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Jose Cangco vs Manila Railroad Co.

30 Phil 768 – Civil Law – Torts and Damages – Distinction of Liability of Employers Under Article 2180
and Their Liability for Breach of Contract
On January 20, 1915, Cangco was riding the train of Manila Railroad Co (MRC). He was an employee
of the latter and he was given a pass so that he could ride the train for free. When he was nearing his
destination at about 7pm, he arose from his seat even though the train was not at full stop. When he
was about to alight from the train (which was still slightly moving) he accidentally stepped on a
sack of watermelons which he failed to notice due to the fact that it was dim. This caused him to lose
his balance at the door and he fell and his arm was crushed by the train and he suffered other
serious injuries. He was dragged a few meters more as the train slowed down.
It was established that the employees of MRC were negligent in piling the sacks of watermelons.
MRC raised as a defense the fact that Cangco was also negligent as he failed to exercise diligence in
alighting from the train as he did not wait for it to stop.
ISSUE: Whether or not Manila Railroad Co is liable for damages.
HELD: Yes. Alighting from a moving train while it is slowing down is a common practice and a lot of
people are doing so every day without suffering injury. Cangco has 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. He was also ignorant of the fact that sacks of
watermelons were there as there were no appropriate warnings and the place was dimly lit.
The Court also elucidated on the distinction between the liability of employers under Article 2180
and their liability for breach of contract [of carriage]:

NOTES: But, if the master has not been guilty of any negligence whatever in the selection and
direction of the servant, he is not liable for the acts of the latter, whatever done within the scope of
his employment or not, if the damage done by the servant does not amount to a breach of the
contract between the master and the person injured.

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The liability arising from extra-contractual culpa is always based upon a voluntary act or omission
which, without willful intent, but by mere negligence or inattention, has caused damage to another.
These two fields, figuratively speaking, concentric; that is to say, the mere fact that a person is
bound to another by contract does not relieve him from extra-contractual liability to such person.
When such a contractual relation exists the obligor may break the contract under such conditions
that the same act which constitutes the source of an extra-contractual obligation had no contract
existed between the parties.
Manresa: Whether negligence occurs an incident in the course of the performance of a contractual
undertaking or in itself the source of an extra-contractual undertaking obligation, its essential
characteristics are identical.
Vinculum Juris: (def) It means “an obligation of law”, or the right of the obligee to enforce a civil
matter in a court of law.

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Libi vs. IAC


Julie Ann Gotiong and Wendell Libi were a sweetheart until the former broke up with the latter after
she found out the Wendell was irresponsible and sadistic. Wendell wanted reconciliation but was
not granted by Julie so it prompted him to resort to threats. One day, there were found dead from a
single gunshot wound each coming from the same gun. The parents of Julie herein private
respondents filed a civil case against the parents of Wendell to recover damages. Trial court
dismissed the complaint for insufficiency of evidence but was set aside by CA.

ISSUE: WON the parents should be held liable for such damages.


The subsidiary liability of parents for damages caused by their minor children imposed under Art
2180 of the Civil Code and Art. 101 of Revised Penal Code covered obligations arising from both
quasi-delicts and criminal offenses. The court held that the civil liability of the parents for quasi-
delict of their minor children is primary and not subsidiary and that responsibility shall cease when
the persons can prove that they observe all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent
damage. However, Wendell’s mother testified that her husband owns a gun which he kept in a
safety deposit box inside a drawer in their bedroom. Each of the spouses had their own key. She
likewise admitted that during the incident, the gun was no longer in the safety deposit box. Wendell
could not have gotten hold of the gun unless the key was left negligently lying around and that he
has free access of the mother’s bag where the key was kept. The spouses failed to observe and
exercise the required diligence of a good father to prevent such damage.

