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1. TAMARGO vs.

COURT OF APPEALS

In 1982, Adelberto Bundoc, then a minor of 10 years of age, shot Jennifer Tamargo with an air rifle
causing injuries which resulted in her death. Accordingly, a civil complaint for damages was filed by
petitioner Macario Tamargo, Jennifer's adopting parent, and petitioner spouses Celso and Aurelia
Tamargo, Jennifer's natural parents against respondent spouses Victor and Clara Bundoc,
Adelberto's natural parents with whom he was living at the time of the tragic incident.

In addition to this case for damages, a criminal information or Homicide through Reckless
Imprudence was filed against Adelberto Bundoc. Adelberto, however, was acquitted and exempted
from criminal liability on the ground that he bad acted without discernment.

Prior to the incident, or on 10 December 1981, the spouses Sabas and Felisa Rapisura had filed a
petition to adopt the minor Adelberto Bundoc. This petition for adoption was grunted on, 18
November 1982, that is, after Adelberto had shot and killed Jennifer.

In their Answer, respondent spouses Bundoc, Adelberto's natural parents, reciting the result of the
foregoing petition for adoption, claimed that not they, but rather the adopting parents, namely the
spouses Sabas and Felisa Rapisura, were indispensable parties to the action since parental authority
had shifted to the adopting parents from the moment the successful petition for adoption was filed.

Petitioners in their Reply contended that since Adelberto Bundoc was then actually living with his
natural parents, parental authority had not ceased nor been relinquished by the mere filing and
granting of a petition for adoption.

The trial court on 3 December 1987 dismissed petitioners' complaint, ruling that respondent natural
parents of Adelberto indeed were not indispensable parties to the action.

ISSUES: (2) whether or not the effects of adoption, insofar as parental authority is concerned may be
given retroactive effect so as to make the adopting parents the indispensable parties in a damage
case filed against their adopted child, for acts committed by the latter, when actual custody was yet
lodged with the biological parents. NO

HELD:

It is not disputed that Adelberto Bundoc's voluntary act of shooting Jennifer Tamargo with an air
rifle gave rise to a cause of action on quasi-delict against him.

Upon the other hand, the law imposes civil liability upon the father and, in case of his death or
incapacity, the mother, for any damages that may be caused by a minor child who lives with them.
Article 2180 of the Civil Code.

This principle of parental liability is a species of what is frequently designated as vicarious liability,
or the doctrine of "imputed negligence" under Anglo-American tort law, where a person is not
only liable for torts committed by himself, but also for torts committed by others with whom he
has a certain relationship and for whom he is responsible. Thus, parental liability is made a natural
or logical consequence of the duties and responsibilities of parents — their parental authority —
which includes the instructing, controlling and disciplining of the child. The basis for the doctrine of
vicarious liability was explained by the Court in Cangco v. Manila Railroad Co. in the following terms:
With respect to extra-contractual obligation arising from negligence, whether of act
or omission, it is competent for the legislature to elect — and our Legislature has so
elected — to limit such liability to cases in which the person upon whom such an
obligation is imposed is morally culpable or, on the contrary, for reasons of public
policy. to extend that liability, without regard to the lack of moral culpability, so as
to include responsibility for the negligence of those persons whose acts or
omissions are imputable, by a legal fiction, to others who are in a position to
exercise an absolute or limited control over them. The legislature which adopted
our Civil Code has elected to limit extra-contractual liability — with certain well-
defined exceptions — to cases in which moral culpability can be directly imputed to
the persons to be charged. This moral responsibility may consist in having failed to
exercise due care in one's own acts, or in having failed to exercise due care in the
selection and control of one's agent or servants, or in the control of persons who, by
reasons of their status, occupy a position of dependency with respect to the person
made liable for their conduct.

The civil liability imposed upon parents for the torts of their minor children living with them,
may be seen to be based upon the parental authority vested by the Civil Code upon such
parents. The civil law assumes that when an unemancipated child living with its parents
commits a tortious acts, the parents were negligent in the performance of their legal and
natural duty closely to supervise the child who is in their custody and control. Parental
liability is, in other words, anchored upon parental authority coupled with presumed
parental dereliction in the discharge of the duties accompanying such authority. The
parental dereliction is, of course, only presumed and the presumption can be overtuned
under Article 2180 of the Civil Code by proof that the parents had exercised all the diligence
of a good father of a family to prevent the damage.

In the instant case, the shooting of Jennifer by Adelberto with an air rifle occured when parental
authority was still lodged in respondent Bundoc spouses, the natural parents of the minor
Adelberto. It would thus follow that the natural parents who had then actual custody of the minor
Adelberto, are the indispensable parties to the suit for damages.

The natural parents of Adelberto, however, stoutly maintain that because a decree of adoption was
issued by the adoption court in favor of the Rapisura spouses, parental authority was vested in the
latter as adopting parents as of the time of the filing of the petition for adoption that
is, before Adelberto had shot Jennifer which an air rifle. The Bundoc spouses contend that they were
therefore free of any parental responsibility for Adelberto's allegedly tortious conduct.

The Court is not persuaded. As earlier noted, under the Civil Code, the basis of parental liability for
the torts of a minor child is the relationship existing between the parents and the minor child living
with them and over whom, the law presumes, the parents exercise supervision and control. Article
58 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code, re-enacted this rule:

Article 58 Torts — Parents and guardians are responsible for the damage caused by
the child under their parental authority in accordance with the civil Code.

We do not believe that parental authority is properly regarded as having been retroactively
transferred to and vested in the adopting parents, the Rapisura spouses, at the time the air rifle
shooting happened. We do not consider that retroactive effect may be giver to the decree of
adoption so as to impose a liability upon the adopting parents accruing at a time when adopting
parents had no actual or physically custody over the adopted child. Retroactive affect may perhaps
be given to the granting of the petition for adoption where such is essential to permit the accrual of
some benefit or advantage in favor of the adopted child. In the instant case, however, to hold that
parental authority had been retroactively lodged in the Rapisura spouses so as to burden them with
liability for a tortious act that they could not have foreseen and which they could not have
prevented (since they were at the time in the United States and had no physical custody over the
child Adelberto) would be unfair and unconscionable. Such a result, moreover, would be
inconsistent with the philosophical and policy basis underlying the doctrine of vicarious liability.
Put a little differently, no presumption of parental dereliction on the part of the adopting parents,
the Rapisura spouses, could have arisen since Adelberto was not in fact subject to their control at
the time the tort was committed.

2. MUAJE-TUAZON, ET AL. vs. WENPHIL CORPORATION, ET AL.

Petitioners Annabelle M. Tuazon and Almer R. Abing worked as branch managers of the Wendys
food chains in MCU Caloocan and Meycauayan, respectively, of respondent Wenphil Corporation.

From September 14 to November 8, 1998, Wendys had a Biggie Size It! Crew Challenge promotion
contest. The branch with the highest sales of Biggie Size It wins. The Meycauayan and MCU
Caloocan branches won first and second places, respectively. Because of its success, respondent
had a second run of the contest from April 26 to July 4, 1999. The Meycauayan branch won
again. The MCU Caloocan branch failed to make it among the winners.

Before the start of the third round from October 18, 1999 to January 16, 2000, Abing was assigned
to the SM North Edsa Annex branch while Tuazon was assigned to the Meycauayan branch. Before
the announcement of the third round winners, management received reports that as early as the
first round of the contest, the Meycauayan, MCU Caloocan, Tandang Sora and Fairview branches
cheated. An internal investigation ensued.

Petitioners were summoned to the main office regarding the reported anomaly. Petitioners denied
there was cheating. Immediately thereafter, petitioners were notified of their immediate
suspension. Thereafter, they were dismissed.

Petitioners filed a complaint for illegal suspension and dismissal against


respondent Wenphil Corporation and its General Manager, Elizabeth P. Orbita. Petitioners insisted
that they were innocent of the accusations and were dismissed without cause. They claimed that the
real reason for their termination was their persistent demands for overtime and holiday pay.

In their defense, respondents maintained that petitioners were terminated for dishonesty
amounting to serious misconduct and willful breach of trust. They presented affidavits of witnesses,
receipts and other documents to support the charges against petitioners.

During the hearings, the Labor Arbiter disregarded the affidavits of respondents witnesses for being
executed only after the company investigation and held that respondents evidence insufficiently
proved the alleged cheating of the petitioners.
Respondents elevated the case to the Court of Appeals, which found substantial proof of petitioners’
misconduct. It also ruled that respondent Wenphil sufficiently complied with the due process
requirement.

ISSUE: WON petitioners are liable for the fraud committed in their branches. YES
There is no denying that petitioners were managerial employees. They executed
management policies, they had the power to hire personnel and assign them tasks; and
discipline the employees in their branch. They recommended actions on employees to the head
office. Pertinent is Article 212 (m) of the Labor Code defining a managerial employee as one who is
vested with powers or prerogatives to lay down and execute management policies and/or hire,
transfer, suspend, lay-off, recall, discharge, assign or discipline employees. Consequently, as
managerial employees, in the case of petitioners, the mere existence of grounds for the loss of trust
and confidence justify their dismissal.[20] Pursuant to our ruling in Caoile v. National Labor Relations
Commission,[21] as long as the employer has a reasonable ground to believe that the managerial
employee concerned is responsible for the purported misconduct, or the nature of his participation
renders him unworthy of the trust and confidence demanded by his position, the managerial
employee can be dismissed.

In the present case, the tape receipts presented by respondents showed that there were anomalies
committed in the branches managed by the petitioners. On the principle of respondeat superior or
command responsibility alone, petitioners may be held liable for negligence in the performance of
their managerial duties, unless petitioners can positively show that they were not involved. Their
position requires a high degree of responsibility that necessarily includes unearthing of fraudulent
and irregular activities. Their bare, unsubstantiated and uncorroborated denial of any
participation in the cheating does not prove their innocence nor disprove their alleged guilt.
Additionally, some employees declared in their affidavits that the cheating was actually the idea
of the petitioners.

Petitioners make much of the fact that the affidavits were executed only after the investigation. This
is of no moment. For even without the affidavits, sufficient basis exists for respondents’ loss of trust
and confidence on the petitioners as managerial officers.

AMADORA vs. COURT OF APPEALS

On April 13, 1972, while they were in the auditorium of their school, the Colegio de San Jose-
Recoletos, a classmate, Pablito Damon, fired a gun that mortally hit Alfredo Amadora. The victim
was only seventeen years old.

Daffon was convicted of homicide thru reckless imprudence . Additionally, the herein petitioners, as
the victim's parents, filed a civil action for damages under Article 2180 of the Civil Code against the
Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos, its rector the high school principal, the dean of boys, and the
physics teacher, together with Daffon and two other students, through their respective parents.
The complaint against the students was later dropped. After trial, the Court of First Instance of Cebu
held the remaining defendants liable to the plaintiffs On appeal to the respondent court, however,
the decision was reversed and all the defendants were completely absolved.

The CA found that Article 2180 was not applicable as the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos was not a
school of arts and trades but an academic institution of learning. It also held that the students were
not in the custody of the school at the time of the incident as the semester had already ended, that
there was no clear identification of the fatal gun and that in any event the defendant, had exercised
the necessary diligence in preventing the injury.

The basic undisputed facts are that Alfredo Amadora went to the San Jose-Recoletos, and while in its
auditorium was shot to death by Pablito Daffon, a classmate.
The petitioners contend that their son was in the school to show his physics experiment as a
prerequisite to his graduation; hence, he was then under the custody of the private respondents.
The private respondents submit that Alfredo Amadora had gone to the school only for the purpose
of submitting his physics report and that he was no longer in their custody because the semester had
already ended.

There is also the question of the identity of the gun used which the petitioners consider important
because of an earlier incident which they claim underscores the negligence of the school and at least
one of the private respondents. It is not denied by the respondents that Sergio Damaso, Jr., the dean
of boys, confiscated from Jose Gumban an unlicensed pistol but later returned it to him without
making a report to the principal or taking any further action . As Gumban was one of the
companions of Daffon when the latter fired the gun that killed Alfredo, the petitioners contend that
this was the same pistol that had been confiscated from Gumban and that their son would not have
been killed if it had not been returned by Damaso. The respondents say, however, that there is no
proof that the gun was the same firearm that killed Alfredo.

Resolution of all these disagreements will depend on the interpretation of Article 2180 which, as it
happens, is invoked by both parties in support of their conflicting positions. The pertinent part of
this article reads as follows:

Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be liable for damages caused by
their pupils and students or apprentices so long as they remain in their custody.

Three cases have so far been decided by the Court in connection with the above-quoted provision.

In the Exconde Case, Dante Capuno, a student of the Balintawak Elementary School and a Boy Scout,
attended a Rizal Day parade on instructions of the city school supervisor. This decision exculpated
the school in an obiter dictum (as it was not a party to the case) on the ground that it was riot a
school of arts and trades. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, with whom Justices Sabino Padilla and Alex Reyes
concurred, dissented, arguing that it was the school authorities who should be held liable Liability
under this rule. The modifying clause "of establishments of arts and trades" should apply only to
"heads" and not "teachers."

Exconde was reiterated in the Mercado Case, and with an elaboration. The Court declared in another
obiter (as the school itself had also not been sued that the school was not liable because it was not
an establishment of arts and trades. Moreover, the custody requirement had not been proved as
this "contemplates a situation where the student lives and boards with the teacher, such that the
control, direction and influences on the pupil supersede those of the parents."

