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CASE DIGESTS TORTS AND DAMAGES Outline by Atty. Nicanor B. Jimeno & Atty. Linda Jimeno
CASE DIGESTS
TORTS AND DAMAGES
Outline by Atty. Nicanor B. Jimeno & Atty. Linda Jimeno
Table of Contents
(As of 1 st semester SY 2010-2011)
Quasi-Delict (Art. 2176)
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Barredo vs. Garcia and Almario
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Baksh vs. Court of Appeals
Dulay vs. Court of Appeals
Damage, Damages, Injury
People vs. Ballesteros
Elcano vs. Hill
Cinco vs. Canonoy
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Custodio vs. Court of Appeals Board of Liquidators vs. Heirs of Kalaw Custodio vs. Court of Appeals Art. 2176 of the Civil Code Garcia vs. Florido

​ 13 ​ 13 ​ 14 ​ 14 Andamo vs. Court of Appeals ​ 15
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Andamo vs. Court of Appeals
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Taylor vs. Manila Electric Railroad and Light Co. Tayag vs. Alcantara Quasi Delict vs. Delict Barredo vs. Garcia- Art. 2177 Discussion People vs. Ligon

Padilla vs. Court of Appeals Cruz vs. Court of Appeals Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. vs. People Quasi-delict vs. Breach of Contract Cangco vs. Manila Railroad Co. Fores vs. Miranda Far East Bank and Trust Company vs. Court of Appeals Air France vs. Carrascoso

PSBA vs. Court of Appeals

Syquia vs. Court of Appeals and Manila Memorial Park and Cemetery, Inc.

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Vicente Calalas vs. Court of Appeals Negligence Picart vs. Smith Negligence in special cases (Children)

JARCO Marketing Corporation vs. Court of Appeals and Spouses Aguilar Del Rosario vs. Manila Electric Company Ylarde vs. Aquino Negligence (Experts/Professionals)

Cullion Ice, Fish and Electric Company vs. Philippine Motors Corporation US v. Pineda

BPI v. CA Intoxication US vs. Baggay Degrees of Negligence Marinduque vs.Workmen’s Compensation Res Ipsa Loquitur Ramos vs. CA

Batiquin vs. CA D.M. Consunji vs. CA

Defenses (Plaintiff’s negligence) Manila Electric Co. vs Remonquillo Bernardo vs. Legaspi Bernal vs. House PLDT vs. CA

Defenses (Contributory Negligence) Genobiagon vs. Court of Appeals Rakes vs. Atlantic

Philippine Bank of Commerce v CA (Lipana) Defenses (Fortuitous Event) Juntilla vs. Fontanar Hernandez vs. Commission on Audit Gotesco vs. Chatto and Lina Delza Chatto

Servando vs. Philippine Steam Navigation Co NAPOCOR vs. CA Southeastern College Inc. v CA ASSUMPTION OF RISK Afialda vs. Hisole

Ilocos Norte Electric Company (INEL Co.)vs. Court of Appeals DUE DILIGENCE

Ramos, et al vs. Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of the P.I., et al Metro Manila Transit Corp. (MMTC) vs. CA PRESCRIPTION Kramer vs. Court of Appeals Allied Banking Corporation vs. Court of Appeals Causation (Proximate Cause) Bataclan vs. Medina

Fernando vs. Court of Appeals and the City of Davao Urbano vs. IAC Phoenix Construction vs. IAC

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Pilipinas Bank v. CA ​ 58 Quezon City Government vs. Fulgencio Dacara ​ 59 Remote
Pilipinas Bank v. CA
58
Quezon City Government vs. Fulgencio Dacara
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Remote cause, distinguished from Proximate case
Gabeto vs. Araneta
60
Urbano vs. IAC
61
Concurrent Cause, distinguished from Proximate
61
Far Eastern Shipping Co. vs. Court of Appeals
Subido vs. Custodio
61
61
TESTS of proximate cause- the “BUT FOR” test
62
Bataclan vs. Medina
Substantial Factor Test
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Philippine Rabbit vs. IAC and Casiano Pascua et al. Cause v. Condition Phoenix Construction vs. IAC Manila Electric Co. vs. Remoquillo Rodrigueza vs. Manila Railroad Co. Efficient Intervening Cause McKee vs. IAC Manila Electric vs. Remonquillo Teague vs. Fernandez Urbano vs. IAC Last Clear Chance

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Picart vs. Smith Bustamante vs. Court Of Appeals Phoenix Construction Inc. vs. IAC ​ 68
Picart vs. Smith
Bustamante vs. Court Of Appeals
Phoenix Construction Inc. vs. IAC
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69
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Philippine Bank Of Commerce vs. CA (Lipana)
Glan People’s Lumber And Hardware vs. IAC
Pantranco vs. Baesa
Ong vs. Metropolitan Water District
ANURAN vs. BUÑO
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CANLAS vs. CA
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Consolidated Bank vs. Court Of Appeals
ENGADA vs. CA
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Strict liability
Vestil vs. IAC
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Things thrown from a building
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Dingcong vs. Kanaan
77
Death/Injuries in the course of employment
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Afable vs. Singer Sewing Machine Company
78
Coca Cola Bottlers vs. Ca
Interference of Contractual Relations
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Gilchrist vs. Cuddy, et al.
So Ping Bun vs. CA
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Guilatco vs. City of Dagupan
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Liability of Governmental Units
Worcester vs. Ocampo
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J. H. Chapman vs. James M. Underwood
Caedo vs. Yu Khe Thai
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Felina Rodriguez-Luna vs. IAC
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Vicarious liability of Parents Exconde vs .Capuno Salen vs Balce

FUELLAS v CADANO Gutierrez vs. Gutierrez Rodriguez-Luna v IAC Cuadra vs. Monfort Libi v. IAC

214 SCRA 16 (1990) Tamargo vs CA Vicarious liability of teachers and heads of institutions Mercado vs. CA Palisoc vs. CA Amadora vs. CA

Pasco vs. CFI

YLarde vs. Aquino Salvosa vs. IAC

St. Francis High School vs. CA PSBA vs. CA Soliman vs. Tuason

St. Mary’s Academy vs. Carpitanos Vicarious liability of owners and managers of establishments Philippine Rabbit vs. Philippine American Vicarious Liability of employers Philtranco vs. CA

Castilex vs. Vasquez Filamer vs. IAC NPC vs. CA

Light Rail Transit vs. Navidad Mckee vs. IAC Valenzuela vs. CA

Vicarious liability of the State E. Merritt vs Government Of The Philippine Islands Inocencio Rosete vs.The Auditor General Mendoza vs. De Leon, et al. Fontanilla vs. Maliaman

City of Manila vs. Teotico Liability of employees Araneta vs. De Joya Engineers/Architect- Nature of liability Lanuzo vs. Sy Bon Ping Malipol vs. Tan Viluan vs. CA

Torts with Independent Civil Actions (Violation of Civil and Political rights) Lim vs. Ponce De Leon Aberca vs. Ver MHP Garments vs. CA

Independent Civil Action (Defamation, Fraud and Physical Injuries) Marcia et al. vs.CA

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Madeja v. Caro Arafiles v. Phil. Journalists

Defamation MVRS vs. Islamic Fraud

Salta v. De Veyra Physical Injuries Capuno v. Pepsi Cola Corpus v. Paje Dulay v. CA Intentional Tort (Abuse of Right) Velayo v. Shell Saudi Arabia v. CA

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Globe Mackay v. CA Albenson v. CA

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Amonoy v. Gutierrez UE v. Jader

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Garciano v. CA, et al.

 

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Barons vs. CA BPI vs. CA

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Acts Contra Bonus Mora Ruiz v. Secretary of National Defense

Breach of promise to marry, seduction and sexual assault Wassmer vs. Velez

TANJANCO vs. SANTOS Bunag vs. CA

Constantino vs. Mendez

Quimiguing vs. Icao Pe vs. Pe

Lao vs. Associated Anglo American Tobacco Que vs. IAC Drilon vs CA Public Humiliation

Patricio vs. Leviste

Grand Union Supermarket, Inc. vs. Espino Unjust Dismissal Medina vs. Castro-Bartolome

Derelection of duty Amaro vs. Sumanguit

Violation of human dignity and Privacy Concepcion v. CA Concept of Damages Heirs of Borlado vs. Vda. De Bulan Lazatin vs. Twano

Actual or Compensatory Damages Algarra vs. Sandejas Kinds of Actual Damages

Integrated Packaging Corp. vs. CA

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Malicious Prosecution

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Quirante v. Intermediate Appellate Court Interest

Crismina Garments, Inc. vs. CA Mitigation of Liability Cerrano vs. Tan Chuco Moral Damages Kierulf vs. CA

Proof and Proximate Cause Miranda-Ribaya vs. Carbonell Del Rosario vs. CA Raagas vs. Traya

Enervida vs. Dela Torre People vs. Bugayong Francisco vs. GSIS Expertravel & Tours, Inc. vs. Court Of Appeals Unfounded suits

Editha and Glicerio Mijares vs. CA and Metro Drug, Inc. J Marketing vs. Sia Cometa vs. Court of Appeals Triple Eight Integrated Services, Inc vs. NLRC People of the Philippines vs. Pirame Arcona vs. Court of Appeals Factors in determining amount Philippine National Bank vs. Court of Appeals Gregorio Fule vs. Court of Appeals Philippine Airlines vs. Court of Appeals Valenzuela vs. CA Aurelio Sumaplong vs. Court of Appeals Lopez vs. Pan-American World Airways

Producers Bank of the Philippines vs. CA and Spouses Chua Who may recover? Strebel vs Figueras ABS-CBN vs. Court of Appeals National Power v. Philipp Brothers Nominal Damages Ventanilla vs. Gregorio Centeno Robes-Francisco Realty and Development Corp. vs.CFI People vs Gopio Dr. Armovit, et al. vs. CA and Northwest Airlines, Inc. Temperate Damages People vs. Singh People of the Philippines vs. Edison Plazo PNB vs. CA

Attorney’s fees

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Quasi-Delict (Art. 2176)

Barredo vs. Garcia and Almario

73 Phil. 607 (July 8, 1942)

Facts: A taxicab figured in a head-on collision with a carretela. The carretela overturned, causing death to one of its passengers, a 16-year old boy. A criminal case was instituted by the parents of the deceased against Fontanilla, the driver of the taxicab, wherein the former reserved the right to institute a separate civil action for damages. The driver of the taxicab was convicted. Subsequently, the parents instituted the present civil action for damages against Barredo, the employer of the taxicab driver. Barredo contends that his liability rests only on the provision of the penal code and hence, since no civil action has been filed against Fontanilla, he too cannot be held civilly responsible.

Issue: Can plaintiffs bring a separate civil action against the employer of the taxicab driver making him primarily and directly responsible under Art. 1903 of the Civil Code?

Held: YES. A Quasi-delict is separate and distinct from the civil responsibility arising from criminal liability. Under Article 1903 of the Civil Code, an employer is primarily and directly responsible for the negligent acts of his employee.

There are two remedies available for the parents to choose:

.

The first is under Article 100 of the Penal Code wherein the employer is only subsidiarily liable for damages arising from the crime committed by his employees. If the parents choose this remedy, the complainant must first exhaust the properties of the employee, before the employer’s properties could be made answerable.

.

The other action is under Article 1903 of the Civil code (quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana) wherein the negligent employer is held primarily liable, subject to the defense that he exercised the diligence of a good father of the family in the selection and engagement of his employees.

In this case, the parents chose the second type of action since it is more practical to file for damages against the employer, who is more solvent than his employee.

NOTE: The Barredo case was decided by the Supreme Court prior to the effectivity of the new Civil Code. The principle enunciated in said case (that responsibility for fault or negligence under a quasi-delict is separate and distinct from the negligence penalized under the Revised Penal Code) is now specifically embodied in Art. 2177 of the New Civil Code.

Elcano vs. Hill

77 SCRA 98 (May 26, 1977)

Facts: Reginald Hill was prosecuted criminally for killing Agapito Elcano. At the time of the occurrence, Reginald Hill is still a minor and, under laws effective at the time, also legally married. Reginald is still living and receives subsistence from his father, Marvin Hill. Reginald was acquitted on the ground that his acts were not criminal because of “lack of intent to kill, coupled with mistake.”

Issues: (1) Does the prior acquittal of Reginald bar the present civil action for damages? (2) Is Atty. Marvin Hill vicariously liable?

Held: 1. No. The acquittal of Reginald Hill in the criminal case does not extinguish his liability arising from quasi-delict. For one, the quantum of proof required in the criminal case differs from that required in a civil suit. To find the accused guilty in a criminal case, proof beyond reasonable doubt is required unlike in civil cases, preponderance of evidence is sufficient.

The concept of culpa acquiliana includes acts which are criminal in character or in violation of the penal law, whether voluntary or negligent. Art 2177 of the New Civil Code provides that “Responsibility for fault or negligence is separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. However, plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the defendant.”

Consequently, a separate civil action lies against the offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted, provided that the offended party is not allowed, if he is also criminally charged, to recover damages on both scores. And assuming awards made in the two cases vary, he would be entitled only to the bigger award of the two.

In other words, the extinction of civil liability refers exclusively to the civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code. The civil liability arising from quasi- delict is not extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case that the accused is acquitted.

2. While it is true that parental authority is terminated upon emancipation by marriage of the minor, such emancipation is not absolute and full. Reginald although married, was living with his father and still dependent from the latter. ART 2180 applies to Atty. Marvin Hill notwithstanding the emancipation by marriage of Reginald. The minor may be emancipated, but that does not mean that he is no longer under the responsibility of his parents.

In the instant case, it is not controverted that Reginald, although married, was living with his father and getting subsistence from him at the time of the occurrence in question. Factually, therefore, Reginald was still subservient to and dependent on his father, a situation which is not unusual.

However, inasmuch as Reginald is now of age (at the time the case reached the Supreme Court), it is a matter of equity that the liability of Atty. Hill should be declared merely subsidiary to that of his son.

Note: In this case, there is no doubt that Reginald killed Elcano. His acquittal is based on “lack of intent to kill, coupled with mistake” and not on the non-commission of the acts alleged.

Cinco vs. Canonoy

90 SCRA 369 (May 31, 1979)

Facts: On Feb 25, 1970, Cinco filed a complaint for recovery of damages on account of a vehicular accident involving his automobile and a jeepney driven by Romeo Hilot and operated by Valeriana Pepito and Carlos Pepito. Subsequently, a criminal case was filed against the driver Romeo Hilot arising from the same accident.

At the pre-trial in the civil case, counsel for private respondents moved to suspend the civil action pending the final determination of the criminal suit invoking Rule 111, Section 3(b) of the Rules of Court, which provides:

“(b) After a criminal action has been commenced, no civil action arising from the same offense can be prosecuted, and the same shall be suspended in whatever stage it may be found, unitl final judgment in the criminal proceeding has been rendered.”

The City Court of Mandaue ordered the suspension of the civil case.

Issue: Whether or not there can be an independent civil action for damage to property during the pendency of the criminal action.

Held: Yes, the civil suit for damages brought by the petitioner is based on quasi-delict predicated on Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code. Thus, the civil case may proceed as a separate and independent civil action:

“Art. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the defendant.”

The separate and independent civil action for quasi-delict is also clearly recognized in sec 2, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court:

Sec 2. Independent civil action. – In the cases provided for in Articles 31, 32, 33, 34 and 2177 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, an independent civil action entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the injured party during the pendency of the criminal case, provided the right is reserved as required in the preceding section. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence.

The civil action referred to in Sections 3(a) and 3(b) of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court, which should be suspended after the criminal action has been instituted, is that arising from the criminal offense not the civil action based on quasi-delict.

Baksh vs. Court of Appeals

G.R. No. 97336 (February 19, 1993)

Facts: Private Respondent Marilou Gonzales filed an action for damages against Gashem Baksh for the alleged violation of their agreement to get married. Gonzales is 22 years old, single, Filipina, a pretty lass of good moral character and has a reputation duly respected in her community; Baksh, on the other hand, is an Iranian citizen and is an exchange student taking a medical course in Dagupan City.

Gonzales alleges that before 20 August 1987, Baksh courted and proposed to marry her. She accepted his love on the condition that they would get married after the end of the school semester. In fact, Baksh visited Gonzalez’ parents in Pangasinan to secure their approval to the marriage. In August 1987, Baksh forced her to live with him in an apartment. According to Gonzales, she was a virgin before she began living with him. A week before the filing of the complaint, Baksh’s attitude towards her started to change. He maltreated and threatened to kill her. During a confrontation in the barangay, Baksh repudiated their marriage agreement and asked her not to live with him anymore, saying further that he is already married to someone else.

Issue: Whether or not a breach of promise to marry is an actionable wrong, thus making Baksh liable for damages.

Held: The existing rule is that a breach of promise to marry is not an actionable wrong per se . This notwithstanding, Article 21 of the Civil Code has expanded the concept of torts or quasi-delict by granting adequate legal remedy for the untold number of moral wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to specifically enumerate and punish in the statute books.

Article 2176 of the Civil Code, which defines a quasi-delict is limited to negligent acts or omissions and excludes the notion of willfulness or intent. In the Philippine legal system, as envisioned by the Commission responsible for drafting the New Civil Code, intentional and malicious acts, with certain exceptions, are to be governed by the Revised Penal Code while negligent acts or omissions are to be covered by Article 2176 of the Civil Code. In between these opposite spectrums are injurious acts which, in the absence of Article 21, would have been beyond redress. Thus, Article 21 fills that vacuum. It is even postulated that together with Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code, Article 21 has greatly broadened the scope of the law on civil wrongs; it has become much more supple and adaptable than the Anglo-American law on torts.

Where a man's promise to marry is the proximate cause for the woman to give herself unto him in sexual congress, and there is proof that he had, in reality, no intention of marrying her and that the promise was only a subtle scheme or deceptive device to obtain her consent to the sexual act, the award of damages pursuant to Article 21 is in order. The court took notice that Gonzales’ is an innocent barrio lass and a typical Filipina, who under our customs would not have gave in to sexual congress with Baksh much more lived-in with him, were it not for his promise to marry.

Dulay vs. Court of Appeals

243 SCRA 220 (1995) [see infra]

Facts: An altercation between Benigno Torzuela and Atty. Napoleon Dulay occurred at the “Big Bang sa Alabang,” Alabang Village, Muntinlupa, in which Torzuela, a security guard in the said carnival shot and killed Atty. Dulay with a .38 caliber revolver belonging to Torzuela’s security agency. Petitioner Maria Benita Dulay, widow of the deceased Atty. Dulay filed an action for damages against Torzuela and SAFEGUARD and/or SUPERGUARD security agency, which were impleaded as alternative defendants being the employer/s of Torzuela. Petitioner Dulay alleged in her complaint that “the incident resulting in the death of Atty. Dulay was due to the concurring negligence of the defendants, Torzuela’s wanton and reckless discharge of the firearm issued to him by defendant SAFEGUARD and/or SUPERGUARD”

SUPERGUARD filed a motion to dismiss claiming that Torzuela’s act of shooting was beyond the scope of his duties and that the alleged act of shooting was committed with deliberate intent (dolo), and therefore, the civil liability is governed by the Art. 100 of the Revised Penal Code:

Art. 100. Civil liability of a person guilty of a felony. - Every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable.

SUPERGUARD alleged that the complaint for damages based on negligence under Article 2176 of the Civil Code, could not lie, since the civil liability under Art. 2176 applies only to quasi-offenses under Art. 365 of the RPC. The RTC upheld the arguments of SAFEGUARD. Thus in their appeal, the Dulays allege that: “without stating the facts showing such negligence are mere conclusions of law…x x x…Respondent judge also declared that the complaint was one for damages founded on crimes punishable under Art.100 &103, RPC as

distinguished from those arising from quasi-delict.” The CA affirmed the decision of the lower court, hence, the appeal before the Supreme Court.

Issue: WON, Article 2176 covers only acts of negligence

HELD: No. Contrary to the theory of SAFEGUARD, there is no justification for limiting the scope of Article 2176 of the Civil Code to acts or omissions resulting from negligence. Well-entrenched is the doctrine that article 2176 covers not only acts committed with negligence, but also those which are voluntary and intentional. ‘fault or negligence’, under the article covers not only acts criminal in character, whether intentional and voluntary or negligent”.

Damage, Damages, Injury

People vs. Ballesteros

285 SCRA 438 (January 29, 1998)

Facts: Carmelo Agliam, his half-brother Eduardo and Ronnel Tolentino along with Vidal Agliam, his brother Jerry Agliam, Robert Cacal, Raymundo Bangi and Marcial Barid went to the barangay hall to attend a dance. The group did not stay long because they sensed some hostility from Cesar Galo and his companions who were giving them dagger looks. The group had barely left when, within fifty meters from the dance hall, their owner jeep was fired upon from the rear. The precipitate attack upon the jeep left two people dead (Eduardo and Jerry) and four others injured.

Based upon the affidavits of Carmelo and Vidal Agliam, warrants for the arrest of Ballesteros, Galo and Bulusan were issued for the crime of double murder with multiple frustrated murder. The trial court found the three accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder, qualified by treachery awarding the heirs of Eduardo and Jerry:

1. Compensatory damages in the amount of PhP50,000.00

2. Moral damages in the amount of PhP20,0000

3. Actual damages in the amount of 61,785.00 (Jerry) & P35,755.00 (Eduardo)

Issue: Whether or not the trial court is correct in the award of damages?

Held: As to moral and to actual damages, yes. As to compensatory damages, no. Damages may be defined as the pecuniary compensation, recompense, or satisfaction for an injury sustained, or as otherwise expressed, the pecuniary consequences, which the law imposes for the breach of some duty or the violation of some right.

Actual or compensatory damages are those awarded in satisfaction of, or in recompense for, loss or injury sustained, whereas moral damages may be invoked when the complainant has experienced mental anguish, serious anxiety, physical suffering, moral shock and so forth, and had furthermore shown that these were the proximate result of the offender's wrongful act or omission.

Before actual or compensatory damages could be granted, the party making a claim for such must present the best evidence available, viz., receipts, vouchers, and the like, as corroborated by his testimony. Here, the claim for actual damages by the heirs of the victims is not controverted, the same having been fully substantiated by receipts accumulated by them and presented to the court. Therefore, the award of actual damages is proper.

However, the order granting compensatory damages to the heirs of Jerry Agliam and Eduardo Tolentino Sr. must be amended. Consistent with the policy of this Court, the amount of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) is given to the heirs of the victims by way of indemnity, and not as compensatory damages. As regards moral damages, the trial court in its discretion may determine the amount of psychological pain, damage and injury caused to the heirs of the victims, although inestimable. Hence, we see no reason to disturb its findings as to this matter.

Custodio vs. Court of Appeals

253 SCRA 483 (February 9, 1996)

Facts: Mabasa bought a parcel of land with an apartment in Interior P. Burgos St., Taguig, Metro Manila. There were tenants occupying the apartment at the time of purchase. Taking P. Burgos St. as the point of reference, on the left side going to Mabasa’s apartment, the row of houses are as follows: That of Custodio, then of Santos, then that of Mabasa. On the right side is that of Morato and a septic tank. The first passageway from the apartment to P. Burgos St. is through these houses. The second passageway goes through the septic tank, with a width of less than 1 meter.

