basic issue is something other than the right to recover
a sum of money, where the money claim is purely incidental to, or
Hence, whether or not the different claims for damages are based
a consequence of, the principal relief sought like suits to have the
on a single cause of action or different causes of action, it is the
defendant perform his part of the contract (specific performance)
total amount thereof which shall govern. Jurisdiction in the case
and in actions for support, or for annulment of a judgment or to
at bar remains with the RTC, considering that the total amount
foreclose a mortgage, this court has considered such actions as
claimed, inclusive of the moral and exemplary damages claimed,
cases where the subject of the litigation may not be estimated in
is P490,000.00.
terms of money, and are cognizable exclusively by courts of first
instance [now Regional Trial Courts]. x x x.13 (Emphasis supplied.)
In sum, actions for damages based on quasi-delicts are actions
that are capable of pecuniary estimation. As such, they fall within
Actions for damages based on quasi-delicts are primarily and
the jurisdiction of either the RTC or the municipal courts,
effectively actions for the recovery of a sum of money for the
depending on the amount of damages claimed. In this case, the
damages suffered because of the defendant’s alleged tortious
amount of damages claimed is within the jurisdiction of the RTC,
acts. The damages claimed in such actions represent the
since it is the claim for all kinds of damages that is the basis of
monetary equivalent of the injury caused to the plaintiff by the
determining the jurisdiction of courts, whether the claims for
defendant, which are thus sought to be recovered by the plaintiff.
damages arise from the same or from different causes of action.
This money claim is the principal relief sought, and is not merely
incidental thereto or a consequence thereof. It bears to point out
that the complaint filed by private respondent before the RTC WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is hereby
actually bears the caption "for DAMAGES." DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision and Resolution of the
Court of Appeals dated 28 October 2004 and 26 January 2005,
respectively, are AFFIRMED insofar as they held that the Regional
Fault or negligence, which the Court of Appeals claims is not
Trial Court has jurisdiction. No costs.
capable of pecuniary estimation, is not actionable by itself. For
such fault or negligence to be actionable, there must be a
resulting damage to a third person. The relief available to the SO ORDERED.
offended party in such cases is for the reparation, restitution, or
payment of such damage, without which any alleged offended
party has no cause of action or relief. The fault or negligence of
the defendant, therefore, is inextricably intertwined with the claim
for damages, and there can be no action based on quasi-delict
without a claim for damages.

We therefore rule that the subject matter of actions for damages


based on quasi-delict is capable of pecuniary estimation.

II

The amount of damages claimed is within the jurisdiction of the


RTC, since it is the claim for all kinds of damages that is the basis
of determining the jurisdiction of courts, whether the claims for
damages arise from the same or from different causes of action.

Despite our concurrence in petitioner’s claim that actions for


damages based on quasi-delict are actions that are capable of
pecuniary estimation, we find that the total amount of damages
claimed by the private respondent nevertheless still exceeds the
jurisdictional limit of P400,000.00 and remains under the
jurisdiction of the RTC.

Petitioner argues that in actions for damages based on quasi-


delict, claims for damages arising from a different cause of action
(i.e., other than the fault or negligence of the defendant) should
not be included in the computation of the jurisdictional amount.
According to petitioner, the moral and exemplary damages
claimed by the respondents in the case at bar are not direct and
proximate consequences of the alleged negligent act. Petitioner
points out that the complaint itself stated that such moral and
exemplary damages arose from the alleged refusal of defendants
to honor the demand for damages, and therefore there is no
reasonable cause and effect between the fault or negligence of
the defendant and the claim for moral and exemplary
damages.14 If the claims for moral and exemplary damages are not
included in the computation for purposes of determining
jurisdiction, only the claim for actual damages in the amount
of P40,000.00 will be considered, and the MeTC will have
jurisdiction.

We cannot give credence to petitioner’s arguments. The


distinction he made between damages arising directly from
injuries in a quasi-delict and those arising from a refusal to admit
liability for a quasi-delict is more apparent than real, as the
damages sought by respondent originate from the same cause of
action: the quasi-delict. The fault or negligence of the employee
and the juris tantum presumption of negligence of his employer in
his selection and supervision are the seeds of the damages
claimed, without distinction.

Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that the claims for
moral and exemplary damages arose from a cause of action other
than the quasi-delict, their inclusion in the computation of
damages for jurisdictional purposes is still proper. All claims for
damages should be considered in determining the jurisdiction of
the court regardless of whether they arose from a single cause of
action or several causes of action. Rule 2, Section 5, of the Rules
of Court allows a party to assert as many causes of action as he
The Court’s Ruling

G.R. No. 145391 August 26, 2002 Casupanan and Capitulo assert that Civil Case No. 2089, which
the MCTC dismissed on the ground of forum-shopping,
constitutes a counterclaim in the criminal case. Casupanan and
AVELINO CASUPANAN and ROBERTO CAPITULO, petitioners,
Capitulo argue that if the accused in a criminal case has a
vs.
counterclaim against the private complainant, he may file the
MARIO LLAVORE LAROYA, respondent.
counterclaim in a separate civil action at the proper time. They
contend that an action on quasi-delict is different from an action
CARPIO, J.: resulting from the crime of reckless imprudence, and an accused
in a criminal case can be an aggrieved party in a civil case arising
from the same incident. They maintain that under Articles 31 and
The Case 2176 of the Civil Code, the civil case can proceed independently
of the criminal action. Finally, they point out that Casupanan was
This is a petition for review on certiorari to set aside the not the only one who filed the independent civil action based on
Resolution1 dated December 28, 1999 dismissing the petition for quasi-delict but also Capitulo, the owner-operator of the vehicle,
certiorari and the Resolution2 dated August 24, 2000 denying the who was not a party in the criminal case.
motion for reconsideration, both issued by the Regional Trial
Court of Capas, Tarlac, Branch 66, in Special Civil Action No. 17-C In his Comment, Laroya claims that the petition is fatally defective
(99).
as it does not state the real antecedents. Laroya further alleges
that Casupanan and Capitulo forfeited their right to question the
The Facts order of dismissal when they failed to avail of the proper remedy
of appeal. Laroya argues that there is no question of law to be
resolved as the order of dismissal is already final and a petition
Two vehicles, one driven by respondent Mario Llavore Laroya for certiorari is not a substitute for a lapsed appeal.
("Laroya" for brevity) and the other owned by petitioner Roberto
Capitulo ("Capitulo" for brevity) and driven by petitioner Avelino
Casupanan ("Casupanan" for brevity), figured in an accident. As a In their Reply, Casupanan and Capitulo contend that the petition
result, two cases were filed with the Municipal Circuit Trial Court raises the legal question of whether there is forum-shopping
("MCTC" for brevity) of Capas, Tarlac. Laroya filed a criminal case since they filed only one action - the independent civil action
against Casupanan for reckless imprudence resulting in damage for quasi-delict against Laroya.
to property, docketed as Criminal Case No. 002-99. On the other
hand, Casupanan and Capitulo filed a civil case against Laroya Nature of the Order of Dismissal
for quasi-delict, docketed as Civil Case No. 2089.

The MCTC dismissed the civil action for quasi-delict on the


When the civil case was filed, the criminal case was then at its ground of forum-shopping under Supreme Court Administrative
preliminary investigation stage. Laroya, defendant in the civil Circular No. 04-94. The MCTC did not state in its order of
case, filed a motion to dismiss the civil case on the ground of
dismissal5 that the dismissal was with prejudice. Under the
forum-shopping considering the pendency of the criminal case. Administrative Circular, the order of dismissal is without
The MCTC granted the motion in the Order of March 26, 1999 and prejudice to refiling the complaint, unless the order of dismissal
dismissed the civil case.
expressly states it is with prejudice.6 Absent a declaration that the
dismissal is with prejudice, the same is deemed without
On Motion for Reconsideration, Casupanan and Capitulo insisted prejudice. Thus, the MCTC’s dismissal, being silent on the matter,
that the civil case is a separate civil action which can proceed is a dismissal without prejudice.
independently of the criminal case. The MCTC denied the motion
for reconsideration in the Order of May 7, 1999. Casupanan and Section 1 of Rule 417 provides that an order dismissing an action
Capitulo filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 before the
without prejudice is not appealable. The remedy of the aggrieved
Regional Trial Court ("Capas RTC" for brevity) of Capas, Tarlac, party is to file a special civil action under Rule 65. Section 1 of
Branch 66,3 assailing the MCTC’s Order of dismissal. Rule 41 expressly states that "where the judgment or final order is
not appealable, the aggrieved party may file an appropriate
The Trial Court’s Ruling special civil action under Rule 65." Clearly, the Capas RTC’s order
dismissing the petition for certiorari, on the ground that the
proper remedy is an ordinary appeal, is erroneous.
The Capas RTC rendered judgment on December 28, 1999
dismissing the petition for certiorari for lack of merit. The Capas
RTC ruled that the order of dismissal issued by the MCTC is a Forum-Shopping
final order which disposes of the case and therefore the proper
remedy should have been an appeal. The Capas RTC further held The essence of forum-shopping is the filing of multiple suits
that a special civil action for certiorari is not a substitute for a lost involving the same parties for the same cause of action, either
appeal. Finally, the Capas RTC declared that even on the premise
simultaneously or successively, to secure a favorable
that the MCTC erred in dismissing the civil case, such error is a judgment.8 Forum-shopping is present when in the two or more
pure error of judgment and not an abuse of discretion. cases pending, there is identity of parties, rights of action and
reliefs sought.9 However, there is no forum-shopping in the
Casupanan and Capitulo filed a Motion for Reconsideration but instant case because the law and the rules expressly allow the
the Capas RTC denied the same in the Resolution of August 24, filing of a separate civil action which can proceed independently
2000. of the criminal action.

Hence, this petition. Laroya filed the criminal case for reckless imprudence resulting
in damage to property based on the Revised Penal Code while
Casupanan and Capitulo filed the civil action for damages based
The Issue on Article 2176 of the Civil Code. Although these two actions
arose from the same act or omission, they have different causes
The petition premises the legal issue in this wise: of action. The criminal case is based on culpa criminal punishable
under the Revised Penal Code while the civil case is based on
culpa aquiliana actionable under Articles 2176 and 2177 of the
"In a certain vehicular accident involving two parties, each one of Civil Code. These articles on culpa aquiliana read:
them may think and believe that the accident was caused by the
fault of the other. x x x [T]he first party, believing himself to be the
aggrieved party, opted to file a criminal case for reckless "Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to
imprudence against the second party. On the other hand, the another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the
second party, together with his operator, believing themselves to damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing
be the real aggrieved parties, opted in turn to file a civil case for contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict
quasi-delict against the first party who is the very private and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
complainant in the criminal case."4
Art. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the
Thus, the issue raised is whether an accused in a pending preceding article is entirely separate and distinct from the civil
criminal case for reckless imprudence can validly file, liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. But the
simultaneously and independently, a separate civil action for plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act or
quasi-delict against the private complainant in the criminal case. omission of the defendant."
Any aggrieved person can invoke these articles provided he xxx
proves, by preponderance of evidence, that he has suffered
damage because of the fault or negligence of another. Either the
(b) x x x
private complainant or the accused can file a separate civil action
under these articles. There is nothing in the law or rules that state
only the private complainant in a criminal case may invoke these Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial thereof
articles. has not yet commenced, it may be consolidated with the criminal
action upon application with the court trying the latter case. If the
application is granted, the trial of both actions shall proceed in
Moreover, paragraph 6, Section 1, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules on
accordance with section 2 of this rule governing consolidation of
Criminal Procedure ("2000 Rules" for brevity) expressly requires
the civil and criminal actions." (Emphasis supplied)
the accused to litigate his counterclaim in a separate civil action,
to wit:
Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, what is "deemed
instituted" with the criminal action is only the action to recover
"SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. – (a) x x x.
civil liability arising from the crime or ex-delicto. All the other civil
actions under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code are no
No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint may be longer "deemed instituted," and may be filed separately and
filed by the accused in the criminal case, but any cause of action prosecuted independently even without any reservation in the
which could have been the subject thereof may be litigated in a criminal action. The failure to make a reservation in the criminal
separate civil action." (Emphasis supplied) action is not a waiver of the right to file a separate and
independent civil action based on these articles of the Civil Code.
The prescriptive period on the civil actions based on these
Since the present Rules require the accused in a criminal action
articles of the Civil Code continues to run even with the filing of
to file his counterclaim in a separate civil action, there can be no
the criminal action. Verily, the civil actions based on these
forum-shopping if the accused files such separate civil action.
articles of the Civil Code are separate, distinct and independent of
the civil action "deemed instituted" in the criminal action.10
Filing of a separate civil action
Under the present Rule 111, the offended party is still given the
Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure option to file a separate civil action to recover civil liability ex-
("1985 Rules" for brevity), as amended in 1988, allowed the filing delicto by reserving such right in the criminal action before the
of a separate civil action independently of the criminal action prosecution presents its evidence. Also, the offended party is
provided the offended party reserved the right to file such civil deemed to make such reservation if he files a separate civil action
action. Unless the offended party reserved the civil action before before filing the criminal action. If the civil action to recover civil
the presentation of the evidence for the prosecution, all civil liability ex-delicto is filed separately but its trial has not yet
actions arising from the same act or omission were deemed commenced, the civil action may be consolidated with the
"impliedly instituted" in the criminal case. These civil actions criminal action. The consolidation under this Rule does not apply
referred to the recovery of civil liability ex-delicto, the recovery of to separate civil actions arising from the same act or omission
damages for quasi-delict, and the recovery of damages for filed under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code.11
violation of Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Civil Code on Human
Relations.
Suspension of the Separate Civil Action

Thus, to file a separate and independent civil action for quasi-


Under Section 2, Rule 111 of the amended 1985 Rules, a separate
delict under the 1985 Rules, the offended party had to reserve in
civil action, if reserved in the criminal action, could not be filed
the criminal action the right to bring such action. Otherwise, such
until after final judgment was rendered in the criminal action. If
civil action was deemed "impliedly instituted" in the criminal
the separate civil action was filed before the commencement of
action. Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules provided as follows:
the criminal action, the civil action, if still pending, was
suspended upon the filing of the criminal action until final
"Section 1. – Institution of criminal and civil actions. – When a judgment was rendered in the criminal action. This rule applied
criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of only to the separate civil action filed to recover liability ex-delicto.
civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless The rule did not apply to independent civil actions based on
the offended party waives the action, reserves his right to Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code, which could
institute it separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the proceed independently regardless of the filing of the criminal
criminal action. action.

Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the The amended provision of Section 2, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules
Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33, 34 and continues this procedure, to wit:
2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same act
or omission of the accused.
"SEC. 2. When separate civil action is suspended. – After the
criminal action has been commenced, the separate civil action
A waiver of any of the civil actions extinguishes the others. The arising therefrom cannot be instituted until final judgment has
institution of, or the reservation of the right to file, any of said been entered in the criminal action.
civil actions separately waives the others.
If the criminal action is filed after the said civil action has already
The reservation of the right to institute the separate civil actions been instituted, the latter shall be suspended in whatever stage it
shall be made before the prosecution starts to present its may be found before judgment on the merits. The suspension
evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a shall last until final judgment is rendered in the criminal
reasonable opportunity to make such reservation. action. Nevertheless, before judgment on the merits is rendered
in the civil action, the same may, upon motion of the offended
party, be consolidated with the criminal action in the court trying
In no case may the offended party recover damages twice for the the criminal action. In case of consolidation, the evidence already
same act or omission of the accused.
adduced in the civil action shall be deemed automatically
reproduced in the criminal action without prejudice to the right of
x x x." (Emphasis supplied) the prosecution to cross-examine the witnesses presented by the
offended party in the criminal case and of the parties to present
additional evidence. The consolidated criminal and civil actions
Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules was amended on December shall be tried and decided jointly.
1, 2000 and now provides as follows:

During the pendency of the criminal action, the running of the


"SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. – (a) When a period of prescription of the civil action which cannot be
criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of instituted separately or whose proceeding has been suspended
civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed shall be tolled.
instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party
waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately
or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. x x x." (Emphasis supplied)

The reservation of the right to institute separately the civil action Thus, Section 2, Rule 111 of the present Rules did not change the
shall be made before the prosecution starts presenting its rule that the separate civil action, filed to recover damages ex-
evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a delicto, is suspended upon the filing of the criminal action.
reasonable opportunity to make such reservation. Section 2 of the present Rule 111 also prohibits the filing, after
commencement of the criminal action, of a separate civil action to delict. The only limitation is that the offended party cannot
recover damages ex-delicto. recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the
defendant. In most cases, the offended party will have no reason
to file a second civil action since he cannot recover damages
When civil action may proceed independently
twice for the same act or omission of the accused. In some
instances, the accused may be insolvent, necessitating the filing
The crucial question now is whether Casupanan and Capitulo, of another case against his employer or guardians.
who are not the offended parties in the criminal case, can file a
separate civil action against the offended party in the criminal
Similarly, the accused can file a civil action for quasi-delict for the
case. Section 3, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules provides as follows:
same act or omission he is accused of in the criminal case. This
is expressly allowed in paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present Rule
"SEC 3. When civil action may proceed independently. - In the 111 which states that the counterclaim of the accused "may be
cases provided in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of litigated in a separate civil action." This is only fair for two
the Philippines, the independent civil action may be brought by reasons. First, the accused is prohibited from setting up any
the offended party. It shall proceed independently of the criminal counterclaim in the civil aspect that is deemed instituted in the
action and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. In no criminal case. The accused is therefore forced to litigate
case, however, may the offended party recover damages twice for separately his counterclaim against the offended party. If the
the same act or omission charged in the criminal action." accused does not file a separate civil action for quasi-delict, the
(Emphasis supplied) prescriptive period may set in since the period continues to run
until the civil action for quasi-delict is filed.
Section 3 of the present Rule 111, like its counterpart in the
amended 1985 Rules, expressly allows the "offended party" to Second, the accused, who is presumed innocent, has a right to
bring an independent civil action under Articles 32, 33, 34 and invoke Article 2177 of the Civil Code, in the same way that the
2176 of the Civil Code. As stated in Section 3 of the present Rule offended party can avail of this remedy which is independent of
111, this civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal the criminal action. To disallow the accused from filing a separate
action and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. In no civil action for quasi-delict, while refusing to recognize his
case, however, may the "offended party recover damages twice counterclaim in the criminal case, is to deny him due process of
for the same act or omission charged in the criminal action." law, access to the courts, and equal protection of the law.

There is no question that the offended party in the criminal action Thus, the civil action based on quasi-delict filed separately by
can file an independent civil action for quasi-delict against the Casupanan and Capitulo is proper. The order of dismissal by the
accused. Section 3 of the present Rule 111 expressly states that MCTC of Civil Case No. 2089 on the ground of forum-shopping is
the "offended party" may bring such an action but the "offended erroneous.
party" may not recover damages twice for the same act or
omission charged in the criminal action. Clearly, Section 3 of Rule
We make this ruling aware of the possibility that the decision of
111 refers to the offended party in the criminal action, not to the
the trial court in the criminal case may vary with the decision of
accused.
the trial court in the independent civil action. This possibility has
always been recognized ever since the Civil Code introduced in
Casupanan and Capitulo, however, invoke the ruling in Cabaero 1950 the concept of an independent civil action under Articles 32,
vs. Cantos12 where the Court held that the accused therein could 33, 34 and 2176 of the Code. But the law itself, in Article 31 of the
validly institute a separate civil action for quasi-delict against the Code, expressly provides that the independent civil action "may
private complainant in the criminal case. In Cabaero, the accused proceed independently of the criminal proceedings and
in the criminal case filed his Answer with Counterclaim for regardless of the result of the latter." In Azucena vs.
malicious prosecution. At that time the Court noted the "absence Potenciano,13the Court declared:
of clear-cut rules governing the prosecution on impliedly
instituted civil actions and the necessary consequences and
"x x x. There can indeed be no other logical conclusion than this,
implications thereof." Thus, the Court ruled that the trial court
for to subordinate the civil action contemplated in the said
should confine itself to the criminal aspect of the case and
articles to the result of the criminal prosecution — whether it be
disregard any counterclaim for civil liability. The Court further
conviction or acquittal — would render meaningless the
ruled that the accused may file a separate civil case against the
independent character of the civil action and the clear injunction
offended party "after the criminal case is terminated and/or in
in Article 31 that this action 'may proceed independently of the
accordance with the new Rules which may be promulgated." The
criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter.’"
Court explained that a cross-claim, counterclaim or third-party
complaint on the civil aspect will only unnecessarily complicate
the proceedings and delay the resolution of the criminal case. More than half a century has passed since the Civil Code
introduced the concept of a civil action separate and independent
from the criminal action although arising from the same act or
Paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present Rule 111 was incorporated
omission. The Court, however, has yet to encounter a case of
in the 2000 Rules precisely to address the lacunamentioned
conflicting and irreconcilable decisions of trial courts, one
in Cabaero. Under this provision, the accused is barred from filing
hearing the criminal case and the other the civil action for quasi-
a counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint in the
delict. The fear of conflicting and irreconcilable decisions may be
criminal case. However, the same provision states that "any
more apparent than real. In any event, there are sufficient
cause of action which could have been the subject (of the
remedies under the Rules of Court to deal with such remote
counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint) may be
possibilities.
litigated in a separate civil action." The present Rule 111
mandates the accused to file his counterclaim in a separate civil
actiosn which shall proceed independently of the criminal action, One final point. The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure took
even as the civil action of the offended party is litigated in the effect on December 1, 2000 while the MCTC issued the order of
criminal action. dismissal on December 28, 1999 or before the amendment of the
rules. The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure must be given
retroactive effect considering the well-settled rule that -
Conclusion

"x x x statutes regulating the procedure of the court will be


Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, the independent civil
construed as applicable to actions pending and undetermined at
action in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code is not
the time of their passage. Procedural laws are retroactive in that
deemed instituted with the criminal action but may be filed
sense and to that extent."14
separately by the offended party even without reservation. The
commencement of the criminal action does not suspend the
prosecution of the independent civil action under these articles of WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is
the Civil Code. The suspension in Section 2 of the present Rule hereby GRANTED. The Resolutions dated December 28, 1999 and
111 refers only to the civil action arising from the crime, if such August 24, 2000 in Special Civil Action No. 17-C (99)
civil action is reserved or filed before the commencement of the are ANNULLED and Civil Case No. 2089 is REINSTATED.
criminal action.

Thus, the offended party can file two separate suits for the same
act or omission. The first a criminal case where the civil action to
recover civil liability ex-delicto is deemed instituted, and the other
a civil case for quasi-delict - without violating the rule on non-
forum shopping. The two cases can proceed simultaneously and
independently of each other. The commencement or prosecution
of the criminal action will not suspend the civil action for quasi-
G.R. No. 108395 March 7, 1997 2. The lower court erred in not holding that PRBL exercised due
diligence in the supervision of its employees.
HEIRS OF THE LATE TEODORO GUARING, JR., petitioners,
vs. 3. The lower court erred in awarding the amount of P500,000.00 in
COURT OF APPEALS, PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC., and favor of plaintiffs-appellees representing Guaring's loss of
ANGELES CUEVAS, respondents. earning capacity.

4. The lower court erred in awarding moral damages in favor of


plaintiffs-appellees.
MENDOZA, J.:
5. The lower court erred in awarding attorney's fees in favor of
plaintiffs-appellees.
This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of
Appeals, reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila, Branch 20, which ordered respondent Philippine Rabbit On December 16, 1992, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision,
Bus Lines, Inc. and its driver, Angeles Cuevas, to pay various setting aside the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila in
amounts in damages to petitioners, the heirs of the late Teodoro the civil action for damages and dismissing the complaint against
Guaring, Jr. private respondents Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. and
Cuevas, on the strength of a decision rendered by the Regional
Trial Court at San Fernando, Pampanga, in the criminal case,
This case arose from an unfortunate vehicular accident which
acquitting the bus driver Angeles Cuevas of reckless imprudence
happened on November 7, 1987, along the North Expressway in
resulting in damage to property and double homicide. The
San Rafael, Mexico, Pampanga. Involved in the accident were a
appellate court held that since the basis of petitioners' action was
Mitsubishi Lancer car driven by Teodoro Guaring, Jr., who died as
the alleged negligence of the bus driver, the latter's acquittal in
a result of the mishap, Philippine Rabbit Bus No. 415, driven by
the criminal case rendered the civil case based on quasi delict
Angeles Cuevas, and a Toyota Cressida car, driven by Eligio
untenable.
Enriquez. The Mitsubishi Lancer was heading north, at the speed
of 80 to 90 kilometers per hour. Following it was the Philippine
Rabbit Bus No. 415, with Plate No. CVD-584. On the other hand, Hence, this petition. Petitioners contend that
the Toyota Cressida was cruising on the opposite lane, bound for
Manila.
[1] EVIDENCE IN ONE CASE IS INADMISSIBLE IN ANOTHER
CASE AGAINST A PERSON NOT A PARTY IN THE FIRST CASE
Petitioners, heirs of Teodoro Guaring, Jr., brought this action for AND TO HOLD OTHERWISE IS VIOLATIVE OF PROCEDURAL DUE
damages, based on quasi delict, in the Regional Trial Court of PROCESS.
Manila. Their evidence tended to show that the Rabbit bus tried to
overtake Guaring's car by passing on the right shoulder of the
[2] THE DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS WAS WITHOUT
road and that in so doing it hit the right rear portion of Guaring's
FACTUAL FINDINGS AND DID NOT RESOLVE SQUARELY THE
Mitsubishi Lancer. The impact caused the Lancer to swerve to the
ASSIGNED ERRORS AND IS THEREFORE A VOID JUDGMENT.
south-bound lane, as a result of which it collided with the Toyota
Cressida car coming from the opposite direction.
[3] ACQUITTAL OF THE ACCUSED IN THE CRIMINAL CASE,
WHETHER ON REASONABLE DOUBT OR NOT, IS NO BAR TO
With Teodoro Guaring, Jr. in the Lancer, seated beside him in
THE PROSECUTION FOR DAMAGES BASED ON QUASI-DELICT.
front, was Bonifacio Clemente. Riding in the Toyota Cressida
driven by Sgt. Eligio Enriquez was his mother, Dolores Enriquez,
who was seated beside him. Seated at the back were his daughter The question is whether the judgment in the criminal case
Katherine (who was directly behind him), his wife Lilian, and his extinguished the liability of private respondent Philippine Rabbit
nephew Felix Candelaria. Bus Lines, Inc. and its driver, Angeles Cuevas, for damages for
the death of Teodoro Guaring, Jr. In absolving private
respondents from liability, the Court of Appeals reasoned:1
Killed in the collision were Teodoro Guaring, Jr., who was driving
the Lancer, and Dolores Enriquez, who was riding in the Cressida,
while injured were Bonifacio Clemente and the occupants of the Since the appellee's civil action is predicated upon the negligence
Toyota Cressida. of the accused which does not exist as found by the trial court in
the said criminal case, it necessarily follows that the acquittal of
the accused in the criminal case carries with it the extinction of
Private respondents, on the other hand, presented evidence
the civil responsibility arising therefrom. Otherwise stated, the
tending to show that the accident was due to the negligence of
fact from which the civil action might arise, that is, the negligence
the deceased Guaring. They claimed that it was Guaring who tried
of the accused, did not exist.
to overtake the vehicle ahead of him on the highway and that in
doing so he encroached on the south-bound lane and collided
with the oncoming Cressida of U.S. Air Force Sgt. Enriquez. The finding in the criminal case that accused Cuevas was not
Private respondents claim that as a result of the collision the negligent and the proximate cause of the accident was the act of
Lancer was thrown back to its lane where it crashed into the deceased Guaring in overtaking another vehicle ahead of him
Rabbit bus. likewise exonerates PRB from any civil liability.

On May 16, 1990, the Regional Trial Court rendered judgment Although it did not say so expressly, the appellate court appears
finding Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. and its driver, Angeles to have based its ruling on Rule 111, §2(b) of the Rules of
Cuevas, at fault, and holding them solidarily liable for damages to Criminal Procedure, which provides:
petitioners. The dispositive portion of its decision reads:
(b) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the of the civil, unless the extinction proceeds from a declaration in a
plaintiffs and against the defendants, ordering the latter to pay final judgment that the fact from which the civil might arise did
the former, jointly and severally, the sum of: not exist.

1. P500,000.00 for loss of earning capacity of the deceased This provision contemplates, however, a civil action arising from
Teodoro Guaring, Jr.; crime, whereas the present action was instituted pursuant to Art.
2176 of the Civil Code, which provides:
2. P1,000,000.00 as moral damages;
Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another,
there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage
3. P50,000.00 as and for attorney's fees; and
done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing
contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict
4. Costs of suit. and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.

From this judgment, private respondent Philippine Rabbit Bus It is now settled that acquittal of the accused, even if based on a
Lines, Inc. appealed, contending: finding that he is not guilty, does not carry with it the extinction of
the civil liability based on quasi delict. Thus, in Tayag
v. Alcantara,2 it was held:
1. The lower court erred in not finding that the proximate cause of
the collision was Guaring's negligence in attempting to overtake
the car in front of him.
. . . a separate civil action lies against the offender in a criminal The notion that an action for quasi delict is separate and distinct
act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty or from the criminal action was thus set aside.
acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed, if he is
actually charged also criminally, to recover damages on both
This case must be decided on the basis of the evidence in the
scores, and would be entitled in such eventuality only to the
civil case. This is important because the criminal court appears to
bigger award of the two, assuming the awards made in the two
have based its decision, acquitting the bus driver on the ground
cases vary. In other words, the extinction of civil liability referred
of reasonable doubt, solely on what it perceived to be the relative
to in Par. (c), Section 3, Rule 111 [now Rule 111, §2(b)], refers
capacity for observation of the prosecution and defense
exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised
witnesses.6 The prosecution did not call Bonifacio Clemente to
Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act considered
testify despite the fact that shortly after the accident he gave a
as a quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not extinguished even
statement to the police, pinning the blame for the accident on the
by a declaration in the criminal case that the criminal act charged
Philippine Rabbit bus driver. Indeed, the civil case involved a
has not happened or has not been committed by the accused. . . .
different set of witnesses. Petitioners presented Eligio Enriquez
who was driving the Cressida, and Bonifacio Clemente, who was
It is noteworthy that the accident in that case also involved a a passenger in Guaring's car. Thus, both had full view of the
Philippine Rabbit bus and that, as in this case, the acquittal of the accident
bus driver was based on reasonable doubt. We held that the civil
case for damages was not barred since the cause of action of the
It is unfair to bind petitioners to the result of the criminal action
heirs was based on quasi delict.
when the fact is that they did not take part therein. That the
witnesses presented on behalf of the petitioners are different
Again, in Gula v. Dianala it was held:3 from those presented by the prosecution should have brought
home to the appellate court the fundamental unfairness of
considering the decision in the criminal case conclusive of the
Since the cause of action of plaintiffs-appellants is based
civil case.
on culpa aquiliana and not culpa criminal, thus precluding the
application of the exception in Sec. 3(c) of Rule 111 [now Rule
111, §2(b)], and the fact that it can be inferred from the criminal Because the Court of Appeals did not consider the evidence in
case that defendant-accused, Pedro Dianala, was acquitted on the civil case, this case should be remanded to it so that it may
reasonable doubt because of dearth of evidence and lack of render another decision in accordance with the law and the
veracity of the two principal witnesses, the doctrine in Mendoza evidence. The issues raised by the petitioners are essentially
vs. Arrieta, 91 SCRA 113, will not find application. In that case, the factual and require the evaluation of evidence, which is the
acquittal was not based on reasonable doubt and the cause of function of the Court of Appeals in the exercise of its exclusive
action was based on culpa criminal, for which reason we held the appellate jurisdiction. They cannot be decided in this Court.
suit for damages barred.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED
Even if damages are sought on the basis of crime and not quasi and this case is REMANDED to the Court of Appeals with
delict, the acquittal of the bus driver will not bar recovery of instruction to render judgment with reasonable dispatch in
damages because the acquittal was based not on a finding that he accordance with law and the evidence presented in Civil Case No.
was not guilty but only on reasonable doubt. Thus, it has been 88-43860.
held: 4
SO ORDERED.
The judgment of acquittal extinguishes the liability of the accused
for damages only when it includes a declaration that the facts
from which the civil might arise did not exist. Thus, the civil
liability is not extinguished by acquittal where the acquittal is
based on reasonable doubt (PNB v. Catipon, 98 Phil. 286) as only
preponderance of evidence is required in civil cases; where the
court expressly declares that the liability of the accused is not
criminal but only civil in nature (De Guzman v. Alvia, 96 Phil. 558;
People v. Pantig, supra) as, for instance, in the felonies of estafa,
theft, and malicious mischief committed by certain relatives who
thereby incur only civil liability (See Art. 332, Revised Penal
Code); and, where the civil liability does not arise from or is not
based upon the criminal act of which the accused was acquitted
(Castro v. Collector of Internal Revenue, 4 SCRA 1093; See
Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, 1983 ed., p. 623).

In the present case, the dispositive portion of the decision of the


RTC in the criminal case reads:

WHEREFORE, the Court, entertaining reasonable doubt as to his


guilt, the accused is hereby acquitted, of the offense of reckless
imprudence resulting to double homicide and damage to property
as charged in the Information, without pronouncement as to
costs.

SO ORDERED.5

It was thus error for the appellate court to skip the review of the
evidence in this case and instead base its decision on the
findings of the trial court in the criminal case. In so doing, the
appellate court disregarded the fact that this case had been
instituted independently of the criminal case and that petitioners
herein took no part in the criminal prosecution. In fact this action
was filed below before the prosecution presented evidence in the
criminal action. The attention of the Court of Appeals was called
to the decision in the criminal case, which was decided on
September 7, 1990, only when the decision of the trial court in this
case was already pending review before it (the Court of Appeals).

The appellate court did not even have before it the evidence in the
criminal case. What it did was simply to cite findings contained in
the decision of the criminal court. Worse, what the criminal court
considered was reasonable doubt concerning the liability of the
bus driver the appellate court regarded as a categorical finding
that the driver was not negligent and, on that basis, declared in
this case that "the proximate cause of the accident was the act of
deceased Guaring in overtaking another vehicle ahead of him."
G.R. No. 165732 December 14, 2006 Pajarillo had already been convicted of Homicide in Criminal Case
No. 0-97-73806; and that he also failed to proffer proof negating
liability in the instant case.
SAFEGUARD SECURITY AGENCY, INC., and ADMER
PAJARILLO, petitioners,
vs. The RTC also found Safeguard as employer of Pajarillo to be
LAURO TANGCO, VAL TANGCO, VERN LARRY TANGCO, VAN jointly and severally liable with Pajarillo. It ruled that while it may
LAURO TANGCO, VON LARRIE TANGCO, VIEN LARI TANGCO be conceded that Safeguard had perhaps exercised care in the
and VIVIEN LAURIZ TANGCO, respondent. selection of its employees, particularly of Pajarillo, there was no
sufficient evidence to show that Safeguard exercised the
diligence of a good father of a family in the supervision of its
On November 3, 1997, at about 2:50 p.m., Evangeline Tangco
employee; that Safeguard's evidence simply showed that it
(Evangeline) went to Ecology Bank, Katipunan Branch, Quezon
required its guards to attend trainings and seminars which is not
City, to renew her time deposit per advise of the bank's cashier as
the supervision contemplated under the law; that supervision
she would sign a specimen card. Evangeline, a duly licensed
includes not only the issuance of regulations and instructions
firearm holder with corresponding permit to carry the same
designed for the protection of persons and property, for the
outside her residence, approached security guard Pajarillo, who
guidance of their servants and employees, but also the duty to
was stationed outside the bank, and pulled out her firearm from
see to it that such regulations and instructions are faithfully
her bag to deposit the same for safekeeping. Suddenly, Pajarillo
complied with.
shot Evangeline with his service shotgun hitting her in the
abdomen instantly causing her death.
Petitioners appealed the RTC decision to the CA. On July 16,
2004, the CA issued its assailed Decision, the dispositive portion
Lauro Tangco, Evangeline's husband, together with his six minor
of which reads:
children (respondents) filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Quezon City, a criminal case of Homicide against Pajarillo,
docketed as Criminal Case No. 0-97-73806 and assigned to IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the appealed decision is
Branch 78. Respondents reserved their right to file a separate hereby AFFIRMED, with the modification that Safeguard Security
civil action in the said criminal case. The RTC of Quezon City Agency, Inc.'s civil liability in this case is only subsidiary under
subsequently convicted Pajarillo of Homicide in its Decision Art. 103 of the Revised Penal Code. No pronouncement as to
dated January 19, 2000.3 On appeal to the CA, the RTC decision costs.9
was affirmed with modification as to the penalty in a
Decision4 dated July 31, 2000. Entry of Judgment was made on
In finding that Safeguard is only subsidiarily liable, the CA held
August 25, 2001.
that the applicable provisions are not Article 2180 in relation to
Article 2176 of the Civil Code, on quasi-delicts, but the provisions
Meanwhile, on January 14, 1998, respondents filed with RTC, on civil liability arising from felonies under the Revised Penal
Branch 273, Marikina City, a complaint5 for damages against Code; that since Pajarillo had been found guilty of Homicide in a
Pajarillo for negligently shooting Evangeline and against final and executory judgment and is said to be serving sentence
Safeguard for failing to observe the diligence of a good father of a in Muntinlupa, he must be adjudged civilly liable under the
family to prevent the damage committed by its security guard. provisions of Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code since the civil
Respondents prayed for actual, moral and exemplary damages liability recoverable in the criminal action is one solely dependent
and attorney's fees. upon conviction, because said liability arises from the offense
charged and no other; that this is also the civil liability that is
deemed extinguished with the extinction of the penal liability with
In their Answer,6 petitioners denied the material allegations in the
a pronouncement that the fact from which the civil action might
complaint and alleged that Safeguard exercised the diligence of a
proceed does not exist; that unlike in civil liability arising
good father of a family in the selection and supervision of
from quasi-delict, the defense of diligence of a good father of a
Pajarillo; that Evangeline's death was not due to Pajarillo's
family in the employment and supervision of employees is
negligence as the latter acted only in self-defense. Petitioners set
inapplicable and irrelevant in civil liabilities based on crimes
up a compulsory counterclaim for moral damages and attorney's
or ex-delicto; that Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code provides
fees.
that the liability of an employer for the civil liability of their
employees is only subsidiary, not joint or solidary.
Trial thereafter ensued. On January 10, 2003, the RTC rendered its
Decision,7 the dispositive portion of which reads:
Petitioners filed their Motion for Reconsideration which the CA
denied in a Resolution dated October 20, 2004.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the
plaintiffs, the heirs of Evangeline Tangco, and against defendants
Hence, the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari with the
Admer Pajarillo and Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. ordering
following assignment of errors, to wit:
said defendants to pay the plaintiffs, jointly and severally, the
following:
The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in finding
petitioner Pajarillo liable to respondents for the payment of
1. ONE HUNDRED FIFTY SEVEN THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED
damages and other money claims.
THIRTY PESOS (P157,430.00), as actual damages

The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred when it applied


2. FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as death indemnity;
Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code in holding petitioner
Safeguard solidarily [sic] liable with petitioner Pajarillo for the
3. ONE MILLION PESOS (P1,000,000.00), as moral damages; payment of damages and other money claims.

4. THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P300,000.00), as The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in failing to find
exemplary damages; that petitioner Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. exercised due
diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees,
hence, should be excused from any liability.10
5. THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS (P30,000.00), as attorney's fees;
and
The issues for resolution are whether (1) Pajarillo is guilty of
negligence in shooting Evangeline; and (2) Safeguard should be
6. costs of suit.
held solidarily liable for the damages awarded to respondents.

For lack of merit, defendants' counterclaim is hereby DISMISSED. Safeguard insists that the claim for damages by respondents is
based on culpa aquiliana under Article 217611 of the Civil Code, in
SO ORDERED. 8 which case, its liability is jointly and severally with Pajarillo.
However, since it has established that it had exercised due
diligence in the selection and supervision of Pajarillo, it should be
The RTC found respondents to be entitled to damages. It rejected exonerated from civil liability.
Pajarillo's claim that he merely acted in self-defense. It gave no
credence to Pajarillo's bare claim that Evangeline was seen
roaming around the area prior to the shooting incident since We will first resolve whether the CA correctly held that
Pajarillo had not made such report to the head office and the respondents, in filing a separate civil action against petitioners
police authorities. The RTC further ruled that being the guard on are limited to the recovery of damages arising from a crime
duty, the situation demanded that he should have exercised or delict, in which case the liability of Safeguard as employer
proper prudence and necessary care by asking Evangeline for under Articles 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code12 is
him to ascertain the matter instead of shooting her instantly; that
subsidiary and the defense of due diligence in the selection and ARTICLE 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to
supervision of employee is not available to it. 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
The CA erred in ruling that the liability of Safeguard is only
and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
subsidiary.

The scope of Article 2176 is not limited to acts or omissions


The law at the time the complaint for damages was filed is Rule
resulting from negligence. In Dulay v. Court of Appeals,17 we held:
111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended, to wit:

x x x Well-entrenched is the doctrine that Article 2176 covers not


SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. - When a
only acts committed with negligence, but also acts which are
criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of
voluntary and intentional. As far back as the definitive case of
civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless
Elcano v. Hill (77 SCRA 98 [1977]), this Court already held that:
the offended party waives the civil action, reserves his right to
institute it separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the
criminal action. "x x x Article 2176, where it refers to "fault or negligence," covers
not only acts "not punishable by law" but also acts criminal in
character, whether intentional and voluntary or
Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the
negligent. Consequently, a separate civil action lies against the
Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33, 34, and
offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally
2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same act
prosecuted and found guilty or acquitted, provided that the
or omission of the accused.
offended party is not allowed, if he is actually charged also
criminally, to recover damages on both scores, and would be
Respondents reserved the right to file a separate civil action and entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the two,
in fact filed the same on January 14, 1998. assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. In other words,
the extinction of civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3,
Rule 111, refers exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100
The CA found that the source of damages in the instant case of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for the same
must be the crime of homicide, for which he had already been act considered as quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not
found guilty of and serving sentence thereof, thus must be
extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case that the
governed by the Revised Penal Code. criminal act charged has not happened or has not been
committed by the accused. Briefly stated, We here hold, in
We do not agree. reiteration of Garcia, that culpa aquiliana includes voluntary and
negligent acts which may be punishable by law." (Emphasis
supplied)
An act or omission causing damage to another may give rise to
two separate civil liabilities on the part of the offender, i.e., (1)
civil liability ex delicto, under Article 100 of the Revised Penal The civil action filed by respondents was not derived from the
Code; and (2) independent civil liabilities, such as those (a) not criminal liability of Pajarillo in the criminal case but one based
arising from an act or omission complained of as a on culpa aquiliana or quasi-delict which is separate and distinct
felony, e.g., culpa contractual or obligations arising from law from the civil liability arising from crime.18 The source of the
under Article 31 of the Civil Code, intentional torts under Articles obligation sought to be enforced in the civil case is a quasi-
32 and 34, and culpa aquiliana under Article 2176 of the Civil delict not an act or omission punishable by law.
Code; or (b) where the injured party is granted a right to file an
action independent and distinct from the criminal action under
In Bermudez v. Melencio-Herrera,19 where the issue involved was
Article 33 of the Civil Code. Either of these liabilities may be whether the civil action filed by plaintiff-appellants is founded on
enforced against the offender subject to the caveat under Article crime or on quasi-delict, we held:
2177 of the Civil Code that the offended party cannot recover
damages twice for the same act or omission or under both
causes.13 x x x The trial court treated the case as an action based on a
crime in view of the reservation made by the offended party in the
criminal case (Criminal Case No. 92944), also pending before the
It is important to determine the nature of respondents' cause of court, to file a separate civil action. Said the trial court:
action. The nature of a cause of action is determined by the facts
alleged in the complaint as constituting the cause of action.14 The
purpose of an action or suit and the law to govern it is to be It would appear that plaintiffs instituted this action on the
determined not by the claim of the party filing the action, made in assumption that defendant Pontino's negligence in the accident
his argument or brief, but rather by the complaint itself, its of May 10, 1969 constituted a quasi-delict. The Court cannot
allegations and prayer for relief.15 accept the validity of that assumption. In Criminal Case No. 92944
of this Court, plaintiffs had already appeared as complainants.
While that case was pending, the offended parties reserved the
The pertinent portions of the complaint read:
right to institute a separate civil action. If, in a criminal case, the
right to file a separate civil action for damages is reserved, such
7. That Defendant Admer A. Pajarillo was the guard assigned and civil action is to be based on crime and not on tort. That was the
posted in the Ecology Bank – Katipunan Branch, Quezon City, ruling in Joaquin vs. Aniceto, L-18719, Oct. 31, 1964.
who was employed and under employment of Safeguard Security
Agency, Inc. hence there is employer-employee relationship We do not agree. The doctrine in the case cited by the trial court
between co-defendants.
is inapplicable to the instant case x x x.

The Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. failed to observe the xxxx


diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage to herein
plaintiffs.
In cases of negligence, the injured party or his heirs has the
choice between an action to enforce the civil liability arising from
8. That defendant Admer Pajarillo upon seeing Evangeline
crime under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code and an action
Tangco, who brought her firearm out of her bag, suddenly without for quasi-delict under Article 2176-2194 of the Civil Code. If a
exercising necessary caution/care, and in idiotic manner, with the party chooses the latter, he may hold the employer solidarily
use of his shotgun, fired and burst bullets upon Evangeline M.
liable for the negligent act of his employee, subject to the
Tangco, killing her instantly. x x x employer's defense of exercise of the diligence of a good father of
the family.
xxxx
In the case at bar, the action filed by appellant was an action for
16. That defendants, being employer and the employee are jointly damages based on quasi-delict. The fact that appellants reserved
and severally liable for the death of Evangeline M. Tangco.16 their right in the criminal case to file an independent civil action
did not preclude them from choosing to file a civil action
for quasi-delict.20 (Emphasis supplied)
Thus, a reading of respondents' complaint shows that the latter
are invoking their right to recover damages against Safeguard for
their vicarious responsibility for the injury caused by Pajarillo's Although the judgment in the criminal case finding Pajarillo guilty
act of shooting and killing Evangeline under Article 2176, Civil of Homicide is already final and executory, such judgment has no
Code which provides: relevance or importance to this case.21 It would have been entirely
different if respondents' cause of action was for damages arising
from a delict, in which case the CA is correct in finding Safeguard
to be only subsidiary liable pursuant to Article 103 of the Revised the common experience and observation of mankind can approve
Penal Code.22 as probable under the circumstances. We have no test of the truth
of human testimony, except its conformity to our knowledge,
observation and experience. Whatever is repugnant to these
As clearly shown by the allegations in the complaint,
belongs to the miraculous and is outside judicial cognizance.31
respondents' cause of action is based on quasi-delict. Under
Article 2180 of the Civil Code, when the injury is caused by the
negligence of the employee, there instantly arises a presumption That Evangeline just wanted to deposit her gun before entering
of law that there was negligence on the part of the master or the the bank and was actually in the act of pulling her gun from her
employer either in the selection of the servant or employee, or in bag when petitioner Pajarillo recklessly shot her, finds support
the supervision over him after selection or both. The liability of from the contentions raised in petitioners' petition for review
the employer under Article 2180 is direct and immediate. where they argued that when Evangeline approached the bank,
Therefore, it is incumbent upon petitioners to prove that they she was seen pulling a gun from inside her bag and petitioner
exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the Pajarillo who was suddenly beset by fear and perceived the act as
selection and supervision of their employee. a dangerous threat, shot and killed the deceased out of pure
instinct;32 that the act of drawing a gun is a threatening act,
regardless of whether or not the gun was intended to be used
We must first resolve the issue of whether Pajarillo was negligent
against petitioner Pajarillo;33 that the fear that was created in the
in shooting Evangeline.
mind of petitioner Pajarillo as he saw Evangeline Tangco drawing
a gun from her purse was suddenly very real and the former
The issue of negligence is factual in nature. Whether a person is merely reacted out of pure self-preservation.34
negligent or not is a question of fact, which, as a general rule, we
cannot pass upon in a petition for review on certiorari, as our
Considering that unlawful aggression on the part of Evangeline is
jurisdiction is limited to reviewing errors of law.23 Generally,
absent, Pajarillo's claim of self-defense cannot be accepted
factual findings of the trial court, affirmed by the CA, are final and
specially when such claim was uncorroborated by any separate
conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal. The established
competent evidence other than his testimony which was even
exceptions are: (1) when the inference made is manifestly
doubtful. Pajarillo's apprehension that Evangeline will shoot him
mistaken, absurd or impossible; (2) when there is grave abuse of
to stage a bank robbery has no basis at all. It is therefore clear
discretion; (3) when the findings are grounded entirely on
that the alleged threat of bank robbery was just a figment of
speculations, surmises or conjectures; (4) when the judgment of
Pajarillo's imagination which caused such unfounded unlawful
the CA is based on misapprehension of facts; (5) when the
aggression on his part.
findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when the CA, in making its
findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is
contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee; (7) Petitioners argue that Evangeline was guilty of contributory
when the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of negligence. Although she was a licensed firearm holder, she had
specific evidence on which they are based; (8) when the CA no business bringing the gun in such establishment where people
manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the would react instinctively upon seeing the gun; that had
parties and which, if properly considered, would justify a different Evangeline been prudent, she could have warned Pajarillo before
conclusion; and (9) when the findings of fact of the CA are drawing the gun and did not conduct herself with suspicion by
premised on the absence of evidence and are contradicted by the roaming outside the vicinity of the bank; that she should not have
evidence on record. [24] held the gun with the nozzle pointed at Pajarillo who mistook the
act as hold up or robbery.
A thorough review of the records of the case fails to show any
cogent reason for us to deviate from the factual finding of the trial We are not persuaded.
court and affirmed by the CA that petitioner Pajarillo was guilty of
negligence in shooting Evangeline.
As we have earlier held, Pajarillo failed to substantiate his claim
that Evangeline was seen roaming outside the vicinity of the bank
Respondents' evidence established that Evangeline's purpose in and acting suspiciously prior to the shooting incident.
going to the bank was to renew her time deposit.25On the other Evangeline's death was merely due to Pajarillo's negligence in
hand, Pajarillo claims that Evangeline drew a gun from her bag shooting her on his imagined threat that Evangeline will rob the
and aimed the same at him, thus, acting instinctively, he shot her bank.
in self-defense.
Safeguard contends that it cannot be jointly held liable since it
Pajarillo testified that when Evangeline aimed the gun at him at a had adequately shown that it had exercised the diligence required
distance of about one meter or one arm's length26he stepped in the selection and supervision of its employees. It claims that it
backward, loaded the chamber of his gun and shot her. 27 It is had required the guards to undergo the necessary training and to
however unimaginable that petitioner Pajarillo could still make submit the requisite qualifications and credentials which even the
such movements if indeed the gun was already pointed at him. RTC found to have been complied with; that the RTC erroneously
Any movement could have prompted Evangeline to pull the found that it did not exercise the diligence required in the
trigger to shoot him. supervision of its employee. Safeguard further claims that it
conducts monitoring of the activities of its personnel, wherein
supervisors are assigned to routinely check the activities of the
Petitioner Pajarillo would like to justify his action in shooting
security guards which include among others, whether or not they
Evangeline on his mere apprehension that Evangeline will stage a
are in their proper post and with proper equipment, as well as
bank robbery. However, such claim is befuddled by his own
regular evaluations of the employees' performances; that the fact
testimony. Pajarillo testified that prior to the incident, he saw
that Pajarillo loaded his firearm contrary to Safeguard's operating
Evangeline roaming under the fly over which was about 10 meters
procedure is not sufficient basis to say that Safeguard had failed
away from the bank28 and saw her talking to a man thereat;29 that
its duty of proper supervision; that it was likewise error to say
she left the man under the fly-over, crossed the street and
that Safeguard was negligent in seeing to it that the procedures
approached the bank. However, except for the bare testimony of
and policies were not properly implemented by reason of one
Pajarillo, the records do not show that indeed Evangeline was
unfortunate event.
seen roaming near the vicinity of the bank and acting
suspiciously prior to the shooting incident. In fact, there is no
evidence that Pajarillo called the attention of his head guard or We are not convinced.
the bank's branch manager regarding his concerns or that he
reported the same to the police authorities whose outpost is just
Article 2180 of the Civil Code provides:
about 15 meters from the bank.

Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable


Moreover, if Evangeline was already roaming the vicinity of the
not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of
bank, she could have already apprised herself that Pajarillo, who
persons for whom one is responsible.
was posted outside the bank, was armed with a shotgun; that
there were two guards inside the bank30manning the entrance
door. Thus, it is quite incredible that if she really had a xxxx
companion, she would leave him under the fly-over which is 10
meters far from the bank and stage a bank robbery all by herself
without a back-up. In fact, she would have known, after surveying Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their
the area, that aiming her gun at Pajarillo would not ensure employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their
assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any
entrance to the bank as there were guards manning the entrance
door. business or industry.

Evidence, to be believed, must not only proceed from the mouth xxxx
of a credible witness, but it must be credible in itself — such as
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for the death of Evangeline is
persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the likewise in order.
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.
As to the award of moral damages, Article 2206 of the Civil Code
As the employer of Pajarillo, Safeguard is primarily and solidarily provides that the spouse, legitimate children and illegitimate
liable for the quasi-delict committed by the former. Safeguard is descendants and ascendants of the deceased may demand moral
presumed to be negligent in the selection and supervision of his damages for mental anguish by reason of the death of the
employee by operation of law. This presumption may be deceased. Moral damages are awarded to enable the injured party
overcome only by satisfactorily showing that the employer to obtain means, diversions or amusements that will serve to
exercised the care and the diligence of a good father of a family in alleviate the moral suffering he/she has undergone, by reason of
the selection and the supervision of its employee. the defendant's culpable action. Its award is aimed at restoration,
as much as possible, of the spiritual status quo ante; thus it must
be proportionate to the suffering inflicted.45 The intensity of the
In the selection of prospective employees, employers are required
pain experienced by the relatives of the victim is proportionate to
to examine them as to their qualifications, experience, and
the intensity of affection for him and bears no relation whatsoever
service records.35 On the other hand, due diligence in the
with the wealth or means of the offender.46
supervision of employees includes the formulation of suitable
rules and regulations for the guidance of employees and the
issuance of proper instructions intended for the protection of the In this case, respondents testified as to their moral suffering
public and persons with whom the employer has relations caused by Evangeline's death was so sudden causing respondent
through his or its employees and the imposition of necessary Lauro to lose a wife and a mother to six children who were all
disciplinary measures upon employees in case of breach or as minors at the time of her death. In People v. Teehankee, Jr.,47 we
may be warranted to ensure the performance of acts awarded one million pesos as moral damages to the heirs of a
indispensable to the business of and beneficial to their employer. seventeen-year-old girl who was murdered. In Metro Manila
To this, we add that actual implementation and monitoring of Transit Corporation v. Court of Appeals,48 we likewise awarded
consistent compliance with said rules should be the constant the amount of one million pesos as moral damages to the parents
concern of the employer, acting through dependable supervisors of a third year high school student and who was also their
who should regularly report on their supervisory functions.36 To youngest child who died in a vehicular accident since the girl's
establish these factors in a trial involving the issue of vicarious death left a void in their lives. Hence, we hold that the
liability, employers must submit concrete proof, including respondents are also entitled to the amount of one million pesos
documentary evidence. as Evangeline's death left a void in the lives of her husband and
minor children as they were deprived of her love and care by her
untimely demise.
We agree with the RTC's finding that Safeguard had exercised the
diligence in the selection of Pajarillo since the record shows that
Pajarillo underwent a psychological and neuro-psychiatric We likewise uphold the award of exemplary damages in the
evaluation conducted by the St. Martin de Porres Center where no amount of P300,000.00. Under Article 2229 of the Civil Code,
psychoses ideations were noted, submitted a certification on the exemplary damages are imposed by way of example or correction
Pre-licensing training course for security guards, as well as for the public good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or
police and NBI clearances. compensatory damages.49 It is awarded as a deterrent to socially
deleterious actions. In quasi-delict, exemplary damages may be
granted if the defendant acted with gross negligence.50
The RTC did not err in ruling that Safeguard fell short of the
diligence required in the supervision of its employee, particularly
Pajarillo. In this case, while Safeguard presented Capt. James Pursuant to Article 2208 of the Civil Code, attorney's fees may be
Camero, its Director for Operations, who testified on the issuance recovered when, as in the instant case, exemplary damages are
of company rules and regulations, such as the Guidelines of awarded. Hence, we affirm the award of attorney's fees in the
Guards Who Will Be Assigned To Banks,37 Weapons amount of P30,000.00.
Training,38 Safeguard Training Center Marksmanship Training
Lesson Plan,39Disciplinary/Corrective Sanctions,40 it had also
WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED. The Decision
been established during Camero's cross-examination that
dated July 16, 2004 of the Court of Appeals
Pajarillo was not aware of such rules and
is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the civil liability of
regulations.41 Notwithstanding Camero's clarification on his re-
petitioner Safeguard Security Agency, Inc.
direct examination that these company rules and regulations are
is SOLIDARYand PRIMARY under Article 2180 of the Civil Code.
lesson plans as a basis of guidelines of the instructors during
classroom instructions and not necessary to give students copy
of the same,42 the records do not show that Pajarillo had attended SO ORDERED.
such classroom instructions.

The records also failed to show that there was adequate training
and continuous evaluation of the security guard's performance.
Pajarillo had only attended an in-service training on March 1, 1997
conducted by Toyota Sta. Rosa, his first assignment as security
guard of Safeguard, which was in collaboration with Safeguard. It
was established that the concept of such training was purely on
security of equipments to be guarded and protection of the life of
the employees.43

It had not been established that after Pajarillo's training in Toyota,


Safeguard had ever conducted further training of Pajarillo when
he was later assigned to guard a bank which has a different
nature of business with that of Toyota. In fact, Pajarillo testified
that being on duty in a bank is different from being on duty in a
factory since a bank is a very sensitive area.44

Moreover, considering his reactions to Evangeline's act of just


depositing her firearm for safekeeping, i.e., of immediately
shooting her, confirms that there was no training or seminar
given on how to handle bank clients and on human psychology.

Furthermore, while Safeguard would like to show that there were


inspectors who go around the bank two times a day to see the
daily performance of the security guards assigned therein, there
was no record ever presented of such daily inspections. In fact, if
there was really such inspection made, the alleged suspicious act
of Evangeline could have been taken noticed and reported.

Turning now to the award of damages, we find that the award of


actual damages in the amount P157,430.00 which were the
expenses incurred by respondents in connection with the burial
of Evangeline were supported by receipts. The award
G.R. No. 199886 December 3, 2014 Dr. Triffany C. Hasim, the physician who attended to the victims
when they were rushed to the Alfonso Ponce Enrile Memorial
District Hospital, also testified6 for the respondents. According to
CAGAYAN II ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC., represented by its
Dr. Hasim, the abrasions of Rapanan were caused by pressure
General Manager and Chief Executive Officer, GABRIEL A.
when the body was hit by a hard object or by friction but she is
TORDESILLAS, Petitioner,
uncertain as towhether a live electric wire could have caused
vs.
them. She further said that she did not find any electrical burns
ALLAN RAPANAN and MARY GINE TANGONAN, Respondents.
on Rapanan. As with Camilo, she found abrasions and hematoma
on his body and that the cause of death was due to "cardio
DECISION respiratory arrest secondary to strangulation." She also opined
that the strangulation could have been caused by an electric wire
entangled around Camilo’s neck.
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:

Petitioner, for its part, presented four witnesses among whom


This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 were SPO2 Pedro Tactac, Tranquilino Rasosand Rodolfo
Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, assailing the December 8, Adviento.
2011 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in C.A. G.R. CV No.
77659. The appellate court granted the appeal of respondents
Allan Rapanan and Mary Gine Tangonan and held petitioner SPO2 Tactac, who investigated the incident, testified7 that there
Cagayan II Electric Cooperative, Inc. liable for quasi-delict was a skid mark on the cemented portion of the road caused by
resulting in the death of Camilo Tangonan and physical injuries of the motorycle’s foot rest which was about 30 meters long.
Rapanan, and ordering it to pay respondents damages and According to him, it appears that the motorcycle was
attorney's fees. overspeeding because of said skid mark.

The antecedents of the case follow: Rasos and Adviento, employees of petitioner, both testified8 that
as a result of the onslaught of typhoons Iliang and Loleng in
Buguey and Sta. Ana, Cagayan, the power lines were cut off
On October 31, 1998, around 9:00 p.m., a motorcycle with three because the electric wires snapped and the electric poles were
passengers figured in a mishap along the National Highway of destroyed. After the said typhoons, petitioner’s employees
Maddalero, Buguey, Cagayan. It was driven by its owner Camilo
inspected the affected areas. The dangling wires were then
Tangonan who died from the accident, while his companions removed from the electric poles and were placed at the foot of the
respondent Rapanan and one Erwin poles which were located four to five meters from the road.

Coloma suffered injuries. On December 9, 2002, the RTC rendered a decision9 in favor of
petitioner and dismissed the complaint for damages of
On March 29, 2000, Rapanan and Camilo’s common law wife, respondents. It held that the proximate cause of the incident is
respondent Mary Gine Tangonan, filed before the Regional Trial the negligence and imprudence of Camilo in driving the
Court (RTC) of Aparri, Cagayan a complaint2 for damages against motorcycle. It further held that respondent Mary Gine has no legal
petitioner. They alleged that while the victims were traversing the personality to institute the action since such right is only given to
national highway, they were struck and electrocuted by a live the legal heir of the deceased. Mary Gine is not a legal heir of
tension wire from one of the electric posts owned by petitioner. Camilo since she is only his common law wife.
They contended that the mishap was due to petitioner’s
negligence when it failed to fix and change said live tension wire On appeal, the CA reversed the RTC and held petitioner liable for
despite being immediately informed by residents in the area that
quasi-delict. The fallo reads:
it might pose an immediate danger to persons, animals and
vehicles passing along the national highway.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present appeal is
GRANTED. The assailed decision dated December 9, 2002 of the
Mary Gine prayed that she beawarded ₱50,000 civil indemnity, Regional Trial Court of Appari, Cagayan, Branch 10 in Civil Case
₱25,000 burial expenses, ₱1,584,000 indemnity for loss of earning No. 10-305 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a NEW ONE
capacity and ₱100,000 moral and exemplary damages. Rapanan,
ENTERED holding the defendant-appellee CAGEL[C]O II liable for
on the other hand, prayed for ₱10,000 for his medical treatment quasi-delict which resulted in the death of Camilo Tangonan and
and ₱50,000 moral and exemplary damages. Both Mary Gine and the physical injuries of Allan Rapanan, and ordering the payment
Rapanan prayed for 30% of the total award representing
of 50% of the following damages, except the attorney’s fees which
attorney’s fees. should be borne by the defendant-appellant: To the plaintiff-
appellant Allan Rapanan:
In its Answer,3 petitioner alleged that the typhoons that struck its
areas of responsibility caused some of its electric poles to fall 1. temperate damages in the amount of ₱10,000.00; and
and high tension wires to snap or cut-off which caused
brownouts in said areas. It claimed that they cannot be faulted for
negligence if there were electric wires dangling along the national 2. moral damages in the amount of ₱50,000.00;
road since they were caused by typhoons which are fortuitous
events. It also alleged that it was able to clear the said areas of
To the legal heirs of the deceased Camilo Tangonan:
fallen electric poles and dangling or hanging high tension wires
immediately after the typhoons, to secure the safety of persons
and vehicles traveling in said areas. It likewise contended that the 1. indemnity for death in the amount of ₱50,000.00;
proximate cause of the mishap was the victims’ negligence and
imprudence in operating and driving the motorcycle they were
2. indemnity for loss of earning capacity in the amount of
riding on.
₱1,062,000.00;

During the trial, respondents testified and also presented Dr.


3. temperate damages in the amount of ₱20,000.00; and
Triffany C. Hasim as witness. Mary Gine testified4 that she is not
married to Camilo but they are living together and that they have
one child. She also testified that she spent ₱20,776 for the funeral [4.] moral damages in the amount of ₱50,000.00.
expenses of Camilo. She herself prepared an itemized list and
computation of said expenses. She also claimed that Camilo
To both the plaintiff-appellant Allan Rapanan and the legal heirs
worked as a jeepney driver earning ₱150 per day and that as a
result of Camilo’s death, she suffered sleepless nights and lost of the deceased Camilo Tangonan:
weight.
1. exemplary damages in the amount [of] ₱50,000.00; and
5
Rapanan testified that he, Camilo and one Erwin Coloma were
riding a motorcycle along the National Highway of Maddalero, 2. attorney’s fees amounting to 20% of the total amount adjudged.
Buguey, Cagayan on October 31, 1998, around 9:00 in the
evening. He claimed that they saw a wire dangling from an
electric post and because of a strong wind that blew, they got SO ORDERED.10
wound by said dangling wire. He suffered physical injuries and
electric burns and was hospitalized for seven days. He claimed to In ruling against petitioner, the CA found that despite the different
have spent around ₱10,000 for his medicines, and also versions of how the incident occurred, one fact was consistent –
complained of sleepless nights because of the mishap. the protruding or dangling CAGELCO wire to which the victims
were strangled or trapped. It likewise ruled that the police blotter
and medical certificates together with the testimony of one of the
passengers of the motorcycle, respondent Rapanan, was able to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the
establish the truth of the allegations of respondents – all of which damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing
were not controverted by petitioner. The appellate court held that contractual relation between the parties, is a quasi-delict." Under
clearly, the cause of the mishap which claimed the life of Camilo this provision, the elements necessary to establish a quasi-delict
and injured Rapanan was the dangling wire which struck them. case are: (1) damages to the plaintiff; (2) negligence, by act or
Without the dangling wire which struck the victims, the CA held omission, of the defendant or by some person for whose acts the
that they would not have fallen down and sustained injuries. The defendant must respond, was guilty; and (3) the connection of
CA found that if petitioner had not been negligent in maintaining cause and effect between such negligence and the damages.13
its facilities, and making sure that every facility needing repairs
had been repaired, the mishap could have been prevented.
The presence of the first element is undisputed because the
unfortunate incident brought about the death of Camilo and
The appellate court nevertheless ruled that the victims were partly physical injuries to Rapanan. This Court, however, finds that the
responsible for the injuries they sustained. At the time of the second and third elements are lacking thus precluding the award
mishap, they were over-speeding and were not wearing protective of damages in favor of respondents. Adviento, petitioner’s
helmets. Moreover, the single motorcycle being driven carried employee testified that their electric poles along the highways,
three persons. While said circumstances were not the proximate including the one where the mishap took place, were erected
cause of Camilo’s death and Rapanan’s injuries, they contributed about four to five meters from the shoulder of the road. Another
to the occurrence of the unfortunate event. employee of petitioner, Rasos, testified that after the typhoons hit
Cagayan, he together with his co-employees, after checking the
damage to the electric lines, rolled the fallen electric wires and
Hence this petition raising the following arguments for this
placed them at the foot of the electric poles so as to prevent
Court’s consideration:
mishaps to pedestrians and vehicles passing by. Their
testimonies were corroborated by whatwas recorded in the Police
1. THE CONCLUSION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS THAT Blotter of the Buguey Police Station, Buguey, Cagayan after SPO2
PETITIONER WAS NEGLIGENT IN THE MAINTENANCE OF ITS Tactac investigated on the incident. The pertinent excerpt from
POWER LINES IS MANIFESTLY ABSURD AND PREMISED ON A the blotter is quoted verbatim:
SERIOUS MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS.
xxxx
2. THE COURT OF APPEALS DISREGARDED THE EVIDENCE ON
RECORD AND COMMITTED SERIOUS MISAPPREHENSION OF
TEAM LED BY SPO2 PEDRO R TACTAC JUMPED OFF AND
FACTS AND GRAVE ABUSE OFDISCRETION WHEN IT
PROCEEDED TO BRGY MADDALERO, BUGUEY, CAGAYAN TO
CONCLUDED THAT THE CAUSE OF THE MISHAP WAS A
CONDUCT INVEST AT THE SAID VEHICULAR ACCIDENT AT THE
DANGLING ELECTRIC WIRE THAT STRUCK AND WOUND UPON
SAME PLACE AND RET STN WITH THE REPT THAT ON OR
THE VICTIMS.
ABOUT 8:45 PM 31 OCTOBER 98 ONE MOTORCYCLE SUZUKI X4
WITH TEMPORARY PLATE NUMBER 14592 DRIVEN BY ONE
3. THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED AND CAMILO TANGONAN y ROSETE 21 years old, MARRIED, DRIVER
COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN AWARDING AND A RESIDENT OF BRGY MASI, STA TERESITA, CAGAYAN
DAMAGES TO THE HEIRS OF CAMILO TANGONAN (DEAD ON THE SPOT) AND TWO COMPANIONS EDWIN COLOMA
NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THEY WERE NEVER y MABANAG, 23 YEARS OLD, MARRIED, DRIVER AND A
IMPLEADED AS PARTIES TO THE ACTION. RESIDENT OF MASI AND ALLAN RAFANAN y GUILLERMO, 19
YEARS OLD, SINGLE, CONDUCTORAND A RESIDENT OF BRGY
BUYUN STA TERESITA CAGAYAN WAS ACCIDENTALLY
4. ASSUMING, FOR ARGUMENT’S SAKE, THAT THE PETITIONER
TRAPPED BY A PROTRUDING CAGELCO WIRE AT THE
CAN BE HELD LIABLE FOR THE MISHAP, DAMAGES AND SHOULDER OF THE ROAD WHILE THEY WERE BOUND TO STA
ATTORNEY’S FEES COULD NOT BE AWARDED TO THE HEIRS TERESITA FROM APARRITHIS PROVINCE DUE TO THE OVER
OFCAMILO TANGONAN; AND THE AWARD OF MORAL,
SPEED OF MOTOR VEHICLE THE WIRE STRANGLED THE NECK
TEMPERATE AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES, AS WELL AS OF THE VICTIMS WHICH CAUSED THE INSTANTANEOUS DEATH
ATTORNEY’S FEES, TO ALLAN RAPANAN IS WITHOUT BASIS.11 OF THE DRIVER, CAMILOTANGONAN AND ABRASIONS ON
DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE BODY OF THE TWO OTHER VICTIMS
Thus, there are two main issues that need to be resolved by this THE SAID TWO OTHER VICTIMS WERE BROUGHT TO ALFONSO
Court: (1) Was petitioner’s negligence in maintenance of its ENRILE HOSPITAL, GONZAGA, CAGAYAN FOR MEDICAL
facilities the proximate cause of the death of Camilo and the TREATMENT.14 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
injuries of Rapanan? and (2) In the event that petitioner’s
negligence is found to be the proximate cause of the accident, Thus, there is no negligence on the part of petitioner that was
should damages be awarded in favor of Camilo’s heirs even if
allegedly the proximate cause of Camilo’s death and Rapanan’s
they were not impleaded? injuries.1a\^/phi1 From the testimonies of petitioner’s employees
and the excerpt from the police blotter, this Court can reasonably
Petitioner contends that it cannot be accused of negligence as its conclude that, at the time of that fatal mishap, said wires were
crew cleared the roads of fallen electric poles and snapped wires quietly sitting on the shoulder of the road, far enough from the
to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians. They rolled the concrete portion so as not to pose any threat to passing motor
snapped wires and placed them behind nearby electric polesaway vehicles and even pedestrians. Hence, if the victims of the mishap
from the roads as temporary remedy considering that the were strangled by said wires, it can only mean that either the
snapped wires could not be collected all at once. It cites the motorcycle careened towards the shoulder or even more likely,
report of SPO2 Pedro Tactac and testimony of Tranquilino Rasos since the police found the motorcycle not on the shoulder butstill
stating that the electric wire was placedat the shoulder of the on the road, that the three passengers were thrown off from the
road. The photograph of the wire also shows that it was placed motorcycle to the shoulder of the road and caught up with the
among banana plants which petitioner submits to be a clear wires. As to how that happened cannot be blamed on petitioner
indication that it was safely tucked away from the road. Petitioner but should be attributed to Camilo’s over speeding as concluded
contends that the trial court correctly observed that Camilo drove by the police after it investigated the mishap. SPO2 Tactac, in his
the motorcycle at a high speed causing it to careen to the testimony, explained how theymade such conclusion:
shoulder of the road where the electric wire was and had Camilo
driven the motorcycle at an average speed, that would not have ATTY. TUMARU:
happened. Thus, petitioner submits, as found by the trial court,
the proximate cause of the mishap was dueto recklessness and
imprudence of Camilo and not of petitioner. Q: x x x My question is, you said that the motor vehicle was
overspeeding, when you went to the place, what made you
conclude that the motor vehicle where the three rode which
Respondents, for their part, insist that the appellate court erred in caused the death of Camilo Tangonan, was overspeeding? Please
ruling that it was petitioner’s negligence that caused the mishap explain that before this court[.]
resulting to the death of Camilo and injuries of Rapanan. They
argued that had petitioner properly maintained its facilities by
making sure that every facility needing restoration is repaired, the ATTY. RAPANAN:
mishap could have been prevented.
Incompetent, you honor.
The petition is meritorious.
COURT:
Negligence is defined as the failure to observe for the protection
of the interest of another person that degree of care, precaution,
Answer.
and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand, whereby
such other person suffers injury.12Article 2176 of the Civil Code
provides that "[w]hoever by act or omission causes damage to
A: I stated in the police blotter over speeding when we went to the skid mark measuring 30 meters, you did not include that in
investigate. We reflected in the report/police blotter that there was your report?
over speeding because of the skid mark that lasted up to 30
meters from the start to the place where the motorcycle fell, sir.
ATTY. TUMARU:

Q: In this skid mark that you have seen, at the point of the start of
The document is the best evidence, your honor.
the skid mark to the place where you found the motor vehicle,
where was the motor vehicle that time?
ATTY. RAPANAN:
A: It was at the road, sir.
This is a new matter, your honor.
Q: What road?
COURT:
A: At the edge of the cemented pavement, sir.
Answer.
Q: Where was the victim found?
A: We saw the skid mark so we concluded that there was an over
speeding due to the skid mark, sir.
ATTY. RAPANAN:

Q: Do you know that a skid on the surface of a cemented road


Immaterial, your honor.
shows that something happened to the motorcycle o[r] its
[d]river?
COURT:
ATTY. TUMARU:
Sustained.
That calls for an opinion, your honor.
ATTY. TUMARU:
COURT:
Q: And did you try to investigate what was the cause [of death] of
the victim?
Answer.