In Palisoc vs. Brillantes, decided on October 4, 1971, a 16-year old student was killed by a classmate
with fist blows in the laboratory of the Manila Technical Institute. Although the wrongdoer — who
was already of age — was not boarding in the school, the head thereof and the teacher in charge
were held solidarily liable with him. The Court declared "so long as (the students) remain in their
custody" — means the protective and supervisory custody that the school and its heads and
teachers exercise over the pupils and students for as long as they are at attendance in the school,
including recess time. There is nothing in the law that requires that for such liability to attach, the
pupil or student who commits the tortious act must live and board in the school.

Unlike in Exconde and Mercado, the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos has been directly impleaded and
is sought to be held liable under Article 2180; and unlike in Palisoc, it is not a school of arts and
trades but an academic institution of learning. The parties herein have also directly raised the
question of whether or not Article 2180 covers even establishments which are technically not
schools of arts and trades, and, if so, when the offending student is supposed to be "in its custody."
After an exhaustive examination of the problem, the Court has come to the conclusion that the
provision in question should apply to all schools, academic as well as non-academic. Where the
school is academic rather than technical or vocational in nature, responsibility for the tort
committed by the student will attach to the teacher in charge of such student, following the first
part of the provision. This is the general rule. In the case of establishments of arts and trades, it is
the head thereof, and only he, who shall be held liable as an exception to the general rule. In other
words, teachers in general shall be liable for the acts of their students except where the school is
technical in nature, in which case it is the head thereof who shall be answerable. Following the
canon of reddendo singula singulis"teachers" should apply to the words "pupils and students" and
"heads of establishments of arts and trades" to the word "apprentices."
The Court thus conforms to the dissenting opinion expressed by Justice J.B.L. Reyes in Exconde
where he said in part:
I can see no sound reason for limiting Art. 1903 of the Old Civil Code to teachers of arts and trades
and not to academic ones. What substantial difference is there between them insofar as concerns
the proper supervision and vice over their pupils? It cannot be seriously contended that an academic
teacher is exempt from the duty of watching that his pupils do not commit a tort to the detriment of
third Persons, so long as they are in a position to exercise authority and Supervision over the pupil.
In my opinion, in the phrase "teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades" used in Art.
1903 of the old Civil Code, the words "arts and trades" does not qualify "teachers" but only "heads
of establishments." The phrase is only an updated version of the equivalent terms "preceptores y
artesanos" used in the Italian and French Civil Codes.
If, as conceded by all commentators, the basis of the presumption of negligence of Art. 1903 in some
culpa in vigilando that the parents, teachers, etc. are supposed to have incurred in the exercise of
their authority, it would seem clear that where the parent places the child under the effective
authority of the teacher, the latter, and not the parent, should be the one answerable for the torts
committed while under his custody, for the very reason/that the parent is not supposed to interfere
with the discipline of the school nor with the authority and supervision of the teacher while the child
is under instruction. And if there is no authority, there can be no responsibility.
There is really no substantial distinction between the academic and the non-academic schools
insofar as torts committed by their students are concerned. The same vigilance is expected from the
teacher over the students under his control and supervision, whatever the nature of the school
where he is teaching. The suggestion in the Exconde and Mercado Cases is that the provision would
make the teacher or even the head of the school of arts and trades liable for an injury caused by any
student in its custody but if that same tort were committed in an academic school, no liability would
attach to the teacher or the school head. All other circumstances being the same, the teacher or the
head of the academic school would be absolved whereas the teacher and the head of the non-
academic school would be held liable, and simply because the latter is a school of arts and trades.
The Court cannot see why different degrees of vigilance should be exercised by the school
authorities on the basis only of the nature of their respective schools. There does not seem to be any
plausible reason for relaxing that vigilance simply because the school is academic in nature and for
increasing such vigilance where the school is non-academic. Notably, the injury subject of liability is
caused by the student and not by the school itself nor is it a result of the operations of the school or
its equipment. The injury contemplated may be caused by any student regardless of the school
where he is registered. The teacher certainly should not be able to excuse himself by simply showing
that he is teaching in an academic school where, on the other hand, the head would be held liable if
the school were non-academic.
These questions, though, may be asked: If the teacher of the academic school is to be held
answerable for the torts committed by his students, why is it the head of the school only who is held
liable where the injury is caused in a school of arts and trades? And in the case of the academic or
non- technical school, why not apply the rule also to the head thereof instead of imposing the
liability only on the teacher?
The reason for the disparity can be traced to the fact that historically the head of the school of arts
and trades exercised a closer tutelage over his pupils than the head of the academic school. The old
schools of arts and trades were engaged in the training of artisans apprenticed to their master who
personally and directly instructed them on the technique and secrets of their craft. The head of the
school of arts and trades was such a master and so was personally involved in the task of teaching
his students, who usually even boarded with him and so came under his constant control,
supervision and influence. By contrast, the head of the academic school was not as involved with his
students and exercised only administrative duties over the teachers who were the persons directly
dealing with the students. The head of the academic school had then (as now) only a vicarious
relationship with the students. Consequently, while he could not be directly faulted for the acts of
the students, the head of the school of arts and trades, because of his closer ties with them, could be
so blamed.
It is conceded that the distinction no longer obtains at present in view of the expansion of the
schools of arts and trades, the consequent increase in their enrollment, and the corresponding
diminution of the direct and personal contract of their heads with the students. Article 2180,
however, remains unchanged. In its present state, the provision must be interpreted by the Court
according to its clear and original mandate until the legislature, taking into account the charges in
the situation subject to be regulated, sees fit to enact the necessary amendment.
The other matter to be resolved is the duration of the responsibility of the teacher or the head of
the school of arts and trades over the students. Is such responsibility co-extensive with the period
when the student is actually undergoing studies during the school term, as contended by the
respondents and impliedly admitted by the petitioners themselves?
From a reading of the provision under examination, it is clear that while the custody requirement, to
repeat Palisoc v. Brillantes, does not mean that the student must be boarding with the school
authorities, it does signify that the student should be within the control and under the influence of
the school authorities at the time of the occurrence of the injury. This does not necessarily mean
that such, custody be co-terminous with the semester, beginning with the start of classes and ending
upon the close thereof, and excluding the time before or after such period, such as the period of
registration, and in the case of graduating students, the period before the commencement exercises.
In the view of the Court, the student is in the custody of the school authorities as long as he is under
the control and influence of the school and within its premises, whether the semester has not yet
begun or has already ended.
It is too tenuous to argue that the student comes under the discipline of the school only upon the
start of classes notwithstanding that before that day he has already registered and thus placed
himself under its rules. Neither should such discipline be deemed ended upon the last day of classes
notwithstanding that there may still be certain requisites to be satisfied for completion of the
course, such as submission of reports, term papers, clearances and the like. During such periods, the
student is still subject to the disciplinary authority of the school and cannot consider himself
released altogether from observance of its rules.
As long as it can be shown that the student is in the school premises in pursuance of a legitimate
student objective, in the exercise of a legitimate student right, and even in the enjoyment of a
legitimate student right, and even in the enjoyment of a legitimate student privilege, the
responsibility of the school authorities over the student continues. Indeed, even if the student
should be doing nothing more than relaxing in the campus in the company of his classmates and
friends and enjoying the ambience and atmosphere of the school, he is still within the custody and
subject to the discipline of the school authorities under the provisions of Article 2180.
During all these occasions, it is obviously the teacher-in-charge who must answer for his students'
torts, in practically the same way that the parents are responsible for the child when he is in their
custody. The teacher-in-charge is the one designated by the dean, principal, or other administrative
superior to exercise supervision over the pupils in the specific classes or sections to which they are
assigned. It is not necessary that at the time of the injury, the teacher be physically present and in a
position to prevent it. Custody does not connote immediate and actual physical control but refers
more to the influence exerted on the child and the discipline instilled in him as a result of such
influence. Thus, for the injuries caused by the student, the teacher and not the parent shag be held
responsible if the tort was committed within the premises of the school at any time when its
authority could be validly exercised over him.
In any event, it should be noted that the liability imposed by this article is supposed to fall directly on
the teacher or the head of the school of arts and trades and not on the school itself. If at all, the
school, whatever its nature, may be held to answer for the acts of its teachers or even of the head
thereof under the general principle of respondeat superior, but then it may exculpate itself from
liability by proof that it had exercised the diligence of a bonus paterfamilias.
Such defense is, of course, also available to the teacher or the head of the school of arts and trades
directly held to answer for the tort committed by the student. As long as the defendant can show
that he had taken the necessary precautions to prevent the injury complained of, he can exonerate
himself from the liability imposed by Article 2180, which also states that:
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the Persons herein mentioned prove
that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damages.
In this connection, it should be observed that the teacher will be held liable not only when he is
acting in loco parentis for the law does not require that the offending student be of minority age.
Unlike the parent, who wig be liable only if his child is still a minor, the teacher is held answerable by
the law for the act of the student under him regardless of the student's age. Thus, in the Palisoc
Case, liability attached to the teacher and the head of the technical school although the wrongdoer
was already of age. In this sense, Article 2180 treats the parent more favorably than the teacher.
The Court is not unmindful of the apprehensions expressed by Justice Makalintal in his dissenting
opinion in Palisoc that the school may be unduly exposed to liability under this article in view of the
increasing activism among the students that is likely to cause violence and resulting injuries in the
school premises. That is a valid fear, to be sure. Nevertheless, it should be repeated that, under the
present ruling, it is not the school that will be held directly liable. Moreover, the defense of due
diligence is available to it in case it is sought to be held answerable as principal for the acts or
omission of its head or the teacher in its employ.
The school can show that it exercised proper measures in selecting the head or its teachers and the
appropriate supervision over them in the custody and instruction of the pupils pursuant to its rules
and regulations for the maintenance of discipline among them. In almost all cases now, in fact, these
measures are effected through the assistance of an adequate security force to help the teacher
physically enforce those rules upon the students. Ms should bolster the claim of the school that it
has taken adequate steps to prevent any injury that may be committed by its students.
A fortiori, the teacher himself may invoke this defense as it would otherwise be unfair to hold him
directly answerable for the damage caused by his students as long as they are in the school premises
and presumably under his influence. In this respect, the Court is disposed not to expect from the
teacher the same measure of responsibility imposed on the parent for their influence over the child
is not equal in degree. Obviously, the parent can expect more obedience from the child because the
latter's dependence on him is greater than on the teacher. It need not be stressed that such
dependence includes the child's support and sustenance whereas submission to the teacher's
influence, besides being coterminous with the period of custody is usually enforced only because of
the students' desire to pass the course. The parent can instill more las discipline on the child than
the teacher and so should be held to a greater accountability than the teacher for the tort
committed by the child.
And if it is also considered that under the article in question, the teacher or the head of the school of
arts and trades is responsible for the damage caused by the student or apprentice even if he is
already of age — and therefore less tractable than the minor — then there should all the more be
justification to require from the school authorities less accountability as long as they can prove
reasonable diligence in preventing the injury. After all, if the parent himself is no longer liable for the
student's acts because he has reached majority age and so is no longer under the former's control,
there is then all the more reason for leniency in assessing the teacher's responsibility for the acts of
the student.
Applying the foregoing considerations, the Court has arrived at the following conclusions:
1. At the time Alfredo Amadora was fatally shot, he was still in the custody of the authorities of
Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos notwithstanding that the fourth year classes had formally ended. It
was immaterial if he was in the school auditorium to finish his physics experiment or merely to
submit his physics report for what is important is that he was there for a legitimate purpose. As
previously observed, even the mere savoring of the company of his friends in the premises of the
school is a legitimate purpose that would have also brought him in the custody of the school
authorities.
2. The rector, the high school principal and the dean of boys cannot be held liable because none of
them was the teacher-in-charge as previously defined. Each of them was exercising only a general
authority over the student body and not the direct control and influence exerted by the teacher
placed in charge of particular classes or sections and thus immediately involved in its discipline. The
evidence of the parties does not disclose who the teacher-in-charge of the offending student was.
The mere fact that Alfredo Amadora had gone to school that day in connection with his physics
report did not necessarily make the physics teacher, respondent Celestino Dicon, the teacher-in-
charge of Alfredo's killer.
3. At any rate, assuming that he was the teacher-in-charge, there is no showing that Dicon was
negligent in enforcing discipline upon Daffon or that he had waived observance of the rules and
regulations of the school or condoned their non-observance. His absence when the tragedy
happened cannot be considered against him because he was not supposed or required to report to
school on that day. And while it is true that the offending student was still in the custody of the
teacher-in-charge even if the latter was physically absent when the tort was committed, it has not
been established that it was caused by his laxness in enforcing discipline upon the student. On the
contrary, the private respondents have proved that they had exercised due diligence, through the
enforcement of the school regulations, in maintaining that discipline.
4. In the absence of a teacher-in-charge, it is probably the dean of boys who should be held liable