Sometime later, one of the apartment’s tenants vacated it. Mabasa checked the premises and saw that the Santoses built an adobe fence, making the first passageway narrower. Morato also built an adobe fence in such a way that the entire passageway was enclosed. Then the remaining tenants vacated the area. Santos claimed that she built the fence because of an incident involving her daughter and a passing bicycle. She also mentioned that some drunk tenants would bang their doors and windows. The RTC granted a right of way and damages

in favor of Custodio and the Santoses. The CA modified it, ordering an award of damages to Mabasa. Custodio questioned the right of way and award of damages in the SC.

Issue: Whether or Not the award of damages is proper.

Held: Firstly, the Custodios are barred from questioning the grant of the right of way, because they failed to appeal the decision. The decision has become final. As to the award of damages, the CA erred in awarding damages in favor of private respondents Mabasa. The mere fact that Mabasa suffered losses does not give rise to a right to recover damages. To warrant the recovery of damages, there must be both a right of action for a legal wrong inflicted by Custodio, and damage resulting to Mabasa. Wrong without damage, or damage without wrong does not constitute a cause of action, since damages are merely part of the remedy allowed for the injury caused by a breach or wrong. In the case at bar, there were no previous easements existing in favor of Mabasa. The construction of the adobe fence is a natural use and enjoyment of one’s property in a general and ordinary manner. Nobody can complain of being injured here, because the inconvenience arising from said use can be considered as a mere consequence of community life.

Board of Liquidators vs. Heirs of Kalaw

20 SCRA 987 (1967)

Facts: Maximo Kalaw was a general manager and chairman of the board of NACOCO (National Coconut Corp.) Defendant Juan Bocar and Garcia were members of Board. After the passage of a law that empowers NACOCO to buy, sell, barter, export their products, NACOCO embarked on Copra trading Activities. Kalaw executed contracts. However, due to the typhoons, the copra industry was affected, resulting to impending financial losses on the contracts executed by Kalaw. A meeting was held with the board of directors and the disclosure of the impending loss was communicated to the members but no action was taken thereafter.

Some of the buyer like Louis Dreyful and Co. filed a suit against the Corporation for damages due to undelivered copra. Settlement was made with the buyer. NACOCO on the other hand seeks recovery from Kalaw and the other directors charging them with negligence under Art 2176 with bad faith or breach of trust for having approved the contracts.

Issue: Whether or not Kalaw is liable for damages.

Held: Kalaw had authority to execute the contracts without need of prior approval due to the nature of his position as general manager. Also, doubts were only thrown when the contracts turned out to be unprofitable for NACOCO.

Rightfully had it been said that bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or negligence; it imports a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of wrong; it means breach of a known duty thru some motive or interest or ill will; it partakes of the nature of fraud. Applying this precept to the given facts herein, we find that there was no "dishonest purpose," or "some moral obliquity," or "conscious doing of wrong," or "breach of a known duty," or "Some motive or interest or ill will" that "partakes of the nature of fraud."

Nor was it even intimated that the NACOCO directors acted for personal reasons, or to serve their own private interests, or to pocket money at the expense of the corporation. As the trial court correctly observed, this is a case of damnum absque injuria. Conjunction of damage and wrong is absent. There cannot be an actionable wrong if either one or the other is wanting.

Custodio vs. Court of Appeals

253 SCRA 483 (February 9, 1996)

Held: The mere fact that the plaintiff suffered losses does not give rise to a right to recover damages. To warrant the recovery of damages, there must be both a right of action for a legal wrong inflicted by the defendant, and damage resulting to the plaintiff therefrom. Wrong without damage, or damage without wrong, does not constitute a cause of action, since damages are merely part of the remedy allowed for the injury caused by a breach or wrong.

There is a material distinction between damages and injury. Injury is the illegal invasion of a legal right; damage is the loss, hurt, or harm which results from the injury; and damages are the recompense or compensation awarded for the damage suffered. Thus, there can be damage without injury in those instances in which the loss or harm was not the result of a violation of a legal duty. These situations are often called damnum absque injuria.

In order that a plaintiff may maintain an action for the injuries of which he complains, he must establish that such injuries resulted from a breach of duty which the defendant owed to the plaintiff a concurrence of injury to the plaintiff and legal responsibility by the person causing it. The underlying basis for the award of tort damages is the premise that an individual was injured in contemplation of law. Thus, there must first be the breach of some duty and the imposition of liability for that breach before damages may be awarded; it is not sufficient to state that there should be tort liability merely because the plaintiff suffered some pain and suffering.

Many accidents occur and many injuries are inflicted by acts or omissions which cause damage or loss to another but which violate no legal duty to such other person, and consequently create no cause of action in his favor. In such cases, the consequences must be borne by the injured person alone. The law affords no remedy for damages resulting from an act which does not amount to a legal injury or wrong.

In other words, in order that the law will give redress for an act causing damage, that act must be not only hurtful, but wrongful. There must be damnum et injuria. If, as may happen in many cases, a person sustains actual damage, that is, harm or loss to his person or property, without sustaining any legal injury, that is, an act or omission which the law does not deem an injury, the damage is regarded as damnum absque injuria.

In the case at bar, although there was damage, there was no legal injury. Contrary to the claim of private respondents, petitioners could not be said to have violated the principle of abuse of right. In order that the principle of abuse of right provided in Article 21 of the Civil Code can be applied, it is essential that the following requisites concur: (1) The defendant should have acted in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy; (2) The acts should be willful; and (3) There was damage or injury to the plaintiff.

Art. 2176 of the Civil Code

Garcia vs. Florido

G.R.No. L-35095 (August 31,1973)

Facts: Petitioners German C. Garcia, his wife, Luminosa L. Garcia, and Ester Francisco, boarded a public utility car owned and operated by respondent, Marcelino Inesin, and driven by respondent, Ricardo Vayson, for a round-trip from Oroquieta City to Zamboanga City. While the car was negotiating a slight curve on the national highway, it collided with an oncoming passenger bus owned and operated by the Mactan Transit Co., Inc. and driven by defendant, Pedro Tumala. As a result of the collision, petitioners sustained various physical injuries which necessitated medical treatment and hospitalization.

Petitioners filed for damages against the private respondents, owners and drivers, respectively, of the public utility car and the passenger bus.Marcelino Inesin and Ricardo Vayson filed their answer admitting the contract of carriage with petitioners but alleged, by way of defense, that the accident was due to the negligence and reckless imprudence of the bus driver.

Respondents, Mactan Transit Co., Inc. and Pedro Tumala, filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the petitioners had no cause of action for on August 11, 1971, or 20 days before the filing of the present action for damages, respondent Pedro Tumala was charged in a criminal case already for "double serious and less serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence," by the Chief of Police. Hence, with the filing of the criminal case, no civil action could be filed subsequent thereto unless the criminal case has been finally adjudicated. Therefore, the filing of the instant civil action is premature, because the liability of the employer is merely subsidiary and does not arise until after final judgment has been rendered finding the driver, Pedro Tumala, guilty of negligence.

Issue:

Whether or not the petitioners may recover damages under a separate and independent action while a criminal case is pending.

Held: Yes. Petitioners may recover damages for liability arising from quasi-delict. Under Sec. 2 in relation to Sec. I of Rule III of the Revised Rules of Court, in the cases provided for by Articles 31, 33, 39 and 2177 of the Civil Code, an independent civil action entirely separate and distinct from the civil action, may be instituted by the injured party during the pendency of the criminal case, provided said party has reserved his right to institute it separately. But it should be noted, however, that neither Sec. 1 nor Sec. 2 of Rule 111 fixes a time limit when such reservation shall be made.

In the case at bar, there is no question that petitioners never intervened in the criminal action instituted by the Chief of Police against respondent Pedro Tumala, much less has the said criminal action been terminated either by conviction or acquittal of the accused. Petitioners have two options from where they could recover damages from—that arising out of the criminal act, and that under quasi-delict. Petitioners opted to recover damages under quasi-delict, which in effect operated as their abandonment of their claim to damages under the pending criminal case. Therefore, petitioners may still recover damages from their civil action against the defendants.

Andamo vs. Court of Appeals

191 SCRA 195 (November 6, 1990)

Facts: Petitioner-spouses Emmanuel and Natividad Andamo are the owners of a parcel of land situated in Biga (Biluso) Silang, Cavite which is adjacent to that of private respondent, Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, Inc., a religious corporation.

Within the land of respondent corporation, waterpaths and contrivances (including an artificial lake) were constructed, which allegedly inundated and eroded petitioners' land; caused a young man to drown; damaged petitioners' crops and plants; washed away costly fences; endangered the lives of petitioners and their laborers during rainy and stormy seasons; and exposed plants and other improvements to destruction.

Issue: Whether or not a corporation, which has built waterpaths, water conductors and contrivances within its land, thereby causing inundation and damage to an adjacent land, can be held civilly liable for damages under Articles 2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts.

Held: A careful examination of the complaint shows that the action is one under Articles 2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts. All the elements of a quasi-delict are present, to wit: (a) damages suffered by the plaintiff, (b) fault or negligence of the defendant, or some other person for whose acts he must respond; and (c) the connection of cause and effect between the fault or negligence of the defendant and the damages incurred by the plaintiff.

Clearly, the waterpaths and contrivances built by respondent corporation are alleged to have inundated the land of petitioners. There is therefore, an assertion of a causal connection between the act of building these waterpaths and the damage sustained by petitioners. Such action, if proven, constitutes fault or negligence which may be the basis for the

recovery of damages.

It must be stressed that the use of one's property is not without limitations. Article 431 of the Civil Code provides that "the owner of a thing cannot make use thereof in such a manner as to injure the rights of a third person." SIC UTERE TUO UT ALIENUM NON LAEDAS. Moreover, adjoining landowners have mutual and reciprocal duties which require that each must use his own land in a reasonable manner so as not to infringe upon the rights and interests of others. Although we recognize the right of an owner to build structures on his land, such structures must be so constructed and maintained using all reasonable care so that they cannot be dangerous to adjoining landowners and can withstand the usual and expected forces of nature. If the structures cause injury or damage to an adjoining landowner or a third person, the latter can claim indemnification for the injury or damage suffered.

Taylor vs. Manila Electric Railroad and Light Co.

16 Phil 8 (March 22, 1910)

Facts: Defendant Manila Electric left some twenty or thirty fulminating caps used for blasting charges of dynamite scattered in the premises behind its power plant. Fifteen year old David Taylor is a son of a mechanical engineer. Two years before the incident David spent four months at sea, as a cabin boy on an interisland transports. Later he took up work in his father's office, learning mechanical drawing and mechanical engineering. It appears that he was a boy of more than average intelligence, taller and more mature both mentally and physically than most boys his age.

David, along with Manuel, a 12 year old, entered the premises of the defendant without permission. While playing, the boys saw the fulminating caps, picked some pieces and brought them home. In the presence of Jessie, a 9 year old girl , The two boys made a series of experiments with the caps. They thrust the ends of the wires into an electric light socket and obtained no result. Next, they tried to break the cap with a stone and failed. They then opened one of the caps with a knife, and finding that it was filled with a yellowish substance they got matches, and the plaintiff held the cap while the other boy applied a lighted match to the contents. An explosion followed causing injuries to the boys and to Jesse. This action was brought by the plaintiff, through his father, to recover damages for the injuries which he suffered.

Issue: Whether or not the company was liable for the injury sustained by plaintiff.

Held: The Supreme Court held that under the circumstances, the negligence of the defendant of leaving the caps exposed on its premises was not the proximate cause of the injury. When the immediate cause of an accident resulting in an injury is the plaintiff’s own acts, he cannot recover damages for the injury.

The immediate cause of the explosion, which resulted in plaintiff’s injury, was his own act in putting a match to the contents of the cap. True, David Taylor may not have known and probably did not know the precise nature of the explosion which might be expected from the ignition of the contents of the cap, and of course he did not anticipate the resultant injuries which he incurred, but he well knew that a more or less dangerous explosion might be expected from his act, and yet he willfully, recklessly, and knowingly produced the explosion

We are satisfied that the plaintiff in this case had sufficient capacity and understanding to be sensible of the danger to which he exposed himself when he put the match to the contents of the cap; that his age and his experience qualified him to understand the necessity for the exercise of that degree of caution which would have avoided the injury which resulted from his own deliberate act; and that the injury incurred by him must be held to have been the direct and immediate result of his own willful and reckless act, so that while it may be true that these injuries would not have been incurred but for the negligence of the defendant in leaving the caps exposed on its premises, nevertheless plaintiff's own act was the proximate and principal cause of the accident which inflicted the injury

NOTE for undergraduates: Read the analysis of US turn-table case in the original.

Tayag vs. Alcantara

98 SCRA 723 (July 23, 1980)

Facts: The Heirs of Tayag filed a complaint for damages against Phil Rabbit Bus lines alleging among others that Pedro Tayag Sr. was riding on a bicycle along McArthur highway on his way home. He was hit by the bus driven by Villa which caused his death.

Philippine Rabbit filed motion to suspend trial on the ground that criminal case against Villa was still pending. When Villa was acquitted on the ground of reasonable doubt, Philippine Rabbit filed a motion to dismiss the civil case. The heirs opposed alleging that their cause of action is not based on crime but on quasi-delict. The Judge indeed dismissed the case, hence, this appeal.

Issue: Whether or not the acquittal of Villa in the criminal case will result to the dismissal of the civil case based on quasi-delict.

Held: No. The acquittal of the driver of the crime charged is not a bar to the prosecution for damages based on quasi-delict. Article 31 of the Civil Code provides:

When the civil action is based on an obligation not arising from the act or commission complained of as a felony, such civil action may proceed independently of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter.

Evidently, the above quoted provision refers to a civil action based, not on the act or omission charged as a felony in a criminal case, but one based on an obligation arising from other sources, like quasi delict. In the case at bar, the allegations of the complaint clearly show that petitioners' cause of action was based upon a quasi-delict, to wit:

was at the time of the accident being driven by defendant Romeo Villa y Cunanan in a faster and greater speed than what was reasonable and

proper and in a gray negligent, careless, reckless and imprudent manner, without due regards to injuries to persons and damage to properties and in violation of traffic rules and regulation.

That defendant Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines Inc. has failed to exercise the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its employees, particularly defendant Romeo Villa y Cunanan otherwise the accident in question which resulted in the death of Pedro Tayag, Sr. and damage to his property would not have occurred.

The essential averments for a quasi delictual action are present, namely: (1) an act or omission constituting fault or negligence on the part of private respondent; (2) damage caused by the said act or commission; (3) direct causal relation between the damage and the act or commission; and (4) no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties.\

That the Philippine Rabbit Bus

Quasi Delict vs. Delict

Barredo vs. Garcia- Art. 2177 Discussion

73 Phil 607 (July 8, 1942)

Facts:(Supra)

Issue: Whether or not plaintiffs may bring this separate civil action against Fausto Barredo, making him primarily and directly, responsible under article 1903 of the Civil Code as an employer of Pedro Fontanilla.

Held: Authorities support the proposition that a quasi-delict or "culpa aquiliana " is a separate legal institution under the Civil Code with a substantivity all its own, and individuality that is entirely apart and independent from delict or crime. Upon this principle and on the wording and spirit article 1903 of the Civil Code, the primary and direct responsibility of employers may be safely anchored.

Some of the differences between crimes under the Penal Code and the culpa aquiliana or cuasi-delito under the Civil Code are:

1. That crimes affect the public interest, while cuasi-delitos are only of private concern.

2. That, consequently, the Penal Code punishes or corrects the criminal act, while the Civil Code, by means of indemnification, merely repairs the damage.

3. That delicts are not as broad as quasi-delicts, because the former are punished only if there is a penal law clearly covering them, while the latter, cuasi-delitos, include all acts

in which "any king of fault or negligence intervenes." However, it should be noted that not all violations of the penal law produce civil responsibility, such as begging in

contravention of ordinances, violation of the game laws, infraction of the rules of traffic when nobody is hurt.

People vs. Ligon

152 SCRA 39 (July 29, 1987)

Facts: Accused Fernando Gabat was riding a 1978 Volkswagen Kombi owned by his father and driven by the other accused, Rogelio Ligon. While waiting for the traffic light to change, Fernando called a cigarette vendor, Jose Rosales to buy some cigarettes. While the transaction was occurring, the traffic light changed to green, and the car suddenly moved forward. While the car was moving, Rosales was clinging to the window but lost his grip and fell down on the pavement. The bystanders rushed Rosales to PGH where he was treated for multiple physical injuries until his death.

Since Ligon did not stop the car, Castillo, a taxi-driver chased him and sought the assistance of two police officers in an owner-type jeepney. At an intersection, Castillo was able to overtake the car and blocked it, while the jeep pulled up right behind. The police officers drew their guns and told them to alight from the car. They were brought to the police station.

Ligon was then charged with Homicide thru Reckless Imprudence. A charge of robbery with homicide was likewise charged to Ligon and Gabat, since there was an allegation that Gabat forcibly took the cigarette box of the victim. Ligon however was never apprehended after the police released him, so only Gabat was convicted by the RTC. An appeal was then brought to the SC, which ruled that the guilt of the accused was not established beyond reasonable doubt.

Issue: Whether or not accused may be held civilly liable despite the finding of the Court of Appeals that his guilt was not proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Held: Yes. When a person was acquitted of a crime, it does not follow that he is free from civil liability, since only preponderance of evidence is required in a civil action for damages.

The judgment of acquittal can extinguish the civil liability of the accused only when it includes a declaration that the facts from which the civil liability might arise did not exist. In the instant case, a preponderance of evidence exists sufficient to establish the facts from which the civil liability of Gabat arises. Gabat, by his act and omission with fault and negligence caused damage to Rosales and should answer civilly for the damage done. Gabat’s willful act of calling the victim to the middle of a busy street to buy two sticks of cigarettes set the chain of events which led to the death of the victim. Through fault and negligence, Gabat (1) failed to prevent the driver from moving forward while the purchase was completed; (2) failed to help the victim while the latter clung precariously to the moving vehicle, and (3) did not enforce his order to the driver to stop. Finally, Gabat acquiesced in the driver’s act of speeding away, instead of stopping and picking up the injured victim.

Padilla vs. Court of Appeals

129 SCRA 558

Facts: Petitioner Roy Padilla, Filomeno Galdones, Pepito Bedena, Yolly Rico, David Bermundo, Villanaoc, Roberto Rosales, Villania, Garrido, Ortega jr., Celestino, “Kamlon” and 14 Ricardo Does was charged of Grave Coercion. On Feb 1964 around 9 am at Camarines Norte, The petitioners willfully and feloniously prevented Antonio Vergara and his family from closing their stall at the Public Market. Petitioners forcibly opened the door of the stall and brutally demolished the stall using axes then carrying away the goods and merchandise. Such acts of the petitioners where said to be pursuant to an ordinance. The damage amounted to 30K for actual damages and 20K for exemplary damages. Roy Padilla and company also took advantage of their public position, being the Mayor of the said municipality and the others being policemen. The CFI finds them guilty. The CA acquitted the accused but ordered them to pay jointly and severally 9,600 as actual damages.

Issue: WON the order of payment for damages is valid notwithstanding the acquittal of the accused.

Held: Yes it is valid. Civil liability is not extinguished where the acquittal is based on reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the crime charged. No separate civil action is necessary considering that the facts to be proved in the civil case have already been established in the criminal proceeding. To require a separate civil action would only clod the court dockets and unnecessary duplication of litigation. A separate civil action may be warranted where additional facts have to be established.

Cruz vs. Court of Appeals

282 SCRA 188 (1997)

Facts: Petitioner Dr. Cruz is a surgeon at Perpetual Help Clinic and General Hospital. She examined Lydia and found the latter to have 'myoma' in her uterus, and scheduled her for a hsyterectomy operation. On the day of the operation, Lydia's daughter noticed how untidy the hospital was. She asked that the operation be postponed but Lydia said that Dr. Cruz told her she must be operated as scheduled.

During the operation, Lydia's family was asked to buy tagamet ampules. Later they were asked to buy blood for Lydia at a blood bank. They were again asked to buy blood but the blood bank already ran out of type A. They also saw Lydia gasping for breath as the oxygen supply had ran out so they had to go and buy oxygen for Lydia again. Later that night, Lydia went into shock and her blood pressure dropped to 60/50. Lydia was brought to the San Pablo Hospital however the doctors were not able to save her. She was announced dead at 3:00 AM the following day. Petitioner and her anaesthesiologist were charged with reckless imprudence resulting to homicide. The MTC, RTC, and the CA all found petitioner guilty (anaethesiologist was acquitted) on the ground that the clinic was untidy and they lack the needed facilities like blood and oxygen which are essential for the continuity of the operations they undertake.

Issue: Whether or not the conviction of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide as a consequence of medical malpractice is supported by the evidence on record.

The elements of reckless imprudence are: (1) that the offender does or fails to do an act; (2) that the doing or the failure to do that act is voluntary; (3) that it be without

malice; (4) that material damage results from the reckless imprudence; and (5) that there is inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the offender, taking into consideration his

Held: No.

employment or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition, and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place. The 4 th element is lacking in the case at bar.

The material damage was not proved to be the result of the reckless imprudence. In litigations involving medical negligence, the plaintiff has the burden of establishing appellant's negligence and for a reasonable conclusion of negligence, there must be proof of breach of duty on the part of the surgeon as well as a causal connection of such breach and the resulting death of his patient. As shown by the experts presented by both parties, the death of Lydia may have been caused by DIC (clotting defect). Therefore, the cause of death cannot be attributed to petitioner's fault or negligence.

Furthermore, whether or not a physician has committed an "inexcusable lack of precaution" in the treatment of his patient is to be determined according to the standard of care observed by other members of the profession in good standing under similar circumstances bearing in mind the advanced state of the profession at the time of treatment or the present state of medical science. In the case at bar, no physician was asked to testify to show the standard care that needed to be observed given the present circumstances. Therefore, the conviction is not supported by the evidence.

Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. vs. People

GR No. 147703 (2004)

Facts: On July 27, 1994, accused Napoleon Roman y Macadangdang was found guilty and convicted of the crime of reckless imprudence resulting to triple homicide, multiple physical injuries and damage to property and was sentenced to imprisonment.

The court further ruled that in the event of insolvency of accused, Philippine Rabbit, as its employer, shall be liable for the civil liabilities of the accused. Evidently, the judgment against the accused had become final and executory. Admittedly, accused jumped bail and remained at-large. It is worth mentioning that Section 8, rule 124 of the Rules of Court authorizes the dismissal of appeal when appellant jumps bail.

ISSUE: Whether or not an employer, who dutifully participated in the defense of its accused-employee, may appeal the judgment of conviction independently of the accused.

HELD: No. The accused cannot be accorded the right to appeal unless they voluntarily submit to the jurisdiction of the court or are otherwise arrested within 15 days from notice of the judgment against them. While at large, they cannot seek relief from the court, as they are deemed to have waived the appeal. In the case before us, the accused-employee has escaped and refused to surrender to the proper authorities; thus, he is deemed to have abandoned his appeal. Consequently, the judgment against him has become final and executory.

Petitioner admits helping the accused employee, hence, it participated in the proceedings before the RTC; thus, it cannot be said that the employer was deprived of due process. It might have lost its right to appeal, but it was not denied its day in court.

