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8/23/2016 G.R.No.

52159

TodayisTuesday,August23,2016

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

SECONDDIVISION

G.R.No.52159December22,1989

JOSEPILAPIL,petitioner,
vs.
HON.COURTOFAPPEALSandALATCOTRANSPORTATIONCOMPANY,INC.,respondents.

MartinBadong,Jr.forpetitioner.

EufronioK.Maristelaforprivaterespondent.

PADILLA,J.:

Thisisapetitiontoreviewoncertiorarithedecision*renderedbytheCourtofAppealsdated19October1979in
CAG.R. No. 57354R entitled "Jose Pilapil, plaintiffappellee versus Alatco Transportation Co., Inc., defendant
appellant," which reversed and set aside the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur in Civil
Case No. 7230 ordering respondent transportation company to pay to petitioner damages in the total sum of
sixteenthousandthreehundredpesos(P16,300.00).

Therecorddisclosesthefollowingfacts:

PetitionerplaintiffJosePilapil,apayingpassenger,boardedrespondentdefendant'sbusbearingNo.409atSan
Nicolas, Iriga City on 16 September 1971 at about 6:00 P.M. While said bus No. 409 was in due course
negotiating the distance between Iriga City and Naga City, upon reaching the vicinity of the cemetery of the
Municipality of Baao, Camarines Sur, on the way to Naga City, an unidentified man, a bystander along said
national highway, hurled a stone at the left side of the bus, which hit petitioner above his left eye. Private
respondent'spersonnellostnotimeinbringingthepetitionertotheprovincialhospitalinNagaCitywherehewas
confinedandtreated.

Consideringthatthesightofhislefteyewasimpaired,petitionerwastakentoDr.MalabananofIrigaCitywhere
he was treated for another week. Since there was no improvement in his left eye's vision, petitioner went to V.
LunaHospital,QuezonCitywherehewastreatedbyDr.Capulong.DespitethetreatmentaccordedtohimbyDr.
Capulong,petitionerlostpartiallyhislefteye'svisionandsustainedapermanentscarabovethelefteye.

Thereupon, petitioner instituted before the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur, Branch I an action for
recovery of damages sustained as a result of the stonethrowing incident. After trial, the court a quo rendered
judgmentwiththefollowingdispositivepart:

Wherefore,judgmentisherebyentered:

1.OrderingdefendanttransportationcompanytopayplaintiffJosePilapilthesumofP
10,000.00,PhilippineCurrency,representingactualandmaterialdamagesforcausinga
permanentscaronthefaceandinjuringtheeyesightoftheplaintiff

2. Ordering further defendant transportation company to pay the sum of P 5,000.00,


PhilippineCurrency,totheplaintiffasmoralandexemplarydamages

3. Ordering furthermore, defendant transportation company to reimburse plaintiff the


sumofP300.00forhismedicalexpensesandattorney'sfeesinthesumofP1,000.00,
PhilippineCurrencyand

4.Topaythecosts.

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8/23/2016 G.R.No.52159

SOORDERED1

Fromthejudgment,privaterespondentappealedtotheCourtofAppealswheretheappealwasdocketedasCA
G.R. No. 57354R. On 19 October 1979, the Court of Appeals, in a Special Division of Five, rendered judgment
reversingandsettingasidethejudgmentofthecourtaquo.

Hencethepresentpetition.

InseekingareversalofthedecisionoftheCourtofAppeals,petitionercontendsthatsaidcourthasdecidedthe
issue not in accord with law. Specifically, petitioner argues that the nature of the business of a transportation
companyrequirestheassumptionofcertainrisks,andthestoningofthebusbyastrangerresultingininjuryto
petitionerpassengerisonesuchriskfromwhichthecommoncarriermaynotexemptitselffromliability.

Wedonotagree.

Inconsiderationoftherightgrantedtoitbythepublictoengageinthebusinessoftransportingpassengersand
goods,acommoncarrierdoesnotgiveitsconsenttobecomeaninsurerofanyandallriskstopassengersand
goods.Itmerelyundertakestoperformcertaindutiestothepublicasthelawimposes,andholdsitselfliablefor
anybreachthereof.

Under Article 1733 of the Civil Code, common carriers are required to observe extraordinary diligence for the
safetyofthepassengertransportedbythem,accordingtoallthecircumstancesofeachcase.Therequirementof
extraordinarydiligenceimposeduponcommoncarriersisrestatedinArticle1755:"Acommoncarrierisboundto
carrythepassengerssafelyasfarashumancareandforesightcanprovide,usingtheutmostdiligenceofvery
cautious persons, with due regard for all the circumstances." Further, in case of death of or injuries to
passengers,thelawpresumessaidcommoncarrierstobeatfaultortohaveactednegligently.2

While the law requires the highest degree of diligence from common carriers in the safe transport of their
passengers and creates a presumption of negligence against them, it does not, however, make the carrier an
insureroftheabsolutesafetyofitspassengers.3

Article1755oftheCivilCodequalifiesthedutyofextraordinarycare,vigilanceandprecautioninthecarriageof
passengers by common carriers to only such as human care and foresight can provide. what constitutes
compliancewithsaiddutyisadjudgedwithdueregardtoallthecircumstances.

Article1756oftheCivilCode,increatingapresumptionoffaultornegligenceonthepartofthecommoncarrier
when its passenger is injured, merely relieves the latter, for the time being, from introducing evidence to fasten
the negligence on the former, because the presumption stands in the place of evidence. Being a mere
presumption, however, the same is rebuttable by proof that the common carrier had exercised extraordinary
diligence as required by law in the performance of its contractual obligation, or that the injury suffered by the
passengerwassolelyduetoafortuitousevent.4

In fine, we can only infer from the law the intention of the Code Commission and Congress to curb the
recklessnessofdriversandoperatorsofcommoncarriersintheconductoftheirbusiness.

Thus, it is clear that neither the law nor the nature of the business of a transportation company makes it an
insurerofthepassenger'ssafety,butthatitsliabilityforpersonalinjuriessustainedbyitspassengerrestsuponits
negligence,itsfailuretoexercisethedegreeofdiligencethatthelawrequires.5

Petitioner contends that respondent common carrier failed to rebut the presumption of negligence against it by
proofonitspartthatitexercisedextraordinarydiligenceforthesafetyofitspassengers.

Wedonotagree.

First,asstatedearlier,thepresumptionoffaultornegligenceagainstthecarrierisonlyadisputablepresumption.
It gives in where contrary facts are established proving either that the carrier had exercised the degree of
diligencerequiredbylawortheinjurysufferedbythepassengerwasduetoafortuitousevent.Where,asinthe
instantcase,theinjurysustainedbythepetitionerwasinnowayduetoanydefectinthemeansoftransportorin
the method of transporting or to the negligent or willful acts of private respondent's employees, and therefore
involvingnoissueofnegligenceinitsdutytoprovidesafeandsuitablecarsaswellascompetentemployees,with
the injury arising wholly from causes created by strangers over which the carrier had no control or even
knowledge or could not have prevented, the presumption is rebutted and the carrier is not and ought not to be
heldliable.Toruleotherwisewouldmakethecommoncarriertheinsureroftheabsolutesafetyofitspassengers
whichisnottheintentionofthelawmakers.

Second, while as a general rule, common carriers are bound to exercise extraordinary diligence in the safe
transportoftheirpassengers,itwouldseemthatthisisnotthestandardbywhichitsliabilityistobedetermined
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when intervening acts of strangers is to be determined directly cause the injury, while the contract of carriage
Article1763governs:

Article1763.Acommoncarrierisresponsibleforinjuriessufferedbyapassengeronaccountofthe
wilful acts or negligence of other passengers or of strangers, if the common carrier's employees
through the exercise of the diligence of a good father of a family could have prevented or stopped
theactoromission.

Clearlyundertheaboveprovision,atortcommittedbyastrangerwhichcausesinjurytoapassengerdoesnot
accord the latter a cause of action against the carrier. The negligence for which a common carrier is held
responsibleisthenegligentomissionbythecarrier'semployeestopreventthetortfrombeingcommittedwhen
thesamecouldhavebeenforeseenandpreventedbythem.Further,underthesameprovision,itistobenoted
thatwhentheviolationofthecontractisduetothewillfulactsofstrangers,asintheinstantcase,thedegreeof
care essential to be exercised by the common carrier for the protection of its passenger is only that of a good
fatherofafamily.

Petitionerhaschargedrespondentcarrierofnegligenceonthegroundthattheinjurycomplainedofcouldhave
beenpreventedbythecommoncarrierifsomethinglikemeshworkgrillshadcoveredthewindowsofitsbus.

Wedonotagree.

Althoughthesuggestedprecautioncouldhavepreventedtheinjurycomplainedof,theruleofordinarycareand
prudence is not so exacting as to require one charged with its exercise to take doubtful or unreasonable
precautionstoguardagainstunlawfulactsofstrangers.Thecarrierisnotchargedwiththedutyofprovidingor
maintainingvehiclesastoabsolutelypreventanyandallinjuriestopassengers.Wherethecarrierusescarsof
themostapprovedtype,ingeneralusebyothersengagedinthesameoccupation,andexercisesahighdegree
ofcareinmaintainingtheminsuitablecondition,thecarriercannotbechargedwithnegligenceinthisrespect.6

Finally,petitionercontendsthatitistothegreaterinterestoftheStateifacarrierweremadeliableforsuchstone
throwingincidentsratherthanhavethebusridingpublicloseconfidenceinthetransportationsystem.

Sadtosay,wearenotinapositiontosoholdsuchapolicywouldbebetterlefttotheconsiderationofCongress
whichisempoweredtoenactlawstoprotectthepublicfromtheincreasingrisksanddangersoflawlessnessin
society.