especially in view of the unrefuted evidence that he had earlier confiscated an unlicensed gun from
one of the students and returned the same later to him without taking disciplinary action or
reporting the matter to higher authorities. While this was clearly negligence on his part, for which he
deserves sanctions from the school, it does not necessarily link him to the shooting of Amador as it
has not been shown that he confiscated and returned pistol was the gun that killed the petitioners'
son.
5. Finally, as previously observed, the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos cannot be held directly liable
under the article because only the teacher or the head of the school of arts and trades is made
responsible for the damage caused by the student or apprentice. Neither can it be held to answer for
the tort committed by any of the other private respondents for none of them has been found to
have been charged with the custody of the offending student or has been remiss in the discharge of
his duties in connection with such custody.
In sum, the Court finds under the facts as disclosed by the record and in the light of the principles
herein announced that none of the respondents is liable for the injury inflicted by Pablito Damon on
Alfredo Amadora that resulted in the latter's death at the auditorium of the Colegio de San Jose-
Recoletos on April 13, 1972. While we deeply sympathize with the petitioners over the loss of their
son under the tragic circumstances here related, we nevertheless are unable to extend them the
material relief they seek, as a balm to their grief, under the law they have invoked.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, without any pronouncement as to costs. It is so ordered.
[G.R. No. 138060. September 1, 2004]
WILLIAM TIU, doing business under the name and style of D Rough Riders, and VIRGILIO TE LAS
PIAS petitioners, vs. PEDRO A. ARRIESGADO, BENJAMIN CONDOR, SERGIO PEDRANO and
PHILIPPINE PHOENIX SURETY AND INSURANCE, INC., respondents.
DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court from the
Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 54354 affirming with modification the
Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court, 7th Judicial Region, Cebu City, Branch 20, in Civil Case No. CEB-
5963 for breach of contract of carriage, damages and attorneys fees, and the Resolution dated
February 26, 1999 denying the motion for reconsideration thereof.
The following facts are undisputed:
At about 10:00 p.m. of March 15, 1987, the cargo truck marked Condor Hollow Blocks and
General Merchandise bearing plate number GBP-675 was loaded with firewood in Bogo, Cebu and
left for Cebu City. Upon reaching Sitio Aggies, Poblacion, Compostela, Cebu, just as the truck passed
over a bridge, one of its rear tires exploded. The driver, Sergio Pedrano, then parked along the right
side of the national highway and removed the damaged tire to have it vulcanized at a nearby shop,
about 700 meters away.[3] Pedrano left his helper, Jose Mitante, Jr. to keep watch over the stalled
vehicle, and instructed the latter to place a spare tire six fathoms away[4] behind the stalled truck to
serve as a warning for oncoming vehicles. The trucks tail lights were also left on. It was about 12:00
a.m., March 16, 1987.
At about 4:45 a.m., D Rough Riders passenger bus with plate number PBP-724 driven by Virgilio
Te Laspias was cruising along the national highway of Sitio Aggies, Poblacion, Compostela, Cebu. The
passenger bus was also bound for Cebu City, and had come from Maya, Daanbantayan, Cebu.
Among its passengers were the Spouses Pedro A. Arriesgado and Felisa Pepito Arriesgado, who were
seated at the right side of the bus, about three (3) or four (4) places from the front seat.
As the bus was approaching the bridge, Laspias saw the stalled truck, which was then about 25
meters away.[5] He applied the breaks and tried to swerve to the left to avoid hitting the truck. But it
was too late; the bus rammed into the trucks left rear. The impact damaged the right side of the bus
and left several passengers injured. Pedro Arriesgado lost consciousness and suffered a fracture in
his right colles.[6] His wife, Felisa, was brought to the Danao City Hospital. She was later transferred
to the Southern Island Medical Center where she died shortly thereafter.[7]
Respondent Pedro A. Arriesgado then filed a complaint for breach of contract of carriage,
damages and attorneys fees before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Branch 20, against the
petitioners, D Rough Riders bus operator William Tiu and his driver, Virgilio Te Laspias on May 27,
1987. The respondent alleged that the passenger bus in question was cruising at a fast and high
speed along the national road, and that petitioner Laspias did not take precautionary measures to
avoid the accident.[8] Thus:
6. That the accident resulted to the death of the plaintiffs wife, Felisa Pepito Arriesgado, as
evidenced by a Certificate of Death, a xerox copy of which is hereto attached as integral part hereof
and marked as ANNEX A, and physical injuries to several of its passengers, including plaintiff himself
who suffered a COLLES FRACTURE RIGHT, per Medical Certificate, a xerox copy of which is hereto
attached as integral part hereof and marked as ANNEX B hereof.
7. That due to the reckless and imprudent driving by defendant Virgilio Te Laspias of the said Rough
Riders passenger bus, plaintiff and his wife, Felisa Pepito Arriesgado, failed to safely reach their
destination which was Cebu City, the proximate cause of which was defendant-drivers failure to
observe utmost diligence required of a very cautious person under all circumstances.
8. That defendant William Tiu, being the owner and operator of the said Rough Riders passenger bus
which figured in the said accident, wherein plaintiff and his wife were riding at the time of the
accident, is therefore directly liable for the breach of contract of carriage for his failure to transport
plaintiff and his wife safely to their place of destination which was Cebu City, and which failure in his
obligation to transport safely his passengers was due to and in consequence of his failure to exercise
the diligence of a good father of the family in the selection and supervision of his employees,
particularly defendant-driver Virgilio Te Laspias.[9]
The respondent prayed that judgment be rendered in his favor and that the petitioners be
condemned to pay the following damages:
1). To pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the amount of P30,000.00 for the death and untimely
demise of plaintiffs wife, Felisa Pepito Arriesgado;
2). To pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the amount of P38,441.50, representing actual expenses
incurred by the plaintiff in connection with the death/burial of plaintiffs wife;
3). To pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the amount of P1,113.80, representing
medical/hospitalization expenses incurred by plaintiff for the injuries sustained by him;
4). To pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the amount of P50,000.00 for moral damages;
5). To pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the amount of P50,000.00 by way of exemplary damages;
6). To pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the amount of P20,000.00 for attorneys fees;
7). To pay to plaintiff, jointly and severally, the amount of P5,000.00 for litigation expenses.
PLAINTIFF FURTHER PRAYS FOR SUCH OTHER RELIEFS AND REMEDIES IN LAW AND EQUITY.[10]
The petitioners, for their part, filed a Third-Party Complaint[11] on August 21, 1987 against the
following: respondent Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc. (PPSII), petitioner Tius insurer;
respondent Benjamin Condor, the registered owner of the cargo truck; and respondent Sergio
Pedrano, the driver of the truck. They alleged that petitioner Laspias was negotiating the uphill climb
along the national highway of Sitio Aggies, Poblacion, Compostela, in a moderate and normal speed.
It was further alleged that the truck was parked in a slanted manner, its rear portion almost in the
middle of the highway, and that no early warning device was displayed. Petitioner Laspias promptly
applied the brakes and swerved to the left to avoid hitting the truck head-on, but despite his efforts
to avoid damage to property and physical injuries on the passengers, the right side portion of the
bus hit the cargo trucks left rear. The petitioners further alleged, thus:
5. That the cargo truck mentioned in the aforequoted paragraph is owned and registered in the
name of the third-party defendant Benjamin Condor and was left unattended by its driver Sergio
Pedrano, one of the third-party defendants, at the time of the incident;
6. That third-party defendant Sergio Pedrano, as driver of the cargo truck with marked (sic) Condor
Hollow Blocks & General Merchandise, with Plate No. GBP-675 which was recklessly and
imprudently parked along the national highway of Compostela, Cebu during the vehicular accident in
question, and third-party defendant Benjamin Condor, as the registered owner of the cargo truck
who failed to exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of third-party defendant Sergio
Pedrano, are jointly and severally liable to the third-party plaintiffs for whatever liability that may be
adjudged against said third-party plaintiffs or are directly liable of (sic) the alleged death of plaintiffs
wife;
7. That in addition to all that are stated above and in the answer which are intended to show
reckless imprudence on the part of the third-party defendants, the third-party plaintiffs hereby
declare that during the vehicular accident in question, third-party defendant was clearly violating
Section 34, par. (g) of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code
10. That the aforesaid passenger bus, owned and operated by third-party plaintiff William Tiu, is
covered by a common carrier liability insurance with Certificate of Cover No. 054940 issued by
Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc., Cebu City Branch, in favor of third-party plaintiff
William Tiu which covers the period from July 22, 1986 to July 22, 1987 and that the said insurance
coverage was valid, binding and subsisting during the time of the aforementioned incident (Annex A
as part hereof);
11. That after the aforesaid alleged incident, third-party plaintiff notified third-party defendant
Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc., of the alleged incident hereto mentioned, but to no
avail;
12. That granting, et arguendo et arguendi, if herein third-party plaintiffs will be adversely adjudged,
they stand to pay damages sought by the plaintiff and therefore could also look up to the Philippine
Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc., for contribution, indemnification and/or reimbursement of any
liability or obligation that they might [be] adjudged per insurance coverage duly entered into by and
between third-party plaintiff William Tiu and third-party defendant Philippine Phoenix Surety and
Insurance, Inc.;[12]
The respondent PPSII, for its part, admitted that it had an existing contract with petitioner Tiu,
but averred that it had already attended to and settled the claims of those who were injured during
the incident.[13] It could not accede to the claim of respondent Arriesgado, as such claim was way
beyond the scheduled indemnity as contained in the contract of insurance. [14]
After the parties presented their respective evidence, the trial court ruled in favor of
respondent Arriesgado. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff as against
defendant William Tiu ordering the latter to pay the plaintiff the following amounts:
1 - The sum of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as moral damages;
2 - The sum of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as exemplary damages;
3 - The sum of THIRTY-EIGHT THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED FORTY-ONE PESOS (P38,441.00) as actual
damages;
4 - The sum of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00) as attorneys fees;
5 - The sum of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) as costs of suit;
SO ORDERED.[15]
According to the trial court, there was no dispute that petitioner William Tiu was engaged in
business as a common carrier, in view of his admission that D Rough Rider passenger bus which
figured in the accident was owned by him; that he had been engaged in the transportation business
for 25 years with a sole proprietorship; and that he owned 34 buses. The trial court ruled that if
petitioner Laspias had not been driving at a fast pace, he could have easily swerved to the left to
avoid hitting the truck, thus, averting the unfortunate incident. It then concluded that petitioner
Laspias was negligent.
The trial court also ruled that the absence of an early warning device near the place where the
truck was parked was not sufficient to impute negligence on the part of respondent Pedrano, since
the tail lights of the truck were fully on, and the vicinity was well lighted by street lamps.[16] It also
found that the testimony of petitioner Tiu, that he based the selection of his driver Laspias on
efficiency and in-service training, and that the latter had been so far an efficient and good driver for
the past six years of his employment, was insufficient to prove that he observed the diligence of a
good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his employees.
After the petitioners motion for reconsideration of the said decision was denied, the petitioners
elevated the case to the Court of Appeals on the following issues:
I WHETHER THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT SERGIO PEDRANO WAS RECKLESS AND IMPRUDENT
WHEN HE PARKED THE CARGO TRUCK IN AN OBLIQUE MANNER;
II WHETHER THE THIRD PARTY DEFENDANTS ARE JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE DIRECTLY
TO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE OR TO DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS FOR WHATEVER LIABILITY
THAT MAY BE ADJUDGED TO THE SAID DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS;
III WHETHER DEFENDANT-APPELLANT VIRGILIO TE LASPIAS WAS GUILTY OF GROSS
NEGLIGENCE;
IV WHETHER DEFENDANT-APPELLANT WILLIAM TIU HAD EXERCISED THE DUE DILIGENCE
OF A GOOD FATHER OF A FAMILY IN THE SELECTION AND SUPERVISION OF HIS
DRIVERS;
V GRANTING FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT THAT DEFENDANT-APPELLANT WILLIAM TIU IS
LIABLE TO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, WHETHER THERE IS LEGAL AND FACTUAL BASIS IN
AWARDING EXCESSIVE MORAL DAMAGES, EX[E]MPLARY DAMAGES, ATTORNEYS FEES
AND LITIGATION EXPENSES TO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE;
VI WHETHER THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT PHILIPPINE PHOENIX SURETY AND INSURANCE,
INC. IS LIABLE TO DEFENDANT- APPELLANT WILLIAM TIU.[17]
The appellate court rendered judgment affirming the trial courts decision with the modification
that the awards for moral and exemplary damages were reduced to P25,000. The dispositive portion
reads:
WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision dated November 6, 1995 is hereby MODIFIED such that the
awards for moral and exemplary damages are each reduced to P25,000.00 or a total of P50,000.00
for both. The judgment is AFFIRMED in all other respects.
SO ORDERED.[18]
According to the appellate court, the action of respondent Arriesgado was based not on quasi-
delict but on breach of contract of carriage. As a common carrier, it was incumbent upon petitioner
Tiu to prove that extraordinary diligence was observed in ensuring the safety of passengers during
transportation. Since the latter failed to do so, he should be held liable for respondent Arriesgados
claim. The CA also ruled that no evidence was presented against the respondent PPSII, and as such, it
could not be held liable for respondent Arriesgados claim, nor for contribution, indemnification
and/or reimbursement in case the petitioners were adjudged liable.
The petitioners now come to this Court and ascribe the following errors committed by the
appellate court:
I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT DECLARING RESPONDENTS
BENJAMIN CONDOR AND SERGIO PEDRANO GUILTY OF NEGLIGENCE AND HENCE,
LIABLE TO RESPONDENT PEDRO A. ARRIESGADO OR TO PETITIONERS FOR WHATEVER
LIABILITY THAT MAY BE ADJUDGED AGAINST THEM.
II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING PETITIONERS GUILTY OF
NEGLIGENCE AND HENCE, LIABLE TO RESPONDENT PEDRO A. ARRIESGADO.
III. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING PETITIONER WILLIAM TIU
LIABLE FOR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES, ATTORNEYS FEES AND LITIGATION EXPENSES.
IV.THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING RESPONDENT
PHILIPPINE PHOENIX SURETY AND INSURANCE, INC. LIABLE TO RESPONDENT PEDRO A.
ARRIESGADO OR TO PETITIONER WILLIAM TIU.[19]
According to the petitioners, the appellate court erred in failing to appreciate the absence of an
early warning device and/or built-in reflectors at the front and back of the cargo truck, in clear
violation of Section 34, par. (g) of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. They aver that such
violation is only a proof of respondent Pedranos negligence, as provided under Article 2185 of the
New Civil Code. They also question the appellate courts failure to take into account that the truck
was parked in an oblique manner, its rear portion almost at the center of the road. As such, the
proximate cause of the incident was the gross recklessness and imprudence of respondent Pedrano,
creating the presumption of negligence on the part of respondent Condor in supervising his
employees, which presumption was not rebutted. The petitioners then contend that respondents
Condor and Pedrano should be held jointly and severally liable to respondent Arriesgado for the
payment of the latters claim.
The petitioners, likewise, aver that expert evidence should have been presented to prove that
petitioner Laspias was driving at a very fast speed, and that the CA could not reach such conclusion