Under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, employers are subsidiarily liable for the civil liabilities of their employees in the event of the latter’s insolvency. To allow employers to dispute the civil liability fixed in a criminal case would enable them to amend, nullify or defeat a final judgment rendered by a competent court. By the same token, to allow them to appeal the final criminal conviction of their employees without the latter’s consent would also result in improperly amending, nullifying or defeating the judgment. The decision convicting an employee in a criminal case is binding and conclusive upon the employer not only with respect to the former’s civil liability, but also with as to its amount. The liability of an employer cannot be separated from that of the employee.

Quasi-delict vs. Breach of Contract

Cangco vs. Manila Railroad Co.

38 Phil 768 (October 14, 1918)

Facts: Jose Cangco, was in the employment of Manila Railroad Company in the capacity of clerk. He lived in the pueblo of San Mateo, Rizal, which is located upon the line of the defendant railroad company. Everyday, he comes by train to the company's office in the city of Manila where he works and he uses a pass, supplied by the company, which entitles him to ride the trains free of charge.

One day, Jose Cangco stepped off the train, but one or both of his feet came in contact with a sack of watermelons causing his feet to slip making him fell violently on the platform. His body 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.

Cangco was drawn from under the car in an unconscious condition, and it appeared that the injuries he had received were very serious. He was brought at once to hospital in the city of Manila where an examination was made and his arm was amputated.

He instituted this proceeding in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila to recover damages from the defendant company. His action is founded 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 trains. The trial judge concluded 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 from recovering. Judgment was accordingly entered in favor of the defendant company, and the plaintiff appealed.

Issues:

1. Whether or not Manila Railroad can excuse its liability upon the ground that the breach was due to the negligence of their servant.

2. Whether Cango is negligent when he alight from the moving train.

Held: (1) No. Failure to perform a contract cannot be excused upon the ground that the breach was due to the negligence of a servant of the obligor, and that the latter exercised due diligence in the selection and control of the servant. It cannot 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.

(2) No. it is not negligence per se for a traveler to alight from a slowly moving train. 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.

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.

Fores vs. Miranda

105 Phil 266 (March 4, 1959)

Facts: Miranda was riding a jeepney driven by Luga. While the vehicle was descending Sta. Mesa bridge at high speed, the driver lost control. It swerved and hit the bridge wall, resulting to injuries to the passengers and Miranda. Miranda broke some bones in his right arm. The driver was charged with serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced accordingly. Fores, owner of the jeepney, claimed that one day before the accident, she sold the vehicle to a certain Sackerman. In the meantime, Miranda prays for moral damages.

Issues:

1.

Whether or not approval of the Public Service Commission is necessary for the sale of a public service vehicle even without conveying therewith the authority to operate the same.

2. Whether or not an award for damages is proper.

Held: While the sale, without the required approval, is still valid and binding between the parties, approval of the Public Service Commission is necessary for such sale, as provided for by Sec. 20 of the Public Service Act (Commonwealth Act 146).

As to the second issue, the award of moral damages is not proper. It has been held that moral damages are not recoverable in damage actions predicated on a breach of contract of transportation, in view of Art. 2219 and 2220 of the new Civil Code:

ART 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following analogous cases:

1. a criminal offense resulting in physical injuries

2. quasi delicts causing physical injuries

ART. 2220. Willfull injury to property may be a legal ground for awarding moral damages if the court should find that, under the circumstances, such damages are justly due. The same rule applies to breaches of contract where the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad faith.

The exceptional rule in Article 1764 provides that where the injured passenger does not die, moral damages are not recoverable unless it is proved that the carrier was guilty of malice or bad faith. The mere carelessness of the carrier’s driver does not per se constitute or justify an inference of malice or bad faith on the part of the carrier, as in the case at bar.

In the absence of statutory provision, it is presumed that the lawmakers intended in article 2220 to limit recovery of moral damages to breaches of contract in bad faith. The fact that negligence may be so gross as to amount to malice, must be shown in evidence, and a carrier’s bad faith is not to be lightly inferred from a mere finding that the contract was breached though negligence of the carrier’s employees. The award for moral damages is eliminated.

Far East Bank and Trust Company vs. Court of Appeals

241 SCRA 671 (February 23, 1995)

Facts: Private respondent Luis Luna applied for and was accorded a Fareastcard issued by petitioner FEBTC. Upon his request, a supplemental card was issued to Clarita Luna. In August 1988, Clarita lost her card and FEBTC was forthwith informed. Due to bank policy, petitioner recorded the lost card, along with the principal card as a “hot card” or a “cancelled card”. In October, Luis used his card to pay for lunch at the Hotel Intercontinental Manila. However, after verifying with the bank, the card was not honored and Luis had to pay cash. He was embarrassed by this incident. Luis, through counsel, wrote to petitioner and asked for the payment of damages. The VP of the bank wrote a letter to Luis and expressed his apologies in their failure to inform the latter of the bank's security policy. Also, the VP sent a letter to the hotel to assure the latter that the private respondents were very valued clients. Still feeling aggrieved, private respondent filed a complaint for damages in the RTC. The RTC ruled in their favor and ordered FEBTC to pay moral and exemplary damages. CA affirmed the said decision.

Issue: Whether or not the award of damages is proper.

Held: NO. In culpa contractual, moral damages may be recovered where the defendant is shown to have acted in bad faith or with malice in the breach of contract. (Art. 2220 NCC) While it is true that the bank was remiss in neglecting to personally inform Luis of his own card's cancellation, there is no finding that there was deliberate intent on the part of FEBTC to cause harm to Luis. Neither could FEBTC's negligence in failing to give personal notice to Luis be considered so gross as to amount to malice or bad faith.

Malice or bad faith implies a conscious and intentional design to do a wrongful act for a dishonest purpose or moral obliquity; it is different from the negative idea of negligence in that malice or bad faith contemplates a state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or ill will. Thus, the award of moral damages is inordinate and substantially devoid of legal basis.

Exemplary or corrective damages are awarded, in the case of quasi-delicts, if the defendant is shown to have been so guilty of gross negligence as to approximate malice. And in case of contracts and quasi-contracts, it is awarded when the defendant is found to have acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent manner. Thus, the award of exemplary damages is improper .

NEVERTHELESS, the bank's failure to honor its credit card issued to Luis should entitle him to recover a measure of damages sanctioned under Article 2221 of the Civil Code:

Art. 2221. Nominal damages are adjudicated in order that a right of the plaintiff, which has been violated or invaded by the defendant, may be vindicated or recognized, and not for the purpose of indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered by him.

Air France vs. Carrascoso

G.R. No. L-21438 September 28, 1966

Facts: Plaintiff Carrascoso, a civil engineer, was a member of a group of 48 Filipino pilgrims that left Manila for Lourdes. Air France, through its authorized agent, Philippine Air Lines, Inc., issued to plaintiff a ‘first class’ round trip airplane ticket from Manila to Rome. From Manila to Bangkok, plaintiff travelled in ‘first class’, but at Bangkok, the Manager of the defendant airline forced plaintiff to vacate the ‘first class’ seat that he was occupying because, in the words of the witness Ernesto G. Cuento, there was a ‘white man’ who, the Manager alleged had a better right to the seat. When asked to vacate his ‘first class’ seat, the plaintiff refused, and told defendant’s Manager that his seat would be taken over his dead body. A commotion ensued, and, according to said Ernnesto G. Cuento, many of the Filipino passengers got nervous in the tourist class; when they found out that Mr. Casrrascoso was having a hot discussion with the white man [manager], they came all across to Mr. Carrascoso and pacified Mr. Carrascoso to give his seat to the ‘white man’ and plaintiff reluctantly gave his ‘first class’ seat in the plane.

Carrascoso filed a case for damages. The CFI of Manila sentenced Air France to pay rCarrascoso P25,000.00 by way of moral damages; P10,000 as exemplary damages; P393.20 representing the difference in fare between first class and tourist class for the portion of the trip Bangkok-Rome. The CA slightly reduced the amount of refund on Carrascos’s plane ticket.

Issue: WON Carrascoso’s action is planted upon breach of contract, with the existence of bad faith, entitling him to the award of damages.

Held: There was a contract to furnish plaintiff a first class passage covering, amongst others, the Bangkok-Teheran leg. The said contract was breached when petitioner failed to furnish first class transportation at Bangkok.

The evidence shows that defendant violated its contract of transportation with plaintiff in bad faith, with the aggravating circumstances that defendant’s Manager in Bangkok went to the extent of threatening the plaintiff in the presence of many passengers to have him thrown out of the airplane to give the ‘first class’ seat that he was occupying to, again using the words of witness Ernesto G. Cuento, a ‘white man’ whom he (defendant’s manager) wished to accommodate, and the defendant has not proved that this ‘white man’ had any ‘better right’ to occupy the ‘first class’ seat that the plaintiff was occupying, duly paid for, and for which the corresponding first class ticket was issued.

The responsibility of an employer for the act of its employees need not be essayed. It is well settled in law. 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.”

In parallel circumstances, we applied the foregoing legal percept; and, held upon the provisions of Article 2219 (10), Civil Code, moral damages are recoverable.

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 rude or discourteous conduct on the part of employees towards a passenger gives the latter an action for damages against the carrier.

Thus, “Where a steamship company had accepted a passenger’s check, it was a breach of contract and tort, giving a right of action for its agent in the presence of third persons to falsely notify her, that the check was worthless and demand payment under threat of ejection; though the language used was not insulting and she was not ejected. Although the relation of passenger and carrier is “contractual both in origin and nature” the act that breaks the contract may also be a tort”. And in another case, “Where a passenger on a rail-road train, when the conductor came to collect his fare, tendered him the cash fare to a point where the train was scheduled not to stop, and told him that as soon as the train reached such point he would pay the cash fare from that point to destination, there was nothing in the conduct of the passenger which justified the conductor in using insulting language to him, as by calling him a lunatic, and the Supreme Court of South Carolina there held the carrier liable for the mental suffering of said passenger.

Petitioner’s contract with Carrascoso, is one attended with public duty. The stress of Carasscoso’s action as we have said, is placed upon his wrongful expulsion. This is a violation of public duty by the petitioner-air carrier-a case of quasi-delict.

Damages are proper. Exemplary damages are well awarded. The Civil Code gives the Court ample to power to grant exemplary damages-in contracts and quasi-contracts. The only condition is that defendant should have “acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent manner”. The manner of ejectment of respondent Carrascoso from his first class seat fits into this legal precept. And this is in addition to moral damages.

PSBA vs. Court of Appeals

205 SCRA 729 (February 4, 1992)

Facts: Carlito Bautista, a student of PSBA, was stabbed while on the second floor of Philippine School of Business Administration (PSBA) by some elements from outside the school. Carlito died. His parents, filed an action for damages against PSBA and the school authorities (President, Vice-President, Treasurer/Cashier,Chief of Security and Vice Chief of Security). Both the trial court and the CA ruled in favor of parents.

Issue: Whether or not PSBA and the school authorities can be held liable under 2176 and 2180 for quasi-delict.

Held: No. Article 2180 of the Civil Code provides that pupils or students of the educational institution should have caused the damage.

Article 2180, in conjunction with Article 2176 of the Civil Code, establishes the rule of in loco parentis. This Court discussed this doctrine in the cases of Exconde, Mendoza, Palisoc, and more recently, in Amadora vs. CA. In all such cases, it had been stressed that Article 2180 plainly provides that it is the students who must have caused the damage before

the educational institution can be held liable for quasi-delict.

In the case at bar, the assailants were not students or pupils of PSBA but were elements from outside the school.

Hence, PSBA and its school authorities cannot be held liable under Article 2180.

The circumstances of the present case evince a contractual relation between PSBA and Carlitos Bautista since they entered into a contract the moment Bautista enrolled in the school. There being a contract, the rules on quasi-delict do not really govern. However, should the act which breaches the contract be done in bad faith and be violative of Article 21 as ruled in the Air France case, then there is a cause to view the act as constituting quasi-delict.

In the case at bar however, there is, as yet, no finding that the contract between the school and Bautista had been breached thru the former's negligence in providing security

measures. This would be for the trial court to determine. And, even if there be, a finding of negligence, the same could give rise generally to a breach of contractual obligation only. In other words, a contractual relation is a condition sine qua non to the school's liability. The negligence of the school cannot exist independently on the contract, unless the negligence occurs under the circumstances set out in Article 21.

Therefore, PSBA and its school authorities cannot be held liable for quasi-delict under Art. 2180.

Syquia vs. Court of Appeals and Manila Memorial Park and Cemetery, Inc.

217 SCRA 624 (January 27, 1993)

Facts: Juan Syquia, father of deceased and the private respondent executed a Deed of Sale of a memorial lot and an Interment Order, where the private respondent was authorized to bury the remains of the deceased in accordance with its procedures.

Preparatory to transferring the remains to the newly-purchased lot also in Manila Memorial Park, the concrete vault encasing the coffin of the deceased was removed from its niche underground. It was then discovered that said vault has a hole and after one hour or less water drained out of the hole.

Pursuant to the authority granted by the MTC the concrete vault was opened and it was discovered that the interior walls of the concrete vault showed evidence of total flooding and the coffin as well as the clothing and exposed parts of the deceased’s remains were entirely damaged.

A complaint was filed by petitioners (parents and siblings of deceased) for quasi-delict, alleging that there was breach of respondent’s contractual obligation to provide a sealed

vault. RTC dismissed the complaint since there was no guarantee in the contract that the vault shall be waterproof and since there was a pre-existing contractual relation defendant cannot be guilty of quasi-delict. The RTC also sustained the explanation given by the private respondent, that the hole had to be bored through the concrete vault because if it has no hole the vault will float and the grave would be filled with water. CA affirmed RTC’s decision hence the instant petition.

Issue: Whether or not the respondent is guilty of quasi-delict.

Held: No. Although a pre-existing contractual relation between the parties does not preclude the existence of a culpa aquiliana, SC find no reason to disregard the respondent's Court finding that there was no negligence. Article 2176 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 . The agreement between the parties governed their relations and defined their respective rights and obligations. Hence, had there been actual negligence on the part of the private respondent it would be held liable not for a quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana, but for culpa contractual as provided by Article 1170 of the Civil Code, to wit: 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.

Petitioners claim that the vault provided by private respondent was not sealed, that is, not waterproof. In this regard SC held that there was no stipulation in the Deed of Sale and in the Rules and Regulations of the private respondent that the vault would be waterproof. “Seal" is defined as any of various closures or fastenings that cannot be opened without rupture and that serve as a check against tampering or unauthorized opening." It is therefore clear that "sealed" cannot be equated with "waterproof".

The law defines negligence as the "omission of that diligence which is required by the nature of the obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of the persons, of the time and of the place." In the absence of stipulation or legal provision providing the contrary, the diligence to be observed in the performance of the obligation is that which is expected of a good father of a family. The circumstances surrounding the commission of the assailed act boring of the hole negate the allegation of negligence.

Vicente Calalas vs. Court of Appeals

332 SCRA 356 (2000)

Facts: Eliza G. Sunga, a college freshman at Siliman University, took a passenger jeepney owned and operated by Vicente Calalas. She was given by the conductor an extension seat at the backdoor of the jeepney at the rear end. On their way, the jeepney stopped to let a passenger off. Sunga gave way to the outgoing passengers, just as she was doing so, an Isuzu truck driven by Iglecerio Verena which is owned by Francisco Salva bumped the left rear portion of the jeepney, which injured Sunga.

Sunga then filed action for damages against Calalas for violation of contract of carriage, in failing to exercise the diligence required by him as a common carrier. Calalas, on the other hand filed a third-party complaint against Francisco Salva.

Issue: Whether or not Calalas can blame Francisco Silva as the proximate cause of the loss.

Held: No. There was a contract of carriage between the parties, which was violated, hence, proximate cause is immaterial.

The Supreme Court found Calalas guilty of violating the contract of carriage as a driver failed to transport Sunga safely to her destination, being negligent in (1) not properly parking the jeepney; (2) taking more passengers, than the allowed capacity; and (3) the fact that Sunga was seated in an extension seat placed in a peril greater than that to which the other passengers were exposed.

The determination of the proximate cause of the damage incurred, whether it was the collision between the jeepney and the truck or the negligence of the driver is immaterial. The doctrine of proximate cause is applicable only in actions of quasi-delict, not in actions involving breach of contract. Where there is a pre-existing contractual relation between parties it is the parties themselves that create the obligation and the law will merely regulate the relation created. (Since there was a contract of carriage here in the case at bar).

Negligence

Picart vs. Smith

37 Phil 809 (March 15, 1918)

Facts: Plaintiff, Picart was riding a pony on Carlatan Bridge, San Fernando. He pulled his pony over the bridge’s railing on the right instead of left upon seeing the automobile rapidly approaching. His pony was unfortunately frightened when the automobile passed so close to them. The horse was struck on the hock of the left hind leg by the flange of the car and the limb was broken. The horse fell and its rider was thrown off with some violence. As a result of its injuries the horse died. Picart received contusions which caused temporary unconsciousness and required medical attention for several days. Picart seeks to render the sum of Php31,000 as damages. CFI- La Union absolved Smith.

Issue:

Whether

or not defendant was negligent and if the concept of last clear chance is attributable to him?

Held:

The

defendant Smith is negligent and liable under the doctrine of last clear chance even though the plaintiff was on the wrong side of the bridge. Defendant has had the

opportunity to avoid the accident after realizing that the negligence by the plaintiff could not have placed him in a position of better safety.

The last clear chance was passed unto the defendant driving the automobile. It was his duty to bring the car to an immediate stop or upon seeing no other persons were on the bridge to take the other side and pass far away from the pony to avoid collision. Instead of doing this, Smith ran straight on until he was almost upon the horse. When Smith exposed the horse and rider to this danger he was negligent in the eye of the law. Under the circumstances, the law is that the person who has the last clear chance to avoid the impending harm and fails to do is chargeable with the consequences, without reference to the prior negligence of the other party. The existence of negligence in a given case is not determined by reference to the personal judgment of the actor in the situation before him. The law considers what would be reckless, blameworthy, or negligent in the man of ordinary intelligence and prudence and determines liability by that.

The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the lower court, and rendered judgment that Picart recover of Smith the sum of P200, with costs of both instances. The court held that the sum awarded was estimated to include the value of the horse, medical expenses of Picart, the loss or damage occasioned to articles of his apparel, and lawful interest on the whole to the date of this recovery.

Negligence in special cases (Children)

JARCO Marketing Corporation vs. Court of Appeals and Spouses Aguilar

GR No. 129792 (December 21, 1999)

Facts: Petitioner Jarco is the owner of Syvel's Department Store in Makati City. Respondent spouses are the parents of Zhieneth Aguilar.

On May 9, 1983, Criselda and Zhieneth were at the 2 nd floor of Syvel's. As Criselda was signing her credit card slip, she felt a sudden gust of wind and heard a loud thud. She looked behind her and saw her 6 yr. old daughter Zhieneth pinned down on the floor by the store's giftwrapping counter/structure. Zhieneth was crying and screaming for help. She was rushed to the Makati Medical Center and was operated on. The next day, she lost her speech and fourteen days after, she died. The cause of her death was attributed to the injuries she sustained.

Spouses Aguilar demanded upon petitioners the reimbursement of the hospitalization, medical bills, wake and funeral expenses but petitioners refused to pay. Spouses filed a complaint for damages. The trial court dismissed the complaint and ruled that the proximate cause of the fall of the counter on Zhieneth was her act of clinging to it. The court also held that Criselda's negligence in allowing her daughter to freely roam around the store contributed to the accident. In absolving petitioners from liability, the court reasoned that the counter

was situated at the end corner of the 2 nd floor as a precautionary measure, hencce, it could not be considered as an attractive nuisance.

On appeal, CA reversed the judgment and found that petitioners were negligent in maintaining a structurally dangerous counter. The counter was shaped like an inverted 'L' and it was top heavy and the weight of the upper portion was neither evenly distributed nor supported by its narrow base. It was also established that 2 employees already requested the management to nail the counter because it was shaky but the latter did not take any action. The management insists that it has been there for 15 years and it has been stable. The Court of Appeals also declared that Zhieneth was absolutely incapable of negligence or tort. It also absolved Criselda of any negligence, finding nothing wrong in momentarily allowing Zhieneth to walk while she signed the document. Moreover, the allegation that Zhieneth clung to the counter which caused the same to fall on her was denied by Gonzales in his testimony. He said that when the doctor asked Zhieneth what she did, the child answered 'nothing, i did not come near the counter, the counter just fell on me'. The CA awarded actual and compensatory damages. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but the court denied the same. Hence, this appeal.

Issues:

1. Whether the death of Zhieneth was accidental or attributable to negligence.

Held: An accident pertains to a fortuitous circumstance, event or happening; an event happening without any human agency, or if happening wholly or partly through human agency, an event which under the circumstances is unusual or unexpected by the person to whom it happens. On the other hand, negligence is the failure to observe, for the protection of the interest of another person, that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand, whereby such other person suffers injury. Accident and negligence are intrinsically contradictory; one cannot exist with the other.

The test in determining the existence of negligence is enunciated in the landmark case of PICART V. SMITH, thus: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. The court held that Zhieneth's tragedy and death can only be attributed to negligence.

The testimony of Gonzales pertaining to Zhieneth's statement formed part of the res gestae under Section 42, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. All that is required for their admissibility as part of the res gestae is that they be made or uttered under the influence of a startling event before the declarant had the time to think and concoct a falsehood as witnessed by the person who testified in court. it is unthinkable for a child of tender age and in extreme pain to have lied to a doctor whom she trusted with her life.

Zhieneth performed no act that facilitated her tragic death. However, petitioners did, through their negligence or omission to secure or make stable the counter's base.

Anent the negligence imputed to Zhieneth, the court applied the rule that a child under nine years of age must be conclusively presumed incapable of contributory negligence as a matter of law. And even if contributory negligence can be attributed to Zhieneth and assume that she climbed over the counter, no injury should have occurred if the counter was stable and sturdy. Criselda too, should be absolved from contributory negligence. Zhieneth held on to her mother's hand, Criselda momentarily released the child's hand when she signed her credit card slip. At this precise moment, it was reasonable for Criselda to let go of her child. When the counter fell on her child, Criselda was just one foot away.

Del Rosario vs. Manila Electric Company

57 Phil 478 (November 5, 1932)

Facts: At 2PM in the afternoon, trouble developed in a wire used and operated by Manila Electric Company for the purpose of conducting electricity and lighting the City of Manila and its suburbs. Noguera noticed that the wire was burning and the connections smoking. He then told Soco to telephone the Malabon station of defendant. Soco transmitted the message at 2.25 p.m. and received answer from the station to the effect that they would send an inspector.

At 4 p. m. the neighborhood school was dismissed and the children went home. Among these was Alberto Del Rosario with two of his friends. When they came upon the place where the wire was down, Alberto's friend tried to touch it but was stopped by his other friend, Jose. Alberto, saying he has the habit of touching wires, touched the wire despit Jose's warning, got electrocuted, and was pronounced dead when brought to the hospital.

The parents of Alberto filed for damages against the company. The engineer of the company says that it was customary for the company to make a special inspection of these wires at least once in six months, and that all of the company's inspectors were required in their daily rounds to keep a lookout for trouble of this kind. There is nothing in the record indicating any particular cause for the parting of the wire.