WHEREFORE,thejudgmentappealedfromisherebyAFFIRMED.

SOORDERED.

MelencioHerrera(Chairperson),SarmientoandRegalado,concur.

Paras,J.,tooknopart.

Footnotes

*..PennedbyJusticeHugoE.Gutierrez,Jr.,withJusticesEdgardoL.Paras,MilagrosA.German,
JorgeR.Coquia,concurring.JusticeRamonG.Gaviola,Jr.dissented.

1.RecordonAppeal,Annex"B",Rollo,p.31.

2.Article1756,NewCivilCode.

3.Strongv.IloiloNegrosAirExpressCo.,40OGSupp.12p.274Alfarov.Ayson,54OGDec.1,
1958,p.7920.

4.Art.1174,CivilCodeLasamv.Smith,45Phil.657.

5.Art.1170,1173,CivilCodeAlfarov.Ayson,SupraNecesito,etal.vs.Paras,etal.,104Phil.75.

6Irwinv.Louisville&N.R.Co.,50SouthernReporter62.

TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri1989/dec1989/gr_52159_1989.html 3/3
8/23/2016 G.R.No.L10605

TodayisTuesday,August23,2016

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

ENBANC

G.R.No.L10605June30,1958

PRECILLANONECESITO,ETC.,plaintiffappellant,
vs.
NATIVIDADPARAS,ETAL.,defendantsappellees.

xx

G.R.No.L10606June30,1958

GERMANNECESITO,ETAL.,plaintiffsappellants,
vs.
NATIVIDADPARAS,ETAL.,defendantsappellees.

TomasBesaandFedericoAgravaforappellants.
JoseW.Dioknoforappellees.

REYES,J.B.L.,J.:

ThesecasesinvolveexcontractuagainsttheownersandoperatorsofthecommoncarrierknownasPhilippine
RabbitBusLines,filedbyonepassenger,andtheheirsofanother,whoinjuredasaresultofthefallintoariverof
thevehicleinwhichtheywereriding.

In the morning of January 28, 1964, Severina Garces and her oneyear old son, Precillano Necesito, carrying
vegetables, boarded passenger auto truck or bus No. 199 of the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines at Agno,
Pangasinan.Thepassengertruck,drivenbyFranciscoBandonell,thenproceededonitsregularrunfromAgnoto
Manila. After passing Mangatarem, Pangasinan truck No. 199 entered a wooden bridge, but the front wheels
swervedtotherightthedriverlostcontrol,andafterwreckingthebridge'swoodenrails,thetruckfellonitsright
sideintoacreekwherewaterwasbreastdeep.Themother,SeverinaGarces,wasdrownedtheson,Precillano
Necesito,wasinjured,sufferingabrasionsandfractureoftheleftfemur.HewasbroughttotheProvincialHospital
at Dagupan, where the fracture was set but with fragments one centimeter out of line. The money, wrist watch
andcargoofvegetableswerelost.

Two actions for damages and attorney's fees totalling over P85,000 having been filed in the Court of First
InstanceofTarlac(CasesNos.908and909)againstthecarrier,thelatterpleadedthattheaccidentwasdueto
"engineormechanicaltrouble"independentorbeyondthecontrolofthedefendantsorofthedriverBandonell.

Afterjointtrial,theCourtofFirstInstancefoundthatthebuswasproceedingslowlyduetothebadconditionof
theroadthattheaccidentwascausedbythefractureoftherightsteeringknuckle,whichwasdefectiveinthatits
centerorcorewasnotcompactbut"bubbledandcellulous",aconditionthatcouldnotbeknownorascertained
by the carrier despite the fact that regular thirtyday inspections were made of the steering knuckle, since the
steelexteriorwassmoothandshinytothedepthof3/16ofaninchallaroundthattheknucklesaredesignedand
manufacturedforheavydutyandmaylastuptotenyearsthattheknuckleofbusNo.199thatbrokeonJanuary
28,1954,waslastinspectedonJanuary5,1954,andwasduetobeinspectedagainonFebruary5th.Hence,the
trial court, holding that the accident was exclusively due to fortuitous event, dismissed both actions. Plaintiffs
appealeddirectlytothisCourtinviewoftheamountincontroversy.

WeareinclinedtoagreewiththetrialcourtthatitisnotlikelythatbusNo.199ofthePhilippineRabbitLineswas
driven over the deeply rutted road leading to the bridge at a speed of 50 miles per hour, as testified for the
plaintiffs.Suchconductonthepartofthedriverwouldhaveprovokedinstantandvehementprotestonthepartof
thepassengersbecauseoftheattendantdiscomfort,andthereisnotraceofanysuchcomplaintintherecords.
Wearethusforcedtoassumethattheproximatecauseoftheaccidentwasthereducedstrengthofthesteering
knuckleofthevehiclecausedbydefectsincastingit.Whileappellantshintthatthebrokenknuckleexhibitedin

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court was not the real fitting attached to the truck at the time of the accident, the records they registered no
objectiononthatgroundatthetrialbelow.Theissueisthusreducedtothequestionwhetherornotthecarrieris
liable for the manufacturing defect of the steering knuckle, and whether the evidence discloses that in regard
theretothecarrierexercisedthediligencerequiredbylaw(Art.1755,newCivilCode).

ART.1755.Acommoncarrierisboundtocarrythepassengerssafelyasfarashumancareandforesight
can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due regard for the all the
circumstances.

Itisclearthatthecarrierisnotaninsurerofthepassengers'safety.Hisliabilityrestsuponnegligence,hisfailure
to exercise the "utmost" degree of diligence that the law requires, and by Art. 1756, in case of a passenger's
death or injury the carrier bears the burden of satisfying the court that he has duly discharged the duty of
prudencerequired.IntheAmericanlaw,wherethecarrierisheldtothesamedegreeofdiligenceasunderthe
newCivilCode,theruleontheliabilityofcarriersfordefectsofequipmentisthusexpressed:"Thepreponderance
ofauthorityisinfavorofthedoctrinethatapassengerisentitledtorecoverdamagesfromacarrierforaninjury
resultingfromadefectinanappliancepurchasedfromamanufacturer,wheneveritappearsthatthedefectwould
have been discovered by the carrier if it had exercised the degree of care which under the circumstances was
incumbent upon it, with regard to inspection and application of the necessary tests. For the purposes of this
doctrine,themanufacturerisconsideredasbeinginlawtheagentorservantofthecarrier,asfarasregardsthe
workofconstructingtheappliance.Accordingtothistheory,thegoodreputeofthemanufacturerwillnotrelieve
thecarrierfromliability"(10Am.Jur.205,s,1324seealsoPennsylvaniaR.Co.vs.Roy,102U.S.45120L.Ed.
141SouthernR.Co.vs.Hussey,74ALR117242Fed.2d70andEdNote,29ALR788Ann.Cas.1916E929).

Therationaleofthecarrier'sliabilityisthefactthatthepassengerhasneitherchoicenorcontroloverthecarrier
intheselectionanduseoftheequipmentandappliancesinusebythecarrier.Havingnoprivitywhateverwiththe
manufacturerorvendorofthedefectiveequipment,thepassengerhasnoremedyagainsthim,whilethecarrier
usuallyhas.Itisbutlogical,therefore,thatthecarrier,whilenotininsurerofthesafetyofhispassengers,should
neverthelessbeheldtoanswerfortheflawsofhisequipmentifsuchflawswereatalldiscoverable.ThusHannen,
J.,inFrancisvs.Cockrell,LR5Q.B.184,said:

In the ordinary course of things, the passenger does not know whether the carrier has himself
manufacturedthemeansofcarriage,orcontractedwithsomeoneelseforitsmanufacture.Ifthecarrierhas
contractedwithsomeoneelsethepassengerdoesnotusuallyknowwhothatpersonis,andinnocasehas
he any share in the selection. The liability of the manufacturer must depend on the terms of the contract
betweenhimandthecarrier,ofwhichthepassengerhasnoknowledge,andoverwhichhecanhaveno
control,whilethecarriercanintroducewhatstipulationsandtakewhatsecuritieshemaythinkproper.For
injuryresultingtothecarrierhimselfbythemanufacturer'swantofcare,thecarrierhasaremedyagainst
themanufacturerbutthepassengerhasnoremedyagainstthemanufacturerfordamagearisingfroma
merebreachofcontractwiththecarrier....Unless,therefore,thepresumedintentionofthepartiesbe
thatthepassengershould,intheeventofhisbeinginjuredbythebreachofthemanufacturer'scontract,of
which he has no knowledge, be without remedy, the only way in which effect can be given to a different
intentionisbysupposingthatthecarrieristoberesponsibletothepassenger,andtolookforhisindemnity
tothepersonwhomheselectedandwhosebreachofcontracthascausedthemischief.(29ALR789)

AndintheleadingcaseofMorganvs.Chesapeake&O.R.Co.15LRA(NS)790,16Ann.Cas.608,theCourt,in
holding the carrier responsible for damages caused by the fracture of a car axle, due to a "sand hole" in the
courseofmouldingtheaxle,madethefollowingobservations.

