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TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 1

1. G.R. No. 139875 December 4, 2000 Romagos was transferred to the Cebu Doctors' Hospital, but he succumbed to
his injuries the day after.
GREGORIO PESTAO and METRO CEBU AUTOBUS
CORPORATION, petitioners, "Apart from the institution of criminal charges against Gregorio Pestao,
vs. [Respondents] Teotimo and Paz Sumayang, as heirs of Ananias Sumayang,
Spouses TEOTIMO SUMAYANG and PAZ C. SUMAYANG, respondents. filed this civil action for damages against Gregorio Pestao, as driver of the
passenger bus that rammed the deceased's motorcycle, Metro Cebu, as
PANGANIBAN, J.: owner and operator of the said bus, and Perla Compania de Seguros, as
insurer of Metro Cebu. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-6108.
Factual findings of the Court of Appeals, affirming those of the trial judge, are
binding on this Court. In quasi-delicts, such findings are crucial because "On November 9, 1987, upon motion of [Petitioner] Pestao, Judge Pedro C.
negligence is largely a matter of evidence. In computing an award for lost Son ordered the consolidation of the said case with Criminal Case No. 10624,
earning capacity, the life expectancy of the deceased, not that of the heir, is pending in Branch 16 of the same Court, involving the criminal prosecution of
used as basis. Gregorio Pestao for [d]ouble [h]omicide thru [r]eckless [i]mprudence. Joint
trial of the two cases thereafter ensued, where the following assertions were
The Case
made:
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
'[Respondents] rely mainly on the testimonies of Ignacio Neis, Pat. Aquilino
Court, assailing the April 21, 1999 Decision and the August 6, 1999
Dinoy and Teotimo Sumayang, father of the deceased. Neis declared that he
Resolution of the Court of Appeals 1 (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 30289. The
saw the incident while he was sitting on a bench beside the highway; that
questioned Decision disposed as follows:
both vehicles c[a]me from the North; that as the motorcycle approached the
junction to Tab[a]gon, the driver Ananias Sumayang signalled with his left
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is hereby DENIED. The
arm to indicate that he was taking the Tab[a]gon Road; that the motorcycle
assailed Decision of the lower court is hereby AFFIRMED with the aforesaid
did turn left but as it did so, it was bumped by an overspeeding bus; that the
modification regarding the award of death penalty."
force of the impact threw Ananias Sumayang and his companion Manuel
The Resolution of August 6, 1999 denied reconsideration. 2 Romagos about 14 meters away. The motorcycle, Neis continued, was badly
damaged as it was dragged by the bus.
The Facts
'On the other hand, Pat. Dinoy testified that he was in the nearby house of
The events leading to this Petition were summarized by the Court of Appeals Ruben Tiu [when] he heard the sound or noise caused by the collision; that
as follows: he immediately went to the scene where he found Ananias Sumayang and
Manuel Romagos lying on the road bleeding and badly injured; that he
"It appears from the records that at around 2:00 o'clock [o]n the afternoon of requested the driver of a PU vehicle to take them to a hospital; that he took
August 9, 1986, Ananias Sumayang was riding a motorcycle along the note of the various distances which he included in his sketch (Exh. J) that the
national highway in Ilihan, Tabagon, Cebu. Riding with him was his friend probable point of impact was at the left lane of the highway and right at the
Manuel Romagos. As they came upon a junction where the highway junction to Tab[a]gon (Exh J-11); that he based his conclusion on the
connected with the road leading to Tabagon, they were hit by a passenger 'scratches' caused by the motorcycle's footrest on the asphalt pavement; that
bus driven by [Petitioner] Gregorio Pestao and owned by [Petitioner] Metro he described the damage caused to the motorcycle in his sketch (Exh J); that
Cebu Autobus Corporation (Metro Cebu, for brevity), which had tried to on the part of the bus, the right end of its front bumper was bent and the
overtake them, sending the motorcycle and its passengers hurtling upon the right portion of the radiator grill was dented. Pat. Dinoy acknowledged that he
pavement. Both Ananias Sumayang and Manuel Romagos were rushed to the met at the scene Ignacio Neis who informed him that he saw the incident.
hospital in Sogod, where Sumayang was pronounced dead on arrival.
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'On the contrary, Pestao blamed Sumayang for the accident. He testified that dangerous speed as they were coming upon a junction in the road, and as the
when he first blew the horn the motorcycle which was about 15 or 20 meters motorcycle was about to turn left towards Tabagon. The court likewise found
ahead went to the right side of the highway that he again blew the horn and Metro Cebu directly and primarily liable, along with Pestao, the latter's
accelerated in order to overtake the motorcycle; that when he was just one employer under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, as [Petitioner] Metro Cebu
meter behind, the motorcycle suddenly turned left towards the Tab[a]gon failed to present evidence to prove that it had observed . . . [the] diligence of
[R]oad and was bumped by his bus; that he was able to apply his break only a good father of a family to prevent damage. Nor has Metro Cebu proven that
after the impact. Pestao's testimony was corroborated by Ireneo Casilia who it had exercised due diligence in the supervision of its employees and in the
declared that he was one of the passengers of the bus; that the motorcycle maintenance of vehicles."3
suddenly turned left towards Tab[a]gon [R]oad without giving any signal to
indicate its maneuver; that the bus was going at 40 kph when the accident Ruling of the Court of Appeals
occurred.
The CA affirmed respondent's liability for the accident and for Sumayang's
'To substantiate its defense of bonos pater familias [petitioner] [c]orporation death. Pestao was negligent when he tried to overtake the victim's
recalled to the witness box Gregorio Pestao who explained how his driving motorcycle at the Tabagon junction. As a professional driver operating a
experience and ability were tested by the company before he was hired. He public transport vehicle, he should have taken extra precaution to avoid
further declared that the management gave regular lectures to drivers and accidents, knowing that it was perilous to overtake at a junction, where
conductors touching on various topics like speeding, parking, loading and adjoining roads had brought about merging and diverging traffic.
treatment of passengers, and that before he took to the road at 2:30 AM of
The appellate court opined that Metro Cebu had shown laxity in the conduct
that day he checked together with the mechanic the tires, brake, signal lights
of its operations and in the supervision of its employees. By allowing the bus
as well as the tools to be brought along. He did the same thing before
to ply its route despite the defective speedometer, said petitioner showed its
commencing his return trip from Hagnaya, San Remegio later in the day.
indifference towards the proper maintenance of its vehicles. Having failed to
'The corporation also presented its maintenance supervisor, Agustin Pugeda, observe the extraordinary diligence required of public transportation
Jr., and its manager, Alfonso Corominas, Jr. who corroborated Pestao's companies, it was held vicariously liable to the victims of the vehicular
testimony that his driving ability was thoroughly tested, and that all drivers accident.
underwent periodic lecture on various aspects of safety driving including
In accordance with prevailing jurisprudence, the CA raised to P50,000 the
pertinent traffic regulations. They also confirmed the thorough checkup of
granted indemnity for the death of the victim. It also affirmed the award of
every vehicle before it would depart and that the performance of the drivers
loss of earning capacity based on his life expectancy. Such liability was
was being monitored by several inspectors posted at random places along the
assessed, not as a pension for the claiming heirs, but as a penalty and an
route.'
indemnity for the driver's negligent act.
"In judgment, the lower court found [petitioners] liable to the [respondents],
Hence, this Petition.4
in the amounts of P30,000.00 for death indemnity, P829,079 for loss of
earning capacity of the deceased Ananias Sumayang, and P36,000.00 for
Issues
necessary interment expenses. The liability of defendant Perla Compania de
Seguros, Inc., however, was limited only to the amount stipulated in the Petitioners submit the following issues5 for our consideration:
insurance policy, which [was] P12,000 for death indemnity and P4,500.00 for
burial expenses. 1) The Court of Appeals misapplied facts of weight and substance affecting
the result of the case.
"In so ruling, the lower court found [Petitioner] Pestao to have been
negligent in driving the passenger bus that hit the deceased. It was shown 2) The Court of Appeals misapplied R.A. 4136 as regards the behavior of the
that Pestao negligently attempted to overtake the motorcycle at a deceased at the time of the accident.
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3) The Court of Appeals erred in ruling that the award of damages These contentions have already been passed upon by the trial and the
representing income that deceased could have earned be considered a appellate courts. We find no cogent reason to reverse or modify their factual
penalty. findings. The CA agreed with the trial court that the vehicular collision was
caused by Pestao's negligence when he attempted to overtake the
4) The Court of Appeals, contrary to Article 2204, Civil Code, raised the award motorcycle. As a professional driver operating a public transport bus, he
of P30,000.00 damages representing indemnity for death to P50,000.00. should have anticipated that overtaking at a junction was a perilous
maneuver and should thus have exercised extreme caution.
5) The Court of Appeals used as basis for the loss of earning capacity, the life
expectancy of the [d]eceased instead of that of the respondents which was Factual findings of the CA affirming those of the trial court are conclusive and
shorter."6 binding on this Court. Petitioners failed to demonstrate that this case falls
under any of the recognized exceptions to this rule. 7 Indeed, the issue of
In short, they raise these questions: whether the CA erred (1) in applying
negligence is basically factual and, in quasi-delicts, crucial in the award of
Section 45 of RA 4136 when it ruled that negligence in driving was the
damages.
proximate cause of the accident; (2) in increasing the civil indemnity from
P30,000 to P50,000; and (3) in using the life expectancy of the deceased Petitioners aver that the CA was wrong in attributing the accident to a faulty
instead of the life expectancies of respondents. speedometer and in implying that the accident could have been avoided had
this instrument been properly functioning.
The Court's Ruling
This contention has no factual basis. Under Articles 2180 and 2176 of the
The Petition has no merit.
Civil Code, owners and managers are responsible for damages caused by
their employees. When an injury is caused by the negligence of a servant or
First Issue: Negligence
an employee, the master or employer is presumed to be negligent either in
Petitioners contend that Pestao was not under any obligation to slow down the selection or in the supervision of that employee. This presumption may be
when he overtook the motorcycle, because the deceased had given way to overcome only by satisfactorily showing that the employer exercised the care
him upon hearing the bus horn. Seeing that the left side of the road was and the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and the
clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic, Pestao accelerated his speed to supervision of its employee.8
pass the motorcycle. Having given way to the bus, the motorcycle driver
The CA said that allowing Pestao to ply his route with a defective
should have slowed down until he had been overtaken.
speedometer showed laxity on the part of Metro Cebu in the operation of its
They further contend that the motorcycle was not in the middle of the road business and in the supervision of its employees. The negligence alluded to
nearest to the junction as found by the trial and the appellate courts, but was here is in its supervision over its driver, not in that which directly caused the
on the inner lane. This explains why the damage on the bus were all on the accident. The fact that Pestao was able to use a bus with a faulty
right side - the right end of the bumper and the right portion of the radiator speedometer shows that Metro Cebu was remiss in the supervision of its
grill were bent and dented. Hence, they insist that it was the victim who was employees and in the proper care of its vehicles. It had thus failed to conduct
negligent. its business with the diligence required by law.

We disagree. Petitioners are raising a question of fact based on Pestao's Second Issue: Life Indemnity
testimony contradicting that of Eyewitness Ignacio Neis and on the location of
Petitioners aver that the CA erred in increasing the award for life indemnity
the dents on the bumper and the grill. Neis testified that as the two vehicles
from P30,000 to P50,000, without specifying any aggravating circumstance to
approached the junction, the victim raised his left arm to signal that he was
justify the increment as provided in the Civil Code. 9
turning left to Tabagon, but that the latter and his companion were thrown off
the motorcycle after it was bumped by the overspeeding bus.
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This contention is untenable. The indemnity for death caused by a quasi-delict


used to be pegged at P3,000, based on Article 2206 of the Civil Code.
However, the amount has been gradually increased through the years
because of the declining value of our currency. At present, prevailing
jurisprudence fixes the amount at P50,000.10

Third Issue: Loss of Earning Capacity

Petitioners cite Villa Rey Transit, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 11 which held:

"The determination of the indemnity to be awarded to the heirs of a deceased


person has therefore no fixed basis. . . . The life expectancy of the deceased
or of the beneficiary, whichever is shorter, is an important factor . . . "

They contend that the CA used the wrong basis for its computation of earning
capacity.

We disagree. The Court has consistently computed the loss of earning


capacity based on the life expectancy of the deceased, 12 and not on that of
the heir.13 Even Villa Rey Transit did likewise.

The award for loss of earning capacity is based on two factors: (1) the
number of years on which the computation of damages is based and (2) the
rate at which the loss sustained by the heirs is fixed. 14 The first factor refers
to the life expectancy, which takes into consideration the nature of the
victim's work, lifestyle, age and state of health prior to the accident. The
second refers to the victim's earning capacity minus the necessary living
expenses. Stated otherwise, the amount recoverable is that portion of the
earnings of the deceased which the beneficiary would have received the
net earnings of the deceased.15

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision and Resolution
AFFIRMED. Cost against petitioners.1wphi1.nt

SO ORDERED.
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2. G.R. No. 128607 January 31, 2000 P18,270.00 for burial expenses plus such amounts as may be fixed by the
trial court for exemplary damages and attorney's fees.
ALFREDO MALLARI, SR. and ALFREDO MALLARI, JR., petitioners,
vs. The trial court found that the proximate cause of the collision was the
COURT OF APPEALS and BULLETIN PUBLISHING negligence of Felix Angeles, driver of the Bulletin delivery van, considering
CORPORATION, respondents. the fact that the left front portion of the delivery truck driven by Felix Angeles
hit and bumped the left rear portion of the passenger jeepney driven by
BELLOSILLO, J.: Alfredo Mallari Jr. Hence, the trial court ordered BULLETIN and Felix Angeles
to pay jointly and severally Claudia G. Reyes, widow of the deceased victim,
ALFREDO MALLARI SR. and ALFREDO MALLARI JR. in this petition for review
the sums of P42,106.93 for medical expenses; P8,600.00 for funeral and
on certiorari seek to set aside the Decision of the Court of Appeals 1 which
burial expenses; P1,006,777.40 for loss of earning capacity; P5,000.00 for
reversed the court a quo and adjudged petitioners to be liable for damages
moral damages and P10,000.00 for attorney's fees. The trial court also
due to negligence as a common carrier resulting in the death of a passenger.
ordered N.V. Netherlands Insurance Company to indemnify Claudia G. Reyes
P12,000.00 as death indemnity and P2,500.00 for funeral expenses which
On 14 October 1987, at about 5:00 o'clock in the morning, the passenger
when paid should be deducted from the liabilities of respondent BULLETIN
jeepney driven by petitioner Alfredo Mallari Jr. and owned by his co-petitioner
and its driver Felix Angeles to the plaintiff. It also dismissed the complaint
Alfredo Mallari Sr. collided with the delivery van of respondent Bulletin
against the other defendants Alfredo Mallari Sr. and Alfredo Mallari Jr.
Publishing Corp. (BULLETIN, for brevity) along the National Highway in
Barangay San Pablo, Dinalupihan, Bataan. Petitioner Mallari Jr. testified that
On appeal the Court of Appeals modified the decision of the trial court and
he went to the left lane of the highway and overtook a Fiera which had
found no negligence on the part of Angeles and consequently of his employer,
stopped on the right lane. Before he passed by the Fiera, he saw the van of
respondent BULLETIN. Instead, the appellate court ruled that the collision
respondent BULLETIN coming from the opposite direction. It was driven by
was caused by the sole negligence of petitioner Alfredo Mallari Jr. who
one Felix Angeles. The sketch of the accident showed that the collision
admitted that immediately before the collision and after he rounded a curve
occurred after Mallari Jr. overtook the Fiera while negotiating a curve in the
on the highway, he overtook a Fiera which had stopped on his lane and that
highway. The points of collision were the and the left rear portion of the
he had seen the van driven by Angeles before overtaking the Fiera. The Court
passenger jeepney and the left front side of the delivery van of BULLETIN.
of Appeals ordered petitioners Mallari Jr. and Mallari Sr. to compensate
The two (2) right wheels of the delivery van were on the right shoulder of the
Claudia G. Reyes P1,006,777.50 for loss of earning capacity, P50,000.00 as
road and pieces of debris from the accident were found scattered along the
indemnity for death and P10,000.00 for attorney's fees. It absolved from any
shoulder of the road up to a certain portion of the lane travelled by the
liability respondent BULLETIN, Felix Angeles and N.V. Netherlands Insurance
passenger jeepney. The impact caused the jeepney to turn around and fall on
Company. Hence this petition.
its left side resulting in injuries to its passengers one of whom was Israel
Reyes who eventually died due to the gravity of his injuries.1wphi1.nt Petitioners contend that there is no evidence to show that petitioner Mallari Jr.
overtook a vehicle at a curve on the road at the time of the accident and that
On 16 December 1987 Claudia G. Reyes, the widow of Israel M. Reyes, filed a
the testimony of Angeles on the overtaking made by Mallari Jr. was not
complaint for damages with the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City against
credible and unreliable. Petitioner also submits that the trial court was in a
Alfredo Mallari Sr. and Alfredo Mallari Jr., and also against BULLETIN, its driver
better position than the Court of Appeals to assess the evidence and observe
Felix Angeles, and the N.V. Netherlands Insurance Company. The complaint
the witnesses as well as determine their credibility; hence, its finding that the
alleged that the collision which resulted in the death of Israel Reyes was
proximate cause of the collision was the negligence of respondent Angeles,
caused by the fault and negligence of both drivers of the passenger jeepney
driver of the delivery van owned by respondent BULLETIN, should be given
and the Bulletin Isuzu delivery van. The complaint also prayed that the
more weight and consideration.
defendants be ordered jointly and severally to pay plaintiff P1,006,777.40 in
compensatory damages, P40,000.00 for hospital and medical expenses,
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We cannot sustain petitioners. Contrary to their allegation that there was no The Court of Appeals correctly found, based on the sketch and spot report of
evidence whatsoever that petitioner Mallari Jr. overtook a vehicle at a curve the police authorities which were not disputed by petitioners, that the
on the road at the time of or before the accident, the same petitioner himself collision occurred immediately after petitioner Mallari Jr. overtook a vehicle in
testified that such fact indeed did occur front of it while traversing a curve on the highway.3 This act of overtaking was
in clear violation of Sec. 41, pars. (a) and (b), of RA 4136 as amended,
Q: And what was that accident all about? otherwise known as The Land Transportation and Traffic Code which provides:

A: Well, what happened, sir, is that at about that time 5:00 o'clock in that Sec. 41. Restrictions on overtaking and passing. (a) The driver of a vehicle
morning of October 14 while I was negotiating on the highway at San Pablo, shall not drive to the left side of the center line of a highway in overtaking or
Dinalupihan, Bataan, I was then following a blue Ford Fierra and my distance passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, unless such left
behind was about twenty (20) feet and then I passed that blue Ford Fierra. I side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance
overtook and when I was almost on the right lane of the highway towards ahead to permit such overtaking or passing to be made in safety.
Olongapo City there was an oncoming delivery van of the Bulletin Publishing
Corporation which bumped the left rear portion of the jeepney which I was (b) The driver of a vehicle shall not overtake or pass another vehicle
driving and as a result of which the jeepney . . . turned around and fell on its proceeding in the same direction when approaching the crest of a grade, nor
left side and as a result of which some of my passengers including me were upon a curve in the highway, where the driver's view along the highway is
injured, sir . . . . obstructed within a distance of five hundred feet ahead except on a highway
having two or more lanes for movement of traffic in one direction where the
Q: Before you overtook the Ford Fierra jeepney did you look . . . whether driver of a vehicle may overtake or pass another vehicle: Provided That on a
there was any vehicle coming towards you? highway, within a business or residential district, having two or more lanes for
movement of traffic in one direction, the driver of a vehicle may overtake or
A: Yes, sir.
pass another vehicle on the right.
Q: Did you see the Bulletin van or the Press van coming towards you?
The rule is settled that a driver abandoning his proper lane for the purpose of
overtaking another vehicle in an ordinary situation has the duty to see to it
A: Yes, sir.
that the road is clear and not to proceed if he cannot do so in safety.4When a
Q: At the moment the Ford Fierra . . . stop(ped) and in overtaking the Fierra, motor vehicle is approaching or rounding a curve, there is special necessity
did you not have an option to stop and not to overtake the Ford Fierra? for keeping to the right side of the road and the driver does not have the
right to drive on the left hand side relying upon having time to turn to the
A: Well, at the time when the Ford Fierra stopped in front of me I slowed right if a car approaching from the opposite direction comes into view. 5
down with the intention of applying the brake, however, when I saw the
oncoming vehicle which is the Press van is very far. . . which is 100 feet In the instant case, by his own admission, petitioner Mallari Jr. already saw
distance, . . . it is sufficient to overtake the Ford Fierra so I overt(ook) it . . . . that the BULLETIN delivery van was coming from the opposite direction and
failing to consider the speed thereof since it was still dark at 5:00 o'clock in
Q: You said that you took into consideration the speed of the oncoming Press the morning mindlessly occupied the left lane and overtook two (2) vehicles
van but you also could not estimate the speed of the press van because it in front of it at a curve in the highway. Clearly, the proximate cause of the
was dark at that time, which of these statements are true? collision resulting in the death of Israel Reyes, a passenger of the jeepney,
was the sole negligence of the driver of the passenger jeepney, petitioner
A: What I wanted to say, I took into consideration the speed of the oncoming Alfredo Mallari Jr., who recklessly operated and drove his jeepney in a lane
vehicle, the Press van, although at the moment I could not estimate the where overtaking was not allowed by traffic rules. Under Art. 2185 of the Civil
speed of the oncoming vehicle . . . .2 Code, 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
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 7

violating a traffic regulation. As found by the appellate court, petitioners


failed to present satisfactory evidence to overcome this legal presumption.

The negligence and recklessness of the driver of the passenger jeepney is


binding against petitioner Mallari Sr., who admittedly was the owner of the
passenger jeepney engaged as a common carrier, considering the fact that in
an action based on contract of carriage, the court need not make an express
finding of fault or negligence on the part of the carrier in order to hold it
responsible for the payment of damages sought by the passenger. Under Art.
1755 of the Civil Code, a common carrier is bound to carry the passengers
safely as far as human care and foresight can provide using the utmost
diligence of very cautious persons with due regard for all the circumstances.
Moreover, under Art. 1756 of the Civil Code, in case of death or injuries to
passengers, a common carrier is presumed to have been at fault or to have
acted negligently, unless it proves that it observed extraordinary diligence.
Further, pursuant to Art. 1759 of the same Code, it is liable for the death of
or injuries to passengers through the negligence or willful acts of the former's
employees. This liability of the common carrier does not cease upon proof
that it exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection
of its employees. Clearly, by the contract of carriage, the carrier jeepney
owned by Mallari Sr. assumed the express obligation to transport the
passengers to their destination safely and to observe extraordinary diligence
with due regard for all the circumstances, and any injury or death that might
be suffered by its passengers is right away attributable to the fault or
negligence of the carrier.

