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Philippine National Railways (PNR) vs. damages.

Moving for reconsideration of the

CA (GR L-55347, 4 October 1985) above decision, the PNR raised for the first
time, as a defense, the doctrine of state
Facts: immunity from suit. The motion was denied.
On 10 September 1972, at about 9:00 p.m., Hence the petition for review.
Winifredo Tupang, husband of Rosario
Tupang, boarded Train 516 of the Philippine Issue: WON there was contributory
National Railways at Libmanan, Camarines negligence on the part of Tupang.
Sur, as a paying passenger bound for Manila.
Due to some mechanical defect, the train Held:
stopped at Sipocot, Camarines Sur, for PNR has the obligation to transport its
repairs, taking some two hours before the passengers to their destinations and to
train could resume its trip to Manila. observe extraordinary diligence in doing so.
Unfortunately, upon passing Iyam Bridge at Death or any injury suffered by any of its
Lucena, Quezon, Winifredo Tupang fell off passengers gives rise to the presumption
the train resulting in his death. The train did that it was negligent in the performance of
not stop despite the alarm raised by the its obligation under the contract of carriage.
other passengers that somebody fell from PNR failed to overthrow such presumption of
the train. Instead, the train conductor, negligence with clear and convincing
Perfecto Abrazado, called the station agent evidence, inasmuch as PNR does not deny,
at Candelaria, Quezon, and requested for (1) that the train boarded by the deceased
verification of the information. Police Winifredo Tupang was so overcrowded that
authorities of Lucena City were dispatched to he and many other passengers had no
the Iyam Bridge where they found the lifeless choice but to sit on the open platforms
body of Winifredo Tupang. As shown by the between the coaches of the train, (2) that
autopsy report, Winifredo Tupang died of the train did not even slow down when it
cardio-respiratory failure due to massive approached the Iyam Bridge which was
cerebral hemorrhage due to traumatic injury. under repair at the time, and (3) that neither
Tupang was later buried in the public did the train stop, despite the alarm raised
cemetery of Lucena City by the local police by other passengers that a person had fallen
authorities. off the train at Iyam Bridge.

Upon complaint filed by the deceased’s While PNR failed to exercise extraordinary
widow, Rosario Tupang, the then CFI Rizal, diligence as required by law, it appears that
after trial, held the PNR liable for damages the deceased was chargeable with
for breach of contract of carriage and contributory negligence. Since he opted to
ordered it to pay Rosario Tupang the sum of sit on the open platform between the
P12,000.00 for the death of Winifredo coaches of the train, he should have held
Tupang, plus P20,000.00 for loss of his tightly and tenaciously on the upright metal
earning capacity, and the further sum of bar found at the side of said platform to
P10,000.00 as moral damages, and avoid falling off from the speeding train.
P2,000.00 as attorney’s fees, and cost. Such contributory negligence, while not
On appeal, the Appellate Court sustained the exempting the PNR from liability,
holding of the trial court that the PNR did not nevertheless justified the deletion of the
exercise the utmost diligence required by amount adjudicated as moral damages.
law of a common carrier. It further increased The Supreme Court modified the decision of
the amount adjudicated by the trial court by the appellate court by eliminating therefrom
ordering PNR to pay the Rosario Tupang an the amounts of P10,000.00 and P5,000.00
additional sum of P5,000,00 as exemplary
adjudicated as moral and exemplary
damages, respectively; without costs.