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Case No.

24
As Distinguished from a Breach of Contract
The liability of RCPI as to Grace Infante is based on the breach of contract while with her
co-plaintiff is based on quasi-delict. Article 1170 of the Civil Code provides that those who
in the performance of their obligations are guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay, and those
who in any manner contravene the tenor thereof, are liable for damages.
RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (RCPI) vs. ALFONSO VERCHEZ,
GRACE VERCHEZ-INFANTE, MARDONIO INFANTE, ZENAIDA VERCHEZ-CATIBOG, AND
FORTUNATO CATIBOG
G.R. No. 164349 January 31, 2006
CARPIO MORALES, J.

Facts:
On January 21, 1991, Grace Verchez-Infante (Grace) hired the services of Radio
Communications of the Philippines, Inc. (RCPI) to send a telegram to her sister who lives in
Quezon City respondent Zenaida Verchez-Catibog (Zenaida), asking her to send money for their
mother Editha Verchez (Editha) who at that time was confined in a hospital in Sorsogon. Since
no response was received from Zenaida, Grace sent a letter to Zenaida, this time thru JRS
Delivery Service. It took 25 days before the telegram message was conveyed to Zenaida.

When Editha died a year later, her husband, respondent Alfonso Verchez (Alfonso), along with
his daughters Grace and Zenaida and their respective spouses, filed an action for damages
against RCPI before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Sorsogon. They alleged that the delay in
the delivery of the message contributed to the early death of Editha. RCPI argues that there is no
privity of contract between other respondents except with Grace, also the delay in the delivery is
caused by force majeure, maintaining further that they exercised due diligence in choosing their
employees; hence they must be released from any liability.

The RTC rendered judgement against RCPI. According to the RTC, the obligation of the
defendant to deliver the telegram to the addressee is of an urgent nature. Its essence is the early
delivery of the telegram to the concerned person. Yet, due to the negligence of its employees, the
defendant failed to discharge of its obligation on time making it liable for damages under Article
2176.

The CA affirmed the decision of the RTC.

Issue: Whether the award of moral damages was proper.

Held: Yes. RCPI’s liability is anchored on culpa contractual or breach of contract with regard to
Grace, and on tort with regard to her co-plaintiffs-herein-co-respondents. Article 1170 of the Civil
Code provides that those who in the performance of their obligations are guilty of fraud,
negligence, or delay, and those who in any manner contravene the tenor thereof, are liable for
damages.

In the case at bar, RCPI bound itself to deliver the telegram within the shortest possible time. It
took 25 days, however, for RCPI to deliver it. RCPI invokes force majeure, specifically, the alleged
radio noise and interferences which adversely affected the transmission and/or reception of the
telegraphic message. Additionally, its messenger claimed he could not locate the address of
Zenaida and it was only on the third attempt that he was able to deliver the telegram.

For the defense of force majeure to prosper, it is necessary that one has committed no negligence
or misconduct that may have occasioned the loss. An act of God cannot be invoked to protect a
person who has failed to take steps to forestall the possible adverse consequences of such a
loss. One ‘s negligence may have concurred with an act of God in producing damage and injury
to another; nonetheless, showing that the immediate or proximate cause of the damage or injury
was a fortuitous event would not exempt one from liability. When the effect is found to be partly
the result of a person ‘s participation – whether by active intervention, neglect or failure to act –
the whole occurrence is humanized and removed from the rules applicable to acts of God.

Assuming arguendo that fortuitous circumstances prevented RCPI from delivering the telegram
at the soonest possible time, it should have at least informed Grace of the non-transmission and
the non-delivery so that she could have taken steps to remedy the situation. But it did not. There
lies the fault or negligence.

And for quasi-delict, RCPI is liable to Grace‘s co-respondents following Article 2176 of the Civil
Code which provides that whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being
fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no
pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by
the provisions of this Chapter.