The monetary award ordered by the appellate court to be paid by petitioners


to the widow of the deceased passenger Israel M. Reyes of P1,006,777.50 for
loss of earning capacity, P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for death, and
P10,000.00 for attorney's fees, all of which were not disputed by petitioners,
is a factual matter binding and conclusive upon this Court.1wphi1.nt

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the Decision of the Court of Appeals
dated 20 September 1995 reversing the decision of the trial court being in
accord with law and evidence is AFFIRMED. Consequently, petitioners are
ordered jointly and severally to pay Claudia G. Reyes P1,006,777.50 for loss
of earning capacity, P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for death, and P10,000.00
for attorney's fees. Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.
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3. G.R. No. 120027 April 21, 1999 hospital, the attending physician, Dr. Marivic Aguirre, 7
pronounced Reynaldo
Raynera dead on arrival.
EDNA A. RAYNERA, for herself and on behalf of the minors RIANNA
and REIANNE RAYNERA, petitioners, At the time of his death, Reynaldo was manager of the Engineering
vs. Department, Kawasaki Motors (Phils.) Corporation. He was 32 years old, had
FREDDIE HICETA and JIMMY ORPILLA, respondents. a life expectancy of sixty five (65) years, and an annual net earnings of not
less than seventy three thousand five hundred (P73,500.00) pesos, 8 with a
potential increase in annual net earnings of not less than ten percent (10%)
of his salary. 9
PARDO, J.:
On May 12, 1989, the heirs of the deceased demanded 10 from respondents
The case is a petition for review certiorari of the decision of the Court of
payment of damages arising from the death of Reynaldo
Appeals, 1 reversing that of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 45, Manila. 2
Raynera as a result of the vehicular accident. The respondents refused to pay
the claims.
The rule is well-settled that factual findings of the Court of Appeals are
generally considered final and may not be reviewed on appeal. However, this
On September 13, 1989, petitioners filed with the Regional Trial Court,
principle admits of certain exceptions, among which is when the findings of
Manila 11 a complaint 12 for damages against respondents owner and driver of
the appellate court are contrary to those of the trial court, a re-examination
the Isuzu truck.
of the facts and evidence may be undertaken. 3 This case falls under the cited
exception. In their complaint against respondents, petitioners sought recovery of
damages for the death of Reynaldo Raynera caused by the negligent
The antecedent facts are as follows:
operation of the truck-trailer at nighttime on the highway, without tail lights.
Petitioner Edna A. Raynera was the widow of Reynaldo Raynera and the
In their answer filed on April 4, 1990, respondents alleged that the truck was
mother and legal guardian of the minors Rianna and Reianne, both surnamed
travelling slowly on the service road, not parked improperly at a dark portion
Raynera. Respondents Freddie Hiceta and Jimmy Orpilla were the owner and
of the road, with no tail lights, license plate and early warning device.
driver, respectively, of an Isuzu truck-trailer with plate No. NXC 848, involved
in the accident.1wphi1.nt At the trial, petitioners presented Virgilio Santos. He testified that at about
1.00 and 2:00 in the morning of March 23, 1989, he and his wife went to
On March 23, 1989, at about 2:00 in the morning, Reynaldo Raynera was on
Alabang, market, on board a tricycle. They passed by the service road going
his way home. He was riding a motorcycle traveling on the southbound lane
south, and saw a parked truck trailer, with its hood open and without tail
of East Service Road, Cupang, Muntinlupa. The Isuzu truck was travelling
lights. They would have bumped the truck but the tricycle driver was quick in
ahead of him at 20 to 30 kilometers per hour. 4 The truck was loaded with two
avoiding a collision. The place was dark, and the truck had no early warning
(2) metal sheets extended on both sides, two (2) feet on the left and three
device to alert passing motorists. 13
(3) feet on the right. There were two (2) pairs of red lights, about 35 watts
each, on both sides of the metal plates. 5 The asphalt road was not well On the other hand, respondents presented truck helper Geraldino
lighted. Lucelo. 14 He testified that at the time the incident happened, the truck was
slowly traveling at approximately 20 to 30 kilometers per hour. Another
At some point on the road, Reynaldo Raynera crashed his motorcycle into the
employee of respondents, auto-mechanic Rogoberto Reyes, 15 testified that at
left rear portion of the truck trailer, which was without tail lights. Due to the
about 3:00 in the afternoon of March 22, 1989, with the help of Lucelo, he
collision, Reynaldo sustained head injuries and truck helper Geraldino D.
installed two (2) pairs of red lights, about 30 to 40 watts each, on both sides
Lutelo 6 rushed him to the Paraaque Medical Center. Upon arrival at the
of the steel plates. 16 On his part, traffic investigation officer Cpl. Virgilio del
Monte 17 admitted that these lights were visible at a distance of 100 meters.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 9

On December 19, 1991, the trial court rendered decision in favor of After due proceedings, on April 28, 1995, the Court of Appeals rendered
petitioners. It found respondents Freddie Hiceta and Jimmy Orpilla negligent decision setting aside the appealed decision. The appellate court held that
in view of these circumstances: (1) the truck trailer had no license plate and Reynaldo Raynera's bumping into the left rear portion of the truck was the
tail lights; (2) there were only two pairs of red lights, 50 watts 18 each, on proximate cause or his death, 22 and consequently, absolved respondents
both sides of the steel plates; and (3) the truck trailer was improperly parked from liability.
in a dark area.
Hence, this petitition for review on certiorari.
The trial court held that respondents' negligence was the immediate and
proximate cause of Reynaldo Raynera's death, for which they are jointly and In this petition, the heirs of Reynaldo Raynera contend that the appellate
severally liable to pay damages to petitioners. The trial court also held that court erred in: (1) overturning the trial court's finding that respondents'
the victim was himself negligent, although this was insufficient to overcome negligent operation of the Isuzu truck was the proximate cause of the victim's
respondents' negligence. The trial court applied the doctrine of contributory death; (2) applying the doctrine of last clear chance; (3) setting aside the
negligence 19 and reduced the responsibility of respondents by 20% on trial court's award of actual and compensatory damages.
account of the victim's own negligence.
The issues presented are (a) whether respondents were negligent, and if so,
The dispositive portion of the lower court's decision reads as follows: (b) whether such negligence was the proximate cause of the death of
Reynaldo Raynera.
All things considered, the Court is of the opinion that it is fair and reasonable
to fix the living and other expenses of the deceased the sum of P54,000.00 a Petitioners maintain that the proximate cause of Reynaldo Raynera's death
year or about P4,500.00 a month (P150.00 p/d) and that, consequently, the was respondents' negligence in operating the truck trailer on the highway
loss or damage sustained by the plaintiffs may be estimated at without tail lights and license plate.
P1,674,000.00 for the 31 years of Reynaldo Raynera's life expectancy.
The Court finds no reason to disturb the factual findings of the Court of
Taking into account the cooperative negligence of the deceased Reynaldo Appeals.
Raynera, the Court believes that the demand of substantial justice are
"Negligence is the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided
satisfied by allocating the damages on 80-20 ratio. Thus, P1,337,200.00 shall
by those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human
be paid by the defendants with interest thereon, at the legal rate, from date
affairs, would do, or the doing of something, which a prudent and reasonable
of decision, as damages for the loss of earnings. To this sum, the following
man would not do." 23
shall be added:
Proximate cause is "that cause, which, in natural and continous sequence,
(a) P33,412.00, actually spent for funeral services, interment and memorial
unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without
lot;
which the result would not have occured." 24
(b) P20,000.00 as attorney's fees;
During the trial, it was established that the truck had no tail lights. The
(c) cost of suit. photographs taken of the scene of the accident showed that there were no
tail lights of license plates installed on the Isuzu truck. Instead, what were
SO ORDERED. 20
installed were two (2) pairs of lights on top of the steel plates, and one (1)
pair of lights in front of the truck. With regard to the rear of the truck, the
On January 10, 1992, respondents Hiceta and Orpilla appealed to the Court of photos taken and the sketch in the spot report proved that there were no tail
Appeals. 21 lights.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 10

Despite the absence of tail lights and license plate, respondents truck was WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition for review on certiorari and AFFIRM the
visible in the highway. It was traveling at a moderate speed, approximately decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 35895, dismissing the
20 to 30 kilometers per hour. It used the service road, instead of the highway, amended complaint in Civil Case No. 89-50355, Regional Trial Court, Branch
because the cargo they were hauling posed a danger to passing motorists. In 45, Manila.1wphi1.nt
compliance with the Land Transportation Traffic Code (Republic Act No.
4136)" 25 respondents installed 2 pairs of lights on top of the steel plates, as No costs.
the vehicle's cargo load extended beyond the bed or body thereof.
SO ORDERED.
We find that the direct cause of the accident was the negligence of the victim.
Traveling behind the truck, he had the responsibility of avoiding bumping the
vehicle in front of him. He was in control of the situation. His motorcycle was
equipped with headlights to enable him to see what was in front of him. He
was traversing the service road where the prescribed speed limit was less
than that in the highway.

Traffic investigator Cpl. Virgilio del Monte testified that two pairs of 50-watts
bulbs were on top of the steel plates, 26which were visible from a distance of
100 meters . 27 Virgilio Santos admitted that from the tricycle where he was on
board, he saw the truck and its cargo of iron plates from a distance of ten
(10) meters. 28 In light of these circumstances, an accident could have been
easily avoided, unless the victim had been driving too fast and did not
exercise dues care and prudence demanded of him under the circumstances.

Virgilio Santos' testimony strengthened respondents' defense that it was the


victim who was reckless and negligent in driving his motorcycle at high
speed. The tricycle where Santos was on board was not much different from
the victim's motorcycle that figured in the accident. Although Santos claimed
the tricycle almost bumped into the improperly parked truck, the tricycle
driver was able to void hitting the truck.

It has been said that drivers of vehicles "who bump the rear of another
vehicle" are presumed to be "the cause of the accident, unless contradicted
by other evidence". 29 The rationale behind the presumption is that the driver
of the rear vehicle has full control of the situation as he is in a position to
observe the vehicle in front of him.

We agree with the Court of Appeals that the responsibility to avoid the
collision with the front vehicle lies with the driver of the rear vehicle.

Consequently, no other person was to blame but the victim himself since he
was the one who bumped his motorcycle into the rear of the Isuzu truck. He
had the last clear chance of avoiding the accident.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 11

4. G.R. No. 113003 October 17, 1997 fast," she cautioned the driver to slow down but he merely stared at her
through the mirror. At around 3:30 p.m., in Trento, she heard something
ALBERTA YOBIDO and CRESENCIO YOBIDO, petitioners, vs. explode and immediately, the bus fell into a ravine.
COURT OF APPEALS, LENY TUMBOY, ARDEE TUMBOY and JASMIN
TUMBOY, respondents. For their part, the defendants tried to establish that the accident was due to a
fortuitous event. Abundio Salce, who was the bus conductor when the
ROMERO, J.: incident happened, testified that the 42-seater bus was not full as there were
only 32 passengers, such that he himself managed to get a seat. He added
In this petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals,
that the bus was running at a speed of "60 to 50" and that it was going slow
the issue is whether or not the explosion of a newly installed tire of a
because of the zigzag road. He affirmed that the left front tire that exploded
passenger vehicle is a fortuitous event that exempts the carrier from liability
was a "brand new tire" that he mounted on the bus on April 21, 1988 or only
for the death of a passenger.
five (5) days before the incident. The Yobido Liner secretary, Minerva
Fernando, bought the new Goodyear tire from Davao Toyo Parts on April 20,
On April 26, 1988, spouses Tito and Leny Tumboy and their minor children
1988 and she was present when it was mounted on the bus by Salce. She
named Ardee and Jasmin, bearded at Mangagoy, Surigao del Sur, a Yobido
stated that all driver applicants in Yobido Liner underwent actual driving tests
Liner bus bound for Davao City. Along Picop Road in Km. 17, Sta. Maria,
before they were employed. Defendant Cresencio Yobido underwent such test
Agusan del Sur, the left front tire of the bus exploded. The bus fell into a
and submitted his professional driver's license and clearances from the
ravine around three (3) feet from the road and struck a tree. The incident
barangay, the fiscal and the police.
resulted in the death of 28-year-old Tito Tumboy and physical injuries to
other passengers.
On August 29, 1991, the lower court rendered a decision 2 dismissing the
action for lack of merit. On the issue of whether or not the tire blowout was
On November 21, 1988, a complaint for breach of contract of carriage,
a caso fortuito, it found that "the falling of the bus to the cliff was a result of
damages and attorney's fees was filed by Leny and her children against
no other outside factor than the tire blow-out." It held that the ruling in
Alberta Yobido, the owner of the bus, and Cresencio Yobido, its driver, before
the La Mallorca and Pampanga Bus Co. v. De Jesus 3 that a tire blowout is "a
the Regional Trial Court of Davao City. When the defendants therein filed their
mechanical defect of the conveyance or a fault in its equipment which was
answer to the complaint, they raised the affirmative defense of caso fortuito.
easily discoverable if the bus had been subjected to a more thorough or rigid
They also filed a third-party complaint against Philippine Phoenix Surety and
check-up before it took to the road that morning" is inapplicable to this case.
Insurance, Inc. This third-party defendant filed an answer with compulsory
It reasoned out that in said case, it was found that the blowout was caused
counterclaim. At the pre-trial conference, the parties agreed to a stipulation
by the established fact that the inner tube of the left front tire "was pressed
of facts. 1
between the inner circle of the left wheel and the rim which had slipped out of
Upon a finding that the third party defendant was not liable under the the wheel." In this case, however, "the cause of the explosion remains a
insurance contract, the lower court dismissed the third party complaint. No mystery until at present." As such, the court added, the tire blowout was
amicable settlement having been arrived at by the parties, trial on the merits "a caso fortuito which is completely an extraordinary circumstance
ensued. independent of the will" of the defendants who should be relieved of
"whatever liability the plaintiffs may have suffered by reason of the explosion
The plaintiffs asserted that violation of the contract of carriage between them pursuant to Article 1174 4 of the Civil Code."
and the defendants was brought about by the driver's failure to exercise the
diligence required of the carrier in transporting passengers safely to their Dissatisfied, the plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Appeals. They ascribed to
place of destination. According to Leny Tumboy, the bus left Mangagoy at the lower court the following errors: (a) finding that the tire blowout was
3:00 o'clock in the afternoon. The winding road it traversed was not a caso fortuito; (b) failing to hold that the defendants did not exercise utmost
cemented and was wet due to the rain; it was rough with crushed rocks. The and/or extraordinary diligence required of carriers under Article 1755 of the
bus which was full of passengers had cargoes on top. Since it was "running
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 12

Civil Code, and (c) deciding the case contrary to the ruling in Juntilla and, therefore, its findings of fact cannot be considered final which shall bind
v. Fontanar, 5 and Necesito v. Paras. 6 this Court. Hence, they pray that this Court review the facts of the case.

On August 23, 1993, the Court of Appeals rendered the Decision 7 reversing The Court did re-examine the facts and evidence in this case because of the
that of the lower court. It held that: inapplicability of the established principle that the factual findings of the Court
of Appeals are final and may not be reviewed on appeal by this Court. This
To Our mind, the explosion of the tire is not in itself a fortuitous event. The general principle is subject to exceptions such as the one present in this case,
cause of the blow-out, if due to a factory defect, improper mounting, namely, that the lower court and the Court of Appeals arrived at diverse
excessive tire pressure, is not an unavoidable event. On the other hand, there factual findings. 8 However, upon such re-examination, we found no reason to
may have been adverse conditions on the road that were unforeseeable overturn the findings and conclusions of the Court of Appeals.
and/or inevitable, which could make the blow-out a caso fortuito. The fact
that the cause of the blow-out was not known does not relieve the carrier of As a rule, when a passenger boards a common carrier, he takes the risks
liability. Owing to the statutory presumption of negligence against the carrier incidental to the mode of travel he has taken. After all, a carrier is not an
and its obligation to exercise the utmost diligence of very cautious persons to insurer of the safety of its passengers and is not bound absolutely and at all
carry the passenger safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, it events to carry them safely and without injury. 9 However, when a passenger
is the burden of the defendants to prove that the cause of the blow-out was a is injured or dies while travelling, the law presumes that the common carrier
fortuitous event. It is not incumbent upon the plaintiff to prove that the cause is negligent. Thus, the Civil Code provides:
of the blow-out is not caso-fortuito.
Art. 1756. In case of death or injuries to passengers, common carriers are
Proving that the tire that exploded is a new Goodyear tire is not sufficient to presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they
discharge defendants' burden. As enunciated in Necesito vs. Paras, the prove that they observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed in articles
passenger has neither choice nor control over the carrier in the selection and 1733 and 1755.
use of its equipment, and the good repute of the manufacturer will not
necessarily relieve the carrier from liability. Article 1755 provides that "(a) common carrier is bound to carry the
passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the
Moreover, there is evidence that the bus was moving fast, and the road was utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due regard for all the
wet and rough. The driver could have explained that the blow-out that circumstances." Accordingly, in culpa contractual, once a passenger dies or is
precipitated the accident that caused the death of Toto Tumboy could not injured, the carrier is presumed to have been at fault or to have acted
have been prevented even if he had exercised due care to avoid the same, negligently. This disputable presumption may only be overcome by evidence
but he was not presented as witness. that the carrier had observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed by Articles
1733, 10 1755 and 1756 of the Civil Code or that the death or injury of the
The Court of Appeals thus disposed of the appeal as follows: passenger was due to a fortuitous event. 11 Consequently, the court need not
make an express finding of fault or negligence on the part of the carrier to
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the court a quo is set aside and another one
hold it responsible for damages sought by the passenger.12
entered ordering defendants to pay plaintiffs the sum of P50,000.00 for the
death of Tito Tumboy, P30,000.00 in moral damages, and P7,000.00 for In view of the foregoing, petitioners' contention that they should be exempt
funeral and burial expenses. SO ORDERED. from liability because the tire blowout was no more than a fortuitous event
that could not have been foreseen, must fail. A fortuitous event is possessed
The defendants filed a motion for reconsideration of said decision which was
of the following characteristics: (a) the cause of the unforeseen and
denied on November 4, 1993 by the Court of Appeals. Hence, the instant
unexpected occurrence, or the failure of the debtor to comply with his
petition asserting the position that the tire blowout that caused the death of
obligations, must be independent of human will; (b) it must be impossible to
Tito Tumboy was a caso fortuito. Petitioners claim further that the Court of
foresee the event which constitutes the caso fortuito, or if it can be foreseen,
Appeals, in ruling contrary to that of the lower court, misapprehended facts
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 13

it must be impossible to avoid; (c) the occurrence must be such as to render good quality is not sufficient proof that it was not negligent. Petitioners should
it impossible for the debtor to fulfill his obligation in a normal manner; and have shown that it undertook extraordinary diligence in the care of its carrier,
(d) the obliger must be free from any participation in the aggravation of the such as conducting daily routinary check-ups of the vehicle's parts. As the
injury resulting to the creditor. 13 As Article 1174 provides, no person shall be late Justice J.B.L. Reyes said:
responsible for a fortuitous event which could not be foreseen, or which,
though foreseen, was inevitable. In other words, there must be an entire It may be impracticable, as appellee argues, to require of carriers to test the
exclusion of human agency from the cause of injury or loss. 14 strength of each and every part of its vehicles before each trip; but we are of
the opinion that a due regard for the carrier's obligations toward the traveling
Under the circumstances of this case, the explosion of the new tire may not public demands adequate periodical tests to determine the condition and
be considered a fortuitous event. There are human factors involved in the strength of those vehicle portions the failure of which may endanger the
situation. The fact that the tire was new did not imply that it was entirely free safety of the passengers. 18
from manufacturing defects or that it was properly mounted on the vehicle.
Neither may the fact that the tire bought and used in the vehicle is of a brand Having failed to discharge its duty to overthrow the presumption of
name noted for quality, resulting in the conclusion that it could not explode negligence with clear and convincing evidence, petitioners are hereby held
within five days' use. Be that as it may, it is settled that an accident caused liable for damages. Article 1764 19 in relation to Article 2206 20 of the Civil
either by defects in the automobile or through the negligence of its driver is Code prescribes the amount of at least three thousand pesos as damages for
not a caso fortuito that would exempt the carrier from liability for damages. 15 the death of a passenger. Under prevailing jurisprudence, the award of
damages under Article 2206 has been increased to fifty thousand pesos
Moreover, a common carrier may not be absolved from liability in case (P50,000.00). 21
of force majeure or fortuitous event alone. The common carrier must still
prove that it was not negligent in causing the death or injury resulting from Moral damages are generally not recoverable in culpa contractual except
an accident. 16 This Court has had occasion to state: when bad faith had been proven. However, the same damages may be
recovered when breach of contract of carriage results in the death of a
While it may be true that the tire that blew-up was still good because the passenger, 22 as in this case. Exemplary damages, awarded by way of
grooves of the tire were still visible, this fact alone does not make the example or correction for the public good when moral damages are
explosion of the tire a fortuitous event. No evidence was presented to show awarded, 23 may likewise be recovered in contractual obligations if the
that the accident was due to adverse road conditions or that precautions were defendant acted in wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent
taken by the jeepney driver to compensate for any conditions liable to cause manner. 24 Because petitioners failed to exercise the extraordinary diligence
accidents. The sudden blowing-up, therefore, could have been caused by too required of a common carrier, which resulted in the death of Tito Tumboy, it is
much air pressure injected into the tire coupled by the fact that the jeepney deemed to have acted recklessly. 25 As such, private respondents shall be
was overloaded and speeding at the time of the accident. 17 entitled to exemplary damages.

It is interesting to note that petitioners proved through the bus conductor, WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED
Salce, that the bus was running at "60-50" kilometers per hour only or within subject to the modification that petitioners shall, in addition to the monetary
the prescribed lawful speed limit. However, they failed to rebut the testimony awards therein, be liable for the award of exemplary damages in the amount
of Leny Tumboy that the bus was running so fast that she cautioned the of P20,000.00. Costs against petitioners.
driver to slow down. These contradictory facts must, therefore, be resolved in
favor of liability in view of the presumption of negligence of the carrier in the SO ORDERED.
law. Coupled with this is the established condition of the road rough,
winding and wet due to the rain. It was incumbent upon the defense to
establish that it took precautionary measures considering partially dangerous
condition of the road. As stated above, proof that the tire was new and of
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 14

5. G.R. No. 116110 May 15, 1996 Allan, on the other hand, broke a leg. He was also given emergency
treatment at the provincial hospital.
BALIWAG TRANSIT, INC., petitioner,
vs. Spouses Antonio and Leticia Garcia sued Baliwag Transit, Inc., A & J Trading
COURT OF APPEALS, SPOUSES ANTONIO GARCIA & LETICIA GARCIA, and Julio Recontique for damages in the Regional Trial Court of
A & J TRADING, AND JULIO RECONTIQUE, respondents. Bulacan. 5 Leticia sued as an injured passenger of Baliwag and as mother of
Allan. At the time of the complaint, Allan was a minor, hence, the suit initiated
by his parents in his favor.