The carrier, in consideration of certain wellknown and highly valuable rights granted to it by the public,
undertakescertaindutiestowardthepublic,amongthembeingtoprovideitselfwithsuitableandsafecars
and vehicles in which carry the traveling public. There is no such duty on the manufacturer of the cars.
Thereisnoreciprocallegalrelationbetweenhimandthepublicinthisrespect.Whenthecarrierelectsto
have another build its cars, it ought not to be absolved by that facts from its duty to the public to furnish
safecars.Thecarriercannotlessenitsresponsibilitybyshiftingitsundertakingtoanother'sshoulders.Its
duty to furnish safe cars is side by side with its duty to furnish safe track, and to operate them in a safe
manner.Noneofitsdutiesintheserespectscanbesubletsoastorelieveitfromthefullmeasureprimarily
exacted of it by law. The carrier selects the manufacturer of its cars, if it does not itself construct them,
precisely as it does those who grade its road, and lay its tracks, and operate its trains. That it does not
exercisecontrolovertheformerisbecauseitelectstoplacethatmatterinthehandsofthemanufacturer,
instead of retaining the supervising control itself. The manufacturer should be deemed the agent of the
carrierasrespectsitsdutytoselectthematerialoutofwhichitscarsandlocomotivearebuilt,aswellasin
inspecting each step of their construction. If there be tests known to the crafts of car builders, or iron
moulders,bywhichsuchdefectsmightbediscoveredbeforethepartwasincorporatedintothecar,then
thefailureofthemanufacturertomakethetestwillbedeemedafailurebythecarriertomakeit.Thisisnot
a vicarious responsibility. It extends, as the necessity of this business demands, the rule of respondeat
superior to a situation which falls clearly within its scope and spirit. Where an injury is inflicted upon a

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passengerbythebreakingorwreckingofapartofthetrainonwhichheisriding,itispresumablytheresult
of negligence at some point by the carrier. As stated by Judge Story, in Story on Bailments, sec. 601a:
"Whentheinjuryordamagehappenstothepassengerbythebreakingdownoroverturningofthecoach,
or by any other accident occurring on the ground, the presumption prima facie is that it occurred by the
negligenceofthecoachmen,andonusprobandiisontheproprietorsofthecoachtoestablishthatthere
has been no negligence whatever, and that the damage or injury has been occasioned by inevitable
casualty, or by some cause which human care and foresight could not prevent for the law will, in
tendernesstohumanlifeandlimb,holdtheproprietorsliablefortheslightestnegligence,andwillcompel
themtorepelbysatisfactoryproofseveryimputationthereof."Whenthepassengerhasprovedhisinjuryas
theresultofabreakageinthecarorthewreckingofthetrainonwhichhewasbeingcarried,whetherthe
defect was in the particular car in which he was riding or not, the burden is then cast upon the carrier to
showthatitwasduetoacauseorcauseswhichtheexerciseoftheutmosthumanskillandforesightcould
notprevent.Andthecarrierinthisconnectionmustshow,iftheaccidentwasduetoalatentdefectinthe
materialorconstructionofthecar,thatnotonlycoulditnothavediscoveredthedefectbytheexerciseof
suchcare,butthatthebuilderscouldnotbytheexerciseofthesamecarehavediscoveredthedefector
foreseentheresult.Thisruleappliesthesamewhetherthedefectivecarbelongedtothecarrierornot.

Inthecasenowbeforeus,therecordistotheeffectthattheonlytestappliedtothesteeringknuckleinquestion
wasapurelyvisualinspectioneverythirtydays,toseeifanycracksdeveloped.Itnowhereappearsthateitherthe
manufacturer or the carrier at any time tested the steering knuckle to ascertain whether its strength was up to
standard,orthatithadnohiddenflawswouldimpairthatstrength.Andyetthecarriermusthavebeenawareof
thecriticalimportanceoftheknuckle'sresistancethatitsfailureorbreakagewouldresultinlossofbalanceand
steeringcontrolofthebus,withdisastrouseffectsuponthepassengers.Noargumentisrequiredtoestablishthat
a visual inspection could not directly determine whether the resistance of this critically important part was not
impaired.Norhasitbeenshownthattheweakeningoftheknucklewasimpossibletodetectbyanyknowntest
onthecontrary,thereistestimonythatitcouldbedetected.Wearesatisfiedthattheperiodicalvisualinspection
ofthesteeringknuckleaspracticedbythecarrier'sagentsdidnotmeasureuptotherequiredlegalstandardof
"utmost diligence of very cautious persons" "as far as human care and foresight can provide", and therefore
that the knuckle's failure can not be considered a fortuitous event that exempts the carrier from responsibility
(Lasamvs.Smith,45Phil.657Sonvs.CebuAutobusCo.,94Phil.,892.)

Itmaybeimpracticable,asappelleeargues,torequireofcarrierstotestthestrengthofeachandeverypartofits
vehicles before each trip but we are of the opinion that a due regard for the carrier's obligations toward the
traveling public demands adequate periodical tests to determine the condition and strength of those vehicle
portionsthefailureofwhichmayendangerthesafeofthepassengers.

As to the damages suffered by the plaintiffs, we agree with appellee that no allowance may be made for moral
damages,sinceunderArticle2220ofthenewCivilCode,incaseofsuitsforbreachofcontract,moraldamages
arerecoverableonlywherethedefendantactedfraudulentlyorinbadfaith,andthereisnoneinthecasebefore
us. As to exemplary damages, the carrier has not acted in a "wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or
malevolentmanner"towarranttheiraward.Hence,webelievethatfortheminorPrecillanoNecesito(G.R.No.L
10605),anindemnityofP5,000wouldbeadequatefortheabrasionsandfractureofthefemur,includingmedical
and hospitalization expenses, there being no evidence that there would be any permanent impairment of his
facultiesorbodilyfunctions,beyondthelackofanatomicalsymmetry.AsforthedeathofSeverinaGarces(G.R.
No.L10606)whowas33yearsold,withsevenminorchildrenwhenshedied,herheirsareobviouslyentitledto
indemnitynotonlyfortheincidentallosesofproperty(cash,wristwatchandmerchandise)worthP394thatshe
carried at the time of the accident and for the burial expenses of P490, but also for the loss of her earnings
(showntoaverageP120amonth)andforthedeprivationofherprotection,guidanceandcompany.Inou

http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri1958/jun1958/gr_l10605_1958.html 3/3
8/23/2016 G.R.No.L19495

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

ENBANC

G.R.No.L19495February2,1924

HONORIOLASAM,ETAL.,plaintiffsappellants,
vs.
FRANKSMITH,JR.,defendantappellant.

PalmaandLeuterioforplaintiffsappellants.
MarianoAlisangcofordefendantappellant.

OSTRAND,J.:

The plaintiff are husband and wife and this action is brought to recover damages in the sum of P20,000 for
physicalinjuriessustainedbytheminanautomobileaccident.Thetrialcourtrenderedajudgmentintheirfavor
forthesumofP1,254.10,withlegalinterestfromthedateofthejudgment.Boththeplaintiffsandthedefendant
appeal,theformermaintainingthatthedamagesawardedareinsufficientwhilethelatterdeniesallliabilityforany
damageswhatever.

ItappearsfromtheevidencethatonFebruary27,1918,thedefendantwastheownerofapublicgarageinthe
townofSanFernando,LaUnion,andengagedinthebusinessofcarryingpassengersforhirefromtheonepoint
toanotherintheProvinceofLaUnionandthesurroundingprovinces.Onthedatementioned,heundertookto
convey the plaintiffs from San Fernando to Currimao, Ilocos Norte, in a Ford automobile. On leaving San
Fernando,theautomobilewasoperatedbyalicensedchauffeur,butafterhavingreachedthetownofSanJuan,
thechauffeurallowedhisassistant,RemigioBueno,todrivethecar.Buenoheldnodriver'slicense,buthadsome
experience in driving, and with the exception of some slight engine trouble while passing through the town of
Luna, the car functioned well until after the crossing of the Abra River in Tagudin, when, according to the
testimony of the witnesses for the plaintiffs, defects developed in the steering gear so as to make accurate
steeringimpossible,andafterzigzaggingforadistanceofabouthalfakilometer,thecarlefttheroadandwent
downasteepembankment.

Thedefendant,inhistestimony,maintainsthattherewasnodefectinthesteeringgear,neitherbeforenorafter
the accident, and expresses the opinion that the swaying or zigzagging of the car must have been due to its
having been driven at an excessive rate of speed. This may possibly be true, but it is, from our point of view,
immaterialwhethertheaccidentwascausedbynegligenceonthepartofthedefendant'semployees,orwhether
itwasduetodefectsintheautomobiletheresultwouldbepracticallythesameineitherevent.

In going over the bank of the road, the automobile was overturned and the plaintiffs pinned down under it. Mr.
Lasam escaped with a few contusions and a "dislocated" rib , but his wife, Joaquina Sanchez, received serious
injuries,amongwhichwasacompoundfractureofoneofthebonesinherleftwrist.Shealsoappearstohave
sufferedanervousbreakdownfromwhichshehadnotfullyrecoveredatthetimeofthetrial.

Thecomplaintinthecasewasfiledaboutayearandahalfaftertheoccurrenceaboverelated.Italleges,among
other things, that the accident was due to defects in the automobile as well as to the incompetence and
negligenceofthechauffeur,andthecaseappearstohavebeentriedlargelyuponthetheorythatitsoundsintort
andthattheliabilityofthedefendantisgovernedbyarticle1903oftheCivilCode.Thetrialcourtheld,however,
thatthecauseofactionrestsonthedefendant'sbreachofthecontractofcarriageandthat,consequently,articles
11011107oftheCivilCode,andnotarticle1903,areapplicable.Thecourtfurtherfoundthatthebreachofthe
contractwasnotduetofortuitouseventsandthat,therefore,thedefendantwasliableindamages.