RCPI‘s liability as an employer could of course be avoided if it could prove that it observed
the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage provided in Article 2180 of the Civil
Code. RCPI failed, however, to prove that it observed all the diligence of a good father of a family
to prevent damage.
As Distinguished from a Breach of Contract

Case No. 25

AIR FRANCE vs. RAFAEL CARRASCOSO and the HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
G.R. No. L-21438 September 28, 1966
SANCHEZ, J.

The breach of contract is based on the failure to furnish first class seats in Bangkok. The
tortious act is based on the personal misconduct, injurious language, indignities and
abuses from such employees.

Facts:

In March 1958, Rafael Carrascoso and several other Filipinos were tourists en route to Rome
from Manila. Carrascoso was issued a first class round trip ticket by Air France. But during a stop-
over in Bangkok, he was asked by the plane manager of Air France to vacate his seat because a
white man allegedly has a “better right” than him. Carrascoso protested but when things got
heated and upon advise of other Filipinos on board, Carrascoso gave up his seat and was
transferred to the plane’s tourist class.
After their tourist trip when Carrascoso was already in the Philippines, he sued Air France for
damages for the embarrassment he suffered during his trip. In court, Carrascoso testified, among
others, that he when he was forced to take the tourist class, he went to the plane’s pantry where
he was approached by a plane purser who told him that he noted in the plane’s journal the
following: First-class passenger was forced to go to the tourist class against his will, and that the
captain refused to intervene.
The CFI eventually awarded damages in favor of Rafael Carrascoso P25,000.00 by way of moral
damages; P10,000.00 as exemplary damages; P393.20 representing the difference in fare
between first class and tourist class for the portion of the trip Bangkok-Rome, these various
amounts with interest at the legal rate, from the date of the filing of the complaint until paid; plus
P3,000.00 for attorneys' fees; and the costs of suit.
This was affirmed by the Court of Appeals which slightly reduced the amount of refund on
Carrascoso's plane ticket from P393.20 to P383.10, and voted to affirm the appealed decision "in
all other respects", with costs against petitioner.
Air France is assailing the decision of the trial court and the CA. It avers that the issuance of a
first class ticket to Carrascoso was not an assurance that he will be seated in first class because
allegedly in truth and in fact, that was not the true intent between the parties.

Issue: Whether Rafael Carrascoso is entitled to damages.

Held: Yes. First, That there was a contract to furnish plaintiff a first class passage covering,
amongst others, the Bangkok-Teheran leg; Second, That said contract was breached when
petitioner failed to furnish first class transportation at Bangkok; and Third, that there was
bad faith when petitioner's employee compelled Carrascoso to leave his first class
accommodation berth "after he was already, seated" and to take a seat in the tourist class, by
reason of which he suffered inconvenience, embarrassments and humiliations, thereby causing
him mental anguish, serious anxiety, wounded feelings and social humiliation, resulting in moral
damages. It is true that there is no specific mention of the term bad faith in the complaint. But, the
inference of bad faith is there, it may be drawn from the facts and circumstances set forth therein.
The contract was averred to establish the relation between the parties. But the stress of the action
is put on wrongful expulsion.
With regards to the claim that the issuance of a first class ticket to Carrascoso was not an
assurance that he will be seated in first class because allegedly in truth and in fact, that was not
the true intent between the parties, the SC disregarded the argument. If, as petitioner
underscores, a first-class-ticket holder is not entitled to a first class seat, notwithstanding the fact
that seat availability in specific flights is therein confirmed, then an air passenger is placed in the
hollow of the hands of an airline. What security then can a passenger have? It will always be an
easy matter for an airline aided by its employees, to strike out the very stipulations in the ticket,
and say that there was a verbal agreement to the contrary. What if the passenger had a schedule
to fulfill? We have long learned that, as a rule, a written document speaks a uniform language;
that spoken word could be notoriously unreliable. If only to achieve stability in the relations
between passenger and air carrier, adherence to the ticket so issued is desirable. Such is the
case here.