PUNO, J.:p Baliwag, A & J Trading and Recontique disclaimed responsibility for the
mishap. Baliwag alleged that the accident was caused solely by the fault and
This is a petition for certiorari to review the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals
negligence of A & J Trading and its driver, Recontique. Baliwag charged that
in CA-G.R. CV-31246 awarding damages in favor of the spouses Antonio and
Recontique failed to place an early warning device at the corner of the
Leticia Garcia for breach of contract of carriage. 2
disabled cargo truck to warn on coming vehicles. 6 On the other hand, A & J
Trading and Recontique alleged that the accident was the result of the
The records show that on July 31, 1980, Leticia Garcia, and her five-year old
negligence and reckless driving of Santiago, bus driver of Baliwag. 7
son, Allan Garcia, boarded Baliwag Transit Bus No. 2036 bound for
Cabanatuan City driven by Jaime Santiago. They took the seat behind the
After hearing, the trial court found all the defendants liable, thus:
driver.
xxx xxx xxx
At about 7:30 in the evening, in Malimba, Gapan, Nueva Ecija, the bus
passengers saw a cargo truck parked at the shoulder of the national highway. In view thereof, the Court holds that both defendants should be held liable;
Its left rear portion jutted to the outer lane, as the shoulder of the road was the defendant Baliwag Transit, Inc. for having failed to deliver the plaintiff and
too narrow to accommodate the whole truck. A kerosene lamp appeared at her son to their point of destination safely in violation of plaintiff's and
the edge of the road obviously to serve as a warning device. The truck driver, defendant Baliwag Transit's contractual relation.
Julio Recontique, and his helper, Arturo Escala, were then replacing a flat tire.
The truck is owned by respondent A & J Trading. The defendant A & J and Julio Recontique for failure to provide its cargo truck
with an early warning device in violation of the Motor Vehicle Law. 8
Bus driver Santiago was driving at an in ordinately fast speed and failed to
notice the truck and the kerosene lamp at the edge of the road. Santiago's The trial court ordered Baliwag, A & J Trading and Recontique to pay jointly
passengers urged him to slow down but he paid them no heed. Santiago even and severally the Garcia spouses the following: (1) P25,000,00 hospitalization
carried animated conversations with his co-employees while driving. When and medication fee, (2) P450,000.00 loss of earnings in eight (8) years, (3)
the danger of collision became imminent, the bus passengers shouted P2,000.00 for the hospitalization of their son Allan Garcia, (4) P50,000.00
"Babangga tayo!". Santiago stepped on the brake, but it was too late. His bus moral damages, and (5) P30,000.00 attorney's fee. 9
rammed into the stalled cargo truck. It caused the instant death of Santiago
and Escala, and injury to several others. Leticia and Allan Garcia were among On appeal, the Court of Appeals modified the trial court's Decision by
the injured passengers. absolving A & J Trading from liability and by reducing the award of attorney's
fees to P10,000.00 and loss of earnings to P300,000.00, respectively. 10
Leticia suffered a fracture in her pelvis and right leg. They rushed her to the
provincial hospital in Cabanatuan City where she treatment. After three days, Baliwag filed the present petition for review raising the following issues:
she was transferred to the National Orthopedic Hospital where she was
confined for more than a month. 3 She underwent an operation for partial hip
prosthesis. 4
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 15

1. Did the Court of Appeals err in absolving A & J Trading from liability and Baliwag cannot evade its liability by insisting that the accident was caused
holding Baliwag solely liable for the injuries suffered by Leticia and Allan solely by the negligence of A & J Trading and Julio Recontique. It harps on
Garcia in the accident? their alleged non use of an early warning device as testified to by Col.
Demetrio dela Cruz, the station commander of Gapan, Nueva Ecija who
2. Is the amount of damages awarded by the Court of Appeals to the Garcia investigated the incident, and Francisco Romano, the bus conductor.
spouses correct?
The records do not bear out Baliwag's contention. Col. dela Cruz and Romano
We affirm the factual findings of the Court of Appeals. testified that they did not see any early warning device at the scene of the
accident. 16 They were referring to the triangular reflectorized plates in red
I
and yellow issued by the Land Transportation Office. However, the evidence
shows that Recontique and Ecala placed a kerosene lamp or torch at the edge
As a common carrier, Baliwag breached its contract of carriage when it failed
of the road, near the rear portion of the truck to serve as an early warning
to deliver its passengers, Leticia and Allan Garcia to their destination safe and
device. 17 This substantially complies with Section 34 (g) of the Land
sound. A common carrier is bound to carry its passengers safely as far as
Transportation and Traffic Code, to wit:
human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of a very
cautious person, with due regard for all the circumstances. 11 In a contract of
(g) Lights and reflector when parked or disabled. Appropriate parking
carriage, it is presumed that the common carrier was at fault or was negligent
lights or flares visible one hundred meters away shall be displayed at the
when a passenger dies or is injured. Unless the presumption is rebutted, the
corner of the vehicle whenever such vehicle is parked on highways or in
court need not even make an express finding of fault or negligence on the
places that are not well-lighted or, is placed in such manner as to endanger
part of the common carrier. This statutory presumption may only be
passing traffic. Furthermore, every motor vehicle shall be provided at all
overcome by evidence that the carrier exercised extraordinary diligence as
times with built-in reflectors or other similar warning devices either pasted,
prescribed in Articles 1733 and 1755 of the Civil Code. 12
painted or attached at its front and back which shall likewise be visible at
night at least one hundred meters away. No vehicle not provided with any of
The records are bereft of any proof to show that Baliwag exercised extra
the requirements mentioned in this subsection shall be registered. (emphasis
ordinary diligence. On the contrary, the evidence demonstrates its driver's
supplied)
recklessness. Leticia Garcia testified that the bus was running at a very high
speed despite the drizzle and the darkness of the highway. The passengers
Baliwag's argument that the kerosene lamp or torch does not substantially
pleaded for its driver to slow down, but their plea was ignored. 13 Leticia also
comply with the law is untenable. The aforequoted law clearly allows the use
revealed that the driver was smelling of liquor. 14 She could smell him as she
not only of an early warning device of the triangular reflectorized plates
was seated right behind the driver. Another passenger, Felix Cruz testified
variety but also parking lights or flares visible one hundred meters away.
that immediately before the collision, the bus driver was conversing with a
Indeed, Col. dela Cruz himself admitted that a kerosene lamp is an
co-employee. 15 All these prove the bus driver's wanton disregard for the
acceptable substitute for the reflectorized plates. 18 No negligence, therefore,
physical safety of his passengers, which makes Baliwag as a common carrier
may be imputed to A & J Trading and its driver, Recontique.
liable for damages under Article 1759 of the Civil Code:
Anent this factual issue, the analysis of evidence made by the Court of
Art. 1759. Common carriers are liable for the death of or injuries to
Appeals deserves our concurrence, viz:
passengers through the negligence or willfull acts of the former's employees,
although such employees may have acted beyond the scope of their authority xxx xxx xxx
or in violation of the orders of the common carriers.
In the case at bar, both the injured passengers of the Baliwag involved in the
This liability of the common carriers do not cease upon proof that they accident testified that they saw some sort of kerosene or a torch on the rear
exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection or portion of the truck before the accident. Baliwag Transit's conductor
supervision of their employees.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 16

attempted to defeat such testimony by declaring that he noticed no early First, the propriety of the amount awarded as hospitalization and medical
warning device in front of the truck. fees. The award of P25,000.00 is not supported by the evidence on record.
The Garcias presented receipts marked as Exhibits "B-1" to "B-42" but their
Among the testimonies offered by the witnesses who were present at the total amounted only to P5,017.74. To be sure, Leticia testified as to the extra
scene of the accident, we rule to uphold the affirmative testimonies given by amount spent for her medical needs but without more reliable evidence, her
the two injured passengers and give less credence to the testimony of the lone testimony cannot justify the award of P25,000.00. To prove actual
bus conductor who solely testified that no such early warning device exists. damages, the best evidence available to the injured party must be presented.
The court cannot rely on uncorroborated testimony whose truth is suspect,
The testimonies of injured passengers who may well be considered as
but must depend upon competent proof that damages have been actually
disinterested witness appear to be natural and more probable than the
suffered. 20 Thus, we reduce the actual damages for medical and
testimony given by; Francisco Romano who is undoubtedly interested in the
hospitalization expenses to P5,017.74.
outcome of the case, being the conductor of the defendant-appellant Baliwag
Transit Inc. Second, we find as reasonable the award of P300,000.00 representing
Leticia's lost earnings. Before the accident, Leticia was engaged in
It must be borne in mind that the situation then prevailing at the time of the
embroidery, earning P5,000.00 per month. 21 Her injuries forced her to stop
accident was admittedly drizzly and all dark. This being so, it would be
working. Considering the nature and extent of her injuries and the length of
improbable and perhaps impossible on the part of the truck helper without
time it would take her to recover, 22 we find it proper that Baliwag should
the torch nor the kerosene to remove the flat tires of the truck . Moreover,
compensate her lost income for five (5) years. 23
witness including the bus conductor himself admitted that the passengers
shouted, that they are going to bump before the collision which consequently Third, the award of moral damages is in accord with law. In a breach of
caused the bus driver to apply the brake 3 to 4 meters away from the truck. contract of carriage, moral damages are recoverable if the carrier, through its
Again, without the kerosene nor the torch in front of the truck, it would be agent, acted fraudulently or in bad faith. 24 The evidence show the gross
improbable for the driver, more so the passengers to notice the truck to be negligence of the driver of Baliwag bus which amounted to bad faith. Without
bumped by the bus considering the darkness of the place at the time of the doubt, Leticia and Allan experienced physical suffering, mental anguish and
accident. serious anxiety by reason of the accident. Leticia underwent an operation to
replace her broken hip bone with a metal plate. She was confined at the
xxx xxx xxx
National Orthopedic Hospital for 45 days. The young Allan was also confined
in the hospital for his foot injury. Contrary to the contention of Baliwag, the
While it is true that the investigating officer testified that he found no early
decision of the trial court as affirmed by, the Court of Appeals awarded moral
warning device at the time of his investigation, We rule to give less credence
damages to Antonio and Leticia Garcia not in their capacity as parents of
to such testimony insofar as he himself admitted on cross examination that
Allan. Leticia was given moral damages as an injured party. Allan was also
he did not notice the presence of any kerosene lamp at the back of the truck
granted moral damages as an injured party but because of his minority, the
because when he arrived at the scene of the accident, there were already
award in his favor has to be given to his father who represented him in the
many people surrounding the place (TSN, Aug. 22, 1989, p. 13). He further
suit.
admitted that there exists a probability that the lights of the truck may have
been smashed by the bus at the time of the accident considering the location
Finally, we find the award of attorney's fees justified. The complaint for
of the truck where its rear portion was connected with the front portion of the
damages was instituted by the Garcia spouses on December 15, 1982,
bus (TSN, March 29, 1985, pp. Investigator's testimony therefore did not
following the unjustified refusal of Baliwag to settle their claim. The Decision
confirm nor deny the existence of such warning device, making his testimony
was promulgated by the trial court only on January 29, 1991 or about nine
of little probative value. 19
years later. Numerous pleadings were filed before the trial court, the appellate
court and to this Court. Given the complexity of the case and the amount of
We now review the amount of damages awarded to the Garcia spouses.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 17

damages involved, 25
the award of attorney's fee for P10,000.00 is just and
reasonable.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Decision of the respondent Court of Appeals in CA-


G.R. CV-31246 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION reducing the actual
damages for hospitalization and medical fees to P5,017.74. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 18

6. G.R. No. 85691 July 31, 1990 In their answer, the petitioners denied liability for the death of Ornominio
Beter and Narcisa Rautraut. They alleged that ... the driver was able to
BACHELOR EXPRESS, INCORPORATED, and CRESENCIO transport his passengers safely to their respective places of destination
RIVERA, petitioners, except Ornominio Beter and Narcisa Rautraut who jumped off the bus without
vs. the knowledge and consent, much less, the fault of the driver and conductor
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (Sixth Division), RICARDO and the defendants in this case; the defendant corporation had exercised due
BETER, SERGIA BETER, TEOFILO RAUTRAUT and ZOETERA diligence in the choice of its employees to avoid as much as possible
RAUTRAUT, respondents. accidents; the incident on August 1, 1980 was not a traffic accident or
vehicular accident; it was an incident or event very much beyond the control
Aquino W. Gambe for petitioners.
of the defendants; defendants were not parties to the incident complained of
as it was an act of a third party who is not in any way connected with the
Tranquilino O. Calo, Jr. for private respondents.
defendants and of which the latter have no control and supervision; ..."
(Rollo, pp. 112-113).itc-asl

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: After due trial, the trial court issued an order dated August 8, 1985
dismissing the complaint.
This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals which
reversed and set aside the order of the Regional Trial Court, Branch I, Butuan Upon appeal however, the trial court's decision was reversed and set aside.
City dismissing the private respondents' complaint for collection of "a sum of The dispositive portion of the decision of the Court of Appeals states:
money" and finding the petitioners solidarily liable for damages in the total
WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a
amount of One Hundred Twenty Thousand Pesos (P120,000.00). The
new one entered finding the appellees jointly and solidarily liable to pay the
petitioners also question the appellate court's resolution denying a motion for
plaintiffs-appellants the following amounts:
reconsideration.
1) To the heirs of Ornominio Beter, the amount of Seventy Five Thousand
On August 1, 1980, Bus No. 800 owned by Bachelor Express, Inc. and driven
Pesos (P75,000.00) in loss of earnings and support, moral damages, straight
by Cresencio Rivera was the situs of a stampede which resulted in the death
death indemnity and attorney's fees; and,
of passengers Ornominio Beter and Narcisa Rautraut.
2) To the heirs of Narcisa Rautraut, the amount of Forty Five Thousand Pesos
The evidence shows that the bus came from Davao City on its way to
(P45,000.00) for straight death indemnity, moral damages and attorney's
Cagayan de Oro City passing Butuan City; that while at Tabon-Tabon, Butuan
fees. Costs against appellees. (Rollo, pp. 71-72)
City, the bus picked up a passenger; that about fifteen (15) minutes later, a
passenger at the rear portion suddenly stabbed a PC soldier which caused
The petitioners now pose the following questions
commotion and panic among the passengers; that when the bus stopped,
passengers Ornominio Beter and Narcisa Rautraut were found lying down the What was the proximate cause of the whole incident? Why were the
road, the former already dead as a result of head injuries and the latter also passengers on board the bus panicked (sic) and why were they shoving one
suffering from severe injuries which caused her death later. The passenger another? Why did Narcisa Rautraut and Ornominio Beter jump off from the
assailant alighted from the bus and ran toward the bushes but was killed by running bus?
the police. Thereafter, the heirs of Ornominio Beter and Narcisa Rautraut,
private respondents herein (Ricardo Beter and Sergia Beter are the parents of The petitioners opine that answers to these questions are material to arrive at
Ornominio while Teofilo Rautraut and Zoetera [should be Zotera] Rautraut are "a fair, just and equitable judgment." (Rollo, p. 5) They claim that the
the parents of Narcisa) filed a complaint for "sum of money" against Bachelor assailed decision is based on a misapprehension of facts and its conclusion is
Express, Inc. its alleged owner Samson Yasay and the driver Rivera. grounded on speculation, surmises or conjectures.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 19

As regards the proximate cause of the death of Ornominio Beter and Narcisa prove that they observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed in Articles
Rautraut, the petitioners maintain that it was the act of the passenger who 1733 and 1755.
ran amuck and stabbed another passenger of the bus. They contend that the
stabbing incident triggered off the commotion and panic among the There is no question that Bachelor Express, Inc. is a common carrier. Hence,
passengers who pushed one another and that presumably out of fear and from the nature of its business and for reasons of public policy Bachelor
moved by that human instinct of self-preservation Beter and Rautraut jumped Express, Inc. is bound to carry its passengers safely as far as human care and
off the bus while the bus was still running resulting in their untimely death." foresight can provide using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons,
(Rollo, p. 6) Under these circumstances, the petitioners asseverate that they with a due regard for all the circumstances.
were not negligent in the performance of their duties and that the incident
In the case at bar, Ornominio Beter and Narcisa Rautraut were passengers of
was completely and absolutely attributable to a third person, the passenger
a bus belonging to petitioner Bachelor Express, Inc. and, while passengers of
who ran amuck, for without his criminal act, Beter and Rautraut could not
the bus, suffered injuries which caused their death. Consequently, pursuant
have been subjected to fear and shock which compelled them to jump off the
to Article 1756 of the Civil Code, petitioner Bachelor Express, Inc. is
running bus. They argue that they should not be made liable for damages
presumed to have acted negligently unless it can prove that it had observed
arising from acts of third persons over whom they have no control or
extraordinary diligence in accordance with Articles 1733 and 1755 of the New
supervision.
Civil Code.
Furthermore, the petitioners maintain that the driver of the bus, before,
Bachelor Express, Inc. denies liability for the death of Beter and Rautraut on
during and after the incident was driving cautiously giving due regard to
its posture that the death of the said passengers was caused by a third
traffic rules, laws and regulations. The petitioners also argue that they are not
person who was beyond its control and supervision. In effect, the petitioner,
insurers of their passengers as ruled by the trial court.
in order to overcome the presumption of fault or negligence under the law,
The liability, if any, of the petitioners is anchored on culpa contractual or states that the vehicular incident resulting in the death of passengers Beter
breach of contract of carriage. The applicable provisions of law under the New and Rautraut was caused by force majeure or caso fortuito over which the
Civil Code are as follows: common carrier did not have any control.

ART. 1732. Common carriers are persons, corporations, firms or associations Article 1174 of the present Civil Code states:
engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or
Except in cases expressly specified by law, or when it is otherwise declared by
both by land, water, or air, for compensation, offering their services to the
stipulations, or when the nature of the obligation requires the assumption of
public.
risk, no person shall be responsible for those events which could not be
ART. 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for foreseen, or which though foreseen, were inevitable.
reasons of public policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the
The above-mentioned provision was substantially copied from Article 1105 of
vigilance over the goods and for the safety of the passengers transported by
the old Civil Code which states"
them, according to all the circumstances of each case.
No one shall be liable for events which could not be foreseen or which, even if
xxx xxx xxx
foreseen, were inevitable, with the exception of the cases in which the law
ART. 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far expressly provides otherwise and those in which the obligation itself imposes
as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very liability.
cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances.
In the case of Lasam v. Smith (45 Phil. 657 [1924]), we defined "events"
ART. 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers are which cannot be foreseen and which, having been foreseen, are inevitable in
presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they the following manner:
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 20

... The Spanish authorities regard the language employed as an effort to majeure. The common carrier must still prove that it was not negligent in
define the term 'caso fortuito' and hold that the two expressions are causing the injuries resulting from such accident. Thus, as early as 1912, we
synonymous. (Manresa Comentarios al Codigo Civil Espaol, vol. 8, pp. 88 et ruled:
seq.; Scaevola, Codigo Civil, vol. 19, pp. 526 et seq.)
From all the foregoing, it is concluded that the defendant is not liable for the
The antecedent to Article 1105 is found in Law II, Title 33, Partida 7, which loss and damage of the goods shipped on the lorcha Pilar by the Chinaman,
defines caso fortuito as 'occasion que acaese por aventura de que non se Ong Bien Sip, inasmuch as such loss and damage were the result of a
puede ante ver. E son estos, derrivamientos de casas e fuego que enciende a fortuitous event or force majeure, and there was no negligence or lack of
so ora, e quebrantamiento de navio, fuerca de ladrones' (An event that takes care and diligence on the part of the defendant company or its agents. (Tan
place by incident and could not have been foreseen. Examples of this are Chiong Sian v. Inchausti & Co., 22 Phil. 152 [1912]; Emphasis supplied).
destruction of houses, unexpected fire, shipwreck, violence of robbers ...)
This principle was reiterated in a more recent case, Batangas Laguna Tayabas
Escriche defines caso fortuito as an unexpected event or act of God which Co. v. Intermediate Appellate Court (167 SCRA 379 [1988]), wherein we
could neither be foreseen nor resisted, such as floods, torrents, shipwrecks, ruled:
conflagrations, lightning, compulsion, insurrections, destruction of buildings
by unforeseen accidents and other occurrences of a similar nature. ... [F]or their defense of force majeure or act of God to prosper the accident
must be due to natural causes and exclusively without human intervention.
In discussing and analyzing the term caso fortuito the Enciclopedia Juridica (Emphasis supplied)
Espaola says: 'In a legal sense and, consequently, also in relation to
contracts, a caso fortuito presents the following essential characteristics: (1) Therefore, the next question to be determined is whether or not the
The cause of the unforeseen and unexpected occurrence, or of the failure of petitioner's common carrier observed extraordinary diligence to safeguard the
the debtor to comply with his obligation, must be independent of the human lives of its passengers.
will. (2) It must be impossible to foresee the event which constitutes the caso
In this regard the trial court and the appellate court arrived at conflicting
fortuito, or if it can be foreseen, it must be impossible to avoid. (3) The
factual findings.
occurrence must be such as to render it impossible for the debtor to fulfill his
obligation in a normal manner. And (4) the obligor (debtor) must be free from
The trial court found the following facts:
any participation in the aggravation of the injury resulting to the creditor. (5)
Enciclopedia Juridica Espaola, 309) The parties presented conflicting evidence as to how the two deceased
Narcisa Rautruat and Ornominio Beter met their deaths.
As will be seen, these authorities agree that some extraordinary circumstance
independent of the will of the obligor or of his employees, is an essential However, from the evidence adduced by the plaintiffs, the Court could not see
element of a caso fortuito. ... why the two deceased could have fallen off the bus when their own witnesses
testified that when the commotion ensued inside the bus, the passengers
The running amuck of the passenger was the proximate cause of the incident
pushed and shoved each other towards the door apparently in order to get off
as it triggered off a commotion and panic among the passengers such that
from the bus through the door. But the passengers also could not pass
the passengers started running to the sole exit shoving each other resulting
through the door because according to the evidence the door was locked.
in the falling off the bus by passengers Beter and Rautraut causing them fatal
injuries. The sudden act of the passenger who stabbed another passenger in On the other hand, the Court is inclined to give credence to the evidence
the bus is within the context of force majeure. adduced by the defendants that when the commotion ensued inside the bus,
the two deceased panicked and, in state of shock and fear, they jumped off
However, in order that a common carrier may be absolved from liability in
from the bus by passing through the window.
case of force majeure, it is not enough that the accident was caused by force
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 21