Inouropinion,theconclusionsofthecourtbelowareentirelycorrect.Thatuponthefactsstatedthedefendant's
liability,ifany,iscontractual,iswellsettledbypreviousdecisionsofthecourt,beginningwiththecaseofRakes
vs.Atlantic,Gulf&PacificCo.(7Phil.,359),andthedistinctionbetweenextracontractualliabilityandcontractual
liability has been so ably and exhaustively discussed in various other cases, that nothing further need here be
said upon that subject. (See Cangco vs. Manila Railroad Co., 38 Phil., 768 Manila Railroad Co. vs. Compania
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TrasatlanticaandAtlantic,Gulf&PacificCo.,38Phil.,875DeGuiavs.ManilaElectricRailroad&LightCo.,40
Phil., 706.) It is sufficient to reiterate that the source of the defendant's legal liability is the contract of carriage
thatbyenteringintothatcontractheboundhimselftocarrytheplaintiffssafelyandsecurelytotheirdestination
andthathavingfailedtodosoheisliableindamagesunlessheshowsthatthefailuretofulfillhisobligationwas
duetocausesmentionedinarticle1105oftheCivilCode,whichreadsasfollows:

Nooneshallbeliableforeventswhichcouldnotbeforeseenorwhich,evenifforeseen,wereinevitable,
with the exception of the cases in which the law expressly provides otherwise and those in which the
obligationitselfimposessuchliability.

Thisbringsustotheprincipalquestioninthecase:

What is meant by "events which cannot be foreseen and which, having been foreseen, are inevitable?" The
Spanishauthoritiesregardthelanguageemployedasanefforttodefinethetermcasofortuitoandholdthatthe
two expressions are synonymous. (Manresa, Comentarios al Codigo Civil Espaol, vol. 8, pp. 88 et seq.
Scvola,CodigoCivil,vol.19,pp.526etseq.)

Theantecedenttoarticle1105isfoundinLaw11,Title33,Partida7,whichdefinescasofortuitoas"occasionque
a case por aventura de que non se puede ante ver. E son estos, derrivamientos de casas e fuego que se
enciendeasoora,equebrantamientodenavio,fuercadeladrones....(Aneventthattakesplacebyaccident
and could not have been foreseen. Examples of this are destruction of houses, unexpected fire, shipwreck,
violenceofrobbers....)"

Escrichedefinescasofortuitoas"anunexpectedeventoractofGodwhichcouldeitherbeforeseennorresisted,
suchasfloods,torrents,shipwrecks,conflagrations,lightning,compulsion,insurrections,destructions,destruction
ofbuildingsbyunforseenaccidentsandotheroccurrencesofasimilarnature."

IndiscussingandanalyzingthetermcasofortuitotheEnciclopediaJuridicaEspaolasays:"Inalegalsenseand,
consequently,alsoinrelationtocontracts,acasofortuitopresentsthefollowingessentialcharacteristics:(1)The
causeoftheunforeseenandunexpectedoccurrence,orofthefailureofthedebtortocomplywithhisobligation,
mustbeindependentofthehumanwill.(2)Itmustbeimpossibletoforeseetheeventwhichconstitutesthecaso
fortuito,orifitcanbeforeseen,itmustbeimpossibletoavoid.(3)Theoccurrencemustbesuchastorenderit
impossibleforthedebtortofulfillhisobligationinanormalmanner.And(4)theobligor(debtor)mustbefreefrom
anyparticipationintheaggravationoftheinjuryresultingtothecreditor."(5EnciclopediaJuridicaEspaola,309.)

As will be seen, these authorities agree that some extraordinary circumstance independent of the will of the
obligor,orofhisemployees,isanessentialelementofacasofortuito.Turningtothepresentcase,itisatonce
apparentthatthiselementislacking.ItisnotsuggestedthattheaccidentinquestionwasduetoanactofGodor
toadverseroadconditionswhichcouldnothavebeenforeseen.Asfarastherecordsshows,theaccidentwas
causedeitherbydefectsintheautomobileorelsethroughthenegligenceofitsdriver.Thatisnotacasofortuito.

WeagreewithcounselthatneitherundertheAmericannorSpanishlawisacarrierofpassengersanabsolute
insureragainsttherisksoftravelfromwhichthepassengermayprotecthimselfbyexercisingordinarycareand
diligence.ThecaseofAlbavs.SociedadAnonimadeTranvias,JurisprudenciaCivil,vol.102,p.928,citedbythe
defendantinsupportofhiscontentions,affordsagoodillustrationoftheapplicationofthisprinciple.Inthatcase
Alba,apassengeronastreetcar,wasstandingontheplatformofthecarwhileitwasinmotion.Thecarrounded
acurvecausingAlbatolosehisbalanceandfallofftheplatform,sustainingsevereinjuries.Inanactionbrought
byhimtorecoverdamages,thesupremecourtofSpainheldthatinasmuchasthecaratthetimeoftheaccident
was travelling at a moderate rate of speed and there was no infraction of the regulations, and the plaintiff was
exposedtonogreaterdangerthanthatinherentinthatparticularmodeoftravel,theplaintiffcouldnotrecover,
especially so since he should have been on his guard against a contingency as natural as that of losing his
balancetoagreaterorlessextentwhenthecarroundedthecurve.

But such is not the present case here the passengers had no means of avoiding the danger or escaping the
injury.

The plaintiffs maintain that the evidence clearly establishes that they are entitled to damages in the sum of
P7,832.80insteadofP1,254.10asfoundbythetrialcourt,andtheirassignmentsoferrorrelatetothispointonly.

Therecanbenodoubtthattheexpensesincurredbytheplaintiffsasaresultoftheaccidentgreatlyexceeded
theamountofthedamagesawarded.Butbearinginmindthatindeterminingtheextentoftheliabilityforlosses
ordamagesresultingfromnegligenceinthefulfillmentofacontractualobligation,thecourtshave"adiscretionary
powertomoderatetheliabilityaccordingtothecircumstances"(DeGuiavs.ManilaElectricRailroad&LightCo.,
40Phil.,706art.1103,CivilCode),wedonotthinkthattheevidenceissuchastojustifyusininterferingwiththe
discretionofthecourtbelowinthisrespect.Aspointedoutbythatcourtinitswellreasonedandwellconsidered
decision,byfarthegreaterpartofthedamagesclaimedbytheplaintiffsresultedfromthefractureofabonein
theleftwristofJoaquinaSanchezandfromherobjectionstohavingadecayingsplinteroftheboneremovedbya

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surgical operation. As a consequence of her refusal to submit such an operation, a series of infections ensued
andwhichrequiredconstantandexpensivemedicaltreatmentforseveralyears.Weagreewiththecourtbelow
thatthedefendantshouldnotbechargedwiththeseexpenses.

Forthereasonsstated,thejudgmentappealedfromisaffirmed,withoutcostsinthisinstance.Soordered.

Araullo,C.J.,Street,Malcolm,JohnsandRomualdez,JJ.,concur.

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

FIRSTDIVISION

G.R.No.L45637May31,1985

ROBERTOJUNTILLA,petitioner,
vs.
CLEMENTEFONTANAR,FERNANDOBANZONandBERFOLCAMORO,respondents.

ValentinA.Zozobradoforpetitioner.

RupertoN.Alfararaforrespondents.

GUTIERREZ,JR.,J.:

This is a petition for review, on questions of law, of the decision of the Court of First Instance of Cebu which
reversedthedecisionoftheCityCourtofCebuandexoneratedtherespondentsfromanyliabilityarisingfroma
vehicularaccident.

The background facts which led to the filing of a complaint for breach of contract and damages against the
respondentsaresummarizedbytheCourtofFirstInstanceofCebuasfollows:

The facts established after trial show that the plaintiff was a passenger of the public utility jeepney
bearingplateNo.PUJ717onthecourseofthetripfromDanaoCitytoCebuCity.Thejeepneywas
driven by defendant Berfol Camoro. It was registered under the franchise of defendant Clemente
Fontanar but was actually owned by defendant Fernando Banzon. When the jeepney reached
Mandaue City, the right rear tire exploded causing the vehicle to turn turtle. In the process, the
plaintiffwhowassittingatthefrontseatwasthrownoutofthevehicle.Uponlandingontheground,
the plaintiff momentarily lost consciousness. When he came to his senses, he found that he had a
laceratedwoundonhisrightpalm.Asidefromthis,hesufferedinjuriesonhisleftarm,rightthighand
on his back. (Exh. "D"). Because of his shock and injuries, he went back to Danao City but on the
way, he discovered that his "Omega" wrist watch was lost. Upon his arrival in Danao City, he
immediatelyenteredtheDanaoCityHospitaltoattendtohisinjuries,andalsorequestedhisfather
inlaw to proceed immediately to the place of the accident and look for the watch. In spite of the
effortsofhisfatherinlaw,thewristwatch,whichheboughtforP852.70(Exh."B")couldnolonger
befound.

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PetitionerRobertoJuntillafiledCivilCaseNo.R17378forbreachofcontractwithdamagesbeforetheCityCourt
ofCebuCity,BranchIagainstClementeFontanar,FernandoBanzonandBerfolCamoro.

The respondents filed their answer, alleging inter alia that the accident that caused losses to the petitioner was
beyondthecontroloftherespondentstakingintoaccountthatthetirethatexplodedwasnewlyboughtandwas
onlyslightlyusedatthetimeitblewup.

Aftertrial,JudgeRomuloR.SeniningoftheCivilCourtofCeburenderedjudgmentinfavorofthepetitionerand
againsttherespondents.Thedispositiveportionofthedecisionreads:

WHEREFORE,judgmentisherebyrenderedinfavoroftheplaintiffandagainstthedefendantsand
the latter are hereby ordered, jointly and severally, to pay the plaintiff the sum of P750.00 as
reimbursement for the lost Omega wrist watch, the sum of P246.64 as unrealized salary of the
plaintiff from his employer, the further sum of P100.00 for the doctor's fees and medicine, an
additionalsumofP300.00forattorney'sfeesandthecosts.