Issue: Whether or not negligence can be imputed to the defendant company, making it liable for damages.

Held: Yes. The Court is of the opinion that the presumption of negligence on the part of the company from the breakage of this wire has not been overcome, and the defendant is responsible for the accident. Furthermore, when notice was received at the Malabon station at 2.25 p. m., somebody should have been dispatched to the scene of the trouble at once, or other measures taken to guard the point of danger; but more than an hour and a half passed before anyone representing the company appeared on the scene, and in the meantime this child had been claimed as a victim.

It is doubtful whether contributory negligence can properly be imputed to the deceased, owing to his immature years and the natural curiosity as a 9-year-old boy. The fact that he ignored the warnings of his friend does not alter the case.

The Court therefore awards P1000 as general damages for loss of service and P250 for expenses incurred for the death and burial of the boy.

Ylarde vs. Aquino

163 SCRA 697 (July 29, 1988)

Facts: Private respondent Soriano was the principal of the Gabaldon Primary School, a public school in Tayug, Pangasinan, while Private respondent Aquino was a teacher therein. During the happening of the events which led to the filing of the case, there were several concrete blocks in the school which were remnants of the old school shop that was destroyed in World War II. Realizing that the huge stones were serious hazards to the schoolchildren, Sergio Banez, also a teacher therein, started burying them. Aquino, in order to help, gathered eighteen of his male pupils after class and ordered them to dig an excavation pit wherein the stone can be buried. It was continued the following day by four of the original eighteen pupils. Among them is the son of the petitioners, Novelito. When the depth was right enough to accommodate the concrete block, Aquino and his pupils got out of the hole. Aquino left to borrow a key to the workroom from Banez to get a rope, he instructed the pupils not to touch the stone. Three of the four kids, including Novelito, playfully jumped into the pit. The other kid, without any warning jumped on top of the concrete block causing it to slide down towards the opening.

Except for Novelito, the other kids were able to go out of the pit. The concrete block pinned Novelito to the wall in a standing position. As a result thereof, he sustained injuries. Novelito died 3 days after. Petitioner-parents filed a suit for damages against both private respondents. Petitioners base their action against Aquino on Article 2176 NCC for his alleged negligence that caused their son's death while the complaint against Soriano as the head of school is founded on Article 2180 NCC. The lower court dismissed the complaint on the following grounds: (1) that the digging done by the pupils is in line with their course called Work Education; (2) that Aquino exercised the utmost diligence of a very cautious person; and (3) that the demise of Novelito was due to his own reckless imprudence. This was affirmed by CA on appeal. Hence the present petition.

Issues: (1)Whether or not Soriano is liable for damages under Art. 2180. (2) Whether or not Aquino is liable for damages under Art. 2176.

Held: 1. No. The Court based their ruling on the doctrine enunciated in the case of Amadora vs. CA, Article 2180 applies to all schools, academic as well as non-academic. It provides further that 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. Thus, Soriano, as principal, cannot be held liable for the reason that the school he heads is an academic school and not a school of arts and trades. Besides, as clearly admitted by private respondent Aquino, private respondent Soriano did not give any instruction regarding the digging.

2. Yes. It is very clear that private respondent Aquino acted with fault and gross negligence when he: (1) failed to avail himself of services of adult manual laborers and instead utilized his pupils aged ten to eleven to make an excavation near the one-ton concrete stone which he knew to be a very hazardous task; (2) required the children to remain inside the pit even after they had finished digging, knowing that the huge block was lying nearby and could be easily pushed or kicked aside by any pupil who by chance may go to the perilous area; (3) ordered them to level the soil around the excavation when it was so apparent that the huge stone was at the brink of falling; (4) went to a place where he would not be able to check on the children's safety; and (5) left the children close to the excavation, an obviously attractive nuisance. These negligent acts have a direct causal connection to the death of Novelito.

A reasonably prudent person would have foreseen that bringing children to an excavation site, and more so, leaving them there all by themselves, may result in an accident. An ordinarily careful human being would not assume that a simple warning "not to touch the stone" is sufficient to cast away all the serious danger that a huge concrete block adjacent to an

excavation would present to the children. Moreover, a teacher who stands in loco parentis to his pupils would have made sure that the children are protected from all harm in his company.

The defense that the digging done by the pupils was part of their Work Education was not sustained, since the nature of the activity reveals a dangerous one and requires the attendance of adult laborers and not ten-year old grade-four pupils. In fact, there was no showing that it was included in the lesson plan for their Work Education. Further it is admitted that Aquino decided all by himself to help his colleague.

The finding of the lower court that the injuries were caused by Novelito’s own reckless imprudence was not sustained. The Court ruled that deceased was only 10 years old as such his actuations were natural to a boy his age. The degree of care required to be exercised must vary with one’s capacity, discretion, knowledge and experience under the same or similar circumstances.

Negligence (Experts/Professionals)

Cullion Ice, Fish and Electric Company vs. Philippine Motors Corporation

GR No. 32611 (November 3, 1930)

Facts: Culion Ice, Fish & Electric Co. Inc. owned a motor schooner named Gwendoline. H.D. Cranston, the representative of Cuilion in Manila, decided to have the engine on the Gwendoline converted from gasoline consumer to a crude oil burner. He had a conference with C.E. Quest, the manager of Phil. Motors, who agreed to do the job, with the understanding that payment shall be made upon completion of the work.

The work began and conducted under the supervision of Mr. Quest, and chiefly by a mechanic whom Quest took with him to the boat. Cranston also directed the members of the crew of the Gwendoline to assist in the work, placing them under the command of Quest.

Upon inspection of the engine, Quest concluded that a new carburetor was needed, hence one was installed. The next problem was to introduce into the carburetor the baser fuel.

A temporary tank to contain the mixture was placed on deck above and at a short distance from the compartment covering the engine. This tank was connected with the carburetor by a

piece of tubing, which was apparently not well fitted at the point where it was connected with the tank. The fuel mixture leaked from the tank and dripped down into the engine compartment. To paraphrase, a device was made where the engine can be converted from gasoline to crude oil, switching back and forth.

Later, it was observed that the carburetor was flooding, and that the gasoline, or other fuel, was dripping freely from the lower part to the carburetor to the floor. This fact was called to Quest's attention, but he said that, when the engine had gotten to running well, the flooding would stop

The boat was taken out into the bay for a trial run. The engine stopped a few times during the first run, owing to the use of an improper mixture of fuel. As the boat was coming

in from this run, the engine stopped, and connection again had to be made with the gasoline line to get a new start. After this had been done, the mechanic, or engineer, switched to the

tube connecting with the new mixture. A moment later a back fire occurred in the cylinder chamber. This caused a flame to shoot back into the carburetor, and instantly the carburetor and adjacent parts were covered with a mass of flames, which the members of the crew were unable to subdue. A case for damages was filed.

Issue: Whether or not the loss of the boat is chargeable to the negligence and lack of skill of Quest.

Held: YES. When a person holds himself out as being competent to do things requiring professional skill, he will be held liable for negligence if he fails to exhibit the care and skill of one ordinarily skilled in the particular work which he attempts to do.

The temporary tank in which the mixture was prepared was apparently at too great an elevation from the carburetor, so that when the fuel line was opened, the hydrostatic pressure in the carburetor was greater than the delicate parts of the carburetor could sustain. This was the cause of the flooding of the carburetor; and the result was that; when the back fire occurred, the external parts of the carburetor, already saturated with gasoline, burst into flames, whence the fire was quickly communicated to the highly inflammable material near- by. The leak along the pipe line and the flooding of the carburetor had created a dangerous situation, which a prudent mechanic, versed in repairs of this nature, would have taken precautions to avoid.

Proof shows that Quest had had ample experience in fixing the engines of automobiles and tractors, but it does not appear that he was experienced in the doing of similar work on boats. Possibly the dripping of the mixture form the tank on deck and the flooding of the carburetor did not convey to his mind an adequate impression of the danger of fire. Quest did not use the skill that would have been exhibited by one ordinarily expert in repairing gasoline engines on boats. There was here, on the part of Quest, a blameworthy antecedent inadvertence to possible harm, and this constitutes negligence. The burning of the Gwendoline may be said to have resulted from accident, but this accident was in no sense an unavoidable accident. It would not have occurred but for Quest's carelessness or lack of skill.

US v. Pineda

37 Phil 456 (January 22, 1918)

Facts: Santiago Pineda is a registered pharmacist and the owner of a drug store. Feliciano Santos, having some sick horses, presented a copy of a prescription to Pineda. On other occasions, Santos had given the medicine prescribed to his horses with good results. Under the supervision of Pineda, the drugs were prepared and given Santos.

Santos, under the belief that he had purchased potassium chlorate, placed two of the packages in water and gave the doses to two of his sick horses. Another package was mixed with water for another horse, but was not used. The two horses, who took the drugs, died afterwards. Santos took the drug packages to the Bureau of Science for examination. It was found that the packages contained not potassium chlorate but barium chlorate (a poison). When sued Pineda alleges that he did not intentionally sold the poison and that what the law (to which he is indicted) forbids is the sell any drug or poison under any "fraudulent name”.

ISSUES: Whether or not Pineda can be held liable for the death of the horses, assuming he did not deliberately sold poison.

HELD: Yes. In view of the tremendous and imminent danger to the public from the careless sale of poison and medicine, we do not deem it too rigid a rule to hold that the law penalizes any druggist who shall sell one drug for another whether it be through negligence or mistake. The care required must be commensurate with the danger involved, and the skill employed must correspond with the superior knowledge of the business which the law demands.

As a pharmacist, he is made responsible for the quality of all drugs and poison he sells. If were we to adhere to the technical definition of fraud it would be difficult, if not

impossible, to convict any druggist of a violation of the law. The prosecution would have to prove to a reasonable degree of certainty that the druggist made a material representation; that

it was false; that when he made it he knew that it was false or made it recklessly without any knowledge of its truth and as a positive assertion; that he made it with the intention that it

should be acted upon by the purchaser; that the purchaser acted in reliance upon it, and that the purchaser suffered injury. Such a construction with a literal following of well-known principles on the subject of fraud would strip the law of at least much of its force. It would leave the innocent purchaser of drugs, who must blindly trust in the good faith and vigilance of the pharmacist, at the mercy of any unscrupulous vendor.

We should not, therefore, without good reason so devitalize the law. The rule of caveat emptor cannot apply to the purchase and sale of drugs. The vendor and the vendee in this case do not stand at arm’s length as in ordinary transactions. It would be idle mockery for the customer to make an examination of a compound of which he can know nothing. Consequently, it must be that the druggist warrants that he will deliver the drug called for.

BPI v. CA

216 SCRA 51 (November 26, 1992)

Facts: A person purporting to be Eligia G. Fernando, who had a money market placement evidenced by a promissory note with a maturity date of November 11, 1981 and a maturity value of P2,462,243.19, called BPI's Money Market Department. The caller wanted to pre-terminate the placement. However, Reginaldo Eustaquio, Dealer Trainee in BPI's Money Market Department, told her that "trading time" was over for the day (Friday). He suggested that she call again the following week. The promissory note the caller wanted to preterminate was a roll-over of an earlier 50-day money market placement that had matured on September 24, 1981.

Later that afternoon, Eustaquio conveyed the request for pretermination to the officer who before had handled Fernando's account, Penelope Bulan, but Eustaquio was left to attend to the pretermination process.

The caller presenting herself as Ms. Fernando phoned again and made a follow-up with Eustaquio the pretermination of the placement. Although Eustaquio was not familiar with the voice of the real Eligia G. Fernando, Eustaquio "made certain" that the caller was the real Eligia G. Fernando by "verifying" the details the caller gave with the details in "the ledger/folder" of the account. But neither Eustaquio nor Bulan who originally handled Fernando's account, nor anybody else at BPI, bothered to call up Fernando at her Philamlife office to verify the request for pretermination.

Informed that the placement would yield less than the maturity value, the caller insisted on the pretermination just the same and asked that two checks be issued for the proceeds, one for P1,800,000.00 and the second for the balance, and that the checks be delivered to her office at Philamlife. Eustaquio, thus, proceeded to prepare the "purchase order slip" for the requested pretermination as required by office procedure. From his desk, the papers, following the processing route, passed through the position analyst, securities clerk, verifier clerk and documentation clerk, before the two cashier's checks were prepared. The two cashier's checks, together with the papers consisting of the money market placement was to be preterminated and the promissory note to be preterminated, were sent to Gerlanda E. de Castro and Celestino Sampiton, Jr., Manager and Administrative Assistant, respectively, in BPI's Treasury Operations Department, both authorized signatories for BPI, who signed the two checks that very morning. Thereafter, the checks went to the dispatcher for delivery.

In the same morning when the checks were to be delivered, the caller changed the delivery instructions; instead that the checks were to be delivered to her office at Philamlife, she would pick the checks up herself or send her niece, Rosemarie Fernando, to pick them up. Eustaquio then told the caller that if her niece was going to get the checks, her niece would have to being a written authorization from her. It was agreed that Rosemarie would pick the checks up from the bank. Thus, Eustaquio hurriedly went to the dispatcher to inform him of the new delivery instructions for the checks; in fact, he changed the delivery instruction on the purchase order slip, writing thereon "Rosemarie Fernando release only with authority to pick up.”

It was, in fact Rosemarie who got the two checks from the dispatcher, as shown by the delivery receipt. As it turned out, the same person impersonated both Eligia G. Fernando and Rosemarie Fernando. Although the checks represented the termination proceeds of Fernando's placement, not just a roll-over of the placement, the dispatcher failed to require the surrender of the promissory note evidencing the placement. There is also no showing that Fernando's purported signature on the letter requesting the pretermination and the latter authorizing Rosemarie to pick up the two checks was compared or verified with Fernando's signature in BPI's file. Such purported signature has been established to be forged although there 0was a "close similarity" to the real signature of Eligia G. Fernando.

On a different day, a woman who represented herself to be Eligia G. Fernando applied at China Banking Corporation's Head Office for the opening of a current account. She was accompanied and introduced to Emily Sylianco Cuaso, Cash Supervisor, by Antonio Concepcion whom Cuaso knew to have opened, earlier that year, an account. What Cuaso indicated in the application form, however, was that Fernando was introduced by Valentin Co, and with her initials on the form signifying her approval, she referred the application to the New Accounts Section for processing. The application form shows the signature of "Eligia G. Fernando", "her" date of birth, sex, civil status, nationality, occupation ("business woman"), tax account number, and initial deposit of P10,000.00. This final approval of the new current account is indicated on the application form by the initials of the cashier, who did not interview the new client but affixed her initials on the application form after reviewing it.

The woman holding herself out as Eligia G. Fernando deposited the two checks in controversy. Her endorsement on the two checks was found to conform with the depositor's specimen signature. CBC's guaranty of prior endorsements and/or lack of endorsement was then stamped on the two checks, which CBC forthwith sent to clearing and which BPI cleared on the same day. Two days after, withdrawals began.

The maturity date of Eligia G. Fernado's money market placement with BPI came and the real Eligia G. Fernando went to BPI for the roll-over of her placement. She disclaimed having preterminated her placement. She then executed an affidavit stating that while she was the payee of the two checks in controversy, she never received nor endorsed them and that her purported signature on the back of the checks was not hers but forged. With her surrender of the original of the promissory note evidencing the placement which matured that day, BPI issued her a new promissory note to evidence a roll-over of the placement.

BPI returned the two checks in controversy to CBC as supported by Eligia G. Fernando's affidavit, for the reason "Payee's endorsement forged". CBC, in turn, returned the checks for reason "Beyond Clearing Time". These incidents led to the filing of this case with the Arbitration Committee.

The Arbitration Committee ruled in favor of BPI and ordered CBC to pay the former with interest. - However, upon CBC’s motion for reconsideration, the Board of Directors of the PCHC reversed the Arbitration Committee's decision and dismissed the complaint of BPI while ordering it to pay CBC.

BPI then filed a petition for review with the Regional Trial Court which dismissed said petition but modified the award by including a provision for attorney’s fees in favor of CBC, among others. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision.

ISSUES: Who between BPI and CBC should be held liable? Whose negligence was the proximate cause of the payment of the forged checks made by the impostor?

HELD: In the present petition, Fernando’s name in the checks were forged. The checks are "wholly inoperative" and of no effect. However, the underlying circumstances of the case show that the general rule on forgery is not applicable. The issue as to who between the parties should bear the loss in the payment of the forged checks necessities the determination of the rights and liabilities of the parties involved in the controversy in relation to the forged checks.

The records show that petitioner BPI, as drawee bank and CBC as representing or collecting bank were both negligent resulting in the encashment of the forged checks.

The Arbitration Committee in its’ decision, analyzed the negligence of the employees of BPI involved who are involved in the processing of the pre-termination of Fernando's money market placement and in the issuance and delivery of the subject checks. A) The impostor could have been readily unmasked by a mere telephone call, which nobody in BPI bothered to make to Fernando; b) The officer who used to handle Fernando's account did not do anything about the account's pre-termination; c) Again no verification appears to have been made on Fernando's purported signature on the letter requesting the pretermination and the letter authorizing her niece to pick-up the checks, yet, her signature was in BPI's file; and d) the surrender of the promissory note evidencing the money market placement that was supposedly pre-terminated. The Arbitration Committee, however, belittled BPI's negligence compared to that of CBC which it declared as graver and the proximate cause of the loss of the subject checks to the impostor.

Banks handle daily transactions involving millions of pesos. By the very nature of their work the degree of responsibility, care and trustworthiness expected of their employees and officials is far greater than those of ordinary clerks and employees. For obvious reasons, the banks are expected to exercise the highest degree of diligence in the selection and

supervision of their employees.

In the present case, there is no question that the banks were negligent in the selection and supervision of their employees. The Arbitration Committee, the PCHC Board of

Directors and the lower court, however disagree in the evaluation of the degree of negligence of the banks. While the Arbitration Committee declared the negligence of respondent CBC graver, the PCHC Board of Directors and the lower courts declared that BPI's negligence was graver. To the extent that the degree of negligence is equated to the proximate cause of the loss, we rule that the issue as to whose negligence is graver is relevant. No matter how many justifications both banks present to avoid responsibility, they cannot erase the fact that they were both guilty in not exercising extraordinary diligence in the selection and supervision of their employees.

The next issue hinges on whose negligence was the proximate cause of the payment of the forged checks by an impostor. BPI insists that the doctrine of last clear chance should have been applied considering the circumstances of this case. Under this doctrine, where both parties were negligent and such negligence were not contemporaneous, the person who has the last fair chance to avoid the impending harm and fails to do so is chargeable with the consequences, without reference to the prior negligence of the other party.

Applying these principles, BPI's reliance on the doctrine of last clear chance to clear it from liability is not well-taken. CBC had no prior notice of the fraud perpetrated by BPI's employees on the pretermination of Eligia G. Fernando's money market placement. Moreover, Fernando is not a depositor of CBC. Hence, a comparison of the signature of Eligia G. Fernando with that of the impostor Eligia G. Fernando, which CBC did, could not have resulted in the discovery of the fraud. Hence, respondent CBC had no way to discover the fraud at all. In fact, the records fail to show that respondent CBC had knowledge, actual or implied, of the fraud perpetrated by the impostor and the employees of BPI.

BPI further argues that the acts and omissions of are the cause "that set into motion the actual and continuous sequence of events that produced the injury and without which the result would not have occurred." BPI anchors its argument on its stance that there was "a gap, a hiatus, an interval between the issuance and delivery of said checks by BPI to the impostor and their actual payment of CBC to the impostor. BPI points out that the gap of one (1) day that elapsed from its issuance and delivery of the checks to the impostor is material on the issue of proximate cause. At this stage, according to BPI, there was yet no loss and the impostor could have decided to desist from completing the same plan and could have held to the checks without negotiating them.

BPI's contention that CBC alone should bear the loss must fail. The gap of one (1) day between the issuance and delivery of the checks bearing the impostor's name as payee and the impostor's negotiating the said forged checks by opening an account and depositing the same with respondent CBC is not controlling. It is not unnatural or unexpected that after taking the risk of impersonating Eligia G. Fernando with the connivance of BPI's employees, the impostor would complete her deception by encashing the forged checks. There is therefore, greater reason to rule that the proximate cause of the payment of the forged checks by an impostor was due to the negligence of BPI. This finding, notwithstanding, we are not inclined to rule that BPI must solely bear the loss. Due care on the part of CBC could have prevented any loss.

The Court cannot ignore the fact that the CBC employees closed their eyes to the suspicious circumstances of huge over-the-counter withdrawals made immediately after the account was opened. The opening of the account itself was accompanied by inexplicable acts clearly showing negligence. And while we do not apply the last clear chance doctrine as controlling in this case, still the CBC employees had ample opportunity to avoid the harm which befell both CBC and BPI. They let the opportunity slip by when the ordinary prudence expected of bank employees would have sufficed to seize it.

Both banks were negligent in the selection and supervision of their employees resulting in the encashment of the forged checks by an impostor. Both banks were not able to overcome the presumption of negligence in the selection and supervision of their employees. It was the gross negligence of the employees of both banks which resulted in the fraud and the subsequent loss. While it is true that BPI's negligence may have been the proximate cause of the loss, CBC's negligence contributed equally to the success of the impostor in encashing the proceeds of the forged checks. Under these circumstances, we apply Article 2179 of the Civil Code to the effect that while CBC may recover its losses, such losses are subject to mitigation by the courts.

Intoxication

E.M. Wright V Manila Electric R.R. & Light Co.

28 Phil 122 (October 1, 1914)

FACTS: Manila Electric is a corporation engaged in operating an electric street railway. Wright’s residence in Caloocan fronts on the street along which defendant’s tracks run. To enter his premises from the street, Wright must cross defendant’s tracks.

One night, Wright drove home in a calesa and in crossing the tracks to enter the premises of his home, the horse stumbled, leaped forward, and fell, throwing the Wright from the vehicle, causing injuries. On the location where Wright crossed the tracks, the rails were above-ground, and the ties upon which the rails rested projected from one-third to one-half of their depth out of the ground, making the tops of the rails some 5 or 6 inches or more above the level of the street.

Manila Electric admitted that it was negligent in maintaining its tracks, but it also claimed that Wright was also negligent in that he was so intoxicated, and such intoxication was the primary cause of the accident.

The trial court held that both parties were negligent, but that plaintiff’s negligence was not as great as defendant’s. It awarded Wright damages.

ISSUE: Whether or not the negligence of Wright contributed to the “principal occurrence” or “only to his own injury.”

HELD: NO. Intoxication in itself is not negligence. It is but a circumstance to be considered with the other evidence tending to prove negligence. No facts, other than the fact that Wright was intoxicated, are stated which warrant the conclusion that the plaintiff was negligent. The conclusion that if he had been sober he would not have been injured is not warranted by the facts as found. It is impossible to say that a sober man would not have fallen from the vehicle under the conditions described.

A horse crossing the railroad tracks with not only the rails but a portion of the ties themselves aboveground, stumbling by reason of the unsure footing and falling, the vehicle

crashing against the rails with such force as to break a wheel, might be sufficient to throw a person from the vehicle no matter what his condition; and to conclude that, under such circumstances, a sober man would not have fallen while a drunken man did, is to draw a conclusion which enters the realm of speculation and guesswork. Wright was not negligent. No facts to merit a higher award of damages to plaintiff

US vs. Baggay

20 PHIL 142 (September 1, 1911)

Facts: Several persons were assembled in Baggay's house to hold a song service called "buni." The Non-Christian Baggay without provocation, suddenly attacked a woman named Bil- liingan with a bolo, inflicting a serious wound on her head from which she died immediately. With the same bolo, he likewise inflicted various wounds on the women named Calabayan, Agueng, Quisamay, Calapini, and on his own mother, Dioalan.