It is the prevailing rule and settled jurisprudence that transportation Q And these two persons whom you said alighted, where did they pass, the
companies are not insurers of their passengers. The evidence on record does fron(t) door or rear door?
not show that defendants' personnel were negligent in their duties. The
defendants' personnel have every right to accept passengers absent any A Front door.
manifestation of violence or drunkenness. If and when such passengers harm
xxx xxx xxx
other passengers without the knowledge of the transportation company's
personnel, the latter should not be faulted. (Rollo, pp. 46-47)
(Tsn., p. 4, Aug. 8, 1984)
A thorough examination of the records, however, show that there are material
xxx xxx xxx
facts ignored by the trial court which were discussed by the appellate court to
arrive at a different conclusion. These circumstances show that the petitioner Q What happened after there was a commotion at the rear portion of the
common carrier was negligent in the provision of safety precautions so that bus?
its passengers may be transported safely to their destinations. The appellate
court states: A When the commotion occurred, I stood up and I noticed that there was a
passenger who was sounded (sic). The conductor panicked because the
A critical eye must be accorded the lower court's conclusions of fact in its passengers were shouting 'stop, stop'. The conductor opened the bus.'
tersely written ratio decidendi. The lower court concluded that the door of the
bus was closed; secondly, the passengers, specifically the two deceased, (Tsn. p. 3, August 8, 1984).
jumped out of the window. The lower court therefore concluded that the
defendant common carrier is not liable for the death of the said passengers Accordingly, there is no reason to believe that the deceased passengers
which it implicitly attributed to the unforeseen acts of the unidentified jumped from the window when it was entirely possible for them to have
passenger who went amuck. alighted through the door. The lower court's reliance on the testimony of
Pedro Collango, as the conductor and employee of the common carrier, is
There is nothing in the record to support the conclusion that the solitary door unjustified, in the light of the clear testimony of Leonila Cullano as the sole
of the bus was locked as to prevent the passengers from passing through. uninterested eyewitness of the entire episode. Instead we find Pedro
Leonila Cullano, testifying for the defense, clearly stated that the conductor Collango's testimony to be infused by bias and fraught with inconsistencies, if
opened the door when the passengers were shouting that the bus stop while not notably unreliable for lack of veracity. On direct examination, he testified:
they were in a state of panic. Sergia Beter categorically stated that she
actually saw her son fall from the bus as the door was forced open by the xxx xxx xxx
force of the onrushing passengers.
Q So what happened to the passengers inside your bus?
Pedro Collango, on the other hand, testified that he shut the door after the
A Some of the passengers jumped out of the window.
last passenger had boarded the bus. But he had quite conveniently neglected
to say that when the passengers had panicked, he himself panicked and had
COURT:
gone to open the door. Portions of the testimony of Leonila Cullano, quoted
below, are illuminating: Q While the bus was in motion?

xxx xxx xxx A Yes, your Honor, but the speed was slow because we have just picked up a
passenger.
Q When you said the conductor opened the door, the door at the front or rear
portion of the bus? Atty. Gambe:

A Front door.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 22

Q You said that at the time of the incident the bus was running slow because only a solitary door for a bus its size and loading capacity, in contravention of
you have just picked up a passenger. Can you estimate what was your speed rules and regulations provided for under the Land Transportation and Traffic
at that time? Code (RA 4136 as amended.) (Rollo, pp. 23-26)

Atty. Calo: Considering the factual findings of the Court of Appeals-the bus driver did not
immediately stop the bus at the height of the commotion; the bus was
No basis, your Honor, he is neither a driver nor a conductor. speeding from a full stop; the victims fell from the bus door when it was
opened or gave way while the bus was still running; the conductor panicked
COURT:
and blew his whistle after people had already fallen off the bus; and the bus
was not properly equipped with doors in accordance with law-it is clear that
Let the witness answer. Estimate only, the conductor experienced.
the petitioners have failed to overcome the presumption of fault and
Witness: negligence found in the law governing common carriers.

Not less than 30 to 40 miles. The petitioners' argument that the petitioners "are not insurers of their
passengers" deserves no merit in view of the failure of the petitioners to
COURT: prove that the deaths of the two passengers were exclusively due to force
majeure and not to the failure of the petitioners to observe extraordinary
Kilometers or miles? diligence in transporting safely the passengers to their destinations as
warranted by law. (See Batangas Laguna Tayabas Co. v. Intermediate
A Miles.
Appellate Court, supra).
Atty. Gambe:
The petitioners also contend that the private respondents failed to show to
the court that they are the parents of Ornominio Beter and Narcisa Rautraut
Q That is only your estimate by your experience?
respectively and therefore have no legal personality to sue the petitioners.
A Yes, sir, estimate. This argument deserves scant consideration. We find this argument a belated
attempt on the part of the petitioners to avoid liability for the deaths of Beter
(Tsn., pp. 4-5, Oct. 17, 1983). and Rautraut. The private respondents were Identified as the parents of the
victims by witnesses during the trial and the trial court recognized them as
At such speed of not less than 30 to 40 miles ..., or about 48 to 65 kilometers such. The trial court dismissed the complaint solely on the ground that the
per hour, the speed of the bus could scarcely be considered slow considering petitioners were not negligent.
that according to Collango himself, the bus had just come from a full stop
after picking a passenger (Tsn, p. 4, Id.) and that the bus was still on its Finally, the amount of damages awarded to the heirs of Beter and Rautraut by
second or third gear (Tsn., p. 12, Id.). the appellate court is supported by the evidence. The appellate court stated:

In the light of the foregoing, the negligence of the common carrier, through Ornominio Beter was 32 years of age at the time of his death, single, in good
its employees, consisted of the lack of extraordinary diligence required of health and rendering support and service to his mother. As far as Narcisa
common carriers, in exercising vigilance and utmost care of the safety of its Rautraut is concerned, the only evidence adduced is to the effect that at her
passengers, exemplified by the driver's belated stop and the reckless opening death, she was 23 years of age, in good health and without visible means of
of the doors of the bus while the same was travelling at an appreciably fast support.
speed. At the same time, the common carrier itself acknowledged, through its
administrative officer, Benjamin Granada, that the bus was commissioned to In accordance with Art. 1764 in conjunction with Art. 2206 of the Civil Code,
travel and take on passengers and the public at large, while equipped with and established jurisprudence, several factors may be considered in
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 23

determining the award of damages, namely: 1) life expectancy (considering In the case of Narcisa Rautraut, her heirs are entitled to a straight death
the state of health of the deceased and the mortality tables are deemed indemnity of Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00), to moral damages in the
conclusive) and loss of earning capacity; (2) pecuniary loss, loss of support amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) and Five Thousand Pesos
and service; and (3) moral and mental suffering (Alcantara, et al. v. Surro, et (P5,000.00) as attorney's fees, or a total of Forty Five Thousand Pesos
al., 93 Phil. 470). (P45,000.00) as total indemnity for her death in the absence of any evidence
that she had visible means of support. (Rollo, pp. 30-31)
In the case of People v. Daniel (No. L-66551, April 25, 1985, 136 SCRA 92, at
page 104), the High Tribunal, reiterating the rule in Villa Rey Transit, Inc. v. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED. The questioned decision
Court of Appeals (31 SCRA 511), stated that the amount of loss of earring dated May 19, 1988 and the resolution dated August 1, 1988 of the Court of
capacity is based mainly on two factors, namely, (1) the number of years on Appeals are AFFIRMED.
the basis of which the damages shall be computed; and (2) the rate at which
the losses sustained by the heirs should be fixed. SO ORDERED.

As the formula adopted in the case of Davila v. Philippine Air Lines, 49 SCRA
497, at the age of 30 one's normal life expectancy is 33-1/3 years based on
the American Expectancy Table of Mortality (2/3 x 80-32).itc-asl By taking
into account the pace and nature of the life of a carpenter, it is reasonable to
make allowances for these circumstances and reduce the life expectancy of
the deceased Ornominio Beter to 25 years (People v. Daniel, supra). To fix the
rate of losses it must be noted that Art. 2206 refers to gross earnings less
necessary living expenses of the deceased, in other words, only net earnings
are to be considered (People v. Daniel, supra; Villa Rey Transit, Inc. v. Court
of Appeals, supra).

Applying the foregoing rules with respect to Ornominio Beter, it is both just
and reasonable, considering his social standing and position, to fix the
deductible, living and incidental expenses at the sum of Four Hundred Pesos
(P400.00) a month, or Four Thousand Eight Hundred Pesos (P4,800.00)
annually. As to his income, considering the irregular nature of the work of a
daily wage carpenter which is seasonal, it is safe to assume that he shall have
work for twenty (20) days a month at Twenty Five Pesos (P150,000.00) for
twenty five years. Deducting therefrom his necessary expenses, his heirs
would be entitled to Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) representing loss of
support and service (P150,000.00 less P120,000.00). In addition, his heirs
are entitled to Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) as straight death
indemnity pursuant to Article 2206 (People v. Daniel, supra). For damages for
their moral and mental anguish, his heirs are entitled to the reasonable sum
of P10,000.00 as an exception to the general rule against moral damages in
case of breach of contract rule Art. 2200 (Necesito v. Paras, 104 Phil. 75). As
attorney's fees, Beter's heirs are entitled to P5,000.00. All in all, the plaintiff-
appellants Ricardo and Sergia Beter as heirs of their son Ornominio are
entitled to an indemnity of Seventy Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00).
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 24

7. G.R. No. L-55300 March 15, 1990 commander demanded that a DC-aircraft take them to Libya with the
President of the defendant company as hostage and that they be given
FRANKLIN G. GACAL and CORAZON M. GACAL, the latter assisted by $375,000 and six (6) armalites, otherwise they will blow up the plane if their
her husband, FRANKLIN G. GACAL, petitioners, demands will not be met by the government and Philippine Air Lines.
vs. Meanwhile, the passengers were not served any food nor water and it was
PHILIPPINE AIR LINES, INC., and THE HONORABLE PEDRO SAMSON only on May 23, a Sunday, at about 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon that they
C. ANIMAS, in his capacity as PRESIDING JUDGE of the COURT OF were served 1/4 slice of a sandwich and 1/10 cup of PAL water. After that,
FIRST INSTANCE OF SOUTH COTABATO, BRANCH I, respondents. relatives of the hijackers were allowed to board the plane but immediately
after they alighted therefrom, an armored car bumped the stairs. That
Vicente A. Mirabueno for petitioners.
commenced the battle between the military and the hijackers which led
ultimately to the liberation of the surviving crew and the passengers, with the
Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako for private respondent.
final score of ten (10) passengers and three (3) hijackers dead on the spot
and three (3) hijackers captured.

PARAS, J.: City Fiscal Franklin G. Gacal was unhurt. Mrs. Corazon M. Gacal suffered
injuries in the course of her jumping out of the plane when it was peppered
This is a, petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of First with bullets by the army and after two (2) hand grenades exploded inside the
Instance of South Cotabato, Branch 1, * promulgated on August 26, 1980 plane. She was hospitalized at General Santos Doctors Hospital, General
dismissing three (3) consolidated cases for damages: Civil Case No. 1701, Santos City, for two (2) days, spending P245.60 for hospital and medical
Civil Case No. 1773 and Civil Case No. 1797 (Rollo, p. 35). expenses, Assistant City Fiscal Bonifacio S. Anislag also escaped unhurt but
Mrs. Anislag suffered a fracture at the radial bone of her left elbow for which
The facts, as found by respondent court, are as follows: she was hospitalized and operated on at the San Pedro Hospital, Davao City,
and therefore, at Davao Regional Hospital, Davao City, spending P4,500.00.
Plaintiffs Franklin G. Gacal and his wife, Corazon M. Gacal, Bonifacio S.
Elma de Guzman died because of that battle. Hence, the action of damages
Anislag and his wife, Mansueta L. Anislag, and the late Elma de Guzman,
instituted by the plaintiffs demanding the following damages, to wit:
were then passengers boarding defendant's BAC 1-11 at Davao Airport for a
flight to Manila, not knowing that on the same flight, Macalinog, Taurac Civil Case No. 1701
Pendatum known as Commander Zapata, Nasser Omar, Liling Pusuan Radia,
Dimantong Dimarosing and Mike Randa, all of Marawi City and members of City Fiscal Franklin G. Gacal and Mrs. Corazon M. Gacal actual damages:
the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), were their co-passengers, three P245.60 for hospital and medical expenses of Mrs Gacal; P8,995.00 for their
(3) armed with grenades, two (2) with .45 caliber pistols, and one with a .22 personal belongings which were lost and not recovered; P50,000.00 each for
caliber pistol. Ten (10) minutes after take off at about 2:30 in the afternoon, moral damages; and P5,000.00 for attorney's fees, apart from the prayer for
the hijackers brandishing their respective firearms announced the hijacking of an award of exemplary damages (Record, pp. 4-6, Civil Case No. 1701).
the aircraft and directed its pilot to fly to Libya. With the pilot explaining to
them especially to its leader, Commander Zapata, of the inherent fuel Civil Case No. 1773
limitations of the plane and that they are not rated for international flights,
xxx xxx xxx
the hijackers directed the pilot to fly to Sabah. With the same explanation,
they relented and directed the aircraft to land at Zamboanga Airport,
Civil Case No. 1797
Zamboanga City for refueling. The aircraft landed at 3:00 o'clock in the
afternoon of May 21, 1976 at Zamboanga Airport. When the plane began to xxx xxx xxx
taxi at the runway, it was met by two armored cars of the military with
machine guns pointed at the plane, and it stopped there. The rebels thru its
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 25

The trial court, on August 26, 1980, dismissed the complaints finding that all transported by them, according to all the circumstances of each case (Article
the damages sustained in the premises were attributed to force majeure. 1733). They are presumed at fault or to have acted negligently whenever a
passenger dies or is injured (Philippine Airlines, Inc. v. National Labor
On September 12, 1980 the spouses Franklin G. Gacal and Corazon M. Gacal, Relations Commission, 124 SCRA 583 [1983]) or for the loss, destruction or
plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 1701, filed a notice of appeal with the lower court deterioration of goods in cases other than those enumerated in Article 1734
on pure questions of law (Rollo, p. 55) and the petition for review of the Civil Code (Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate
on certiorari was filed with this Court on October 20, 1980 (Rollo, p. 30). Court, 150 SCRA 463 [1987]).

The Court gave due course to the petition (Rollo, p. 147) and both parties The source of a common carrier's legal liability is the contract of carriage, and
filed their respective briefs but petitioner failed to file reply brief which was by entering into said contract, it binds itself to carry the passengers safely as
noted by the Court in the resolution dated May 3, 1982 (Rollo, p. 183). far as human care and foresight can provide. There is breach of this
obligation if it fails to exert extraordinary diligence according to all the
Petitioners alleged that the main cause of the unfortunate incident is the
circumstances of the case in exercise of the utmost diligence of a very
gross, wanton and inexcusable negligence of respondent Airline personnel in
cautious person (Isaac v. Ammen Transportation Co., 101 Phil. 1046 [1957];
their failure to frisk the passengers adequately in order to discover hidden
Juntilla v. Fontanar, 136 SCRA 624 [1985]).
weapons in the bodies of the six (6) hijackers. They claimed that despite the
prevalence of skyjacking, PAL did not use a metal detector which is the most It is the duty of a common carrier to overcome the presumption of negligence
effective means of discovering potential skyjackers among the passengers (Philippine National Railways v. Court of Appeals, 139 SCRA 87 [1985]) and it
(Rollo, pp. 6-7). must be shown that the carrier had observed the required extraordinary
diligence of a very cautious person as far as human care and foresight can
Respondent Airline averred that in the performance of its obligation to safely
provide or that the accident was caused by a fortuitous event (Estrada v.
transport passengers as far as human care and foresight can provide, it has
Consolacion, 71 SCRA 523 [1976]). Thus, as ruled by this Court, no person
exercised the utmost diligence of a very cautious person with due regard to
shall be responsible for those "events which could not be foreseen or which
all circumstances, but the security checks and measures and surveillance
though foreseen were inevitable. (Article 1174, Civil Code). The term is
precautions in all flights, including the inspection of baggages and cargo and
synonymous with caso fortuito (Lasam v. Smith, 45 Phil. 657 [1924]) which is
frisking of passengers at the Davao Airport were performed and rendered
of the same sense as "force majeure" (Words and Phrases Permanent Edition,
solely by military personnel who under appropriate authority had assumed
Vol. 17, p. 362).
exclusive jurisdiction over the same in all airports in the Philippines.
In order to constitute a caso fortuito or force majeure that would exempt a
Similarly, the negotiations with the hijackers were a purely government
person from liability under Article 1174 of the Civil Code, it is necessary that
matter and a military operation, handled by and subject to the absolute and
the following elements must concur: (a) the cause of the breach of the
exclusive jurisdiction of the military authorities. Hence, it concluded that the
obligation must be independent of the human will (the will of the debtor or
accident that befell RP-C1161 was caused by fortuitous event, force
the obligor); (b) the event must be either unforeseeable or unavoidable; (c)
majeure and other causes beyond the control of the respondent Airline.
the event must be such as to render it impossible for the debtor to fulfill his
obligation in a normal manner; and (d) the debtor must be free from any
The determinative issue in this case is whether or not hijacking or air piracy
participation in, or aggravation of the injury to the creditor (Lasam v. Smith,
during martial law and under the circumstances obtaining herein, is
45 Phil. 657 [1924]; Austria v. Court of Appeals, 39 SCRA 527 [1971];
a caso fortuito or force majeure which would exempt an aircraft from
Estrada v. Consolacion, supra; Vasquez v. Court of Appeals, 138 SCRA 553
payment of damages to its passengers whose lives were put in jeopardy and
[1985]; Juan F. Nakpil & Sons v. Court of Appeals, 144 SCRA 596
whose personal belongings were lost during the incident.
[1986]). Caso fortuito or force majeure, by definition, are extraordinary
Under the Civil Code, common carriers are required to exercise extraordinary events not foreseeable or avoidable, events that could not be foreseen, or
diligence in their vigilance over the goods and for the safety of passengers which, though foreseen, are inevitable. It is, therefore, not enough that the
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 26

event should not have been foreseen or anticipated, as is commonly believed,


but it must be one impossible to foresee or to avoid. The mere difficulty to
foresee the happening is not impossibility to foresee the same (Republic v.
Luzon Stevedoring Corporation, 21 SCRA 279 [1967]).

Applying the above guidelines to the case at bar, the failure to transport
petitioners safely from Davao to Manila was due to the skyjacking incident
staged by six (6) passengers of the same plane, all members of the Moro
National Liberation Front (MNLF), without any connection with private
respondent, hence, independent of the will of either the PAL or of its
passengers.

Under normal circumstances, PAL might have foreseen the skyjacking incident
which could have been avoided had there been a more thorough frisking of
passengers and inspection of baggages as authorized by R.A. No. 6235. But
the incident in question occurred during Martial Law where there was a
military take-over of airport security including the frisking of passengers and
the inspection of their luggage preparatory to boarding domestic and
international flights. In fact military take-over was specifically announced on
October 20, 1973 by General Jose L. Rancudo, Commanding General of the
Philippine Air Force in a letter to Brig. Gen. Jesus Singson, then Director of
the Civil Aeronautics Administration (Rollo, pp. 71-72) later confirmed shortly
before the hijacking incident of May 21, 1976 by Letter of Instruction No. 399
issued on April 28, 1976 (Rollo, p. 72).

Otherwise stated, these events rendered it impossible for PAL to perform its
obligations in a nominal manner and obviously it cannot be faulted with
negligence in the performance of duty taken over by the Armed Forces of the
Philippines to the exclusion of the former.