ATTY. RAPANAN:
A: There was an accident, sir.

Incompetent, your honor.


Q: Do you know that when a vehicle even if running with slow
speed if a driver suddenly applied a break, there was always a
ATTY. TUMARU: skid mark on the road?

Q: Per your investigation, did you find out the cause of death of A: It is the footrest of the motorcycle that caused the skid mark,
the victim and the others (sic)? sir.

A: There was abrasion at the neck of the victim, sir. COURT:

COURT: Q: Which is which now, you found a skid mark of the tire and
footrest or only the skid mark of the footrest?
Q: Who among the victims?
A: The footrest, sir.
A: The driver Camilo Tangonan, sir.
Q: How do you know that the skid mark was caused by the
footrest?
Q: What about the two others?

A: Because the skid mark was caused by the footrest because the
A: When we arrived at the scene, the two companions of the
place where the motorcycle fell (sic),the footrest was still pointing
victim were brought to the Gonzaga Alfonso Ponce Enrile hospital
[to] the skid mark [on] the cemented road, sir.15
by the PNP of Sta. Teresitapolice station, sir.

The foregoing shows that the motorcycle was probably running


xxxx
too fast that it lost control and started tilting and sliding
eventually which made its foot rest cause the skid mark on the
ATTY. RAPANAN: road. Therefore, the mishap already occurred even while they
were on the road and away from petitioner's electric wires and
was not caused by the latter as alleged by respondents. It just so
Q: Do you know that a motorcycle is provided with the happened that after the motorcycle tilted and slid, the passengers
speedometer?
were thrown off to the shoulder where the electric wires were.
This Court hence agrees with the trial court that the proximate
A: Yes, sir. cause of the mishap was the negligence of Camilo. Had Camilo
driven the motorcycle at an average speed, the three passengers
would not have been thrown off from the vehicle towards the
Q: When you arrived at the scene, you no longer bother yourself shoulder and eventually strangulated by the electric wires sitting
to see the speedometer of the motorcycle, is that correct? thereon. Moreover, it was also negligent of Camilo to have
allowed two persons to ride with him and for Rapanan to ride with
ATTY. TUMARU: them when the maximum number of passengers of a motorcycle
is two including the driver. This most likely even aggravated the
situation because the motorcycle was overloaded which made it
Incompetent, your honor. harder to drive and control. When the plaintiffs own negligence
was the immediate and proximate cause of his injury, he cannot
COURT: recover damages.16

Answer. As to the second issue, assuming arguendo that petitioner was


indeed negligent, the appellate court erred in awarding damages
in favor of Camilo' s legal heirs since they were not imp leaded in
A: I did not bother to see the speedometer, sir. the case. It should be noted that it was Mary Gine, the common
law wife of Camilo, who is the complainant in the case. As a mere
Q: You only conclude in saying that the driver of the motorcycle common law wife of Camilo, she is not considered a legal heir of
was running his motorcycle in a very speed[y] manner because of
the latter, and hence, has no legal personality to institute the
action for damages due to Camilo' s death.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The December 8,


2011 Decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. CV No. 77659
is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The December 9, 2002
Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Aparri, Cagayan, Branch
10 in Civil Case No. 10-305 dismissing the complaint for damages
of respondents Allan Rapanan and Mary Gine Tangonan is
REINSTATED.

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 143008 June 10, 2002 3. The amount of P50,000.00 for and as reasonable attorney's
fees.
SMITH BELL DODWELL SHIPPING AGENCY
CORPORATION, petitioner, "The cross-claim of [Petitioner] Smith Bell Dodwell Shipping
vs. Agency Corporation against co-defendant International Towage
CATALINO BORJA and INTERNATIONAL TO WAGE AND and Transport Corporation and the latter's counterclaim against
TRANSPORT CORPORATION, respondents. [Borja] and cross-claim with compulsory counterclaim against
Smith Bell are hereby ordered dismissed."7
PANGANIBAN, J.:
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
The owner or the person in possession and control of a vessel is
liable for all natural and proximate damages caused to persons Affirming the trial court, the CA rejected the plea of petitioner that
and property by reason of negligence in its management or it be exonerated from liability for Respondent Borja's injuries.
navigation. The liability for the loss of the earning capacity of the Contrary to the claim of petitioner that no physical evidence was
deceased is fixed by taking into account the net income of the shown to prove that the explosion had originated from its vessel,
victim at the time of death -- of the incident in this case -- and that the CA held that the fire had originated from M/T King
person's probable life expectancy.1âwphi1.nêt Family. This conclusion was amply supported by the testimonies
of Borja and Eulogio Laurente (the eyewitness of International
Towage and Transport Corporation or ITTC) as well as by the
The Case
investigation conducted by the Special Board of Marine Inquiry
and affirmed by the secretary of the Department of National
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of Defense. On the other hand, the RTC, which the CA sustained,
the Rules of Court, challenging the March 6, 2000 Decision1 and had not given probative value to the evidence of petitioner, whose
the April 25, 2000 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals3 (CA) in CA- sole eyewitness had not shown up for cross-examination.
GR CV No. 57470. The assailed Decision disposed as follows:
Hence, this Petition.8
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is hereby
DENIED. The questioned decision of the lower court is hereby
The Issues
AFFIRMED in toto. No pronouncement as to costs."4

In its Memorandum,9 petitioner raises the following issues:


Reconsideration was denied in the assailed Resolution.

"1. Whether petitioner should be held liable for the injuries of


The Facts
Respondent Catalino Borja.

The facts of the case are set forth by the CA as follows:


"2. Whether Respondent ITTC should be held liable for the
injuries of Respondent Catalino Borja.
"It appears that on September 23, 1987, Smith Bell [herein
petitioner] filed a written request with the Bureau of Customs for
"3. Assuming without admitting that Respondent Catalino Borja is
the attendance of the latter's inspection team on vessel M/T King
entitled to damages, whether Respondent Borja is entitled to the
Family which was due to arrive at the port of Manila on September
amount of damages awarded to him by the trial court."10
24, 1987.

Simply put, these issues can be summed up in these two


"Said vessel contained 750 metric tons of alkyl benzene and
questions: (1) Who, if any, is liable for Borja's injuries? (2) What is
methyl methacrylate monomer.
the proper amount of liability?

"On the same day, Supervising Customs Inspector Manuel Ma. D.


This Court's Ruling
Nalgan instructed [Respondent Catalino Borja] to board said
vessel and perform his duties as inspector upon the vessel's
arrival until its departure. At that time, [Borja] was a customs The Petition is partly meritorious.
inspector of the Bureau of Customs receiving a salary of
P31,188.25 per annum.
First Issue:
Responsibility for Injuries
"At about 11 o'clock in the morning on September 24, 1987, while
M/T King Family was unloading chemicals unto two (2) barges [--]
Petitioner avers that both lower courts labored under a
ITTC 101 and CLC-1002 [--] owned by [Respondent] ITTC, a
misapprehension of the facts. It claims that the documents
sudden explosion occurred setting the vessels afire. Upon
adduced in the RTC conclusively revealed that the explosion that
hearing the explosion, [Borja], who was at that time inside the
caused the fire on M/T King Family had originated from the
cabin preparing reports, ran outside to check what happened.
barge ITTC-101, a conclusion based on three grounds. First, the
Again, another explosion was heard.
Survey Report (Exh. "10") dated October 21, 1987 submitted by
the Admiral Surveyors and Adjusters, Inc., showed that no part
"Seeing the fire and fearing for his life, [Borja] hurriedly jumped of M/T King Family sustained any sharp or violent damage that
over board to save himself. However, the [water] [was] likewise on would otherwise be observed if indeed an explosion had occurred
fire due mainly to the spilled chemicals. Despite the tremendous on it. On the other hand, the fact that the vessel sustained cracks
heat, [Borja] swam his way for one (1) hour until he was rescued on its shell plating was noted in two Survey Reports from
by the people living in the squatters' area and sent to San Juan Greutzman Divers Underwater Specialist, dated October 6, 1987
De Dios Hospital. (Exh. "11"), and during the underwater inspection on the sunken
barge ITTC-101.
"After weeks of intensive care at the hospital, his attending
physician diagnosed [Borja] to be permanently disabled due to Second, external fire damage on the hull of M/T King
the incident. [Borja] made demands against Smith Bell and ITTC Family indicated that the fire had started from outside the vessel
for the damages caused by the explosion. However, both denied and from ITTC-101. The port side of the vessel to which the ITTC
liabilities and attributed to each other negligence."5 barge was tied was completely gutted by fire, while the starboard
side to which the barge CLC-1002 was tied sustained only slight
fire damage.
The trial court6 (RTC) ruled in favor of Respondent Borja and held
petitioner liable for damages and loss of income. The RTC
disposed as follows: Third, testimonial evidence proved that the explosion came from
the barge of the ITTC and not from its vessel. Security Guard
Vivencio Estrella testified that he had seen the sudden explosion
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby
of monomer on the barge with fire that went up to about 60
rendered ordering [Petitioner] Smith Bell Dodwell [S]hipping
meters. Third Mate Choi Seong Hwan and Second Mate Nam Bang
Agency Corporation to pay [Borja]:
Choun of M/T King Family narrated that while they were
discharging the chemicals, they saw and heard an explosion from
1. The amount of P495,360.00 as actual damages for loss of the barge ITTC-101. Chief Security Guard Reynaldo Patron, in
earning capacity: turn, testified that he was 7 to 10 meters away from the barge
when he heard the explosion from the port side of M/T King
Family and saw the barge already on fire.
2. The amount of P100,000.00 for moral damages; and
We are not persuaded. Both the RTC and the CA ruled that the fire damages that shall be computed and the rate at which the loss
and the explosion had originated from petitioner's vessel. Said sustained by the heirs shall be fixed.20
the trial court:
The formula for the computation of loss of earning capacity is as
"The attempts of [Petitioner] Smith Bell to shift the blame on x x x follows:21
ITTC were all for naught. First, the testimony of its alleged
eyewitness was stricken off the record for his failure to appear for
Net earning capacity = Life expectancy x [Gross Annual
cross-examination (p. 361, Record). Second, the documents
Income - Living Expenses (50% of gross annual income)], where
offered to prove that the fire originated from barge ITTC-101 were
life expectancy = 2/3 (80 - the age of the deceased).22
all denied admission by the [c]ourt for being, in effect, hearsay
(pp. 335 and 362). x x x Thus, there is nothing in the record to
support [petitioner's] contention that the fire and explosion Petitioner is correct in arguing that it is net income (or gross
originated from barge ITTC-101."11 income less living expenses) which is to be used in the
computation of the award for loss of income. Villa Rey Transit v.
Court of Appeals23 explained that "the amount recoverable is not
We find no cogent reason to overturn these factual findings.
the loss of the entire earning, but rather the loss of that portion of
Nothing is more settled in jurisprudence than that this Court is
the earnings which the beneficiary would have received." Hence,
bound by the factual findings of the Court of Appeals when these
in fixing the amount of the said damages, the necessary expenses
are supported by substantial evidence and are not under any of
of the deceased should be deducted from his earnings.
the exceptions in Fuentes v. Court of Appeals;12 more so, when
such findings affirm those of the trial court.13 Verily, this Court
reviews only issues of law. In other words, only net earnings, not gross earnings, are to be
considered; that is, the total of the earnings less expenses
necessary in the creation of such earnings or income, less living
Negligence is conduct that creates undue risk of harm to another.
and other incidental expenses. When there is no showing that the
It is the failure to observe that degree of care, precaution and
living expenses constituted a smaller percentage of the gross
vigilance that the circumstances justly demand, whereby that
income, we fix the living expenses at half of the gross income. To
other person suffers injury.14Petitioner's vessel was carrying
hold that one would have used only a small part of the income,
chemical cargo -- alkyl benzene and methyl methacrylate
with the larger part going to the support of one's children, would
monomer.15 While knowing that their vessel was carrying
be conjectural and unreasonable.24
dangerous inflammable chemicals, its officers and crew failed to
take all the necessary precautions to prevent an accident.
Petitioner was, therefore, negligent. Counsel for Respondent Borja is also correct in saying that life
expectancy should not be based on the retirement age of
government employees, which is pegged at 65. In Negros
The three elements of quasi delict are: (a) damages suffered by
Navigation Co, Inc. v. CA,25 the Court resolved that in calculating
the plaintiff, (b) fault or negligence of the defendant, and (c) the
the life expectancy of an individual for the purpose of determining
connection of cause and effect between the fault or negligence of
loss of earning capacity under Article 2206(1) of the Civil Code, it
the defendant and the damages inflicted on the plaintiff.16 All
is assumed that the deceased would have earned income even
these elements were established in this case. Knowing fully well
after retirement from a particular job.1âwphi1.nêt
that it was carrying dangerous chemicals, petitioner was
negligent in not taking all the necessary precautions in
transporting the cargo. Respondent Borja should not be situated differently just because
he was a government employee. Private employees, given the
retirement packages provided by their companies, usually retire
As a result of the fire and the explosion during the unloading of
earlier than government employees; yet, the life expectancy of the
the chemicals from petitioner's vessel, Respondent Borja suffered
former is not pegged at 65 years.
the following damage: and injuries: "(1) chemical burns of the
face and arms; (2) inhalation of fumes from burning chemicals; (3)
exposure to the elements [while] floating in sea water for about Petitioner avers that Respondent Borja died nine years after the
three (3) hours; (4) homonymous hemianopsia or blurring of the incident and, hence, his life expectancy of 80 years should yield
right eye [which was of] possible toxic origin; and (5) [c]erebral to the reality that he was only 59 when he actually died.
infract with neo-vascularization, left occipital region with right
sided headache and the blurring of vision of right eye."17
We disagree. The Court uses the American
Experience/Expectancy Table of Mortality or the Actuarial or
Hence, the owner or the person in possession and control of a Combined Experience Table of Mortality, which consistently pegs
vessel and the vessel are liable for all natural and proximate the life span of the average Filipino at 80 years, from which it
damage caused to persons and property by reason of negligent extrapolates the estimated income to be earned by the deceased
management or navigation.18 had he or she not been killed.26

SecondIssue: Respondent Borja's demise earlier than the estimated life span is
Amount of Liability of no moment. For purposes of determining loss of earning
capacity, life expectancy remains at 80. Otherwise, the
computation of loss of earning capacity will never become final,
Petitioner insists that Borja is not entitled to the full amount of
being always subject to the eventuality of the victim's death. The
damages awarded by the lower courts. It disputes the use of his
gross earning as basis for the computation of the award for
loss of earning capacity. Both courts, in computing the value of Loss of earning = [2 (80-50)] x [(P2,752x12)-16,512]
such loss, used the remaining years of the victim as a capacity 3
government employee and the amount he had been receiving
per annum at the time of the incident. = P330,240

computation should not change even if Borja lived beyond 80


Counsel for Respondent Borja, on the other hand, claims that
years. Fair is fair.
petitioner had no cause to complain, because the miscomputation
had ironically been in its favor. The multiplier used in the
computation was erroneously based on the remaining years in Based on the foregoing discussion, the award for loss of earning
government service, instead of the life expectancy, of the victim. capacity should be computed as follows:
Borja's counsel also points out that the award was based on the
former's meager salary in 1987, or about 23 years ago when the
Having been duly proven, the moral damages and attorney's fees
foreign exchange was still P14 to $1. Hence, the questioned
awarded are justified under the Civil Code's Article 2219,
award is consistent with the primary purpose of giving what is
paragraph 2; and Article 2208, paragraph 11, respectively.
just, moral and legally due the victim as the aggrieved party.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is PARTLY GRANTED. The assailed


Both parties have a point. In determining the reasonableness of
Decision is AFFIRMED with the
the damages awarded under Article 1764 in conjunction with
following MODIFICATIONS: petitioner is ordered to pay the heirs
Article 2206 of the Civil Code, the factors to be considered are: (1)
of the victim damages in the amount of P320,240 as loss of
life expectancy (considering the health of the victim and the
earning capacity, moral damages in the amount of P100,000, plus
mortality table which is deemed conclusive) and loss of earning
another P50,000 as attorney's fees. Costs against petitioner.
capacity; (b) pecuniary loss, loss of support and service; and (c)
moral and mental sufferings.19 The loss of earning capacity is
based mainly on the number of years remaining in the person's SO ORDERED.
expected life span. In turn, this number is the basis of the
G.R. No. 218014, December 07, 2016 with Body No. A-96, and bearing Plate No. LWE-614, with PDL No.
L05-30-002730; thus pursuant to [A]rticles 2176 and 2180 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines[,] said Defendants are ordered to pay
EDDIE CORTEL Y CARNA AND YELLOW BUS LINE,
jointly and severally to the plaintiffs the following amount:
INC., Petitioners, v. CECILE GEPAYA-LIM, Respondent.
In favor of the heirs of Robert C. Lim represented by Cecil[]e
The Case Gepaya Lim as the surviving spouse, and with [a] living child, the
death compensation of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos
(P150,000.00), plus x x x[:]
Petitioners Eddie Cortel y Carna (Cortel) and Yellow Bus Line, Inc.
a) Funeral and burial expenses of Fifty Thousand Pesos
(Yellow Bus Line) assail the 16 October 2014 Decision1 and 21 (P50,000.00);ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
April 2015 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals Cagayan de Oro
City in CA-G.R. CV No. 02980. The Court of Appeals affirmed with
b) [C]ompensation for loss of earning capacity in the amount of
modification the Judgment,3 dated 27 April 2012, of the Regional P100,000.00;ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Trial Court of Midsayap, Cotabato, Branch 18 (trial court), finding
petitioners jointly and severally liable to the heirs of SP03 Robert
(c) x x x Damages [to] the motorcycle in the amount of [Fifteen
C. Lim (Lim) for the latter's death. Thousand Pesos] (P15,000.00);ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

The Antecedent Facts d) Attorney's fees of Fifteen Thousand Pesos


(P15,000.00);ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

e) Costs of suit.
The Court of Appeals narrated the facts as follows: SO ORDERED.4
On 29 October 2004, Cartel was driving a bus, operated by Yellow
Bus Line, which was on its way from Marbel, Koronadal to Davao chanrobleslaw
City. At around 9:45 in the evening, as the bus was traversing Petitioners appealed from the trial court's decision.
Crossing Rubber in the Municipality of Tupi, South Cotabato,
Cortel noticed two trucks with glaring headlights coming from the The Decision of the Court of Appeals
opposite direction. Cortel stated that he was driving at a speed of
40 to 50 kilometers per hour. He claimed that upon noticing the
trucks, he reduced his speed to 20 kilometers per hour. However,
the bus hit a black motorcycle which allegedly had no tail light
reflectors. The impact dragged the motorcycle at a distance of In its 16 October 2014 Decision, the Court of Appeals applied the
three meters before it came to a full stop. Lim, who was riding the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor.
motorcycle, was thrown upward and then slammed into the bus,
hitting the base of its right windshield wiper. The motorcycle got The Court of Appeals ruled that Lim died because of the collision
entangled with the broken bumper of the bus. According to between the bus driven by Cortel and the motorcycle Lim was
Cortel, Lim was wearing a black jacket and was riding without a riding. The Court of Appeals ruled that both vehicles were driving
helmet at the time of the accident. in the same lane and were headed towards the same direction.
The Court of Appeals noted that vehicles running on highways do
Felix Larang (Larang), the bus conductor, alighted from the bus to not normally collide unless one of the drivers is negligent. The
aid Lim. Larang gave instructions to Cortel to move back to Court of Appeals further ruled that Cortel had exclusive control
release Lim and the motorcycle from the front bumper of the bus. and management of the bus he was driving. The Court of Appeals
Two bystanders proceeded to the scene to assist Lim. After found no evidence that Lim had any contributory negligence in
reversing the bus and freeing Lim and the motorcycle, Cortel the accident that resulted to his death. The Court of Appeals ruled
drove the bus away and went to a nearby bus station where he that petitioners failed to prove that the motorcycle had no
surrendered to authorities. Cortel claimed that he left the scene of headlights or that Lim was not wearing a helmet. The Court of
the incident because he feared for his life. Appeals stated that even if the motorcycle was black and Lim was
wearing a black jacket, these were not prohibited by traffic rules
Respondent Cecile Gepaya-Lim, Lim's widow, filed a complaint and regulations. The Court of Appeals noted that upon impact,
for damages against petitioners. The case was docketed as Civil Lim's body was thrown upward, indicating that Cortel was driving
Case No. 05-010. at high speed. The damages to the motorcycle and the bus also
disproved Cortel's allegation that he was only driving at the speed
During trial, SPO4 Eddie S. Orencio (SPO4 Orencio), the officer of 20 kilometers per hour.
who investigated the incident, testified that Lim was driving a DT
Yamaha 125 black motorcycle when the accident took place. The Court of Appeals ruled that Yellow Bus Line failed to exercise
Cortel's bus and the motorcycle were going in the same direction. the care and diligence of a good father of a family in its selection
SPO4 Orencio testified that that the bus bumped the motorcycle and supervision of its employees. The Court of Appeals ruled that
from behind. The motorcycle's engine and chassis were severely the certificates presented by Yellow Bus Line were not admissible
damaged, while its rear rim was totally damaged by the accident. in evidence because the police officer who allegedly signed them
was not presented before the trial court. In addition, Yellow Bus
Yellow Bus Line presented and offered in evidence photographs Line did not offer the certificates as evidence during trial.
showing that the bus' right front windshield and wiper were
damaged. The bus' lower right side bumper was also perforated. The Court of Appeals modified the amount of damages awarded
During the preliminary conference, Yellow Bus Line also to the heirs of Lim. Using the formula set by this Court in The
presented Cortel's certificates showing that he attended the Heirs of Poe v. Malayan Insurance Company, Inc.5 and Villa Rey
following seminars: (1) Basic Tire Care Seminar; (2) Basic Tire Transit, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,6 the Court of Appeals
Knowledge and Understanding Retreading; and (3) Traffic Rules recomputed Lim's lost earning capacity, as follows:
and Regulations, Defensive Driving and Road Courtesy Seminar.

However, the certificates were not offered in evidence during trial. Life 2/3 x [80- age of deceased at the time of death]
expectancy =
The Decision of the Trial Court
2/3 x (80-41]

2/3 x [39]
In its 27 April 2012 Judgment, the trial court established that
Cortel was at fault. The trial court found that the bus was running FORMULA – NET EARNING CAPACITY (NEC)
fast when it bumped the motorcycle ridden by Lim. The trial court
ruled that the accident is the proximate cause of Lim's death. The
trial court also ruled that Yellow Bus Line failed to present
sufficient evidence to prove that it exercised due diligence in the
selection and supervision of Cortel. If:

The dispositive portion of the trial court's decision reads: Age at time of death of Robert Lim = 41
Monthly Income at time of death = 13,715.00
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby renders Gross Annual Income (GAI)= [(P13,715.00) (12)] = P164,580.00
judgment against Defendants Eddie Cortely Carna and likewise Reasonable/Necessary Living Expenses (R/NLE) – 50% of GAI =
against the owners of the Yellow Bus Line, Inc., numbered bus P82,290
because petitioner did not present any evidence to prove this
NEC = [2/3 (80-41)] [164,580-82,290] allegation.

= [2/3 (39)] [82,290] We agree that res ipsa loquitur applies m this case. The Court
explained this doctrine as follows:
= [26] [82,290]
While negligence is not ordinarily inferred or presumed, and while
= P2,139,540.00[7] the mere happening of an accident or injury will not generally give
rise to an inference or presumption that it was due to negligence
on defendant's part, under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, which
chanrobleslaw means, literally, the thing or transaction speaks for itself, or in
Thus, the Court of Appeals found that the award of 100,000 as one jurisdiction, that the thing or instrumentality speaks for itself,
death compensation given by the trial court to the heirs of Lim the facts or circumstances accompanying an injury may be such
was inadequate. However, the Court of Appeals reduced the as to raise a presumption, or at least permit an inference of
amount of death indemnity from 150,000 to 50,000. The Court of negligence on the part of the defendant, or some other person
Appeals deleted the 15,000 awarded by the trial court for the who is charged with negligence.
damages to the motorcycle for absence of proof but awarded
25,000 for funeral and burial expenses. In addition, the Court of x x x [W]here it is shown that the thing or instrumentality which
Appeals awarded 100,000 as moral damages to the heirs of Lim. caused the injury complained of was under the control or
The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals' decision reads: management of the defendant, and that the occurrence resulting
in the injury was such as in the ordinary course of things would
not happen if those who had its control or management used
WHEREFORE, the Judgment dated 27 April 2012 of the Regional proper care, there is sufficient evidence, or, as sometimes stated,
Trial Court (Branch 18), 12th Judicial Region, Midsayap, Cotabato, reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation by the
is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Defendant[]-appellants Eddie defendant, that the injury arose from or was caused by the
Cortel and Yellow Bus Line, Inc. are hereby ordered to pay jointly defendant's want of care.
and severally plaintiff-appellee Cecile Gepaya-Lim the following:
x x x x
(1) Funeral and burial expenses of P25,000.00;
(2) Actual damages for loss of earning capacity of P2,139,540.00; The res ipsa loquitur doctrine is based in part upon the theory
(3) Moral damages amounting to P100,000.00; that the defendant in charge of the instrumentality which causes
(4) Death indemnity of P50,000.00; and the injury either knows the cause of the accident or has the best
(5) Attorney's fees of P15,000.00 opportunity of ascertaining it and that the plaintiff has no such
knowledge, and therefore is compelled to allege negligence in
After this decision becomes final and executory, interest at general terms and to rely upon the proof of the happening of the
12% per annum shall additionally be imposed on the total accident in order to establish negligence. The inference which the
obligation until full payment. doctrine permits is grounded upon the fact that the chief evidence
of the true cause, whether culpable or innocent, is practically
No costs. accessible to the defendant but inaccessible to the injured
person.11
SO ORDERED.8
chanrobleslaw
chanrobleslaw The elements of res ipsa loquitur are: (1) the accident is of such
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration. The Court of character as to warrant an inference that it would not have
Appeals denied the motion in its 21 April 2015 Resolution. happened except for the defendant's negligence; (2) the accident
must have been caused by an agency or instrumentality within
Hence, the recourse before this Court. the exclusive management or control of the person charged with
the negligence complained of; and (3) the accident must not have
The Issue been due to any voluntary action or contribution on the part of the
person injured.12

In this case, Cortel had the exclusive control of the bus, including
its speed. The bus and the motorcycle were running in the same
Whether the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error m traffic direction and as such, the collision would not have
affirming with modifications the decision of the trial court. happened without negligence on the part of Cortel. It was
established that the collision between the bus and the motorcycle
The Ruling of this Court caused Lim's death. Aside from bare allegations that petitioners
failed to prove, there was nothing to show that Lim had
contributory negligence to the accident.

The rule is when an employee causes damage due to his own


We deny the petition. negligence while performing his own duties, there arises a
presumption that his employer is negligent.13 This presumption
Petitioners want this Court to review the factual findings of both can be rebutted only by proof of observance by the employer of
the trial court and the Court of Appeals. Petitioners allege that the the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and
trial court and the Court of Appeals erred in concluding that the supervision of its employees. In this case, we agree with the trial
bus driven by Cortel was running fast when the accident occurred court and the Court of Appeals that Yellow Bus Line failed to
and in applying the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in this case. prove that it exercised due diligence of a good father of a family
in the selection and supervision of its employees. Cortel's
The rule is that the factual findings of the trial court, when certificates of attendance to seminars, which Yellow Bus Line did
affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are binding and conclusive not even present as evidence in the trial court, are not enough to
upon this Court.9 It is also settled that questions regarding the prove otherwise.
cause of vehicular accident and the persons responsible for it are
factual questions which this Court cannot pass upon, particularly We sustain the Court of Appeals in its award of loss of earning
when the findings of the trial court and the Court of Appeals are capacity and damages to respondent. The increase in the award
completely in accord.10 While there are exceptions to this rule, the for loss of earning capacity is proper due to the computation of
Court finds no justification that would make the present case fall the award in accordance with the following formula:
under the exceptions.

As pointed out by the Court of Appeals, the result of the collision Net earning capacity Life Expectancy x [Gross Annual Income-
speaks for itself. If, indeed, the speed of the bus was only 20 Living Expenses (50% of gross annual income)], where life
kilometers per hour as Cortel claimed, it would not bump the expectancy 2/3 (80 - the age of the deceased).14
motorcycle traveling in the same direction with such impact that it
threw its rider upward before hitting the base of its right chanrobleslaw
windshield wiper. If Cortel was driving at 20 kilometers per hour, We note that the Court of Appeals clearly intended to award to
the bus would not drag the motorcycle for three meters after the respondent temperate damages amounting to P25,000 for burial
impact. The Court of Appeals likewise considered the damages and funeral expenses, instead of the P15,000 representing the
sustained by both the motorcycle and the bus which indicated actual damage to the motorcycle awarded by the trial court,
that Cortel was driving fast at the time of the accident. As regards because no evidence was presented to prove the same. However,
petitioners' allegation that Lim was equally negligent because he the term "temperate damages" was inadvertently omitted in the
was riding without a helmet and the motorcycle had no tail lights, dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals' decision although it
the Court of Appeals correctly found that it was self-serving was stated that the amount was for funeral and burial expenses.
We reduce the interest rate to 6% per annum on all damages
awarded from the date of finality of this Decision until fully paid.

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition.


We AFFIRM with MODIFICATION the 16 October 2014 Decision
and 21 April 2015 Resolution of the Court of Appeals Cagayan de
Oro City in CA-G.R. CV No. 02980. We ORDER petitioners Eddie
Cortel y Carna and Yellow Bus Line, Inc. to pay jointly and
severally respondent Cecile Gepaya-Lim the following:

(1) Award for loss of earning capacity amounting to P2,139,540;


(2) Temperate damages amounting to P25,000;
(3) Death indemnity amounting to P50,000;
(4) Moral damages amounting to P100,000; and
(5) Attorney's fees amounting to P15,000

We impose an interest rate of 6% per annum on all damages


awarded from the date of finality of this Decision until fully paid.

SO ORDERED.
litigants or their counsels or representatives shall be advised that
the said cases will eventually be transferred to the regular courts
by August 9, 2000. (Emphasis ours)
G.R. No. 191033

After hearing [respondents’] applications for preliminary


THE ORCHARD GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, INC., EXEQUIEL D.
injunction, the SEC-SICD issued an order dated August 2, 2000
ROBLES, CARLO R.H. MAGNO, CONRADO L. BENITEZ II,
directing the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining
VICENTE R. SANTOS, HENRY CUA LOPING, MARIZA SANTOS-
the individual [petitioners], their agents and representatives from
TAN, TOMAS B. CLEMENTE III, and FRANCIS C.
suspending [respondents], upon the latter's posting of separate
MONTALLANA, Petitioners,
bonds of P40,000. This [respondents] did on August 4, 2000.
vs.
ERNESTO V. YU and MANUEL C. YUHICO, Respondents.
On August 7, 2000, the SEC-SICD issued a writ of preliminary
injunction against [petitioners] directing them to strictly observe
The present case is a continuation of Yu v. The Orchard Gold &
the order dated August 2, 2000.1âwphi1
Country Club, Inc.4 decided by this Court on March 1, 2007. For
brevity, the relevant facts narrated therein are quoted as follows:
On October 31, 2000, the board held a special meeting in which it
resolved to implement the June 29, 2000 order for the suspension
On May 28, 2000, a Sunday, [respondents] Ernesto Yu and Manuel
of [respondents] in view of the fact that the writs of injunction
Yuhico went to the Orchard Golf & Country Club to play a round
issued by the SICD in their respective cases had already [elapsed]
of golf with another member of the club. At the last minute,
on August 8, 2000 under the SEC guidelines.
however, that other member informed them that he could not play
with them. Due to the "no twosome" policy of the Orchard
contained in the membership handbook prohibiting groups of In separate letters dated December 4, 2000 addressed to each
less than three players from teeing off on weekends and public [respondent], [petitioner] Clemente informed them that the board
holidays before 1:00 p.m., [respondents] requested management was implementing their suspensions.
to look for another player to join them.
On December 12, 2000, [respondents] filed a petition for indirect
Because [Orchard] were unable to find their third player, contempt against [petitioners] in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
[respondent] Yu tried to convince Francis Montallana, Orchard’s Dasmariñas, Cavite, docketed as Civil Case No. 2228-00.
assistant golf director, to allow them to play twosome, even if
they had to tee off from hole no. 10 of the Palmer golf course.
In an order dated December 13, 2000, the Dasmariñas, Cavite
Montallana refused, stating that the flights which started from the
RTC, Branch 90, through Judge Dolores [L.] Español, directed the
first nine holes might be disrupted. [Respondent] Yu then
parties to maintain the "last, actual, peaceable and uncontested
shouted invectives at Montallana, at which point he told
state of things," effectively restoring the writ of preliminary
[respondent] Yuhico that they should just tee off anyway,
injunction, and also ordered [petitioners] to file their answer to
regardless of what management's reaction would be.
the petition. [Petitioners] did not file a motion for reconsideration
[Respondents] then teed off, without permission from Montallana.
but filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with the CA,
They were thus able to play, although they did so without
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 62309, contesting the propriety of the
securing a tee time control slip before teeing off, again in
December 13, 2000 order of Judge Español. They also prayed for
disregard of a rule in the handbook. As a result of [respondents’]
the issuance of a TRO and writ of preliminary injunction.
actions, Montallana filed a report on the same day with the board
of directors (the board).
The CA reversed the Dasmariñas, Cavite RTC in the x x x decision
dated August 27, 2001.
In separate letters dated May 31, 2000, the board, through
[petitioner] Clemente, requested [respondents] to submit their
written comments on Montallana’s incident report dated May 28, In view of the CA's decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 62309, [petitioners]
2000. The reportwas submitted for the consideration of the board. finally implemented [respondents’] suspension.

Subsequently, on June 29, 2000, the board resolved to suspend In the meantime, [respondents] filed a motion ad cautelam dated
[respondents] from July 16 to October 15, 2000, and served notice August 30, 2001 in the RTC of Imus, Cavite, Branch 21, praying for
thereof on them. the issuance of a TRO and/or writ of injunction to enjoin
[petitioners] from implementing the suspension orders. They
alleged that neither the CA nor this Court could afford them
On July 11, 2000, [respondents] filed separate petitions for
speedy and adequate relief, hence[,] the case in the RTC of Imus,
injunction with application for temporary restraining order (TRO)
Cavite. The case was docketed as SEC Case Nos. 001-01 and 002-
and/or preliminary injunction with the Securities Investigation and
01.
Clearing Department (SICD) of the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC), at that time the tribunal vested by law with
jurisdiction to hear and decide intra-corporate controversies. The On September 7, 2001, the Imus, Cavite RTC issued a TRO.
cases, in which [respondents] assailed the validity of their [Petitioners] filed a motion for reconsideration on September [11,]
suspension, were docketed as SEC Case Nos. 07-00-6680 and 07- 2001.
00-6681. They were eventually consolidated.
It was after the issuance of this TRO that [respondents] filed, on
After a joint summary hearing on the aforesaid petitions, the SEC- September 12, 2001, a motion for reconsideration of the CA’s
SICD, on July 14, 2000, issued a TRO effective for 20 days from decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 62309. In a resolution dated October
issuance, restraining and enjoining [petitioners], their agents or 10, 2001, the CA denied [respondents’] motion, prompting them to
representatives from implementing or executing the suspension elevate the matter to this Court via petition for review
of [respondents]. on certiorari, docketed as G.R. No. 150335.

On August 1, 2000, the SEC en banc issued its "Guidelines on In an order dated September 21, 2001, the Imus, Cavite RTC
Intra-Corporate Cases Pending Before the SICD and the denied [petitioners’] motion for reconsideration and directed the
Commission En Banc of the Securities and Exchange issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. This prompted
Commission" (guidelines). Sections 1 and 2 of these guidelines [petitioners] to file another petition for certiorari in the Court of
provided: Appeals [docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 67664] which x x x issued
[on March 26, 2002] a TRO against the Imus, Cavite RTC,
enjoining it from implementing the writ of preliminary injunction.
Section 1. Intra-corporate and suspension of payments or
rehabilitation cases may still be filed with the Securities and
Exchange Commission on or before August 8, 2000. However, the At this point, [respondents] filed their second petition in this
parties-litigants or their counsels or representatives shall be Court, this time a special civil action for certiorari, docketed as
advised that the jurisdiction of the Commission over these cases G.R. No. 152687, which included a prayer for the issuance of a
shall be eventually transferred to the Regional Trial Courts upon TRO and/or the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to
effectivity of The Securities Regulation Code by August 9, 2000. restrain the enforcement of the CA-issued TRO.

