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70. Philippine Rabbit Bus lines, Inc vs IAC a.

a. No skid marks of the Rabbit bus was found in the vicinity of the collision,
GR Nos. 66102-04 | August 30, 1990 | MEDIALDEA, J. before or after the point of impact.
TOPIC: Good Condition in Carriage by Land b. no vehicles following the jeepney
c. no oncoming vehicles except the bus.
Nature: Petition For Review On Certiorari d. The weather condition of that day was fair.
Petitioner: Phil. Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc 7. A criminal complaint was filed against the two drivers for Multiple Homicide. The
Respondent: IAC, Casiano Pascua, Caridad Pascua, Adelaida Estomo, Erlinda Meriales, case against delos Reyes (driver of Phil. Rabbit) was dismissed for insufficieny of
Mercedes Lorenzo, Alejandro Morales and Zenaida Parejas evidence. Manalo (jeepney driver), however, was convicted and sentenced to
suffer imprisonment.
Summary: The Jeepney Driver stepped on the brake when right rear wheel of the jeepney 8. 3 complaints for recovery of damages were then filed before the CFI of Pangasinan.
was detached - causing it to make a U-turn to the other lane. The RABBIT BUS then hit the (1) Spouses Casiano Pascua and Juana Valdez sued as heirs of Catalina Pascua while
jeep causing the death of three passengers and injuries to the remaining passengers. RTC Caridad Pascua sued in her behalf Court of First Instance of Pangasinan. (2) Spouses
ruled that BUS OWNER and DRIVER, and JEEPNEY OWNER and DRIVER, were all liable to the Manuel Millares and Fidencia Arcica sued as heirs of Erlinda Meriales. And (3)
victims. IAC reversed RTC. SC held that BUS OWNER and DRIVER not negligent – only the spouses Mariano Estomo and Dionisia Sarmiento sued as heirs of Adelaida Estomo.
JEEPNEY OWNER for breach of the contract of carriage for failure to safely carry his 9. All 3 cases impleaded as defendants, Jeepney owners and JEEPNEY DRIVER for
passenger to his destination contractual liability while RABBIT and RABBIT DRIVER for quasi-delict.
Doctrine: (1) In culpa contractual, the moment a passenger dies or is injured, the carrier is 10. RTC: ruled in favour of victims and heirs of victims, finding defendants negligent
presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, and this disputable presumption and having breached the contract of carriage with their passengers and ordering
may only be overcome by evidence that he had observed extra-ordinary diligence as them, jointly and severally, to pay the plaintiffs damages.
prescribed in Articles 1733, 1755 and 1756 of NCC or that the death or injury of the 11. IAC: reversed the ruling of the trial court, applying primarily (1) the doctrine of last
passenger was due to a fortuitous event. (2) In an action for damages against the carrier for clear chance, (2) the presumption that drivers who bump the rear of another
his failure to safely carry his passenger to his destination, an accident caused either by vehicle guilty and the cause of the accident unless contradicted by other evidence,
defects in the automobile or through the negligence of its driver, is not a caso fortuito which and (3) the substantial factor test that concluded that RABBIT DRIVER was
would avoid the carriers liability for damages. negligent.

Facts: ISSUE: WON RABBIT DRIVER IS NEGLIGENT.