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Fuellas vs cadano

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G.R. No. L-14414. 27 April 1960.
Appeal from a judgment of the CFI of Camarines Norte.
Bautista Angelo, J.:

Facts: Plaintiffs are the legitimate parents of Carlos Salen who died from wounds caused by
Gumersindo Balce, a legitimate son of defendant who was then single, 18 yrs old and was living with
defendant. As a result of C. Salen's death, G. Balce was accused and convicted of homicide and was
sentenced to imprisonment and to pay the amount of P2,000.00. Plaintiffs brought this action
against defendant before CFI to recover the sum of P2,000.00, with legal interest. Defendant, in his
answer, set up the defense that the law upon which plaintiffs predicate their right to recover does
not here apply for the reason that law refers to quasi-delicts and not to criminal cases. CFI sustained
the theory of defendant.

Issue: WON appellee can be held subsidiary liable to pay the indemnity in accordance with Art. 2180
of the CC.

Ruling: Judgment reversed.

Art 2180 CC applies in the case at bar. To hold otherwise would result in the absurdity that while for
an act where mere negligence intervenes the father or mother may stand subsidiarily liable for the
damage caused by his or her son, no liability would attach if the damage is caused with criminal
intent. Verily, the void that apparently exists in the RPC (art.101) is subserved by this particular
provision of our CC, as may be gleaned from some recent decisions of the SC which cover equal or
identical cases.

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Maria Teresa Cuadra vs Alfonso Monfort
35 SCRA 160 – Civil Law – Torts and Damages – Liability of Parents
Maria Teresa Cuadra and Maria Teresa Monfort were both classmates in Mabini Elementary School
Bacolod City. In July 1962, their teacher assigned the class to weed the school premises. While they
were doing so, MT Monfort found a headband and she jokingly shouted it as an earthworm and
thereafter tossed it at MT Cuadra who was hit in her eye. MT Cuadra’s eye got infected. She was
brought to the hospital; her eyes were attempted to be surgically repaired but she nevertheless got
blind in her right eye. MT Cuadra’s parents sued Alfonso Monfort (MT Monfort’s dad) based on
Article 2180 of the Civil Code. The lower court ruled that Monfort should pay for actual damages
(cost of hospitalization), moral damages and attorney’s fees.
ISSUE: Whether or not Monfort is liable under Article 2180.
HELD: No. Article 2180 provides that the father, in case of his incapacity or death, the mother, is
responsible for the damages caused by the minor children who live in their company. The basis of
this vicarious, although primary, liability is fault or negligence, which is presumed from that which
accompanied the causative act or omission. The presumption is merely prima facie and may
therefore be rebutted. This is the clear and logical inference that may be drawn from the last
paragraph of Article 2180, which states “that the responsibility treated of in this Article shall cease
when the persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a
family to prevent damage.”
In the case at bar there is nothing from which it may be inferred that Alfonso Monfort could have
prevented the damage by the observance of due care, or that he was in any way remiss in the
exercise of his parental authority in failing to foresee such damage, or the act which caused it. On
the contrary, his child was at school, where it was his duty to send her and where she was, as he had
the right to expect her to be, under the care and supervision of the teacher. And as far as the act
which caused the injury was concerned, it was an innocent prank not unusual among children at
play and which no parent, however careful, would have any special reason to anticipate much less
guard against. Nor did it reveal any mischievous propensity, or indeed any trait in the child’s
character which would reflect unfavorably on her upbringing and for which the blame could be
attributed to her parents.
MT Monfort is already 13 years old and should have known that by jokingly saying “aloud that she
had found an earthworm and, evidently to frighten the Cuadra girl, tossed the object at her,” it was
likely that something would happen to her friend, as in fact, she was hurt. There is nothing in the
record that would indicate that Alfonso had properly advised his daughter to behave properly and
not to play dangerous jokes on her classmate and playmates, he can be liable under Article 2180 of
the Civil Code. There is nothing in the record to show that he had done anything at all to even try to
minimize the damage caused upon by his child.