Section 2. Prayers for temporary restraining order or injunction or On May 6, 2002, the Court issued a resolution consolidating G.R.
suspension of payment order contained in cases filed under the No. 152687 and G.R. No. 150335.
preceding section may be acted upon favorably provided that the
effectivity of the corresponding order shall only be up to August
8, 2000. Prayers for other provisional remedies shall no longer be In G.R. No. 150335, the issue for consideration [was] whether
acted upon by the Commission. In all these cases, the parties- Sections 1 and 2 of the SEC guidelines dated August 1, 2000
shortened the life span of the writs of preliminary injunction
issued on August 7, 2000 by the SEC-SICD in SEC Case Nos. 07- On September 16, 2009, the CA granted respondents’ motion for
00-6680 and 07-00-6681, thereby making them effective only until reconsideration, setting aside its January 15, 2009 Resolution. It
August 8, 2000. relied on Atty. Abrenica v. Law Firm of Abrenica, Tungol &
Tibayan (Atty. Abrenica)20 and Land Bank of the Philippines v.
Ascot Holdings and Equities, Inc., (LBP),21 which respondents
At issue in G.R. No. 152687, on the other hand, [was] whether or
cited in their Opposition to the Urgent Motion and Motion for
not the CA committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to
Reconsideration. Petitioners moved to reconsider,22 but it was
lack of jurisdiction by issuing a TRO against the Imus, Cavite RTC
denied on January 21, 2010; hence, this petition.
and enjoining the implementation of its writ of preliminary
injunction against [petitioners].5
The Court initially denied the petition, but reinstated the same on
October 6, 2010.23
On March 1, 2007, the Court denied the petitions in G.R. Nos.
150335 and 152687. In G.R. No. 150335, it was held that the parties
were allowed to file their cases before August 8, 2000 but any We grant the petition.
provisional remedies the SEC granted them were to be effective
only until that date. Given that the SEC Order and Writ of
The cases of LBP and Atty. Abrenica are inapplicable. In LBP, the
Injunction were issued on August 2 and 7, 2000, respectively,
Court affirmed the CA’s denial of the bank’s motion for extension
both were covered by the guidelines and the stated cut-off date.
of time to file a petition for review. Examination of said case
As to G.R. No. 152687, We ruled that the petition became moot
revealed that the bank filed a motion for reconsideration of the
and academic because the TRO issued by the CA on March 26,
trial court’s adverse judgment dated March 15, 2006, in violation
2002 already expired, its lifetime under Rule 58 of the Rules being
of Section 8(3), Rule 1 of the Interim Rules of Procedure
only 60 days, and petitioners themselves admitted that the CA
Governing Intra-Corporate Controversies under Republic Act No.
allowed its TRO to elapse.
8799. It was held that the filing of such prohibited pleading did not
toll the reglementary period to appeal the judgment via a petition
Meanwhile, per Order dated September 24, 2002 of the Imus RTC, for review under Rule 43 of the Rules. Thus, the CA already
SEC Case Nos. 001-01 and 002-01 were set for pre-trial lacked jurisdiction to entertain the petition which the bank
conference.6 Trial on the merits thereafter ensued. intended to file, much less to grant the motion for extension of
time that was belatedly filed on July 25, 2006.
On December 4, 2008, the Imus RTC ruled in favor of
respondents. The dispositive portion of the Decision7 ordered: Also, in Atty. Abrenica, We found no compelling reasons to relax
the stringent application of the rules on the grounds as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Club’s
Board of Directors suspending [respondents] Ernesto V. Yu and First, when petitioner received the trial court’s consolidated
Manuel C. Yuhico is hereby declared void and of no effect, and decision on December 16, 2004, A.M. No. 04-9-07-SC was already
its’ (sic) enforcement permanently enjoined. The writ of in effect for more than two months.
preliminary injunction is hereby declared permanent.
Second, petitioner had known about the new rules on the second
[Petitioners] are hereby directed to jointly and severally pay each week of January, 2005 when he received a copy of respondents’
of the [respondents] the following amounts: Opposition (To Defendant’s Notice of Appeal) dated January 6,
2005. In their opposition, respondents specifically pointed to the
applicability of A.M. No. 04-9-07-SC to the instant case.
(a) P2,000,000.00 as moral damages;

Third, petitioner originally insisted in his Reply with Manifestation


(b) P2,000,000.00 as exemplary damages;
(To the Opposition to Defendant’s Notice of Appeal) that the
correct mode of appeal was a "notice of appeal."
(c) P500,000.00 as attorney’s fees[;] and
Petitioner reiterated in his Opposition to respondents’ motion for
(d) P100,000.00 as costs of litigation. execution dated January 14, 2005 that a notice of appeal was the
correct remedy.
SO ORDERED.8
Finally, petitioner filed his Motion to Admit Attached Petition for
Review only on June 10, 2005, or almost eight months from the
Upon receiving a copy of the Imus RTC Decision on December 22,
effectivity of A.M. No. 04-9-07-SC on October 15, 2004, after he
2008, petitioners filed a Notice of Appeal accompanied by the received the trial court’s Order of May 11, 2005.24
payment of docket fees on January 5, 2009.9 Respondents then
filed an Opposition to Notice of Appeal with Motion for Issuance
of Writ of Execution,10 arguing that the December 4, 2008 Decision Unlike LBP and Atty. Abrenica, petitioners in this case committed
already became final and executory since no petition for review an excusable delay of merely seven (7) days. When they received
under Rule 43 of the Rules was filed before the CA pursuant to a copy of the Imus RTC Decision on December 22, 2008, they filed
Administrative Matter No. 04-9-07-SC. before the CA an Urgent Motion for Extension of Time to File a
Petition on January 13, 2009. Meantime, they exhibited their
desire to appeal the case by filing a Notice of Appeal before the
Realizing the mistake, petitioners filed on January 13, 2009 an
Imus RTC. Upon realizing their procedural faux pax, petitioners
Urgent Motion for Extension of Time to File a Petition.11 Before the exerted honest and earnest effort to file the proper pleading
Imus RTC, they also filed a Motion to Withdraw the Notice of despite the expiration of the reglementary period. In their urgent
Appeal.12
motion, they candidly admitted that a petition for review under
Rule 43 and not a notice of appeal under Rule 41 ought to have
On January 15, 2009, the CA resolved to give petitioners a 15-day been filed. The material dates were also indicated. Hence, the CA
period within which to file the petition, but "[s]ubject to the was fully aware that the 15-day reglementary period already
timeliness of the filing of petitioners’ Urgent Motion for Extension elapsed when it granted the time to file the petition.
of Time to File ‘Petition for Review’ Under Rule 43 of the Rules of
Court dated January 13, 2009."13 Afterwards, on January 21, 2009,
In general, procedural rules setting the period for perfecting an
petitioners filed a Petition for Review.14 appeal or filing a petition for review are inviolable considering
that appeal is not a constitutional right but merely a statutory
In the meantime, respondents filed an Opposition to Petitioners’ privilege and that perfection of an appeal in the manner and
Urgent Motion.15 Subsequently, they also filed a motion for within the period permitted by law is not only mandatory but
reconsideration of the CA’s Resolution dated January 15, 2009.16 jurisdictional.25 However, procedural rules may be waived or
dispensed with in order to serve and achieve substantial
justice.26 Relaxation of the rules may be had when the appeal, on
Before the Imus RTC, respondents’ motion for execution was its face, appears to be absolutely meritorious or when there are
granted on February 17, 2009. The trial court opined that the persuasive or compelling reasons to relieve a litigant of an
proper appellate mode of review was not filed within the period injustice not commensurate with the degree of thoughtlessness
prescribed by the Rules and that the CA issued no restraining in not complying with the prescribed procedure.27
order.17 On March 2, 2009, the Writ of Execution was
issued.18 Eventually, on March 30, 2009, the Sheriff received the
total amount of P9,200,000.00, as evidenced by two manager’s Notably, under A.M. No. 04-9-07-SC (Re: Mode of Appeal in Cases
check payable to respondents in the amount of P4,600,000.00 Formerly Cognizable by the Securities and Exchange
each, which were turned over to respondents’ counsel.19 Commission),28 while the petition for review under Rule 43 of the
Rules should be filed within fifteen (15) days from notice of the
decision or final order of the RTC, the CA may actually grant an
additional period of fifteen (15) days within which to file the confront the complainant and all the witnesses.40 Subsequently,
petition and a further extension of time not exceeding fifteen (15) on June 13, 2000, Yu, through counsel, submitted his explanation
days for the most compelling reasons. This implies that the that included an admission of the "no twosome" policy.41 Finally,
reglementary period is neither an impregnable nor an unyielding on September 15, 2000, Yu was advised of the Board resolution to
rule. give him another opportunity to present his side in a meeting
supposed to be held on September 20, 2000.42 It appears,
however, that Yu refused to attend.43
Here, there is also no material prejudice to respondents had the
CA allowed the filing of a petition for review. When the Imus RTC
declared as permanent the writ of preliminary injunction, the Likewise, respondent Yuhico was given by Clemente a letter
injunction became immediately executory. Respondents’ dated May 31, 2000 informing him of violating the "no twosome"
suspension as Club members was effectively lifted; in effect, it policy and teeing off without the required tee time slip. 44 After
restored their rights and privileges unless curtailed by a receiving the same, Yuhico called up Clemente to hear his
temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction. side.45 Like Yu, however, Yuhico later refused to attend a meeting
with the Board.46
More importantly, the substantive merits of the case deserve Our
utmost consideration. Respondents were suspended in accordance with the procedure
set forth in the Club’s By-laws. There is no merit on their
insistence that their suspension is invalid on the ground that the
In the present case, Yu acknowledged that there was an offense
affirmative vote of eight (8) members is required to support a
committed.29 Similarly, Yuhico admitted that he was aware or had
decision suspending or expelling a Club member. Both the
prior knowledge of the Club’s "no twosome" policy as contained
provisions of Articles of Incorporation47 and By-Laws48 of the
in the Club’s Membership Handbook and that they teed off
Club expressly limit the number of directors to seven (7); hence,
without the required tee time slip.30 Also, while Yu recognized
the provision on suspension and expulsion of a member which
telling Montallana "kamote ka," Yuhico heard him also say that he
requires the affirmative vote of eight (8) members is obviously a
(Montallana) is "gago."31
result of an oversight. Former Senator Helena Z. Benitez, the
Honorary Chairperson named in the Membership Handbook,
Respondents assert that the "no twosome" policy was relaxed by could not be included as a regular Board member since there was
the management when a member or player would not be no evidence adduced by respondents that she was elected as
prejudiced or, in the words of Yu, allowed when "maluwag."32 Yet such pursuant to the Corporation Code and the By-laws of the
a thorough reading of the transcript of stenographic records Club or that she had the right and authority to attend and vote in
(TSN) disclosed that such claim is based not on concrete Board meetings. In addition, at the time the Board resolved to
examples. No specific instance as to when and under what suspend respondents, the affirmative votes of only six (6) Board
circumstance the supposed relaxation took place was cited. members already sufficed. The testimony of Jesus A. Liganor,
Yuhico roughly recollected two incidents but, assuming them to who served as Assistant Corporate Secretary, that Rodrigo
be true, these happened only after May 28, 2000. 33 Further, the tee Francisco had not attended a single Board meeting since 1997
pass or control slip and the Club’s Palmer Course Card,34 which remains uncontroverted.49 The Court agrees with petitioners that
was identified by respondents’ witness, Pepito Dimabuyo, to the Club should not be powerless to discipline its members and
prove that he and another member were allowed to play twosome be helpless against acts inimical to its interest just because one
on June 13, 2004, a Sunday, indicated that they were allowed to director had been suspended and refused to take part in the
tee off only at 1:45 p.m.35 Lastly, granting, for the sake of management affairs.
argument, that the "no twosome" policy had been relaxed in the
past, Montallana cannot be faulted in exercising his prerogative to
Lastly, contrary to respondents’ position, the recommendation of
disallow respondents from playing since they made no prior
the House Committee50 to suspend a Club member is not a pre-
reservation and that there were standing flights waiting for tee
requisite. Section 1, Article XIV,51 not Section 2 (b), Article XI,52 of
time. Per Cipriano Santos’ Report, May 28, 2000 was a relatively
the By-Laws governs as it outlines the procedure for the
busy day as it had 200 registered players to accommodate as of
suspension of a member. Even assuming that the
8:00 a.m.
recommendation of the House Committee is mandatory,
respondents failed to prove, as a matter of fact, that petitioners
It was averred that respondents teed off without the required tee acted in bad faith in relying on the subject provision, which
time slip based on the thinking that it was no longer necessary employs the permissive word "may" in reference to the power of
since Santos, the Club’s Manager, allowed them by waving his the House Committee to recommend anytime the suspension of a
hands when Yuhico’s caddie tried to pick up the slip in the Club member.
registration office. Such excuse is flimsy because it ignored the
reality that Santos, a mere subordinate of Montallana who already
Way different from the trial court’s findings, there is, therefore, no
earned the ire of Yu, was practically more helpless to contain the
factual and legal basis to grant moral and exemplary damages,
stubborn insistence of respondents.
attorney’s fees and costs of suit in favor of respondents. The
damages suffered, if there are any, partake of the nature of
Definitely, the contentions that respondents were not stopped by a damnum absque injuria. As elaborated in Spouses Custodio v.
the management when they teed off and that they did not cause CA:53
harm to other members playing golf at the time for absence of any
complaints are completely immaterial to the fact that
x x x [T]he mere fact that the plaintiff suffered losses does not
transgressions to existing Club rules and regulations were
give rise to a right to recover damages. To warrant the recovery of
committed. It is highly probable that they were tolerated so as to
damages, there must be both a right of action for a legal wrong
restore the peace and avoid further confrontation and
inflicted by the defendant, and damage resulting to the plaintiff
inconvenience to the parties involved as well as to the Club
therefrom. Wrong without damage, or damage without wrong,
members in general.
does not constitute a cause of action, since damages are merely
part of the remedy allowed for the injury caused by a breach or
With regard to the purported damages they incurred, respondents wrong.
testified during the trial to support their respective
allegations.1âwphi1 Yuhico stated that he distanced himself from
There is a material distinction between damages and injury. Injury
his usual group (the "Alabang Boys") and that he became the butt
is the illegal invasion of a legal right; damage is the loss, hurt, or
of jokes of fellow golfers.36 On the other hand, Yu represented
harm which results from the injury; and damages are the
that some of his friends in the business like Freddy Lim, a certain
recompense or compensation awarded for the damage suffered.
Atty. Benjie, and Jun Ramos started to evade or refuse to have
Thus, there can be damage without injury in those instances in
dealings with him after his suspension.37 Apart from these self-
which the loss or harm was not the result of a violation of a legal
serving declarations, respondents presented neither testimonial
duty. These situations are often called damnum absque injuria.
nor documentary evidence to bolster their claims. Worse, Yu even
admitted that Freddy Lim and Atty. Benjie did not tell him that his
suspension was the reason why they did not want to transact with In order that a plaintiff may maintain an action for the injuries of
him.38 which he complains, he must establish that such injuries resulted
from a breach of duty which the defendant owed to the plaintiff –
a concurrence of injury to the plaintiff and legal responsibility by
Records reveal that respondents were given due notice and
the person causing it. The underlying basis for the award of tort
opportunity to be heard before the Board of Directors imposed
damages is the premise that an individual was injured in
the penalty of suspension as Club members. Respondent Yu was
contemplation of law. Thus, there must first be the breach of
served with the May 31, 2000 letter39signed by then Acting
some duty and the imposition of liability for that breach before
General Manager Tomas B. Clemente III informing that he violated
damages may be awarded; it is not sufficient to state that there
the "no twosome" policy, teed off without the required tee time
should be tort liability merely because the plaintiff suffered some
slip, and uttered derogatory remarks to Montallana in front of
pain and suffering.
another member and the caddies. In response, Yu’s counsel
asked for a copy of Montallana’s report and a formal hearing to
Many accidents occur and many injuries are inflicted by acts or
omissions which cause damage or loss to another but which
violate no legal duty to such other person, and consequently
create no cause of action in his favor. In such cases, the
consequences must be borne by the injured person alone. The
law affords no remedy for damages resulting from an act which
does not amount to a legal injury or wrong.

In other words, in order that the law will give redress for an act
causing damage, that act must be not only hurtful, but wrongful.
There must be damnum et injuria. If, as may happen in many
cases, a person sustains actual damage, that is, harm or loss to
his person or property, without sustaining any legal injury, that is,
an act or omission which the law does not deem an injury, the
damage is regarded as damnum absque injuria.

xxxx

The proper exercise of a lawful right cannot constitute a legal


wrong for which an action will lie, although the act may result in
damage to another, for no legal right has been invaded. One may
use any lawful means to accomplish a lawful purpose and though
the means adopted may cause damage to another, no cause of
action arises in the latter’s favor. Any injury or damage
occasioned thereby is damnum absque injuria. The courts can
give no redress for hardship to an individual resulting from action
reasonably calculated to achieve a lawful end by lawful means. 54

"One who makes use of his own legal right does no injury. Qui
jure suo utitur nullum damnum facit. If damage results from a
person's exercising his legal rights, it is damnum absque
injuria."55 In this case, respondents failed to prove by
preponderance of evidence that there is fault or negligence on the
part of petitioners in order to oblige them to pay for the alleged
damage sustained as a result of their suspension as Club
members. Certainly, membership in the Club is a
privilege.56 Regular members are entitled to use all the facilities
and privileges of the Club, subject to its rules and
regulations.57 As correctly pointed out by petitioners, the mental
anguish respondents experienced, assuming to be true, was
brought upon them by themselves for deliberately and
consciously violating the rules and regulations of the Club.
Considering that respondents were validly suspended, there is no
reason for the Club to compensate them. Indeed, the penalty of
suspension provided for in Section 1, Article XIV of the By-Laws
is a means to protect and preserve the interest and purposes of
the Club. This being so, the suspension of respondents does not
fall under any of the provisions of the Civil Code pertaining to the
grant of moral and exemplary damages, attorney’s fees, and
litigation costs.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED.


The Resolutions dated September 16, 2009 and January 21, 2010
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 106918, which
reconsidered and set aside its Resolution dated January 15, 2009,
granting petitioners a fifteen-day period within which to file a
petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules, is ANNULLED AND
SET ASIDE. SEC Case Nos. 001-0l and 002-0l filed and raffled
before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 21 of Imus, Cavite are
hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. Respondents are ORDERED
TO RETURN to petitioners the total amount of P9,200,000.00 or
P4,600,000.00 each, within THIRTY (30) DAYS from the time this
decision becomes final and executory. Thereafter, said amount
shall earn legal interest of six percent (6%) per annum until fully
paid.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 170631, February 10, 2016 Caravan's Motion for Reconsideration32 was denied through the
October 20, 2003 Order33 of the Regional Trial Court.
CARAVAN TRAVEL AND TOURS INTERNATIONAL,
The Court of Appeals affirmed with modification the Regional
INC., Petitioner, v. ERMILINDA R. ABEJAR, Respondent.
Trial Court's July 31, 2003 Decision and October 20, 2003 Order,
as follows:
DECISION chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

LEONEN, J.: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal


is DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed Decision dated 31 July
2003 and Order dated 20 October 2003 of the Regional Trial Court,
The plaintiff may first prove the employer's ownership of the City of Para[ñ]aque, Branch 258, in Civil Case No. 00-0447
vehicle involved in a mishap by presenting the vehicle's are AFFIRMEDwith the following MODIFICATIONS:
registration in evidence. Thereafter, a disputable presumption
that the requirements for an employer's liability under Article
21801 of the Civil Code have been satisfied will arise. The burden 1. Moral Damages is REDUCED to Php 200,000.00;
of evidence then shifts to the defendant to show that no liability 2. Death Indemnity of Php 50,000.00 is awarded;
under Article 2180 has ensued. This case, thus, harmonizes the 3. The Php 35,000.00 actual damages, Php 200,000.00
requirements of Article 2180, in relation to Article 21762 of the moral damages, Php 30,000.00 exemplary damages and
Civil Code, and the so-called registered-owner rule as established Php 50,000.00 attorney's fees shall earn interest at the
in this court's rulings in Aguilar, Sr. v. Commercial Savings rate of 6% per annum computed from 31 July 2003, the
Bank,3Del Carmen, Jr. v. Bacoy,4Filcar Transport Services v. date of the [Regional Trial Court's] decision; and upon
Espinas,5 and Mendoza v. Spouses Gomez.6 finality of this Decision, all the amounts due shall earn
interest at the rate of 12% per annum, in lieu of 6% per
Through this Petition for Review on Certiorari,7 Caravel Travel and annum, until full payment; and
Tours International, Inc. (Caravan) prays that the Decision8 dated 4. The Php 50,000.00 death indemnity shall earn interest at
October 3, 2005 and the Resolution9 dated November 29, 2005 of the rate of 6% per annumcomputed from the date of
the Court of Appeals Twelfth Division be reversed and set aside.10 promulgation of this Decision; and upon finality of this
Decision, the amount due shall earn interest at the rate
On July 13, 2000, Jesmariane R. Reyes (Reyes) was walking along of 12% per annum, in lieu of 6% per annum, until full
the west-bound lane of Sampaguita Street, United Parañaque payment.
Subdivision IV, Parañaque City. 11 A Mitsubishi L-300 van with
plate number PKM 19512 was travelling along the east-bound lane,
Costs against [Caravan].
opposite Reyes.13 To avoid an incoming vehicle, the van swerved
to its left and hit Reyes.14 Alex Espinosa (Espinosa), a witness to
SO ORDERED.
the accident, went to her aid and loaded her in the back of the
van.15 Espinosa told the driver of the van, Jimmy Bautista
(Bautista), to bring Reyes to the hospital.16 Instead of doing so, Caravan filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but it was denied in
Bautista appeared to have left the van parked inside a nearby the Court of Appeals' assailed November 29, 2005 Resolution.35
subdivision with Reyes still in the van.17 Fortunately for Reyes, an
unidentified civilian came to help and drove Reyes to the Hence, this Petition was filed.
hospital.18
Caravan argues that Abejar has no personality to bring this suit
Upon investigation, it was found that the registered owner of the because she is not a real party in interest. According to Caravan,
van was Caravan.19 Caravan is a corporation engaged in the Abejar does not exercise legal or substitute parental authority.
business of organizing travels and tours.20 Bautista was She is also not the judicially appointed guardian or the only living
Caravan's employee assigned to drive the van as its service relative of the deceased.36 She is also not "the executor or
driver.21 administrator of the estate of the deceased."37 According to
Caravan, only the victim herself or her heirs can enforce an action
Caravan shouldered the hospitalization expenses of based on culpa aquiliana such as Abejar's action for damages.38
Reyes.22 Despite medical attendance, Reyes died two (2) days
after the accident.23 Caravan adds that Abejar offered no documentary or testimonial
evidence to prove that Bautista, the driver, acted "within the
Respondent Ermilinda R. Abejar (Abejar), Reyes' paternal aunt scope of his assigned tasks"39 when the accident
and the person who raised her since she was nine (9) years occurred.40 According to Caravan, Bautista's tasks only pertained
old,24 filed before the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque a to the transport of company personnel or products, and when the
Complaint25 for damages against Bautista and Caravan. In her accident occurred, he had not been transporting personnel or
Complaint, Abejar alleged that Bautista was an employee of delivering products of and for the company. 41
Caravan and that Caravan is the registered owner of the van that
hit Reyes.26 Caravan also argues that "it exercised the diligence of a good
father of a family in the selection and supervision of its
Summons could not be served on Bautista.27 Thus, Abejar moved employees."42
to drop Bautista as a defendant.28 The Regional Trial Court
granted her Motion.29 Caravan further claims that Abejar should not have been awarded
moral damages, actual damages, death indemnity, exemplary
After trial, the Regional Trial Court found that Bautista was damages, and attorney's fees.43 It questions the Certificate
grossly negligent in driving the vehicle.30 It awarded damages in provided by Abejar as proof of expenses since its signatory, a
favor of Abejar, as follows: certain Julian Peñaloza (Peñaloza), was not presented in court,
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary and Caravan was denied the right to cross-examine
him.44 Caravan argues that the statements in the Certification
constitute hearsay.45 It also contends that based on Article
WHEREFORE, considering that the [respondent] was able to
2206(3)46 of the Civil Code, Abejar is not entitled to moral
provide by preponderance of evidence her cause of action
damages.47 It insists that moral and exemplary damages should
against the defendants, judgment is hereby rendered ordering
not have been awarded to Abejar because Caravan acted in good
defendants JIMMY BAUTISTA and CARAVAN TRAVEL and
faith.48 Considering that moral and exemplary damages are
TOURS[,] INC., to jointly and solidarity pay the plaintiff, the
unwarranted, Caravan claims that the award of attorney's fees
following, to wit:
should have also been removed.49
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Lastly, Caravan argues that it should not be held solidarily liable
1. The amount of P35,000.00 representing actual damages; with Bautista since Bautista was already dropped as a party. 50

2. The amount of P300,000.00 as moral damages; Abejar counters that Caravan failed to provide proof that it
exercised the requisite diligence in the selection and supervision
3. The amount of P30,000.00 as exemplary damages; of Bautista.51 She adds that the Court of Appeals' ruling that
Caravan is solidarily liable with Bautista for moral damages,
4. The amount of P50,000.00 as and by way of attorney's fees; and exemplary damages, civil indemnity ex delicto, and attorney's
fees should be upheld.52 Abejar argues that since Caravan is the
5. The cost of suit. registered owner of the van, it is directly, primarily, and solidarity
liable for the tortious acts of its driver.53
SO ORDERED.31ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary For resolution are the following issues:

First, whether respondent Ermilinda R. Abejar is a real party in


interest who may bring an action for damages against petitioner based on two grounds.
Caravan Travel and Tours International, Inc. on account of
Jesmariane R. Reyes' death; and First, respondent suffered actual personal loss. With her affinity
for Reyes, it stands to reason that when Reyes died, respondent
Second, whether petitioner should be held liable as an employer, suffered the same anguish that a natural parent would have felt
pursuant to Article 2180 of the Civil Code. upon the loss of one's child. It is for this injury — as authentic
and personal as that of a natural parent — that respondent seeks
We deny the Petition. to be indemnified.

Second, respondent is capacitated to do what Reyes' actual


I
parents would have been capacitated to do.

In Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of


Having exercised substitute parental authority, respondent Appeals,65Tapdasan, Jr. v. People,66 and Aguilar, Sr. v.
suffered actual loss and is, thus, a real party in interest in this Commercial Savings Bank,67 this court allowed natural parents of
case. victims to recover damages for the death of their children.
Inasmuch as persons exercising substitute parental authority
In her Complaint, respondent made allegations that would sustain have the full range of competencies of a child's actual parents,
her action for damages: that she exercised substitute parental nothing prevents persons exercising substitute parental authority
authority over Reyes; that Reyes' death was caused by the from similarly possessing the right to be indemnified for their
negligence of petitioner and its driver; and that Reyes' death ward's death.
caused her damage.54 Respondent properly filed an action based
on quasi-delict. She is a real party in interest. We note that Reyes was already 18 years old when she died.
Having reached the age of majority, she was already emancipated
Rule 3, Section 2 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure defines a upon her death. While parental authority is terminated upon
real party in interest: emancipation,68respondent continued to support and care for
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Reyes even after she turned 18.69 Except for the legal technicality
of Reyes' emancipation, her relationship with respondent
remained the same. The anguish and damage caused to
RULE 3. Parties to Civil Actions respondent by Reyes' death was no different because of Reyes'
emancipation.

. . . . In any case, the termination of respondent's parental authority is


not an insurmountable legal bar that precludes the filing of her
SECTION 2. Parties in Interest. — A real party in interest is the Complaint. In interpreting Article 190270 of the old Civil Code,
party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the which is substantially similar to the first sentence of Article
suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. Unless 217671 of the Civil Code, this court in The Receiver For North
otherwise authorized by law or these Rules, every action must be Negros Sugar Company, Inc. v. Ybañez, et al.72 ruled that brothers
prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest. and sisters may recover damages, except moral damages, for the
death of their sibling.73 This court declared that Article 1902 of the
old Civil Code (now Article 2176) is broad enough to
"To qualify a person to be a real party in interest in whose name accommodate even plaintiffs who are not relatives of the
an action must be prosecuted, he [or she] must appear to be the deceased, thus:74
present real owner of the right sought to be
enforced."55 Respondent's capacity to file a complaint against
petitioner stems from her having exercised substitute parental This Court said: "Article 1902 of the Civil Code declares that any
authority over Reyes. person who by an act or omission, characterized by fault or
negligence, causes damage to another shall be liable for the
Article 216 of the Family Code identifies the persons who exercise damage done ... a person is liable for damage done to another by
substitute parental authority: any culpable act; and by any culpable act is meant any act which
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary is blameworthy when judged by accepted legal standards. The
idea thus expressed is undoubtedly broad enough to include any
rational conception of liability for the tortious acts likely to be
Art. 216. In default of parents or a judicially appointed guardian, developed in any society." The word "damage" in said article,
the following persons shall exercise substitute parental authority comprehending as it does all that are embraced in its meaning,
over the child in the order indicated: includes any and all damages that a human being may suffer in
any and all the manifestations of his life: physical or material,
(1) The surviving grandparent, as provided in Art. 214; 56 moral or psychological, mental or spiritual, financial, economic,
social, political, and religious.
(2) The oldest brother or sister, over twenty-one years of age,
unless unfit or disqualified; and It is particularly noticeable that Article 1902 stresses the passive
subject of the obligation to pay damages caused by his fault or
(3) The child's actual custodian, over twenty-one years of age, negligence. The article does not limit or specify the active
unless unfit or disqualified. subjects, much less the relation that must exist between the
victim of the culpa aquiliana and the person who may recover
Whenever the appointment or a judicial guardian over the damages, thus warranting the inference that, in principle,
property of the child becomes necessary, the same order of anybody who suffers any damage from culpa aquiliana, whether a
preference shall be observed. (Emphasis supplied) relative or not of the victim, may recover damages from the
person responsible therefor[.]75(Emphasis supplied, citations
Article 233 of the Family Code provides for the extent of authority omitted)
of persons exercising substitute parental authority, that is, the
same as those of actual parents: II
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Art. 233. The person exercising substitute parental authority shall Respondent's Complaint is anchored on an employer's liability for
have the same authority over the person of the child as the quasi-delict provided in Article 2180, in relation to Article 2176 of
parents. (Emphasis supplied) the Civil Code. Articles 2176 and 2180 read:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Both of Reyes' parents are already deceased. 57 Reyes' paternal
grandparents are also both deceased.58The whereabouts of ARTICLE 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to
Reyes' maternal grandparents are unknown.59 There is also no another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the
record that Reyes has brothers or sisters. It was under these damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing
circumstances that respondent took custody of Reyes when she contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict
was a child, assumed the role of Reyes' parents, and thus, and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
exercised substitute parental authority over her.60 As Reyes'
custodian, respondent exercised the full extent of the statutorily . . . . .
recognized rights and duties of a parent. Consistent with Article
22061 of the Family Code, respondent supported Reyes' ARTICLE 2180. The obligation imposed by article 2176 is
education62 and provided for her personal needs.63 To echo demandable not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also
respondent's words in her Complaint, she treated Reyes as if she for those of persons for whom one is responsible.
were her own daughter.64
The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are
Respondent's right to proceed against petitioner, therefore, is
responsible for the damages caused by the minor children who the employer liable, that the employee was acting within the
live in their company. scope of his assigned task when the tort complained of was
committed. It is only then that the employer may find it necessary
Guardians are liable for damages caused by the minors or to interpose the defense of due diligence in the selection and
incapacitated persons who are under their authority and live in supervision of the employee.
their company.
. . . .
The owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are
likewise responsible for damages caused by their employees in Since there is paucity of evidence that ABAD was acting within
the service of the branches in which the latter are employed or on the scope of the functions entrusted to him, petitioner CASTILEX
the occasion of their functions. had no duty to show that it exercised the diligence of a good
father of a family in providing ABAD with a service vehicle. Thus,
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their justice and equity require that petitioner be relieved of vicarious
employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their liability for the consequences of the negligence of ABAD in
assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any driving its vehicle. (Emphasis supplied, citations
business or industry. omitted)87ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

The State is responsible in like manner when it acts through a


Aguilar, Sr. v. Commercial Savings Bank recognized the seeming
special agent; but not when the damage has been caused by the
conflict between Article 2180 and the registered-owner rule and
official to whom the task done properly pertains, in which case
applied the latter.88
what is provided in article 2176 shall be applicable.
In Aguilar, Sr., a Mitsubishi Lancer, registered in the name of
Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades
Commercial Savings Bank and driven by the bank's assistant
shall be liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or
vice-president Ferdinand Borja, hit Conrado Aguilar, Jr. The
apprentices, so long as they remain in their custody.
impact killed Conrado Aguilar, Jr. His father, Conrado Aguilar, Sr.
filed a case for damages against Ferdinand Borja and Commercial
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the
Savings Bank. The Regional Trial Court found Commercial
persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the
Savings Bank solidarity liable with Ferdinand Borja.89
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.
(Emphasis supplied)
However, the Court of Appeals disagreed with the trial court's
Decision and dismissed the complaint against the bank. The
Contrary to petitioner's position, it was not fatal to respondent's Court of Appeals reasoned that Article 2180 requires the plaintiff
cause that she herself did not adduce proof that Bautista acted to prove that at the time of the accident, the employee was acting
within the scope of his authority. It was sufficient that Abejar within the scope of his or her assigned tasks. The Court of
proved that petitioner was the registered owner of the van that hit Appeals found no evidence that Ferdinand Borja was acting as
Reyes. the bank's assistant vice-president at the time of the accident.90

The resolution of this case must consider two (2) rules. First, The Court of Appeals' ruling was reversed by this court.91Aguilar,
Article 2180's specification that "[e]mployers shall be liable for Sr. reiterated the following pronouncements made in Erezo in
the damages caused by their employees . . . acting within the ruling that the bank, as the registered owner of the vehicle, was
scope of their assigned tasks[.]" Second, the operation of the primarily liable to the plaintiff:92
registered-owner rule that registered owners are liable for death
or injuries caused by the operation of their vehicles.76
The main aim of motor vehicle registration is to identify the owner
so that if any accident happens, or that any damage or injury is
These rules appear to be in conflict when it comes to cases in
caused by the vehicle on the public highways, responsibility
which the employer is also the registered owner of a vehicle.
therefor can be fixed on a definite individual, the registered
Article 2180 requires proof of two things: first, an employment
owner....
relationship between the driver and the owner; and second, that
the driver acted within the scope of his or her assigned tasks. On
....
the other hand, applying the registered-owner rule only requires
the plaintiff to prove that the defendant-employer is the registered
A victim of recklessness on the public highways is usually
owner of the vehicle.
without means to discover or identify the person actually causing
the injury or damage. He has no means other than by a recourse
The registered-owner rule was articulated as early as 1957
to the registration in the Motor Vehicles Office to determine who
in Erezo, et al. v. Jepte,77 where this court explained that the
is the owner. The protection that the law aims to extend to him
registration of motor vehicles, as required by Section 5(a)78 of
would become illusory were the registered owner given the
Republic Act No. 4136, the Land Transportation and Traffic Code,
opportunity to escape liability by disproving his
was necessary "not to make said registration the operative act by
ownership.93ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
which ownership in vehicles is transferred, . . . but to permit the
use and operation of the vehicle upon any public highway[.]"79 Its
"main aim . . . is to identify the owner so that if any accident Thus, Aguilar, Sr. concluded:
happens, or that any damage or injury is caused by the vehicle on chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
the public highways, responsibility therefor can be fixed on a
definite individual, the registered owner."80
In our view, respondent bank, as the registered owner of the
Erezo notwithstanding, Castilex Industrial Corporation v. vehicle, is primarily liable for Aguilar, Jr.'s death. The Court of
Vasquez, Jr.81 relied on Article 2180 of the Civil Code even though Appeals erred when it concluded that the bank was not liable
the employer was also the registered owner of the vehicle. 82 The simply because (a) petitioner did not prove that Borja was acting
registered-owner rule was not mentioned. as the bank's vice president at the time of the accident; and (b)
Borja had, according to respondent bank, already bought the car
In Castilex, Benjamin Abad (Abad) was a manager of Castilex at the time of the mishap. For as long as the respondent bank
Industrial Corporation (Castilex). Castilex was also the registered remained the registered owner of the car involved in the vehicular
owner of a Toyota Hi-Lux pick-up truck. While Abad was driving accident, it could not escape primary liability for the death of
the pick-up truck, it collided with a motorcycle driven by Romeo petitioner's son.94 (Emphasis supplied)
Vasquez (Vasquez). Vasquez died a few days after. Vasquez's
parents filed a case for damages against Abad and Preference for the registered-owner rule became more
Castilex.83 Castilex denied liability, arguing that Abad was acting pronounced in Del Carmen, Jr. v. Bacoy:95
in his private capacity at the time of the accident. 84

This court absolved Castilex of liability, reasoning that it was Without disputing the factual finding of the [Court of Appeals] that
incumbent upon the plaintiff to prove that the negligent employee Allan was still his employee at the time of the accident, a finding
was acting within the scope of his assigned tasks.85 Vasquez's which we see no reason to disturb, Oscar Jr. contends that Allan
parents failed to prove this.86 This court outlined the process drove the jeep in his private capacity and thus, an employer's
necessary for an employer to be held liable for the acts of its vicarious liability for the employee's fault under Article 2180 of
employees and applied the process to the case: the Civil Code cannot apply to him.
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The contention is no longer novel. In Aguilar Sr. v. Commercial
Savings Bank, the car of therein respondent bank caused the
Under the fifth paragraph of Article 2180, whether or not engaged death of Conrado Aguilar, Jr. while being driven by its assistant
in any business or industry, an employer is liable for the torts vice president. Despite Article 2180, we still held the bank liable
committed by employees within the scope of his assigned tasks. for damages for the accident as said provision should defer to the
But it is necessary to establish the employer-employee settled doctrine concerning accidents involving registered motor
relationship; once this is done, the plaintiff must show, to hold vehicles, i.e., that the registered owner of any vehicle, even if not
used for public service, would primarily be responsible to the just stated, a presumption that the requirements of Article 2180
public or to third persons for injuries caused the latter while the have been satisfied arises. It is now up to petitioner to establish
vehicle was being driven on the highways or streets. We have that it incurred no liability under Article 2180. This it can do by
already ratiocinated that: presenting proof of any of the following: first, that it had no
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary employment relationship with Bautista; second, that Bautista
acted outside the scope of his assigned tasks; or third, that it
exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the
The main aim of motor vehicle registration is to identify the owner
selection and supervision of Bautista.107
so that if any accident happens, or that any damage or injury is
caused by the vehicle on the public highways, responsibility
On the first, petitioner admitted that Bautista was its employee at
therefor can be fixed on a definite individual, the registered
the time of the accident.108
owner. Instances are numerous where vehicles running on public
highways caused accidents or injuries to pedestrians or other
On the second, petitioner was unable to prove that Bautista was
vehicles without positive identification of the owner or drivers, or
not acting within the scope of his assigned tasks at the time of
with very scant means of identification. It is to forestall these
the accident. When asked by the court why Bautista was at the
circumstances, so inconvenient or prejudicial to the public, that
place of the accident when it occurred, Sally Bellido, petitioner's
the motor vehicle registration is primarily ordained, in the interest
accountant and supervisor,109 testified that she did not "have the
of the determination of persons responsible for damages or
personal capacity to answer [the question]"110 and that she had
injuries caused on public highways.96 (Emphasis supplied,
no knowledge to answer it:
citations omitted)
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Filcar Transport Services v. Espinas97 stated that the registered


owner of a vehicle can no longer use the defenses found in COURT : Madam Witness, do you know the reason why
Article 2180:98 your driver, Jimmy Bautista, at around 10:00 o'
clock in the morning of July 13, 2000 was in the
Neither can Filcar use the defenses available under Article 2180 of vicinity of Barangay Marcelo Green, United
the Civil Code - that the employee acts beyond the scope of his Parañaque Subdivision 4?
assigned task or that it exercised the due diligence of a good
father of a family to prevent damage - because the motor vehicle
registration law, to a certain extent, modified Article 2180 of the WITNESS : I don't have the personal capacity to answer that,
Civil Code by making these defenses unavailable to the registered Sir.
owner of the motor vehicle. Thus, for as long as Filcar is the
registered owner of the car involved in the vehicular accident, it
could not escape primary liability for the damages caused to
Espinas.99ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary Q : So you don't have any knowledge why he was
there?

