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Vasquez vs CA Case Digest Vasquez vs.

Court of Appeals (138 SCRA 553) Facts: MV Pioneer Cebu left the port of Manila and bounded for Cebu. Its officers were aware of the upcoming typhoon Klaring that is already building up somewhere in Mindanao. There being no typhoon signals on their route, they proceeded with their voyage. When they reached the island of Romblon, the captain decided not to seek shelter since the weather was still good. They continued their journey until the vessel reached the island of Tanguingui, while passing through the island the weather suddenly changed and heavy rains fell. Fearing that they might hit Chocolate island due to zero visibility, the captain ordered to reverse course the vessel so that they could weather out the typhoon by facing the strong winds and waves. Unfortunately, the vessel struck a reef near Malapascua Island, it sustained a leak and eventually sunk. The parents of the passengers who were lost due to that incident filed an action against Filipinas Pioneer Lines for damages. The defendant pleaded force majeure but the Trial Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff. On appeal to the Court of Appeals, it reversed the decision of the lower stating that the incident was a force majeure and absolved the defendants from liability. Issue: Whether of not Filipinas Pioneer Lines is liable for damages and presumed to be at fault for the death of its passenger? Held: The Supreme Court held the Filipinas Pioneer Lines failed to observe that extraordinary diligence required of them by law for the safety of the passengers transported by them with due regard for all necessary circumstance and unnecessarily exposed the vessel to tragic mishap. Despite knowledge of the fact that there was a typhoon, they still proceeded with their voyage relying only on the forecast that the typhoon would weaken upon crossing the island of Samar. The defense of caso fortuito is untenable. To constitute caso fortuito to exempt a person from liability it necessary that the event must be independent from human will, the occurrence must render it impossible for the debtor to fulfill his obligation in a normal manner, the obligor must be free from any participation or aggravation to the injury of the creditor. Filipina Pioneer Lines failed to overcome that presumption o fault or negligence that arises in cases of death or injuries to passengers.