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C-12

Delos Santos v. Tan Khey

1998

Tan Khey was the owner of International Hotel located in Iloilo city. Romeo de los Santos lodged in Tna Kheys hotel. After arrival, he left the hotel, depositing his revolver and his bag with the person in charge in the hotel. When he returned to the hotel, he took his revolver and his bag from the person in charge in the hotel and proceeded to his room. He locked the door before sleeping. When he woke up, he discovered that the door in his room was opened and his bag and pants, wherein he placed his revolver , was missing. He reported the matter to the Assistant Manager of the hotel, who in turn informed Tan Khey. A secret service agent was sent to investigate and it was found that the wall of the room occupied by De los Santos was only seven feet high with an open space above through which one could enter from outside. De los Santos told the detective that he lost his revolver. Tan Khey disclaimed liability because De los Santos did not deposit his properties with the manager despite a notice to that effect was posted in the hotel. Tan Khey contended that to be liable under Article 1998 of the Civil Code, the following conditions must concur: 1. Deposit of effects by travellers in hotel or inn

WON the hotel owner should be held liable for the loss of the effects of the guest

YES. The Court ruled that the hotel owner should be liable for the loss of the revolver, pants and bag of the guest. Deposit While the law speaks of deposit of effects by travellers in hotels or inns, personal receipt by the innkeeper for safe keeping of effects is not necessarily meant thereby. The reason therefor is the fact that it is the nature of business of an innkeeper to provide not only lodging for travellers but also to security to their persons and effects. The secuity mentioned is not confined to the effects actually delivered to the innkeeper but also to all effects placed within the premises of the hotel. This is because innkeepers by the neture of their business, have supervision and control of their inns and the premises thereof. It is not necessary that the effect was actually delivered but it is enough that they are within the inn. If a guest and goods are within the inn, that is sufficient to charge him. The owner of a hotel may exonerate himself from liability by showing that the guest has taken exclusive control of his own goods, but this must be exclusive custody and control of a guest, and must not be held under the supervision and care of the innkeeper, ey are kept in a room assigned to a guest or the other proper depository in the house. In this case, the guest deposited his effects in the hotel because they are in his room and within the premises of the hotel, and therefore, within the supervision and control of the hotel owner.

2. Notice given to hotel keepers or employees of the effects brought by guests 3. Guest or travellers take the precautions which said hotel keepers or their substitutes advised relative to the care and vigilance of their effects.

Notice The Court ruled that there was no doubt that the person in charge had knowledge of his revolver, the bag, and pants of the guest, De los Santos. The requirement of notice being evidently for the purpose of closing the door to fraudulent claims for non-existent articles, the lack thereof was fatal to De los Santos claim for reparation for the loss of his eyeglass, ring, and cash. Precautions While an innkeeper cannot free himself from responsibility by posting notices, there can be no doubt of the innkeepers right to make such regulations in the management of his inn as will more effectually secure the property of his guest and operate as protection to himself, and that it is incumbent upon the guest, if he means to hold the inkeeper ho his responsibility, to comply with any regulation that is just and reasonable, when he is requested to do so. However, in this case, the notice requiring actual deposit of the effects with the manager was an unreasonable regulation. It was unreasonable to require the guest to deposit his bag, pants and revolver to the manager. De los Santos had exercised the necessary diligence with respect to the care and vigilance of his effects.