Mendoza v. Spouses Gomez100 reiterated this doctrine.


A : Yes, Sir.111 (Emphasis supplied)
However, Aguilar, Sr., Del Carmen, Filcar, and Mendoza should
not be taken to mean that Article 2180 of the Civil Code should be
completely discarded in cases where the registered-owner rule
finds application. Sally Bellido's testimony does not affect the presumption that
Article 2180's requirements have been satisfied. Mere disavowals
As acknowledged in Filcar, there is no categorical statutory are not proof that suffice to overturn a presumption. To this end,
pronouncement in the Land Transportation and Traffic Code evidence must be adduced. However, petitioner presented no
stipulating the liability of a registered owner.101 The source of a positive evidence to show that Bautista was acting in his private
registered owner's liability is not a distinct statutory provision, capacity at the time of the incident.
but remains to be Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary On the third, petitioner likewise failed to prove that it exercised
the requisite diligence in the selection and supervision of
Bautista.
While Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and
Traffic Code does not contain any provision on the liability of In its selection of Bautista as a service driver, petitioner
registered owners in case of motor vehicle mishaps, Article 2176, contented itself with Bautista's submission of a non-
in relation with Article 2180, of the Civil Code imposes an professional driver's license.112 Hence, in Sally Balledo's cross-
obligation upon Filcar, as registered owner, to answer for the examination:
damages caused to Espinas' car.102ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Thus, it is imperative to apply the registered-owner rule in a


manner that harmonizes it with Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Q : . . . when he was promoted as service driver, of
Code. Rules must be construed in a manner that will harmonize course, there were certain requirements and among
them with other rules so as to form a uniform and consistent other else, you made mention about a driver's
system of jurisprudence.103 In light of this, the words used in Del license.
Carmen are particularly notable. There, this court stated that
Article 2180 "should defer to"104 the registered-owner rule. It never
stated that Article 2180 should be totally abandoned.
A : Yes, Sir.
Therefore, the appropriate approach is that in cases where both
the registered-owner rule and Article 2180 apply, the plaintiff must
first establish that the employer is the registered owner of the Q : Would you be able to show to this Honorable Court
vehicle in question. Once the plaintiff successfully proves whether indeed this person did submit a driver's
ownership, there arises a disputable presumption that the license to your company?
requirements of Article 2180 have been proven. As a
consequence, the burden of proof shifts to the defendant to show
that no liability under Article 2180 has arisen.
A : Yes, Sir.
This disputable presumption, insofar as the registered owner of
the vehicle in relation to the actual driver is concerned,
recognizes that between the owner and the victim, it is the former ....
that should carry the costs of moving forward with the evidence.
The victim is, in many cases, a hapless pedestrian or motorist
with hardly any means to uncover the employment relationship of Q : Do you recall what kind of driver's license is this?
the owner and the driver, or any act that the owner may have
done in relation to that employment.

The registration of the vehicle, on the other hand, is accessible to A : The Land Transportation Office.
the public.

Here, respondent presented a copy of the Certificate of Q : Is it a professional driver's license or non-
Registration105 of the van that hit Reyes.106 The Certificate attests proffesional [sic] driver's license?
to petitioner's ownership of the van. Petitioner itself did not
dispute its ownership of the van. Consistent with the rule we have
in fixing liability on a definite person.
A : Non-professional.
Bautista, the driver, was not an indispensable party under Rule 3,
Section 7118 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Rather, he was a
Q : You are not sure? necessary party under Rule 3, Section 8.119 Instead of insisting
that Bautista — who was nothing more than a necessary party —
should not have been dropped as a defendant, or that petitioner,
along with Bautista, should have been dropped, petitioner (as a
COURT : Non professional, professional?
co-defendant insisting that the action must proceed with Bautista
as party) could have opted to file a cross-claim against Bautista
as its remedy.
A : It's a non-professional.113 (Emphasis supplied)
The 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure spell out the rules on joinder of
indispensable and necessary parties. These are intended to afford
Employing a person holding a non-professional driver's license to "a complete determination of all possible issues, not only
operate another's motor vehicle violates Section 24 of the Land between the parties themselves but also as regards to other
Transportation and Traffic Code, which provides: persons who may be affected by the judgment."120
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
However, while an exhaustive resolution of disputes is desired in
every case, the distinction between indispensable parties and
SEC. 24. Use of driver's license and badge. — ... necessary parties delineates a court's capacity to render effective
judgment. As defined by Rule 3, Section 7, indispensable parties
. . . . are "[p]arties in interest without whom no final determination can
be had of an action[.]" Thus, their non-inclusion is debilitating:
No owner of a motor vehicle shall engage, employ, or hire any "the presence of indispensable parties is a condition for the
person to operate such motor vehicle, unless the person sought exercise of juridical power and when an indispensable party is
to be employed is a duly licensed professional driver. not before the court, the action should be dismissed."121

Evidently, petitioner did not only fail to exercise due diligence In contrast, a necessary party's presence is not imperative, and
when it selected Bautista as service driver; it also committed an his or her absence is not debilitating. Nevertheless, it is preferred
actual violation of law. that they be included in order that relief may be complete.

To prove that it exercised the required diligence in supervising The concept of indispensable parties, as against parties whose
Bautista, petitioner presented copies of several memoranda and inclusion only allows complete relief, was explained in Arcelona
company rules.114 These, however, are insufficient because v. Court of Appeals:122
petitioner failed to prove actual compliance. Metro Manila Transit
Corporation v. Court of Appeals115 emphasized that to establish An indispensable party is a party who has such an interest in the
diligence in the supervision of employees, the issuance of controversy or subject matter that a final adjudication cannot be
company policies must be coupled with proof of compliance: made, in his absence, without injuring or affecting that interest, a
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary party who has not only an interest in the subject matter of the
controversy, but also has an interest of such nature that a final
Due diligence in the supervision of employees, on the other hand, decree cannot be made without affecting his interest or leaving
includes the formulation of suitable rules and regulations for the the controversy in such a condition that its final determination
guidance of employees and the issuance of proper instructions may be wholly inconsistent with equity and good conscience. It
intended for the protection of the public and persons with whom has also been considered that an indispensable party is a person
the employer has relations through his or its employees and the in whose absence there cannot be a determination between the
imposition of necessary disciplinary measures upon employees parties already before the court which is effective, complete, or
in case of breach or as may be warranted to ensure the equitable. Further, an indispensable party is one who must be
performance of acts indispensable to the business of and included in an action before it may properly go forward.
beneficial to their employer. To this, we add that actual
implementation and monitoring of consistent compliance with A person is not an indispensable party, however, if his interest in
said rules should be the constant concern of the employer, acting the controversy or subject matter is separable from the interest of
through dependable supervisors who should regularly report on the other parties, so that it will not necessarily be directly or
their supervisory functions. injuriously affected by a decree which does complete justice
between them. Also, a person is not an indispensable party if his
In order that the defense of due diligence in the selection and presence would merely permit complete relief between him and
supervision of employees may be deemed sufficient and those already parties to the action, or if he has no interest in the
plausible, it is not enough to emptily invoke the existence of said subject matter of the action. It is not a sufficient reason to declare
company guidelines and policies on hiring and supervision. As a person to be an indispensable party that his presence will avoid
the negligence of the employee gives rise to the presumption of multiple litigation.123ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
negligence on the part of the employer, the latter has the burden
of proving that it has been diligent not only in the selection of Petitioner's interest and liability is distinct from that of its driver.
employees but also in the actual supervision of their work. The Regardless of petitioner's employer-employee relationship with
mere allegation of the existence of hiring procedures and Bautista, liability attaches to petitioner on account of its being the
supervisory policies, without anything more, is decidedly not registered owner of a vehicle that figures in a mishap. This alone
sufficient to overcome presumption. suffices. A determination of its liability as owner can proceed
independently of a consideration of how Bautista conducted
We emphatically reiterate our holding, as a warning to all himself as a driver. While certainly it is desirable that a
employers, that "(t)he mere formulation of various company determination of Bautista's liability be made alongside that of the
policies on safety without showing that they were being complied owner of the van he was driving, his non-inclusion in these
with is not sufficient to exempt petitioner from liability arising proceedings does not absolutely hamper a judicious resolution of
from negligence of its employees. It is incumbent upon petitioner respondent's plea for relief.
to show that in recruiting and employing the erring driver the
recruitment procedures and company policies on efficiency and
safety were followed." Paying lip-service to these injunctions or IV
merely going through the motions of compliance therewith will
warrant stern sanctions from the Court.116(Emphasis supplied,
citations omitted) The Court of Appeals committed no reversible error when it
awarded actual damages to respondent. Respondent's claim for
For failing to overturn the presumption that the requirements of actual damages was based on the Certificate124 issued and signed
Article 2180 have been satisfied, petitioner must be held liable. by a certain Peñaloza showing that respondent paid Peñaloza
P35,000.00 for funeral expenses.

III Contrary to petitioner's claim, this Certificate is not hearsay.


Evidence is hearsay when its probative value is based on the
personal knowledge of a person other than the person actually
Petitioner's argument that it should be excused from liability testifying.125 Here, the Certificate sought to establish that
because Bautista was already dropped as a party is equally respondent herself paid Peñaloza P35,000.00 as funeral expenses
unmeritorious. The liability imposed on the registered owner is for Reyes' death:126
direct and primary.117 It does not depend on the inclusion of the
negligent driver in the action. Agreeing to petitioner's assertion 3. Na ang aking kontrata ay nagkakahalaga ng P35,000-00
would render impotent the rationale of the motor registration law [sic] sa lahat ng nagamit na materiales at labor nito
kasama ang lote na ibinayad sa akin ni Gng. ERMILINDA ARTICLE 2231. In quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be
REYES ABEJAR na siyang aking kakontrata sa granted if the defendant acted with gross negligence.
pagsasagawa ng naturang paglilibingan.127 (Emphasis
supplied)
Both the Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Court found
Bautista grossly negligent in driving the van and concluded that
It was respondent herself who identified the Certificate. She Bautista's gross negligence was the proximate cause of Reyes'
testified that she incurred funeral expenses amounting to death. Negligence and causation are factual issues.129 Findings of
P35,000.00, that she paid this amount to Peñaloza, and that she fact, when established by the trial court and affirmed by the Court
was present when Peñaloza signed the Certificate: of Appeals, are binding on this court unless they are patently
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary unsupported by evidence or unless the judgment is grounded on
a misapprehension of facts.130 Considering that petitioner has not
presented any evidence disputing the findings of the lower courts
[ATTY. Did you incur any expenses? regarding Bautista's negligence, these findings cannot be
LIM] : disturbed in this appeal. The evidentiary bases for the award of
civil indemnity and exemplary damages stand. As such, petitioner
must pay the exemplary damages arising from the negligence of
its driver.131 For the same reasons, the award of P50,000.00 by
A: Meron po. way of civil indemnity is justified.132

The award of moral damages is likewise proper.


Q: How much did you spend for the death of Jesmarian
[sic] Reyes? Article 2206(3) of the Civil Code provides:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

A: 'Yun pong P35,000.00 na pagpapalibing at saka... ARTICLE 2206. The amount of damages for death caused by a
crime or quasi-delict shall be at least three thousand pesos, even
though there may have been mitigating circumstances. In
addition:
Q: You said that you spent P35,000.00. Do you have any
evidence or proof that you spent that amount?
. . . .

A: Meron po.
(3) The spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants and
ascendants of the deceased may demand moral damages
Q: Showing to you this sort of certification. What for mental anguish by reason of the death of the deceased.
relation has this... (Emphasis supplied)

A: 'Yan po' yung contractor nagumawa. For deaths caused by quasi-delict, the recovery of moral damages
is limited to the spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants,
and ascendants of the deceased.133
Q: Contractor of what? Persons exercising substitute parental authority are to be
considered ascendants for the purpose of awarding moral
damages. Persons exercising substitute parental authority are
A: 'Yan po' yung mismong binilhan ko ng lupa at nitso. intended to stand in place of a child's parents in order to ensure
the well-being and welfare of a child.134 Like natural parents,
persons exercising substitute parental authority are required to,
among others, keep their wards in their company,135 provide for
....
their upbringing,136 show them love and affection,137 give them
advice and counsel,138 and provide them with companionship and
understanding.139 For their part, wards shall always observe
ATTY. There is a signature at the top of the printed name respect and obedience towards the person exercising parental
LIM : Julian Penalosa [sic]. Whose signature is this? authority.140 The law forges a relationship between the ward and
the person exercising substitute parental authority such that the
death or injury of one results in the damage or prejudice of the
A: 'Yan po' yung mismong contractor. other.

Moral damages are awarded to compensate the claimant for his or


her actual injury, and not to penalize the wrongdoer.141 Moral
.... damages enable the injured party to alleviate the moral suffering
resulting from the defendant's actions.142 It aims to restore — to
the extent possible — "the spiritual status quo ante[.]"143
Q: Did you see him sign this?
Given the policy underlying Articles 216 and 220 of the Family
Code as well as the purposes for awarding moral damages, a
person exercising substitute parental authority is rightly
A: Opo.128 (Emphasis supplied) considered an ascendant of the deceased, within the meaning of
Article 2206(3) of the Civil Code. Hence, respondent is entitled to
moral damages.
Respondent had personal knowledge of the facts sought to be
proved by the Certificate, i.e. that she spent P35,000.00 for the As exemplary damages have been awarded and as respondent
funeral expenses of Reyes. Thus, the Certificate that she was compelled to litigate in order to protect her interests, she is
identified and testified to is not hearsay. It was not an error to rightly entitled to attorney's fees.144
admit this Certificate as evidence and basis for awarding
P35,000.00 as actual damages to respondent. However, the award of interest should be modified. This
modification must be consistent with Nacar v. Gallery
The Court of Appeals likewise did not err in awarding civil Frames,145 in which we ruled:
indemnity and exemplary damages. chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Article 2206 of the Civil Code provides:


2. When an obligation, not constituting a loan or
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
forbearance of money, is breached, an interest on the
amount of damages awarded may be imposed at the
ARTICLE 2206. The amount of damages for death caused by a discretion of the court at the rate of 6% per annum. No
crime or quasi-delict shall be at least three thousand pesos, even interest, however, shall be adjudged on unliquidated
though there may have been mitigating circumstances[.] claims or damages, except when or until the demand
can be established with reasonable certainty.
Accordingly, where the demand is established with
Further, Article 2231 of the Civil Code provides:
reasonable certainty, the interest shall begin to run from
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
the time the claim is made judicially or extrajudicially
(Art. 1169, Civil Code), but when such certainty cannot
be so reasonably established at the time the demand is
made, the interest shall begin to run only from the date
the judgment of the court is made (at which time the
quantification of damages may be deemed to have been
reasonably ascertained). The actual base for the
computation of legal interest shall, in any case, be on
the amount finally adjudged.
3. When the judgment of the court awarding a sum of
money becomes final and executory, the rate of legal
interest, whether the case falls under paragraph 1 or
paragraph 2, above, shall be 6% per annum from such
finality until its satisfaction, this interim period being
deemed to be by then an equivalent to a forbearance of
credit.146 (Emphasis supplied)

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated October


3, 2005 is AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS: (a)
actual damages in the amount of P35,000.00 shall earn interest at
the rate of 6% per annum from the time it was judicially or
extrajudicially demanded from petitioner Caravan Travel and
Tours International, Inc. until full satisfaction; (b) moral damages,
exemplary damages, and attorney's fees shall earn interest at the
rate of 6% per annum from the date of the Regional Trial Court
Decision until full satisfaction; and (c) civil indemnity shall earn
interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of the Court of
Appeals Decision until full satisfaction.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 173988 October 8, 2014 (Section 10 (a) of R.A. 7610), committed as follows:

FELINA ROSALDES, Petitioner, That on or about the 13th day of February 1996, in the
vs. Municipality of Lambunao, Province of Iloilo, Philippines and
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, being a public school teacher in Grade 1 of Pughanan
Elementary School, with a Salary Grade below 26, under the
DECISION
DECS, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
maltreat her pupil Michael Ryan Gonzales, a seven year old child,
BERSAMIN, J.: by pinching him on different parts of his body, and thereafter
slumping him to the ground, thereby causing Michael Ryan
Gonzales to lose his consciousness and has suffered injuries on
The petitioner, a public schoolteacher, was charged with and different parts of his body.
found guilty of child abuse, a violation of Republic Act No.
7610.1 The victim was her own Grade 1 pupil whom she physically
maltreated for having accidentally bumped her knee while she CONTRARY TO LAW.4
was drowsing off on a bamboo sofa as he entered the classroom.
Her maltreatment left him with physical injuries, as duly certified
On June 26, 2003, the RTC rendered judgment convicting the
by a physician.
petitioner of child abuse,5 disposing as follows:

Whether or not the petitioner thereby committed child abuse is


WHEREFORE, finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable
the question that this appeal must determine, in light of the
doubt of Violation of Section 10 (a), Article VI of R.A. 7610, the
Court's pronouncement in Bongalon v. People of the
Court sentences her to an indeterminate prison term ranging from
Philippines2 that:
four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day of prision
correccional, as minimum, to six (6) years and one (1) day of
Not every instance of the laying of hands on a child constitutes prision mayor, as maximum, and to pay the costs.
the crime of child abuse under Section 10 (a) of Republic Act No.
7610. Only when the laying of hands is shown beyond reasonable
No pronouncement as to civil liability, the same not having been
doubt to be intended by the accused to debase, degrade or
proved.
demean the intrinsic worth and dignity of the child as a human
being should it be punished as child abuse. Otherwise, it is
punished under the Revised Penal Code. SO ORDERED.6

Antecedents On appeal, the CA affirmed the conviction of the petitioner


through its assailed decision promulgated on May 11, 2005,7 with
a modification of the penalty, viz: WHEREFORE, premises
The State, through the Office ofthe Solicitor General, summed up
considered, judgment is hereby rendered by us DISMISSING the
the factual antecedents in its comment,3 as follows:
appeal filed in this case and AFFIRMING the decision rendered on
June 26, 2003 by the court a quo in Criminal Case No. 46893 with
On February 13, 1996, seven yearold Michael Ryan Gonzales, then the MODIFICATION that the accusedappellant is sentenced to
a Grade 1 pupil at Pughanan Elementary School located in the suffer the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years, two (2) months
Municipality of Lambunao, Iloilo, was hurriedly entering his and one (1) day of prision correccional, as the minimum of it, to
classroom when he accidentally bumped the knee of his teacher, ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as the maximum
petitioner Felina Rosaldes, who was then asleep on a bamboo thereof.
sofa (TSN, March 14, 1997, pp. 5-6). Roused from sleep, petitioner
asked Michael Ryan to apologize to her. When Michael did not
IT IS SO ORDERED.8
obey but instead proceeded to his seat (TSN, March 14, 1997, p.
6), petitioner went to Michael and pinched him on his thigh. Then,
she held him up by his armpits and pushed him to the floor. As he In her petition for review on certiorari,9 the petitioner submits
fell, Michael Ryan’s body hit a desk. As a result, he lost that:
consciousness. Petitioner proceeded topick Michael Ryan up by
his ears and repeatedly slammed him down on the floor. Michael
I
Ryan cried (TSN, March 14, 1997, p. 6; TSN, November 13, 1997, p.
7).
The Court of Appeals erred in convicting the petitioner by holding
that the acts of the petitioner constitute child abuse penalized
After the incident, petitioner proceeded to teach her class. During
under Section 10 (a) of Republic Act No. 7610[,] and notunder the
lunch break, Michael Ryan, accompanied by two of his
Revised Penal Code.
classmates, Louella Loredo and Jonalyn Gonzales, went home
crying and told his mother about the incident (TSN, March 14,
1997, p. 7). His mother and his Aunt Evangeline Gonzales II
reported the incident to their Barangay Captain, Gonzalo Larroza
(TSN, February 1, 1999, p. 4) who advised them to have Michael
Ryan examined by a doctor. Michael Ryan’s aunt and Barangay The Court of Appeals erred in convicting the petitioner by holding
that petitioner’s constitutional right to due process and her right
Councilman Ernesto Ligante brought him to the Dr. Ricardo Y.
Ladrido Hospital where he was examined by Dr. Teresita to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against
Castigador. They, likewise, reported the incident to the Police her was not violated when the essential elements of the crime
charged were not properly recited in the information.10
Station (TSN, July 27, 1997, p. 6; TSN, February 1, 1999, p. 4).

The medical certificate issued by Dr. Teresita Castigador reads, in Countering, the State, through the OSG, insists that the issues
the petitioner is raising are mainly factual and, therefore, not
part:
reviewable under the mode of appeal chosen; that the affirmance
of her conviction by the CA was in accord with the pertinent law
1. Petechiae and tenderness of both external ears 1x2 cm. and and jurisprudence, and supported by the overwhelming evidence
1x1 cm.; of the trial; and that the information charging her with child abuse
was sufficient in form and substance.11
2. Lumbar pains and tenderness at area of L3-L4;
Ruling of the Court
3. Contusions at left inner thigh 1x1 and 1x1 cm.;
The appeal lacks merit.
4. Tenderness and painful on walking especially at the area of
femoral head. First of all, the State correctly contends that the petitioner could
raise only questions of law in her present recourse. Under Rule 45
of the Rules of Court, the appeal is limited to questionsof law. The
The petitioner was criminally charged with child abusein the
immediate implication of the limitation is to have the findings of
Regional Trial Court in Iloilo City (RTC), and the case was
fact by the CA, which affirmed the findings of fact by the trial
assigned to Branch 27 of that court. The information alleged as
court, conclude the Court by virtue of its not being a trier of fact.
follows: The Provincial Prosecutor of Iloilo, upon approval and
As such, the Court cannot analyze or weigh the evidence all over
Directive of the Deputy OMBUDSMAN for the Visayas accuses
again.
FELINA ROSALDES of the crime of VIOLATION OF CHILD ABUSE
LAW
It is true that the limitation of the review to errors of law admits of located on the upper part of the left thigh. Dr. Castigador testified
exceptions. Under Section 4, Rule 3 of the Internal Rules of the that she noticed that the boy was limping as he walked.14
Supreme Court, the following situations are the exceptions in
which the Court may review findings of fact by the lower courts,
Section 3 of RepublicAct No. 7610 defines child abusethusly:
to wit: (a) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on
speculation, surmise and conjecture; (b) the inference made is
manifestly mistaken; (c) there is grave abuse of discretion; (d) the xxxx
judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (e) the findings
of fact are conflicting; (f) the collegial appellate courts went
beyond the issues of the case, and their findings are contrary to (b) "Child abuse" refers to the maltreatment, whether habitual or
not, of the child which includes any of the following:
the admissions of both appellant and appellee; (g) the findings of
fact of the collegial appellate courts are contrary to those of the
trial court; (h) said findings of fact are conclusions without (1) Psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual
citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (i) the facts abuse and emotional maltreatment;
set forth in the petition aswell as in the petitioner’s main and reply
briefs are not disputed by the respondents; (j) the findings of fact
of the collegial appellate courts are premised on the supposed (2) Any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or
evidence, but are contradicted by the evidence on record; and (k) demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human
all other similar and exceptional cases warranting a review of the being;
lower courts’ findings of fact. A further exception is recognized
when the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not (3) Unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival, such
disputed bythe parties, which, if properly considered, would as food and shelter; or
justify a different conclusion.12 Yet, none of the exceptions
applies herein.
(4) Failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured
child resulting in serious impairment of his growth and
Secondly, the petitioner contends that she did not deliberately development or in his permanent incapacity or death.
inflict the physical injuries suffered by MichaelRyan to maltreat or
malign him in a manner that would debase, demean or degrade
his dignity. She characterizes her maltreatment as anact of xxxx
discipline that she as a school teacher could reasonably do
towards the development of the child. She insists that her act In the crime charged against the petitioner, therefore, the
further came under the doctrine of in loco parentis. maltreatment may consist of an act by deedsor by wordsthat
debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of
The contention of the petitioner is utterly bereft of merit. a child as a human being. The act need not be habitual. The CA
concluded that the petitioner "went overboard in disciplining
Michael Ryan, a helpless and weak 7-year old boy, when she
Although the petitioner, as a school teacher, could duly discipline pinched hard Michael Ryan on the left thigh and when she held
Michael Ryan as her pupil, her infliction of the physical injuries on him in the armpits and threw him on the floor[; and as] the boy fell
him was unnecessary, violent and excessive. The boy even down, his body hit the desk causing him to lose consciousness
fainted from the violence suffered at her hands.13 She could not [but instead] of feeling a sense of remorse, the accused-appellant
justifiably claim that she acted only for the sake of disciplining further held the boy up by his ears and pushed him down on the
him. Her physical maltreatment of him was precisely prohibited floor."15 On her part, the trial judge said that the physical pain
by no less than the Family Code, which has expressly banned the experienced by the victim had been aggravated by an emotional
infliction of corporal punishmentby a school administrator, trauma that caused him to stop going to school altogether out of
teacher or individual engaged in child care exercising special fear of the petitioner, compelling his parents to transfer him to
parental authority (i.e., in loco parentis), viz: another school where he had to adjust again.16 Such established
circumstances proved beyond reasonable doubt thatthe
Article 233. The person exercising substitute parental authority petitioner was guilty of child abuse by deeds that degraded and
shall have the same authority over the person of the child as the demeaned the intrinsic worth and dignity of Michael Ryan as a
parents. human being.

In no case shall the school administrator, teacher or individual It was also shown that Michael Ryan’s physical maltreatment by
engaged in child care exercising special parental authority inflict the petitioner was neither her first or only maltreatment of a child.
corporal punishment upon the child. (n) Prosecution witness Louella Loredo revealed on cross
examination that she had also experienced the petitioner’s
cruelty.17 The petitioner was also convicted by the RTC in Iloilo
Proof of the severe results of the petitioner’s physical City (Branch 39) in Criminal Case No. 348921 for maltreatment of
maltreatment of Michael Ryan was provided by Dr. Teresita another childnamed Dariel Legayada.18 Such previous incidents
Castigador, the Medico-Legal Officer of the Dr. Ricardo Y. Ladrido manifested that the petitioner had "a propensity for violence," as
Memorial Hospital in Iloilo who examined the victim at about 1:00 the trial judge stated in her decision of June 26, 2003.19
o’clock in the afternoon of February 13, 1996, barely three hours
from the timethe boy had sustained his injuries. Her Medical
Report stated as follows: Thirdly, the petitioner submits that the information charging her
with child abuse was insufficient in form and substance, in that
the essential elements of the crime charged were not properly
1. Petechiae and tenderness of both external ears 1x2 cm. and alleged therein; and that her constitutional and statutory right to
1x1 cm.; due process of law was consequently violated.

2. Lumbar pains and tenderness at area of L3-L4; The petitioner’s submission deserves scant consideration.

3. Contusions at left inner thigh 1x1 and 1x1 cm.; Under Section 6, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, the information is
sufficient if it states the name of the accused; the designation of
the offense given by the statute; the acts or omissions
4. Tenderness and painful on walking especially at the area of
femoral head. complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the
offended party; the proximate date of the commission of the
offense; and the place where the offense was committed.
Reflecting her impressions of the physical injuries based on the
testimonial explanations of Dr. Castigador, the trial judge
observed in the decision of June 26, 2003: The information explicitly averred the offense of child
abusecharged against the petitioner in the context of the
statutory definition of child abuse found in Section 3 (b) of
A petechiae (wound no. 1), according to Dr. Castigador is a Republic Act No. 7610, supra, and thus complied with the
discoloration of the skin caused by the extravasation of blood requirements of Section 6, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court.
beneath it. She opined that the petechiae and tenderness of the Moreover, the Court should no longer entertain the petitioner’s
ears of the victim could have been caused by pinching. As to the challenge against the sufficiency of the information in form and
lumbar pain and tenderness at the third and fourth level of the substance. Her last chance to pose the challenge was prior to the
vertebrae (wound no. 2), the doctor testified that during her time she pleaded to the information through a motion to quash on
examination of the victim the latter felt pain when she put the ground that the information did not conform substantially to
pressure on the said area. She stated that this could be caused by the prescribed form, or did not charge an offense. She did not do
pressure or contact with a hard object. Wound No. 3 is located on so, resulting in her waiver of the challenge.
the victim’sleft inner thigh. According to her this could not have
been caused by ordinary pinching with pressure. Wound No. 4 is
Fourthly, the RTC did not grant civil damages as civil liability ex (a) Any person who shall commit any other acts of child abuse,
delictobecause no evidence had been adduced thereon.20 The CA cruelty or exploitation or to be responsible for other conditions
saw nothing wrong with the omission by the trial court. The prejudicial to the child's development including those covered by
explanation tendered by the trial judge for the omission was Atiicle 59 of Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended, but not
misplaced, however, because even without proof of the actual covered by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, shall suffer the
expenses, or testimony on the victim’s feelings, the lower courts penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period.
still had the authority to define and allow civil liability arising from
the offense and the means to fix their extent. The child abuse
xxxx
surely inflicted on Michael Ryan physical and emotional trauma
as well as moral injury. It cannot also be denied that his parents
necessarily spent for his treatment. We hold that both lower The CA revised the penalty fixed by the R TC by imposing the
courts committed a plain error that demands correction by the indeterminate penalty of four years, two months and one day of
Court. Indeed, as the Court pointed out in Bacolod v. People, 21 it prision correccional, as minimum, to 10 years and one day of
was "imperative that the courts prescribe the proper penalties prision mayor, as the maximum, on the ground that the offense
when convicting the accused, and determine the civil liability to was aggravated by the petitioner being a public schoolteacher.23 It
be imposed on the accused, unless there has been a reservation cited Section 3 l(e) of Republic Act No. 7610, which commands
of the action to recover civil liability or a waiver of its recovery," that the penalty provided in the Act "shall be imposed in its
explaining the reason for doing so in the following manner: maximum period if the offender is a public officer or employee."
Her being a public schoolteacher was alleged in the information
and established by evidence as well as admitted by her. The
It is not amiss to stress that both the RTC and the CA disregarded
revised penalty was erroneous, however, because Section 10 (a)
their express mandate under Section 2, Rule 120 of the Rules of
of Republic Act No. 7610 punishes the crime committed by the
Courtto have the judgment, if it was of conviction, state: "(1) the
petitioner with prision mayor in its minimum period, whose three
legal qualification of the offense constituted by the acts
periods are six years and one day to six years and eight months,
committed by the accused and the aggravating or mitigating
for the minimum period; six years, eight months and one day to
circumstances which attended its commission; (2) the
seven years and four months, for the medium period; and seven
participation ofthe accused in the offense, whether as principal,
years, four months and one day to eight years, for the maximum
accomplice, or accessory after the fact; (3) the penalty imposed
period. The maximum of the indeterminate sentence should come
upon the accused; and (4) the civil liability or damages caused by
from the maximum period, therefore, and the Court fixes it at
his wrongful act or omission to be recovered from the accused by
seven years, four months and one day of prision mayor. The
the offended party, if there is any, unless the enforcement of the
minimum of the indeterminate sentence should come from prision
civil liability by a separate civil action has been reserved or
correccional in the maximum period, the penalty next lower than
waived." Their disregard compels us to actas we now do lest the
prision mayor in its minimum period, whose range is from four
Court be unreasonably seen as tolerant of their omission. That
years, two months and one day to six years.1âwphi1 Accordingly,
the Spouses Cogtas did not themselves seek the correction of the
the minimum of the indeterminate sentence is four years, nine
omission by an appeal is no hindrance to this action because the
months and 11 days, and the maximum is seven years, four
Court, as the final reviewing tribunal, has not only the authority
months and one day of prision mayor.
but also the duty to correct at any time a matter of law and
justice.1âwphi1
WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on
May 11, 2005, subject to the MODIFICATIONS that: (a) the
We also pointedly remind all trial and appellate courts to avoid
petitioner shall suffer the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years,
omitting reliefs that the parties are properly entitled to by law or
nine (9) months and eleven (11) days of prision correccional, as
in equity under the established facts. Their judgments will not be
minimum, to seven (7) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of pr
worthy of the name unless they thereby fully determine the rights
is ion mayor, as the maximum; (b) the petitioner shall pay to
and obligations of the litigants. It cannot be otherwise, for only by
Michael Ryan Gonzales ₱20,000.00 as moral damages, ₱20,000.00
a full determination of such rights and obligations would they
as exemplary damages, and ₱20,000.00 as temperate damages,
betrue to the judicial office of administering justice and equity for
plus interest at the rate of 6% per annum on each item of the civil
all. Courts should then be alert and cautious in their rendition of
liability reckoned from the finality of this decision until full
judgments of conviction in criminal cases. They should prescribe
payment; and (c) the petitioner shall pay the costs of suit.
the legal penalties, which is what the Constitution and the law
require and expect them to do. Their prescription of the wrong
penalties will be invalid and ineffectual for being done without SO ORDERED.
jurisdiction or in manifest grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack of jurisdiction. They should also determine and set the civil
liability ex delictoof the accused, in order to do justice to the
complaining victims who are always entitled to them. The Rules
of Court mandates them to do so unless the enforcement of the
civil liability by separate actions has been reserved or waived.22

Moral damages should be awarded to assuage the moral and


emotional sufferings of the victim, and in that respect the Court
believes and holds that ₱20,000.00 is reasonable. The victim was
likewise entitled to exemplary damages, considering that Article
2230 of the Civil Code authorizes such damages if at least one
aggravating circumstance attended the commission of the crime.
The child abuse committed by the petitioner was aggravated her
being a public school teacher, a factor in raising the penalty to its
maximum period pursuantto Section 31(e) of Republic Act No.
7610. The amount of ₱20,000.00 as exemplary damages is
imposed on in order to set an example for the public good and as
a deterrent to other public school teachers who violate the ban
imposed by Article 233 of the Family Code, supra, against the
infliction of corporal punishment on children under their
substitute parental authority. The lack of proof of the actual
expenses for the victim’s treatmentshould not hinder the granting
of a measure of compensation in the formof temperate damages,
which, according to Article 2224 of the Civil Code, may be
recovered when some pecuniary loss has been suffered butits
amount cannot be proved with certainty. There being no question
aboutthe injuries sustained requiring medical treatment,
temperate damages ofat least ₱20,000.00 are warranted, for it
would be inequitable not to recognize the need for the treatment.
Lastly, interest of 6% per annum shall be charged on all the items
of civil liability, to be reckoned from the finality of this decision
until full payment.