For this reason, the provincial fiscal filed a complaint in court charging Baggay with murder. After trial and proof that the defendant was suffering from mental aberration, the judge exempted Baggay from criminal liability but was obliged to indemnify the heirs of the murdered woman. The Baggay's counsel and his heirs appealed to this court.

ISSUES: (1) Whether or not an insane person, exempt from criminal liability can still be civilly liable. (2) Can the heirs of Baggay be held civilly liable?

HELD: (1) YES. Civil liability accompanies criminal liability, because every person liable criminally for a crime or misdemeanor is also liable for reparation of damage and for indemnification of the harm done.

Civil liability may arise from acts ordinarily punishable under the penal law, although the law has declared their perpetrators exempt from criminal liability. Such is the case of a lunatic or insane person who, in spite of his irresponsibility on account of the deplorable condition of his deranged mind, is still reasonably and justly liable with his property for the consequences of his acts, even though they be performed unwittingly. His fellows ought not to suffer for the disastrous results of his harmful acts inspite of his unfortunate condition.

Law and society are under obligation to protect him during his illness and so when he is declared to be liable with his property for reparation and indemnification, he is still entitled to the benefit of what is necessary for his decent maintenance, but this protection does not exclude liability for damage caused to those who may have the misfortune to suffer the consequences of his acts.

(2) Yes. The persons who are civilly liable for acts committed by a lunatic or imbecile are those who have them under their authority, legal guardianship or power, unless they prove that there was no blame or negligence on their part.

Should there be no person having them under his authority, legal guardian, or power, if such person be insolvent, the lunatic shall answer with his own property, excepting that part which is exempted for their support in accordance with the civil law.

Degrees of Negligence

Marinduque vs.Workmen’s Compensation

99 PHIL 48 (June 30, 1956)

FACTS: A truck driven by Procopio Macunat, belonging to Marinduque Iron Mines, turned over and hit a coconut tree resulting in the death of Pedro Mamador and injury to the other laborers. Macunat was prosecuted, convicted and was sentenced to indemnify the heirs of the deceased. He paid nothing, however, to the latter. Madador’s wife now seeks compensation by Marinduque Iron Mines as the employer.

ISSUES: (1) Whether or not Mamador has a right to be compensated by Marinduque Iron Mines. (2) Whether or not there was notorious negligence by Mamador for having violated the employer’s prohibition on riding haulage trucks.

HELD: YES. Marinduque Iron Mines alleged that the criminal case sentencing Macunat to indemnify the heirs of Mamador was a suit for damages against a third person, thereby having the effect of releasing the employer from liability. The criminal case, however, was not a suit for damages against third persons because the heirs did not intervene therein and they have not received the indemnity ordered by the court. At any rate, even if the case was against a third person, the court already decided in Nava vs. Inchausti that criminal prosecution of the "other person" does not affect the liability of the employer.

Marunduque also contended that the amicable settlement entered into by Mamador's widow and Macunat barred the widow's claim against the employer because she has already elected one of the remedies. This contention cannot be sustained because what the widow waived was the offender's criminal prosecution and not all civil action for damages.

2. NO. Mere riding on a haulage truck or stealing a ride thereon is not negligence, ordinarily. It couldn't be, because transportation by truck is not dangerous per se. Although the

employer prohibited its employees to ride the haulage trucks, its violation does not constitute negligence per se, but it may be an evidence of negligence.

Under the circumstance, however, it cannot be declared negligence because the prohibition had nothing to do with the personal safety of the riders. Notorious negligence means the same as gross negligence which implies "conscious indifference to consequences,” or "pursuing a course of conduct which would naturally and probably result in injury."

Res Ipsa Loquitur

Layugan vs. IAC

167 SCRA 363 November 14, 1968

FACTS: Pedro Layugan testified that while he and his companion were repairing the tire of their cargo truck that was parked along the right side of the National Highway, Godofredo Isidro’s truck, recklessly driven by Daniel Serrano bumped Layugan. As a result, Layugan had his left leg amputated.

Defendant Isidro admitted his ownership of the vehicle involved in the accident. Isidro said that Layugan was merely a bystander, not a truck helper being a brother-in-law of the driver of said truck; that the truck allegedly, while being repaired was parked, occupying almost half of the right lane right after the curve; that the proximate cause of the incident was the failure of the driver of the parked truck in installing the early warning device.

Daniel Serrano, defendant driver, said that he knew the responsibilities of a driver; that before leaving, he checked the truck. The truck owner used to instruct him to be careful in driving. He bumped the truck being repaired by Layugan, while the same was at a stop. Serrano also testified that, “When I was a few meters away, I saw the truck which was loaded with round logs. I stepped on my foot brakes but it did not function with my many attempts. I have (sic) found out later that the fluid pipe on the rear right was cut that's why the breaks did not function.Layugan, on the other hand, claims that a warning device consisting of the lighted kerosene lamp was placed 3-4 Meters from the back of the truck.

Isidro points to the driver of parked truck as negligent, and says that absent such proof of care, it would, under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, there exists a presumption of negligence on the part of the driver of the parked cargo truck as well as his helper.

ISSUES

1. Whether or not defendant driver Serrano was negligent.

2. Whether or not the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applies in this case.

HELD: 1. NO. The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case may be stated as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence.

Negligence is the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided by those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or the doing of something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do. Applying the definition and the test, it is clear that the absence or want of care of Daniel Serrano has been

established by clear and convincing evidence. Whether the cargo truck was parked along the road or on half of the shoulder of the road is immaterial taking into account the warning device consisting of the lighted kerosene lamp placed 3-4m from the back of the truck. But despite this warning, the Isuzu truck driven by Serrano, still bumped the rear of the parked cargo truck. As a direct consequence of such accident, Layugan sustained injuries on his left forearm and left foot.

2. NO. In our jurisdiction, Res ipsa loquitur as a rule of evidence is peculiar to the law of negligence which recognizes that prima facie negligence may be established without direct proof and furnishes a substitute for specific proof of negligence. The doctrine is not a rule of substantive law but merely a mode of proof or a mere procedural convenience. The doctrine merely determines and regulates what shall be prima facie evidence thereof and facilitates the burden of plaintiff of proving a breach of the duty of due care. The doctrine can be invoked when and only when, under the circumstances involved, direct evidence is absent and not readily available. So, it is inapplicable where plaintiff has knowledge and testifies or presents evidence as to the specific act of negligence which is the cause of the injury, or where there’s direct evidence as to the precise cause of the accident and all the facts and circumstances attendant on the occurrence clearly appear. And once the actual cause of injury is established beyond controversy, no presumptions will be involved and the doctrine becomes inapplicable when the circumstances show that no inference of defendant's liability can reasonably be made, whatever the source of the evidence. In this case, it is inapplicable because it was established by clear and convincing evidence the negligence of the defendant driver.

(Note: The discussion in this case of res ipsa loquitur is merely stated in the obiter dictum.)

Ramos vs. CA

321 SCRA 584 (December 29, 1999)

Facts: Erlinda Ramos was a robust woman except for occasional complaints of discomfort due to pains caused by the presence of a stone in her gall bladder. She was advised to undergo an operation for the removal of the stone in her gall bladder. She underwent a series of examinations which included blood and urine tests which indicated she was fit for surgery.

She and her husband, Rogelio, met Dr. Hozaka, one of the defendants in this case, for the first time. They agreed on the date of the operation and the doctor decided that she undergo a “cholecystectomy” operation. Erlinda was admitted in the hospital and was accompanied by her sister-in-law, Herminda Cruz. At the operating room, Cruz saw about two or three nurses and Dr. Perfecta Gutierrez, the other defendant, who was to administer the anesthesia. Although not a member of the hospital staff, Herminda Cruz introduced herself as the Dean of the College of Nursing at the Capitol Medical Center and was allowed to stay inside the operating room.

Hours later, Cruz, who was inside the operating room with the patient, heard somebody say “Dr. Hosaka is already here.” As she held the hand of Erlinda, she then saw Dr. Gutierrez intubating the hapless patient. She thereafter heard Dr. Gutierrez say, “ang hirap maintubate nito, mali yata ang pagkakapasok. O lumalaki ang tiyan”. Due to the remarks of Dr. Gutierrez, she focused her attention on what Dr. Gutierrez was doing. She noticed a bluish discoloration of the nailbeds of the left hand of Erlinda. Cruz then heard Dr. Hosaka issue an order for someone to call Dr. Calderon, another anesthesiologist. After Dr. Calderon arrived in the operating room, Cruz saw him trying to intubate Erlinda. Erlinda’s nailbed became bluish and the patient was placed in a trendelenburg position. Immediately, thereafter, Cruz went out of the operating room, and told Erlinda’s husband (her brother) “that something wrong was happening”. Cruz immediately rushed back, and saw Erlinda was still in trendelenburg position. On that fateful day, she saw Erlinda taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Erlinda stayed for about four months in the hospital and has been in a comatose condition.

When asked by the hospital to explain what happened to the patient, Doctors Gutierrez and Hosaka explained that the patient had bronchospasm. After being discharged from the hospital, she has been staying in their residence, still needing constant medical attention, with her husband Rogelio incurring monthly expenses. She was diagnosed to be suffering from “diffuse cerebral parenchymal damage.”

The Ramoses filed a civil case for damages against the private respondents alleging negligence in the management and care of Erlinda Ramos.

ISSUES: (1) Whether or not the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is applicable. (2) Whether or not private respondents were negligent in the care of Erlinda during the anesthesia phase of the operation and, if in the affirmative, whether the alleged negligence was the proximate cause of Erlinda’s comatose condition. (3) Is the hospital liable?

Held: YES. The doctrine of res ipsa oquitur is appropriate in the case at bar. As will hereinafter be explained, the damage sustained by Erlinda in her brain prior to a scheduled gall bladder operation presents a case for the application of the doctrine.

In holding that res ipsa loquitur is available to the present case we are not saying that the doctrine is applicable in any and all cases where injury occurs to a patient while under anesthesia, or to any and all anesthesia cases. Each case must be viewed in its own light and scrutinized in order to be within the res ipsa loquitur coverage.

Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase which literally means “the thing or the transaction speaks for itself.” The phrase “res ipsa loquitur” is a maxim for the rule that the fact of the occurrence of an injury, taken with the surrounding circumstances, may permit an inference or raise a presumption of negligence, or make out a plaintiff’s prima facie case, and present a question of fact for defendant to meet with an explanation.

However, res ipsa loquitur is not a rule of substantive law and, as such, does not create or constitute an independent or separate ground of liability. Instead, it is considered as merely evidentiary or in the nature of a procedural rule. Mere invocation and application of the doctrine does not dispense with the requirement of proof of negligence. It is simply a step in the process of such proof. Still, before resort to the doctrine may be allowed, the following requisites must be satisfactorily shown: 1.The accident is of a kind which ordinarily does not occur in the absence of someone’s negligence; 2. It is caused by an instrumentality within the exclusive control of the defendant or defendants; and 3. The possibility of contributing conduct which would make the plaintiff responsible is eliminated.

In the above requisites, the fundamental element is the “control of the instrumentality” which caused the damage. Such element of control must be shown to be within the dominion of the defendant.

But it does not automatically apply to all cases of medical negligence as to mechanically shift the burden of proof to the defendant to show that he is not guilty of the ascribed negligence. The real question, therefore, is whether or not in the process of the operation any extraordinary incident or unusual event outside of the routine performance occurred. If there were such extraneous interventions, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur may be utilized and the defendant is called upon to explain the matter, by evidence of exculpation, if he could.

(2) YES. Private respondents were unable to disprove the presumption of negligence on their part. Their negligence was the proximate cause of her condition. Dr. Gutierrez failed to properly intubate the patient. She admitted that she saw Erlinda for the first time on the day of the operation. And no prior consultations with, or pre-operative evaluation of Erlinda was done by her. She was unaware of the physiological make-up and needs of Erlinda. This is an act of exceptional negligence and professional irresponsibility.

Private respondents repeatedly hammered the view that the cerebral anoxia which led to Erlinda’s coma was due to bronchospasm mediated by her allergic response to a drug introduced into her system. Proximate cause has been defined as that which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces injury, and without which the result would not have occurred.

Respondent Dr. Hosaka’s negligence can be found in his failure to exercise the proper authority (as the “captain” of the operative team) in not determining, if his anesthesiologist observed proper anesthesia protocols. No evidence on record exists to show that Dr. Hosaka verified if respondent Dr. Gutierrez properly intubated the patient. Furthermore, it does not escape us that respondent Dr. Hosaka had scheduled another procedure in a different hospital at the same time as Erlinda’s cholecystectomy, and was in fact over three hours late for the latter’s operation. Because of this, he had little or no time to confer with his anesthesiologist regarding the anesthesia delivery.

(3) We now discuss the responsibility of the hospital. The unique practice (among private hospitals) of filling up specialist staff with attending and visiting “consultants,” who are allegedly not hospital employees, presents problems in apportioning responsibility for negligence in medical malpractice cases. The truth is, Private hospitals, hire, fire and exercise real control over their attending and visiting “consultant” staff. While “consultants” are not, technically employees, a point which respondent hospital asserts in denying all responsibility for the patient’s condition, the control exercised, the hiring, and the right to terminate consultants all fulfill the important hallmarks of an employer-employee relationship, with the exception of the payment of wages.

The basis for holding an employer solidarily responsible for the negligence of its employee is found in Article 2180 of the Civil Code which considers a person accountable not

only for his own acts but also for those of others based on the former’s responsibility under a relationship of patria potestas. Such responsibility ceases when the persons or entity concerned prove that they have observed the diligence of a good father of the family to prevent damage. In other words, while the burden of proving negligence rests on the plaintiffs, once negligence is shown, the burden shifts to the respondents (parent, guardian, teacher or employer) who should prove that they observed the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage. In the instant case, respondent hospital, apart from a general denial of its responsibility over respondent physicians, failed to adduce evidence showing that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the hiring and supervision of the latter. Upon these disquisitions we hold that private respondents are solidarily liable for damages under Article 2176 of the Civil Code.

Batiquin vs. CA

258 SCRA 334 (July 5, 1996)

Facts: Mrs. Villegas consulted Dr. Batiquin for prenatal care. Dr. Batiquin, along with other physicians and nurses, performed a caesarian operation on Mrs. Villegas and successfully delivered the latter’s baby. After leaving the hospital, Mrs. Villegas began to suffer abdominal pains and complained of being feverish. She also gradually lost appetite, so she consulted Dr. Batiquin at the latter's polyclinic who prescribed certain medicines for her. However, the pains still kept recurring. She then consulted Dr. Ma. Salud Kho. After examining her, Dr. Kho suggested that Mrs. Villegas submit to another surgery.

When Dr. Kho opened the abdomen of Mrs. Villegas she found whitish-yellow discharge inside, an ovarian cyst on each of the left and right ovaries which gave out pus, dirt and pus behind the uterus, and a piece of rubber which appeared to be a part of a rubber glove. This was the cause of the infection of the ovaries the discomfort suffered by Mrs. Villegas.

The piece of rubber allegedly found was not presented in court. There were also doubts as to the whereabouts of the piece of rubber, as 2 versions arose from Dr. Kho’s testimony: 1) that he sent it to a Pathologist in Cebu and (2) he threw it away. But aside from Dr. Kho's testimony, the Medical Certificate, the Progress Record, the Anesthesia Record, the Nurse's Record, an the Physician's Discharge Summary mentioned the piece of rubber. The trial court, however, regarded these documentary evidence as mere hearsay, since those who prepared them did not testify in court. The trial court ruled in favor of the defendants. The CA reversed the decision.

Issues: Whether or not Dr. Batiquin could be held liable under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.

Held: While Dr. Batiquin claims that contradictions and falsities punctured Dr. Kho's testimony, a reading of said testimony reveals no such infirmity and establishes Dr. Kho as a credible witness. Dr. Batiquin failed to impute any motive for Dr. Kho to state any untruth, leaving her trustworthiness unimpaired.

Considering that we have assessed Dr. Kho to be a credible witness, the rule of res ipsa loquitur comes to fore. In the instant case, all the requisites for recourse to the doctrine are present. First, the entire proceedings of the cesarean section were under the exclusive control of Dr. Batiquin. In this light, the Dr. Batiquin were bereft of direct evidence as to the actual culprit or the exact cause of the foreign object finding its way into private respondent Villegas' body, which, needless to say, does not occur unless through the intervention of negligence. Second, since aside from the cesarean section, Villegas underwent no other operation which could have caused the offending piece of rubber to appear in her uterus, it stands to reason that such could only have been a byproduct of the cesarean section performed by Dr. Batiquin. Dr. Batiquin failed to overcome the presumption of negligence arising from resort to the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. Dr. Batiquin is therefore liable for negligently leaving behind a piece of rubber in private respondent Villegas' abdomen and for all the adverse effects thereof.

D.M. Consunji vs. CA

357 SCRA 249 (April 20, 2001)

Facts: Jose Juego, a construction worker of D. M. Consunji, Inc., fell 14 floors from the Renaissance Tower, Pasig City to his death. Investigation disclosed that while victim Jose A. Juego together with Jessie Jaluag and Delso Destajo were performing their work on board a steel platform with plywood flooring and cable wires attached to its four corners and hooked at the 5 ton chain block, when suddenly, the bolt or pin which was merely inserted to connect the chain block with the platform came loose causing the whole platform assembly and the victim to fall down to the basement of the elevator core of the building under construction, save his 2 companions who luckily jumped out for safety.

Jose Juego’s widow, Maria, filed with the RTC a complaint for damages against D.M. Consunji, Inc. The employer raised, among other defenses, the widow’s prior availment of the benefits from the State Insurance Fund. The RTC rendered a decision in favor of the widow. On appeal by D. M. Consunji, the CA affirmed the decision of the RTC in toto.

Issue: Whether or not the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is applicable to prove D.M. Consunji’s negligence.

Held: YES. As a rule of evidence, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is peculiar to the law of negligence which recognizes that prima facie negligence may be established without direct proof and furnishes a substitute for specific proof of negligence. It is based in part upon the theory that the defendant in charge of the instrumentality which causes the injury either knows the cause of the accident or has the best opportunity of ascertaining it and that the plaintiff has no such knowledge, and therefore is compelled to allege negligence in general terms and to rely upon the proof of the happening of the accident in order to establish negligence. Res ipsa loquitur is a rule of necessity and it applies where evidence is absent or not readily available, provided the following requisites are present: (1) the accident was of a kind which does not ordinarily occur unless someone is negligent; (2) the instrumentality or agency which caused the injury was under the exclusive control of the person charged with negligence; and (3) the injury suffered must not have been due to any voluntary action or contribution on the part of the person injured.

No worker is going to fall from the 14th floor of a building to the basement while performing work in a construction site unless someone is negligent; thus, the first requisite is present. As explained earlier, the construction site with all its paraphernalia and human resources that likely caused the injury is under the exclusive control and management of appellant; thus, the second requisite is also present. No contributory negligence was attributed to the appellee’s deceased husband; thus, the last requisite is also present. A reasonable presumption or inference of appellant’s negligence arises. Regrettably, petitioner does not cite any evidence to rebut the inference or presumption of negligence arising from the application of res ipsa loquitur, or to establish any defense relating to the incident.

Defenses (Plaintiff’s negligence)

Manila Electric Co. vs Remonquillo

99 PHIL 117 (May 18, 1956)

Facts: Efren Magno went to the house of Antonio Peñaloza, his stepbrother, to repair a leaking “media agua.” The “media agua” was just below the window of the third floor of his stepbrother’s house. Standing on said “media agua”, Magno received from his son thru the window a galvanized iron sheet to cover the leaking portion. The lower end of the iron sheet came into contact with the electric wire of Manila Electric Company parallel to the media agua, causing his death by electrocution.

Magno’s widow and children filed suit to recover damages from the company. Trial court rendered judgment in their favor. Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.

The electric wire in question was an exposed, uninsulated primary wire stretched between poles on the street and carrying a charge of 3600 volts. It was installed there some two years ago before Peñaloza’s house was constructed. During the construction of said house a similar incident took place, with less tragic consequences. The owner of the house complained to the defendant about the danger which the wire presented, and defendant moved one end of the wire farther from the house by means of a brace, but left the other end where it was. Regulations of the City required that “all wires be kept three feet from the building.”There was no insulation that could have rendered it safe, because there is no insulation material in commercial use for such kind of wire (according to appellant, and this was not refuted).

ISSUE: Whether or not Manila Electric is guilty of negligence.

HELD: NO. It was the victim who was guilty of negligence. The liability of electric companies for damages or personal injury is governed by the rules of negligence. Nevertheless such companies are not insurers of the safety of the public.

The death of Magno was primarily caused by his own negligence, and in some measure by the too close proximity of the “media agua” to the electric wire of the company by reason of the violation of the original permit given by the city and the subsequent approval of said illegal construction of the “media agua.”

The company cannot be expected to be always on the lookout for any illegal construction which reduces the distance between its wires and said construction, and to change the installation of its wires so as to preserve said distance.

The violation of the permit for the construction was not the direct cause of the accident. It merely contributed to it. The real cause of the accident or death was the reckless or negligent act of Magno himself. It is to be presumed that due to his age and experience he was qualified to do so. He had training and experience for the job. He could not have been entirely a stranger to electric wires and the danger lurking in them.

Bernardo vs. Legaspi

29 Phil 12 (December 23, 1914)

Facts: Due to a collision between the respective automobiles of Bernardo and Legaspi, the former filed an action to recover damages for injuries sustained by his car. Legaspi, on the other hand, filed a cross-complaint alleging it was Bernardo's fault. He also asks for damages. The lower court found upon that both the plaintiff and the defendant were negligent in handling their automobiles and that said negligence was of such a character and extent on the part of both as to prevent either from recovering.

ISSUE Whether or not the parties may recover damages

HELD: NO. Where two automobiles, going in opposite directions, collide on turning a street corner, and it appears from the evidence and is found by the trial court that the drivers thereof were equally negligent and contributed equally to the principal occurrence as determining causes thereof, neither can recover of the other for damages suffered.

Bernal vs. House

54 PHIL 327 (January 30, 1930)

Facts: Fortunata Enverso with her daughter, Purificacion Bernal went to Tacloban, Leyte to attend the procession on Holy Friday. After the procession, accompanied by two other persons, they passed along a public street. Purificacion was allowed to get a short distance in advance of her mother and her friends.

While in front of the offices of the Tacloban Electric & Ice Plant, Ltd., an automobile appeared which frightened the child. She turned to run, but fell into the street gutter. At that time there was hot water running in the gutter coming from the Electric Ice Plant of J.V. House. When the mother and her companions reached the child, they found her face downward in the hot water. The girl was taken to the provincial hospital. Despite his efforts, the child died that same night. It was certified that the cause of death was "Burns, 3rd Degree, whole Body", and that the contributory causes were "Congestion of the Brain and visceras of the chest & abdomen.”