Finally, there is no dispute that the fourth element has also been satisfied.
Consequently the existence of force majeure has been established exempting
respondent PAL from the payment of damages to its passengers who suffered
death or injuries in their persons and for loss of their baggages.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit


and the decision of the Court of First Instance of South Cotabato, Branch I is
hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 27

8. G.R. No. L-22272 June 26, 1967 x x x when the crime took place, the guard Devesa had no duties to
discharge in connection with the transportation of the deceased from
ANTONIA MARANAN, plaintiff-appellant, Calamba to Manila. The stipulation of facts is clear that when Devesa shot
vs. and killed Gillaco, Devesa was assigned to guard the Manila-San Fernando (La
PASCUAL PEREZ, ET AL., defendants. Union) trains, and he was at Paco Station awaiting transportation to Tutuban,
PASCUAL PEREZ, defendant appellant. the starting point of the train that he was engaged to guard. In fact, his tour
of duty was to start at 9:00 two hours after the commission of the
Pedro Panganiban for plaintiff-appellant.
crime. Devesa was therefore under no obligation to safeguard the passengers
Magno T. Bueser for defendant-appellant.
of the Calamba-Manila train, where the deceased was riding; and the killing
of Gillaco was not done in line of duty. The position of Devesa at the time was
BENGZON, J.P., J.:
that of another would be passenger, a stranger also awaiting transportation,
Rogelio Corachea, on October 18, 1960, was a passenger in a taxicab owned and not that of an employee assigned to discharge any of the duties that the
and operated by Pascual Perez when he was stabbed and killed by the driver, Railroad had assumed by its contract with the deceased. As a result, Devesa's
Simeon Valenzuela. assault can not be deemed in law a breach of Gillaco's contract of
transportation by a servant or employee of the carrier. . . . (Emphasis
Valenzuela was prosecuted for homicide in the Court of First Instance of supplied)
Batangas. Found guilty, he was sentenced to suffer imprisonment and to
indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the sum of P6,000. Appeal from said Now here, the killing was perpetrated by the driver of the very cab
conviction was taken to the Court of Appeals.1wph1.t transporting the passenger, in whose hands the carrier had entrusted the
duty of executing the contract of carriage. In other words, unlike
On December 6 1961, while appeal was pending in the Court of Appeals, the Gillaco case, the killing of the passenger here took place in the course of
Antonia Maranan, Rogelio's mother, filed an action in the Court of First duty of the guilty employee and when the employee was acting within the
Instance of Batangas to recover damages from Perez and Valenzuela for the scope of his duties.
death of her son. Defendants asserted that the deceased was killed in self-
defense, since he first assaulted the driver by stabbing him from behind. Moreover, the Gillaco case was decided under the provisions of the Civil Code
Defendant Perez further claimed that the death was a caso fortuito for which of 1889 which, unlike the present Civil Code, did not impose upon common
the carrier was not liable. carriers absolute liability for the safety of passengers against wilful assaults
or negligent acts committed by their employees. The death of the passenger
The court a quo, after trial, found for the plaintiff and awarded her P3,000 as in the Gillaco case was truly a fortuitous event which exempted the carrier
damages against defendant Perez. The claim against defendant Valenzuela from liability. It is true that Art. 1105 of the old Civil Code on fortuitous
was dismissed. From this ruling, both plaintiff and defendant Perez appealed events has been substantially reproduced in Art. 1174 of the Civil Code of the
to this Court, the former asking for more damages and the latter insisting on Philippines but both articles clearly remove from their exempting effect the
non-liability. Subsequently, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of case where the law expressly provides for liability in spite of the occurrence of
conviction earlier mentioned, during the pendency of the herein appeal, and force majeure. And herein significantly lies the statutory difference between
on May 19, 1964, final judgment was entered therein. (Rollo, p. 33). the old and present Civil Codes, in the backdrop of the factual situation before
Us, which further accounts for a different result in the Gillaco case. Unlike the
Defendant-appellant relies solely on the ruling enunciated in Gillaco v. Manila old Civil Code, the new Civil Code of the Philippines expressly makes the
Railroad Co., 97 Phil. 884, that the carrier is under no absolute liability for common carrier liable for intentional assaults committed by its employees
assaults of its employees upon the passengers. The attendant facts and upon its passengers, by the wording of Art. 1759 which categorically states
controlling law of that case and the one at bar are very different however. In that
the Gillaco case, the passenger was killed outside the scope and the course of
duty of the guilty employee. As this Court there found:
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 28

Common carriers are liable for the death of or injuries to passengers through physical ability, but also, no less important, to their total personality,
the negligence or willful acts of the former's employees, although such including their patterns of behavior, moral fibers, and social attitude.
employees may have acted beyond the scope of their authority or in violation
of the orders of the common carriers. Applying this stringent norm to the facts in this case, therefore, the lower
court rightly adjudged the defendant carrier liable pursuant to Art. 1759 of
The Civil Code provisions on the subject of Common Carriers 1 are new and the Civil Code. The dismissal of the claim against the defendant driver was
were taken from Anglo-American Law.2 There, the basis of the carrier's also correct. Plaintiff's action was predicated on breach of contract of
liability for assaults on passengers committed by its drivers rests either on carriage7 and the cab driver was not a party thereto. His civil liability is
(1) the doctrine of respondeat superior or (2) the principle that it is the covered in the criminal case wherein he was convicted by final judgment.
carrier's implied duty to transport the passenger safely.3
In connection with the award of damages, the court a quo granted only
Under the first, which is the minority view, the carrier is liable only when the P3,000 to plaintiff-appellant. This is the minimum compensatory damages
act of the employee is within the scope of his authority and duty. It is not amount recoverable under Art. 1764 in connection with Art. 2206 of the Civil
sufficient that the act be within the course of employment only.4 Code when a breach of contract results in the passenger's death. As has been
the policy followed by this Court, this minimal award should be increased to
Under the second view, upheld by the majority and also by the later cases, it P6,000. As to other alleged actual damages, the lower court's finding that
is enough that the assault happens within the course of the employee's duty. plaintiff's evidence thereon was not convincing, 8 should not be disturbed. Still,
It is no defense for the carrier that the act was done in excess of authority or Arts. 2206 and 1764 award moral damages in addition to compensatory
in disobedience of the carrier's orders. 5 The carrier's liability here is absolute damages, to the parents of the passenger killed to compensate for the mental
in the sense that it practically secures the passengers from assaults anguish they suffered. A claim therefor, having been properly made, it
committed by its own employees.6 becomes the court's duty to award moral damages. 9 Plaintiff demands P5,000
as moral damages; however, in the circumstances, We consider P3,000 moral
As can be gleaned from Art. 1759, the Civil Code of the Philippines evidently
damages, in addition to the P6,000 damages afore-stated, as sufficient.
follows the rule based on the second view. At least three very cogent reasons
Interest upon such damages are also due to plaintiff-appellant. 10
underlie this rule. As explained in Texas Midland R.R. v. Monroe, 110 Tex. 97,
216 S.W. 388, 389-390, and Haver v. Central Railroad Co., 43 LRA 84, 85: Wherefore, with the modification increasing the award of actual damages in
(1) the special undertaking of the carrier requires that it furnish its passenger plaintiff's favor to P6,000, plus P3,000.00 moral damages, with legal interest
that full measure of protection afforded by the exercise of the high degree of on both from the filing of the complaint on December 6, 1961 until the whole
care prescribed by the law, inter alia from violence and insults at the hands of amount is paid, the judgment appealed from is affirmed in all other respects.
strangers and other passengers, but above all, from the acts of the carrier's No costs. So ordered.
own servants charged with the passenger's safety; (2) said liability of the
carrier for the servant's violation of duty to passengers, is the result of the
formers confiding in the servant's hands the performance of his contract to
safely transport the passenger, delegating therewith the duty of protecting
the passenger with the utmost care prescribed by law; and (3) as between
the carrier and the passenger, the former must bear the risk of wrongful acts
or negligence of the carrier's employees against passengers, since it, and not
the passengers, has power to select and remove them.

Accordingly, it is the carrier's strict obligation to select its drivers and similar
employees with due regard not only to their technical competence and
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 29

9. G.R. No. 144723 February 27, 2006 Fiera; that only one tire mark from the front right wheel of the cargo truck
was seen on the road. A sketch of the accident was drawn by investigator
LARRY ESTACION, Petitioner, Mateo Rubia showing the relative positions of the two vehicles, their distances
vs. from the shoulder of the road and the skid marks of the right front wheel of
NOE BERNARDO, thru and his guardian ad litem ARLIE BERNARDO, the truck measuring about 48 feet.
CECILIA BANDOQUILLO and GEMINIANO
QUINQUILLERA, Respondents. On February 18, 1993, respondent Noe, through his guardian ad litem Arlie
Bernardo, filed with the RTC of Dumaguete City a complaint 3 for damages
DECISION arising from quasi delict against petitioner as the registered owner of the
cargo truck and his driver Gerosano. He alleged that the proximate cause of
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
his injuries and suffering was the reckless imprudence of Gerosano and
petitioners negligence in the selection of a reckless driver and for operating a
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Larry Estacion
vehicle that was not roadworthy. He prayed for actual damages, loss of
(petitioner) seeking to annul the Decision dated April 17, 2000 1 of the Court
income, moral and exemplary damages, attorneys fees, litigation expenses
of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 41447 which affirmed in toto the decision of
and costs of suit.
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dumaguete City, Branch 41, Negros Oriental,
holding petitioner and his driver Bienvenido Gerosano (Gerosano) liable for
Petitioner and his driver Gerosano filed their Answer 4 denying the material
damages for the injury sustained by Noe Bernardo (respondent Noe). Also
allegations in the complaint. They, in turn, filed a third party
assailed is the appellate courts Resolution dated August 16, 2000 2 denying
complaint5 against respondents Bandoquillo and Quinquillera, as owner and
petitioners motion for reconsideration.
driver respectively of the Fiera. They alleged that it was the reckless
imprudence of respondent driver Quinquillera and his clear violation of the
In the afternoon of October 16, 1982, respondent Noe was going home to
traffic rules and regulations which was the proximate cause of the accident
Dumaguete from Cebu, via Bato and Tampi. At Tampi, he boarded a Ford
and asked for indemnification for whatever damages they would be sentenced
Fiera passenger jeepney with plate no. NLD 720 driven by respondent
to pay. Respondents Bandoquillo and Quinquillera filed their Answer to the
Geminiano Quinquillera (Quinquillera), owned by respondent Cecilia
third party complaint asking for the dismissal of the third party complaint and
Bandoquillo (Bandoquillo), and was seated on the extension seat placed at
for payment of attorneys fees.
the center of the Fiera. From San Jose, an old woman wanted to ride, so
respondent Noe offered his seat. Since the Fiera was already full, respondent
Driver Gerosano was charged criminally for reckless imprudence resulting to
Noe hung or stood on the left rear carrier of the vehicle. Somewhere along
multiple physical injuries with damage to property before the Municipal Circuit
Barangay Sto. Nio, San Jose, Negros Oriental, between kilometers 13 and
Trial Court (MCTC) of Pamplona-Amlan and San Jose, Negros Oriental. On
14, the Fiera began to slow down and then stopped by the right shoulder of
November 16, 1987, the MCTC rendered its decision 6 finding him guilty of the
the road to pick up passengers. Suddenly, an Isuzu cargo truck, owned by
crime charged and was sentenced to four months and one day to two years
petitioner and driven by Gerosano, which was traveling in the same direction,
and four months and to pay the costs.
hit the rear end portion of the Fiera where respondent Noe was standing. Due
to the tremendous force, the cargo truck smashed respondent Noe against On February 18, 1993, the RTC rendered its judgment in the civil case, 7 the
the Fiera crushing his legs and feet which made him fall to the ground. A dispositive portion of which reads:
passing vehicle brought him to the Silliman University Medical Center where
his lower left leg was amputated. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered, ordering
defendants Gerosano and Estacion, to pay plaintiff, jointly or solidarily, the
Police investigation reports showed that respondent Noe was one of the 11 following:
passengers of the Fiera who suffered injuries; that when the Fiera stopped to
pick up a passenger, the cargo truck bumped the rear left portion of the
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 30

1. P129,584.20 for actual damages in the form of medical and hospitalization Petitioner submits the following issues for resolution: 9
expenses;
WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT
2. P50,000.00 for moral damages, consisting of mental anguish, moral shock, PETITIONER LARRY ESTACION EXERCISED THE DUE DILIGENCE OF A GOOD
serious anxiety and wounded feelings; FATHER OF A FAMILY TO PREVENT DAMAGE DESPITE ABUNDANCE OF
EVIDENCE TO THAT EFFECT;
3. P10,000.00 for attorneys fees; and
WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT
4. P5,000.00 for litigation expenses. PETITIONER LARRY ESTACION EXERCISED DUE DILIGENCE IN THE
SELECTION AND SUPERVISION OF HIS EMPLOYEE AND IN MAINTAINING HIS
SO ORDERED.8
CARGO TRUCK ROADWORTHY AND IN GOOD OPERATING CONDITION;
The trial court ruled that the negligence of Gerosano, petitioners driver, is the
WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN EXONERATING RESPONDENTS
direct and proximate cause of the incident and of the injuries suffered by
CECILIA BANDOQUILLO AND GEMINIANO QUINQUILLERA.
respondent Noe; that Gerosanos gross negligence and reckless imprudence
had been confirmed by the Judgment in Criminal Case No. 463; that based on In his Memorandum, petitioner contends that he was able to establish that he
the findings of the police investigator, the faulty brakes caused the cargo observed the diligence of a good father of a family not only in the selection of
truck to bump the Fiera; that the Traffic Accident Report showed that the tire his employees but also in maintaining his truck roadworthy and in good
mark of the cargo truck measuring 48 feet is visibly imprinted on the road operating condition; that the CA erred in exonerating respondents Bandoquillo
where the incident took place indicating that the said vehicle was speeding and Quinquillera, owner and driver, respectively of the Fiera from liability
fast; that the existence of one tire mark of the cargo truck proved that the when their negligence was the proximate cause of respondent Noes injuries;
said vehicle had a faulty brake, otherwise, it would have produced two tire that respondent Noes act of standing in the rear carrier of the Fiera is in itself
marks on the road; and that the photographs taken right after the incident negligence on his part which was aggravated by the fact that respondent
also showed who the guilty party was. Quinquillera overtook the cargo truck driven by Gerosano on the curve and
suddenly cut into the latters lane; that due to the overloading of passengers,
The trial court did not give credence to the argument of petitioner and his
Gerosano was not able to see the brake lights of the Fiera when it suddenly
driver that the truck was properly checked by a mechanic before it was
stopped to pick up passengers; that overloading is in violation of the
dispatched for a trip. It found that petitioner is negligent in maintaining his
applicable traffic rules and regulations and Article 2185 is explicit when it
vehicle in good condition to prevent any accident to happen; that petitioner is
provides that "unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a
liable under Article 2180 of the Civil Code as employer of driver Gerosano for
person driving a motor vehicle has been negligent if at the time of the
being negligent in the selection and supervision of his driver as well as for
mishap, he was violating any traffic regulation"; that since the Fiera driver
maintaining and operating a vehicle that was not roadworthy; and that
was negligent, there arises a presumption that respondent Bandoquillo, as
petitioner and his driver are solidarily liable for all the natural and probable
owner of the Fiera, is negligent in the selection and supervision of her
consequences of their negligent acts or omissions. The trial court dismissed
employee; that assuming petitioner Estacion and his driver are not entirely
the third party complaint filed by petitioner and his driver against
blameless, the negligence of Quinquillera is sufficient basis why the respective
respondents Bandoquillo and Quinquillera.
liabilities should be delineated vis--vis their degree of negligence consistent
with Article 217910 of the Civil Code.
Dissatisfied, only petitioner appealed to the CA. On April 17, 2000, the CA
rendered the assailed decision which affirmed in toto the decision of the trial
Respondent Noe filed his Memorandum alleging that the first and second
court. Petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied in a Resolution dated
issues raised are factual in nature which are beyond the ambit of a petition
August 16, 2000.
for review; that petitioner failed to overcome the presumption of negligence
Hence, the herein petition for review.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 31

thus he is liable for the negligence of his driver Gerosano; and that the third The correctness of such finding is borne by the records. In his testimony,
issue is best addressed to respondents Bandoquillo and Quinquillera. Gerosano said that he was driving the truck at a speed of about 40 kilometers
per hour;13 that the Fiera was behind him but upon reaching the curve,
Respondents Bandoquillo and Quinquillera failed to file their memorandum i.e., after passing San Jose going to Dumaguete, the Fiera overtook him and
despite receipt of our Resolution requiring them to submit the same. blocked his way;14 that he was 10 meters from the Fiera prior to the
impact15 when he applied the brakes16 and tried to evade the Fiera but he still
We find it apropos to resolve first the third issue considering that the extent
hit it.17
of the liability of petitioner and his driver is dependent on whether
respondents Bandoquillo and Quinquillera are the ones negligent in the We agree with the trial court and the appellate court when they found that
vehicular mishap that happened in the afternoon of October 16, 1982 where the truck was running at a fast speed because if Gerosano was really driving
respondent Noe was injured, resulting in the amputation of his left leg. at a speed of 40 kilometers per hour and considering that the distance
between the truck and the Fiera in front was about 10 meters, he had more
At the outset, the issue raised is factual in nature. Whether a person is
than enough time to slacken his speed and apply his break to avoid hitting
negligent or not is a question of fact which we cannot pass upon in a petition
the Fiera. However, from the way the truck reacted to the application of the
for review on certiorari, as our jurisdiction is limited to reviewing errors of
brakes, it showed that Gerosano was driving at a fast speed because the
law.11As a rule, factual findings of the trial court, affirmed by the CA, are final
brakes skidded a lengthy 48 feet as shown in the sketch of police investigator
and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal. The established
Rubia of the tire marks visibly printed on the road.
exceptions are: (1) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd
or impossible; (2) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (3) when the Moreover, the photographs taken after the incident and the testimony of
findings are grounded entirely on speculations, surmises or conjectures; (4) Gerosano as to the extent of damage to the truck, i.e. the trucks windshield
when the judgment of the CA is based on misapprehension of facts; (5) when was broken and its hood was damaged after the impact, 18 further support the
the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when the CA, in making its findings, finding of both courts that Gerosano was driving at a fast pace.
went beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the
admissions of both appellant and appellee; (7) when the findings of fact are The accident was further caused by the faulty brakes of the truck. Based on
conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (8) the sketch report, there was only one tire mark of the right tire of the cargo
when the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the truck during the incident which, as testified to by police investigator Rubia,
parties and which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion; meant that the brakes of the truck were not aligned otherwise there would be
and (9) when the findings of fact of the CA are premised on the absence of two tire marks impressions on the road. 19 Although petitioner contends that
evidence and are contradicted by the evidence on record. 12 there are other factors to explain why only one skid mark was found at the
place of the incident, such as the angle and edges of the road as well as the
On the basis of the records of this case, we find that there is cogent reason balance of the weight of the cargo laden in the truck, he failed to show that
for us to review the factual findings of the lower courts to conform to the indeed those factors were present to prove his defense. Such claim cannot be
evidence on record and consider this case as an exception to the general rule. given credence considering that investigator Rubia testified that the body of
the truck was very much on the road, i.e., not over the shoulder of the
The trial court and the appellate court had made a finding of fact that the
road,20 and the road was straight. 21 Indeed, it is the negligent act of
proximate cause of the injury sustained by respondent Noe was the negligent
petitioners driver of driving the cargo truck at a fast speed coupled with
and careless driving of petitioners driver, Gerosano, who was driving at a fast
faulty brakes which was the proximate cause of respondent Noes injury.
speed with a faulty brake when the accident happened. We see no cogent
reason to disturb the trial courts finding in giving more credence to the Petitioners claim that right after overtaking the cargo truck, the Fiera driver
testimony of respondent Noe than the testimony of Gerosano, petitioners suddenly stopped to pick up three passengers from the side of the road; that
truck driver. the overloading of passengers prevented his truck driver from determining
that the Fiera had pulled over to pick up passengers as the latters brakelights
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 32

were obstructed by the passengers standing on the rear portion of the Fiera Furthermore, we find that respondent Quinquillera was negligent in allowing
were not substantiated at all. Respondent Quinquillera, the driver of the Fiera, respondent Noe to stand on the Fieras rear portion. Section 32(c) of Article
testified that the distance from the curve of the road when he stopped and III of Republic Act No. 4136, otherwise known as "The Land Transportation
picked up passengers was estimated to be about 80 to 90 feet. 22 In fact, from and Traffic Code" provides:
the sketch drawn by investigator Rubia, it showed a distance of 145 feet from
the curve of the road to the speed tire mark (which measured about 48 feet) (c) Riding on running boards No driver shall allow any person to ride on
visibly printed on the road to the Fiera. This means that the Fiera driver did running board, step board or mudguard of his motor vehicle for any purpose
not stop immediately after the curve as what petitioner claims. Moreover, while the vehicle is in motion.
Gerosano admitted that his truck was at a distance of 10 meters prior to the
Respondent Quinquilleras act of permitting respondent Noe to hang on the
impact. The distance between the two vehicles was such that it would be
rear portion of the Fiera in such a dangerous position creates undue risk of
impossible for Gerosano not to have seen that the Fiera had pulled over to
harm to respondent Noe. Quinquillera failed to observe that degree of care,
pick up passengers.
precaution and vigilance that the circumstances justly demand. Thus,
However, we agree with petitioner that respondent Noes act of standing on respondent Noe suffered injury.25Since respondent Quinquillera is negligent,
the rear carrier of the Fiera exposing himself to bodily injury is in itself there arises a presumption of negligence on the part of his employer,
negligence on his part. We find that the trial court and the CA erred when respondent Bandoquillo, in supervising her employees properly. Such
they failed to consider that respondent Noe was also guilty of contributory presumption was not rebutted at all by Bandoquillo. Thus, the CA erred in
negligence. Contributory negligence is conduct on the part of the injured affirming the dismissal of the third party complaint filed by petitioner against
party, contributing as a legal cause to the harm he has suffered, which falls respondents Quinquillera and Bandoquillo.
below the standard to which he is required to conform for his own
Petitioner contends that he was able to establish that he exercised the due
protection. 23
diligence of a good father of a family in the selection of his employees as well
It has been established by the testimony of respondent Noe that he was with as in the maintenance of his cargo truck in good operating condition. He
four or five other persons standing on the rear carrier of the Fiera since it was claims that in addition to looking at Gerosanos drivers license, he
already full. Respondent Noes act of standing on the left rear carrier portion accompanied the latter in his first two trips, during which he ascertained
of the Fiera showed his lack of ordinary care and foresight that such act could Gerosanos competence as a driver, petitioner being a driver himself; that the
cause him harm or put his life in danger. It has been held that "to hold a truck driven by Gerosano has never figured in any accident prior to the
person as having contributed to his injuries, it must be shown that he incident involved; that upon his acquisition of the cargo truck on March 16,
performed an act that brought about his injuries in disregard of warning or 1982, only 7 months prior to the incident, the same was thoroughly checked
signs of an impending danger to health and body.24 Respondent Noes act of up and reconditioned; and that he had in his employ a mechanic who
hanging on the Fiera is definitely dangerous to his life and limb. conducted periodic check-ups of the engine and brake system of the cargo
truck.
We likewise find merit in petitioners contention that respondent Quinquillera,
the Fiera driver, was also negligent. There is merit to petitioners claim that We are not persuaded.
there was overloading which is in violation of traffic rules and regulations.
Article 2180 of the Civil Code provides:
Respondent Noe himself had testified that he was standing at the rear portion
of the Fiera because the Fiera was already full. Respondent Quinquillera
Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for
should not have taken more passengers than what the Fiera can
ones own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is
accommodate. If the Fiera was not overloaded, respondent Noe would not
responsible.
have been standing on the rear carrier and sustained such extent of injury.
xxx
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 33

Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and fails the test of due diligence in the selection of her bus driver. Case law
household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even teaches that for an employer to have exercised the diligence of a
though the former are not engaged in any business or industry. good father of a family, he should not be satisfied with the applicants
mere possession of a professional drivers license; he must also
xxx carefully examine the applicant for employment as to his
qualifications, his experience and record of service. Petitioner failed to
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons
present convincing proof that she went to this extent of verifying Venturinas
herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father
qualifications, safety record, and driving history. The presumption juris
of a family to prevent damage.
tantum that there was negligence in the selection of her bus driver, thus,
remains unrebutted.
As the employer of Gerosano, petitioner is primarily and solidarily liable for
the quasi-delict committed by the former. Petitioner is presumed to be
Nor did petitioner show that she exercised due supervision over Venturina
negligent in the selection and supervision of his employee by operation of law
after his selection. For as pointed out by the Court of Appeals, petitioner did
and may be relieved of responsibility for the negligent acts of his driver, who
not present any proof that she drafted and implemented training
at the time was acting within the scope of his assigned task, only if he can
programs and guidelines on road safety for her employees. In fact,
show that he observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent
the record is bare of any showing that petitioner required Venturina
damage.26
to attend periodic seminars on road safety and traffic
efficiency. Hence, petitioner cannot claim exemption from any liability
In Yambao v. Zuniga,27 we have clarified the meaning of the diligence of a
arising from the recklessness or negligence of Venturina.
good father of a family, thus:
In sum, petitioners liability to private respondents for the negligent and
The "diligence of a good father" referred to in the last paragraph of the
imprudent acts of her driver, Venturina, under Article 2180 of the Civil Code is
aforecited statute means diligence in the selection and supervision of
both manifest and clear. Petitioner, having failed to rebut the legal
employees. Thus, when an employee, while performing his duties, causes
presumption of negligence in the selection and supervision of her driver, is
damage to persons or property due to his own negligence, there arises
responsible for damages, the basis of the liability being the relationship
the juris tantum presumption that the employer is negligent, either in the
of pater familias or on the employers own negligence. x x x 28 (Emphasis
selection of the employee or in the supervision over him after the
supplied)
selection. For the employer to avoid the solidary liability for a tort
committed by his employee, an employer must rebut the presumption
Petitioner failed to show that he examined driver Gerosano as to his
by presenting adequate and convincing proof that in the selection and
qualifications, experience and service records. In fact, the testimony of driver
supervision of his employee, he or she exercises the care and
Gerosano in his cross-examination showed the non-observance of these
diligence of a good father of a family. x x x
requirements. Gerosano testified that petitioner was his first employer in
Dumaguete and that he was accepted by petitioner on the very day he
Petitioners claim that she exercised due diligence in the selection and
applied for the job;29 that his drivers license was issued in Mindanao where
supervision of her driver, Venturina, deserves but scant consideration. Her
he came from30 and that while petitioner asked him about his driving record in
allegation that before she hired Venturina she required him to submit
Mindanao, he did not present any document of his driving record. 31 Such
his drivers license and clearances is worthless, in view of her failure
admission clearly established that petitioner did not exercise due diligence in
to offer in evidence certified true copies of said license and
the selection of his driver Gerosano.
clearances. Bare allegations, unsubstantiated by evidence, are not
equivalent to proof under the rules of evidence. x x x
Moreover, the fact that petitioners driver Gerosano was driving in an efficient
manner when petitioner was with him in his first two trips would not
In any case, assuming arguendo that Venturina did submit his license and
conclusively establish that Gerosano was not at all reckless. It could not be
clearances when he applied with petitioner in January 1992, the latter still
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 34

considered as due diligence in the supervision of his driver to exempt deducted from the actual and moral damages awarded by the trial court in
petitioner from liability. In the supervision of his driver, petitioner must show favor of respondent Noe, that is: 20% of P129,584.20 for actual damages
that he had formulated training programs and guidelines on road safety for is P25,916.84 and 20% of P50,000.00 for moral damages is P10,000.00.
his driver which the records failed to show. We find that petitioner failed to Thus, after deducting the same, the award for actual damages should
rebut the presumption of negligence in the selection and supervision of his be P103,667.36 and P40,000.00 for moral damages or 80% of the damages
employees. so awarded.