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TherespondentsappealedtotheCourtofFirstInstanceofCebu,BranchXIV.

JudgeLeonardoB.CanaresreversedthejudgmentoftheCityCourtofCebuuponafindingthattheaccidentin
questionwasduetoafortuitousevent.Thedispositiveportionofthedecisionreads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered exonerating the defendants from any liability to the
plaintiffwithoutpronouncementastocosts.

AmotionforreconsiderationwasdeniedbytheCourtofFirstInstance.

ThepetitionerraisesthefollowingallegederrorscommittedbytheCourtofFirstInstanceofCebuonappeal

a. The Honorable Court below committed grave abuse of discretion in failing to take cognizance of
the fact that defendants and/or their employee failed to exercise "utmost and/or extraordinary
diligence" required of common carriers contemplated under Art. 1755 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines.

b.TheHonorableCourtbelowcommittedgraveabuseofdiscretionbydecidingthecasecontraryto
thedoctrinelaiddownbytheHonorableSupremeCourtinthecaseofNecesitoetal.v.Paras,etal.

Wefindthepetitionimpressedwithmerit.

TheCityCourtandtheCourtofFirstInstanceofCebufoundthattherightreartireofthepassengerjeepneyin
which the petitioner was riding blew up causing the vehicle to fall on its side. The petitioner questions the
conclusionoftherespondentcourtdrawnfromthisfindingoffact.

TheCourtofFirstInstanceofCebuerredwhenitabsolvedthecarrierfromanyliabilityuponafindingthatthetire
blowoutisafortuitousevent.TheCourtofFirstInstanceofCeburuledthat:

After reviewing the records of the case, this Court finds that the accident in question was due to a
fortuitousevent.Atireblowout,suchaswhathappenedinthecaseatbar,isaninevitableaccident
thatexemptsthecarrierfromliability,therebeingabsenceofashowingthattherewasmisconductor
negligenceonthepartoftheoperatorintheoperationandmaintenanceofthevehicleinvolved.The
fact that the right rear tire exploded, despite being brand new, constitutes a clear case of caso
fortuitowhichcanbeaproperbasisforexoneratingthedefendantsfromliability....

TheCourtofFirstInstancereliedontherulingoftheCourtofAppealsinRodriguezv.RedLineTransportation
Co.,CAG.R.No.8136,December29,1954,wheretheCourtofAppealsruledthat:

A tire blowout does not constitute negligence unless the tire was already old and should not have
beenusedatall.Indeed,thiswouldbeaclearcaseoffortuitousevent.

TheforegoingconclusionsoftheCourtofFirstInstanceofCebuarebasedonamisapprehensionofoverallfacts
fromwhichaconclusionshouldbedrawn.TherelianceoftheCourtofFirstInstanceontheRodriguezcaseisnot
inorder.InLaMallorcaandPampangaBusCo.v.DeJesus,etal.(17SCRA23),weheldthat:

Petitioner maintains that a tire blowout is a fortuitous event and gives rise to no liability for
negligence,citingtherulingsoftheCourtofAppealsinRodriguezv.RedLineTransportationCo.,CA
G.R. No. 8136, December 29, 1954, and People v. Palapad, CAG.R. No. 18480, June 27, 1958.
These rulings, however, not only are not binding on this Court but were based on considerations
quitedifferentfromthosethatobtaininthecaseatbar.Theappellatecourttheremadenofindingsof
any specific acts of negligence on the part of the defendants and confined itself to the question of
whether or not a tire blowout, by itself alone and without a showing as to the causative factors,
wouldgenerateliability....

Inthecaseatbar,therearespecificactsofnegligenceonthepartoftherespondents.Therecordsshowthatthe
passenger jeepney turned turtle and jumped into a ditch immediately after its right rear tire exploded. The
evidenceshowsthatthepassengerjeepneywasrunningataveryfastspeedbeforetheaccident.Weagreewith
theobservationofthepetitionerthatapublicutilityjeeprunningataregularandsafespeedwillnotjumpintoa
ditchwhenitsrightreartireblowsup.Thereisalsoevidencetoshowthatthepassengerjeepneywasoverloaded
at the time of the accident. The petitioner stated that there were three (3) passengers in the front seat and
fourteen(14)passengersintherear.

Whileitmaybetruethatthetirethatblewupwasstillgoodbecausethegroovesofthetirewerestillvisible,this
factalonedoesnotmaketheexplosionofthetireafortuitousevent.Noevidencewaspresentedtoshowthatthe
accidentwasduetoadverseroadconditionsorthatprecautionsweretakenbythejeepneydrivertocompensate
foranyconditionsliabletocauseaccidents.Thesuddenblowingup,therefore,couldhavebeencausedbytoo

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muchairpressureinjectedintothetirecoupledbythefactthatthejeepneywasoverloadedandspeedingatthe
timeoftheaccident.

InLasamv.Smith(45Phil.657),welaiddownthefollowingessentialcharacteristicsofcasofortuito:

xxxxxxxxx

... In a legal sense and, consequently, also in relation to contracts, a caso fortuito presents the
followingessentialcharacteristics:(1)Thecauseoftheunforeseenandunexpectedoccurrence,or
ofthefailureofthedebtortocomplywithhisobligation,mustbeindependentofthehumanwill.(2)It
mustbeimpossibletoforeseetheeventwhichconstitutesthecasofortuito,orifitcanbeforeseen,it
must be impossible to avoid. (3) The occurrence must be such as to render it impossible for the
debtortofulfillhisobligationinanormalmanner.And(4)theobligor(debtor)mustbefreefromany
participation in the aggravation of the injury resulting to the creditor. (5 Encyclopedia Juridica
Espanola,309.)

Inthecaseatbar,thecauseoftheunforeseenandunexpectedoccurrencewasnotindependentofthehuman
will.Theaccidentwascausedeitherthroughthenegligenceofthedriverorbecauseofmechanicaldefectsinthe
tire.Commoncarriersshouldteachtheirdriversnottooverloadtheirvehicles,nottoexceedsafeandlegalspeed
limits,andtoknowthecorrectmeasurestotakewhenatireblowsupthusinsuringthesafetyofpassengersatall
times.Relativetothecontingencyofmechanicaldefects,weheldinNecesito,etal.v.Paras,etal.(104Phil.75),
that:

...Thepreponderanceofauthorityisinfavorofthedoctrinethatapassengerisentitledtorecover
damages from a carrier for an injury resulting from a defect in an appliance purchased from a
manufacturer,wheneveritappearsthatthedefectwouldhavebeendiscoveredbythecarrierifithad
exercisedthedegreeofcarewhichunderthecircumstanceswasincumbentuponit,withregardto
inspectionandapplicationofthenecessarytests.Forthepurposesofthisdoctrine,themanufacturer
is considered as being in law the agent or servant of the carrier, as far as regards the work of
constructing the appliance. According to this theory, the good repute of the manufacturer will not
relievethecarrierfromliability'(10Am.Jur.205,s,1324seealsoPennsylvaniaR.Co.v.Roy,102
U.S.45120L.Ed.141SouthernR.Co.v.Hussey,74ALR117242Fed.2d70andEdNote,29
ALR788.:Ann.Cas.1916E929).

Therationaleofthecarrier'sliabilityisthefactthatthepassengerhasneitherchoicenorcontrolover
thecarrierintheselectionanduseoftheequipmentandappliancesinusebythecarrier.Havingno
privitywhateverwiththemanufacturerorvendorofthedefectiveequipment,thepassengerhasno
remedyagainsthim,whilethecarrierusuallyhas.Itisbutlogical,therefore,thatthecarrier,whilenot
aninsurerofthesafetyofhispassengers,shouldneverthelessbeheldtoanswerfortheflawsofhis
equipmentifsuchflawswereatalldiscoverable....

It is sufficient to reiterate that the source of a common carrier's legal liability is the contract of carriage, and by
entering into the said contract, it binds itself to carry the passengers safely as far as human care and foresight
can provide, using the utmost diligence of a very cautious person, with a due regard for all the circumstances.
Therecordsshowthatthisobligationwasnotmetbytherespondents.

Therespondentslikewisearguethatthepetitionercannotrecoveranyamountforfailuretoprovesuchdamages
duringthetrial.Therespondentssubmitthatifthepetitionerwasreallyinjured,whywashetreatedinDanaoCity
andnotinMandaueCitywheretheaccidenttookplace.Therespondentsarguethatthedoctorwhoissuedthe
medicalcertificatewasnotpresentedduringthetrial,andhencenotcrossexamined.Therespondentsalsoclaim
thatthepetitionerwasnotwearinganywristwatchduringtheaccident.

ItshouldbenotedthattheCityCourtofCebufoundthatthepetitionerhadalaceratedwoundonhisrightpalm
aside from injuries on his left arm, right thigh and on his back, and that on his way back to Danao City, he
discoveredthathis"Omega"wristwatchwaslost.ThesearefindingsoffactsoftheCityCourtofCebuwhichwe
find no reason to disturb. More so when we consider the fact that the Court of First Instance of Cebu impliedly
concurred in these matters when it confined itself to the question of whether or not the tire blow out was a
fortuitousevent.

WHEREFORE,thedecisionoftheCourtofFirstInstanceofCebu,BranchIVappealedfromisherebyREVERSED
andSETASIDE,andthedecisionoftheCityCourtofCebu,BranchIisREINSTATED,withthemodificationthat
the damages shall earn interest at 12% per annum and the attorney's fees are increased to SIX HUNDRED
PESOS(P600.00).DamagesshallearninterestsfromJanuary27,1975.

SOORDERED.

Teehankee(Chairman),MelencioHerrera,Plana,Relova,DelaFuenteandAlampay,JJ.,concur.

