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Bataclan vs Medina 1

Montemayor, Anna Carmela

Case Name: Bataclan vs Medina After half an hour, help came, one of them was carrying a
Case Date and Case No.: October 22, 1957, G.R. No. L-10126 lighted torch, and almost immediately a fire started
Topic: Elements of Criminal Liability; Causation burning all but consuming the bus.
Ponente: Montemayor, J. It seemed that the gasoline began to leak due to the
Facts: overturning of the bus and it spread over the bus.
Shortly after midnight, bus no. 30 of the Medina Bataclans widow, Salud Villanueva, brought the present suit
Transportation, operated and owned by Mariano Medina, left to recover from Mariano Medina damages.
Amadeo, Cavite to Pasay City. The bus was driven by The CFI awarded the plaintiffs the damages.
Saylon. Plaintiffs and defendants appealed to the Supreme Court
There were eighteen passengers and among these passengers Issue and Holding:
were Bataclan, Lara, a passenger from the Visayan Islands
whom the witnesses referred to as Visaya, and Villanueva. Whether or not the negligence of Medina was the proximate
At about 2 am, one of front tires burst and the vehicle cause of the death of Bataclan
began to zigzag until it fell into a canal or ditch and
Yes the negligence of Medina was the proximate cause of the
turned turtle.
death of Bataclan.
Some of the passengers were able to get out of the bus but
the four passengers who were near the driver, Bataclan, Lara, The Court cited the New Civil code stating Articles 1733, 1755,
the Visayan, and Villanueva were not able to get out of the 1756, 1759, and 1763, stating that these provisions provide for the
bus. responsibility of the common carrier to its passengers and their
Some of the passengers were able to hear the moans and goods.
shouts from inside the bus.
There is no evidence to show that the passengers who got The Court agreed with the trial court with the following:
out as well as the driver and his conductor made any
that the case involved a breach of contract of transportation
attempt to help them.
for hire
They were able to get help from the people who were
there is negligence on the part of the defendant through his
living in the vicinity.
driver, Saylon
o there is evidence that the bus was speeding
Bataclan vs Medina 2

Montemayor, Anna Carmela

o a witness also stated that he heard that the tires of in response to the call for help, made not only by the
the bus were old and needed to be replaced. passengers, but most probably, by the driver and the
However, they disagreed with the trial court in ruling that the conductor themselves, and that because it was dark
proximate cause of Bataclans death was the fire. (about 2:30 in the morning), the rescuers had to
carry a light with them, and coming as they did from
The court defined proximate cause by citing American Jurisprudence a rural area where lanterns and flashlights were not
available; and what was more natural than that said
that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by
any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without rescuers should innocently approach the vehicle to
extend the aid and effect the rescue requested from
which the result would not have occurred.' And more
comprehensively, 'the proximate legal cause is that acting first and them. In other words, the coming of the men with a
producing the injury, either immediately or by setting other events in torch was to be expected and was a natural
motion, all constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, sequence of the overturning of the bus, the
each having a close causal connection with its immediate trapping of some of its passengers and the call for
predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately effecting the outside help. What is more, the burning of the
injury as a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, bus can also in part be attributed to the
under such circumstances that the person responsible for the first negligence of the carrier, through is driver and its
conductor. According to the witness, the driver and
event should, as an ordinary prudent and intelligent person, have
reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his act or default that the conductor were on the road walking back and
an injury to some person might probably result therefrom. forth. They, or at least, the driver should and must
have known that in the position in which the
In this case, the court stated that the overturning of the bus was overturned bus was, gasoline could and must
the proximate cause of Bataclans death. have leaked from the gasoline tank and soaked
the area in and around the bus, this aside from
Why? the fact that gasoline when spilled, specially over
o when the vehicle turned not only on its side but a large area, can be smelt and directed even from
completely on its back, the leaking of the gasoline a distance, and yet neither the driver nor the
from the tank was not unnatural or unexpected; conductor would appear to have cautioned or taken
that the coming of the men with a lighted torch was steps to warn the rescuers not to bring the lighted
Bataclan vs Medina 3

Montemayor, Anna Carmela

torch too near the bus. Said negligence on the part of


the agents of the carrier come under the codal
provisions above-reproduced, particularly, Articles
1733, 1759 and 1763.
Ruling:

In view of the foregoing, with the modification that the damages


awarded by the trial court are increased from ONE THOUSAND
(P1,000) PESOS TO SIX THOUSAND (P6,000) PESOS, and from
SIX HUNDRED PESOS TO EIGHT HUNDRED (P800) PESOS,
for the death of Bataclan and for the attorney's fees, respectively, the
decision appealed is from hereby affirmed, with costs.