1. At 11am on December 24, 1966, Catalina Pascua, Caridad Pascua, Adelaida Estomo,
Erlinda Meriales, Mercedes Lorenzo, Alejandro Morales and Zenaida Parejas
HELD: NO.
boarded the jeepney owned by spouses Isidro Mangune and Guillerma Carreon and
driven by Tranquilino Manalo at Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga bound for Carmen,
Rosales, Pangasinan to spend Christmas with their families for P 24.00.  Last Clear chance Doctrine application in a suit is between the owners and drivers
2. Upon reaching barrio Sinayoan, San Manuel, Tarlac, the right rear wheel of the of the two colliding vehicles. It does not arise where a passenger demands
jeepney detached causing it to run in an unbalanced position. responsibility from the carrier to enforce its contractual obligations. For it would be
3. Driver stepped on the brake, causing the jeepney to make a U-turn, invading and inequitable to exempt the negligent driver of the jeepney and its owners on the
eventually stopping on the opposite lane of the road. The jeepney's front faced the ground that the other driver was likewise guilty of negligence. Court erred in
south (from where it came) and its rear faced the north (towards where it was applying in this case this doctrine.
going). To simplify, umikot yung jeep papunta sa kabilang lane.  On the presumption that drivers who bump the rear of another vehicle guilty and
4. The jeepney occupied and blocked the greater portion of the western lane, which is the cause of the accident, unless contradicted by other evidence, the respondent
the right of way of vehicles coming from the north. court that the rear vehicle is given the responsibility of avoiding a collision with the
5. Petitioner Phil. Rabbit Bus Lines claims that almost immediately after the sudden U- front vehicle for it is the rear vehicle who has full control of the situation as it is in a
turn the bus bumped the right rear portion of the jeep. Defendants, on the other position to observe the vehicle in front of it. It would have been correct were it not
hand, claim that the bus stopped a few minutes before hitting the jeepney. As a for the undisputed fact that the U-turn made by the jeepney was abrupt. The
result of the collision, three passengers of the jeepney (Catalina Pascua, Erlinda jeepney, which was then traveling on the eastern shoulder, making a straight, skid
Meriales and Adelaida Estomo) died while the other jeepney passengers sustained mark of approximately 35 meters, crossed the eastern lane at a sharp angle,
physical injuries. making a skid mark of approximately 15 meters from the eastern shoulder to the
point of impact. Hence, RABBIT DRIVER could not have anticipated the sudden U-
6. The police investigators of Tacpal and policemen of San Manuel, Tarlac, Tarlac,
upon arrival at the scene of the mishap, prepared a sketch showing the relative turn executed by Manalo.
positions of the two vehicles.  SUBSTANTIAL factor test is if the actor's conduct is a substantial factor in bringing
about harm to another, the fact that the actor neither foresaw nor should have
foreseen the extent of the harm or the manner in which it occurred does not The decision of the CFI dated December 27, 1978 is REINSTATED MODIFICATION
prevent him from being liable. Lower Court find defendant bus running at a fast that only Isidro Mangune, Guillerma Carreon and Filriters Guaranty Assurance
speed when the accident occurred and did not even make the slightest effort to Corporation, Inc. are liable to the victims or their heirs and that the amount of
avoid the accident. The bus driver's conduct is a substantial factor in bringing about indemnity for loss of life is increased to thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00).
harm to the passengers of the jeepney because i the bus was the physical force
which brought the injury and death to the passengers of the jeepney. HOWEVER,
SC found that the bus was within the speed limit allowed in highways. RABBIT
DRIVER had little time (more or less 2 seconds) to react to the situation.
 SC find that the proximate cause of the accident was the negligence of Manalo and
spouses Mangune and Carreon. They all failed to exercise the precautions that are
needed precisely pro hac vice.
 In culpa contractual, the moment a passenger dies or is injured, the carrier is
presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, and this disputable
presumption may only be overcome by evidence that he had observed extra-
ordinary diligence as prescribed in Articles 1733, 1755 and 1756 of NCC or that the
death or injury of the passenger was due to a fortuitous event.
 The negligence of Manalo was proven during the trial by the unrebutted
testimonies of Caridad Pascua, the police who arrived on the scene, his (Manalo's)
conviction and the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur supra. Spouses
Mangune and Carreon alleged that their mechanic regularly maintains the jeepney
and on the day before the collision, the mechanic actually checked the vehicle and
even tightened the bolts, thus the incident was caused by a caso fortuito.
 In any event, in an action for damages against the carrier for his failure to safely
carry his passenger to his destination, an accident caused either by defects in the
automobile or through the negligence of its driver, is not a caso fortuito which
would avoid the carriers liability for damages.
 IT IS erroneous that the driver be held jointly and severally liable with the carrier in
case of breach of the contract of carriage. The rationale behind this is readily
discernible.
 Firstly, the contract of carriage is between the carrier and the passenger, and in the
event of contractual liability, the carrier is exclusively responsible therefore to the
passenger, even if such breach be due to the negligence of his driver. In other
words, the carrier can neither shift his liability on the contract to his driver nor
share it with him, for his driver's negligence is his.
 Secondly, if We make the driver jointly and severally liable with the carrier, that
would make the carrier's liability personal instead of merely vicarious and
consequently, entitled to recover only the share which corresponds to the
driver, contradictory to the explicit provision of Article 2181 of the NCC.

DECISION:

SC affirm the amount of damages adjudged by the trial court, except with respect
to the indemnity for loss of life. Under Art. 1764 in rel. to Art. 2206 of the NCC, the
amount of damages for the death of a passenger is at least three thousand pesos
(P3,000.00). The prevailing jurisprudence has increased the amount of P3,000.00 to
P30,000.00 ACCORDINGLY, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The decision of the
Intermediate Appellate Court dated July 29, 1983 and its resolution dated November 28,
1983 are SET ASIDE.