by merely considering the damages on the cargo truck. It was also pointed out that petitioner Tiu
presented evidence that he had exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection
and supervision of his drivers.
The petitioners further allege that there is no legal and factual basis to require petitioner Tiu to
pay exemplary damages as no evidence was presented to show that the latter acted in a fraudulent,
reckless and oppressive manner, or that he had an active participation in the negligent act of
petitioner Laspias.
Finally, the petitioners contend that respondent PPSII admitted in its answer that while it had
attended to and settled the claims of the other injured passengers, respondent Arriesgados claim
remained unsettled as it was beyond the scheduled indemnity under the insurance contract. The
petitioners argue that said respondent PPSII should have settled the said claim in accordance with
the scheduled indemnity instead of just denying the same.
On the other hand, respondent Arriesgado argues that two of the issues raised by the
petitioners involved questions of fact, not reviewable by the Supreme Court: the finding of
negligence on the part of the petitioners and their liability to him; and the award of exemplary
damages, attorneys fees and litigation expenses in his favor. Invoking the principle of equity and
justice, respondent Arriesgado pointed out that if there was an error to be reviewed in the CA
decision, it should be geared towards the restoration of the moral and exemplary damages
to P50,000 each, or a total of P100,000 which was reduced by the Court of Appeals to P25,000 each,
or a total of only P50,000.
Respondent Arriesgado also alleged that respondents Condor and Pedrano, and respondent
Phoenix Surety, are parties with whom he had no contract of carriage, and had no cause of action
against. It was pointed out that only the petitioners needed to be sued, as driver and operator of the
ill-fated bus, on account of their failure to bring the Arriesgado Spouses to their place of destination
as agreed upon in the contract of carriage, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons with
due regard for all circumstances.
Respondents Condor and Pedrano point out that, as correctly ruled by the Court of Appeals, the
proximate cause of the unfortunate incident was the fast speed at which petitioner Laspias was
driving the bus owned by petitioner Tiu. According to the respondents, the allegation that the truck
was not equipped with an early warning device could not in any way have prevented the incident
from happening. It was also pointed out that respondent Condor had always exercised the due
diligence required in the selection and supervision of his employees, and that he was not a party to
the contract of carriage between the petitioners and respondent Arriesgado.
Respondent PPSII, for its part, alleges that contrary to the allegation of petitioner Tiu, it settled
all the claims of those injured in accordance with the insurance contract. It further avers that it did
not deny respondent Arriesgados claim, and emphasizes that its liability should be within the
scheduled limits of indemnity under the said contract. The respondent concludes that while it is true
that insurance contracts are contracts of indemnity, the measure of the insurers liability is
determined by the insureds compliance with the terms thereof.
The Courts Ruling
At the outset, it must be stressed that this Court is not a trier of facts.[20] Factual findings of the
Court of Appeals are final and may not be reviewed on appeal by this Court, except when the lower
court and the CA arrived at diverse factual findings.[21] The petitioners in this case assail the finding
of both the trial and the appellate courts that petitioner Laspias was driving at a very fast speed
before the bus owned by petitioner Tiu collided with respondent Condors stalled truck. This is clearly
one of fact, not reviewable by the Court in a petition for review under Rule 45.[22]
On this ground alone, the petition is destined to fail.
However, considering that novel questions of law are likewise involved, the Court resolves to
examine and rule on the merits of the case.
Petitioner Laspias
Was negligent in driving
The Ill-fated bus
In his testimony before the trial court, petitioner Laspias claimed that he was traversing the
two-lane road at Compostela, Cebu at a speed of only forty (40) to fifty (50) kilometers per hour
before the incident occurred.[23] He also admitted that he saw the truck which was parked in an
oblique position at about 25 meters before impact,[24] and tried to avoid hitting it by swerving to the
left. However, even in the absence of expert evidence, the damage sustained by the truck[25] itself
supports the finding of both the trial court and the appellate court, that the D Rough Rider bus
driven by petitioner Laspias was traveling at a fast pace. Since he saw the stalled truck at a distance
of 25 meters, petitioner Laspias had more than enough time to swerve to his left to avoid hitting it;
that is, if the speed of the bus was only 40 to 50 kilometers per hour as he claimed. As found by the
Court of Appeals, it is easier to believe that petitioner Laspias was driving at a very fast speed, since
at 4:45 a.m., the hour of the accident, there were no oncoming vehicles at the opposite direction.
Petitioner Laspias could have swerved to the left lane with proper clearance, and, thus, could have
avoided the truck.[26] Instinct, at the very least, would have prompted him to apply the breaks to
avert the impending disaster which he must have foreseen when he caught sight of the stalled truck.
As we had occasion to reiterate:
A man must use common sense, and exercise due reflection in all his acts; it is his duty to be
cautious, careful and prudent, if not from instinct, then through fear of recurring punishment. He is
responsible for such results as anyone might foresee and for acts which no one would have
performed except through culpable abandon. Otherwise, his own person, rights and property, and
those of his fellow beings, would ever be exposed to all manner of danger and injury.[27]
We agree with the following findings of the trial court, which were affirmed by the CA on
appeal:
A close study and evaluation of the testimonies and the documentary proofs submitted by the
parties which have direct bearing on the issue of negligence, this Court as shown by preponderance
of evidence that defendant Virgilio Te Laspias failed to observe extraordinary diligence as a driver of
the common carrier in this case. It is quite hard to accept his version of the incident that he did not
see at a reasonable distance ahead the cargo truck that was parked when the Rough Rider [Bus] just
came out of the bridge which is on an (sic) [more] elevated position than the place where the cargo
truck was parked. With its headlights fully on, defendant driver of the Rough Rider was in a vantage
position to see the cargo truck ahead which was parked and he could just easily have avoided hitting
and bumping the same by maneuvering to the left without hitting the said cargo truck. Besides, it is
(sic) shown that there was still much room or space for the Rough Rider to pass at the left lane of the
said national highway even if the cargo truck had occupied the entire right lane thereof. It is not true
that if the Rough Rider would proceed to pass through the left lane it would fall into a canal
considering that there was much space for it to pass without hitting and bumping the cargo truck at
the left lane of said national highway. The records, further, showed that there was no incoming
vehicle at the opposite lane of the national highway which would have prevented the Rough Rider
from not swerving to its left in order to avoid hitting and bumping the parked cargo truck. But the
evidence showed that the Rough Rider instead of swerving to the still spacious left lane of the
national highway plowed directly into the parked cargo truck hitting the latter at its rear portion;
and thus, the (sic) causing damages not only to herein plaintiff but to the cargo truck as well.[28]
Indeed, petitioner Laspias negligence in driving the bus is apparent in the records. By his own
admission, he had just passed a bridge and was traversing the highway of Compostela, Cebu at a
speed of 40 to 50 kilometers per hour before the collision occurred. The maximum speed allowed by
law on a bridge is only 30 kilometers per hour.[29] And, as correctly pointed out by the trial court,
petitioner Laspias also violated Section 35 of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, Republic Act
No. 4136, as amended:
Sec. 35. Restriction as to speed. (a) Any person driving a motor vehicle on a highway shall drive the
same at a careful and prudent speed, not greater nor less than is reasonable and proper, having due
regard for the traffic, the width of the highway, and or any other condition then and there existing;
and no person shall drive any motor vehicle upon a highway at such speed as to endanger the life,
limb and property of any person, nor at a speed greater than will permit him to bring the vehicle to a
stop within the assured clear distance ahead.[30]
Under Article 2185 of the Civil Code, a person driving a vehicle is presumed negligent if at the
time of the mishap, he was violating any traffic regulation.[31]
Petitioner Tiu failed to
Overcome the presumption
Of negligence against him as
One engaged in the business
Of common carriage
The rules which common carriers should observe as to the safety of their passengers are set
forth in the Civil Code, Articles 1733,[32] 1755[33] and 1756.[34] In this case, respondent Arriesgado and
his deceased wife contracted with petitioner Tiu, as owner and operator of D Rough Riders bus
service, for transportation from Maya, Daanbantayan, Cebu, to Cebu City for the price
of P18.00.[35] It is undisputed that the respondent and his wife were not safely transported to the
destination agreed upon. In actions for breach of contract, only the existence of such contract, and
the fact that the obligor, in this case the common carrier, failed to transport his passenger safely to
his destination are the matters that need to be proved.[36] This is because under the said contract of
carriage, the petitioners assumed the express obligation to transport the respondent and his wife to
their destination safely and to observe extraordinary diligence with due regard for all
circumstances.[37] Any injury suffered by the passengers in the course thereof is immediately
attributable to the negligence of the carrier.[38] Upon the happening of the accident, the
presumption of negligence at once arises, and it becomes the duty of a common carrier to prove
that he observed extraordinary diligence in the care of his passengers.[39] It must be stressed that in
requiring the highest possible degree of diligence from common carriers and in creating a
presumption of negligence against them, the law compels them to curb the recklessness of their
drivers.[40]
While evidence may be submitted to overcome such presumption of negligence, it must be
shown that the carrier observed the required extraordinary diligence, which means that the carrier
must show the utmost diligence of very cautious persons as far as human care and foresight can
provide, or that the accident was caused by fortuitous event.[41] As correctly found by the trial court,
petitioner Tiu failed to conclusively rebut such presumption. The negligence of petitioner Laspias as
driver of the passenger bus is, thus, binding against petitioner Tiu, as the owner of the passenger bus
engaged as a common carrier.[42]
The Doctrine of
Last Clear Chance
Is Inapplicable in the
Case at Bar
Contrary to the petitioners contention, the principle of last clear chance is inapplicable in the
instant case, as it only applies in a suit between the owners and drivers of 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 and its owner on the ground
that the other driver was likewise guilty of negligence.[43] The common law notion of last clear
chance permitted courts to grant recovery to a plaintiff who has also been negligent provided that
the defendant had the last clear chance to avoid the casualty and failed to do so. Accordingly, it is
difficult to see what role, if any, the common law of last clear chance doctrine has to play in a
jurisdiction where the common law concept of contributory negligence as an absolute bar to
recovery by the plaintiff, has itself been rejected, as it has been in Article 2179 of the Civil Code.[44]
Thus, petitioner Tiu cannot escape liability for the death of respondent Arriesgados wife due to
the negligence of petitioner Laspias, his employee, on this score.
Respondents Pedrano and
Condor were likewise
Negligent
In Phoenix Construction, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court,[45] where therein respondent
Dionisio sustained injuries when his vehicle rammed against a dump truck parked askew, the Court
ruled that the improper parking of a dump truck without any warning lights or reflector devices
created an unreasonable risk for anyone driving within the vicinity, and for having created such risk,
the truck driver must be held responsible. In ruling against the petitioner therein, the Court
elucidated, thus:
In our view, Dionisios negligence, although later in point of time than the truck drivers negligence,
and therefore closer to the accident, was not an efficient intervening or independent cause. What
the petitioners describe as an intervening cause was no more than a foreseeable consequence of the
risk created by the negligent manner in which the truck driver had parked the dump truck. In other
words, the petitioner truck driver owed a duty to private respondent Dionisio and others similarly
situated not to impose upon them the very risk the truck driver had created. Dionisios negligence
was not that of an independent and overpowering nature as to cut, as it were, the chain of causation
in fact between the improper parking of the dump truck and the accident, nor to sever the juris
vinculum of liability.
We hold that private respondent Dionisios negligence was only contributory, that the immediate
and proximate cause of the injury remained the truck drivers lack of due care.[46]
In this case, both the trial and the appellate courts failed to consider that respondent Pedrano
was also negligent in leaving the truck parked askew without any warning lights or reflector devices
to alert oncoming vehicles, and that such failure created the presumption of negligence on the part
of his employer, respondent Condor, in supervising his employees properly and adequately. As we
ruled in Poblete v. Fabros:[47]
It is such a firmly established principle, as to have virtually formed part of the law itself, that the
negligence of the employee gives rise to the presumption of negligence on the part of the employer.
This is the presumed negligence in the selection and supervision of employee. The theory of
presumed negligence, in contrast with the American doctrine of respondeat superior, where the
negligence of the employee is conclusively presumed to be the negligence of the employer, is clearly
deducible from the last paragraph of Article 2180 of the Civil Code which provides that the
responsibility therein mentioned shall cease if the employers prove that they observed all the
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damages. [48]
The petitioners were correct in invoking respondent Pedranos failure to observe Article IV,
Section 34(g) of the Rep. Act No. 4136, which provides:
(g) Lights when parked or disabled. Appropriate parking lights or flares visible one hundred meters
away shall be displayed at a corner of the vehicle whenever such vehicle is parked on highways or in
places that are not well-lighted or is placed in such manner as to endanger passing traffic.
The manner in which the truck was parked clearly endangered oncoming traffic on both sides,
considering that the tire blowout which stalled the truck in the first place occurred in the wee hours
of the morning. The Court can only now surmise that the unfortunate incident could have been
averted had respondent Condor, the owner of the truck, equipped the said vehicle with lights, flares,
or, at the very least, an early warning device.[49] Hence, we cannot subscribe to respondents Condor
and Pedranos claim that they should be absolved from liability because, as found by the trial and
appellate courts, the proximate cause of the collision was the fast speed at which petitioner Laspias
drove the bus. To accept this proposition would be to come too close to wiping out the fundamental
principle of law that a man must respond for the foreseeable consequences of his own negligent act
or omission. Indeed, our law on quasi-delicts seeks to reduce the risks and burdens of living in
society and to allocate them among its members. To accept this proposition would be to weaken the
very bonds of society.[50]
The Liability of
Respondent PPSII
as Insurer
The trial court in this case did not rule on the liability of respondent PPSII, while the appellate
court ruled that, as no evidence was presented against it, the insurance company is not liable.
A perusal of the records will show that when the petitioners filed the Third-Party Complaint
against respondent PPSII, they failed to attach a copy of the terms of the insurance contract itself.
Only Certificate of Cover No. 054940[51] issued in favor of Mr. William Tiu, Lahug, Cebu City signed by
Cosme H. Boniel was appended to the third-party complaint. The date of issuance, July 22, 1986, the
period of insurance, from July 22, 1986 to July 22, 1987, as well as the following items, were also
indicated therein:
SCHEDULED VEHICLE
MODEL MAKE TYPE OF BODY COLOR BLT FILE NO.
Isuzu Forward Bus blue mixed
PLATE NO. PBP- SERIAL/CHASSIS NO. MOTOR NO. AUTHORIZED UNLADEN
724 SER450-1584124 677836 CAPACITY 50 WEIGHT 6Cyls.
Kgs.
SECTION 1/11 *LIMITS OF LIABILITY P50,000.00 PREMIUMS PAID
A. THIRD PARTY LIABILITY
B. PASSENGER LIABILITY Per Person Per Accident P540.0052
P12,000.00 P50,000

