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Tiu vs Arriesgado

September 1, 2004

Facts:
On March 15, 1987, a Truck marked Condor Hollow Blocks and General
Merchandise was on its way to Cebu when its rear tire exploded. The driver Sergio
Pedrano then parked the truck on the side of the National Highway, left the rear
lights on, and instructed his helper, Jose Mitante, to watch over the truck and place a
spare tire on the road a few meters away from the tire to serve as a warning device
as he went and had the faulty tire vulcanized.
After Pedrano left, D Rough Riders passenger bus carrying the respondent,
passed by the same route and hit the truck. The petitioner was injured in the
collision and his wife, Felissa Arriesgado eventually died after sustaining injuries
from the same. Hence, he filed a complaint against the petitioner for breach of
contract of carriage, damages and for attorneys fees against the petitioner, the
owner of the bus, William Tiu and his driver, Laspinas.
However, the petitioner filed a third-party complaint alleging that the said
truck was parked in a slanted manner and did not have any early warning devices
displayed while it was left by the driver which resulted to the collision and would
therefore make, Benjamin Condor, the owner of the truck liable as well.
Also, the petitioner included that he was covered by Philippine Phoenix
Surety and Insurance (PPSI) at the time of the incident which would therefore make
the same liable for part of the damages that may arise as well.
PPSI, however argued that it already attended to and settled claims of those
who were injured in the collision and that it could not accede to the claim of
Arriesgado because it was beyond that of the terms of the insurance.
The trial court found that the contention of the petitioner was invalid
because the said truck had left its tail lights open and that the said road was well lit
at the time of the accident. Hence, it was the fault of the bus, for traveling at a fast
pace, that the collision happened. The Petitioner, Tiu, appealed to the CA but was
denied which prompted him to seek another reconsideration.

Issue:
W/N The owner and driver of the Truck, Benjamin Condor and Sergio
Pedrano, was liable due to their negligence in the lack of an early warning device
and hence liable to the respondent as well. (Violation of Sec 34 of LTO Land traffic
code.)
W/N Petitioner was negligent
W/N Petitioner was also liable for exemplary damages, attorneys fees and
litigation expenses.
W/N PPSI is also liable.

Held:
The court found that indeed, the petitioner, was liable for being negligent
while being engaged in the business of common carriage. The SC could no longer
change the facts that were sustained in the trial court and court of appeals hence,
since it was deemed that the bus was moving in a very fast speed which was the
cause of the accident, the SC will have to sustain that ruling and hold that indeed,
there was negligence on the part of the petitioner.
Also, the doctrine of Last Clear Chance is inapplicable to the case because it
could only apply to a controversy between two colliding vehicles. In this case, it was
the passenger and not another driver who was injured and thus, the said doctrine
could not be applied.
However, the respondents Pedrano and Condor was found by the court to be
negligent as well. The court found that there was merit in the contention of the
petitioner that the said truck violated Section 34 or RA 4136, wherein they did not
have proper warning devices in accordance with the said law.
Lastly, with regard to PPSI, the court held that since it admitted to being
bound by a contract with the petitioner, it would be liable as well. However, the said
liability would only fall within the amount settled in the said contract.
Hence, the petition was partially granted.