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G.R. No. 85044 June 3 1992 [Parental Authority]

In October 1982, Adelberto Bundoc, a minor, shot and killed Jennifer Tamargo with an air rifle.
Jennifer's natural parents filed civil complaints for damages with the RTC against Bundoc's natural
In December 1981, spouses Rapisura filed a petition to adopt Adelberto. The petition was granted in
November 1982.
Adelberto's parents, in their Answer, claimed that the spouses Rapisura were indispensable parties
to the action since parental authority had shifted to them from the moment the petition for
adoption was decreed. Spouses Tamargo contended that since Adelberto was then actually living
with his natural parents, parental authority had not ceased by mere filing and granting of the
petition for adoption. Trial court dismissed the spouses Tamargo's petition.

Whether or not the spouses Rapisura are the indispensable parties to actions committed by

No. In Article 221 of the Family Code states that: "Parents and other persons exercising parental
authority shall be civilly liable for the injuries and damages caused by the acts or omissions of their
unemancipated children living in their company and under their parental authority subject to the
appropriate defences provided by law." In the case at bar, parental authority over Adelberto was still
lodged with the natural parents at the time the shooting incident happened. It follows that the
natural parents are the indispensable parties to the suit for damages.

SC held that parental authority had not been retroactively transferred to and vested in the adopting
parents, at the time the shooting happened. It do not consider that retroactive effect may be given to
the decree of the adoption so as to impose a liability upon the adopting parents accruing at the time
when adopting parents had no actual custody over the adopted child. Retroactive affect may be
essential if it permit the accrual of some benefit or advantage in favor of the adopted child.

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Tamargo vs CA
GR No. 85044, June 3, 1992


In October 1982, Adelberto Bundoc, minor, 10 years of age, shot Jennifer Tamargo with an air rifle
causing injuries that resulted in her death. The petitioners, natural parents of Tamargo, filed a
complaint for damages against the natural parents of Adelberto with whom he was living the time
of the tragic incident.

In December 1981, the spouses Rapisura filed a petition to adopt Adelberto Bundoc. Such petition
was granted on November 1982 after the tragic incident.

ISSUE: WON parental authority concerned may be given retroactive effect so as to make adopting
parents the indispensable parties in a damage case filed against the adopted child where actual
custody was lodged with the biological parents.


Parental liability is a natural or logical consequence of duties and responsibilities of parents, their
parental authority which includes instructing, controlling and disciplining the child. In the case at
bar, during the shooting incident, parental authority over Adelberto was still lodged with the
natural parents. It follows that they are the indispensable parties to the suit for damages. “Parents
and guardians are responsible for the damage caused by the child under their parental authority in
accordance with the civil code”.

SC did not consider that retroactive effect may be given to the decree of adoption so as to impose a
liability upon the adopting parents accruing at the time when they had no actual or physical custody
over the adopted child. Retroactivity may be essential if it permits accrual of some benefit or
advantage in favor of the adopted child. Under Article 35 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code,
parental authority is provisionally vested in the adopting parents during the period of trial custody
however in this case, trial custody period either had not yet begin nor had been completed at the
time of the shooting incident. Hence, actual custody was then with the natural parents of Adelberto.

Petition for review was hereby granted.

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St. Joseph College vs Miranda