In its Answer53 to the Third-Party Complaint, the respondent PPSII admitted the existence of the
contract of insurance, in view of its failure to specifically deny the same as required under then
Section 8(a), Rule 8 of the Rules of Court,54 which reads:
Sec. 8. How to contest genuineness of such documents. When an action or defense is founded upon a
written instrument copied in or attached to the corresponding pleading as provided in the preceding
section, the genuineness and due execution of the instrument shall be deemed admitted unless the
adverse party, under oath, specifically denies them, and sets forth what he claims to be the facts;
but the requirement of an oath does not apply when the adverse party does not appear to be a
party to the instrument or when compliance with an order for inspection of the original instrument
is refused.
In fact, respondent PPSII did not dispute the existence of such contract, and admitted that it
was liable thereon. It claimed, however, that it had attended to and settled the claims of those
injured during the incident, and set up the following as special affirmative defenses:
Third party defendant Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc. hereby reiterates and
incorporates by way of reference the preceding paragraphs and further states THAT:-
8. It has attended to the claims of Vincent Canales, Asuncion Batiancila and Neptali Palces who
sustained injuries during the incident in question. In fact, it settled financially their claims per
vouchers duly signed by them and they duly executed Affidavit[s] of Desistance to that effect, xerox
copies of which are hereto attached as Annexes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 respectively;
9. With respect to the claim of plaintiff, herein answering third party defendant through its
authorized insurance adjuster attended to said claim. In fact, there were negotiations to that effect.
Only that it cannot accede to the demand of said claimant considering that the claim was way
beyond the scheduled indemnity as per contract entered into with third party plaintiff William Tiu
and third party defendant (Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc.). Third party Plaintiff
William Tiu knew all along the limitation as earlier stated, he being an old hand in the transportation
business; 55
Considering the admissions made by respondent PPSII, the existence of the insurance contract
and the salient terms thereof cannot be dispatched. It must be noted that after filing its answer,
respondent PPSII no longer objected to the presentation of evidence by respondent Arriesgado and
the insured petitioner Tiu. Even in its Memorandum56 before the Court, respondent PPSII admitted
the existence of the contract, but averred as follows:
Petitioner Tiu is insisting that PPSII is liable to him for contribution, indemnification and/or
reimbursement. This has no basis under the contract. Under the contract, PPSII will pay all sums
necessary to discharge liability of the insured subject to the limits of liability but not to exceed the
limits of liability as so stated in the contract. Also, it is stated in the contract that in the event of
accident involving indemnity to more than one person, the limits of liability shall not exceed the
aggregate amount so specified by law to all persons to be indemnified.57
As can be gleaned from the Certificate of Cover, such insurance contract was issued pursuant to
the Compulsory Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Law. It was expressly provided therein that the
limit of the insurers liability for each person was P12,000, while the limit per accident was pegged
at P50,000. An insurer in an indemnity contract for third party liability is directly liable to the injured
party up to the extent specified in the agreement but it cannot be held solidarily liable beyond that
amount.58 The respondent PPSII could not then just deny petitioner Tius claim; it should have
paid P12,000 for the death of Felisa Arriesgado,59 and respondent Arriesgados hospitalization
expenses of P1,113.80, which the trial court found to have been duly supported by receipts. The
total amount of the claims, even when added to that of the other injured passengers which the
respondent PPSII claimed to have settled,60 would not exceed the P50,000 limit under the insurance
agreement.
Indeed, the nature of Compulsory Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance is such that it is primarily
intended to provide compensation for the death or bodily injuries suffered by innocent third parties
or passengers as a result of the negligent operation and use of motor vehicles. The victims and/or
their dependents are assured of immediate financial assistance, regardless of the financial capacity
of motor vehicle owners.61 As the Court, speaking through Associate Justice Leonardo A.
Quisumbing, explained in Government Service Insurance System v. Court of Appeals:62
However, although the victim may proceed directly against the insurer for indemnity, the third party
liability is only up to the extent of the insurance policy and those required by law. While it is true
that where the insurance contract provides for indemnity against liability to third persons, and such
persons can directly sue the insurer, the direct liability of the insurer under indemnity contracts
against third party liability does not mean that the insurer can be held liable in solidum with the
insured and/or the other parties found at fault. For the liability of the insurer is based on contract;
that of the insured carrier or vehicle owner is based on tort.
Obviously, the insurer could be held liable only up to the extent of what was provided for by the
contract of insurance, in accordance with the CMVLI law. At the time of the incident, the schedule of
indemnities for death and bodily injuries, professional fees and other charges payable under a
CMVLI coverage was provided for under the Insurance Memorandum Circular (IMC) No. 5-78 which
was approved on November 10, 1978. As therein provided, the maximum indemnity for death was
twelve thousand (P12,000.00) pesos per victim. The schedules for medical expenses were also
provided by said IMC, specifically in paragraphs (C) to (G).63
Damages to be
Awarded
The trial court correctly awarded moral damages in the amount of P50,000 in favor of
respondent Arriesgado. The award of exemplary damages by way of example or correction of the
public good,64 is likewise in order. As the Court ratiocinated in Kapalaran Bus Line v. Coronado:65
While the immediate beneficiaries of the standard of extraordinary diligence are, of course, the
passengers and owners of cargo carried by a common carrier, they are not the only persons that the
law seeks to benefit. For if common carriers carefully observed the statutory standard of
extraordinary diligence in respect of their own passengers, they cannot help but simultaneously
benefit pedestrians and the passengers of other vehicles who are equally entitled to the safe and
convenient use of our roads and highways. The law seeks to stop and prevent the slaughter and
maiming of people (whether passengers or not) on our highways and buses, the very size and power
of which seem to inflame the minds of their drivers. Article 2231 of the Civil Code explicitly
authorizes the imposition of exemplary damages in cases of quasi-delicts if the defendant acted with
gross negligence.66
The respondent Pedro A. Arriesgado, as the surviving spouse and heir of Felisa Arriesgado, is
entitled to indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00.67
The petitioners, as well as the respondents Benjamin Condor and Sergio Pedrano are jointly and
severally liable for said amount, conformably with the following pronouncement of the Court
in Fabre, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals:68
The same rule of liability was applied in situations where the negligence of the driver of the bus on
which plaintiff was riding concurred with the negligence of a third party who was the driver of
another vehicle, thus causing an accident. In Anuran v. Buo, Batangas Laguna Tayabas Bus Co. v.
Intermediate Appellate Court, and Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court 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 passenger or the latters heirs. The basis of this allocation of
liability was explained in Viluan v. Court of Appeals, thus:
Nor should it make difference that the liability of petitioner [bus owner] 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 Gutierrez vs. Gutierrez, 56 Phil. 177, that in case of injury to a passenger due to the
negligence of the driver of the bus on which he was riding and of the driver of another vehicle, the
drivers as well as the owners of the two vehicles are jointly and severally liable for damages. Some
members of the Court, though, are of the view that under the circumstances they are liable on
quasi-delict.69
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The Decision of the
Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS:
(1) Respondent Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc. and petitioner William Tiu
are ORDERED to pay, jointly and severally, respondent Pedro A. Arriesgado the total amount
of P13,113.80;
(2) The petitioners and the respondents Benjamin Condor and Sergio Pedrano are ORDERED to
pay, jointly and severally, respondent Pedro A. Arriesgado P50,000.00 as indemnity; P26,441.50 as
actual damages; P50,000.00 as moral damages; P50,000.00 as exemplary damages; and P20,000.00
as attorneys fees.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-12191 October 14, 1918


