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Case Name: Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines vs.

IAC and Casiano Pacua By: Chua, Dane Larieze


G.R. No. 66102-04 Topic: Doctrine of Last Clear Chance
Date: August 30, 1990

FACTS
1. Catalina Pascua, Caridad Pascua, Adelaide Estomo, Erlinda Meriales, Mercedes Lorenzo, Alejandro Morales and
Zenaida Parejas (passengers) boarded the jeepney, owned by the spouses Mangune and driven by Manalo, bound for
Carmen Rosales, Pangasinan. Their contract with Manalo was for them to pay P24.00 for the trip.
2. Upon reaching Barrio Sinayoan, the right rear wheel of the truck detached, causing it to run in an unbalanced position
so Manalo stepped on the brake. Such action caused the jeepney to make a U-turn, eventually stopping on the opposite
lane of the road (from where it came from) and its rear faced the north (towards where it was going). It thus blocked
the right of way of vehicles coming from the north, among which was Bus 73 of Philippine Rabbit Lines.
3. Philippine Rabbit Lines (bus driven by De Los Reyes) claimed that almost immediately after the sudden U-turn, the
bus bumped the right rear portion of the jeep. It resulted in a collision and the death of three passengers (Catalina
Pascua, Meriales and Estomo). Others sustained injuries.
4. Police investigators of Tacpal found that at the time of the accident, there were no vehicles following the jeepney,
neither were there oncoming vehicles except the bus. The weather condition of that day was fair. Thereafter, the police
filed a criminal complaint for multiple homicide against the two drivers. The case against De Los Reyes was dismissed
for insufficiency of evidence, but Manalo was convicted and sentenced to suffer imprisonment.
5. 3 complaints for recovery of damages were then filed before the CFI of Pangasinan, anchoring the suits against
Spouses Mangune and Manalo on their contractual liability while culpability for quasi-delict for Philippine Rabbit and
De Los Reyes.
6. TC found Manalo negligent. The same was reversed by IAC when it applied the doctrine of last clear chance (the
presumption that drivers who bump the rear of another vehicle is guilty and the cause of the accident unless
contradicted by other evidence) and the substantial factor test so De Los Reyes was guilty.
ISSUE
W/N the doctrine of last clear chance is applicable? NO.
W/N De los Reyes is liable for the death and physical injuries suffered by the passengers? NO.
HELD: The IAC erred when it applied the doctrine of last clear chance as it only applies in a suit between the owners and
drivers of two colliding vehicles, not in a suit where passengers demand responsibility from a carrier to enforce its contractual
obligations. The reason for such is that it would inequitable to exempt the negligent driver of the jeepney and its owners on the
ground that the other driver was likewise guilty of negligence (Anuran v Buno).

In culpa contractual, the moment a passenger does or is injured, the carrier is presumed to have been at fault or to have acted
negligently, and this disputable presumption may only be overcome by evidence that he had observed extraordinary diligence as
prescribed in Articles 1733, 1755 and 1756 or that the death or injury of the passenger was due to a fortuitous event.

The spirit behind the presumption of guilt on one who bumps the rear end of another vehicle is for the driver following a
vehicle to be at all times prepared of a pending accident should the driver in front suddenly come to a full stop, or change its
course either through change of mind of the front driver, mechanical trouble, or to avoid an accident. The rear vehicle is given
the responsibility of avoiding a collision with the front vehicle for it is the rear vehicle who has full control of the situation.
However, the U-turn made by the jeepney was abrupt so De Los Reyes could not have anticipated it.

As to the substantial factor test (if the actor's conduct is a substantial factor in bringing about harm to another, the fact that the
actor neither foresaw nor should have foreseen the extent of the harm or the manner in which it occurred does not prevent him
from being liable), the bus drivers conduct was not a substantial factor in bringing about harm. It cannot be said that the bus
was travelling at a fast speed when the accident occurred because the speed of 80 to 90 kilometers per hour is within the speed
limit allowed in highways. Delos Reyes admitted that he was running more or less 50 kilometers per hour at the time of the
accident. Using this speed, delos Reyes covered the distance of 45 meters in 3.24 seconds. If 80km per hour is adopted, De Los
Reyes would have covered that distance in 2.025 seconds, not giving him enough time to react to the situation.

Proximate cause of the accident was the negligence of Manalo and spouses Mangune as they failed to exercise the precautions
needed. The negligence of Manalo was proven during the trial by the unrebutted testimonies of Caridad Pascua, Police
Investigator Tacpal, Police Corporal Cacalda, Manalos conviction for the crime of Multiple Homicide and Multiple Serious
Injuries with Damage to Property thru Reckless Imprudence, and the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur supra. The
negligence of the spouses was also shown through their non-attempt of establishing that the collision was caused by a fortuitous
event but even then, an accident caused by defects in the automobile or negligence of its driver is not a caso fortuito.
Doctrine Notes: Manalo cannot be solidarily liable
(1) The principle of last clear chance is only applicable in a suit between the because the carrier is exclusively
owners and drivers of two colliding vehicles. responsible to the passenger even if it is
due to the negligence of the driver.