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

SECONDDIVISION

G.R.No.L48757May30,1988

MAUROGANZON,petitioner,
vs.
COURTOFAPPEALSandGELACIOE.TUMAMBING,respondents.

AntonioB.Abinojaforpetitioner.

Quijano,Arroyo&PadillaLawOfficeforrespondents.

SARMIENTO,J.:

The private respondent instituted in the Court of First Instance of Manila 1 an action against the petitioner for
damagesbasedonculpacontractual.Theantecedentfacts,asfoundbytherespondentCourt,2areundisputed:

On November 28, 1956, Gelacio Tumambing contracted the services of Mauro B. Ganzon to haul 305 tons of
scrapironfromMariveles,Bataan,totheportofManilaonboardthelighterLCT"Batman"(Exhibit1,Stipulation
of Facts, Amended Record on Appeal, p. 38). Pursuant to that agreement, Mauro B. Ganzon sent his lighter
"Batman"toMariveleswhereitdockedinthreefeetofwater(t.s.n.,September28,1972,p.31).OnDecember1,
1956,GelacioTumambingdeliveredthescrapirontodefendantFilomenoNiza,captainofthelighter,forloading
which was actually begun on the same date by the crew of the lighter under the captain's supervision. When
about half of the scrap iron was already loaded (t.s.n., December 14, 1972, p. 20), Mayor Jose Advincula of
Mariveles, Bataan, arrived and demanded P5,000.00 from Gelacio Tumambing. The latter resisted the
shakedownandafteraheatedargumentbetweenthem,MayorJoseAdvinculadrewhisgunandfiredatGelacio
Tumambing (t.s.n., March 19, 1971, p. 9 September 28, 1972, pp. 67). The gunshot was not fatal but
< re |a n 1 w >

Tumambing had to be taken to a hospital in Balanga, Bataan, for treatment (t.s.n., March 19, 1971, p. 13
September28,1972,p.15).

Aftersometime,theloadingofthescrapironwasresumed.ButonDecember4,1956,ActingMayorBasilioRub,
accompanied by three policemen, ordered captain Filomeno Niza and his crew to dump the scrap iron (t.s.n.,
June16,1972,pp.89)wherethelighterwasdocked(t.s.n.,September28,1972,p.31).Therestwasbroughtto
the compound of NASSCO (Record on Appeal, pp. 2022). Later on Acting Mayor Rub issued a receipt stating
thattheMunicipalityofMariveleshadtakencustodyofthescrapiron(StipulationofFacts,RecordonAppeal,p.
40t.s.n.,September28,1972,p.10.)

On the basis of the above findings, the respondent Court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which
states:

WHEREFORE,thedecisionappealedfromisherebyreversedandsetasideandanewoneentered
ordering defendantappellee Mauro Ganzon to pay plaintiffappellant Gelacio E. Tumambimg the
sumofP5,895.00asactualdamages,thesumofP5,000.00asexemplarydamages,andtheamount
ofP2,000.00asattorney'sfees.CostsagainstdefendantappelleeGanzon.3

Inthispetitionforreviewoncertiorari,theallegederrorsinthedecisionoftheCourtofAppealsare:

THECOURTOFAPPEALSFINDINGTHEHEREINPETITIONERGUILTYOFBREACHOFTHECONTRACTOF
TRANSPORTATION AND IN IMPOSING A LIABILITY AGAINST HIM COMMENCING FROM THE TIME THE
SCRAPWASPLACEDINHISCUSTODYANDCONTROLHAVENOBASISINFACTANDINLAW.

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II

THEAPPELLATECOURTERREDINCONDEMNINGTHEPETITIONERFORTHEACTSOFHISEMPLOYEESIN
DUMPING THE SCRAP INTO THE SEA DESPITE THAT IT WAS ORDERED BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT
OFFICIALWITHOUTHISPARTICIPATION.

III

THE APPELLATE COURT FAILED TO CONSIDER THAT THE LOSS OF THE SCRAP WAS DUE TO A
FORTUITOUS EVENT AND THE PETITIONER IS THEREFORE NOT LIABLE FOR LOSSES AS A
CONSEQUENCETHEREOF.4

The petitioner, in his first assignment of error, insists that the scrap iron had not been unconditionally placed
under his custody and control to make him liable. However, he completely agrees with the respondent Court's
finding that on December 1, 1956, the private respondent delivered the scraps to Captain Filomeno Niza for
loading in the lighter "Batman," That the petitioner, thru his employees, actually received the scraps is freely
admitted.Significantly,thereisnottheslightestallegationorshowingofanycondition,qualification,orrestriction
accompanying the delivery by the private respondentshipper of the scraps, or the receipt of the same by the
petitioner. On the contrary, soon after the scraps were delivered to, and received by the petitionercommon
carrier,loadingwascommenced.

Bythesaidactofdelivery,thescrapswereunconditionallyplacedinthepossessionandcontrolofthecommon
carrier, and upon their receipt by the carrier for transportation, the contract of carriage was deemed perfected.
Consequently, the petitionercarrier's extraordinary responsibility for the loss, destruction or deterioration of the
goodscommenced.PursuanttoArt.1736,suchextraordinaryresponsibilitywouldceaseonlyuponthedelivery,
actualorconstructive,bythecarriertotheconsignee,ortothepersonwhohasarighttoreceivethem.5Thefact
that part of the shipment had not been loaded on board the lighter did not impair the said contract of transportation as the
goodsremainedinthecustodyandcontrolofthecarrier,albeitstillunloaded.

Thepetitionerhasfailedtoshowthatthelossofthescrapswasduetoanyofthefollowingcausesenumeratedin
Article1734oftheCivilCode,namely:

(1)Flood,storm,earthquake,lightning,orothernaturaldisasterorcalamity

(2)Actofthepublicenemyinwar,whetherinternationalorcivil

(3)Actoromissionoftheshipperorownerofthegoods

(4)Thecharacterofthegoodsordefectsinthepackingorinthecontainers

(5)Orderoractofcompetentpublicauthority.

Hence, the petitioner is presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently. 6 By reason of this
presumption, the court is not even required to make an express finding of fault or negligence before it could hold the
petitioner answerable for the breach of the contract of carriage. Still, the petitioner could have been exempted from any
liability had he been able to prove that he observed extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods in his custody,
accordingtoallthecircumstancesofthecase,orthatthelosswasduetoanunforeseeneventortoforce majeure. As it
was,therewashardlyanyattemptonthepartofthepetitionertoprovethatheexercisedsuchextraordinarydiligence.

Itisinthesecondandthirdassignmentsoferrorwherethepetitionermaintainsthatheisexemptfromanyliability
because the loss of the scraps was due mainly to the intervention of the municipal officials of Mariveles which
constitutesacasofortuitoasdefinedinArticle1174oftheCivilCode.7

Wecannotsustainthetheoryofcasofortuito.Inthecourtsbelow,thepetitioner'sdefensewasthatthelossofthe
scrapswasduetoan"orderoractofcompetentpublicauthority,"andthiscontentionwascorrectlypassedupon
bytheCourtofAppealswhichruledthat:

... In the second place, before the appellee Ganzon could be absolved from responsibility on the
groundthathewasorderedbycompetentpublicauthoritytounloadthescrapiron,itmustbeshown
thatActingMayorBasilioRubhadthepowertoissuethedisputedorder,orthatitwaslawful,orthat
it was issued under legal process of authority. The appellee failed to establish this. Indeed, no
authorityorpoweroftheactingmayortoissuesuchanorderwasgiveninevidence.Neitherhasit
beenshownthatthecargoofscrapironbelongedtotheMunicipalityofMariveles.Whatwehavein
the record is the stipulation of the parties that the cargo of scrap iron was accilmillated by the
appellantthroughseparatepurchaseshereandtherefromprivateindividuals(RecordonAppeal,pp.
3839).Thefactremainsthattheordergivenbytheactingmayortodumpthescrapironintothesea
waspartofthepressureappliedbyMayorJoseAdvinculatoshakedowntheappellantforP5,000.00.

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TheorderoftheactingmayordidnotconstitutevalidauthorityforappelleeMauroGanzonandhis
representativestocarryout.

Nowthepetitionerischanginghistheorytocasofortuito.Suchachangeoftheoryonappealwecannot,however,
allow.Inanycase,theinterventionofthemunicipalofficialswasnotInanycase,ofacharacterthatwouldrender
impossiblethefulfillmentbythecarrierofitsobligation.Thepetitionerwasnotdutyboundtoobeytheillegalorder
todumpintotheseathescrapiron.Moreover,thereisabsenceofsufficientproofthattheissuanceofthesame
order was attended with such force or intimidation as to completely overpower the will of the petitioner's
employees.Themeredifficultyinthefullfilmentoftheobligationisnotconsideredforcemajeure.Weagreewith
the private respondent that the scraps could have been properly unloaded at the shore or at the NASSCO
compound, so that after the dispute with the local officials concerned was settled, the scraps could then be
deliveredinaccordancewiththecontractofcarriage.

ThereisnoincompatibilitybetweentheCivilCodeprovisionsoncommoncarriersandArticles361 8and362 9 of
theCodeofCommercewhichwerethebasisforthisCourt'srulinginGovernmentofthePhilippineIslandsvs.Ynchausti&
Co.10 and which the petitioner invokes in tills petition. For Art. 1735 of the Civil Code, conversely stated, means that the
shipperwillsufferthelossesanddeteriorationarisingfromthecausesenumeratedinArt.1734andintheseinstances,the
burden of proving that damages were caused by the fault or negligence of the carrier rests upon him. However, the carrier
must first establish that the loss or deterioration was occasioned by one of the excepted causes or was due to an
unforeseen event or to force majeure. Be that as it may, insofar as Art. 362 appears to require of the carrier only ordinary
diligence,thesameis.deemedtohavebeenmodifiedbyArt.1733oftheCivilCode.