JOSE CANGCO, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
MANILA RAILROAD CO., defendant-appellee.
Ramon Sotelo for appellant.
Kincaid & Hartigan for appellee.

FISHER, J.:
At the time of the occurrence which gave rise to this litigation the plaintiff, Jose Cangco, was in the
employment of Manila Railroad Company in the capacity of clerk, with a monthly wage of P25. He
lived in the pueblo of San Mateo, in the province of Rizal, which is located upon the line of the
defendant railroad company; and in coming daily by train to the company's office in the city of
Manila where he worked, he used a pass, supplied by the company, which entitled him to ride upon
the company's trains free of charge. Upon the occasion in question, January 20, 1915, the plaintiff
arose from his seat in the second class-car where he was riding and, making, his exit through the
door, took his position upon the steps of the coach, seizing the upright guardrail with his right hand
for support.
On the side of the train where passengers alight at the San Mateo station there is a cement platform
which begins to rise with a moderate gradient some distance away from the company's office and
extends along in front of said office for a distance sufficient to cover the length of several coaches.
As the train slowed down another passenger, named Emilio Zuñiga, also an employee of the railroad
company, got off the same car, alighting safely at the point where the platform begins to rise from
the level of the ground. When the train had proceeded a little farther the plaintiff Jose Cangco
stepped off also, but one or both of his feet came in contact with a sack of watermelons with the
result that his feet slipped from under him and he fell violently on the platform. His body at once
rolled from the platform and was drawn under the moving car, where his right arm was badly
crushed and lacerated. It appears that after the plaintiff alighted from the train the car moved
forward possibly six meters before it came to a full stop.
The accident occurred between 7 and 8 o'clock on a dark night, and as the railroad station was
lighted dimly by a single light located some distance away, objects on the platform where the
accident occurred were difficult to discern especially to a person emerging from a lighted car.
The explanation of the presence of a sack of melons on the platform where the plaintiff alighted is
found in the fact that it was the customary season for harvesting these melons and a large lot had
been brought to the station for the shipment to the market. They were contained in numerous sacks
which has been piled on the platform in a row one upon another. The testimony shows that this row
of sacks was so placed of melons and the edge of platform; and it is clear that the fall of the plaintiff
was due to the fact that his foot alighted upon one of these melons at the moment he stepped upon
the platform. His statement that he failed to see these objects in the darkness is readily to be
credited.
The plaintiff was drawn from under the car in an unconscious condition, and it appeared that the
injuries which he had received were very serious. He was therefore brought at once to a certain
hospital in the city of Manila where an examination was made and his arm was amputated. The
result of this operation was unsatisfactory, and the plaintiff was then carried to another hospital
where a second operation was performed and the member was again amputated higher up near the
shoulder. It appears in evidence that the plaintiff expended the sum of P790.25 in the form of
medical and surgical fees and for other expenses in connection with the process of his curation.
Upon August 31, 1915, he instituted this proceeding in the Court of First Instance of the city of
Manila to recover damages of the defendant company, founding his action upon the negligence of
the servants and employees of the defendant in placing the sacks of melons upon the platform and
leaving them so placed as to be a menace to the security of passenger alighting from the company's
trains. At the hearing in the Court of First Instance, his Honor, the trial judge, found the facts
substantially as above stated, and drew therefrom his conclusion to the effect that, although
negligence was attributable to the defendant by reason of the fact that the sacks of melons were so
placed as to obstruct passengers passing to and from the cars, nevertheless, the plaintiff himself had
failed to use due caution in alighting from the coach and was therefore precluded form recovering.
Judgment was accordingly entered in favor of the defendant company, and the plaintiff appealed.
It can not be doubted that the employees of the railroad company were guilty of negligence in piling
these sacks on the platform in the manner above stated; that their presence caused the plaintiff to
fall as he alighted from the train; and that they therefore constituted an effective legal cause of the
injuries sustained by the plaintiff. It necessarily follows that the defendant company is liable for the
damage thereby occasioned unless recovery is barred by the plaintiff's own contributory negligence.
In resolving this problem it is necessary that each of these conceptions of liability, to-wit, the
primary responsibility of the defendant company and the contributory negligence of the plaintiff
should be separately examined.
It is important to note that the foundation of the legal liability of the defendant is the contract of
carriage, and that the obligation to respond for the damage which plaintiff has suffered arises, if at
all, from the breach of that contract by reason of the failure of defendant to exercise due care in its
performance. That is to say, its liability is direct and immediate, differing essentially, in legal
viewpoint from that presumptive responsibility for the negligence of its servants, imposed by article
1903 of the Civil Code, which can be rebutted by proof of the exercise of due care in their selection
and supervision. Article 1903 of the Civil Code is not applicable to obligations arising ex contractu,
but only to extra-contractual obligations — or to use the technical form of expression, that article
relates only to culpa aquiliana and not to culpa contractual.
Manresa (vol. 8, p. 67) in his commentaries upon articles 1103 and 1104 of the Civil Code, clearly
points out this distinction, which was also recognized by this Court in its decision in the case of
Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Co. (7 Phil. rep., 359). In commenting upon article 1093 Manresa
clearly points out the difference between "culpa, substantive and independent, which of itself
constitutes the source of an obligation between persons not formerly connected by any legal tie"
and culpa considered as an accident in the performance of an obligation already existing . . . ."
In the Rakes case (supra) the decision of this court was made to rest squarely upon the proposition
that article 1903 of the Civil Code is not applicable to acts of negligence which constitute the breach
of a contract.
Upon this point the Court said:
The acts to which these articles [1902 and 1903 of the Civil Code] are applicable are
understood to be those not growing out of pre-existing duties of the parties to one another.
But where relations already formed give rise to duties, whether springing from contract or
quasi-contract, then breaches of those duties are subject to article 1101, 1103, and 1104 of
the same code. (Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Co., 7 Phil. Rep., 359 at 365.)
This distinction is of the utmost importance. The liability, which, under the Spanish law, is, in certain
cases imposed upon employers with respect to damages occasioned by the negligence of their
employees to persons to whom they are not bound by contract, is not based, as in the English
Common Law, upon the principle of respondeat superior — if it were, the master would be liable in
every case and unconditionally — but upon the principle announced in article 1902 of the Civil Code,
which imposes upon all persons who by their fault or negligence, do injury to another, the obligation
of making good the damage caused. One who places a powerful automobile in the hands of a
servant whom he knows to be ignorant of the method of managing such a vehicle, is himself guilty of
an act of negligence which makes him liable for all the consequences of his imprudence. The
obligation to make good the damage arises at the very instant that the unskillful servant, while
acting within the scope of his employment causes the injury. The liability of the master is personal
and direct. But, if the master has not been guilty of any negligence whatever in the selection and
direction of the servant, he is not liable for the acts of the latter, whatever done within the scope of
his employment or not, if the damage done by the servant does not amount to a breach of the
contract between the master and the person injured.
It is not accurate to say that proof of diligence and care in the selection and control of the servant
relieves the master from liability for the latter's acts — on the contrary, that proof shows that the
responsibility has never existed. As Manresa says (vol. 8, p. 68) the liability arising from extra-
contractual culpa is always based upon a voluntary act or omission which, without willful intent, but
by mere negligence or inattention, has caused damage to another. A master who exercises all
possible care in the selection of his servant, taking into consideration the qualifications they should
possess for the discharge of the duties which it is his purpose to confide to them, and directs them
with equal diligence, thereby performs his duty to third persons to whom he is bound by no
contractual ties, and he incurs no liability whatever if, by reason of the negligence of his servants,
even within the scope of their employment, such third person suffer damage. True it is that under
article 1903 of the Civil Code the law creates a presumption that he has been negligent in the
selection or direction of his servant, but the presumption is rebuttable and yield to proof of due care
and diligence in this respect.
The supreme court of Porto Rico, in interpreting identical provisions, as found in the Porto Rico
Code, has held that these articles are applicable to cases of extra-contractual culpa exclusively.
(Carmona vs. Cuesta, 20 Porto Rico Reports, 215.)
This distinction was again made patent by this Court in its decision in the case of Bahia vs. Litonjua
and Leynes, (30 Phil. rep., 624), which was an action brought upon the theory of the extra-
contractual liability of the defendant to respond for the damage caused by the carelessness of his
employee while acting within the scope of his employment. The Court, after citing the last paragraph
of article 1903 of the Civil Code, said:
From this article two things are apparent: (1) That when an injury is caused by the
negligence of a servant or employee there instantly arises a presumption of law that there
was negligence on the part of the master or employer either in selection of the servant or
employee, or in supervision over him after the selection, or both; and (2) that that
presumption is juris tantum and not juris et de jure, and consequently, may be rebutted. It
follows necessarily that if the employer shows to the satisfaction of the court that in
selection and supervision he has exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a
family, the presumption is overcome and he is relieved from liability.
This theory bases the responsibility of the master ultimately on his own negligence and not
on that of his servant. This is the notable peculiarity of the Spanish law of negligence. It is, of
course, in striking contrast to the American doctrine that, in relations with strangers, the
negligence of the servant in conclusively the negligence of the master.
The opinion there expressed by this Court, to the effect that in case of extra-contractual culpa based
upon negligence, it is necessary that there shall have been some fault attributable to the defendant
personally, and that the last paragraph of article 1903 merely establishes a rebuttable presumption,
is in complete accord with the authoritative opinion of Manresa, who says (vol. 12, p. 611) that the
liability created by article 1903 is imposed by reason of the breach of the duties inherent in the
special relations of authority or superiority existing between the person called upon to repair the
damage and the one who, by his act or omission, was the cause of it.
On the other hand, the liability of masters and employers for the negligent acts or omissions of their
servants or agents, when such acts or omissions cause damages which amount to the breach of a
contact, is not based upon a mere presumption of the master's negligence in their selection or
control, and proof of exercise of the utmost diligence and care in this regard does not relieve the
master of his liability for the breach of his contract.
Every legal obligation must of necessity be extra-contractual or contractual. Extra-contractual
obligation has its source in the breach or omission of those mutual duties which civilized society
imposes upon it members, or which arise from these relations, other than contractual, of certain
members of society to others, generally embraced in the concept of status. The legal rights of each
member of society constitute the measure of the corresponding legal duties, mainly negative in
character, which the existence of those rights imposes upon all other members of society. The
breach of these general duties whether due to willful intent or to mere inattention, if productive of
injury, give rise to an obligation to indemnify the injured party. The fundamental distinction between
obligations of this character and those which arise from contract, rests upon the fact that in cases of
non-contractual obligation it is the wrongful or negligent act or omission itself which creates
the vinculum juris, whereas in contractual relations the vinculum exists independently of the breach
of the voluntary duty assumed by the parties when entering into the contractual relation.
With respect to extra-contractual obligation arising from negligence, whether of act or omission, it is
competent for the legislature to elect — and our Legislature has so elected — whom such an
obligation is imposed is morally culpable, or, on the contrary, for reasons of public policy, to extend
that liability, without regard to the lack of moral culpability, so as to include responsibility for the
negligence of those person who acts or mission are imputable, by a legal fiction, to others who are in
a position to exercise an absolute or limited control over them. The legislature which adopted our
Civil Code has elected to limit extra-contractual liability — with certain well-defined exceptions — to
cases in which moral culpability can be directly imputed to the persons to be charged. This moral
responsibility may consist in having failed to exercise due care in the selection and control of one's
agents or servants, or in the control of persons who, by reason of their status, occupy a position of
dependency with respect to the person made liable for their conduct.
The position of a natural or juridical person who has undertaken by contract to render service to
another, is wholly different from that to which article 1903 relates. When the sources of the
obligation upon which plaintiff's cause of action depends is a negligent act or omission, the burden
of proof rests upon plaintiff to prove the negligence — if he does not his action fails. But when the
facts averred show a contractual undertaking by defendant for the benefit of plaintiff, and it is
alleged that plaintiff has failed or refused to perform the contract, it is not necessary for plaintiff to
specify in his pleadings whether the breach of the contract is due to willful fault or to negligence on
the part of the defendant, or of his servants or agents. Proof of the contract and of its
nonperformance is sufficient prima facie to warrant a recovery.
As a general rule . . . it is logical that in case of extra-contractual culpa, a suing creditor
should assume the burden of proof of its existence, as the only fact upon which his action is
based; while on the contrary, in a case of negligence which presupposes the existence of a
contractual obligation, if the creditor shows that it exists and that it has been broken, it is
not necessary for him to prove negligence. (Manresa, vol. 8, p. 71 [1907 ed., p. 76]).
As it is not necessary for the plaintiff in an action for the breach of a contract to show that the
breach was due to the negligent conduct of defendant or of his servants, even though such be in fact
the actual cause of the breach, it is obvious that proof on the part of defendant that the negligence
or omission of his servants or agents caused the breach of the contract would not constitute a
defense to the action. If the negligence of servants or agents could be invoked as a means of
discharging the liability arising from contract, the anomalous result would be that person acting
through the medium of agents or servants in the performance of their contracts, would be in a
better position than those acting in person. If one delivers a valuable watch to watchmaker who
contract to repair it, and the bailee, by a personal negligent act causes its destruction, he is
unquestionably liable. Would it be logical to free him from his liability for the breach of his contract,
which involves the duty to exercise due care in the preservation of the watch, if he shows that it was
his servant whose negligence caused the injury? If such a theory could be accepted, juridical persons
would enjoy practically complete immunity from damages arising from the breach of their contracts
if caused by negligent acts as such juridical persons can of necessity only act through agents or
servants, and it would no doubt be true in most instances that reasonable care had been taken in
selection and direction of such servants. If one delivers securities to a banking corporation as
collateral, and they are lost by reason of the negligence of some clerk employed by the bank, would
it be just and reasonable to permit the bank to relieve itself of liability for the breach of its contract
to return the collateral upon the payment of the debt by proving that due care had been exercised in
the selection and direction of the clerk?