Moreover, there was also no proof that he exercised diligence in maintaining Petitioner and respondents Bandoquillo and Quinquillera are jointly and
his cargo truck roadworthy and in good operating condition. While petitioners severally liable for the 80% of the damages as well as attorneys fees and
mechanic driver testified that he made a routine check up on October 15, litigation expenses conformably with our pronouncement in Tiu v.
1982, one day before the mishap happened, and found the truck operational, Arriesgado35 where we held:
there was no record of such inspection.
The petitioners, as well as the respondents Benjamin Condor and Sergio
Turning now to the award of damages, since there was contributory Pedrano are jointly and severally liable for said amount, conformably with the
negligence on the part of respondent Noe, petitioners liability should be following pronouncement of the Court in Fabre, Jr. v. Court of Appeals:
mitigated in accordance with Article 2179 of the Civil Code which provides:
The same rule of liability was applied in situations where the negligence of the
When the plaintiffs own negligence was the immediate and proximate cause driver of the bus on which plaintiff was riding concurred with the negligence
of his injury, he cannot recover damages. But if his negligence was only of a third party who was the driver of another vehicle, thus causing an
contributory, the immediate and proximate cause of the injury being the accident. In Anuran v. Buo, Batangas Laguna Tayabas Bus Co. v.
defendants lack of due care, the plaintiff may recover damages, but the Intermediate Appellate Court, and Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court
courts shall mitigate the damages to be awarded. of Appeals, the bus company, its driver, the operator of the other vehicle and
the driver of the vehicle were jointly and severally held liable to the injured
The underlying precept of the above article on contributory negligence is that passenger or the latters heirs. The basis of this allocation of liability was
a plaintiff who is partly responsible for his own injury should not be entitled to explained in Viluan v. Court of Appeals, thus:
recover damages in full but must bear the consequences of his own
negligence. The defendant must thus be held liable only for the damages "Nor should it make difference that the liability of petitioner [bus owner]
actually caused by his negligence.32 springs from contract while that of respondents [owner and driver of other
vehicle] arises from quasi delict. As early as 1913, we already ruled
In Phoenix Construction, Inc., v. Intermediate Appellate Court,33 where we in Gutierrez v. Gutierrez, 56 Phil. 177, that in case of injury to a passenger
held that the legal and proximate cause of the accident and of Dionisios due to the negligence of the driver of the bus on which he was riding and of
injuries was the wrongful and negligent manner in which the dump truck was the driver of another vehicle, the drivers as well as the owners of the two
parked but found Dionisio guilty of contributory negligence on the night of the vehicles are jointly and severally liable for damages. Some members of the
accident, we allocated most of the damages on a 20-80 ratio. In said case, Court, though, are of the view that under the circumstances they are liable
we required Dionisio to bear 20% of the damages awarded by the appellate on quasi delict."36
court, except as to the award of exemplary damages, attorneys fees and
costs. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The assailed
Decision of the Court of Appeals dated April 17, 2000 as well as its Resolution
In the present case, taking into account the contributing negligence of dated August 16, 2000 are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION to the effect
respondent Noe, we likewise rule that the demands of substantial justice are that the dispositive portion of the Decision dated February 18, 1993 of the
satisfied by distributing the damages also on a 20-80 ratio excluding Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete City in Civil Case No. 8122, should read as
attorneys fees and litigation expenses.34 Consequently, 20% should be follows:
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 35

"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered,


ordering defendants Gerosano and Estacion, as well as third party defendants
Bandoquillo and Quinquillera, to pay plaintiff, jointly and solidarily, the
following:

1. P103,667.36 for actual damages in the form of medical and hospitalization


expenses;

2. P40,000.00 for moral damages, consisting of mental anguish, moral shock,


serious anxiety and wounded feelings;

3. P10,000.00 for attorneys fees; and

4. P5,000.00 for litigation expenses.1avvphil.net

SO ORDERED."

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 36

10. G.R. No. 122039 May 31, 2000 other hand, filed a third-party complaint against Francisco Salva, the owner of
the Isuzu truck.
VICENTE CALALAS, petitioner,
vs. The lower court rendered judgment against Salva as third-party defendant
COURT OF APPEALS, ELIZA JUJEURCHE SUNGA and FRANCISCO and absolved Calalas of liability, holding that it was the driver of the Isuzu
SALVA, respondents. truck who was responsible for the accident. It took cognizance of another
case (Civil Case No. 3490), filed by Calalas against Salva and Verena, for
quasi-delict, in which Branch 37 of the same court held Salva and his driver
Verena jointly liable to Calalas for the damage to his jeepney.

MENDOZA, J.: On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the ruling of the lower court was reversed
on the ground that Sunga's cause of action was based on a contract of
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision1 of the Court of carriage, not quasi-delict, and that the common carrier failed to exercise the
Appeals, dated March 31, 1991, reversing the contrary decision of the diligence required under the Civil Code. The appellate court dismissed the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 36, Dumaguete City, and awarding damages third-party complaint against Salva and adjudged Calalas liable for damages
instead to private respondent Eliza Jujeurche Sunga as plaintiff in an action to Sunga. The dispositive portion of its decision reads:
for breach of contract of carriage.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED and SET
The facts, as found by the Court of Appeals, are as follows: ASIDE, and another one is entered ordering defendant-appellee Vicente
Calalas to pay plaintiff-appellant:
At 10 o'clock in the morning of August 23, 1989, private respondent Eliza
Jujeurche G. Sunga, then a college freshman majoring in Physical Education (1) P50,000.00 as actual and compensatory damages;
at the Siliman University, took a passenger jeepney owned and operated by
petitioner Vicente Calalas. As the jeepney was filled to capacity of about 24 (2) P50,000.00 as moral damages;
passengers, Sunga was given by the conductor an "extension seat," a wooden
stool at the back of the door at the rear end of the vehicle. (3) P10,000.00 as attorney's fees; and

On the way to Poblacion Sibulan, Negros Occidental, the jeepney stopped to (4) P1,000.00 as expenses of litigation; and
let a passenger off. As she was seated at the rear of the vehicle, Sunga gave
(5) to pay the costs.
way to the outgoing passenger. Just as she was doing so, an Isuzu truck
driven by Iglecerio Verena and owned by Francisco Salva bumped the left rear
SO ORDERED.
portion of the jeepney. As a result, Sunga was injured. She sustained a
fracture of the "distal third of the left tibia-fibula with severe necrosis of the Hence, this petition. Petitioner contends that the ruling in Civil Case No. 3490
underlying skin." Closed reduction of the fracture, long leg circular casting, that the negligence of Verena was the proximate cause of the accident
and case wedging were done under sedation. Her confinement in the hospital negates his liability and that to rule otherwise would be to make the common
lasted from August 23 to September 7, 1989. Her attending physician, Dr. carrier an insurer of the safety of its passengers. He contends that the
Danilo V. Oligario, an orthopedic surgeon, certified she would remain on a bumping of the jeepney by the truck owned by Salva was a caso fortuito.
cast for a period of three months and would have to ambulate in crutches Petitioner further assails the award of moral damages to Sunga on the ground
during said period. that it is not supported by evidence.

On October 9, 1989, Sunga filed a complaint for damages against Calalas, The petition has no merit.
alleging violation of the contract of carriage by the former in failing to
exercise the diligence required of him as a common carrier. Calalas, on the
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 37

The argument that Sunga is bound by the ruling in Civil Case No. 3490 Art. 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for
finding the driver and the owner of the truck liable for quasi-delict ignores the reasons of public policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the
fact that she was never a party to that case and, therefore, the principle vigilance over the goods and for the safety of the passengers transported by
of res judicata does not apply. them, according to all the circumstances of each case.

Nor are the issues in Civil Case No. 3490 and in the present case the same. Such extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods is further
The issue in Civil Case No. 3490 was whether Salva and his driver Verena expressed in articles 1734, 1735, and 1746, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, while the
were liable for quasi-delict for the damage caused to petitioner's jeepney. On extraordinary diligence for the safety of the passengers is further set forth in
the other hand, the issue in this case is whether petitioner is liable on his articles 1755 and 1756.
contract of carriage. The first, quasi-delict, also known as culpa aquiliana or
culpa extra contractual, has as its source the negligence of the tortfeasor. Art. 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as
The second, breach of contract or culpa contractual, is premised upon the human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very
negligence in the performance of a contractual obligation. cautious persons, with due regard for all the circumstances.

Consequently, in quasi-delict, the negligence or fault should be clearly Art. 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers are
established because it is the basis of the action, whereas in breach of presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they
contract, the action can be prosecuted merely by proving the existence of the prove that they observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed by articles
contract and the fact that the obligor, in this case the common carrier, failed 1733 and 1755.
to transport his passenger safely to his destination. 2 In case of death or
In the case at bar, upon the happening of the accident, the presumption of
injuries to passengers, Art. 1756 of the Civil Code provides that common
negligence at once arose, and it became the duty of petitioner to prove that
carriers are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently
he had to observe extraordinary diligence in the care of his passengers.
unless they prove that they observed extraordinary diligence as defined in
Arts. 1733 and 1755 of the Code. This provision necessarily shifts to the
Now, did the driver of jeepney carry Sunga "safely as far as human care and
common carrier the burden of proof.
foresight could provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons,
with due regard for all the circumstances" as required by Art. 1755? We do
There is, thus, no basis for the contention that the ruling in Civil Case No.
not think so. Several factors militate against petitioner's contention.
3490, finding Salva and his driver Verena liable for the damage to petitioner's
jeepney, should be binding on Sunga. It is immaterial that the proximate
First, as found by the Court of Appeals, the jeepney was not properly parked,
cause of the collision between the jeepney and the truck was the negligence
its rear portion being exposed about two meters from the broad shoulders of
of the truck driver. The doctrine of proximate cause is applicable only in
the highway, and facing the middle of the highway in a diagonal angle. This is
actions for quasi-delict, not in actions involving breach of contract. The
a violation of the R.A. No. 4136, as amended, or the Land Transportation and
doctrine is a device for imputing liability to a person where there is no
Traffic Code, which provides:
relation between him and another party. In such a case, the obligation is
created by law itself. But, where there is a pre-existing contractual relation Sec. 54. Obstruction of Traffic. No person shall drive his motor vehicle in
between the parties, it is the parties themselves who create the obligation, such a manner as to obstruct or impede the passage of any vehicle, nor, while
and the function of the law is merely to regulate the relation thus created. discharging or taking on passengers or loading or unloading freight, obstruct
Insofar as contracts of carriage are concerned, some aspects regulated by the the free passage of other vehicles on the highway.
Civil Code are those respecting the diligence required of common carriers with
regard to the safety of passengers as well as the presumption of negligence Second, it is undisputed that petitioner's driver took in more passengers than
in cases of death or injury to passengers. It provides: the allowed seating capacity of the jeepney, a violation of 32(a) of the same
law. It provides:
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 38

Exceeding registered capacity. No person operating any motor vehicle shall bowing of the fracture side." She likewise decided not to further pursue
allow more passengers or more freight or cargo in his vehicle than its Physical Education as her major subject, because "my left leg . . . has a
registered capacity. defect already."

The fact that Sunga was seated in an "extension seat" placed her in a peril Those are her physical pains and moral sufferings, the inevitable bedfellows
greater than that to which the other passengers were exposed. Therefore, not of the injuries that she suffered. Under Article 2219 of the Civil Code, she is
only was petitioner unable to overcome the presumption of negligence entitled to recover moral damages in the sum of P50,000.00, which is fair,
imposed on him for the injury sustained by Sunga, but also, the evidence just and reasonable.
shows he was actually negligent in transporting passengers.
As a general rule, moral damages are not recoverable in actions for damages
We find it hard to give serious thought to petitioner's contention that Sunga's predicated on a breach of contract for it is not one of the items enumerated
taking an "extension seat" amounted to an implied assumption of risk. It is under Art. 2219 of the Civil Code. 5 As an exception, such damages are
akin to arguing that the injuries to the many victims of the tragedies in our recoverable: (1) in cases in which the mishap results in the death of a
seas should not be compensated merely because those passengers assumed passenger, as provided in Art. 1764, in relation to Art. 2206(3) of the Civil
a greater risk of drowning by boarding an overloaded ferry. This is also true of Code; and (2) in the cases in which the carrier is guilty of fraud or bad faith,
petitioner's contention that the jeepney being bumped while it was improperly as provided in Art. 2220.6
parked constitutes caso fortuito. A caso fortuito is an event which could not
be foreseen, or which, though foreseen, was inevitable. 3 This requires that In this case, there is no legal basis for awarding moral damages since there
the following requirements be present: (a) the cause of the breach is was no factual finding by the appellate court that petitioner acted in bad faith
independent of the debtor's will; (b) the event is unforeseeable or in the performance of the contract of carriage. Sunga's contention that
unavoidable; (c) the event is such as to render it impossible for the debtor to petitioner's admission in open court that the driver of the jeepney failed to
fulfill his obligation in a normal manner, and (d) the debtor did not take part assist her in going to a nearby hospital cannot be construed as an admission
in causing the injury to the of bad faith. The fact that it was the driver of the Isuzu truck who took her to
creditor. Petitioner should have foreseen the danger of parking his jeepney
4 the hospital does not imply that petitioner was utterly indifferent to the plight
with its body protruding two meters into the highway. of his injured passenger. If at all, it is merely implied recognition by Verena
that he was the one at fault for the accident.
Finally, petitioner challenges the award of moral damages alleging that it is
excessive and without basis in law. We find this contention well taken. WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals, dated March 31, 1995, and
its resolution, dated September 11, 1995, are AFFIRMED, with the
In awarding moral damages, the Court of Appeals stated: MODIFICATION that the award of moral damages is DELETED.

Plaintiff-appellant at the time of the accident was a first-year college student SO ORDERED.
in that school year 1989-1990 at the Silliman University, majoring in Physical
Education. Because of the injury, she was not able to enroll in the second
semester of that school year. She testified that she had no more intention of
continuing with her schooling, because she could not walk and decided not to
pursue her degree, major in Physical Education "because of my leg which has
a defect already."

Plaintiff-appellant likewise testified that even while she was under


confinement, she cried in pain because of her injured left foot. As a result of
her injury, the Orthopedic Surgeon also certified that she has "residual
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 39

11. G.R. No. 141910 August 6, 2002 "In the instant case, plaintiff did not present any single evidence that would
prove that defendant is a common carrier.
FGU INSURANCE CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs. "x x x xxx xxx
G.P. SARMIENTO TRUCKING CORPORATION and LAMBERT M.
EROLES, respondents. "Accordingly, the application of the law on common carriers is not warranted
and the presumption of fault or negligence on the part of a common carrier in
VITUG, J.: case of loss, damage or deterioration of goods during transport under 1735 of
the Civil Code is not availing.
G.P. Sarmiento Trucking Corporation (GPS) undertook to deliver on 18 June
1994 thirty (30) units of Condura S.D. white refrigerators aboard one of its "Thus, the laws governing the contract between the owner of the cargo to
Isuzu truck, driven by Lambert Eroles, from the plant site of Concepcion whom the plaintiff was subrogated and the owner of the vehicle which
Industries, Inc., along South Superhighway in Alabang, Metro Manila, to the transports the cargo are the laws on obligation and contract of the Civil Code
Central Luzon Appliances in Dagupan City. While the truck was traversing the as well as the law on quasi delicts.
north diversion road along McArthur highway in Barangay Anupol, Bamban,
Tarlac, it collided with an unidentified truck, causing it to fall into a deep "Under the law on obligation and contract, negligence or fault is not
canal, resulting in damage to the cargoes. presumed. The law on quasi delict provides for some presumption of
negligence but only upon the attendance of some circumstances. Thus, Article
FGU Insurance Corporation (FGU), an insurer of the shipment, paid to 2185 provides:
Concepcion Industries, Inc., the value of the covered cargoes in the sum of
P204,450.00. FGU, in turn, being the subrogee of the rights and interests of Art. 2185. Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person
Concepcion Industries, Inc., sought reimbursement of the amount it had paid driving a motor vehicle has been negligent if at the time of the mishap, he
to the latter from GPS. Since the trucking company failed to heed the claim, was violating any traffic regulation.
FGU filed a complaint for damages and breach of contract of carriage against
"Evidence for the plaintiff shows no proof that defendant was violating any
GPS and its driver Lambert Eroles with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, of
traffic regulation. Hence, the presumption of negligence is not obtaining.
Makati City. In its answer, respondents asserted that GPS was the exclusive
hauler only of Concepcion Industries, Inc., since 1988, and it was not so
"Considering that plaintiff failed to adduce evidence that defendant is a
engaged in business as a common carrier. Respondents further claimed that
common carrier and defendants driver was the one negligent, defendant
the cause of damage was purely accidental.1wphi1.nt
cannot be made liable for the damages of the subject cargoes." 2
The issues having thus been joined, FGU presented its evidence, establishing
The subsequent motion for reconsideration having been denied, 3 plaintiff
the extent of damage to the cargoes and the amount it had paid to the
interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals, contending that the trial court
assured. GPS, instead of submitting its evidence, filed with leave of court a
had erred (a) in holding that the appellee corporation was not a common
motion to dismiss the complaint by way of demurrer to evidence on the
carrier defined under the law and existing jurisprudence; and (b) in
ground that petitioner had failed to prove that it was a common carrier.
dismissing the complaint on a demurrer to evidence.
The trial court, in its order of 30 April 1996, 1 granted the motion to dismiss,
The Court of Appeals rejected the appeal of petitioner and ruled in favor of
explaining thusly:
GPS. The appellate court, in its decision of 10 June 1999, 4 discoursed, among
other things, that -
"Under Section 1 of Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, it is provided that Each
party must prove his own affirmative allegation, xxx.
"x x x in order for the presumption of negligence provided for under the law
governing common carrier (Article 1735, Civil Code) to arise, the appellant
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 40

must first prove that the appellee is a common carrier. Should the appellant II
fail to prove that the appellee is a common carrier, the presumption would not
arise; consequently, the appellant would have to prove that the carrier was WHETHER RESPONDENT GPS, EITHER AS A COMMON CARRIER OR A PRIVATE
negligent. CARRIER, MAY BE PRESUMED TO HAVE BEEN NEGLIGENT WHEN THE GOODS
IT UNDERTOOK TO TRANSPORT SAFELY WERE SUBSEQUENTLY DAMAGED
"x x x xxx xxx WHILE IN ITS PROTECTIVE CUSTODY AND POSSESSION.

