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YAMBAO VS ZUNIGA

No. 146173. December 11, 2003|


FACTS
Cecilia Yambao is the registered owner of Lady Cecil and Rome Trans passenger
bus with Plate No. CVK 606, with a public transport franchise to ply the
Novaliches-via Quirino-Alabang route.
The bus owned by Yambao was being driven by her driver, one Ceferino G.
Venturina along the northbound lane of Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA),
within the vicinity of Bagong Barrio, Kalookan City. With Venturina was the bus
conductor, Fernando Dumaliang. Suddenly, the bus bumped Herminigildo Zuiga,
a pedestrian. Such was the force of the impact that the left side of the front
windshield of the bus was cracked. Zuiga was rushed to the Quezon City General
Hospital where he was given medical attention, but due to the massive injuries
sustained, he succumbed shortly thereafter.
Private respondents, as heirs of the victim, filed a Complaint against petitioner and
her driver, Venturina, for damages.The complaint essentially alleged that Venturina
drove the bus in a reckless, careless and imprudent manner, in violation of traffic
rules and regulations, without due regard to public safety, thus resulting in the
victims premature death.
The petitioner vehemently denied the material allegations of the complaint. She
tried to shift the blame for the accident upon the victim, theorizing that
Herminigildo bumped into her bus, while avoiding an unidentified woman who was
chasing him. She further alleged that she was not liable for any damages because as
an employer, she exercised the proper diligence of a good father of a family, both in
the selection and supervision of her bus driver.
ISSUES & ARGUMENTS
W/N Cecilia Yambao exercised the proper diligence of a good father of a
family both in the selection and supervision of her bus driver
HOLDING & RATIO DECIDENDI
Cecilia did not exercise the proper diligence of a good father of a family both in
the selection and supervision of her bus driver
Petitioners claim that she exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision
of her driver, Venturina, deserves but scant consideration. Her allegation that before she
hired Venturina she required him to submit his drivers license and clearances is
worthless, in view of her failure to offer in evidence certified true copies of said license
and clearances. Bare allegations, unsubstantiated by evidence, are not equivalent to
proof under the rules of evidence. Moreover, as the court a quo aptly observed,
petitioner contradicts herself. She declared that Venturina applied with her sometime in
January 1992 and she then required him to submit his license and clearances. However,
the record likewise shows that she did admit that Venturina submitted the said
requirements only on May 6, 1992, or on the very day of the fatal accident itself. In other
words, petitioners own admissions clearly and categorically show that she did not
exercise due diligence in the selection of her bus driver.
Case law teaches that for an employer to have exercised the diligence of a good
father of a family, he should not be satisfied with the applicants mere possession of a
professional drivers license; he must also carefully examine the applicant for
employment as to his qualifications, his experience and record of service. Petitioner
failed to present convincing proof that she went to this extent of verifying Venturinas
qualifications, safety record, and driving history. The presumption juris tantum that
there was negligence in the selection of her bus driver, thus, remains unrebutted.
Nor did petitioner show that she exercised due supervision over Venturina after his
selection. For as pointed out by the Court of Appeals, petitioner did not present any
proof that she drafted and implemented training programs and guidelines on road safety

for her employees. In fact, the record is bare of any showing that petitioner required
Venturina to attend periodic seminars on road safety and traffic efficiency. Hence,
petitioner cannot claim exemption from any liability arising from the recklessness or
negligence of Venturina.
In sum, petitioners liability to private respondents for the negligent and imprudent
acts of her driver, Venturina, under Article 2180 of the Civil Code is both manifest and
clear. Petitioner, having failed to rebut the legal presu
mption of negligence in the selection and supervision of her driver, is responsible
for damages, the basis of the liability being the relationship of pater familias or on the
employers own negligence. Thus, this Court has no option but to uphold the ruling of
the appellate court.