Findingtheawardofactualandexemplarydamagestobeproper,thesamewillnotbedisturbedbyus.Besides,
thesewerenotsufficientlycontrovertedbythepetitioner.

WHEREFORE,thepetitionisDENIEDtheassaileddecisionoftheCourtofAppealsisherebyAFFIRMED.Costs
againstthepetitioner.

ThisdecisionisIMMEDIATELYEXECUTORY.

Yap,C.J.,ParasandPadilla,JJ.,concur.

SeparateOpinions

MELENCIOHERRERA,J.,dissenting:

Iamconstrainedtodissent.

Itismyviewthatpetitionercannotbeheldliableindamagesforthelossanddestructionofthescrapiron.The
lossofsaidcargowasduetoanexceptedcausean'orderoractofcompetentpublicauthority"(Article1734[5],
CivilCode).

TheloadingofthescrapirononthelighterhadtobesuspendedbecauseofMunicipalMayorJoseAdvincula's
intervention, who was a "competent public authority." Petitioner had no control over the situation as, in fact,
Tumambing himself, the owner of the cargo, was impotent to stop the "act' of said official and even suffered a
gunshotwoundontheoccasion.

When loading was resumed, this time it was Acting Mayor Basilio Rub, accompanied by three policemen, who
ordered the dumping of the scrap iron into the sea right where the lighter was docked in three feet of water.
Again,couldthecaptainofthelighterandhiscrewhavedefiedsaidorder?

Throughthe"order"or"act"of"competentpublicauthority,"therefore,theperformanceofacontractualobligation
was rendered impossible. The scrap iron that was dumped into the sea was "destroyed" while the rest of the
cargo was "seized." The seizure is evidenced by the receipt issues by Acting Mayor Rub stating that the
MunicipalityofMariveleshadtakencustodyofthescrapiron.Apparently,therefore,theseizureanddestructionof
thegoodswasdoneunderlegalprocessorauthoritysothatpetitionershouldbefreedfromresponsibility.

Art.1743.Ifthroughorderofpublicauthoritythegoodsareseizedordestroyed,thecommoncarrier
isnotresponsible,providedsaidpublicauthorityhadpowertoissuetheorder.

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SeparateOpinions

MELENCIOHERRERA,J.,dissenting:

Iamconstrainedtodissent.

Itismyviewthatpetitionercannotbeheldliableindamagesforthelossanddestructionofthescrapiron.The
lossofsaidcargowasduetoanexceptedcausean'orderoractofcompetentpublicauthority"(Article1734[5],
CivilCode).

TheloadingofthescrapirononthelighterhadtobesuspendedbecauseofMunicipalMayorJoseAdvincula's
intervention,whowasa"competentpublicauthority."Petitionerhadnocontroloverthesituationas,infact,
Tumambinghimself,theownerofthecargo,wasimpotenttostopthe"act'ofsaidofficialandevensuffereda
gunshotwoundontheoccasion.

Whenloadingwasresumed,thistimeitwasActingMayorBasilioRub,accompaniedbythreepolicemen,who
orderedthedumpingofthescrapironintothesearightwherethelighterwasdockedinthreefeetofwater.
Again,couldthecaptainofthelighterandhiscrewhavedefiedsaidorder?

Throughthe"order"or"act"of"competentpublicauthority,"therefore,theperformanceofacontractualobligation
wasrenderedimpossible.Thescrapironthatwasdumpedintotheseawas"destroyed"whiletherestofthe
cargowas"seized."TheseizureisevidencedbythereceiptissuesbyActingMayorRubstatingthatthe
MunicipalityofMariveleshadtakencustodyofthescrapiron.Apparently,therefore,theseizureanddestructionof
thegoodswasdoneunderlegalprocessorauthoritysothatpetitionershouldbefreedfromresponsibility.

Art.1743.Ifthroughorderofpublicauthoritythegoodsareseizedordestroyed,thecommoncarrier
isnotresponsible,providedsaidpublicauthorityhadpowertoissuetheorder.

Footnotes

1PresidedbyJudgeJesusP.Morfe

2Pascual,Chairman,ponenteAgravaandClimaco,JJ.,concurring.

3Decision,9Rollo19.

4Petitioner'sBrief,3,7,9Rollo,41.

5Article1736,CivilCodeofthePhilippines:

Art.1736.Theextraordinaryresponsibilityofthecommoncarrierslastsfromthetimethegoodsare
unconditionallyplacedinthepossessionof,andreceivedbythecarrierfortransportationuntilthe
samearedelivered,actuallyorconstructively,bythecarriertotheconsignee,ortothepersonwho
hasarighttoreceivethem,withoutprejudicetotheprovisionsofarticle1738.

6Article1735,supra.

Art.1735.InallcasesotherthanthosementionedinNos.1,2,3,4,and5oftheprecedingarticle,if
thegoodsarelost,destroyedordeteriorated,commoncarriersarepresumedtohavebeenatfault
ortohaveactednegligently,unlesstheyprovethattheyobservedextraordinarydiligenceasrequired
inArticle1733.

7Art.1174,supra:

Art.1174.Exceptincasesexpresslyspecifiedbythelaw,orwhenitisotherwisedeclaredby
stipulation,orwhenthenatureoftheobligationrequirestheassumptionofrisk,nopersonshallbe
responsibleforthoseeventswhichcouldnotbeforeseen,orwhichthoughforforeseenwere
inevitable.

8Article361,CodeofCommerce:

Art.361.Themerchandiseshallbetransportedattheriskandventureof
theshipper,ifthecontraryhasnotbeenexpresslystipulated.

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Asaconsequence,allthelossesanddeteriorationwhichthegoodsmay
sufferduringthetransportationbyreasonoffortuitousevent,force
majeure,ortheinherentnatureanddefectofthegoods,shallbeforthe
accountandriskoftheshipper.

Proofoftheseaccidentsisincumbentuponthecarrier.

9Article362,CodeofCommerce:

Art.362.Nevertheless,thecarriershallbeliableforthelossesand
damagesresultingfromthecausesmentionedintheprecedingarticleifitis
proved,asagainsthim,thattheyarosethroughhisnegligenceorbyreason
ofhishavingfailedtotaketheprecautionswhichusagehasestablished
amongcarefulpersons,unlesstheshipperhascommittedfraudinthebillof
lading,representingthegoodstobeofakindorqualitydifferentfromwhat
theyreallywere.

If,notwithstandingtheprecautionsreferredtointoarticle,thegoods
transportedruntheriskofbeinglost,onaccountoftheirnatureorby
reasonofunavoidableaccident,therebeingnotimefortheirownersto
disposeofthem,thecarriermayproceedtosellthem,placingthemforthis
purposeatthedisposalofthejudicialauthorityoroftheofficialsdesignated
byspecialprovisions.

10No.14191,September29,1919,40Phil.219.

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TodayisTuesday,August23,2016

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

SECONDDIVISION

G.R.No.L55300March15,1990

FRANKLING.GACALandCORAZONM.GACAL,thelatterassistedbyherhusband,FRANKLING.
GACAL,petitioners,
vs.
PHILIPPINEAIRLINES,INC.,andTHEHONORABLEPEDROSAMSONC.ANIMAS,inhiscapacityas
PRESIDINGJUDGEoftheCOURTOFFIRSTINSTANCEOFSOUTHCOTABATO,BRANCHI,respondents.

VicenteA.Mirabuenoforpetitioners.

SiguionReyna,Montecillo&Ongsiakoforprivaterespondent.

PARAS,J.:

Thisisa,petitionforreviewoncertiorariofthedecisionoftheCourtofFirstInstanceofSouthCotabato,Branch
1,*promulgatedonAugust26,1980dismissingthree(3)consolidatedcasesfordamages:CivilCaseNo.1701,
CivilCaseNo.1773andCivilCaseNo.1797(Rollo,p.35).

Thefacts,asfoundbyrespondentcourt,areasfollows:

Plaintiffs Franklin G. Gacal and his wife, Corazon M. Gacal, Bonifacio S. Anislag and his wife,
Mansueta L. Anislag, and the late Elma de Guzman, were then passengers boarding defendant's
BAC 111 at Davao Airport for a flight to Manila, not knowing that on the same flight, Macalinog,
Taurac Pendatum known as Commander Zapata, Nasser Omar, Liling Pusuan Radia, Dimantong
DimarosingandMikeRanda,allofMarawiCityandmembersoftheMoroNationalLiberationFront
(MNLF), were their copassengers, three (3) armed with grenades, two (2) with .45 caliber pistols,
andonewitha.22caliberpistol.Ten(10)minutesaftertakeoffatabout2:30intheafternoon,the
hijackersbrandishingtheirrespectivefirearmsannouncedthehijackingoftheaircraftanddirectedits
pilottoflytoLibya.Withthepilotexplainingtothemespeciallytoitsleader,CommanderZapata,of
the inherent fuel limitations of the plane and that they are not rated for international flights, the
hijackersdirectedthepilottoflytoSabah.Withthesameexplanation,theyrelentedanddirectedthe
aircraft to land at Zamboanga Airport, Zamboanga City for refueling. The aircraft landed at 3:00
o'clockintheafternoonofMay21,1976atZamboangaAirport.Whentheplanebegantotaxiatthe
runway,itwasmetbytwoarmoredcarsofthemilitarywithmachinegunspointedattheplane,andit
stoppedthere.TherebelsthruitscommanderdemandedthataDCaircrafttakethemtoLibyawith
the President of the defendant company as hostage and that they be given $375,000 and six (6)
armalites,otherwisetheywillblowuptheplaneiftheirdemandswillnotbemetbythegovernment
andPhilippineAirLines.Meanwhile,thepassengerswerenotservedanyfoodnorwateranditwas
onlyonMay23,aSunday,atabout1:00o'clockintheafternoonthattheywereserved1/4sliceofa
sandwichand1/10cupofPALwater.Afterthat,relativesofthehijackerswereallowedtoboardthe
plane but immediately after they alighted therefrom, an armored car bumped the stairs. That
commencedthebattlebetweenthemilitaryandthehijackerswhichledultimatelytotheliberationof
the surviving crew and the passengers, with the final score of ten (10) passengers and three (3)
hijackersdeadonthespotandthree(3)hijackerscaptured.