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Aquinas vs Inton

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Jose Amadora vs Court of Appeals
Civil Law – Torts and Damages – Article 2180 – Liability of Schools of Arts and Trades and Academic
Schools – Liability of Teachers and Heads of School
In April 1972, while the high school students of Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos were in the school
auditorium, a certain Pablito Daffon fired a gun. The stray bullet hit Alfredo Amadora. Alfredo died.
Daffon was convicted of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide. The parents of Alfredo sued the
school for damages under Article 2180 of the Civil Code because of the school’s negligence.
The trial court ruled in favor of Amadora. The trial court ruled that the principal, the dean of boys,
as well as the teacher-in-charge are all civilly liable. The school appealed as it averred that when the
incident happened, the school year has already ended. Amadora argued that even though the
semester has already ended, his son was there in school to complete a school requirement in his
Physics subject. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the school. The CA ruled that under the last
paragraph of Article 2180, only schools of arts and trades (vocational schools) are liable not
academic schools like Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos.
ISSUE: Whether or not Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos, an academic school, is liable under Article
2180 of the Civil Code for the tortuous act of its students.
HELD: Yes. The Supreme Court made a re-examination of the provision on the last paragraph of
Article 2180 which provides:
Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be liable for damages caused by
their pupils and students or apprentices so long as they remain in their custody.
The Supreme Court said that it is time to update the interpretation of the above law due to the
changing times where there is hardly a distinction between schools of arts and trade and academic
schools. That being said, the Supreme Court ruled that ALL schools, academic or not, may be held
liable under the said provision of Article 2180.
The Supreme Court however clarified that the school, whether academic or not, should not be held
directly liable. Its liability is only subsidiary.
For non-academic schools, it would be the principal or head of school who should be directly liable
for the tortuous act of its students. This is because historically, in non-academic schools, the head of
school exercised a closer administration over their students than heads of academic schools. In
short, they are more hands on to their students.
For academic schools, it would be the teacher-in-charge who would be directly liable for the
tortuous act of the students and not the dean or the head of school.
The Supreme Court also ruled that such liability does not cease when the school year ends or when
the semester ends. Liability applies whenever the student is in the custody of the school authorities
as long as he is under the control and influence of the school and within its premises, whether the
semester has not yet begun or has already ended at the time of the happening of the incident. As
long as it can be shown that the student is in the school premises in pursuance of a legitimate
student objective, in the exercise of a legitimate student right, and even in the enjoyment of a
legitimate student right, and even in the enjoyment of a legitimate student privilege, the
responsibility of the school authorities over the student continues. Indeed, even if the student
should be doing nothing more than relaxing in the campus in the company of his classmates and
friends and enjoying the ambience and atmosphere of the school, he is still within the custody and
subject to the discipline of the school authorities under the provisions of Article 2180.

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At any rate, the REMEDY of the teacher, to avoid direct liability, and for the school, to avoid
subsidiary liability, is to show proof that he, the teacher, exercised the necessary precautions to
prevent the injury complained of, and the school exercised the diligence of a bonus pater familias.
In this case however, the Physics teacher in charge was not properly named, and there was no
sufficient evidence presented to make the said teacher-in-charge liable. Absent the direct liability of
the teachers because of the foregoing reason, the school cannot be held subsidiarily liable too.
This case abandoned fully the cases of Exconde vs Capuno and Mercado vs Court of Appeals.

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FACTS: Ferdinand Castillo, a freshman student at the St. Francis High School, wanted to join a school
picnic. His parents, respondents spouses Dr. Romulo Castillo and Lilia Cadiz Castillo, because of
short notice, did not allow their son to join but merely allowed him to bring food to the teachers for
the picnic, with the directive that he should go back home after doing so. However, because of
persuasion of the teachers, Ferdinand went on with them to the beach. During the picnic, one of the
female teachers was apparently drowning. Some of the students, including Ferdinand, came to her
rescue, but in the process, it was Ferdinand himself who drowned. He died. Respondent spouses
filed a civil case against petitioner and some of their teachers. Trial court found teachers liable but
dismissed complaint against the school.

ISSUE: W/N petitioner school and teachers are liable.

RULING: Petition granted.

RATIO: Before an employer may be held liable for the negligence of his employee, the act or
omission which caused damage must have occurred while an employee was in the performance of
his assigned tasks. In the case at bar, the teachers/petitioners were not in the actual performance of
their assigned tasks. What was held was a purely private affair, a picnic, which did not have permit
from the school since it was not a school sanctioned activity. Mere knowledge by
petitioner/principal of the planning of the picnic does not in any way consent to the holding of the
No negligence could be attributable to the petitioners-teachers to warrant the award of damages to
the respondents-spouses. The class adviser of the section where Ferdinand belonged, did her best
and exercised diligence of a good father of a family to prevent any untoward incident or damages to
all the students who joined the picnic.

