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Case Name: Milagros Ibardo v. Pelagia Nava, et al. By: Caro, Monica Celine A.

(CA) GR No. 28587-R Topic: Strict Liability Pet Owner


Date: 8 January 1963

FACTS
1. Plaintiff Milagros Ibardo, a minor, needed to have a foot-wound treated at Tomasa Navas house. To get there,
Milagros needed to pass through defendant Pelagia Navas yard.
2. Milagros found the gate open but, instead of entering immediately, she asked Pelagia, who was near the gate, if the
dog in the premises would bite her. Pelagia assured Milagros that it wouldnt, Milagros entered, the dog bit her.
3. Milagros testimony was corroborated by Juana Gil, who was getting camote tops from Gorgonia Ibardos (Milagros
mother) yard just across Pelagias yard.
4. Pelagia tried to discredit Milagros testimony through the testimony of her daughter and son-in-law, co-defendants;
and of the vice barrio lieutenant, Serafin Lancaon, who said that Milagros admitted that the dog that bit her was
chained near the copra kiln, and that her mother told her what and how to testify.
5. Defendants also claimed that Milagros didnt mention that there was another path to Tomasas house (inconsequential,
because the Pelagia yard was the most commonly used path).
6. The CFI ruled in favor of Milagros.

ISSUE
W/N Nava is liable? YES.

HELD
The credibility of a witness must be judged from her testimony as a whole and the manner in which it is given. The CFI found
that the Nava witnesses testimonies were tainted with partiality, including Serafins, who was clearly not telling the truth,
based on his demeanor. On the other hand, Milagros answered questions directly, unhesitatingly, and clearly.

The trial judge is in the best position to determine whether or not a witness may be trusted; his findings of fact may not be
disturbed unless:
Some facts or circumstances of weight had been overlooked;
The significance of such have been misinterpreted;
The conclusion is inconsistent with the findings; or
There is inherent weakness in the evidence upon which the conclusion is based.

Art. 2183 of the Civil Code provides for the liability of the defendants. Under said provision, the possessor or user if an animal
is liable for the damage caused by such animal, even if it was not due to the possessor or users fault or negligence. The only
exception is if the damage caused by the animal is due to force majeure or the injured party herself.

What is essential is the determination of who possesses or uses the animal; ownership is inconsequential. It is undisputed here
that the defendants exercised joint control of their yard and made use of the dog to guard the copra. They are the joint
possessors of the dog, and are thus solidarily liable for the damage it caused.

Even if it was established that Melecio Servino, Pelagias son-in-law, was the dogs owner, Pelagia would still be liable because
the dog was kept on her premises with her knowledge and consent, and she made use of it.
Doctrine Notes
Art. 2183 of the Civil Code provides for the liability of the defendants. Under said
provision, the possessor or user if an animal is liable for the damage caused by such
animal, even if it was not due to the possessor or users fault or negligence. The
only exception is if the damage caused by the animal is due to force majeure or the
injured party herself.

What is essential is the determination of who possesses or uses the animal;


ownership is inconsequential. It is undisputed here that the defendants exercised
joint control of their yard and made use of the dog to guard the copra. They are the
joint possessors of the dog, and are thus solidarily liable for the damage it caused.