The defense was that the hot water was permitted to flow down the side of the street with the knowledge and consent of the authorities and that the cause of death was other than the hot water; and that in the death the plaintiffs contributed by their own fault and negligence. The trial judge dismissed the action because of the contributory negligence of the plaintiffs.

Issue: Whether or not the action should be dismissed due to the contributory negligence of the plaintiffs

Held: NO. The death of the child was the result of fault and negligence in permitting hot water to flow through the public streets, endangering the lives of passers-by who were unfortunately enough to fall into it. The mother and her child had a perfect right to be on the street on the evening when the religious procession was held. There was nothing abnormal in allowing the child to run along a few paces in advance of the mother. No one could foresee the coincidence of an automobile appearing and of a frightened child running and falling into a

The contributory negligence of the child and her mother, if any, does result not operate as a bar to recovery, but in its strictest sense could only in reduction of

ditch filled with hot the damages.

PLDT vs. CA

G.R. No. 57079 (September 29, 1989)

FACTS: The jeep of Spouses Esteban ran over a mound of earth and fell into an open trench, an excavation allegedly undertaken by PLDT for the installation of its underground conduit system. The Spouses Esteban’s complaint alleged that Antonio Esteban failed to notice the open trench which was left uncovered because of the creeping darkness and the lack of any warning light or signs. Gloria Esteban allegedly sustained injuries on her arms, legs and face, leaving a permanent scar on her cheek, while the respondent husband suffered cut lips. The windshield of the jeep was also shattered.

PLDT, in its answer, denies liability on the contention that the injuries sustained by Spouses Esteban were the result of their own negligence and that the entity which should be held responsible, if at all, is L.R. Barte and Company, an independent contractor which undertook the said construction work. The trial court ruled in favor of Esteban spouses whereas the CA reversed the ruling.

Issue: Whether or not the Estebans can claim damages from PLDT.

Held: NO. A person claiming damages for the negligence of another has the burden of proving the existence of such fault or negligence causative thereof. The facts constitutive of negligence must be affirmatively established by competent evidence.

The accident was due to the lack of diligence of Antonio Esteban and was not imputable to the negligent omission on the part of petitioner PLDT. The jeep was running along the inside lane of Lacson Street. If it had remained on that inside lane, it would not have hit the accident mound. That plaintiffs’ jeep was on the inside lane before it swerved to hit the accident mound could have been corroborated by a picture showing Lacson Street to the south of the accident mound. Plaintiffs’ jeep was not running at 25 kilometers an hour as plaintiff husband claimed. At that speed, he could have stepped on the brakes the moment it struck the accident mound.

The above findings clearly show that the negligence of Antonio Esteban was not only contributory to his injuries and those of his wife but goes to the very cause of the occurrence of the accident, as one of its determining factors, and thereby precludes their right to recover damages.

Defenses (Contributory Negligence)

Genobiagon vs. Court of Appeals

178 SCRA 422 (September 22, 1957)

Facts: Genobiagon was driving a rig along T. Padilla St. in Cebu City. The petitioner's vehicle was going so fast not only because of the steep down-grade of the road, but also because he was trying to overtake the rig ahead of him.

As an old woman was crossing the street, Genobiagon’s rig bumped her and caused her to fall in the middle of the road. Vicente Mangyao saw the incident and shouted at Genobiagon but the latter refused to stop. Genobiagon reasoned out that he did not bump the old woman and that it was the old woman who bumped him. The old woman was brought to the hospital but she died 3 days after. Petitioner was charged and convicted with the crime of homicide thru reckless imprudence. CA affirmed the decision but increased the civil liability from 6,000 to 12,000. Hence, this petition.

Issues: (1) Whether or not the court erred in the affirmation of conviction (2) Whether or not the court unjustly increased the civil liability

Held: (1) No. The alleged contributory negligence of the victim, if any, does not exonerate the accused. The defense of contributory negligence does not apply in criminal cases committed through reckless imprudence, since one cannot allege the negligence of another to evade the effects of his own negligence.

(2) No. The prevailing jurisprudence in fact provides that indemnity for death in homicide or murder is 30,000 (at present 50,000, this case was decided in 1989).

Rakes vs. Atlantic

G.R. No. 1719 (1907)

Facts: The plaintiff Rakes, one of a gang of eight negro laborers in the employment of the defendant, was at work transporting iron rails from a barge in the harbor to the company's yard near the malecon in Manila. Plaintiff claims that but one hand car was used in this work. The defendant Atlantic, has proved that there were two immediately following one another, upon which were piled lengthwise seven rails, each weighing 560 pounds, so that the ends of the rails lay upon two crosspieces or sills secured to the cars, but without side pieces or guards to prevent them from slipping off. According to the testimony of the plaintiff, the men were either in the rear of the car or at its sides. According to that defendant, some of them were also in front, hauling by a rope. At a certain spot at or near the water's edge the track sagged, the tie broke, the car either canted or upset, the rails slid off and caught the plaintiff, breaking his leg, which was afterwards amputated at about the knee.

In order to charge the defendant with negligence, it was necessary to show a breach of duty on its part in failing either to properly secure the load on iron to vehicles transporting it, or to skillfully build the tramway or to maintain it in proper condition, or to vigilantly inspect and repair the roadway as soon as the depression in it became visible. It is upon the failure of the defendant to repair the weakened track, after notice of its condition, that the judge below based his judgment.

In respect of the second charge of negligence against the plaintiff, the judgment below is not so specific. While the judge remarks that the evidence does not justify the finding that the car was pulled by means of a rope attached to the front end or to the rails upon it, and further that the circumstances in evidence make it clear that the persons necessary to operate the car could not walk upon the plank between the rails and that, therefore, it was necessary for the employees moving it to get hold upon it as best they could, there is no specific finding upon the instruction given by the defendant to its employees to walk only upon the planks, nor upon the necessity of the plaintiff putting himself upon the ties at the side in order to get hold upon the car.

Issue: Whether or not there was contributory negligence on the part of Rakes.

Held: While the plaintiff and his witnesses swear that not only were they not forbidden to proceed in this way, but were expressly directed by the foreman to do so, both the officers of the company and three of the workmen testify that there was a general prohibition frequently made known to all the gang against walking by the side of the car, and the foreman swears that he repeated the prohibition before the starting of this particular load. On this contradiction of proof we think that the preponderance is in favor of the defendant's contention to the extent of the general order being made known to the workmen. If so, the disobedience of the plaintiff in placing himself in danger contributed in some degree to the injury as a proximate, although not as its primary cause.

Difficulty seems to be apprehended in deciding which acts of the injured party shall be considered immediate causes of the accident. The test is simple. Distinction must be between the accident and the injury, between the event itself, without which there could have been no accident, and those acts of the victim not entering into it, independent of it, but contributing under review was the displacement of the crosspiece or the failure to replace it. this produced the event giving occasion for damages — that is, the shinking of the track and the sliding of the iron rails. To this event, the act of the plaintiff in walking by the side of the car did not contribute, although it was an element of the damage which came to himself. Had the crosspiece been out of place wholly or partly thorough his act of omission of duty, the last would have been one of the determining causes of the event or accident, for which he would have been responsible. Where he contributes to the principal occurrence, as one of its determining factors, he cannot recover. Where, in conjunction with the occurrence, he contributes only to his own injury, he may recover the amount that the defendant responsible for the event should pay for such injury, less a sum deemed a suitable equivalent for his own imprudence.

Philippine Bank of Commerce v CA (Lipana)

269 SCRA 695 (March 14, 1997)

Facts: Rommel's Marketing Corporation (RMC) maintained two separate current accounts with the Pasig Branch of PBCom in connection with its business of selling appliances. From May 5, 1975 to July 16, 1976, Romeo Lipana, RMC’s GM, claims to have entrusted RMC funds in the form of cash totaling P304,979.74 to his secretary, Irene Yabut, for the purpose of depositing said funds to RMC’s account with PBCom. It turned out, that these deposits were not credited to RMC's account but were instead deposited to the PBCom account of Yabut's husband, Bienvenido Cotas.

Irene Yabut would accomplish two copies of the deposit slip, an original and a duplicate. The original showed the name of her husband as depositor and his current account number. On the duplicate copy was written the account number of her husband but the name of the account holder was left blank. PBC's teller, Azucena Mabayad, would validate and stamp both the original and the duplicate of these deposit slips retaining only the original copy despite the lack of information on the duplicate slip. The second copy was kept by Irene Yabut allegedly for record purposes. After validation, Yabut would then fill up the name of RMC in the space left blank in the duplicate copy and change the account number written thereon and make it appear to be RMC's account number. She made her company believe that the amounts she deposited were being credited to its account when, in fact, they were being deposited in the account of her husband.

During the entire period, PBCom had been regularly furnishing RMC with monthly statements showing its current account balances. Unfortunately, it was never the practice of Romeo Lipana to check these monthly statements reposing complete trust and confidence to PBCom and to his secretary. Upon discovery of the loss of its funds, RMC demanded from petitioner bank the return of its money.

Issue: Whether or not there was contributory negligence on the part of RMC.

Held: In the case at bench, there is no dispute as to the damage suffered by the private respondent (plaintiff in the trial court) RMC in the amount of P304,979.74. It is in ascribing fault or negligence which caused the damage where the parties point to each other as the culprit.

Negligence is the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided by those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or the doing of something which a prudent and reasonable man would do.

Picart v. Smith, provides the test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case which may be stated as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence.

Applying the above test, it appears that the bank's teller, Ms. Azucena Mabayad, was negligent in validating, officially stamping and signing all the deposit slips prepared and presented by Ms. Yabut, despite the glaring fact that the duplicate copy was not completely accomplished contrary to the self-imposed procedure of the bank with respect to the proper validation of deposit slips, original or duplicate, as testified to by Ms. Mabayad herself. Negligence here lies not only on the part of Ms. Mabayad but also on the part of the bank itself in its lackadaisical selection and supervision of Ms. Mabayad. This was exemplified in the testimony of Mr. Romeo Bonifacio, then Manager of the Pasig Branch of the petitioner bank and now its Vice-President, to the effect that, while he ordered the investigation of the incident, he never came to know that blank deposit slips were validated in total disregard of the bank's validation procedures.

It was this negligence of Ms. Azucena Mabayad, coupled by the negligence of the petitioner bank in the selection and supervision of its bank teller, which was the proximate cause of the loss suffered by the private respondent, and not the latter's act of entrusting cash to a dishonest employee, as insisted by the petitioners

​ ​

Defenses (Fortuitous Event)

Juntilla vs. Fontanar

136 SCRA 624 (May 31, 1985)

Facts: Juntilla was a passenger of a public utility jeepney, being driven by Defendant Berfol Camoro, enroute from Danao to Cebu City. The jeepney had fourteen (14) passengers in the back and three (3) at the front, one of whom was Juntilla. Upon reaching Mandaue City, the right rear tire of the jeepney exploded causing the vehicle to fall into a ditch and turn turtle. As consequence, Juntilla was thrown out of the jeepney and sustained lacerations to his right palm and suffered other injuries. Juntilla, still shocked, went back to Danao City for medical help but on his way discovered that his watch is missing.

Juntilla then filed a case for breach of contract of carriage with damages before the City Court of Cebu, which found the respondents (the driver, the franchise operator and owner) liable for the accident ordering the latter to pay damages, including the value of watch lost by petitioner during the incident. Upon appeal, the CFI, relying on a case decided by the Court of Appeals (Rodriguez case), exonerated respondents on grounds that the blowing of tire is a fortuitous event, and therefore beyond the control of the latter.

Issues: (1) Whether or not the blowing of the tire a fortuitous event (2) Whether or not the respondents should be held liable for breach of contract of carriage.

Held: No. A fortuitous event has the following essential characteristics:

(a)

The

cause of the unforeseen or unexpected occurrence, or the failure of the obligor to comply with his obligation must be independent of human will.

(b)

The

event must be impossible to foresee or if it can be foreseen, it must be impossible to avoid.

(c)

The

occurrence must be such as to render it impossible for the obligor to fulfill his obligation in a normal manner.

(d)

The

obligor must be free from any participation in the aggravation if the injury resulting to the oblige

The Supreme Court held that the cause of the incident was NOT independent from human will. The accident was caused EITHER by the negligence of the driver or because of the mechanical defects in the tire.

Common carriers should teach their drivers not to overload their vehicles, not to exceed the speed limits and to know the correct measures to take when a tire blows up, thus ensuring the safety of the passengers at all times. In the instant case, the Supreme Court found that the jeep was overloaded with passengers (17, excluding the driver), and was speeding. The Court made the observation that a jeepney at a regular and safe speed would not have jump into a ditch when the right rear tire blows up.

Neither can the driver and operator point liability to the manufacturer of the tire. The Supreme Court, citing Necesito et. al. vs. Paras, held that:

xxx

[A] passenger is entitled to recover damages from a carrier for an injury resulting from a defect in appliance (tire) purchased from a manufacturer,

 

whenever

it appears

that

the defect would have been discovered by the carrier if it

had

exercised the degree of care…with regard to the inspection and application of the necessary tests…[T]he

manufacturer is considered… the agent or servant of the carrier as regards the work of the appliance (tire) xxx

Such rationale is based on the fact that the passenger has neither choice nor control over the carrier’s selection of the tire. Having no privity with the manufacturer or vendor of the tire, the passenger has no remedy against the former, on the other hand, the carrier has. The sudden blowing up of the tire may have been caused by too much air pressure. The Source of the common carrier’s legal liability is the contract of carriage. The carrier binds itself to carry the passengers safely as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of a very cautious person, with due regard for all circumstances.

Hernandez vs. Commission on Audit

179 SCRA 39 (November 6, 1989)

Facts: At the time of the incident in question, Teodoro M. Hernandez was the officer-in-charge and special disbursing officer of the Ternate Beach Project of the Philippine Tourism Authority in Cavite. As such, he went to the main office of the Authority in Manila on July 1, 1983 to encash two checks covering the wages of the employees and the operating expenses of the Project. He estimated that the money would be available by 10:00AM and that he would be back in Ternate by about 2:00PM. For some reason, the processing of the checks was delayed and was completed only at 3:00PM. Despite realizing that he would not reach ternate in time to distribute the salary of the workers, Hernandez nevertheless decided to encash them. He thought he had to do this for the benefit of the laborers, otherwise they would have to wait until the following Tuesday, when the main office would reopen. And so, on the same afternoon he collected the cash value of the checks and left the main office a substantial amount of money.

Hernandez realized that had two choices, to (1) return to Ternate, Cavite, the same afternoon and arrive there in the early evening; or (2) take the money to his house in Marilao, Bulacan, spend the night there, and leave for Ternate the following morning. He opted for the second, thinking it the safer one. And so, he took a passenger jeep bound for his house in Bulacan.

While the vehicle was along EDSA, two persons boarded with knives in hand. One pointed his weapon at the Hernandez’ side while the other slit his pocket and forcibly took the money he was carrying. The two then jumped out of the jeep and ran. Hernandez, after the initial shock, immediately followed in desperate pursuit. He caught up with Virgilio Alvarez and overcame him after a scuffle. Hernandez sustained injuries in the lip arms and knees. Alvarez was subsequently charged with robbery and pleaded guilty, but the robber who had the money escaped.

On July 5, 1983, Hernandez filed a request for relief from money accountability under Section 638 of the Revised Administrative Code. Deespite favorable endorsement by

Philippine Tourism Authority and the NCR Regional Director of the Commission on Audit, the Commission on Audit, through then Chairman Francisco S. Tantuico, jr. denied the Hernandez’ request. According to Tantuico, the loss of the P10,175.00 under the accountability of Mr. Hernandez can be attributed to his negligence because had he brought the cash proceeds of the checks (replenishment fund) to the Beach Park in Ternate, Cavite, immediately after encashment for safekeeping in his office, which is the normal procedure in the handling of public funds.

Issue: Whether or not the COA acted with grave abuse of discretion in holding Hernandez negligent.

Held: Section 638 of the Revised Administrative Code reads as follows:

Section 638. Credit for loss occurring in transit or due to casualty. Notice to Auditor. When a loss of government funds or property occurs while the same is in transit or is caused by fire, theft, or other casualty, the officer accountable therefor or having custody thereof shall immediately notify the Auditor General, or the provincial auditor, according as a matter is within the original jurisdiction of the one or the other, and within thirty days or such longer period as the Auditor, or provincial auditor, may in the particular case allow, shall present his application for relief, with the available evidence in support thereof. An officer who fails to comply with this requirement shall not be relieved of liability or allowed credit for any such loss in the settlement of his accounts.

Applying the letter and spirit of the above-mentioned laws, and after considering the established facts in the light of the arguments of the parties, this Court inclines in favor of the petitioner.

It is pointless to argue that Hernandez should have encashed the vouchers earlier because they were dated anyway on June 29, 1983. He was not obliged to encash the checks earlier and then again there might have been any number of reasons why he did so only on July 1, 1983. The point is that he did encash the checks on that date and took the money to Marilao and not Ternate in view of the lateness of the hour. The question before us is whether these acts are so tainted with negligence or recklessness as to justify the denial of the petitioner's request for relief from accountability for the stolen money.

It seems to us that the petitioner was moved only by the best of motives when he encashed the checks on July 1, 1983, so his co-employees in Ternate could collect their salaries and wages the following day. Significantly, although this was a non-working day, he was intending to make the trip to his office the following day for the unselfish purpose of accommodating his fellow workers. The other alternative was to encash the check is on July 5, 1983, the next working day after July 1, 1983, which would have meant a 5-day wait for the payment of the said salaries and wages. Being a modest employee himself, Hernandoz must have realized the great discomfort it would cause the laborer who were dependent on their wages for their sustenance and were anxious to collect their pay as soon as possible. For such an attitude, Hernandez should be commended rather than faulted.

As for Hernandez's choice between Marilao, Bulacan, and Ternate, Cavite, one could easily agree that the former was the safer destination, being nearer, and in view of the comparative hazards in the trips to the two places. It is true that the petitioner miscalculated, but the Court feels he should not be blamed for that. The decision he made seemed logical at that time and was one that could be expected of a reasonable and prudent person. And if, as it happened, the two robbers attacked him in broad daylight in the jeep while it was on a busy highway, and in the presence of other passengers, it cannot be said that all this was the result of his imprudence and negligence. This was undoubtedly a fortuitous event covered by the said provisions, something that could not have been reasonably foreseen although it could have happened, and did.

We find, in sum, that under the circumstances as above narrated, the petitioner is entitled to be relieved from accountability for the money forcibly taken from him in the afternoon of July 1, 1983. To impose such liability upon him would be to read the law too sternly when it should be softened by the proven facts.

Gotesco vs. Chatto and Lina Delza Chatto

210 SCRA 18 (June 16, 1992)

Facts: Gloria E. Chatto and her 15-year old daughter, Lina, went to see the movie "Mother Dear" at Superama I theater, owned by defendant Gotesco Investment Corporation. They bought balcony tickets but even then were unable to find seats. Hardly ten (10) minutes after entering the theater, the ceiling of its balcony collapsed. The theater was plunged into darkness and pandemonium ensued. Shocked and hurt, the mother and daughter managed to crawl under the fallen ceiling. As soon as they were able to get out to the street they walked the nearby FEU Hospital where they were confined and treated for one (1) day.

Chatto filed a complaint for damages against Gotesco. Defendant tried to avoid liability by alleging that the collapse of the ceiling of its theater was due to force majeure. The trial court ordered Gotesco to pay the plaintiffs moral damages, actual damages, attorney's fees, plus the cost of the suit. The CA affirmed the decision.

Issue: Whether or not the collapse of the ceiling was due to an act of God or Force Majeure?

Held: No. The collapse of the ceiling was not due to Force Majeur. Mr. Jesus Lim Ong, admitted that "he could not give any reason why the ceiling collapsed." Having interposed it as a defense, it had the burden to prove that the collapse was indeed caused by force majeure. It could not have collapsed without a cause. The fact that Mr. Ong could not offer any explanation does not imply force majeure.

Petitioner could have easily discovered the cause of the collapse if indeed it were due to force majeure. To Our mind, the real reason why Mr. Ong could not explain the cause or reason is that either he did not actually conduct the investigation or that he is, as the respondent Court impliedly held, incompetent. He is not an engineer, but an architect who had not even passed the government's examination. Verily, post-incident investigation cannot be considered as material to the present proceedings. What is significant is the finding of the trial court, affirmed by the respondent Court that the collapse was due to construction defects. There was no evidence offered to overturn this finding. The building was constructed barely four (4) years prior to the accident in question. It was not shown that any of the causes denominates as force majeure obtained immediately before or at the time of the collapse of the ceiling. Such defects could have been easily discovered if only petitioner exercised due diligence and care in keeping and maintaining the premises. But as disclosed by the testimony of Mr. Ong, there was no adequate inspection of the premises before the date of the accident. The fact that structural designs and plans of the building were duly approved by the City Engineer and that building permits and certificate of occupancy were issued, do not at all prove that there were no defects in the construction, especially as regards the ceiling, considering that no testimony was offered to prove that it was ever inspected at all.

Besides, even assuming for the sake of argument that, as petitioner vigorously insists, the cause of the collapse was due to force majeure, petitioner would still be liable because it was guilty of negligence, which the trial court denominated as gross. As gleaned from Bouvier's definition of and Cockburn's elucidation on force majeure for one to be exempt from any liability because of it, he must have exercised care, i.e., he should not have been guilty of negligence.

Servando vs. Philippine Steam Navigation Co

117 SCRA 832

Facts:

for carriage from Manila to Pulupandan, Negros Occidental. Bills of lading were issued by Philippine Navigation. The cargoes were discharged in Negros Occidental Bureau of Customs Warehouse as complete and in good order.

​ ​ Clara Uy Bico and Amparo Servando loaded on board a vessel owned by Philippine Steam Navigation cargoes consisting of 1,528 cavans of rice and 44 cartons of colored paper

At about 2:00 PM of the same day, the Customs warehouse was razed by a fire of unknown origin, destroying the cargoes. The claims for the value of said goods were rejected by Philippine Steam, herein respondent. Lower Court ordered Philippine Steam to pay Servando damages, including legal interest from filing of the case. They also awarded damages to Uy Bico the sum for the portion of the cargo which was not recovered by her. The legal basis of the lower court for its decision if Article 1736:

Common carriers have the duty to observe extraordinary diligence from the moment the goods are unconditionally placed in their possession until the same are delivered, actually or constructively, by the carrier to the consignee or to the person who has a right to receive them, without prejudice to the provisions of Article 1738

It held that the delivery to the Bureau of Customs is not the constructive delivery as contemplated in Article 1736, thus the common carrier continues to be responsible.

Issue:

Whether

or not FIRE is a fortuitous event, absolving Respondents of any liability?

Held:

Yes.

The burning of the warehouse was an extraordinary event independent of the will of the respondents. The following characteristics of caso fortuito are present. 1. the

cause of the unforeseen event must be independent of the human will; 2. it must be impossible to foresee the event which constitutes the 'caso fortuito', or if it can be foreseen, it must be

impossible to avoid; 3. the occurrence must be such as to render it impossible for the debtor to fulfill his obligation in a normal manner.4. the obligor must be free from any participation in the aggravation of the injury resulting to the creditor. When the proximate cause of loss is a fortuitous event or force majeure, the obligor is exempt from liability. This is provided for by Article 1174 of the Civil Code.