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St. Mary’s Academy vs. Carpetanos
GR No. 143363, February 6, 2002


Herein petitioner, conducted an enrollment drive for the school year 1995-1996 They visited
schools from where prospective enrollees were studying. Sherwin Carpitanos joined the campaign.
Along with the other high school students, they rode a Mitsubishi jeep owned by Vivencio
Villanueva on their way to Larayan Elementary School. Such jeep was driven by James Daniel II, a 15
year old student of the same school. It was alleged that he drove the jeep in a reckless manner
which resulted for it to turned turtle. Sherwin died due to this accident.

ISSUE: WON petitioner should be held liable for the damages.


CA held petitioner liable for the death of Sherwin under Article 218 and 219 of the Family Code
where it was pointed that they were negligent in allowing a minor to drive and not having a teacher
accompany the minor students in the jeep. However, for them to be held liable, the act or omission
to be considered negligent must be the proximate cause of the injury caused thus, negligence needs
to have a causal connection to the accident. It must be direct and natural sequence of events,
unbroken by any efficient intervening causes. The parents of the victim failed to show such
negligence on the part of the petitioner. The spouses Villanueva admitted that the immediate cause
of the accident was not the reckless driving of James but the detachment of the steering wheel guide
of the jeep. Futhermore, there was no evidence that petitioner allowed the minor to drive the jeep
of Villanueva. The mechanical defect was an event over which the school has no control hence they
may not be held liable for the death resulting from such accident.

The registered owner of any vehicle, even if not used for public service, would primarily be
responsible to the public or to 3rd persons for injuries caused while it is being driven on the road.
It is not the school, but the registered owner of the vehicle who shall be held responsible for
damages for the death of Sherwin. Case was remanded to the trial court for determination of the
liability of the defendants excluding herein petitioner.

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Spouses Moises and Brigida Palisoc vs Antonio Brillantes
41 SCRA 548 – Civil Law – Torts and Damages – Liability of teachers/heads of establishments of arts
and trades
In March 1966, while Dominador Palisoc (16 years old) was watching Virgilio Daffon and Desiderio
Cruz work on a machine in their laboratory class in the Manila Technical Institute (a school of arts
and trades), Daffon scolded Palisoc for just standing around like a foreman. This caused Palisoc to
slightly slap the face of Daffon and a fistfight ensued between the two. Daffon delivered blows that
eventually killed Palisoc. The parents of Palisoc sued Daffon, the school president (Teodosio
Valenton), the instructor (Santiago Quibulue), and the owner (Antonio Brillantes). The basis of the
suit against Valenton, Quibulue, and Brillantes was Article 2180 of the Civil Code.
The lower court, as well as the CA, ruled that only Daffon is liable for damages and that Valenton,
Quibulue, and Brillantes are not liable because under Article 2180, they are only liable “so long as
they [the students] remain in their custody.” And that this means, as per Mercado vs Court of
Appeals, that teachers or heads of establishments are only liable for the tortious acts of their
students if the students are living and boarding with the teacher or other officials of the school –
which Daffon was not.
ISSUE: Whether or not the ruling in the Mercado Case still applies.
HELD: No. The SC abandoned the ruling in the Mercado Case as well as the ruling in the Exconde
Case as they adopted Justice JBL Reyes’ dissenting opinion in the latter case. Valenton and Quibulue
as president and teacher-in-charge of the school must be held jointly and severally liable for
the quasi-delict of Daffon. The unfortunate death resulting from the fight between the students
could have been avoided, had said defendants but complied with their duty of providing adequate
supervision over the activities of the students in the school premises to protect their students from
harm, whether at the hands of fellow students or other parties. At any rate, the law holds them
liable unless they relieve themselves of such liability, in compliance with the last paragraph of
Article 2180, Civil Code, by “(proving) that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a
family to prevent damage.” In the light of the factual findings of the lower court’s decision, said
defendants failed to prove such exemption from liability. The SC reiterated that there is nothing in
the law which prescribes that a student must be living and boarding with his teacher or in the
school before heads and teachers of the school may be held liable for the tortious acts of their

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