City Fiscal Franklin G. Gacal was unhurt. Mrs. Corazon M. Gacal suffered injuries in the course of
herjumpingoutoftheplanewhenitwaspepperedwithbulletsbythearmyandaftertwo(2)hand
grenades exploded inside the plane. She was hospitalized at General Santos Doctors Hospital,
General Santos City, for two (2) days, spending P245.60 for hospital and medical expenses,
AssistantCityFiscalBonifacioS.AnislagalsoescapedunhurtbutMrs.Anislagsufferedafractureat
the radial bone of her left elbow for which she was hospitalized and operated on at the San Pedro
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Hospital, Davao City, and therefore, at Davao Regional Hospital, Davao City, spending P4,500.00.
ElmadeGuzmandiedbecauseofthatbattle.Hence,theactionofdamagesinstitutedbytheplaintiffs
demandingthefollowingdamages,towit:

CivilCaseNo.1701

City Fiscal Franklin G. Gacal and Mrs. Corazon M. Gacal actual damages: P245.60
forhospitalandmedicalexpensesofMrsGacalP8,995.00fortheirpersonalbelongings
whichwerelostandnotrecoveredP50,000.00eachformoraldamagesandP5,000.00
forattorney'sfees,apartfromtheprayerforanawardofexemplarydamages(Record,
pp.46,CivilCaseNo.1701).

CivilCaseNo.1773

xxxxxxxxx

CivilCaseNo.1797

xxxxxxxxx

The trial court, on August 26, 1980, dismissed the complaints finding that all the damages sustained in the
premiseswereattributedtoforcemajeure.

OnSeptember12,1980thespousesFranklinG.GacalandCorazonM.Gacal,plaintiffsinCivilCaseNo.1701,
filedanoticeofappealwiththelowercourtonpurequestionsoflaw(Rollo,p.55)andthepetitionforreviewon
certiorariwasfiledwiththisCourtonOctober20,1980(Rollo,p.30).

The Court gave due course to the petition (Rollo, p. 147) and both parties filed their respective briefs but
petitionerfailedtofilereplybriefwhichwasnotedbytheCourtintheresolutiondatedMay3,1982(Rollo,p.183).

Petitioners alleged that the main cause of the unfortunate incident is the gross, wanton and inexcusable
negligenceofrespondentAirlinepersonnelintheirfailuretofriskthepassengersadequatelyinordertodiscover
hiddenweaponsinthebodiesofthesix(6)hijackers.Theyclaimedthatdespitetheprevalenceofskyjacking,PAL
did not use a metal detector which is the most effective means of discovering potential skyjackers among the
passengers(Rollo,pp.67).

Respondent Airline averred that in the performance of its obligation to safely transport passengers as far as
humancareandforesightcanprovide,ithasexercisedtheutmostdiligenceofaverycautiouspersonwithdue
regard to all circumstances, but the security checks and measures and surveillance precautions in all flights,
includingtheinspectionofbaggagesandcargoandfriskingofpassengersattheDavaoAirportwereperformed
and rendered solely by military personnel who under appropriate authority had assumed exclusive jurisdiction
overthesameinallairportsinthePhilippines.

Similarly,thenegotiationswiththehijackerswereapurelygovernmentmatterandamilitaryoperation,handledby
and subject to the absolute and exclusive jurisdiction of the military authorities. Hence, it concluded that the
accidentthatbefellRPC1161wascausedbyfortuitousevent,forcemajeureandothercausesbeyondthecontrol
oftherespondentAirline.

The determinative issue in this case is whether or not hijacking or air piracy during martial law and under the
circumstancesobtainingherein,isacasofortuitoorforcemajeurewhichwouldexemptanaircraftfrompayment
ofdamagestoitspassengerswhoseliveswereputinjeopardyandwhosepersonalbelongingswerelostduring
theincident.

UndertheCivilCode,commoncarriersarerequiredtoexerciseextraordinarydiligenceintheirvigilanceoverthe
goods and for the safety of passengers transported by them, according to all the circumstances of each case
(Article1733).Theyarepresumedatfaultortohaveactednegligentlywheneverapassengerdiesorisinjured
(Philippine Airlines, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, 124 SCRA 583 [1983]) or for the loss,
destruction or deterioration of goods in cases other than those enumerated in Article 1734 of the Civil Code
(EasternShippingLines,Inc.v.IntermediateAppellateCourt,150SCRA463[1987]).

The source of a common carrier's legal liability is the contract of carriage, and by entering into said contract, it
bindsitselftocarrythepassengerssafelyasfarashumancareandforesightcanprovide.Thereisbreachofthis
obligationifitfailstoexertextraordinarydiligenceaccordingtoallthecircumstancesofthecaseinexerciseofthe
utmostdiligenceofaverycautiousperson(Isaacv.AmmenTransportationCo.,101Phil.1046[1957]Juntillav.
Fontanar,136SCRA624[1985]).

It is the duty of a common carrier to overcome the presumption of negligence (Philippine National Railways v.
Court of Appeals, 139 SCRA 87 [1985]) and it must be shown that the carrier had observed the required
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extraordinary diligence of a very cautious person as far as human care and foresight can provide or that the
accidentwascausedbyafortuitousevent(Estradav.Consolacion,71SCRA523[1976]).Thus,asruledbythis
Court, no person shall be responsible for those "events which could not be foreseen or which though foreseen
were inevitable. (Article 1174, Civil Code). The term is synonymous with casofortuito (Lasam v. Smith, 45 Phil.
657 [1924]) which is of the same sense as "forcemajeure" (Words and Phrases Permanent Edition, Vol. 17, p.
362).

InordertoconstituteacasofortuitoorforcemajeurethatwouldexemptapersonfromliabilityunderArticle1174
of the Civil Code, it is necessary that the following elements must concur: (a) the cause of the breach of the
obligation must be independent of the human will (the will of the debtor or the obligor) (b) the event must be
eitherunforeseeableorunavoidable(c)theeventmustbesuchastorenderitimpossibleforthedebtortofulfill
hisobligationinanormalmannerand(d)thedebtormustbefreefromanyparticipationin,oraggravationofthe
injury to the creditor (Lasam v. Smith, 45 Phil. 657 [1924] Austria v. Court of Appeals, 39 SCRA 527 [1971]
Estrada v. Consolacion, supra Vasquez v. Court of Appeals, 138 SCRA 553 [1985] Juan F. Nakpil & Sons v.
CourtofAppeals,144SCRA596[1986]).Casofortuitoorforcemajeure, by definition, are extraordinary events
notforeseeableoravoidable,eventsthatcouldnotbeforeseen,orwhich,thoughforeseen,areinevitable.Itis,
therefore,notenoughthattheeventshouldnothavebeenforeseenoranticipated,asiscommonlybelieved,but
itmustbeoneimpossibletoforeseeortoavoid.Themeredifficultytoforeseethehappeningisnotimpossibility
toforeseethesame(Republicv.LuzonStevedoringCorporation,21SCRA279[1967]).

Applyingtheaboveguidelinestothecaseatbar,thefailuretotransportpetitionerssafelyfromDavaotoManila
was due to the skyjacking incident staged by six (6) passengers of the same plane, all members of the Moro
NationalLiberationFront(MNLF),withoutanyconnectionwithprivaterespondent,hence,independentofthewill
ofeitherthePALorofitspassengers.

Under normal circumstances, PAL might have foreseen the skyjacking incident which could have been avoided
had there been a more thorough frisking of passengers and inspection of baggages as authorized by R.A. No.
6235. But the incident in question occurred during Martial Law where there was a military takeover of airport
securityincludingthefriskingofpassengersandtheinspectionoftheirluggagepreparatorytoboardingdomestic
and international flights. In fact military takeover was specifically announced on October 20, 1973 by General
JoseL.Rancudo,CommandingGeneralofthePhilippineAirForceinalettertoBrig.Gen.JesusSingson,then
Director of the Civil Aeronautics Administration (Rollo, pp. 7172) later confirmed shortly before the hijacking
incidentofMay21,1976byLetterofInstructionNo.399issuedonApril28,1976(Rollo,p.72).

Otherwisestated,theseeventsrendereditimpossibleforPALtoperformitsobligationsinanominalmannerand
obviouslyitcannotbefaultedwithnegligenceintheperformanceofdutytakenoverbytheArmedForcesofthe
Philippinestotheexclusionoftheformer.

Finally, there is no dispute that the fourth element has also been satisfied. Consequently the existence of force
majeurehasbeenestablishedexemptingrespondentPALfromthepaymentofdamagestoitspassengerswho
suffereddeathorinjuriesintheirpersonsandforlossoftheirbaggages.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit and the decision of the Court of
FirstInstanceofSouthCotabato,BranchIisherebyAFFIRMED.

SOORDERED.

MelencioHerrera,Padilla,SarmientoandRegalado,JJ.,concur.

Footnotes

*PresidedoverbyCFIJudgePedroSamsonC.Animas.

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