Article 1174. Except in cases expressly specified by the law, or when it is otherwise declared by stipulation, or when the nature of the obligation requires the assumption of risk, no person shall be responsible for those events which could not be foreseen, or which, though foreseen, were inevitable.

It should also be pointed out that in the Bill of Lading (BOL) existing on the cargoes, the responsibility of the carrier has been limited as provided by Clause 14.:

Not unless the loss or damage is caused by the negligence of the carrier, the common carrier shall not be liable for such caused by force majeures, accidents of sea, war and public enemies.

This is a mere reiteration of Article 1174.

Furthermore, the storage of the goods in the Customs warehouse while waiting withdrawal by the petitioners was made with their knowledge and consent. Since the warehouse belonged to and maintained by the government, it would be unfair to impute negligence to Philippine Steam, having no control over the same. There is also no proof or showing that the fire can be imputable to the negligence of its employees. Judgment appealed is set aside.

NAPOCOR vs. CA

GR Nos. 103442-45 (1993)

Facts: The controversy stemmed from separate complaints filed by several residents of Norzagaray, Bulacan against petitioner, National Power Corp. The residents seek to recover actual and other damages for the loss of lives due to the inundation of their town. The flooding was allegedly caused by NAPOCOR’s acts of negligently releasing water in the spillways of Angat Dam (hydroelectric plant). NAPOCOR, in its defense, maintains that (1) they exercised due care and diligence in maintaining the power plant; (2) petitioners duly notified the residents about the impending release of water with the onset of typhoon kading and advised them to take necessary precautions; and (3) that the damages incurred by private respondents were caused by a fortuitous event or force majeure.

The lower court dismissed the complaints for lack of sufficient evidence. The CA reversed the decision and awarded actual and moral damages (plus litigation expenses) to the residents. The judgment was based on a patent gross and evident lack of foresight, imprudence and negligence in the management and operation of Angat Dam. The unholiness of the hour, the extent of the opening of the spillways, and the magnitude of the water released, are all but products of NAPOCOR’s headlessness, slovenliness, and carelessness. The resulting flash flood and inundation of even areas (sic) one (1) kilometer away from the Angat River bank would have been avoided had NAPOCOR prepared the Angat Dam by maintaining a water elevation, which would allow room for the expected torrential rains.

The CA also rejected the NAPOCOR’s plea that the incident was caused by a fortuitous event.

Issue: Whether or not the incident was caused by a fortuitous event.

Held: The SC rendered its decision based on the same errors in G.R. No. 96410, entitled National Power Corporation, et al., vs. Court of Appeals, et al, according to the Court, the proximate cause of the damage incurred by private respondents was due to negligence of the NAPOCOR. The early warning notice was insufficient. The SC cannot rule otherwise because its decision is now binding.

To exempt the obligor from liability under Article 1174 (Acts of God) of the Civil Code, the following must concur: (a) the cause of the breach of the obligation must be independent of the will of the debtor; (b) the event must be either unforseeable or unavoidable; (c) the event must be such as to render it impossible for the debtor to fulfill his obligation in a moral manner; and (d) the debtor must be free from any participation in, or aggravation of the injury to the creditor

Thus, if upon the happening of a fortuitous event or an act of God, there concurs a corresponding fraud, negligence, delay or violation or contravention in any manner of the tenor of the obligation as provided for in Article 1170 of the Civil Code, which results in loss or damage, the obligor cannot escape liability

The principle embodied in the act of God doctrine strictly requires that the act must be one occasioned exclusively by the violence of nature and all human agencies are to be excluded from creating or entering into the cause of the mischief. Thus it has been held that when the negligence of a person concurs with an act of God in producing a loss, such person is not exempt from liability by showing that the immediate cause of the damage was the act of God. To be exempt from liability for loss because of an act of God, he must be free from any previous negligence or misconduct by which that loss or damage may have been occasioned.

Southeastern College Inc. v CA

GR No. 126389 (July 10, 1998)

Facts: Private Respondents Dimaano are owners of a house in College Road, Pasay City while petitioner Corporation, South Eastern College, owns a four-storey school building along the same road. In October 1989, a powerful typhoon called “Saling” hit the Metro. Buffeted by very strong winds, the roof of petitioner’s building was partly ripped off and blown away, landing and destroying portions of the roofing of Dimaano’s house. An ocular inspection was conducted by a team of engineers. They found that one factor and perhaps, the most likely reason for the dislodging of the roofings structural trusses is the improper anchorage of the trusses to the roof beams, thus recommending the building to be declared a structural hazard.

Respondents filed a complaint based on culpa aquiliana, alleging that the damage to their house rendered the same uninhabitable, forcing them to stay temporarily in other houses. The Dimaanos sought to recover actual, moral and exemplary damages, including attorney’s fees and costs from petitioners. In their answer, Southeastern averred that the building withstood several devastating typhoons and other calamities in the past without its roofing giving way, and that typhoon Saling was an act of God.

In giving credence to the ocular inspection, the Trial court ruled in favor of the Dimaanos and ordered the Southeastern to pay the decreed damages sought. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision but reduced the award of moral damages.

Issues: Whether or not the Southeastern College is liable for the damage.

Held: No. The antecedent of fortuitous event or caso fortuito is found in the Partidas which defines it as an event which takes place by accident and could not have been foreseen. In order that a fortuitous even may exempt a person from liability, it is necessary that he be free from any previous negligence or misconduct by reason which the loss may have been occasioned

There is no question that a typhoon or storm is a fortuitous even, a natural occurrence which may be foreseen but is unavoidable despite any amount of foresight, diligence or care. From these premises, we proceed to determine whether Southeastern was negligent, such that if it were not the damage caused to private respondents’ house could have been avoided? At the outset it bears emphasizing that a person claiming damages for the negligence of another has the burden of proving the existence of fault or negligence. The facts constitutive of negligence must be affirmatively established by competent evidence, not merely by presumption or conclusions without basis of fact. The Dimaanos merely relied on the ocular inspection, however by this basis, the relationship of cause and effect has NOT been clearly shown.

On the other hand, petitioner elicited from private respondent’s city building official, Jesus Reyna, that the original plans and design of petitioner’s school building were

approved including the certificate of occupancy. Having obtained both, these are, at the least, prima facie evidence of the regular and proper construction of a subject school building.

As to the damages, it is not enough that the damage be capable of proof but must be actually proved with reasonable degree of certainty, pointing out specific facts that afford a basis for measuring whatever compensatory damages are borne.

ASSUMPTION OF RISK

Afialda vs. Hisole

85 Phil 67 (November 29, 1949)

Facts: Loreto Afialda was employed by Hisole spouses as caretaker of their carabaos. While tending to the animals, he was gored by one of them and later died as a consequence. His sister then filed a complaint against the spouses Hisole. The spouses filed a motion to dismiss, which the court granted. Plaintiff now seeks to hold defendants liable under art. 1905 of the Civil Code which states that “The possessor of an animal or the one who uses the same, is liable for any damages it may cause, even if such animal should escape from him or stray away. This liability shall cease only in case the damage should arise from force majeure or from the fault of the person who may have suffered it.”

Issue: Whether or not the owner of the animal is liable when the damage is caused to its caretaker.

Held: No. The owner of an animal is answerable only for damages caused to a stranger, and that damage caused to the caretaker of the animal the owner would be liable only if he had been negligent or at fault under art. 1902 of the Civil Code. In the case at bar, the animal was in the custody of the caretaker. It was the caretaker’s business to try to prevent the animal from causing injury or damage to anyone, including himself. Being injured by the animal was one of the risks of the occupation which he had voluntarily assumed and for which he must take the consequences. There was no allegation of negligence on the part of the Hisole spouses. Thus, they are not liable.

Ilocos Norte Electric Company (INEL Co.)vs. Court of Appeals

179 SCRA 5 (November 6, 1989)

Facts: In the evening of June 28 until the early morning of June 29, 1967, typhoon 'Gening' buffeted the province of Ilocos Norte and brought heavy rains and flooding. Between 5:30- 6:00AM, Isabel Lao Juan (Nana Belen) along with Aida Bulong and Linda Estavillo ventured out of her house and traversed waist-deep flood to proceed to a store, which she owns to check if her merchandise have been damaged. Suddenly, Nana Belen screaamed 'ay!' and quickly sank into the water. The two girls attempted to help but fear dissuaded them because on the spot where the deceased sank, they saw an electric wire dangling from a post and moving in snake-like fashion in the water. Ernesto dela Cruz tried to go to Nana Belen but he turned back because the water was grounded. Ernesto informed Antonio Yabes that his mother in law had been electrocuted and together they went to the City Hall of Laoag to request the police to ask INELCO to cut off the current. Subsequently, the search for the body began and such was found two meters from an electric post.

In another place at about 4:00 A.M., Engineer Antonio Juan of the NAPOCOR noticed certain fluctuations in their electric meter which indicated such abnormalities as grounded or short-circuited lines. He then went out for inspection and saw grounded and disconnected lines which were hanging from posts to the ground. Since there were no INELCO linemen in sight, he decided to go to the INELCO office but it was closed. On the way to INELCO, he passed by Guerrero St. and saw and electric wire about 30 meters long and the other end of the wire was seeming to play with the current of the water. At about 8:00 A.M., he went out for inspection again and learned about the death of Nana Belen. He tried to help revive the deceased but his efforts proved futile. He also noticed a hollow wound on the left palm of the victim. In the afternoon, he went on an inspection trip again and the wire that he saw on Guerrero St. earlier was no longer there.

​ ​

Dr. Castro examined the body of the deceased at around 8:00 A.M. and noted that the skin was grayish or cyanotic which indicated death by electrocution. The wound on the left palm was an electrically charged wound or a first degree burn. The certificate of death prepared by Dr. Castro stated the cause of death as 'circulatory shock electrocution'.

An action for damages was instituted by the heirs of the deceased. INELCO, through its officers and employees who testified, claims that on and even before June 29, their electric system did not suffer from any defect that might constitute hazard to life and property. Moreover, it was alleged that the lines and devices were newly installed and they had installed safety devices to prevent injuries to persons and damage to property in case of natural calamities. INELCO also alleged that they had 12 linesmen charged with the duty of checking the areas assigned to them. Fabico Abijero even testified that in the early morning of June 29, he passed by the intersection of Guerrero and Rizal streets and did not see any broken wires. He said that what he saw were many people fishing out the body of the deceased. INELCO also presented Dr. Briones who said that without an autopsy, no doctor or medico-legal can speculate the cause of death. Moreover, he said that cyanosis (lack of oxygen circulating in the blood) appears only in a live person. INELCO also said that the deceased was negligent because she installed a burglar deterrent by connecting a wire from the main house to the iron gate, thus charging the latter with electric current whenever the switch is on. INELCO then conjectures that the switch must have been left on, causing the deceased electrocution when she tried to open her gate.

The CFI ruled in favor of INELCO. CA reversed.

Issues: (1) Whether or not the deceased died of electrocution. (2) Whether or not petitioner INELCO may be held liable for the death of Isabel Lao Juan. (3) Whether or not the maxim volenti non fit injuria can be applied in the case at bar.

Held:

(1) YES. The nature of the wounds as described by the witnesses who saw them can lead to no other conclusion than that they were burns and there was nothing else in the street where the victim was wading thru which could cause a burn except the dangling live wire of petitioner company. In the issue of the burglar deterrent, the suggestion of petitioner that the switch was left on is mere speculation, not backed up with evidence.

(2) YES. While it is true that typhoons and floods are considered Acts of God for which no person may be held responsible, it was not said eventuality which directly caused the victim's death. It was through the intervention of petitioner's negligence that death took place. As stated by Engr. Juan in his testimony, he saw no INELCO lineman and that the office of INELCO was closed. The SC held that in times of calamities, extraordinary diligence requires a supplier of electricity to be in constant vigil to prevent or avoid any probable incident that might imperil life or limb. The petitioner was negligent in seeing to it that no harm is done to the general public. Furthermore, the court held that when an act of God combines or concurs with the negligence of the defendant (in this case the petitioner) to produce an injury, the defendant is liable if the injury would not have resulted but for his own negligent conduct or omission.

(3) NO. It is imperative to note the surrounding circumstances which impelled the deceased to leave the comforts of a roof and brave the subsiding typhoon. She went to her grocery store to see to it that the goods were not flooded. It has been held that a person is excused from the force of the rule, that when he voluntarily assents to a known danger he must abide by the consequences, if an emergency is found to exist or if the life or property of another is in peril or when he seeks to rescue his endangered property. Clearly, an emergency was at hand as the deceased's property, a source of her livelihood, was faced with an impending loss. Furthermore, she was at a place where she had a right to be without regard to petitioner's consent as she was on her way to protect her merchandise.

DUE DILIGENCE

Ramos, et al vs. Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of the P.I., et al

19 SCRA 289 (1967)

Facts: The car owned by Placido Ramos, while being driven by his son Augusto, collided with a truck-tractor and trailer of Pepsi Cola, driven by i Andres Bonifacio. Ramos filed a case at the CFI of Manila against Pepsi. CFI found Bonifacio negligent and declared that Pepsi Cola failed to exercise the due diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage. Pepsi and Bonifacio are held solidarily liable to pay P2,638.50 actual damages, P2,000 moral damages, P2000 exemplary damages and P1,000 Atty. fees.

CA affirmed the decision of CFI regarding Bonifacio but absolved Pepsi Cola from liability stating that Pepsi has sufficiently proved due diligence in the selection of its employees.

Issue: Whether or not Pepsi Cola exercised due diligence in the selection of its driver.

Held: Yes. When it was proven that the employer had carefully examined the erring driver as to his qualifications, experience and record of service, such evidence is sufficient to show that the employer exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection of the driver and rebuts the juris tantum presumption that the employer was negligent. Juan Anasco, personnel manager of Pepsi stated that before Bonifacio was hired, his background, experience, physical capacity was checked. Also, he was asked to submit clearance and also asked to take theoretical and practical driving examination. Pepsi was also a member of the Safety Council.

Petitioner can no longer assail the credibility of Anasco. Findings of CA are binding on SC. A motion for reconsideration was made stating that respondents violated the Motor vehicle law. It was said that the truck was overweight and running beyond the speed limit and that it was not equipped with a rear vision mirror and with a helper. Such allegations failed to show their basis. Patrolman Pahate did not affirm such allegations. Also, a special permit may be granted for overweight trucks and the absence of such permit was not proven. In Quasi delicts, the motor vehicle owner is not an absolute owner against all damages caused by its driver. The owner’s responsibility ceases once it proves that it has observed the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damages.

Metro Manila Transit Corp. (MMTC) vs. CA

223 SCRA 521 June 21, 1993

Facts: Appellant Nenita Custodio boarded a jeepney driven by defendant Agudo Calebag and owned by his co-defendant Victorino Lamayo. The jeepney collided with an MMTC bus at the intersection of DBP Avenue and Honeydew Road. MMTC bus was driven by defendant Godofredo Leonardo. Both drivers failed to slow down or blow their horns. As a result of said incident, Custodio was thrown out through the windshield and sustained serious physical injuries. She was sent to the hospital and regained consciousness only after a week.

Appellant, assisted by her parents, filed a complaint for damages. Defendants denied the material allegations. MMTC for its part presented Milagros Garbo, its training officer, and Christian Bautista, its transport supervisor, as two of its witnesses. Garbo testified that the company's bus drivers undergo a series of training programs, examinations, clearances, interviews and seminars for their selection. Bautista on the other hand, testified that he ensured the drivers were in proper uniform, briefed in traffic rules and regulations and fit to drive before the start of duty.

The trial court found both drivers negligent for non-observance of appropriate traffic rules and regulations and for failure to take the usual precautions when approaching an intersection. It however, absolved MMTC, stating that it was careful and diligent in selecting its employees and strict and diligent in supervising them as shown by the evidence. The CA modified the said ruling, holding MMTC solidarily liable with the other defendants. According to the CA, MMTC failed to substantiate its allegations that it exercised the diligence of the good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its employees. It pointed out the fact that Garbo and Bautista failed to present documentary evidence to support their claims, such as the clearances and test results of Leonardo or the written guidelines. As such, the testimonies fall short of the required evidentiary quantum.

Issue: Whether or not the evidence of MMTC is sufficient to show that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its employees.

Held: No. The SC agrees with the ruling of the CA.

In civil cases, the degree of evidence required of a party in order to support his claim is preponderance of evidence, or that evidence adduced by one party which is more conclusive and credible than that of the other party. It is, therefore, incumbent on the plaintiff who is claiming a right to prove his case. Corollary, defendant must likewise prove its own allegation to buttress its claim that it is not liable. In fine, the party, whether plaintiff or defendant, who asserts the affirmative of the issue has the burden of presenting at the trial such amount of evidence required by law to obtain a favorable judgment. In the case at bar, petitioner's attempt to prove it diligentissimi patris familias in the selection and supervision of employees must fail as it was unable to buttress the same with any other evidence, object or documentary, which might obviate the apparent biased nature of the testimony. MMTC only gave oral testimonies as its evidence, no documentary proof was submitted upon request to further bolster its defense. The mere formulation of various company policies on saftey without showing that they were being complied with is not sufficient to exempt petitioner from liability arising from negligence of its employees.

The SC does not find the evidence presented by petitioner sufficiently convincing to prove the diligence of a good father of a family. Hence, applying Art. 2180 in relation to Art. 2176, petitioner is held solidarily liable with the other defendants.

PRESCRIPTION

Kramer vs. Court of Appeals

178 SCRA 518 (October 13, 1989)

Facts: On April 8, 1976, F/B Marjolea, a fishing boat owned by the petitioners was navigating its way from Marinduque to Manila. Somewhere near Maricabon Island and Cape Santiago, the boat collided with an inter-island vessel, the M/V Asia Philippines, owned by the private respondent Trans-Asia Shipping Lines, Inc.

F/B Marjolea sank, taking with it its fish catch. The captains of both vessels filed their respective marine protests with the Board of Marine Inquiry of the Philippine Coast Guard. The Board conducted an investigation for the purpose of determining the proximate cause of the maritime collision. On October 19, 1981, the Board concluded that the loss of the F/B Marjolea and its fish catch was attributable to the negligence of the employees of the private respondent who were on board the M/V Asia Philippines during the collision. The findings made by the Board served as the basis of a subsequent Decision of the Commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard dated April 29, 1982 wherein the second mate of the M/V Asia Philippines was suspended from pursuing his profession as a marine officer.

On May 30, 1985, the petitioners instituted a Complaint for damages against the private respondent in the RTC. The private respondent filed a Motion seeking the dismissal of the Complaint on the ground of prescription. He argued that under Article 1146 of the Civil Code, the prescriptive period for instituting a Complaint for damages arising from a quasi- delict like a maritime collision is four years. He maintained that the petitioners should have filed their Complaint within four years from the date when their cause of action accrued, i.e., from April 8, 1976 when the maritime collision took place, and that accordingly, the Complaint filed on May 30, 1985 was instituted beyond the four-year prescriptive period. Petitioners contended that maritime collisions have peculiarities and characteristics which only persons with special skill, training and experience like the members of the Board of Marine Inquiry can properly analyze and resolve. The petitioners argued that the running of the prescriptive period was tolled by the filing of the marine protest and that their cause of action accrued only on April 29, 1982, the date of the decision of the board become final.

RTC ruled in favor of petitioners holding that in ascertaining negligence relating to a maritime collision, there is a need to rely on highly technical aspects attendant to such collision, and that the Board was constituted precisely to answer the need. CA reversed the decision, holding that it is clear that the cause of action of the petitioners accrued from the occurrence of the mishap because that is the precise time when damages were inflicted upon and sustained by the aggrieved party. It said that if the tolling of the prescriptive period would hinge upon the discretion of a government agency, said alternative could entail hazards. Hence the appeal.

Issue: Whether or not the action for quasi-delict is barred by prescription.

Held: Yes. Under Article 1146 of the Civil Code, an action based upon a quasi-delict must be instituted within four years. The prescriptive period begins from the day the quasi-delict is committed. The right of action accrues when there exists a cause of action, which consists of 3 elements, namely: a) a right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever means and under whatever law it arises or is created; b) an obligation on the part of defendant to respect such right; and c) an act or omission on the part of such defendant violative of the right of the plaintiff. It is only when the last element occurs or takes place that it can be said in law that a cause of action has arisen.

Allied Banking Corporation vs. Court of Appeals

178 SCRA 526 (October 13, 1989)

Facts: In 1977, Joselito Yujuico obtained a loan from GEN BANK in the amount of PhP500,000 and as evidence, it issued a promissory note payable GEN BANK. At the time private respondent incurred the obligation, he was a ranking officer of GENBANK and a member of the family which owns the controlling interest in the bank. In 1980, the Central Bank issued a resolution forbidding GENBANK from doing further business. Four days after, another resolution was issued ordering the liquidation of GENBANK. Later, ALLIED Bank acquired all the assets and assumed all the liabilities of GENBANK, including the receivable due from private Yujuico.

Upon Yujuico’s failure to pay, ALLIED Bank filed a complaint against private respondent for the collection of a sum of money. The CA affirmed the RTC decision in a special proceeding finding that the liquidation of GENBANK was made in bad faith. This decision declared the liquidation of GENBANK null and void. It was then that Yujuico filed the third party complaint for damages alleging that by reason of the tortious interference by the Central Bank with the affairs of GENBANK, he was prevented from paying his loan.

Issue: Assuming that the Central Bank is guilty of tortious interference, has the claim of Yujuico under the third party complaint prescribed?

Held: YES. An action for damages arising from quasi-delict or alleged tortious interference should be filed within four (4) years from the day the cause of action accrued. Since the cause of action accrued on 25 March 1980 (the time when Central Bank issued a cease and desist order against GENBANK) and the third party complaint was filed only on June 17 1987, the action has prescribed.

It is from the date the act or omission violative of the right of a party that the cause of action arises and it is from this date that the prescriptive period must be reckoned. (Español vs. Chairman, Philippine Veterans)The third party complaint should not be admitted.

Causation (Proximate Cause)

Bataclan vs. Medina

G.R. No. L-10126 (1957)

Facts: Bus no. 30 of the Medina Transportation, operated by its owner, Mariano Medina, left the town of Amadeo, Cavite, on its way to Pasay City, driven by Conrado Saylon. Among the passengers were Juan Bataclan. While the bus was running within the jurisdiction of Imus, Cavite, one of the front tires burst causing the vehicle to zig-zag until it fell into a canal or ditch on the right side of the road and turned turtle. Some of the passengers managed to leave the bus, others had to be helped or pulled out, while the three passengers seated beside the driver, namely Bataclan, Lara and the Visayan and the woman behind them named Natalia Villanueva, could not get out of the overturned bus. After half an hour, came about ten men, one of them carrying a lighted torch made of bamboo with a wick on one end. These men presumably approached the overturned bus, and almost immediately, a fire started, consuming the bus, including the four passengers trapped inside. It would appear that as the bus overturned, gasoline began to leak and escape from the gasoline tank on the side of the chassis, spreading over and permeating the body of the bus and the ground under and around it, and that the lighted torch brought by one of the men who answered the call for help set it on fire.

The heirs of the deceased brought an action to recover from Mariano Medina compensatory, moral, and exemplary damages and attorney's fees.