The penalty for the child abusecommitted by the petitioner is that


prescribed in Section 10(a) of Republic Act No. 7610, viz:

Section 10. Other Acts of Neglect, Abuse, Cruelty or Exploitation


and Other Conditions Prejudicial to the Child's Development. –
G.R. No. 174156 June 20, 2012 On appeal, the CA partly granted the petition in CA-G.R. SP No.
86603; it modified the RTC decision by ruling that Carmen Flor,
President and General Manager of Filcar, is not personally liable
FILCAR TRANSPORT SERVICES, Petitioner,
to Espinas. The appellate court pointed out that, subject to
vs.
recognized exceptions, the liability of a corporation is not the
JOSE A. ESPINAS, Respondent.
liability of its corporate officers because a corporate entity –
subject to well-recognized exceptions – has a separate and
The facts of the case, gathered from the records, are briefly distinct personality from its officers and shareholders. Since the
summarized below. circumstances in the case at bar do not fall under the exceptions
recognized by law, the CA concluded that the liability for
damages cannot attach to Carmen Flor.
On November 22, 1998, at around 6:30 p.m., respondent Jose A.
Espinas was driving his car along Leon Guinto Street in Manila.
Upon reaching the intersection of Leon Guinto and President The CA, however, affirmed the liability of Filcar to pay Espinas
Quirino Streets, Espinas stopped his car. When the signal light damages. According to the CA, even assuming that there had
turned green, he proceeded to cross the intersection. He was been no employer-employee relationship between Filcar and the
already in the middle of the intersection when another car, driver of the vehicle, Floresca, the former can be held liable under
traversing President Quirino Street and going to Roxas the registered owner rule.
Boulevard, suddenly hit and bumped his car. As a result of the
impact, Espinas’ car turned clockwise. The other car escaped
The CA relied on the rule that the registered owner of a vehicle is
from the scene of the incident, but Espinas was able to get its
directly and primarily responsible to the public and to third
plate number.
persons while the vehicle is being operated. Citing Erezo, et al. v.
Jepte,6 the CA said that the rationale behind the rule is to avoid
After verifying with the Land Transportation Office, Espinas circumstances where vehicles running on public highways cause
learned that the owner of the other car, with plate number UCF- accidents or injuries to pedestrians or other vehicles without
545, is Filcar. positive identification of the owner or drivers, or with very scant
means of identification. In Erezo, the Court said that the main aim
of motor vehicle registration is to identify the owner, so that if a
Espinas sent several letters to Filcar and to its President and vehicle causes damage or injury to pedestrians or other vehicles,
General Manager Carmen Flor, demanding payment for the responsibility can be traced to a definite individual and that
damages sustained by his car. On May 31, 2001, Espinas filed a individual is the registered owner of the vehicle.7
complaint for damages against Filcar and Carmen Flor before the
Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Manila, and the case was
raffled to Branch 13. In the complaint, Espinas demanded that The CA did not accept Filcar’s argument that it cannot be held
Filcar and Carmen Flor pay the amount of ₱97,910.00, liable for damages because the driver of the vehicle was not its
representing actual damages sustained by his car. employee. In so ruling, the CA cited the case of Villanueva v.
Domingo8 where the Court said that the question of whether the
driver was authorized by the actual owner is irrelevant in
Filcar argued that while it is the registered owner of the car that
determining the primary and direct responsibility of the registered
hit and bumped Espinas’ car, the car was assigned to its owner of a vehicle for accidents, injuries and deaths caused by
Corporate Secretary Atty. Candido Flor, the husband of Carmen the operation of his vehicle.
Flor. Filcar further stated that when the incident happened, the
car was being driven by Atty. Flor’s personal driver, Timoteo
Floresca. Filcar filed a motion for reconsideration which the CA denied in
its Resolution dated July 6, 2006.
Atty. Flor, for his part, alleged that when the incident occurred, he
was attending a birthday celebration at a nearby hotel, and it was Hence, the present petition.
only later that night when he noticed a small dent on and the
cracked signal light of the car. On seeing the dent and the crack,
The Issue
Atty. Flor allegedly asked Floresca what happened, and the driver
replied that it was a result of a "hit and run" while the car was
parked in front of Bogota on Pedro Gil Avenue, Manila. Simply stated, the issue for the consideration of this Court is:
whether Filcar, as registered owner of the motor vehicle which
figured in an accident, may be held liable for the damages caused
Filcar denied any liability to Espinas and claimed that the incident
to Espinas.
was not due to its fault or negligence since Floresca was not its
employee but that of Atty. Flor. Filcar and Carmen Flor both said
that they always exercised the due diligence required of a good Our Ruling
father of a family in leasing or assigning their vehicles to third
parties.
The petition is without merit.

The MeTC Decision


Filcar, as registered owner, is deemed the employer of the driver,
Floresca, and is thus vicariously liable under Article 2176 in
The MeTC, in its decision dated January 20, 2004,4 ruled in favor relation with Article 2180 of the Civil Code
of Espinas, and ordered Filcar and Carmen Flor, jointly and
severally, to pay Espinas ₱97,910.00 as actual damages,
It is undisputed that Filcar is the registered owner of the motor
representing the cost of repair, with interest at 6% per annum
vehicle which hit and caused damage to Espinas’ car; and it is on
from the date the complaint was filed; ₱50,000.00 as moral
the basis of this fact that we hold Filcar primarily and directly
damages; ₱20,000.00 as exemplary damages; and ₱20,000.00 as
liable to Espinas for damages.
attorney’s fees. The MeTC ruled that Filcar, as the registered
owner of the vehicle, is primarily responsible for damages
resulting from the vehicle’s operation. As a general rule, one is only responsible for his own act or
omission.9 Thus, a person will generally be held liable only for the
torts committed by himself and not by another. This general rule
The RTC Decision
is laid down in Article 2176 of the Civil Code, which provides to
wit:
The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 20, in the
exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, affirmed the MeTC
Article 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to
decision.5 The RTC ruled that Filcar failed to prove that Floresca
another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the
was not its employee as no proof was adduced that Floresca was
damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing
personally hired by Atty. Flor. The RTC agreed with the MeTC that
contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict
the registered owner of a vehicle is directly and primarily liable
and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
for the damages sustained by third persons as a consequence of
the negligent or careless operation of a vehicle registered in its
name. The RTC added that the victim of recklessness on the Based on the above-cited article, the obligation to indemnify
public highways is without means to discover or identify the another for damage caused by one’s act or omission is imposed
person actually causing the injury or damage. Thus, the only upon the tortfeasor himself, i.e., the person who committed the
recourse is to determine the owner, through the vehicle’s negligent act or omission. The law, however, provides for
registration, and to hold him responsible for the damages. exceptions when it makes certain persons liable for the act or
omission of another.
The CA Decision
One exception is an employer who is made vicariously liable for Rationale for holding the registered owner vicariously liable
the tort committed by his employee. Article 2180 of the Civil Code
states:
The rationale for the rule that a registered owner is vicariously
liable for damages caused by the operation of his motor vehicle is
Article 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is explained by the principle behind motor vehicle registration,
demandable not only for one’s own acts or omissions, but also which has been discussed by this Court in Erezo, and cited by the
for those of persons for whom one is responsible. CA in its decision:

xxxx The main aim of motor vehicle registration is to identify the owner
so that if any accident happens, or that any damage or injury is
caused by the vehicle on the public highways, responsibility
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their
therefor can be fixed on a definite individual, the registered
employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their
owner. Instances are numerous where vehicles running on public
assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any
highways caused accidents or injuries to pedestrians or other
business or industry.
vehicles without positive identification of the owner or drivers, or
with very scant means of identification. It is to forestall these
xxxx circumstances, so inconvenient or prejudicial to the public, that
the motor vehicle registration is primarily ordained, in the interest
of the determination of persons responsible for damages or
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the
injuries caused on public highways. [emphasis ours]
persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.
Thus, whether there is an employer-employee relationship
between the registered owner and the driver is irrelevant in
Under Article 2176, in relation with Article 2180, of the Civil Code, determining the liability of the registered owner who the law holds
an action predicated on an employee’s act or omission may be primarily and directly responsible for any accident, injury or death
instituted against the employer who is held liable for the negligent
caused by the operation of the vehicle in the streets and
act or omission committed by his employee. highways.

Although the employer is not the actual tortfeasor, the law makes
As explained by this Court in Erezo, the general public policy
him vicariously liable on the basis of the civil law principle of involved in motor vehicle registration is the protection of
pater familias for failure to exercise due care and vigilance over innocent third persons who may have no means of identifying
the acts of one’s subordinates to prevent damage to another. 10 In public road malefactors and, therefore, would find it difficult – if
the last paragraph of Article 2180 of the Civil Code, the employer not impossible – to seek redress for damages they may sustain in
may invoke the defense that he observed all the diligence of a accidents resulting in deaths, injuries and other damages; by
good father of a family to prevent damage. fixing the person held primarily and directly liable for the
damages sustained by victims of road mishaps, the law ensures
As its core defense, Filcar contends that Article 2176, in relation that relief will always be available to them.
with Article 2180, of the Civil Code is inapplicable because it
presupposes the existence of an employer-employee relationship. To identify the person primarily and directly responsible for the
According to Filcar, it cannot be held liable under the subject
damages would also prevent a situation where a registered owner
provisions because the driver of its vehicle at the time of the of a motor vehicle can easily escape liability by passing on the
accident, Floresca, is not its employee but that of its Corporate blame to another who may have no means to answer for the
Secretary, Atty. Flor.
damages caused, thereby defeating the claims of victims of road
accidents. We take note that some motor vehicles running on our
We cannot agree. It is well settled that in case of motor vehicle roads are driven not by their registered owners, but by employed
mishaps, the registered owner of the motor vehicle is considered drivers who, in most instances, do not have the financial means
as the employer of the tortfeasor-driver, and is made primarily to pay for the damages caused in case of accidents.
liable for the tort committed by the latter under Article 2176, in
relation with Article 2180, of the Civil Code.
These same principles apply by analogy to the case at bar. Filcar
should not be permitted to evade its liability for damages by
In Equitable Leasing Corporation v. Suyom,11 we ruled that in so conveniently passing on the blame to another party; in this case,
far as third persons are concerned, the registered owner of the its Corporate Secretary, Atty. Flor and his alleged driver,
motor vehicle is the employer of the negligent driver, and the Floresca. Following our reasoning in Equitable, the agreement
actual employer is considered merely as an agent of such owner. between Filcar and Atty. Flor to assign the motor vehicle to the
latter does not bind Espinas who was not a party to and has no
knowledge of the agreement, and whose only recourse is to the
In that case, a tractor registered in the name of Equitable Leasing motor vehicle registration.
Corporation (Equitable) figured in an accident, killing and
seriously injuring several persons. As part of its defense,
Equitable claimed that the tractor was initially leased to Mr. Edwin Neither can Filcar use the defenses available under Article 2180 of
Lim under a Lease Agreement, which agreement has been the Civil Code - that the employee acts beyond the scope of his
overtaken by a Deed of Sale entered into by Equitable and Ecatine assigned task or that it exercised the due diligence of a good
Corporation (Ecatine). Equitable argued that it cannot be held father of a family to prevent damage - because the motor vehicle
liable for damages because the tractor had already been sold to registration law, to a certain extent, modified Article 2180 of the
Ecatine at the time of the accident and the negligent driver was Civil Code by making these defenses unavailable to the registered
not its employee but of Ecatine. owner of the motor vehicle.1awp++i1 Thus, for as long as Filcar is
the registered owner of the car involved in the vehicular accident,
it could not escape primary liability for the damages caused to
In upholding the liability of Equitable, as registered owner of the Espinas.
tractor, this Court said that "regardless of sales made of a motor
vehicle, the registered owner is the lawful operator insofar as the
public and third persons are concerned; consequently, it is The public interest involved in this case must not be
directly and primarily responsible for the consequences of its underestimated. Road safety is one of the most common
operation."12 The Court further stated that "[i]n contemplation of problems that must be addressed in this country. We are not
law, the owner/operator of record is the employer of the driver, unaware of news of road accidents involving reckless drivers
the actual operator and employer being considered as merely its victimizing our citizens. Just recently, such pervasive
agent."13 Thus, Equitable, as the registered owner of the tractor, recklessness among most drivers took the life of a professor of
was considered under the law on quasi delict to be the employer our state university.14 What is most disturbing is that our existing
of the driver, Raul Tutor; Ecatine, Tutor’s actual employer, was laws do not seem to deter these road malefactors from
deemed merely as an agent of Equitable. committing acts of recklessness.

Thus, it is clear that for the purpose of holding the registered We understand that the solution to the problem does not stop
owner of the motor vehicle primarily and directly liable for with legislation. An effective administration and enforcement of
damages under Article 2176, in relation with Article 2180, of the the laws must be ensured to reinforce discipline among drivers
Civil Code, the existence of an employer-employee relationship, and to remind owners of motor vehicles to exercise due diligence
as it is understood in labor relations law, is not required. It is and vigilance over the acts of their drivers to prevent damage to
sufficient to establish that Filcar is the registered owner of the others.
motor vehicle causing damage in order that it may be held
vicariously liable under Article 2180 of the Civil Code. Thus, whether the driver of the motor vehicle, Floresca, is an
employee of Filcar is irrelevant in arriving at the conclusion that
Filcar is primarily and directly liable for the damages sustained by
Espinas. While Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation
and Traffic Code does not contain any provision on the liability of
registered owners in case of motor vehicle mishaps, Article 2176,
in relation with Article 2180, of the Civil Code imposes an
obligation upon Filcar, as registered owner, to answer for the
damages caused to Espinas’ car. This interpretation is consistent
with the strong public policy of maintaining road safety, thereby
reinforcing the aim of the State to promote the responsible
operation of motor vehicles by its citizens.

This does not mean, however, that Filcar is left without any
recourse against the actual employer of the driver and the driver
himself. Under the civil law principle of unjust enrichment, the
registered owner of the motor vehicle has a right to be
indemnified by the actual employer of the driver of the amount
that he may be required to pay as damages for the injury caused
to another.

The set-up may be inconvenient for the registered owner of the


motor vehicle, but the inconvenience cannot outweigh the more
important public policy being advanced by the law in this case
which is the protection of innocent persons who may be victims
of reckless drivers and irresponsible motor vehicle owners.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The decision dated


February 16, 2006 and the resolution dated July 6, 2006 of the
Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner Filcar
Transport Services.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 182353 June 29, 2010 After the treatment, [Jayson] was pronounced ready for discharge
and an eye test showed that his vision had not been impaired or
affected. In order to avoid additional hospital charges due to the
ST. JOSEPH'S COLLEGE, SR. JOSEPHINI AMBATALI, SFIC, and
delay in [Jayson’s] discharge, Rodolfo S. Miranda, [Jayson’s]
ROSALINDA TABUGO, Petitioners,
father, requested SJC to advance the amount of ₱26,176.35
vs.
representing [Jayson’s] hospital bill until his wife could arrive
JAYSON MIRANDA, represented by his father, RODOLFO S.
from abroad and pay back the money. SJC acceded to the
MIRANDA, Respondent.
request.

DECISION
On December 6, 1994, however, the parents of [Jayson], through
counsel, wrote SJC a letter demanding that it should shoulder all
NACHURA, J.: the medical expenses of [Jayson] that had been incurred and will
be incurred further arising from the accident caused by the
science experiment. In a letter dated December 14, 1994, the
This petition for review on certiorari seeks to set aside the counsel for SJC, represented by Sr. Josephini Ambatali, SFIC,
Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 68367, explained that the school cannot accede to the demand because
which affirmed in toto the decision2 of the Regional Trial Court
"the accident occurred by reason of [Jayson’s] failure to comply
(RTC), Branch 221, Quezon City, in Civil Case No. Q-95-22889. with the written procedure for the experiment and his teacher’s
repeated warnings and instruction that no student must face,
The facts, as found by the CA, follow: much less look into, the opening of the test tube until the heated
compound has cooled.3
On November 17, 1994, at around 1:30 in the afternoon inside St.
Joseph College’s [SJC’s] premises, the class to which Since SJC did not accede to the demand, Rodolfo, Jayson’s
[respondent Jayson Val Miranda] belonged was conducting a father, on Jayson’s behalf, sued petitioners for damages.
science experiment about fusion of sulphur powder and iron
fillings under the tutelage of [petitioner] Rosalinda Tabugo, she
After trial, the RTC rendered judgment, to wit:
being the subject teacher and employee of [petitioner] SJC. The
adviser of [Jayson’s] class is x x x Estefania Abdan.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered
in favor of [Jayson] and against [petitioners]. This Court orders
Tabugo left her class while it was doing the experiment without and holds the [petitioners] joint[ly] and solidarily liable to pay
having adequately secured it from any untoward incident or [Jayson] the following amount:
occurrence. In the middle of the experiment, [Jayson], who was
the assistant leader of one of the class groups, checked the result
of the experiment by looking into the test tube with magnifying 1. To pay [Jayson] the amount of ₱77,338.25 as actual damages;
glass. The test tube was being held by one of his group mates However, [Jayson] is ordered to reimburse [petitioner] St. Joseph
who moved it close and towards the eye of [Jayson]. At that College the amount of ₱26,176.36 representing the advances
instance, the compound in the test tube spurted out and several given to pay [Jayson’s] initial hospital expenses or in the
particles of which hit [Jayson’s] eye and the different parts of the alternative to deduct said amount of ₱26,176.36 from the
bodies of some of his group mates. As a result thereof, [Jayson’s] ₱77,338.25 actual damages herein awarded by way of legal
eyes were chemically burned, particularly his left eye, for which compensation;
he had to undergo surgery and had to spend for his medication.
Upon filing of this case [in] the lower court, [Jayson’s] wound had
2. To pay [Jayson] the sum of ₱50,000.00 as mitigated moral
not completely healed and still had to undergo another surgery.
damages;

Upon learning of the incident and because of the need for


3. To pay [Jayson] the sum of ₱30,000.00 as reasonable attorney’s
finances, [Jayson’s] mother, who was working abroad, had to
fees;
rush back home for which she spent ₱36,070.00 for her fares and
had to forego her salary from November 23, 1994 to December 26,
1994, in the amount of at least ₱40,000.00. 4. To pay the costs of suit.

Then, too, [Jayson] and his parents suffered sleepless nights, SO ORDERED.4
mental anguish and wounded feelings as a result of his injury due
to [petitioners’] fault and failure to exercise the degree of care and
Aggrieved, petitioners appealed to the CA. However, as
diligence incumbent upon each one of them. Thus, they should be
previously adverted to, the CA affirmed in toto the ruling of the
held liable for moral damages. Also, [Jayson] sent a demand
RTC, thus:
letter to [petitioners] for the payment of his medical expenses as
well as other expenses incidental thereto, which the latter failed
to heed. Hence, [Jayson] was constrained to file the complaint for WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the assailed decision of
damages. [Petitioners], therefore, should likewise compensate the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 221 dated September 6, 2000 is
[Jayson] for litigation expenses, including attorney’s fees. hereby AFFIRMED IN TOTO. Costs against [petitioners].51avvphi1

On the other hand, [petitioners SJC, Sr. Josephini Ambatali, SFIC, Undaunted, petitioners appealed` by certiorari to this Court,
and Tabugo] alleged that [Jayson] was a grade six pupil of SJC in adamant that the CA grievously erred, thus:
the school year 1994-1995. On November 17, 1994, at about 1:30
in the afternoon, the class to which [Jayson] belong[s] was
I. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN NOT
conducting a science experiment under the guidance and
supervision of Tabugo, the class science teacher, about fusion of FINDING THAT THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF JAYSON’S INJURY
sulphur powder and iron fillings by combining these elements in WAS HIS OWN ACT OF LOOKING AT THE HEATED TEST TUBE
BEFORE THE COMPOUND HAD COOLED IN COMPLETE
a test tube and heating the same. Before the science experiment
was conducted, [Jayson] and his classmates were given strict DISREGARD OF INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN PRIOR TO THE
instructions to follow the written procedure for the experiment EXPERIMENT.
and not to look into the test tube until the heated compound had
cooled off. [Jayson], however, a person of sufficient age and II. THE COURT OF APPEALS FAILED TO APPRECIATE THAT, IN
discretion and completely capable of understanding the English LIGHT OF THE RULING IN THE CASE OF ST. MARY’S COLLEGE
language and the instructions of his teacher, without waiting for V. WILLIAM CARPITANOS, x x x JAYSON’S CONTRIBUTORY
the heated compound to cool off, as required in the written NEGLIGENCE OF PEEKING INTO THE TEST TUBE WAS IN FACT
procedure for the experiment and as repeatedly explained by the THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF HIS INJURY FOR WHICH THE
teacher, violated such instructions and took a magnifying glass PETITIONERS SHOULD NOT BE HELD LIABLE.
and looked at the compound, which at that moment spurted out of
the test tube, a small particle hitting one of [Jayson’s] eyes.
III. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN
AFFIRMING THE AWARD OF ACTUAL DAMAGES DESPITE THE
Jayson was rushed by the school employees to the school clinic ABSENCE OF PROOF TO SUPPORT THE SAME.
and thereafter transferred to St. Luke’s Medical Center for
treatment. At the hospital, when Tabago visited [Jayson], the
latter cried and apologized to his teacher for violating her IV. THE LOWER COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN AWARDING
instructions not to look into the test tube until the compound had MORAL DAMAGES TO [JAYSON].
cooled off.
V. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN AFFIRMING
THE AWARD OF ATTORNEY’S FEES TO [JAYSON].
VI. THE LOWER COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN DENYING THE of the other individual [petitioners] were done within the scope of
PETITIONERS’ COUNTERCLAIM.6 their assigned tasks.

We find no reason to depart from the uniform rulings of the lower xxxx
courts that petitioners were "negligent since they all failed to
exercise the required reasonable care, prudence, caution and
"The defense of due diligence of a good father of a family raised
foresight to prevent or avoid injuries to the students."
by [petitioner] St. Joseph College will not exculpate it from
liability because it has been shown that it was guilty of
Jurisprudence dictates that factual findings of the trial court, inexcusable laxity in the supervision of its teachers (despite an
especially when affirmed by the appellate court, are accorded the apparent rigid screening process for hiring) and in the
highest degree of respect and are considered conclusive between maintenance of what should have been a safe and secured
the parties.7 A review of such findings by this Court is not environment for conducting dangerous experiments. [Petitioner]
warranted except for highly meritorious circumstances when: (1) school is still liable for the wrongful acts of the teachers and
the findings of a trial court are grounded entirely on speculation, employees because it had full information on the nature of
surmises or conjectures; (2) a lower court’s inference from its dangerous science experiments but did not take affirmative steps
factual findings is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) to avert damage and injury to students. The fact that there has
there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts; (4) never been any accident in the past during the conduct of science
the findings of the appellate court go beyond the issues of the experiments is not a justification to be complacent in just
case, or fail to notice certain relevant facts which, if properly preserving the status quo and do away with creative foresight to
considered, will justify a different conclusion; (5) there is a install safety measures to protect the students. Schools should
misappreciation of facts; (6) the findings of fact are conclusions not simply install safety reminders and distribute safety
without mention of the specific evidence on which they are based, instructional manuals. More importantly, schools should provide
are premised on the absence of evidence, or are contradicted by protective gears and devices to shield students from expected
evidence on record.8 None of the foregoing exceptions which risks and anticipated dangers.
would warrant a reversal of the assailed decision obtains in this
instance.
"Ordinarily, the liability of teachers does not extend to the school
or university itself, although an educational institution may be
Yet, petitioners maintain that the proximate cause of Jayson’s held liable under the principle of RESPONDENT SUPERIOR. It has
injury was his own negligence in disregarding the instructions also been held that the liability of the employer for the [tortuous]
given by Tabugo prior to the experiment and peeking into the test acts or negligence of its employees is primary and solidary, direct
tube. Petitioners invoke our ruling in St. Mary’s Academy v. and immediate and not conditioned upon the insolvency of or
Carpitanos9 which absolved St. Mary’s Academy from liability for prior recourse against the negligent employee."10
the untimely death of its student during a school sanctioned
activity, declaring that "the negligence of petitioner St. Mary’s
Under the foregoing circumstances, we are hard pressed to
Academy was only a remote cause of the accident."
disturb the findings of the RTC, which the CA affirmed.

We are not convinced.


Nonetheless, petitioners make much of the fact that Tabugo
specifically instructed her students, including Jayson, at the start
Contrary to petitioners’ assertions, the lower courts’ conclusions of the experiment, not to look into the heated test tube before the
are borne out by the records of this case. Both courts correctly compound had cooled off. Petitioners would allocate all liability
concluded that the immediate and proximate cause of the and place all blame for the accident on a twelve (12)-year-old
accident which caused injury to Jayson was the sudden and student, herein respondent Jayson.
unexpected explosion of the chemicals, independent of any
intervening cause. The assailed Decision of the CA quotes with
We disagree.
favor the RTC decision, thus:

As found by both lower courts, the proximate cause of Jayson’s


In this case, [petitioners] failed to show that the negligence of
injury was the concurrent failure of petitioners to prevent the
[Jayson] was the proximate cause of the latter’s injury. We find
foreseeable mishap that occurred during the conduct of the
that the immediate cause of the accident was not the negligence
science experiment. Petitioners were negligent by failing to
of [Jayson] when he curiously looked into the test tube when the
exercise the higher degree of care, caution and foresight
chemicals suddenly exploded which caused his injury, but the
incumbent upon the school, its administrators and teachers.
sudden and unexpected explosion of the chemicals independent
of any intervening cause. [Petitioners] could have prevented the
mishap if they exercised a higher degree of care, caution and Article 218 of the Family Code, in relation to Article 2180 of the
foresight. The court a quo correctly ruled that: Civil Code, bestows special parental authority on the following
persons with the corresponding obligation, thus:
"All of the [petitioners] are equally at fault and are liable for
negligence because all of them are responsible for exercising the Art. 218. The school, its administrators and teachers, or the
required reasonable care, prudence, caution and foresight to individual, entity or institution engaged in child care shall have
prevent or avoid injuries to the students. The individual special parental authority and responsibility over the minor child
[petitioners] are persons charged with the teaching and vigilance while under their supervision, instruction or custody.
over their students as well as the supervision and ensuring of
their well-being. Based on the facts presented before this Court,
Authority and responsibility shall apply to all authorized activities
these [petitioners] were remiss in their responsibilities and
lacking in the degree of vigilance expected of them. [Petitioner] whether inside or outside the premises of the school, entity or
subject teacher Rosalinda Tabugo was inside the classroom institution.
when the class undertook the science experiment although
[Jayson] insisted that said [petitioner] left the classroom. No Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable
evidence, however, was presented to establish that [petitioner] not only for one’s own acts or omissions, but also for those of
Tabugo was inside the classroom for the whole duration of the persons for whom one is responsible.
experiment. It was unnatural in the ordinary course of events that
[Jayson] was brought to the school clinic for immediate treatment
not by [petitioner] subject teacher Rosalinda Tabugo but by xxxx
somebody else. The Court is inclined to believe that [petitioner]
subject teacher Tabugo was not inside the classroom at the time Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades
the accident happened. The Court is also perplexed why none of shall be liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or
the other students (who were eyewitnesses to the incident) apprentices, so long as they remain in their custody.
testified in Court to corroborate the story of the [petitioners]. The
Court, however, understands that these other students cannot
testify for [Jayson] because [Jayson] is no longer enrolled in said Petitioners’ negligence and failure to exercise the requisite
school and testifying for [Jayson] would incur the ire of school degree of care and caution is demonstrated by the following:
authorities. Estefania Abdan is equally at fault as the subject
adviser or teacher in charge because she exercised control and 1. Petitioner school did not take affirmative steps to avert damage
supervision over [petitioner] Tabugo and the students and injury to its students although it had full information on the
themselves. It was her obligation to insure that nothing would go nature of dangerous science experiments conducted by the
wrong and that the science experiment would be conducted students during class;
safely and without any harm or injury to the students. [Petitioner]
Sr. Josephini Ambatali is likewise culpable under the doctrine of
command responsibility because the other individual [petitioners] 2. Petitioner school did not install safety measures to protect the
were under her direct control and supervision. The negligent acts students who conduct experiments in class;
3. Petitioner school did not provide protective gears and devices,
specifically goggles, to shield students from expected risks and
dangers; and

4. Petitioner Tabugo was not inside the classroom the whole time
her class conducted the experiment, specifically, when the
accident involving Jayson occurred. In any event, the size of the
class—fifty (50) students— conducting the experiment is difficult
to monitor.

Moreover, petitioners cannot simply deflect their negligence and


liability by insisting that petitioner Tabugo gave specific
instructions to her science class not to look directly into the
heated compound. Neither does our ruling in St. Mary’s preclude
their liability in this case.

Unfortunately for petitioners, St. Mary’s is not in point. In that


case, respondents thereat admitted the documentary exhibits
establishing that the cause of the accident was a mechanical
defect and not the recklessness of the minor, James Daniel II, in
driving the jeep. We held, thus:

Significantly, respondents did not present any evidence to show


that the proximate cause of the accident was the negligence of
the school authorities, or the reckless driving of James Daniel II. x
x x.

Further, there was no evidence that petitioner school allowed the


minor James Daniel II to drive the jeep of respondent Vivencio
Villanueva. It was Ched Villanueva, grandson of respondent
Vivencio Villanueva, who had possession and control of the jeep.
He was driving the vehicle and he allowed James Daniel II, a
minor, to drive the jeep at the time of the accident.

Hence, liability for the accident, whether caused by the


negligence of the minor driver or mechanical detachment of the
steering wheel guide of the jeep, must be pinned on the minor’s
parents primarily. The negligence of petitioner St. Mary’s
Academy was only a remote cause of the accident. Between the
remote cause and the injury, there intervened the negligence of
the minor’s parents or the detachment of the steering wheel guide
of the jeep.11

In marked contrast, both the lower courts similarly concluded that


the mishap which happened during the science experiment was
foreseeable by the school, its officials and teachers. This neglect
in preventing a foreseeable injury and damage equates to neglect
in exercising the utmost degree of diligence required of schools,
its administrators and teachers, and, ultimately, was the
proximate cause of the damage and injury to Jayson. As we have
held in St. Mary’s, "for petitioner [St. Mary’s Academy] to be
liable, there must be a finding that the act or omission considered
as negligent was the proximate cause of the injury caused
because the negligence must have a causal connection to the
accident."12

As regards the contributory negligence of Jayson, we see no


need to disturb the lower courts’ identical rulings thereon:

As earlier discussed, the proximate cause of [Jayson’s] injury


was the explosion of the heated compound independent of any
efficient intervening cause. The negligence on the part of
[petitioner] Tabugo in not making sure that the science
experiment was correctly conducted was the proximate cause or
reason why the heated compound exploded and injured not only
[Jayson] but his classmates as well. However, [Jayson] is partly
responsible for his own injury, hence, he should not be entitled to
recover damages in full but must likewise bear the consequences
of his own negligence. [Petitioners], therefore, should be held
liable only for the damages actually caused by their negligence.13

Lastly, given our foregoing ruling, we likewise affirm the lower


courts’ award of actual and moral damages, and grant of
attorney’s fees. The denial of petitioners’ counterclaim is also in
order.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court


of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 68367 is AFFIRMED. Costs against
petitioners.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 173870 April 25, 2012 Geronimo, on the other hand, averred that Allan was still Oscar
Jr.’s employee subsequent to December 14, 1992. To prove this,
he presented as witnesses Saturnino Jumawan (Saturnino) and
OSCAR DEL CARMEN, JR., Petitioner,
Jose Navarro (Jose). Saturnino testified that he would pay his fare
vs.
to Allan every time he would board the jeep in going to Molave
GERONIMO BACOY, Guardian and representing the children,
and that the last time he rode the subject vehicle was on
namely: MARY MARJORIE B. MONSALUD, ERIC B. MONSALUD,
December 23, 1992. He also claimed that immediately before
METZIE ANN B. MONSALUD, KAREEN B. MONSALUD,
January 1, 1993, Rodrigo and Allan used to park the jeep at the
LEONARDO B. MONSALUD, JR., and CRISTINA B.
yard of his house.20 Jose likewise attested that Allan was still the
MONSALUD, Respondents.
jeep conductor during the said period as he had ridden the jeep
many times in mid-December of 1992.21
Factual Antecedents
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
At dawn on New Year’s Day of 1993, Emilia Bacoy Monsalud
(Emilia), along with her spouse Leonardo Monsalud, Sr. and their
In its Decision22 dated April 17, 2000, the RTC exculpated the
daughter Glenda Monsalud, were on their way home from a
spouses del Carmen from civil liability for insufficiency of
Christmas party they attended in Poblacion, Sominot, Zamboanga
evidence. However, their son Oscar Jr. was held civilly liable in a
Del Sur. Upon reaching Purok Paglaom in Sominot, they were run
subsidiary capacity. The RTC anchored its ruling primarily on the
over by a Fuso passenger jeep bearing plate number UV-PEK-600
principle of res ipsa loquitur, i.e., that a presumption of
that was being driven by Allan Maglasang (Allan). The jeep was
negligence on the part of a defendant may be inferred if the thing
registered in the name of petitioner Oscar del Carmen, Jr. (Oscar
that caused an injury is shown to be under his management and
Jr.) and used as a public utility vehicle plying the Molave,
that in the ordinary course of things, the accident would not have
Zamboanga del Sur to Sominot, Zamboanga del Sur and vice
happened had there been an exercise of care. Said court
versa route.
ratiocinated that Oscar Jr., as the registered owner of the jeep,
managed and controlled the same through his driver Rodrigo, in
Because of the unfortunate incident, Criminal Case No. 93- whose house the jeep was usually parked. Since both Oscar Jr.
103473 for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Multiple Homicide and Rodrigo were well aware that the jeep could easily be started
was filed against Allan before the Regional Trial Court of Molave, by a mere push even without the ignition key, they should have
Zamboanga del Sur, Branch 23. In a Decision dated March 13, taken the necessary precaution to prevent the vehicle from being
1997, said court declared Allan guilty beyond reasonable doubt of used by unauthorized persons like Allan. The RTC thus
the crime charged.4 concluded that such lack of proper precaution, due care and
foresight constitute negligence making the registered owner of
the vehicle civilly liable for the damage caused by the same.
During the pendency of said criminal case, Emilia’s father,
Geronimo Bacoy (Geronimo), in behalf of the six minor
children5 of the Monsaluds, filed Civil Case No. 96-20219,6 an The RTC disposed of the case as follows:
independent civil action for damages based on culpa aquiliana.
Aside from Allan, also impleaded therein were his alleged
Wherefore, judgment is hereby entered in favor of the plaintiffs
employers, namely, the spouses Oscar del Carmen, Sr. (Oscar
and against the defendants Allan Maglasang and Oscar del
Sr.) and Norma del Carmen (Spouses del Carmen) and the
Carmen, Jr. ordering –
registered owner of the jeep, their son Oscar Jr. Geronimo prayed
for the reimbursement of funeral and burial expenses, as well as
the award of attorney’s fees, moral and exemplary damages 1. Defendant ALLAN MAGLASANG to pay the plaintiffs, and in
resulting from the death of the three victims, and loss of net case of insolvency, for defendant OSCAR DEL CARMEN, JR., to
income earnings of Emilia who was employed as a public school pay the plaintiffs, the following sums:
teacher at the time of her death.7
a. ₱73,112.00 for their funeral and burial expenses;
Defendants refused to assume civil liability for the victims’
deaths. Oscar Sr. averred that the Monsaluds have no cause of
b. ₱1,000,000.00 moral damages for the death of the late Emilia
action against them because he and his wife do not own the jeep
Monsalud;
and that they were never the employers of Allan. 8 For his part,
Oscar Jr. claimed to be a victim himself. He alleged that Allan and
his friends9 stole his jeep while it was parked beside his driver’s c. ₱250,000.00 moral damages for the death of the late Leonardo
rented house to take it for a joyride. Both he and a vehicle Monsalud, Sr.;
mechanic testified that the subject jeep can easily be started by
mere pushing sans the ignition key. The vehicle’s engine shall
d. ₱250,000.00 moral damages for the death of the late Glenda
then run but without any headlights on.10 And implying that this
was the manner by which the vehicle was illegally taken, Oscar Jr. Monsalud;
submitted as part of his documentary evidence the
statements11 of Jemar Alarcon (Jemar) and Benjamin Andujar e. ₱40, 000.00, for exemplary damages;
(Benjamin). The two, who were with Allan in the jeep at the time of
the accident, declared before the investigating officer that during
said time, the vehicle’s headlights were off. Because of this f. ₱20,000.00 attorney’s fees; and
allegation, Oscar Jr. even filed before the same trial court a
carnapping case against Allan and his companions docketed as g. The cost of this proceedings.
Criminal Case No. 93-10380.12 The case was, however, dismissed
for insufficiency of evidence.13
2. The dismissal of the complaint as against the spouses OSCAR
DEL CARMEN SR. and NORMA DEL CARMEN.
Oscar Jr. clarified that Allan was his jeep conductor and that it
was the latter’s brother, Rodrigo Maglasang (Rodrigo), who was
employed as the driver.14 In any event, Allan’s employment as SO ORDERED.23
conductor was already severed before the mishap occurred on
January 1, 1993 since he served as such conductor only from the Oscar Jr. moved for reconsideration24 contending that the
first week of December until December 14, 1992.15 In support of provision on vicarious liability of the employer under Article 2180
this, Oscar Jr. presented as witnesses Faustino Sismundo of the Civil Code25 requires the existence of employer-employee
(Faustino) and Cresencio "Junior" Baobao (Cresencio). Faustino, relationship and that the employee was acting within the scope of
a resident of Molave, testified that when he boarded the jeep his employment when the tort occurred. He stressed that even
heading to Sominot on December 31, 1992, it was Cresencio who assuming that Allan was his employee, he was hired not as a
was the conductor. He also believed that Crecencio started to driver but as a conductor. Hence, Allan acted beyond the scope of
work as such at around December 15 or 16, 1992. 16 Cresencio, for his employment when he drove the jeep.
his part, testified that he worked as Oscar Jr.’s conductor from
December 15, 1992 to January 1, 1993 and that Rodrigo was his
driver.17 He stated that upon learning that the jeep figured in an Oscar Jr. also stressed that the fact that the jeep was running
accident, he never bothered to verify the news. Instead, he went without its headlights on at the time of the accident indubitably
to Midsalip to work there as a conductor for his brother’s vehicle, shows that the same was stolen. He further alleged that the jeep
thereby terminating his employment with Oscar Jr.18 could not have been taken by only one person. As Rodrigo
declared in Criminal Case No. 93-10380 (carnapping case), based
on his experience, the jeep cannot be pushed by only one person
Oscar Jr. likewise testified that it was routinary that after a day’s but by at least five people in order for it to start. This was due to
trip, the jeep would be parked beside Rodrigo’s rented house19 for the vehicle’s mass and the deep canal which separates the
the next early-morning operation. parking area from the curved road that was obstructed by a
house.26
Setting aside its earlier decision, the lower court in its 3. Moral damages in the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos
Order27 dated June 21, 2000 granted the Motion for (₱50,000.00) each for the death of the Monsaluds or for a total
Reconsideration and absolved Oscar Jr. from civil liability. It cited amount of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (₱150,000.00);
Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code which provides that for an
employer to be subsidiarily liable for the criminal acts of his
4. Exemplary damages of Forty Thousand Pesos (₱40,000.00).
employee, the latter should have committed the same in the
discharge of his duties. The court agreed with Oscar Jr. that this
condition is wanting in Allan’s case as he was not acting in the No pronouncement as to costs.
discharge of his duties as a conductor when he drove the jeep.
SO ORDERED. 32
The court also declared the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur
inapplicable since the property owner cannot be made
responsible for the damages caused by his property by reason of Issues
the criminal acts of another. It then adjudged that only Allan
should bear the consequences of his criminal acts. Thus: As a result of the adverse judgment, Oscar Jr. filed this Petition
for Review on Certiorari alleging that the CA erred in:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the MOTION FOR
1. x x x basing its conclusions and findings on speculations,
RECONSIDERATION is granted, and defendant OSCAR DEL surmises and conjectures; misapprehension of facts which are in
conflict with the findings of the trial court;
CARMEN JR. is hereby absolved from all civil liability arising from
the felonious acts of convicted accused ALLAN MAGLASANG.
2. x x x declaring a question of substance not in accord with law
28 and with the applicable decisions of the Supreme Court;
IT IS SO ORDERED.

