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Gatchalian vs Delim

G.R. No. L-56487 October 21, 1991 REYNALDA GATCHALIAN, petitioner, vs. AR ENIO DELI! "#$ t%e HON. CO&RT O' A((EAL , respondents. Pedro G. Peralta for petitioner. Florentino G. Libatique for private respondent.

'ELICIANO, J.:p

FACTS:
1. petitioner Reynalda Gatchalian boarded, as a paying passenger, respondent's "Thames" mini bus at a point in San Eugenio, Aringay, a !nion, bound "or #auang, o" the same province. $n the %ay, %hile the bus %as running along the high%ay in #arrio &ayocpoc, #auang, !nion, "a snapping sound" %as suddenly heard at one part o" the bus and, shortly therea"ter, the vehicle bumped a cement "lo%er pot on the side o" the road, %ent o"" the road, turned turtle and "ell into a ditch. Several passengers, including petitioner Gatchalian, %ere in'ured. They %ere promptly ta(en to #ethany )ospital at San *ernando, a !nion, "or medical treatment. !pon medical e+amination, petitioner %as "ound to have sustained physical in'uries on the leg, arm and "orehead. ,. %hile in'ured. passengers %ere con"ined in the hospital, -rs. Adela .elim, %i"e o" respondent, visited them and later paid "or their hospitali/ation and medical e+penses. She also gave petitioner &1,.00 %ith %hich to pay her transportation e+pense in going home "rom the hospital. )o%ever, be"ore -rs. .elim le"t, she had the in'ured passengers, including petitioner, sign an already prepared 1oint A""idavit %hich stated, among other things2 That we are no longer interested to file a complaint, criminal or civil against the said driver and owner of the said Thames, because it was an accident and the said driver and o%ner o" the said Thames have gone to the e+tent o" helping us to be treated upon our in'uries. 3. 4t %as also stated in the a""idavit that a"ter the investigation, the cause o" the accident %as a mechanical de"ect. 5ot%ithstanding the document, petitioner Gathalian "iled %ith the then 6ourt o" *irst 4nstance o" a !nion an action extra contractu to recover compensatory and moral damages. She alleged in the complaint that her in'uries sustained "rom the vehicular mishap had le"t her %ith a conspicuous %hite scar measuring 1 by 17, inches on the "orehead, generating mental su""ering and an in"eriority comple+ on her part8 and that as a result, she had to retire in seclusion and stay a%ay "rom her "riends. She also alleged that the scar diminished her "acial beauty and deprived her o" opportunities "or employment. She prayed "or an a%ard o"2 &10,000.00 "or loss o" employment and other opportunities8 &10,000.00 "or the cost o" plastic surgery "or removal o" the scar on her "orehead8 &30,000.00 "or moral damages8 and &1,000.00 as attorney's "ees. 9. Respondent averred that the mishap %as due to "orce ma'eure, that petitioner had already been paid and she %aived any right o" action on the basis o" the 'oint a""idavit.

4SS!E2 :as there a valid %aiver o" petitioner;s right o" action against the common carrier )E .2 5$. %hat is involved here is the liability o" a common carrier "or in'uries sustained by passengers in respect o" %hose sa"ety a common carrier must e+ercise extraordinary diligence, %e must construe any such purported %aiver most strictly against the common carrier. *or a %aiver to be valid and e""ective, it must not be contrary to la%, morals, public policy or good customs.

:e agree %ith the ma'ority o" the 6ourt o" Appeals %ho held that no valid %aiver o" her cause o" action had been made by petitioner. The relevant language o" the 1oint A""idavit may be <uoted again2 That we are no longer interested to file a complaint, criminal or civil against the said driver and owner o" the said Thames, because it %as an accident and the said driver and o%ner o" the said Thames have gone to the e+tent o" helping us to be treated upon our in'uries. =Emphasis supplied> A %aiver, to be valid and e""ective, must in the "irst place be couched in clear and une<uivocal terms %hich leave no doubt as to the intention o" a person to give up a right or bene"it %hich legally pertains to him. 4 A %aiver may not casually be attributed to a person %hen the terms thereo"
do not e+plicitly and clearly evidence an intent to abandon a right vested in such person.