Issue: Whether or not the proximate cause of the death of Bataclan was not the overturning of the bus, but rather, the fire that burned the bus, including himself and his co-passengers who were unable to leave it.

Held: The Court held that the proximate cause was the overturning of the bus, this for the reason that when the vehicle turned not only on its side but completely on its back, the leaking of the gasoline from the tank was not unnatural or unexpected; that the coming of the men with a lighted torch was in response to the call for help, made not only by the passengers, but most probably, by the driver and the conductor themselves, and that because it was dark (about 2:30 in the morning), the rescuers had to carry a light with them, and coming as they did from a rural area where lanterns and flashlights were not available; and what was more natural than that said rescuers should innocently approach the vehicle to extend the aid and effect the rescue requested from them.

In other words, the coming of the men with a torch was to be expected and was a natural sequence of the overturning of the bus, the trapping of some of its passengers and the call for outside help. What is more, the burning of the bus can also in part be attributed to the negligence of the carrier, through is driver and its conductor.

According to the witness, the driver and the conductor were on the road walking back and forth. They, or at least, the driver should and must have known that in the position in which the overturned bus was, gasoline could and must have leaked from the gasoline tank and soaked the area in and around the bus, this aside from the fact that gasoline when spilled, specially over a large area, can be smelt and directed even from a distance, and yet neither the driver nor the conductor would appear to have cautioned or taken steps to warn the rescuers not to bring the lighted torch too near the bus.

Fernando vs. Court of Appeals and the City of Davao

G.R. No. 92087 (May 8, 1992)

Facts: Morta, market master of Agdao Public Market requested with the City Treasurer Office the emptying of a Septic tank in Agdao. An invitation to bid was issued to Bertulano, Catarsa, Bascon, Bolo and Suner. Bascon won the bid and signed the purchase order. Prior to the signing of purchase order, Bertulano with four other companions- Liagoso, Fernando and Fajardo Jr. was found dead inside the septic tank.

While, Garcia died in the Regional Hospital after being rescued by a fireman. Autopsy revealed diminution of oxygen and intake of sulfide gas as cause of death. Investigation by the City Engineer Office learned that the 5 victims entered and re-emptied the tank without clearance and consent. The heirs of the deceased filed a case for damages contending that it was the gross negligence of the City of Davao for failing to clean the septic tank for 10 years which resulted in the accumulation of hydrogen sulfide gas, and was therefore the proximate cause of the death of the laborers. They further contend that the market master failed to supervise the area where the tank was located as a further reflection of the public respondent’s negligence. Petitioner’s also insisted on the application of Article 24 of the New Civil code. Art. 24. In all contractual, property or other relations, when one of the parties is at a disadvantage on account of his moral dependence, ignorance, indigence, mental weakness, tender age or other handicap, the courts must be vigilant for his protection.

Issue:

WON

proximate cause of death is the own negligence of the plaintiffs?

Held: Yes. Proximate cause is that cause, which, in the natural and continuous sequence unbroken by and efficient intervening cause, produces the injury and without which the result would not have occurred.

While it may be true that the public respondent had been negligent in the re emptying of the septic tank annually since 1956, the negligence is not a continuing one. The public respondents have immediately responded to such issue upon invitation to bid on the service of emptying the tank. Public Respondents have also shown in court that people in the market have been using the toilet for their necessities and remained uninjured.

As proven by Respondents, the septic tank was air-tight as provided for by regulations. The accident of toxic gas leakage from the tank is unlikely to happen unless one removes its covers. The accident occurred because the victims have ontheir own and without authority opened the tank. Bertulano who has offered his services to clean the septic tank is presumed to know the hazards of his job. His and his men’s failure to take precautionary measures for their safety is the proximate case of the accident. The Court also cited Culion vs. Phil Motors Corp. “When a person holds himself out as being competent to do things requiring professional skill, he will be held liable for negligence if he fails to exhibit the skill of one ordinarily skilled in the particular work he attempts to do.” Furthermore, the surreptitious way the victims did the job without clearance from the market master and or the security jobs goes against their good faith.

Moreover, Article 24 of the NCC is inapplicable as there is total absence of contractual relations between the victims and City of Davao that will give rise to contractual obligations as the victims did not win the bidding. It was not to Bertulano, but to Bascon, that the contract to clean the septic tank was awarded.

Urbano vs. IAC

G.R. No. L-72964) (1988) Facts: Petitioner, Filomeno Urbano quarreled with Marcelino Javier because the latter opened the irrigation canal which caused the flooding of the place where Urbano's palay was stored. Urbano hacked the right palm of Javier with a bolo and caused an incised wound that was later treated. Urbano and Javier agreed on an amicable settlement and petitioner paid for the hospital bills.

22 days later, Javier was rushed to the hospital, he had a locked jaw and was having convulsions, caused by tetanus toxin. The doctor noticed that the wound was infected. The next day, Javier died. Petitioner was charged with homicide and was later found guilty by the trial court. The IAC affirmed the conviction. Petitioner filed a motion for new trial based on the affidavit of the barangay captain that Javier was found catching fish on the irrigation canal, 10 days prior to his death.

Issue: Whether or not the inflicting of the wound by petitioner was only a remote, and not a proximate, cause.

Held: The inflicting of the wound is only a remote cause and petitioner cannot be held liable therefor. A prior and remote cause cannot be made the basis of an action if such remote cause did nothing more than furnish the condition or give rise to the occasion by which the injury was made possible, if there intervened between such prior or remote cause and the injury a distinct, successive, unrelated and efficient cause of injury, even though such injury would not have happened but for such condition or occasion. If no danger existed in the condition except because of the independent cause, such condition was not the proximate cause. And if an independent negligent act or defective condition sets into operation the circumstances, which result in injury because of the prior defective condition, such subsequent act or condition is the proximate cause.

The incubation period of tetanus, ranges from 2 to 56 days. However, over 80 percent of patients become symptomatic within 14 days. A short incubation period indicates severe disease, and when symptoms occur within 2 or 3 days of injury, the mortality rate approaches 100 percent. (NOTICE that it took Javier 22 days, from the time of the hacking, before he had symptoms of Tetanus)

In the case at bar, the evidence on record does not clearly show that the wound inflicted by Urbano was infected with tetanus at the time of the hacking. The evidence merely confirms that the wound, which was already healing at the time Javier suffered the symptoms of the fatal ailment, somehow got infected with tetanus. However, as to when the wound was infected is not clear. There is a likelihood that the wound was but the remote cause and its subsequent infection (failure to take the necessary precautions against tetanus) may have been the proximate cause of Javier's death.

Phoenix Construction vs. IAC

148 SCA 353 (L-652095) (1987)

Facts: In the early morning of 15 November 1975 — at about 1:30 a.m. — private respondent Leonardo Dionisio was driving his way home from a cocktails-and-dinner meeting with his boss. During the cocktails phase of the evening, Dionisio had taken "a shot or two" of liquor. Dionisio was driving his Volkswagen car and had just crossed the intersection of General Lacuna and General Santos Streets at Bangkal, Makati, not far from his home, and was proceeding down General Lacuna Street, when his car headlights (in his allegation) suddenly failed. He switched his headlights on "bright" and thereupon he saw a Ford dump truck looming some 2-1/2 meters away from his car.

The dump truck, owned by and registered in the name of petitioner Phoenix Construction Inc. ("Phoenix"), was parked on the right hand side of General Lacuna Street facing the oncoming traffic. The dump truck was parked askew in such a manner as to stick out onto the street, partly blocking the way of incoming traffic. There were neither lights nor any so- called "early warning" reflector devices set anywhere near the dump truck, front or rear. The dump truck had earlier that evening been driven home by petitioner Armando Carbonel, its regular driver, with the permission of his employer Phoenix, in view of work scheduled to be carried out early the following morning, Dionisio claimed that he tried to avoid a collision by swerving his car to the left but it was too late and his car smashed into the dump truck. As a result of the collision, Dionisio suffered some physical injuries including some permanent facial scars, a "nervous breakdown" and loss of two gold bridge dentures.

Dionisio commenced an action for damages in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga basically claiming that the legal and proximate cause of his injuries was the negligent manner in which Carbonel had parked the dump truck entrusted to him by his employer Phoenix. Phoenix and Carbonel, on the other hand, countered that the proximate cause of Dionisio's injuries was his own recklessness in driving fast at the time of the accident, while under the influence of liquor, without his headlights on and without a curfew pass. Phoenix also sought to establish that it had exercised due care in the selection and supervision of the dump truck driver.

Issue: Whether or not the proximate cause of the accident is the negligence of the driver or the negligence of Dionisio.

Held: It was the negligence of the truck driver. The legal and proximate cause of the accident and of Dionisio's injuries was the wrongful — or negligent manner in which the dump truck was parked in other words, the negligence of petitioner Carbonel. , the collision of Dionisio's car with the dump truck was a natural and foreseeable consequence of the truck driver's negligence.

The truck driver's negligence far from being a "passive and static condition" was rather an indispensable and efficient cause. The collision between the dump truck and the private respondent's car would in an probability not have occurred had the dump truck not been parked askew without any warning lights or reflector devices. The improper parking of the dump truck created an unreasonable risk of injury for anyone driving down General Lacuna Street and for having so created this risk, the truck driver must be held responsible. In our view, Dionisio's negligence, although later in point of time than the truck driver's negligence and therefore closer to the accident, was not an efficient intervening or independent cause.

respondent Dionisio's negligence was "only contributory," that the "immediate and proximate cause" of the injury remained the truck driver's "lack of due care" and that consequently respondent Dionisio may recover damages though such damages are subject to mitigation by the courts

TRIVIA: Did the headlights of Dionisio really turned off unexpectedly, as he claims? Remember, this happened during Martial law years when curfews were in effect. It was 1:30 AM and Dinisio was drunk. Excellent!

Pilipinas Bank v. CA

G.R. No. 105410 (1994)

Facts: As payments for the purchased shoe materials and rubber shoes, Florencio Reyes issued postdated checks to Winner Industrial Corporation and Vicente Tui with due dates on October 10 and 12, 1979, respectively.

To cover the face value of the checks, plaintiff, on October 10, 1979, requested PCIB Money Shop's manager Mike Potenciano to effect the withdrawal of P32,000.00 from his savings account therein and have it deposited with his current account with Pilipinas Bank (then Filman Bank), Biñan Branch. Roberto Santos was requested to make the deposit. In

depositing in the name of FLORENCIO REYES, he inquired from the teller the current account number of Florencio Reyes to complete the deposit slip he was accomplishing.

He was informed that it was "815" and so this was the same current account number he placed on the deposit slip below the depositor's name FLORENCIO REYES. Nothing that the account number coincided with the name Florencio, Efren Alagasi, then Current Account Bookkeeper of Pilipinas Bank, thought it was for Florencio Amador who owned the listed account number. He, thus, posted the deposit in the latter's account not noticing that the depositor's surname in the deposit slip was REYES. On October 11, 1979, the October 10, check in favor of Winner Industrial Corporation was presented for payment. Since the ledger of Florencio Reyes indicated that his account had only a balance of P4,078.43, it was dishonored and the payee was advised to try it for next clearing. On October 15, 1979, the October 10, 1979 check was redeposited but was again dishonored. Likewise, the October 12, 1979 check in favor of Vicente Tui when presented for payment on that same date met the same fate but was advised to try the next clearing. Two days after the October 10 check was again dishonored, the payee returned the same to Florencio Reyes and demanded a cash payment of its face value which he did if only to save his name. The October 12, 1979 check was redeposited on October 18, 1979, but again dishonored for the reason that the check was drawn against insufficient fund. Furious over the incident, he immediately proceeded to the bank and urged an immediate verification of his account. Upon verification, the bank noticed the error. The P32,000.00 deposit posted in the account of Florencio Amador was immediately transferred to the account of Reyes upon being cleared by Florencio Amador that he did not effect a deposit in the amount of P32,000.00. The transfer having been effected, the bank then honored the October 12, 1979, check.

Issue: WON the proximate cause of the mis-posting of deposit was due to the error of the representative of Reyes

Held: No. For Article 2179 of the Civil Code to apply, it must be established that private respondent's own negligence was the immediate and proximate cause of his injury. The concept of proximate cause is well defined in our corpus of jurisprudence as "any cause which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the result complained of and without which would not have occurred and from which it ought to have been forseen or reasonably anticipated by a person of ordinary case that the injury

complained of or some similar injury, would result therefrom as a natural and probable consequence." 4 In the case at bench, the proximate cause of the injury is the negligence of petitioner's employee in erroneously posting the cash deposit of private respondent in the name of another depositor who had a similar first name. As held by the trial court:

Applying the test, the bank employee is, on that basis, deemed to have failed to exercise the degree of care required in the performance of his duties. As earlier stated, the bank employee posted the cash deposit in the account of Florencio Amador from his assumption that the name Florencio appearing on the ledger without, however, going through the full name, is the same Florencio stated in the deposit slip. He should have continuously gone beyond mere assumption, which was proven to be erroneous, and proceeded with clear certainty, considering the amount involved and the repercussions it would create on the totality of the person notable of which is the credit standing of the person involved should a mistake happen. The checks issued by the plaintiff in the course of his business were dishonored by the bank because the ledger of Florencio Reyes indicated a balance insufficient to cover the face value of checks.

Quezon City Government vs. Fulgencio Dacara

G.R. NO. 150304 (June 15, 2005)

Facts: Fulgencio Dacara, Jr., son of herein respondent was driving the Toyota Corolla of his father along Matahimik St. in Quezon City. While driving, the vehicle rammed into a pile of earth (street diggings) as the street was being repaired by the Quezon City government. As result, Dacara allegedly sustained bodily injuries and the vehicle suffered extensive damages when it turned turtled as it hit the pile of earth.

Indemnification was sought from the City Government but it yielded negative results. Dacara Sr. on behalf of his minor son filed a complaint for damages against herein petitioner (QCG). In its answer, QCG alleged that the diggings were provided with a mound of soil and barricaded with reflectorized traffic paint with sticks placed before or after it which was visible during the incident. QCG claimed that they exercised due care by providing the area of the diggings all necessary measures to avoid accident. Such claim was disproved by the investigation report which stated that the deep excavation was without any warning device. The RTC, on the basis of Art. 2189 of the Civil Code, rendered judgment in favor of Fulgencio Dacara and ordered QCG to pay the former actual, moral and exemplary damages, attorney's fees and costs of suit. CA affirmed. Hence, this petition.

Issues:

1. Whether or not negligence of Fulgencio Dacara, Jr. was the proximate cause of the accident.

2. Whether or not award for moral damages is proper.

3. Whether or not award for exemplary damages is proper.

HELD: (1) NO. Art. 2189 NCC capsulizes the responsibility of the city government relative to the maintenance of roads and bridges since it exercises the control and supervision over the same. Failure of the petitioner to comply with the statutory provision found in the subject-article is tantamount to negligence per se which renders the City government liable. Petitioner pointed out that Fulgencio was driving at the speed of 60kph which was above the maximum limit of 30kph when he met the accident, so he can be presumed negligent based on Art. 2185. Such a matter was not raised at any time during the trial and was only raised for the first time in their Motion for Reconsideration. The SC held it was too late to raise such issue .

(2) NO. Art. 2219(2) NCC specifically allows moral damages to be recovered for quasi-delicts, provided that the act or omission caused physical injuries. There can be no recovery or moral damages unless the quasi-delict resulted in physical injury. In the case at bar, Fulgencio testified that he suffered a deep cut on his left arm. However, no other evidence such as a medical certificate, was presented to prove such bare assertion of physical injury. Thus, there was no credible proof that would justify an award of moral damages. Moral damages are not punitive in nature, but are designed to compensate and alleviate in some way the physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury inflicted on a person. Moral damages cannot be awarded in the absence of proof that the person experienced emotional and mental suffering. Mere allegations do not suffice, clear and convincing proof is necessary.

,

temperate or actual damages. In the case at bar, petitioner's negligence was the proximate cause of the incident, thereby establishing his right to actual damages. Art. 2231 NCC mandates that in cases of quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be recovered if the defendant acted with gross negligence. Such a circumstance obtains in the instant case. The City Government failed to show the modicum of responsibility, much less, care expected from them by the constituents of the city. It is even more deplorable that it was a case of a street-digging in a side street which caused the accident in the so-called 'premier city'.

(3) YES Exem lar

.

p

dama es cannot be recovered as a matter of ri ht it is subject to the discretion of the courts but cannot be awarded unless claimants show their entitlement to moral

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,

Remote cause, distinguished from Proximate case

Gabeto vs. Araneta

G.R. No. 15674 (1921)

Facts:

out into the street and stopped the horse. Araneta protested to the driver that he was the first one who called for the carromata. The driver Julio Pagnaya pulled on the reins (one which control the horse) of the bridle to free the horse from the control of Araneta. Due to the rottenness of the reins, the bit (placed on the horse’s mouth for control) came out of the horse’s mouth. Pagnaya got off the carromata and pulled over the same near the curb and fixed the bit. While doing so, the horse moved forward and pulled one wheel of the carromata uo on the sidewalk and pushed Pagnaya. The carromata struck a police telephone box and due to the crashing sound, the horse got frightened and set out at full speed up the street.

Aug. 4, 1918, Basilio Ilano and Proceso Gayetano rode a carromata (horse driven carriage) to go to a cockpit on Calle Ledesma in the city of Iloilo. Agaton Araneta stepped

On

Basilio Ilano was able to get off the carromata but Proceso Gayetano retained his seat and when he jumped from the rig, he sustained injuries which caused his death.

Issue:

Whether

or not the act of Araneta is the proximate cause of the death of Gayetano.

Held: No. The mere act of Araneta of stopping the horse will not make him liable. Evidence shows that when Pagnaya got out of the carromata to go the horse’s head and fix the bit, an appreciable interval of time elapsed. The act of Araneta is too remote from the accident to be considered as the proximate cause.

By getting off and taking his post at the head of the horse, the driver was the person primarily responsible for the control of the animal. Also, evidence shows that the bridle was old and the leather is weak and easily broken.

Urbano vs. IAC

G.R. No. L-72964 (1988)

Facts: Supra

Held: There is a likelihood that the wound was but the remote cause and its subsequent infection, for failure to take necessary precautions, with tetanus may have been the proximate cause of Javier's death with which the petitioner had nothing to do. As we ruled in Manila Electric Co. v. Remoquillo, et al. (99 Phil. 118).

"A prior and remote cause cannot be made the be of an action if such remote cause did nothing more than furnish the condition or give rise to the occasion by which the injury was made possible, if there intervened between such prior or remote cause and the injury a distinct, successive, unrelated, and efficient cause of the injury, even though such injury would not have happened but for such condition or occasion. If no danger existed in the condition except because of the independent cause, such condition was not the proximate cause. And if an independent negligent act or defective condition sets into operation the instances which result in injury because of the prior defective condition, such subsequent act or condition is the proximate cause." (45 C.J. pp. 931-932). (at p. 125)

Concurrent Cause, distinguished from Proximate

Far Eastern Shipping Co. vs. Court of Appeals

G.R. 130068 (1998)

Facts: Supra

Held: It may be said, as a general rule, that negligence in order to render a person liable need not be the sole cause of an injury. It is sufficient that his negligence, concurring with one or more efficient causes other than piaintiff's, is the proximate cause of the injury. Accordingly, where several causes combine to produce injuries, a person is not relieved from liability because he is responsible for only one of them, it being sufficient that the negligence of the person charged with injury is an efficient cause without which the injury would not have resulted to as great an extent, and that such cause is not attributable to the person injured. It is no defense to one of the concurrent tortfeasors that the injury would not have resulted from his negligence alone, without the negligence or wrongful acts of the other concurrent rortfeasor. Where several causes producing an injury are concurrent and each is an efficient cause without which the injury would not have happened, the injury may be attributed to all or any of the causes and recovery may be had against any or all of the responsible persons although under the circumstances of the case, it may appear that one of them was more culpable, and that the duty owed by them to the injured person was not the same. No actor's negligence ceases to be a proximate cause merely because it does not exceed the negligence of other actors. Each wrongdoer is responsible for the entire result and is liable as though his acts were the sole cause of the injury.

There is no contribution between joint tortfeasors whose liability is solidary since both of them are liable for the total damage. Where the concurrent or successive negligent acts or omissions of two or more persons, although acting independently, are in combination the direct and proximate cause of a single injury to a third person, it is impossible to determine in what proportion each contributed to the injury and either of them is responsible for the whole injury. Where their concurring negligence resulted in injury or damage to a third party, they become joint tortfeasors and are solidarily liable for the resulting damage under Article 2194 of the Civil Code.

Subido vs. Custodio

L-21512 (Aug 31, 1966)

Facts: Agapito Custodio was a passenger of an LTB Bus. He was hanging on the left side of the bus because it was full of passengers. A truck owned by Subido which was coming from the opposite direction sideswiped the LTB bus and injured Custodio who died as a result thereof. Both drivers were found negligent- the LTB bus driver for having allowed a passenger to ride on the running board of the bus and the driver of the truck for running at a considerable speed while negotiating a sharp curb and running on the middle instead of on the right side of the road. The owner and the driver of the truck contended that the proximate cause of the death of Custodio was the negligence of the driver of the LTB bus who allowed Custodio to ride on the running board of the LTB bus.

Issue: Is there concurrent liability here in this case at bar? How does the negligence of both parties affect the liability of both?

Held: Although the negligence of the carrier (LTB bus) and its driver is independent, in its execution, of the negligence of the truck driver and its owner, both acts of negligence are the proximate cause of death of Agapito Custodio. In fact the negligence of the first two(2) would not have produced this result without the negligence of petitioners herein (the owner and driver of the truck). What is more, petitioner’s negligence was the last, in point of time, for Custodio was on the running board of the carrier’s bus sometime before petitioner’s truck came from the opposite direction, so that, in this sense petitioner’s truck had the last clear chance.” The owner and the driver of the truck were held jointly and severally liable, together with the LTB bus and its driver, to the heirs of Custodio.

TESTS of proximate cause- the “BUT FOR” test

Bataclan vs. Medina

102 Phil 181

Facts: supra

Held: There is no question that under the circumstances, the defendant carrier is liable. The only question is to what degree. The trial court was of the opinion that the proximate cause of the death of Bataclan was not the overturning of the bus, but rather, the fire that burned the bus, including himself and his co-passengers who were unable to leave it; that at the time the fire started, Bataclan, though he must have suffered physical injuries, perhaps serious, was still alive, and so damages were awarded, not for his death, but for the physical injuries suffered by him. We disagree. A satisfactory definition of proximate cause is found in Volume 38, pages 695-696 of American jurisprudence, cited by plaintiffs-appellants in their brief. It is as follows:

'that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred.' And more comprehensively, 'the proximate legal cause is that acting first and producing the injury, either immediately or by setting other events in motion, all constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection with its immediate predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately effecting the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, under such circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should, as an ordinary prudent and intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his act or default that an injury to some person might probably result therefrom.

It may be that ordinarily, when a passenger bus overturns, and pins down a passenger, merely causing him physical injuries, if through some event, unexpected and extraordinary, the overturned bus is set on fire, say, by lightning, or if some highwaymen after looting the vehicle sets it on fire, and the passenger is burned to death, one might still contend that the proximate cause of his death was the fire and not the overturning of the vehicle. But in the present case under the circumstances obtaining