Geronimo appealed. 3. x x x departing from the regular course of the judicial


proceedings in the disposition of the appeal and [in going]
beyond the issues of the case.33
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Oscar Jr. points out that the CA failed to consider the RTC’s
In its July 11, 2006 Decision,29 the CA granted the appeal. ruling in its June 21, 2000 Order which was in accord with Article
2180 of the Civil Code, i.e., that the tort committed by an
employee should have been done ‘within the scope of his
In resolving the case, the CA first determined the preliminary
assigned tasks’ for an employer to be held liable under culpa
issue of whether there was an employer-employee relationship
aquiliana. However, the CA never touched upon this matter even
between Oscar Jr. and Allan at the time of the accident. It ruled in
if it was glaring that Allan’s driving the subject vehicle was not
the affirmative and gave more credence to the testimonies of
within the scope of his previous employment as conductor.
Geronimo’s witnesses than to those of Oscar Jr.’s witnesses,
Moreover, Oscar Jr. insists that his jeep was stolen and stresses
Faustino and Cresencio. The CA ratiocinated that unlike the
that the liability of a registered owner of a vehicle as to third
witness presented by Geronimo, Faustino never resided in
persons, as well as the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, should not
Poblacion and thus has limited knowledge of the place. His
apply to him. He asserts that although Allan and his companions
testimony was also unreliable considering that he only rode the
were not found to have committed the crime of carnapping
subject jeep twice30 during the last two weeks of December 1992.
beyond reasonable doubt, it was nevertheless established that
As regards Cresencio’s testimony, the appellate court found it
the jeep was illicitly taken by them from a well secured area. This
puzzling why he appeared to have acted uninterested upon
is considering that the vehicle was running without its headlights
learning that the jeep was the subject of an accident when it was
on at the time of the accident, a proof that it was started without
his bread and butter. Said court likewise considered questionable
the ignition key.
Oscar Jr.’s asseveration that Cresencio replaced Allan as
conductor when Cresencio testified that he replaced a certain
Sumagang Jr.31 Our Ruling

With regard to the main issue, the CA adjudged Oscar Jr. liable to Petitioner’s own evidence casts doubt on his claim that his jeep
the heirs of the victims based on the principle that the registered was stolen by Allan and his alleged cohorts. Negligence is
owner of a vehicle is directly and primarily responsible for the presumed under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.
injuries or death of third parties caused by the operation of such
vehicle. It disbelieved Oscar Jr.’s defense that the jeep was stolen
not only because the carnapping case filed against Allan and his Oscar Jr.’s core defense to release him from responsibility for the
death of the Monsaluds is that his jeep was stolen. He highlights
companions was dismissed but also because, given the
circumstances, Oscar Jr. is deemed to have given Allan the that the unauthorized taking of the jeep from the parking area was
implied permission to use the subject vehicle. To support its indeed carried out by the clandestine and concerted efforts of
Allan and his five companions, notwithstanding the obstacles
conclusion, the CA cited the following circumstances: siblings
Rodrigo and Allan were both employees assigned to the said surrounding the parking area and the weight of the jeep.
jeep; after a day’s work, said vehicle would be parked just beside
Rodrigo’s house where Allan also lived; the jeep could easily be Notably, the carnapping case filed against Allan and his group
started even without the use of an ignition key; the said parking was already dismissed by the RTC for insufficiency of evidence.
area was not fenced or secured to prevent the unauthorized use But even in this civil case and as correctly concluded by the CA,
of the vehicle which can be started even without the ignition key. the evidentiary standard of preponderance of evidence required
was likewise not met to support Oscar Jr.’s claim that his jeep
The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads: was unlawfully taken.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is Two of Allan’s co-accused in the carnapping case, Jemar and
GRANTED. The assailed Order dated 21 June 2000 of the Regional Benjamin, declared before the police that when Allan invited them
to ride with him, he was already driving the jeep:
Trial Court (Branch 23), Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, in Civil Case
No. 96-20,219 is SET ASIDE and a new one is hereby entered.
OSCAR DEL CARMEN, Jr. and ALLAN MAGLASANG are held 04. Q- On that night, on or about 11:30 o’clock on December 31,
primarily liable, jointly and severally, to pay plaintiffs-appellants: 1992, where were you?

1. Civil indemnity for the death of Emilia Bacoy Monsalud, A- I went to the disco near [the] Public Market[,] Sominot,
Leonardo Monsalud Sr., and Glenda Monsalud in the amount of Zamboanga del Sur.
Fifty thousand pesos (₱50,000.00) each or for the total amount of
One hundred fifty thousand pesos (₱150,000.00);
05. Q- While you were in disco place, do you know if there was an
incident [that] happened?
2. Temperate damages in the amount of Twenty-five Thousand
Pesos (₱25,000.00) each for the death of Emilia Monsalud,
Leonardo Monsalud Sr., and Glenda Monsalud (collectively the A- No sir but when I was in the disco place, at about 3:30 at dawn
Monsaluds) or for the total amount of Seventy-five thousand more or less[,] January 1, 1993, Allan Maglasang arrived driving
pesos (₱75,000.00); the jeep and he invited me to ride together with Benjamin
Andujar, Dioscoro Sol, Arniel Rezada and Joven Orot.34

xxxx
04. Q- On that night, on or about 9:00 o’clock in the evening more A: Yes Sir.
or less on December 31, 1992, where were you?
Q: You testified on the case in Aurora, is that correct?
A- I went to the disco at [the] Public Market[,] Sominot,
Zamboanga del Sur.
A: Yes, Sir.

05. Q- While you were in the disco place, do you know if there was
Q: And you could well remember that this representation is the
an incident [that] happened?
counsel of the co-accused of Allan Maglasang, is that correct?

A- No, sir, but when I was in the disco place, at about 3:30 at
A: Yes Sir.
dawn more or less[,] January 1, 1993, Allan Maglasang arrive[d]
driving the jeep and he invited me to ride together with Jemar
Alarcon, Dioscoro Sol, Arniel Rizada and Joven Orot.35 Q: And that case for carnapping was dismissed, is that correct?

There were six accused in the carnapping case. If Jemar and A: Yes Sir.
Benjamin were fetched by Allan who was driving the jeep, this
would mean that only three men pushed the jeep contrary to
Rodrigo’s testimony in Criminal Case No. 93-10380 that it has to Q: Even the case of Allan Maglasang, was also dismissed, is that
be pushed by at least five people so that it could start without the correct
ignition key.
A: Yes Sir.
36
On direct examination, Oscar Jr. was asked as to what Rodrigo,
his driver who had informed him about the accident on January 1, Q: Because there was no sufficient evidence to establish that the
1993 at around 7:00 a.m., turned over to him after the jeep was carnapped, is that correct?
incident, viz:
A: Yes Sir.39
Q: When Rodrigo Maglasang, your driver informed you about the
accident, what did he carry with him if any and turned over to
you? While Oscar Jr. highlights that the headlights were not on to
support his claim that his jeep was stolen, this circumstance by
itself will not prove that it really was stolen. The reason why the
A: The OR (Official Receipt) and the CR (Certificate of headlights were not on at the time of the accident was not
Registration) Sir. sufficiently established during the trial. Besides, the fact that the
headlights were not on cannot be exclusively attributed to the
Q: How about the key of the vehicle? lack of ignition key in starting the jeep as there may be other
possibilities such as electrical problems, broken headlights, or
that they were simply turned off.
A: It was not turned over, Sir.37
Hence, sans the testimony of witnesses and other relevant
Assuming arguendo that Allan stole the jeep by having the same evidence to support the defense of unauthorized taking, we
pushed by a group, the ignition key should then be with Rodrigo cannot subscribe to Oscar Jr.’s claim that his jeep was stolen.
as he was entrusted with the jeep’s possession. Thus, at the time The evidence on record brings forth more questions than clear-
Rodrigo faced his employer hours after the incident, it is cut answers.
reasonable to expect that the driver should have also returned the
key to the operator together with the Official Receipt and
Certificate of Registration. Notably, Rodrigo did not do so and Oscar Jr. alleges that the presumption of negligence under the
instead, the key was allegedly handed over to the police for doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (literally, the thing speaks for itself)
should not have been applied because he was vigilant in securing
reasons unexplained and not available from the records.
Interestingly, Oscar Jr. never presented Rodrigo as his witness. his vehicle. He claims that the jeep was parked in a well secured
Neither was he able to attest on cross-examination that Allan area not remote to the watchful senses of its driver Rodrigo.
really stole the jeep by pushing or that the key was handed over
to him by Rodrigo: Under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, "[w]here the thing that
caused the injury complained of is shown to be under the
management of the defendant or his servants; and the accident,
Q: On December 31, 1992, you did not know that it was Rodrigo
Maglasang who gave the key to Allan Maglasang. Is that correct? in the ordinary course of things, would not happen if those who
had management or control used proper care, it affords
reasonable evidence – in the absence of a sufficient, reasonable
A: I was not there. So, I do not know but he had an affidavit to and logical explanation by defendant – that the accident arose
show that he turned it over to the police. from or was caused by the defendant’s want of care."40 Res ipsa
loquitur is "merely evidentiary, a mode of proof, or a mere
procedural convenience, since it furnishes a substitute for, and
Q: What I was asking you is that, [o]n the night of December 31,
relieves a plaintiff of, the burden of producing a specific proof of
1992, when it was driven by Allan Maglasang, you did not know
negligence."41 It "recognizes that parties may establish prima
that the key was voluntarily given by Rodrigo Maglasang to Allan
facie negligence without direct proof, thus, it allows the principle
Maglasang?
to substitute for specific proof of negligence. It permits the
plaintiff to present along with proof of the accident, enough of the
A: I was not there. attending circumstances to invoke the doctrine, create an
inference or presumption of negligence and thereby place on the
defendant the burden of proving that there was no negligence on
Q: So, you could not testify on that, is that correct?
his part."42The doctrine is based partly on "the theory that the
defendant in charge of the instrumentality which causes the
A: Yes Sir, I was not there.38 injury either knows the cause of the accident or has the best
opportunity of ascertaining it while the plaintiff has no such
knowledge, and is therefore compelled to allege negligence in
Furthermore, Oscar Jr. acknowledged the dismissal of the general terms."43
carnapping case, thus:

The requisites of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur as established


Q: Now, there was a case filed against Allan Maglasang and [his] by jurisprudence are as follows:
x x x co-accused x x x [n]amely: Benjamin Andojar, Dioscoro Sol,
Joven Orot, [Jemar Azarcon] and [Arniel] Rizada, for carnapping.
Is that correct? 1) the accident is of a kind which does not ordinarily occur unless
someone is negligent;
A: Yes Sir.
2) the cause of the injury was under the exclusive control of the
person in charge and
Q: That case was filed by you because you alleged that on
December 31, 1992, your jeep was carnapped by Allan Maglasang
and his co-accused, the said mentioned, is that correct? 3) the injury suffered must not have been due to any voluntary
action or contribution on the part of the person injured.44
The above requisites are all present in this case. First, no person WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is
just walking along the road would suddenly be sideswiped and DENIED. The Decision dated July 11, 2006 of the Court of Appeals
run over by an on-rushing vehicle unless the one in charge of the in CA-G.R. CV No. 67764 is hereby AFFIRMED with further
said vehicle had been negligent. Second, the jeep which caused MODIFICATION that an interest of six percent (6%) per annum on
the injury was under the exclusive control of Oscar Jr. as its the amounts awarded shall be imposed, computed from the time
owner. When Oscar Jr. entrusted the ignition key to Rodrigo, he the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 23, Molave,
had the power to instruct him with regard to the specific Zamboanga del Sur is rendered on April 17, 2000 and twelve
restrictions of the jeep’s use, including who or who may not drive percent (12%) per annum on such amount upon finality of this
it. As he is aware that the jeep may run without the ignition key, Decision until the payment thereof.
he also has the responsibility to park it safely and securely and to
instruct his driver Rodrigo to observe the same precaution.
SO ORDERED.
Lastly, there was no showing that the death of the victims was
due to any voluntary action or contribution on their part.

The aforementioned requisites having been met, there now arises


a presumption of negligence against Oscar Jr. which he could
have overcome by evidence that he exercised due care and
diligence in preventing strangers from using his jeep.
Unfortunately, he failed to do so.

What this Court instead finds worthy of credence is the CA’s


conclusion that Oscar Jr. gave his implied permission for Allan to
use the jeep. This is in view of Oscar Jr.’s failure to provide solid
proof that he ensured that the parking area is well secured and
that he had expressly imposed restrictions as to the use of the
jeep when he entrusted the same to his driver Rodrigo. As
fittingly inferred by the CA, the jeep could have been endorsed to
Allan by his brother Rodrigo since as already mentioned, Oscar
Jr. did not give Rodrigo any specific and strict instructions on
matters regarding its use. Rodrigo therefore is deemed to have
been given the absolute discretion as to the vehicle’s operation,
including the discretion to allow his brother Allan to use it.

The operator on record of a vehicle is primarily responsible to


third persons for the deaths or injuries consequent to its
operation, regardless of whether the employee drove the
registered owner’s vehicle in connection with his employment.

Without disputing the factual finding of the CA that Allan was still
his

employee at the time of the accident, a finding which we see no


reason to disturb, Oscar Jr. contends that Allan drove the jeep in
his private capacity and thus, an employer’s vicarious liability for
the employee’s fault under Article 2180 of the Civil Code cannot
apply to him.

The contention is no longer novel. In Aguilar Sr. v. Commercial


Savings Bank,45 the car of therein respondent bank caused the
death of Conrado Aguilar, Jr. while being driven by its assistant
vice president. Despite Article 2180, we still held the bank liable
for damages for the accident as said provision should defer to the
settled doctrine concerning accidents involving registered motor
vehicles, i.e., that the registered owner of any vehicle, even if not
used for public service, would primarily be responsible to the
public or to third persons for injuries caused the latter while the
vehicle was being driven on the highways or streets.46 We have
already ratiocinated that:

The main aim of motor vehicle registration is to identify the owner


so that if any accident happens, or that any damage or injury is
caused by the vehicle on the public highways, responsibility
therefor can be fixed on a definite individual, the registered
owner. Instances are numerous where vehicles running on public
highways caused accidents or injuries to pedestrians or other
vehicles without positive identification of the owner or drivers, or
with very scant means of identification. It is to forestall these
circumstances, so inconvenient or prejudicial to the public, that
the motor vehicle registration is primarily ordained, in the interest
of the determination of persons responsible for damages or
injuries caused on public highways.47

Absent the circumstance of unauthorized use48 or that the subject


vehicle was stolen49 which are valid defenses available to a
registered owner, Oscar Jr. cannot escape liability for quasi-delict
resulting from his jeep’s use.1âwphi1

All told and considering that the amounts of damages awarded


are in accordance with prevailing jurisprudence, the Court
concurs with the findings of the CA and sustains the awards
made. In addition, pursuant to Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v.
Court of Appeals,50 an interest of six percent (6%) per annum on
the amounts awarded shall be imposed, computed from the time
the judgment of the RTC is rendered on April 17, 2000 and twelve
percent (12%) per annum on such amount upon finality of this
Decision until the payment thereof.
G.R. No. 149149 October 23, 2003 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
ERNESTO SYKI, petitioner,
business or industry.
vs.
SALVADOR BEGASA, respondent.
xxxxxxxxx
DECISION
.........
CORONA, J.:
The responsibility treated in this article shall cease when the
persons herein mentioned prove they observed all the diligence
Assailed in the instantthis petition for review under Rule 45 of the
of a good father of a family to prevent damage.
Rules of Court is the decision1 dated January 31, 2001 of the
Court of Appeals, affirming the decision dated May 5, 1998 of the
Regional Trial Court of Negros Occidental, Branch 48, Bacolod From the above provision, when an injury is caused by the
City, in Civil Case No. 7458 for damages. The trial court awarded negligence of an employee, a legal presumption instantly arises
actual and moral damages to herein respondent Salvador Begasa that the employer was negligent, either or both, in the selection
who suffered injuries in an accident due to the negligence of and/or supervision of his said employeeduties. The said
Elizalde Sablayan, the truck driver of petitioner Ernesto Syki. presumption may be rebutted only by a clear showing on the part
of the employer that he had exercised the diligence of a good
father of a family in the selection and supervision of his
The facts follow.
employee. If the employer successfully overcomes the legal
presumption of negligence, he is relieved of liability.6 In other
On June 22, 1992, around 11:20 a.m., near the corner of Araneta words, the burden of proof is on the employer.
and Magsaysay Streets, Bacolod City, respondent Salvador
Begasa and his three companions flagged down a passenger
The question is: how does an employer prove that he had indeed
jeepney driven by Joaquin Espina and owned by Aurora Pisuena.
exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the
While respondent was boarding the passenger jeepney (his right
selection and supervision of his employee? The case of Metro
foot already inside while his left foot still on the boarding step of
Manila Transit Corporation vs. Court of Appeals7 is instructive:
the passenger jeepney), a truck driven by Elizalde Sablayan and
owned by petitioner Ernesto Syki bumped the rear end of the
passenger jeepney. Respondent fell and fractured his left thigh In fine, the party, whether plaintiff or defendant, who asserts the
bone (femur). He also suffered lacerations and abrasions in his affirmative of the issue has the burden of presenting at the trial
left leg, thusas follows: such amount of evidence required by law to obtain a favorable
judgment. . .In making proof in its or his case, it is paramount that
the best and most complete evidence is formally
1. Fracture left femur, junction of middle and distal third,
entered.1ªvvphi1.nét
comminuted.

Coming now to the case at bar, while there is no rule which


2. Lacerated wounds, left poplitial 10 cm. left leg anterior 2.5 cm.
requires that testimonial evidence, to hold sway, must be
corroborated by documentary evidence, inasmuch as the
3. Abrasion left knee.2 witnesses’ testimonies dwelt on mere generalities, we cannot
consider the same as sufficiently persuasive proof that there was
observance of due diligence in the selection and supervision of
On October 29, 1992, respondent filed a complaint for damages
employees. Petitioner’s attempt to prove its "deligentissimi patris
for breach of common carrier’s contractual obligations and quasi-
familias" in the selection and supervision of employees through
delict against Aurora Pisuena, the owner of the passenger
oral evidence must fail as it was unable to buttress the same with
jeepney;, herein petitioner Ernesto Syki, the owner of the truck;,
any other evidence, object or documentary, which might obviate
and Elizalde Sablayan, the driver of the truck.
the apparent biased nature of the testimony.

After hearing, the trial court dismissed the complaint against


Our view that the evidence for petitioner MMTC falls short of the
Aurora Pisuena, the owner and operator of the passenger required evidentiary quantum as would convincingly and
jeepney, but ordered petitioner Ernesto Syki and his truck driver, undoubtedly prove its observance of the diligence of a good
Elizalde Sablayan, to pay respondent Salvador Begasa, jointly
father of a family has its precursor in the underlying rationale
and severally, actual and moral damages plus attorney’s fees as pronounced in the earlier case of Central Taxicab Corp. vs. Ex-
follows: Meralco Employees Transportation Co., et. al., set amidst an
almost identical factual setting, where we held that:
1. Actual damages of ₱48,308.20 less the financial assistance
given by defendant Ernesto Syki to plaintiff Salvador Begasa in The failure of the defendant company to produce in court any
the amount of ₱4,152.55 or a total amount of ₱44,155.65;
‘record’ or other documentary proof tending to establish that it
had exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family in the
2. The amount of ₱30,000.00 as moral damages; selection and supervision of its drivers and buses,
notwithstanding the calls therefore by both the trial court and the
opposing counsel, argues strongly against its pretensions.
3. The amount of ₱20,000.00 as reasonable attorney’s fees.3

We are fully aware that there is no hard-and-fast rule on the


Petitioner Syki and his driver appealed to the Court of Appeals. quantum of evidence needed to prove due observance of all the
However, the appellate court found no reversible error in the diligence of a good father of a family as would constitute a valid
decision of the trial court and affirmed the same in toto.4 The defense to the legal presumption of negligence on the part of an
appellate court also denied their motion for reconsideration.5 employer or master whose employee has by his negligence,
caused damage to another. x x x (R)educing the testimony of
Aggrieved, petitioner Ernesto Syki filed the instant petition for Albert to its proper proportion, we do not have enough
review, arguing that the Court of Appeals erred in not finding trustworthy evidence left to go by. We are of the considerable
respondent Begasa guilty of contributory negligence. Hence, the opinion, therefore, that the believable evidence on the degree of
damages awarded to him (respondent) should have been care and diligence that has been exercised in the selection and
decreased or mitigated. Petitioner also contends that the supervision of Roberto Leon y Salazar, is not legally sufficient to
appellate court erred in ruling that he failed to observe the overcome the presumption of negligence against the defendant
diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and company. (emphasis ours)
supervision of his driver. He asserts that he presented sufficient
evidence to prove that he observed the diligence of a good father The above 1993 ruling in Metro Manila Transit Corporation vs.
of a family in selecting and supervising the said employee, thus Court of Appeals was reiterated in a recent case again involving
he should not be held liable for the injuries sustained by the Metro Manila Transit Corporation,8 thus:
respondent.

In the selection of prospective employees, employers are required


The petition has no merit. to examine them as to their qualifications, experience, and
service records. On the other hand, with respect to the
Article 2180 of the Civil Code provides: supervision of employees, employers should formulate standard
operating procedures, monitor their implementation, and impose
disciplinary measures for breaches thereof. To establish these
. . . . . . . . .x x x x x x x x x
factors in a trial involving the issue of vicarious liability, Petitioner claims that his driver was allegedly caught unaware
employers must submit concrete proof, including documentary when the passenger jeepney hailed by respondent suddenly
evidence. stopped at the intersection of a national highway. Petitioner
argues that, had respondent flagged down the passenger jeepney
at the proper place, the accident could have been avoided.12
In this case, MMTC sought to prove that it exercised the diligence
of a good father of a family with respect to the selection of
employees by presenting mainly testimonial evidence on its Petitioner’s contention has no merit.
hiring procedure. According to MMTC, applicants are required to
submit professional driving licenses, certifications of work
Article 2179 provides:
experience, and clearances from the National Bureau of
Investigation; to undergo tests of their driving skills,
concentration, reflexes, and vision; and, to complete training When the plaintiff’s own negligence was the immediate and
programs on traffic rules, vehicle maintenance, and standard proximate cause of his injury, he cannot recover damages. But if
operating procedures during emergency cases. his negligence was only contributory, the immediate and
proximate cause of the injury being the defendant’s lack of due
care, the plaintiff may recover damages, but the courts shall
. . . . . . . . .x x x x x x x x x
mitigate the damages to be awarded.

Although testimonies were offered that in the case of Pedro Musa


The underlying precept of the above article on contributory
all these precautions were followed, the records of his interview,
negligence is that a plaintiff who is partly responsible for his own
of the results of his examinations, and of his service were not
injury should not be and is not entitled to recover damages in full
presented. . . [T]here is no record that Musa attended such
but must bear the consequences of his own negligence.
training programs and passed the said examinations before he
Inferrably, tThe defendant must thus be held liable only for the
was employed. No proof was presented that Musa did not have
damages actually caused by his negligence.13
any record of traffic violations. Nor were records of daily
inspections, allegedly conducted by supervisors, ever presented.
. . The failure of MMTC to present such documentary proof puts in In the present case, was respondent partly negligent and thus,
doubt the credibility of its witnesses. should not recover the full amount of the damages awarded by
the trial court? We rule in the negative.
x x x x x x x x x. . . . . . . . .
There was no evidence that respondent Begasa and his three
companions flagged down the passenger jeepney at in a
It is noteworthy that, in another case involving MMTC, testimonial
prohibited area. All Tthe facts only showed was that the
evidence of identical content, which MMTC presented to show
passenger jeepney was near the corner of Araneta and
that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the
Magsaysay Streets, Bacolod City when petitioner’s driver bumped
selection and supervision of employees and thus avoid vicarious
it from the rear. No city resolution, traffic regulation or DPWH
liability for the negligent acts of its employees, was held to be
memorandum were was presented to show that the passenger
insufficient to overcome the presumption of negligence against it.
jeepney picked up respondent and his three companions at in a
(emphasis ours)
prohibited area. In fact, the trial court dismissed the case against
the driver and/or owner of the passenger jeepney on the ground
Based therefore on jurisprudential law, the employer must not that they were not liable, which meansing, that no negligence
merely present testimonial evidence to prove that he had could be attributed to them. The trial court also found no
observed the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection negligence on the part of respondent Begasa. This factual finding
and supervision of his employee, but he must also support such was affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals.14
testimonial evidence with concrete or documentary
evidence.1awphi1.nét The reason for this is to obviate the biased
It must be emphasized that petitions for review under Rule 45 of
nature of the employer’s testimony or that of his witnesses.9
the Rules of Court should deals only with questions of law. The
factual conclusions of the Court of Appeals are given great
In this case, petitioner’s evidence consisted entirely of weight and even finality by the Supreme Court, especially when,
testimonial evidence. He testified that before he hired Elizalde as in the present case, the appellate court upholds the findings of
Sablayan, he required him to submit a police clearance in order to fact of the trial court. The factual findings of the Court of Appeals
determine if he was ever involved in any vehicular accident. He can only be overturned if it is shown that such findings are
also required Sablayan to undergo a driving test with conducted obviously whimsical, capricious and arbitrary, or are contrary
by his mechanic, Esteban Jaca. Petitioner claimed that he, in fact, with to the factual findings of the trial court.15 In this case, we find
accompanied Sablayan during the driving test and that during the no reason to overturn the factual findings of the Court of Appeals.
test, Sablayan was taught to read and understand traffic signs Thus, we affirm the appellate court’s finding that there was no
like "Do Not Enter," "One Way," "Left Turn," and "Right Turn." contributory negligence on the part of respondent.

Petitioner’s mechanic, Esteban Jaca, on the other hand, testified In sum, the sole and proximate cause of the accident was the
that Sablayan passed the driving test and had never figured in negligence of petitioner’s driver who, as found by the lower
any vehicular accident except the one in question. He also courts, did not slow down even when he was already approaching
testified that he maintained in good condition all the trucks of a busy intersection within the city proper.16The passenger
petitioner by checking the brakes, horns and tires thereof before jeepney had long stopped to pick up respondent and his three
leaving forproviding hauling services.10 companions and, in fact, respondent was already partly inside the
jeepney, when petitioner’s driver bumped the rear end ofrear-
ended it. The impact was so strong such that respondent fell and
Petitioner, however, never presented the alleged police clearance
fractured his left thigh bone (femur), and suffered severely
given to him by Sablayan, nor the results of Sablayan’s driving
woundeds in his left knee and leg. No doubt that
test. Petitioner also did not present records of the regular
respondentpetitioner’s driver was reckless speeding.
inspections that his mechanic allegedly conducted. The
unsubstantiated and self-serving testimonies of petitioner and his
mechanic arewere, without doubt, insufficient to overcome the Since the negligence of petitioner’s driver was the sole and
legal presumption that petitioner was negligent in the selection proximate cause of the accident, in the present case, petitioner is
and supervision of his driver. Accordingly, we affirm the ruling of liable, under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, to pay damages to
the Court of Appeals that petitioner is liable for the injuries respondent Begasa for the injuries sustained by latterhim.
suffered by respondent.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The decision of the
It should be emphasized that the legal obligation of employers to Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.
observe due diligence in the selection and supervision of their
employees provided under in Article 2180 of the Civil Code is not
SO ORDERED.
an empty provision or a mere formalism since the non-
observance thereof actually becomes the basis of the employers’
vicarious liability.11Employers should thus seriously observe
such a degree of diligence (and must presentprove it in court by
sufficient and concrete evidence) in court showing such
observance in order to be freethat would exculpate them from
liability.

Petitioner next contends that, even if he is liable, the award of


damages given to respondent should be decreased or mitigated
because respondent was guilty of contributory negligence.
liability for the amounts represented under the promissory notes
as shown by their respective signatures appearing in the
aforesaid documents. It upheld the validity and binding effect of
G.R. No. 171050 July 4, 2012 the said promissory notes as the respondents did not deny the
due execution thereof or their signatures appearing therein.
FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST COMPANY (now Bank of the
Philippine Islands), Petitioner, As earlier stated, in its July 28, 2005 Decision, the CA reversed
vs. and set aside the RTC judgment. The decretal portion of the CA
TENTMAKERS GROUP, INC., GREGORIA PILARES SANTOS and decision reads:
RHOEL P. SANTOS, Respondents.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Regional Trial Court of
THE FACTS Makati, Branch 60’s June 11, 2001 Decision is hereby REVERSED
and SET ASIDE. The Complaint filed on April 17, 1998 is hereby
The signatures of respondents, Gregoria Pilares DISMISSED.
Santos (Gregoria) and Rhoel P. Santos (Rhoel), President and
Treasurer of respondent Tentmakers Group, SO ORDERED.13
Inc. (TGI) respectively, appeared on the three (3) promissory
notes for loans contracted with petitioner Far East Bank and Trust
Company (FEBTC), now known as Bank of the Philippine The CA, taking judicial notice of the usual banking practice
Islands (BPI). The first two (2) promissory notes were signed by involving loan agreements, held that although there were
both of them on July 5, 1996, as evidenced by Promissory Note promissory notes, there was no board resolution/corporate
No. 2-038-9650343 for ₱ 255,000.00 and Promissory Note No. 2- secretary’s certificate designating the signatories for the
038-9650404 for ₱ 155,000.00. Gregoria and Rhoel alleged that they corporation, and there was no disclosure that the signatories
did sign on "blank" promissory notes intended for future use. The acted as agents thereof. There were no collaterals either to
sixty (60)-day notes became due and demandable on September ensure the payment of the loan. In the conferment of such
3, 1996. unsecured loans, FEBTC, its bank manager in particular, also
failed to comply with the guidelines set forth under the Manual of
Regulations for Banks,14 when it allegedly approved and released
On August 7, 1996, Promissory Note No. 2-038-9650035 for ₱ the subject loans to Gregoria and Rhoel. These deficiencies,
140,000.00, a thirty (30)-day note, was executed allegedly in the according to the CA, cast doubt on the loan transaction which
same manner as the first two promissory notes. appeared more like an "inside job" with the branch manager or
bank employee securing the signatures of Gregoria and Rhoel,
After a futile demand, FEBTC filed a Complaint6 before the RTC for after which the said manager/employee simply "filled in the
the payment of the principal of the promissory notes which blanks."15
amounted to a total of ₱ 887,613.37 inclusive of interest, penalty
charges and attorney’s fees. In the said complaint, Gregoria and The CA held that "[b]anks should always have adequate audit
Rhoel were impleaded to be jointly and severally liable with TGI mechanisms to make sure that their employees follow accepted
for the unpaid promissory notes. banking rules and practices to safeguard the interest of the
investing public and preserve the public confidence on banks."16
In defense, the respondents alleged that FEBTC had no right at all
to demand from them the amount being claimed; that records Further, the CA found that there was no evidence presented to
would show the absence of any resolution coming from the Board prove that Gregoria and Rhoel or TGI received the proceeds of the
of Directors of TGI, authorizing the signatories to receive the three (3) promissory notes.
proceeds and the FEBTC to release any loan; that FEBTC violated
the rules and regulations of the Central Bank as well as its own
policy when it failed to require the respondents to submit the said FEBTC filed a motion for reconsideration17 of the said decision.
board resolution, it allegedly being a condition sine qua The CA, however, in its January 6, 2006 Resolution, denied the
non before granting a loan to a corporate entity, for the protection motion for lack of merit.
of the depositors/borrowers; that it was FEBTC’s branch
manager, a certain Liza Liwanag, who represented to Gregoria Hence, FEBTC interposes the present petition before this Court
and Rhoel that they could avail of additional working capital for anchored on the following
TGI by having them sign the promissory notes in advance, which
were blank at the time, so they would be ready for future use; that
Liza Liwanag’s act of not requiring the aforesaid board resolution GROUNDS
was against bank policy; that this irregularity caused damage to
FEBTC with its own employee defrauding the bank; that the (A)
respondents had no knowledge that a loan had been taken out in
its name; and that FEBTC could not present any proof that the
respondents duly received the various amounts reflected in the IN ITS 28 JULY 2005 DECISION, THE COURT OF APPEALS,
three (3) promissory notes.7 ERRED IN RULING THAT PETITIONER DID NOT COMPLY WITH
THE GUIDELINES UNDER THE MANUAL OF REGULATION FOR
BANKS, THAT THERE WAS NO BOARD
In the "Answer with Counterclaim and Cross-claim,"8 the RESOLUTION/CORPORATE SECRETARY’S CERTIFICATE
respondents alleged that Salvador Bernardo, Jr. and Luisa DESIGNATING THE SIGNATORIES FOR THE CORPORATION;
Bernardo of Eliezer Crafts, who were erroneously impleaded as THERE WAS NO DISCLOSURE THAT THE SIGNATORIES ACTED
"cross-defendants,"9 were the ones who received the proceeds of AS AGENTS; THAT THERE WERE NO COLLATERALS/CHATTEL
the promissory notes. MORTGAGE/REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE/PLEDGES TO ENSURE
PAYMENT OF THE LOAN. THIS FACTUAL FINDING EXPRESSLY
The respondents failed to appear during the pre-trial. Thereafter, CONFLICTS WITH THE FINDING OF THE TRIAL COURT AND
FEBTC was allowed to present evidence ex-parte. The CONTRADICTED BY THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD.
respondents filed their motion for reconsideration, but the same
was denied by the RTC. A subsequent attempt to have their pre- (B)
trial brief admitted was also denied.10