"Because it is the appellant who insists that the appellees can still be III
considered as a common carrier, despite its `limited clientele, (assuming it
was really a common carrier), it follows that it (appellant) has the burden of WHETHER THE DOCTRINE OF RES IPSA LOQUITUR IS APPLICABLE IN THE
proving the same. It (plaintiff-appellant) `must establish his case by a INSTANT CASE.
preponderance of evidence, which means that the evidence as a whole
On the first issue, the Court finds the conclusion of the trial court and the
adduced by one side is superior to that of the other. (Summa Insurance
Court of Appeals to be amply justified. GPS, being an exclusive contractor and
Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 243 SCRA 175). This, unfortunately, the
hauler of Concepcion Industries, Inc., rendering or offering its services to no
appellant failed to do -- hence, the dismissal of the plaintiffs complaint by the
other individual or entity, cannot be considered a common carrier. Common
trial court is justified.
carriers are persons, corporations, firms or associations engaged in the
"x x x xxx xxx business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or both, by land,
water, or air, for hire or compensation, offering their services to
"Based on the foregoing disquisitions and considering the circumstances that the public,8 whether to the public in general or to a limited clientele in
the appellee trucking corporation has been `its exclusive contractor, hauler particular, but never on an exclusive basis.9 The true test of a common carrier
since 1970, defendant has no choice but to comply with the directive of its is the carriage of passengers or goods, providing space for those who opt to
principal, the inevitable conclusion is that the appellee is a private carrier. avail themselves of its transportation service for a fee. 10 Given accepted
standards, GPS scarcely falls within the term "common carrier."
"x x x xxx xxx
The above conclusion nothwithstanding, GPS cannot escape from liability.
"x x x the lower court correctly ruled that 'the application of the law on
common carriers is not warranted and the presumption of fault or negligence In culpa contractual, upon which the action of petitioner rests as being the
on the part of a common carrier in case of loss, damage or deterioration of subrogee of Concepcion Industries, Inc., the mere proof of the existence of
good[s] during transport under [article] 1735 of the Civil Code is not availing.' the contract and the failure of its compliance justify, prima facie, a
x x x. corresponding right of relief.11 The law, recognizing the obligatory force of
contracts,12 will not permit a party to be set free from liability for any kind of
"Finally, We advert to the long established rule that conclusions and findings misperformance of the contractual undertaking or a contravention of the
of fact of a trial court are entitled to great weight on appeal and should not tenor thereof.13 A breach upon the contract confers upon the injured party a
be disturbed unless for strong and valid reasons."5 valid cause for recovering that which may have been lost or suffered. The
remedy serves to preserve the interests of the promisee that may include his
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was likewise denied; 6 hence, the
"expectation interest," which is his interest in having the benefit of his
instant petition,7 raising the following issues:
bargain by being put in as good a position as he would have been in had the
contract been performed, or his "reliance interest," which is his interest in
I
being reimbursed for loss caused by reliance on the contract by being put in
WHETHER RESPONDENT GPS MAY BE CONSIDERED AS A COMMON CARRIER as good a position as he would have been in had the contract not been made;
AS DEFINED UNDER THE LAW AND EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE. or his "restitution interest," which is his interest in having restored to him any
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 41

benefit that he has conferred on the other party.14 Indeed, agreements can proof of negligence. The maxim simply places on the defendant the burden of
accomplish little, either for their makers or for society, unless they are made going forward with the proof.20 Resort to the doctrine, however, may be
the basis for action.15 The effect of every infraction is to create a new duty, allowed only when (a) the event is of a kind which does not ordinarily occur in
that is, to make recompense to the one who has been injured by the failure of the absence of negligence; (b) other responsible causes, including the
another to observe his contractual obligation 16 unless he can show conduct of the plaintiff and third persons, are sufficiently eliminated by the
extenuating circumstances, like proof of his exercise of due diligence evidence; and (c) the indicated negligence is within the scope of the
(normally that of the diligence of a good father of a family or, exceptionally by defendant's duty to the plaintiff.21 Thus, it is not applicable when an
stipulation or by law such as in the case of common carriers, that of unexplained accident may be attributable to one of several causes, for some
extraordinary diligence) or of the attendance of fortuitous event, to excuse of which the defendant could not be responsible. 22
him from his ensuing liability.
Res ipsa loquitur generally finds relevance whether or not a contractual
Respondent trucking corporation recognizes the existence of a contract of relationship exists between the plaintiff and the defendant, for the inference
carriage between it and petitioners assured, and admits that the cargoes it of negligence arises from the circumstances and nature of the occurrence and
has assumed to deliver have been lost or damaged while in its custody. In not from the nature of the relation of the parties. 23 Nevertheless, the
such a situation, a default on, or failure of compliance with, the obligation requirement that responsible causes other than those due to defendants
in this case, the delivery of the goods in its custody to the place of destination conduct must first be eliminated, for the doctrine to apply, should be
- gives rise to a presumption of lack of care and corresponding liability on the understood as being confined only to cases of pure (non-contractual) tort
part of the contractual obligor the burden being on him to establish since obviously the presumption of negligence in culpa contractual, as
otherwise. GPS has failed to do so. previously so pointed out, 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
Respondent driver, on the other hand, without concrete proof of his predicated on culpa acquiliana, while he admittedly can be said to have been
negligence or fault, may not himself be ordered to pay petitioner. The driver, in control and management of the vehicle which figured in the accident, it is
not being a party to the contract of carriage between petitioners principal not equally shown, however, that the accident could have been exclusively
and defendant, may not be held liable under the agreement. A contract can due to his negligence, a matter that can allow, forthwith, res ipsa loquitur to
only bind the parties who have entered into it or their successors who have work against him.
assumed their personality or their juridical position. 17 Consonantly with the
axiom res inter alios acta aliis neque nocet prodest, such contract can neither If a demurrer to evidence is granted but on appeal the order of dismissal is
favor nor prejudice a third person. Petitioners civil action against the driver reversed, the movant shall be deemed to have waived the right to present
can only be based on culpa aquiliana, which, unlike culpa contractual, would evidence.24 Thus, respondent corporation may no longer offer proof to
require the claimant for damages to prove negligence or fault on the part of establish that it has exercised due care in transporting the cargoes of the
the defendant.18 assured so as to still warrant a remand of the case to the trial
court.1wphi1.nt
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 WHEREFORE, the order, dated 30 April 1996, of the Regional Trial Court,
of is shown to be under the latters management and the accident is such Branch 66, of Makati City, and the decision, dated 10 June 1999, of the Court
that, in the ordinary course of things, cannot be expected to happen if those of Appeals, are AFFIRMED only insofar as respondent Lambert M. Eroles is
who have its management or control use proper care. It affords reasonable concerned, but said assailed order of the trial court and decision of the
evidence, in the absence of explanation by the defendant, that the accident appellate court are REVERSED as regards G.P. Sarmiento Trucking
arose from want of care.19 It is not a rule of substantive law and, as such, it Corporation which, instead, is hereby ordered to pay FGU Insurance
does not create an independent ground of liability. Instead, it is regarded as a Corporation the value of the damaged and lost cargoes in the amount of
mode of proof, or a mere procedural convenience since it furnishes a P204,450.00. No costs.SO ORDERED.
substitute for, and relieves the plaintiff of, the burden of producing specific
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 42

12. G.R. Nos. L-21353 and L-21354 May 20, 1966 plaintiff Edita de Sagun, (pp. 9, 12 and 13, t.s.n. June 26, 1958). However,
the fact remains that the vehicle was overloaded with passengers at the time,
GREGORIO ANURAN, MARIA MALIGAYA, LAPAZ LARO, ET because according to the partial stipulation of facts "the maximum capacity of
AL., petitioners, the jeepney bearing plate No. TPU-13548 of said defendants was eleven (11)
vs. passengers including the driver. (Printed Record on Appeal, pp. 35, 37.)
PEPITO BUO, PEDRO GAHOL, LUISA ALCANTARA, GUILLERMO
RAZON, ANSELMO MALIGAYA and CEFERINA ARO, respondents. After crossing the bridge, defendant Buo stopped his vehicle in order to
allow one of his passengers to alight. But he so parked his jeepney in such a
Victoriano A. Endaya for petitioners. way that one-half of its width (the left wheels) was on the asphalted
Trinidad and Borromeo for respondents Buo, et al. pavement of the road and the other half, on the right shoulder of said road
Contreras and Adapon for respondents Razon, et al. (pp. 21-22, t.s.n. May 26, 1958; p. 12 t.s.n. July 17, 1958). Approximately
five minutes later and before Buo could start his vehicle, a speeding water
BENGZON, C.J.:
truck, which bore plate No. T-17526 and owned by defendants-spouses
Anselmo Maligaya and Ceferina Aro, then being driven by Guillermo Razon
At noon of January 12, 1958, a passenger jeepney was parked on the road to
from the direction of Mahabang Ludlud, Taal, Batangas, towards the poblacion
Taal, Batangas. A motor truck speeding along, negligently bumped it from
of that municipality, violently smashed against the parked jeepney from
behind, with such violence that three of its passengers died, even as two
behind, causing it to turn turtle into a nearby ditch.
others (passengers too) suffered injuries that required their confinement at
the Provincial Hospital for many days.
Then said Appellate Court went on to affirm the exoneration of the jeepney
driver and of its owners. It explained that although "the driver of the ill-
So, in February 1958 these suits were instituted by the representatives of the
starred vehicle was not free from fault, for he was guilty of an antecedent
dead and of the injured, to recover consequently damages against the driver
negligence in parking his vehicle with a portion thereof occupying the
and the owners of the truck and also against the driver and the owners of the
asphalted road", it considered the truck driver guilty of greater negligence
jeepney.
which was the efficient cause of the collision; and applying the doctrine of the
The Batangas Court of First Instance, after trial, rendered judgment absolving "last clear chance"1 said Court ordered the owners of the truck to pay,
the driver of the jeepney and its owners, but it required the truck driver and solidarily with its driver, damages as follows:
the owners thereof to make compensation.
x x x the sum of P6,000.00 for the death of their daughter Emelita, another
The plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Appeals insisting that the driver and sum of P5,000.00 as moral damages and the sum of P500.00 as actual
the owners of the jeepney should also be made liable for damages. damages, and to plaintiffs Simplicio, Alberto, Avelina and Alfredo, all
surnamed Arriola, and represented by their guardian ad litem Agustin Arriola,
The last mentioned court, upon reviewing the record, declared that: the sum of P6,000.00 for the death of their natural mother, Leonor
Masongsong, another sum of P5,000.00 as moral damages the sum of
It is admitted that at about noontime on January 13, 1958, the passenger P3,600.00 for loss of earning capacity of said deceased and the sum of
jeepney owned by defendants spouses Pedro Gahol and Luisa Alcantara, P850.00 as actual damages.
bearing plate No. TPU-13548, then being driven by their regular driver,
defendant Pepito Buo was on its regular route travelling from Mahabang The plaintiffs brought the matter to this Supreme Court insisting that the
Ludlud, Taal, Batangas, towards the poblacion of the said municipality. When driver and the owners of the jeepney should also be made liable.
said passenger jeepney crossed the bridge separating Barrios Mahabang
Ludlud and Balisong, Taal, Batangas, it had fourteen passengers, excluding We gave due course to the petition for review, because we thought the
the driver, according to the testimony of defendant Buo (pp. 12 and 18, decision meant exoneration of the carrier from liability to its
t.s.n. July 17, 1958), or sixteen passengers according to the testimony of passengers, notwithstanding the negligence of its driver.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 43

Upon further and more extended consideration of the matter, we have


become convinced that error of law was committed in releasing the jeepney
from liability. It must be remembered that the obligation of the carrier to
transport its passengers safely is such that the New Civil Code requires
"utmost diligence" from the carriers (Art. 1755) who are "presumed to have
been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they have
observed extraordinary diligence" (Art. 1756). In this instance, this legal
presumption of negligence is confirmed by the Court of Appeals' finding that
the driver of the jeepney in question was at fault in parking the vehicle
improperly. It must follow that the driver and the owners of the jeepney
must answer for injuries to its passengers.

The principle about the "last clear chance" would call for application in a
suit between the owners and drivers of the two colliding vehicles. It does not
arise where a passenger demands responsibility from the carrier to enforce its
contractual obligations. For it would be inequitable to exempt the negligent
driver of the jeepney and its owners on the ground that the other driver was
likewise guilty of negligence.

Now as to damages. The driver and the owners of the truck have not
appealed from the Court of Appeals' assessment. The plaintiffs (petitioners)
have not asked here for a greater amount of indemnity. They merely pray for
a declaration that Pepito Buo, Pedro Gahol and Luisa Alcantara (the driver
and the owners of the jeepney, respectively) be declared jointly and severally
liable with the other defendants.1wph1.t

Wherefore, affirming the decision under review, we hereby modify it in the


sense prayed for by plaintiffs-petitioners. The three defendants last
mentioned are required to pay solidarily with the other defendants-
respondents the amounts fixed by the appealed decision. Costs of both
appeals against said three defendants. So ordered.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 44

13. G.R. No. L-40452 October 12, 1989 Petitioner was charged with homicide thru reckless imprudence in the Court of
First Instance of Cebu (Crim. Case No. V7855). The trial court found
GREGORIO GENOBIAGON, petitioner, petitioner guilty of the felony charged and sentenced him to "suffer an
vs. indeterminate penalty of three (3) months of arresto mayor as minimum to
COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. one (1) year, one (1) month and eleven (11) days of prision correccional as
maximum, to indemnify the heirs of Rita Banzon Cabrera the sum of P6,000
Mario D. Ortiz for petitioner.
with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, not to exceed 1/3 of the
principal penalty and to pay the costs" (p. 3, Appellant's Brief, p. 56, Rollo).

The petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. 09949-CR)which,on


GRIO-AQUINO, J.:
October 10,1974,conviction of the accused but increased his civil liability to
This is a petition for review of the Court of Appeals' decision in CA-G.R. No. P12,000. The dispositive portion of its decision reads:
09949-CR, dated October 10, 1974, affirming the conviction of the petitioner
WHEREFORE, finding no error in the judgment appealed from except in the
of the crime of homicide thru reckless imprudence.
amount of indemnity to be paid to the heirs of the deceased, Rita B. Cabrera,
As found by the Court of Appeals, the facts of this case are: which is the sum of P6,000.00 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency which should be raised to P12,000.00 (People vs. Pantoja, G.R.
On December 31,1959, at about 7:30 o'clock in the evening, a rig driven by No. L-18793, October 11, 1968, 25 SCRA 468) but without subsidiary
appellant bumped an old woman who was crossing T. Padilla St., Cebu City, at imprisonment in case of insolvency, the same should be, as it is hereby
the right side of T. Padilla Market. The appellant's rig was following another at affirmed in all other respects with costs. (P. 37, Rollo.)
a distance of two meters. The old woman started to cross when the first rig
was approaching her, but as appellant's vehicle was going so fast not only After his motion for reconsideration of the Court of Appeals' decision was
because of the steep down-grade of the road, but also because he was trying denied, he filed a petition for review in this Court, alleging that the Court of
to overtake the rig ahead of him, the appellant's rig bumped the old woman, Appeals erred:
who as a consequence, fell at the middle of the road. The appellant continued
1. in not finding that the reckless negligence of the victim was the proximate
to drive on, but a by-stander, one Vicente Mangyao, who just closed his store
cause of the accident which led to her death;
in market in order to celebrate the coming of the New Year, and who saw the
incident right before him, shouted at the appellant to stop. He ran after
2. in not acquitting the petitioner on the ground of reasonable doubt; and
appellant when the latter refused to stop. Overtaking the appellant, Mangyao
asked him why he bumped the old woman and his answer was, 'it was the old 3. in unjustly increasing the civil liability of the petitioner from P6,000.00 to
woman that bumped him.' The appellant went back to the place where the old P12,000.00, although the circumstances of the victim and the accused
woman was struck by his rig. The old woman was unconscious, and the food (petitioner) do not warrant such increase.
and viands she was carrying were scattered on her body. The victim was then
loaded in a jeep and brought to the hospital where she died three hours later It is quite evident that all the issues raised in the petition for review are
(Exh. C). The findings after an autopsy are as follows: factual. Well-entrenched in our jurisprudence is the rule that findings of fact
of the trial court and the Court of Appeals are binding upon us (Bernardo vs.
Contusion with Hematoma Left, Frontal and Occipito-Parietal Regionas Bernardo, 101 SCRA 351; Vda. De Roxas vs. IAC, 143 SCRA 77; Republic vs.
Fracture Occipito-Parietal Bone Cerebral Hemorrhage. IAC, 144 SCRA 705).

The deceased was an eighty-one-year old woman named Rita B. Cabrera. (pp. The alleged contributory negligence of the victim, if any, does not exonerate
31-32, Rollo.) the accused. "The defense of contributory negligence does not apply in
criminal cases committed through reckless imprudence, since one cannot
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 45

allege the negligence of another to evade the effects of his own negligence
(People vs. Orbeta, CA-G.R. No. 321, March 29,1947)." (People vs. Quinones,
44 O.G. 1520).

The petitioner's contention that the Court of Appeals unjustly increased his
civil liability to P12,000, is devoid of merit. The prevailing jurisprudence in
fact provides that indemnity for death in homicide or murder is P30,000
(People vs. De la Fuente, [1983]126 SCRA 518; People vs. Centeno, 130
SCRA 198). Accordingly, the civil liability of the petitioner is increased to
P30,000.

WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is affirmed with modification as to the


civil liability of the petitioner which is hereby increased to P30,000. Costs
against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 46

14. G.R. Nos. 153760-61 October 12, 2006 TEODORICO MANZANARES, and EDUARDO YANG, petitioners,
vs.
TEODORICO MANZANARES, petitioner, CITA VICENTE, respondent.
vs.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

x-------------------------x
DECISION
EDUARDO YANG, doing business under the name and style of
MANHATTAN ENTERPRISES, INC., and TEODORICO
MANZANARES, petitioners,
vs.
Spouses EDILBERTO EXALTACION and ADELAIDA CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
EXALTACION, respondents,
This is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
x-------------------------x Procedure which seeks to reverse and set aside the Decision of the Court of
Appeals dated 30 April 20021 in CA-G.R. CR No. 19600 and CA-G.R. CV No.
MANHATTAN ENTERPRISES, CO., and TEODORICO
53834 affirming the joint decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos,
MANZANARES, petitioners,
Bulacan, in Criminal Case No. 5782-M and Civil Cases No. 6734-M, 6769-M,
vs.
6935-M, 6894-M, and 8478-M.
LYDIA, CONSEJO, MIGUEL, JR., WILFREDO, BELINDA, JOHNA,
DANIEL, DESPOSORIO, VICTOR, - ANTONIETTE [all surnamed ANAS] The pertinent facts are as follows:
and MA. MILLIE ANAS-SACLOTE, respondents,
At about 2:30 oclock in the afternoon of 13 January 1983, a vehicular
x-------------------------x collision took place along MacArthur Highway, Barangay Tikay, Malolos,
Bulacan, involving an Isuzu six-wheeler truck bearing plate no. CBG 283
TEODORICO MANZANARES, and EDUARDO YANG, petitioners,
Pilipinas 82 and a passenger jeepney with plate no. DDC 430 UV Pilipinas 82.
vs.
The Isuzu truck was owned by petitioner Manhattan Enterprises, Inc. and was
FELICIDAD TOMAQUIN, respondent,
then driven by petitioner Teodorico Manzanares. The passenger jeepney, on
the other hand, was registered in the name of Teodoro Basallo. It was
x-------------------------x
established during the trial that the passenger jeepney was heading
MANHATTAN ENTERPRISES CO., and TEODORICO southwards in the direction of Manila while the Isuzu truck was heading the
MANZANARES, petitioners, opposite way.
vs.
The incident resulted in the deaths of the driver of the passenger jeepney
EDUARDA DAPLINAN VDA. DE PASCO, ROSA PASCO ALONZO, JESUSA
Jesus Basallo, Miguel Anas, Ferdinand Exaltacion, and Antonio Pasco. It also
PASCO BUSLON, FRANCISCO PASCO, MIRAVER PASCO & MA. TERESA
inflicted serious physical injuries to some of the passengers of the jeepney,
PASCO, respondents,
namely: Angela Enriquez, Romeo Espelimbergo, Teresita dela Cruz, Cita
x-------------------------x Vicente, Jesus Bartolome, Rolando Peralta, and Felicidad Raymundo.

As expected, the incident spawned the filing of civil suits by those harmed by
the collision.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 47

The families of the deceased Ferdinand Exaltacion 2 and Miguel Aside from the civil cases, an Information was also filed against petitioner
Anas instituted separate civil cases for damages against petitioners
3
Manzanares before the RTC of Malolos, Bulacan. The accusatory portion of the
Manzanares, Manhattan Enterprises, Inc., the latters managing partner, information reads:
Eduardo Yang, and the operator of the passenger jeepney, Teodoro Basallo.
The heirs of Antonio Pasco opted to file a complaint against petitioners That on or about the 13 th day of January, 1983, in the municipality of Malolos,
Manhattan Enterprises Co. and Teodorico Manzanares. 4 province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the said accused Teodorico Manzanares y Domingo, being then the
The heirs of Jesus Basallo also filed a complaint for his death but their chauffeur and person in charge of a truck bearing plate no. CBG 283 Pilipinas
complaint was dismissed for failure to prosecute. 5 82, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously drive and operate
the same while passing along the Mac-Arthur Highway in the said municipality
Two of those who sustained injuries also filed their respective complaints in a negligent, careless and imprudent manner, without due regard to the
against petitioners and Teodoro Basallo. In her complaint, 6 Felicidad Tomaquin traffic laws, rules and regulations and without taking the necessary
claimed that because of the incident, she would not be able to report to her precautions to prevent accident to persons and damage to property, causing
work in a factory for more than twelve months while Cita Vicente demanded by such negligence, carelessness and imprudence, the said truck bearing
that she be paid her salary for the two-month period that she was unable to plate no. CBG 283 T. Pilipinas 82, to bump a passenger jeep bearing plate no.
perform her job as a secretary in a law firm in Bulacan. 7 DDC 430 UV Pilipinas 82 owned by Teodoro Basallo and driven by Jesus
Basallo, thereby causing serious physical injuries which directly caused the
Except for the personal circumstances of the parties and the amount of
death of the said Jesus Basallo, Atty. Miguel Anas y Alli, Ferdinand Exaltacion
damages claimed, the civil cases filed against petitioner Manzanares alleged
y de Guzman and Antonio Pasco y Geronimo; serious physical injuries to the
that he drove the Isuzu truck in a grossly negligent, reckless, careless, and
passenger(s) thereof; namely: Angela Enriquez y Nicolas, Romeo
imprudent manner without due regard to traffic rules and ordinances.
Espelimbergo and Teresita dela Cruz, Cita Vicente, Jesus Bartolome, Rolando
Peralta and Felicidad Raymundo y Tomaquin which required medical
As for petitioners Manhattan Enterprises, Inc. and Eduardo Yang, the
attendance for a period of two (2) to three (3) months barring complications
complainants alleged that they failed to exercise the diligence of a good
and which incapacitated them from performing their customary labor for the
father of a family in the selection and supervision of petitioner Manzanares
same period of time; and damage to the said jeep in the amount
who was their employee when the mishap occurred.
of P65,000.00, to the damage and prejudice of the said owner in the
Teodoro Basallo was sued on the basis of breach of contract of carriage as he aforesaid amount of P65,000.00.10
was the registered owner of the passenger jeepney.
These cases were later on consolidated and a joint trial ensued.
In their joint answers, petitioners denied the material allegations of the
8

During the hearing of the cases, Dr. Eufemia B. Arellano, rural physician of
complaints and claimed, by way of special and affirmative defense, that
Malolos, Bulacan, testified that she issued the death certificates of Jesus
petitioner Manzanares was faultless in the accident in question; that
Basallo, Atty. Anas, and Antonio Pasco11 and she was the one who signed their
petitioner Manhattan Enterprises, Inc. had always exercised the diligence
autopsy reports. For Jesus Basallo, she identified the cause of death to be
required in the selection and supervision of all its employees; and that it had
cerebral hemorrhage due to fracture of the base of the skull and hemorrhage
always acted in good faith in dealing with others.
of the lung due to multiple fractures of the ribs 12 while Atty. Anas died
In his answers,9 Teodoro Basallo alleged that while he owned the passenger because of cerebral hemorrhage due to fracture of the skull and hemorrhage
jeepney involved in the collision, the same was on lease to his brother and of the lungs due to multiple fractures of the ribs. 13 As for Pasco, his death was
the jeepneys driver, Jesus Basallo for P100.00 a day thus, he did not have a brought about by cerebral hemorrhage due to multiple fractures of cranium
contract of carriage with anyone. and hemorrhage of the lungs brought about by multiple fractures of his ribs. 14
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 48

The prosecution likewise introduced in evidence the radiological report on Romeo Espelimbergo
Exaltacion stating that he suffered from complete fracture of the distal end of
the left clavicle and complete fracture of the scapula. 15 1. Punctured wound, left arm, measuring 0.5 cm in circumference, 1 cm. in
depth.
The following temporary medico-legal certificates with respect to the injuries
to the passengers of the jeepney were also admitted during the trial: 2. Lacerated wound superficial face left side 1 cm. in length.