This distinction between culpa aquiliana, as the source of an obligation, and culpa contractual as a
mere incident to the performance of a contract has frequently been recognized by the supreme
court of Spain. (Sentencias of June 27, 1894; November 20, 1896; and December 13, 1896.) In the
decisions of November 20, 1896, it appeared that plaintiff's action arose ex contractu, but that
defendant sought to avail himself of the provisions of article 1902 of the Civil Code as a defense. The
Spanish Supreme Court rejected defendant's contention, saying:
These are not cases of injury caused, without any pre-existing obligation, by fault or
negligence, such as those to which article 1902 of the Civil Code relates, but of damages
caused by the defendant's failure to carry out the undertakings imposed by the contracts . . .
.
A brief review of the earlier decision of this court involving the liability of employers for damage
done by the negligent acts of their servants will show that in no case has the court ever decided that
the negligence of the defendant's servants has been held to constitute a defense to an action for
damages for breach of contract.
In the case of Johnson vs. David (5 Phil. Rep., 663), the court held that the owner of a carriage was
not liable for the damages caused by the negligence of his driver. In that case the court commented
on the fact that no evidence had been adduced in the trial court that the defendant had been
negligent in the employment of the driver, or that he had any knowledge of his lack of skill or
carefulness.
In the case of Baer Senior & Co's Successors vs. Compania Maritima (6 Phil. Rep., 215), the plaintiff
sued the defendant for damages caused by the loss of a barge belonging to plaintiff which was
allowed to get adrift by the negligence of defendant's servants in the course of the performance of a
contract of towage. The court held, citing Manresa (vol. 8, pp. 29, 69) that if the "obligation of the
defendant grew out of a contract made between it and the plaintiff . . . we do not think that the
provisions of articles 1902 and 1903 are applicable to the case."
In the case of Chapman vs. Underwood (27 Phil. Rep., 374), plaintiff sued the defendant to recover
damages for the personal injuries caused by the negligence of defendant's chauffeur while driving
defendant's automobile in which defendant was riding at the time. The court found that the
damages were caused by the negligence of the driver of the automobile, but held that the master
was not liable, although he was present at the time, saying:
. . . unless the negligent acts of the driver are continued for a length of time as to give the
owner a reasonable opportunity to observe them and to direct the driver to desist
therefrom. . . . The act complained of must be continued in the presence of the owner for
such length of time that the owner by his acquiescence, makes the driver's acts his own.
In the case of Yamada vs. Manila Railroad Co. and Bachrach Garage & Taxicab Co. (33 Phil. Rep., 8), it
is true that the court rested its conclusion as to the liability of the defendant upon article 1903,
although the facts disclosed that the injury complaint of by plaintiff constituted a breach of the duty
to him arising out of the contract of transportation. The express ground of the decision in this case
was that article 1903, in dealing with the liability of a master for the negligent acts of his servants
"makes the distinction between private individuals and public enterprise;" that as to the latter the
law creates a rebuttable presumption of negligence in the selection or direction of servants; and that
in the particular case the presumption of negligence had not been overcome.
It is evident, therefore that in its decision Yamada case, the court treated plaintiff's action as though
founded in tort rather than as based upon the breach of the contract of carriage, and an
examination of the pleadings and of the briefs shows that the questions of law were in fact discussed
upon this theory. Viewed from the standpoint of the defendant the practical result must have been
the same in any event. The proof disclosed beyond doubt that the defendant's servant was grossly
negligent and that his negligence was the proximate cause of plaintiff's injury. It also affirmatively
appeared that defendant had been guilty of negligence in its failure to exercise proper discretion in
the direction of the servant. Defendant was, therefore, liable for the injury suffered by plaintiff,
whether the breach of the duty were to be regarded as constituting culpa aquiliana or culpa
contractual. As Manresa points out (vol. 8, pp. 29 and 69) whether negligence occurs an incident in
the course of the performance of a contractual undertaking or its itself the source of an extra-
contractual undertaking obligation, its essential characteristics are identical. There is always an act
or omission productive of damage due to carelessness or inattention on the part of the defendant.
Consequently, when the court holds that a defendant is liable in damages for having failed to
exercise due care, either directly, or in failing to exercise proper care in the selection and direction of
his servants, the practical result is identical in either case. Therefore, it follows that it is not to be
inferred, because the court held in the Yamada case that defendant was liable for the damages
negligently caused by its servants to a person to whom it was bound by contract, and made
reference to the fact that the defendant was negligent in the selection and control of its servants,
that in such a case the court would have held that it would have been a good defense to the action,
if presented squarely upon the theory of the breach of the contract, for defendant to have proved
that it did in fact exercise care in the selection and control of the servant.
The true explanation of such cases is to be found by directing the attention to the relative spheres of
contractual and extra-contractual obligations. The field of non- contractual obligation is much more
broader than that of contractual obligations, comprising, as it does, the whole extent of juridical
human relations. These two fields, figuratively speaking, concentric; that is to say, the mere fact that
a person is bound to another by contract does not relieve him from extra-contractual liability to such
person. When such a contractual relation exists the obligor may break the contract under such
conditions that the same act which constitutes the source of an extra-contractual obligation had no
contract existed between the parties.
The contract of defendant to transport plaintiff carried with it, by implication, the duty to carry him
in safety and to provide safe means of entering and leaving its trains (civil code, article 1258). That
duty, being contractual, was direct and immediate, and its non-performance could not be excused
by proof that the fault was morally imputable to defendant's servants.
The railroad company's defense involves the assumption that even granting that the negligent
conduct of its servants in placing an obstruction upon the platform was a breach of its contractual
obligation to maintain safe means of approaching and leaving its trains, the direct and proximate
cause of the injury suffered by plaintiff was his own contributory negligence in failing to wait until
the train had come to a complete stop before alighting. Under the doctrine of comparative
negligence announced in the Rakes case (supra), if the accident was caused by plaintiff's own
negligence, no liability is imposed upon defendant's negligence and plaintiff's negligence merely
contributed to his injury, the damages should be apportioned. It is, therefore, important to ascertain
if defendant was in fact guilty of negligence.
It may be admitted that had plaintiff waited until the train had come to a full stop before alighting,
the particular injury suffered by him could not have occurred. Defendant contends, and cites many
authorities in support of the contention, that it is negligence per se for a passenger to alight from a
moving train. We are not disposed to subscribe to this doctrine in its absolute form. We are of the
opinion that this proposition is too badly stated and is at variance with the experience of every-day
life. In this particular instance, that the train was barely moving when plaintiff alighted is shown
conclusively by the fact that it came to stop within six meters from the place where he stepped from
it. Thousands of person alight from trains under these conditions every day of the year, and sustain
no injury where the company has kept its platform free from dangerous obstructions. There is no
reason to believe that plaintiff would have suffered any injury whatever in alighting as he did had it
not been for defendant's negligent failure to perform its duty to provide a safe alighting place.
We are of the opinion that the correct doctrine relating to this subject is that expressed in
Thompson's work on Negligence (vol. 3, sec. 3010) as follows:
The test by which to determine whether the passenger has been guilty of negligence in
attempting to alight from a moving railway train, is that of ordinary or reasonable care. It is
to be considered whether an ordinarily prudent person, of the age, sex and condition of the
passenger, would have acted as the passenger acted under the circumstances disclosed by
the evidence. This care has been defined to be, not the care which may or should be used by
the prudent man generally, but the care which a man of ordinary prudence would use under
similar circumstances, to avoid injury." (Thompson, Commentaries on Negligence, vol. 3, sec.
3010.)
Or, it we prefer to adopt the mode of exposition used by this court in Picart vs. Smith (37 Phil. rep.,
809), we may say that the test is this; Was there anything in the circumstances surrounding the
plaintiff at the time he alighted from the train which would have admonished a person of average
prudence that to get off the train under the conditions then existing was dangerous? If so, the
plaintiff should have desisted from alighting; and his failure so to desist was contributory
negligence.1awph!l.net
As the case now before us presents itself, the only fact from which a conclusion can be drawn to the
effect that plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence is that he stepped off the car without being
able to discern clearly the condition of the platform and while the train was yet slowly moving. In
considering the situation thus presented, it should not be overlooked that the plaintiff was, as we
find, ignorant of the fact that the obstruction which was caused by the sacks of melons piled on the
platform existed; and as the defendant was bound by reason of its duty as a public carrier to afford
to its passengers facilities for safe egress from its trains, the plaintiff had a right to assume, in the
absence of some circumstance to warn him to the contrary, that the platform was clear. The place,
as we have already stated, was dark, or dimly lighted, and this also is proof of a failure upon the part
of the defendant in the performance of a duty owing by it to the plaintiff; for if it were by any
possibility concede that it had right to pile these sacks in the path of alighting passengers, the
placing of them adequately so that their presence would be revealed.
As pertinent to the question of contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff in this case the
following circumstances are to be noted: The company's platform was constructed upon a level
higher than that of the roadbed and the surrounding ground. The distance from the steps of the car
to the spot where the alighting passenger would place his feet on the platform was thus reduced,
thereby decreasing the risk incident to stepping off. The nature of the platform, constructed as it
was of cement material, also assured to the passenger a stable and even surface on which to alight.
Furthermore, the plaintiff was possessed of the vigor and agility of young manhood, and it was by no
means so risky for him to get off while the train was yet moving as the same act would have been in
an aged or feeble person. In determining the question of contributory negligence in performing such
act — that is to say, whether the passenger acted prudently or recklessly — the age, sex, and
physical condition of the passenger are circumstances necessarily affecting the safety of the
passenger, and should be considered. Women, it has been observed, as a general rule are less
capable than men of alighting with safety under such conditions, as the nature of their wearing
apparel obstructs the free movement of the limbs. Again, it may be noted that the place was
perfectly familiar to the plaintiff as it was his daily custom to get on and of the train at this station.
There could, therefore, be no uncertainty in his mind with regard either to the length of the step
which he was required to take or the character of the platform where he was alighting. Our
conclusion is that the conduct of the plaintiff in undertaking to alight while the train was yet slightly
under way was not characterized by imprudence and that therefore he was not guilty of
contributory negligence.
The evidence shows that the plaintiff, at the time of the accident, was earning P25 a month as a
copyist clerk, and that the injuries he has suffered have permanently disabled him from continuing
that employment. Defendant has not shown that any other gainful occupation is open to plaintiff.
His expectancy of life, according to the standard mortality tables, is approximately thirty-three years.
We are of the opinion that a fair compensation for the damage suffered by him for his permanent
disability is the sum of P2,500, and that he is also entitled to recover of defendant the additional
sum of P790.25 for medical attention, hospital services, and other incidental expenditures
connected with the treatment of his injuries.
The decision of lower court is reversed, and judgment is hereby rendered plaintiff for the sum of
P3,290.25, and for the costs of both instances. So ordered.
G.R. No. 152033 March 16, 2011
FILIPINAS SYNTHETIC FIBER CORPORATION, Petitioner,
vs.
WILFREDO DE LOS SANTOS, BENITO JOSE DE LOS SANTOS, MARIA ELENA DE LOS SANTOS and
CARMINA VDA. DE LOS SANTOS, Respondents.
DECISION
PERALTA, J.:
This Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure assails the Decision1 of
the Court of Appeals (CA) dated August 15, 2001, affirming with modification, the Decision2 dated
February 14, 1994 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), and the Resolution dated January 29, 2002 of
the CA, denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration.
This all stems from a case for damages filed against the petitioner and one of its employees. The
facts, as found by the RTC and the CA, are as follows:
On the night of September 30, 1984, Teresa Elena Legarda-de los Santos (Teresa Elena), the wife of
respondent Wilfredo de los Santos (Wilfredo), performed at the Rizal Theater in Makati City, Metro
Manila as a member of the cast for the musical play, Woman of the Year.
On that same night, at the request of Wilfredo, his brother Armando de los Santos (Armando),
husband of respondent Carmina Vda. de los Santos, went to the Rizal Theater to fetch Teresa Elena
after the latter's performance. He drove a 1980 Mitsubishi Galant Sigma (Galant Sigma) with Plate
No. NSL 559, a company car assigned to Wilfredo.
Two other members of the cast of Woman of the Year, namely, Annabel Vilches (Annabel) and
Jerome Macuja, joined Teresa Elena in the Galant Sigma.
Around 11:30 p.m., while travelling along the Katipunan Road (White Plains), the Galant Sigma
collided with the shuttle bus owned by petitioner and driven by Alfredo S. Mejia (Mejia), an
employee of petitioner. The Galant Sigma was dragged about 12 meters from the point of impact,
across the White Plains Road landing near the perimeter fence of Camp Aguinaldo, where the Galant
Sigma burst into flames and burned to death beyond recognition all four occupants of the car.
A criminal charge for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property with multiple homicide
was brought against Mejia, which was decided in favor of Mejia. The family of Annabel filed a civil
case against petitioner and Mejia docketed as Civil Case No. Q-51382, which was raffled to Branch
82 of the RTC of Quezon City. Wilfredo and Carmina, joined by their minor children, also filed
separate actions for damages against petitioner and Mejia. The said cases were eventually
consolidated.
After trial on the merits, the RTC decided in favor of herein respondents. The dispositive portion of
the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, this Court finds the herein plaintiffs in Civil Case Nos. Q-44498
and Q-45602, namely Wilfredo de los Santos, et al. and Carmina Vda. de los Santos, et al.,
respectively, to have duly proven their causes of action against Filipinas Synthetic Fiber Corporation
and Alfredo S. Mejia, defendants in both cases, thru preponderance of evidence, hence, Judgment is
hereby rendered ordering defendants, jointly and severally, to pay the herein plaintiffs in Civil Case
No. Q-44498, (1) for actual damages, ₱29,550.00, with interest thereon at the legal rate until paid;
(2) the amount of ₱4,769,525.00 as compensatory damages and unrealized income of Teresa Elena,
which is one-half of the amount of ₱9,539,050.00, taking into consideration her status in life, and
that during her lifetime she was not only spending for herself. The latter's average expenses would
either be more or less than one-half of her gross income for the year; (3) ₱100,000.00 as moral
damages to assuage the family of the deceased Teresa Elena for the loss of a love one who was
charred beyond recognition; and (4) attorney's fees of ₱150,000.00. As to exemplary damages, the
same cannot be granted for the reason that no one wanted this unfortunate accident to happen,
which was a costly one.
For Civil Case No. Q-45602, the herein defendants are hereby ordered, jointly and severally, to pay
the plaintiffs (1) ₱20,550.00 for actual damages, with interest thereon at the legal rate until the
same is paid; (2) ₱444,555.00 as compensatory damages and unrealized income of the deceased
Armando de los Santos, for the same reason as the deceased Teresa Elena, who during his lifetime,
Armando was not only spending for himself; (3) ₱100,000.00 as moral damages to assuage the loss
of a love one who was burnt beyond recognition; and (4) ₱100,000.00 as attorney's fees. As to