IN ITS 28 JULY 2005 DECISION, THE COURT OF APPEALS, MADE


After trial, the RTC rendered its decision11 in favor of FEBTC, the A CONCLUSION THAT IS GROUNDED ENTIRELY ON
dispositive portion of which states: SPECULATIONS, SURMISES, OR CONJECTURES. THERE IS NO
EVIDENCE ON RECORD THAT WARRANTS AN INFERENCE OF
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Complaint filed is AN "INSIDE JOB" WITH THE BRANCH MANAGER OR BANK
herein GRANTED. Defendants Tentmakers Group, Inc., Gregoria EMPLOYEE HAVING SECURED THE SIGNATURES OF
P. Santos and Rhoel P. Santos are held jointly and severally liable RESPONDENTS [DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS] GREGORIA AND
to pay plaintiff Far East Bank and Trust Co. in the amount of ₱ RHOEL AFTER WHICH THE MANAGER AND EMPLOYEE SIMPLY
1,181,764.68 plus attorney’s fees equivalent to 10% of the total "FILLED IN THE BLANKS" THIS FACTUAL FINDING, EXPRESSLY
amount claimed. CONFLICTS WITH THE FINDING OF THE TRIAL COURT AND
CONTRADICTED BY THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD, EXHIBITS, "G"
"H" AND "I" BEFORE THE TRIAL COURT.
SO ORDERED.12
(C)
The RTC found sufficient basis to award FEBTC’s claim. It ruled
that the liability of the individual respondents, Gregoria and
Rhoel, was based on their having assumed personal and solidary IN ITS 28 JULY 2005 DECISION, THE COURT OF APPEALS, MADE
A CONCLUSION THAT IS GROUNDED ENTIRELY ON
SPECULATIONS, SURMISES, OR CONJECTURES. THERE IS NO § X319.1 General guidelines. Before granting credit
EVIDENCE ON RECORD THAT WARRANTS AN INFERENCE THAT accommodations against personal security, banks must exercise
THE BANK [HEREIN PETITIONER, THEN PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE], proper caution by ascertaining that the borrowers, co-makers,
IN FACT, DID NOT DENY NOR DISPROVE THAT THIRD PERSONS endorsers, sureties and/or guarantors possess good credit
HAD RECEIVED THE PROCEEDS OF THE THREE PROMISSORY standing and are financially capable of fulfilling their
NOTES; NAMELY, SALVADOR BERNARDO, JR. AND LUISA commitments to the bank. For this purpose, banks shall keep
BERNARDO OF ELIEZER CRAFTS WHO WERE NOT CONNECTED records containing information on the credit standing and
WITH TGI. NO DEMAND ON THEM WAS EVER MADE FOR [THE] financial capacity of credit applicants.
RETURN OF THE PROCEEDS THEY HAD RECEIVED. THIS
FACTUAL FINDING, EXPRESSLY CONFLICTS WITH THE FINDING
§ X319.2 Proof of financial capacity of borrower. In addition to the
OF THE TRIAL COURT AND CONTRADICTED BY THE EVIDENCE
usual personal information sheet about the borrower, banks shall
ON RECORD, EXHIBITS A TO K OF PETITIONER [THEN
require that an application for a credit accommodation against
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE] BEFORE THE TRIAL COURT.18
personal security be accompanied by:

The issue to be resolved is whether the CA rendered a decision


a. A copy of the latest income tax returns of the borrower and his
that is grounded entirely on speculations, surmises, or
co-maker duly stamped as received by the BIR; and
conjectures when it ruled in favor of the respondents.

b. If the credit accommodation exceeds ₱ 500,000.00, a copy of


FEBTC contends that the evidence on record showed its
the borrower’s balance sheet duly certified by an Independent
compliance with the banking rules and regulations through board
Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and in case he is engaged in
resolutions issued by TGI fully authorizing Gregoria and Rhoel to
business, also a copy of the profit and loss statement duly
transact business with it. It submits that the materiality of the said
certified by a CPA.
board resolutions was already ruled upon by the RTC. It asserts
that Gregoria and Rhoel were solidarily liable for the amounts
represented under the three promissory notes having signed the The above documents shall be required to be submitted annually
same. It adds that there was no specific denial, under oath, of the for as long as the credit accommodation is outstanding.
genuineness and due execution of the said documents as
required under Section 8, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court. According
to FEBTC, it merely acted within its rights as creditor in A perusal of the evidentiary records discloses that none of the
demanding payment of the overdue obligation from the solidary above-enumerated guidelines was complied with by FEBTC,
creditors, which included Gregoria and Rhoel. It argues that the particularly the bank manager. As the CA stated, banking
inference of an "inside job" by the CA was a mere speculation not institutions usually require the following documentations
supported by any credible evidence. It further argues that the CA involving loan agreements to be presented before approving any
loan or release of the proceeds thereof:
erred when it gave weight to the allegation that third persons had
received the proceeds of the promissory notes because the
proceeds were credited to the account of TGI. There was no 1) Promissory Notes duly signed by the parties;
evidence on record that such proceeds were credited to the
account of an entity called "Eliezer Crafts."
2) Evidence of Receipt of Proceeds of the Promissory Notes;

In their Comment,19 the respondents counter that they did not


receive the proceeds of the three promissory notes. The same 3) If a corporation is involved, the appropriate copy of the Board
argument was reiterated in their Memorandum.20 The respondents Resolution and a duly notarized Corporate Secretary’s Certificate
posit that it is true that they signed the Promissory Notes, but is required to indicate who the authorized signatories are;
they vehemently deny having received the amounts reflected
thereon. They aver that FEBTC miserably failed to present any 4) If agents sign, they must disclose their principal; and
check, voucher, or any document to show actual receipt by them
of the aforementioned amounts from the bank. They argue that
the RTC gravely erred in finding Gregoria and Rhoel personally 5) Real Estate Mortgage/Chattel Mortgage/Pledges to secure the
liable for the amounts under the promissory notes, they being payment of the loan.
mere signatories of the company’s account, acting in behalf of
TGI, which was the one principally transacting business with In this case, although there were promissory notes, there was no
FEBTC. This, the respondents say, was very clear from the proof of receipt by the respondents of the same amounts
wordings of the Certificate of Board Resolution of TGI submitted reflected in the said promissory notes. There was no Board
to FEBTC. Resolution/Corporate Secretary’s Certificate either, designating
the authorized signatories for the corporation specifically for the
The petition is bereft of merit. loan covered by the Promissory Notes. Even
granting arguendo that the two Board Resolutions (Exhibits "A"
and "B") dated March 3, 1995 and April 11, 1995, respectively,
It should be noted that the questions raised in this petition authorizing Gregoria and Rhoel to transact business with FEBTC,
involve the correctness of the factual findings of the CA. In were binding, still the petition would not prosper as there was no
petitions for review on certiorari under Rule 45, only questions of evidence of crediting of the proceeds of the promissory notes.
law may be raised by the parties and passed upon by this Court. Further, there were no collaterals, real estate mortgage, chattel
An inquiry into the veracity of the factual findings and mortgage or pledges to ensure the payment of the loan. The Court
conclusions of the CA is not the function of this Court, for this is in accord with the CA when the latter wrote:
Court is not a trier of facts. Neither is it its function to reexamine
and weigh anew the respective evidence of the parties.21
The bank was remiss in the surveillance of its people because the
bank auditors could have easily "spotted" the anomaly that the
The factual findings of the CA are generally binding on this loan transaction: (1) did not have any Board Resolution/Corporate
Court.22 There are recognized exceptions23 to this rule. FEBTC, Secretary’s Certificate; (2) did not have collateral/Real Estate
however, has failed to satisfactorily show the applicability of any Mortgage/Chattel Mortgage/Pledge and was given "clean;" and (3)
of those exceptions in this case to warrant a reexamination of the there was no disclosure that TGI was the principal involved as
findings. borrower – all in violation of accepted banking rules and
practices.
In any case, even granting that factual issues may be considered,
the facts would not make a good case for FEBTC because there Time and again, the Supreme Court has stressed that banking
was no evidence adduced to prove that the respondents received business is so impressed with public interest where the trust and
the amount demanded in its complaint. Contrary to the claim of confidence of the public in general is of paramount importance
FEBTC, nowhere in the records of this case can one find a such that the appropriate standard of diligence must be very high,
document evidencing that Gregoria and Rhoel, or TGI for that if not the highest degree of diligence. A bank’s liability as obligor
matter, received the proceeds of the three (3) promissory notes. is not merely vicarious but primary, wherein the defense of
Moreover, FEBTC violated the rules and regulations of the exercise of due diligence in the selection and supervision of its
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) by its failure to strictly follow employees is of no moment.
the guidelines in the conferment of unsecured loans set forth
under the Manual of Regulations for Banks (MORB), to quote:
The laxity of the bank cannot be allowed to prejudice the clients
of the bank who may unsuspectingly become victims of fraud
Sec. X319 Loans Against Personal Security. The following most likely perpetrated by insiders or employees of the bank,
regulations shall govern credit accommodations against personal which is made possible when the bank did not follow accepted
security granted by banks.24 banking rules and practices and prescribed requirements by the
Bangko Sentral in dealing with loan transactions.25
The CA was, thus, correct when it dismissed FEBTC’s complaint
against the respondents.

As to the allegation that there is no evidence on record that


warrants an inference that the transaction was attended by
irregularities purely orchestrated by FEBTC’s branch manager,
the Court gives credence to the respondents’ stance that:

xxx. Those are material facts which have not been refuted by the
petitioner especially the issue of irregularities orchestrated by the
petitioner’s Branch Manager Liza Liwanag. Not even an Affidavit
of Denial was adduced by the petitioner. The bank’s silence on
this point is tantamount to acquiescence to respondents’
position, more so on the sudden disappearance of the said Bank
Manager which under the law and jurisprudence that flight being
an evidence/indication of guilt.26

Evidently, this is a case where the respondents are being used as


a "scapegoat" to answer for the damage and prejudice brought
about by the negligence of FEBTC’s own employees. The branch
manager should have appeared and explained the circumstances.
Thus, the CA cannot be faulted for making such a ruling.

The bottom line is that FEBTC miserably failed to present any


document that would serve as basis for its claim that the
proceeds of the three promissory notes were indeed credited to
the account of the respondents. Indeed, the Court finds no
evidentiary basis to sustain the RTC’s finding of actual receipt by
TGI of the amounts stated in the promissory notes. Accordingly,
the Court affirms the CA decision for being more in accord with
the facts and evidence on record.

On a final note, FEBTC should have been more circumspect in


dealing with its clients.1âwphi1 It cannot be over emphasized that
the banking business is impressed with public interest. Of
paramount importance is the trust and confidence of the public in
general in the banking industry. Consequently, the diligence
required of banks is more than that of a Roman pater familias or a
good father of a family. The highest degree of diligence is
expected.27 In handling loan transactions, banks are under
obligation to ensure compliance by the clients with all the
documentary requirements pertaining to the approval and release
of the loan applications. For failure of its branch manager to
exercise the requisite diligence in abiding by the MORB and the
banking rules and practices, FEBTC was negligent in the
selection and supervision of its employees. In Equitable PCI Bank
v. Tan,28 the Court ruled:

xxx. Banks handle daily transactions involving millions of pesos.


By the very nature of their works the degree of responsibility,
care and trustworthiness expected of their employees and
officials is far greater than those of ordinary clerks and
employees. Banks are expected to exercise the highest degree of
diligence in the selection and supervision of their employees.29

For the loss suffered by FEBTC due to its laxity and carelessness
to police its own personnel, the bank has no one to blame but
itself. As correctly concluded by the CA, this situation partakes of
the nature of damnum absque injuria.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court


of Appeals dated July 28, 2005 and its Resolution of January 6,
2006, are AFFIRMED.
G.R. No. 141910 August 6, 2002 appellee corporation was not a common carrier defined under the
law and existing jurisprudence; and (b) in dismissing the
complaint on a demurrer to evidence.
FGU INSURANCE CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs.
G.P. SARMIENTO TRUCKING CORPORATION and LAMBERT M. The Court of Appeals rejected the appeal of petitioner and ruled in
EROLES, respondents. favor of GPS. The appellate court, in its decision of 10 June
1999,4 discoursed, among other things, that -
VITUG, J.:
"x x x in order for the presumption of negligence provided for
under the law governing common carrier (Article 1735, Civil Code)
G.P. Sarmiento Trucking Corporation (GPS) undertook to deliver
to arise, the appellant must first prove that the appellee is a
on 18 June 1994 thirty (30) units of Condura S.D. white
common carrier. Should the appellant fail to prove that the
refrigerators aboard one of its Isuzu truck, driven by Lambert
appellee is a common carrier, the presumption would not arise;
Eroles, from the plant site of Concepcion Industries, Inc., along
consequently, the appellant would have to prove that the carrier
South Superhighway in Alabang, Metro Manila, to the Central
was negligent.
Luzon Appliances in Dagupan City. While the truck was traversing
the north diversion road along McArthur highway in Barangay
Anupol, Bamban, Tarlac, it collided with an unidentified truck, "x x x xxx xxx
causing it to fall into a deep canal, resulting in damage to the
cargoes.
"Because it is the appellant who insists that the appellees can still
be considered as a common carrier, despite its `limited clientele,’
FGU Insurance Corporation (FGU), an insurer of the shipment, (assuming it was really a common carrier), it follows that it
paid to Concepcion Industries, Inc., the value of the covered (appellant) has the burden of proving the same. It (plaintiff-
cargoes in the sum of P204,450.00. FGU, in turn, being the appellant) `must establish his case by a preponderance of
subrogee of the rights and interests of Concepcion Industries, evidence, which means that the evidence as a whole adduced by
Inc., sought reimbursement of the amount it had paid to the latter one side is superior to that of the other.’ (Summa Insurance
from GPS. Since the trucking company failed to heed the claim, Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 243 SCRA 175). This,
FGU filed a complaint for damages and breach of contract of unfortunately, the appellant failed to do -- hence, the dismissal of
carriage against GPS and its driver Lambert Eroles with the the plaintiff’s complaint by the trial court is justified.
Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, of Makati City. In its answer,
respondents asserted that GPS was the exclusive hauler only of
"x x x xxx xxx
Concepcion Industries, Inc., since 1988, and it was not so
engaged in business as a common carrier. Respondents further
claimed that the cause of damage was purely "Based on the foregoing disquisitions and considering the
accidental.1âwphi1.nêt circumstances that the appellee trucking corporation has been
`its exclusive contractor, hauler since 1970, defendant has no
choice but to comply with the directive of its principal,’ the
The issues having thus been joined, FGU presented its evidence,
inevitable conclusion is that the appellee is a private carrier.
establishing the extent of damage to the cargoes and the amount
it had paid to the assured. GPS, instead of submitting its
evidence, filed with leave of court a motion to dismiss the "x x x xxx xxx
complaint by way of demurrer to evidence on the ground that
petitioner had failed to prove that it was a common carrier.
"x x x the lower court correctly ruled that 'the application of the
law on common carriers is not warranted and the presumption of
1
The trial court, in its order of 30 April 1996, granted the motion to fault or negligence on the part of a common carrier in case of
dismiss, explaining thusly: loss, damage or deterioration of good[s] during transport under
[article] 1735 of the Civil Code is not availing.' x x x.
"Under Section 1 of Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, it is provided
that ‘Each party must prove his own affirmative allegation, xxx.’ "Finally, We advert to the long established rule that conclusions
and findings of fact of a trial court are entitled to great weight on
appeal and should not be disturbed unless for strong and valid
"In the instant case, plaintiff did not present any single evidence
reasons."5
that would prove that defendant is a common carrier.

Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was likewise


"x x x xxx xxx
denied;6 hence, the instant petition,7 raising the following issues:

"Accordingly, the application of the law on common carriers is


I
not warranted and the presumption of fault or negligence on the
part of a common carrier in case of loss, damage or deterioration
of goods during transport under 1735 of the Civil Code is not WHETHER RESPONDENT GPS MAY BE CONSIDERED AS A
availing. COMMON CARRIER AS DEFINED UNDER THE LAW AND
EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE.
"Thus, the laws governing the contract between the owner of the
cargo to whom the plaintiff was subrogated and the owner of the II
vehicle which transports the cargo are the laws on obligation and
contract of the Civil Code as well as the law on quasi delicts.
WHETHER RESPONDENT GPS, EITHER AS A COMMON CARRIER
OR A PRIVATE CARRIER, MAY BE PRESUMED TO HAVE BEEN
"Under the law on obligation and contract, negligence or fault is NEGLIGENT WHEN THE GOODS IT UNDERTOOK TO TRANSPORT
not presumed. The law on quasi delict provides for some SAFELY WERE SUBSEQUENTLY DAMAGED WHILE IN ITS
presumption of negligence but only upon the attendance of some PROTECTIVE CUSTODY AND POSSESSION.
circumstances. Thus, Article 2185 provides:
III
‘Art. 2185. 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.’ WHETHER THE DOCTRINE OF RES IPSA LOQUITUR IS
APPLICABLE IN THE INSTANT CASE.

"Evidence for the plaintiff shows no proof that defendant was


violating any traffic regulation. Hence, the presumption of On the first issue, the Court finds the conclusion of the trial court
and the Court of Appeals to be amply justified. GPS, being an
negligence is not obtaining.
exclusive contractor and hauler of Concepcion Industries, Inc.,
rendering or offering its services to no other individual or entity,
"Considering that plaintiff failed to adduce evidence that cannot be considered a common carrier. Common carriers are
defendant is a common carrier and defendant’s driver was the persons, corporations, firms or associations engaged in the
one negligent, defendant cannot be made liable for the damages business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or
of the subject cargoes."2 both, by land, water, or air, for hire or compensation, offering
their services to the public,8 whether to the public in general or to
a limited clientele in particular, but never on an exclusive
The subsequent motion for reconsideration having been
basis.9 The true test of a common carrier is the carriage of
denied,3 plaintiff interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals,
passengers or goods, providing space for those who opt to avail
contending that the trial court had erred (a) in holding that the
themselves of its transportation service for a fee.10Given accepted requirement that responsible causes other than those due to
standards, GPS scarcely falls within the term "common carrier." defendant’s conduct must first be eliminated, for the doctrine to
apply, should be understood as being confined only to cases of
pure (non-contractual) tort since obviously the presumption of
The above conclusion nothwithstanding, GPS cannot escape
negligence in culpa contractual, as previously so pointed out,
from liability.
immediately attaches by a failure of the covenant or its tenor. In
the case of the truck driver, whose liability in a civil action is
In culpa contractual, upon which the action of petitioner rests as predicated on culpa acquiliana, while he admittedly can be said to
being the subrogee of Concepcion Industries, Inc., the mere proof have been in control and management of the vehicle which
of the existence of the contract and the failure of its compliance figured in the accident, it is not equally shown, however, that the
justify, prima facie, a corresponding right of relief.11 The law, accident could have been exclusively due to his negligence, a
recognizing the obligatory force of contracts,12 will not permit a matter that can allow, forthwith, res ipsa loquitur to work against
party to be set free from liability for any kind of misperformance him.
of the contractual undertaking or a contravention of the tenor
thereof.13 A breach upon the contract confers upon the injured
If a demurrer to evidence is granted but on appeal the order of
party a valid cause for recovering that which may have been lost
dismissal is reversed, the movant shall be deemed to have waived
or suffered. The remedy serves to preserve the interests of the
the right to present evidence.24 Thus, respondent corporation may
promisee that may include his "expectation interest," which is his
no longer offer proof to establish that it has exercised due care in
interest in having the benefit of his bargain by being put in as
transporting the cargoes of the assured so as to still warrant a
good a position as he would have been in had the contract been
remand of the case to the trial court.1âwphi1.nêt
performed, or his "reliance interest," which is his interest in being
reimbursed for loss caused by reliance on the contract by being
put in as good a position as he would have been in had the WHEREFORE, the order, dated 30 April 1996, of the Regional Trial
contract not been made; or his "restitution interest," which is his Court, Branch 66, of Makati City, and the decision, dated 10 June
interest in having restored to him any benefit that he has 1999, of the Court of Appeals, are AFFIRMED only insofar as
conferred on the other party.14 Indeed, agreements can respondent Lambert M. Eroles is concerned, but said assailed
accomplish little, either for their makers or for society, unless order of the trial court and decision of the appellate court
they are made the basis for action.15 The effect of every infraction are REVERSED as regards G.P. Sarmiento Trucking Corporation
is to create a new duty, that is, to make recompense to the one which, instead, is hereby ordered to pay FGU Insurance
who has been injured by the failure of another to observe his Corporation the value of the damaged and lost cargoes in the
contractual obligation16 unless he can show extenuating amount of P204,450.00. No costs.
circumstances, like proof of his exercise of due diligence
(normally that of the diligence of a good father of a family or,
SO ORDERED.
exceptionally by stipulation or by law such as in the case of
common carriers, that of extraordinary diligence) or of the
attendance of fortuitous event, to excuse him from his ensuing
liability.

Respondent trucking corporation recognizes the existence of a


contract of carriage between it and petitioner’s assured, and
admits that the cargoes it has assumed to deliver have been lost
or damaged while in its custody. In such a situation, a default on,
or failure of compliance with, the obligation – in this case, the
delivery of the goods in its custody to the place of destination -
gives rise to a presumption of lack of care and corresponding
liability on the part of the contractual obligor the burden being on
him to establish otherwise. GPS has failed to do so.

Respondent driver, on the other hand, without concrete proof of


his negligence or fault, may not himself be ordered to pay
petitioner. The driver, not being a party to the contract of carriage
between petitioner’s principal and defendant, may not be held
liable under the agreement. A contract can only bind the parties
who have entered into it or their successors who have assumed
their personality or their juridical position.17 Consonantly with the
axiom res inter alios acta aliis neque nocet prodest, such contract
can neither favor nor prejudice a third person. Petitioner’s civil
action against the driver can only be based on culpa
aquiliana, which, unlike culpa contractual, would require the
claimant for damages to prove negligence or fault on the part of
the defendant.18

A word in passing. Res ipsa loquitur, a doctrine being invoked by


petitioner, holds a defendant liable where the thing which caused
the injury complained of is shown to be under the latter’s
management and the accident is such that, in the ordinary course
of things, cannot be expected to happen if those who have its
management or control use proper care. It affords reasonable
evidence, in the absence of explanation by the defendant, that the
accident arose from want of care.19 It is not a rule of substantive
law and, as such, it does not create an independent ground of
liability. Instead, it is regarded as a mode of proof, or a mere
procedural convenience since it furnishes a substitute for, and
relieves the plaintiff of, the burden of producing specific proof of
negligence. The maxim simply places on the defendant the
burden of going forward with the proof.20 Resort to the doctrine,
however, may be allowed only when (a) the event is of a kind
which does not ordinarily occur in the absence of negligence; (b)
other responsible causes, including the conduct of the plaintiff
and third persons, are sufficiently eliminated by the evidence; and
(c) the indicated negligence is within the scope of the defendant's
duty to the plaintiff.21 Thus, it is not applicable when an
unexplained accident may be attributable to one of several
causes, for some of which the defendant could not be
responsible.22

Res ipsa loquitur generally finds relevance whether or not a


contractual relationship exists between the plaintiff and the
defendant, for the inference of negligence arises from the
circumstances and nature of the occurrence and not from the
nature of the relation of the parties.23 Nevertheless, the
G.R. No. 147746 October 25, 2005 3. ₱8,300.00 – a month for [lost rental] income from July 1995 until
such time that the premises is restored to its former condition or
payment for its value, whichever comes first;
PERLA COMPANIA DE SEGUROS, INC. and BIENVENIDO S.
PASCUAL, Petitioners,
vs. 4. ₱2,000,000.00 – for moral damages;
SPS. GAUDENCIO SARANGAYA III and PRIMITIVA B.
SARANGAYA, Respondents.
5. ₱1,000,000.00 – for exemplary damages, and

DECISION
6. Attorney’s fees equivalent to 15% of the total amount to be
awarded to the plaintiffs.2
CORONA, J.:
During the trial, respondents presented witnesses who testified
This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of that a few days before the incident, Pascual was seen buying
Civil Procedure seeking to annul the decisions of the Court of gasoline in a container from a nearby gas station. He then placed
Appeals (CA) dated June 29, 2000 and March 31, 2001, the container in the rear compartment of the car.
respectively, which affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), Branch 21 of Santiago, Isabela.
In his answer, Pascual insisted that the fire was purely an
accident, a caso fortuito, hence, he was not liable for damages.
In 1986, respondent spouses Gaudencio Sarangaya III and He also denied putting a container of gasoline in the car’s rear
Primitiva Sarangaya erected a semi-concrete, semi-narra, one- compartment. For its part, petitioner-corporation refused liability
storey commercial building fronting the provincial road of for the accident on the ground that it exercised due diligence of a
Santiago, Isabela. The building was known as "Super A Building" good father of a family in the selection and supervision of
and was subdivided into three doors, each of which was leased Pascual as its branch manager.
out. The two-storey residence of the Sarangayas was behind the
second and third doors of the building. On the left side of the
After the trial, the court a quo ruled in favor of respondents. The
commercial building stood the office of the Matsushita Electric
decretal portion of the decision read:
Philippine Corporation (Matsushita).

WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing considerations


In 1988, petitioner Perla Compania de Seguros, Inc. (petitioner-
judgment is hereby rendered ORDERING the defendants,
corporation), through its branch manager and co-petitioner
Bienvenido Pascual and Perla Compania de Seguros, Inc. to
Bienvenido Pascual, entered into a contract of lease of the first
pay jointly and solidarily to the plaintiffs spouses Gaudencio and
door of the "Super A Building," abutting the office of Matsushita.
Primitiva Sarangaya the total sum of Two Million Nine Hundred
Petitioner-corporation renovated its rented space and divided it
Four Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Pesos ([₱]2,904,880.00)
into two. The left side was converted into an office while the right
as actual damages with legal interest thereon from December 12,
was used by Pascual as a garage for a 1981 model 4-door Ford
1995 until fully paid.3 (emphasis supplied)
Cortina, a company-provided vehicle he used in covering the
different towns within his area of supervision.
The court a quo declared that, although the respondents failed to
prove the precise cause of the fire that engulfed the garage,
On July 7, 1988, Pascual left for San Fernando, Pampanga but did
Pascual was nevertheless negligent based on the doctrine of res
not bring the car with him. Three days later, he returned to
ipsa loquitur.4 It did not, however, categorically rule that the
Santiago and, after checking his appointments the next day,
gasoline container allegedly placed in the rear compartment of
decided to "warm up" the car. When he pulled up the handbrake
the car caused the fire. The trial court instead declared that both
and switched on the ignition key, the engine made an "odd"
petitioners failed to adduce sufficient evidence to prove that they
sound and did not start. Thinking it was just the gasoline
employed the necessary care and diligence in the upkeep of the
percolating into the engine, he again stepped on the accelerator
car.5 Contrary to the claims of petitioner-corporation, the trial
and started the car. This revved the engine but petitioner again
court also found that it failed to employ the diligence of a good
heard an unusual sound. He then saw a small flame coming out of
father of a family, as required by law, in the selection and
the engine. Startled, he turned it off, alighted from the vehicle and
supervision of Pascual.
started to push it out of the garage when suddenly, fire spewed
out of its rear compartment and engulfed the whole garage.
Pascual was trapped inside and suffered burns on his face, legs With respect to the amount of damages, the trial court awarded to
and arms. respondents no more than their claim for actual damages
covering the cost of the 2-storey residential building and the
commercial building, including their personal properties. It
Meanwhile, respondents were busy watching television when they
explained:
heard two loud explosions. The smell of gasoline permeated the
air and, in no time, fire spread inside their house, destroying all
their belongings, furniture and appliances. According to the plaintiff Gaudencio Sarangaya III, he made a list
of what was lost. His list includes the commercial building that
was burned which he valued at ₱2,070,000.00. The defendants
The city fire marshall conducted an investigation and thereafter
take exception to the value given by the plaintiff and for this
submitted a report to the provincial fire marshall. He concluded
purpose they submitted the tax declaration of the building which
that the fire was "accidental." The report also disclosed that
states that the market value is ₱183,770.00. The Court takes
petitioner-corporation had no fire permit as required by law.
judicial notice that the valuation appearing on the tax declaration
of property is always lower [than] the correct value thereof.
Based on the same report, a criminal complaint for "Reckless Considering that the building that was burned was a two-storey
Imprudence Resulting to (sic) Damage in (sic) Property"1 was filed residential house with a commercial building annex with a total
against petitioner Pascual. On the other hand, petitioner- floor area of 241 square meters as stated in the tax declaration,
corporation was asked to pay the amount of ₱7,992,350, inclusive mostly concrete mixed with narra and other lumber materials, the
of the value of the commercial building. At the prosecutor’s value given by the plaintiffs of ₱2,070,000.00 is reasonable and
office, petitioner Pascual moved for the withdrawal of the credible and it shall be awarded to the plaintiffs.
complaint, which was granted.
The other items listed are assorted [furniture] and fixtures totaling
Respondents later on filed a civil complaint based on quasi-delict ₱307,000.00 assorted appliances worth ₱358,350.00; two filing
against petitioners for a "sum of money and damages," alleging cabinets worth ₱7,000.00 and clothing and other personal effects
that Pascual acted with gross negligence while petitioner- costing ₱350,000.00, household utensils costing ₱15,000.00. The
corporation lacked the required diligence in the selection and Court finds them reasonable and credible considering the social
supervision of Pascual as its employee. They prayed for payment and financial stature of the plaintiffs who are businessmen. There
of the following damages: could be no question that they were able to acquire and own quite
a lot of home furnishings and personal belongings. The costing
however is high considering that these belongings were already
1. ₱2,070,000.00 - representing the value of the 2-storey
used for quite some time so a 20% depreciation should be
residential building and the 3-door apartment;
equitably deducted from the cost of acquisition submitted by
plaintiffs. Thus, the total amount recoverable would be
2. ₱5,922,350.00 - representing the value of the jewelries, ₱1,037,350.00 less 20% or a total of ₱829,880.00. The ₱5,000.00
appliances, [furniture], fixtures and cash; representing foodstock can also be ordered paid to the plaintiffs.
x x x.6
On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the appellate court again ruled The doctrine provides a means by which a plaintiff can pin
in favor of respondents but modified the amount of damages liability on a defendant who, if innocent, should be able to explain
awarded by the trial court. It held: the care he exercised to prevent the incident complained of. Thus,
it is the defendant’s responsibility to show that there was no
negligence on his part.16
x x x the Decision of the Court a quo is AFFIRMED, with the
modification that the Appellants are hereby ordered to pay the
Appellees, jointly and severally, the total amount of ₱600,000.00 To sustain the allegation of negligence based on the doctrine
by way of nominal damages under Articles 2222 and 2223 of the of res ipsa loquitur, the following requisites must concur:
New Civil Code, with interest thereon, at the rate of 6% per annum
from the date of the Decision of this Court.7
1) the accident is of a kind which does not ordinarily occur unless
someone is negligent;
The appellate court was in accord with the trial court’s findings
that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur was correctly applied in
2) the cause of the injury was under the exclusive control of the
determining the liability of Pascual and that petitioner-
person in charge and
corporation, as the employer, was vicariously liable to
respondents. Nonetheless, for respondents’ failure to
substantiate their actual loss, the appellate court granted nominal 3) the injury suffered must not have been due to any voluntary
damages of ₱600,000 to them. action or contribution on the part of the person injured.17

Petitioners and respondents filed their respective motions for Under the first requisite, the occurrence must be one that does
reconsideration. not ordinarily occur unless there is negligence. "Ordinary" refers
to the usual course of events.18 Flames spewing out of a car
engine, when it is switched on, is obviously not a normal event.
In their MR, petitioners contested the findings of fact of the
Neither does an explosion usually occur when a car engine is
appellate court. They denied any liability whatsoever to
revved. Hence, in this case, without any direct evidence as to the
respondents but this was rejected by the CA for lack of merit.
cause of the accident, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur comes into
Thus, the present appeal.
play and, from it, we draw the inference that based on the
evidence at hand, someone was in fact negligent and responsible
Respondents, on the other hand, argued in their MR that the for the accident.
award of nominal damages was erroneous. They prayed that, in
lieu of the award of nominal damages, the case should instead be
The test to determine the existence of negligence in a particular
remanded to the trial court for reception of additional evidence on
case may be stated as follows: did the defendant in committing
their claim for actual damages. The CA granted respondents’ MR.
the alleged negligent act, use reasonable care and caution which
Hence they did not appeal the CA’s decision to us. According to
an ordinarily prudent person in the same situation would have
the CA:
employed?19 If not, then he is guilty of negligence.

Anent Plaintiffs-Appellees’ plea that, in lieu of the Court’s award


Here, the fact that Pascual, as the caretaker of the car, failed to
of nominal damages, the case be remanded to the Court a quo, in
submit any proof that he had it periodically checked (as its year-
the interest of justice, to enable them to adduce evidence to prove
model and condition required) revealed his negligence. A prudent
their claim for actual damages, we find the same meritorious.
man should have known that a 14-year-old car, constantly used in
provincial trips, was definitely prone to damage and other
Accordingly, the Decision of the Court is hereby amended to read defects. For failing to prove care and diligence in the maintenance
as follows: of the vehicle, the necessary inference was that Pascual had been
negligent in the upkeep of the car.
IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Decision of the
Court a quo appealed from is AFFIRMED. The award of nominal Pascual attempted to exculpate himself from liability by insisting
damages is set aside. Let the records be remanded to the Court a that the incident was a caso fortuito. We disagree.
quo for the reception of additional evidence by the Plaintiffs-
Appellees and the Defendants-Appellants anent Plaintiffs-
The exempting circumstance of caso fortuito may be availed only
Appellees’ claim for actual damages.8 (emphasis supplied)
when: (a) the cause of the unforeseen and unexpected
occurrence was independent of the human will; (b) it was
Via this petition, petitioners ascribe the following errors to the impossible to foresee the event which constituted the caso
appellate court: fortuito or, if it could be foreseen, it was impossible to avoid; (c)
the occurrence must be such as to render it impossible to
perform an obligation in a normal manner and (d) the person
(a) THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN APPLYING THE
tasked to perform the obligation must not have participated in any
DOCTRINE OF ["RES IPSA LOQUITUR"] IN THE PRESENT CASE;
course of conduct that aggravated the accident.20

(b) THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT FOUND PERLA


In fine, human agency must be entirely excluded as the proximate
NEGLIGENT IN THE SUPERVISION OF PASCUAL, AND
cause or contributory cause of the injury or loss.21 In a vehicular
CONSEQUENTLY, VICARIOUSLY LIABLE FOR THE FIRE
accident, for example, a mechanical defect will not release the
BECAUSE PERLA FAILED TO ADDUCE EVIDENCE OF
defendant from liability if it is shown that the accident could have
SUPERVISION OF EMPLOYEE’S CARE AND UPKEEP OF
been prevented had he properly maintained and taken good care
COMPANY VEHICLES REQUIRED BY THE SUPREME COURT ON
of the vehicle.22
TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES; AND

The circumstances on record do not support the defense of


(c) THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT ORDERED THE
Pascual. Clearly, there was no caso fortuito because of his want
REMAND OF THE CASE TO RTC ISABELA FOR RECEPTION OF
of care and prudence in maintaining the car.
ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE BY THE SARANGAYA SPOUSES ON
THEIR CLAIM FOR ACTUAL DAMAGES.9
Under the second requisite, the instrumentality or agency that
triggered the occurrence must be one that falls under the
Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase which literally means "the
exclusive control of the person in charge thereof. In this case, the
thing or the transaction speaks for itself."10 It relates to the fact of
car where the fire originated was under the control of Pascual.
an injury that sets out an inference to the cause thereof or
Being its caretaker, he alone had the responsibility to maintain it
establishes the plaintiff’s prima facie case.11The doctrine rests on
and ensure its proper functioning. No other person, not even the
inference and not on presumption.12 The facts of the occurrence
respondents, was charged with that obligation except him.
warrant the supposition of negligence and they furnish
circumstantial evidence of negligence when direct evidence is
lacking.13 Where the circumstances which caused the accident are shown
to have been under the management or control of a certain
person and, in the normal course of events, the incident would
The doctrine is based on the theory that the defendant either
not have happened had that person used proper care, the
knows the cause of the accident or has the best opportunity of
inference is that it occurred because of lack of such care.23 The
ascertaining it and the plaintiff, having no knowledge thereof, is
burden of evidence is thus shifted to defendant to establish that
compelled to allege negligence in general terms.14 In such
he observed all that was necessary to prevent the accident from
instance, the plaintiff relies on proof of the happening of the
happening. In this aspect, Pascual utterly failed.
accident alone to establish negligence.15
Under the third requisite, there is nothing in the records to show
that respondents contributed to the incident. They had no access
to the car and had no responsibility regarding its maintenance
even if it was parked in a building they owned.

On the second assigned error, we find no reason to reverse the


decision of the Court of Appeals. The relationship between the
two petitioners was based on the principle of pater
familias according to which the employer becomes liable to the
party aggrieved by its employee if he fails to prove due diligence
of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his
employees.24 The burden of proof that such diligence was
observed devolves on the employer who formulated the rules and
procedures for the selection and hiring of his employees.

In the selection of prospective employees, employers are required


to examine them as to their qualifications, experience and service
records.25 While the petitioner-corporation does not appear to
have erred in considering Pascual for his position, its lack of
supervision over him made it jointly and solidarily liable for the
fire.

In the supervision of employees, the employer must formulate


standard operating procedures, monitor their implementation and
impose disciplinary measures for the breach thereof.26 To fend off
vicarious liability, employers must submit concrete proof,
including documentary evidence, that they complied with
everything that was incumbent on them.27 Here, petitioner-
corporation’s evidence hardly included any rule or regulation that
Pascual should have observed in performing his functions. It also
did not have any guidelines for the maintenance and upkeep of
company property like the vehicle that caught fire. Petitioner-
corporation did not require periodic reports on or inventories of
its properties either. Based on these circumstances, petitioner-
corporation clearly did not exert effort to be apprised of the
condition of Pascual’s car or its serviceability.

Petitioner-corporation’s argument that the liability attached to


employers only applies in cases involving the supervision of
employees in the transportation business is incorrect. Article
2180 of the Civil Code states that employers shall be liable for the
damage caused by their employees. The liability is imposed on all
those who by their industry, profession or other enterprise have
other persons in their service or supervision.28 Nowhere does it
state that the liability is limited to employers in the transportation
business.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the

decision29 of the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto.

Costs against petitioners.