Angela Enriquez: 3. Skin Abrasion, multiple, both lower extremities, and left hand.

1. Lacerated wound on the left eyeball 4-5 cm. in size. 4. Skin burns 2nd degree multiple left eye inner cantus and around the
left leg.
2. Hematoma, periorbital area left.
5. Contusion with abrasion, left superior iliac spine measuring 7 cms. x 7
3. Abrasion, 3-4 cm. left lateral neck. cms.

4. Complete, over-riding fracture middle third of the clavicle, right. 16 6. X-ray of the hip shows an incomplete fracture of the left acetabulum. 20

Cita Vicente Teresita Dela Cruz

1. Lacerated wound, 6 cm. right parietal area. 1. Wound lacerated, 4-5 cm. temporo-perietal left.

2. Lacerated wound, 3 cm. left occipital area. 2. Wound lacerated, mouth, left angle, 5 cm.

3. Contusion hematoma, right and left side of nasal bone. 3. Complete fracture distal end of the clavicle, left.

4. Abrasion, right arm. 4. Complete over-riding fracture 3rd rib anteriorly, left and 2nd rib, right.

5. Abrasion, right and left knee.17 5. Complete, [over]-riding fracture middle third of the tibia and fibula. 21

Jesus Bartolome Felicidad Tomaquin

1. 4-5 cms. Lacerated wound, deep right frontal. 1. Abrasion, left side of the mouth.

2. 3-4 cms. Lacerated wound, on the right eyebrow. 2. 4 cm. lacerated wound, at the right occipital area.

3. 5x1 cm. lacerated wound, right face. 3. Hematoma, chest left side at the level of the angle of lower.

4. Lacerated wound, 4-5 cm. medial aspect right hand. 4. Tenderness at the epigastric area.

5. Multiple abrasions, right hand.18 5. Tenderness at the left lateral side of abdomen and inguinal area. 22

Rolando Peralta Subsequently, Patrolman Liberato Macapagal was presented as a witness and
he testified that at about 2:35 oclock in the afternoon of 13 January 1983, he
1. Swelling of the right arm.19 received a report about an accident which happened at Barangay Tikay,
Malolos, Bulacan.23 When he arrived at the said place, he saw that the
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 49

reported mishap involved a passenger jeepney with plate number DDC 430 Q - How about the 6 wheeler truck, where was it before the collision took
and an Isuzu delivery truck bearing plate number CBG 283. 24 The two place?
vehicles were resting on the right side of the MacArthur Highway going
towards Guiguinto, Bulacan. The Isuzu truck was still on the asphalted A - The 6-wheeler truck came from the direction of Manila, sir.
highway while the passenger jeepney rested on the ramp. 25 In the course of
Q - Where was it facing before the collision?
his investigation, he prepared a sketch showing the relative conditions of the
Isuzu truck and of the passenger jeepney as well as the other physical
A - It was facing Malolos, sir.
evidence around these vehicles. 26 In addition, he also caused the taking of
pictures of the incident before the body of Jesus Basallo was extracted from Q - If the truck was coming from Manila while according to you the jeep
the passenger jeepney.27 was facing towards Manila coming from Malolos, please tell the Honorable
Court how the collision took place?
Patrolman Macapagal also stated that he noticed skid marks along the
highway which were allegedly caused by the Isuzu truck when its driver A - That truck was following a Philippine Rabbit Bus, sir.
stepped on its brake pedal.28 When asked as to the length of the skid marks,
he replied that they measured about fifteen to twenty meters. 29 While he was Q - Yes, please continue.
not certain as to the point of impact, Patrolman Macapagal stated that there
were more pieces of broken glass on the shoulder of the highway than there A - This Philippine Rabbit Bus wanted to overtake while the 6 wheeler truck
were on the asphalted portion thereof.30 also wanted to overtake but was in a dilemma because there was an on-
coming tamaraw jeep, sir.
After Patrolman Macapagal, Angela Enriquez, a passenger of the jeepney
which figured in the collision testified that the vehicle she was riding in was Q - You said that the truck was placed in a dilemma or "naalangan," what
on the inclined pavement of the cemented portion 31 of the highway when it do you want to tell the court by "naalangan"?
was bumped by the Isuzu truck which was then in the process of overtaking
A - Because of the dilemma of the driver of the 6 wheeler truck due to the
another vehicle.32 Substantially, this was also how Tomaquin and Vicente
oncoming tamaraw jeep, the 6-wheeler truck (swerved) to the left, sir.
recalled the incident. Tomaquin stated during her turn at the witness stand
that "the jeep (they) were riding was already ascending in the cemented
Q - Left of what?
portion of the highway" 33 while Vicente alleged that the passenger jeepney
was "umaakyat pa lang sa kalsada"34 when the incident took place. A - At the left side of the road coming from Manila going to Malolos, sir.

Another witness presented by the prosecution was Paterno Dimapilis who Q - At that precise moment, when you saw the 6-wheeler truck swerved to
claimed that he was resting near the entrance of the vulcanizing shop he was the left, did you notice where the passenger jeepney was?
working located along Barangay Tikay, Malolos, Bulacan. 35 He declared that
the smash up occurred in the following manner: A - The passenger jeepney was at the right shoulder of the road facing
Manila, sir.
Q - Immediately before the collision, where was the passenger jeepney?
Q - Alright, what happened when the truck swerved to the left?
A - It was at the shoulder of the road, sir.
A - When the 6-wheeler truck was swerving to the left to avoid the
Q - What shoulder if coming from Malolos (going) towards the direction of tamaraw, the passenger jeepney was about to stop on the cemented portion
Manila? of the road, sir, and that was the time when it was bumped by the 6-wheeler
truck, sir.36
A - At the right shoulder of the road, sir.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 50

For his part, petitioner Manzanares testified that he, together with a truck damages in the amount of ONE HUNDRED (P100.00) PESOS; and d)
helper, was on his way back to petitioner Manhattan Enterprises, Inc. attorneys fees and litigation expenses in the amount of ONE THOUSAND
premises after delivering cement in Tabang, Guiguinto, Bulacan when he got (P1,000.00) PESOS; and 2) TERESITA DELA CRUZ a) actual damages in the
involved in an accident with a passenger jeepney. According to him, he was amount of ONE THOUSAND (P1,000.00) PESOS; b) moral damages in the
following a passenger bus which overtook another passenger jeepney amount of ONE THOUSAND (P1,000.00) PESOS; c) exemplary damages in the
unloading its passengers. After the passenger bus successfully went back to amount of TWO HUNDRED (P200.00) PESOS; and d) attorneys fees and
its proper lane he tried to see if there was any oncoming vehicle so that he litigation expenses in the amount of ONE THOUSAND (P1,000.00) PESOS.
too can overtake the passenger jeepney which was then still occupying a
portion of his side of the road. Seeing no oncoming vehicle except for another II. In the Civil Cases
passenger jeepney on the shoulder at the opposite side of the MacArthur
1) In Civil Case No. 6734-M, entitled Sps. Edilberto Exaltacion, et al. vs.
Highway, he proceeded to overtake. However, the passenger jeepney he was
Eduardo Yang, et al., judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs
trying to pass "immediately took its motion" 37 forcing him to apply the brakes
and against the defendants, ordering the latter to pay the former as follows:
of the Isuzu truck which skidded as a result. It was then that the Isuzu truck
bumped the passenger jeepney on the other side of the highway then driven
a. actual damages in the amount of TWENTY SIX THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED
by Jesus Basallo.
THIRTY (P26,630.00) PESOS;
When asked by the prosecutor on cross-examination, petitioner Manzanares
b. moral damages in the amount of ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND
admitted that the two passenger jeepneys were obliquely situated from one
(P150,000.00) PESOS;
another and were about five to ten meters apart. 38 He also claimed that while
he was overtaking, Jesus Basallo suddenly "climbed" 39 onto the asphalted c. exemplary damages in the amount of TEN THOUSAND (P10,000.00)
portion of the highway forcing him to step on his brakes but despite his effort, PESOS;
the Isuzu truck still skidded to the left without him even turning the steering
wheel to that side.40 d. attorneys fees in the amount of TWENTY THOUSAND (P20,000.00) PESOS
plus five (5%) per cent of the total amount recoverable;
After the trial, petitioner Manzanares was found guilty of reckless imprudence
resulting in multiple homicide and serious physical injuries and damage to e. litigation expenses in the amount of FIFTEEN THOUSAND (P15,000.00)
property. The dispositive portion of the trial courts decision states: PESOS.

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows: 2) In Civil Case No. 6769-M entitled Lydia Anas, et al. vs. Manhattan
Enterprises Co., et al., judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs
I. Criminal Case No. 5782-M entitled People of the Philippines vs. Teodorico and against the defendants, ordering the latter to pay the former as follows:
Manzanares. This Court finds the said accused guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Multiple Homicide and a. actual damages in the amount of THIRTY THOUSAND (P30,000.00) PESOS;
Serious Physical Injuries and Damage to Property. Accordingly, the said
accused is hereby sentenced to suffer an indeterminate prison term of a b) compensatory damages in the amount of NINETY FOUR THOUSAND NINE
minimum of three (3) years, six (6) months and twenty (20) days of prison HUNDRED (P94,900.00) PESOS;
correccional, medium to a maximum of seven (7) years and four (4) months
c) moral damages in the amount of SIXTY THOUSAND (P60,000.00) PESOS;
of prision mayor, medium and to pay the costs.
d) exemplary damages in the amount of TEN THOUSAND (P10,000.00)
The accused is likewise ordered to pay: 1) ANGELA ENRIQUEZ a) actual
PESOS; and
damages in the amount of Two Hundred Fifty (P250.00) PESOS; b) moral
damages in the amount of FIVE HUNDRED (P500.00) PESOS; c) exemplary
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 51

e) attorneys fees and litigation expenses in the amount of TWENTY c. exemplary damages in the amount of FIVE HUNDRED (P500.00) PESOS;
THOUSAND (P20,000.00) PESOS. and

3) In Civil Case No. 6935-M entitled Eduarda Daplinan Vda. De Pasco, et al. d. attorneys fees and litigation expenses in the amount of TWO THOUSAND
vs. Manhattan Enterprises Co., et al., judgment is hereby rendered in favor of FIVE HUNDRED (P2,500.00) PESOS.
the plaintiffs and against the defendants, ordering the latter to pay the
former as follows: COSTS against the defendants in all of the instant 5 civil cases. 41

a. actual damages in the amount of TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND (P25,000.00) In its assailed Decision of 30 April 2002, the Court of Appeals affirmed, with
PESOS; modification, the Decision of the trial court. The decretal portion of the Court
of Appeals Decision reads:
b. compensatory damages in the amount of THIRTY THOUSAND (P30,000.00)
PESOS; WHEREFORE, except for these MODIFICATIONS:

c. moral damages in the amount of TWENTY THOUSAND (P20,000.00) In Crim. Case No. 5782-M, the awards for exemplary damages, attorneys
PESOS; fees and litigation expenses, are DELETED;

d. exemplary damages in the amount of FIVE THOUSAND (P5,000.00) In Civil Case No. 6734-M, the awards for exemplary damages, attorneys fees
PESOS; and and litigation expenses, are deleted; indemnity for death of P50,000.00 is
additionally awarded; and the award for moral damages is reduced
e. attorneys fees and litigation expenses in the amount of TWENTY to P50,000.00;
THOUSAND (P20,000.00) PESOS.
In Civil Case No. 6769-M, the awards for exemplary damages, attorneys fees
4) In Civil Case No. 6894-M entitled Felicidad Tomaquin vs. Teodorico and litigation expenses, are deleted; indemnity for death of P50,000.00 is
Manzanares, et al., judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and additionally awarded; and the award for moral damages is reduced
against the defendants, ordering the latter to pay the former as follows: to P50,000.00;

a. actual damages in the amount of ONE THOUSAND (P1,000.00) PESOS: In Civil Case No. 6935-M, the awards for exemplary damages, attorneys fees
and litigation expenses, are deleted; indemnity for death of P50,000.00 is
b. moral damages in the amount of FIVE HUNDRED (P500.00) PESOS; additionally awarded; and the award for moral damages is increased
to P50,000.00;
c. exemplary damages in the amount of TWO HUNDRED (P200.00) PESOS;
and In Civil Case No. 6894-M, the awards for exemplary damages, attorneys fees
and litigation expenses, are deleted; and
d. attorneys fees and litigation expenses in the amount of ONE THOUSAND
(P1,000.00) PESOS. In Civil Case No. 8478-M, the awards for exemplary damages, attorneys fees
and litigation expenses, are deleted.
5) In Civil Case No. 8478-M entitled Cita Vicente vs. Teodorico Manzanares, et
al., judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the but in all other respects the appealed Decision is otherwise AFFIRMED. 42
defendants, ordering the latter to pay the former as follows:
Aggrieved, petitioners are now before this Court impugning the judgment of
a. actual damages in the amount of FIVE HUNDRED (P500.00) PESOS; the appellate court for the following reason:

b. moral damages in the amount of ONE THOUSAND (P1,000.00) PESOS;


TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 52

THE COURT A QUO ERRED AND ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION court gives great weight to the factual findings of trial courts and accords
AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN AFFIRMING WITH them respect if not finality unless the accused-appellant is able to show that
MODIFICATION ONLY AS TO DAMAGES THE APRIL 30, 2002 DECISION OF the trial court overlooked or disregarded matters of substance which if
THE TRIAL COURT BY OVERLOOKING CERTAIN FACTS WHICH MAY considered would very likely change the results. 46
SUBSTANTIALLY AFFECT THE RESOLUTION OF THE CASE.43
Petitioners plead with us to absolve them of any liability arising from the
Petitioners insist that the prosecution failed to discharge its duty of incident which occurred in the afternoon of 13 January 1983 by shifting the
establishing petitioner Manzanares guilt beyond reasonable doubt and that blame to the Jesus Basallo, the driver of the passenger jeepney involved in
the decisions both of the trial court and of the Court of Appeals were based the incident. We have carefully reviewed the entire records of this case and
only on mere assumptions. They pointed out that if it were true that failed to find any reason to rule in their favor.
petitioner Manzanares swerved farther to the left of the highway while he was
overtaking, as found by the trial court, then, there was no reason why it still We particularly take note of the inconsistency in petitioner Manzanares
ended up on the asphalted portion of the highway. Moreover, they claim that stance as to what really caused him to abruptly step on his brakes while he
petitioner Manzanares exercised caution before he proceeded to overtake the was trying to pass the passenger jeepney then unloading its passengers in his
passenger jeepney on his side of the road by making sure that there was no side of the road. While he insists that he was compelled to apply his brakes
oncoming vehicle on the opposite side of the highway. It was only after when he saw Jesus Basallos passenger jeepney move into the MacArthur
petitioner Manzanares was certain that he could successfully overtake that he Highway away from the shoulder to allow its passengers to disembark, he
did so but Jesus Basallo suddenly and unexpectedly maneuvered his stated a different recollection of the incident in his direct testimony on 5
passenger jeepney into the highway forcing petitioner Manzanares to apply March 1986, thus:
the brakes of his truck. Unfortunately, the Isuzu truck skidded and rammed
Q - Will you tell this Honorable Court how that accident where you were
into the passenger jeepney driven by Jesus Basallo. Petitioners also impugn
involved happened?
the reliance by the trial court and the Court of Appeals on the testimony of
Dimapilis by claiming that the latter was a biased witness supplied by the
A - I was following a truck, sir, and that truck I was following overtook a
parents of Ferdinand Exaltacion, one of the passengers who died because of
jeep which was unloading a passenger, sir.
the incident.
Q - What happened next after that truck you have mentioned overtook a
Petitioners also maintain that at the time of the incident, the passenger
passenger jeep which was unloading a passenger?
jeepney owned by Teodoro Basallo was not covered by any franchise to
operate and that Jesus Basallo was driving with an expired license. Thus, A - I was also coming, sir.
under Article 2185 of the Civil Code,44 Jesus Basallo is presumed negligent.
Q - Coming from where?
The Office of the Solicitor General filed its Comment 45 and essentially
maintained that this petition does not present any special and important A - From Tabang going to Malolos, sir.
reason that may justify the exercised of this Courts power of review under
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Q - How about that truck which according to you overtook a jeep which
was unloading a passenger, where did it come from?
The petition is unmeritorious.
A - From Tabang, sir.
It is quite evident that the question as to who between petitioner Manzanares
and Jesus Basallo was negligent in the operation of his vehicle is factual in Q - What happened when that truck you were following overtook that jeep
nature justifying the outright rejection of this petition. As this court has which was unloading passenger?
repeatedly stressed in the majority of appeals in criminal cases, an appellate
A - He was able to overtook (sic), sir.
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 53

Q - And after by the way, what kind of truck was it which you said Q - And what did you do when you saw that the jeep on the
overtook that passenger jeepney which you said was unloading a passenger, shoulder immediately entering the pavement?
if you still recall?
A - I applied my brakes, sir.
A - It was a passenger bus, sir, colored red.
Q - How many times did you apply your brakes?
xxxx
A - Only once, sir.
Q - After that passenger bus according to you had overtaken the jeep
which was unloading a passenger, what happened next to you, if anything Q - Did the truck you were driving stopped as a result of the application of
had happened? that brake?

A - I was also going to overtake because the jeep was still there but I tried A - It still continued to move (umusad), sir.
to see whether there was an oncoming vehicle so that I would be able to
xxxx
overtake, also, sir.
Q - You said your truck skidded, what happened after it skidded?
Q - Was that the only thing you did before overtaking the said passenger
jeep?
A - It bumped the jeep, sir.
A - I did not see any oncoming vehicle, sir.
Q - What kind of jeep?
Q - When you said you did not see oncoming vehicle, you mean you did
A - A passenger jeep, sir.47 (Emphases supplied.)
not see vehicle coming from the direction of Malolos going towards Guiguinto?
On cross-examination, he reiterated that the passenger jeepney he was
A - No one, sir, was coming except a jeep which was on the shoulder of the
supposed to pass commenced moving while he was in the process of
road, sir.
overtaking
Q - What did you do upon seeing that there was no oncoming vehicle from
ATTY. ARCEO:
the direction of Malolos?
Q - And when you were abreast to the jeep you testified, did you not, that
A - I overtook, sir.
the jeep started its motion?
Q - Were you able to successfully overtook that passenger jeepney which
ATTY. PASAMBA:
was unloading passenger?
Which jeep now?
A - No, sir.
ATTY. ARCEO:
Q - Why, please tell the Court?
The jeep at the right side.
A - When I was already aligned with the jeep, I was to overtake the
jeep which was on a stop on the shoulder, it immediately took its A - Still little by little, sir.48
motion, sir.
By his own admission, it is crystal clear that petitioner Manzanares was
caught by surprise when the passenger jeepney he intended to overtake
TRANSPO | Assign No 8 | 54

started moving alongside him causing him to hesitate and to step on his The severe damage to the front left portion of the passenger jeepney as
brakepedal. But as he was running at such a fast pace, the momentum of the shown by said pictures gives rise to the inevitable conclusion that the Isuzu
Isuzu truck overpowered his brakes such that the truck still continued with its truck was running fast before it smashed into the jeepney. Such destruction
motion until it bumped the passenger jeepney driven by Jesus Basallo right at could not have resulted had petitioner Manzanares been driving his truck
the edge of the asphalted portion of the highway. The location of the debris, slowly for then the impact would not have been as severe. As we have
as illustrated by the sketch prepared by Patrolman Macapagal, and his previously declared, "the very fact of speeding is indicative of imprudent
testimony confirm that there were more pieces of broken glass on the behavior, as a motorist must exercise ordinary care and drive at a reasonable
shoulder of the road than there were on the highway itself. Evidence tending rate of speed commensurate with the conditions encountered, which will
to illustrate the relative positions of the vehicles immediately after the enable him or her to keep the vehicle under control and avoid injury to others
accident tends to throw light on the issue of speed and direction of the using the highway."54
vehicles movements prior to, and at the same time of, the accident. 49 This
confirms that only a small portion of the passenger jeepney was positioned on Nor are we convinced that the Isuzu truck "voluntarily" swerved to the left of
the asphalted portion of the highway itself while the remainder of its body the highway. Such bare claim on the part of petitioner Manzanares part
was still on the shoulder of the road. Given petitioners testimony that the two amounts to nothing but an unsubstantiated and self-serving allegation.
passenger jeepneys were far from one another, there was more than ample
Finally, as to petitioners argument that Jesus Basallo should be presumed
road space within which petitioner Manzanares could have maneuvered the
negligent because he was driving with an expired license and the passenger
Isuzu truck instead of bumping into the passenger jeepney and pinning Jesus
jeepney owned by his brother Teodorico did not have a franchise to operate,
Basallo to his death. The fact that he was unable to do so and in the end lost
we hold that the same fails to convince. "The defense of contributory
control of the Isuzu truck indicate that petitioner Manzanares was
negligence does not apply in criminal cases committed through reckless
unreasonably fast in traversing that portion of the road despite his insistence
imprudence, since one cannot allege the negligence of another to evade the
that he was driving slowly because his speedometer was not functioning. 50
effects of his own negligence."55
Equally damning for petitioner Manzanares are the photographs of the two
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present Petition is DENIED. The
vehicles which were presented before the court for they easily contradict his
Court of Appeals Decision dated 30 April 2002 affirming, with modification,
claim with respect to the speed of the Isuzu truck. 51 In the case of Macalinao
the Decision dated 16 December 1994 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 7,
v. Ong,52 we had the occasion to discuss the evidentiary value of photographs
Malolos, Bulacan is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
According to American courts, photographs are admissible in evidence in
motor vehicle accident cases when they appear to have been accurately taken
and are proved to be a faithful and clear representation of the subject, which
cannot itself be produced, and are of such nature as to throw light upon a
disputed point.53