exemplary damages, the same could not be granted for the same reason as that in Civil Case No. Q-
44498.
SO ORDERED.
After the denial of the motion for reconsideration, petitioner appealed to the CA, and the latter
ruled:
WHEREFORE, the assailed February 14, 1994 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,
Branch 100 is AFFIRMED, subject to modification that in Civil Case No. Q-44498 the compensatory
damages and unrealized income of deceased Teresa Elena shall be ₱3,120,300.00, and in Civil Case
No. Q-45602 the compensatory damages and unrealized income of deceased Armando shall be
₱509,649.00.
SO ORDERED.
The subsequent motion for reconsideration was also denied. Hence, the present petition wherein
the petitioner assigned the following errors:
ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS
I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING THE PETITIONER MEJIA
NEGLIGENT, SUCH NOT BEING SUPPORTED BY THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD.
II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS' FINDING THAT PETITIONER FILSYN DID NOT
EXERCISE THE DUE DILIGENCE OF A GOOD FATHER OF A FAMILY IN THE SELECTION AND
SUPERVISION OF ITS EMPLOYEES IS NOT SUPPORTED BY THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD.
III. THE DAMAGES AWARDED BY THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS IS NOT IN ACCORD
WITH THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD.
The respondents filed their Comment3 dated June 7, 2002, while the petitioner filed its Reply4 dated
January 29, 2003. Subsequently, their respective memoranda5 were filed.
The petition lacks merit.
Petitioner insists that the CA was not correct in ruling that Mejia was negligent. It argues that the
said conclusion was not derived from the evidence adduced during the trial, which, upon further
analysis, makes the nature of the issue presented to be factual.
Whether a person is negligent or not is a question of fact which this Court cannot pass upon in a
petition for review on certiorari, as its jurisdiction is limited to reviewing errors of law.6 As a rule,
factual findings of the trial court, affirmed by the CA, are final and conclusive and may not be
reviewed on appeal. The established exceptions are: (1) when the inference made is manifestly
mistaken, absurd or impossible; (2) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (3) when the findings
are grounded entirely on speculations, surmises or conjectures; (4) when the judgment of the CA is
based on misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when the CA, in
making its findings, 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 conclusions without citation of specific
evidence on which they are based; (8) when the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not
disputed by the parties and which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion; and
(9) when the findings of fact of the CA are premised on the absence of evidence and are
contradicted by the evidence on record.7
Not falling under any of the exceptions enumerated above, this Court must defer to the findings of
the RTC and the CA.
Petitioner argues that the RTC admitted that De los Santos made a turn along White Plains Road
without exercising the necessary care which could have prevented the accident from happening. It
quoted the following portion of the RTC's decision:
The Court is convinced that defendant Mejia was running real fast along EDSA when he saw a vehicle
on the opposite side suddenly turn left towards White Plains.
According to petitioner, the sudden turn of the vehicle used by the victims should also be considered
as negligence on the part of the driver of that same vehicle, thus, mitigating, if not absolving
petitioner's liability. However, the said argument deserves scant consideration.
It was well established that Mejia was driving at a speed beyond the rate of speed required by law,
specifically Section 35 of Republic Act No. (RA) 4136.8 Given the circumstances, the allowed rate of
speed for Mejia's vehicle was 50 kilometers per hour, while the records show that he was driving at
the speed of 70 kilometers per hour. Under the New Civil Code,9 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 violating any traffic regulation. Apparently, in the present case, Mejia's violation of
the traffic rules does not erase the presumption that he was the one negligent at the time of the
collision. Even apart from statutory regulations as to speed, a motorist is nevertheless expected to
exercise ordinary care and drive at a reasonable rate of speed commensurate with all the conditions
encountered10 which will enable him to keep the vehicle under control and, whenever necessary, to
put the vehicle to a full stop to avoid injury to others using the highway.11 To suggest that De los
Santos was equally negligent based on that sole statement of the RTC is erroneous. The entire
evidence presented must be considered as a whole. Incidentally, a close reading of the ruling of the
CA would clearly show the negligence of Mejia. A portion of the decision reads:
A closer study of the Police Accident Report, Investigation Report and the sketch of the accident
would reveal nothing but that the shuttle bus was traveling at such a reckless speed that it collided
with the car bearing the deceased. The impact was such that the bus landed astride the car, dragged
the car across the right lane of White Plains Road, across the concrete island/flower box in the
center of White Plains Road, destroying the lamp post in the island until both vehicles landed by the
petitioner fence of Camp Aguinaldo.
From those evidence, borne out by the records, there was proof more than preponderant to
conclude that Mejia was traveling at an unlawful speed, hence, the negligent driver. We, therefore,
cannot find any error on the part of the trial court in concluding that he (Mejia) was driving more
than his claim of 70 kilometers per hour. Significantly, the claimed speed of Mejia is still unlawful,
considering that Section 35 of RA 4136 states that the maximum allowable speed for trucks and
buses must not exceed 50 kilometers per hour. We are, therefore, unpersuaded by the defendants-
appellants’ claim that it was the driver of [the] Galant Sigma who was negligent by not observing
Sections 42(d) and 43(c) of RA 4136-A. Second sentence of Section 42 provides that the driver of any
vehicle traveling at any unlawful speed shall forfeit any right of way which he might otherwise have.
A person driving a vehicle is presumed negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was violating a
traffic regulation. The excessive speed employed by Mejia was the proximate cause of the collision
that led to the sudden death of Teresa Elena and Armando. If the defendants-appellants truly
believe that the accident was caused by the negligence of the driver of the Galant Sigma, they
should have presented Mejia to the witness stand. Being the driver, Mejia would have been in the
best position to establish their thesis that he was negligent when the mishap happened. Under the
RULES OF EVIDENCE (Section 3[e], Rule 131), such suppression gives rise to the presumption that his
testimony would have been adverse, if presented. It must be stressed further that Mejia left the
scene, not reporting the fatal accident to the authorities neither did he wait for the police to arrive.
He only resurfaced on the day after the incident. This is a clear transgression of Section 55 of RA
4136-A which provides:
SEC. 55 Duty of driver in case of accident. - In the [event] that any accident should occur as a result of
the operation of a motor vehicle upon a highway, the driver shall stop immediately, and, if
requested by any person present, shall show his driver's license, give his true name and address and
also the true name and address of the owner of the motor vehicle.
No driver of a motor vehicle concerned in a vehicular accident shall leave the scene of the accident
without aiding the victim, except under any of the following circumstances:
1. If he is in imminent danger of being seriously harmed by any person or persons by reason
of the accident;
2. If he reports the accident to the nearest officer of the law; or
3. If he has to summon a physician or nurse to aid the victim.
xxxx
Equally untenable is the defendants-appellants contention that it would be impossible for the
shuttle bus which was traveling at 70 kilometers per hour to stop. In view of this assertion, we quote
with favor the statement of Justice Feliciano in the Kapalaran case that the law seeks to stop and
prevent the slaughter and maiming of people (whether passenger or not) and the destruction of
property (whether freight or not) on our highways by buses, the very size and power of which seem
often to inflame the minds of the drivers. To our mind, if a vehicle was travelling in an allowable
speed, its driver would not have a difficulty in applying the brakes.
Anent the second issue raised, petitioner insists that it exercised the due diligence of a good father
of a family in the selection and supervision of its employees. The RTC and the CA find otherwise.
Under Article 218012 of the New Civil Code, when an injury is caused by the negligence of the
employee, there instantly arises a presumption of law that there was negligence on the part of the
master or employer either in the selection of the servant or employee, or in supervision over him
after selection or both. The liability of the employer under Article 2180 is direct and immediate; it is
not conditioned upon prior recourse against the negligent employee and a prior showing of the
insolvency of such employee. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the private respondents (in this case,
the petitioner) to prove that they exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection
and supervision of their employee.13
Petitioner asserts that it had submitted and presented during trial, numerous documents in support
of its claim that it had exercised the proper diligence in both the selection and supervision of its
employees. Among those proofs are documents showing Mejia's proficiency and physical
examinations, as well as his NBI clearances. The Employee Staff Head of the Human Resource
Division of the petitioner also testified that Mejia was constantly under supervision and was given
daily operational briefings. Nevertheless, the RTC and the CA were correct in finding those pieces of
evidence presented by the petitioner insufficient.
In Manliclic v. Calaunan,14 this Court ruled that:
In the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to examine them as to their
qualifications, experience and service records. In the supervision of employees, the employer must
formulate standard operating procedures, monitor their implementation and impose disciplinary
measures for the breach thereof. To fend off vicarious liability, employers must submit concrete
proof, including documentary evidence, that they complied with everything that was incumbent on
them.
In Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of Appeals, it was explained that:
Due diligence in the supervision of employees on the other hand, includes the formulation of
suitable rules and regulations for the guidance of employees and the issuance of proper instructions
intended for the protection of the public and persons with whom the employer has relations
through his or its employees and the imposition of necessary disciplinary measures upon employees
in case of breach or as may be warranted to ensure the performance of acts indispensable to the
business of and beneficial to their employer. To this, we add that actual implementation and
monitoring of consistent compliance with said rules should be the constant concern of the employer,
acting through dependable supervisors who should regularly report on their supervisory functions.
In order that the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision of employees may be
deemed sufficient and plausible, it is not enough to emptily invoke the existence of said company
guidelines and policies on hiring and supervision. As the negligence of the employee gives rise to the
presumption of negligence on the part of the employer, the latter has the burden of proving that it
has been diligent not only in the selection of employees but also in the actual supervision of their
work. The mere allegation of the existence of hiring procedures and supervisory policies, without
anything more, is decidedly not sufficient to overcome such presumption.
We emphatically reiterate our holding, as a warning to all employers, that "the formulation of
various company policies on safety without showing that they were being complied with is not
sufficient to exempt petitioner from liability arising from negligence of its employees. It is incumbent
upon petitioner to show that in recruiting and employing the erring driver the recruitment
procedures and company policies on efficiency and safety were followed." x x x.15
Applying the above ruling, the CA, therefore, committed no error in finding that the evidence
presented by petitioner is wanting. Thus, the CA ruled:
In the present case, Filsyn merely presented evidence on the alleged care it took in the selection or
hiring of Mejia way back in 1974 or ten years before the fatal accident. Neither did Filsyn present
any proof of the existence of the rules and regulations governing the conduct of its employees. It is
significant to note that in employing Mejia, who is not a high school graduate, Filsyn waived its long-
standing policy requirement of hiring only high school graduates. It insufficiently failed to explain the
reason for such waiver other than their allegation of Mejia's maturity and skill for the job.
As revealed by the testimony of Rolando Landicho, Filsyn admitted that their shuttle buses were
used to ferry Filsyn's employees for three shifts. It failed to show whether or not Mejia was on duty
driving buses for all three shifts. On the other hand, the trial court found that Mejia, by the different
shifts would have been on the job for more than eight hours. Fylsin did not even sufficiently prove
that it exercised the required supervision of Mejia by ensuring rest periods, particularly for its night
shift drivers who are working on a time when most of us are usually taking rest. As correctly argued
by the plaintiffs-appellees, this is significant because the accident happened at 11:30 p.m., when the
shuttle bus was under the control of a driver having no passenger at all. Despite, the lateness of the
hour and the darkness of the surrounding area, the bus was travelling at a speed of 70 kilometers
per hour.
In view of the absence of sufficient proof of its exercise of due diligence, Filsyn cannot escape its
solidary liability as the owner of the wayward bus and the employer of the negligent driver of the
wayward bus. x x x
As to the amount of the damages awarded by the CA, petitioner claims that it is not in accord with
the evidence on record. It explained that the amounts used in computing for compensatory damages
were based mainly on the assertions of the respondents as to the amount of salary being received
by the two deceased at the time of their deaths.1awphil
This Court, in its ruling,16 expounded on the nature of compensatory damages, thus:
Under Article 2199 of the New Civil Code, actual damages include all the natural and probable
consequences of the act or omission complained of, classified as one for the loss of what a person
already possesses (daño emergente)and the other, for the failure to receive, as a benefit, that which
would have pertained to him (lucro cesante). As expostulated by the Court in PNOC Shipping and
Transport Corporation v. Court of Appeals:17
Under Article 2199 of the Civil Code, actual or compensatory damages are those awarded in
satisfaction of, or in recompense for, loss or injury sustained. They proceed from a sense of natural
justice and are designed to repair the wrong that has been done, to compensate for the injury
inflicted and not to impose a penalty. In actions based on torts or quasi-delicts, actual damages
include all the natural and probable consequences of the act or omission complained of. There are
two kinds of actual or compensatory damages: one is the loss of what a person already
possesses (daño emergente), and the other is the failure to receive as a benefit that which would
have pertained to him (lucro cesante).18
The burden of proof is on the party who would be defeated if no evidence would be presented on
either side. The burden is to establish one’s case by a preponderance of evidence which means that
the evidence, as a whole, adduced by one side, is superior to that of the other. Actual damages are
not presumed. The claimant must prove the actual amount of loss with a reasonable degree of
certainty premised upon competent proof and on the best evidence obtainable. Specific facts that
could afford a basis for measuring whatever compensatory or actual damages are borne must be
pointed out. Actual damages cannot be anchored on mere surmises, speculations or conjectures. As
the Court declared:
As stated at the outset, to enable an injured party to recover actual or compensatory damages, he is
required to prove the actual amount of loss with reasonable degree of certainty premised upon
competent proof and on the best evidence available. The burden of proof is on the party who would
be defeated if no evidence would be presented on either side. He must establish his case by a
preponderance of evidence which means that the evidence, as a whole, adduced by one side is
superior to that of the other. In other words, damages cannot be presumed and courts, in making an
award, must point out specific facts that could afford a basis for measuring whatever compensatory
or actual damages are borne.19
The records show that the CA did not err in awarding the said amounts, nor was there any mistake in
its computation. The respondents were able to establish their case by a preponderance of evidence.
However, the petitioner is correct when it stated that the award of ₱100,000.00 as moral damages is
excessive. Jurisprudence has set the amount to ₱50,000.00.20
WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review is hereby DENIED. Consequently, the Decision of the Court of
Appeals, dated August 15, 2001, is hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the moral
damages be reduced to ₱50,000.00.
SO ORDERED.