The responsibility of an employer for the tortious act of its employees need not be essayed. It is
well settled in law. 41 For the willful malevolent act of petitioner's manager, petitioner, his
employer, must answer. Article 21 of the Civil Code says:

ART. 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to
morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.
There is also a tortuous act based on culpa aquiliana. Passengers do not contract merely for
transportation. They have a right to be treated by the carrier’s employees with kindness, respect,
courtesy and due consideration. They are entitled to be protected against personal
misconduct, injurious language, indignities and abuses from such employees. So it is, that
any rule or discourteous conduct on the part of employees towards a passenger gives the
latter an action for damages against the carrier. Air France’s contract with Carrascoso is one
attended with public duty. The stress of Carrascoso’s action is placed upon his wrongful
expulsion. This is a violation of public duty by the Air France — a case of quasi-delict. Damages
are proper.
Case No. 26

Specific Case of Liability


a. Possessor of Animals

Regardless if the animal was tame or vicious or if it had been lost and removed from the
control of the Vestils, liability still attach because one who possesses an animal for utility,
pleasure or service must answer for the damage which the animal may had caused.

PURITA MIRANDA VESTIL and AGUSTIN VESTIL vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE


COURT, DAVID UY and TERESITA UY
G.R. No. 74431 November 6, 1989
CRUZ, J.

Facts: On July 29, 1915, Theness Tan Uy (3 years old) was bitten by a dog while she was playing
with a child of the Vestils in the house of the late Vicente Miranda, the father of Purita Vestil, at F.
Ramos Street in Cebu City. She was rushed to the Cebu General Hospital, where she was treated
for "multiple lacerated wounds on the forehead" 1 and administered an anti-rabies vaccine by Dr.
Antonio Tautjo. She was discharged after nine days but was readmitted one week later due to
"vomiting of saliva." The following day, on August 15, 1975, the child died. The cause of death
was certified as broncho-pneumonia.

Seven months later, the Uys sued for damages, alleging that the Vestils were liable to them as
the possessors of "Andoy," the dog that bit and eventually killed their daughter. The Vestils
rejected the charge, insisting that the dog belonged to the deceased Vicente Miranda, that it was
a tame animal, and that in any case no one had witnessed it bite. Also, that the dog does not
belong to her but to Vicente Miranda, her father. She is not the sole owner of the unpartitioned
property, there are other heirs.

The CFI dismissed the complaint and moved in favor of the Vestils.

The CA however ruled otherwise. It found that the Vestils were in possession of the house and
the dog and so should be responsible under Article 2183 of the Civil Code for the injuries caused
by the dog. It also held that the child had died as a result of the dog bites and not for causes
independent thereof as submitted by the appellees.

Issue: Whether the Vestils are liable for damages.

Held: Yes. Theness developed hydrophobia, a symptom of rabies, as a result of the dog bites,
and second, that asphyxia broncho-pneumonia, which ultimately caused her death, was a
complication of rabies.

The Vestils are the possessors of the property and Purita is the only heir residing in Cebu City.
They use it as a second home and visited weekly - renting it out to the boarders, paying for utilities
and hiring the maid who cleaned and cooked for the house occupants. An occupant of the
household (Marcial Lao) testified that they maintain the house for business purposes and that he
is one of the boarder of said property. Liability is due to the possession of the dog, regardless of
the ownership of the dog or property. Under Article 2183, regardless if the animal was tame or
vicious or if it had been lost and removed from the control of the Vestils, liability still attach because
one who possesses an animal for utility, pleasure or service must answer for the damage which
the animal may had caused.

Article 2183 reads as follows:

The possessor of an animal or whoever may make use of the same is responsible for the damage
which it may cause, although it may escape or be lost. 'This responsibility shall cease only in case
the damages should come from force majeure from the fault of the person who has suffered
damage.